Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chap. 1. CHAPTER I: Review of Enthusiasm. — Its Defense, Praise: — Use in Business as well as Pleasure: — Operation by Fear, Love. — Modifications of Enthusiasm: Magnanimity; Heroick Virtue; Honour; Publick Zeal; Religion; Superstition; Persecution; Ma - Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, vol. 3
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Chap. 1. CHAPTER I: Review of Enthusiasm. — Its Defense, Praise: — Use in Business as well as Pleasure: — Operation by Fear, Love. — Modifications of Enthusiasm: Magnanimity; Heroick Virtue; Honour; Publick Zeal; Religion; Superstition; Persecution; Ma - Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, vol. 3 
Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, ed. Douglas den Uyl (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001). 3 vols. Vol. 3.
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Chap. 1.CHAPTER I
Review ofEnthusiasm.—Its Defense, Praise:—Use in Business as well as Pleasure:—Operation by Fear, Love.—Modifications of Enthusiasm: Magnanimity; Heroick Virtue; Honour; Publick Zeal; Religion; Superstition; Persecution; Martyrdom.—Energy of the extatick Devotion in the Tender Sex.—Account of antient Priesthood.—Religious War.—Reference to a succeeding Chapter.
WHETHER in fact there be any real Enchantment, any Influence of Stars, any Power of Daemons or of foreign Natures over our own Minds, is thought questionable by many. Some there are who assert the Negative, and endeavour to solve the Appearances of this kind by the natural Operation of our Passions, and the common Course of outward Things. For my own part, I cannot but at this present apprehend a kind of Enchantment or Magick in that which we call Enthusiasm; since I find, that having touch’d slightly on this Subject, I cannot so easily part with it at pleasure.
After having made some cursory Reflections on our Author’s *Letter, I thought I might have sufficiently acquitted my-self on this head; till passing to his next Treatise, I found my-self still further ingag’d. I perceiv’d plainly that I had as yet scarce enter’d into our Author’s Humour, or felt any thing of that Passion, which, as he informs us, is so easily communicable and naturally engaging. But what I had pass’d over in my first Reflections, I found naturally rising in me, upon second thoughts. So that by experience I prov’d it true what our Author says,† “That we all of us know something of this Principle.” And now that I find I have in reality so much of it imparted to me, I may with better reason be pardon’d, if, after our Author’s example, I am led to write on such Subjects as these, with Caution, at different Reprises; and not singly, in one Breath.
I have heard indeed that the very reading of Treatises and Accounts of Melancholy, has been apt to generate that Passion in the over-diligent and attentive Reader. And this perhaps may have been the reason, why our Author himself (as he seems to intimate towards the Conclusion of his first *Letter) car’d not in reality to grapple closely with his Subject, or give us, at once, the precise Definition of Enthusiasm. This however we may, with our Author, presume to infer, from the coolest of all Studys, even from Criticism it-self, (of which we have been lately treating) † “That there is a Power in Numbers, Harmony, Proportion, and Beauty of every kind, which naturally captivates the Heart, and raises the Imagination to an Opinion or Conceit of something majestick and divine.”
Whatever this Subject may be in it-self; we cannot help being transported with the thought of it. It inspires us with something more than ordinary, and raises us above our-selves. Without this Imagination or Conceit, the World wou’d be but a dull Circumstance, and Life a sorry Pass-time. Scarce cou’d we be said to live. The animal Functions might in their course be carry’d on; but nothing further sought for, or regarded. The gallant Sentiments, the elegant Fancys, the Belle-passions, which have, all of them, this Beauty in view, wou’d be set aside, and leave us probably no other Employment than that of satisfying our coarsest Appetites at the cheapest rate; in order to the attainment of a supine State of Indolence and Inactivity.
Slender wou’d be the Enjoyments of the Lover, the ambitious Man, the Warrior, or the Virtuoso, (as our Author has ‡ elsewhere intimated) if in the Beautys which they admire, and passionately pursue, there were no reference or regard to any higher Majesty or Grandure, than what simply results from the particular Objects of their pursuit. I know not, in reality, what we shou’d do to find a seasoning to most of our Pleasures in Life, were it not for the Taste or Relish, which is owing to this particular Passion, and the Conceit or Imagination which supports it. Without this, we cou’d not so much as admire a Poem, or a Picture; a Garden, or a Palace; a charming Shape, or a fair Face.Love it-self wou’d appear the lowest thing in Nature, when thus anticipated, and treated according to the Anti-enthusiastick Poet’s method:
* And to indulge lust with whoever is at hand.
How Heroism or Magnanimity must stand in this Hypothesis, is easy to imagine. The Muses themselves must make a very indifferent figure in this philosophical Draught. Even the Prince of † Poets wou’d prove a most insipid Writer, if he were thus reduc’d. Nor cou’d there, according to this Scheme, be yet a place of Honour left even for our ‡Latin Poet, the great Disciple of this un-polite Philosophy, who dares with so little Equity employ the Muses Art in favour of such a System. But in spite of his Philosophy, he everywhere gives way to Admiration, and rapturous Views of Nature. He is transported with the several Beautys of the World, even whilst he arraigns the Order of it, and destroys the Principle ofBeauty, from whence in antient Languages the **World it-self was nam’d.
This is what our Author advances; when in behalf of Enthusiasm he quotes its formal Enemys, and shews That they are as capable of it as its greatest Confessors and Assertors. So far is he from degrading Enthusiasm, or disclaiming it in himself; that he looks on this Passion, simply consider’d, as the most natural, and its Object as the justest in the World. Even Virtue it-self he takes to be no other than a noble Enthusiasm justly directed, and regulated by that high Standard which he supposes in the Nature of Things.
He seems to assert, * “That there are certain moral Species or Appearances so striking, and of such force over our Natures, that when they present themselves, they bear down all contrary Opinion or Conceit, all opposite Passion, Sensation, or mere bodily Affection.” Of this kind he makes Virtue it-self to be the chief: since of all Views or Contemplations, this, in his account, is the most naturally and strongly affecting. The exalted part of Love is only borrow’d hence. That of pure Friendship is its immediate Self. He who yields his Life a Sacrifice to his Prince or Country; the Lover who for his Paramour performs as much; the heroick, the amorous, the religious Martyrs, who draw their Views, whether visionary or real, from this Pattern and Exemplar of Divinity: all these, according to our Author’s Sentiment, are alike actuated by this Passion, and prove themselves in effect so many different Enthusiasts.
Nor is thorow Honesty, in his Hypothesis, any other than this Zeal, or Passion, moving strongly upon the Species or View of the Decorum, and Sublime of Actions. Others may pursue † different Forms, and fix their Eye on different Species, (as all Men do on one or other): The real honest Man, however plain or simple he appears, has that highest Species, ‡Honesty it-self, in view; and instead of outward Forms or Symmetrys, is struck with that of inward Character, the Harmony and Numbers of the Heart, and Beauty of the Affections, which form the Manners and Conduct of a truly social Life.
’Tis indeed peculiar to the Genius of that cool Philosophy * above describ’d; that as it denies the Order or Harmony of Things in general, so by a just Consequence and Truth of Reasoning, it rejects the Habit of admiring or being charm’d with whatever is call’d Beautiful in particular. According to the Regimen prescrib’d by this Philosophy, it must be acknowledg’d that the Evils of Love, Ambition, Vanity, Luxury, with other Disturbances deriv’d from the florid, high, and elegant Ideas of Things, must in appearance be set in a fair way of being radically cur’d.
It need not be thought surprizing, that Religion it-self shou’d in the account of these Philosophers be reckon’d among those Vices and Disturbances, which it concerns us after this manner to extirpate. If the Idea of Majesty and Beauty in other inferior Subjects be in reality distracting; it must chiefly prove so, in that principal Subject, the Basis and Foundation of this Conceit. Now if the Subject it-self be not in Nature, neither the Idea nor the Passion grounded on it can be properly esteem’d natural: And thus all Admiration ceases; and Enthusiasm is at an end. But if there be naturally such a Passion; ’tis evident that Religion it-self is of the kind, and must be therefore natural to Man.
We can admire nothing profoundly, without a certain religious Veneration. And because this borders so much on Fear, and raises a certain Tremor or Horror of like appearance; ’tis easy to give that Turn to the Affection, and represent all Enthusiasm and religious Extasy as the Product or mere Effect of Fear:
The first fear fashioned the gods on earth.1
But the original Passion, as appears plainly, is of another kind, and in effect is so confess’d by those who are the greatest Opposers of Religion, and who, as our Author observes, have shewn themselves sufficiently convinc’d, * “That altho these Ideas of Divinity and Beauty were vain; they were yet in a manner innate, or such as Men were really born to, and cou’d hardly by any means avoid.”
Now as all Affections have their Excess, and require Judgment and Discretion to moderate and govern them; so this high and noble Affection, which raises Man to Action, and is his Guide in Business as well as Pleasure, requires a steddy Rein and strict Hand over it. All Moralists, worthy of any Name, have recogniz’d the Passion; tho among these the wisest have prescrib’d Restraint, press’d Moderation, and to all Tyro’s in Philosophy forbid the forward Use of Admiration, Rapture, or Extasy, even in the Subjects they esteem’d the highest, and most divine. They knew very well that the first Motion, Appetite, and Ardour of the Youth in general towards † Philosophy and Knowledg, depended chiefly on this Turn of Temper: Yet were they well appriz’d, withal, That in the Progress of this Study, as well as in the affairs of Life, the florid Ideas and exalted Fancy of this kind became the Fuel of many incendiary Passions; and that, in religious Concerns particularly, the Habit of Admiration and contemplative Delight, wou’d, by over-Indulgence, too easily mount into high Fanaticism, or degenerate into abject Superstition.
Upon the whole therefore, according to our Author, Enthusiasm is, in it-self, a very natural honest Passion; and has properly nothing for its Object but what is ‡Good and Honest. ’Tis apt indeed, he confesses, to run astray. And by modern example we know, perhaps yet better than by any antient, that, in Religion, the Enthusiasm which works by Love, is subject to many strange Irregularitys; and that which works by Fear, to many monstrous and horrible Superstitions. Mysticks and Fanaticks are known to abound as well in our Reform’d, as in the Romish Churches. The pretended Floods of Grace pour’d into the Bosoms of the Quietists, Pietists, and those who favour the extatick way of Devotion, raise such Transports, as by their own Proselytes are confess’d to have something strangely agreeable, and in common with what ordinary Lovers are us’d to feel. And it has been remark’d by many, That the Female Saints have been the greatest Improvers of this soft part of Religion. What truth there may be in the related Operations of this pretended Grace and amorous Zeal, or in the Accounts of what has usually past between the Saints of each Sex, in these devout Extasys, I shall leave the Reader to examine: supposing he will find credible Accounts, sufficient to convince him of the dangerous progress of Enthusiasm in this amorous Lineage.
There are many Branches indeed more vulgar, as that of Fear, Melancholy, Consternation, Suspicion, Despair. And when the Passion turns more towards the astonishing and frightful, than the amiable and delightful side, it creates rather what we call Superstition than Enthusiasm. I must confess withal, that what we commonly style Zeal in matters of Religion, is seldom without a mixture of both these Extravagancys. The extatick Motions of Love and Admiration, are seldom un-accompany’d with the Horrors and Consternations of a lower sort of Devotion. These Paroxysms of Zeal are in reality as the hot and cold Fits of an Ague, and depend on the different and occasional Views or Aspects of the Divinity; according as the Worshiper is * guided from without, or affected from within, by his particular Constitution. Seldom are those Aspects so determinate and fix’d, as to excite constantly one and the same Spirit of Devotion. In Religions therefore, which hold most of Love, there is generally room left for Terrors of the deepest kind. Nor is there any Religion so diabolical, as, in its representation of Divinity, to leave no room for Admiration and Esteem. Whatever Personage orSpecter of Divinity is worship’d; a certain Esteem and Love is generally affected by his Worshipers. Or if, in the Devotion paid him, there be in truth no real or absolute Esteem; there is however a certain astonishing Delight or Ravishment excited.
This Passion is experienc’d, in common, by every Worshiper of the Zealot-kind. The Motion, when un-guided, and left wholly to it-self, is in its nature turbulent and incentive. It disjoints the natural Frame, and relaxes the ordinary Tone or Tenor of the Mind. In this Disposition the Reins are let loose to all Passion which arises: And the Mind, as far as it is able to act or think in such a State, approves the Riot, and justifies the wild Effects, by the suppos’d Sacredness of the Cause. Every Dream and Frenzy is made Inspiration; every Affection, Zeal. And in this Persuasion the Zealots, no longer self-govern’d, but set adrift to the wide Sea of Passion, can in one and the same Spirit of Devotion, exert the opposite Passions of Love and Hatred; unite affectionately, and abhor furiously; curse, bless, sing, mourn, exult, tremble, caress, assassinate, inflict and suffer*Martyrdom, with a thousand other the most vehement Efforts of variable and contrary Affection.
THE common Heathen Religion, especially in its latter Age, when adorn’d with the most beautiful Temples, and render’d more illustrious by the Munificence of the Roman Senate and succeeding Emperors, ran wholly into Pomp, and was supported chiefly by that sort of Enthusiasm, which is rais’d from the * external Objects of Grandure, Majesty, and what we call August. On the other side, the Egyptian or Syrian Religions, which lay more in Mystery and conceal’d Rites; having less Dependence on the Magistrate, and less of that Decorum of Art, Politeness, and Magnificence, ran into a more pusillanimous, frivolous, and mean kind of Superstition; “The Observation of Days, the Forbearance of Meats, and the Contention about Traditions, Seniority of Laws, and † Priority of Godships.”
Hence a raging madness is abroad on both sides, because each place hates its neighbours’ deities, since it believes that only its own objects of worship are Gods.2
History, withal, informs us of a certain Establishment in Egypt, which was very extraordinary, and must needs have had a very uncommon effect; no way advantageous to that Nation in particular, or to the general Society of Mankind. We know very well, that nothing is more injurious to the Police, or municipal Constitution of any City or Colony, than the forcing of a particular Trade: Nothing more dangerous than the over-peopling any Manufacture, or multiplying the Traders, or Dealers, of whatever Vocation, beyond their natural Proportion, and the publick Demand. Now it happen’d of old, in this Mother-Land of Superstition, that ‡ the Sons of certain Artists were by Law oblig’d always to follow the same Calling with their Fathers. Thus the Son of a Priest was always a Priest by Birth, as was the whole Lineage after him, without interruption. Nor was it a Custom with this Nation, as with others, to have only *one single Priest or Priestess to a Temple: but as the Number of Gods and Temples was infinite; so was that of the Priests. The Religious Foundations were without Restriction: and to one single Worship or Temple, as many of the Holy Order might be Retainers, as cou’d raise a Maintenance from the Office.
Whatever happen’d to other Races or Professions, that of the Priest, in all likelihood, must, by this Regulation, have propagated the most of any. ’Tis a tempting Circumstance; to have so easy a Mastery over the World; to subdue by Wit instead of Force; to practise on the Passions, and triumph over the Judgment of Mankind; to influence private Familys, and publick Councils; conquer Conquerors; controul the Magistrate himself, and govern without the Envy which attends all other Government or Superiority. No wonder if such a Profession was apt to multiply: especially when we consider the easy Living and Security of the Professors, their Exemption from all Labour, and Hazard; the suppos’d Sacredness of their Character; and their free Possession of Wealth, Grandure, Estates, and Women.
There was no need to invest such a Body as this, with rich Lands and ample Territorys, as it happen’d in Egypt. The Generation or Tribe being once set apart as sacred, wou’d, without further encouragement, be able, no doubt, in process of time, to establish themselves a plentiful and growing Fund, or religious Land-Bank. ’Twas a sufficient Donative, to have had only that single Privilege from the * Law; “That they might retain what they cou’d get; and that it might be lawful for their Order to receive such Estates by voluntary Contribution, as cou’d never afterwards be converted to other Uses.”
Now if, besides the Method of Propagation by Descent, other Methods of Increase were allow’d in this Order of Men; if Volunteers were also admitted at pleasure, without any Stint or Confinement to a certain Number; ’tis not difficult to imagine how enormous the Growth wou’d be of such a Science or Profession, thus recogniz’d by the Magistrate, thus invested with Lands and Power, and thus intitled to whatever extent of Riches or Possession cou’d be acquir’d by Practice and Influence over the superstitious part of Mankind.
There were, besides, in Egypt some natural Causes of Superstition, beyond those which were common to other Regions. This Nation might well abound in Prodigys, when even their Country and Soil it-self was a kind of Prodigy in Nature. Their solitary idle Life, whilst shut up in their Houses by the regular Inundations of the Nile; the unwholesom Vapours arising from the new Mud, and slimy Relicts of their River, expos’d to the hot Suns; their various Meteors and Phaenomena; with the long Vacancy they had to observe and comment on them; the necessity, withal, which, on the account of their Navigation, and the Measure of their yearly drowned Lands, compell’d them to promote the Studys of Astronomy and other Sciences, of which their Priesthood cou’d make good advantages: All these may be reckon’d, perhaps, as additional Causes of the immense Growth of Superstition, and the enormous Increase of the Priesthood in this fertile Land.
’Twill however, as I conceive, be found unquestionably true, according to political Arithmetick, in every Nation whatsoever; “That the Quantity of Superstition (if I may so speak) will, in proportion, nearly answer the Number of Priests, Diviners, Soothsayers, Prophets, or such who gain their Livelihood, or receive Advantages by officiating in religious Affairs.” For if these Dealers are numerous, they will force a Trade. And as the liberal Hand of the Magistrate can easily raise Swarms of this kind, where they are already but in a moderate proportion; so where, thro’ any other cause, the Number of these increasing still, by degrees, is suffer’d to grow beyond a certain measure, they will soon raise such a Ferment in Mens Minds, as will at least compel the Magistrate, however sensible of the Grievance, to be cautious in proceeding to a Reform.
We may observe in other necessary Professions, rais’d on the Infirmitys and Defects of Mankind, (as for instance, in Law and Physick) “That with the least help from the Bounty or Beneficence of the Magistrate, the Number of the Professors, and the Subject-matter of the Profession, is found over and above increasing.” New Difficultys are started: New Subjects of Contention: Deeds and Instruments of Law grow more numerous and prolix: Hypotheses, Methods, Regimens, more various; and the Materia Medica more extensive and abundant. What, in process of time, must therefore naturally have happen’d in the case of Religion, among the Egyptians, may easily be gather’d.
Nor is it strange that we shou’d find the *Property and Power of the Egyptian Priesthood, in antient days, arriv’d to such a height, as in a manner to have swallow’d up the State and Monarchy. A worse Accident befel the Persian Crown, of which the Hierarchy having got absolute possession, had once a fair Chance for Universal Empire. Now that the Persian or Babylonian Hierarchy was much after the Model of the Egyptian, tho different perhaps in Rites and Ceremonys, we may well judg; not only from the History of the †Magi, but from what is recorded of antient Colonys sent long before by the Egyptians into ‡Chaldea and the adjacent Countrys. And whether the Ethiopian Model was from that of Egypt, or the Egyptian from that of Ethiopia, (for ** each Nation had its pretence) we know by remarkable † Effects, that the Ethiopian Empire was once in the same Condition: the State having been wholly swallow’d in the exorbitant Power of their landed Hierarchy. So true it is, “That Dominion must naturally follow Property.” Nor is it possible, as I conceive, for any State or Monarchy to withstand the Encroachments of a growing Hierarchy, founded on the Model of these Egyptian and Asiatick Priesthoods. No Superstition will ever be wanting among the Ignorant and Vulgar, whilst the Able and Crafty have a power to gain Inheritances and Possessions by working on this human Weakness. This is a Fund which, by these Allowances, will prove inexhaustible. New Modes of Worship, new Miracles, new Heroes, Saints, Divinitys (which, serve as new Occasions for sacredDonatives) will be easily supply’d on the part of the religious Orders; whilst the Civil Magistrate authorizes the accumulative Donation, and neither restrains the Number or Possessions of the Sacred Body.
We find, withal, that in the early days of this antient Priestly Nation of whom we have been speaking, ’twas thought expedient also, for the increase of Devotion, to enlarge their System of Deity; and either by mystical Genealogy, Consecration, or Canonization, to multiply their reveal’d Objects of Worship, and raise new Personages of Divinity in their Religion. They proceeded, it seems, in process of time, to increase the * Number of their Gods, so far that, at last, they became in a manner numberless. What odd Shapes, Species, and Forms of Deity were in latter times exhibited, is well known. Scarce an Animal or Plant but was adopted into some share of Divinity.
† O pious nation, for whom Gods like these grow in the garden!
No wonder if by a Nation so abounding in religious Orders, spiritual Conquests were sought in foreign Countrys, ‡ Colonys led abroad, and Missionarys detach’d, on Expeditions, in this prosperous Service. ’Twas thus a Zealot-People, influenc’d of old by their very Region and Climate, and who thro’ a long Tract of Time, under a peculiar Policy, had been rais’d both by Art and Nature to an immense Growth in religious Science and Mystery; came by degrees to spread their variety of Rites and Ceremonys, their distinguishing Marks of separate Worships and secrete Communitys, thro’ the distant World; but chiefly thro’ their neighbouring and dependent Countrys.
We understand from History, that even when the EgyptianState was least powerful in Arms, it was still respected for its Religion and Mysterys. It drew Strangers from all Parts to behold its Wonders. And the Fertility of its Soil forc’d the adjacent People, and wandring Nations, who liv’d dispers’d in single Tribes, to visit them, court their Alliance, and sollicit a Trade and Commerce with them, on whatsoever Terms. The Strangers, no doubt, might well receive religious Rites and Doctrines from those, to whom they ow’d their Maintenance and Bread.
Before the time that Israel was constrain’d to go down to Egypt, and sue for Maintenance to these powerful Dynastys or Low-Land States, the Holy Patriarch*Abraham himself had been necessitated to this Compliance on the same account. He apply’d in the same manner to the EgyptianCourt. He was at first well receiv’d, and handsomly presented; but afterwards ill us’d, and out of favour with the Prince, yet suffer’d to depart the Kingdom, and retire with his Effects; without any attempt of recalling him again by force, as it happen’d in the case of his Posterity. ’Tis certain that if this holy Patriarch, who first instituted the sacred Rite of Circumcision within his own Family or Tribe, had no regard to any Policy or Religion of the Egyptians; yet he had formerly been a Guest and Inhabitant in Egypt (where † Historians mention this to have been a national Rite); long * ere he had receiv’d any divine Notice or Revelation, concerning this Affair. Nor was it in Religion merely that this reverend Guest was said to have deriv’d Knowledg and Learning from the Egyptians. ’Twas from this Parent-Country of occult Sciences, that he was presum’d, together with other Wisdom, to have learnt that of †judicial Astrology; as his Successors did afterwards other prophetical and miraculous Arts, proper to the Magi, or Priesthood of this Land.
One cannot indeed but observe, in after times, the strange Adherence and servile Dependency of the whole Hebrew Race on the Egyptian Nation. It appears that tho they were of old abus’d in the Person of their grand Patriarch; tho afterwards held in bondage, and treated as the most abject Slaves; tho twice expel’d, or necessitated to save themselves by flight, out of this oppressive Region; yet in the very instant of their last Retreat, whilst they were yet on their March, conducted by visible Divinity, supply’d and fed from Heaven, and supported by continual Miracles; they notwithstanding inclin’d so strongly to the Manners, the Religion, Rites, Diet, Customs, Laws, and Constitutions of their tyrannical Masters, that it was with the utmost difficulty they could be with-held from ‡ returning again into the same Subjection. Nor could their great Captains and Legislators prevent their * relapsing perpetually into the same Worship to which they had been so long accustom’d.
How far the divine Providence might have indulg’d the stubborn Habit and stupid Humour of this People, by giving them Laws (as the † Prophet says) which he himself approv’d not, I have no Intention to examine. This only I pretend to infer from what has been advanc’d; “That the Manners, Opinions, Rites and Customs of the Egyptians, had, in the earliest times, and from Generation to Generation, strongly influenc’d the Hebrew People (their Guests, and Subjects) and had undoubtedly gain’d a powerful Ascendency over their Natures.”
How extravagant soever the multitude of the EgyptianSuperstitions may appear, ’tis certain that their Doctrine and Wisdom were in high repute; since it is taken notice of in Holy Scripture, as no small Advantage even to Moses himself, * “That he had imbib’d the Wisdom of this Nation”; which, as is well known, lay chiefly among their Priests and Magi.
Before the Time that the great Hebrew Legislator receiv’d his Education among these Sages, a †Hebrew Slave, who came a Youth into the Egyptian Court, had already grown so powerful in this kind of Wisdom, as to outdo the chief Diviners, Prognosticators, and Interpreters of Egypt. He rais’d himself to be chief Minister to a Prince, who, following his Advice, obtain’d in a manner the whole Property, and consequently the absolute Dominion of that Land. But to what height of Power the establish’d Priesthood was arriv’d even at that time, may be conjectur’d hence; “That the Crown (to speak in a modern Style) offer’d not to meddle with the Church-Lands”; and that in this great Revolution nothing was attempted, so much as by way of Purchase or Exchange,* in prejudice of this Landed Clergy: The prime Minister himself having join’d his Interest with theirs, and enter’d † by Marriage into their Alliance. And in this he was follow’d by the great Founder of the Hebrew-State; for he also ‡ match’d himself with the Priesthood of some of the neighbouring Nations, and Traders ** into Egypt, long ere his Establishment of the Hebrew Religion and Commonwealth. Nor had he perfected his Model, till he consulted the foreign Priest his †† Father-in-law, to whose Advice he paid such remarkable Deference.
BUT TO resume the Subject of our Speculation, concerning the wide Diffusion of the Priestly Science or Function; it appears from what has been said, that notwithstanding the Egyptian Priesthood was, by antient Establishment, hereditary; the Skill of Divining, Soothsaying, and Magick was communicated to others besides their national sacred Body: and that the Wisdom of the Magicians, the Power of Miracles, their Interpretation of Dreams and Visions, and their Art of administring in Divine Affairs, were entrusted even to Foreigners who resided amongst them.
It appears, withal, from these Considerations, how apt the religious Profession was to spread it-self widely in this Region of the World; and what Efforts wou’d naturally be made by the more necessitous of these unlimited Professors, towards a Fortune, or Maintenance, for themselves and their Successors.
Common Arithmetick will, in this Case, demonstrate to us, “That as the Proportion of so many Lay-men to each Priest grew every day less and less, so the Wants and Necessitys of each Priest must grow more and more.” The Magistrate too, who according to this Egyptian Regulation had resign’d his Title or share of Right in sacred Things, cou’d no longer govern, as he pleas’d, in these Affairs, or check the growing Number of these Professors. The spiritual Generations were left to prey on others, and (like Fish of Prey) even on themselves, when destitute of other Capture, and confin’d within too narrow Limits. What Method, therefore, was there left to heighten the Zeal of Worshipers, and augment their Liberality, but “to foment their Emulation, prefer Worship to Worship, Faith to Faith; and turn the Spirit of Enthusiasm to the side of sacred Horror, religious Antipathy, and mutual Discord between Worshipers?”
Thus Provinces and Nations were divided by the most contrary Rites and Customs which cou’d be devis’d, in order to create the strongest Aversion possible between Creatures of a like Species. For when all other Animositys are allay’d, and Anger of the fiercest kind appeas’d, the religious Hatred, we find, continues still, as it began, without Provocation or voluntary Offence. The presum’d Misbeliever and Blasphemer, as one rejected and abhor’d of God, is thro’ a pious Imitation, abhor’d by the adverse Worshiper, whose Enmity must naturally increase as his religious Zeal increases.
From hence the Opposition rose of Temple against Temple, Proselyte against Proselyte. The most zealous Worship of oneGod, was best express’d (as they conceiv’d) by the open defiance of another.Sir-Names and Titles of Divinity pass’d as Watch-words. He who had not the Symbol, nor cou’d give the Word, receiv’d the Knock.
Down with him! Kill him! Merit Heaven thereby;
As our * Poet has it, in his American Tragedy.
Nor did †Philosophy, when introduc’d into Religion, extinguish, but rather inflame this Zeal: as we may shew perhaps in our following Chapter more particularly; if we return again, as is likely, to this Subject. For this, we perceive, is of a kind apt enough to grow upon our hands. We shall here, therefore, observe only what is obvious to every Student in sacred Antiquitys, That from the contentious Learning and Sophistry of the antient Schools (when true Science, Philosophy, and Arts were already deep in their * Decline) religious Problems of a like contentious Form sprang up; and certain DoctrinalTests were fram’d, by which religious Partys were ingag’d and lifted against one another, with more Animosity than in any other Cause or Quarrel had been ever known. Thus religious Massacres began, and were carry’d on; Temples were demolish’d; holy Utensils destroy’d; the sacred Pomp trodden under-foot, insulted; and the Insulters in their turn expos’d to the same Treatment, in their Persons as well as in their Worship. Thus Madness and Confusion were brought upon the World, like that Chaos, which the Poet miraculously describes in the mouth of his mad Hero: When even in Celestial Places, Disorder and Blindness reign’d:—“No Dawn of Light”;
[* ]Viz. Letter concerning Enthusiasm, above. VOL. I. Treatise I.
[† ] VOL. I. pag. 54.
[* ]Viz. Treatise I. (Letter ofEnthusiasm) VOL. I. pag. 55. lin. 7.
[† ] VOL. II. p. 75, 105, 400, &c.
[‡ ] VOL. II. pag. 400.
[† ] ουδὲν μέρος Ὁμήρῳ ἄθεον, οὐδὲ δυνάστου ἄπορον, οὐδὲ ἀρχη̑ς ἔρημον, ἀλλὰ πάντα μεστὰ θείων ὀνομάτων καὶ θείων λόγων, καὶ θείας τέχνης. [No part in Homer is devoid of Gods, or bare of princes, or destitute of magistrates; but all is full of names and speeches and art of Gods.] Maximus Tyr. Dissert. xvi.
[‡ ]Viz.Lucretius. As above, VOL. I. p. 52.
[** ] κόσμος, Mundus. From whence that Expostulation, έν σοὶ μέν τις κόσμος ὑφίστασθαι δύναται, ἐν δὲ τῳ̑ παντὶ ἀκοσμία; M. Ant. Lib. iv. 27. [We might with correct etymology call the universe an order, but not a disorder.] And that other Allusion to the same word, κόσμον δ’ ἐτύμως τὸ σύμπαν, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἀκοσμίαν ὀνομάσαις ἄν. [Or can a certain order subsist within thee, and none in the universe?] Below, pag. 264. in the Notes.
[* ] VOL. I. pag. 138, 139, &c. VOL. II. pag. 100, 104, 5, 6.
[† ] VOL. II. pag. 429, 430.
[‡ ]The Honestum, Pulchrum, τὸ καλόν, πρέπον [the beautiful, the fitting]. Infra, pag. 182, &c.
[* ]Supra, pag. 32. And VOL. I. pag. 48, 49, 117, &c.
[1 ]Primus in orbe deos fecit timor.
[* ] Letter of Enthusiasm, VOL. I. pag. 49.
[† ] So The Stagirite: διὰ γὰρ τὸ θαυμὰζειν οἱ ἄνθρωτοι καὶ νυ̑ν καὶ τὸ πρω̑τον ἤρξαντο φιλοσοφει̑ν. [For it was through wonder that men first began, and do still begin, to philosophise.] Metaph. Lib. i. Cap. 2. See below, pag. 202, 203 in the Notes.
[‡ ] τὸ καλὸν καὶ ἀγαθόν [the beautiful and good].
[* ]Infra, pag. 130.
[* ] A Passage of History comes to my mind, as it is cited by an eminent Divine of our own Church, with regard to that Spirit of MARTYRDOM which furnishes, it seems, such solid Matter for the Opinion and Faith of many Zealots. The Story, in the words of our Divine, and with his own Reflections on it, is as follows: “Two Franciscans offer’d themselves to the Fire to prove Savanorola to be a Heretick. But a certain Jacobine offer’d himself to the Fire to prove that Savanorola had true Revelations, and was no Heretick. In the mean time Savanorola preach’d; but made no such confident Offer, nor durst he venture at that new kind of Fire-Ordeal. And put Case, all four had pass’d thro’ the Fire, and died in the flames; What wou’d that have prov’d? Had he been a Heretick, or no Heretick, the more, or the less, for the Confidence of these zealous Idiots? If we mark it, a great many Arguments whereon many Sects rely, are no better Probation than this comes to.” Bishop Taylor in his dedicatory Discourse, before his Liberty of Prophesying. See Letter of Enthusiasm, VOL. I. pag. 26, &c.
[* ]Infra, p. 90, 91.
[† ] Juvenal. Sat. xv. ver. 35. See VOL. II. p. 387, 388.
[‡ ] ἔστι δὲ Αἰγυπτίων έπτὰ γένεα· καὶ τούτων οἱ μέν, ἱρέες, οἱ δέ, μάχιμοι κεκλέαται.—οὐδὲ τούτοισιν ἔξεστι τέχνην ἐπασκη̑σαι οὐδεμίην, ἀλλὰ τὰ ἐς πόλε- μον ἐπασκέουσι μου̑να, παι̑ς παρὰ πατρὸς ἐκδεκόμενος. [The Egyptians are divided into seven classes—one of priests, one of warriors, etc. . . . The warriors may not practise any craft, but only that of war, which they inherit by birth.] Herodot. L. ii. §. 164.
ἱρα̑ται δὲ οὐκ εἱ̑ς ἑκάστου τω̑ν θεω̑ν, ἀλλὰ πολλοὶ . . ἐπεὰν δέ τις ἀποθάνῃ, τούτου ὁ παι̑ς ἀντικατίσταται. [Not one priest, but a whole college of priests, is consecrated to each god, . . . and when one priest dies his son is consecrated in his place.] Ibid. §. 37.
[* ] τη̑ς δὲ χώρας ἁπάσης εἰς τρία μέρη διῃρημένης, &c. Cum tota regio in tres partes divisa sit, primam sibi portionem vendicat ordo sacerdotum, magnâ apud indigenas auctoritate pollens, tum ob pietatem in deos, tum quod multam ex eruditione scientiam ejusmodi homines asserunt. Ex reditibus autem suis cuncta per AEgyptum sacrificia procurant, ministros alunt; & propriis commoditatibus ancillantur, ται̑ς ἰδίαις χρείαις χορηγου̑σιν. Non enim (AEgyptii) existimant fas esse deorum honores mutari, sed semper ab eisdem eodem ritu peragi, neque eos necessariorum copiâ destituti qui in commune omnibus consulunt. In universum namque de maximis rebus consulentes, indesinenter Regi praestò sunt, in nonnullis tanquam participes imperii, in aliis reges, duces & magistri (συνεργοί, εἰσηγηταί, διδάσκαλοι) existentes. Ex astrologia quoque & sacrorum inspectione, futura praedicunt, atque è sacrorum librorum scriptis res gestas cum utilitate conjunctas praelegunt. Non enim, ut apud Graecos, unus tantummodo vir, aut foemina una, sacerdotio fungitur; sed complures sacrificia & honores deûm obeuntes, liberis suis candem vitae rationem quasi per manus tradunt. Hi autem cunctis oneribus sunt immunes, & primos post Regem honoris & potestatis gradus obtinent. [The whole country being divided into three parts, the order of priests claims the first part. It enjoys great authority among the people, both for its piety toward the Gods and for its profound learning. Out of their revenues the priests find all the sacrifices for Egypt, pay their servants, and meet their own expenses. For the Egyptians do not think it lawful to change the rites of the Gods, but hold that they must be carried on unchanged by the same class of persons, and that those who watch for all must not lack bread. For the priests, perpetually watching for the general good, are ever by the king’s side; and in some matters they share his power, in some they act as fellow-workers, advisers, teachers. They also foretell the future from astronomy and from the examination of victims, and from their sacred books they give useful teaching in history. For it is not as with the Greeks, among whom one man or one woman holds a priesthood, but several Egyptian priests attend to sacrifices and ritual, and they pass on the same way of life by inheritance to their children. They are exempted from all taxes, and they enjoy the first rank and dignity after the king. (This text was originally written in Greek; Shaftesbury quotes the opening lines from the Greek, then proceeds to supply the entire passage in Latin.)] Diod. Sic. lib. i. pag. 66.
[* ]Infra, p. 79.
[* ] Which was one Third. βουλομένην δὲ τὴν Ἴσιν, &c. Sed cumIsislucro etiam Sacerdotes invitare vellet ad cultus istos, (nempeOsiridis,mariti fato functi) tertiam eis terrae partem εἰς προσόδους, ad Deorum ministeria & sacra munia, fruendam donavit. [But as Isis wished to encourage the priests by gain also to the worship of her dead husband Osiris, she granted them one-third of the country, to employ its revenues for divine duties and sacrifices. (Again, Shaftesbury quotes the introductory words in Greek, then quotes the entire passage in Latin.)] Diod. Sic. lib. i. A remarkable Effect of Female Superstition! See also the Passage of the same Historian, cited above, pag. 43. in the Notes.
[† ] See Treatise II. viz. Sensus Communis, (VOL. I.) pag. 85, &c. Herodotus gives us the History at length in his third Book.
[‡ ] Diod. Sic. lib. i. p. 17, & 73.
[** ] Herodot. Euterpe; & Diod. Sic. lib. iii.
[† ] κατὰ τὴν Μερόην οἱ περὶ τὰς τω̑ν θεω̑ν θεραπείας τε καὶ τιμὰς διατρίβοντες ἱερει̑ς, &c. Qui in Meroe (urbe, & insula primaria AEthiopum) Deorum cultus & honores administrant sacerdotes, (ordo autem hic maximâ pollet auctoritate) quandocumque ipsis in mentem venerit, misso ad Regem nuncio, vitâ se illum abdicare jubent. Oraculis enim Deorum hoc edici: nec fas esse ab ullo mortalium, quod Dii immortales jusserint, contemni. [The priests who look after the ritual and worship of the Gods at Meröe (and very great is the authority of this order) send word to the king, whenever they think fit, that he must die; for so (they say) the oracles of the Gods enjoin, and what Gods command no mortal must disobey.—Diod. Sic. iii. 6.]—So much for their Kings. For as to Subjects, the Manner was related a little before. Unus ex lictoribus ad reum mittitur, signum mortis praeferens: quo ille viso, domum abiens sibi mortem consciscit. [One of their attendants is sent to the accused, bearing a sign of death; whereupon the accused goes home and kills himself.—Diod. Sic. iii. 5.] This, the People of our days wou’d call Passive-Obedience and Priest-craft, with a witness. But our Historian proceeds—Et per superiores quidem aetates, non armis aut vi coacti, sed merae superstitionis, ὑπ ’αὐτη̑ς τη̑ς δεισιδαιμονίας fascino, mente capti reges sacerdotibus morem gesserunt: donecErgamenes,AEthiopum rex, (Ptolomaeosecundo rerum potiente) Graecorum disciplinae & philosophiae particeps, mandata illa primus adspernari ausus fuit. Nam hic animo, qui regem deceret, sumto, cum militum manu in locum inaccessum, ubi aureum fuit templum AEthiopum, profectus; omnes illos sacrificos jugulavit, & abolito more pristino, sacra pro arbitrio suo instauravit. [In former generations the kings, not forced by arms, but simply bewitched by superstition, obeyed the priests. But Ergamenes, king of the Ethiopians in the time of Ptolemy II., who was initiated into Greek philosophy, was the first to despise their orders. With kingly courage he marched his soldiers upon the inaccessible spot where stood the golden temple of the Ethiopians, cut down all the priests, abolished the old usage, and rearranged the ritual to his own liking. (In each of these Greek and Latin references, Shaftesbury opens the quotation in Greek and completes it in Latin.)] Diod. Sic. lib. iii.
[* ] ὡς δὲ αὐτοὶ λέγουσι, ἔτεά ἐστι ἑπτακισχίλια καὶ μύρια ἐσ Ἄμασιν βασιλεύ- σαντα, ἐπεί τε ἐκ τω̑ν ὀκτὼ θεω̑ν οἱ δυώδεκα θεοὶ ἐγένοντο. [By the Egyptians’ own story it is 17,000 years from the time when the eight Gods grew into twelve down to the reign of Amasis.] Herodot. lib. ii. sect. 43.
[‡ ] οἱ δὲ οὐ̑ν Αἰγύπτιοι, &c. AEgyptii plurimas colonias ex AEgypto in orbem terrarum disseminatas fuisse dicunt. In Babylonem colonos deduxit Belus, qui Neptuni & Libyae filius habetur: & positâ ad Euphratem sede, instituit sacerdotes ad morem AEgyptiorum exemptos impensis & oneribus publicis, quos Babylonii vocant Chaldaeos, qui, exemplo Sacerdotum & Physicorum, Astrologorumque in AEgypto, observant stellas. [The Egyptians say that very many colonies were scattered over the world from Egypt. Belus, who is reputed son of Poseidon and Libya, led colonists to Babylon. After planting his town on the Euphrates, he instituted priests after the Egyptian fashion, exempt from taxes and public burdens; these, whom the Babylonians call Chaldeans, like the priests and the men of science and the astronomers in Egypt, watch the stars. (Again, the passage is introduced with the Greek, then offered in its entirety in Latin.)] Diod. Sic. lib. i. p. 17. Ibid. p. 73.
[* ] Gen. cap. xii. ver. 10, &c.
[† ]Abramus, quando AEgyptum ingressus est, nondum circumcisus erat, neque per annos amplius viginti post reditum.—Illius posteri circumcisi sunt, & ante introitum, & dum in AEgypto commorati sunt: post exitum verò non sunt circumcisi, quamdiu vixit Moses.—Fecit itaque Josue cultros lapideos, & circumcidit filios Israel in Colle Praeputiorum. Factum Deus ratum habuit, dixitque, Hodie ἀφει̑λον τὸν ὀνειδισμὸν Αἰλύπτου ἀφ’ ὑμω̑ν, abstuli opprobrium AEgypti à vobis. Josue cap. 5. ver. 3. Tam AEgyptiis quàm Judaeis opprobrio erant incircumcisi.—Apud AEgyptios circumcidendi ritus vetustissimus fuit, & ἀπ’ ἀρχη̑ς ab ipso initio institutus. Illi nullorum aliorum hominum institutis uti volunt. [Abram, when he went into Egypt, had not yet been circumcised nor for more than twenty years after his return. . . . His descendants were not circumcised as long as Moses lived. Thus Joshua made polished stones and Israel circumcised its sons on the Hill of Foreskins. God held the deed valid and he said, Today I have taken away the censure of Egypt from you. Joshua ch. 5, v. 3. So they were uncircumcised as a disgrace to the Egyptians rather than the Judeans. Among the Egyptians the rite of circumcision was very long standing and they were willing to use the practices no other men use.] Herodot. lib. 2. cap. 91. τὰ αἰδοι̑α ᾠ̑ ἄλλοι μὲν ἐω̑σι ὡς ἐλένοντο, πλὴν ὅσοι ἀπὸ τούτων ἔμαθον· Αἰγύπτιοι δὲ περιτάμνονται. [The Egyptians practise circumcision, but no other people do so except those who have learned it from the Egyptians.] Herod. lib. ii. cap. 36. Marshami Chronicus Canon, p. 72.
[* ] Gen. cap. xvii.
[† ] Julius Firmicus, apud Marshamum, p. 452, 453.
[‡ ] It can scarce be said in reality, from what appears in Holy Writ, that their Retreat was voluntary: And for the Historians of other Nations, they have presum’d to assert that this People was actually expel’d Egypt on account of their Leprosy; to which the Jewish Laws appear to have so great a Reference. Thus Tacitus:Plurimi auctores consentiunt, ortâ per AEgyptum tabe, quae corpora foedaret, regem Occhorim, adito Hammonis oraculo, remedium petentem, purgare regnum, & id genus hominum ut invisum Deis, alias in terras avehere jussum. Sic conquisitum collectumque vulgus,—Mosen unum monuisse, &c. [Several authors agree that when a disfiguring disease spread among the Egyptians, king Bocchoris consulted the oracle of Hammon, and was bidden to purge the kingdom and remove from it that class of men (the sick) as offensive to the Gods. So when the mob was hunted up and got together . . . Moses alone advised.] Hist. lib. v. c. 3. AEgyptii, quum scabiem & vitiliginem paterentur, responso moniti eum (Mosen) cum aegris, ne pestis ad plures serperet, terminis AEgypti pellunt. Dux igitur exulum factus, sacra AEgyptiorum furto abstulit: quae repetentes armis AEgyptii, domum redire tempestatibus compulsi sunt. [When the Egyptians were suffering from leprosy they were warned by an oracle to expel Moses and the sick from Egypt, lest the disease should spread further. Becoming therefore leader of the exiles, Moses stole the sacred objects of the Egyptians; and when the Egyptians tried to recapture these, they were driven home by storms.] Justin. lib. xxxvi. c. 2. And in Marsham we find this remarkable Citation from Manetho: Amenophin regem affectasse θεω̑ν γενέσθαι θεατήν, ὤσπερ Ω̑̓ρ εἰ̑ς τω̑ν πρὸ αὐτου̑ βεβασιλευκότων, Deorum esse contemplatorem, sicut Orum quendam Regum priorum. Cui responsum est, ὅτι δυνήσεται θεοὺς ἰδει̑ν, quòd posset videre Deos, si Regionem à leprosis & immundis hominibus purgaret. [That king Amenophis desired to see the Gods, like Orus, an earlier king, and received the answer from an oracle that he might see the Gods if he cleared the country of filthy lepers.] Chronicus Canon, p. 52.
[* ] See what is cited above (p. 52. in the Notes from Marsham) of the Jews returning to Circumcision under Joshua, after a Generation’s Intermission: This being approv’d by God, for the reason given, “That it was taking from them the Reproach of the Egyptians, or what render’d them odious and impious in the eyes of that People.” Compare with this the Passage concerning Moses himself, Exod. iv. 18, 25, 26. (together with Acts vii. 30, 34.) where in regard to the Egyptians, to whom he was now returning when fourscore years of Age, he appears to have circumcis’d his Children, and taken off this National Reproach:Zipporah his Wife, nevertheless, reproaching him with the Bloodiness of the Deed; to which she appears to have been a Party only thro’ Necessity, and in fear rather of her Husband, than of GOD.
[† ] Ezek. xx. 25. Acts xv. 10. Of these AEgyptian Institutions receiv’d amongst the Jews, see our Spencer.Cum morum quorundam antiquorum toleratio vi magnâ polleret, ad Hebraeorum animos Dei legi & cultui conciliandus, & à reformatione Mosaicâ invidiam omnem amoliretur; maximè conveniebat, ut Deus ritus aliquos antiquitùs usitatos in sacrorum suorum numerum assumeret, & lex à Mose data speciem aliquam cultus olim recepti ferret.—Ita nempe nati factique erant Israelitae, ex AEgypto recens egressi, quod Deo penè necesse esset (humanitùs loqui fas sit) rituum aliquorum veterum usum iis indulgere, & illius instituta ad eorum morem & modulum accommodare. Nam populus erat à teneris AEgypti moribus assuetus, & in iis multorum annorum usu confirmatus.—Hebraei, non tantum AEgypti moribus assueti, sed etiam refractarii fuerunt.—Quemadmodum cujusque regionis & terrae populo sua sunt ingenia, moresque proprii, ita natura gentem Hebraeorum, praeter caeteres orbis incolas, ingenio moroso, difficili, & ad infamiam usque pertinaci, finxit.—Cum itaque veteres Hebraei moribus essent asperis & efferatis adeò, populi conditio postulavit, ut Deus ritus aliquos usu veteri firmatos iis concederet, & νομικὴν λατρείαν τῃ̑ ἑαυτω̑ν ἀσθενείᾳ συμβαίνουσαν (uti loquitur Theodoretus) cultum legalem eorum infirmitati accommodatum instituerit.—Hebraei superstitiosa gens erant, & omni pene literaturá destituti. Quam altè Gentium superstitionibus immergebantur, è legibus intelligere licet, quae populo tanquam remedia superstitionis imponebantur. Contumax autem bellua superstitio, si praesertim ab ignorantiae tenebris novam ferociam & contumaciam hauserit. Facilè verò credi potest, Israelitas, nuper è servorum domo liberatos, artium humaniorum rudes fuisse, & vix quicquam supra lateres atque allium AEgypti sapuisse. Quando itaque Deo jam negotium esset, cum populo tam barbaro, & superstitioni tam impensè dedito; penè necesse fuit, ut aliquid eorum infirmitati daret, eosque dolo quodam (non argumentis) ad scripsum alliceret. Nullum animal superstitioso, rudi praecipuè, morosius est, aut majori arte tractandum. [When the acceptance of the old-fashioned morals was prevailing with great strength to reconcile the minds of the Hebrews to the laws and sacrificial rites of God and was removing all the ill-will from the Mosaic reformation, it was especially appropriate that God received some rites customary in former times into the number of his own sacred rituals and that the law given by Moses carried some aspect of these assimilated practices. Certainly the Israelites had been so born and reared, having departed from Egypt only recently, that it was almost necessary to God (it is right to say humane) to indulge them in the practice of some of their former rituals and to adapt his laws to their habit and standard. For they were a people habituated from childhood to the customs of the Egyptians and confirmed in them by the practice of many years. . . . The Hebrews were accustomed not only to the manners of the Egyptians but also to their obstinacies. . . . Just as a people from whatever locale and country have their own distinct character and habits peculiar to them, so nature fashioned the race of the Hebrews in distinction from the rest of the inhabitants of the world in disposition: capricious, difficult and stubborn even to the point of disgrace. . . . Therefore since the old Hebrews had such harsh and savage manners, the character of the people demanded that God would allow them some rituals of long-standing usage and a lawful servitude happened to them due to their own weakness; (just as Theodorus says) he established the ritual law suited to their weaknesses. . . . The Hebrews were a race full of superstitions and were almost destitute of all writing. How deeply they were immersed in the superstitions of the race you may understand from the laws which were being imposed on the people as if they were antidotes for superstitions. Moreover stiff-necked superstition is a monster, especially if from blind ignorance it will have drunk in a new ferocity and obstinacy. In truth it can easily be believed that the Israelites recently freed from slavery were untutored in civilized arts and scarcely had a taste for anything beyond the bricks and garlic of the Egyptians. And so since now God had a duty to people so barbarous and so thoroughly dedicated to superstition it was almost necessary that he give something to the inconstancy of those weak men and would draw them to himself by a certain trick (not by arguments). No animal is more full of dread, so especially ignorant, more wayward or in need of being taken in hand with greater skill.] Spencerus de Leg. Hebr. pag. 627, 628, 629.
[* ] (1.) καὶ ἐπαιδεύθη Μωση̑ς πάσῃ σοφίᾳ Αἰλυπτίων· ἠ̑ν δὲ δυνατὸς ἐν λόγοις καὶ ἐν ἔργοις. Act. Apost. cap. vii. ver. 22. [(εν is in the Loeb edition, but not in Shaftesbury’s.—ES) And Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. And he was powerful in speeches and in deeds. (Loosely paraphrased/translated by Shaftesbury in the main text.)]
(2.) Exod. cap. vii. ver. 11, & 22.
(3.) Ibid. cap. viii. ver. 7.
(4.) Justin. lib. xxxvi. cap. 2.
[† ] Gen. cap. xxxix, &c. Minimus aetate inter fratres Joseph fuit, cujus excellens ingenium veriti fratres clam interceptum peregrinis mercatoribus vendiderunt. A quibus deportatus in AEgyptum, cùm magicas ibi artes solerti ingenio percepisset, brevi ipsi Regi percarus fuit [Joseph was the youngest of the brothers, and they, fearing his cleverness, kidnapped him and sold him to foreign merchants. These men carried him to Egypt, where he quickly learned magic and rose to high favour even with the king.] Justin. lib. xxxvi. c. 2.
[* ] Gen. xlvii. ver. 22, 26.
[† ] Gen. xli. ver. 45.
[‡ ] Exod. chap. iii. ver. 1. and chap. xviii. ver. 1, &c.
[** ] Such were the Midianites, Gen. xxxvii. ver. 28, 36.
[†† ] Exod. xviii. ver. 17–24.
[* ]Dryden, Indian Emperor, Act v. Scene 2.
[† ]Infra, pag. 81.
[* ] VOL. I. pag. 221, 222, & 350. in the Notes. And Infra, pag. 79, 80, 1, 2, &c.
[† ]OEDIPUS of Dryden and Lee.