Obrazy na stronie

certainly mistaken: for Socrates undoubtedly spake this in mockery of Æsculapius ; looking upon death as his truest deliverance. Plato, after having delivered very noble and almost divine truths concerning the nature and attributes of the supreme God, * weakly advises men to worship likewise inferior gods, dæmons, and spirits ; and dared not to condemn the worshiping even of statues also and images, dedicated according to the laws of their country; as if + the honour they paid to lifeless idols, could procure the favour and good-will of superior intelligences. And fo I he core rupted and spoiled the best philosophy in the world, by adding idolatry to that worship, which he had wisely and bravely before proved to be due to the Creator of all things. After him, Cicero, the greatest and beft philosopher that Rome or perhaps any other nation, ever produced, allowed § men to continue the idolatry of their ancestors ; advised them to conform themselves to the superstitious religion of their country, in offering such facrifices to different gods, as were by law established; and ** disapproves and finds fault with the Persian magi, for burning the temples of the Grecian

ds, and asserting that the whole universe was God's temple. In all which, he fondly contradicts himself, by ++ inexcusably complying with the práctices of those men, whom in many of his writings he largely and excellently proves to be extremely foolish upon account of those very practices. And to mention no more (for indeed those of a lower rank, the Minuter philosophers, as Tully calls them, are not worth the mentioning); that adınirable moralift Epictetus, who, for a true sense of virtue, seems to have had no superior in the heathen world; even he also II advises men to offer libations and sacrifices to the gods, every one according to the religion and custom of his country.


TURNING SINNERS. But still more particularly : that which of all other things, these beft and wifeft of the philosophers were most absolutely and una

** Πρώτον μεν, φαμίν, τιμάς τας μετ' ολυμπίας τε και τας την πόλιν έχελας θεές, τους χθονίας αν τις θιούς αρθια και δεύτερα και αριστερα νέμων, ορθότατα τι της ευσεβείας σκοπού τυγχάνει -Μίλα θες δε τόσδε, και τους διύμασιν η έμφρων οργιάζοιτ' άν-- 'Επακολυθεί δ' αυτούς ιδρύματα ίδια σαθρύων Sawy nalcà vousv ocy.azótva. Plato de Legib. lib. IV.

1 Τες μέν γάρ των θεών δρώντες σαφως, τιμώμεν, των δε ακόνας άγαλμιαία ιδρυτάμενοι, ες ημίν άλλεσι, καίπερ αψύχους ανίας, εκείνους ηγέμεθα τες εμψύχους θέες πολλών διά ταυτ' εύνοιαν και xiaoyixer. Plato de Legib. lib. XI.

* Τα πλάτων: ουκ οτιθανως μέν ειρήμενα, και μην και διέθελο τον ψιλόσοφον αξίως και αυτό αναςρα: φήναι έν τη προς τον ποιητής των όλων ευσεβεία, ήν έχρήν μη νοθεύειν, μηδέ μιάτιν τη ειδιλολαιρεία. Orig. adverl. Celf. lib. VI.

“ A patribus acceptos Deos placet coli." Cic. de Legib. lib. II.

" Item illud ex inftitutis pontificum & aruspicum non mutandum çít, quibus hofiis “ ist.molandum cuique Deo." Id. ibid.

** “Nec fequor magos Persarum, quibus auctoribus Xerxes inflammâle templa Græcie “ dicitur, quod parietibus includerent dcos, quorum hic mundus omnis templum effet & “ domus. Melius Græci atque noftri, qui, ut augerent pietatem in Deos, easdem illos,

quas nos, urbes inco!cre voluerunt." id. ibid.

Ft “ Video ie, Cicero, terrena & manufacta venerari. "Vana effe intelligis, & tamen « eadem facis, quæ faciunt ipfi, quos ipfe ftultisimos confiteris.-Si libenter errani etiam 66 ii, qui errare le sentiunt, quanto magis vulgus indoctum " Lactant. lib. II. 1: Σπένδειν δε και θύειν, και άπάρχεσθαι καλα τα πάτρια έκας» ζοσήκει. Epicc. cap. 38.


voidably ignorant of, and yet which of all other things was of the greatest importance for finful men to know, was the method by which such as have erred from the right way, and have offended God, may yet again restore themselves to the favour of God, and to the hopes of happiness. From the consideration of the good ness and mercifulness of God, the philosophers did indeed very reasonably hope, that God would Thew himself placable to finners, and might be some way reconciled; but when we come to enquire more particularly, what propitiation he will accept, and in what manner this reconciliation must be made, here nature ftops, and expects with impatience the aid of some particular revelation. I hat God will receive returning finners, and accept of repentance instead of perfect obedience, they cannot certainly know, to whom he has not declared that he will do so. For though this be the most probable and only means of reconciliation that nature suggests; yet whether this will be alone fufficient, or whether God will not require fomething further, for the vindication of his justice, and of the honour and dignity of his laws and government, and for the expressing more effectually his indignation against fin, before he will restore nen to the privileges they have forfeited, they cannot be satisfactoTily affured. For it cannot positively be proved from any of God's attributes, that he is abfolutely obliged to pardon all creatures all their fins at all times barely and immediately upon their repenting. There arises therefore from nature no sufficient comfort to finners, but anxious and endless solicitude about the means of appealing the Deity. Hence those divers ways of facrificing, and numberleis 1uperstitions, which over-spread the face of the heathen world, but were so little fatisfactory to the wiser part of mankind, even in those times of darkness, that the more considering philosophers could not forbear frequently declaring, that * they thought those rights could avail little or nothing towards appeasing the wrath of a provoked God, or making their prayers acceptable in his fight; but that something still feemed to them to be wanting, though they knew not what. 3. AND OTHER DOCTRINES ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY IN OR•


Some other doctrines absolutely necessary likewise to the bringing about this great end of the reformation of mankind; though there was indeed so much proof and evidence of the tru:h of them to be drawn from reason, as that the best philosophers could not by any means be entirely ignorant of them; yet so much doubtfulness, un certainty, and unsteadiness, was there in the thoughts and affertions of these philosophers concerning them, as could not but + very much diminish their proper effect and influence upon the hearts and lives of men. I instance in the immortality of the foul, the

• See Plato's Alcibiades 2, throughout.

+ “ Præterea nihil apud eos certi eft, nihil quod à scientia ven'at;-& nemo paret, quia #pemo vulo ad incertum laborare,” Laciant. lib. III.

O 3


certainty of a future state, and the rewards and punishments to be distributed in a life to come. The arguments, which may be drawn from reason and from the nature of things, for the proof of these great truths, seem really (as I have before thewn) to come very little short of strict demonstration; and accordingly the witeft philosophers (as has likewise been shewn before) did indeed fometimes seem to have reasoned themselves into a firna belief of them, and to have been fully convinced of their certainty and reality, even lo far as to apply them to excellent purposes and uses of life. But then, on the other hand, a man cannot, without fome pity and covcern of mind, observe how ftrangely at other times the weight of the fame arguments seems to have flipt (as it were) out of their minds; and with what wonderful diffidence, wavering, and unsteadiness, they discourse about the same things. I do not here think it of any very great moment, that there were indeed fome whole fects of philosophers, who absolutely denied the immortality of the soul, and peremptorily rejected all kind of expectation of a life to come (though, to be sure, this could not but in some measure shock the common people, and make them entertain some fufpicion about the îtrength of the arguments used on the other side of the question by wiser men; yet) I say, it cannot be thought of any very great moment, that some whole sects of philosophers did indeed absolutely deny the immortality of the soul; because these men were weak reasoners in other matters also, and plainly low and contemptible philosophers, in comparison of those greater geniuses we are now 1peaking of. But that which I now oblerve, and which I say cannot be observed without some pity and concern of mind, is this, that even those great philosophers themselves, the very best and wifeft, and inost considerate of them that ever lived, notwithstanding the undeniable strength of the arguments which sometimes convinced them of the certainty of a future state, did yet at other times express themselves with so much heftancy and unfteadiness concerning it, as, without doubt, could not but extremely hinder the proper effect and influence which that most important confideration ought to have upon

the hearts and lives of men. “ I am now," faid Socrates, a little before his death *, “ about to leave this world ; and

ye are fill to continue in it: which of us have the better part " allotted us, God only knows :" + seeming to express fome doobtfulness, whether he thould have any existence after death, or not. And again, at the end of his moft admirable discourse concerning the immortality of the foul; “ I would have you to know," said he to his friends who came to pay him their last visit I,

" that I “ have great hopes I am now going into the company of good men ;

yet I would not be too peremptory and confident concerning it.

* Ειοι μεν αποθανα μένου, υμιν βιασομένοις· οπότε οι εε ημών έρχονται επί άμεινον πράγμα, αεηλον amrzi TU AIMED 6:ū. Plato in Apolog. Socr.

+ "l'od præter Deos negat fcire quenquam, fcit ipfe, utrum melius fit; nam dixit « antè. Sed luum illud, nihil ut affirmet, tenet ad extreinum.” Cic. Tusc. Qu. lib. I.

Η Νύν δε και σε ότι παρ' ανέτας τι ελπίζω εξισθαι αγαθες, και τέτο μεν εκ των πάνυ ειίσχυρι suip 2%. Piato in Phæd.

5. But * if death be only as it were a transmigration from hence “ into another place, and those things, which are told us, be in* deed true, that those who are dead to us do all live there ; then, " &c." :. So likewise Cicero, fpeaking of the same subject : “ I will * endeavour,?? faith + he, “ to explain what you desire; yet I would * not have you depend upon what I thall lay as certain and infallible ; but I may guess, as other men do, at what shall seem $« most probable; and further than this, I cannot pretend to go.” Again ! " which of those two opinions,” saith he, that the soul is mortal, or that it is immortal), “ be true, God only knows; 4 which of them is: most probable, is a very great question.” And again, in the same discourse, having brought all those excellent arguments before-mentioned in proof of the immortality of the foul; "" Yet we ought not,”? taith he, “ to be over-confident of it :'for " it often happens that we are strongly affected at first with an *" acute argument; and yet, a little while after, stagger in our judge* ment and alter our opinion, even in clearer matters than thele; • for these things must be conteiled to have fome obicurity in " them.” And again : “I know not how,” faith he ll, “ when I “ read the arguments in proof of the soul's immortality, methinks, “ I am fully convinced ; and yet, after I have laid aside the book, " and come to think and confider of the matter alone by myself, " presently I find myself fallen again insensibly into my old doubts."! From all which it appears, that; notwithstanding all the bright arguments and acute conclufions, and brave fayings of the best philofophers'; yet life and immortality were ** not fully and latiffactorily brought to light by bare natural reason ; but men ftill plainly stood in need of fome farther and more compleat discovery. 4. AND "THOSE THINGS WHICH THEY WERE INDEED CERTAIN


Those things which the philofophers were indeed the most fully certain of, and did in good méature understand; such as the obligations of virtue, and the will of God in matters of morality; yet they were never able to prove and explain clearly and distinctly

* Ει δ' αυ οίον αποδημήσαι εσιν ο θάναλοι ενθένδε εις άλλον τόπον, και αληθή έςι τα λεγόμεθα, ως ac lak kita advhs e ti bitüris, &c. Plato in Apolog. Socrat.

+ " Ea, quæ vis, ut potero, explicabo ; nec tamen quah Pythius Apollo, certa ut fine " & fixa quæ dixero; sed ut homunculus vnus e mulis, probabilia conjectura fequens: “ Vlera erim quo progrediar, quam ut verifimilia videam, non habeo." C.. Tusc. Quæit. lib. I.

“ Harum fententiarum,quæ vera fit, Deus aliquis viderit ; quæ verihmillima, magna quæft o eft.” Id. ibid.

1 “ Etñ nihil inimis oportet confidere. Movémur cnim fæpe aliquo acutè concluso: la" bamus mutamufque fententiam clarioribus eriam in rebus; in his eft enim aliqua ob* scuritas.” Id. ibid.

1 “ Nescio quomodo, dum lego, affentior; cum librum, & mecum ipsc de immortalitate apimorum cæpi cogitare, affenfio omnis illa elabiruro”. Id. ibid.

**" Credebam facilè opinionibus magnorum virorum, rem gratilimam [animæ immots " talitatem) promittentium magis quam probantium.” Senec. epift. 1025

“ Adeo omuis illa cunc sapientia Socratis, de industria veperat consultæ æquanimitatis, w don de fiducia comperiæ veritatis.” Tertullian, de Anima.



enough, to persons of all capacities, in order to their complete conviction and reformation. First, because most of their discourses upon these subjects have been rather speculative and learned, nice and subtle disputes, than practical and universally useful inftructions. They proved, by itrict and nice argumentation, that the practice of virtue is wise and reasonable and fit to be chosen ; rather than that it is of plain, necessary, and indispensable obligation ; and were able to deduce the will of God only by such abstract and subtle reasonings as the generality of men had by no means either abilities or opportunities to understand or be duly affected by. Their very profession and manner of life led them to make their philosophy rather * an entertainment of leisure time, a trial of wit and parts, an exercise of eloquence, and of the art and skill of good speaking ; than an endeavour to reform the manners of men, by shewing them their plain and necessary duty. And accordingly the study of it was, as Cicero + himself observes, unavoidably confined to a few, and by no means fitted for the bulk and common sort of mankind, who, as they cannot judge of the true strength of nice and abstract arguments, so they will always be suspicious of some fallacy in them. None I but men of parts and learning, of study and liberal education, have been able to profit by the sublime doctrine of Plato, or by the subtle disputations of other philosophers; whereas the doctrine of morality, which is the rule of life and manners, ought to be plain, easy, and familiar, and suited fully to the capacities of all men. Secondly, another reason why the philosophers were never able to proye and explain clearly and diftinétly enough, even those things of which they were the most certain, to persons of all capacities, in order to their complete conviction and reformation, was because they never were able to frame to themselves any complete, regular, and consistent system or scheme of things ; but the truths which they taught, were & single and scattered, accidental as it were, and hit upon by chance, rather than by any knowledge of the whole true state of things ; and consequently lefs universally convictive. Nothing could be more certain (as they all well knew), than that virtue was unquestion,

* " Profe&o omnis iforum disputatio, quanquam uberrimos fontes virtutis & scientiæ “ contineat, tamen collata cum horum (qui rempublicam gubernant) aétis perfetisque " rebus, vereor ne non tantum videatur attuliffe negoriis hominum utilitatis, quantum “ oble&ationem quandam otii. Cic. de Repub. fragm.

." EA, 'inquit Cicero, philosophia papcis contenta judicibus, multitudinem consulto « ipla fugiens.-Maximum itaque argumentum cft, philosophiam neque ad fapientiam • tendere, neque ipsara este fapientiam ; quod myfterium ejus, barba tantum celebratur & • pallio." Lactant. lib. III.

* Όλίγες μινώνησιν ή περικαλλής και επιτηδευμένη ΠλάτωνΘ- λέξις πλείονας δε ή των ευτελέςερον μα και πραγματικής ισχυμένως των πολλών διδαξάλων και γραψώνων ίσι γύ» ιδεώ, τον μεν pacewie iv ke Coi Tüy d senistwa siyo Politéywo ubrur. Orig. adverf. Cell. lib. VI.

'Αγροικότερος απών ο Ιωσής, Τω θέλουν τον χιτώνα σε λωβιν, άψες και το ιμάτιον, βιωφελέςερον κοκίνηκε τον λόγον και παρίσσεύ έτως ειπων, και ως εν τω Κρίτωνα Πλάτων, και μηδ' ακύν ιδιώται δύνανται, αλλά μόλις οι τα εγκύκλιο τρός της σεμνής Ελλήνων φιλοσοφίας μεμαθηκότες. Ιd. lib. VΙΙ.

και Ουκ έτι αλλότριά έσι τα Πλάτωνος διδάγματα τα Χρις· αλλ' ότι κκ έςι πάντη όμοια, ώσπερ έτη των άλλων.-έκας Φ. γάρ τις, από μέρος το σπερματικά θεία λόγω το συγικές ερών, καλας 1945-2. oi di rivavliu tas ir sugeu lipois cipTKÁTIS, N'x imishranu shiny arorlay wig govory sin ávím Reylov parroqjes io Xnxivat. Juftio. Apolog. 1,


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