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a did not like to retain him in their knowledge, but became vain « in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened, and * they changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into images," Rom. i. 21, and 28. of the vileft creatures; and no philosophers ever turned any great number of men from this absurd idolatry, to the acknowledgement and worship of the only true God. In respect of men's dealings one with another; honour, and interest, and friendship, and laws, and the necessities of society, did indeed cause justice to be practised in many heathen nations to a great degree; but very few men among them were just and equitable upon right and true principles, a due sense of virtue, and a constant fear and love of God. With respect to themselves, intemperance and lux. ury and unnatural uncleanncss was commonly practised, even in the most civilized countries; and this not so much in opposition to the doctrine of the philosophers, as by the consent indeed and encouragement of too great a part of them. I shall not enlarge upon this ungrateful and melancholy subject: there are accounts enough extant of the universal corruption and debauchery of the heathen world. St. Paul's description of it, in the whole first chapter of his epiftle to the Romans, is alone sufficient; and * the complaints of their own writers abundantly confirm it. The disciples of the best moralifts, at least the practisers of their doctrine, were, in their own life-time, very + few; as too plainly appears from the evil treatment which that great man Socrates met withal all Athens. And, at their deaths, their doctrine in great measure died with them ; not having any sufficient evidence or authority to support it. And their followers quickly fell back into the common idolatry, superftition, uncleanness, and debauchery. Of which, the character the Roman writers give of those that called themselves the disciples of Socrates, is a particular and remarkable instance. These considerations (so very early did they appear to be true) affected in fuch a manner that great admirer of Socrates, Plato; that he sometimes seems to give over all hopes of working any reformation in men by philosophy; and says, that I “a good man, when he considers there a things, would even choose to sit quiet, and shift for himself; like

a man that, in a violent hurricane, creeps under a wall for his de. « fence; and seeing the whole world round about him filled with « all manner of wickedness, be content if, preserving his single self * “ Egregium sanctumque virum fi cerno, bimembri

“ Hoc monstrum puero, vel mirandis sub aratro

“ Piscibus inventis, & fætæ comparo mule.” Juvenal. Sat. xiii. 64. t“Sint licet perhonefti ;-scd audire deposcimus quot fint aut fuerint numero.-Unus, « Tuo, Tres.-- Ac genus humanum non ex bonis pauculis, fed ex cæteris omnibus æftimari « convenie." Arnob, adverf, Gentes, lib. II.

" Da mihi virun qui lit iracundus, maledicns, effrænatus; pauciffimis Dei verbis tam « placidum, quam ovem, reddam. Da libidinofum, &c.-Numquis hæc Philofophorum « 'aut unquam præftirit, aut præitare, li velit, poteft ?” Lactant. lib. 111.

Tiapd mer tOic“EX.MPOV FIS tis Paidav, xai ix elda ei deuter , &c. Origen. adverf Cell.lib.i.

1 Taūta anyucu acowing ncuziuyfXür, xai ra aitė wpáriww, cior iv zece moviecia mai dans So uple? Pegageirs, itò taxis imoças, ópão tùs and uş xale riu Tautin dropias, agitä sinaitis natapos adrnias Te xai drogiar fywy, turle Sale Bisa Biksesi ral Tir amalda ry eitü çalà mains érridos insa's To mai fi pe tine arme sai. Plato de Republ. lib. IV.

ü from

from iniquity and every evil work, he can pass away the present “ life in peace, and at last die with tranquillity and good hope.” And indeed, for many reasons, it was altogether impossible, that the teaching of the philosophers should ever be able to reform mant kind, and recover them out of their very degenerate and corrupt estate, with any considerably great and universal success. 1. BeCAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN BUT VERY FEW, THAT HAVE IN EARNEST SET THEMSELVES ABOUT THAT EXCELLENT WORK.

In the first place, because the number of those who have in earneft set themselves about this excellent work have been exceedingly few. Philosophers indeed, that called themselves so, there were enough in every place, and in every age... But those who truly made it their business to improve their reason to the height; to free themselves from the superstition, which overwhelmed the whole world; to search out the obligations of morality, and the will of God their creator; to obey it sincerely themselves, as far as they could discover it by the light of nature; and to encourage and exhort others to da the like; were but a very few names. The doctrine of far the greatest part of the philosophers consisted plainly in nothing but words, and subtiltysand strife, and empty contention; and did not at all amend even their own manners; much less was fitted to reform the world. Their scholars, as Aristotle * excellently describes them, “ thought themselves greatly improved in philosophy, and that " they were become gallant men, if they did but hear and understand « and learn to dispute about morality; though it had no effect at « all, nor influence upon their manners. Just as if a sick man “ should expect to be healed, by hearing a physician discourse; “ though he never followed any of his directions. Undoubtedly," faith he, « the mind of the one was exactly as much improved by “ such philosophy; as the health of the other's body, by such phy« fic.” And no wonder the generality of the common hearers judged of their own improvement in philosophy by such false measures; when the enormous vitiousness of the lives of the philosophers themselves made it plainly appear, that + their art was not so much intended and fitted for the reformation of men's manners, as to be an exercise of wit and subtilty, and an instrument of vainglory. Excepting perhaps Socrates and Plato, and some others of that rank; this account is too plainly true of the greatest part of the philosophers. The argument is too unpleasant, to instance in particulars. Whoever pleases may, in Diogenes Laertius and other writers, find accounts enough of the lewdness and unnatural vices of most of the philosophers. It is a shame for us so much as to speak of those things which were done of them, not only infecret,

* 'Αλλ' οι πολλοί ταύτα μεν υ πράττεσιν· επι δε τον λόγον καταφεύγοντες οίονlαι φιλοσοφείο, και έτως έσεσθαι σπουδαίοι όμοιόν τι αοιώνlες τους κάμνεσιν, οι των ιατρών ακάρυσι μεν επιμε. aws, aoscūcs 'aller Tun caposagoouévwv, MOTERS 8° {xsīver &te cãua, Gta Diga. Sivároso što što thy fuxoy, Qacc op vleś. Aristot. Ethica lib. II. cap. 3. .." Inclusos (Philofophos] in angulis, facienda præcipere, quæ ne ipsi quidem faciunt

qui loquuntur; & quoniam se a veris actibus removerunt, apparet cos exercendæ linguæ "causa, vel advocandi gratia, artem ipsam philosophiae reperide;" Lactant, lib. lll. Vol. IV.

bus but even in the most public manner. I shall here only add the judgement of Cicero; a man as able to pass a right judeginent in this matter as ever lived. « Do you think,” says * he, « that “ these things (meaning the precepts of morality] had any in" Auence upon those men (excepting only a very few of theni), “ who taught, and writ, and disputed about them? No; who is " there of all the philosophers, whose mind and life and manners « were comformable to right reason? who ever made his philosophy 66 to be the law and rule of his life, and not a mere boast and show ¢ of his wit and parts? who observed his own inftruétions, and « lived in obcdience to his own precepts? On the contrary; many « of them were slaves to filthy lufts, many to pride, many to co« vetousness; &c.. 2.' AND THOSE FEW OF THE PHILOSOPHERS, WHO DID INDEED


GREAT END. * Those few extraordinary men of the philofophers, who did indeed in good measure, fuicercly obey the laws of natural religion themselves, and made it their chief business to instruct and exhort others to do the same, were yet themselves entirely ignorant of Yome doctrines abiclutely necessary to the bringing about this great 'end, of the reformation and recovery of mankind. ;. In general: having no knowledge of the whole fcheme, order, and state of things, the method of God's governing the world, his defigni in creating mankind, the original dignity of human nature, the ground and circumstances of men's prefent corrupt condition, the manner of the divine interposition neceffary to their recovery, and the glorious end to which God intended finally to conduct them; having no knowledge (I say) of all this, their whole attempt to discover the truth of things, and to instruct others therein, was t like wandering in the wide fea, without knowing whither they were to go, or which way they were to take, or having any guide to conduct them. And accordingly I the wiseft of them were never backward to confess their own ignorance and great blindness: that truth was hid froin them, as it were in an unfathomable depth : that | choy were much in the dark, and very dull and ftu

* " Sed hæc eadem num cenfes apud eos ipfos valere, nifi admodum paucos, a quibus inventa, disputata, conscripta funt? Quotus enim quisque philosophorum invenitur, qui “ Git ita moratus, ita animo ac vita conftitutus, ut ratio poftulat; qui disciplinam fuam non “ oftentationem fcientiæ, fed legem vitæ putet; qui obtemperet ipfe libi, & decretis suis “ parlato ? Videre țicet multos, libidinum servos, &c." Cic. Tusculan. Quæstion. lib. II.

+ Errant ergo velut in mari magno, nec quo ferantur intelligunt; quia nec viam u cernunt, nec ducem fequuntur.” Lactant. lib. vi. · I " Ex cæteris philosophis, nonne optimus & gravissimus quisque confitetur, multa re

ignorare; & multa fibi ecjam atque etiam cfle discenda ?” Cic. Tusc. Quæft. 3. •$'Ex Buéx indec.

V “ Tui ergo te; Cicero, libri arguunt, quam nihil a philosophia difci poffit ad vitam. “ Hæc tua verba sunt: mihi autem non modo ad fapientiam cæci videmur; fed ad ea & ipfa, quæ aliqua ex parte cerni videantur, hebetes & obtuli.” Lactant. lib. III.

pid, not only as to the profounder things of wisdom, but as to fuch things also which seemed very capable of being in great part discovered : nay, that even * those things, which in themselves were of all others the most manifest (that is, which, whenever made known, would appear most obvious and evident), their natural understanding was of itself as unqualified to find out and apprehend, as the eyes of bats to behold the light of the sun : that the very first and most necessary thing of all, the nature and attributes of God himself t, were, notwithstanding all the general helps of reason, very difficult to them to find out in particular, and still more difficult to explain; it being much I more easy to say what God was not, than what he was: and, finally, that the method of instructing men effectually, and making them truly wise and good, was a thing § very obscure and dark, and difficult to be found out. In a word, soo, crates himself always openly professed, that he pretended to be wiser than other men only in this one thing, that he was duly sensible of his own ignorance, and || believed that it was merely for that very reason, that the oracle pronounced him the wiseft of men. PARTICULARLY, THEY WERE VERY IGNORANT IN WHAT MAN

NER GOD MIGHT BE ACCEPTABLY WORSHIPPED. More particularly: the manner in which God might be accepta, bly worshipped, these men were entirely and unavoidably ignorant of. That God ought to be worshipped, is, in the general, as evident and plain from the light of nature as any thing can be: but in what particular manner, and with what kind of service he will be wor. shipped, cannot be certainly discovered by bare reason. Obedience to the obligations of nature, and imitation of the moral attributes of God, the wisest philosophers easily knew, was undoubtedly the most acceptable service to God. But some external adoration seemed also to be necessary; and how this was to be perforined, they could not with any certainty discover. Accordingly even the very best of them complied therefore generally with the outward religion of their country, and advised others to do the same; and so, notwithstanding all their wise discourses, they fell lamentably into the prac. tice of the most foolish idolatry. Lactantius observes that Socrates himself **, at the conclusion of one of the bravest discourses that ever was made by any philosopher, superstitiously ordered a sacrifice to be offered for him to Ælculapius. But herein Lactantius was

*"art; rà s và Tãy vua gi ay ra?a gà; rà váy xe cao huếpav, Too xam Tốc feléşas fuxas vos após ta tñ pucei Pareputala wailwv. Aristot, Metaphyr.lib. 11. cap.1.

+ Τον μεν ον ποιητής και πατέρα τέδε τα σαλός, ευρείν τε έργον, και ευρόνα λέγειν εις Tárlas á dúvalov. Plato in Timæo.

“ Profe&to eos ipfos, qui se aliquid certi habere arbitrantur, addubitare coget doctirfimorum hominum de maxima re tanta diilenfio." Cic. de Natura Deor. lib. l. I“ Utinam tam facilè vera invenire potlem, quam falsa convincere." Id. Ibid. "

5 “Επε ευξάμενο μετ' εμού.–Καί μοι δύσβατός γε τις τοπ. φαίνεται και επίσκιο» isix by exoluvè; xal dus diepeurlo.. Plato de Repu'sl. lib. IV.

See Prato in Apologia Socratis. ** Eire, O Si tenevlaños époéya?. S2 Keito, Tom Arrante o peixopen år exigvóva. danà améole, xai den diren honie. Plato in Phädone.

« Illud vero nonne fummæ vanitatis, quod ante mortem familiares suos rogavit, ut « Æfulapio gallum, quem voverat, pro fe sacrarent."- Lactant. lib III, Q 2

certainly certainly mistaken: for Socrates undoubtedly spake this in mocker of Æsculapius; looking upon death as his truelt 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 fpirits; and dared not to condemn the worshipping 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 so I he corrupted 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 greateft and best philosopher that Rome or perhaps any other nation ever produced, allowed s men to continue the idolatry of their ans cestors; advised them to conform themselves to the fuperftitious religion of their country, in offering such sacrifices to different gods, as were by law established; and ** disapproves and finds fault with the Persian Magi, for burning the temples of the Grecian gods, and asserting that the whole universe was God's temple. In all which, he fondly contradicts himself, by tt inexcuseably complying with the practices 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 admirable 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 facrifices to the gods, every one according to the religion and custom of his country. AND IN WHAT METHOD GOD WOULD BE RECONCILED TO

RETURNING SINNERS. But still more particularly: that which of all other things, there beft and witeit of the philosophers were most absolutely and una.

- * Πρώτον μεν, φαμεν, τιμές τις μετ' ολυμπίας τε και της την πόλιν έχοντας θεές, τους χθονίοις αν τις ιούς αρθια και δεύτερα και αριςερα νέμων, ορθόταλα τι της ευσεβείας σκοπος τυγχάνοι.-Μέλα εις δε τόσδε, και τοίς δεύμοσιν όγ' έμφρων οργιάζοιτ' άν-Επακολ εθεί ε' aitos idzópeala iya walosia s tov malè rópos oglaópeva. Plato de Legib. lib. IV.

+ Tos le en gis two Secvengävles savās, tipeãuevo töv ds eixóvas cézáāpala isputéparei, ας ημϊν αγάλλεσι, καίπερ αψύχους όνας, εκείνους ηγέμεθα τής εμψύχους θεός σολλήν διά Faut' eirosax xai xigir izsv. Plato de Legib. lib. XI.

1 Τα Iλάτων, ουκ απιθανως μεν ειρήμενα, έ μην και διέθελο τον φιλόσοφος αξίας και αυτα αναγραφήναι εν τη προς τον ουηλής των όλων ευσεβεία, ήν έχεήν μη νοθεύειν, μηδέ μιάνει» τη 8:00 alpsiz. Orig. adverf. Cell. lib. VI.

“. A patribus acceptos Deos placet coli.” Cic. de Legib. lib. IJ. 11 Item illud ex inftitutis pontificum & aruspicum non mutandum est, quibus hoftiis u immolandum cuique Deo." . Id. ibid.

** “ Nec sequor Magos Persarum, quibus auctoribus Xerxes inflammâffe templa Græciz 6 dicitur, quod parietibus includerent deos, quorum hic mundus omnis templum etlet &. u domus. Melius Græci atque noitri, qui, ut augerent pietatem in Deos, eafdem illos, “ quas nos, urbes incolere voluerunt.” Id. ibid.

*t « Video te, Cicero, terrena & manufacta venerari. Vana effe intelligis, & tamen " eadem facis, quæ faciunt ipsi, quos ipfe ftultiffimos confiteris.--Si libenter errant etiam " ii, qui errare se sentiunt, quanto magis vulgus indoctum ?” Lactant. lib.ll. ti méxdary di nai Súsw, xai atasztofaKalà TÀ wórgia érés a goonmak Epictet.cap.38.


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