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must be allo Priest or Pontifex : And from thence at this Day we stile the Emperors Pontifices. And so likewise in his Notes on the roth of the Æneids, he fays Æneas was likewise facrorum Rex, or Pontifex. And before him Priamus the Trojan King offers the Sacrifice which is described by Homer. Iliad. 3. And so not only Iulus, Aneas's Son, succeeded his Father in the Priesthood, but the Priesthood continued for many Ages afterwards at Rome in the Gens Julia, which defcended from him. Numa instituted those Sacra, called Regia, which were to be performed by the Kings only; ordaining likewise fome lubordinate Priests, who should supply their Places, when they were engaged in the Wars. So Julius Cafar, in Right of his Family, was High-Priest, and after him Angustus; and at last the Emperors were Pontifices Maximi of Course. So that you see the Priesthood, Philologus, is not such a modern Incroachment as you Deists would pres tend.
Phil. Let the Invention be early or late, it matters not much, for 'tis so very useless an one that Mankind would not be a Farthing the worse for, if it was quite laid aside ; for it costs us, I am sure, a great Deal of Money, and no Body, that I know, is the better for it. For People may live honestly, and say their Prayers as often as they think fit, without the Help of Parsons : or if they must have Guides, such an honest old Author as Tully or Seneca, or the good Advice of some fober wise Gentlemen, will conduct them in the Rules of Morality, without taking Tithes
for it. The Al- Cred. The World is very bad as it is, but I believe it vantage of would be ten Times worse, if there was not an Order of • Ministry. Men that did continually put People in Mind of their
Duty; and tho’ they be very negligent of Instruction, yet by hearing their Duty fo continually inculcated, fomething sticks at last, even in the worst Minds, and keeps them from being so profligately wicked as they would otherways be. 'Tis true indeed, 'tis pollible some Men may live good Lives without a Priesthood, or Clergy to instruct them; and so 'tis poflible to blunder out a strange
Way in the dark; but all Men must allow 'tis more easily
you must destroy your own Hypothesis by making them useless and insignificant. A good and conscientious Clergy-man that makes it his Business to encourage Piety and Virtue, will do more good than an hundred Tilly's and Seneca's; and the World would be well hope up, if they had no other Guides in Morality, than some of those wise sober Gentlemen, as you call them; many of which continue lewd as long as they can, and in their old Age turn Moral-mongers when they can be vitious no longer. But to go on.
2. Neither is your other Supposition true, that there Pure nuthwas ever any Age or Nation in the World, when or ral Religion where such a pure natural Religion as you imagine, with
practifedt. out any Manner of rituous Worship, was ever practised. I know not what secret Histories your Gentlemen may have of the Golden Age; but as for us dull Believers, we can't see one Word in all the ancient Books we meet withal, that gives us the least Hint of fuch a naked natural Religion as you speak of. If we have Recourse to the Poets, to whom we are beholden for all that is known of these Golden Ages, when these brave Men lived; they make Religion as Ritual as it is now, and altogether as full of Sacrifices and Revelations. Nay, the Account we have of the Goddess Atrea, which is a principal Part
of the poetical History of the golden Age, is that the
Ουδέποτ' αρχείων ανήναιο φύλα γυναικών,
Laus and the Virtues of a Social Life:
si c'927 árvis Scopellery
785 refus é maila
Neither do we see any of the ancient poetical Heroes, your Hercules's; and Pollux's, your brave natural RligionMen, but they are as much at Sacrifices as other People. As we lee by the Examples of Priam, Ulysses, and Achilles, and Æneas in Homer and Virgil, of Cadmus in
Ovid, of Perseus, Thesens, and all the Argonauts in Apollonius and other Poets.
And as there was never any Age of the World, in which this fuperfine natural Religion was uriiversálly practised, so neither was there, nor is there, any Part or Nation of it, where it can be found. All the anciently known World, from India to Britain, from Africa to Scythia, was all full of Rites and Ceremonies. To begin with our old Britains at home : They were so far from professing such a pure natural Religion as you contend for, that they were full of Idolatry, and cruel as well as silly Cerea monies. Their Rites were almost wholly magical, and they were so much wedded to that Art; as Pliny says, Hift. Lib. 30. Cap. I. ut dedifse Persis videri possint, that they seemed to set a Copy to the Persians in it. They adored a Multitude of Idols, Portenta Diabolica pené numero Ægyptiaca vincentia, as * Gildas calls them, a Coma pany of devilish Monsters, almost exceeding the Number of shose in Ægypt ; for besides the Saxon Idols of Tuisco, Thor, Woden, Seater, &c. they had the Celtick Teutates and Hefuis; and likewise Belénns or Bellatucadrus, as appears by an ancient Inscription lately found in Westmoreland, dedicated Sanéto Deo Bellatucadro ; as also another old God mentioned by + Sedulius, (who was a ScotchBritain) called Geada, or Geta. And when we farther consider the fond Ceremonies used by their Priests the Druids, in gathering || Oak-branches, and seeking Milletoe for their Sacrifices, their Cruelty in human Sacrifices, their killing the Victim upori the Altar with Arrows; or binding him round with Straw, and so burning him alive; with other barbarous and devilish Ceremonies; I fay, when we consider all this, we may very well exclude the Britains from the Purity of natural Religion. And if we proceed to our old Neighbours the Guils, we shall find them as deep in ritual Worship as the Britains: They
* Gildas de Excid. Brit.
had the same Foppery of the Druids with them, which
Et quibus immittis placatur fanguine diro
Et Taranis Scythic& non mitior ara Diana.
, the Companion of Bacchus, whose Rites were celebrated there. If we look upon the ancient Face of Germany, there is as little of pure natural Religion to be found, as any where else, but all is full of idolatrous Ceremony. And Cafar says t they sacrificed to the Sun, Vulcan or the Fire, and the Moon; which were the only Gods they saw; but as for others, ne famâ quidem acceperunt, they never fo much as heard of. But Tacitus * and + Fornandes make likewise Mars their principal God. Tacitus mentions their singing Hymns to Hercules when they went to War, De moribus Germ. and Panlus Diaconus speaks of their Woden, whom he interprets Mercury. To say nothing of the Rites of Tuisco, Friga, &c. which the Saxons afterwards transplanted into Britain : If we look Southward into Africa, we shall find them there busy with the Rites and Oracles of Jupiter Hammon, and with the Worship of an Abundance of their dead Kings || ; and if we look Northward into Scythia and Sarmatia, we shall find the Scythians bloody with the human Sacrifices
* Cæs. Bell. Gall. Lib.6. + Macrob. Sat. Cap.19. Strab. Lik.4. * Plin. Lib. 3. Cap. v. + Bell. Gall. Lib. 6. *" Ann, Lib. 4.
+ De rcbus Geticis. # Tertull. Apo. Cap. 24. Lactant. Lib. i. Cup. 15