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they appear to be utterly destitute of any thing like a doctrine of proper atonement.”
These assertions Doctor Priestley has not scrupled to make; (Theol. Rep. v. i. pp. 401. 411. 416. and 421.) and boldly offers “the range of the whole Jewish and Heathen world” to
supply a single fact in contradiction. He professes also to survey this wide-extended range himself; and for this purpose, begins with adducing a single passage from Virgil, whence he says, it appears, even the implacable hatred of Juno could be appeased;” and an instance from the Phædon of Plato, from which he concludes, that Socrates, although “ the farthest possible from the notion of appeasing the anger of the Gods by any external services, yet died without the least doubt of an happy immortality;" notwithstanding that in p. 31, when treating of another subject, he had found it convenient to represent this philosopher as utterly disbelieving a future state; and even here, he adds, what renders his whole argument a nullity, provided there were any
such state for man. Having by the former of these, established his position, as to the religion of the vulgar, among the Greeks and Romans; and by the latter, as to the religion of the philosophers : he yet farther endeavours to fortify his conclusion by the assertion, that no facts have been furnished either by Gale or Clarke, to justify the opinion, that the ancients were at a loss as to the terms of divine accepa tance; notwithstanding that not only Clarke, (Evidences, v. ii. pp. 662-670. fol. 1738.) but Leland, (Christ. Rev. vol. i. pp. 259, 270, 473. 4to. 1764.) and various other writers have col. lected numerous authorities on this head, and that the whole mass of heathen superstitions speaks no other language, insomuch that Bolingbroke himself (vol. v. pp. 214, 215. Ato.) admits the point in its fullest extent. He next proceeds to examine the religion of the ancient Persians and modern Parsis: and to prove this people to have been free from any idea of atonement or sacrifice, he quotes a prayer from Dr. Hyde, and a description of their notion of future punishments from Mr. Grose: and though these ean at the utmost apply only to the present state of the people, (and whoever will consult Dr. Hyde's history, pp. 570. 574. on the account given by Tavernier, of their notion of absolution; and on that given by himself, of their ceremony of the Scape-Dog, will see good reason to deny the justness even of this application) yet Dr. P. has not scrupled to extend the conelusion derived from them to the ancient Persians, in defiance of the numerous authorities referred to in this number, and notwithstanding that, as Mr. Richardson asserts, (Dissert. pp, 25, 26. 8vo. 1778.) the Parsis acknowledge the original works of their ancient lawgiver to have been long lost; and that, consequently, the ceremonials of the modern Guebres, preserve little or no resemblance to the ancient worship of Persia. See also Hyde, Rel. Vet. Pers. p. 574. ed. Oxon. 1760. Our author, last of all, cites the testimonies of Mr. Dow and Mr. Grose, to establish the same point concerning the religion of the Hindoos; and particularly to shew, that it was “ a maxim with the Brahmans, never to de file their sacrifices with blood." The value to be attached to these testimonies, may be estimated, from what has been already advanced concerning these writers; from the terrific representa tions of the Gods of Hindostan; the cruel austerities with which they were worshipped; and the positive declarations of the most authentic and recent writers on the history of the Hindoos.
Thus, not a single authority of those adduced by Dr. Priestley, is found to justify his position, But admitting their fullest application, to what do they amount :-to an instance of relenting hatred in Juno, as described by Virgil; an example of perfect freedom from all apprehension of divine displeasure, in the case of Socrates; and a quotation or two from Mr. Dow and Mr. Grose, with a prayer from Dr. Hyde, to ascer tain the religious notions of the Parsis and the Hindoos. These, with a few vague observations on the tenets of certain Atheists of ancient and modern times; the tendency of which is to shew, that men who did not believe in a moral Governor of the Universe, did not fear one; complete his survey of the religious history of the Heathen world:and in the conclusion, derived from this very copious induction, he satisfactorily acquiesces, and boldly defies his opponents to produce a single contradictory instance.—(N. B. His abstract of the Jewish testimonies, I reserve for a distinct discussion in another place: see No. XXXIII.)
When Dr. Priestley thus gravely asserts, that by this extensive review of facts, he has .completely established the position, that natural religion impresses no fears of divine displeasure, and prescribes no satisfaction for offended justice beyond repentance; it seems not difficult to determine, how far he relies upon the ignorance of his readers, and upon the force of a bold assertion. As to the position itself, it is clear, that never was an AUTOS &pa, inore directly opposed to the voice of history, and to notoriety of fact. Parkhurst, in his Hebrew Lexicon, on the word Dux, says, “ it is known to every one, who is acquainted with the mythology of the Heathens, how strongly and generally they retained the tradition of an atonement or expiation for sin.” What has been already offered, in this number, may perhaps appear sufficient to justify this affirmation. But, indeed, independent of all historical research, a very slight glance at the Greek and Roman Classics, especially the Poets, the
popular divines of the antients, can leave little doubt upon this head.
this head. So clearly does their language announce the notion of a propitiatory atonement, that if we would avoid an imputation on Dr. Priestley's fairness, we are drivenof ne, cessity, to question the extent of his : acquaintance with those writers. Thus in Homer, (Il. i. 386.) we find the expression ©£ov imao xeobaso. used, as necessarily to imply, the appeasing the anger of the God: and again (Il. j. 550.) the: same expression is employed, to denote the pro: pitiåtion of Minerva by sacrifice, Evdade pov ταυροισι και αρνειoις ιλαονται. Ηesiod, in like manner, (Egy. Yao Hl. 338.) applies the term in such a sense as cannot be misunderstood. Having declared the certainty, that the wicked: would be visited by the divine vengeance; he proceeds to recommend sacrifice, as amongst the means of rendering the deity propitious—AXlete δη σπονδησι θυεσσιτε ιλασκεσθαι. Ρlutarch makes, use of the word, expressly in reference to the anger of the Gods, εξιλασασθαι το μηνιμα της θεε. That the words ιλασκεσθαι, ιλασμος, &c. carry with them the force of rendering propitious an offended deity, might be proved by various other instances from the writers of an: tiquity: and that in the use of the terms aproτροπιασμα or αποτροπιασμος, καθαρμα, περιψημα, and φαρμακος,
the antients meant to convey the idea of a piacular -sacrifice averting the anger