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peculiar rites and circumstances of the Jewish Temple. I crept into the Church of Christ itself. “The philosoFrom this source the Theology of the Persians received | phy of the Greeks,” he observes, led to unbelief, “ beimprovements in correct and influential notions of cause it was above measure refined and speculative, Deity especially, and was enriched with the history and used to be determined by metaphysical rather than and doctrines of the Mosaic records. The affairs of the by moral principles, and to stick io all consequences, Grecks were so interwoven with tluse of the Persians, | how absurd soever, that were seen to arise from such that the sages of Greece could not be ignorant of the principles.” opinions of Zertushta, known to them by the name of Zoroaster, and from this school some of their best notions were derived.
CHAPTER V. Note C.--Page 19. The greatest corruptions of religion are to be traced The Necessity of Revelation ;-State of Religious to superstition, and to that vain and bewildering habit
Knowledge among the Heathen. of philosophizing which obtained among the ancients. Several presumptive arguments have been offered Superstition was the besetting sin of the ignorant, vain in favour of the opinion, that Almighty God in his speculation of the intelligent. Both sprung from the goodness has made an express revelation of his will to vicious state of the heart; the expression was different, mankind. They have been drawn from the fact, that but the effect the same. The evil probably arose in we are moral agents, and therefore under a law or rule Egypt, and was largely improved upon by the philoso- of conduct--from the consideration that no law can be phers of Greece and India. Systeins, hypotheses, binding till made known, or at least rendered cognizable cosmogonies, &c. are all the work of philosophy; and by those whom it is intended to govern--from the inathe most subtle and bewildering errors, such as the bility of the generality of men to collect any adequate eternity of matter, the metempsychosis, the absorption information on moral and religious subjects by proof the human soul at death, &c., have sprung from cesses of induction-from the insufficiency of reason, them. Ancient wisdom, both religious and moral, was even in the wisest, to make any satisfactory discovery contained in great principles, expressed in maxims, of the first principles of religion and duty-from the without affectation of systematic relation and arrange want or all authority and influence in such discoveries, ment, and without any deep research into reasons and upon the majority of mankind, had a few minds of causes. The moment philosophy attempted this, the superior order and with more favourable opportunities weakness and waywardness of the human mind began been capable of making them--from the fact that no to display themselves. Theories sprung up in suc- such discovery was ever made by the wisest of the cession; and confusion and contradiction at length pro- ancient sages, inasmuch as the truths they held were duced skepticism in all, and in many matured it into in existence before their day, even in the earliest petotal unbelief. The speculative habit affected at once riods of the patriarchal ages-- and from the fact, that the opinions of ancient Africa and Asia; and in India, whatever truths they collected from early tradition, or the philosophy of Egypt and Greece remains to this from the descendants of Abraham, mediately or immeday, ripened into its l'ull bearing of deleterious fruit. diately, they so corrupted under pretence of improving
The similarity of the Greek and modern Asiatic sys- them,(9) as to destroy their harmony and moral influtems is indeed a very curious subject; for in the latter ence, thereby greatly weakening the probability that is exhibited at this day the philosophy of paganism, moral truth was ever an object of the steady and sinwhile in other places false religion is seen only or cere pursuit of men. To these presumptions in favour chiefly in its simple form of superstition. The coinci- of an express revelation, written, preserved with care, dence of the Hindoo and Greek mythology has been and appointed to be preached and published under the traced by Sir W. Jones; and his opinions on this sub- authority of its Author, for the benefit of all, wise or ject are strongly confirmed by the still more striking unwise, we may add the powerful presumption which coincidence in the doctrines of the Hindoo and Grecian is afforded by the necessity of the case. This necesphilosophical sects. “ The period,” says Mr. Ward sity of a revelation is to be collected, not only from (View of the History of the Hindoos, &c.), “ when the what has been advanced, but from the state of moral most eminent of the Hindoo philosophers flourished, is and religious knowledge and practice, in those countries still involved in much obscurity; but the apparent where the records which profess to contain the Mosaic agreement in many striking particulars between the and the Christian revelations have been or are still Hindoo and the Greek systems of philosophy, not only unkuown. suggests the idea of some union in their origin, but The necessity of immediate divine instruction was strongly pleads for their belonging to one age, notwith acknowledged by many of the visest and most inquirstanding the unfathomable antiquity claimed by the ing of the heathen, under the conviction of the entire Hindoos; and after the reader shall have compared the inability of man unassisted by God to discover truth two systems, the author is persuaded he will not con- with certainty,--so greatly had the primitive tradi. sider the conjecture as improbable, that Pythagoras and tional revelations been obscured by errors before the others did really visit India, or that Goutumu and Py- times of the most ancient of those sagos among the thagoras were contemporaries, or nearly so."-Vol. 4. heathen whose writings have in whole or in part been
“Many of the subjects discussed among the Hindoos transmitted to us, and so little confidence had they in were the very subjects which excited the disputes in themselves to separate truth from error, or to say, the Greek academies, such as the eternity of matter, “ This is true and that false." And as the necessity of the first cause; God the soul of the world; the doc- an express and authenticated revelation was acknow. trine of atoms; creation; the nature of the gods; the ledged, so it was publicly exhibited, because on the doctrines of fate, transmigration, successive revolu- very first principles of religion and morals, there was tions of worlds, absorption into the Divine Being, &c." | either entire ignorance, or no settled and consonant Ibid. page 115.
opinions, even among the wisest of mankind them. Mr. Ward enters at large into this coincidence in his selves.(1) Introductory Remarks to his fourth volume, to which the reader is referred. It shall only be observed, that (9) Plato, in his Epinominis, acknowledges that the those speculations and subtle arguments just men- Greeks learned many things from the barbarians, though tioned, both in the Greek and Asiatic branches of pagan he asserts that they improved what they thus borrowed, philosophy, gave birth to absolute Atheism. Several of and made it better, especially in what related to the the Greek philosophic sects, as is well known, were worship of the gods. Plat. Oper. p. 703, edit. Ficin. pro Atheistic. Cudworth enumerates four forms Lugd. 1590. assumed by this species of unbelief. The same prin- (1) Plato, beginning his discourse of the gods and the ciples which distinguished their sects may be traced in generation of the world, cautions his disciples “ not to several of those of the Hindoos, and above all the Athe-expect any thing beyond a liki', conjecture concernistical system of Budhoo branched off from the vain ing these things." Cicero, re ing to the same subphilosophy of the Brahminical schools, and has ex- ject, says, “ Latent ista omnia crassis occulta et cir. tended farther than Hindooism itself. The reason of cumfusa tenebris; all these things are involved in deep all this is truly given by Bishop Warburton, as to the obscurity." Greeks, and it is equally applicable to the Asiatic phi- The following passage from the same author may be Josophy of the present day, which is so clearly one recommended to the consideration of modern exalters and the same, and also to many errors which have of the power of unassisted reason. The treasures of us,
Some proofs of this have already been adduced; but own imaginations and reasonings to conclusions, which the importance of the subject requires that they should nentralize the effect of their sublimer conceptions and be enlarged.
often contradict them. The eternity of matter, for inThough the belief of one Supreme Being has been stance, was held by the Greek and Roman philosophers found in many parts of the world, yet the notion of sub- and by their preceptors in the Oriental schools, who ordinate deities, the immediate dispensers of good and thought it absolutely impossible that any thing should evil to men, and the objects of their fear and worship, be produced from nothing, thus destroying the notion has almost equally obtained; and this of necessity de- of creation in its proper sense, and of a Supreme Creastroyed or greatly counteracted the moral influence of tor. This opinion, as Bishop Stillingfleet sbows,(5) that just opinion.
is contrary to the omnipotence and independence of “ The people generally among the Gentiles," says God, and is a great abatement of those correct views Dr. Tenison,“ did rise little higher than the objects of which the words of the ancient philosophers would sense. They worshipped them each as supreme in seem sometimes to express.(6) their kind, or no otherwise unequal than the sun and It had another injurious effect; it destroyed the inthe moon, or the other celestial bodies, by the adoration teresting doctrine of Divine government as to those na. of which the ancient idolaters, as Job intimateth, de- tural evils to which men are subject. These they nied (or excluded) the God that is above. Porphyry traced to the unchangeable and eternal nature of mathimself, one of the most plausible apologists for the ter, which even the Supreme God could not control. religion of the Gentiles, doth own in some the most Thus Seneca says,(7) " that evil things happen to good gross and blockish idolatry of mean objects. He tells men, quia non potest Artifex mutare materiam, be
that it is not a matter of which we should be amazed, cause God the Artificer could not change matter; and if most ignorant men esteemed wood and stones divine that a magno Artifice multa formantur prava, many statues ; seeing they who are unlearned look upon mo- things were made ill by the great Artificer; not that he numents which have inscriptions upon them as ordi- wanted art, but through the stubbornness of matter," in nary stones, and regard books as so many bundles of which they generally agree. This opinion of theirs paper."(2)
was brought from the Oriental schools, where it had The modern idolatry of Hindostan, which in prin- been long received; nor was it confined to Egypt and ciple differs nothing from that of the ancient world, Chaldea. It was one of the dogmas which Cenfucius affords a striking comment upon this point, and indeed taught in China in the fifth century before Christ, that is of great iniportance in enabling us to conceive justly out of nothing that which is cannoc be produced, and of the true character and practical effects of idolatry in that material bodies must have existed from all eternity. all ages. One Supreme Being is acknowledged by the From this notion it follows, that there is no calamity Hindoos, but they never worship him, nor think that to which we are not liable, and that God himself is he concerns himself with human affairs at all.
unable to protect us from it. Prayer is useless, and “ The Hindoos believe in one God, so completely ab- trust in him is absurd. The noble doctrine of the instracted in his own essence however, that in this state fiction of misery by a wise and gracious Being for our he is emphatically the unknown, and is consequently correction and improvement, so often dwelt upon in neither the object of hope nor of fear, he is even des- Scripture, could have no place in a system which adtitute of intelligence, and remains in a state of profound mitted this tenet; God could neither be * a refuge in repose."(3)
trouble,” nor a Father “ correcting us for our profit, ** This being,” says Moore,(4)" is called Brahm, one that we might be partakers of his holiness.” What eternal mind, the self-existing, incomprehensible Spirit
. they knew of God was therefore by such speculations To him, however, the Hindoos erect no altars. The rendered entirely unprofitable. objects of their adoration commence with the triad,- But a worse consequence resulted from this opinion. Brahma, Vishnu, and Seva, which represent the By some of them the necessary obliquity and perversealmighty powers of creation, preservation, and destruc- ness of matter was regarded not only as the source of tion."
natural but also of moral evil; by which they either The learned among the classic heathen, it is true, made sin necessary and irresistible, or found in this occasionally speak nobly concerning God and his attri- opinion much to palliate it. butes; but at the same time they were led by their Others refer moral evil to a natural principle of evil,
an evil God, “ emulous of the good God,” which Pluthe philosophy of past ages were poured at his feet, and tarch says,(8) is a tradition of great antiquity, derived he had studied every branch of human wisdom with astonishing industry and acuteness, yet he observes, (5) Origines Sacræ, 1. 3, c. 2. “Quod si tales nos natura genuisset, ut eam ipsam intu- (6) When we meet with passages in the writings of eri, et perspicere, eademque optima duce cursum vitæ heathens which recomiend moral virtues, and speak conficere possemus; haud erat sane quod quisquam in a fit and becoming manner of God, we are apt from rationem, ac doctrinam requireret. Nunc parvulos no- our more elevated knowledge of these subjects to atbis dedit igniculos, quos celeriter malis moribus, opi-tach more correct and precise ideas to the terms used, nionibusque depravati sic restinguimus, ut nusquam na- than the original writers themselves, and to give them turæ lumen appareat. If we had come into the world credit for better views than they entertained. It is in such circumstances, as that we could clearly and one proof, that though some of them speak, for instance, distinctly have discerned nature herself, and have been of God seeing and knowing all things, they did not able in the course of our lives to follow her true and conceive of the omniscience of God in the manner in uncorrupted directions, this alone might have been which that attribute is explained by those who have sufficient, and there would have been little need of learned what God is from his own words; that some teaching and instruction; but now nature has given of the pagan philosophers who lived after the Christian us only some small sparks of right reason, which we era complain that the Christians had introduced a very so quickly extinguish with corrupt opinions and evil troublesome and busy God, who did " in omnium mopractices, that the true light of nature nowhere ap- res, actus, omnium verba denique, et occultas cogitapears."--Tusc. Quæst. 3.
tiones diligenter inquirere, diligently inquire into the The same author, Tusc. Quæst. 1, having reckoned manners, actions, words, and secret thoughts of all up the opinions of philosophers as to the soul's immor- men.” Cicero too denies the foreknowledge of God, tality, conciudes thus, “ Harum sententiarum quæ vera and for the same reason which has been urged against est Deus aliquis viderit, quæ verisimillima est, magna it in modern times by some who, for the time at least, quæstio est. Which of these opinions is true, some God have closed their eyes upon the testimony of the Scripmust tell us; which is most like truth, is a great ques- tures on this point, and been willing in order to serve tion." Jamblicus, speaking of the principles of divine a favourite theory, to go back to the obscurity of paworship, saith, “ It is manifest those things are to be ganism. The difficulty with him is, that prescience is done which are pleasing to God; but what they are, it inconsistent with contingency, Mihi ne in Deum cais not easy to know, except a man were taught them by dere videatur ut sciat quid casu et fortuito futurum God himself, or by some person who had received them sit; si enim scit, certe illud eveniet; si certe eveniet, from God, or obtained the knowledge of them by some nulla fortuna est ; est autem fortuna, rerum ergo fordivine means.”-Jamb. in Vit. Pythag. c. 28.
tuitarum nulla præsensio est. De Fato. n. 12, 13. (2) Discourse on Idolatry, p. 50.
(7) De Provid. cap. 5. (3) Ward's Hindoo Mythology, vol. 2, p. 306.
(8) De Isid. et Osir.-Dr. Cudworth thinks that Plu(4) Hindoo Pantheon, p. 132.
tarch has indulged in an overstrained assertion, but " from the divines, Ek Seoloywv, and lawgivers to the Another great principle of religion is the doctrine of poets and philosophers, whose first author cannot be a future state of rewards and punishments; and though found.” But whether natural and moral evil be traced in some form it is recognised in pagan systems, and to an eternal and uncontrollable matter, or to an eternal the traditions of the primitive ages may be traced to and independent Anti-god, it is clear, that the notion of their extravagant perversions and fables; its evidence a Supreme Deity, as contained in the Scriptures, and as was either greatly diminished, or it was mixed up conceived of by modern Theists, who have borrowed with notions entirely subversive of the moral effect their light from them, could have no existence in such which it was originally intended to produce. systems; and that by making moral evil necessary, Of the ancieni Chaldean philosophy, not much is men were taught to consider it as a misfortune rather known. In its best state it contained many of the printhan a crime, and were thus in fact encouraged to com-ciples of the patriarchal religion; but at length, as we mit it by regarding it as unavoidable.
find from Scripture, it degenerated into the doctrine of In like manner, though occasionally we find many judicial astrology, which is so nearly allied to fatalism, excellent things said of the providence of God, all these as to subvert the idea of the present life being a state of were weakened or destroyed by other opinions. The probation, and the future a state of just and gracious Epicurean sect denied the doctrine, and laid it down rewards and punishments. as a maxim, “ that what was blessed and immortal Ancient writers differ as to the opinions of the learned gave neither any trouble to itself nor to others;" a notion of Egypt on the human soul. Diodorus Siculus says, which exactly agrees with the system of the modern they believed in its immortality and the future existHindoos. “ According to the doctrine of Aristotle, ence of the just among the gods. Herodotus ascribes God resides in the celestial sphere, and observes no- to them the doctrine of transmigration. Both may be thing and cares for nothing beyond himself. Residing reconciled. The former doctrine was the most ancient, in the first sphere, he possesses neither immensity nor the latter was induced by that progress of error which omnipresence; far removed from the inferior parts of we observe among all nations. Another subtle notion the universe, he is not even a spectator of what is grew up with it, which infected the philosophy of passing among its inhabitants."(9) The Stoics con- | Greece, and spreading throughout Asia, has done more tended for a providence, but in their creed it was coun- to destroy the moral effect of a belief in the ture existteracted by the doctrine of an absolute necessity, orence of man than any other. This was, " that God is fate, to which God and matter, or the universe, which the soul of the world,” from which all human spirits consists, as they thought, of both, was immutably sub- came and to which they will return, some immediately, ject; and where they allow it, they contine the care of and others through long courses of transmigration. ihe gods to great affairs only.
The doctrine of ancient revelation of which this was a The Platonists and the followers of Pythagoras be- subtle and fatal perversion is obvious. The Scripture lieved that all things happened κατα θειαν προνοιαν, ac- account is, that the human soul was from God by crecording to Divine Proridence; but this they overthrew ation; the refinement of pagan philosophy, that it is by joining fortune with God. “God, fortune, and from hin by emanation, or separation of essence, and opportunity,” says Plato, “ govern all the affairs of still remains a separate portion of God, seeking its remen.”(1)
turn to him. With respect to the future, revelation To them also there were “ lords many and gods always taught, that the souls of the just return to God many :” and wherever polytheism is admitted, it is as at death, not to lose their individuality, but to be destructive of the doctrine of providence as fate, though united to him in holy and delightful communion; the by a different process. The fatalist makes all things philosophic perversion was, that the parts so separated fixed and certain, and thus excludes government; the from God, and connected for a time with matter, would polytheist gives up the government of the world to in- be reunited to the great source by refusion, as a drop numerable opposing and contrary wills, and thus makes of water to the ocean.(3) Thus philosophy refined every thing uncertain. If the favour of one deity be upon the doctrine of immortality, until it converted it propitiated, the wrath of another, equally or more pow- into annihilation itself, for so it is in the most absolute erful, may be provoked; or the gods may quarrel sense as to distinct consciousness and personality. among themselves. Such is the only providence which The prevalence of this notion under different modificacan be discovered in the Iliad of Homer and the Æneid / tions is indeed very remarkable. of Virgil, poems which unquestionably imbody the Bishop Warburton proves, that this opinion was popular belief of the times in which they were written. I held not merely by the Atheistical and skeptical sects The same confused and contradictory management of among the Greeks, but by what he calls the Philosophic the affairs of men we see in all modern idolatrous sys- Quaternion of dogmatic Theists, the four renowned tems, only that with length of duration they appear to Schools, the PYTHAGORIC, the PLATONIC, the PERIPAhave become more oppressive and distracting. Where TETIC, and the Stoic; and on this ground argues, that so many deities are essentially malignant and cruel to though they taught the doctrine of future rewards and men; where demons are supposed to have power to punishments to the populace, as a means of securing afflict and to destroy at pleasure; and where aspects of their obedience to the laws, they themselves did not the stars, and the screams of birds, and other omi- believe what they propagated; and in this he was nous circumstances are thought to have an irresistible doubtless correct. With future reward and punishment, influence upon the fortunes of life and the occurrences in the proper and commonly received sense in all ages, of every day; and especially where, to crown the whole, this notion was entirely incompatible. He observes, there is an utter ignorance of one supreme controlling “ And that the reader may not suspect these kind of infinite Mind, or his existence is denied; or he who is phrases, that the soul is part of God, discerpted from capable of exercising such a superintendence as might him, of his nature, which perpetually occur in the render him the object of hope, is supposed to be totally writings of the ancients, to be only highly figurative exunconcerned with human affairs; there can be no pressions, and not to be measured by the severe standground of firm trust, no settled hope, no permanent con- ard of metaphysical propriety, he is desired to take nosolation. Timidity and gloom tenant every bosom, and tice of one consequence drawn from this principle, and in many instances render life a burden.(2)
universally held by antiquity, which was this, that the
soul was eternal à parte ante, as well as a parte post, the confidence with which the philosopher speaks is at which the Latins well express by the worá sempiterleast a proof of the great extent of this opinion.
(9) Enfield's History of Philosophy, lib. 2, cap. 9. A people so circumstanced need no addition to their (1) De Leg. lib. 4.
miseries, but are objects towards which Christian pity (2) The testimony of missionaries, who see the ac- will extend itself, as far as the voice of their case can tual effects of paganism in the different countries where reach. They are literally, through fear of death, or they labour, is particularly valuable. On the point malignaut demons, all their lifetime subject to bondage." mentioned in the text, the Wesleyan missionaries thus (3) “ Interim tamen vix ulli fuere (quæ humanæ speak of the state of the Cingalese :-“ We feel our- mentis caligo, atque imbecillitas est), qui non incideselves incapable of giving you a full view of the de- rint in errorem illum de refusione in Animam mundi. plorable state of a people, who believe that all things Nimirum, sicut existimârunt singulorum animas parare governed by chance; who find malignant gods or ticulas esse animæ mundanæ quarum quælibet suo devils in every planet, whose influence over mankind corpore, ut aqua vase, effluere, ac animæ mundi, e qua they consider to be exceeding great, and the agents deducta fuerit, iterum uniri.”---GASSENDI Animadv, in who inflict all the evil that men suffer in the world. Lib. 10, Diog. Laertii, p. 550.
nus. But when the ancients are said to hold the preto creep in again, and the same process is to go on for and post existence of the soul, and therefore to attribute ever."(5) This, too, is the Brahminical notion : “ The a proper eternity to it, we must not suppose that they Hindoos are taught to believe, that at the end of every understood it to be eternal in its distinct and peculiar Calpa (creation or formatiou) all things are absorbed in existence; but that it was discerpted from the sub- the Deity, and at a stated time the creative power will stance of God in time and would in time be rejoined again be called into action."(6) And though the sysand resolved into it again ; which they explain by a tem of the Budhists denies a creator, it holds the same bottle's being filled with sea water, that swimming species of revolution. “ They are of opinion that the there a while, on the bottle's breaking, flowed in again, universe is eternal, at least they neither know it had a and mingled with the common mass. They only dif- beginning or will have an end; that it is homogeneous fered about the time of this reunion and resolution- and composed of an infinite number of similar worlds, the greater part holding it to be at death; but the Py- each of which is a likeness of the other, and each of thagoreans, not till after many transmigrations. The which is in a constant state of alteration, -not stationPlatonists went between these two opinions, and re- ary for a moment,-at the instant of greatest perfection joined pure and unpolluted souls, immediately on death, beginning to decline, and at the moment of greatest to the universal Spirit. But those which had con- chaotic ruin beginning to regenerate. They compare tracted much defilement, were sent into a succession such changes to a wheel in motion perpetually going of other bodies to purge and purify them before they round."(7) returned to their parent substance."
But other instances of darkness and error among Some learned men have denied the consequence even civilized heathens respecting the human soul and a which Warburton wished to establish from these pre- future state, are not wanting; for it is a fact which mises, and consider the resorption of these sages as ought never to be lost sight of in these inquiries, that figurative, and consequently compatible with distinct among pagans opinions on these subjects have never consciousness and individuality. The researches, how- been either certain or rational; and that error once reever, since that time made into the corresponding phi- ceived has in no instance been exchanged for truth; but losophy of the lindoos, bear this acute and learned man has gone on multiplying itself, and assuming an infinite out to the full length of his conclusion. “God, as variety of forms. The doctrine of Aristotle and the Peseparated froin matter, the Hindoos contemplate as a ripatetics gives no countenance to the opinion of the being reposing in his own happiness, destitute of ideas; soul's immortality, or even of its existence after death. as infinite placidity; as an unrutiled sea of bliss; as Democritus and his followers taught, that the soul is being perfectly abstracted and void of consciousness. material and mortal; Heraclitus, ihat when the soul They therefore deem it the height of perfection to be is purified from moist vapours, it returns into the soul like this being. The person whose very nature, say of the universe; if not, it perishes: Epicurus and his they, is absorbed in divine meditation; whose life is followers, that " when death is, we are not.” The like a sweet sleep, unconscious and undisturbed; who leading men among the Romans, when philosophy was does not even desire God, and who is changed into the introduced among them, followed the various Greek image of the ever blessed, obtains absorption into sects. We have seen the uncertainty of Cicero (8) Brumhu."(4) And that this doctrine of absorption is Pliny declares, that “non magis a morte sensus ullus taken literally is proved, not merely by the terms in aut anime aut corpori quam ante natalem, the soul which it is expressed, though these are suficiently un- and body have no more sense after death, than before equivocal : but by its being opposed by some of the we were born.(9) Cæsar,“ that beyond death, there is followers of Vishnoo, and by a rew also of their philo- neque cure neque gaulio locum, neither place for care sophers. Mr. Ward quotes Jumudugnee, as an excep- or joy."(1) Seneca in his 1020 Epistle speaks of a divine tion to the common opinion. He says, “the idea of part within us, which joins us to the Gods; and tells losing a distinct existence by absorption, as a drop is Lucilius, “that the day which he fears as his last æterni lost in the ocean, is abhorrent. It is pleasant to feed natalis est, is the birth-day of eternity;" but then he on sweetineats, but no one wishes to be the sweet- says, “ he was willing to hope it might be so, on the meat itself.” So satisfactorily is this point made out account of some great men, rem gratissimam promitagainst the“ wisdom of this world;":--- by it the world tentium magis quam probantium, who promised what neither knew God nor man.
they could not prove;" and on other occasions he speaks Another notion equally extensive and equally destructive of the original doctrines of the immortality of (5) Ep. 9. the human soul, and a state of future rewards and pu- (6) Moore's Hindoo Pantheon. nisiiments, which sprung up in the Egyptian schools, (7) Dr. Davey's Account of Ceylon. and was from thence transmitted into Greece, India, (8) From the philosophical works of Cicero it may and throughout all Asia, was that of a pericdical de- be difficult to collect his own opinions, as he chiefly struction and renovation of all things. “ They con- occupies himself in explaining those of others; but in ceived," says Diodorus Siculus, "that the universo un- his Epistles to his friends, when, as Warburton obdergoes a periodical conflagration, after which all things serves, we see the man divested of the politician and were to be restored to their primitive form, to pass the sophist, he professes his disbelief of a future state again through a similar succession of changes.” The in the frankest manner. Thus in Lib. 6, Epist. 3, to primitive tenet, of which this was a corruption, is also Torquatus, written in order to console him in the unevident; and it affords another singular instance of the fortunate state of the affairs of their party, he observes : subtlety and mischief of that spirii of error which ope- “ Sed hæc consolatio levis est ; illa gravior, qua te uti rated with so much activity in early times, that the spero; ego certe utor. Nec enim dum ero, angar ulla doctrine of the destruction of the world, and the con- re, cum omni vacem culpa; et si non ero, sensu omsequent termination of the probationary state of the hu- nino carebo. But there is another and a far higher conman race preparatory to the general judgment, an solation which I hope is your support, as it certainly is awful and most salutary revelation, should have been mine. For so long as I shall preserve my innocence, so wrought into philosophic theory, and so surrounded I will never while I exist be anxiously disturbed at with poetic embellishment, as to engage the intellect any event that may happen; and if I shall cease to exand to attract the imagination, only the inore effectually ist, all sensibility must cease with me.” to destroy the great moral of a doctrine which was not Similar expressions are found in his letters to Toradenied, and covertly to induce an entire unbelief in the nius, to Lucius Mescinius, and others, which those who eternal future existence of man.
wish to prove him a believer in the soul's immortality As the Stoics held that all inferior divinities and hu- endeavour to account for by supposing that he accomman souls were portions separated from the soul of the modated his sentiments to the principles of iis friends. world, and would return into the first celestial fire, so A singular solution, and one which scarcely can be sethey supposed, that at the same time the whole visible riously adopted, since in the above-cited passage he world would be consumed in one general confiagration. so strongly expresses what is his own opinion, and “ Then,” says Seneca, “ after an interval the world hopes that his friend takes refuge in the same consowill be entirely renewed, every animal will be repro- lation. It may be allowed that Cicero alternated beduced, and a race of men free from guilt will repeople tween unbelief and doubt; but never I think between the earth. Degeneracy and corruption are, however, doubt and certainty. The last was a point to which
he never seems to have reached. (4) Ward's View of the Ilindoos, 8vo. vol. 2, p. 177, (9) Nat. Hist. lib. 7, cap. 55. 178.
(1) Sallusi. de Bello Catil. sec, 5.
out plainly, and says, that death makes us incapable of verting to some of the precepts of the Second Table, good or evil. The poets, it is true, spoke of a future which imbodied the morals of the patriarchal ages, state of rewards and punishments; they had the joys under a new sanction. Of the obligation of these, ali of Elysium and the tortures of Tartarus; but both phi- heathen vations have been sensible; and yet, in all, the losophers and poets regarded them as vulgar fables. rule was perverted in theory, and violated in practice. Virgil does not hide this, and numerous quotations of MURDER has, in all ages, and among all civilized and the same import might be given both from him and most savage heathen nations also, been regarded as an others of their poets.
atrocious crime; and yet the rule was so far accommo** Pelix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas;
dated to the violent and ferocious habits of men, as to Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum
fill every heathen land with blood-guiltiness. The Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.” slight regard paid to the life of man in all heathen
Georg. 2, 1. 490, &C. countries cannot have escaped the notice of reflecting Happy the man whose vig'rous soul can pierce minds. They knew the rule; but the act under its Through the formation of this universe,
grosser and more deliberate forms only was thought to Who nobly dares despise with soul sedate
violate it. Among the Romans, men were murdered in The din of Acheron, and vulgar fears, and fate. their very pastimes, by being made to fight with wild
WARTON. beasts and with each other; and though this was someNor was the skepticism and unbelief of the wise and times condemned as a “spectaculum crudele et inhugreat long kept from the vulgar, among whom they munum,” yet the passion for blood increased, and no wished to maintain the old superstitions as instruments war ever caused so great a slaughter as did the gladia. by which they might be controlled. Cicero complains, torial combats. They were at first confined to the futhat the common people in his day mostly followed the nerals of great persons. The first show of this kind doctrine of Epicurus.
exhibited in Rome by the Bruti on the death of their Since, then, these erroneous and mischievous views father, consisted of three couples, but afterward the concerning God, providence, and a future state, or number greatly-greased. Julius Cæsar presented 300 the total denial of all of them, are found to have re- pairs of gladiators; and the dmperor trajan 10,000 of sulted from the rejection or of the primitive tra-them for the enterta ment of the people.
netimes ditions; and farther as it is clear that such errors are these horrid exhibitions, in which, as Seneca says, totally subversive of the fundamental principles of “ Homo, sacra res, homo jam per lusum et jocum occimorals and religion, and afford inducement to the com- ditur," when the practice had attained its height, demission of every species of crime without remorse or prived Europe of 20,000 lives in one month.(2) fear of punishment; the necessity of a republication of This is farther illustrated by the treatment of slaves, these great doctrines in an explicit and authentic man- which composed so large a portion of the population of ner, and of institutions for teaching and enforcing them ancient states.(3) They knew and acknowledged the upon all ranks of men, is evident; and whatever proof evil of murder, and had laws for its punishment; but may be adduced for the authentication of the Christian to this despised class of human beings they did not revelation, it can never be pretended, that a revelation extend the rule; nor was killing them accounted murto restore these great principles was not called for by der, any more than the killing of a beast. The master the actual condition of man; and, in proportion to the had absolute power of life, or death, or torture; and necessity of the case, is the strength of the presumption their lives were therefore sacrificed in the most wanton that one has been mercifully afforded.
By various sophistries suggested by their vices, their selfishness, and their cruelty, the destruction of children
also, under certain circumstances, ceased to be regarded CHAPTER VII.
as a crime. In many heathen nations it was allowed
to destroy the fætus in the womb; to strangle, or The Necessity of Revelatim:-State of Morals among drown, or expose infants, especially if sickly or de the Heathen.
formed; and that which in Christian states is considered If the necessity of a revelation may be argued from as the most atrocious of crimes, was, by the most cele. the confused, contradictory, and false notions of hea- brated of ancient pagan nations, esteemed a wise and then nations as to the principal doctrines of religion; political expedient to rid the state of useless or troubleno less forcibly may the argument be pursued from some members, and was even enjoined by some of their the state of their morals both in knowledge and in most celebrated sages and legislators. The same pracpractice.
tice continues to this day in a most affecting extent, not This argument is simple and obvious. If the nature, only among uncivilized pagans, but among the Hindoos extent, and obligation of moral rules had become in and the Chinese. volved in great misapprehension and obscurity; if This practice of perverting and narrowing the extent what they knew of right and wrong wanted an enforce- of the holy law of God which had been transmitted to ment and an authority which it could not receive from their respective systems; and if, for want of efficient (2) Though Cicero, Seneca, and others, condemned counteracting religious principles, the general practice these barbarities, it was in so incidental and indifferent had become irretrievably vicious ;-a direct interposi- a manner, as to produce no effect. They were abolished tion of the Divine Being was required for the republica- soon after the establishment of Christianity, and this tion of moral rules, and for their stronger enforce- affords an illustration of the admission of Rousseau ment.
himself. “ La Philosophie ne peut faire aucun bien, The notions of all civilized heathens on moral sub- i que la Religion ne le tasse encore mieux : et la Religion jects, like their knowledge of the first principles of re- en fait beaucoup que la philosophie ne sauroit faire.". ligion, mingled as they were with their superstitions, (3) 'n the 110th Olympiad, there were at Athens only prove that both were derived from a common source. 21,000 citizens and 40,000 slaves. It was common for There was a substantial agreement among them in a private citizen of Rome to have 10 or 20,000.-TAYmany questions of right and wrong; but the boundaries Lor's Civil Law. which they themselves acknowledged were not kept (4) The youth of Sparta made it their pastime freap, and the rule was gradually lowered to the practice, quently to lie in ambush by night for the slaves, and sally though not in all cases so as entirely to efface the ori- out with daggers upon every Helot who came near them, ginal communication.
and murder him in cold blood. The EPHORI, as soon as This is an important consideration, inasmuch as it they entered upon their office, declared war against indicates the transmission of both religion and morals them in form, that there might be an appearance of defrom the patriarchal system, and that both the primitive stroying them legally. It was the custom for Vedius doctrines and their corresponding morals received early Pollio, when his slaves had committed a fault, somesanctions, the force of which was felt through suc- times a very trifiing one, to order them to be thrown ceeding ages. It shows, too, that even the heathen have into his fish-ponds, to feed his lampreys. It was the always been under a moral government. The laws of constant custom, as we learn them Tacitus, Annal. xiv. God have never been quite obliterated, though their 43, when a master was murdered in his own house, to practice has ever been below their knowledge, and put all the slaves to death indiscriminately. For a just though the law itself was greatly and wilfully cor- and affecting account of the condition of slaves in rupted through the influence of their vicious inclinations. ancient states, see PORTES's Beneficial Efects of
This subject may perhaps be best illustrated by ad- Christianity.