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innocent in Expreffion, but criminal in Thought: Summum It had a beautiful Outfide, but was all Corruption bonum within: It was honeft in Word, and impudent in negat Epicurus fine Fact. These loose Philofophers took up a feem- voluptatiing Aufterity, to difguize their fecret Indul-bus fengence to themselves; and all their Scheme of fum moventibus Morality, was but a Veil for their immoral Beha- fufpicari. viour. For they lived ill, tho' they fpake well: Cic. Qu. And to fecure the Freedom of their own Con- Acad. duct, they were fo difcreet as never to cenfure Voluptua that of others. So nice an Art as this could not rii diverticula quæbut reprefent them under very different Colours to the View of Antiquity; fo as to gain them tutem bathe opposite Characters, fometimes of honest bent in ore Men, and fometimes of extravagant Libertines, totos dies. But thofe who have undertaken to vindicate Fin. 4. Epicurus are out-voted by fo vaft a Majority, as Origen. fhould make them afham'd of their Caufe. For contra to fay nothing of the ancient Stoicks, who in- Celf. veigh'd fo plentifully against him, there is no Doctrine fo univerfally condemn'd by the firft contra Chriftian Writers as his. We may allow, that Eunom. Epicurus had great Virtues, and that his Follow- Theod. ers were rational, faithful, commodious and c. Epicurei friendly; as alfo that he himself was particularly viri optifober. Yet this Sobriety was at the Bottom, mi; nulbut a Regimen of Health, in which the Weak- lum genus nefs of his Conftitution oblig'd him to be fo eft minus exact, that the best Hours of his Life were spent malitioin attending his Digeftion. Befides, he had a Cic. de very artificial Modefty, and that he might feem Fin. 2. to have divested himself, of all the philofophical Arrogance and Prefumption, he would often Epicurus maintain the Caufe of Ignorance against Know-comis in ledge. But in the most rigorous of his moral tuendis 4Precepts, there appear'd fome Strokes of Huma- Cic. de nity and Indulgence, which did not fail to lay N. Deor. open the Bottom of his Heart. After all, what- 1.
ever plaufible Colours may be laid on this Do&trine, from the Confideration of that Pleasure, which Reason and Vertue will allow in the most abstracted Spirits; yet no Man who has any Epicurum 'Spark of common Honefty can bear its Infolence, Deos ver in Prefuming to oppofe Religion. And without bo pofuiffe revera fufgoing far into this Charge, what Ariftodemus in tuliffe. Plutarch difcourfes of Epicurus's Injustice in atCic.de N. tempting to banish Providence out of the World; Deor. 3. the Speech of Theon in the fame Piece, afferting the Preference of corporeal to intellectual Delights; together with what Diogenes Laertius reports of Epicurus's Gallantries, his Mistresses, the Refinement of his Pleafures, and the Lewdnefs of his Opinions, are fufficient to render this Hypothefis fufpected by any true Philofopher. Plutarch had Reason to affirm that Epicurus, in taking away Religion, deprived Men of a greater Pleasure than all those which he left them to poffefs. And therefore we cannot be guilty of Uncharitableness in fuppofing this wife Master to have been none of the best Livers,
The Noife that was made at Athens, by the Morals of Zeno and Epicurus, then chiefly in Vogue, gave Men an Emulation of cultivating this Part of Philofophy, in Preference to all others: And this Study grew to be so much the Mode, that the Enquiries of Nature were given over, and the World was fo hotly engag'd in the Search of the fupreme Good, as to negle& all other Pursuits. But here, as every one reaHerillus fon'd by his own Principles, fo every one estab. fenfit nibil lifh'd an Happiness agreeable to his own Hueffe fum- mour. Herillus, who was of a ftudious Disposi tion, plac'd the chief Felicity in Science. Calter Scien- liphon and Dinomachus, would have it confift in
mum bonum præ.
Cic. de Fin. 5.
honeft and lawful Pleafure. Theophraftus, who Voluptas lov'd an easie and commodious Life, believ'd that adjuncta Virtue could not make a Man happy, without boneftati Calliphoni the Concurrence of Fortune. Some added & DinoHealth as a neceffary Ingredient; others Beau- macho ty, Indolence, and a good Conftitution. Some placuit, affirm this fovereign Happiness to be compos'd doloris of Honour, Credit, Authority and thofe other Diodore. Advantages, that any way contribute to the Satif- Ibid. faction of Body or Mind. By this Eagernefs and TheophraApplication that Men exprefs'd in drawing out vitâbeata, a Plan of Felicity, in which each establish'd his in quo favourite Intereft, fuperior to all others; No- multum tions fo multiplied upon the Point, according fortune I to the Variety of Spirits and Inclinations, that datur. Varro reckon❜d up no lefs than two hundred eigh- Menedety eight different Opinions, concerning the mus putat Summum Bonum, as St. Auftin affures us in his omne boBook de Civitate Dei: Every one running after his num in own Fancy, and setting up that for the Object fitum qua mente poof his Happiness, which was most attractive of cernitur his Defire. But the Understanding of Man is veritas. fo weak in all its Reasonings about the fupreme Cic. Qu. Good, by its own unaffifted Powers, as never L.19. c.1. to reach but a fhort and imperfect Idea: It is not able to come up with Truth, and therefore idly follows its Shadow. Indeed that Phantom of Decency and Glory, which was the fole Aim of Pagan Morals, as vain and frivolous as it was, yet ferv'd to excite fome Men to Virtue; as the most folid Foundation that the Excitan Reafon of Mankind discover'd by mere natural tur gloria adumbrata Light. It was upon this Principle, that Pana- opinione tius in his moral Inftructions, fo well difplay'd the que for quæ most substantial Duties of human Conduct. For mam ba after Zeno and Epicurus we have no Remains of any bet bone& new Draught of Morality. The Characters: fimilitudiof Theophraftus, the Comedies of Menander, Plau- nem. Cic. tus de Fin.5.
tus and Terence, are very good Leffons of Manners, but without any Principles. But of all the Heathen Systems, the most accurate is that of Tully's Offices, the Rules of which are founded upon the fevereft Virtue. Seneca's Morals are not fo pure, and fo exact: For tho' he advances fome of the fineft Maxims in the World, yet he does not always fupport them with an equal Spirit. Plutarch is more real, and more in Earneft: He teaches Virtue with the greatest Simplicity imaginable, by the juft Recital, and Commendation of virtuous Actions. Pliny, tho' a profefs'd Libertine, yet in his Prefaces to his Book of natural History, has fome very bright and forcible Strokes of Morality. He always fpeaks like a masterly Genius, and with a Nobleness of Expreffion, that is familiar to him. He really aims at the Reformation of Uni ani- Manners, when he inveighs with fo much Heat against the Luxury, Debauchery, and other Corruptions of the Times. He is always well ria, uni defigning, and fhews an equal Sincerity in his ambitio, Cenfure and his Praife. Epictetus is the most uni avari-rational of all the Stoicks, as being the leaft tia, nulli vita fra tranfported, and fhewing the greatest Integrigilior,nul- ty of Heart. The other Philofophers that comli rerum pos'd Treatifes of Morals, either built them upomnium on the Principles of Ariftotle, as Panatius, Cicero and Plutarch, or writ them to no Purpose.
jor, nulli pavor,
nulli rabies acrior. Plin, Proem. 1. 7.
fit, ut perfuadeatur fuperbis quanta virtus fit bumilitatis. Aug.de Civ. Dei 1. I. c. I.
Lives of the first Chriftians. The Doctrine preach'd by the Apostles, and their Succeffors, which alone could teach Men to be humble under Greatnefs, and modeft under good Succefs, together with all that strictness of Probity, profefs'd and practis'd in the Church, appear'd fo admirable in the Eyes of the Pagan Inftructors, that by ftriving to imitate and rival the Chriftian Vertue, they fell into the utmoft Extravagance; going fo far out of their Character, and beyond the Limits of that fecular Wisdom, whofe Maxims they had avow'd. All their Vertue degenerated into Oftentation; all their Wif dom spent it felf in empty Boafts and ungrounded Pretenfions: And as Cowardice fometimes makes a Man bold, fo Vanity fometimes made an Heathen vertuous. The Life of Apollonius, fo fraught with Prodigies, was written by Philoftratus, with no other Intention, but to oppofe it to the Life and Miracles of our Saviour: As the Lives of the Sophifts by Eunapius, who flourish'd under Theodofius the Great, were defign'd to vie with thofe of the firft Believers, and by that Means to overthrow the Doctrines of the Gofpel. Vopifcus attempted fomewhat of the like kind, in imitation of Eunapius. And long before them, Epictetus, who by his Converse with the Chriftians, had abated very much of the Pride of Zeno's School, began that Spirit of Emulation, which reviv'd the moral Doctrine of the Stoicks, under the Reigns, of the Antonini; for then moft of the Philofophers joyn'd themfelves to this plures fu Tribe, as Sextus Empiricus informs us: And the iffe tum Reafon of their Choice was, that they might qui Sioicounterfeit the Chriftian Severity, by the unna- corum Sea &am fetural and strain'd Gravity of the Porch, fit only &arentur quàm qui aliam quamcunque.