Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

own, * though he be so great an Advocate for the natural Deities. Saturnus, Janus, Faunus, Fatna, Romulus, and all the Dii indigites, are generally owned to be Princes of Italy; and the Latin Jupiter might probably be Æneas, who was called Jupiter Indiges

. Neither doth he receive his Name à juvando, as being so principal a Part of the Universe, as Varro, and Tully pretend ; but is only the Greek Zevs, with the usual Addition of Pater, as Marfpiter, Deispiter, it being usual to change the Greek 3 when put in Latin into y or G, which has the like Sound, as Süzer jugum, 317 Fičię Gingiber. And as for Juno, I look upon her to be but the old Jana; and Saturn to be the true Name of that old King, which is preserved still in the Teutonick, Seater. So was the famous Hammon of Africa Cham the first Prince, or Founder of that Country, Bacchus a great Conqueror in the East, and the celebrated Rhea, or Cybele, an adopted Daughter of Minos, an ancient King of Porygia, and Ceres, or Isis, a Queen of Ægypt. There is no Doubt, but these Deities

were first taken in as ascititious and tutelar Gods of the Place, and worshiped together with the supreme God, but in Time, like Saint-worship among the Papists, they justled out God Almighty through Pretence of their particular Inspection, and brought his Worship to little or nothing. And besides People stood upon Pun&ilio's of Honour, to have their particular God the greatest God; fo that there was not any little Hedge-God of a puny Province, but by his Votaries was equalled to the Gods of the King of Asyria. Hence Zeal for their Deities, and a fanciful Bigotery, founded abroad a Number of their Miracles and Excellencies, which coming to the Ears of foreign Countries, they in Time of Extremity, when they were willing to try all Experiments, adopted them their Gods too ; as the † Mater Idea was brought to Rome when Hannibal with his Army was ravaging Italy

, and lÆf culapius was canonised there in that raging Pestilence which happened, An. V. C. 460. So that in Time

* De Nat. Deor. Lib.3. Liv. Hif. Lib. 39.c, 10. | Id. Lib. 10.

And Stars.

[ocr errors]

this translating of Deities from one Country to another,
did very much conduce to the Increase of the Heathen

Polytheism and fabulous Stories of their Gods.
By the wor- . 3. Another great Cause of it was the early and almost
Ship of the universal Worship of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. It is
Sun, Moon certain, that the idolatry of the Sun and Moon is very

ancient, by the Book of fob, which probably is the
oldest Writing extant; for Fob there maintaining his In-
tegrity, disowns his ever having worshiped the Sun or
Moon. If I beheld the Sun when it shined, or the Moon
walking in Brightness, and my Heart hath been secretly ena
ticed, or my Mouth has kissed my Hand; this were also an
Iniquity to be punished by the Judge, for I should have den
nied the God ibat is above. Job xxxi. 26, (C. And Ma-
crobius spends seven whole Chapters in his first Book of
Şaturnalia, to prove, that Apollo

, Mars, Mercury, Æf
culapius, Salus, Hercules, Isis, Serapis, Adonis, Aitys, Off-
ris, Horus, Nemesis, Pan, and even Saturn and Jupiter
were nothing else but the Sun. And if one considers
the Gloriousness of that Planet, and its extraordinary Be-
neficialness to the Earth, one can hardly imagine, but
that the first Idolaters paid their Worship to it. . 'Tis
plain by History, that the Persian Mithras was but ano
ther Name for the Sun. And learned Men have proved;
that the Moabitish Baal-Peor, the Syrian Moloch, the
Arabian Vrotalt, the Æthiopian Ajabinus, and other
Deities, were nothing else but the Sun. V. Vullium de
Orig. Idol. Spenc. di Leg. Heb. Selden, de Diis Syrisa
That Hecate and Diana were but other Names for the
Moon, is known to every one ; and, Orpheus in his
Hymns makes her Proferpina too.

Ωρών συμπλέκτειρα, φαεσφίες, αγλαόμορφο
'Eupenes, xegéscsa
Spinster of Time, of bright and beauteous Form)
Oshining, horned Goddess.

The

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The same was in Probability the Ægyptian Isis, the Assyrian Astarte, or Astaroth, the Arabian Alilat, and the Greek Ilithyia. The other Planets gave Names to some Gods, as to Mars, Mercury, Venus or Dione, as the fanciful Forms of the Constellations might do to others, as to Hercules and Orion; and when all these different Names, which were given the same Luminaries in so many several Countries, came to be carried to Greece and Rome, who understood nothing of these barbarous Languages, they presently took them for new Deities Dood Ebriol, outlandish Gods, which they had never worshiped before ; so that this alone must in Time swell their List of Deities to a considerable Length.

4. Another Cause of their Polytheism and fabulous Di- By deifying
vinity, was their making Gods and Goddesses of Words, Words
a Sort of grammatical Deities, that were made Gods when
of the Masculine, and Goddesses when of the feminine
Gender. Thus Somnus, and Dolor and Pavor, were He
Gods; and Pecunia, Prudentia, and Concordia, were She
ones, with a World more of the like. Now when the
Heathen had gotten this Way of stocking Heaven, 'tis a
Mercy they had not left us the whole Dictionary full of
Gods. And just at the same Rate the Nurses and good
Women were the Authors of a Multitude of Deities. It
was they that invented the Office of Lucina to give an
easy Labour, of Opis to receive the Child; of the God

Vagicanus, that opened the Mouth of the Child to cry;
of Levana, that took the Child up when 'twas down; of
Cunina which guarded the Cradle, of the Carmentes which
"read the Destiny of it, of Rumina which made it fuck,
Educe and Potina, which made it eat and drink; of Me-
nas, Fortuna Barbata, Juguntinus, &c. Now I fancy,
Philologus, I should make you break your Brains, should.
I set you to give a philosophical Account of all those
ties, when an old Woman could coin twenty of them
in a Breach.

Phil. I thank you, Sir, for your kind offer; but I don't
Care to be set to fuch Sort of Work as the Conjurers do
* Vjd. Var. Ling. Lat. Lib. 4. August. Civ. Dei, Lib. 4. Cap. 11.

the

!

[ocr errors]

the Devils they raise; to pick Oatmeal and tell Sand. But although some silly People might make odd Sort of Work with natural Religion heretofore ; yet as it was taugl.. and practised by the wisest of the Heathen, it was à noble Religion, full of wise Thought and rational Deduction; the Didates whereof were not proved by Chapter and Verse, but by folid and curious Reasoning. Ånd this your Divines are aware of well enough, when they are forced now and then to bring in a Shred or two of the ancient Learning, to add a Poignancy to their dull Difcourses of Morality, to keep the Folks from sleeping: And I observe generally an Auditory on a sudden to look brisk upon Plaro and Tully, when they have been nodding over Paul and Peter. And truly there is good Reason for it ; for their Books and Sayings afford us such admirable Lectures of Morality; in them we may see the Duty of Mankind set out fo fully and exactly, and in such charming Strains of Eloquence, that all your inspired Authors, as you call them, look very poor Things to them. Now who can blame me for standing up for natural Religion, when

you see it could raise these philosophical Minds to such a noble Height, as Revelation can never pretend to? I cannot read a piece of Seneca, or Plutarch, or any

of those excellent Philosophers, but methinks, my Soul is warm'd with the Braveness of the Thoughts, and I am at the same Time convinced of, and in Love with my Duty. And I doubt not, but had I liv'd in those Times to have made the Observation, I might have perceived, that the Lectures and Examples of these admirable Men had considerable Influence upon the Lives of the common People; at least, I am sure, there was Force enough in their Do&trine to make them completcly good. Sit assim ma mea cum animis Philosophorum; and in another State; let me but confort with the Plato's and Zeno's, and I shall never envy your Armies of Saints and Martyrs. Cred. I will be kinder to you than

you are to your self; and will put up my Prayers to God, that you may have a place in the Resurrection of the Juft, and may be of the Number of God's Elect, and then I am sure you are safe. 179 It shall not be my Business to predetermine the future Stato, of those good Heathens, that have lived up to the Light of their Řeason. I know thcy are to stand or fall by the Judgment of a merciful God; and therefore for my Part I am always inclined to hope very well of them.' But this I am sure of, that the Morality of the Heathen Philofophers was so far from being a compleat Rule of Morals, that it was very erroneous, both as it represented the Nature of God and the Notion of Virtue; and that it was so far from having any Influence upon the Lives of tlie Commonalty, that for the most part it had little or none upon their own. As for their good Language and handsome Thought, that was the Talent and peculiar Study of those Ages ; but then again, that which sulied all their Perfor mances, and spoil'd the best Things they did, or said, was, that Pride and Vain-glory, which was common to all of them, and which ah their Words and A&tions were : bottomed upon. For I will make it appear to you, Phikologus,

1. That Pride and Vain-glory was the Primùm Mobile, Morality of the first Spring of the Morality of the old Philofophers, the Philoand not a Delign of doing Good. Now such a pitiful sophers, End, as this is, is enough to spoil the best A&tion in the World. Terrrellian, * I remember, calls a Philosopher the Arimal of Glory; and if one considers the Generality of their Writings and Practice; one shall find he had great Rcafon for it. And Cicero is so ingenuous as to own the Charge, though against himself : For he tells us sincerely, Vule plane virtus honorem, nec eft virtutis ulla alia merccs. Virtue does plainly desire Honour, neither has flue any other Reward. And if a Man scans the whole Tenor of the Philosopher's Lives, he can never think they had any other End. For what other Account belides gaiting Glory, and a Name in the World, can be given of their Hatching fo many different Priticiples; both

in Physiology and Morality, but only to be taken Notice of for inventing something singular and remarkable? What was

grounded upon Pride,

Lib. de Animà Cic. de Amiciliu

« AnteriorContinua »