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ESSAY II: Concerning the Imperfectness of the Heathen Morality - Richard Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature 
A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, translated, with Introduction and Appendix, by John Maxwell (1727), edited and with a Foreword by Jon Parkin (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).
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Concerning the Imperfectness of the Heathen Morality
The Rules of Piety among the Stoicks.I. To begin with the Stoicks, whose pretentions ran highest in this way, and who acknowledg’d Virtue to be the only Good. Their Principles shall be extracted from Epictetus, M. Antoninus, Seneca, and Plutarch; and, to do them Justice, we shall begin with what is excellent in their Doctrine.
The State of Life which they propose to themselves, is that of Jupiter’s Subjects, Friends, Ministers, Soldiers, Citizens, Sons; to be, and to be intitul’d, Θεῖοι Divine. The Law of their Subjection to Jupiter they consider as an Obligation, both to active and passive Obedience, discarding all Externals, the Body, Riches, Fame, Empire; they made it their Business to be, and to do, what was agreeable to Nature, to our proper Nature, which is Rational, Social, Human; to the Will of the governing Nature of the Universe; to the governing right Reason of Jove, which is a Law; and being Philosophers, they were the Interpreters of Nature, and of the Will of God. They thought themselves unconcern’d in the Applause, or Contumelies, in the Approbation, or Reprehensions, of Men, as having no Power to do them Good, or Hurt. As good and dutiful Subjects, they profess themselves Friends to God in the first Place, chiefly to regard his Eye over them, whom they ought to please; to concern themselves about this only, how to fulfil their own Province orderly and obediently to God; to understand and mind his Commands and Interdicts, and to be conversant in his Affairs; in all their Actions to have respect to him; to desire to seem fair to him, and to be pure with themselves and with God; in all Circumstances to enquire, what God would have them to do, and to divine (if it be possible) what his Will is; to imitate him in Faithfulness, Beneficence, Liberality, Magnanimity; continually to praise and celebrate, and to give Thanks to, the Divinity; to give Thanks for all Things, especially for their virtuous Living without their former Vices and Crimes; for the Sustenance of Life, but especially for the Faculty of understanding and using Things; to submit their Minds to the Governor of all Things, as good Citizens to the Laws of the City; not only to obey, but to approve and praise his Administration of Things; to will the Things that happen in the World, the Estate, or Usage, that is allotted them, because God willeth them; to will nothing, but what God willeth; to be devoted to his Commands; so to eat, as to please the Gods; to confide in the Governor of all; to live in mindfulness of him; to worship the Gods, and to invocate them in all Affairs; for Man is made to worship the Gods. To them that ask, where hast thou seen the Gods, or whence is thine Assurance of their Existence whom thou worshippest? From those Things that are Indications of the Power of the Gods, I am assured of their Existence, and therefore worship them. These are their Rules of Piety; their Rules of Duty to themselves, and of Humanity follow.
Their Rules of Duty to themselves.§II. What (say the Stoicks) doth the divine Law command? To keep the Things that are our own, and not to challenge to our-selves the Things of others; but, if granted to us, to use them; if not granted to us, not to desire them; when taken away, to restore them cheerfully, and to be thankful for the Time that we have had the Use of them. Hast thou not a Commandment from Jupiter? Hath he not given thee thine own Things, exempt from Prohibition and Impediment, the other Things, which are not thine own, liable to Prohibition and Impediment? What Commandment therefore, what Prescript hast thou brought from him? The Things that are thine own, keep by all means, desire not the Things that belong to others. Faithfulness is thine own, who can take away such Things as these, who shall hinder thee from using them beside thy-self? When thou mindest the Things that are not thine own, thou hast lost the Things that are thine own. Man must do what his Reason and Mind enjoyneth, which is a Decerption from Jupiter, and which Jupiter (a severe Exacter of Virtue) hath given him to be his Leader and Prefect.
Their Rules of Humanity.From the same Principle (the Laws of Subjection to the Governor of the World) the Stoicks infer various Rules of Duty to Mankind. For (say they) Man is not absolute and unbound, but a Part of a certain Whole, a Member of the one universal System of rational Agents, a Citizen of the World, and, therefore, he is an intellectual social Animal, in conjunction with his Fellow-Rationals, that are of the same Nature and Kind, of one Tribe, or Alliance, his Kinsmen, Fellows, Associates, Neighbours, Brothers, (not as deriving their Origin from the same Blood, or Seed, but from the same parental Mind, of which their Minds are so many Branches pluck’d off,) Fellow-Members of one Body, that are born to be Fellow-Workers, (as the Feet, the Hands, the Eye-Lids, the Rows of the upper and under Teeth,) and by Nature Friends. Let this be laid down in the first place; I am a Part of the Whole, which is govern’d by Nature. In the next place, I am nearly allied to those other Parts, that are of the same Kind. The Mind of the Universe1 is Social; wherefore the principal thing intended in the Constitution of Men, is the social Design, which is the End and Good, and ought to be the Scope, of Man; and whatever Practice of his hath not reference (immediately, or remotely) to the social Design, destroyeth the Uniformity of Life, and is Seditious; as a factious Person, among the People, divideth his own Party from the common Consent. We ought not to be hurried away by such Motions, as are unsocial, but to pass from one social Practice to another, with mindfulness of God; to treat Men socially, according to the natural Law of Fellowship, kindly and justly. What do I care for more than this, that my present Action be the proper Action of one that is Rational, one that is Social, and that is govern’d by the same Law of right Reason with God?
To Man that is rational and social, it is proper to do nothing, but what the Reason of his regial and legislative part suggests for the Good of Men. He ought to love them truly and from the heart, to take care of the Welfare of all Men, to worship and praise the Gods, and to do good to Men, to bear with them, forbearing to injure them, to do them good unweariedly, persisting in an uninterrupted Series of good Actions, accounting Beneficence to others, his own Emolument and (because they are Members of the same Body) a doing good to himself. The Joy of a Man is to do what properly belongeth to a Man; and it properly belongeth to a Man, to be kindly affected to those of the same Tribe, or Kindred. It is proper and agreeable to a Man, to love those that off end against him, (for by Nature they are his Friends and Kinsmen;) to bear good-Will to them that hate and disparage him; not to be angry with the Stupid and Ungrateful, but to take care of them; to be friendly and benevolent to every Man: Men are made for one another; teach them better, or bear with them. A Branch, cut off from Continuity with its Neighbour-Branch, is necessarily cut off from the whole Tree; a Man divideth himself from his Neighbour, hating him, and having an Aversion from him, yet knoweth not, that at the same Time he divideth himself from the whole Body. As a Citizen of the World, and a part of the whole, Man is oblig’d to have no private Self-Interest, or Advantage, to consult about nothing, as unbound; but, as the Hand, or Feet, if they had Reason and Understanding of the natural Order, should have no Motions, nor desire any Thing, but with respect to the whole; to direct his whole Endeavour to the common Good, and to abstain from the contrary; for the whole is of greater regard than a part, and a City than a Citizen. He that is unjust to any, is impious; for the Nature of the Universe having made all rational Animals one for another, that they should benefit one another, according to every one’s Worth, but in no wise hurt one another; he that transgresseth this her Will, is manifestly guilty of Impiety towards the most antient and venerable of the Gods.
But their Institution is, in great Measure, unpopular and irreligious, subverting Religion, 1. By discarding future Rewards and Punishments.§III. So far excellently well, and the bright Side of Stoicism; but now follows its dark Side, which, in consequence at least, destroyeth its better part. For one great Article of natural Religion is, the Immortality of human Souls; that after this Life they exist in a happy, or calamitous, State; and that Mankind ought to be govern’d by hope of Reward, or fear of Punishment; the two chief Pillars of all Society, whether civil, or religious; of which, amongst others, Lucretius and the Epicureans were very sensible.
But these grand Articles of natural Religion, the Stoicks discard as vulgar Errors, designing to rid themselves of the Passions, to rescue themselves intirely from all Bondage of Mind, and to enjoy perfect Liberty and Tranquility; designing to institute a Philosopher, (a whimsical Kind of Virtuoso, by them call’d a Wise-Man, and his Institution, Wisdom,) they undermine the Fundamentals of Religion; they conspire with the Epicureans, in razing and demolishing the principal Pillars of it; and make their own Laws, the Law of Subjection to the Governor of the World, not Law, but an extravagant Hypothesis. They suppose, “That an imperial Head presideth over an Universe of rational Agents, which must be govern’d by Law, but without the Sanction of Rewards and Punishments; That the Virtuous must hope for no other Reward, the Vicious need to fear no other Punishment, but their being such; That no thing must be thought our Good or Evil, save only the things that are in the Power of our own Will, lest we curse the Gods, when they seem to neglect, or cross us.” Upon which Terms there can be no dutiful Submission to divine Chastisements and Punishments, no pious Addresses for preventing, or removing, them, and for promoting the external Blessings of this, or a better, Life. According to them, “It is of no concern, for how long you shall Practice virtuously; three Hours are sufficient. Prorogation of Life conduceth nothing to Felicity; a blessed Life that is short, is no less desirable than that which is long; both are alike; Happiness is not encreas’d by length, nor diminish’d by shortness, of Time; Time is of no Moment to happiness; there is no difference between a Day and an Age; Life by that is made longer, but not happier.” An Institution, which, at this rate, affronteth the common-Reason of Mankind, corrupteth their natural Notions, quencheth their innate Desires and noble Breathings after Immortality, to which an Institution of Virtue ought to conduct Men, and is doubtless, in great Measure, no Institution of serious Virtue, but of unpopular and irreligious Humour.
The Stoicks are also extremely Irreligious, in depriving the supreme Governor of distributive Justice; in ascribing to him an extravagant indulgent Goodness, destructive to the true Use of Sacrifices, methods of Atonement, penitential Sorrow, and the pious Fear of a Deity. For, altho’ they sometimes acknowledge, that the Governor of the World inflicteth castigatory Punishments in this Life, yet they do not suppose, that he inflicteth any properly penal Evils. Hence it is with them a Maxim, “The State of absolute Liberty, is, neither to fear Men, nor God.”2 So, according to Zeno, one thing requisite in an happy Man, is, “Not to fear the Gods.” The Platonists agree with the Stoicks, in attributing an irreligious Kind of Goodness to the Deity, yet they suppose castigatory Punishments in a future Life. The Gods themselves, all the subordinate Deities, are suppos’d by the Stoicks, to be Mortal and Corruptible, and they are all to be swallow’d up in the universal Conflagration: Nor is their Jupiter absolutely indissoluble, indiscerpible, and incorruptible, being nothing better than a corporeal fiery Nature.
2. By ridiculing the Fear of Death,§IV. Secondly, they ridicule the Fear of Death, explode the laudable Usage of Burying the Dead, and of Mourning for them; all which is absurdly unpopular and irreligious. Nor could the World be govern’d, if all Men entertain’d a persuasion, That Death, and, consequently, the Execution of Criminals, is no penal Evil, no Evil at all, as the Stoicks suppose. According to them, “All ways of dying are alike,” and so there is no difference between the easiest natural Death, and Death aggravated by horrible Tortures, Modes, and Circumstances, of Dying. Plato also and Socrates affirm, “That Death is good, and better than Living with the Body, not to some only, but simply unto all.”3
And allowing, nay, in some Cases, enjoyning Self-murder.If the Wise-Man be in tragical Circumstances, and weary of Life, their Philosophy alloweth and enjoyneth “an Exit agreeable to Reason (that is, Self-Murder.) The Gate is open, none hath Reason to complain of Life, for none is forc’d to live against his Will; if he liveth miserably, it is his own Fault; doth it please you? Live; doth it not please you? You may return whence you came.” This Doctrine was practis’d by several of the Philosophick Pagans, and the School of Plato became somewhat infected with it, notwithstanding he himself has reason’d so well against it; but the Popular Pagans, following Nature, were of better Principles.
3. By their denying Pain to be an Evil.§V. The Stoical Doctrine of Pain, Sickness, & c. is so far from being Wisdom, that it is an unpopular irreligious and paradoxical Humour, or Madness, shall I rather call it? Their magnificent Pretentions are, “That Pain and Torture of Body are not Evil; or, if it be Evil, it is another’s Evil, not ours, the Body being no part of us, but our Organ only. Socrates affirm’d, that Pain remain’d in the Foot, it doth not affect the Mind with Evil. They can live in great hilarity of Mind, altho’ the wild Beasts pull in sunder their bodily Members. Men of Learning are furnish’d with Fortitude against things Painful and Dolorous, which suffereth them not to pass within the Porch of the Soul, but, considering them as apropos’d Exercise, beareth them without Grief and Affliction. Doth sensitive Pain, or Pleasure, touch thee? Let Sense look to it, let the Body and bodily Members make it their care, if they can, that they suffer not; and when they suffer, let them complain, if they can, and judge that Pain is Evil. The Soul may keep her proper Tranquillity and Serenity, and not suppose it Evil. Not Fire, nor Iron, nor a Tyrant, nor contumelious Language, can touch the Mind.” Noble Rant this! But, if they really can abstract the Mind from all sympathizing with the Body, and from uneasiness by the Pains of it, whence is it, that they cannot keep her from Disturbance by the Humours of the Body? For they acknowledge themselves as liable as other Mortals to Fevers, Ravings, and Madness. Whence is it, that, upon account of extremity of Pain, they think it decent, to take away their own Lives? And why do they talk of Pain intolerable, and make use of the Epicurean Consolation, “If Pain be intolerable, it is not long; if it be long, it is not intolerable?” Such Philosophy does little more for the Cure of human Evils, than to make Men wranglers about Names and Terms, as if changing the Names chang’d the Natures of Things.
Externals, and whatever Things do not depend upon our own Will, they will not have call’d human Goods, but Things indifferent; but, “altho’ the Things be indifferent, the Use of them is not indifferent: As Children, when they play with Shells, their Sollicitude is, not about the Shells, but to play with them dextrously.” Upon which Terms there may be Well-doing, but no such Thing as doing Good to others, in the Use of Externals; yet the Stoicks pretend to Beneficence, and write Books concerningBenefits: Altho’ they are like a Physitian, whose Care and Concern is, not the Life and Welfare of his Patient, but only, that his own Management may be according to Art. They most inconsistently exhort Mankind to be Thankful for their Life, and the Helps of Life, the Fruits of the Earth, when they are at the same Time instituting them to an indifference as to “Life and Death, Health and Sickness, bodily Pain, or Pleasure, Honour, or Ignominy, Plenty, or Penury, Wife, Children, Country, Fame, Possessions, Friends, and their own Bodies.” “If a Tyrant threatneth me with Bonds,” (saith Epictetus4 ) “I say, he threatneth the Hands and the Feet: If to cut of my Head, I say, he threatneth the Neck: If to Imprison me, the Body. Doth he therefore threaten nothing to me? If I look upon these Things as nothing to me, he threatneth nothing to me. But, if I fear any of them, he threatneth me. Is thy Son dead? What hath happen’d? Thy Son is dead. Is that all? That is all. That Ill hath happen’d, is thine own additional. If thine Hearing he incommoded, what is that to thee? No ill News can come to thee from Rome, for what Evil can befal thee there, where thou art not? Banishment is but to be elsewhere. Dost thou want Bread? The Door is open, thou may’st go out of a smoaky House.” (But, if these Things be no Evils, what meaneth that sovereign Antidote against them, To die readily?) “But is not Life a Good? No. May we not desire Health? No, by no means, nor any Thing else of the Aliena,5from which the Appetite must be far remov’d; or else thou submittest thy Neck to Servitude, to the Things first, and next to the Men, who have the Disposal of them. Health is not Good, nor Sickness Evil; the Good is, to be Healthful as you ought: In like Manner, be Sick as you ought, and Sickness becometh Good and Profitable. The right Use of the Externals which present themselves, is a MERCURY’s Rod, which turneth every Thing that it toucheth into Gold. Sickness, Death, Penury, Contumely, capital Sentence, touch them with the Rod of MERCURY, and they all become Profitable. Why then should we seek our Good and Evil in Externals, seeing it is in our own Power, to make all Externals Good?” But, in order to rectify their Philosophy of Good and Evil, it ought to be consider’d, That good Things are of two Kinds. For some Things are Good, as constituent Parts of our true Perfection and Happiness of Life, and these we call the End. Other Things are Good, as conducive thereto, and these are call’d the Means. In the first Notion, the good Things, commonly so reputed, (Life, Health, Honour, Plenty, &c.) cannot be Evils, consider’d in the Nature of an End; and the Evils, commonly so reputed, (Death, Sickness, Infamy, Penury, &c.) cannot be Good. In the second Notion of Means, the Evils, commonly so reputed, may be Good, and the good Things, commonly so reputed, may be Evils; and usually are, not helps, but hindrances, to our true Perfection and Happiness in a future State.
Their regal and happy Estate, and Self-sufficiency.§VI. The Stoick’s Wise-Man, according to their Institution, is Noble, Brave, Rich, Prosperous, free from Servitude and Misery; but quite out of the Road, both of civil and religious Society. For they suppose, “That nothing but our intelligent Nature is our-self, and that those Things only, which properly belong thereto, and fall within the Power of our own Wills, do concern us, or are our Good and Evil Things. Discarding, therefore, the many Things, they place their one Thing, and their All, in cultivating their intelligent free-agent Nature; in its being Virtuous, and such as the proper Nature of Man requireth; thus attaining a State of Felicity without Impediment, or danger of Misfortune, never failing of what they desire, nor falling into what they have an Aversion to; living, therefore, in a State of perfect Liberty, which they account the greatest Good. Being obnoxious to no superior Power, they are all Kings. Having dismiss’d the desire and fear of Externals, none can hurt them, they inhabit an impregnable City, none can have access to their Riches, they have no Enemy, they complain of none, criminate no Body. Hearken to me,” (saith Epictetus,) “and you shall never live in Envy, nor be in Anger, Grief, or Fear, never be prohibited, or hinder’d, nor ever Flatter any. To me” (continueth he) “no Evil can happen, to me there is no Thief” (he that stole his Lamp was no Thief to him) “nor any Earthquake; but all Things are full of Peace and Undisturbance. I seek Good and Evil within, only in mine own Things, (i.e. in judging aright of Things, in having my Desires and Aversions right, and in the right Use of Externals,) not giving the Name of Good, or Evil, of Utility, or Damage, or any thing of that Nature, to Things not in my own Power.” Such are the Principles of the Stoicks in their Schools, which they relinquish, or dissemble, when they betake themselves to the management of publick Affairs. For these they manage, (as Plutarch well observes,) as if they accounted Externals (Health, Riches, and Glory,) good Things; for how can they be throughly concern’d, to avert publick Calamities, if they suppose them no Evils, or not their Concern?
“The Body” (saith the Stoick) “is nothing to me; the Parts of it are nothing to me; Death is nothing to me. This is the State and Character of a Philosopher, he looketh for all his Utility and Damage from himself. If another can hurt me, then I do nothing: If I expect that another help me, then I am nothing. The Mind devoid of Passions is inexpugnable, collected into it self, it is self-content, a Cittadel; a stronger Place, where-unto to make his Refuge, and so to become Impregnable, and better fortify’d than this, hath no Man. So that” (as Plutarch has observ’d) “if he be Imprison’d, he suffereth no Prohibition; if thrown down a Precipice, he suffereth no Constraint; if Tortur’d, he is not Tormented; if Bound, he is not Hurt; if he falleth in Wrestling, yet he cannot be Vanquish’d; if encompass’d by a Wall, yet he cannot be Besieged; and if he be sold by Enemies, yet he cannot be Captivated; he hath Riches and a Kingdom, and is Fortunate and Prosperous, Unindigent and Self-sufficient, without a Penny in his Purse. The Wise-Man” (saith the Stoick) “hath created Peace to himself, by fearing nothing, and Riches, by not desiring any Thing: Altho’ without City, House, or Harbour, yet he wanteth nothing. He can be happy by himself in a State of Solitude, as being happy and sufficient from himself,” without the innumerable and inestimable Benefits of Society. And, because he liveth in the Perfection of Virtue and Happiness, neither publick nor private Calamities do at all diminish the Wise-Man’s Happiness. Not publick Calamities, for “the overturning and ruin of his City, will he count it any great Thing? If he supposeth it a grand Evil, or any Evil at all, he will be ridiculous, and no more Virtuous, accounting Wood and Stone, and the Death of Mortals, some great Matters. Wars, Sedition, the Death of Multitudes of Men, the Overturning and Burning of Cities, are no great Things: As the Death of Multitudes of Cattle, the Overturning and Burning of Birds nests, are no great Matters. Not private Calamities, that befall himself, or his Relations. For, without any title to a future Happiness, the Wise-Man is happy in the midst of Torments; his Happiness receives no addition from Health, Ease, and Pleasures, nor any diminution from their opposites.” Is such an Institution as this fit for human Minds?
Apathy.§VII. Not less extravagant is their Doctrine of Apathy, or being free from animal Affections and Passions, which at once discards all things external, whether Good or Evil, both of this and another World, substituting certain mental Operations, instead of the Passions of the lower or animal Soul; “Will, instead of the Passion of Desire; mental Joy, instead of the Passion of Joy; Caution, instead of the Passion of Fear; but, instead of Grief, or Sorrow, they substitute nothing, because they deny any such Thing in a Wise-Man.” If Ulysses (said Epictetus) in truth lamented for his Wife, was he not unhappy? “But what good Man is unfortunate, or unhappy? Therefore, if he cri’d and lamented, he was not a good Man.” Sorrow for the Death of Friends, they account a very bad Thing, their Philosophy being a contrivance to live in perfect Indolence: Nor alloweth it Sorrow for our Sins and Vices, as Plutarch charges them. But, if this be Philosophy, the old Man had great Reason to tell his Son, “Hear me, my Son! you must Philosophize, but you must have Brains too: These are egregious Fooleries.” As likewise are these their Maxims. “The Wise-Man is never mov’d by Grace, or Favour; never pardoneth the Crimes of any. None commiserate, but the Vain and Foolish. It is not the Property of a Man, to be exorable, or placable.”
But, doubtless, it would be better for Mankind to be left to the Sentiments of Nature, than to be instituted to such a harden’d Virtue, that is neither possible, nor tolerable, being absolutely Destructive, both of Good-Nature, and of the Exercise of divine and gracious Affections and Passions. For Fear and Desire are truly said to be divine Virtues, if their Objects be Things divine; and to sympathize with others in their Joys and Sorrows, is inseparable from true Benevolence. But the Stoicks admit of no sympathizing Sorrow, but in political Appearance. “If you see a Man” (saith Epictetus) “lamenting his Misfortunes, you may in Words accommodate your-self to him, and, if you be so dispos’d, lament with him: But take care, that you do not internally lament.”
Arrogance, with respect to the Gods, as well as Men.§VIII. The Pagans charg’d the Stoicks with Arrogance, and not without great Reason; for it was but a natural Consequence of their extravagant Liberty, Security, Tranquillity, Self-Sufficiency, Wisdom, Royalty, and Apathy; insomuch that their Wise-Man is no less than one of Jove’s Peers, that liveth as well as the Gods live. “And, as it is agreeable to Jove” (saith Chrysippus) “to elate himself upon account of his Life, to think great, and (if I may so speak) to lift up his Head, to glory, and magnify himself, living worthy of a magnifying Elation: So these Things agree to all good Men, that in nothing come behind Jove. As to the Body,” (saith Epictetus,) “thou art a small part of the Universe. But in respect of the Mind, or Reason, not worse, nor less, than the Gods; for the greatness of the Mind is not to be judg’d of by Longitude, nor Altitude, but by decretory Sentiments.” In this Philosophy, one of the fundamental Maxims is, “That all the Wise and Good are Equal,” being all of them happy to the height of Bliss. For Virtue, the true and the sole cause of Happiness, is equal in them all; it is not capable of increase, nor diminution, and as for Externals, which are of no consideration, they make no disparity. Time also maketh no disparity. Whence it follows, “That Jupiter and Dio, being both Wise, are equals. In Virtue Jupiter doth not transcend Dio. In Felicity God doth not transcend the Wise-Man, although he surmounteth him in Age,” which maketh no disparity. But is not Jupiter the more Powerful and Opulent? “Sextius was wont to equalize Jupiter and the good Man; Jupiter indeed hath more, and can do more for Mankind: But between two that are Good, the Richer is not the Better. Do you inquire of the difference between a Wise-Man and the Gods? The Gods will exist a longer Time. But it is a great Artifice, to inclose the whole in a little Room,”6i.e. for a Wise-Man to have the whole in his Age, which God hath in a long Succession of Ages. In this and some other respects, the Wise-Man transcendeth Jupiter, and he admireth himself above him. “There is something whereinthe Wise-Man may have the Precedence of God: He is one of the Wise, by the Benefit of Nature, not by his own Efficiency, as the Wise-Man is. The Wise-Man seeeth and contemneth all Things which others possess, with as equal a Mind as Jupiter: And upon this Account more admireth himself; Jupiter cannot make use of them, the Wise-Man will not.”7 Very modest and pious Doctrines! If this be not rampant Luciferian Pride, I know not what is.
“The Wise-Man” (say they) “is always alike, and of the same Countenance, as Socrates was, in all Circumstances. He doth not assent to any Opinion, is ignorant of nothing, never deceiv’d, never unsuccessful, never repenteth of any Undertaking, wondereth at nothing, nothing befalleth him contrary to Opinion. The good Man is perfect, sinneth in nothing, is impeccable, suffereth no Injury, is not mad, altho’ maniacal, is inebriated, yet not drunk. All Things are the Stoical Wise-Man’s, he is the only King and Freeman; he alone is rich, beauteous, noble, the only Citizen, Magistrate, Judge, Orator, Poet, Priest, Prophet.” Fine Prerogatives! The Popular Pagans fell so far short of Stoical Wisdom, as to acknowledge their good Endowments the Gift of God: But the Stoicks say of their Wisdom, “Every one that hath it, oweth it to himself.” Sometimes they huff at praying for the divine Aid. “What need is there of Prayers? make thy-self Happy.”8 In a better Humour they assert the Concurrence of divine Assistance with human Endeavours; they exhort us to pray for Virtue, a good Mind, and the divine Aid. “But so, that the Effect is properly to be ascrib’d to our own Power, because it is a Thing which properly belongeth to our own Power.” For this Philosophy distinguishes Things that properly belong to our own Power, from the Things that do not properly belong to our own Power: The Works of Providence are not the Things that properly belong to our own Power; they are properly to be ascrib’d to the Gods: But the Stoicks Virtue, and its consequent Felicity, are Things that properly belong to our own Power; according to that of Cotta in Cicero, “All Mankind ascribe the Commodity and Prosperityof Life to the Gods, but none ever ascrib’d his Virtue to the Diety.”9 So the Poet, speaking the Sense of the Stoical Philosopher, ascribeth Life and Riches to Jove, but not a virtuous Mind; for that is an Effect, which properly belongeth to his own Power. “Let him give Life and Riches, I will get to my-self a good Mind.”10 But as Riches are the Gift of Providence, yet not exclusively to human Endeavours, so the Virtue of our Mind belongeth to our own Power, yet not exclusively to divine Assistance; “for who hath told thee” (saith M. Antoninus,) “that the Gods do not help us even to those Things, that they have put in our own Power?” Whence an appearing inconsistency in another Poet, who also speaketh the Sense of the Stoical Philosopher, is easily reconcileable.
Because the Gods help us in those Things that properly belong to our own Power, therefore the Poet saith, “Pray for a virtuous Mind”: Yet, because the Virtues of the Mind are Things that properly belong to our own Power, and must be ascrib’d thereto, therefore the Poet saith, “I tell thee of that which thou mayst bestow upon thy-self.” For the help of the Gods is not requisite in any great Degree, nor otherwise than as a less Principal, and adjuvant Cause: Nor is Man suppos’d to be impotent for Virtue and Happiness in any great Degree. Thus the Spirit of Stoicism is that of a criminal Self-sufficiency, Self-confidence, Self-dependence, and Boasting. “He thanketh the Gods, but with audacious Gloriation.”12 His Joy is an elation of Mind, “trusting to his own Possessions and Abilities.” “He knoweth his own Strength, and that no Burden is too much for him.” “The Agency of his Free-will, Jupiter cannot vanquish.”
Their haughty Temper appears, not only in their Demeanour towards Jupiter, but in their carriage to their Civil Governors. For they suppos’d, That no Man had Dominion over them, being Jupiter’s Sons and Subjects, set at liberty by him from all Servitude and Constraint. And having discarded all regard to Rewards and Punishments, whereby Societies are govern’d, they discarded therewith their due Subjection and Reverence to the Civil Power, which was very unbecoming the Citizens of the Universe, as they call’d themselves. “How do I (saith the Cynick) treat those as Slaves, whom you fear and admire? Who is there, that when he seeth me, doth not suppose, that he seeth his Lord and King? What is Caesar to a Cynick, or the Proconsul, or any other, save only Jupiter, that sent him down, and whom he serveth?”
Of their Transcendentals and passive Obedience to the divine Will.§IX. Instead of sober Morality, they deal much in superlative Extravagancies; for such is their superlative Strictness, “not to move a Finger, unless Reason dictateth,”
Their Severity of Temper, “never speaking any thing for pleasure, nor admitting any thing of that kind spoken by others,” which is Sowrness and supercilious Gravity. Their enjoyning “silence for the most part, and speaking seldom,” is an Excess; also their conformity to the Pharisees in a supercilious Contempt of the Vulgar. The Patience, which they prescribe, is nothing better than a haughty sullen Insensibility, for he “must seem to the Vulgar, devoid of Sense and a Stone.” Their invariable Constancy of Temper was no Virtue, but an inconsistency with true Virtue, which exerciseth various Affections and Passions upon various Occasions, Anger, Mildness, Boldness, Fearfulness, Joy, Sorrow. But the Stoical Wise-Man is criminally uniform of Countenance; none ever saw Socrates more joyous, or more sad; agreeably to the Conceit of Aristo Chius, That the final Good is, “To live in an absolute indifferency of Mind, without any Variation, or Motion either way, carrying ones self with the same equal Tenour always.”13“The Wise-Man” (saith Epictetus) “must be always alike, in acute Pains, in the loss of Children, in Chronical Diseases.” Their Passive Obedience also, and Conformity of Will to the divine Will, is a superlative Extravagance. “How” (saith Epictetus) “shall I become of free-Estate? For he is a Free-Man, to whom all Things happen according to his Mind, and none can be his hindrance; naturally I would have all Things to happen, as I please; but to be learned, is to learn to will all Things to be as they are. Will nothing but what God willeth, and none can hinder thee; none can force thee, no more than Jupiter. I was never hindred in my Desires, nor necessitated in my Aversions, because I have render’d my Appetite accommodate to God. Is it his Will, that I should be in a Fever? It is my Will. Is it his Will, that I should obtain any Thing? It is my Will. Is it not his Will? It is not mine. Who can now hinder me, or force me against mine own Mind? Seek not, that Events should be as thou willest; but will them to be as they are, and thou canst not fail to be prosperous.”14
How Specious soever such a conformity of Will to the Divine may seem, it will be found, if examin’d, far from Pious. For it is not pious to pray with the dying Stoick, “Place me in what Region thou pleasest. Take me and throw me where thou wilt, I am indifferent.” It is not pious, to entertain all afflictive Providences with a Stoical Indifference. It is not pious in him, notwithstanding all his own Sins and Sufferings, the Sins and Miseries of Mankind, “to be devoid of Sorrow, Fear, Passion, Perturbation, nor to Grieve upon any one’s Account.” It cannot be thought a due Conformity to the divine Will, to discard the humbling Methods of Piety, for the Cure, or Removal, of the disastrous Events of Providence, such as afflicting the Soul, Deprecation, Intercession, and to substitute in their stead that magnanimous Voice, “With God I affect and pursue, with him I desire, my Volitions are simply and absolutely coincident with the supreme Volitions.” For these settled Maxims of the Stoick are irreligious Errors, “That the divine Nature cannot be angry, and that the Events of Providence are Fatalities.” Beside; they that will all Things to be as they are, must necessarily will the State of Things in the World to as bad as it is, which is repugnant to all true Virtue, to the use of Prayer, and to the Stoicks Desires and Endeavours for the amendment of Mankind. Their Passive Obedience teaches them, indeed, to suffer Afflictions, but not to act in a becoming Manner in such a State, in which the grand Duties of Piety are, the humbling our-selves under the divine Hand, searching and trying our Ways, practice of Repentance, and improving in Devotion. Their Passive Obedience is of a spurious Kind, the insolent Boldness of an affected Liberty, (which rivals Jove,) and the Stoutness of a Bravo. “Look” (saith Epictetus) “at the Powers which thou art furnish’d with, and, having view’d them, say, Bring upon me, O Jupiter, what Hardship thou wilt, I am sufficiently furnish’d by what thou hast given me, to make whatever happeneth Ornamental to me. At length erect thy Neck, as one out of Servitude, fearing nothing that can happen: Dare to lift up thine Eyes to God and say, Use me hereafter to whatsoever thou pleasest, I am of the same Mind with thee, I am equal to any Thing.” Their running the Pit and slinking out of harm’s Way, by taking away their Lives in bad Circumstances, is Heroism and Passive Valour of the illegitimate Kind. Diogenes, Heraclitus, and Socrates himself, should have consider’d, that there may be such a Conformity to the divine Will of Events, as may clash with the divine Will of Duty and Precept. Their Passive Obedience is founded upon bad Principles. “Dost thou call that a Mischance to a Man, which is no Mischance to the proper Nature of Men? Let that part which judgeth of Things be at rest, altho’ the Body, which is next the Thing, be cut, or burn’d, suffer Corruption, or Putrefaction. That which maketh not the Man worse, which doth not involve him in any Crime, doth not make his Life the worse, nor can it hurt him. All Things that befall Men, are allotted them by that Whole, or Universe, whereof they are a part; and that is good for every one, which the Nature of the whole bringeth upon every one. Whatever shall come to pass, the World loveth to have it so: I say therefore to the World, I concur with thee in Affection, and love to have it so.” Which cannot be thought a very virtuous Saying; for what Virtue is there in deifying this Region of Sin and Mortality, and Misery, the Laws of whose Administration are manifestly Penal and Calamitous?
Altho’ the Stoicks pretended to follow Nature, and altho’ they call their Philosophy Moral, yet their Morality is extremely different from the institution of Nature, being that of unpopular Humorists, of abstract Mentalists, and Enthusiasts. “Shew me a Man” (saith the Stoick) “that desireth to be made a God of a Man, and in this mortal Body to have consortship with Jove?” The Religion, therefore, and Piety of Stoicism, is not Natural Religion, but a jumble of Self-sufficiency, Independency, Liberty, Apathy, Prosperity, and undisturb’d Tranquillity. It is not hard to determine, which were the better sort of Religionists; whither the Popular Pagans, who complain’d, when they were hurt, (provided they abstain’d from cursing their Deities,) were touch’d with their Afflictions, and looked upon mournful Spectacles with the Eyes of Mourners: Or the strutting Philosophers, who took a Pride in trusting to their own Strength and invincible Maxims, deriding all Events; that were to live at the rate of Pagan Deities, who are above Passion, in Human Flesh. Agreeably to their Hypothesis, “That the Perfection of Felicity is attainable in this Life,” they contriv’d a method of arriving at so transcendent a condition; which was by placing all their good in their own things only, that are in the disposal of their own Wills, contemning all that belong not to their own Free-agent Nature. Being thus instituted to live in Safety, Liberty, Independence upon Others, not liable to be constrain’d, hurt, or hindred by any, never failing of prosperous Success, never being unfortunate, nor conflicting with any Adversity; they could bear whatever happen’d without Humiliation, or brokenness of Mind. They assumed to themselves a greatness of Mind, (as supposing that nothing could hurt them, and that they were beyond the power of Evil,) and were able to make this resignation to Providence from their whole Soul, “Carry me, O Jupiter! and thou, O Fate! whithersoever I am destin’d by you.”
Such is the Stoicks Passive Obedience, neither Natural, nor Christian. And, if we agree not with the Stoicks touching Passive Obedience, (which is the top flower of their Philosophy,) nor think it safe to rely upon the Maxims of the Heathen Philosophers, (both because they are Heathens and Philosophers, i.e. Teachers of unpopular Doctrines,) we are not likely to entertain a late Conceit, That all the Agenda in Christianity, the two Sacraments excepted, are nothing but what was taught before by the Moral Philosophers. For, altho’ of all things in our Religion, there are Affinities and Resemblances in their Religion and Institutions of Learning and Virtue; yet the best of them must be thought bad Teachers of Duty and Virtue, all of them being Aliens from true Piety, and some of them extremely deficient in Philosophizing.
Their monstrously absurd Conceits.§X. For, as to their Natural Philosophy, the Sun, Moon and Stars are nourish’d by Vapours; and when these fail, there will be a Conflagration of the Universe, a resolution of the Gods (Jupiter only excepted) and of Men into their first Elements, God and Matter; after which there will be a Restauration of the same World, and the same Men, and so in endless Rounds. The Night, Day, Evening, Morning, our Arts, Memories, Fancies, Assents, Passions, Virtues, Vices, Wisdom also and Good, are all Bodies; nay, and Animals too. An Imagination so wild could never have enter’d into the Head of any Man, but a Philosopher, or a Rabbi. “Virtue is nothing else but the Mind modified, therefore it is an Animal,” saith Seneca.15 Agreeably to their Notion of the Soul of the World, who, in this Philosophy, is a subtle fiery Body, the Mind of Man is a Body, “a part of God, and a God too.” And this deified Mind of Man is that, which they mean by their Holy or Divine Spirit in Man. “Reason in Men” (saith Seneca) “is nothing else but a part of the Divine Spirit immers’d in a Human Body.” At the same rate the Pythagoreans and Platonists deify the Human Nature, forbidding Man to pollute, by corporeal Passions, their Domestick God.16 The Platonists suppos’d the Souls of all Animals to be parts of the Divine Substance; the Stoicks, the Minds of Men only; the more tolerable Hypothesis of the two; yet, because it supposes a Separation of the parts of the Deity, and that the parts of God may be miserable, it is to be rejected with Indignation.
A like intermixture of absurd Fancies has overspread their Moral Philosophy; “That all Sins are equal; That all, who are not of the Wise of the first Form, are equally foolish, bad, vicious, morbid, miserable, mad.” This earthly Region is visibly a Region of Sin and Suffering; But in Stoicism, which is a sullen and surly contempt of Human Calamities, the State of the World is a Festival Solemnity. Death is the Nature of Man, not Punishment; and the serious Calamities of Mankind, “Deaths, Rapines, the slaughtering Men and sacking Cities, are to be contemplated as the scenical Shiftings on the Theatres; the Tears of Mourners as shews of Lamentations, and (the affairs of Life being a Play) as Childrens crying.” They are not troubled for their own Vices, “for who hindreth them from rectifying their own Principles?” Nor are they troubled at the Impieties of others, or angry and offended at their Sins and Injuries. “If any one hath sinn’d” (saith the Stoick) “the hurt is only his own. Wickedness doth not at all hurt the World. Jupiter hath so dispos’d things, that there should be Summer and Winter, Fruitfulness and Barrenness, Virtue and Wickedness, and all such contrarieties, for the good and symphony of the Universe. The worst of Men do but act according to their own Opinion, and are to be rectify’d, not destroy’d. All that offend, it is against their Will. All Men miss of the Truth against their Will. Nothing is hurtful to a part, which is for the good of the whole. What is not hurtful to the City, hurteth not a Citizen. Bad Men are neither affected with Benefits, nor have they any Benefactors, nor are they guilty of neglecting their Benefactors.”
Their gross Immoralities.§XI. The great Imperfection of the Stoical Institution (applicable also to the other Pagan Institutions) appears from the gross Immoralities wherein they liv’d; for they were not well disciplin’d against the foul Vices of Drunkenness, Uncleanness, and irreligious Swearing. Seneca pleadeth for Drunkenness, Zeno liv’d in it, and Chrysippus died by it.17 The great Hercules, celebrated for a great Drinker, (his Cup also is celebrated,) is a Divine Man in the Style of Epictetus’s Dissertations; and Cato, a Stoical Wise-Man of the first Form, is of the same Character: But No-Body must call his Drunkenness a Crime; “for it is easier” (saith Seneca) “to make it no Crime, than Cato a Criminal.” But, as a Stoick is extravagant in his Supposition, “That he remaineth safe and unhurt in Drink and in Melancholy; that his Body may be in Drink as to all its Senses and Powers, yet his Mind remain unprejudic’d,” (which is the meaning of that Maxim, The Wise-Man is liable to be inebriated, but not drunk;) so it is a wild kind of Virtue, that is consistent with so great a Vice, which is indeed all Vices in one, and the Mother of all Wickedness. But these impure Heathens suppos’d, “That there is a right and prudent use of Drunkenness, which contributeth to Virtue, and that it ought not to be extirpated from a well-govern’d City.” “Plato forbiddeth Children to drink any Wine, before they be 18, and to be drunk before they come to 40. But such he is content to pardon, if they chance to delight themselves with it, and alloweth them somewhat largely, to blend the influence ofBacchusin their Banquets, that good God who bestoweth cheerfulness upon Men, and Youth unto aged Men, who allayeth and asswageth the Passions of the Mind, (even as Iron is made flexible by the Fire;) and, in his profitable Laws, drinking-Meetings are look’d upon as necessary and commendable, (always provided there be a chief Leader among them, to contain and order them;) Drunkenness being a good and certain Tryal of every Man’s Nature, and therewithal proper to give aged Men the courage to make merry in Dancing and in Musick, things allowable and profitable, and such as they dare not undertake being sober and settled.”18Anacharsis was addicted to Drunkenness, as Plutarch informs us; and the Prince of Philosophical Heathen Saints, even Socrates himself, “tho’ he was not forward to drink at Banquets” (as we are inform’d by one of his Scholars,) “when he was compell’d, master’d all; and, which is most to be wondred at, no Man ever saw Socrates drunk.” We are told, that he spent whole Nights in drinking, and that the Greeks praise him exceedingly, that having spent a whole long Night, drinking for Victory with Aristophanes, he was able at Day-break, to delineate and demonstrate a subtil geometrical Problem, thereby shewing, that the Wine had no noxious Effect upon him.19
Socrates was a great Lover; and it was in his Time so genteel for Men to be Lovers of Boys, that it was forbidden to Slaves; tho’ at Athens the Laws prohibited the Practice universally, but ineffectually. Socratici Cinaedi were proverbial. Both the Popular and Philosophical Pagans were addicted to this Vice. Such Love of Boys as was at Thebes, Elis, and in Crete, is condemn’d by Plutarch in his Treatise of Education, who alloweth that which was at Lacedaemon and Athens; yet we are assured, that it prevail’d criminally in all parts of Greece, but at Athens most. Euripides, being invited to a Banquet by King Archelaus, became Drunk, and in that Mood kiss’d the Poet Agatho (who sat next him) being then 40 Years old. Whereupon the King ask’d him, if his Paramour were yet delectable? To which Euripides answer’d, That not only the Spring, but the Autumn of the Fair, is delectable. It is certain, That Socrates, Plato, Xenophon, Cebes, Cicero, approv’d the Masculine Amours, which among the Philosophers was without Disgrace, or Reprehension.20 It was they which wrote Love-Dialogues and Discourses, which the Coelestial Venus never inspired. Socrates and Cato communicated their Wives to their Friends. “All manner of Incest, Adultery, and Masculine Mixtures, some of the famous antient Philosophers accounted Things indifferent.”21 Some of the Stoicks befriended Chastity at an extraordinary Rate, commending chast Eyes, forbidding obscene Speech, advising Men to be Pure, as much as may be, from Things Venereal before Marriage;22 yet most of them agreeing with the Popular Pagans, amongst whom the Harlotry of simple Fornication was accounted no Crime, and which almost all the great Philosophers are known to have liv’d in.23 But the generality of that Sect are prodigiously Paradoxical in their Unchastities; Teaching the Father to commit Incest with the Daughter, the Son with the Mother, and the Brother with the Sister; Men and Women to wear the same Garments; that no Speeches are obscene, and that every Thing should be call’d by its own Name, themselves not scrupling the most immodest Actions.24Zeno (as Laertius informs us) was a lover of Boys, made use of both Sexes, and sware by a He-Goat, a lascivious Animal. As for Socrates, he has had the Happiness of eloquent Apologists. As for Plato, he is charg’d with Unchastity by some of his greatest Admirers, who own’d, that the subject Matter of his Convivium is not the Love of Men and Women, but the Love of Men towards Boys, and that not merely as a Platonick Lover. When it was objected to Apuleius, that his Love-Verses were not suitable to a Platonick Philosopher, he justifies himself by Plato’s Practice, who had no Verses extant, but Love-Verses upon the Boys After, Alexis, Phadrus, and Dion: And Ficinus (in Argum. in Charmid.) changeth and omitteth part of the amatorious Things in Plato’s Charmides, as offensive to chast Ears.25Plato will have young Soldiers that behave themselves Valiantly, gratify’d in their Amours, whether Masculine, or Feminine. Following Lycurgus’s Institution, he will have Women expos’d Naked to the Eyes of Men. Transcending Lycurgus’s Institution, and the Impieties of the Popular Pagans, he abolisheth Marriage, and instituteth the Community of Women; which was likewise the Doctrine of Zeno and Chrysippus, the Founders of Stoicism. Such are the unpopular and irreligious Institutions of the Heathen Philosophers; which are partly to be attributed to the Spirit of Uncleanness, predominant in the Philosophick Pagans, (insomuch that Lais once laughed, to see more of the Philosophers with her, than of any other sort of Men;) and partly to their cross-grain’d unpopular Humour, express’d by Diogenes, who entering into the Theater opposite to the People that were coming out, was ask’d, why he did so. “This,” said he, “I study to do thro’ my whole Life”; as Laertius relates in his Life.26 But, altho’ the Philosophers had a great Affectation, to distinguish themselves from the Popular Pagans, yet they transcend them in the absurdity of their Institutes; and the Popular Pagan Doctors may at least vie with them for sound Morality, whence Horace prefers Homer before them.
Christianity forbiddeth common and customary Swearing, whether by Creatures, or by the Deity; and all irreligious Swearing. But no Moral Philosophers ever prohibited Swearing by the Creatures. Socrates ordinarily practis’d it, (doubtless out of Reverence to the Gods,) sometimes Swearing by Animals, a Dog, a Goose, a Goat, and sometimes by Plants, an Oak, or a Plane-Tree. Nor is this the only Defect in their Discipline touching Oaths; for being Separatists from the Popular Pagans, whom they contemn’d at a great Rate, and no great Friends to their Civil Government, they were shy of solemn judicial Oaths, which are of all other the most allowable and needful, but made no scruple of idle criminal Swearing. Clinias the Pythagorean, in a Suit depending before the Judge, might have freed himself from a Fine of three Talents, by taking a true and just Oath: But he chose rather to pay the Mulct, than to take the Oath; so great a respect had these Pythagoreans for their own Philosophical Institution, and so little for Civil Government. For it is well known, that they were not so shy of Swearing by the Master of their Institution, as Religionists Swear by their God: And Hierocles, who hath given many wise Cautions touching the Use of Oaths, with respect to the Honour of the Gods, justifieth their Practice. Touching a solemn judicial Oath Epictetus saith, Refuse it altogether, if it be possible: If not, “as much as may be”; yet himself ordinarily swears in his Dissertations, “I swear to you” (saith he) “by all the Gods.”
The Epicurean Tenets of Morality.§XII. So much for the Stoicks, who “plac’d Happiness in Virtue only.” The Epicurean Scheme, which makes the whole Man to be only a corporeal Engine, may be dispatch’d (from Bp. Parker) in a few Words.28 For Epicurus, consistently with that Principle, “plac’d all Happiness in the Pleasure of the Body alone,” which Doctrine at once destroys all Obligations to Virtue and Honesty, and to Religion, which he trampled under Foot. Epicurus himself plac’d all Happiness in the Enjoyments of the Palate, and such like. Metrodorus, his favourite Disciple, made the Belly, the only Seat of Happiness. In freedom from Pain, in sensual Enjoyments, and in Reflexions upon them, he plac’d the whole of Happiness. Indolence is the Happiness of Stones, and Sensual Pleasures, of Swine, in as great perfection as Epicurus himself enjoy’d them, forought we know. So that all the boasted Happiness of the Epicureans, without a future State, was equally vain and insecure, which at once effectually overthrows it; shocking us, even in the Enjoyment of what is mean and low, with the Fears of losing even that. And then, to comfort us under all the Miseries of Life, they throw out a parcel of Falshoods and Subtleties. As that Length of Time doth not increase Happiness; as if either Happiness, or Misery, for 2 Hours were not twice as great as Happiness, or Misery, for one Hour. That Pain is short, if great; light, if long, which will afford but very little Relief to a Man under those Chronical Diseases of great Torture, Gout and Stone. That we must lop off the Fear of future Evils, and the Remembrance of those which are past. Easily said! The Difficulty lies in the Application. That we are to resist Pain with all our Power; for, if we fly, we shall be conquer’d, if we stand our Ground, we shall gain the Victory. As if we could either fly from, or resist, Pain, as a Man does his Enemy.
Of a piece with these, are their Consolations against the Fear of Death; against which nothing is a solid Comfort, in the midst of our present Enjoyments, but the well-grounded Hopes of a happy Immortality. How ridiculous an Antidote is it against that which takes away all our Enjoyments, to tell us, That, when that comes, it cannot hurt us, because when that is, we are not? Self-Love and the Fear of Annihilation are Instincts too powerful to be baffled by such a subtlety. Just (as Plutarch well observes) as if you should tell a Man in a Storm at Sea, that your Ship has no Pilot, and that there is no hope of allaying the Tempest; but yet, however, be not afraid, for in a little Time the Ship shall split and sink, and, when you are drown’d, the Storm will trouble you no longer. According to this Scheme, if we have all the Enjoyment in Life we can expect, we lose Happiness in a little Time after we come to know what it is, of which too we are in continual Apprehensions; but the Wretched come into the World, only to lament and leave it; than which how much better would it be, not to have been born. But, say they, we ought to bear with Patience what we cannot avoid. But the Fear of it, upon their Scheme of Annihilation, is as Death it-self is, tho’ the Philosopher should take ever so much Pains to expose it as foolish; whose Rules cannot take away what is Natural, and, consequently, not in our Power. “In the next Place,” say they, “we are already Dead to so much of our Life as is past and gone; so that so much as we live, we die, and that which we call Death, is but our last Death; and, therefore, as we fear not our Death that is past, why should we that which is to come?” But, if we have been dying ever since we were born, that is it which grieves us, that we cannot be doing so for ever. Such was the Reasoning of the Epicurean Old Man, who reconcil’d himself to his approaching Death, because “it is as absurd to fear Death as old Age, which yet all desire, in that as old Age follows Youth, so Death follows old Age.” For old Age is desirable, not because it follows Youth, but because it defers Death. “Such is that other Reasoning, that, whereas we now count our-selves Happy, if we live to an hundred Years, yet, if the natural Course of our Lives were as much shorter, we should be as much satisfy’d with twenty; and, if our natural Course reach’d to a thousand Years, we should then be as much troubled to die at 600, as now at 60, and so forward.” Which proves nothing, but that there is no Time, in which an Epicurean can be content to die. No better is that Device of Gassendus, “though a Man’s Life may be short in it-self, yet may he make it equal with the Duration of the whole World, because he may converse with the Transactions of all former Times, and be as well acquainted with them, as if himself had then actually liv’d. And, as for the Time to come, he, knowing that nothing shall be but what has been, understands all future Events as if present; so that a wise Man, partly by Memory, partly by Foresight, may extend his short Life to all Ages of the World.”29 But, if he could, unless he could make himself Immortal too, the Objection would still be as strong as ever. His other Arguments, to persuade us to be content with our Condition, are as ineffectual. As first, that “otherwise we forget our mortal Nature expos’d to Misery,” that is, that a Man must be content with his Condition, because he knows his Condition to be miserable. And, secondly, that “it is some Comfort, that, when all Men are expos’d to Misery, you are less miserable than others,” that is, that, tho’ I endure most of the Calamities of human Life, yet I am happy, if I think one more miserable; according to which there can be no Misery, but the greatest.
Secondly, The Epicureans destroy all Virtue, by making it wholly subservient to sensual Pleasure, making Virtue the Means, and Sensuality the End; so that what we now call Vice would be Virtue, if it promoted the Delights of the Body the more effectually of the two. A hopeful Foundation of Morality!
If Epicurus liv’d soberly and abstemiously, on coarse Bread and Water, and sometimes Sallet, it was more owing to the Weakness of his Stomach and Constitution, than to the Strength of his Principles, which were as much in contradiction to that method of living, as his denying Providence, with his pretending, that he had left Devotion; his teaching, that all Friendship is for Self-interest, and yet that Men are bound to undergo even Death for the sake of Friends. If sensual Pleasures be the chief Good, he must be happiest, that enjoys them most, and wisest, that procures them most; and then Apicius will be a happier and wiser Man than Pythagoras, Socrates, or Plato.
As for Justice, it is no farther a Virtue, upon the Epicurean Scheme, which turns to ridicule the Ties and Checks of Conscience, than as it promotes bodily Pleasures; that is, we are not oblig’d to act according to Justice, when we can promote them by any Action, which we are cunning enough to conceal, or powerful enough to support. All Virtue, according to them, any farther than it promotes their own sensual Pleasure, is owing only to Custom, popular Opinion, and the Prejudices of Education, which a wise Man, say they, must comply with, in order to promote his own Ends. If this were the Case, the Encouragement to Virtue, and Restraints upon Vice, are not sufficient.
And, if there be no obligation to Justice, there can be no place for Fortitude, which is only in defence of an honest and a just Cause, separated from which it is Folly, and in opposition to it, Oppression. But, upon the Epicurean Scheme, every thing ought to be sacrific’d to the preservation of Life, and the enjoyment of sensual Pleasure, which it would, therefore, be folly to hazard, and madness to sacrifice, in defence of either Friends, or Country; for Religion is with them out of the Question.
It may justly be question’d, Whether the Heathen Philosophers, in the whole, were of Service to the Cause of Virtue.§XIII. The Philosophers, amongst the Greeks, succeeded the Poets in the profession of teaching Virtue; and they certainly made improvements in moral Discipline, they reduc’d it into the form of an Art, enrich’d it with variety of Arguments, fortified its Precepts with great Reasons, propos’d many wise Considerations for subduing exorbitant Affections and Passions; they set forth the praises of Virtue, its excellency and importance, with great Vigour and Eloquence; and, in several instances, excellently declaim’d against Vice with great Wit and Judgment; they disparag’d the Vanities of the World, and the Follies of human Life. There is amongst them an unpopular kind of Virtue, which, altho’ greatly distant from the holy Life, yet, in several respects, does resemble it. Their Discipline and Institution had a considerable effect upon some of themselves; some of the Philosophers were great Examples of the Virtue which they taught, and they made some few Converts from Debauchery to Philosophy; and some few Commonwealths have had their Laws from Philosophers. The Philosophers, therefore, may seem to have done a great deal of Service to the Interest of Virtue; but, if their Disservices be set against their Services; if their Ignorance, Vice, and Extravagance, be compar’d with their Virtue; it may justly be doubted, upon a full Comparison, whether they have done any real Service at all to the Cause of Virtue and Goodness. The mighty Prejudices, which they have done to the Interests of it, clearly enough appear in the accounts already given; for the further setting of which in a clear Light, we will here take a brief Survey, both of their moral Learning and of their Life.
As appears, from a Consideration of the Divine Virtue of the Philosophick Pagans;1. The sublimer sort of them distributed the Virtues into three Kinds, the Ethical, Political, and Divine. The Ethical and Political Virtue may be called the common Morality, which constitutes a good Man; but the Divine Virtue is suppos’d to be his Assimilation to God, and his Deification. This Divine Virtueis Philosophic-Pagan, the Popular-Pagans having no concern in it, and was the invention of Philosophy, but was not for the Interest of Virtue, but was rather to its Prejudice and Disservice; for it is not truly Divine Moral Virtue, constituting a divinely-good Man, but an Imposture, unpopular Humour, Fancy; and a wicked sort of Bravery is made the End, the Chief Good, the Divine Virtue, and the Happiness, of Man, his Assimilation to God, and his Deification. Apollonius ask’d the Brachmans, “What they were”? Jarchas, the Prince of them, answer’d, “They thought themselves Gods.” Apathy they thought a great and a Divine Thing, “To live in the Body, as the Soul of the World in the World, which cannot be struck, or impress’d upon, from without. Heis devoid of Grief; is not a compound of Soul and Body; accounteth not the Death of Mortals, or the Ruin of his Country, any great Matter; he is above the Fear of any thing; trusteth to himself, that he shall have nothing of Evil, so he shall be fearless of any thing,” saith Plotinus.30 Thus they oppose the sufficiency of Virtue against all Externals. But to be thus unapprehensive of Danger, is Folly and Fool-hardiness; it is as unnatural, as it is irreligious, and ruinous to all true Virtue and Goodness. They thus impiously deified themselves, and their Virtue, by their self-Sufficiency, self-Security, and Confidence. “They that are furnish’d with the Virtues, living in greatness and celsitude of Mind, are always in Happiness. Philosophy setteth them intirely in the Fortress of Virtue, above Grief and Fear.”31
And from the excessive Pride of the Stoicks.2. There is much of Pride and Arrogance, complicated with other Vices, in the Philosophick Pagans rampant Affectation of Divinity. They were as highly conceited of their own Merits, as Diogenes was, who fancied, that he merited his Alms. In Aristotle’s Composition of Magnanimity32 there is a large Dose of Pride, and Celsus’s Generosity33 is of the same Character. Much of the Stoical Philosophy is a rant and huff of Pride; the greatness and height of Mind, to which they pretend, is bloated and unsound; and the Constancy of their Wise-Man is a System of such Maxims, as are the very Quintessence of Pride. “The Wise-Man is not obnoxious to any Injury. The Wise-Man can suffer no Evil. An Injury detracteth and diminisheth, whereas nothing can be taken from the Wise-Man,” who hath all in himself. “Wickedness is not so strong as Virtue, therefore the Wise-Man is not hurt by Malice. None can benefit the Wise-Man,” who wanteth nothing, “therefore none can hurt him. An Injury is from Hope, or Fear; the Wise-Man is touch’d with neither. None receiveth an Injury unmov’d, the Wise-Man is not mov’d. A Contumely is a Contempt, and thence hath its Name; which the Wise-Man doth not look upon as belonging to him, who knows his own Greatness. He thinketh also, thatall others are so much inferiour, that they have not boldness to despise Things so high above them. If he once debaseth himself, so as to be mov’d with Injury, or Contumely, he can never be secure; whereas Security is the proper Good of the Wise-Man.”34 If Pride and Stomachfulness had not been one of the Stoicks Cardinal Virtues, they could not have applauded Cato’s barbarous Self-Murder, “who scorn’d to be a Petitioner to any, either for his Death, or his Life, and was a contemner of all Powers.”35 They call themselves great Men, and accordingly found their Happiness, not upon the Favours of God and true Piety, but upon their Greatness of Spirit, the Greatness and Stoutness of an high invincible Mind;36 whence their Virtue becomes a sort of Self-magnifying and Self-deifying, which is but an illegitimate kind of Bravery of Spirit, incongruous to their Condition as Creatures, much more incongruous to frail miserable Men, and most of all incongruous to wicked miserable Sinners. Nor is there any Thing more distastful to a truly pious Mind, than the haughty Pharisaical Humour of these Philosophick-Pagan Magnificoes swaggering with their Virtue, their Magnitude, their Celsitude, their Altitude, their Fortitude, their Beatitude. Pride suggested that Stoical Maxim of Heraclitus. “The Wise need not any Friends.” Whence all the wonderful Provision, which Divine Grace has made for a World of wicked Sinners, was lost upon these Philosophers; for they that need no Friend, need no Saviour, or Salvation. They were able to live of themselves, and had an imaginary Happiness of their own making, wherein they took Satisfaction and Content; they look’d upon their Philosophy as the Perfection of Wisdom and Virtue, in it-self and to them; and thought, both themselves and their Institution, far Superiour to Popular Mankind; and, therefore, it was but agreeable to their Philosophick Grandeur and Magnificence, to contemn Christianity, which is a popular Institution, design’d for, and adapted to, the Salvation of miserable Sinners; whereas they were rais’d to a Superiority above Sin and Misery, and suppos’d themselves nothing less than Divine Men, and Kings, Jupiter’s Sons and Peers, and petty Deities. “It must be something Super-Human, Celestial, and Magnificent, that constituteth the Wise-Man. If thou ask, What that is? As God and his Beatitude is Constituted, so is the Wise-Man.”37Chrysippus affirmed, “That the Happiness of Jove is in no respect more Eligible, nor more Fair, nor more Venerable, than that of the Wise-Man.” Virtues are thought to be true and genuine, when they are lov’d and desir’d for their own sake; but it appears, from the Stoicks Elation of Mind, that when Virtues are desir’d for their own sake, in a way of Separation from God, and without any Relation to him, they are proud and tumid, and are rather Vice than Virtue. Plato is much more modest in his Accounts of Virtue, than the strutting Stoicks; yet some of the Stoick’s principal Maxims, which nothing but Pride inspir’d, particularly that eminent One, “The Wise-Man is self-sufficient,” are derived from Socrates and Plato. Pride made Plato an envious Man, Socrates an ireful Man, the Cynick a Boaster in his great Atchievements in the Conquest of Vice. The best of these Masters alloweth us μεγαλοϕρονἕιν, “to be proud of the Conquest of any Vice.”38 And, “We rightly glory in our Virtue,” saith Cicero, a great Wit, but a very vain-glorious Man, who also complaineth to his Wife, “Neither the Gods, whom thou hast most chastly serv’d, nor Men, whom I have constantly sav’d, have requited us.”39
These Philosophers have been justly call’d, what they certainly were to a Crime, Animals of Glory, and Traffickers for Fame; yet so, as to be great Adversaries to the Appetite of Vain-Glory, as appeareth from the Tenor of their Philosophy. They despis’d the Popular Pagans, their Judgment, Fame, Pomp, Acclamations, and Applause, at a great Rate; they expatiate upon the Emptiness of Fame, as also, how narrow, inconstant, and devoid of Judgment it is; and the Folly and Iniquity of those who affect it; that we ought to consider the Quality of Persons that praise, or dispraise; that Fame is one of those Things, which are not in our power, which others give and take away at pleasure; and therefore, say they, they are Fools who affect it, that desire to be esteem’d Beneficent for doing Good; who suppose, that the Applause of such is of great Moment, that know not themselves, and would be had in Admiration by those, who themselves call Mad: That Fame and Honour is not worth the while, being but a mere noise and clattering of Tongues, some Body telling these Things to some Body; they that praise another, soon dispraising him, and both being quickly buried in Oblivion: Good is not the better for being prais’d; we should be indifferent whether we do our Duty, disprais’d, or prais’d: The Lovers of Good practise it, as Lovers enjoy one another, secretly, without desiring any Hearers, or Spectators, to praise them: That we ought not to accept the Praise and Approbation of ill Men, nor guide our Life by the Opinion of the Injudicious, nor place our Happiness in the Minds and Thoughts of others, nor so much as take into our Thoughts what others say, or think, of us. Some that were not Stoicks40 count themselves mean Proficients, except a Reproach be as welcome to them, as a Mark of hearty Approbation. The Stoicks exercise themselves to an indifferency as to Praise and Dispraise; and, notwithstanding their Pharisaical Humour in other respects, in all Things to avoid Ostentation, and to do nothing for Opinion. They are urgent with Men, to chuse that which is Good, because it is Good, and not for popular Opinion; and some of them will not stretch out a Finger for a good Fame.41 They deride the Ambitious and Vain Glorious, ridicule their Folly, who are puffed up with Honour, neither admire, nor desire Greatness, (some thinking Riches and Principalities inconsistent with virtuous Living,42 ) hugely disparage a great Name and Fame after Death; forewarn all that will be Philosophers, to expect Derision and Reproaches at their Entrance upon the Philosophick Life; teach them to bear Reproaches well, with great Equanimity and Benevolence; to do well, tho’ it expose them to Disgrace, and not to desist from good Practice, nor to fear Contempt, but to contemn Infamy. In this their Doctrine they were much more severe, than those who suppose, “Ambition to be of use in correcting the other vicious Affections, but must itself be put off in the last Place, as Plato hath call’d it the last Coat.”43 But their Pride and Arrogance was of an unpopular Kind, mix’d with a vicious Affectation of Vain-Glory; for the Greek Philosophers usually reproach’d one another with their Vain-Glory;44 thus Antisthenes, Crates, Diogenes, Plato, Pyrrho, were reproach’d by their Fellow-Philosophers; Socrates espied it thro’ the Holes of Antisthenes’s Cloak; and of Socrates himself, perhaps, Cardan has made a right Judgment, “That he was extremely desirous of Glory, altho’ he most of all dissembled this.”45 They glory’d in their contempt of Glory, supposing that a contempt of Glory was the best way to obtain it. Therefore, tho’ they may justly be accounted Animals of popular Glory, yet their Philosophy was a great Adversary to the Appetite of it, and they reproach’d one another with it, as a vicious Affection.
The Stoicks, in consequence of their excessive Pride, were too stout to humble themselves under the afflicting hand of Providence. The Platonists will not always allow this Supposition, “That Calamities are from a divine Hand,” or, “That God is the Dispenser, both of Things Good and Evil to us.”46 But the Popular Pagans were not too high to be humbled; they looked upon their Calamities, as the Effects of the Anger of their Gods, acknowledg’d their Dependence upon them, and, in any great Distress of their Affairs, betook themselves to their most humble Supplications, in order to atone their Displeasure, and gain their Favour.
One of the bravest Exploits, which the Philosophick Pagans constantly celebrate, is the killing of Tyrants, and delivering Cities and Nations from them. The Practice of this applauded Virtue occasion’d the Torture of Zeno Eleates, who is said, to have kept the Doctrine of Parmeendes inviolate as Gold in the Fire, “And by his Deeds he shew’d, that a great Man feareth nothing but to be base; that it is Children and Women, andMen, who have the Souls of Women, that are afraid of Pain.”47 From which Idea of a great Man it appeareth, that the Fortitude of the Heathen Philosophers is of no better Kind than the common Military Fortitude, or the Fortitude of those celebrated Popular Pagans, Mutius and Regulus, of Cleopatra and Asdrubals Wife, who threw herself and her Children into the Fire; or of that famous Harlot at Athens, who, knowing of a Conspiracy against the Life of the Tyrant there, with great Bravery suffer’d her-self to be tortur’d to Death, rather than she would discover the Conspirators, and, biting off a piece of her Tongue, spit it out into the Tyrant’s Face.
Philosophy cannot boast of many great Examples of Patience; the Grandees of the Stoical Family, Cato and Brutus, falling into Troubles fell into transports of Rage and Impatience. So Hierocles, according to Saidas, being whipp’d at Byzantium ’till the Blood came, took the Blood in the Hollow of his Hand, and threw it upon the Judge, saying, “Cyclops, there is Wine for you, seeing you have eaten Man’s Flesh.” Some, indeed, of the Philosophick Pagans have express’d an admirable Constancy of Mind in shaking Circumstances. As Cleanthes, who stood unmov’d without changing Countenance, when he was publickly reproach’d in the Theatre by the Poet Sositheus.48 And Polemo did not so much as wax Pale, when his Leg was torn by mad Dogs. Yet, because this Philosophick Firmness was but of the same Kind with Epicurus’s in his Strangury, or the Sceptick Pyrrho’s, who endur’d cuttings and burnings with great constancy of Mind; or that of well disciplin’d Gladiators, and the Spartan Boys, who were whipp’d at the Altar, ’till the Blood gush’d out of their Bowels, without whimpering; therefore some have rightly pronounc’d concerning that Patience which Philosophy professeth, that it is Spurious, only a proud Sullenness; so much the more Spurious, as it is the more Proud. Lipsius therefore, otherwise an extravagant Admirer of Stoicism, lying upon his Sick-Bed, and strugling with grievous Pain, discarded the Stoical Patience, and having our Saviour’s Picture hanging near his Bed, he pointed to it, and gave his Patience its due Character, “That is the true Patience.”49
Several of the Philosophers have discours’d against Revenge, or retaliating Injuries, for the bearing them with Meekness, and for universal Benevolence;50 and there are several Instances of these Virtues amongst the Greek Philosophers.51 But their Practice of them looks more like unpopular Humour, than serious Goodness; in laying the Foundation of them, they intermix much of Pride, and Paradoxical Stoical Conceit, That the Wise-Man can suffer no Injury: And the most considerable Instances of these mighty Virtues are Aristides and Phocion, who may justly be reckon’d among the Popular Pagans. Aristides, after great Services, being banish’d by his Citizens unjustly, at his Departure pray’d the Gods, that the Athenians might never, by any Trouble, or Distress, be forc’d to recal him. And Phocion, being unjustly condemn’d, charg’d his Son Phocas, that he should never revenge his Death. But these Resemblances of Christian Virtue in Heathen good Men, did not issue from a divine Kind of Charity, but were Branches of their Human-Social Virtue, and issued from a mighty Love to their Country, which is most eminent in Heathens. The Virtue of these Popular Pagans pretendeth not to be Divine, nor do they, therefore, deserve to be celebrated as divine Men upon account of it: But the Philosophick Pagans, by far lesser Matters than these, got the Reputation of divine Men. One of their principal Virtues was their abandoning the Superfluities of Life. Whence Diogenes, seeing one take Water out of a River with his Hand, and drinking it out of his Hand, threw away his Dish, which he us’d to carry about him to drink Water in, resolving thence forth to drink it out of the hollow of his Hand; and for this Freak, with others of like Nature, this unpopular Humourist is celebrated by his Fellow-Philosophers as a “Divine Man.”
The Philosophick Pagans were like the Popular, in not discerning what is truly Divine and Holy, from what is Atheous and Unholy. Altho’ they liv’d in gross Crimes, beside their Pagan Religion, yet they did not discern between Sin and Holiness. They were Self-justifiers at the Rate of the Pharisees, and, therefore, perfectly indispos’d for such a Religion, that is a Religion for Sinners; and they were too high for Repentance, which the Popular Pagans were not, who had a Sense of Sin, and of their need of Pardon, which they often express’d at Death: But Apuleius52 pretends, “That he always accounted all Sin a Thing detestable”; Xenophon saith, “No one ever saw Socrates do, or heard him speak, any Thing that was Impious and Irreligious”: Socrates himself had no Sense of Sin at his Death, nor express’d any Repentance; nor is there any Appearance of either in Epictetus’s Preparatives for Death.53 Such mistaken Teachers of Virtue were these Sages of this World, that they thought themselves made Gods by such a Virtue, that could not make them the People of God, which was a very gross Mistake, and speaketh their Philosophy to be no better, than a worldly Kind of Wisdom, and their Virtue could be of no better a Character than their Philosophy. By their introducing their Philosophy, true Religion was much more prejudic’d, than it was before by their Pagan Religion, they made an additional Prejudice to it, they rais’d up a new Enemy, they introduc’d a Mountebank, who pretendeth to do all Cures, that a divine Physician might be thought needless.
3. The Spuriousness of the divine Virtues of the Platonists.3. The Super-Ethical, as they are called, or the Divine Virtues of the Platonists are of the spurious and illegitimate kind, and so blended with what is fanciful, or bad, that, in the whole, they signify little or nothing to the constituting a Divinely-good Man. This is the Character, not only of the Stoicks, but of the Platonists Divine Virtue, in all these Parts of it.
Such is their Divine Virtue, as it is their intellectual Form of Life, contemplative of the Platonick Intelligibles, and visionary of their T’Agathon,54 which cannot be discern’d but by a boniform Light, which is beyond all that is intellectual.
Such is their Divine Virtue, as it is Theurgick;55 for they pretend by a converse with the Gods in Theurgy, to be freed from Passion, to partake of Divine Perfections, and to have, what in their Dialect they call, a Deifick Union; which one Party of them pretendeth to in the Mystick-Metaphysical Way. And these say, “The End and Scope is, not to be without Sin, but to be a God.”56
Such is their Divine Virtue, as it is the Platonick Faith and Love; for this Love is only an Amatorious Madness. “When the Mind becometh Unmental” (or Mad) “being drunk with Nectar, this is the Mind, that is in Love.”57 Much of this sort of Divine Virtue there is in Platonism; an Ignorance, that is better than Knowledge; a Madness, that is better than Sobriety of Mind, a Divine Madness.
Such is their Divine Virtue, as it is the Virtue of the Mysticks and Quietists, “Who being seated in the Bay of super-essential Goodness, enjoy a super-natural Quietism”;58 to which Isidore the Platonist pretended. He said, “That his Soul itself, in sacred Prayers, became wholly a Divine Sea, having in the first Place collected her-self from the Body into her-self, having in the next place” (extatically) “parted with her own Morals, and be taken herself from rational Notions to those that are Congenial to Intellect; and in the third place being possess’d with Divine Afflation, and chang’d into an extraordinary Serenity, deiform, not human.
Such is their Divine Virtue, as it is an Aversation from Terrestrial, Material, and Mortal, Nature, and an Affectation of being wholly incorporeal and immaterial; for this Affectation of Immaterial Intellectual Nature, and to be mere intellectual Souls, is an irreligious Philosophick Vanity and Extravagance, not intirely free from Magick. For, in order to the Purity of the Soul, Pythagoras prescrib’d strict Abstinence from several sorts of Meats.
The Platonists agree, that, according to Plato in his Theaetetus, Virtue is a Similitude to God, or the Gods; “which Assimilation” (saith Plato) “consisteth in becoming Holy and Just with Prudence.” But to what God, or Gods, this divine Similitude relateth, in this they do not agree, nor wherein this Similitude consisteth. For some say, That this divine Similitude relateth to the Pagan Deities in general; others say, That it relateth to the Platonists divine Intellect; and others are of Opinion, That it relateth to their T’Agathon. Some place this divine Similitude in the speculative Virtue, and intellectual Form of Life; others place it in the practick Virtue, (Ethical and Political,) which seemeth to be the Sense of Plato; for Prudence, Holiness, and Justice, are practical Virtues. In his Fourth of Laws, he placeth the divine Similitude in Temperance, and in his Phaedo, he placeth it in Temperance and Justice; thus saying, “Are not they most Happy and Blessed, and such as go to the best Place, that have exercis’d the popular and political Virtues, which we call Temperance and Justice?” Plato, therefore, seemeth to place the divine Similitude in the Popular Pagans Holiness and Justice; which the generality of his Followers will not admit, counting the Civil Virtues only the Way to get the divine Similitude, and that this was the Sense of Plato. But, whatever may be thought of his Sense, his Account of Virtue, and of the divine Similitude, is an Instance, that the Philosophick-Pagans may in Words agree with our Religion, when in Sense there is an extreme Disagreement. For Plato’s divine Similitude, however it may be interpreted by his Followers, is extremely alien from, and opposite to, that truly divine Similitude, which is Wisdom, Righteousness, and true Holiness, wherewith he had no Acquaintance. For, had he been acquainted with that truly divine Kind of Justice, which is Righteousness, he could not have been a Pagan-Religionist; nor could he have instituted a Community of Women and of Goods in his Republick; nor would he have taken care to regulate the Drinking in the Feasts of Bacchus, without endeavouring to abolish them; nor could he so grosly have mistaken himself, as in a Book of Justice (his Fifth de Republicà,) to discourse in this manner touching the Greeks and Barbarians. “All Greeks are near of Kin, but extraneous and different from Barbarians. When the Grecians and Barbarians Fight with one another, this is properly called Fighting, for they are Enemies by Nature, and such a Feud must be called a War: But, if Grecians, that are Friends by Nature, quarrel with Grecians, this is an unnatural Distemper, and Greece must be said to be troubled with Sedition, and such a Feud must not be called a War, but a Sedition.”59 The Greeks had their Philosophy from the Barbarians, as they call’d them, and yet they commonly reproach’d them, and, usually, were so uncivil and unjust towards them, that they look’d upon them as “Enemies by Nature and wild Beasts.”60Plato follow’d the Popular Pagans in their Injustice, as well as in their irreligious Religion. So Plutarch, in the Life of Lycurgus, can find no Injustice in the Lacedamonians Common wealth, which was instituted for War, and fighting, not for Peace, as Aristotle observeth and blameth;61 the Spartan Virtue was the Love of Glory; they were train’d up and exercis’d to be expert Thieves; exposed and murder’d their weak and deform’d Infants, and even this horrible Injustice Plutarch approveth. Aristotle, also, is known to teach, “To expose Children that are maimed, and Women to cause Abortions, that they may not exceed their Number”;62 and he agrees with Plato in supposing, “That War is a natural Thing between the Greeks and Barbarians.”63Plato is justly chargeable with Injustice, in patronizing Lying, where in he follows the general Sense of the Heathens, which was, that a Lye is not bad, if it be expedient, and not pernicious in the Affairs of Men. So, in his Third and Fifth de Republicà, Plato would have Governours, “To make use of frequent Lying and Deceit for the Benefit of the Subjects; this must be granted to publick Governours, but not be touch’d by private Men.” If the Platonists human Justice is so bad, it is reasonable to suppose, that in their Divine, or super-human Virtue, they were not very good.
Aristotle pretended not to an Institution of Divine Virtue.4. Aristotle pretendeth not to an Institution of Divine Virtue, or to institute a Divine-Good Man. For, altho’ he acknowledges a Divine Virtue, yet it is in so slender a Degree, that he denies, that there can be any Friendship between God and Man; the Happiness that he insisteth on, is but the Civil; as the Virtue that he insisteth on, is but the Civil and Military;64 his Ethicks are but a Branch of worldly Politicks; his active Virtue consisteth in that Mean, which the worldly Man’s Prudence determineth; and what can living well signify, in a Civil Worldly Mans Institution of Virtue, but to live without Vice, or Crime, in the Notion of the Civil World? Therefore it is not to be wonder’d at, that Aristotle, differently from the Sense of other Philosophers, patronizeth Revenge;65 or that Cicero agrees with him in this Point, (for this must be acknowledg’d, notwithstanding what a learned Bishop hath said to the contrary;66 ) for the former of these did not pretend to be a Religionist, and the latter of them, altho’ a Philosopher, yet was not of any Philosophick Institution, and was so uncertain an Admirer of Philosophy, that sometimes he preferreth that one little Book of the XII Tables, before the Libraries of all the Philosophers, both for Utility and weight of Authority. The Lawyers, not without Reason, prefer their Institution to their Civil Virtue, before the Philosopher’s Institutions to their Divine Virtue; which yet must be acknowledg’d, to have a limited agreeableness to the truly Divine moral Virtue; but so that, in the whole, the Disagreement is far greater than the Agreement.
The Agenda of Christianity not agreeable to the Reason of the Philosophick Pagans.5. Whence we may make a Judgment of this Saying of the same learned Bishop; “All the Agenda of Christianity are so far from being opposite, that they are most agreeable to Human Reason, as ’tis cultivated and heighten’d to its utmost Improvement by Philosophy.”67 If this Saying be converted thus, All the Philosophers improv’d Reason (which is their Divine Virtue) is so far from being opposite, that it is most agreeable to the Agenda of Christianity, it will be a monstrous Proposition. For nothing can be more opposite to the Agenda of Christianity, than a great part of the Philosophers Divine Virtue; therefore the Agenda of Christianity are not so suitable to the Philosophers Reason, as is pretended. That this Saying may have any Appearance of Truth, it must be limited to the particular Agenda of Christianity; for these general Agenda of Christianity (which are also in part the general Agenda of Judaism) are directly and expressly opposite to the Philosophers improv’d Reason. “To have no other Gods but me; to worship the Lord thy God, and to serve him alone; to seek the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness; to take the Kingdom, enter into it, and buy it at any rate; to put off the Heathen Old Man, and to put on the New Man, in the (Christian) New Birth, in the New Covenant; to come out of the mundane Society, and the state of Sin and of Death, to pass into the state of Life, to incorporate with the Divine Family, and become a Citizen of the Holy Empire; not to adhere to, but to abandon the Kingdom of Darkness, and to manage an Holy War against its Powers, Interest, and Adherents; to live to him that died for us and rose again; to live for God and his Service, and to make it our daily Care and Prayer, that his Name may be hallow’d, and his Kingdom come.” All which Fundamental Agenda of the Christian Institution, and such like, are altogether alien from, and opposite to, the Philosophick Pagans Sentiments, as they are Pagans; nor is that plain Principle and summary of Piety, the Fear of God, suitable to their Reason; for they destroy’d it, which the Popular Pagans did not, by their Maxims, “Ira Deorum nulla est,”68The Gods are never angry, yet a learned Man saith, “He knows not any Evangelical Precept or Duty belonging to a Christian’s Practice, which natural Men of best Account” (the Philosophers) “by the mere Strength of Human Reason have not taught and taken upon them to maintain as Just and Reasonable.”69 But it would be far better to say; there are not any of the particular Agenda of Christianity, the Reasonableness where of may not be illustrated, by what they have suppos’d to be Just and Reasonable: So the Christian Martyrs Contempt of Death may be shew’d to be reasonable, which yet was so unsuitable to their improv’d Reason, that it is call’d by one of them70“mere Obstinacy”; and another of them imputeth it to “Madness and Custom.”71 The Agreement, therefore, between Christianity and Philosophy touching this Virtue, the Contempt of Death, is complicated with such Disagreement, that the Christians Virtue, of that Name, Philosophy discardeth as Vice and Folly; and the Philosophers Virtue, of that Name, Christians discard as Self-Murder, or profane Bravery.
There is, therefore, a want of Judgment and Piety in many of our Modern Elogies of the Christian Religion, and Vindications of its Morality, as in this following. “Christ Jesus taught Morality, viz. the Way of living like Men, and the fifth Chapter of Matthew is an excellent Lecture of this Kind.”72 To live like Men is a general ambiguous Expression, and to make it of a determinate Signification, it must be understood, to signify in a Sense of Disparagement, To live as mere Men; or in a Sense of Excellency, To live as more than mere Men. If in the former Sense our Saviour hath taught us, To live like Men; he was a Teacher of Morality, at the same rate with Homer, of whom Cicero complaineth, “He maketh the Gods to live like Men, whereas he ought to make Men live like the Gods.”73 So our Saviour is suppos’d, to teach Christians to live like Men; whereas his Business was, to teach Men to live like Christians. Things more Vulgar, and accommodate to the human Size, have the Name of Man call’d upon them in Scripture; but they are Things great and extraordinary, that have the Name of God call’d upon them, Job 1. 6. Psal.65. 9. 104. 16. Isa. 8. 1. Gal. 1. 7, 11. To live like Men, therefore, is far from being expressive of the Christian Godliness, which is a living according to God, and to sink it into such a Morality, is a debasing the Divinity of the Christian Religion. Whose holy Laws are Christianity, which cannot be of one Piece with the Moralities of Jews and Heathens, and, therefore, must not be call’d Morality, merely such, but the Divine, or Christian Kind of Morality, which ought to be contradistinguish’d to mere Heathen Morality. And what can be more apparent, than that our Saviour’s Beatitudes, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, blessed are they that Mourn,” are not Rules of mere Morality, teaching to live like Men, but are Rules initiative into the Christian Sanctity, which is the Life of the regenerate Children of God? So the following Precepts, “Ye are the Salt of the Earth, the Light of the World, let your Light shine before Men, that they may glorify your Father which is in Heaven,” are not Precepts of Morality, enjoining nothing more than to live like mere Men. And, in the Progress of a Sinner’s Conversion to Godliness, such Difficulties and Conflicts usually occur, that speak it a sort of Virtue, greatly distant from, and transcendent to, ordinary Moral Virtue, which is so remote from it, that it may indispose Men to the Acquisition of it. “For Men, never much affrighted with the Danger, wherein all by Nature stand, nor inflam’d with the Love of a better Country than they enjoy, cannot address themselves to any resolute, or speedy Departure out of the Territories of Civil Moralities, within which, if Satan hold us, he maketh full reckoning of us, as of his Civil, or Natural, Subjects.”74 Therefore, to the way of removing out of Satan’s Territories to the Territories of Godliness, the Civil Moralities may, by Accident, be a great Impediment. For the Way is a duly humbling Repentance. The high and brave Spirit of Man must be broken; it must be Poor, that he may be Rich; empty, that he may be filled; have nothing, that he may possess all Things; be Condemn’d, that he may be Pardon’d; be a Fool, that he may be Wise; and Die, that he may be made Alive. All Virtue, which is not the Christian, is but that of the Will of Man, of Mind and Quality, the Human. Inter Ethnicam Philosophiam & Christianam tantum interest, quantum a divino Spiritu humanum a best ingenium.75
The Virtue and Religion of the Heathen Philosophers, were of so spurious a kind, as, in part, to cause the unjust Persecution of the Primitive Christians.The Sufferings of the Primitive Christians may reasonably be thought an Effect, not only of the Popular Pagan’s Vice and Folly, but of the Philosophick Pagans Wisdom and Virtue; for their truly great and generous Maxims of Virtue, in their Sense and Application, lead to the Persecution of the Christian Church and Religion, and make it Virtue and Duty. Their most noble and generous Maxims of Virtue, are touching the social Duty of Man, Duty to the Publick, to the Whole, to the Universe of rational Beings. For they suppos’d, “That every particular Man is a Member of the Publick, and of the Whole consisting of Heathen Gods and Men, a Part of that Whole; and that, as a Part, he is for the Whole intirely, (for himself, only as a Part of the Whole,) for its Being and Well-being, to Constitute and Preserve it, and to be Useful and Subservient to its Interest. But the Physician cutteth off distemper’d Parts of the Body, for the Safety and Welfare of the Whole. As particular Men, and lesser Systems, must suffer for the Whole; so they are design’d and oblig’d, faithfully to take care of, and co-operate to, the Welfare of the Whole, of their Fellow-Members and Fellow-Citizens, wherein their own Welfare is involv’d, as a Part in the Whole. The Publick and Universal Good, is the great Good. As Cato was minded,”
Non sibi, sed toto genitum se credere Mundo.
“He believ’d, That he was not born for his own private Advantage, but for that of the whole World. And, on the contrary, base Selfishness is the Sum of all Evil. Because I am of Kin (saith Marcus Antoninus) to those Parts of the Universe, that are of the same kind, I will Practise nothing unsocial: But rather, I will take care of those that are my Kindred, and incline my whole Man to the common Utility, and avoid the contrary; often say to thy-self, I am a Member of the System of Rational Beings. But, if thou say, I am a distinct Part of that System, thou dost not love Men from the Heart, nor considerest thy-self as comprehended in the Whole.77 And he that is not thus affected, is not naturally affected, is not well, nor justly, nor charitably, nor sociably, nor honourably, nor humanly, affected; he hath put off the Man, as the Philosophers suppose.”
But, altho’ these Notions and Maxims of theirs touching Virtue and Duty to the Whole, are, all of them, extremely Solid and truly Generous, if applied and determin’d to a genuine and legitimate Whole, or Universe; yet, in their Pagan Application and Determination of them to their Whole, Universe, or Catholick System, consisting of Heathen Gods and Men, they are extremely false and wicked, and manifestly lead them to Persecute the Christian Church and Religion. For the Christians were a People separated or broken off from their Whole, or Universe; and, consequently, were such as Marcus Antoninus calls Apostems of the World. Therefore it was but to their own mundane Tribe, that the Popular and Philosophick Pagans were charitably and sociably Affected; the World will love its own; the Christians that were Aliens, and who profess’d, that Jerusalem was their Country, they treated as those, who were no longer Men. The Philosophers thought themselves oblig’d, to have regard for rational Beings who were Congenial and Cognate to them; and, accordingly, they thought themselves oblig’d, to take care of their Gods and Demons; for these they look’d upon as Congenial and Cognate. But Christ and Christians erected and constituted a Whole, or Universe, opposite and destructive to their Whole Universe, or Catholick System, which if they look’d upon themselves oblig’d to take care of and uphold, they must necessarily think themselves oblig’d to destroy Christianity. Every Man must strenuously endeavour to maintain the old Religion of their Ancestors, succour the ruinous Empire of the Gods, which Christianity came to demolish, and to restore it to its Grandeur and Magnificence.
The supreme God, who was the chief Object of the religious Worship of the Heathens, was the Soul of the World.6. In the Pagan System of the Universe, one of their supreme Deities, altho’ it was not absolutely their supreme Deity, may be justly called the supreme Deity of their Religion and Laws. This Name, a supreme Deity, is ambiguous, with respect to Heathens and Christians. For, if it be understood in a general and indeterminate Notion, it is Matter of Agreement between them both; but, when once it comes to a particular Determination, it is not Matter of Agreement, but of Difference between the Pagan and Christian Theists; and, in some sort, among the Pagan Theists themselves, they understanding the supreme Deity in various Notions, and, so far, making various supreme Deities. But, as the Name, Prince of Philosophers, in the Schools of the Aristotelians, must be understood of their Prince of Philosophers, reputed such, the Platonists and Epicureans have another Prince of Philosophers: So this Name, the supreme Deity, amongst the Pagan Theists, and the several sorts of Pagan Theists, must be understood of their supreme Deity, reputed such, several sorts of Pagan Theists having several sorts of supreme Deities. So that the Epithet, which they gave to the Jews supreme Deity, properly belongs to their own.
The supreme Deity, among the Pagans, is of this particular Determination, not merely, a Deity Supreme, but the supreme of their Pagan Deities, Summus Deorum. A usual Form of Invocation amongst them was, O Jove, and the Gods, understanding by Jove, the God of the Gods. Their Prayers were made to Jupiter the King, and to the other Gods. He is usually styl’d in Homer, Virgil, and the other Poets, the Father and King of the Gods. By the Gods they understand the supreme Deity and the other Deities, and, for that Reason, they speak of God and the Gods promiscuously, because they consider them as one System. They consider’d their Deities collectively, celebrated a Festival of them all in common, called θεοξενία, and consecrated Altars to all the Gods and Goddesses. They are his Associates, Collegues, and Allies, and he is the Head of the Family of Pagan Deities. It is the Title of a Chapter in Eugubinus,79“That Aristotle affirmeth with Homer, that the supreme God is the Father of the Gods and of Men, of the same Kind, Kindred, and Family with them,” as Sons and Father.
Homer, therefore, and Aristotle, the Poets and the Philosophers, the Popular and the Philosophick Pagans, agree in the Acknowledgment of a supreme Deity, in the Way of Polytheism, and with Relation to sub-ordinate Deities. They agree, therefore, in the Acknowledgment of a supreme Deity, in the Sense of their Religion and Laws, but not in the Sense of their Schools. When the Philosophers speak of the supreme Deity, in the peculiar Sense of their Schools, they mean one supreme Deity; and when they speak of the supreme Deity popularly, in the Sense of their Religion and Laws, they mean another.
The Pagans Theism being their Polytheism, and the supreme Deity being a Term of their Polytheism, it is manifestly inconsistent with the Acknowledgment of the true God, to whose Supremacy and Sovereignty it belongeth, to subsist in the Quality and Condition of God alone. The Atheism charg’d upon Anaxagoras, (for which the Athenians banish’d him, fin’d him five Talents, and had put him to Death, if his Scholar Pericles had not interpos’d,) was only a denying the Deity of the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, shutting out of Being the Soul of the World, destroying the Deity of the World, and the Parts thereof, making them inanimate and unintelligent, calling the Moon an Earth, and the Sun a Mass of Fire; whilst at the same time he acknowledg’d a single supreme Deity existing separately, whilst he discarded the Soul of the World, which deified all the Parts thereof, which was no less than a Subversion of the main of the Pagan Theism; for which Plato charges him with Atheism. And Ficinus80 affirms, “That Plato in his Book of Laws asserts the Coelestial Gods only, because the Contemplation of the higher Deities is very foreign to the matter of Laws.” Which is an Insinuation, that those higher Deities in Platonism are properly Gods of Philosophical Speculation only, no Deities of Religion and Laws. Nor could the Platonists suppose their first Principle a Deity of Religion and Laws; for they look upon it, as quite above all external Adoration; and such was Numa’s Deity, to whom he would neither allow Image, nor material Sacrifice. “Plato” (saith Eugubinus81 ) “did not so clearly propose the greatest God as an Object of Worship, because he could not be worshipp’d; what he is, and how to be worshipp’d, cannot be describ’d, or declar’d. In three Places he calleth him undeclarable, in the Timaeus, difficult for Thought, undeclarable by Speech, or Word. According to Philo also he is unconceivable, unthinkable, undeclarable; being thus unspeakable and inexplicable, and such as the old Theologers call innominable, some invisible, others to be worshipp’d in silence, others uninvestigable; therefore Plato hath said nothing of him in his Book of Laws, nor set down any Thing concerning his Worship, because he could not, this Deity being unknowable, both as to Name and Nature.” If Plato’s supreme Deity is of no Religion; if all Understanding, Conception, Name, Word, Speech, be utterly incompetible and unapplicable to this first Principle; if there be no Doctrine, no Learning, no Discipline, or Institution, touching such a Deity, and, consequently, no Religion; this is not discoursing, nor reasoning, but dreaming of such a Deity; for there can be no Proof of the Being of such a Deity, neither à Priori, nor à Posteriori, no more than could be given of such Gods as Epicurus suppos’d, who did nothing, and who could not be known, either directly, or by their Works.
However, the Followers of Plato thought this supreme Deity was to be worshipp’d, but by Silence, pure Cogitation, and As similation to him, which is the Sacrificing our Life to him. But such a kind of Deity and his Worship being foreign from matter of Law, and altogether unsuitable to the generality of Mankind, Plato thought it a Solecism to mention him in his Book of Laws. “He taketh care that the Matters of his Acroamatical Theology, his Acroamatical Deity, do not fall into the Hands of unskilful Men; for scarce any Thing, as I suppose, would be Matter of more Derision amongst the common People. From Plato, therefore, you have the true Cause, why we may not speak of the first Deity amongst the Vulgar, why it is not lawful to publish to the Vulgar the Parent of the Universe: For, not understanding the Things that are said of him, they deride them, being Things remote from popular Custom, and gross Ears; therefore, treating of Laws which ought to be publish’d to the People, he spake nothing of that great uninvestigable Deity, proposing only the Worship of Heaven to the People, to whom he must speak only of that, which they thought certain Religion.”82
The Platonists, therefore, tho’ they had higher Deities in their School, do yet agree, That the supreme Deity of their Religion and Laws, is the Soul of the World, or the Mundane System as animated by a governing Mind, which Deifies it, the supreme Deity of the Popular Pagans, and the same with Zeus, or Jupiter. Speusippus, also, agreeable to Plato, is said by Cicero to have held “a certain Force, or Power, whereby all Things are govern’d, and that Animal.”83 Such also was Pythagoras’s Notion of the Deity, as others, and Cicero also in the same Treatise relates; “Pythagoras also acknowledg’d one God, an incorporeal Mind, diffus’d thro’ the whole Nature of Things, the Origin of vital Sense to all Animals.” In like manner Onatus the Pythagorean defines “God, the Mind and Soul, and Ruler of the whole World.” The Jove of the Orphick Theology is the mundane Soul and System.
“A Spirit that pervadeth the whole World,” was one of the Aegyptian Notices of God.84 The Supreme Deity of the Peruvians was of the same kind, as appeareth from his Name Pachacamac, which signifieth the Soul, or Life, of the World. The Stoicks usually intitle the Supreme Deity, The Mind and Understanding of the Whole, the common, or universal, Mundane Nature, and the common Reason of Nature, the ruling Principle of the World; and, as Zeno defin’d God, a Spirit pervading the whole World. And the Indians, according to Megasthenes, suppos’d, That the God, who is the Maker and Governour of the World, pervadeth the Whole of it. Agreeably to these Sentiments, the Romans styled Capitoline Jove, “the Mind and Spirit, the Guardian and Governour of the Universe, the Artificer and Lord of this Mundane Fabrick, to whom every Name, Fate, Providence, Nature, the World, is agreeable.”85 So true is that of Macrobius; “Jupiter among the Theologers is the Soul of the World.”86 The Soul moveth and governeth the Body, which it presideth over, saith Cicero, “As that chief God governeth the World.”87 St. Austin saith thus of Varro; “When Varro elsewhere calleth the rational Soul of every one a Genius, and affirmeth such a Mind, or Soul, of the whole World to be God; he plainly implieth that God is the Universal Genius of the World, and that this is he, whom they call Jove. Those only seem to Varro to have understood what God is, who thought him a Soul governing the World by Motion and Reason.”88 Such a Soul of the World the Stoicks call’d, The artificial Fire orderly proceeding to the Generation of the Things of the World.
Many Christian Writers have grossly symboliz’d with the aforesaid Doctrine of the Pagans; and, particularly, all those Christian Divines, who account the Platonists Triad the same with the Christian Trinity, if they are consistent with themselves, suppose the H. Ghost, to be the same with the Platonists Soul of the World, which is the Pagan Jove, thus perverting the Scriptures, confounding Things Sacred and Profane, Human and Divine, God and the World, God and Belial, the Kingdom of Darkness and of Light, Paganizing Christianity. It is one Thing to say, That mundane, animative, intelligent Nature is God, as being somewhat, that he inclusively is; and another Thing to say, That mundane, animative, intelligent Nature, form’d by the Pagans into a Jove, is, as such, God. The former Assertion is legitimate Theism, the latter is Heathenism.
This Jupiter of the Popular Pagans, the Soul of the World, may justly be thought the best sort of Jupiter in the Pagan Theology. But the Heathenism of the Notion will, in great Measure, appear from the Original of it. For the Heathens were carried to this Notion of the Supreme Deity, partly by the first Original Theism of their Institution, and partly by their Method of proving the Existence of a Deity against Atheism. The first Original Theism of their Institution, or their eldest Idolatry, was the deifying the visible Heaven, or World, as the Supreme universal Deity, or chief God. As amongst the Chinese, “Some suppose, that the Sun, Moon and Stars, and chiefly Heaven itself, whence the Earth deriveth all her Advantages, must be worshipp’d with all possible Devotion.”89
This Pagan Idea of a Supreme Deity, was also a Consequent of their Method of proving the Existence of a Deity against Atheism; which, tho’ it hath much of true Reason and sound Philosophy in it, does also involve the Deity of the World; which is of the same Importance in the Pagan Religion, with the Existence of a Deity. Plato’s Theism, which he asserts in his Book of Laws, we have already seen to be only an asserting a Soul of the World. So Cicero disputeth. “There is assuredly a Caelestial Force, or Power Divine. An animative Principle of Life and Sense, which is in our Bodies and in our Meanness, is not wanting in the Greatness of universal Nature, and the illustrious Motion thereof; unless, perchance, they think there is no such Thing, because it is not visible, nor sensible: As if our Mind, whereby we are Wise and Provident, whereby we do and say these very Things, was Visible, or Discernible by Sense.”90 The Philosophick Emperour and others argue, “Can there be Order in Thee, and none in the World? It is absurd to say, that the Heaven, or visible World is without a Soul, seeing we, that have but a part of the Body of the Universe, have a Soul. For how could a Part have Soul, if the Universe was devoid of it?” Socrates’s Discourse with Aristodemus, against Atheism, is thus represented by Cicero. “The Humour, and Heat, and Breath, and Earth, which is in our Body, if any one asketh, whence we have them? It is manifest, that we took one of them from the Earth, another of them from the Water, the other from the Fire and Air. But that which surmounteth all these, Reason, Mind, Counsel, Cogitation, Prudence, where found we it? Whence took we it? Whence hath Man snatch’d to himself such a Thing as this? So Zeno, the Father of the Stoicks, discourseth against Atheism. “What is devoid of Soul and Reason, cannot generate an Animal and a Rational. But the World generateth Animals and Rationals. Therefore the World is an Animal and Rational. That which is Rational, is better than that which is not Rational: But nothing is better than the World. Therefore the World is Rational. In like manner we may infer, that the World is Wise, that the World is Blessed, that the World is Eternal.” So Balbus, in Cicero, discourseth for the Theism of the Pagans (the Worshippers of the mundane System) against Atheism; “From that Ardor, or Vital Heat, which is in the World” (the mundane Soul of the Stoicks) “all Motion ariseth: Which, because it is self-moving, is necessarily a Mind; whence it followeth, that the World is an Animal. Hence also we may infer, that it is intelligent, because the World is certainly better than any particular Nature, which is but part of the World. The World, because it comprehendeth all Things, nor is there any Thing which is not in it, is every way perfect: Nothing can be wanting to what is the best: There is nothing better than Mind and Reason: These, therefore, cannot be wanting to the World; wherefore it is Wise and Good.”91 At this rate these Heathen Philosophers deified the World in their Disputes against Atheism, the main Scope of which is to prove the Being of an Animative Mind of the World; the acknowledgment where of constituted a Pagan Theist, and distinguish’d him from an Atheist. “Allothers” (saith Plutarch) “affirm, that the World is animated and administred by Providence: But Democritus and Epicurus, and so many as introduce Atoms and Vacuum, do neither acknowledge the World to be animated, nor to be govern’d by Providence; but by an irrational Nature.”92
In their Disputes against Atheism the Pagan Theists design to establish their own Theism, which is their Religion of worshipping the Universe, Heaven, and the Stars. For their governing Mind and Soul of the World, for whose Existence they dispute is Universal, Mundane, Animative Nature, Animative of the World, (as the Soul of Man is of his Body,) involv’d in the World, and deifying the World. In the Stoicks Account of the Mundane System, there are various Complications of Jupiter and the World; and they are so complicated, that each communicateth to the other his Name and his Properties. For the Deity is called the World. “If you call the Deity the World, you are not mistaken in so doing,” saith Seneca. And as the Deity is call’d the World, both the Whole and the Parts of it, is call’d God, according to that of Manilius;
The Doctrine of the Soul of the World inforceth the Unity of the Universe, and that all Things are one, one animated mundane System. “The chief Philosophers have declared, That all is one.”94 So Linus;
The Unity of the Universe, which is a fundamental Mistake, and very pernicious to true Religion, is a principal Maxim among the Stoicks. “This whole” (saith Seneca96 ) “in which we are contain’d, is both one Thing and God. This All, the Comprehension of divine and human Things, is one Thing. We are the Members of one great Body.” The Universe is suppos’d to be one Body, because of its informing Soul, which connecteth and holdeth the Parts of it together. So Sextus Empiricus represents the Sense of Pythagoras, Empedocles, and all the Italick Philosophers. “We Men have not only a Conjunction amongst our-selves, with one another, and with the Gods above us, but also with the Brutes below us: Because there is one Spirit, which, as a Soul, pervadeth the whole World, and uniteth together all the Parts of it.”97
This vital Constitution of the Universe is the Origin of Natural Magick, which is a vital Sympathy and Antipathy, between several Things in the World. But, under the pretence of Natural Magick, Arts Magical, in the foulest Sense, were introduc’d. The Heathens thought, that there was a Sympathy and Consent amongst the Parts of the Universe, as being Parts of one Whole; such, as is amongst the Parts of the human Body, or the Strings of a Musical Instrument. Into this they resolv’d the Efficacy of Charms and Fascinations, Mystick Ceremonies, Symbols, and Sacrifices, and Prayers to the Sun and Stars, attracting Influences from them, in the same manner as when the lower Part of a Chord that is stretch’d, is put into Motion, the upper Part is put into Motion also. This one animated Mundane System is necessarily One Mundane Animal, upon which Account they attribute a Magical Constitution to the Universe. For they suppose, That this Universe is one, and one Animal, so that nothing is so remote, as not to be near, because of the Sympathy and Consent of Motion, which is between the Parts of one Animal. Now an Animal Fabrick must have Distinction of Parts. So the Stoicks say, That God is the Mind of the Universe, the Body of it is his Body, and the Sun, Moon, and Stars, are the Eyes of this great Mundane Animal, which was thought of the Hermaphrodite Kind, because it was believ’d to be a generative Animal, and therefore both Sexes are attributed to it in Jarchas the Brachman’s answer to Apollonius. “The World is an Animal; for it generateth all Things, being of both Natures, Male and Female, and doing the Part, both of Father and Mother, for Generation.” Because the World consists of active and passive Principles, and, because the Virtue of Generating and Conceiving, the Masculine and Feminine Virtue, are united in universal Nature, it is not unfitly intituled αρρενοθηλυς, Male and Female. The Orphick Doctrine concerning the Deity, of which the following Lines are a remarkable Compend, assert the same Notion; ascribing both Sexes to the All-generating Deity.
The Popular Pagans call their Deities sometimes by Masculine, sometimes by Feminine Names, not pretending to know their Sexes;99 or judging it matter indifferent, which of their Sexes they ascrib’d to their Deities; or, perhaps, supposing them Hermaphrodites. In the Septuagint, also, Baal is sometimes of the Masculine, and sometimes of the Feminine Gender.
The one animate Mundane System is also one Deity, some say the first God, others the Second, and some call it the Third God. In the Stoicks Theology the World is the supreme God. The Platonists usually call it the third God: But Origen saith, that they call it the second. Which is very agreeable to what Plato saith in his Timeus, according to Cicero’s Version of it, “Deus ille aeternus hunc perfectè beatum Deum procreavit,” The eternal God procreated this perfectly happy God. The visible, sensible, fabricated World, being thus confronted to an invisible, intelligible, parental, eternal Deity, in this Antithesis, it falleth to the World’s Share, to be called the second God. So Celsus the Platonist and others have intituled the animated World, the Son of God.100 And, consequently, there is in Platonism a twofold Son of God; the one is the Metaphysical Intellect of the Mundane System, the other is the intelligent Mundane Animal, the only-begotten sensible Son of God.
The one Mundane System is also intituled one Temple, House, or Habitation, which Appellations denote such an Unity and undivided State of the Universe as perfectly disagrees with Christianity. The Habitation of the Immortal God, is one of the usual Names of the World. One Philosopher calleth it, The Temple of the Father; another calleth it, Amost Holy and God-becoming Temple; another styleth it, The Fire-refulgent House of Jove. By Cicero it is intituled, The Caelestial and Divine House; and by the Aegyptians, The Kingly House of the Deity. “Is God shut up within the Walls of Temples?” said Heraclitus. “The whole World variously adorn’d with Animals, and Plants, and Stars, is his Temple.” The Stoicks say, “The whole World is the Temple of the Gods, and the only Temple becoming their Amplitude and Magnificence.” Whence the Persians and the Magi condemn’d all artificial Temples; and Xerxes, by the Persuasion of the Magi, burnt the Temples of the Greeks, themselves doing their religious Worship to the Gods under the open Heaven; to whom they supps’d, that all Things should be open, and that this whole World is their Temple and Habitation. Zeno, the Father of the Stoicks, is likewise said, to have disallow’d the Building of Temples; and Plato, as some will have it, privately prohibited the having Statues of the Gods, as knowing, “That the World is the Temple of God.” The World is call’d by Plato, The House of the Gods, and, The made Image of the Eternal Gods. Agreeably to this Notion of the Philosophick Pagans, the Apocryphal Book of Baruch (3. 24.) looks upon the visible Universe as “The House of God.” But no such Language ever occurreth in the Holy Bible; which should have taught Christian Writers so much Discretion, as not to speak the Sense and Language of the Heathen Philosophers, which they frequently do.
In the Stoicks Philosophy, the one Mundane System Jove is All Things, and All Things are Him, as his Parts and Members. Particularly Souls are Parts of God, and Avulsions from Him. Visible and Corporeal Things are the Parts of his Body. Thus is he One and All Things. Their Deity is so intimate, complicate, united, and connected with all Things, as to constitute with them One Mundane Intelligent Animal; therefore the whole animated World, and all the Things thereof are Jove, and Jove is the animated World, and the Things thereof.
The eldest Idolatry was the Worship of Heaven, the World, and the Stars, as appeareth from the Jove of the eldest Times, and of all Nations. Of the Persians, Herodotus reporteth, “That they did not, like the Greeks, think the Gods of human Birth and Original; but their way was, ascending to the Tops of the Mountains, they Sacrific’d to Jove, calling the whole Circle of the Heaven, Jove.”101Strabo saith of them, “They Sacrifice in an high Place, thinking the Heaven, Jove.”102 So Plutarch says of the Aegyptians, “They take the first God, and the Universe, for the same Thing.” Universal Mundane Nature, the Aegyptians deified under the Name of Isis, which was their supreme Deity, as the Inscription before her Temple at Sais sheweth; “I am all that hath been, is, and shall be; and my Veil no Mortal hath ever yet uncover’d: And that other Inscription on the Altar at Capua (“Tibi una. Quae es omnia. Dea Isis.”) which maketh her one, and all Things. The Aegyptian Serapis, another Name of their supreme Deity, is the World, for, “Serapis being ask’d by Nicocreon” (King of the Cypriots) “what God he was? Made answer, I am a God, such as I describe myself. The Starry Heaven is my Head, the Sea is my Belly, the Earth is my Feet, mine Ears are in the Aether, and mine Eye is the bright Lamp of the Universe, the Sun.”103 The Orphic Theology makes a like Description of Jupiter.104 So Cicero hath shew’d from Ennius and Euripides, (who is called the scenical Philosopher,) That the Heaven, or circumambient Aether is the European Pagans Jove, the supreme universal Deity.105 So in the Poet Aeschylus, Jupiter is Universal Mundane Nature. “Jupiter is Aether, and Earth, and Heaven, and all Things. And, if there be any Thing above these, Jupiter is it.” “The Naturalists” (saith Macrobius106 ) “called the Sun” ( Διόνυσον διὸς νοῦν) “Dionysus, the Mind of Jove, because the Mind of the World. The World is called Heaven, which they call Jove. Whence Aratus, being to speak of Heaven, saith, Let us take our rise from Jove.” So in an antient Inscription, the visible Heaven is intituled, Eternal, the best and greatest, Jupiter.107 Agreeably to which Sense of the antient Pagans, that Tradition of theirs, reported by Aristotle, is to be understood touching the Divinity of the Heavens. “It hath been delivered to us by those of very antient Times, both that the Stars are Gods, and that the Divinity containeth the whole of Nature.”108
This Notion was so familiar with the Pagans, that Strabo, writing of Moses, could not but suppose the Gods of his Religion to be of this Nature and Notion; “That which containeth us all, and the Earth, and the Sea, which we call Heaven, and the World, and the Nature of the whole,” Universal Mundane Nature.109 So Juvenal describes the God of the Jews.
So Diodorus Siculus reporteth Moses to have been of Opinion, “That the Heaven which surroundeth the Earth, is the only God and Lord of all.” These Pagans did not imagine, that the Jews could Worship any other God than their supreme Jove, the Heaven, which, in the larger Sense of the Word, signifieth the whole corporeal World.
Pliny thus; “The World, or the Heavenly Canopy, must, in Reason, be thought a Deity.” Such a Deity was the European-Pagans Jove, and such a Deity was the Asiatick Bel, or Baal; for that Name, as Selden111 informs us, means the Heaven, the Comprehension of the Aether, and the Stars; and the Heaven was called Bel by the Chaldeans, as Eustathius reporteth from the Antients; and Philo saith of the Chaldeans, “They suppos’d the visible World, or Heaven, the Supreme Deity.”112 The Proclivitie of Heathen Mankind to such a Notion of the supreme Deity is visible in a late Writer of the Affairs of China. “A mighty Nation of the Tartars, though they are not, by what appeareth, of any particular Religion, but in differently receive all Religions, which they are acquainted with, and conform themselves to all, not knowing, or caring to know, what it is they adore, and they have no Knowledge of the Idols, or Deities, which the Antients ador’d; nor doth it appear, that they receive, or retain those first Notions which the Instinct of Nature, without the Assistance of any supernatural Light, impresseth upon the very Breast of every Man; yet they Worship the Heavens, and to these they pay their greatest Adoration; and this maketh the greatest Impression upon the Minds of the People.”113 Of the barbarous Nation of the Gallans, bordering Habissina, we have this Account. “They have no Idols, and but very little Divine Worship. If you ask them concerning God, or any supreme Deity, or who it is that governeth the Earth with so much Order and Constancy? They answer, Heaven, which embraceth in their View all the rest.”114 A great Nation on the North of Japan, are said to have no other Religion, save only the Worship of Heaven; and the supreme Deity of the Chinese is said to be the Heaven, which they suppose increate, without Beginning, unbodily, and a Spirit.115
According to the Testimony of the Scriptures, and of Heathen Authors the consent of all the Christian, and the best of the Hebrew Writers, the first and earliest Idolatry of the Heathen, was the Worship of the Lights of Heaven, which inferreth the Antiquity of the Worship of Heaven, and that the first Original Pagan Theism, was the deifying the Mundane System. Vossius indeed affirmeth, (agreeably to their Opinion, who suppose the Sun to have been the Pagans Supreme Deity,) that their Worship of the Coelestial Lights was antecedent to the Worship of the Aether, Heaven, or the World; which is a supposition altogether as groundless, and unreasonable, as if he should suppose them the Worshippers of Mountains and Rivers, before they were the Worshippers of their great Goddess, the Earth.116Plato supposes, that the Worship of the Heaven and the Stars was the eldest Religion of the Pagans; and that the Worship of the Heaven was contemporary with that of the Stars, both amongst the Greeks and Barbarians. The Greeks receiv’d Astronomy, and the Knowledge of those Coelestial Deities, the Stars, from the Barbarians, those antient Pagan Nations, which were the Inventors of Astronomy, and which, in Aegypt and Syria, had great Advantage for the Knowledge of the Stars, because of the Serenity of their Country. The Theology, therefore, of those antient Pagan Nations may be understood from the Greek Theology of the elder Times, which Plato, in his Cratylas, thus representeth. “The first Inhabitants of Greece seem, as many of the Barbarians now, to have thought, that the Sun, and the Moon, and the Earth, and the Stars, and the Heaven, were the only Gods. When they beheld these running round perpetually, they call’d them Θεοὺς from Θέω which signifieth, to run. Afterwards taking Notice, that there were other Gods, they called them also by the same Name.” As the first Inhabitants of Greece deified, not only the Sun, Moon, and Stars, but the Heaven above them: So, when Diodorus saith of the Men of antient Times, “That, beholding the World and universal Mundane Nature, being struck with Admiration, they thought the prime eternal Gods were the Sun and Moon, calling the one Osiris, and the other Isis”; this is not to be understood, as if they deified the Sun and Moon, exclusively of the rest of the World above them: But, beholding the World and universal Mundane Nature, and being struck with Admiration, they deified it, and such illustrious Parts of it, as the Sun and Moon. So, when Maimonides saith of the Zabii, that their Tenet was, “There is no other God but the Stars”;117 this is not to be understood exclusively of the Heaven, as if the Zabii did not suppose it the Supreme Deity; for the same Author saith of them; “All the Zabaists held the Eternity of the World; for the Heavens, according to them, are the Deity.” So Philo saith of the Chaldeans, “They suppose the Stars to be Gods, and the Heaven and the World” (which must consequently be the Supreme) “to which they refer the Fates of Men, acknowledging no Cause of Things abstract from Sensibles.”118 If the first Heathen deified the Lights of Heaven, because of their Amplitude, Pulchritude, Utility, and Residence in Heaven, they could not fail, upon the same Account, to deify the illustrious Canopy of Heaven.
The one Mundane System Jove is, in some sort, the multitude and variety of the Pagans Gods and Goddesses; and there is a certain Polytheism of theirs, which is nothing more than a Polyonymy of this one Supreme God, or a calling him by various Names. For it is not unusual with the Pagan Theologers, to reduce the Multitude and Variety of their Deities to one Jupiter, in various Senses, and upon various Accounts. Sometimes they consider the Mundane System Jove, as Originally and Comprehensively the All of their Deities, as Valerius Soranus representeth them.
Thus Jupiter is all the Gods; not as if there was no Polity of Gods; but as the Founder, the Father and Mother, of the Polity, and a Deity comprehensive of all the Deities; for Jupiter is the same with Pan, universal mundane Nature, whom, in the Certamina at Athens, they look’d upon as a Pantheon, the comprehension of all the Gods. So the Author of the Orphick Verses, “having suppos’d the World a great Animal, and having call’d this Mundane Animal Jupiter,” placeth Heaven, the Earth, the Sea, and the Whole of the Universe in Jupiter’s Womb,
The Rabble of Deities contain’d in him, are necessarily his Parts and Members, both as he is Politically Imperial, and as he is Animatively Vital, in a Political, and in a Physiological Sense; they are the Members of his Body Politick, and of his living Animal-Body; as Seneca saith of Mankind, “Et socii ejus sumus & Membra,” “We are his Associates” (the Members of his Body Politick) “and the Members of his Animal-Body.” Both these Notions are glanc’d at by the Poet introducing Jupiter, thus speaking to the other Gods;
The Gods, to whom Jupiter allotteth Diversity of Offices, are not mere Names, or Virtues, but so many Substantial Beings, distinct Personal Deities; yet these, being contain’d in him, are, in some sort, reducible to him; but there is another sort of Deities, which the Stoicks suppose to be nothing more than so many several Names, Notions, and particular Considerations of the one Supreme Jupiter; or, only so many several Powers, Virtues, Functions and Agencies of his, fictitiously personated and deified, which explaineth an eminent Mode of their Idolatry. Pervading, acting, and ruling in the Air, he may be call’d Juno; in the Earth, Pluto; in the inferior Parts of it, Proserpina; in the Sea, Neptune; in the lower Part of it, Salacia; in the Vineyards, Liber; in the Smith’s Forges, Vulcan; and in the domestick Hearths, Vesta; as he bestows Corn, he may be called Ceres; Wine, Bacchus; Health, Aesculapius; as he governeth the Wars, Mars; and the Winds, Aeolus. “The Names that denote a certain Force or Effect of Things Coelestial are, any of them, properly applicable to him. His Appellations may be as many as his Gifts, or Functions.”121 Which Polyonymy of the one Supreme God inferreth, that the Pagans Polytheism was, in part, and so far, not real, but apparent only. Thus, as the Mythical Theology personateth and deifieth the Parts and Powers of Mundane corporeal Matter; so the Philosophick Theology personateth and deifieth the several Powers, Virtues, and Agencies, of the one Supreme God. By this Mythical Plea, they defended their Worship of the several Parts of the Corporeal World. For their Polyonymy of the one Supreme God, was not design’d to deprive the Parts of the World of their Godship, but to give a plausible Account and Reason of their Worship.
The Reason of this Stoical Polyonymy was double; partly, because of a Fancy which they had, to apply, to the Supreme Deity, the proper Names of other Deities; and partly, because they discarded the Deities, which they called Mythical and Commentitious, which are Things Physical represented by Fictitious Deities; which having discarded, they substituted in their stead the various Powers, Virtues, Effects, and Agencies, of the Mundane System Jove; “Calling him Minerva, because his Rule is extended in the Aether; Juno, as pervading the Air; Vulcan, Neptune, Ceres, as pervading and acting in the Artificer’s Fire, in the Sea and the Earth.”122 So Balbus in Cicero, having rejected the Deities, which he calleth the Mythical, substituteth in their Room, “God passing thro’ the Nature of every Thing.” Agreeably to which Stoical Notion, it is most reasonable to understand the saying of Antisthenes the Cynick, “Populares Deos multos, naturalem unum esse dicens,”123 that is, one natural God ought to be substituted in the stead of those many Popular Deities, which the Stoicks, and their Brethren, the Cynicks, rejected as Mythical and Commentitious.
It is, however, here to be observ’d, that the Stoicks Polyonymy is so far from destroying the Pagans Polytheism, that it maketh no considerable Abatement in the Multitude of their Deities. For they deified the Parts of the Corporeal World, as living Members of the Mundane Animal, Residences of the Powers and Virtues of the Supreme God, Sections of the Soul of the World. Both Varro and Balbus plainly affirm, That the Stars are animated with intelligent Souls,(they might as well say the same of the Earth;) and, consequently, they are so many distinct Personal Deities.124 And, accordingly, Plutarch representeth the Stoical Polyonymists as the most extravagant Polytheists in all the Pack, “That filled the Air, Heaven, Earth, Sea, with Gods.”125 Wherefore their Reduction of Deities to the Polyonymy of one Supreme God, signifieth nothing to the Prejudice, or Diminution of their Polity of Gods. When they call Jove by the proper Names of several other Deities, they must not be thought to deny the Existence of those Synonymous Genial Deities of the vulgar Theology, Liber Pater, Mercury, and the like; for in their various Allegorizings, Interpretations, Accommodations, and the various honourary Appellatives which they bestow upon Jove, they do not speak privatively with respect to their Genial Deities, but Accumulatively; not with intention to destroy them, but to super-add to them the Polyonymy of their Supreme God. And, if this is the true Account of the Stoicks Polyonymy, as certainly it is, there is no Reason imaginable, why they should condemn the vulgar Polytheism, as a learned Writer supposes they would have done, if fear of disturbing the Commonwealth, and creating a Socrates-like Danger to themselves, had not restrain’d them.126 For the Sense of the Stoicks, and of all the genuine Pagan Theologers, must be thus represented. The Constitution of the Universe being Politically consider’d, and Jupiter, as Politically Imperial, they conceiv’d (as they usually say) all full of Gods and Demons: But withal, the Constitution of the Universe being Physiologically consider’d, and Jupiter, as Vital and Animative of the Whole, they conceiv’d Jovis omnia plena, all full of Jove, his various Virtues, Powers and Effects.
The Mundane System Jove must be consider’d, both as Animatively, or Physiologically, and as Politically-Imperial to the World. For, being he Mundane Soul, he is Animatively-Regent and Imperial, as the Soul of Man is. “That is a God, which is Vigent, Sentient, Reminiscent, Provident, which ruleth, and governeth, and moveth, that Body, whose Prefect it is, as the chieftain God does this World.”127“As we have a Soul that is an Animative Regent: So the Government of the World is by a Soul, that containeth and keepeth it in Consistence, which is call’d Zeus.”128 Who, as an Animative Regent, is suppos’d, regularly to agitate the Mundane Matter, to form all Things Coelestial and Terrestrial, to figurate his own Animal Body, and to generate all sorts of Animals, as the Poet Philosophizeth,
By Physical Motion, and as Animatively-Regent, the Mundane System Jove steereth the World,129“As a Pilot doth a Ship, or as a Charioteer doth a Chariot, circumvolving the Heavens, keeping the Earth in Consistence, ruling the Sea.”130 (So Apuleius saith of the Goddess Isis, “Thou whirlest about the World, lightenest the Sun, rulest the World;”) and variously influencing the Minds of Men, according to that of Homer,
Because the System-Jove is Animatively the Regent of the World, he ought to have his Regent part seated in some principal Part of the World, (agreeably to the Soul of Man, whose rational Faculty is seated in the Head;) either in the Aether, as some; in the Heaven, as others; or in the Sun, as Cleanthes suppos’d;131 which latter, doubtless, was the Sense of the Pythagoreans in those illustrious Epithets, which they gave the Sun, styling him
But the System-Jove is also Politically the Regent of the World, the Universe being suppos’d one Imperial Polity, one common City of Gods and Men; for such a governing Power the Pagan Philosophers disputed with great Reason and Strength of Argument. “Without Political Government, neither any House, nor City, nor Nation, nor Mankind in general, can subsist, nor the whole Nature of Things, nor the World itself.”132“Seeing a City, or a House, cannot continue for the least time without a Governour and Curator, how is it possible, that so great and illustrious a Structure as the World, should be so orderly administred fortuitously and by chance?”133“The Knowledge and Contemplation of Things Coelestial, the beholding how great Moderation and Order there is among the Gods, begetteth Modesty; and the beholding the Works and Facts of the Gods, causeth a Greatness of Mind; and Justice also, when you understand the Supreme Rector and Lord, what his Will and Counsell is,” (in the Constitution, Government, and Administration of this Universe of Things,) “Reason suited to his Nature, being call’d by Philosophers the true and Supreme Law.”134 As politically-Imperial, the supreme Rector appointeth to the subordinate Deities their Lots and Prefectures, and their Function and Employment is to execute his Appointments. “For the Sun, as also the other Gods, was made for some Work, or Function.”135
But, in order to form a just Notion of the Pagan Polytheism, it is requisite to distinguish the various Acceptations of Saturn, Jupiter, and other Deities, in the Gentile Theology. Sometimes they are taken Cosmically; as when Jupiter is said to be the whole World, or the Soul of it, and Saturn is confounded with Uranus, or Heaven. Sometimes they are taken Astrally; as when by Jupiter is meant the Sun, or the Planet so called: So the highest of the Planets is a Saturn. Sometimes they are taken Physically; as when by Saturn is meant Time, and by Jupiter some Elementary Nature. So Empedocles calleth the igneous Nature, or Aether, Jupiter; the Air, Juno; the Earth, Pluto; the Water, Nestis.136 Sometimes the Names of the Pagan Deities signify Historically, or of the Hero-Kind, in which Notion there are many Joves, and not a few Saturns.
The Mundane-System Jove is Order, Law, Providence, Fate, and Fortune, amongst the Heathens.7. Jove, the Rector of the Universe, is Order, Law, Fate, Fortune, Providence. “Either this Universe is a mere Hotch-Potch and casual Implication of Things, which may be dis-joyn’d and dissipated; or there is in it Union, Order, and a Providence.”137 But it could not be κόσμος, a regular and comely Piece, without Order; and this Order, and the Law that is visible in the Universe infer a Providence, “whereby the World, and all the Parts of it, were at first constituted, and are at all Times administred.138The equable Motion and Circumvolution of the Heaven, the Sun, Moon, and all the Stars, their Distinction, Variety, and Pulchritude, Order; the Sight of these Things sufficiently sheweth, that they are not by Chance,”139 but “by an eternal Law, or Prescript, a Law of the World,”140 which the Stoicks call Fate.
But, as the governing Mind, or Reason, which constituted and administreth the corporeal World, is Law to it: So all Things that befal Mankind are of his Pre-Ordination and Appointment, as the Stoicks suppose; and, therefore, they derive all Things from a Law of Fate. “All Things proceed by a fix’d sempiternal Law; Fatality leadeth us; by a long Series and Concatenation of Causes all Things necessarily emerge; your joyous and mournful Occurrences were appointed long ago.”142 A wise Man will understand, “That whatever happens is a Law of” (universal) Nature. “It was ordinated to him, and he to it.143Whatever happens to thee, it is that which from Eternity was predestinated unto thee; thy subsistence and such an Accident are, by an implex’d Series of natural Causes from Eternity, fatally connected, or spun together.”144 Fatality, by this Hypothesis, is screw’d up to a high pitch of Extravagance; especially, as this their Dogma, That all Things come to pass fatally, is understood by the antient Stoicks, for they subvert, as appeareth, all contingency and human Liberty of Agency, and, consequently, all Humanity and Divinity.145 In the Constitution of the World, they suppos’d Jupiter hamper’d by material Necessity, (that, because of the in obsequiousness of the Matter, some Men are unavoidably made of an evil Disposition, and good Men are obnoxious to external Evils;) and not being able to do what he would, he is willing to do what he can.146 In his Administration of the World and Sovereign Disposal of Things, he can alter nothing of his own Fatal Decrees;147Scripsit fata, sed sequitur, having once written the Fates, he always obeys them; (some suppose, that the three Fates wrote his Decrees;) and, consequently, the supreme Deity, with respect to his Administration of Things, is nothing but Intelligent Fate in himself, and to the World; (as Plastick Natures are nothing else but blind Unintelligent Fate in themselves, and to the World;) and unchangeable and inexorable Fate is the supreme Deity.
But, altho’ their rigid Genius hath introduc’d much of extravagant Fatality, yet some of the antient Stoicks attempted to mollify the rigor of Fate, to accommodate it to human Liberty.148 They refuse not the Name of Fortune; for they advise Men to commit Externals τω δαιμονίῳ, τῇτύχῃ, To the Divinity, to Fortune,149 understanding there by the Disposal of Things by Providence. Notwithstanding their rigid Genius, they are no Friends to that rigid Doctrine of absolute Reprobation; “for God” (as they suppose) “hath made all Men to Felicity and good Estate of Mind, and hath given them what is requisite thereunto.150If the Gods have consulted concerning me, and those Things that ought to happen to me, they have well consulted; for a God devoid of Counsel is scarce conceivable: But to do me a Mischief, what should impel them? For what Emolument would accrue from thence, either to them, or to the Publick, which they chiefly take care of?”151 Inexorable Fate, according to their generally receiv’d Maxims, is their sovereign Deity, yet some of them are prone to think, that there is a placable and flexible Providence;152 and others of them tell us, that they had better Notices of the supreme Jupiter. “They call Jupiter placid, being such to them who change from Injustice; for he is not irreconcileable to them, Whence their Altars to Jupiter placid to suppliants.”153 They allow not God, or Man, to be properly angry with Criminals; yet suppose, that the Rector of the Universe is just and good Government to the Whole. “That he hath made the Parts for the Use of the Whole,154and ordereth all Things, as is most conducive to the Good of the Whole.155Good Men are his Witnesses, that he existeth; and governeth the Universe of Things well, and neglecteth not human Affairs, and that nothing Evil shall happen to a good Man, either alive, or dead.”156 He disposeth all to a good Use, as is most necessary for the Good of the World. “For he, the Governour of the Universe, will not fail to put thee to a good Use.157Neither willingly, nor unwillingly, doth he commit any Error.158His Government is Paternal, as a Father taking care of all, that his Citizens may be happy like himself.159Making a distribution of Things as it is fit and just”;160 (whence they style him νομος, from νέμα, to distribute;) the better Men have the better Part,161 and the Good are not afflicted without great Reason, and for wise and good Ends.162
The Doctrine of the Antients, concerning Fate, being somewhat intricate and perplex’d; and the Reverend Mr. John Jackson having, in my Opinion, set that Matter in a clear Light in his Defence of Human Liberty P. 150, &c.163 I believe it will not be unacceptable to the Reader, to lay it before him in Mr. Jackson’s Words, as follows.
“That there is such a Thing as Fate, and that many Events are effected by it, was the general Opinion of all Philosophers, Anaxagoras amongst the Gentiles, and the Sadducees among the Jews, only excepted; who were both of Opinion, that nothing was the Effect of Fate, and that it was a mere empty Name. And as these wholly deny’d Fate in every Sense, so it must be confess’d, that there were some others, who carried the Notion of it as far in the other Extreme, and taught, that every Thing, all Events, and even human Actions, were effected by the impulsive Necessity of it. I shall, therefore, shew the Reader, who those were, who really held the Sentiments of the Fatalists; and then set forth distinctly and particularly that Notion of Fate, or Necessity, which was the concurrent receiv’d Opinion of all Sects of Philosophers.
“Plutarch tells us, that Parmenides and Democritus held, ‘That all Things came to pass by Necessity; and that this Necessity was Fate, and Justice, and Providence, and the Maker of the World.’164Heraclitus was of the same Opinion.165 To these Cicero joyns Empedocles, and, by mistake, Aristotle.166 That this was a mistake of Cicero’s, appears from Plutarch, in his Treatise of the Opinions of the Antient Philosophers, where he remarks no such Thing concerning Aristotle, tho’ he does observe, that Democritus and Heraclitus, to whom he adds Parmenides, were of that Opinion, which Cicero ascribes to them; and had Aristotle, who was so much more eminent than the others, been of the same Opinion, he could hardly have neglected to have taken notice of it. But farther; Hierocles expressly says, that Aristotle’s Philosophy agreed with Plato’s, and that the most learned Ammonius, who perfectly understood the Philosophy of both of them, shew’d that they agreed together.167 The concurrence of the Platonick and Aristotelian Philosophy he again insists on; and speaks with contempt of those who pretended they disagreed; and in particular declares, that they were of the same Opinion in the Notion of Fate, and that he himself agreed with them.168 ‘That it was not the senseless Necessity of the Fortune-tellers; nor the Stoical Compulsion—but that it was the judicial Operation of the divine Power, effecting Events according to the Laws of Providence, and determining the Order and Series of our Circumstances in the World, according to the free Purposes of our voluntary Actions.’169 And Aristotle himself expressly asserts and explains at large the Freedom of human Actions. He lays the Foundation of Praise and Dispraise in Mens voluntary Actions.170 He proves Freedom from Deliberation and Desire, which he makes to be the same with Choice.171 He expressly declares, that our Actions are Voluntary and by Choice; that the Practice of Virtue and Vice is in our own Power: And that this is evidently the Opinion, not only of all private Persons, but of Legislators themselves, who punish those who commit Evil, if they do it not through Compulsion, or involuntary Ignorance; and reward those who do well.172 And the learned Alexander Aphrodisius and Ammonius Hermias have wrote each a Treatise, to shew the Agreement of Aristotle with the Platonick Notion of Fate and human Liberty. It appears also from Cicero, that the antient Diodorus was a Fatalist, maintaining, that all Truths in Futurity, as well as those which are actual, are necessarily such, and cannot but be.173
“These are the principal Asserters of the Doctrine of absolute Fatality that we know of; and they who follow’d their Opinion, all founded the Arguments and Reasons of it in the Supposition of the Truth of the Material System, or that nothing existed but Body and Matter.
“First; Those of the Atomical Sect, who follow’d the Opinion of Democritus, alledg’d, that all Things, even human Actions, were effected by the eternal necessary Motion, and perpendicular Impulse, of self-existent corporeal Atoms, by whose fortuitous Concourse and Union all Things were form’d.174
“Secondly; Those amongst the Stoicks, who adher’d to the Doctrine of Heraclitus, were of three several Opinions.
“‘Some derived all Things from the first Cause of the Universe, which they said pervaded all Things, and not only gave Motion to, but was the Efficient Cause of, every Thing; styling it Fate, and the Supreme Cause, and supposing it to be itself all Things; and that, not only all other Things which exist, but even the inward Purposes of our Minds also, proceeded from the efficient Power of it, as the Members of an Animal are not mov’d of themselves, but by that governing Principle, which is in every Animal.’175 This was making no Agent in the World, but God only, and human Actions to be nothing but the Operations of God in Men, actuating them and every Thing else, as the Soul does the Body.
“Thirdly; The Astrological Notion of Fate was this; ‘That the Circumvolution of the Universe effected all Things by its Motion, and by the Position and Appearances of the Planets and fix’d Stars with respect to each other; and, founding upon these the Art of Prognostication, would have it, that every Thing came to pass thereby.’176 This is but another way of ascribing every Thing we do, our Purposes and Passions, our Wickedness and Appetites, to the Universe, or to God.
“Fourthly; Another Notion of Fatality was founded on the Supposition of ‘a mutual eternal Concatenation and Chain of Causes, whereby Things posterior always follow those which are antecedent, and are resolv’d into them, as existing by them; and are necessarily consequent to those which precede them: This was another way of effecting an absolute Fatality.’177 And this was the most plausible, and most insisted on by the Maintainers of Necessity; and was grounded on the Supposition, that every Motion was caus’d by an external impulse of Matter, and that there was no internal Principle, or Cause of Motion, or Action, in the Mind at all.
“These are the several Opinions of the antient Fatalists, which resolv’d into two; the one made every Thing the necessary Effect of the eternal Motion and Concourse of Atoms; the absurdity of which, as supposing an eternal Chain of Effects, without any original Cause, or Agent at all, evidently appears; and which, by inferring the Necessity of human Actions, and thereby taking away the Foundation and Distinction of Virtue and Vice, and the consequent Praise and Dispraise due unto them, was rejected by Epicurus himself on this very Account.178 The other made no Agent in the World but God, who was suppos’d to be infus’d, like a Soul, thro’ the whole Universe, and to act in every Thing by an eternal Chain of Causes, necessarily connected with each other; and all deriv’d from God (who was called Fate) as the original, or supreme Cause of all.
“This latter, tho’ more plausible than the former, yet so plainly inferr’d such a Fate as made Mens Actions necessary, (as both Plotinus and Cicero observe,179 ) whereby the Nature of Virtue and Vice, of Rewards and Punishments, were so wholly destroy’d, that it made the Notion it-self intolerable, as Cicero calls it; insomuch that the Defenders of it were forc’d to allow notwithstanding, (tho’ inconsistently with themselves,) that there was a Power of Action, or Free-Agency in Mens Minds; and durst not affirm, that human Actions were necessary: And the opposite Party was so averse to it on this Account, as to recur to the other Extreme, and maintain that the voluntary Motion, or Exertion of the Mind was not at all influenc’d by Fate, or antecedent Causes. These two rigid opposite Tenents, as they were thought, made the famous Chrysippus,180 and the most Reasonable and Learned of the Antients of all Sects, step in as Moderators between these two Opinions, and come to an Agreement on all Sides, that on the one Hand Necessity was to be excluded from human Actions, that so the Distinction of Virtue and Vice, and the Rewards and Punishments, both of divine and human Laws, founded upon them, might be preserv’d inviolated; so on the other Hand Fate, even with respect to human Actions, (as well as to external Events consequent upon them, in which it was absolute and uncontroulable,) was so far to be restrain’d, as that it was to be allow’d, that antecedent Causes were the Motives of acting, or influenc’d the Mind to act, tho’ the principal and efficient Cause of Action was a natural Power and free Exertion of the Mind itself.
“This Distinction of Fate and Necessity, and middle Opinion founded upon it, prevail’d amongst all sorts of Philosophers, Stoicks as well as Platonicks, &c. (excepting the ignorant Astrologers and Fortune-tellers amongst the Stoicks;) accordingly, we learn from Plutarch, that Plato (the great Assertor of the Freedom of the Mind) ‘admitted Fate with respect to the human Soul and Life; but adds withal, that the Cause (of Action) is in ourselves. The Stoicks, in agreement with Plato, say, that Necessity is an invincible and compulsive Cause; but that Fate is the determin’d Connection of Causes, in which Connection our Power of Action is contain’d: So that some Things are destin’d, and others not.’181
“And Austin says, ‘That the Stoicks distinguish’d the Causes of Things (into antecedent and efficient, as hath been before observ’d) that they might exempt some from Necessity, and subject others to it: And amongst those which they allow’d, not to be under Necessity, they plac’d our Wills; lest otherwise, if subjected to Necessity, they should not be free.’182
“Hence it appears, that there is no real Difference betwixt the Platonical and Stoical Philosophy, in the Opinion of Fate, and the Freedom of human Actions; and that which hath led Men, thro’ Mistake, to think, that it was the constant and settled Doctrine of the Stoicks, that human Actions were subject to an absolute Fatality, or Necessity, is their asserting in general Terms, that all Things were originally fix’d and determin’d by the Laws, or Decrees of Fate, and are carried on and effected by an immutable Connection and Chain of Causes; whereas this Fatality, or Necessity, with respect to Men, was only understood of external providential Events, which were appointed consequential to the Nature of their Actions, presuppos’d to be free and in their own Power. For the most eminent and rigid Stoicks plainly assert the Freedom of human Actions, as hath been prov’d above; and the Platonicks, who are known to be most zealous for the Cause of Liberty, do yet with the Stoicks constantly maintain Fate, and a determined Order and Series of antecedent Causes.
“From the preceding Observations, then, we learn what was the true Opinion, in general, both of the Platonicks and Stoicks concerning Fate; namely, that it was no other than the Laws of divine Providence, whereby all Things are govern’d, according to their several Natures; and therefore, particularly in respect of Men, it was understood to be the Rules and Decrees of divine Providence, determining the Events of human Life, and dispensing Rewards and Punishments, according to the Nature of Mens voluntary Actions.
“They thought, that God govern’d the World by his sovereign Will, which they call’d Providence, by which he made fix’d and unalterable Laws for the Administration of the whole Universe; and that he determin’d Mens Conditions, and their Happiness, or Misery, whether here, or hereafter, according as their Actions freely chosen, and done voluntarily, should be. So that Fate, in reality, was no other than Providence,183 or the immutable Law and Rule of God’s Government of the World; and which was call’d Necessity, (not as being suppos’d to effect necessarily, or to be the necessary efficient Cause of human Actions, but) because it was the necessary Law of all Nature; and the external Effects of it, or the Events produc’d by it, by a Series of antecedent Causes, in consequence of Mens voluntary Actions, were unavoidable and necessary.
“That this is the true antient Notion of Fate and Necessity, I shall further distinctly prove, by a brief and indisputable Deduction of Particulars.
“Zeno, the Father of the Stoicks, in his Letter to King Antigonus tells him, ‘It is manifest, that you are not only by Nature inclin’d to Greatness of Mind, but by Choice also.’184 Again; ‘That which is Good is Eligible, as being that which is most worthy to be chosen.’185
“Cicero tells us, concerning Chrysippus, (who was a rigid Stoick, and whom his Adversaries charg’d as holding the Necessity of human Actions in consequence of his Assertion, that all Things proceeded from Fate, or a Chain of antecedent Causes) that in order ‘to assail the Argument from whence Necessity was inferred, holding at the same time, that nothing happened without a preceding Cause, he distinguish’d the Kinds of Causes, that he might avoid Necessity, and still hold Fate. Of Causes, saith he, some are perfect and principal,’ (efficient) ‘Causes, others are assistant, and immediately precedent. Wherefore, when we say, that all Things come to pass by the Fatality of antecedent Causes, we do not understand this Fatality to belong to the perfect and principal ’(efficient) ‘Causes, but only to the immediately-precedent assistant Causes; upon which Distinction he thus reasons; If all Things come to pass by Fatality, it doth indeed follow, that they come to pass with antecedent Causes, but these are not the perfect and principal ’ (efficient) ‘Causes of the Event, but only the assistant Causes, which are nearest to the other; which assistant Causes, altho’ they are not in our Power, it does not thence follow, that our Affections are not in our Power; but this would follow, if the perfect and principal Causes were not in our Power.’186
“Cicero acknowledgeth this Reasoning of Chrysippus to be very much labour’d and obscure; but what he meant, he endeavoured ingeniously to explain by the rolling of a Cylinder and Whipping of a Top, which, tho’ they could not begin to move without being impelled by an external Force, yet, after Motion was given to them, they would continue to move, as it were, of themselves, by the Internal Power of their own Volubility, which belongs to their Nature, and was not given to them by that which was the first and immediate external Cause of their Motion. So in like manner he suppos’d, that external impulsive Causes, which were Subject to Fate, or out of our Power, were the antecedent and first Causes, or Occasions, of the internal Motion of the Mind, i.e. that they set the Mind on Work; but yet, that our Inclinations, Purposes and Actions following, were in our Power, and under the Direction and Government of the Will.187 From which Explanation it appears, that Chrysippus meant, by the perfect and principal Cause of Action, the internal efficient Cause, or the voluntary Motion or Exertion of the Mind itself into Action; and by the Assistant precedent Cause, he meant the external Cause, or Motive, of Action; and so his Reasoning is just and right.
“And that Chrysippus really meant, that Mens Actions were in their own Power, (tho’ external Causes out of their Power, which he call’d Fate, concurr’d to the Production of them,) and that they were the Effects of voluntary Choice; Gellius informs us from his own express Words: ‘Wherefore (says Chrysippus in Gellius) it is a Saying of the Pythagoreans; you may know that Men bring Evils voluntarily upon themselves: Mens Calamities proceeding from their own selves; and their Sins and Vices resulting from their own Appetites, Intentions, and Purposes. Wherefore, says Chrysippus, we ought not to endure or hear those wicked, slothful, pernicious and audacious Men, who, when they are convicted of a Fault, or of an Offence, fly to a necessary Fatality for refuge, and attribute their wicked Actions, not to their own Temerity, but to Fate.’188
“From this Explanation of the Notion of Chrysippus it will appear further, that the Dispute betwixt him and his learned Scholar Carneades and others (who deny’d there were any antecedent Causes, or Fatality, of Mens Actions, and affirmed, that the Motion, or Exertion, of the Mind was purely voluntary189 ) was only a Dispute about Words; each of them understanding the Word Cause in a different Sense. His Reasoning, which the Epicureans urg’d against Chrysippus, Cicero sets forth thus, viz.
“‘When they’ (the Epicureans) ‘had admitted, that there was no Motion without a Cause, they needed not’ (Carneades taught them) ‘grant, that all Events came to pass by antecedent Causes: For that there was no external and antecedent Cause of our Will; therefore the common Custom of saying, that any one will, or will not, do a Thing without a Cause, is an Abuse of Speech; for, when we say, without a Cause, we mean only, without an external and antecedent Cause, not without any Cause at all.—An external Cause is not requisite to the voluntary Motion of the Mind; for voluntary Motion, in the Nature of the Thing, is in our own Power and Choice; and that not without Cause; for the Cause of it is the Nature of the Mind itself.’190 Presently after he shews (which was the Point of the Dispute) what is truly and properly the Cause of a Thing, viz.
“‘That is the Cause, which effects that, of which it is the Cause; as a Wound causeth Death; ill Digestion, a Disease; Fire causeth Heat. Therefore Cause is not so to be understood, as if that which is antecedent merely to a Thing was the Cause of it; but that only is the Cause, which is the antecedent efficient Cause.’191
“Whence it is evident, as Cicero observes upon the matter, that they, who thought the voluntary Motions of the Mind were not affected by any Fatality;192 and Chrysippus, who held a Fate to belong even to human Actions, tho’ he allow’d them to be voluntary, and not effected by Necessity, really meant the same Thing; only those external Motives, which Chrysippus styl’d antecedent Causes and Fate (expressly declaring his meaning at the same time, that they were not the perfect and principal, i.e. efficient, Causes of Action) Carneades, and others, the Academicks, wou’d not allow to be properly Causes at all; insisting, that the efficient Cause, only, was the true Cause of Action; ‘and that in what Things soever the antecedent Causes were such, that it was not in our Power, that the Things should be otherwise, these Things were properly effected by Fate; but those Things, the effecting of which are in our own Power, are wholly exempt from Fate.’193 Understanding Fate, which they excluded from Mens Actions, in the Sense of a necessary impulsive Cause; whilst Chrysippus understood the Fate which he ascrib’d to them, in the Sense of a concurrent Cause, or Motive, of Action only: Which shew’d, there was no real Difference in their Opinions; and that both agreed, that Mens Actions were in their principal, perfect or efficient Cause truly voluntary.
“And hence we may observe, That when Plutarch charges Chrysippus with holding, ‘That not the least Thing, either rests, or moves, otherwise than according to the Appointment of God, whom he makes the same with Fate—and that he makes Fate (which he calls Necessity, &c.) an invincible and uncontroulable and immutable Cause;’194 He either mistakes, or strains Chrysippus’s Notion too far; or else Chrysippus is only speaking of the Fatality, or Necessity, of external Providential Events, and not of human Actions; from which Fatality, or Necessity, Plutarch himself implies, that he exempts them; owning that, with respect to Mens Actions, he (Chrysippus) ‘made Fate, not the perfect ’ (i.e. the efficient, as hath been above observed from Cicero) ‘but only the precedent (i.e.) the concurrent Cause only.’
“Again; Cicero himself answers the Argument against Liberty, which is here made, in these Words; viz.
“‘Altho’ some are more inclin’d to some Things than others are, thro’ natural antecedent Causes, it does not thence follow, that there are natural antecedent (efficient) Causes of our Wills and Desires: For, if so, nothing would be in our own Power. But now we readily own, that to be acute, or dull, of strong, or of weak, Constitutions, is not in our Power: But he that thinks it thence follows, that even to sit, or to walk, is not Matter of Will and Choice, does not perceive the Tendency of that Consequence. For, altho’ there are antecedent Causes of Men’s being born with quick, or slow, Capacities, with robust, or infirm, Constitutions; Yet it does not follow, that our sitting and walking, and doing any Action, is determined and appointed by these Causes.’195 He adds presently;
“‘Vices’ (he means vicious Inclinations, as his preceding Instances shew) ‘may grow from natural Causes; but to extirpate and eradicate them, so as that he who hath these vicious Propensities may be wholly freed from them, is not in the Power of natural Causes, but is effected by the Will, by Study and Discipline.’196 Than which Reasoning nothing can be more truly and strongly offer’d.
“To the same Argument the learned Alexander Aphrodisius thus replies; ‘Those Things which proceed from a Cause, do not always proceed from an external Cause; on which account something is in our own Power, of which we ourselves are the proper Cause, and not any external Cause. Wherefore those Things which in this respect are without Cause, have yet a Cause from ourselves. For Man himself is the original and Cause of those Actions which are done by him, and this is properly to be a Man, to have a Principle of Action within himself, as it is the Property of a Globe to be roll’d down a steep Place. Wherefore other Things are impelled by external Causes, but Man is not; because it is essential to him, to have a Principle and Cause (of Action) within himself, so as not to be impell’d by exterior Causes. If we had one View in our judging about Actions, it might with Reason be said, that our Judgments about the same Things was always the same: But since it is not so, (for those Things we make choice of, we choose sometimes for the Goodness, sometimes for the Pleasure, sometimes for the Profit of them, and these do not produce the same Effects;) it happens, that we sometimes prefer the Motives to that which is good, before all others; again, at other times our Judgment leads us to prefer that which is pleasant, or profitable. For, as we seek for no other Cause, why the Earth is carried downward according to its Gravity, and why Animals act, as they do, by Appetite, than that each of these has, of itself, an efficient Cause derived from its Nature; so neither is there any other Cause to be sought of those different Actions, which we do at different Times, in different Circumstances, but only the Man himself. For this is to be a Man, namely, to be the Original and Cause of those Actions, which are done by him.’197
“To which, on the same Argument, I shall add the Opinions of the two most learned Christian Philosophers, Eusebius and Origen.
“Eusebius says; ‘Altho’ a thousand external fortuitous Obstacles oppose the Temper of our Bodies, and the voluntary Desires of our Minds, yet the freely-exerted Virtue of the Soul is able to withstand them all; demonstrating, that the Power, which we have within us, of choosing that which is good, is unmatchable and invincible.’198
“Origen’s Observation is as follows, viz.
“‘We confess (saith he) that many Things which are not in our Power, are Causes of many Things that are in our Power; without which, namely, those Things which are not in our Power, other Things, which are in our Power, would not be done. But those Things which are in our Power, and are done consequentially to antecedent Things, which are not in our Power, are done so as that, notwithstanding these antecedent Things, we might have done otherwise. But, if any one would have it, that our Free-will is wholly independent of every Thing in the World, so as that we do not choose to do some Things by reason of certain (precedent) Accidents, he forgets, that he is a Part of the World, and comprehended within human Society, and the circumambient Air.’199
“It is evident, that after Reasons, or Motives, not in Mens Power, are offered to them to act, and they cannot help thinking it right to act upon them, and are in their last Judgment determined to act upon them, (and the Event shews that they do act upon them;) they can yet deliberate with themselves before they act, and can suspend the Action without any external Motive whatsoever; which clearly shews, that the Action proceeds from Will and Choice, and is voluntary, not necessary.
“My Adversary himself allows, That Choice and Preference imply Doubt and Deliberation; which tho’ not true, as I have shewn; yet, on the other side, it is true, that Deliberation and Suspension imply Will and Choice: For it is, I think, Demonstration, that, if the Motives of acting are such as impell the Mind necessarily to act, i.e. to act, not by Will, but by Necessity, then there can be no Suspension of Action; but the Moment that the Mind is impelled, it must act, just as a Balance moves the Instant that the Weight is hung upon it: Necessity has no Regard to Time, but, if it acts at all, acts equally in every Moment of Time; and, if it is the immediate efficient Cause, or Power of Action, must act as soon as it takes place, or impells the Mind; and I would desire to be told, what Power of the Mind it is, (if it is not that which we call Will,) which is able perpetually to resist, without the Assistance of any external Motive, the Operations of Necessity by Suspension of Actions. That this Suspension is caus’d by the Will, and, consequently, that the Action following is voluntary, may farther appear by there being no Suspension, or Deliberation, where the Actions, or Effects, are not voluntary, as whether the Pulse, or Heart, should beat, and in the case of the Actions of Madmen, of Men in a Fever, or under a violent Surprise, or Passion; the more of Necessity there is, there is always the less of Deliberation and Suspension; and, if the Motive necessarily produces the Action, it produces it also instant aneously. This Argument may be worth Consideration; and to it I shall subjoin the Opinion of the great Aristotle; who thus argues;
“‘Deliberation and Choice is one and the same Thing; for that which was deliberated upon is the Matter of Choice.—Now the elective Faculty, being deliberative, and that which desires those Things which are in our Power, the Choice itself is the deliberative Desire of those Things which are in our Power: For, judging upon Deliberation, we afterwards desire what we deliberated upon.’200
“And the learned Alexander Aphrodisius says;
“‘Certainly Man hath not the Power of Deliberation in vain, as it must be, if he acts by Necessity. But it plainly appears, that Man alone hath, by Nature, this Power above the rest of Animals, that he is not like them led merely by Sense, but is endued with Reason, whereby to judge of Objects. By which Reason examining the Objects of Sense, if he finds them to be really what at first they appear’d to be, he assents to the Evidence of his Senses, and pursues the Objects of them. But, if he finds them different from what they appeared, he does not continue in his Conception of them, being convinc’d by Reason, upon Consideration, of the Falsity of them. Wherefore we deliberate only about such Things, as are in our Power to do, or not: And, when we act without Deliberation, we often repent and blame our-selves for our Inconsideration. Also, if we see others act unadvisedly, we reprehend them as guilty of a Fault, and the Ground of our Consultation with others is, that Things are in our own Power.’201
“Let us proceed, farther to explain the Doctrine of Chrysippus and the Stoicks, whose Notions, concerning Human Liberty, have been much mistaken and misrepresented.
“Chrysippus says, ‘Fate is the Reason of the World, or the Law of Providence, by which all Things in the World are govern’d.’202 And Gellius tells us, that Chrysippus held, that the ‘Order and Reason and Necessity of Fate was a Motive of Action, to the general and efficient Causes of it; but that every one’s own Will and Dispositions directed the Exertion of our Minds and Purposes, and the Actions of them.’203 And Diogenianus the Peripatetic, writing against Chrysippus, says, ‘It is manifest, from the Distinction which he (Chrysippus) makes, that the Cause (of Action) which is in us, is exempt from Fate.’204 And he cites Chrysippus as declaring, ‘That it is evident, that many Things are done by our own Power, but yet, nevertheless, that these Things are connected with Fate, by which the Universe is govern’d.’205
“Whence it appears, that the learned Dr. Cudworth is mistaken, when he says, that the antient Stoicks, Zeno and Chrysippus, asserted, that God acted necessarily in the general Frame of Things in the World; from whence, by a Series of Causes (they thought) doth unavoidably result whatsoever is done in it. Which Fate is a Concatenation of Causes, all in themselves necessary.206
“For which Opinion, concerning these two most eminent Stoicks, the learned Doctor produceth not the least Evidence. That which deceived him, and hath also deceived others, both antients (as Cicero and Gellius observe) and moderns, is, their Notion of a Series and Concatenation of Causes; which Causes, tho’ they were supposed necessarily to produce each other, yet they were not supposed, to proceed necessarily from God, the original and first Cause, but to be derived from the perfect Wisdom of his Nature, and his Will, as Seneca, the Stoick, has informed us: And were not thought to be the efficient Causes of human Actions, (which they expressly exempted from the Coercion of them,) but were only understood, to be Motives, or secondary Causes; whilst they placed the principal and efficient Cause of Action within the Mind itself: So that the Necessity of this Stoical Chain of Causes was only supposed, to operate in the Production of external providential Events, consequential to Mens Actions, which were taught to be voluntary and in their own Power. And it plainly appears, from the Words of Balbus, the Stoick, mention’d by Cicero (de nat. Deor. L. 2.) that the antient Stoicks agreed with the Platonicks, in asserting the free and voluntary Motion, Exertion, or Agency, of the human Mind. To proceed therefore;
“Cicero, in the Person of Velleius, represents the Stoical Notion of Fate to be, ‘That all Events proceed from the eternal Truth and Connection of Causes.’207Diogenes Laertius says it was their Opinion, ‘That Fate is the Connection of the Causes of Things, or that Reason, by which the World is govern’d.’208
“Seneca (the Stoick) says; ‘Fate is nothing else, but the Connection of Causes.’209
“Marcus Antoninus the Emperor, and Stoical Philosopher, frequently expresses his Notion of Fate in like manner.210 But that in this Fate, or Chain of Causes, the Power of Action in Men was contain’d, and was (υπὲρ μὸρον) exempt from the Necessity of Fate, we are assur’d (from Plutarch211 ) was the common Opinion of Stoicks and Platonists. And Tacitus, speaking of the Stoicks, says, ‘They attribute, indeed, a Fatality unto Things, but not as proceeding from the Motion of the Planets, (which was the Astrological Notion only,) but from the Principle and Connection of natural Causes: And yet they leave the Conduct of our Life to our own Choice, which being chosen, a certain Order of Events (they think) follows.’212
“Alcinous sets forth Plato’s Opinion of Fate, in the following Manner: ‘He understands Fate to be this; That, if any Person chooseth such a sort of Life, and will do such and such Actions, such and such Consequences will follow. Wherefore the Soul is unrestrain’d, and hath it in its own Power to act, or not, and in this respect (of any particular Action) is not compelled: But the Consequence of it’s Action will be effected by Fate: As for Example, if Paris will carry away Helen, which it is in his Power to do, or not, the Event will be, that the Grecians will make War against the Trojans for her.’213
“Hierocles teacheth, that ‘Fate is the judicial Operation of the Deity, effecting Events according to the Laws of Providence, and directing human Affairs in the Order and Course that is suitable to their free Purposes and voluntary Actions.’214 The precedent Arguments, upon which he builds his Notion, are, viz.
“‘If (says he) bodily and external Events fall out fortuitously and by Chance, what becomes of the Superintendency of God, to judge and recompense every one according to his Deserts? For we will not suppose these Things to happen without Appointment, and say, that our just Purposes, and our Judgments and Desires, proceed from an overruling Necessity: For, if so, we should not impute Virtue and Vice to ourselves, but to that Necessity. Nor is it reasonable to suppose all Things to be the necessary Effects of them, I mean the Actions of the Soul, as well as the Things that are without us, and concern the Body. Nor ought we to ascribe all Things to the unintelligent and undirected Circumvolution of the Universe; there being a Mind, that presides over all Things, and a God, who is the Author of the World. That which necessarily remains, therefore, is, that the Choice we make is in our own Power, and that a righteous Recompense is awarded, according thereto, by coelestial Beings and Judges appointed by God, and who have the Care of us committed to them.—And the Supposition of a Recompence, according to our Merit, immediately infers a Providence and Fate, as the consequent of it; and judicial Providence, which orders the Events of human Affairs, according to Right and Equity, depends upon the Principle of our Will and Choice: So that Fate is a Part of universal Providence, and the Rule of Judgment upon the Souls of Men.’215
“To which he adds presently after; ‘To choose, is in the Power of the Mind; but the Events following the Choice, are determined by a judicial Providence, recompensing the Purposes of the Soul, according to its Desert: And thence we are said, both to choose our Condition of Life, and to have it destin’d to us. For the Recompense, ordain’d to follow our Works, both manifests the free Motion (or Operation) of our Mind, and the divine Superintendency over us. So that it is evident, that the Motions (or Operations) of our Minds, from Beginning to End, are free—and that the Recompence of our Deserts is not without Appointment,—as neither is Fate, which is the Chain and Connection of the human Will, with the divine Judgment: So that we choose what we will, thro’ an unrestrain’d Liberty, but often suffer against our Will, thro’ the unavoidable Power of Providence.’216
“Chalcidius expresseth the Platonick Notion of Fate in like manner; viz. ‘Such, (says he) in my Opinion, is that heavenly Law, which is call’d Fate, commanding Men that which is right, and forbidding the contrary; but to obey, is in our own Power, and free from the Coercion of Fate. To praise him that does well, is both agreeable to this Law, and to the common Judgment of all.—Moreover, to live ill, is in the Power of Man, and, therefore, Punishment proceeds from a fatal Necessity, in consequence of the Law. All these Things relate to the Mind of Man, which is free, and acts by its own Choice.’217
“Again; ‘Fate is the Decree of Providence, comprehending our voluntary Actions, as the precedent Grounds of it; comprehending, also, the Recompence of our Deserts. Punishment and Approbation, which are by Fatality, and all those Things which happen fortuitously, or by Chance, are the Consequents of it.’218
“But, in order to understand more fully and distinctly the antient philosophical, or theological, Notion of Fate, or Necessity, we are to observe, that it was distinguished into two Senses, (tho’ in Reality amounting to the same,) in the one of which it was understood, substantially to mean that intelligent divine Being, or Substance, which govern’d the World by the Administration of the Laws of Providence; in the other it was taken abstractedly, or virtually, for the Laws, or Decrees themselves, of the divine Government of the World.
“‘Fate (says the great Philosopher Chalcidius) was understood by Plato in a two-fold Sense, the one relating to its Substance, the other to its Energy and Power.’219
“Thus also Plutarch represents it;220
“Fate, in the Sense of Operation, or Power, is call’d by Plato, ‘in his Phaedrus, an unavoidable Decree; in his Timaeus, the Laws, which God endited to coelestial Beings221 concerning the Nature of the Universe.’222 The Sense of which he immediately explains; viz.
“‘By unavoidable Decree, we may understand an irrepealable Law, proceeding from an irresistible Cause, (viz. the supreme God,) and by the Laws which God endited to (coelestial) Beings concerning the Nature of the Universe, the Law which is consequential to the Nature of the World, and by which the Universe is governed.
“It was call’d Lachesis, or (ἀνάγνινι) Necessity; both as being supposed to be necessarily-existent, and the necessary Substratum for the Formation of rational Beings; as also, because the Laws of it were fix’d and immutable, and to which they supposed God had subjected all Beings, and even bound himself under an irreversible and necessary Obligation.
“Chalcidius styles this Lachesis, or Necessity, ‘the divine Law,’225 by which Things future are connected with Things past and present.
“And it is, with respect to the immutable Laws of Providence, that Plotinus calls God ‘the Necessity and Law of all Things.’226
“Cicero in like manner (speaking of the Platonick Philosophy) observes, that this Fate, or Soul of the World, by whose providential Wisdom all Things, both in Heaven and Earth, are governed, is call’d Necessity; because nothing can happen otherwise than according to the Laws of it, whereby the eternal Order of the Universe is immutably preserved by Fatality.227
“The Stoϊcks express their Notion of Fate (substantially) in Agreement with the Platonists.
“‘Heraclitus styles the Substance of Fate, that Reason which pervades the Substance of the Universe; the same (he adds) is an aethereal Body, the generating Seed of the Universe.’228
“Euripides expresses the Stoical Sense; ‘Jupiter, or the Necessity of Nature, or the Reason of Men. For Necessity and Mind is the (substantial) Power, which diffuseth itself thro’ the Universe.’229
“Velleius, in Cicero, represents the Opinion of the Stoick Chrysippus; ‘That he says; that the Power of that perpetual and eternal Law, which is, as it were, the Guide of our Life, and Director of our Duty, is Jupiter; the same he also calls Fate and Necessity.’230 Again; ‘The Stoicks held a Necessity, which they called Fate.’231
“Again; Diogenes Laertius tells us it was the Stoical Notion, ‘That God, and Mind, and Fate, and Jupiter, were one and the same, to which they gave many other Names also.’232
“Alexander Aphrodisius says; ‘They (the Stoicks) say that Fate, and Nature, and Reason, by which the Universe is governed, is God.’233
“Lastly, Seneca the Stoick says; ‘What else is Nature but God, and the divine Reason, which is infused into the whole World and the Parts of it?—And, if you call the same Fate, you will not be mistaken.’234
“There was no other Difference betwixt the Platonick and Stoick Notion of Fate, but only, that the Stoicks thought that Fate considered (Substantia, or κατ’ οὐσίαν) as a substantial divine Being, which was the Soul of the World, was the (πρῶτος θεὸς) supreme God, whom they styled ‘The first Cause of the Universe;’235 and ‘Fate and the Necessity (or necessary Cause) of Things:’236 Whereas the Platonicks made Fate (δεύτερον θεὸν, ἕτερον νοῦν, secundam Mentem) a second God, a second Mind, inferior and subservient to the supreme God.
“The preceeding Observations will explain the Meaning of the strong poetical Expressions of the Gods, or even of Jupiter himself, the supreme God, being subject to Fate; by which, agreeably to the Platonical and Stoical Philosophy, was understood, that all subordinate Beings, how divine soever, were subject to the immutable Laws of Providence, which were the Will and Command of the supreme God; and, according to which, God himself was determined invariably to act, and so was said to be bound by, and to obey, his own Laws, as being most wise and perfect.
“With respect to the Subjection of the inferior Deities to Fate, Chalcidius gives us Plato’s Opinion;
“‘The Command of God, which the subordinate Gods obey, is, I think, that Reason, call’d Fate, which contains the eternal Government of Things, and is deriv’d from Providence.’237
“To the same purpose Plato himself cites Pindar saying, ‘That the Law (of Providence) rules over all, both mortal Men, and the immortal Gods.’238
“And Simonides; ‘The Gods themselves do not resist Necessity,’ i.e. the uncontrouble Laws of divine Providence.
“And Seneca; ‘Whatsoever it is that commands us thus to live, or die, it binds the Gods also under the same Necessity: An irrevocable Course (of Providence) carries on, both human and divine Things; the very Maker and Governor of all Things wrote indeed the Fates, but also follows them; commanded once for all, and himself always observes what he commanded.’239
“Lucan expresses the same Notion in a lively and poetical Manner.240
“With respect to God’s being unalterably determined to act according to the fixed Laws of his Providence, and so to be, as it were, bound by them; Seneca styles God his own Necessity.241
“And Cicero interprets a Greek Poet, as saying; ‘That the supreme Jupiter cannot prevent that which is decreed to come to pass.’242
“And Herodotus; ‘It is impossible for God himself to avoid the destin’d Fate.’ And again; ‘God himself is a Servant of Necessity.’243
“Which Passages do not mean, as if there was thought to be any Fate, or Necessity, distinct from, and really superior to, the supreme God; but only, that the Laws of divine Providence, as being the Result of infinite and perfect Wisdom, were the immutable Rule, by which God was determined to order the Event of Things, and to act in the Government of the World. To proceed therefore:
“Fate (κατ’ ὀνέργειαν) in the abstract Sense, as implying Energy, Power, or Operation, ‘is the Laws’ (of Providence) ‘with which the Soul of the World is invested, for the good Government of the Universe.’244 Hence we see the Reason, why the Soul of the World is call’d Fate, viz. As containing in it those Laws of Providence, which are that which is call’d Fate.
“Again; ‘It is a Decree, existent Order, and an all-comprehending Law, which derives its precedent Causes from our Deserts, as the Grounds’ (of the Events) ‘of it; and the Events, which proceed necessarily from it, are the consequential Effects of our precedent Merits, and of the Necessity’ (or immutable Sanction) ‘of that Law.’245
“Chalcidius goes on; ‘The Foundation therefore of the divine Law, that is, of Fate, is Providence: But it is call’d Fate, because it contains, as in a Decree, the Duty of Obedience, and the Contumacy of our Disobedience to it. And Punishments and Rewards proceed from it, according to our precedent Deserts. But our precedent Deserts, whether good, or bad, are the Motion of our own Minds; and the Judgment, Consent, Desire, and Aversion of them, which are in our own Power; because the Choice of these and their contraries is in our own Power.—Therefore the Soul of the World is Fate, as it signifies a substantial Being; and that Law also, with which it is instructed for the well Governing of all Things, is that Fate, which consists in Operation and Act, and the Order and Consequence of it is; if we do this, that will follow: Therefore, the precedent Action is in our Power; the Event that follows it, is the Decree of Fate; which is otherwise call’d Fatal, and differs very much from Fate. So that there are three Things, viz. that which is in our own Power; and Fate,’ (or the Law of Providence,) ‘and the Recompence of our Deserts according to the Law of Fate.’246
“Chalcidius concludes the Platonick Notion of Fate, from many foregoing Arguments in these Words, viz.
“‘That some Things are effected by Fate, is true; and that some Things are in our own Power, has been prov’d to be true also. Wherefore, they who ascribe all Things to Fate, are justly found fault with by those, who prove, that some Things are in our own Power. Again; they who place every Thing in our Power, and attribute nothing to Fate, are plainly mistaken. For who knows not, that something is effected by Fate, and is not in our Power? Therefore, that Reasoning alone is true, and that Opinion firm and solid, which teacheth, that some Things happen by Fate, and other Things proceed from the Choice and Will of Men.’247
“Thus, I think, it is clearly and indisputably prov’d, that the Freedom of human Actions was the general and prevailing, and almost unanimous Doctrine, of the most eminent and numerous Sects of Philosophers, particularly, the Five great Sects amongst the Heathens, which comprehended all the Philosophy of Greece and Rome, namely, the Epicureans, Stoicks, Platonicks, Aristotelians, and Academicks; and that the Opposers of this Doctrine were chiefly Leucippus, Empedocles, and Democritus, the first Founders of the Epicurean Sect, but oppos’d herein by Epicurus and his Followers; Heraclitus, Diodorus, and some Astrologers and Fortune-tellers amongst the Stoicks, which were greatly despised and condemned by the most learned of that Sect also. And I have also shewn distinctly, and at large, that the antient Platonick and Stoical Notion of Fate and Necessity agreed with each other, and was declar’d to be consistent with the Liberty of Mens Actions; and was not understood to be a necessary efficient Cause of human Actions at all, but only to be the determinate Will and Decrees of God, or the Laws of his Providence, by which the Universe was govern’d, and Good and Evil was dispensed unto Men, according to the free and voluntary Actions, and Conduct, of their Life.
“And, from the preceeding Proofs of the Freedom of human Actions, as being the Sense and Opinion of the most Wise and Learned, as well as greatest Part of Mankind in all Ages, I beg leave to make one Observation, namely, that upon the Supposition of the Necessity of Mens Actions, it must appear very extraordinary and directly absurd, that the Light of natural Reason should necessarily lead Mankind at all Times to conclude their Actions to be in their own Power and Choice, and to be voluntary and free, if they are indeed necessary: That Necessity should form Mens Minds and Notions so opposite to its own Operations, and make them necessarily think their Actions are not necessary but voluntary. To which Purpose, the learned Ammonius Hermias argues; ‘Does this Reason, which’ (as they teach) ‘necessarily effects all Things, make it necessary for Men to affirm, either that all Things are necessary, or that some Things are in our Power? If the latter is true, then all Things are not necessary; but, if the former, how come many to think the contrary, viz. that many Things are in our Power? For it is altogether absurd to suppose, that Nature, which’ (they say) ‘necessarily effects all Things, should move us against Nature, to contradict the Truth of its own Operations.’”248
So much for the Sentiments of the Antients concerning Fate, Necessity, Liberty, and Providence, from the Reverend Mr. John Jackson.249
That the Heathens knew not the true God.8. From what has been already laid down, and from what follows, it is apparent, “That the Heathens knew not the true God,” which is their distinguishing Character, differencing them from the true People of God. The not knowing God, is distinguishable into several Sorts and Kinds; that which is Unprophetick, that which is Unphilosophick, and that which is Irreligious. That which is Unprophetick, relates only to Matters of Intercourse between God and his Prophets, and his Method of manifesting himself to them, 1 Sam. 3.7. “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the Word of the Lord yet reveal’d unto him.” That which is Unphilosophick, relates only to Philosophick Disquisition and Comprehension, Job 36. 26. “God is great and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.” That which is Irreligious, is the Opposite to such knowing God, which belongeth to Religionists as such, and constitutes the true Theists of Religion. 2 Thess. 1. 7, 8. “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty Angels, in flaming Fire, taking Vengeance on them that know not God.” A truly religious knowing God, a knowing him so as to be truly religious towards him, is the Essence and Summary of true Religion, the Whole of Piety. Therefore some judicious Interpreters expound the Knowledge of God by Piety, or Godliness, others by the Fear of God, which comes to the same Thing. Hos. 4. 1. “There is no Truth, nor Mercy, nor Knowledge of God in the Land.” Jer. 9.6. “They refuse to know me, saith the Lord.” Jer. 22. 16. “Was this to know me? saith the Lord.” In this Sense the Knowledge of God is preferr’d before Burnt Offerings. Hos. 6. 6. and this Knowledge of God will make holy and happy Times, Isa. 11. 9. “They shall not hurt, nor destroy in all my holy Mountain; for the Earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the Lord.” When God foretelleth by the Prophet, Jer. 24. 7. “I will give them a Heart to know me, that I am the Lord”; the Meaning is, they shall be true Pietists towards him; and by another Prophet, Hos. 2. 20. “Thou shalt know the Lord”; it is to signify, that he, on his part, would enter into a League of Amity with them, and make himself known to them at a more than ordinary Rate; and they, on their Part, shall be true Pietists. But the Sons of Eli were monstrous Impietists, and their being such was a “not knowing the Lord.” 1 Sam. 2. 22. They knew not the Lord, as David chargeth his Son Solomon, “Know the Lord God of thy Father, and serve him with a perfect Heart,” 1 Chron. 28. 9.
Sometimes the knowing God must be explain’d by Wisdom in Divine Matters. Thus it is to be understood, Col. 1. 10. “Increasing in the Knowledge of God.” And God foretelleth by the Prophet, that the meanest Christian shall be Wise in Divine Matters. Jer. 31. 34. “They shall teach no more every Man his Neighbour, and every Man his Brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them.” i.e. They shall all comprehend what ought to be known of God, in conjunction with Piety.
Sometimes the Phrase of knowing God must be explain’d by what we commonly call Acquaintance, in which Sense also the Wicked are called Aliens. 1 John 4. 7, 8. “Every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is Love.” 1. John 2. 4. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his Commandments, is a Liar,” and 3. 6. “Whosoever Sinneth,” (habitually,) “hath not seen him, neither knoweth him.” In the same Sense of knowing, the Prophet saith of crooked Paths, (Isa. 59. 8.) “Whosoever goeth therein shall not know Peace,” (so as to have any Dealings therewith;) “the Way of Peace havethey not known”; (Rom. 3. 17.) The Apostle saith of Christ, (2 Cor. 5. 21.) “He knew no Sin,” so as to have any intercourse with it; and our Saviour will say to some, as being none of his Acquaintance, “I never knew you.” Matth. 7. 23.
Sometimes the Phrase of knowing God is best explain’d by that due Discernment and Understanding of God, which constitutes Men of the Divine Family, Subjects of his Kingdom, he being to them a God, they being to him a chosen People, which is the true Light, Wisdom and Knowledge of Believers. 1 John 5. 20. “The Son of God is come, and hath given us an Understanding that we may know him that is True,” and 2. 12. “I write unto you, Little Children, because ye have known the Father,” and John 16. 3. “These Things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” The World is in such an Atheistical Ignorance of God. “O righteous Father, the World hath not known thee.” John 17. 25. In the same Sense the Psalmist saith (9. 10.) “They that know thy Name, will put their trust in Thee.” When our Saviour saith, John 17. 3. “This is Life Eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God,” the Meaning is, that to know God, as one of his Pietists, as wise in Divine Matters, as of his Acquaintance, as Children of his Family, and Subjects of his Kingdom, is Life eternal to a Man.
But sometimes the Phrase of knowing God must be explain’d by Understanding of God and his Matters, (speaking of God in such Sense as we speak of Kings and Governments,) as our Saviour saith, Matth. 11.27. “No Man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any Man the Father, save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” As to that great and saving Revelation of himself, the Christian Religion, God did not make himself known to any mere Man, “The only-begotten Son, which is in the Bosom of the Father,” (highly beloved by him, and most intimate with him,) he only hath declar’d him.
And sometimes Mens knowing God must be explain’d, of his being barely notic’d to them, which is consistent with the greatest Atheism of Religion and Condition, as when the Apostle saith of the Gentiles, Rom. 1. 28. “They knew God, but did not like to retain God in their Knowledge,” or to make an acknowledgment of Him, which is a religious knowing God. But thus the Gentiles knew him not; for, as the acknowledg’d Deity of Religion and People, “There is no God in all the Earth, but in Israel.” 2 Kin. 5. 15.
How far the Gentiles did know God.The Gentiles, therefore, in a certain Sense knew God, but so as not to know him in the more usual, or religious, Sense. Rom. 1. 19, 20. “That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for, God hath shewn it unto them; for the invisible Things of him from the Creation of the World are clearly seen, being understood by the Things that are made, even his Eternal Power and Godhead.” And, accordingly, it is generally acknowledg’d, “That God is knowable by Natural Light, and is actually known by all Nations.” But this must be understood with due Distinctions and Limitations, touching the Bounds and Measures of the Gentiles knowledge of God, such as these following.
1. The Heathen World knew God, as understood without specifick and individual Determination. They were not so ignorant, but that they acknowledg’d one Cause, or Principle, whence all Things have their Origin. This is so conspicuous in Nature, that natural Light cannot miss of him; nor is this his Existence matter of Faith, so much as of common Reason, and Proof by Argument. “The Pulchritude of the World, and the Order of the Coelestial Bodies, forceth an acknowledgment, that there is a certain excellent and eternal Nature, which is to be honour’d and ador’d by Mankind.”250 The Pagan Theologers, in Terms, agree with the Christian, that the visible World proclaimeth the invisible God, and speaketh audibly, with a Voice that is gone out through all the Earth, that God made me. One that was no under-graduate in Atheism, yet in a lucid interval, saith; “If any Man shall view throughly all the Organs, both of Generation and Nutrition, and doth not perceive them to have been made and order’d to their respective Offices by some Mind, he is to be reputed himself void of Mind.”251 To suppose, therefore, that the Existence of God is not discoverable by mere Reason, or natural Light, is a great Extravagance in Socinus, and some others.
2. God, as of the true Specifick and individual Determination, (being plainly notic’d unto them in the Nature of the Thing,) was in Nature fairly notic’d to the Heathen World. For, as in the Old-Testament, a Messiah is notic’d and reveal’d to the Jews, not without, but with, true Specifick and individual Determination, (the true Messiah, the true kind of Messiah, is there in good Degree reveal’d:) So, in Nature, God is fairly notic’d to the Gentiles, not without, but with true, Specifick and individual Determination. They are blind and unintelligent in the Nature of Things, that do not discern, in case of Competition, which is the true God. The Jews mundan Kind of Christ, is an Anti-Christ Kind of Christ. So the Gentiles Pagan Kind of God, their Jove; being in one Part merely mundan, and in the other, diabolical and wicked; and being the Deity of a Religion, that is in one Part merely mundan, and in the other diabolical and wicked, is an Anti-God kind of God. All these Matters are so plain in the Nature of the Thing, that it must be said, a Christ is in Scripture so notic’d to the Jews, as that the true Christ, the true Kind of Christ, is fairly notic’d unto them: A God is in Nature so notic’d to all Mankind, as that the true God, the true Kind of God, is fairly notic’d unto them. “A Philosopher is no other than a true Philosopher; but, because some counterfeit Philosophy, therefore the Epithet of true was added.” So Christ is no other than the true Christ, God is no other than the true God: If God, therefore, (or a God,) was in Nature made known to the Gentiles, the true God must necessarily be notic’d unto them. And some learned Men somewhat mistake the Case, when they say. “As Oedipus knew himself to have a Father, yet did not know that Laius was he: So the Gentiles, by the Light of Nature, might reach so far as to know, there is one God, and that he is the Fountain of all Good, without knowing who was this God, as suppose the God of Israel.”252 For, in the Case of Oedipus, there was no Competition, there was no Competition between two pretending Fathers; whereas, in the Gentiles Case, there was a Competition between two pretending Gods. And Laius, (being but a particular Man) could not be known but by an individual Determination: Whereas, in Case of Competition, the true God is distinctly and certainly notic’d by a mere Specifick Determination. For as the Divine-kind of Messiah is the true Messiah: So the Divine-kind of God, (and the Deity of such a kind of Religion) is the true God; but the Ungodly-kind of God (and the Deity of such a Religion) is the false God. It is not a Divine Being, nor a Supreme Being, nor a Supreme God, but the Divine-kind of God, which Specifick Determination is plainly notic’d in the Nature of the Thing; and therefore God, as of true Specifick Determination, is in Nature, fairly notic’d to the Reason of all Men. For suppose, that Oedipus could not know, that the Man Laius was his Father; yet, in the Nature of the Thing, this was plainly notic’d, That one of Mankind was his Father: So, in the Nature of the Thing, and therefore in Nature, this is plainly notic’d to the Reason of all the World, that God is not an unholy, or ungodly, but a Divine-kind of, God. If this God, the Deity of true Holiness and Godliness, was not, as such, fairly notic’d to the Heathen World; if they had not much of the Knowledge of him and of his Truth, (touching his Truth, their Duty and their Sin, his Rewards and Punishments,) this Knowledge could not be said, to be manifest in them, because God hath shew’d it unto them: Nor could they be said, to hold the Truth (stifled, smother’d, and imprison’d) in Unrighteousness. This being their great Crime, from thence it appeareth, that the true God was so far notic’d to them, as that they were under an Obligation, to erect an Holy Empire, imperfectly such, by being in common his Religionists.
3. As the Jews reject the true Divine-Kind of Messiah, which is notic’d unto them, such not being grateful and agreeable unto them, nor what they like and love; they are for a Messiah of another Kind: So the Gentiles did not like that of the true Divine-Kind of God, his Truth, and his Service, which was notic’d unto them, they were for another Kind of supreme God, which was more grateful to them, because of their own Kind and Quality; and so far (in setting up their Jove of several Notions jumbled and confounded together) they transform’d the Godhead into their own Similitude. According to that of Xenophanes the Colophonian; “If Horses and Oxen could draw Pictures, they would paint the Gods like Horses and Oxen, as of their own Form and Family.” The same Philosopher observeth, “That the Aethiopians paint the Gods Black, and Flat Nos’d;the Thracians paint them Reddish and Ceruleous; the Barbarians suppose them Wild and Ferine; the Greeks suppose them more Gentle and Placid.”
4. The Heathens having form’d their Polity of Gods, and set up Jove as Chieftain of their Deities, the true God was hid from the Eyes of their Mind; and, altho he was notic’d to them, and known by them, yet no otherwise than as a Stranger-Deity (foreign to the Polity of their Gods) as they were Aliens from knowing him. For such a Degree of knowing, is knowing, not knowing, as the Apostle saith, Rom. 10. 19. “Did not Israel know?” They knew, but so as not to know. The Heathens knowing, not knowing, constituted them the Heathen People. To such a Degree the Athenians knew God, when they erected an Altar to the unknown God. To such a Degree the Kings of the Amorites and the Canaanites knew God, whose Hearts melted, “When they heard that the Lord had dried up the Waters of Jordan from before the Children of Israel.” Josh. 5. 1. And the God of Israel saith of himself, Mal. 1. 14. “My Name is dreadful among the Heathen.” To such a Degree those Pagan Magicians knew God, who made use of his Name, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in their Inchantments.
In what Sense they did not know God.That extraneous People the Gentiles knew not God, as a People know their God; who is the imperial Estate of their Religion, and who are none of the Strangers, Foreigners, and Aliens from his Theology and Religion. In such Sense the Gentiles Character signifieth in the Scripture, wherein the Gentiles, that knew not God, are oppos’d to God’s People; and in such Sense the God of Israel saith to Cyrus, Isa. 45. 5. “I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.” So in Ecclesiastical Writers, the Conversion of a Pagan to be one of God’s People, is express’d by a Transition from the Heathenism of the World to the Acknowledgment of the true God. And the Heathens usual Quere to the Primitive Christians, “Who is that God, which ought alone to be worshipp’d?” shews their prodigious Alienation from the Knowledge of God, and that the true God was no Deity of their Theology. Cicero hath remark’d the wild Conceits of the Stoicks concerning the Ruler of the World, or the Godhead. “Zeno and the generality of the Stoicks suppose, that the Aether is the supreme God, having a Mind whereby all Things are govern’d. Cleanthes, a Prime Stoick, andScholar of Zeno, thinketh the Sun hath the Dominion, or is Lord of us, and all, and swayeth all. Therefore, by the Dissension of the Wise, we are necessitated to be Ignorant, who is the Lord over us; for we know not, whether to pay our Service to the Sun, or Aether.”253 The Philosophers had the true Knowledge of God, as some say; but the Apostle ranketh their Knowledge of God, with the Popular-Pagan. 1 Cor. 1. 21. “Seeing that in the Wisdom of God” (that instructive Wisdom which God furnisheth in Nature) “the World by Wisdom knew not God,” (by Philosophy, they did not attain to the Knowledge of God,) “it pleas’d God by the Foolishness of Preaching to save them that Believe.”
This Idea the King, or he that Reigneth over us, may be understood and taken, either without, or with that individual Person, who is King, or doth Reign. He that knoweth and honoureth the King only in general and indefinitely, (to use a Logical Term,) knoweth and honoureth the King according to the true Idea of a King, without any true, or determinate Knowledge of the Individual, who is King, whom he may unwittingly oppose. Many are for Truth, for Justice, Virtue, and Piety, according to some true general Notion which they have of them, that are Adversaries to that, in particular Cases, which is really and materially the Truth, Justice, Virtue, and Piety. Thus the Heathen are said to know and honour God, by having this, or the like, honourary Idea of Him in their Mind, The King of the World; The Lord of All; but with this honourary Idea some of them invested a Star; others, an Hero; others, a Demon; and others, a Platonick Idea. Some applied it to the visible Universe, being Pan-Theists; others were altogether uncertain, to what definite specifick individual Nature, it ought to be applied, and, therefore, were Theists at random, not determin’d to any one Thing; “Thou Jupiter, whether thou be the Heaven, or the Aether, or the Earth,” saith one in the Poet: Such Theists, altho’ they have a true Notion of God in their Mind, The Lord of the World, The Lord of All, or the like; yet, because they apply it not to him to whom it belongeth, they are not Theists truly such, they do not know, or acknowledge, him, who is Lord of the World, or Lord of All.
It is not possible, that God’s Religionists should have the same Deity of a Religion in common with the Gentiles that know not God, which being their genuin and usual Character, we may infer from it, by way of Consectary, these five Branches of their Heathenism, and of ours too, so far as we symbolize with them. 1. Their Atheous Darkness, as to matter of Understanding. 2. Their Atheousness and Flagitiousness of Life. 3. The Agreeableness of Heathenism of Religion to them. 4. The Badness of their Virtue and Goodness. 5. The Deadliness of their State and Condition. For all these are our criminal not knowing God.
Heathenism is the State of Atheous Ignorance.Consect. 1. Heathenism is the State of Atheous Ignorance. Agreeably to Platonism, the Christian Theology contra distinguisheth two opposite States and Conditions, and two opposite Kinds of People, Parties, and Families, the one Divine and of Light, the other Atheous and of Darkness. Matt.5. 14. Luk. 4. 18. Job 9. 6. and 12. 46. &c. The Apostle of the Gentiles was sent upon this Errand, “to turn them from Darkness to Light,” (Act. 26.18.) from Heathenism to Theism and Christianism of Condition, which was “a calling them out of Darkness into marvellous Light.” (1 Pet. 2. 9.) Heathenism is the Darkness of this World, of which the infernal Powers are the Rulers, Ephe. 6. 12. and therefore the Apostle saith (Ephe. 5. 8) “Ye were sometimes Darkness, but now are ye Light in the Lord.” And, because of the direct Opposition of these two States, therefore the Apostle asketh, “What Communion hath Light with Darkness?” 2 Cor. 6. 14. The Region of outer Darkness has been well explain’d by the Blindness of the Wicked; a Region of Blindness, or not-discerning, as well as of Darkness; and the Inhabitants of it are the Fools and Blind,254the Blind Leaders of the Blind, the blind People that have Eyes and see not, the Wretched and Miserable, Poor and Blind. He that lacketh these Things (Divine Graces) is Blind, living in a State of Gracelessness and Wickedness, they had need to have their Eyes open’d. Act. 26. 18. They were blind and unintelligent, to a prodigy, in the matters of Holiness and Salvation (Ephe. 4. 18.) “walking in the” (Heathenish, or Atheous) “Vanity of their Mind, having the Understanding darken’d,” (having obliterated, or at least obscured, their natural Notices of the matters of God and Godliness,) “being alienated from the Life of God, through the” (Atheous kind of) “Ignorance, that was in them, because of the Blindness of their Heart.” Their Wise Men (Rom. 1. 21, 22.) “professing themselves to be Wise, became Fools,” (unwise and unintelligent in the matters of God,) “and becoming vain in their Imaginations,” (full of Heathenish and Idolatrous Conceits, which are Atheous,) “their foolish Heart was darken’d.” The Words of Philo are lively expressive of the sad benighted Estate of the Heathen World; “The Region of the Wicked, where there is no Sun, but depth of the Night, endless Darkness, and vast Multitude of Shades, Ghosts, and Spectres, and Dreams.”255 These are always stirring in the night-time of sottish Superstition, (the Day-Light banisheth them,) they are the Issue and resembling Progeny of the dark Region of Paganism, wherein Mankind seem “to have been fetter’d by a long Night, as Prisoners of Darkness,” Wisd. 17. 2. Had the Aegyptians Eyes, who deified that blind Animal Mus Araneus, μυγαλήν, because they suppos’d Darkness elder than Light?256 Or the generality of the Pagans, were they not as blind as that Aegyptian Deity, who affix’d all manner of Infamy and Villainy to their Gods, yet thought themselves Pious? They had a Notion of Piety, Purity, Sanctity, and Justice towards their Deity; but their Sanctity was Sin; their Piety was Villainy; their Purity, Pollution; their Laver was their Stain, and their Righteousness, the highest Wickedness; they counted Evil Good, and Good Evil; Darkness Light, and Light Darkness.
All Mankind, therefore, natively and originally, want their Eye-Sight, and must be denoted such as are born Blind, an effect of Man’s Fall. There would be no need of a divine Physician, to heal and open the Eyes of Men; nor of divine Illumination, nor of a new Birth, whereby we are born into the Region of Light, if Mankind were not in some degree born Blind: No Account can be given of that more-than-Cimmerian Darkness, which for many Ages involv’d the World of Mankind, but from this Hypothesis, that they are born without their Eye-Sight; as without the Life, so without the Light, Spiritual; as in some degree Heathen ungodly Sinners, so Heathen Sons of Darkness. Upon the loss of the divine Image, which is the Soul’s Life and Light, an opposite Darkness succeedeth; for such is the Reign of the Animal-Sensitive Nature, the Flesh, which is blind and foolish, unintelligent and unreasonable, the occasion of Blindness, Error, and Folly, to the Mind; as suggesting atheous Conceits, (vain and heathenish Imaginations, Rom. 1. 21.) as being full of vile and corrupt Affections; as being productive of all Vice and Wickedness, (“their own Wickedness hath blinded them,” Wisd. 2. 27.) and the Mind, concurring therewith, becometh a fleshly Mind.257 For, being moulded after the Flesh, she becometh carnally Minded, affected, and addicted; of an atheous, carnal, and mundan Genius and Disposition; which is an Indisposition of the Soul to unite itself to God in any respect (in her Discernments, Apprehensions, and Conceits, Opinion and Judgment, Sentiment and Estimation of Things, as also in her Designs, Elections, and Pursuits;) and a Propension to the blind and carnal Conceits of mundan Religionists, and to the various sorts of Atheous Error and Folly. Such an Atheous and Heathen-kind of Genius, in some degree native to Mankind, is by degrees increas’d, as vitious Affections grow to greater Height, and as Sinning against God becomes their Trade and Practice. Bad Education also, Converse and Company, Example, prevailing Custom, publick reigning Error and Vice, bad Government and Laws, beget, confirm, and encrease, Atheousness of Mind. From these concurrent Causes, all, or many of them, the antient Times of the Heathen were “the Times of Ignorance.” (Act. 17. 30.) And thence it is, that the generality of Mankind, in all Times, are criminally involv’d in Atheous Darkness, Error, Ignorance, and Foolishness, touching Matters of Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Just and Unjust, Virtue and Vice, Nobility and Baseness, Sanctity and Sin, God and his Service, and the divine Kind of Things, the World also and its sensitive Good and Evil, touching themselves, their Interest, and their Happiness, their Souls and their future State, they prodigiously deceive themselves through Pride and Self-Love; and touching their present State, and their Ways, “not knowing what they do, nor whither they are going, because the Darkness hath blinded their Eyes.” (Luk. 23. 34. 1 Joh. 2. 11.)
The principal and summary Reason of the Heathens Blindness was, They did not emerge out of the State of Gracelessness and Wickedness; and, therefore, they were in the State of Atheous Ignorance. From whence it follows, that all Men, who are in the same State of Gracelessness and Wickedness, are in the State of Atheous Ignorance, and want their Eye-Sight, as well as they. Flashes of Light, and some Convictions of Mind, are consistent with this Estate; and there may be in it a superficial and ineffectual knowing the matters of Religion; yet, because all that are in it have a Veil upon their Minds, they are necessarily in the State of Atheous Ignorance. As was the Case of those false Religionists, the carnal Jews; who, if they had had their Eyes, must have discern’d the Light of the World shining in their View; could not have mistaken God for the Devil; or thought themselves Virtuous, when they were Vile; or Wise, when they were Fools; or Safe, when they were in their Sins; nor could they have made their Religion, their Sin and Delusion. Both Jews and Gentiles shew, what Man is in his Unregenerate State; that this being the State of reigning Wickedness and Ungodliness, is the State of reigning Atheous Ignorance, Error and Folly.
Atheous Mankind being themselves, in great degree, unreasonable, the things of the Holy Spirit seem to them absurd, foolish, and unreasonable, 1 Cor. 2. 14. “The natural Man receiveth not the Things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discern’d.” The Matters of the Holy Christian Life, have always seem’d ridiculous and foolish to Men of the Atheous, Mundan, and Prophane Genius, which so prevaileth in Nations, call’d Christian, that serious Piety is not matter of Honour and Estimation, but of Disparagement with the most and greatest; and to be a Christian indeed, is to be Vile in their Eyes; if not to have the Usage, which such as departed from Iniquity in antient Times had, Laughter and Derision. Christians, so call’d, suppose, that they may be Leud, Sensual, and Worldly, yet genuine Christians; that Sin is a very small Matter, and, accordingly, their Life is the Sinning Trade; that God is the God and Patron of the Ungodly; that it is needless, ridiculous, and a sneaking Thing, to be Religious; that Heathenish Perfunctoriness, and outside Modishness, in God’s Service, is good Devotion; that high Profaneness is Gallantry; that a Life of Flesh-pleasing Vanity is better than an Holy; that the Worlds delusive Phantasms are the great and goodly Things; that the Concerns of this Animal-sensitive Life, are chiefly to be minded; and that it is Madness to bear the Cross, and suffer for Righteousness sake.
In Christendom, in reform’d Christendom, such Atheous Ignorance, Error and Folly prevaileth, so high a Degree of Unreasonableness, as to be perfect Madness and Phrenzy. It is Madness for Men to dream of a worldly-happy Estate, and a sensual Felicity, and to make it their chief End and Good; to be the World’s Admirers and Lovers, that are deluded by Shadows, and idolize momentary fantastick Nothings, neglecting and losing the true inestimable Possessions of the Kingdom of God and the Soul; to chuse the Evil, and refuse the Good, running counter to their own Intention, designing to be Honourable and Happy, yet making themselves Vile and Miserable to Extremity; in a State of present Danger, wherein they are surrounded with Enemies, to be regardless of their Safety; and as regardless of the future over-whelming Calamities, which few forecast to prevent; to be merry and jovial in a mournful State, and fearless and careless in a fearful Case; to lose their Salvation for want of a little Care and Pains, and to spend their Care and Time about that which is not worth the while; to part with their All for Nothing; for a momentary Folly to plunge themselves into Miseries endless; to be deluded and befool’d in the plainest Things, and in all their great Concerns, not knowing what is good for Themselves, but sporting Themselves in their own Deceiving.
In Heathenism we lead the Atheous Life.Consectary 2. In Heathenism we live the Atheous Life. Atheism of Life and Practice is connected with Atheism of Understanding, both as an Antecedent Cause, a Concomitant, and a Consequent thereof. For the Atheous kind of Life, and Practice, causeth the Atheous kind of Ignorance, Error, and Folly, as Steams and gross Exhalations from the Earth cause a dark Air. Sins and Vices, Lusts and Passions, are to the Mind, what a Suffusion is to the Eye, or Rust to Metal; an Atheous Temper, and Disposition, is prone to Atheous Conceits, and affecteth Atheous Opinions; carnal Affections so powerfully blind the Understanding, and byass the Judgment, that evil Men must be suppos’d to have bad Notions of God. All Men judge as they are affected; he that hateth any Man, is prone to believe and judge all manner of Evil of him; and when he is otherwise affected toward him, he will be apt to believe and judge the contrary: Therefore the Lovers of the World magnify the Things of the World, and form to themselves a worldly kind of Religion: So the Lovers of fleshly Pleasures are averse from believing a Resurrection and future Judgment; and (as Chaucer saith of the People of England) “what they not like, they never understand”; the Truth is against the Wicked, and they are, therefore, against the Truth.
Ignorance is connected with Vice and Wickedness, as a Concomitant inseparable; for it is impossible to be Wise and Wicked at the same time. The being Wicked is to be a Fool, the greatest of Fools; reigning Wickedness is, therefore, necessarily connected with the greatest Ignorance, Error, and Folly: Nor do any commit a sinful Fact, preferring the Evil before the Good; but, upon their Repentance, they acknowledge themselves to have been deceiv’d, in making a false Valuation of some apparent Good connected with great Evil. The grosly ignorant in matters of true Religion, do not know them, nor decline the opposite Evils. Their sinful Ignorance, therefore, is, both in itself, and in its Consequences, manifest Wickedness. The whole of true Religion, Virtue, and Duty, is Matter of Wisdom and Knowledge; for they must be Men of good Understanding, that know the Divine Empire, and the Laws thereof, and understand the matters of Divine Learning and Philosophy; that know the great Things, which alone are worthy to be known, and understand the true Nature, Worth and Use of Things; that discern between Truth and Falshood, the true and false Religion, between Good and Evil, (chusing the one, and refusing the other,) between Realities and Resemblances, and are not impos’d upon by Shews and Appearances; that escape Error, Deceit, and Delusion, (in their Opinions, Elections, Hopes and Confidences,) and the many tempting Baits of Sin; that understand the true Rates of Things, and estimate them aright; that know their Bounds, and observe them; their Dangers, and avoid them; their Enemies, and how to vanquish them; their Diseases, and how to cure them; that conduct themselves by wise Maxims, and do well and wisely; that know how to demean Themselves aright in all Cases and Circumstances, and do their Business and Office well; that are not foolishly and viciously affected, but agreeably to the Nature of Things,(contemning what is Contemptible, fearing what is really Formidable, loving what is Amiable in due Degree and Measure,) that govern themselves well, and are well advis’d in their doings, foreseeing and preventing the great Evils, making sure of their true Happiness, and so successfully managing their Affairs, that they are eternally safe and secure. But they that lack Understanding, know not their Sin, fear not their Danger, regard not their great Interests, discern not the Things that differ, mistake Trash for Treasure, and Fables for Truth and Wisdom; their Designs and Elections are ignorant and unwise; they run upon their Evils, which, in general, they would desire to avoid, for they wish well to themselves; their Atheous Life engendreth Atheous Opinions and Errors, and their Atheous Opinions and Errors, necessarily lead to Atheous Life and Practice.
Not that we are to imagine, with some, “That Mankind do not sin by Will, but only by weakness of Judgment and Ignorance; that really we would not do Evil, nor do we chuse it, but through Ignorance we judge that Good, which really is Evil.” For this is an extravagant Conceit; nothing being more apparent, than that Men usually Will and Chuse, Intend and Design (which is a perverse Appetite and Will) the Evil of manifest Injustice, for carnal Self-gratification and Advantage; therefore a Conceit, which supposeth all their Sins, “to be Sins of excusable Ignorance,” is it-self a Branch of Ignorance inexcusable: Yet, because there is Ignorance in every actual Sin, and it is in part the Principle of it, the Maxim is true, “All Sin hath its rise from Ignorance.”
In Heathenism, the atheous Life of profane Drunkards, Swearers, Whoremongers, and Worldlings, mainly intent upon the concerns of this Animal-Sensitive Life, was the Pagan Popular Life, (notwithstanding the Institutions of Virtue and Philosophy, and the arcane Institutions of Religion, that were in Paganism;) their brutish Appetites concurr’d with the ignorant Conceits of their Minds, touching a sensitive Felicity, to instigate them to unclean Practices; and being past feeling (having lost the Sight and Sense of the Turpitude and Sinfulness of their Practices, which should have restrain’d them, adimit nox atra colorem258 ) they gave themselves over unto Lasciviousness, to work all Uncleanness with greediness. The Sins of Uncleanness were the Pagans eminent Vice; for, altho’ there are among them Instances and Institutions of Continence, yet so generally and outrageously were those Heathen Sons of Darkness addicted to the Sins of Unchastity of all sorts, (some of which were not only thought allowable, but genteel and creditable,) that the Pagan World may justly be thought nothing better than a Brothel-House of Uncleanness. The principal Corruption in the World, was thro’ this sort of Lust;259 and, because of these Things principally, “the Wrath of God came upon” (these enormous Sinners) “the Children of Disobedience.” The Gentiles are characteriz’d by the Lust of Concupiscence, as a Consequent of their Ignorance, and not knowing God. And the New-Testament, in its black Catalogues of atrocious Sins, commonly joyneth the Sins of Uncleanness with Heathen Idolatry, and eating Things offer’d to Idols with committing Fornication (which in a large sense signifies all Whoredom;) and the Gentile Converts are by a special Decree forbid Fornication, as a Rite of gross symbolizing with the Gentiles, who are usually call’d by the holy Writers ÿoi porno’i, Fornicators, the Heathen World being a World of impure Fornicators. Their Doctrine did not condemn Fornication and Stews; and both Sexes were prostituted in their Stews, which were every where allow’d, and paid their Tribute. The Persians, Aegpytians, and Athenians, are infamous for their infamous Marriages, the Stoicks and Chrysippus, for allowing them; they are infamous also for unnatural Lusts, their Wise-Man is not averse from Love; Community of Women was practis’d in several Pagan Nations; some are superlative Instances of Masculine Amours; the Lacedaemonians are noted for lending their Wives; Plato, for countenancing Perjury in Love-Matters; Plato and Lycurgus banish’d Modesty from their Commonwealth, for they will have Men Spectators of naked Women; Plutarch was shameless, when he wrote his Amatorius; the Greek Philosophers are remark’d for their impure Masculine Amours, to which, not only the Athenians, but the Roman Senators, were addicted, and the Oracle of Apollo alloweth it. The Apostle hath remark’d their monstrous Uncleanness, (Rom. 1. 28) which he looketh upon as the Consequence of a reprobate Mind. But these soul Carnalities, the Sins of Uncleanness, are only one eminent Limb, or Member, of the Heathen Old-Man, that “hath his Conversation in the Lusts of the Flesh, fulfilling the Desires of the Flesh, and of the Mind, walketh according to the Course of this World, according to the Prince of the Power of the Air, in Lasciviousness, Lusts, excess of Wine, Revelling, Banquettings, and abominable Lewdnesses,” Ephes. 2. 2, 3. which were so fashionable in the Heathen World, that it was a Thing wonder’d at, that the Christians, who seem’d an odd out-of-the-way People, (1 Pet. 4. 3, 4.) “Did not run with them into the same Excess of Riot. Being fill’d” (Rom. 1. 29, &c.) “with all Unrighteousness, Fornication, Wickedness, Covetousness, Maliciousness, full of Envy, Murder,” (Homicide was the Gladiators Discipline, and matter of Glory, they slew their Slaves at pleasure, usually expos’d their Children, Romulus made a Law, that Children born deform’d, should be expos’d and stifled), “Debate, Deceit, Malignity, Whisperers, Back-Biters, Haters of God, Despiteful, Proud, Boasters, Inventors of evil Things, Disobedient to Parents, without Understanding, Covenant-Breakers, without natural Affection, Implacable, Unmerciful.” Such were the worse and the greater part of them; and of all them it must be said, that by several degrees of Wickedness, they constituted a World of flagitious People, “an evil World,” (a World of evil Men, and a World of Evils,) “a World of the Lust of the Flesh, and the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life, which are not of the Father, but are of the World.” 1 Joh. 2. 15.
Of Original Sin.This degenerate Condition of the World of Mankind, is an uncontroulable Evidence of Original Sin in some Significations of it. For, in the first place, Original Sin may signify, That Mankind, antecedently to their being Holy, (which prior Condition may be called their Original Condition,) are ungodly Sinners. Of this Original sinful State, the current of Scripture, the frame of Christianity and Judaism, the frame of Man, the degenerate Condition of the World, the Order and Course of Things in it, are an uncontroulable Evidence. For Darkness is now before Light, antecedently to Sanctification we are Unholy, and the Proselytes were first Aliens; in Christianity, Unregeneracy is before Regeneracy, the Old is before the New Man, Servitude is before Freedom, all the Holy People were of the World before their coming out of the World, their Original Condition is that of mere Mundan Heathen People. The Religion also of a Saviour-King, of Redemption, and an Expiatory Sacrifice, of Saving Faith, Repentance and Conversion to God, of a new Covenant, and a new Kingdom of God, of Regeneration and Remission of Sins, of Justification and Sanctification, proclaimeth this Original sinful State, which inferreth the Existence of Original Sin in another Notion. For,
In the second place, Original Sin may signify, that Mankind are now natively and originally ungodly Sinners, in a degree of prevalent Tendency that way: or, that the Original of Sin is in such Degree originally in Man. If Mankind are now the Flesh-Born, and Mundan People in all respects; both privatively, being born without the Life of Grace, or the Divine Love; and positively, a vicious carnal selfishness of Nature, being now our Nature, which is called Concupiscence: If this Original of Sin is now natively Original to Mankind, this vicious Tendency must be counted an Original Sin. And an Original Sin of this Nature and Notion, must be look’d upon, not as the Whole, but as a Branch of the Article of Original Sin, and is certainly a Branch of the Christian Religion, John 3. 6, 7. “That which is born of the Flesh, is Flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit. Marvel not, that I said unto thee, ye must be born again, or born from above.” Our Saviour plainly affirmeth, (as the New-Testament ordinarily doth throughout,) that there are two opposite Families of Men: The one, those that are born of the Spirit, the Heaven-born; the other, those that are born of the Flesh only, the Earth-born. That, by natural Generation, none are of the Spirit-born, or Heaven-born, but all are of the Flesh born, or Earth-born, Family. Man is therefore natively so constituted, as to be one of the Animal-vital, not one of the Spiritual-vital, Family. And, of Man so constituted, impartial, Christian Reason cannot but pronounce, “That he is natively a carnal and mundan Kind of Man, and Liver, in a Degree of prevalent Tendency that way. Agreeably to our Saviour, the Apostles establish the same Distinction of two opposite Families, Gal. 4. 29. Rom. 9. 8. Joh. 1. 13. Hence appeareth, that Infants, by their first Birth, belong to that Family, which is opposite to the Spiritual and Divine Family, (both as Natural and Carnal is oppos’d to Spiritual,) they belong to the Family of those that are in the Flesh devoid of the Holy Spirit. At the time of their Conception and Nativity, thus far they are of this Family; they are then the carnal andmundan Kind of Livers, in a degree of prevalent Tendency that Way. And in such Sense the Psalmists Words may commodiously be interpreted, 51. 5. “Behold! I was shapen in Iniquity, and in Sin did my Mother conceive me.” The Animal Nature in Brutes, is wicked and carnal; and the Animal Nature in Mankind, is manifestly the same. Infants are therefore such, in the way of prevalent Tendency that way, and, consequently, they are, in such Degree, by Nature the Children of Wrath. Which is not so to be understood, as if Mankind committed Sin, not through the Fault of their Will; for all the Servants of Sin are more, or less, Volunteers; the Sins which they commit, at the time of their Commission, are their Will and Choice, altho’ at other times (usually in their sober retired Thoughts) they are otherwise minded. But Man’s Nature is full of Inclinations to that which is Evil; all sort of Wickedness issueth from the Heart or inward Man, and Man is warn’d to take heed of walking “in the Ways of his Heart, and in the Sight of his Eyes.” If in fact all Men, in their unregenerate State, live in that which is Carnality and Wickedness, if they are under the Power of the Flesh, of Sin and Vice; this is a Demonstration, that Infants, at their Birth, are the Servants of Sin, in a degree of prevalent Tendency that Way.
All the Wickedness that is in the Animal Nature, involveth in it an inordinate Self-Love, whence it ariseth. Self-Love is unquestionably innate in all, and a vicious carnal Self-Love is innate in all, in a degree of prevalent Tendency that Way, for it is a Root of Bitterness in all Men; therefore, in that Degree, the sourse and summary of Wickedness is innate in all Men; and so are the reigning Lusts, and Passions of the Flesh, which are nothing else but its prevalent impetuous Propensions and Tendencies. Hence Conflicts between the upper and lower Soul, between Reason, and the Motions of irrational Nature; and hence it is, that there is in him originally a Body of Sin and Death.
Agreeably whereunto, as some of the Learned suppose,260 the Pythagoreans, and Platonists, discourse of a Strife innate in Man, an alien Animal of Kin to us from Generation, which some call, the many-headedBeast; others call it, a moral Species of Life. They suppose, that every Man, from his Birth, hath a bad Genius, inclining him to Evil, that a Purgation is necessary for Human Souls; that they have lost their Wings, are estrang’d from God, obnoxious to inordinate Passions; and Archytas, the Pythagorean, said, “We cannot arrive at the top of true Good, because of a bad Nature.” So the Hebrew Doctors ordinarily speak of the Ferment which is in the Mass (evil Concupiscence,) and the evil Formation, or Figment, of which they say, “The evil Figment is born with a Man, and goeth about with him all his Days, as ’tis said, The Imagination of Man’s Heart is Evil from his Youth”:261 Which Character of Mankind speaketh a powerful Proclivity in Man’s Nature, to that which is Evil, which implyeth both an Aversion and Impotence to that which is Good. Agreeably where unto the Apostle saith, “The Law was weak through the Flesh,” Rom. 8. 3. therefore the Flesh was more powerful to make Men Sinners, than the Law was to reform them. And, if they are Sinners thro’ the Flesh, then they are “Carnal, sold under Sin, not doing what they like, the Good they would, but what they hate, the Evil that they would not, a Law in their Members warring against the Law of their Mind, and bringing them into Captivity to the Law of Sin, which is in their Members.” Rom. 7. 14, 15, 19, 23. Against their Knowledge and Convictions of Mind, against the Dictates of Prudence and of Conscience, against their own Resolutions and Vows, Mankind, in their Unregeneracy, are frequently carried away captive to perpetrate Wickedness; Convictions of the Mind, against the Flesh, is an unequal Contest. Servitude under Sin, therefore, with all the other Evils of an unregenerate condition, is, as it were, our Inheritance, by our first Birth, without which Hypothesis, no tolerable Sense can be made of the Christian Religion, no tolerable Account can be given of the World’s Wickedness. For what is this lower World, but a Sink of Impurity, a Sea of Wickedness, a Stie of Sensualists, a Sodom of Uncleanness, a Den of the Sons of Darkness, a Shop of Frauds, a Cock-pit of Contention, an Aegypt for Oppression, a Bedlam of Distractions, an Amphitheatre of Gladiators, a Wilderness of noxious Animals; insomuch, that one had reason to style it “very near to Hell.” Mankind, universally, in all times and places, are degenerate into Vice and Wickedness; it operateth early, usually it beareth down all Obstacles, frustrateth all Remedies, it floweth in upon the World, with so high a tide, and so strong a torrent, that in all Ages, not only Vice and Wickedness, but Prodigies and Outrages of Vice and Wickedness, have been current Practices. The Age of Youth is rude, unskilful, and unwise, (without governing Prudence, of little insight into Things, and less foresighted) incautious, careless and inconsiderate, rash, heady and fearless, full of Confidence and foolish Hopes, hardly governable, or manageable by the greatest Wisdom, or capable of good Counsel; of vehement and fervid Desires, Pursuits and Passions, of flagrant Lusts, enormously addicted to sensual Mirth and Pleasure, of gay and wanton Humour, averse from Seriousness, (as apt to contemn and deride serious Piety, as Dangers,) extremely Proud, and apt to take a Pride in pranks of Lewdness and Injuriousness, (nor is there any sort of Wickedness, to which untam’d Youth is not apt to be carried by Pride,) full of disorderly Motions and Appetites, and abounding with Vice, as fat and rank Grounds with Weeds. As the Age of Manhood succeedeth that of Youth, so the manly Vices succeed the Youthful; and so gross and palpable Vice gradually ariseth in the Nature and Life of Man, commencing its Reign from his Birth. Several particular Temperaments are strongly inclin’d to several Vices; some are naturally of a bad Temper, and some are observ’d to be of a natural Malignity; which common Observations befriend the Hypothesis of Original Sin.
Against this Name the Pelagians object, (their principal Objections reach not to the Thing, but the Name only,) “That no defect in Infants, without the use of Reason and Understanding, can be truly and properly Sin, for nothing can be Sin, which is not voluntary. Sin is also that, which is the Transgression of a Law; where no Law is, there is no Transgression; but Laws are not given to mere Infants, that are not capable of Obligation, or, as the Jews say, they are not Sons of the Precept, no more than Brutes; for Laws are not given to Infants, or those who have lost their Understanding.” These Objections may be thus answer’d.
1. The inordinate Concupiscence, of which our Animal Nature is full, may be contemplated in Brutes; for in them there is a Pravity of Nature, which, being predominant, constitutes many of them Evil Beasts; as in Mankind there is a Pravity of Nature, which being prevalent in them, constituteth them Evil Men. In Brutes we may contemplate the very Nature and Idea of the several branches of Vice and Wickedness, of inordinate Self-Love, Lust, Pride, Wrath, Cruelty, and such like; for there the very Face and Form of them appeareth. The Morals of degenerate Mankind, that live after the Flesh, have the same origin with those of Brutes, which they lively resemble; some being Wolves, others Foxes, others Serpents, others Neighing Horses, others Dogs and Swine.
2. The inordinate Concupiscence, of which our Animal Nature is full, is Sin in a limited sense. It is the very Nature of that which is Sin, Vice, and Wickedness, so far imputable to us, as it is in any degree Voluntary, and no farther. As it is in the Animal Nature of Brutes, it is the very Nature of that which is Sin, Vice, and Wickedness; the Pride and Selfishness which we contemplate there, is the very Nature of the Sins of Pride and Selfishness, and sheweth the odious face of them: These, therefore, have in Brutes, the materiality of Sin, without the formality, (as the Logicians use to distinguish;) for they are not imputable to them as Sin, nor do they constitute them in a proper Sense, Sinners. But, in Man, inordinate Concupiscence is imputable as Sin, Fault and Crime, so far as it is in any degree Voluntary. This the Apostle sometimes calleth, “Sin that dwelleth in me,” Rom. 7. 17. and sometimes “Sin in the Flesh” (8. 3.) that is, in the Animal Nature.
3. This Branch of Original Sin, which we have under Consideration, does not infer, that in ordinate Concupiscence is actually in mere Infants; much less, that it is imputable to them, as their Crime, or that they offend against any Law of God, or commanded Duty. It only supposes, that by a Fall, or Lapse, inordinate Concupiscence, and the Reign of it, is in them in a Degree of prevalent Tendency that Way. So that, if Grace does not interpose, the Infant will be like the rest of unregenerate Mankind, an Alien and an Enemy, living and loving the carnal and worldly kind of Life, and its Gratifications; having a Soul destitute of its true Pulchritude, Health, and Vigour; Naked, Deformed, Diseased, Weak, and Languishing.
Mundan Mankind are of a Disposition so Atheous, that Heathenism of Religion is to them agreeable.Consectary 3. Mundan Mankind are of a Disposition so Atheous, that Heathenism of Religion is to them agreeable. Such as Mens State, Life, and Genius is, such is their Religion, which is a plain Demonstration of Original Sin; for it shews, that Mankind are born the Heathen-Kind of Religionists, in a Degree of mighty tendency that Way. All Mankind, without a preternatural adventitious Institution of Religion, would be of the Heathen Religion, or none at all; for other Religions were introduc’d by extraordinary supernatural methods of Providence; under the Oeconomy of mere Nature and general Providence, Heathenism was universal. This appeareth also from the continued History of the Jewish Church, the Rise and the Progress of it; for the Progeny of Noah, the Offspring of Shem, even in the Family of Heber (the Father of the Hebrews) while Noah, Shem, and Heber were yet alive, fell to Heathen Idolatry, Josh. 24.2. Abraham was doubtless bred an Heathen; the God of Nabor is thought an Heathen Deity, Gen. 31. 53. Laban’s Images, call’d his Gods, shew, that he was not clear of Heathen Idolatry, and Jacob’s House was infected with it, Gen. 31. 30. and 35. 2. When the Children of Israel went into Aegypt, they conform’d themselves to the Aegyptian Idolatry, and when they came out of Aegypt, they did not leave it behind them, as they were charg’d, witness the Golden-Calf, their worshipping the Host of Heaven, their joyning themselves to Baal-Peor, and sacrificing to Sehirim.262 When God had brought them out of the Wilderness into Canaan, and cast out the Heathen Nations for their Idolatries and Impieties, and warn’d the Israelites to take heed of their Abominations, and of doing as they had done, yet they “forsook the Lord God of their Fathers, served Baalim and the Groves” (Idols in the Groves,) and succeeded the Heathen Nations in their Morals, as well as in their Lands.263 Such was their Religion, during the time that they were govern’d by Judges; their Heathen Idolatry brought them into heavy Calamities, and no sooner were they deliver’d, but they relaps’d to their old Trade again. For this was the State of Things in Samuel ’s Days. Solomon, the wisest of their Kings, tho’ the Lord appeared unto him thrice, and warn’d him against the Idolatry of the Heathen, yet fell to this foul Impiety. After his days, the ten Tribes fell to the Idolatry of Jeroboam, complicated with that of Baal, out of which they never emerg’d. Nor were things much better in the Tribe of Judah, that adher’d to the House of David; for, altho’ Rehoboam, had lost the greatest part of his Kingdom for the Heathenism of his Father, yet he, together with Maacah his Wife, trod in his Father’s Steps, as Abijam his Son did in his. Out of this State Judah could never perfectly recover. For, after Asa’s and Jehosaphat’s imperfect Reformation, Jehoram ( Jehosaphat’s Son) and Amaziah his Son, symboliz’d with the House of Ahab, the latter of them having Athaliah his Counsellor to do wickedly. Joash, who succeeded her in the Government, was courted out of his Religion by the Princes of Judah. Amaziah ( Joash’s Successor) after some time of reigning laps’d into Heathen Idolatry at a great rate. Uzziah and Jotham succeeding Amaziah, the affairs of Religion were in a tolerable good Posture; but Ahaz ( Jotham’s Son and Successor) was mad after his Idols. In the days of Hezekiah, true Religion recover’d its Lustre, (which had suffer’d a sad Eclipse in the Days of Ahaz,) and a considerable Reformation was made; but no sooner was Hezekiah dead, but all things ran to ruin again, in the days of Manasseh, whom Amon his Son imitated in his outrageous Heathenism. Josiah made a great Reformation, but his Reformation was a striving against the Stream; for the People still retain’d their affection for their old Heathenism, and those Heathenish Practices were in his days, which God menaceth by the Prophet, Zeph. 1. 4, 5. “I will cut off the Remnant of Baal from this place” (Jerusalem) “and the Name of the Chemarims with the Priests; and them that worship the Host of Heaven upon the House-tops; and them that worship and swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham.” After the Death of Josiah, God began to do unto Judah, as he had done to the Tribes of Israel, they being alike obstinate in their idolatrous Disposition. No Persuasions, no Menaces, no Warnings, no Punishments, or Disasters, which befel them, avail’d to reclaim them. The succeeding Kings of Israel took no warning by their Predecessors Calamities; the Tribe of Judah took no warning by the ten Tribes; they would not desist from their Heathenism of Religion, when they were upon the brink of Ruin; they went on in their old Track, even in the very Times of the Babylonian Captivity, and those of them that went into Aegypt, after their City and Temple was ruin’d, were resolved Heathen Idolaters. Jer. 44. 17. The prevalency of this Religion amongst God’s antient People, speaketh it a darling to Animal Nature. It is from this Nature, that Mankind are not Theists, Religionists, or Pietists, but the Atheous Kind of Theists, the irreligious Kind of Religionists, and the impious Kind of Pietists; they bestow their devotional Esteem, Affection, and Service upon what Animal Sensitive Nature liketh, and accounteth fine Things. By an Idolatrous Kind of Superstition, the adulterous Kind of Devotion, their devotional Propension is gratified, and the way of doing it is pleasing to sensitive Nature, which they follow.
As from the History of the Jewish, so from the History of the Christian Church, the proneness of Mankind to a Religion of Idolatry is apparent; for, altho’ in the three first Centuries, and some time after, there is no appearance of a lapse of the Church into Idolatry; yet the time was not long, before “the holy City was trodden under Foot by the Gentiles”; when the World was come into the Church, then she began, by degrees, to model Religion after the old Heathen manner, and degenerated at such a rate into Paganism, that the Religion of unreform’d Christendom hath been, for many Ages, an Imitation of the Rites and Vices of that Idolatrous Religion. It is manifestly a Parallel for old Heathenism in Atheous Blindness, Darkness, and Ignorance, in its Ghosts, Spectres, and Dreams; in blind heathenish superstitious Conceits and Opinions; in the heathenish Life, and all the Limbs and Branches of the Old-Man; in Swearing, Revelling, Drunkenness, Debauchery; in Fornication, Harlotry, Incest, Sodomy, Stews, Curtesans, Carnavals, and in making the World a Brothel-House, or Sodom of Uncleanness; in Encouragements, as well as Practices of Looseness and Lewdness of Life, and the old heathen Profanenesses; in heathenish Pretensions to Antiquity, Duration, Universality, Unity; in heathenish Worldliness, Pride, and Ambition, State, and Grandeur; in heathenish Infidelity, and traditional Kind of Faith; in heathenish Vice, and an heathenish kind of Virtue; in numerous Festivals celebrated at the heathen rate; in unclean Institutions of Continence and Virginity; in a pharisaical kind of Monasticks and Asceticks, the Institution whereof is originally Pagan; in the Theology and Devotion of the Mysticks; in lying Stories and Legends; in processionary Pomps and Jubilees, which answer to the antient Ludi seculares; in slight methods of obtaining Pardon for Sin; in the extravagant Pomps of their Religious Service, the Consecration of their Altars and of their Temples, and Celebrations of the Dedication of them; in their holy Water and enjoyned Celibacy; in their Whippings and monstrous Barbarity and Cruelty; in their Purgatory and Funeral Rites; in their Reliques and Theurgical Consecrations of Agnus Dei’s and other Trinkets; in the external Perfunctoriness of their Religious Service; in substituting silly exterior Rituality instead of true Religion, and antick instead of true Devotion; ( for such are their numerous turnings, bowings, crossings, changes of Posture, mutterings, droppings of Beads, kissing the Pix, praying in an unknown Tongue, praying for Souls in Purgatory, saying so many Masses, offering Sacrifice for the Quick and Dead, repeating the name Jesus so many Times in a breath, translating Reliques, making Pilgrimages and Shrines, and making Oblations to them; holy Vestments, holy Scapularies, holy Oil, Anointings, holy Salt and Candles, &c.) In their Incense, lighted Candles in their Temples, Procession with burning Candles in their Hands on Candlemas-Day, consecrated Bells and baptismal Spittle; in the Canonizations, Patronage, and Offices, of the Tutelar Saints, or Deities; in consecrating the Pantheon at Rome to them, and the seven Hills of the City to so many Saints; in ascribing miraculous Feats to them, making magnificent Presents and Oblations to them, swearing profanely by their Names, as the Heathens did by their Gods; in consecrating, adorning, adoring their Images, carrying them in Procession, and concealing them in Lent, as the Heathens, for some time, conceal’d their Idols from the People; in having impure and profane Images in many of their Churches, like the Heathen; in the whole Affair of Church-Demonolatry, the Design of it, and Method of introducing it, where Idolatry recover’d its deadly Wound, and Paganism liv’d again. A principal Method of introducing Paganism; in several Branches of it, was by counterfeit Visions, Apparitions, Revelations, Miracles; and by the same Artifices Demonolatry was introduc’d, and Christianity was chang’d into Heathenism. So that the Christian Church hath imitated the antient Jewish Church in her lapse into a Religion of Idolatry, and hitherto she continueth to imitate her Obstinacy and Irreclaimableness.
But Heathen Mankind, most properly such, are those that are without the Pale of the visible Church; the Universality of Mankind in antient Times were such; whose addictedness thereto appeareth from the Antiquity of it, its wide spreading, the long uninterrupted Duration of it, the World’s resolv’d and firm Adherence to it, (for the Heathen World resolv’d not to change the Religion of their Ancestors,) the Laws that were made in favour of it, and against the introducing of any new Religion, (which was thought a Thing not to be endur’d, according to Mecaenas’s Advice to Augustus,) the many violent Persecutions, which Christianity suffer’d in its attempts to undermine and ruin it. Nor was it only the Popular-Pagans, that were so vehemently addicted to their Heathenism of Religion; for the Philosophick-Pagans were, for the main, of the same Mind in Religion with the Popular; their Rule was, “To worship the Divinity according to the Law and Rites of their Country, and the Custom of their Ancestors.” Some few Branches of this Heathen-Popular Religion were disliked by the Philosophers (Socrates, Plato, Plutarch, Cicero, Seneca, Porphyry, Varro, and the Stoicks;) but themselves were in good earnest Pagan-Religionists, Pagan-Theologers, Pagan-Saints, and Champions for Paganism. They were far from designing a change of Religion, as Plato affirmeth in his Apology for Socrates; Plutarch styleth it the “Pious Faith deriv’d from their Ancestors”; and again, “The divine Dignity of Piety receiv’d from their Ancestors.”264 He supposeth it a plain Case, that their Deities were truly such, and their Religion of right Catholick; “That the Sun and Moon are Animals, whom all Men sacrifice, pray to, and worship.” Other of them style their Pagan Devotion, “The pure Worship of the Divinity.”265 They affect an higher strain of Devotion towards their Deities, than the Popular Pagans; and it was thought a grand Incongruity in a Philosopher, to violate their Religious Rites; whence Stilpo, the Philosopher, sleeping in the Chappel of the Mother of the Gods contrary to Law, was thus reprimanded by the Goddess in a Dream; “Art thou a Philosopher, and dost thou Violate the sacredLaws?”266Philosophers were, least of any, addicted to change their Religion; yet Plutarch, who maketh such high Elogies of his Heathen-Popular Religion, sometimes saith of it: “The ridiculous Practices and Passions of Superstition, and Speeches, and Gestures, and Inchantments, and magical Tricks, and Running about, and Drummings, and impure Lustrations, and sordid Purifications, and barbarous and absurd Castigations in the Temples, and contumelious Usages, give occasion unto some, to say, That it is better there were no Gods at all than such Deities, that accept, and are pleas’d with, such Things as these, of so petulant, so mean, so peevish an humour: Were it not better for the Gauls and Scythians, to have no Notion at all, no Imagination, no History, of Gods, than to suppose, That there are Gods which delight in the Blood of sacrific’d Men, and account that the most perfect Sacrifice and religious Service? Had it not been better for the Carthaginians at the first, to have taken Critias, or Diagoras, for their Lawgiver, to suppose, that there is neither God nor Demon, rather than to make such Sacrifices as they do to Saturn?267It is not easy to judge, which of these two extremes is most conducive to Mankind, some have no respect for any Gods, the God-service of others is shameful.”268
Such was the Heathen Idolatry, and their manner of serving their fictitious Deities was extremely Shameful and Abominable, as it is visible in their Lupercalia, Floralia, Bacchanalia, the usual Drunkenness of the Women amongst the Romans, when they sacrific’d to Bona Dea; the infamous Drunkenness, Madness, and antick Gestures of Cybele’s Priests, Priapus’s Sacra, their Worship of the Goddess Venus, their nasty Eleusinian Mysteries, their unclean Fables touching their Deities, and their Images of them, which sometimes represented the Painters Harlots, (and usually in their Houses they set up the representations of monstrous Lust,) the obscene Spectacles and Speeches usual in their Sacra, (of which their Theologers say, that they were design’d to cure them of their filthy Affections, by gratifying them,) their perpetrations of Uncleanness, and Sodomy, in honour of their Deities, and under pretext of Holiness and Religion in many Places, the Memoirs in Scripture, of “Sodomites doing according to the Abominations of the Nations,” and the conjoining of Idols with Sodomites, 1 Kin. 14. 24. and 15. 12. and 2 Kin.23. 7. Uncleanness, Drunkenness, Revelling and Debauchery, were not only the Sins of their Lives, but of their Religion. The Histories of their impure Deities instigated them to the practices of Uncleanness, their shady Groves were an Invitation to them to perpetrate them, they perpetrated them in their Sacred Places, Fornication was annex’d to their revelling Idol-Feasts. As it is a false Religion, it is like the Oriental Languages, and must be read backward; for its Holiness, in many Parts of it, is the grossest Lewdness and Profaneness; its Deities are abominably Profane, as is also their Service, and their Sacra; it maketh the Divinity a Drama, Heaven a Scene, and Religion a Stage-Play; it venerateth its Deities in the Temples, and exposeth them to Derision upon the Theatre. Their Religion was, in the main, devoid of Religion, Truth and Righteousness, made up of Lies, Folly, Madness, and consummate Wickedness. Yet, this their Religion (Religio Deorum immortalium) the Pagans counted their Glory; not themselves, but the Christians, they counted Nefarious, and most Flagitious; they furiously persecuted them, calling them the Impious, supposing themselves the Pious. O unparallell’d Darkness!
The Pagans Religion, as bad as it was, was hugely agreeable to their Genius and Humour; which proveth the World of Mankind, a blind and wicked Generation, extremely Atheous, sunk, and degenerate from God, and such as Seneca calls the Herd of Pagan-Religionists, “insanientium turba,” a mad Rabble. For the Pagan Writers themselves usually impute Madness to the Aegyptians, (a learned Nation, but a Fountain and Store-house of Idolatry, as well as Grain,) because of their monstrous Worship of Animals. And what were Hercules’s Sacra at Lindus, but height of Madness, which were celebrated with Evil-speakings and Cursings; and, if any one, by chance, let fall a good Word, it was thought a violation of them? In this wild Religion, there was a great mixture of profane Frolick and Jovialty, which rendred it hugely agreeable to the Humour of the Popular-Pagans. Whence it is generally reported of Gregory Thaumaturgus, (who, in this, was far from imitating the Apostles,) that he, observing that corporeal Delights and Pleasures allur’d the Vulgar, and caus’d them to persist in their Idolatry, permitted them, in lieu of their former Jollities, to jovialize in memory of the Holy Martyrs. The Heathens had their numerous Festivals (celebrated after the Israelites Mode, who “sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play,” Exod. 32. 6.) with Sports, Dancings, Shews, Musick, Banquets, Drunkenness, Lasciviousness. Their Gods gave them no Precepts of good Life, but licens’d Wickedness, authoriz’d Vice, encourag’d Lewdness, (their Oracles patroniz’d it,) and therefore it was a Flesh-pleasing Kind of Religion. Which also had the Glories of Antiquity, Universality, uninterrupted Duration and Succession, and Shews of Sanctimony. It abounded with Inspirations, Visions, Revelations, Oracles, Miracles, Prophets, Saints, and, which is extremely taking and desireable, the Pagans had their Gods nigh unto them, to speak to them, to converse with them, to consult them in Difficulties, to have present Access to them, and their Help at hand; by visible Signs, their Gods testified their Presence, they saw them in their Effigies, and often had Appearances of the Gods themselves. Their Religion was a Temple-kind of Religion, the Religion of a Temple-state and Stateliness, ritual and external, Pompous and Splendid, which is a Religion, after the manner that unregenerate Mankind affecteth. Their Temples, Altars, Images, (gross and visible Objects of Worship, which sensitive Souls dote upon,) their Priests, Sacrifices, Feasts, Aspersions, Lustrations (easy Methods of cleansing themselves from Sin) belong to their Temple-State of Religion. They had their splendid and magnificent Temples, their Idols sumptuously adorn’d, their mode of God’s Service Stately, with Lights, Musick, Odours, Vessels shining with Pearl, and the Priests Garments shining with pretious-Stones, the processionary Pomps of their Gods also, their Triumphs, Games, and Sights, (Sword-fightings, Scenical Plays, and Ludi seculares, which were in honour of their Gods,) were part of the Pomps and Vanities of this World, which are hugely taking to a carnal Mind. As themselves were a mundan-kind of People, so the principal Design of the Heathen-Popular Religion, was a mundan Felicity. The Idolatry, both of Rome-Heathen, and Heathen-Christian is, in the design of it, a worldly Religion, (it designeth to swim in worldly Felicity, and the Enjoyments of this present Life,) both have been attended with secular Pomp and Grandeur, Plenty, and Prosperity.
The badness of the Heathen Virtue and Goodness.Consectary 4. The fourth Consectary, concerning the badness of the Heathen Virtue and Goodness, hath been already consider’d, in the first Part of this Essay; after which, it may not be improper here to consider that branch of the Pelagian Controversy, “Whether the seeming Virtues and good Works of the Gentiles are true or false, Sins and Vices, or Virtues and Well-doings, in what sense, and how far they are so?” If we say, “That all their Virtues, and good Works, are in no sense true,” we contradict the Apostle, Rom. 2. 14. “The Gentiles do, by Nature, the Things contain’d in the Law.” But, if we say, “That the true Virtues, and good Works, are found in the Gentile World,” we destroy the Necessity of Christianity, confound Nature and Grace, Gentilism and Christianism, the Atheous World with the City of God; we contradict the Nature of Things, by supposing, that Men do what is truly Holy and Pious, antecedently to the first Principles of true Piety and Sanctity; we contradict the scriptural Account of the Heathen State and Life, the whole Stream of the sacred Penmen, who affirm, That “without Faith it is impossible to please God,” Hebr. 11. 6. Which must not be understood of such a Faith as is common to Infidels, as some understand it; but of the Faith, which constituteth Divine Believers, and God’s Religionists that come unto God. The Gentiles “have their Hearts purified by Faith.” The Mind and Practice of Unbelievers is “defiled, impure, and unholy. The Carnal Mind is no keeper of the Law of God; they, that are in the Flesh, cannot please God. Ye are married to another” (saith the Apostle) “to have your Fruit unto Holiness, and to bring forth Fruit unto God. We are created in Christ unto good Works.” The genuine kind of Virtues are, “The Fruits of the Holy Spirit, a corrupt Tree cannot bring forth good Fruit, of Thorns Men do not gather Figs, nor of a Bramble-Bush gather they Grapes. When ye were the Servants of Sin, ye were free from Righteousness,” the Practice whereof is “a Walking, not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit. Every one that doth Righteousness, is born of God.” The true and genuine Kind of Virtue, Goodness, and Righteousness, is that which is of the Kingdom of God, of the Divine Image, and the New-Man that is renewed in Knowledge, (which is inconsistent with a State of Atheous Ignorance,) whichis of a new Creature, a new and divine Birth unto Righteousness, of the new Covenant and Dispensation of Things, of the true Vine, and of a Divine Charity, which is the Essence, and Summary, of the truly Divine Moral Virtue, and the genuine kind of good Works. “Though I bestow all my Goods to feed the Poor, and give my Body to be burn’d, and have not Charity, it profiteth nothing.” The Natural Man’s Kind of Virtue, Goodness, and Righteousness, therefore is, according to these Notices of Scripture, on this side that, which is the true and genuine Kind of Virtue, Goodness, and Righteousness; nor can the true Virtues, Goodness, and Justice, exist without being truly Virtuous, Just, and Good, as to God, which is true Piety, Sanctity; nor can that be the true Kind of Virtue, Goodness, and Justice, which cannot constitute Men of the truly Good and Virtuous Kind, God’s Kind of Virtuous, Good, and Just Men, whose Judgment is according to Truth. But, as there is a secular and mundan Kind of Wisdom and Prudence, in itself laudable, ornamental and useful, (such is the common Jurisprudence,) yet originally it is Base and Vile, being but Earth-born, not Divine, and Heaven-born; objectively it is Base and Vile, not being conversant about Divine Things; of Kind and Quality, it is also Base and Vile, being of Kind common, Graceless, and Unholy; and effectively it is not Wisdom, for it cannot constitute any Man truly Wise, nor Wise as to the main, but it continueth him where it found him, in the State of Atheous Ignorance, Error and Folly: So there is a secular and mundan Kind of Virtue and Goodness, which, in its own Nature, is Laudable, Ornamental, and Useful at a great rate; yet Originally, Objectively, and also of Kind and Quality, it is but Base and Vile, and effectively it is not Virtue, Justice, and Goodness; for it cannot constitute any Man Virtuous, Just, and Good; not Virtuous, Just, and Good, as to the main, but it continues him where it found him, in the State of reigning Sin and Unrighteousness. His Works are not “wrought in God,” as our Saviour says, Joh. 3. 21. by which he certainly means Theism of Religion and Condition. The Heathens are not truly Holy and Religious towards God in any thing, but are Atheous, Graceless, and Unholy, not only in their indifferent Actions, and their Evil-doings (materially such,) but in their Religious Actions, in their Virtue, Goodness, and Well-doing (materially such;) these are not of Kind, and for the main, the truly good and holy Kind of Virtues, Duties, and good Works. Their manner of doing what is materially Good, partakes not of the truly Good and Holy in the main Principle, Motive, End, and formal Object. They are not right in those grand Ingredients, which are essential to every one of the truly good Actions; for they live not to the true God, as his Servants, in the Exercise of all Divine Virtues; they, therefore, so sin in practicing their Virtue, as to be inconsistent with Sanctity; and, therefore, they are Wicked and Ungodly in all their Virtuous Practice, and Well-doing.
With this account of the Virtues and good Works of the Gentiles, the general Sense of Christians agreeth. “It is a plain and granted Truth among all that are truly Pious, that without true Piety, that is, the true Worship of the true God, no Man can have the true” (kind of) “Virtue.”269 The Pagan Theologers themselves say, that Piety is μή τηρ τών ἀρετών, the Mother of the Virtues;270 their Virtues, therefore, could not be of the holy and godly Kind, if their Religion and Piety was of a contrary Kind and Family. Warm have been the Disputes among Christians, “Whether all the Actions of Infidels be Sins, or not?” But the greater Number seem to be of Opinion, That all the Works of the Unregenerate have the Nature of Sins (as the Church of England determineth) and are not good Works (wanting some Essentials thereto) but Sins in the sight of God, altho’ they be materially Good.
It is not reasonable to attempt a Reconcilement of all the jarring Accounts of the Pagans Virtues and good Works, for none can reconcile Contradictions; but the most of them may commodiously be reconcil’d, by considering their Ethical and Political Virtue, (which may be call’d the Human Moral, or Human-Social Virtue,) and representing the true Character thereof. This sort of Virtue (which separate from the true Divine-Moral Virtue is manifestly competible to Heathen Mankind) is an Atheous and unholy Kind of Virtue, and, therefore, is of Character a virtue-less Kind of Virtue, and a bad Kind of Goodness. But, amongst the sinful Kinds of doing Duty, (the evil manner of doing what is materially Good,) there is this remarkable Difference; in some of them, that which is materially Good, is done in so criminal a Manner, and out of Ends and Principles so Vitious, that the Nature of Virtue is intirely lost out of the Action, and it becomes (like Pharisaical Holiness) Vice simply so called; but it is otherwise in this alien Kind of Virtue and Well doing, which is a different evil Kind of doing what is materially Good, for the Nature of Virtue and Well-doing is in part really preserv’d and retain’d in it, as the Nature of an Olive is in the Wild-Olive. The Virtues of the Gentiles, therefore, are Sin in one sense, but not in another. He that saith, They are Sin, Vice and Crime, not Righteousness and true Holiness, saith true; but he that saith, They are not any sort of Virtue, saith false. They are not so Vice, as not to be an unholy Virtue and Well-doing. They are not simply, either Vice, or Virtue; for they are not the true and genuine, but the spurious and illegitimate, Kind of good Works. The case is the same, if we consider them with respect to the Law, or Rule of Virtue and Duty. For, as the holy kind of Virtues are of kind and for the main, according to the Law of our Piety and Holiness towards God, who is the formal Object of our Obedience, whom we ought to obey out of dutiful Affection to him, and to make the pleasing him, his Honour and Service the chief End of our Doings and Business of our Lives: So the Atheous unholy kind of Duties, Virtues, and good Works, are, of kind and for the main, against the Law of our Piety and Holiness towards God, and, therefore, have the Nature of Sins; they are against the Law of our Piety and Holiness, both by way of privation and opposition; for the not living unto God, is an undeifying him (as far as is in our power,) a being an Enemy to him, and a living to ourselves; the not regarding and affecting him dutifully, is a disregarding him, and a disaffecting him, and a regarding and affecting somewhat else above him and against him, and therefore the natural Man, by his unholy Kind of Virtue, is no otherwise Virtuous, than so as to be an Impietist towards God. Yet it has so much in it of the Nature of Virtue, that the Apostle styleth it “a doing the Things contain’d in the Law”; God himself hath so much respect to it, that he rewardeth it several ways: No Man, upon his Conversion, so repenteth of it, as he doth of his Sins simply so called. It is not only a doing what is materially Good (which is of good Example to others, and may be of great advantage to the Publick:) But in its Principle, impulsive Cause, and End, there is so much Good as serveth to constitute it a spurious and degenerate kind of Virtue and Well-doing, as will appear from the Heathens Principles of laudable Practice, which may be reduc’d to these Four. 1. Good-Nature and natural Instinct.2. Human-Socialness. 3. An unholy Kind of respect for Worth and Virtue, Honesty and Duty, Justice and Equity, Reason and Ingenuity, Civility, Decency, and Order, and a like respect for himself, his own Perfection and Felicity. 4. Religion on this side true Religion.
Of the Principles of laudable Practice amongst the Heathens.In the first place, Animal Temper and the kindly Instincts, which are in Animal Nature, may be call’d Good-Nature, which is a Principle of laudable Practice; for Mankind have this in common with the Brutes, of whom some are tame, tractable, placid; others are fierce and savage, and have the Name of Evil Beasts, which Name implyeth, that there are good-natur’d Beasts. Cato was of a good Nature, if, as Cicero says of him, “Nature had fram’d him to Gravity and Temperance”; or, if, as Velleius Paterculus saith, “He was therefore Virtuous, because he could not be otherwise.” Some are by natural Temper and Constitution averse from certain Vices, (Sordidness, Cruelty, Impudence;) and disposed to the contrary Virtues, (Generosity, Clemency, Modesty;) so amongst the Romans some Virtues are observ’d to have been Hereditary in certain Families in continued Succession, and great Vices, (Fury, Luxury, Libidinousness,) in others; “I am of Opinion” (saith Quintilian Declam. 260) “That the Morals of all are born with them, and the proper Virtues of every Nature.” Plato (in his Tenth of Laws) speaketh of a sort of good-natur’d Atheists, “who think that there are no Gods at all, yet are by Nature of a just Disposition, hating bad Men and Injustice, they will do no such Practices themselves, and those Men that are not just they shun, and love them that are just.” Altho’ Instances of Ferity and Barbarity are no Rarities amongst Men, yet a certain Goodness, Kindness, Benignity, and Tenderness, is part of our natural Constitution, and an effect of our bodily Temper, which so far prevaileth in the World of Mankind, that it commonly beareth the Name of Humanity, as Cruelty is call’d Inhumanity, and the Rod of Mansuetude, “the Rod of Men,” 2 Sam. 7. 14. As bodily Temper, so the kindly Instincts which are in Animal Nature, are Principles of laudable Practices. Such as natural Affection towards Children and near Kindred, Commiseration for the Afflicted, a natural Sympathy, Gratitude, and Kindness, for our Friends and Benefactors (remarkable in Dogs, Lions, and even Birds,) common Sociableness and Friendliness, particular Friendship, a Propension to please and oblige others, a natural Benignity and Generosity, desire of our own Welfare and Happiness, care of our Reputation, aversion from Infamy, Misery, and Death.
A Second Principle of laudable Practices is a Human-Social Disposition, (which is a goodness of Nature, and in great degree an innate Instinct in Man;) for all the Human-Social and Human-Moral Virtue and Duty, commonly call’d the Political and Ethical, is compriz’d in, and may be inferr’d from, this one Principle. For all political Virtue and Duty towards Mankind in general, towards our Country, all Civil-Social Charity and Justice, the common Offices of Humanity and Civil Neighbourhood, the oeconomical Duties, Duties of near Relations and of Friendship, belong to Man as Social, as Human-Social, and he is not Man without the Human-Morals. In this great Law, great Virtue and Duty, of Man’s being Human-Social, Civil-Social (not Anti-Social) is manifestly compriz’d “a Civil-Social kind of universal Benevolence to ourselves and all Mankind, which affecteth and endeavoureth the Good of the Publick, and is opposite to what is hurtful;”271 from which Benevolence Universal (“Caritas humani Generis” Cicero calls it) all Mundan Political Virtue is deduceable. As it is also from another great Principle compriz’d in the Pagan Human-Social Disposition; “The Subordination and Relation of all Men, and lesser Societies of Men, to the great Body of Mankind, as of Parts to the Whole, and of Citizens to the Mundan City.”272 From these Principles both the Popular and Philosophick Pagans practis’d Civil Virtue, as the Bees do in some sort, that have political Order and Government amongst them: And this their Practice of political Virtue constituted and denominated a good and just Man of their Idea. One Antenor, who wrote the Cretan History, was nam’d Δέλτα (amongst the Cretans δέλτος signified Good,) διὰ τὸ ὰγαθὸς ἐἵ καὶ ϕιλόπολις, “becausehe was good and a lover of his City;273To live well” (saith Plutarch) “is to live Sociably and Friendly, and Temperately and Justly.”274 The generality of the Pagans suppos’d, that the observance of their political Laws constituted them just Men.
A Third Principle of laudable Practices is a respect for Worth and Virtue, Honesty and Duty, Justice and Equity, Reason and Ingenuity, Civility, Decency, and Order; and a like respect for ourselves, our own Perfection and Felicity, without any regard to God, or Holiness. For, as there is a Human-Social Virtue, which is on this side the Holy-Social, so there is a regard for Worth and Virtue, Honesty, Reason, and Justice, which is on this side true Holiness and Godliness. The Pagans practis’d the Virtue which they teach, “fugiendae turpitudinis causa, to shun that which is base and shameful,”275 τοῦ καλοῦ ἕνεκα because it was Just and Good, Virtuous, or Honest.”276 Their Maxim was “Honestum per se expetendum, that which is Virtuous, is Self-desirable”; and some of them have said, “A Feast is nothing else but the doing one’s Duty.”277 Out of regard to Decency and Order, they practis’d the small Morals, (that may well be defin’d, as the Stoicks define Modesty, the Science of decent Motion,) which are the opposites to Rudeness, Rusticity, and Impoliteness of Behaviour. And for their great Morals, (altho’ their practice of them was without any regard to God, or Holiness,) their Notions were so high and generous, that they profess’d a contempt of Life, and “to throw the Body into the Fire, when Reason, when Dignity, when Fidelity, requireth it,278A virtuous Man will die for his Friends and Country, he will throw away his Money and Honours, and all the Goods that Men contest about ϖριποιούμρυος ἒαυτῳ τὸ καλὸν, acquiring, or preserving to himself that which is Beautiful in matter of Life and Practice.”279Miltiades taught the Athenians, “to acknowledge no Lord but the Laws, and to be afraid of nothing more than that which is Evil andUnjust”;280 and of Themistocles the Orator saith, “That willingly he would not set any Thing before Virtue and his Duty.281To be Virtuous is a great Accomplishment, and every Virtue is an Accomplishment.”282 The Philosophick Pagans, therefore, (at least the better sort of them,) betook themselves to the Study and Exercise of Virtue out of regard to their Perfection and Felicity, which they suppos’d to consist in their Virtue, which in many Instances was (in some respect) very laudable and imitable. Such was the Platonists disaffecting ta’tni’de, the Things that are here, the not desiring or using them any farther, than so far as there is need; and the Stoicks gacnr kekolasménh, restrain’d Belly, or narrow-bounded Appetite. The Pagans, both Popular and Philosophick, had also a regard to Self-approbation and the Tranquillity of their own Mind. “There is no greater Theatre” (saith Cicero283 ) “for Virtue, than our own Mind, approving and applauding.” They had also a Self-reverence, or regard to their own Dignity of Person.—Πάντων δὲ μάλις’ ἀιοχύνεο σαυτὸν, Above all others reverence thy-self. ”284
A fourth Principle of laudable Practices is Religion on this side true Religion; for it was from a Principle of Religion, and out of regard to a Deity, that Heathens thought themselves oblig’d, to do nothing against their Consciences, but to keep them unspotted;285 that they look’d upon the Dictates of their practical Reason as Laws;286 that they had Hopes and Fears, Peace and Perplexity, Joys and Anxieties, from their Consciences,287 That they look’d upon themselves as bound to Innocence, to Gratitude, to keep Faith, to take care of their Children and Parents, to have a special Kindness for their near Kindred, to do the Offices of Humanity towards Mankind in general, and acts of Heroical Virtue for the publick Benefit;288 that they thought Men criminal and punishable, not only for Facts of Wickedness (such as Adultery, Theft, Homicide,) but for the Will of Evil-doing;289 that they shun’d the perpetration of Wickedness in secret, dreaded Perjury, rever’d an Oath;290 that they accounted Injustice towards Men, and all vicious Errors in Life and Practice,(which they called ἁμαρτνίματα, Sins,) nothing less than Impieties;291 that the Philosophick-Pagan Religionists thought themselves oblig’d to practise all the Virtues which were in their Institution, and to shun all the Vices;292 that they propos’d to themselves an Imitation of the Deity, and suppos’d, that nothing could be well done, “without having respect to the Things Divine”;293 and therefore (as some of themselves say) “they had an Eye to the Deity in every thing great and little”;294 and lastly, that they look’d upon themselves as bound to an intire Subjection to the Governor of the World, and to all the Branches of active and passive Obedience to him, real, or imaginary.295 The natural Man, therefore, in a considerable degree, hath Notices of what is Good and Bad, Virtuous and Vicious, Right and Wrong, Just and Unjust (towards the Deity, as well as towards Men,) of what is Worthy and Unworthy, that some things are very Vile and Dishonourable, others are Becoming, Excellent and Honourable; and, altho’ he is an Impietist, yet he hath his Virtues and Well doings, “that are from Conscience, not Vain-Glory.”296 The Heathen joineth Religion and Justice towards Men; as Nicias, (of whom Thucydides saith, “He was the Man of all the Grecians of my time, that least deserv’d to be brought to so great a degree of Misery,297 ) who, falling into a great Calamity in Syracuse, told his afflicted Army, “I have worshipp’d the Godsfrequently according to the Laws, and liv’d justly and unblameably towards Men.” The Heathen will be just, because, in his way, he is religious. “He that is unjust is impious. For the Nature of the Universe having made all rational Beings for one another, so as to benefit one another, as they are worthy, but in no wise to hurt; he that transgresseth the Will hereof, is manifestly impious towards the most antient of the Gods.”298
The Virtue of the Heathens was an unholy and degenerate kind of Virtue.It is one thing, to say, that a Man is an ungodly Heathen; and another thing, to say, he is an ungodly virtuous Heathen: And it is one thing, to say, of an Action of his, it is an ungodly Action; and another thing, to say, it is an ungodly virtuous Action. When the natural Man doth that which is materially good, it may be done, for the main, from such good Principles, and for such good Ends, as are competible to the mere natural Man. An Heathen may venture into the Fire, to pull his Child our, partly from a Principle of Good-Nature, and natural Instinct, partly for the conservation of Human Society, partly out of an unholy respect to Fortitude, and partly from Religion on this side true Religion; and this Action of his, in venturing into the Fire for his Child, is of an opposite Nature, both to the Sin of exposing his Child, and also to the Sin of venturing into the Fire (like the Indians) for Vain-Glory. Both the Actions of this latter sort are Sin, simply so call’d: But to declaim against the former as such, is the Voice of a Barbarian, not of a Christian. This Maxim, therefore, needeth a limitation, That the same Action cannot be both morally Good and Evil. For, altho’ the same Action cannot be a true and genuine kind of morally good Action, and a morally evil Action; yet one of the Heathen Man’s kind of good Works is therefore Sin, because it is opposite unto Holiness, and it is so far Sin (and therefore morally Evil,) as it is opposite unto Holiness, (which is not a true and genuine kind of morally good Action;) yet this hindereth it not from being a spurious and degenerate kind of morally good Action.
On the other hand, altho’ it is of kind, and for the main, a sort of Virtue and Well-doing; yet no carnal, wicked, unholy kind of Man (remaining such) doth any thing that is, of kind and for the main, Righteousnessand true Holiness, no holy kind of Duty, or good Work: But, when he doth that which is materially good, out of his kind of virtuous Principles, and for his kind of virtuous Ends, yet he is carnal, wicked, and unholy-virtuous in those his Doings; and they are like himself, of kind and for the main wicked, carnal, and unholy kind of virtuous Doings; or they are the carnal, wicked and unholy Man’s kind of Doings, not simply so; but they are the carnal, wicked, unholy Man’s kind of virtuous Doings. His kind of living is an Atheous kind of living; his virtuous kind of living is the Atheous-virtuous kind of living, which is not the living unto the true God as his Servant, but opposite thereto, an ungodly kind of virtuous living. Let us suppose, that Hercules undertakes immense Labours, to save Mankind from Monsters and Tyrants, out of no better Principle than Good-Nature, natural Instinct of kindness for his Relations, regard to the preservation of human Society, a regard to an unholy kind of Fortitude, and from something of Religion on this side true Religion, (suppose an imitation of Jove, called his Father,) this the Pagans accounted Heroical Virtue.299 But Hercules’s kind of virtuous living was an Atheous kind of virtuous living, it was devoid of true Piety and Holiness, and repugnant to it. The Character, therefore, of the ungodly Man’s virtuous Actions, or Well-doings, consisteth of two parts: For every one of them, being consider’d as a part of his whole living, appeareth to be, both depriv’d of, and opposite to, Holiness and Godliness, and so complicated with Sin, as to be only a spurious and illegitimate kind of Virtue, rather Vice than Virtue; because, in reference to God, it is not Virtue. And, if those virtuous Doings of the Pagans are so vicious, which issu’d from Principles, that ought to be conjoin’d with, and subordinate to, true Piety and Holiness, (Good-Nature, natural Instinct, and a human-social Disposition,) what foul Crimes are the greater part of their virtuous Doings, which manifestly issued from, and were subordinated to, one of the foulest of Vices, the inordinate Appetite of Vain-Glory? For so the Orator Isocrates (whom Dionysius Halicarnasseus preferreth before the Philosophers as a Teacher of Morality,) who calleth himself a Philosopher, and a great acquaintance and admirer of Socrates, professedly maketh Vain-glory the Principle, End, and Rule of all his Actions, and of other Mens.
As for the Fact of the Aegyptian Mid-Wives,(which is all eg’d to prove, that mere Heathens do good Deeds, that are not, of kind and for the main, sinful,) it is not difficult to answer such Allegations. For, either the Aegyptians were the Religionists of the true God, or they were not. If they were God’s Religionists, (imperfectly, or more perfectly,) their case is no parallel for mere Heathens. If they were not, then their Fact was, for the main and of kind, sinful; yet being, of kind and for the main, spurious and degenerate Virtue and Well-doing, it was rewarded with Temporal Blessings. It is commonly said, That God does not so much regard what we do, as why we do it: But we ought rather to say, The thing that God regardeth is, of what kind our Doings are. For, unless we ourselves be holy and godly Persons, of kind and for the main such, and unless our Doings be of the same sort, neither we, nor they, otherwise than in a limited improper sense, can be pleasing and acceptable in God’s Eyes. The Heathen Philosophers were not holy, or godly kind of Persons, their divine Virtue was not the holy and godly kind of Virtue, it was not a faithful serving and pleasing the true God; but a self-serving, self-pleasing, self-adorning, self-excellence, self-beatitude, separate from, and contrary to, the life of true Piety and Holiness. Therefore no other Virtue is competible to unregenerate Mankind, than such as is consistent with the reign of the inordinate carnal Self-love, (which is the Essence and Summary of all Wickedness, which reigneth in all that are void of the divine Love, which is the Essence and Summary of all divine vital Virtue;) the Atheousness of their Virtue and Well-doings is imputable to the inordinate carnal Self-love, which causeth the want of the love of God; and, because they are devoid of the Love of God, and are none of his Servants, therefore their Virtues and Well-doings (from whatever Principle they issue) are a certain self-serving, and self-pleasing, not a serving and pleasing God. Therefore their specious Well-doings symbolize with the rest of the specious Things of this World, they are not what at first sight they seem to be.
Of the Deadliness of our Heathen State.The fifth consectary is touching the Deadliness of our Heathen State; for the Scripture looketh upon us, antecedently to the Life and State of true and saving Religion, as deadly Criminals, as dead, and as the Subjects of Satan’s Kingdom: As deadly Criminals, our Character consisteth of two branches, which imply and infer one another; for, in our Heathen State, we are aliens from the Life of Righteousness, deadly Sinners in Life and Practice; and we are not Faithful Friends to God and Holiness.
1. Mankind are, in Scripture, divided into two opposite Parties and Families (that are contrary kind of People, of a contrary Genius and Temper, that walk in contrary Ways, belonging to contrary Societies,) which are known by the Names of the Righteous and the Wicked, the Just and the Unjust, the Godly and the Ungodly, the Pious and the Impious, the Holy and the Unholy, the Good and the Evil, the Saints of God and Sinners that are not Saints, the Children of Light and the Children of the World, the Children of God and the Children of the Devil, the Carnal and the Spiritual; all which Distinctions and Descriptions of two opposite Parties denote their different Life and Practice. The one are the Servants of Sin, not the Servants of God and of Righteousness; the other are the Servants of God and of Righteousness, not the Servants of Sin. Rom. 6. 18, 20, 22. The one are the Workers of Iniquity, not the Practisers of Righteousness; the other are the Practisers of Righteousness, not the Workers of Iniquity. Psal. 14. 4. and 15. 2. Of this Kind, Quality, and Character, are all that are in the State and Life of the true and saving Religion; notwithstanding that they are guilty of Weaknesses, Sins of Ignorance and Surprize, altho’ they have inter mixtures of blemish in their Souls, and of blame in their Lives; yet their Life is not the wicked, sinning, unrighteous kind of Life, but the contrary; their tenor, course, and way of living is the Way of Righteousness, not only in some particular Acts, but of kind, and for the main. They perpetrate no heinous Iniquity, no deadly atrocious Sin; so far they are faultless, perfect, and undefiled. They keep no Favourite Sin, allow of no Sin, nor allow themselves in any, nor can they dispense with sinning against God; and, therefore, they are not, in any respect, Children of Disobedience, nor Rebels against God. They are also the Doers of Righteousness, both towards God and Man; and the Righteousness which they practise, is not the counterfeit and illegitimate, but the true and saving kind of Righteousness, contra distinguish’d from the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. The Wicked, in several degrees, are such as the Old-Test a ment characterizeth and complaineth of; that are estrang’d and are far from God, that forsake him, and live in forgetfulness and contempt of God, and have not the Fear of God before their Eyes, that are altogether become Filthy and do abominable Works, that are far from Righteousness, and desire not the knowledge of God’s Ways, presumptuous Sinners that Sin with a high hand, and make a Mock of Sin, Sons of Belial that know not the Lord, lewd Debauchees, revelling voluptuous Sensualists, Unclean, Evil-speakers, Lyars, Slanderers, Falsifiers of Trusts, Oaths and Contracts, unjust Dealers, the Children of Pride, Sons of Violence and of Blood, disobedient to Parents, perpetrating the horrid Sins against God (Atheism, Idolatry, Blasphemy, Magick,) the horrid Sins against Nature (Sodomy, Bestiality, Incest,) the horrid Sins against human Society (Robbery, Rapine, Murder,) the heinous Violaters of the Duties of both Tables, the Duties of Piety, Charity, Justice, Sobriety. They are not those that walk with God in the Duties of religious Society, that have clean Hands and a pure Heart.
In the New-Testament, all Mankind, antecedently to the State and Life of true and saving Religion, are represented as deadly “Sinners, the Ungodly, all under Sin” (as deadly criminal Livers are under it,) “a guilty World” (subjected to Condemnation) “before God; for all have” (deadly) “sinned, and come short of the Glory of God” (as to the having with him Glory.) As we were carnal, “those that are after the Flesh,” so we liv’d after it, and brought forth the Fruits of it, “fulfilling the Desires of the Flesh, and of the Mind,” Eph. 2. 3. As we were those that are “of the World,” so we lived “after the course of it,” not living a Life of doing God Service, but of serving Sin (the Flesh) and “diverse Lusts, the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life,” Tit. 3. 3. which live and reign in unregenerate Mankind, whose Life is a serving and pleasing them as a Law. They are not of a Divine Kind of Nature, but Aliens, and at Enmity with God, by doing evil Works, Col. 1. 21. not the Lovers of God, and of their Brother, but of the World, that have not “the Love of God in them, Man-haters, Man-slayers,” 1 Joh. 3. 13–17. and “have not eternal Life abiding in them.” And, because they are of the evil kind, (“Dogs, Swine, Serpents, Vipers,” Rev. 22. 15. Mat. 7. 6. and 3. 7. and 23. 33.) they are necessarily the Children of the Evil-one, and his resembling Off-spring, making a worldly-happy Estate, or a carnal selfish Interest of Credit, Prosperity, and sensual Delight, their chief Good, End, and Business, and preferring it before the Favour of God, the Interest of his Service and Kingdom, and their everlasting Happiness. Themselves, their Virtue and Religion, (for all Men pretend to Virtue, and almost all to Religion,) have their Character from the three grand Enemies of Christianity and Godliness, the Devil, the Flesh, and the World; for they are the wicked, carnal, and worldly kind of Men, of virtuous Men, and of Religionists. Their Virtue, Righteousness, and Religion, is of Kind illegitimate, and continueth them in their Wickedness, Carnality, and mundan Alliance.
2. Mankind, antecedently to the State and Life of true and saving Religion, are deadly Criminals also, upon account of a second branch of their Character; for, whether they be open Aliens and Enemies, or pretenders to God and Holiness, they are not the faithful Friends of God and Holiness. In all Relations of Friendship, Unfaithfulness is the summary of all Vice and Crime, and Faithfulness is the summary of all Virtue and Duty; for Unfaithfulness is a failure of Duty, in Mind, Will, and Meaning; Faithfulness, the contrary. God’s People are without Guile, and, therefore, the Righteous and Uncondemnable in the judgment of Equity, no Guilt is imputable to them; they are absolutely Sinless, as in the future State, or at least unchargeable with Wickedness. “Blessed is the Man, unto whom the Lord imputeth no Iniquity, and in whose Spirit there is no Guile.” Of this truly noble Character, is every faithful Adherent to God and Righteousness, such as “Abraham was, whose Heart was faithful before God.” He forsaketh Iniquity, in Will and Affection, universally and unreservedly, so that he is not dead in Sin, nor in the State of reigning Sin, and his course of Life is the Holy and Sinless. Wittingly and willingly he doth no Iniquity (therefore is no Rebel, no Traitor,) practiseth no heinous deadly Sinning. His Bent, Mind, and Will, is not partially and dividedly (which is a traiterous with-holding our Love and Affection,) but fully and intirely for God and Righteousness, which have sincerely his utmost Esteem and Affection, being his chief Good, (as Sin the chief Evil;) nothing being so dear to him, but what he will part with for them, whom he serves with his Best, and with his All, notwithstanding all Difficulties and Discouragements. And, as a Sovereign and a Master cannot repute such Men that ought to be his Subjects and Servants, Upright, Honest, Sincere, and Faithful, that are not dutifully affected and dispos’d towards Him and his Service: So God cannot repute any Man Upright in Heart, Honest, Sincere, and Faithful, that is not dutifully, uprightly, sincerely, and faithfully affected and dispos’d towards him and his Service. Therefore we ought to consider who they are, that may be denominated simply, and without addition, the faithful Friends of God and Holiness; for all others are such, that are devoid of this intire Integrity and Faithfulness, (which alone is constitutive of the truly Righteous,) notwithstanding a partial, or limited, Integrity and Faithfulness which they have. They are so far from being dutifully and rightly Affected, that they are the Disaffected; so far from being faithful Friends to God and Righteousness, that they are Enemies (usually deadly Enemies, and such as may be called faithful Enemies,) their Mind, Will, and Meaning is in excusably amiss, because they are not, simply, and without addition, The faithful Friends of God and Righteousness, and the faithful Enemies of Sin and Wickedness.
Many are loyal and faithful to a secular Master, or Sovereign, that are not God’s faithful Servants. Robbers (some of them) will be faithful to those of their own Gang. Many Men, of Civil-social Virtue only, will be faithful in matters of ordinary Justice, and, in some particular affair, faithful Messengers, Servants, Soldiers. If we suppose Abimelech an evil Man, as some will have him; yet, as to the business of Abraham’s Wife (Gen. 20. 6.) there was no Iniquity, no Pravity in his Mind, Will, or Meaning; he meant no Wrong to Abraham, whose Wife she was (to him altogether unknown,) and, therefore, in that particular affair, he was “Upright, Right, and without Iniquity.”
There is a Faithfulness in Judaism, as well as in Christianity; for when any one will change his Religion, and become a Proselyte of Justice, the Jews require, “that he do it, not for the Vanity of the World,” (any secular Advantage,) “but out of Love, and from the whole Heart.” Such a Faithfulness and Integrity in adhering to their God, in opposition to Idols and false Gods, was requir’d of the Jews, in the antient times of their Commonwealth, as the Condition of their temporal Blessings. A Faithfulness to their Institution, as it was carnal Judaism, those Jews had, who thought, they did God good Service in killing Christians, Joh. 16. 2. And thus the Apostle, when he outrageously persecuted the Christians, was Faithful to his Institution, he never wilfully violated the Rules of Well-doing according to carnal Judaism, and, therefore, had the carnal Judaical Man’s good Conscience, as he professeth, Acts 26. 9. “I have lived in all good Conscience before God until this Day.”
There is a Faithfulness in Paganism, as well as in Judaism. For Numa consecrated a Temple to Faithfulness. Regulus is a known Instance of Faithfulness. Pyrrhus said of Fabritius, that it was harder to turn him out of the way of Justice, than the Sun out of his Course.300Papinianus, the Lawyer, being commanded to defend the wicked Fact of the Emperor Caracalla, who had barbarously killed his Brother Geta, he chose rather to dye than to do it.301 In China, there is a Temple of Chastity, erected in commemoration of five Virgins, who, being taken by Thieves, took away their own Lives, to avoid being ravish’d.302 Several of the Heathens were sofar faithful and uprightly dispos’d, that, in several particular Actions, neither Shame, Torment, Exile, or Death, could prevail with them to violate the Dictates of their Minds; and several of them were true and faithful Worshippers of false Gods; they were Faithful to their Institution of Heathenism, and these may be said, to have The Heathen Man’s good Conscience.
Yet, in the unsound Profession of Christianity, in carnal Judaism, and in Heathenism, there are no such Persons as the Upright, the Sincere and Faithful; and, consequently, there is no such thing as the Uprightness of the Upright, the Sincerity of the Sincere, the Faithfulness of the Faithful. For, in these Regions, all are the Wicked and the Ungodly; whereas, if any of them were the Upright and the Faithful, these must necessarily be the Righteous, and in the State of justified Persons. Wherefore the Natural and Heathen Man’s Uprightness, Sincerity, and Faithfulness, is of the same Nature and Character with the rest of his Virtue, it is of a spurious and degenerate Kind, (as being on this side Holiness and Godliness,) not the intire Integrity, not the right Kind of Uprightness, not the holy and godly Kind of Sincerity, 2 Cor. 1. 12.) but a faithless Kind of Faithfulness. And this is what is meant by “a natural and moral Integrity.”303 Which sort of Integrity is competible to Rebel-Sinners, to such as are revolted from God and his Kingdom, and from true Righteousness and Holiness, in whom it is necessarily complicated with the most heinous Disloyalty and Unfaithfulness; from which none can be excus’d, who are not, as his Liege-Subjects and Servants, loyally affected unto God and unsinning Righteousness towards him: The Ignorance of the Jews and Gentiles did not excuse them, because they might have known better, and would have known better, if they had been, so far as they might have been, the faithful Friends of God and Righteousness, and the faithful Enemies of Sin and Wickedness. With this Limitation the Philosopher’s Rule ought to be propos’d, which otherwise is not, universally, a safe Rule of Practice. “That which appeareth to thee” (as a faithful Adherent to God and Righteousness) “to be the best, let that be to thee a Law inviolable.”304
It is, however, to be observ’d, that some, who are not properly and formally the Upright and Faithful, are such in aptness of Disposition, and in an initial degree; being such as mean well towards God and Righteousness, who are out of the State and Life of true and saving Religion, but with abatement of sense. These are they, that are denominated “Christ’s Sheep,” Joh. 10. 4, 10. those that “are of the Truth,” Joh. 18. 37. and Luk. 8. 15. those that have “an honest and good Heart”; which is a degree of that Integrity, which constituteth the Faithful and Upright in Heart, simply so called. The Phrase denoteth an honest and good Heart, in respect of the Word of true and saving Religion, and the receiving thereof, (an honest and good Heart so far;) by receiving which Honestly, Sincerely, and Faithfully (that is, without Vice, or Crime, as to Mind, Will, or Meaning) the Receiver becomes one of the Faithful and Upright in Heart, in a plenary Sense, whereas at first he is only so initially, and by way of preparatory Disposition. The Faithful and Upright, in aplenary sense, are Religionists of several Degrees. For many holy and good Men, under the Mosaical Oeconomy, were the faithful Lovers of God and of Righteousness; yet were very imperfect Religionists, agreeably to that Oeconomy. Our Saviour’s Disciples, while he was on Earth, that betray a great deal of Ignorance, Weakness, and many Imperfections at every turn, were the faithful and sincere Lovers of God and of Righteousness, but so as to be Religionists of a very mean Rank. And it seemeth reasonable to suppose, touching Cornelius, a Gentile, and a Proselyte, (and such like,) that God, from the Beginning of the World, having made Provision in Christ, that his and Christ’s Religionists should be in the State of Remission of Sins, Cornelius was imperfectly in this Divine Condition, before Conversion to Christianity: But, after the Gospel-settlement was made, his Conversion to Christianity was necessary, both for the continuance of what he had, and the completion of what he wanted.
3. The Scripture looketh upon Mankind, antecedently to the State and Life of true and saving Religion, not as alive, but as dead, or in the State of the Dead. So in the Oriental Philosophy they call’d those Men dead, “that are fallen from their Dogmata, are become Aliens from the discipline of Truth and Virtue, whence the Soul hath her Life, and have subjected their Mind to the Animal Passions.”305 As, when any one was ejected out of the Pythagoreans Society, they set up an empty Coffin in his Place, to signify, that he ought to be look’d upon as Dead. And the Platonists say, “That the Death of a rational Substance is, to be devoid of God and of Mind.” The Mahometans use the same way of speaking. The Hebrews also use this Symbolical way of expressing the Condition of the Wicked.306 Our Saviour also useth the same Mode of Expression, when he saith, Matth. 8. 22. “Let the dead bury their dead,” i.e. leave it to them, who are in a deadly State of Sin, to busy themselves about burying the Carcases of the Dead. And, as the Jews will not allow the Gentiles, to be reckon’d amongst the Living, so the Apostle looketh upon the World of Heathen Sinners, as in the State of the Dead. 1 Pet. 4. 6. “The Gospel was preach’d to them that are dead, that they might be judg’d according to Men in the Flesh,” i.e. suffer Death, the Death of Mortification, to which they are sentenc’d by the Gospel, that they who are dead in their Carnality, by the Death of it might live Spiritually. And this plain Notion of the Dead sufficiently explaineth a very obscure Phrase, which this Apostle useth, speaking of Christ, 1 Pet. 3. 18, 19, 20. “Being put to Death in the Flesh, but quicken’d by the Spirit. By which also he preach’d to the Spirits in Prison, which sometimes were Disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the Days of Noah.” If, instead of this Phrase, the Spirits in Prison, the Apostle had made use of this Expression, those that are in the State of the Dead, there had been no difficulty in his Words; every Interpreter would have said, those who are in the State of the Dead, is a Phrase expressive of the sadly-degenerate Condition of Mankind, who are dead in a moral Sense; that this Generation, those that are in the State of the Dead, was sometimes disobedient to the preaching of Noah, (degenerate Mankind were then incredulous, and now are so;) and that Christ by the Spirit, after his Resurrection, going preach’d to them, not in his own Person, but by his Apostles, in which sense St. Paul saith, he came and preach’d, Ephes. 2. 17. If there had been no difficulty in the Apostle’s Words, supposing that he had made use of this Phrase, those that are in the State of the Dead; the difficulty in them must not be thought great, altho’ the Apostle useth this Phrase, the Spirits in Prison, (which is of more affinity with the Spirit that he was speaking of, than the other;) because the Spirits in Prison, and those that are in the State of the Dead (vitiously Dead) are plainly equivalent Expressions. Now, if the Apostle had said, that, by the Spirit, Christ preach’d to those that are in the State of the Dead, every one would have said, the Apostle is his own Interpreter, he meaneth nothing but what himself saith in the compass of a few Verses (1 Pet. 4. 6.) that the Gospel was preach’d to the Dead; therefore, when the Apostle saith, that, by the Spirit, Christ preach’d to the Spirits in Prison, every one ought to Interpret his Meaning, by what himself saith a few Verses after, that the Gospel was preach’d, toi˜c nekroi’c, to them that are in the State of the Dead. The Spirits in Prison, in a literal Meaning, are the Dead in a literal Meaning; the Spirits in Prison, in a moral Meaning, are the Dead in a moral Meaning.
The Heathen, the Wicked, tho’ they live the Animal, the Human, and Human-Social, Life; tho’ they are alive unto Sin, and to their worldly and fleshly Interests and Concerns; tho’ they are not without their happy Life, and are alive in their own Conceit; yet they are dead 1. with respect to God and the Life of living to him. Thus the Prodigal Son was dead to his Father, who gave him over for lost. And, as they are departed from God, and, therefore, are dead to him; so God is departed from them, upon which account also they are dead, as the Body is dead, when the Soul is departed. They are dead, as to the proper Life of the Soul, the diviner Part, the only truly valuable Life, Excellency and Happiness. 2. The Wicked, in several Respects, resemble the Dead. They are in a Spiritual and Atheous kind of Darkness. “Weep for the Dead, for he hath lost the Light; and weep for the Fool, for he wanteth Understanding,” Eccles.22. 11. They have a lively Sense of their secular Interests, but have no perception of those Things, which are truly Good, or Evil. An holy vital Warmth and Fervour, Liveliness and Vigour is extinct in them; in Matters of true Religion, Virtue and Piety, they are torpid and inactive; their Virtue and Religion is but the Carcass of good Works. They are Vile, Worthless, Useless. “A living Dog is better than a dead Lyon.” Degenerate Mankind, in this respect also, resemble the Dead, they are impure and unclean. 3. They are surrounded by, and are subject to, those Evils, which are Death to the Soul, deadly Enemies, deadly Sins, deadly Sentence, and deadly Punishment. The State of the Wicked is a privation of true Light, Life, Truth, Wisdom, Health, Beauty, Order, Beatitude, Liberty, Nobility, Vigour, Power, Ease, Rest, Peace, Serenity, Delight, Pleasures, Goodness, Worth, Usefulness, Innocence, Purity, the Divinity, and Beatitude of the Soul; and a position of all the contrary Evils. This is a State of deadly criminal Evils; for which reason they fall into a deadly penal State, a penal privation of Remission of Sins, Peace and Reconcilement, Grace and Favour, of divine Alliance and Acceptance, of Election and Adoption, of the Inheritance, of Freedom and Citizenship in the Kingdom of God; and a position of the contrary.
In our Heathen State, we were related to God as Aliens and Enemies, and, therefore, we could have no Rights in the holy City, nor to the holy Deity thereof. Nor was it possible, that God should look upon us as his Allies, Subjects, Servants, or Liege-People; but our Estate was that of Apostates from, Traytors and open Rebels against, our Sovereign Liege-Lord, which is a State of Death. If any of the Heathen, remaining such, might be saved, it must be by a Deity; but there is no Deity, whereby they can be saved, who are not the People of the true God. The true God, being the Deity of true Religion and Godliness, will certainly punish the Atheous and Ungodly. And, if it be by a Deity, that Mankind must be saved, then they must be sav’d by being truly Religious. Therefore both the Popular and Philosophick-Pagans, that acknowledg’d a future Happiness, foully mistook the Way thither; for they rely’d upon their Mystick-Metaphysical Sanctity, their Teletae and the Hieratick Way, their Theurgick Method of the Souls Purgation, Liberation, Reduction; they promis’d themselves a future Happiness, from an Initiation into their Mystick-Religious Institutions, their Heathen Piety, and Civil-Social Virtue, of which their Love of their Country was a principal Branch. But the Virtue of the Heathens is far from being saving; something of it is found in all Men, for all are in some sort, in some degree, Virtuous, Honest, Sincere; if, therefore, it was saving to any, all Men would be saved. The Religion of the Heathen, which should have been saving to them, was of a contrary Nature, constituting them A-Theists and Anti Theists, the main Branches of it being so many mortal Sins. But from this Hypothesis (without which the necessity of Christianity is not maintainable, nor can the Grace of God towards us Christianiz’d Gentiles be duly illustrated without it) a terrible Conclusion will be inferr’d, That all, who are in the Heathen State, are finally lost; which seemeth to be a grand Difficulty in Providence, and they that think it so, if they be Wise and Religious, ought to be allow’d great Liberty of Thought, to salve the Phaenomenon. We will content ourselves to observe, that this Dispute, touching the Heathens Salvation, is partly concerning Matter of Fact, and partly concerning Matter of Right.
Of the Dispute touching the Salvation of the HeathensIf the Salvation of any be call’d in question as Heathens, the Matter of Fact ought to be debated in the first place, whether they were Heathens in this definitive Notion, The Theists, that do not acknowledge the true God? Usually, they that plead for the Salvation of Heathens, make them No-Heathens in Religion and Morality, making them God’s Religionists, and as good as Christians, and yet suppose, that they plead for the Salvation of Heathens, whereas they alter the Subject of the Question, and contradict themselves, as well as apparent Matter of Fact. But some, also, of great Learning and Piety, and not guilty of the Folly of Christianizing gross Heathens, yet have thought the Condition of some of the better sort of Pagans not desperate, but that their future Happiness is hopeful upon account of their Heathen Virtue; and some doubt not of the Happiness of all of them, who were sincere. Touching which Opinion, which carrieth a great shew of Charity and Goodness, I will only say; That our Heathen State is certainly the state of Death; that all the better Sort of Pagans are saveable, if any be so; that mere Heathen Virtue is not available to Salvation; that the Pagans Sincerity is of no better quality, than the rest of their Virtues; that we are apt to have an extravagant Esteem for their Virtue, and every one hopeth well touching his particular Favourite; but we are incapable of pronouncing any Thing touching their future Happiness, save only, That, in respect of us and our Notices, their Condition is not at all hopeful; yet, not knowing, what Transactions there may be between God and their Souls, who, in external appearance, dye gross Heathens; not knowing, whether Death rendreth every one’s Condition, and particularly theirs who were never tried with the Gospel, as remediless and desperate, as it doth theirs, who have been tried with it, and frustrated that Remedy; not knowing, but that all Ages of the World, as well as that wherein the Apostles preach’d (Act. 18. 10.) have afforded many Souls prepar’d for Christianity, touching whom we may doubt, whether they will finally perish, or not; not knowing, what their Condemnation will amount to, who have been, in all Ages, invincibly Ignorant of Christianity, and are, therefore, unconcern’d in the Condemnation, which it denounceth against Hypocrites and Unbelievers; we ought not to be dogmatical in such abstruse Points, or pretend to fathom the Depths of Providence.
In order to reconcile the Dispute about the Heathens Salvation, as it is Matter of Right, so far as the different Opinions about it are reconcileable, it is to be consider’d, That all true and genuine Theists may be call’d Christians in a large sense, as being the Christian-kind of Theists and Religionists. In this large sense it must be acknowledg’d, that the Earth and Heavens, the Sun, Moon, and Stars, the Works of Nature, and of Providence, have always preach’d Christianity to the World of Heathens; that, from the Beginning of the World, Christianity hath been the only way to Righteousness and Salvation; for Mankind could never attain them otherwise, than by being God’s Believers and Religionists, the Men of Faith, and Faithful Religionists, which is to be, in great degree, Christ’s Believers and Religionists, and thus it may be express’d. The way to Righteousness and Salvation, from the Beginning of the World, was, to be Christ’s Believers and Religionists, so far as the being God’s Believers and Religionists importeth. If, therefore, the World of Mankind which was Heathen, had been God’s Believers and Religionists, (such as the Apostle speaketh of, Heb. 11. 6.) they could not have fail’d of a State of Alliance and Favour, of Righteousness and Salvation, more, or less perfect; for God, in providing Christ, had made Provision, that his Divine Believers should be in that Divine Condition. And, as that Divine Condition, which Divine Believers, in the antient Times, enjoy’d, was founded upon Christ; so the coming of Christ was reveal’d to these Divine Believers, and they had Prophetick Notices of it. But those Prophetick Notices cannot be called the way to Remission of Sins and Salvation, they were not propos’d as the Condition of a Treaty, or Covenant, nor was the Knowledge of them requir’d of those, to whom they were not at all reveal’d; but different Obligations arise from different Revelations. The generality of Mankind in these elder Times of the World, antecedently to any Revelation of the Messias to them, were no farther oblig’d, to be God’s Believers and Religionists, than according to natural Revelation. And, because they were not so far his Believers and Religionists, the Apostle looketh upon them as inexcusable, Rom. 1. 20. for nothing hindred them from being such, but their own Wickedness, wicked Unwillingness, or Averseness from Godliness, nor could they pretend any other Impotency but the Moral Impotency, which is not an Excuse, but an Aggravation. “Else how shall God Judge the World?” Rom. 3. 6. If the Existence of the one true God be fairly notic’d to all Mankind; if they do, or may easily, know, that his being God consisteth, in having the Rights and Dues of his God-head, (as the being King consisteth in having his Rights and Dues, which to bereave him of, is a making him no King;) if they are oblig’d to be Virtuous, Good, Just, and Grateful; and cannot but know, that of Right, and by Obligation, they are his Liege-People, Subjects, and Servants: Mankind must necessarily be in excusable, if they do not serve and glorify him as God, and, if they become not his Believers and Religionists, which is a relinquishing their Heathenism. The Heathen could not plead that they were so destitute of Means, that it was naturally impossible, for them to be God’s Believers and Religionists, of that their becoming such would be in vain; for his Parental Providence towards them demonstrated, that he had not abandon’d all Care and Concern for their Welfare. Act. 14. 16, 17. “In times past he suffer’d all Nations to walk in their own Ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness,” (a Testimony of his Care for their Welfare, and that he had not abandoned all Concern for it, altho’ he suffer’d all Nations to walk in their own Ways,) “in that he did Good, and gave us Rain from Heaven, and fruitful Seasons, filling our Hearts with Food and Gladness.” and 1 Tim. 9. 10. “He is the Saviour of all Men,” (taketh care of their Welfare,) “especially of those that believe.” Rom. 2. 4. His Goodness and Patience, toward the World of Mankind, hath a mighty Tendency to their Repentance, and is design’d to induce them to it; which is an Assurance, that their Repentance, if not illegitimate, shall not be ineffectual; and, if God commandeth them the Practice of the Duties of Religion in order to that End, that so they may obtain a future Happiness, they are bound to believe, that such Practice will not be in vain. Act. 17. 26, 27. “They are planted on the Face of the Earth, that they should seek the Lord, if happily they might feel after him and find him.” Which demonstrateth God’s Will and Intention to be found of them, if they did faithfully seek him, and his Willingness to be a God to them: Nor is it possible, that God should disown and damn any, that is a faithful Religionist towards him; “But in every Nation he that feareth him and worketh Righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Act. 10. 35.) “Glory, Honour, and Peace to every Man that worketh Good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.” Rom. 2. 10. That is such Gentiles, as Melchizedeck, Job, the Ninevites and Cornelius. Touching the Salvation of the Heathens, and the Method of obtaining it, I will only add a wise and good Saying of a Divine of our own. “If any amongst Heathens had done what he could, in seeking and serving God, he should either for Christ’s Sake have been accepted with that little Knowledge he could attain; or else, as Calvin saith in his Comment on Acts 8. 13. Rather than he should have perish’d, God would have sent an Angel to reveal further Things to him.”307
In our Heathen State we were Subjects of Satan’s Kingdom.A principal Branch of the Deadliness of our Heathen State, is, our being the Subjects of Satan’s Kingdom; which implieth, that the Heathen World of Mankind were under the Imperial Rule and Domination of Satan, (several ways the Subjects of the Kingdom of Darkness,) constituting his Mundan Empire. His usual Names denote him an Imperial Potentate; for he is styled “the God of this World, the Prince of this World.” Himself and his Angels are called ἀρχαὶ καὶ ’δξουσίαι, which Names denote them, Principalities and Powers of a mundan Empire, κοσμοκράτορες the Rulers of this World. Being fallen from Heaven, their Residence is now in the Air, where they constitute amongst themselves a Kingdom, or Empire, consisting of lower and higher Orders, some being of inferior, and others of superior, Rank and Condition; but all of them subjected to, and united in, one Imperial Head, their great Lord and Master, “the Prince of Devils, the Prince of the Power” (or Powers) “of the Air.” The Wisdom and Justice of Providence, by banishing them out of Heaven, hath placed them in the Air, in a Region of Vicinity to, and a Station of Superiority above, Mankind; and, accordingly, maketh use of them, to do the work of Publick Officers, in the Polity of our System. But this Power, which the Evil Demons exercise over Mankind, (by divine Concession, by a probational, or penal Tradition of Men into their Hands, and sometimes by divine Mandate and Appointment,) is rather Ministerial than Imperial. 2 Chron. 18. 20, 21. Job 1. 12. and 2. 6. Psal. 78. 49. Matt. 5. 25. and 18. 34. Luk. 22. 31. 1 Cor. 5. 5. and 10. 10. 1 Tim. 1. 20. Rev. 12. 10. Besides this Power of mere Officers and Executioners, they have acquir’d a Power of Empire and Sovereignty over Mankind; which Power is, morally speaking, in great degree unavoidable, supposing their evil Neighbourhood to degenerate Mankind. For, as these Aerial Powers are, in Place and Station, superior to Mankind; so their Spiritual Nature, Angelical Order, Policy, and Strength, is superior to the Human; (spiritual unbody’d Wickedness is paramount to weak Flesh and Blood, Ephes. 6. 12. they are also vastly numerous and closely united amongst themselves, which addeth to their Power; and, therefore, if not confin’d by a higher Power, they can domineer and lord it over Mankind; and, doubtless, they want not Will to do it, seeing Empire and Dominion is their great Interest, Design, and Business; Strength with them is the Law of Justice, and, therefore, as amongst the Brute-Animals, the Stronger beareth Rule over the Weaker, so the Stronger Wicked Angels will have the Mastery, and bear Rule, over the Weaker Wicked Men. They are, also, the most accomplish’d Tempters imaginable, and have the greatest Advantages to make Men Wicked, (of themselves prevalently prone to be Wicked;) for they are not wanting in depth of Malice, in great intellectual Abilities, in knowledge of us and our Affairs, in large Experience, Cunning, and Dexterity, Activity and assiduous Diligence, Hypocrisy, Imposture, Closeness, and Secrecy, in variety of Methods and Artifices; they are furnish’d with all sorts of Agents and Instruments, assisted with the World’s tempting Objects, and with the many and great Weaknesses and vicious Inclinations of Man’s Nature; in their Temptations they are mighty in Operation, (“working efficaciously, with strong Delusions, carrying Captive,” Ephes. 2.2. 2 Thess. 2. 11. 2 Tim. 3. 26.) sometimes acting the Fox, and sometimes the roaring Lion, sometimes the old Serpent, and sometimes the bloody red Dragon; upon all which accounts, what can be reasonably imagin’d, but that they will inveigle and vanquish the World of Mankind, and subject them to live under their Domination? As the Holy Ghost saith, Rev. 12. 9. “The old Serpent, called the Devil and Satan, deceiveth the whole World.” The Heathen World, therefore, must be considered, as Satan’s mundan Empire, which he reigneth over as an Imperial Potentate, and which was subject to his Rule and Domination; whence it is plain, that his magnificent Pretension to our Saviour, was not al together groundless, or devoid of Truth, “That the Kingdoms of the World, the Power and Glory of them was his, and at his disposal.” Luke 4. 5, 6. The Devil and his Angels are styled, Ephes. 6. 12. “The Rulers of the Darkness of this World,” to signify, that they are the Rulers of that Darkness which Heathenism is, and, consequently, of the dark benighted Heathen World. Agreeably whereunto, the Doctor of the Gentiles is sent to them upon this Errand, “to open their Eyes, and to turn them from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan unto God,” Act. 26. 18. So the Converts to Christianity, that were translated into the Kingdom of God’s Son, are said to “be deliver’d from the Power of Darkness,” to which they were Subject, Col. 1. 13. But this subjection to the Power of Darkness, is not to be confin’d to Heathens, commonly so called, it is the common Condition of Mankind in general, antecedently to the State and Life of true and saving Religion, as will appear from an Enumeration of the several Ways, whereby Mankind are subject to Satan’s Kingdom and Domination, which are these three. 1. By way of Penal Subjection. 2. By way of criminal Subjection. 3. By way of criminal-religious Subjection.
1. All Mankind, antecedently to their being in a State of true Religion, belong to Satan’s Kingdom, and are under his Domination, by way of Penal Subjection. For the Apostle, Hebr. 2. 14. expressly attributeth to the Devil, the Power, or Empire of Death (τὸ κράτος) as his Empire. Which is an Empire agreeable to his name Apollyon, and to those Names which the Jews give him, the Destroyer, the Angel of Death. This Empire of Death, which the Apostle attributeth to the Devil, Christ died to destroy, therefore it must not be understood of temporal Calamities, and bodily Death only: But, principally, of the penal Death of the Soul, which is Death everlasting. And, because he had this Branch of his Imperial Power by the Law, therefore a principal Branch of his Empire was not by mere Usurpation, but by a legal Settlement of the penal State of Death upon unrepenting Sinners, by which he had an Authority to detain them under his Power after Death; and even in their Life-time, so long as they continued ungodly Sinners, and, if God, in Christ, had not made Provision for their Freedom: This being the State of Death, to belong to his Kingdom, and to be under his Domination and Power. If, without being freed by the Redemption of Christ, Mankind would have remain’d in the State of Death, then, without this Redemption, they would have remain’d under Satan’s Domination and Power by Law. So far as Christ hath redeem’d them from being in the State of Death, so far he hath redeem’d them from being under Satan’s Domination and Power by Law, either in this Life, or after their Death. From which plain and intelligible Explication of a principal Branch of the State of Death, the Collect for Easter-Day in the Common-Prayer-Book, becometh plain and intelligible: Almighty God, who, through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, hast overcome Death, and open’d unto us the Gate of everlasting Life. The Apostles Account of Christ’s Victory upon the Cross, becometh easy and intelligible, which otherwise is unintelligible, Col. 2. 15. “Having spoil’d Principalities and Powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Not only the Souls of Men, but their Bodies also, are penally subjected to Satan’s Domination and Power, as appeareth from unquestionable Instances of diabolical Possessions and Infestations of the Body, which have great Analogy and Agreement with Temptations of the Soul. For, as all Temptations are not from the Devil; so Bodily Diseases ordinarily are from Natural Causes. The Evil Demonsare of various Kinds, adapted to various Imployments, and as their Temptations are various, so are the Impressions which they make, and the Diseases which they produce in a Human Body. As some, by their Wickedness of Nature, tempt the Tempter, invite and draw wicked Spirits to associate with them: So some are of such a Disposition of Mind and Body, that Evil Demons as naturally enter into and inhabit them, as in Pestilential times, People, that are pre-dispos’d, catch the Contagion. Sometimes it is not discernible, whether a Temptation, be merely Natural, or in part Diabolical: So, in some Cases, it is not by us discernible, whether a Disease of Mind and Body be merely Natural, or in part Diabolical; and, therefore, Diabolical Possession and Infestation is a matter liable, both to wilful Imposture and innocent Mistake. But, as some Temptations are manifestly Satan’s Suggestions, and have the Marks and Characters of a Diabolical Original: So, in some that are Distemper’d in Mind and Body, there are evident Marks and Characters of a Diabolical Original and Infestation; as when they tell People their Secrets, discover such Things done at a distance, and Things to come, as are beyond human reach; or when they are oppress’d, afflicted, abus’d, in measure and manner beyond the reach of Natural Causes; or when from the Nature, Symptoms, Causes, and Circumstances of a Distemper, it plainly appears to be nothing better than a Diabolical Possession and Infestation. By these Indications Demoniacks and Persons acted by an evil Spirit, are discernible by us, who have no extraordinary Faculty of discerning them. Ignorance, Atheism, Fanaticism, and Witchcraft (with other Vices and Diseases) abound much more in some times than others; so do Diabolical Possessions and Infestations, which Providence might permit to abound about our Saviour’s Time, to give occasion for his glorious Miracles. If they had not abounded in those Times, it is not reasonable to believe, that they would have abounded then so much in the Trade of Exorcists, and that the Jews should generally have entertain’d this Opinion, that their more grievous Diseases were from the Operation of evil Demons or complicated with them. “Indeed in this Distemper” (the Epilepsy) “there appear so obscure Footsteps, or rather none at all, of a morbifick Matter, that we may deservedly suspect here the Afflatus of a maleficent Spirit.”308 The much greater part and most eminent sort of Demoniacks, which our Saviour had to do with, (tho’ not the only,) were Epileptical, Melancholical, Lunatic, and Maniacal Persons, (as appeareth from the Gospel,) whose horrible Distempers were either originally caus’d by, or complicated with, evil Demons. He gave a Demonstration, both of his Divine Goodness and Power in giving them relief from their hideous Calamities, rescuing them from under the Domination and Power of those infernal Spirits, and therefore the Apostles celebrate him for this God-like Atchievement. Act. 10. 38. “He went about doing Good, and healing all that were oppress’d of the Devil.” His Disciples experimented the Divinity of his Power, and that his Empire was superior to the Diabolical; and, therefore, after he had sent them abroad, they return’d to him with Exultation and Triumph, Luk. 10. 17. “Lord, even the Devils are subject to us thro’ thy Name.”
2. All Mankind, antecedently to their being in a State of true Religion, belong to Satan’s Kingdom, and are under his Domination and Rule, by way of criminal Subjection. The Devil’s usual Name, “the Wicked and Evil One,” (Matth. 13. 19. 1 John 2. 13.) denoteth him the Prince of all Wicked and Evil Ones; he the Leader, and they the Followers, “that are turn’d aside after Satan,” Tim. 5. 15. He ruleth them in making them Atheous and Wicked; and, when they become such, their Life is an obeying, pleasing him, doing him Service, and “his Servants they are, to whom they obey.” His Rule and Empire, therefore, is commensurate to the Reign of Sin. They walk “according to the Prince of the Power of the Air,” which Prince and Power taken collectively are “a Spirit mightily operative in the Sons of Disobedience,” by way of Inspiration, Afflatus, internal Motion, Persuasion and Suggestion, Eph. 2. 2, 3. They are animated by the Agency of that great one that is in the World, 1 John 4. 4. who influences them, not only by tempting Objects, and external Means, but by internal Operation, “blinding the Mind, putting into the Heart, filling the Heart”(2 Cor. 4. 4. John 13. 2. Act. 5. 3.) Like a mighty Pharaoh he commandeth them, and putteth upon them the vilest Practices, the basest and most painful Drudgeries, and they serve and obey, not considering what a Master they serve, usually designing only to serve their own Lusts, in the Fury whereof he hurrieth them like the Swine to Perdition. He is the Father of their Family, they are a Serpentine Brood and Race,309 and Devils incarnate; agreeably to which our Saviour saith of a Miscreant among his Disciples, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a Devil?” Joh. 6. 70. such is a Son of Belial (for Belial is one of Satan’s Names, 2 Cor. 6. 15.) and such are the Children of the Wicked One in various degrees, and all that belong to the Synagogue of Satan, who are necessarily under his Domination, by way of criminal Subjection.
3. Almost the whole World of Mankind were some time under Satan’s Domination and Power by way of criminal-religious Subjection, as being the Religionists of his Institution, and his religious Worshippers. One sort of these Diabolical Religionists are Witches and Magicians, whose Existence has been so well attested by Experience and by Persons of unquestionable Learning and Veracity, so acknowledg’d by Heathens, by all wise Laws and Governments, and by the Holy Scriptures, is of Theory so unexceptionably Rational, and the Objections against it so inconsiderable, that, notwithstanding the many Impostures and false Stories of this kind, he that would reject them all, must be a superlative Believer. Another Instance of Diabolical Religionists are the Heretical-Pagan-Gnosticks, that infested the Primitive Church, who invented a Theology and Religion, which was a mixture of Magick and Demonolatry; upon which account, some part of them were called Ophitae, Serpent-Worshippers, others Sataniani, Satan’s Religionists; which is the heavy Character of the whole World of Heathen Religionists, as appeareth from the Historical Accounts of Heathen Countries, from their Theology and Religion, from the Nature of Christianity, and the Sense of all Christians, and from this Testimony of the Holy Scripture, which is also the Acknowledgment of several learn’d Pagans, That what the Gentiles and Gentilizing Israelites sacrific’d, they sacrific’d to Devils, not to God.310 The Christians usually call’d their Doctrines, Doctrines of Devils; their Altars, the Devil’s Altars; their Priests, the Devil’s Priests; their Religion, the Devil’s Institution; their Inspirations, Afflatus’s, and Methods of Divination, Diabolical; their Sacrifices, the Delight of Devils; their Gods, unclean Demons. Agreeably whereto, the Renunciation of Heathenism at Christian Baptism was compos’d. The Apostle opposeth “the Cup and Table of the Lord to the Cup and Table of Devils,” in the Heathen Idol-Feasts, 1 Cor. 10. 21. So the Heathen-Roman Empire is said to be “subjected to Satan the Chieftain, and to his Angels the Demons, by way of Religious Subjection”;311 by the Holy Ghost it is represented as a Demonarchy, (Satan and his Angels were in reigning Condition, whilst Paganism flourish’d, but Christianity threw them down, Revel. 12. 8.) And all that Empire’s Idol-worship is styled the Worship of Devils, Revel. 9. 20. Christianity therefore supposeth, that the World of Heathens, thro’ their own Weakness and Wickedness, and the Artifices of Satan (Visions, Prodigies, Oracles, Vaticinations, Healings, and moving the Images) were seduc’d into an Opinion, that the Evil Demons were Gods, that they prostituted their Souls to be corrupted by them, were enslav’d by them, and subjected to their Domination and Power, as the Religionists of Satan, who had at Rome, and in other Places, as it were, his Imperial Seat and Throne, Rev. 2. 13 and 13. 2. They invited these Evil Demons to be the Inmates and Inhabitants of their Souls; these they deputed to be the Guardians of their Life; to these they attributed a mundane Presidency, pay’d divine Honours and a Religious Subjection, managing both their Civil and Religious Affairs by their Conduct. The learn’d Writers of the Gentiles do not only inform us, That they worshipp’d Arimanius, Cacodaemones, Vejoves, whom they knew to be evil Spirits; but some of their learn’d Theologers were of Opinion, that a considerable part of their Religion was the Religion of Evil Demons, whom the generality of Pagans ignorantly worshipp’d.312Porphyry discourseth at large of Evil Demons, of their Religious Worship amongst the Pagans, and of their Delight in bloody Sacrifices.313Plutarch discourseth, that the Order of Demons is obnoxious to Passions and brutal Affections, which are Properties, “of which there are Footsteps and Marks in their Sacrifices and Mysteries.”314 And, having enumerated several Rites of their Religion, “the tearing and devouring raw Flesh, and other Discerptions, Howlings, obscene Speeches in their Sacra, Madnesses excited with noise and tossing of the Neck,” he saith of them, “They are not the Worship of any of the Gods, but are instituted to sweeten and appease Evil Demons.”315 These Acknowledgments of learned Heathens are great approaches to the Christian Hypothesis, that the Heathen World were Satan’s Religionists, of the Truth whereof we have so many authentick Proofs.
The great usefulness of Revelation is evident from the foregoing Consideration of the State of the Heathen World.This, therefore, seems to have been the State of the Heathen World. Abraham was educated in Idolatry, as appears from Jos. 24. 2. When Abraham was call’d out of Ur of the Chaldeas, the only Country, in which we have any account that the true Religion was profess’d, was Salem, afterwards call’d Jerusalem, of which Melchizedek was King and also Priest of the most high God.316Job also and his Friends worshipp’d the one true God; which appears likewise to have been the legal Establishment in the Country where he liv’d; for, speaking of worshipping the Sun and Moon, which he disclaims the ever having been guilty of, he says, “That were an Iniquity to be punish’d by the Judges,” Job 31. 28. It seems also pretty plain, from another Passage ( Job 23. 11, 12.) that Job had something more than the mere Light of Nature to walk by, and that he was no Stranger to supernatural Revelation; for he saith there of himself, “My Foot hath held his Steps, his Way have I kept, and not declin’d, neither have I gone back from the Commandments of his Lips; I have esteem’d the Words of his Mouth more than my necessary Food.” Which Words some will have to be meant of the Light and Law of Nature, merely as such, which seems an extremely absurd Construction of the Place, which is plainly meant of some Law or Doctrine, that was God’s Word by his Prophets, of which Number Job himself seems to have been One. He must also have been no Stranger to the 7 Precepts of the Sons of Noah, as they are called, and to the Revelations made by God to Abraham, if that Opinion be true, which is generally embrac’d by the most learn’d and judicious Commentators, that Job was a descendent of Abraham, probably an Edomite, the Land of Uz being part of Idumea; and that he liv’d before the giving of the Law to Moses. But the first Mention we find made of the Religion of the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, after the Children of Israel’s coming into the Land of Canaan, is that they were Idolaters; as were also the Children of Edom, where we first find their Religion mention’d, after the Israelites began to have any Intercourse with them; which was also the Case of all the other Nations descended of Abraham, and of the several People inhabiting Arabia and Canaan. So that, when God gave his Laws to the Israelites, we know not of any one Nation in the World, where the Worship of the one true God was profess’d, the Israelites excepted. As for Zoroastres, who set up the Worship of the one true God in Persia, that was not ’till the Days of Darius Hystaspes, after the Babylonian Captivity: And that Zoroastres learn’d that Truth from the Jews, has been render’d highly probable by several who have treated of that Subject.
It appears from what hath been said, that the Heathens look’d upon the whole Universe of Rational Agents, consisting of Gods, Demons, (Good and Bad), Heroes, and Men, as but one Political System; and that the current Doctrine of the best Sects among them, was Polytheism and the Worship of Demons. These their Practices were in great measure owing to their believing God to be the Soul of the World, which prevail’d universally among the better sort of them; for they could never think it a Crime to worship what they thought Parts of the Deity. From this Opinion of God’s being the Soul of the World, even Socrates himself was not free, and some modern Deists have endeavour’d to revive it.
From what has been said it appears, that the Heathens were universally ignorant of the one true God, who was an unknown God at Athens. The best Sects of their Philosophers, as they were Ignorant of many important Truths, so they taught many gross Errors, as well with respect to Religion, as Morality; so that it may justly be question’d, whether the Heathen Philosophers, in the Main, were of any real Service to the Cause of Religion and Virtue. The Bulk of Mankind have been always very careless and inconsiderate, so as not to be at the Pains of discovering those important Truths, which they might have discover’d by the Light of Nature; and from the same Causes they were not sufficiently influenc’d by those Truths, which they did come to the Knowledge of, the strong Impressions of sensual and present Objects greatly weakening or destroying the Force of more remote ones, tho’ of much greater Consequence. The Prejudices of Education, as it were imbib’d with their Mother’s Milk, were also so great and so many, and the perverse Customs and Opinions of those about them influenc’d them so strongly, as greatly to obscure and give a wrong Biass to that Natural Reason, which, if it had been left to itself, would have made a much greater and clearer Discovery of the Law of Nature. The Affairs of the World, the Pursuits of Ambition, the Baits of Pleasure, and the Desire of Riches, employ so much of Mens Thoughts and Time, that they cannot attend to the still and calm Voice of Reason, which is seldom heard in so tempestuous a Sea. And when once, by such means as these, evil Habits had taken deep Root in the Minds of Men, to which by an innate Concupiscence, they had a prevalent Tendency, their Foolish Heart became darken’d, and they were given up to a reprobate Mind, by which the Light of Nature was, in great measure, extinguish’d, the Blindness of their Hearts darkening their Understandings, and blunting the Stings of Conscience. Amidst so great Corruptions, arising from such Causes, both within and without, which had, to so great a Degree as we have seen, benighted the Heathen World, what Wonder is it, if those few Heathen Philosophers, who gave themselves up to search after Truth, and to practice the Truths they discover’d, made so small a Progress as we find they did, in reforming so degenerate and corrupt a World? Polytheism, Demonolatry, and Idolatry, we have seen how universally they prevailed; and that, with respect to the one true God, the whole Heathen World lay in a State of Atheous Ignorance, not excepting even the greatest of the Philosophers themselves, who were also defective, with respect to many of the Branches of Morality, as hath likewise been shewn. Of Justice, indeed, as it is a Virtue necessary to the support of Civil Society, they seem to have had very just Notions; but such Justice is only a Political, not a truly Religious Virtue, a mere Civil Institution. From what hath been said, I think it plainly appears, that all their Virtues were of the spurious and illegitimate Kind; and that for want of the true and solid Foundation of all Virtue and all Religion, The Knowledge of the true God and his Attributes.
Most of those who call’d themselves Philosophers, were never in earnest in their pretended Researches after Virtue; they made it matter of mere Ostentation, and to shew their Parts, and an Affair of as great Indifference, as Problems in Mathematicks, or Natural Philosophy; thinking it sufficient, if they could but amuse the Vulgar, and dispute learnedly about it; and accordingly in by far the greatest Number of those who affected to distinguish themselves by that glorious Title, it reach’d no farther than the Head, not to the Heart, as is plain from the profligate Manners of many of them from the Accounts of their Contemporaries. And how should Mankind be reform’d by such Instructors? They who were influenc’d by the Truth they taught appear, upon Examination, to be much fewer than is generally imagin’d. And even those very few, we have seen that they grossly err’d in most important Points, as well with respect to God, as the Cause and Cure of the present corrupt Condition of Mankind, and the End for which our great Creator intended us. No less Men among them than Plato, Cicero, and Epictetus advise Men to comply, each with the establish’d Religion of his Country; but was that the way to enlighten and reform a benighted and idolatrous World? The Wisest of them have profess’d their Ignorance, how the Deity was to be worshipp’d, and how those who had done amiss were to be reconcil’d to him; of which Plato represents Socrates so sensible, as to introduce him in one of his Dialogues, declaring his Ignorance upon these Heads, and wishing for the Guidance of a Divine Revelation in such Matters, for which our wiser modern Deists think there was no occasion. Those also among the Heathen Philosophers, who have upon some occasions argued the most strenuously for the Soul’s Immortality, sometimes express themselves doubtfully upon the Matter. ’Tis the Christian Religion only, which hath clearly brought Life and Immortality to Light. The refin’d Reasonings and long Deductions of acute and speculative Philosophers upon this and other important Points, the Attributes of God, and the Obligations to Virtue, were too fine-spun, and required too long and close an Application, to influence the generality of Mankind. None of them was able to form any thing like a tolerable Scheme with respect to Providence, the Forming and the Governing the World, the Dignity and the Corruption of human Nature, whence the Obligation to Virtue originally arises, and to what it ultimately tends, and the happy Immortality of the Righteous. All of them were Ignorant of some of these Truths, and the imperfect Truth they did discover, lies so scatered and blended with Error, that the greatest Genius among them was never able to collect them into one Body; and there is so strict a Dependence of one of these Truths upon another, that it is like breaking a Link in a Chain, or taking a Corner-Stone from the Foundation of a Building, to separate one of them from the rest; so close is their Connexion. What is more; whilst the Hearers of the Philosophers consider’d that these Instructors were but Men like themselves, the Truths they were able to discover and support by plain Reason, were able to make but a weak Impression upon them, for want of sufficient Weight, and because they were not enforc’d by a Divine Authority. It awakens and rouses the Attention and Consideration of Men at another sort of a rate, not only to have it laid before them, that such a Practice is agreeable to the Dictates of Right Reason, that it is Beautiful, Honourable, and Decorous, that we ought to do it, and that such Advantages will naturally and necessarily attend it; but also to have it clearly made out to ’em, that it is moreover the Will and positive Command of the Creator and supreme Governor of the World, to whom they owe what they are and what they have, and at whose hands they expect all they hope for; which makes a much deeper Impression upon them, than barely to have the fitness of the Practice propos’d to ’em, without the Interposition of the Authority of a competent Legislator, to whom they are under the greatest Obligations in point of Gratitude, and who will certainly vindicate the Honour of his Laws.
After all these Considerations, let any impartial Man judge, whether a Revelation was useful or necessary for the Reformation of Mankind. No, says the modern Deist; for the Light and Law of Nature, Natural Religion, and Morality are sufficient, as they have been laid down by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Epictetus, M. Antoninus, and others among the Antients; by Grotius, Puffendorf, Crellius, Sharrock, Wilkins, Cumberland, Clark, Wollaston, and others among the Moderns. In answer to this, I desire that it may be observ’d, That there is a great Difference between mere natural Reason, and Reason assisted by Revelation, and super natural Help. Our Reason assents to many Things, when propos’d to us, which it could never have found out. The greatest Genius’s among the Heathen Philosophers, seem to have been extremely sensible of the Weakness, the Short-sightedness, and the Uncertainty of their Reasonings about most important Truths. Let us hear what they themselves say upon the Point, “Nature gives many Indications of her Will; but we” (saith Cicero317 ) “are deaf, I know not how, nor hear her Voice.” “Nature hath afforded us some small Sparks, which we so quickly extinguish by evil Habits and false Opinions, that the Light of Nature no where appears.”318“We seem not only blind with respect to Wisdom, but dull and stupid with respect to those very Things, which in some measure we seem to see.”319“Our Minds” (saith Aristotle) “with respect to those Things which are naturally the most plain of all, are like the Eyes of Bats in Day-light.”320“Truly” (saith Cicero) “the so great Dissention of the most learned Men in an Affair of the utmost Importance [the Nature of the Gods] will stagger even those, who before thought that they had arriv’d at Certainty in the Point.” And “I wish” (saith Cicero in the same Discourse) “that I could as easily find out the Truth, as confute Error.”321 Even Socrates express’d himself with doubt concerning a Future State, tho’ he seem’d strongly to incline to the Belief of it, and tho’ he brought the best Arguments in support of it, as they are represented to us by Plato, that we meet with offered by any Heathen Philosopher. Cicero, in his Tusculan Questions, is still more doubtful upon that Head, tho’ inclining to the same side with Socrates. Seneca look’d upon it as a point more desirable, than probable.322“If (says Cicero323 ) in the Opinion of all Philosophers, no-one has attain’d Wisdom, we, for whose welfare you pretend the Immortal Gods have made the best Provision, are in a most wretched State; for, as there is no material Difference, whether no Man does enjoy his Health, or no Man can enjoy it; so I do not see that it is of any consequence, whether no Man is or can be made wise.” What wonder then is it, if the best and wisest of the Philosophers, thus sensible of their own Ignorance, and of the Weakness of human Reason, with respect to matters of the utmost Importance, (such as the Nature of the Deity, how he would be worshipp’d, and a future State; as also the Original of Evil, and of the present corrupt Condition of Mankind, of which they were as sensible, as they were ignorant of the Cause,) should be sensible of the Want of a Divine Revelation, and earnestly long for it, as has been already mention’d? Now, whoever would go about rationally to make a comparative Judgment of assisted and unassisted Reason, let him compare the Schemes of Natural Religion and of Morality, left us by the Heathens, with those which have been publish’d by Christians. Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Plutarch, Epictetus, and M. Antoninus, are clearly the greatest Heathen Writers upon these Subjects. How defective these are all, I have already, in great measure, laid before the Reader, some of them making no more of Virtue and of Religion, than mere Civil and Political Institutions; all of them conforming to the Idolatrous Establishments of their several Countries, and advising others to do the like; Polytheism and the Worship of Demons being essential Parts of the Platonick and Stoick Theology, as Magick and the Worship of Demons were of the Pythagorean; and yet these have been reputed the best Sects, and to have produc’d the greatest Moral Philosophers, which Heathen Antiquity could boast of. I have already observ’d, that what Truths lay scatter’d among them, no-one of them had discernment enough to separate from the Errors, tho’ that be a point which that great Genius, Cicero, seems particularly to have labour’d. Now any one with half an Eye may see, how much the Systems of Natural Religion and of Morality, deliver’d by the above-mention’d Christian Writers and others, exceed those of the foregoing Heathen Philosophers, some of whom seem to have been greater Genius’s than any of those Christian Writers I have now mention’d. To what then must the Advantage of the Christian Writers upon these Subjects over the Heathen Philosophers be owing? To the Assistance of Revelation certainly, which has evidently improv’d our Notices, even of Natural Religion and Morality, as from what I have already advanc’d, but much more by comparing the above-mention’d two Sets of Writers, will abundantly appear. Therefore, when modern Deists, in order to prove, that there was no Necessity or even Usefulness of a Revelation, alledge, that Natural Religion and Morality are sufficient, let them confine themselves to any Scheme they please among the Heathen Philosophers, among whom the latest seem plainly to have much improv’d from Hints they had from the Christian Religion, to which they were no Strangers. When once we become assur’d of the Truth of any Doctrine, tho’ merely from Testimony, it naturally puts us upon the Inquiry, to find out Arguments from Reason, in order to prove that Doctrine; and in such a way, and by such means, it is evident, that the great Truths of Natural Religion, and the Fundamentals of Morality, have been more throughly discover’d, and establishd upon better Principles, than was ever perform’d by the greatest Genius’s of the Heathen World, tho’ they were in themselves, perhaps, the greatest the World ever produc’d. If there had never been any Revelation, with what Vanity can any of our Modern Deists pretend, that they would have had better Notions of Religion, of God, and of Morality, than Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, &c.? And in how many important Points, with respect to these, were they ignorant, and of how many more were they very doubtful? Nay, I will venture to go one step farther, and to affirm, that I think it highly probable, That our Inquiries, into the very Frame of Nature and the Material System of the World, would not have been so successful as they have been, were it not for the Hints we have receiv’d from a Divine Revelation, and more particularly this, That the World is the Creature of God; which is a most important Truth, that the Heathen Philosophers were not very well acquainted with; of which as great a Philosophical Genius, and as successful an Inquirer into Nature, as this Age and Nation, or, perhaps, any other, has produc’d, has made no inconsiderable Use. All our Knowledge of Natural Religion and Morality, is ultimately resolv’d into our Knowledge of the Frame of Nature; as our Belief of Reveal’d Religion is founded upon the pre-suppos’d Truth of that which is Natural. “He that cometh to God, must first believe, that he is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” “That which may be known of God, is manifest in them; for God hath shew’d it unto them. For the Invisible Things of him are clearly seen from the Creation of the World, being understood by the Things that are made, even his eternal Power and Godhead; so that they are without Excuse.”
To conclude; there seems to me, to be two opposite Extremes, into which Men have run. Some cry up Reason, and the Light of Nature, at such a rate, as to think them alone sufficient Guides, in consequence of which they think all Revelation useless and unnecessary; whose Mistake I have at large endeavour’d to shew, and that they who wanted Revelation, were sensible of their being at a loss in most important Points, for want of it. Others, with a mistaken View of magnifying Revelation and Faith, undervalue and vilify Reason and the Light of Nature most immoderately, as if they were no proper Guides at all, nor fit to be trusted, in Divine Matters and the Truths of God. But, if that were the Case, how should we ever come to the Knowledge of God at all? So it is plain St. Paul thought, by the Passages just now quoted from him. The Belief of a Revelation is grounded upon the Veracity of God the Revealer, and we must first be convinc’d by Reason of the Veracity of God, (that he is Omniscient, and cannot be deceiv’d, that he is perfectly Good, and cannot deceive,) before we can give a firm Assent to a Revelation, as coming from him. So the Knowledge of the Being and Attributes of God, are previously necessary to the Belief of a Revelation. Socinus indeed held, that we can no otherwise come to the Knowledge of God, but by Revelation; but those who have follow’d him in other Matters, have been wise enough to drop him upon that Head. Beside; without making use of Reason in Divine Matters, how should we be able to judge of a Revelation, or a Miracle, and distinguish the True from the False? Or how should we judge of the Meaning of a Revelation, when we have it? Without applying our Reason to the Discussion of Matters reveal’d, how should we come to know, that these Words, “This is my Body,” are not to be taken in a literal Sense, or those other Words, “If thine Eye offend thee, pluck it out?” We must, therefore, either use our Reason in the Study of the Scriptures, or we have no Reason to study them at all; nor need we fear any evil Consequences from such a Practice: For all the Doctrines of Revelation, when freed from the Errors of the mistaken, and the Imposition of the designing, Part of its Votaries, and taken as they stand in the Scriptures themselves, free from all human Figments and unwarrantable Deductions, will stand the test of Reason. Nor do I know a more disadvantageous Idea, that can be given of the Christian Religion, than to decry the use of Reason in matters belonging thereto; for does not that plainly seem to imply, that it is an unreasonable Scheme, as being what will not stand the test of Reason? several Points, indeed, there are in it, which we cannot comprehend, which yet, that they are so, we have very good Reason to believe, tho’ we cannot solve all Difficulties, or answers all Objections, that may be started about them; no more than we can explain all the Difficulties that occur about Self-existence, Eternity and Immensity, which yet, we are very certain, are Attributes that belong to some Being that really exists. Such are the Difficulties about the infinite Divisibility of Space, which yet is demonstrated, and those about Liberty, of which however we have the same Proof, that we have of our own Consciousness. The Distinction, therefore, is very just and well-grounded, between Matters above our Reason, and contrary to Reason. Propositions of the former Kind, we may give an unshaken Assent to, as well in Religion as Philosophy; but Propositions of the latter Kind are equally unintelligible, incredible, and impossible. Reason, therefore, and Revelation reflect a mutual Light upon one another; Natural and Reveal’d Religion communicate such Strength and Firmness of Parts to each other, as do the several Parts of an Arch, out of which a Stone taken at the Top weakens the whole Frame, as much as one at the Bottom. Without Natural Religion, Reveal’d Religion is a Building founded upon the Sand; but by the help of it, it is a House founded upon a Rock, against which we know who has told us, That the Gates of Hell shall not prevail; notwithstanding all the Assaults of those, who have taken a great deal of Pains, racking their Brains for Arguments, and ransacking all Antiquity for Testimonies, in order to invalidate and depretiate that, which if we wanted, we should, with all their boast’d Light of Nature, be like a Ship at Sea out of sight of Land, and without Chart or Compass. And so much for the System of Rational Agents, the Kingdom of God in the rational World, and the mistaken Notions of the Heathens, about these Matters, in order to shew, not only the Usefulness of Revelation, but the Necessity of it, in order to the Reformation of Mankind, and their Increase of Happiness in this Life, but principally in that which is to come.
LAWS of NATURE,
In which their Form, chief Heads, Order, Promulgation, and Obligation, are deduced from the Nature of Things: Also the Elements of Mr. Hobbes’s Philosophy, as well Moral as Civil, are consider’d and refuted.
Love is the Fulfilling of the Law.
—Rom. 13. 10.
Thou shalt love the LORD thy GOD with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Mind. This is the first Commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self. On these two Commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
—Matt. 22. 37–40.
Printed in the YEAR MDCCXXVII.
The Design of this Treatise.§I. It concerns us both, friendly Reader, “That you should be briefly acquainted with the Design and Method of this Treatise”; for thence you will immedately perceive, “What I have perform’d, or, at least, attempted; and what is further to be supply’d from your own Understanding, or the Writings of others.” The Laws of Nature are the Foundations of all moral and civil Knowledge, as in the following Work will at large appear. But these, as all other Conclusions, discoverable by the Light of Nature, may be deduc’d two ways; either from those manifest EffectsTwo ways of deducing the Laws of Nature.1. From their Effects. which flow from them, or from the Causes whence they them selvesarise. I have endeavour’d to discover them in this latter Method, by arguing from the Cause to the Effect. To the former Method of proving their Obligation, (by arguing from the Effect to the Cause,) belongs what has been written by Hugo Grotius, and by his Brother, in his Posthumous Work, and by our Countryman Sharrock, who establish them from the approv’d Sentiments of various Authors of different Nations and Ages,This insisted on by Grotius, Sharrock, &c. as also from a Harmony in the Manners and Laws, if not of all, at least of the politer, Nations.1 Hitherto also is to be referr’d that Work of Selden’s, concerning the Laws of Nature and Nations, according to the Sentiments of the Hebrews.2 And, in my Opinion, all these Authors have deserv’d well of Mankind. But especially the Work of Hugo Grotius, which was the first of the kind, I think worthy, both of the Author, and of Immortality. For a few Slips, and those in Matters, in which the Customs of his Country seem to have biass’d that great Man, will easily obtain Pardon from a candid Reader.
Useful, tho objected against.§II. Nor, truly, are the Objections, which are usually brought against this method of proving the Laws of Nature, (by arguing from the Effect to the Cause, as Grotius does,) of so great weight, as to prove it altogether fallacious and useless; altho I readily acknowledge, that they may so far prevail with candid Inquirers after Truth, as to convince them, That it would be more useful and safe, to find out a fuller Proof, by searching into the Causes, which produce in the Mind of Man the Knowledge of the Laws of Nature. This, however, will more plainly appear, if we briefly propose those Objections, with the Answers to them.
First Objection from insufficient Induction.In the first place it is objected, “That the Induction is weak, which infers, from the Writings or Manners of a few Men, or Nations, the Opinion or Judgment of all.” Now there is scarce any Person so well acquainted with the Laws and Customs of any one State, that can ever have a perfect Knowledge of them all; much less that can attain to such a Knowledge of the Laws of all States, still less, of the inward Sentiments of each Individual, as may enable him, upon a just Comparison, to conclude, what those Notions are, in which all agree.
To this it is answer’d, “That the Judgments made by different Nations concerning matters of daily publick Practice, (such are Religion, or some sort of divine Worship in general, and a degree of Humanity, sufficient to prohibit Murder, Theft, and Adultery,) may with ease be every where observ’d by any Man, without so profound a Knowledge of their Laws”: and such Judgments sufficiently declare that they agree in the Laws of Nature; for that which we know by Experience, to be, as it were, naturally acknowledg’d good by many Nations, we presume, upon account of the likeness of human Nature, to be likewise acknowledg’d good by the rest; especially when our Adversaries cannot produce one undoubted Instance, to prove any Nation to be of different Sentiments. To me, truly, those Narratives of some few barbarous Americans, and the Hottentots, “That they have no religious Worship,” seem, not suspected only but, false; for such a negative Assertion is hardly capable of ever being prov’d by Testimony. Therefore Acosta3 and some others seem rashly to have form’d a Judgment concerning those, with whose Language, Manners, and Sentiments they could not thorowly acquaint themselves in so short a time. For we read, that both Jews and Christians were sometimes falsly accus’d by many, of the greatest Impieties, tho their Religion was more holy than that of other Nations. But, be that as it will, it is manifest, “That those Truths are with sufficient Clearness propos’d to all, which are readily acknowledg’d by almost every one, altho the same should be either overlook’d, or even oppos’d, by some few.” But this Observation will be the most proper, and of greatest use, when it appears manifestly from other Proofs than Testimony and Custom, “That these Propositions teach the true Means to the best End, and that all are indispensably oblig’d to pursue that End by those Means”; which may be best prov’d by a consideration of the Causes, which suggest such conclusions of Reason to our Minds.
Obj. 2. That they want a sufficient enacting Authority.§III. A second Objection is, “That, altho certain Conclusions of Reason are approv’d of by our own Judgment, and the Practice of many others, yet the Authority of a known Law-giver is wanting, to give them the force of Laws to all Men; for otherwise,”(say they,)“who ever holds them in contempt, has the same Right to reject the Judgment of any others whomsoever, that they exercise in condemning his Opinion by their Words and Actions.” To this purpose, both Hobbes and Selden object, (beside the Antients,) but with very different Views.4
According to Hobbes,For, as we shall shew in the following Treatise, the Point Mr. Hobbes aims at, is, “That none should believe themselves oblig’d by the Conclusions of Reason, with respect to their outward Actions, before a civil Magistrate is appointed; and that all his Appointments should be look’d upon, as the perfectly obligatory Judgments of right Reason.” It is to this purpose that he affirms, that “The Laws of Nature, altho they are laid down in the Writings of Philosophers, are no more, for that Reason, to be look’d upon as written Laws, than the Opinions of Lawyers are Laws, and that for want of a sovereign Authority.”5 He would not indeed deny them the Name of Laws, which he had before vouchsafed to give them, (tho improperly, as he elsewhere confesses;)6 he was willing however to insinuate, that they were not promulg’d by a sufficient Authority, tho Philosophers learn them from the Nature of Things, and thence transcribe them into their Writings. It is nevertheless manifest, if they be already truly Laws made by the Author of Nature, that they need no new Authority, after they are set down in writing by any one, to make them become written Laws.
And Selden, but with different Virtues.But Mr. Selden denies, “That the Conclusions of Reason, consider’d barely in themselves, have the Authority of Laws,” upon no other account, than, in order to shew “the Necessity of having recourse to the Legislative Power of God, and of proving that God has commanded our Obedience to them, and, by making them known to us, has proclaim’d them his Laws.” And indeed he has judiciously, as far as I can judge, given this Hint to the moral Philosophers, who are wont to consider the Conclusions of their own Reason as Laws, without due Proof, that they have the necessary Form of a Law, or that they are establish’d by God. But when he is to shew the Manner wherein God might manifest to Mankind, these to be his Laws, he proposes two ways.7 1. That God himself pronounc’d them with his sacred Voice to Adam and Noah, in joining them perpetual Obedience; whence these Precepts of the Sons of Noah were handed down to all their Posterity by Tradition only. 2. That God has endow’d rational Minds with a Faculty able, by Application of their Understanding, to discover those Laws, and to distinguish them, when discover’d, from all positive Institutions.
He only transiently hints, in such general Terms, this latter Method, which however to me seems to want much Explanation and Proof; but he betakes himself wholly to the former, and endeavours to prove, from the Traditions of some Jewish Rabbins, “That God gave seven Precepts to the Sons of Noah, in the observance whereof all Justice amongst Men should consist.” And truly he has abundantly prov’d,8 “That the Jews thought that all Nations, altho they did not receive the Laws of Moses, were nevertheless oblig’d by some divine Laws, whose chief Heads they look’d upon the Precepts of the Sons of Noah to be.” And this proves at least, “That, in the Opinion of that Nation, which was not inconsiderable either for Numbers or Learning, there are Laws, not made by any State, that bind all Mankind.”Not sufficiently answer’d by the latter. It is likewise to be own’d, that this learned Man chiefly aim’d at this Point, and that with good Success; and that the Knowledge of this Matter is of considerable use in Christian Divinity. Selden, however, has not sufficiently answer’d his own Objection, which we before mention’d. For, altho these Jewish Traditions were thorowly known, and perhaps firmly believ’d, by him,9 they were not however manifested to all Mankind; and those things which that Nation looks upon as the greatest Mysteries of Religion, are by many ridicul’d. And to me truly it seems self-evident, “That an unwritten Tradition of the learned Men of one Nation, is not a sufficient Promulgation of a Law of Nature, which is to oblige all Nations.”
To answer this Objection, the Author chuses the second Method of deducing the Laws of Nature from their Causes, by their divine-Promulgation and Sanction.§IV. Wherefore, that the Conclusions of Reason in moral Matters might more evidently appear to be Laws, Laws of God, I have thought it proper to make a philosophical Inquiry into their Causes, as well Internal as External, the nearer and the more remote; for by this Method we shall at last arrive at their first Author, or efficient Cause, from whose essential Perfections, and internal Sanction of them by Rewards and Punishments,10 we have shewn that their Authority arises. Most others have been satisfy’d with saying in general Terms, “That these Conclusions, or Actions conformable to them, are taught by Nature”; but to me it seems necessary, especially at this time, to trace more distinctly, after what manner the Powers of things, as well without as within us, conspire to imprint these Conclusions upon our Minds, and to give a Sanction to them. Our Countryman, the Lord Verulam, has reckon’d such an Inquiry among the things which are wanting.11 This, if solidly perform’d, will therefore be of very great use; because thence will appear, both how our Mind is, by the Light of Nature, let into the Knowledge of the Will or Laws of God, so as that it cannot be free from the warning of Conscience; and what that Rule is, whereby the Justice and Rectitude of the Laws of particular States is to be measured, and their Injustice and Imperfection to be corrected and amended by the supreme Authority if they have at any time deviated from the best and greatest End. Hence also, (that it may appear, that Morality is not the Artifice of Ecclesiastics or Politicians,) is further shewn, “That there is something in the Nature of God, of other Men, and of our selves, which in good Actions affords present Comfort and Joy, and a well-grounded Expectation of future Rewards.” On the other hand, “That there are Causes which must naturally produce the most violent Grief and Fear, after evil Actions; so that the Sentence of Conscience may be justly look’d upon as armed with Scourges against Impiety.”12
Without insisting on innate Ideas of them.§V. The Platonists, indeed, clear up this Difficulty in an easier manner, by the Supposition of innate Ideas, as well of the Laws of Nature themselves, as of those Matters about which they are conversant; but, truly, I have not been so happy as to learn the Laws of Nature in so short a way.13 Nor seems it to me well advised, to build the Doctrine of natural Religion and Morality upon an Hypothesis, which has been rejected by the generality of Philosophers, as well Heathen as Christian, and can neverbe prov’d against the Epicureans, with whom is our chief Controversy. I was resolv’d, however, not to oppose this Opinion, because it is my earnest desire, that whatever looks with a friendly Aspect upon Piety and Morality, might have its due weight; (and I look upon these Platonists to be favourers of their Cause;) and because it is not impossible, that such Ideas might be both born with us, and afterwards impress’d upon us from without.
Or supposing, without Proof, their eternal Existence in the divine Mind.§VI. Moreover, the same Reasons, which hinder’d us from supposing innate Ideas of the Laws of Nature in our Minds, hinder us likewise from supposing, without Proof, that these Laws have existed from Eternity in the divine Mind. I have therefore thought it necessary to remove the Difficulty, and assert and prove the Authority and eternal Existence of these Conclusions in the divine Mind, in the following Method; assuming those Notices which we have from Sense and daily Experience, I demonstrate, “That the Nature of things, which subsists,Their Promulgation and Obligation, and eternal Existence in, or agreeableness to, the divine Mind, prov’d. and is continually govern’d, by its first Cause, does necessarily imprint on our Minds some practical Propositions, (which must be always true, and cannot without a Contradiction be suppos’d otherwise,) concerning the Study of promoting the joint Felicity of all Rationals: And that the Terms of these Propositions do immediately and directly signify, that the first Cause, in his original Constitution of Things, has annex’d the greatest Rewards and Punishments to the observance and neglect of these Truths.” Whence it manifestly follows, “That they are Laws,” Laws being nothing but practical Propositions, with Rewards and Punishments annex’d, promulg’d by competent Authority. Having hence shewn, “That the Knowledge and Practice of these Laws, is the natural Perfection or most happy State of our rational Nature,” I infer, “That there must be in the first Cause, (from whom proceed both this our Perfection, and that most wise Disposition which we see, every Day, of Effects without us, for the common Preservation and Perfection of the whole System,) a Perfection correspondent, but infinitely superior, to this Knowledge and Practice of the Laws of Nature.” For I look upon it as most evident, “That we must first know what Justice is, and from whence those Laws are deriv’d, in the observance whereof it wholly consists, before we can distinctly know, that Justice is to be attributed to God, and that we ought to propose his Justice as our Example.” For we come not at the Knowledge of God by immediate Intuition of his Perfections, but from his Effects14 first known by Sense and Experience; nor can we safely ascribe to him Attributes, which from other Considerations we do not sufficiently comprehend.
The chief Heads of the following Book.§VII. Having hitherto shewn, in general, the Difference between our Method and that of others, I think it proper, to shew briefly here the chief things which are more at large and dispersedly deliver’d in the following Discourse. Having undertaken only, “to deliver the Precepts of moral Philosophy, and to deduce them from some little Knowledge of Nature presuppos’d”; what natural Philosophers, especially those who reason upon mathematical Principles, have often demonstrated, I assume, as sufficiently prov’d.The Effects of corporeal Motions, Effects of the divine Will. But my principal Supposition is, “That all Effects of corporeal Motions, which are necessary, according to the common Course of Nature, and depend not upon the Will of Man, are produc’d by the Will of the first Cause”: for this comes to no more than saying, “That all Motions are begun by the Impression of a first Mover, and are by the same Impression continued, and perpetually determin’d, according to certain Laws.” For I thought it superfluous to prove that which had been already prov’d by most natural Philosophers, and is plainly acknowledg’d by Hobbes himself, whose Doctrine I am now examining. Leviath. Chap. 12. After he has assign’d the Cause of Religion, among Men, to their anxious Concern about Futurity, he adds thus, (whether insidiously or no, let others judge;) “The acknowledging of one God Eternal, Infinite and Omnipotent, may more easily be deriv’d from the Desire Men have to know the Causes of natural Bodies, and their several Virtues and Operations, than from the fear of what was to befal them in time to come: for he that from any Effect he seeth come to pass, should reason to the next and immediate Cause thereof, and from thence to the Cause of that Cause, and plunge himself profoundly in the pursuit of Causes; shall at last come to this, that there must be (as even the Heathen Philosophers confess’d) one first Mover; that is, a first and eternal Cause of all things, which is that which Men mean by the Name of God.”15 But if it be granted, “That every natural Effect points out God as its Author,” no Man can deny, “That all such Effects are determin’d by his Will,” unless he is inconsistent enough to acknowledge God the Cause of those Effects, and at the same time to contend, that he is not a voluntary Agent.
Apprehending, comparing, judging, the natural Effects of such Motions, and consequently of the divine Will.§VIII. Moreover, “Every Motion impress’d upon our Organs of Sense,” (such Motions are by the Peripateticks call’d sensible Qualities,16 ) “by which the Mind is led to apprehend Objects, and to form Judgments concerning them, is an Effect plainly natural, and therefore, whatever second Causes intervene, owes its Original to the first.” And thence it follows, “That God, by these Motions, as by a Pencil, delineates the Ideas or Images in our Minds of all sorts of things, especially of Causes and their Effects. And, by imprinting on us, from the same Object, various Notions imperfectly representing it, he excites us to bring them together, and to compare them among themselves; and, consequently, determines us to form true Propositions concerning things understood by us.” So, because an Object is sometimes expos’d to sight whole, and at once, and at other times is view’d narrowly, and by parts; and the Mind perceives that the Idea of the Whole plainly represents the same thing, with all the Ideas of the single Parts taken together, it is obliged to form a Proposition concerning the Sameness of the Whole and all the Parts; or to affirm, “That the Causes which preserve the Whole, preserve also all its essential Parts.”
All particular Laws of Nature reduc’d to one Proposition.§IX. Lastly, upon a diligent Consideration of all those Propositions which deserve to be rank’d amongst the general Laws of Nature, I have observ’d they may be reduc’d to one universal one, from the just Explication whereof all the particular Laws may be both duly limited and illustrated. This general Proposition may be thus express’d. “The Endeavour, to the utmost of our power, of promoting the common Good of the whole System of rational Agents, conduces, as far as in us lies, to the good of every Part, in which our own Happiness, as that of a Part, is contain’d. But contrary Actions produce contrary Effects, and consequently our own Misery, among that of others.” Wherefore the whole of this Treatise is employ’d upon these Heads, which regard either,(1.) the Matter of this Proposition; that is, the Knowledge of its Terms, to be drawn from the Nature of Things; or (2.) its Form, that is, the joining these Terms in such a practical Proposition as may deserve the Name of a Law, upon account of the Rewards and Punishments annex’d by the Author of Nature; or (3.) lastly, The Deduction and natural Limitation of the other Laws of Nature, by their Respect to the common Good or happiest State of the whole Body.
Its Matter, that is, the Terms, explain’d.§X. To the Knowledge of the Terms belongs all that we have said in general of the Nature of Things, especially of Man, as also of the common Good. But I must ask the Reader’s pardon for sometimes as cribing Reason to God, and ranking him amongst rational Beings; and that we are sometimes said to bear a good Will towards God, or to desire something agreeable to his Nature, that is, Good. For in the beginning we declare, that these Expressions are not properly, and in the same Sense said of God, in which we use them, when we speak of Men. For we suppose in him absolute Omniscience and Wisdom, which Cicero himself could not better express, than by the Name of “Reason in its Perfection.”17 Nor do we imagine, “That we can testify our Love of God, by adding any thing to his Perfections, which from Eternity were infinite.” Yet it is not to be doubted, but that in our Actions, Obedience, and Imitation of his Care of the common Good of Mankind, whose Being is continued from Day to Day by his Favours; and also in our Words, and Thoughts, and Affections, Honour, Worship, and Love, are more agreeable to his beneficent Nature, and more acceptable to him, than Neglect or Hatred, or direct and wilful Opposition.18 For, if we abstractedly compare two rational Natures between themselves, we must acknowledge a better Agreement when they consent and co-operate, than when they dissent, and the End propos’d by one of them, is oppos’d by the other. Nor do I see that it alters the Case, tho one of these rational Natures should be suppos’d to be God, and the other, Man. Therefore, as we know by the help of our Senses, “That it is more acceptable to any Man to be lov’d and honour’d, than to be hated and despis’d”; so it is evident to Reason, by a manifest Correspondence, “That it is more grateful to the supreme Rational, God, to be lov’d and honour’d by the Obedience of Men, than to be the Object of Hatred and Contempt.” For, as it is certain, that to desire to be belov’d, implies no Imperfection in Man; in God, it is so far from carrying any Suspicion of Imperfection, that, on the contrary, it is an Argument of the Benignity of his Nature, because Men arrive at their greatest Perfection, by loving him: which being manifest, both by Reason and Experience, it thence evidently follows, “That God has inseparably annex’d the greatest Reward to the Love of himself”; which he never would have done, if it were not agreeable to his Will to be belov’d.19
But the Reader, in perusing the three Chapters of this Treatise, whose Titles I have just now mention’d, will see, that while we explain the Terms (to use a School-Phrase) of the foregoing Proposition, we are not busy’d about the Interpretation of Words, but about Ideas, and the Nature of those Things whence they arise, as far as it is necessary to our present purpose: And at the same time he will observe, that I directly and immediately explain the Consequences and Necessity of those human Actions, which are either necessary to the common Happiness of all, or to the private Happiness of Individuals:20 Altho it seem’d advisable to use words so general, that they might in a sound Sense be ascrib’d to the divine Majesty; and that to this very purpose, that by the help of Analogy, or Correspondence, prudently apply’d, not only our Obligation to Piety, but the Nature of the divine Justice and Dominion, might thence be understood.
Its Form consider’d, Practical, declaring the Cause of the best Effect.§XI. As to the Form of the Proposition, (to make use of a logical Term,) it is manifest, that it is practical, as pronouncing concerning the Consequences of human Action.
It is, however, to be observ’d, that the Proposition (altho the Word [conduces] be used in the present Tense, because the Observation is collected from things present) is not limited to the present time, but is equally to be understood of what is future; and, because its Truth chiefly depends upon “the Whole’s being the same with all its Parts,” is as manifestly true of the future, (which from other Arguments we prove in this Treatise,) and with respect to Futurity, it is always by us made use of.
Moreover, this Proposition is the better fitted to our purpose, that it builds upon no Hypothesis. For it does not suppose Men born either in, or out of, civil Society. It does not suppose a Relation between all Men as born of the same common Parents, which the Scriptures teach us; (for the Obligation of the Laws of Nature is to be demonstrated to those who acknowledge not the sacred Scripture:) Nor, on the contrary, does it suppose, as does Mr. Hobbes, that “the Earth produc’d suddenly, like Mushrooms, the Bulk of Mankind at their full Growth.”21 But our Proposition, and all the Deductions from thence, might be both understood and acknowledg’d, even by our first Parents, considering themselves in the Relation they stood in to God, and to the Posterity which might be born of them; nor is it less easy to be understood by all those Nations, who are unacquainted with the History of our first Parents.
And, consequently, the Means to the best End.§XII. Nor shall I think it improper here to take notice, “That the foregoing Proposition, in the same words it declares the Cause of the greatest and best Effect, declares the Means to obtain the best End”: for the Effect of a rational Agent, after he has consider’d it in his Mind, and has resolv’d to produce it, is call’d his End; and the Actions or Causes, by whose Power he endeavours to effect it, are called the Means. So also in geometrical Problems, the Causes of the geometrical Effects are the prescrib’d Drawings of Lines: But if such Effect is consider’d as a Problem, whose Solution is requir’d, or is propos’d to us as an End, then the words of the Problem suggest to the Geometrician, the proper Means to obtain his End. From this Observation the Method is shewn, “How to reduce whatsoever the Moralists have said concerning the Means of obtaining the best End, into Theorems concerning the Power of human Actions in producing the Effects propos’d”; in which Form they may more easily be examin’d, and if they be true, more evidently demonstrated. In like manner we hence learn, “How easily all Knowledge concerning the Power of Causes, (which we can any way make subservient to our Purposes,) suggests the Means to attain the End known, and so may be apply’d to Practice, as occasion requires.” Lastly, it is also hence evident, “That the Proposition we are treating of, does in this respect, at least, partake of the Nature of a Law, that it respects an End truly worthy of a Law, the common Good of all Beings,” or the Honour of God, in conjunction with the Happiness of all Mankind.
Proceeding from a competent Author, God.§XIII. But, at first view, perhaps, these two necessary Requisites to enforce a Law may not be perceiv’d in that Proposition, viz. a competent Author, and a sufficient Sanction by Rewards and Punishments. But if it be more closely examin’d, we shall perceive, “That upon this very account, that the nature of things impresses it upon our Minds, it necessarily points out its Author, the firstCause, as of all Things, so of all Truths arising from them”; among the principal of which Truths is to be reputed this true Proposition, which we affirm to contain the fundamental Law of Nature. Nor can any one in reason desire, that it should be more evidently prov’d, “That God is the Author of this Proposition,” than it is prov’d, “That he is the Author of the Nature of Things, whence the Truth of this Proposition arises.” Wherefore, having come to the Knowledge of its Author, it only remains that we should shew, “That there is a sufficient Sanction annex’d by the same Author, and that it is clearly contain’d in the said Proposition.”
Confirm’d by a sufficient Sanction.§XIV. I am not ignorant that a Sanction, in the strictest Sense of the Word, is call’d by Cicero and Papinian, that Part of the Law, which inflicts a certain Punishment upon those who have not obey’d what the Law enjoins.22 But I have thought it proper to use the Word in a more extensive Sense, so as to take in the Rewards which the Law promises to the Obedient; for by these also are the Laws guarded against the Injury of Men, and thence are styled [Sanctae] Sacred, according to Marcian’s looser Definition of the Word Sacred: “That is sacred, which is defended and guarded against the Injury of Men.”23 In which Sense it is, that, upon account of the Rewards and Punishments wherewith they are confirm’d, Ulpian, in the following Law, affirms them to be sacred.24 Nevertheless, if any one is unwilling to depart from the stricter Signification of the Word, there is no occasion to dispute about it, provided we agree in the Thing. I have added therefore, upon their account, this Proposition, “Such Actions as are contrary to a Care of the publick Good, whether by a Neglect or Violation thereof, bring Evil upon each part of the System of Rationals, but the greatest upon the Evil-doers themselves”; and this plainly expresses Punishment, without any mention of Reward. But we have almost wholly employ’d our selves in the Proof of the former Part of the Proposition, which relates to the Rewards included in Happiness, because hence the latter is evidently demonstrated; and because the Nature of Punishment includes Evil,25 that is, a Privation of those good things which our Nature makes necessary to our Happiness; but these Privations cannot be understood, unless those good things be first apprehended, to which they are oppos’d. Finally, the Nature of Things (whose Footsteps were by us most carefully to be traced in this Treatise) lays it self out almost wholly, in letting in upon our Minds the positive Notion of Causes and their Effects by our outward Senses, which cannot receive Negations and Privations; and we are more early affected with the love of present, and hope of future Good, than with the hatred or fear of Evil: for no Man therefore loves Life, Health, or such grateful Motions to the Nerves and Spirits as we call corporeal Pleasures, or desires their Causes, that he may avoid Death, Diseases, and Pain; but because of their intrinsic Goodness, or positive Agreement (to borrow a Phrase from the Schools) with the Nature of our Body. In like manner, no Man therefore desires the Perfections of the Mind, (such as a more extensive and distinct Knowledge of the noblest Objects in all respects most agreeably consonant to it self, and the most grateful Perception of Benevolence, of a well-grounded Hope, and of a Joy in the Prosperity of all Rationals;) barely that he may avoid the Uneasinesses of Ignorance, Ill-will, Envy and Commiseration; but because of that superlative Pleasure which we experimentally find in such Acts and Habits, which is the Reason that to be depriv’d of them is most ungrateful, and that the Causes of such Privations are themselves irksome. Hence therefore it is manifest, that even Civil Laws, when they receive the Sanction of Punishments, Death, for example, or Forfeiture of Goods, if we closely examine the Matter, do oblige Men to Obedience from a Love of Life, or of that Wealth, which the Laws shew us, how to preserve thereby. For an Aversion to Death and Poverty, is nothing but a Love of Life and Riches; as he that by two Negatives says, “That he would not want (that is, not have) Life,” says but the same thing as if he affirm’d, “That he would enjoy Life.” To which also this may be added, that Civil Laws themselves seem to me to be much more establish’d from the End, which as well their Enactors as the best Subjects regard, viz. the publick Good of the Society; part whereof falls to the Share of every good Subject, and therefore naturally brings along with it the Reward of Obedience; much more, I say, than by those Punishments which they threaten; the Fear whereof moves but a few, and those the worst.
And, being promulg’d, is therefore a Law.§XV. That the Summary of all the Precepts and Sanctions of the Law of Nature, is contain’d in our Proposition, and its Corollary concerning the opposite Behaviour, I thus briefly shew. The Subject (to borrow a School-Term) of the Proposition is, an Endeavour, according to our Ability, to promote the common Good of the whole System of Rationals. This includes our Love of God, and of all Mankind, who are the Parts of this System. God, indeed, is the principal Part; Men, the Subordinate: A Benevolence toward both includes Piety and Humanity, that is, both Tables of the Law of Nature. The Predicate of the Proposition (to borrow another Phrase from the Schools) is, conducing to the good of every Part, in which our own Happiness, as of a Part, is contain’d. In which, as all those good Things we can procure to all, are said to be the Effect of this Endeavour, so among the rest is not omitted that Collection of good Things, whence our own Happiness arises, which is the greatest Reward of Obedience; as Misery, arising from Actions of a contrary kind, is the greatest Punishment of Wickedness. But the natural Connexion of the Predicate with the Subject, is both the Foundation of the Truth of the Proposition, and the Proof of the natural Connexion between Obedience and Rewards, Transgression and Punishments.
Hence the Reader will easily observe the true Reason, why this practical Proposition, and all those which may be deduc’d from thence, oblige all rational Beings who understand them; whilst other practical Propositions, (suppose Geometrical ones,) equally impress’d by Nature, and consequently by God, upon the Mind of Man, do not oblige him to conform his Practice to them; but may safely be neglected by most, to whom the Practice of Geometry is not necessary: Which is wholly owing to the Nature of the Effects, arising from the one and the other Practice. The Effects of the Practice of Geometry are such as most People may want without Prejudice. But the Effects of a care of the common Good, do so nearly concern all, of whom we our selves are a part, and upon whose Pleasure the Happiness of each Individual does in some measure depend, that such care cannot be rejected, without the hazard of losing that Happiness, or the Hope thereof: and this God has manifested to us, by the very Nature of Things, and thereby he has sufficiently promulg’d, that he himself is the Author of the Connexion of Rewards and Punishments with our Actions; whence this Proposition, and all others which flow from thence, commence Laws by his Authority.
Actions agreeable thereto, good.§XVI. From the very Terms of our Proposition, it is manifest, “That the adequate and immediate Effect of that Practice which this Law establishes, is, that which is acceptable to God, and beneficial to all Men; which is the natural Good of the whole System of Rationals, even the greatest of all those good things which can be procur’d for them, as being greater than the like Good of any part of the same System.” Moreover, it sufficiently implies, “That the happiness of each Individual”(from the Prospect of enjoying which, or being depriv’d of it, the whole Sanction is taken) “is deriv’d from the best State of the whole System,” as the nourishment of each Member of an Animal depends upon the nourishment of the whole Mass of Blood diffus’d thro’ the whole.
Hence it is manifest, “That this greatest Effect” (not any small Portion thereof, the private Happiness, suppose, of any single Person) “is the principal end of the Lawgiver, and of every one who truly obeys his Will.” It is likewise hence evident, “That those human Actions, which, from their own natural Force or Efficacy, are apt to promote the common Good, are call’d naturally Good, and indeed better than those Actions which are subservient to the private Good of any Individual, in proportion, as the publick Good is greater than a private.”
Right.In like manner, “Such Actions as take the shortest way to this Effect, as to their End, are naturally Right, because of their natural resemblance to a right Line, which is the shortest that can be drawn between any two given Points.” Nevertheless, the same Actions, afterward, when they are compar’d with the Law, whether natural or positive, which is the Rule of Morality, and they are found conformable to it; are call’d morally Good, as also Right, that is, agreeing with the Rule: but the Rule itself is call’d right, as pointing out the shortest way to the End.
Beautiful.So also, because that State of all Men, which most abounds with all the natural Goods, both of Mind and Body, fitly proportion’d among themselves, and appointed to the best End, is naturally the most beautiful, (as plainly agreeing with the Definition of Beauty, taken from the Figure and Symmetry of the Parts;) it is manifest, “That those Actions which have a natural Tendency to produce or preserve such a State, may justly be call’d Beautiful or Decent.” And hence may be explain’d the τὸ καλον and τὸ πρέπον, the Beauty and Decency, which Philosophers so often celebrate in virtuous Actions.
Amiable.Lastly, seeing in the Chapter concerning Good it is largely shewn, “That it may be distinctly understood, without any regard to our selves,” the Reader cannot doubt but that we must acknowledge, “That the Good is in itself Amiable, which contains in it every particular Good of each Individual.” Therefore it is very absurd, that it should be made subordinate to the Happiness of any one Man, which is so small a part of so great a Good.
Honourable.By a like Reasoning it is manifest, “That Actions conducive to this End, as being the best and most beautiful, are in themselves amiable, and highly to be commended by all rational Beings, and therefore, upon account of that high Honour, to which their beneficent Nature in titles them, deservedly call’d Honest or Honourable.”
These Observations I thought the more necessary, lest any one should erroneously imagine, that I did not sufficiently acknowledge the intrinsic Perfections of Piety and Charity, because I have deduc’d the Sanctions of the Laws of Nature, by which such Actions are enjoin’d, from the happiness or misery of Individuals, consequent upon their Obedience, or Disobedience to the said Laws. Even in Civil Laws, the Sanctions of the Laws are sufficiently distinguish’d from the End and adequate Effect, viz. The publick Good; part, however, of the Effect of a Civil Law, is the infliction of Punishments, or the conferring of Rewards, by which the Law is guarded.
The Evil often happens to the observers of the general Law of Nature, and Good to those who violate it; the Sanction mention’d prov’d sufficient, by a general Proof.§XVII. But because the Connexion of Rewards and Punishments with such Actions as promote the public Good, or the contrary, is some what obscur’d by those evil Things which happen to the Good, and those good Things which happen to the Evil; it seems necessary to our purpose, more carefully to shew, “That (notwithstanding these) that Connexion is sufficiently constant and manifest in human Nature, so that then cemay, with certainty, be inferr’d the Sanction of the Law of Nature, commanding these Actions, and forbidding those.”
We suppose, 1. That Punishment, or that Reward, a sufficient Sanction, whose Value, all things rightly consider’d, exceeds the Advantage arising from the breach of the Law.
2. In comparing the Effects of good and evil Actions, those good or evil Things, which can neither be procur’d, nor avoided, by human Industry, are not to be taken into the Account. Such are those which happen by natural Necessity, or by mere Chance, from external Causes: for these both may, and do, happen alike both to good and bad. We shall therefore here consider those only, which can be taken care of by human Reason, as in some measure depending upon our Actions.
Having thus premis’d a general Proof, deduc’d from this Consideration, “That the particular Persons who promote or oppose the common Good, are parts of that Whole, which their Actions either befriend or prejudice, and therefore necessarily partake of the Advantage or Disadvantage thence arising”: We come to particular Proofs taken, partly from the Causes of such Actions, which are treated of in the Chapter concerning human Nature; partly from their Effects and Consequences, which are consider’d more at large in the Chapter concerning the Obligation of the Law of Nature. But that Chapter is more prolix, and less clear, than the rest, because therein I have been frequently forc’d to follow my Antagonist, into that most confus’d State which he supposes,26 in order to confute him from his own Concessions; and have been oblig’d to answer many Objections, not only of his, but also of some other better Philosophers. Wherefore I shall here briefly lay before the Reader, both what I there aim’d at, and the manner how all these things make to our purpose, lest he should suspect, that I had lost my way in so great a variety of Matter.
By particular Proofs taken from the Causes of human Actions.§XVIII. The Causes of human Actions are the Powers of the Mind and Body of Man. Wherefore, because I have observ’d it to be manifest, “That Happiness, or the highest Reward, is necessarily connected with the most full and constant exercise of all our Powers, about the best and greatest Objects and Effects, which are adequate and proportionable to them”; I hence collect, “That Men endow’d with these Faculties, are naturally bound, under the Penalty of forfeiting their Happiness, to employ or exercise them about the noblest Objects in Nature,” viz. God, and Man his Image. Nor can it be long a Question, “Whether our Faculties may be more properly employ’d in cultivating Friendship or Enmity with these, in engaging with them in a State of Peace or War.” For it is plain, “That there can be no neutral State, in which God and Men shall be neither lov’d, nor hated and irritated; or in which we shall act neither acceptably nor unacceptably to either, especially when we make use of things without us.” For of necessity, we must either take care, not to deprive others of things necessary to their Happiness, which, without Benevolence, cannot be suppos’d; or we shall, willingly, take them away, which is a sure indication of a malicious Mind. But if it be acknowledg’d, “That there is an evident Necessity, in order to Happiness, of cultivating friendship with God and Man,” the Sanction of that most general Law of Nature, which alone we are here tracing, is of course granted. For that alone establishes, both all natural Religion, and every thing that is necessary to the happiness of Mankind. Such are, beside Piety, (1.) A peaceful Commerce among different Nations, which is the Subject of the Law of Nations: (2.) The Establishment and Preservation of civil Society, which is the Scope of civil Laws: (3.) The Firmness of domestic Affection and of Friendship, which are establish’d, both by those general Rules which settle the Peace of Nations, and by the more particular Laws of Oeconomics. We have therefore collected very many things in the Chapter concerning human Nature, by which Individuals, in some measure, become capable of so great a Society,27 and are, remotely atleast, dispos’d toward it.28 And here we in treat the Reader, “That he would not consider these Observations, apart only, but together, that from them all united may result one Argument,” proving the Sanction of this most general Law from this, “That Men must necessarily fall short of their greatest Happiness, which consists in Action, or the proper and adequate use of their Faculties, unless they exercise them in cultivating a Friendship with God and Men”: to produce this Effect they were most especially fitted by Nature, which truly leaves the Transgressors of the Law without excuse.
From the Effects of human Actions.§XIX. From the Effects of human Actions, with respect to the common Good of rational Beings, we thus shew, “That a Sanction by Rewards and Punishments is annexed to them.” It is manifest, “That by the above mention’d Endeavour, in the first place, God, as being in the highest degree both wise and beneficent to all rational Beings, is lov’d and honour’d; the Life and all other Possessions of Men of all Nations, are safely preserv’d, according to the measure of our Ability; civil Government is readily constituted, where it is wanting, and as readily preserv’d, where it is found; and all Advantages, consistent with the good of the Whole, are procur’d to each, and, consequently, to our selves also; and nothing done to any one, which a regard to the Whole does not permit.” In Man, nothing but a Propension toward the good of all, guided by the Conduct of a prudent Understanding, can produce so great Advantages; nor, if such an Endeavour be not wanting in us, can any thing be desir’d to obtain this End, which we are not willing, to the utmost of our power, to perform. Wherefore, since these Effects may be certainly foreseen to follow from this Endeavour, no one can be ignorant, that in them are contain’d the present Comfort and Joys of Religion, which in all places are ever join’d with the hope of a happy Immortality; that moreover to this Study and Endeavour are annex’d as Rewards, the many Advantages of peaceful Commerce with Foreigners, of civil and domestic Government, and of Friendship; and that these Advantages cannot be obtain’d by any other Method in our power: And consequently, that whoever rejects the care of the common Good, does so far reject the Causes of his own Happiness, and embrace the immediate Causes of his Misery and Punishment.
To be brief; seeing it is manifest from the Nature of Things, “That the chief Happiness which we can procure to our selves, arises jointly from promoting Piety and Peace, mutual Commerce among Nations, civil and domestic Government, and also firm Friendship; and that the care of all these things together is to be found only in his Mind, who studies the common Good of all rational Beings”; it follows, “That the greatest Reward which Man can procure, is the natural Consequence of this Endeavour, as the want thereof, or Punishment, is the necessary result of Actions of a contrary kind”: The former of these, “Which as signs the Causes of that Happiness, which single Persons are wont or able to obtain,” we have prov’d from Effects confirm’d by Experience; the latter, “That Piety and universal Benevolence toward all Men, are contain’d in the care of the common Good,” we have shewn from its Definition and Parts in the Corollaries, Chap. 9. But a Conclusion drawn from such Premises, is known by the Light of Nature.
The contingent.§XX. I acknowledge, however, “That all these Effects are not entirely in our Power, but that many of them depend upon the Benevolence of other rational Beings.” But since we know from their Nature, as being analogous, or like, to our own, “That the common Good is the best and greatest End, which they can propose to themselves; and that the Perfection of their Nature requires, both that they should act for an End, and for this, rather than for any other not so good”; and since moreover we know from experience, “That such Effects of universal Benevolence may generally be procur’d from others by our Actions”: It is but reasonable, “That they should be reckon’d and esteem’d among the Effects of our Actions, or such Consequences of them, as for the most part happen.” Because every one is thought to be able to do, whatsoever he can perform by the help of his Friends. The whole Reward, which is annex’d to good Actions by the natural Constitution of the Universe, may not unfitly be compar’d to the Treasury or public Stock, which does not arise only from certain Payments, but also from various contingent Taxes: Suppose the Tolls paid upon account of Harbours, High-ways, and publick Bridges, whose Value is great, tho not certainly and distinctly known, yet often farm’d out at a determin’d Price. In like manner, in computing the Value of this Reward, there ought to be taken into the Account, not only those Parts of it, which necessarily accompany good Actions, (such as that formal Happiness, as it is call’d, which consists in the Knowledge and Love of God, and perhaps of those Men whose Wills conspire with his, the absolute Government of all our Passions, a most pleasant Harmony and Agreement of all our Principles of Action with all the Parts of our Life, the Favour of God, and the well-grounded Hope of a happy Immortality,) but there ought also to be taken into the Account, the contingent Advantages of good Actions; such are all those Blessings, which either accrue to us from the religious Disposition of other Men, or flow from civil Society, the good Correspondence of different Nations among one another, or from private Friendship: the Interests of all these several States, being as much taken care of, and promoted, by our good Actions, as in us lies. By a like Reasoning we understand, of what Parts the whole Punishment consists, which is the Consequence of Actions hurtful to the Publick; the Law prohibiting them, receives its proper Sanctions from all those Consequences, which are opposite to those just now mention’d.
Because they may be sufficiently estimated.§XXI. We all of us learn, from the Necessity of that Condition to which we are born, and in which we live, how to estimate contingent Advantages, that is, such Causes as will probably benefit us; and by the hope of such we are inclin’d to Action. For the Air itself, to the breathing of which we are forc’d by an impulse which is natural, is not always an Advantage to our Blood and Spirits, but is sometimes infected with a deadly Contagion; Meat, Drink, and Exercise, don’t always preserve Life; even they are often the Causes of Diseases. Husbandry sometimes rewards our Labours with Loss, instead of Gain; yet we are naturally inclin’d to such Actions from the hope of Good thence probably arising; as naturally, by a like hope of probable Good, are we mov’d to cultivate the common Interest: which Hope, nevertheless, is of itself neither the only, nor the principal Cause impelling, but as it conspires with those other Rewards already mention’d, which are naturally inseparable.
But with how great Probability we hope, from all other Men jointly consider’d, for a return which may repay our Labours laid out upon the common Good; we shall hence form the best judgment, if we consider what both the Experience of the present Time, and the History of the past, witness concerning the Practice of all Nations hitherto nown, with regard to this End. Among every one of them we may openly observe some reverence of one Deity, at least, by which when they have taken an Oath, they are deterr’d from Perjury: You may every where observe an advantageous Commerce carried on between such Nations as are mutually known to one another, unless it be interrupted by a formal War: Civil Government, and a distinction of Property depending thereon, is every where preserv’d: The Ties of Blood and Friendship are generally every where observ’d. But because the whole Endeavour to promote the common Good, means nothing more than the Worship of a Deity, a Care of Commerce and Peace among Nations, of civil and domestic Government, and also of Friendship, as its Parts jointly consider’d; it is manifest, “That the care of that Good is in some measure every where to be found among Men”; whence many Advantages of Peace and mutual Aid necessarily accrue to Individuals.
Nay, it seems to me manifest, “That each one who has reach’d Man’s Estate, owes his past Years much more to the Pains of others, than to any care of his own,” which in his Childhood is little or nothing. For we then wholly depend on that Obedience, which others yield to those Laws, whereby the Affairs of Families, of the State; and of Religion are govern’d; all which flow from a Care of the common Good. Hence it comes to pass, “That, if afterwards we hazard, nay lose, our Lives for the publick Good, we part with less for its sake, than we had already receiv’d from it”: for we lose only an uncertain Hope of future Joys, if we should live, nay, not that; for it is rather certain, that scarce any Hope can remain to particular Persons, where the common Good is trampled under foot. But we had before receiv’d from it the real Advantages of Life, and all those Perfections which adorn’d us.29
Nor doubt I, but that the greatest Advantages we experience from mutual Assistance in a social State, might have been foreseen from the Nature of Man, by our first Parents, if we suppose them to have deliberated, “Whether they should more effectually promote the true Happiness of their Children, by persuading them to the exercise of Piety towards God and their Parents, and of mutual Benevolence among Brethren,” (which is the Summary of Religion, and of civil Government, which was first exercis’d in a single Family, as well as of the Law of Nations,) “than by initiating them in the Mysteries of Atheism, and exhorting each to claim every thing to himself, and so immediately to commence Robbers and Murderers of one another.” But the good and bad Consequences (thus naturally known from the Nature of Things) of such human Actions, because they are fore shewn by God, to Men deliberating concerning their Actions, in order to incline them to, or deter them from, Action, are intirely in the Nature of Rewards and Punishments, by which a Law receives its Sanction.
And that Estimate is farther confirm’d, by the natural Manner of nourishing and preserving Animals.§XXII. These Observations seem to me most evidently just, because they shew a Method of preserving the several Members of the rational System, extremely like that whereby Nature instructs all Animals to preserve the Health and Strength of the several Members of their Bodies. Nature obliges them, in order to this End, to take Nourishment, and breathe the Air, which, tho by reason of internal Diseases, or external Hurts, (Bruises, Wounds, and Fractures) they do not always give the Members the intended Strength, do yet most commonly immediately preserve that Temper of the Blood, which is necessary to the Life of the whole Body. She teaches us in the same manner, that by Actions immediately promoting the common Good, the various Perfections of Individuals,(who are Members of the rational System,) are ordinarily to be expected, as being not less naturally deriv’d from thence, than the Strength of our Hands from a just Temper in the Mass of Blood. We must confess, however, that many things may happen, by means whereof this general Care of the Whole may not always produce the propos’d Happiness of Individuals, without allay; as breathing and eating, however necessary to the whole Body, do not ward off all Diseases and Accidents. For, as well by an irregular Behaviour of our Fellow-Citizens, like an indisposition in the Bowels, as by foreign Invasion, good Men may be depriv’d of some of the Rewards of their good Actions, and may suffer Evils from without. But because such Evils are generally warded off by the force of Concord and Government, (which always flow from a care of the publick Good,) and are often, after short suffering, remov’d by our own Strength, and the Aid of the civil Power, as Diseases retire upon Nature’s taking a healthful turn; and are often also compensated with greater Advantages, partly by the Virtues of others, but chiefly by means of civil Government, and of foreign Leagues: hence it comes to pass, “That the Race of Men has in no Age been extinguish’d, and that most Societys have lasted longer than particular Men, or even the most long-liv’d Animals.”
From these Considerations it is evident, “That the wicked Dispositions of some Men, and those Motions of the Affections, which sometimes arise in all Men, contrary to the common Good, do no more hinder us from acknowledging, That the more powerful Inclinations of all Mankind, jointly consider’d, are carried towards that which we daily see procur’d thereby, the preservation and further perfection of the whole; than Diseases sometimes arising in the Parts of Animals, hinder our confessing, That the whole frame of the human Body, and the natural Functions of the Parts, are adapted to preserve Life, propagate the Species, and preserve the vigour of each Member for it susual Term of Duration.” For from hence are not only first constituted Societies, Embassies, and foreign Leagues; but also, if at any time a League with any Nation be broken, even the breaker of the League immediately betakes himself to the Faith of other Nations, by Engagements enter’d into with them, and so by his own Action condemns himself: And if at any time one Religion is suppress’d in a Nation, another is immediately replac’d, in order to procure the Favour of the Deity: So when any Commonwealth is dissolv’d by Sedition or War, another is immediately thence form’d or enlarg’d. Now these Observations make it manifest, “That the whole System of Rationals, is as much, or more, form’d for its own Preservation, and the subordinate one of its Members, than the universal corporeal System is form’d for its Preservation: whilst the Generation of one Body follows from the Corruption of another; and, in the Generation of single Animals, they are form’d with Organs, by which they for some time preserve themselves, and propagate their kind.”
The Author’s Method of deducing the Sanction of the Laws of Nature, confirm’d by universal Consent.§XXIII. I have thus briefly laid down the Method, by which I have deduc’d the Sanction of the Laws of Nature; in which I have consider’d the Happiness which naturally flows from good Actions, as the Reward annex’d to them by the Author of Nature; and the loss thereof as a Punishment, not less naturally connected with evil Actions. For whatever Good or Evil is the necessary Consequence of human Actions, must necessarily be contain’d in such practical Propositions, as truly declare the Consequences of those Actions. And God himself is suppos’d to declare those practical Propositions, which are necessarily suggested to our Minds by the Nature, as well of our own Actions, as of those of other rational Beings, and which truly foretel what Consequences will follow. But those “Advantages and Disadvantages, which God himself pronounces annex’d to human Actions, and by which we are admonish’d to pursue those, and avoid these,” are really and truly Rewards and Punishments.
In these things, however, I agree, as well with those who say, “That Virtue contains Happiness in itself, and so is its own Reward: as also with those others, who beside look for other Advantages, whether of Mind or Body; from God, their own Conscience, their Family, or their Friends, from their own Country, or from foreign Nations; whether we enjoy them in this Life, or with reason hope for them in one here after.”30 And our Method seems much to be confirm’d by this, that all, of how different Sentiments soever in Morality, yet agree in this, “That good Actions ought by all means to be honour’d with suitable Rewards, and that they are actually so honour’d; and that evil Actions ought necessarily to be restrain’d by Punishments, and that they are so restrain’d.” In these Points, Philosophers, however otherwise differing, agree, as do the Founders of all Religions, and all Lawgivers.
Even they, who would seem to neglect Rewards, and would deduce all the Virtues from Gratitude, must needs own, “That Gratitude flows from the Remembrance of Benefits receiv’d.” But it argues as much Self-love, to be excited to good Actions from Benefits already receiv’d, as to do them for the sake of the Hopes of such;31 nay, even he seems to act somewhat the more generously of the two, who is mov’d by the Hope only of Good, because there is somewhat of uncertainty for the most part mix’d with Hope, than he who does as much for equal Benefits, which he already enjoys. But besides, the Memory of past Benefits affects the Mind with a certain Pleasure, which is a part of Happiness, and consequently of a Reward, which we therefore acknowledge to be a proper motive to good Actions. Nor seems it possible, that the Consent of all Men in these Matters should be so unanimous, unless the common Nature and Reason of all dictated this one and the same thing to them all, “That the chief End, the common Good of all, could not otherwise be preserv’d unviolated, than by Rewards and Punishments; and that it is therefore every where guarded by them.”
The reduction of the Laws of Nature to one, useful.§XXIV. Moreover, this Method, by which I have reduc’d all the Precepts of the Law of Nature to one, seems useful; because the Proof of this one Proposition is more easy and expeditious, than that of those many, which are usually propos’d by Philosophers; and the ease of the Memory is better consulted, to which daily calling to mind a single Sentence, is not a Burden: and, (which is the greatest Advantage of all,) from the very Nature of the common Good, which in this Proposition we are directed to promote, a certain Rule or Measure is afforded to the prudent Man’s Judgment, by the help whereof he may ascertain that just Measure in his Actions and Affections, in which Virtue consists. This Task Aristotle has assign’d to the Judgment of the Prudent, in his Definition of Virtue,32 but has not pointed out the Rule by which such Judgment is to be form’d. Our Proposition shews, “That the Rule is to be taken from the Nature of the best and greatest End, respect being had to all the Parts of the whole System of Rationals, or of that Society of which God is the Head, the Members, all God’s Subjects.” For hence we shall be directed to such Acts of Piety towards God, as are perfectly consistent with that Peace and Commerce, which is to be preserv’d among all Nations, with the Establishment of civil Government, and with that Obedience which is to be paid to it; as also with the more private care of the Happiness of Individuals: And we shall likewise be directed to such Acts of the most diffusive Humanity, as shall be perfectly subordinate to true Piety: And universally, “Each of our Affections and Actions will bear that Proportion to the whole of our Strength, and to one another; which that Good, to the procuring which each of these Actions is subservient, bears to the greatest Good of the Whole, which in the whole Course of our Lives, we are able to effect”: Whence we shall certainly take care, “Not to be diligent about Matters of smaller Moment, and remiss about those of more Importance; not slothful about Matters of publick Concern, and earnest about those of private; but shall, in our Affections and Endeavours, take our Measures from the Value of that which is to be effected.”
Lastly, from this Fountain is to be deriv’d that Order among the particular Laws of Nature, according to which a former, in some measure, limits a latter; which the learned Dr. Sharrock has very judiciously and solidly observ’d in his Book of Offices, especially in the tenth Chapter: so that greater Regard ought to be had to the not in vading another’s Property, than to the keeping our Promise; to keeping a lawful Promise, than requiting a Benefit, &c.33 The reason of which is to be deduc’d from our Principle, “Because it conduces more to the common Good, that the principal special Law of Nature, concerning dividing and preserving Property, should not be violated by the Invasion of another’s Right, than that any one should stand to such a Promise, as could not be perform’d, without invading another’s Right.” And the Reason is alike in comparing the other Laws, which I hereafter rank according to the Order of their Dignity. He that desires more upon this Head, let him consult the Author now cited; it is sufficient for my Purpose, to have deduc’d the Reason of the Order that is among the Laws of Nature, from our Principle. Unless perhaps it may seem necessary here to add, That it ought not to seem strange to any, that I have said, “That no Right whatsoever, no Virtue, can be fully explain’d, without respect had to the State of all rational Beings, or of the whole intellectual System.” For we see in Natural Philosophy, “That those Accidents of Bodies which are daily obvious to our Senses, such as the communication of Motion, Gravitation, the Action of Light and Heat, Firmness and Fluidity, Rarefaction and Condensation, cannot be clearly explain’d, without having a respect to the whole material System, and to that Motion which is to be preserv’d therein.” It is likewise manifest in Mechanics, “That no Effect of any Motion, connected with others, and subordinate to them in a continued Series, can be exactly deduc’d, except all their Motions, and that according to the Order in which they depend upon one another, be calculated and compar’d.”
Further, from this Order among the Laws of Nature, (by which all particular ones are subordinate to the general Law, and among particular ones, the latter to the former,) we may best, in my Opinion, demonstrate, “That God never dispens’d with any of them; but that in such Cases, in which the Obligation of the latter might seem taken away, the matter was so chang’d, as that only the prior Laws took place”: so it is evident, “That the Law establishing a division of Property, and prohibiting to invade what is another’s, was not dispens’d with, when God gave permission to the Israelites to invade the Land of the Canaanites, who had transgress’d his Laws.”34 For that same Law determines, “That it is necessary for the public Good, that God should have a Dominion paramount over all, as well Things as Persons, in right of which (when soever he shall judge it conducive to the common Good) he may take away any Creature’s Property in his own Life or Goods, and transfer it to another, by a proper Signification of his Will,” as we read was done in the Case propos’d; whence it appears, that the Israelites only claim’d their own, and were not authoriz’d to invade what was another’s. In like manner also, the Law is not dispens’d with, which, for the common Good, prohibits the hurting Innocents, if at any time an innocent Person is commanded (when the common Good requires it) to expose him self to Danger, or undergo even Death, if God clearly enough reveals his Will in the Affair: for by this means God, the Lord of All, receives his due Honour; and in the properest manner, because the chief End is provided for, according to his Judgment. Therefore in this Case, the Safety of a single Person is neither a Part nor a Cause of the common Good; but on the contrary, his Detriment is suppos’d to be the Means necessary to that End. This will be yet clearer, if we consider, that the Truth of this generalProposition, “The Cause, to its power, preserving the Whole, to its power preserves all the Parts,” is not chang’d in any particular Case; altho sometimes it should happen, that a sound Hand expos’d to danger, in defence of the Head, should be cut off by outward Violence: for we have already shewn, that the perpetual Obligation of these Laws is founded on the Truth of a practical Proposition, which is founded on this, and is therefore in no case changeable.
More, useful, Inferences may be deduced from this general Law, than our Author has drawn.§XXV. I shall here say nothing concerning the Corollaries, which I have drawn in the Close of the following Treatise, because I know of nothing, by which I might render their Proof more concise, or more clear. I will take upon me, nevertheless, to affirm, “That I have not pointed out all those useful Deductions, which naturally flow from our Principles”;nor truly can I enumerate the mall. For in these are contain’d the most general Rules of Equity, which both Magistrates and private Persons may apply to all the new Cases that daily happen. From these, Magistrates may understand what civil Laws are equitable, and, consequently, fit to be retain’d; and what want to be corrected by Equity. They may likewise thence perceive, what Conditions of Leagues, and what Causes of foreign War, are just, what unjust. Hence also private Persons will learn always to obey the Laws, whether Divine or Human, which thence derive their Authority; and in those Cases, in which by these Laws they are left at liberty, (of which innumerable daily happen,) they will be directed to regard always the best End, and be restrain’d from all unlawful Methods of pursuing their private Happiness. Both will perceive, that they are oblig’d to make daily a greater Progress in Virtue, and that in such proportion, as their Skill and Strength to promote the publick Good be come greater by Experience, and as the publick Happiness becomes capable of any farther increase.
His Account of the Origin of Societies, and Duties of Humanity, agreeable to the Scriptures.§XXVI. The Origin of civil Societies I have deduc’d from two Laws of Nature, which are therefore to be consider’d together: (1.) From that which commands the Settlement of Property, as well in Things as in human Labour, where it is not found already established; but, where it is found, the Preservation of the same inviolably, as a Means principally necessary to the common Good. And, (2.) From that which enjoins a peculiar Benevolence of Parents towards their Children; for, in consequence of that Benevolence, our first Parents must have granted to their Children, when of Age, both a Patrimony of their own, out of that full Dominion, which they had over all things by the former of these Laws, and also a paternal Power over their own Offspring. Hence it might easily happen, when Families were increased, that some Heads of Families, either in their own Life time, or by their Testaments at their Death, might divide their Dominion among many Sons, by giving to each an absolute Command over his own Family, or over many; whence many Monarchies might arise:35Other Heads of Families might also elsewhere settle Aristocracies, others, Democracies; but among all these sovereign Powers, the Obligation would still continue, “To promote the common Good, and to observe those Precepts thence necessarily arising, concerning the settlement and preservation of Property, keeping Promises, requiting Benefits, a limited Care of themselves and of their Off-spring, and an universal Humanity”; which are the principal Heads of the Law of Nations. But this is only an account of a possible and rightful Constitution of different Commonwealths, which also exhibits all their general Properties; nor does true Philosophy search for other Hypotheses. The Question concerning their actual Formation, is wholly concerning a Matter of Fact, depending on free Agents, and therefore is not demonstrable from Principles of Reason; the Proof here is to be taken from Testimony only. Facts, within the Memory of Persons now living, are to be prov’d from the personal Testimony of Witnesses: But Matters more antient, the Wit of Man cannot hand down otherwise to Posterity, than either by oral Tradition, (such as is no where to be found worthy of Credit in this Affair,) or by Writings compos’d on purpose to preserve their Memory; such are the Monuments preserv’d in the Archives of States, and Histories.
Seeing therefore it is manifest, “That the Original of all States that we know, exceeds the Memory of all Men now living,” the only way we have left to form a Judgment concerning their Origin and Constitution, is from the antient Laws and other Records of each State, publickly preserv’d and approv’d of; or, if we would inquire farther, we must have recourse to the most authentic and credible Histories; but, amongst these, we find none of equal Antiquity and Credit with that of Moses, which acknowledges no antienter Authority, under God, over Things and Persons, than is that of Fathers of Families over their Wives and Children, and, after them, of their eldest Sons. We do not read there, “That Adam and Eve had such a Right to all things, as made it lawful for them,” (if they had thro’ a mistake imagin’d it conducive to their own Preservation,) “to wage War with God, and with one another, without the Provocation of an Injury; and so mutually deprive one another of Food and Life.” On the contrary, there are Intimations, “That they knew, and acknowledg’d, the Obligation of all those things, that were then requisite to the common Good of the Kingdom of God in its yet Infant-state.” The Exercise of the divine Dominion in giving Laws, and the Derivation of human Property from the Gift of God, both there spoken of, oblige us to acknowledge such a Division of Property, as we have affirm’d to be necessary. Nay, without violating the Donation of God, neither of our first Parents could rob the other of the Necessaries of Life, much less of Life it self. Yet farther, they were so far from entring into a State of Enmity, that we read, “They contracted a Friendship at first sight,” which could not subsist without Fidelity and Gratitude, limiting their Self-love; and presently follows, “A Desire of propagating their Species, and consequently of preserving it.” But seeing, according to this History, our first Parents had only themselves and their Children, to consider as Parts of human Kind, it is manifest, “That in this singular friendly Intercourse between themselves as Husband and Wife, and natural Affection toward the Children to be born of them, is contain’d Humanity towards all, as the less is contain’d in the greater.” From hence it is evident, “That our Philosophy does perfectly agree with the sacred History.”
The Author abstains from Theological Disputes.§XXVII. Nevertheless, I have, in the following Treatise, purposely contain’d myself wholly within the Bounds of Philosophy, and have therefore altogether abstained from Theological Questions, concerning the Right of the divine Dominion in the Affair of Predestination, or of the Satisfaction made by Christ; nor have I consider’d, how much the Faculties of Mankind have been impair’d by the Transgression of our first Parents, concerning which we ought to form our Judgment from the Testimony of Scripture; but I have endeavour’d to prove the Law of Nature, only from that Reason we find ourselves at present possess’d of, and from Experience. We are however certain, “That nothing contradictory to the just Conclusions of our Reason, could ever be revealed by God.” And we therefore believe the sacred Scriptures to be the Word of God, the Author of Nature, because they every where illustrate, confirm, and promote the Law of Nature.
It is in consequence of this Purpose of abstaining from all Theological Controversies, that I would not dispute with Mr. Hobbes about the Sense of Scripture; which moreover seem’d therefore to me principally needless, because I cannot bring my self to believe, that he is seriously mov’d by its Authority, as being what he looks upon to be wholly deriv’d from the Will of particular States; and has in consequence taught, that it is changeable at their Pleasure; here, of Force, and elsewhere, of none.36
The Laws of Nature eternally, because necessarily, true.§XXVIII. I have said little or nothing of the Eternity of the Laws of Nature; to which, however, I have with the greatest Diligence every where had an Eye, whilst I endeavour to demonstrate the unchangeable Truth of those Propositions, by a natural Connexion between their Terms; for their Eternity entirely depends upon their necessary Truth. For there is no doubt, but that “Propositions which are necessarily true, are true when soever they can be thought of”; and it is equally evident, “That the Truth of such was from Eternity known to the divine Mind.” Such an Eternity, none, that I know of, denies to mathematical Propositions, even newly invented or known among Men. To this purpose I think it proper only further to observe, “That the Connexion is no less necessary between human Actions, however free, whenever they are perform’d, and their Effects, than between the Actions or Motions of mere Bodies, and the Effects thence demonstrated.” Three Right Lines, for example, freely drawn by a Man, according to the Direction of the first of Euclid’s Elements, do not less necessarily form a Triangle, than if they were drawn by necessary Causes.37 In like manner, “Love towards God, and all Men, altho most freely exerted, after it is exerted, necessarily makes any Person as happy as his Power can make him,” as I have at large explain’d. Nor is it less manifest, “That a Consent to the Division of Property in Things themselves, and in human Labour, or to preserve the Division when made, by Innocence, Fidelity, Gratitude, a limited Care of our selves, and of our Off-spring, and Humanity exercis’d towards all, are Parts of that universal Love, and therefore proportionably conducive to the Happiness, as of the Whole, so of Individuals, especially his, in whom they are found”; than, “That Quadrants, or other lesser Arches, or Sectors, are Parts of a Circle.” Therefore the Eternity is equal, as well of Propositions of the one Kind, as of the other.
The Author’s Manner of handling his Subject.§XXIX. So much may suffice, by way of Preface, as to the Matter treated of; as to the Manner of treating it, I shall add but little. There are many things in our Style, candid Reader, which will greatly stand in need of your favourable Construction; being extremely sollicitous about the Matter, I was but too negligent of its Dress. It was written by Starts at Intervals, such as an uncertain State of Health, and the weighty Cares of my holy Function, would permit.38
I have illustrated my Subject with Comparisons now and then taken from Mathematicks, because they, with whom I dispute, reject almost all the other Sciences. Moreover, it seem’d worth while to shew, “That the Foundations of Piety and moral Philosophy were not shaken,” (as some would insinuate,) “but strengthen’d, by Mathematicks, and Natural Philosophy, that depends thereon; and that therefore those natural Philosophers, who endeavour to overturn the Precepts of Morality, by Weapons drawn from Matter and Motion, may by their own Weapons be both oppos’d and confuted.”
I have designedly abstain’d from any physical Hypothesis concerning the System of the World, as upon other Accounts, so upon this chiefly, because the Reader may, without prejudice to our Reasoning, assume any Hypothesis he pleases; provided it be but such a one, as, from the Order among the natural Causes of Phaenomena, leads us to the first Cause. I have sometimes however had respect to the mechanical Hypothesis, a Specimen whereof the most ingenious Des-Cartes has given us, (other Hypotheses, according to the Laws of Matter and Motion, nevertheless, may and ought to be invented, if the Appearances of things so require;) because it leads us the shortest way to the first Mover, and is receiv’d by most of our Adversaries.39
I would make this further request to the Reader, that he would not pass a severe Censure upon this Work, before he has thorowly read the Whole, and compar’d all its Parts together; because certainly, if there be either Strength or Beauty, in this Off-spring of our Brain, it chiefly arises from the firm Connexion of all the Parts, and the apt Proportion of each of them, as well to attain their own, as the common End. Its Face is not painted with the florid Colours of Rhetorick, nor are its Eyes sparkling and sportive, the Signs of a light Wit; it wholly applies it self, as it were, with the Composure and Sedateness of an old Man, to the Study of natural Knowledge, to gravity of Manners, and to the cultivating of severer Learning.
Conclusion.§XXX. Lastly, my chief aim in writing, was to promote the publick Good, by plainly proposing to the Minds of Men, the Standard of Virtue and Society, taken from the Nature of all Things; for I did not think it worth while to spend the whole Book, or the greatest Part of it, in confuting Hobbes’s Errors, tho I judg’d it necessary to be at some Pains in refuting his Mistakes, which had so grosly perverted so many. I thought it sufficient for this Purpose, thorowly to demolish the Foundations of his Doctrine, which are laid down, as well in his Treatise de Cive, as in his Leviathan; and openly to shew, “That they are diametrically opposite, not to Religion only, but to all civil Society.” These being plainly overthrown, all the wicked Doctrines, which Hobbes has rais’d upon them, fall at once to the Ground. But what we have in reality perform’d, we leave to the Reader’s Judgment. As to the Confutation which I have given, I am not very sollicitous; nor in treat I the Reader’s Favour, let him censure it as strictly as he pleases. But in the Confirmation of my Opinion, (because I know, that I neither do distinctly understand all, that the Nature of Things suggests toward our Institution in Virtue; nor could recollect in time all those things, which I had once distinctly consider’d, and which I was willing to have express’d in this Treatise;) I must intreat the Reader, not only to consider my Words, but to enquire strictly into the Nature of God and Men, and diligently to examine his own Breast; for thus he will daily make innumerable Observations, which will more perfectly direct him thro’ the Paths of Virtue to the same End. Moreover, because I know, that I differ from the Sentiments of some very learned Men, as to the Causes which imprint the Laws of Nature upon our Minds, I thought fit to add, that it is never the less reasonable, that we should love one another, and so fulfil that Law, which we both acknowledge God has written in our Hearts. As for my own part, I never would have committed my Thoughts upon this Subject to writing, much less would I have made them publick, unless the Importunity of some Friends at Cambridge, (with whom I used to converse with pleasure upon this Subject,) had extorted it from me. They, who first sollicited, and have principally influenced me to this, were Dr. Hezekiah Burton, and Dr. John Hollings, two very excellent and learned Men, my worthy Friends, with whom, to my great Advantage and Satisfaction, I have cultivated a most intimate Friendship these twenty Years.40 I pay so great a Deference to their Judgment, and owe so much to their Friendship, that I thought it a Crime, any longer to resist their Importunity. Do you, courteous Reader, make use of these our Endeavours, for the Benefit of others; enjoy them to your own, and may all Happiness attend you.
A PHILOSOPHICAL INQUIRY INTO THE LAWS of NATURE, &c. AND A Confutation of the Elements of Mr. Hobbes’s Philosophy.
[1. ][Maxwell] “God.”
[2. ]Seneca, Epistulae Morales, LXXV.
[3. ]Simplicius, Commentarius in Epicteti Enchiridion, ch. 10, p. 58.
[4. ]Epictetus, Discourses, II.6, III.20.
[5. ][Maxwell] “Those Things which are not in our own Power, as they stand distinguish’d from those Things which are in our own Power.”
[6. ]Seneca, Epistulae Morales, LXXIII.
[7. ]Ibid., LIII, LXXIV.
[8. ]Gataker, Markou Antoninou tou autokratoros ton eis heauton (1653), p. 65.
[9. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, III.86.
[10. ]Horace, Epistles, I.18.
[11. ]Juvenal, Satires, X.356, 363, pp. 219, 221: “You should pray for a sound mind in a sound body . . . what I commend to you, you can give to yourself.”
[12. ]Seneca, Epistulae Morales, XCIII.
[13. ]Diogenes Laertius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, VII.
[14. ]A composite quotation including sections from Epictetus, Discourses, I.1 and I.6.
[15. ]Seneca, Epistulae Morales, CXIII.
[16. ]Gataker, Markou Antoninou, p. 201.
[17. ]Plutarch, De Tranquillitate Animi (in Moralia), ultimate chapter.
[18. ]Montaigne, Essays, II.2.
[19. ]Della Casa, Galateus de Moribus (1653), ch. 29, p. 123.
[20. ]Maimonides, De Idolatria, ed. Vossius (1641), I.4.
[21. ]Marsham, Chronicus Canon Aegypticus, Ebraicus, Graecus, et Disquisitiones (1676), p. 172.
[22. ]Marcus Antoninus and Epictetus.
[23. ]Grotius, De Veritate Religionis Christianae (1627), II.18.
[24. ]Sextus Empiricus, Hypotyposeon, III.24, 25.
[25. ]Maxwell is referring to Marsilio Ficino’s edition of Plato’s works, Platonis Opera Omnia (1484).
[26. ]Diogenes Laertius, Lives, VI.
[27. ]Horace, Epistles, I.2.3–5, p. 263: “Who tells us what is fair, what is foul, what is helpful, what not, more plainly and better than Chrysippus or Crantor.”
[28. ]Parker, Disputationes de Deo et Providentia Divina (1678).
[29. ]Maxwell is referring to Pierre Gassendi, whose Syntagma Philosophicum (1658) revived neo-Epicurean philosophy.
[30. ]Maxwell provides no source for this quotation, but very similar sentiments can be found in Plotinus, Enneads, I.4.4 and I.4.7.
[31. ]Cicero, De Finibus, V.
[32. ]Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, III.5, IV.7, 8.
[33. ]Origen, Contra Celsum, I.
[34. ]Seneca, De Constantia Sapientis.
[35. ]Seneca, De Providentia, ch. 2; Epistulae Morales XXIV.
[36. ]Ibid. XCII; Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, V.
[37. ]Seneca, Epistulae Morales, XCVII.
[38. ]Crinitus, De Honesta Disciplina (1508), III.1; Grotius, De Veritate Religionis Christianae, II, annotations to sect. 18; Gataker in Markou Antoninou, p. 94; Epictetus, Dissertationes, II.18.
[39. ]Cicero, Letters to Friends, XIV.4.
[40. ]Plutarch, De Profectibus in Virtute (in Moralia), p.m. 82.
[41. ]Gataker in Markou Antoninou, p. 138.
[42. ]Simplicius, Commentarius in Epicteti Enchiridion, p. 69.
[43. ]Ibid., p. 95.
[44. ]Gataker in Markou Antoninou, pp. 434, 435.
[45. ]Cardan, De Rerum Varietate (1557), XVI.93.
[46. ]Porphyry, De Abstinentia, II.38, 41.
[47. ]Plutarch, Adversus Colotem (in Moralia), p.m. 1126.
[48. ]The life of Cleanthes in Diogenes Laertius, Lives, VIII.
[49. ]The source of this anecdote is Woverius’s Assertio Lipsiani Donari (1607); the piece appears in Iusti Lipsii Opera Omnia (1675), I., pp. 184–86.
[50. ]Simplicius, Commentarius in Epicteti Enchiridion, p. 140; Grotius, Annotationes in Novum Testamentum (1646) on Matthew 5.44, 45.
[51. ]The note refers the reader to Benjamin Oley’s note on bk. X of Oley’s edition of Thomas Jackson’s Works (1653).
[52. ]Apuleius, Apology, p. 450.
[53. ]Epictetus, Discourses, III.5.
[54. ]T’Agathon, meaning “the Good.”
[55. ][Maxwell] “Theurgy is a kind of super-natural Magick, procuring an extraordinary and immediate intercourse with the Gods, by means of particular Rites and Ceremonies.”
[56. ]Plotinus, Enneads, I.2.6.
[57. ]Ibid., VI.7.35.
[58. ]Proclus, In Platonis Theologiam, I.25.
[59. ]Grotius, Annotationes in Novum Testamentum (1646) on Matthew 5.43.
[60. ]Isocrates, Panathenaicus, p.m. 572.
[61. ]Grotius, De Veritate Religionis Christianae, bk. II, sects. 12, 14.
[62. ]Aristotle, Politics, VII.16.
[63. ]Grotius, De Veritate Religionis Christianae, bk. II, sects. 12, 14.
[64. ]Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, X.7.
[65. ]Grotius, De Veritate Religionis Christianae, bk. II, sects. 12, 14.
[66. ]Wilkins, Sermon on Romans 12.19 in Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions by the Right Reverend Father in God, John Wilkins (1682), pp. 429–56.
[67. ]Ibid., p. 442.
[68. ]Cicero, De Officiis, III.
[69. ]Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the Roman Emperor, His Meditations Concerning Himselfe [hereafter Meditations], translated by Casaubon (1634), preface.
[70. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, XI.3.
[71. ]Epictetus, Discourses, IV.7.
[72. ]Glanvill, The Way to Happiness (1670), pp. 113, 114.
[73. ]Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, I.
[74. ]Jackson, A Treatise Containing the Originall of Unbeliefe, sect. 1, ch. 5.
[75. ]Maxwell does not cite a source for the quotation: “Between Pagan and Christian Philosophy there is as much difference as exists between the Holy Spirit and human intelligence.”
[76. ]Lucan, Pharsalia, II.383.
[77. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, X.6, VII.13.
[78. ]Lucan, Pharsalia, II.592–93.
[79. ]Eugubinus, or Steuchus, De Perenni Philosophia (1540).
[80. ]Maxwell refers to Plato, Laws, X, in Ficino’s Platonis Opera Omnia.
[81. ]Eugubinus, De Perenni Philosophia, V.3.
[83. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, I.32.
[84. ]Horapollo, Hieroglyphica, bk. I, n. 61.
[85. ]Seneca, Naturales Quaestiones, II.40.
[86. ]Cicero, In Somnium Scipionis, I.17.
[87. ]Ibid., II.12.
[88. ]St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, VII.13.
[89. ]Maffeius, Historiae Indicae (1605).
[90. ]Cicero, Pro T. Annio Milone Oratio.
[91. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.
[92. ]Plutarch, De Placitis Philosophorum (in Moralia), II.3.
[93. ]Manilius, Astronomicon, I.
[94. ]Macrobius, Saturnalia, I.7.
[95. ]Maxwell refers to a text by Grotius.
[96. ]Lipsius, Physiologia Stoicorum (1604), bk. I, diss. 8.
[97. ]Sextus Empiricus, Adversus Mathematicos, p. 331.
[98. ]It seems likely that Maxwell took this Greek Orphic hymn from Eusebius’s Praeparatio Evangelica, III.9; a slightly different version can also be found in Aristotle, De Mundo [401a28–b7]. It is not clear where the Latin translation comes from. A full English translation of the Greek can be found in Cory, Ancient Fragments (1832), n.p.:
[99. ]Selden, De Diis Syris Syntagma II (1617), ch. 2.
[100. ]Origen, Contra Celsum, I.6, p. 308.
[101. ]Herodotus, Historia, I.
[102. ]Strabo, Geographia, XVI.
[103. ]Lipsius, Physiologia Stoicorum, bk. II, diss. 10.
[104. ]Maxwell supplies an unsourced Latin quotation, which can be translated as follows: “Behold this excellent head, beautiful face, illuminating the universe.”
[105. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.
[106. ]Macrobius, Saturnalia, I.18.
[107. ]Maxwell supplies an unsourced Latin quotation: “Optimus Maximus, Coelus aeternus, Jupiter.”
[108. ]Aristotle, Metaphysics, XIV.8.
[109. ]Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe, p. 516.
[110. ]Juvenal, Satires, XIV.97.
[111. ]Selden, De Diis Syris, ch. 1.
[112. ]Philo, De Abrahamo, p. 244.
[113. ]Palafox y Mendoza, The History of the Conquest of China (1676), p. 440.
[114. ]Ludolf, A New History of Ethiopia (1682), I.16.
[115. ]Hoffman, Umbra in Luce sive Consensus et Dissensus Religionum Profanorum (1680), p. 88; Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrimage (1619), pt. I, bk. IV, ch. 19, sect. 2; bk. 5, ch. 15, sect. 7.
[116. ]Maimonides, De Idolatria, ed. Vossius, II.37, VII.2.
[117. ]Maimonides, Moreh Nevuchim, pt. 3, ch. 29.
[118. ]Philo, De Nobilitate, p. 622.
[119. ]St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, I.9.
[120. ]Maxwell’s textual comments suggest that this is a quotation from Virgil, but in fact the passage comes from Maurus Servius Honoratus’s commentary on the Aeneid, In Vergili Carmina Comentarii, IV.638.
[121. ]Seneca, De Beneficiis, IV.7.
[122. ]Life of Zeno in Diogenes Laertius, Lives, VII.
[123. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, I.
[124. ]St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, VII.6; Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.
[125. ]Plutarch, De Communibus Notitiis Adversus Stoicos (in Moralia).
[126. ]Maimonides, De Idolatria, ed. Vossius, VII.7.
[127. ]Cicero, In Somnium Scipionis, II.12.
[128. ]Phurnutus, De Natura Deorum, p. 4.
[129. ]Aristotle, De Mundo, ch. 6.
[130. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, III.
[132. ]Cicero, De Legibus, III.
[133. ]Epictetus, Discourses, II.14.
[134. ]Cicero, De Finibus, IV.
[135. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VIII.19.
[136. ]Plutarch, De Placitis Philosophorum (in Moralia), I.3.
[137. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.27, VI.10.
[138. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.
[140. ]Seneca, De Providentia, ch. 1; Quaestiones Naturales, II.29.
[141. ]Manilius, Astronomica, I.
[142. ]Diogenes Laertius, “Zeno”; Seneca, De Providentia, ch. 5; De Vita Beata, ch. 15.
[143. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, XII.1.
[144. ]Ibid., X.5.
[145. ]Maimonides, De Idolatria, ed. Vossius, II.40.
[146. ]Lipsius, Physiologia Stoicorum, bk. I, diss. 14.
[147. ]Ibid., diss. 12.
[148. ]Ibid., diss. 14.
[149. ]Epictetus, Discourses, IV.4.
[150. ]Ibid., III.25.
[151. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI.44.
[152. ]Ibid., XII.14.
[153. ]Phurnutus, De Natura Deorum, p. 17.
[154. ]Epictetus, Discourses, IV.7.
[155. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, V.8.
[156. ]Epictetus, Discourses, III.26.
[157. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI.42.
[158. ]Ibid., XII.12.
[159. ]Epictetus, Discourses, ch. 24, pp. 328, 330, 331.
[160. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.10, VII.31, X.25.
[161. ]Epictetus, Discourses, III.17.
[162. ]Seneca, De Providentia, III.
[163. ]Jackson, A Defence of Human Liberty (1725), pp. 150–85. Maxwell inserts this lengthy extract of Jackson’s work (ending on p. 161) and his footnotes (some of them mistranscribed) at this point.
[164. ]Plutarch, De Placitis Philosophorum (in Moralia), p. 884.
[165. ]Eusebius, De Praeparatio Evangelica, VI.7.
[166. ]Cicero, De Fato, p. 359.
[167. ]Hierocles, De Providentia & Fato (1673), p. 42.
[168. ]Ibid., p. 46.
[169. ]Photius, Bibliotheca, p. 552.
[170. ]Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, III.1.
[171. ]Ibid., III.5.
[172. ]Ibid., III.7.
[173. ]Cicero, De Fato, pp. 346, 349.
[174. ]Ibid., p. 352.
[175. ]Plotinus, Enneads, III.1.2. Maxwell’s text mistranscribes Jackson’s note as I.3.
[178. ]Plutarch, De Stoicorum Repugnantiis (in Moralia), p. 1050.
[179. ]Plotinus, Enneads, III.1.4.
[180. ]Cicero, De Fato, p. 359.
[181. ]Plutarch, De Placitis Philosophorum (in Moralia), pp. 884, 885.
[182. ]St. Augustine, The City of God, V.10.
[183. ]Chalcidius, In Platonis Timaeum, 7, p. 237.
[184. ]Diogenes Laertius, Lives, VII, p. 370.
[185. ]Ibid., p. 476.
[186. ]Cicero, De Fato, pp. 360, 361.
[187. ]Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, VI [actually VII.2], p. 367.
[188. ]Ibid., p. 366.
[189. ]Cicero, De Fato, p. 359.
[190. ]Ibid., pp. 352–53.
[191. ]Ibid., p. 357.
[192. ]Ibid., p. 363.
[194. ]Plutarch, De Stoicorum Repugnantiis (in Moralia), p. 1056.
[195. ]Cicero, De Fato, pp. 354, 355.
[196. ]Ibid., p. 345.
[197. ]Ibid., pp. 80, 83.
[198. ]Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica, VI, p. 252.
[199. ]Origen in Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica, p. 290, and Commentary in Genesis, p. 11.
[200. ]Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, III.5.
[201. ]Eusebius, Praeparatio Evengelica, VI, pp. 271, 272; Aphrodisius, De Fato.
[202. ]Plutarch, De Placitis Philosophorum (in Moralia), p. 885.
[203. ]Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, VI, pp. 365, 366.
[204. ]Eusebius, Praeparatio Evengelica, VI.8.
[206. ]Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe, p. 4.
[207. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, I.
[208. ]Diogenes Laertius, Lives, VII, pp. 459, 460.
[209. ]Seneca, De Beneficiis, IV.7.
[210. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, V.8, X.5.
[211. ]Plutarch, De Placitis Philosophorum (in Moralia), pp. 884, 885.
[212. ]Tacitus, Annales, VI.
[213. ]Albinus [not Alcinous, as Jackson states], De Doctrina Platonis, ch. 6.
[214. ]Hierocles, De Providentia et Fato, p. 42.
[215. ]Ibid., pp. 26, 27.
[216. ]Ibid., pp. 31, 32.
[217. ]Chalcidius, In Platonis Timaeum, p. 271.
[218. ]Ibid., p. 279.
[219. ]Ibid., p. 236.
[220. ]Plutarch, De Fato (in Moralia).
[221. ]Chalcidius, In Platonis Timaeum, p. 236.
[222. ]Jackson: “By coelestial Beings, Chalcidius seems to mean Providence, which he speaks of as the second God, and the Soul of the World.”
[223. ]Chalcidius, In Platonis Timaeum, p. 237.
[224. ]Plutarch, De Fato (in Moralia).
[225. ]Chalcidius, In Platonis Timaeum, p. 237.
[226. ]Plotinus, Enneads, VI, p. 743.
[227. ]Cicero, Academicae Quaestiones, I.
[228. ]Plutarch, De Placitis Philosophorum (in Moralia), p. 885.
[229. ]Plutarch, De Animi Procreatione (in Moralia), p. 1026.
[230. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, I.
[232. ]Diogenes Laertius, Lives, VII, p. 450.
[233. ]Aphrodisius, De Fato, p. 107.
[234. ]Seneca, De Beneficiis, IV.7.
[235. ]Plotinus, Enneads, III.1.
[236. ]Tertullian, Apologeticus, ch. 25.
[237. ]Chalcidius, In Platonis Timaeum, p. 239.
[238. ]Plato, Georgias.
[239. ]Seneca, De Providentia, ch. 5.
[240. ]Lucan, Pharsalia, II.
[241. ]Seneca, Naturales Quaestiones, Preface.
[242. ]Cicero, De Divinatione, II, p. 275.
[243. ]Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe, p. 5.
[244. ]Chalcidius, In Platonis Timaeum, p. 239.
[245. ]Ibid., p. 240.
[246. ]Ibid., pp. 242, 243.
[247. ]Ibid., pp. 279, 280.
[248. ]Ammonius Hermias, Commentaria in Aristotelem, p. 215.
[249. ]Jackson, A Defence of Human Liberty, pp. 150–85.
[250. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.
[251. ]Hobbes, Elementorum Philosophiae Sectio Secunda De Homine (1658) [hereafter De Homine], ch. 1.
[252. ]Vossius, Historiae de Controversiis quas Pelagius (1618), bk. III, pt. 3, thes. 6.
[253. ]Cicero, Academicae Quaestiones, IV.
[254. ]Matthew 13.13, 15.14, 23.19; Isaiah 43.8; Revelations 3.17.
[255. ]Philo, Opuscula Tria, p. 163.
[256. ]Plutarch, Symposium, IV.5.
[257. ]Colossians 2.18; Romans 8.5; Ephesians 2.3.
[258. ]Virgil, Aeneid, VI.272: “black night has stolen from the world her hues.”
[259. ]I Peter 1.14; II Peter 1.4; Ephesians 5.5, 6; I Thessalonians 4.5.
[260. ]Grotius, Annotationes in Novum Testamentum on Luke 2.2; Casaubon, Persii Flacci Satirarum (1605), V, p. 439.
[261. ]Buxtorf, Lexicon Talmidicum et Rabbinicum (1639), col. 2303; Hammond, A Paraphrase and Annotations upon the Books of the Psalm (1659), note B; Spencer, Origenis contra Celsum (1658), p. 88.
[262. ]Ezekiel 23.2, 20.7, 8; Exodus 32.31; Acts 7.43; Psalms 106.68; Leviticus 17.7.
[263. ]Judges 2.11–19, 3.7; Ezekiel 16.3.
[264. ]Plutarch, De Pythiae Oraculis, p. 402; De Superstitione, p. 166; Adversus Colotem, p. 1123 (all in Moralia).
[265. ]Proclus, In Platonis Theologiam, V.36.
[266. ]Vossius, De Idolatria, V.46.
[267. ]Plutarch, De Superstitione (in Moralia), p. 171.
[268. ]Pliny, Natural History, II.7.
[269. ]St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, V.19.
[270. ]Hierocles, In Aureum Pythagoreorum Carmen Commentarius, p. 126.
[271. ]Simplicius, Commentarius in Epicteti Enchiridion, p. 141.
[272. ]Epictetus, Discourses, II.
[273. ]Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 190, col. 485.
[274. ]Plutarch, Adversus Colotem (in Moralia), p. 1108.
[275. ]Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, II.
[276. ]Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.
[277. ]Origen, Contra Celsum, VIII, p. 392.
[278. ]Seneca, Epistulae Morales, XIV.
[279. ]Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, IX.8.
[280. ]Aristides, in Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 246, col. 1282.
[281. ]Ibid., col. 1292.
[282. ]Stobaeus, Anthologium, pp. 185, 187.
[283. ]Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, II.
[284. ]Hierocles, In Aureum Pythagoreorum Carmen Commentarius.
[285. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, II.17.
[286. ]Sharrock, De Officiis Secundum Naturae Jus (1660), p. 12.
[287. ]Ibid., p. 22.
[288. ]Ibid., chs. 3–8.
[289. ]Ibid., p. 92.
[290. ]Epictetus, Discourses, I.14.
[291. ]Stobaeus, Anthologium, p. 181.
[293. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, III.13; Gataker, Markou Antoninou, note, p. 360.
[294. ]Epictetus, Discourses, XII.1, 9.
[295. ]Ibid., I.14.
[296. ]Macrobius, In Somnium Scipionis, II.10.
[297. ]Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, VII.
[298. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IX.1.
[299. ]Cicero, De Officiis, III; De Finibus, III.
[300. ]Gataker in Markou Antoninou, p. 410.
[301. ]Spartian, Caracella.
[302. ]Hoffman, Umbra in Luce, p. 134.
[303. ]Sanderson, Sermon Ad Populum, on Genesis 20.6 in XXXIV Sermons (1671), pp. 157–86.
[304. ]Epictetus, Enchiridion, ch. 75.
[305. ]Grotius, Annotationes in Novum Testamentum, note on Matthew 8.22.
[307. ]Truman, A Discourse of Natural and Moral Impotency (1675), p. 113.
[308. ]Willis, Pathologiae Cerebri et Nervosi Generis Specimen (1667), ch. 2.
[309. ]Matthew 3.7, 12.38, 23.33; John 8.44; I John 3.8, 10.
[310. ]Leviticus, 17.7; Deuteronomy 32.17; Psalms 136.37; I Corinthians 10.20.
[311. ]Mede, Clavis Apocalyptica ex Innatis et Institis Visionem (1627), to ch. 6.11.
[312. ]Grotius, De Veritate Religionis Christianae, IV.3; Windet, De Vita Functorum Statu, sect. 3.
[313. ]Porphyry, De Abstinentia, II.42, 43.
[314. ]Plutarch, De Defectu Oraculorum (in Moralia), p. 417.
[316. ][Maxwell] “It seems no improbable Conjecture, that Melchizedek was Shem, who was Contemporary with Abraham for 151 Years, and liv’d 66 Years after the Congress of Melchizedek with Abraham, according to Ussher’s Chronology. Now it is highly probable, that Shem persever’d in the true Religion, having had so great Opportunities of knowing the State of the World and Mankind from the Beginning, and the two most exemplary Punishments that ever had been inflicted by God on Man for Sin, in the Fall of Man and in the Flood; for Methusalem, who was born 243 Years before the Death of Adam, did not die ’till Shem was 98 Years old; and he himself was a Witness of the Flood. Accordingly we find his Piety particularly taken notice of, and that he was the most highly favour’d by God among the Sons of Noah. It is also highly probable, that he liv’d as a Prince among such of his Posterity as were willing to persevere in the Worship of the true God; which seems perfectly to tally with the Account we have of Melchizedek, who was King of Salem, and Priest of the most high God; and it is reasonable to believe, that his Subjects profess’d the same Religion with himself, and, consequently, that the true Religion was the legal Establishment in Salem. The greatest Difficulty that seems to offer in supposing Shem to be Melchizedek, is, his settling in the midst of Canaan’s Posterity. As for the Difference of the Names, it is easily accounted for, the H. Ghost seeming designedly to have conceal’d his Parents, Birth and Death, that he might be the more remarkable Type of the Messiah. See Heb. 7. 3.”
[317. ]Cicero, De Amicitia.
[318. ]Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, III.
[319. ]Lactantius, Divinarum Institutionum, III.
[320. ]Aristotle, Metaphysics, II.1.
[321. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, I.
[322. ]Seneca, Epistulae Morales, CII.
[323. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, III.
[1. ]Grotius, De Jure Belli ac Pacis (1625); Grotius, De Principis Juris Naturalis Enchiridion (1667); Sharrock, De Officiis Secundum Naturae Jus (1660).
[2. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali et Gentium (1640).
[3. ]Acosta, Historia Natural y Moral de las Indias (1591).
[4. ]Hobbes, Elementa Philosophica De Cive (1647); references are to On the Citizen (1998), 2.1, pp. 32–33; Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.6, pp. 75–85.
[5. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 14.15, p. 161.
[6. ]Ibid., 3.33, pp. 56–57; Hobbes, Leviathan with Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of 1668 (1994), ch. 15, p. 100.
[7. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.7–9, pp. 86–108.
[8. ][Maxwell] “In the book before-mention’d.”
[9. ]“by him”: Cumberland’s Latin indicates that he meant “by them” (meaning the Jews rather than Selden); Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, Prolegomena, a3r.
[10. ][Maxwell] “The internal Sanction of the Laws of Nature, consists of those Rewards and Punishments, which are necessarily connected, according to the common course of Nature, at the Appointment of the first Cause, with the Observance or Non-observance of those Laws.”
[11. ]Bacon, Of the Advancement and Proficience of Learning (1640), VIII.3, p. 424.
[12. ]An allusion to Juvenal, Satires, XIII.193.
[13. ]Cumberland’s rejection of innate ideas can be compared with similar positions in Pufendorf and Locke: cf. Pufendorf, De Jure Naturae et Gentium, II.3.13; Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), I.
[14. ]“from his Effects”: a possible mistranscription in the Latin suggests that Cumberland meant “by their effects” [the perfections].
[15. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 12, p. 64. Maxwell tends to quote from the English Leviathan, but Cumberland generally refers to the Latin edition of 1668, which is occasionally different. Where Maxwell’s quotation has, “As even the Heathen Philosophers confess’d,” the Latin edition quoted by Cumberland has,“with the sounder of the ancient philosophers,” apparently an approving reference by Hobbes to Aristotle. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, Prolegomena, a4v.
[16. ]“species sensibiles”: Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, Prolegomena, a4v.
[17. ]Cicero, De Legibus, I.vii.23.
[18. ]“θεομαχία,” Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, Prolegomena, b1v.
[19. ][Maxwell] “If the Deity be good, he must desire the Happiness of his Creatures; this cannot be among Rationals without kind Affections: Kind Affections cannot be supposed toward indifferent Agents, where there are none towards Benefactors, and chiefly the Deity. Therefore, if the Deity love his Creatures, he must desire that they should love him; since, without loving him, they cannot be happy.”
[20. ]Cumberland, Trinity College MS.adv.c.2.4, Prolegomena, n.p.: “That is what was required by the purpose and intention of my work. For the terms, of which the general proposition encompassing all natural laws is composed are ideas which represent the natural efficiency of human actions necessarily required, according to the present system of things, to procure the good, both public and individual, which man lacks. And the words are necessary here only as familiar signs, whose purpose is to recall to mind those ideas, which might be recalled even if we made no use of such signs. For the nature of things, and of human actions, is sufficient to produce, to imprint, to perpetuate, and to recall to mind, these sorts of ideas, even if one were deaf and mute, and consequently not in a state to recognise the usage of such signs, in which the word consists.”
[21. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 8.1, p. 102.
[22. ]Cicero, Oratio In C. Verrem, IV.66; Justinian, Digest, XLVIII.19.41.
[23. ]Justinian, Digest, I.8.8.
[24. ]Ibid., I.8.9.3.
[25. ][Maxwell] “See the Notion advanced here by the Author, examin’d in a Note on chap. 5. § 40.”
[26. ][Maxwell] “His State of Nature, which he makes a State of War.”
[27. ][Maxwell] “By the great Society, the Author here means the Kingdom of God, or System of Rationals.”
[28. ]Cumberland, Trinity College MS.adv.c.2.4, Prolegomena, n.p. Replacement manuscript text (to the end of the paragraph): “But, since the natural causes, as much internal, disposing man to form and maintain this universal society, as external, attracting them to do so, act conjointly: and it is through the united forces of all these causes that society is now established and preserved: I must beg the readers, who will seek the whole cause or complete reason for this effect to consider all the partial causes, which I have detailed, as joined together, and each in its rank; by which he will see, that there results from considering them in such a way, an argument which is sufficient of itself to prove the sanction of the most general law of nature.”
[29. ]Ibid. Manuscript addition: “Setting aside even the duty imposed by gratitude, this proves the sanction of the most general law of nature, as one may foresee that, from a life constantly modeled on the demands of the public good, there will be more benefit than if one follows the promptings of boundless self-consideration.”
[30. ]Stoic philosophers believed that virtue was its own reward; by those who look for goods in this life, Cumberland signals the Peripatetic philosophers. Barbeyrac, Traité Philosophique des Loix Naturelles (1744), p. 26, n. 2.
[31. ][Maxwell] “Actions from Gratitude, cannot be said to flow from Self-love, or desire of private Good to the Agent; since in a grateful Office, the Intention of the Agent, is not to obtain any farther private Advantage. ’Tis this Intention only, of obtaining private Good, which denominates an Action Self-interested. This is not the Case of real Gratitude, however it may be in some pretended Offices of Gratitude—The Mistakes of many Writers upon this Head, arise from the ambiguous Use of these Words, (per, propter, ob,) or of their corresponding English Words, (for, on account of, for the sake of, in consideration of,) a Benefit. They denote either, First, Acting with intention to obtain a Benefit; this is from Self-love: Or, Secondly, When remembrance of a Benefit raises Love in the Receiver toward the Benefactor, and desire to please him, without Intention of farther private Good to the Receiver; this is not from Self-love. We see a like Affection, but perhaps a little weaker, arises from observing Beneficence toward a Third Person. See the true Answer to this whole Difficulty, in a Note, on Chap. 5. § 45.”
[32. ]Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.6.
[33. ]Sharrock, De Officiis Secundum Naturae Jus, ch. 10.
[34. ]Deuteronomy 20.16–17.
[35. ]Cf. ibid., 9.6.
[36. ]Cumberland may be thinking about Hobbes’s argument in Leviathan, ch. 33.
[37. ]Euclid, Elementa Geometriae.
[38. ]Cumberland was rector of Brampton Ash in North amptonshire from 1657 but in 1670 he also became vicar of All Saints, Stamford, and rector of St. Peter’s church in the same town. Internal evidence suggests that De Legibus was prepared for publication during the later 1660s. Parkin, Science, Religion and Politics in Restoration England, pp. 13, 117.
[39. ]Cumberland’s qualified use of Cartesian ideas was typical of his latitudinarian contemporaries; see Parkin, Science, Religion and Politics in Restoration England, pp. 152–53.
[40. ]Cumberland became friends with Hezekiah Burton (1632–81) at Magdalene. Burton, a Fellow of the College, went on to become domestic chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, and Cumberland probably owed Bridgeman’s patronage to his friend’s connection with the Lord Keeper. Burton saw De Legibus through the press and provided a prefatory Alloquium ad Lectorem (reprinted here in appendix 2). Dr. John Hollings (1635–1712) was also a member of Cumberland’s circle at Magdalene. He eventually became a Fellow of the College and took his M.D. in 1665. He would become a successful physician based in Shrewsbury.