Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

177

ey

vain Ambition, that

put
them
upon

such affect which many of them are reported to have n fuch fingular Diet and odd Aations, which s of their Lives relate of them? If they had do as much good as they could by their Phi•

would have communicated it to all; but

his, they taught it only to a feleet Number of Men that were their own Disciples; and this oftentimes under an Engagement of Secrecy, or in a way of Cant, which was unintelligible to all others. So that all these noble Rules of Morality, which would have made the World so happy, were confined to a few Gentlemen only, that could afford Time and Money to get

fuch philolo phical Tutors; but for the rest of the World, for all the Philosophers, they must be content to live like Beasts

ftill. The Ancient 2: The Do&rine which was taught by the Generality Philofo- of the Heathen Philosophers, was injurious to the Nature phers m. and Attributes of God. Now to conceive wrong Nothe Nature tions of God's Nature, will perfe&tly poison Men's Moof God.

rality; for Men must needs fuit their Aations fo as to be agreeable and acceptable to the Deity they worship. So that if Men fancy God an impure, senfual or careless Being, there is, no doubt, bue their Lives will be of the fame Piece. Therefore the erroneous Opinions of the Heathen Philosophers concerning the Deity, were not pardonable Blunders

, as many others in their Physiology were, but such Mistakes as were of fatal Confequence to the Virtuousness of their own and Followers Lives. And what a World of Mistakes shall we find them subject to of this Kind? Some of them were downright Atheists, and believed no God at all, as * Diagoras Melius, Theodorus, and Critias Atheniensis. The Spirituality of God was denied by Epicurus t, who was an Anthropomorphite, 1imply presuming that God was of the Figure of a Man';. and by Zenophanes, who made him opaigad a ma suis, a great Cimpailable Sphere or Globe of Matter. So Parmenides

*Sext. Emp. Hytot. Lib. 3. Cap. 24.

thi. ib.

Eliate Eliates * would have the Deity to be Fire and Earth, and Hippasus Metapontinus, and Heraclitus, the Fire only which Justin Martyr † relates of Plato likewise. The Unity of the Deity II was Universally denied by them all, and they owned either the Gods of the Country, or the Parts of the World to be such ; and tho'it was charged against Socrates in his Trial, that he disowned his Country-Gods; and their Worship ; yet at his Death he discovers himself to be down-right Pagan, and orders his Executors to Saa crifice the Cock + he had vowed to Æfculapius. And as for Plutarch #; one of the foberest of the Philosophers, he was the horridest Polytheist of them all; for he asserts two fupreme Anti-Gods, one infinitely good, and the other infinitely wicked, which of all Errors is the most monstrous and abominably absurd. The Infinity of God was denied by all those that asserted an infinité Number of Worlds *, as Anaximander, Anaximeres, Archelans, Diogenes, Lemcippus, Democritus, and Epicurus ; and by the Stoicks

, who generally made him thé Anima Muzdi: For two actual Infinites are impossible; and if the World be infinite, God is not. And as for the Anima Mundi, they made that only a subtile corporeal Flame, permcating the whole World, and so must be terminated at the Bounds of it, and consequently finite. The Freedom of the divine Will was destroyed by the Fatality of the Stoicks; and so was God's Omniporence fetter'd by the stubborn Laws of their unalterable Fate. As for God's Providence, that was perfeétly excluded the World by Epicurus, and not allow'd by Aristotle † on this Side the celeitial Spheres. Thus you have seen, how these great Oracles of Reason, and brave Natural-Religion-Men have been mistaken, eveni in the common Notions of the Deity. Let us fce now whether they are not's

Clem. Alex. Protrept. + Távcvale TW Stoy en Trupa docia avai Cohort.ad Grrcos.

| See Onatus the Pythagorean's Arguments for ilurality of Gods Stob. Ecl. Phys. Lib. i.

Plat. Plädo. # Plutarch. * Stob. Ed. Phys. Cap. de Ort. & Inter: * Id. Ec. Phyf. Cap. 25.

3. Mitikeri

N2

Erroneoils in their

oral Docirines.

3. Miftaken in their Opinions concerning Virtue and Viced I should make a Day of it, should I recite all the filly and the wicked Opinions which occur in the Writings and Lives of the Philosophers : I shall only mention some few of them; to put you in Mind, that these old Sages are not such excellent Masters in Morality as your

Thei fical Gentlemen would pretend, and that their Reason is no such infallible Guide in natual Religion as you

would have it. And now what shall we think of the little puny Philosophers, when the great Plaro * himself was an Advocate for the Community of Goods, which would perfectly destroy all Industry and Peace in a Commonwealth ; and what is yet wo:2, when he contends for the common Use of one another's Wives? The famous Zeno t, the Founder of the Stoical Sect, with his Followers after him, made all Sins equal, and that it was as great a Sin to steal a Pin, as to kill one's Father; and Sextus Empiricus || quotes out of him a Passage, wherein he would prove, that it is as law,ful to lie with one's Mother, as to stroak her Arm; he likewise brings in the same Zeno with the celebrated Stoicks Cleanthes and Chrysippus t, as making that execrable Crime of masculine Venery a Thing indifferent.. And Diogenes Laertius t in his Life lays it down as one of his Principles, to be merciful to no one, and to pardon no body. And Theophilus Antiochenus

brings in him and Cleanthes, as asserting that Sons and Daughters might as lawfully roast and eat their Parents Fies as other Food. He asserted that his veganonfuric, or Greatness of Soul, which was nothing else but a Stoical Pride, was sufficient for Happiness; but his Scholars, Paratii:s and Pollidonists, seeing this liable to so many Absurditics, were forced afterward to allow Health, Walth,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* Plat. Repub. Lib. 1. + La&ant. Lib. 3. Cap. 22.
1 E MB SEVS TUV Toruz taię zeesi 2015 wpinal štir
aineis. Ei se po beiger Spinas, é a süpsy afurefu Wapitis,
ma corsi hoidzes én añs maies &sc'écs nudrigas, to viv aiz.e; ;
Hyp. !ib. 3. Cap.2.!.

luih.
+ Diog. L-et. Vi. Zon. * Ad. Au ol.Lib. 2.

# Laert. in
Vir. Zen.

and

and Strength to make it up. Diogenes the Cynick *, as
all his currish Sect, denied, that there was any Shameful-
ness in publick Commixtures, and afferted, that Parents
t might lawfully facrifice their Children, and eat their
Flesh. And Epicurus | allows incestuous Copulation with
Mother, or Daughter. Aristippus & refused to maintain his
own Children, saying they were no more to be regarded
than the Spittle, or the Lice which were produced by the
Rody. He made the positive brutish Pleasure of the
Body (not Epicurus's Indolence) to be the chief Good
of Man ; and taught, that a wisc Man might commit
Theft, or Adultery, or Sacrilege, io , when he saw.
convenient Opportunity, and not otherwise ; that these
Crimes are not linful in themselves, setting aside the Opi-
nion of the simple Multitude which has made them lo.
And Lorertius records a sophistical Argument of his, which
he used, to prove the Lawfulness of Sodomy. Democri-
tus + condemns the Use of Marriage for the Trouble of
it, and Epicurus agrees with him in the same. And even
Aristotle * and Tully † are Advocates for Hatred and Re-
venge, those two most diaboliral Dispositions which
Mankind is subject to. Now this is enough upon this
Head, to shew how mighty deficient your natural Reli-
gion is to teach Men their Duty; and how infirm a Rule
of Morals human Reason is, when these so great Masters
of it could in these Matters be so shamefully mista-
ken.

4. Neither was the Practice of thc Hearben Philosophers, Their Lives
as to Moral Duties, better than their Principles. And truly, vitious. .
without Breach of Charity, I may conclude them all,
except Socrates (whom I am willing to have a good Opi-
nion of) to be a Parcel of hypocritical designing Knaves,
who talked a great Deal of Virtue, when they had not the
least Pretence to it." St. Antin || remarks Plato to practise

[ocr errors]

* Laert, in Vit. Diog, + Thcoph. Antioch. ał Auto!. Lib. 2.
| Id. ib. # Laert. Vit, Aristippi. . + Cle. Alex. Stom. Lib.2.

* Arist, ad Nicom. Vib. IV. c. 2, + Cic. de Invent. I. 2. &
Ep. ad Att.

+ Aug. de Civ. Dei, Lib. 8. Cap, 12.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the Idolatry of his Country, tho' against his Conscience, His Spleen and Pride were noted by all his Cotemporaries; which made Antisthenes *, when he saw him once vomiting, fay, I see his Gall come up, but where is his Pride? Thé fame Philofopher fecing a prancing Horse with gaudy Trappings, said to Plato, Behold your Picture. He spent a good part of his Time with Aristippus, as a Flatterer in Dionyfius's Court. Diogenes the Cynick kept a dirty Whore called Phryne †, and lay with her openly in the Streets !!. The famous Speusippus was killed in Adultery. Aristippus , besides a Houseful of Boys and Whores which he kept, was familiar, as he acknowledges himself

, with the famous Strumpet Lais. The same Aristippus villainously forswore + the Money which was depolited in his Hands. Crates, and the Philosophess Hipparchia *, used to stroll about the Country, and lie

together publickly in the Eyes of the People. Xenophon was a notorious Sodomite t, and kept a Boy called Clineas, to whom in Laertius he thus expresses his scandalous Passion,

would be blind to all Things else, fo I might see Clinias ; Thanks to the Day and the Sun ihat reveal to me Clinias's Fuce : And his Adversary Mero Pharfalius there upbraids him, not for the Vice it self, but for his wil orde ouderen liis making Use of grown Men for his lewd Purposes. Menippus ll the Cynick was a sordid Usurer, and hang'd himself at last for a great Loss. Menedemus , another Cynick (as most of the Tribe ) despised all Industry and human Sciences; and one shewing him a delicate Suns Dial, said only, 'twas a fine Invention for a Man not to Icse his Supper, The Philosopher Herillus f was in his Youth a pathick Boy. Cleauthes , Chryfippus, and Zeno, made away

with themselves; and so did Cato, whom Lactantins calls Socratice vanitaris imitator; and Cleombrotusy by reading Plato's Book of the Immortality of the

* Lacit, in V'it. Antist. + Tertul, in Apol. | Laert, in ejus Vit,

# Tert. Apol. Lactant. Lib. 3. Cap.7. Lacrt. in Ärift:ppo. + Ter-til. in Arci * Laert, in vita Hippar.

+ Diog. Laert, in Vit. Xenoph. | Id. Vit. Merip. Id. Vit. Menedemi. + Id. in cjus Vir. # Lact. Lib. z. Cap.7.

Soul.

« AnteriorContinua »