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of Bravery, and countenanced by the Philosopers. Vid. Sen. de Ira. Lib. 3. Cap. 15. Plin. Nat. Hift. Lib. 2. Cap. 63. .
Common Swearing is forbidden by our Religion, and discountenanced by all good Men of our Faith, and the mostWicked are not so impudent as to use it in their serious Discourse or their Writings; but among the Heathens it was used by the most sober Men, for vai are, and Meherculė, to swear by Jupiter and Hercules, is the usual Phrase of Socrates, Plato, and Cicero ; to speak nothing of Epicurus, whose Books are noted to be filled with unhallowed Oaths.
In all Places where Christianity has Footing, Men have a Tenderness for their Children, and take Care to educate them as well as they can, tho' to their own Detriment; but among the ancient Heathens it was a common Thing to throw their Children, when born, into the next Ditch they met with, and leave who chanced to find them to take Care of them.
Tho' the Arms of Christian Princes cannot always be excused, yet none of them have ever had the Confidence, as the oid Heathens bad, bare-facedly to proclaim War for Honour and Glory's Sake. No Prince among us ever went to butcher so many Countries as Alexander did, only to wear Garlands; or as the Romans did, to have the Glory of a Triumph ; who, as one observes, if they Thould have restored again what they had unjustly got, must have been reduced to their Roszulcan Cottages. And I am sure none of our Divines ever stated the Cafe as Tully did, That Wars for Glory's Sake were not absolutely unlawful, but only mitius gerenda funt, they are not to be carried on with such Cruelty as others.
The most prodigal among us are soberly parsimonious, if compared with those mad Excesses in the Way of Living among the ancient Romans ; if we consider what prodigious Quantities of Money were expended in making Shews for the People, in Largitions, in building Baths, Amphitheatres, and the like ; if we recollect, how some of them have made Suppers that cost the Revenue of Pro
vinces, that pounded inestimable Jewels to drink their ..
We live indeed in a very vitious Age, in which Sen- Enormo!li sualicy does highly abound among Christians: But if you Lufts. consider the Lives of the ancient Heathen, or even Mahometans and Idolaters now-a-days, our Vices are no Ways comparable to their scandalous Turpitudes. The Greeks and Germans used masculine Venery, as one of the laudable Customs of their Country*; and in Ægypt the more common a Whore was, the more honourable, and for this Reason was allowed to wear a wetpustov, or a Garland of Honour upon her Head. In short, the Christian World: has indisputably gained so much of Virtue by the Means of the Gospel, that many of those abominable Lufts which were generally practised by the Heatliens, as appears by their Authors, have never been heard of by the Generality of the most lewd and debauched Christians.
And lastly, I observe that before Christianity there was No decot hardly any fiich Thing as a conscientious and devout Wor. Iförfmif. ihip of God, or even of their own Deities. They never prayed to God for Virtues and Graces, but only for Riches, Honours, or Children, or the like. Their Prayers were generally such as the Woman's in Juvenal;
Formam optat modico pueris, majore puellis
The anxious Dame to Venus Temple hies,
And for fine Boys she moderately cries : · But for fair Girls her Voice is higher raisid; , Oratm'.
Eager, and with her bare Petitions pleas' do Jam.
And all their Sacrifices, which we have an Account of were only design'd to bribe the Gods, to procure them a Victory, or some such temporal Advantage, or else to red turn them Thanks for the same.
Orandum eft, ut fit mens fana in corpore fano, was rather a philosophical Thought, than the Practice either of the Multitude, or the Philosophers themselves ; and it was never known that ever Men met together in Assemblies; or usually prayed to God in private, for any Blessings of chis Nature, but under a revealed Institution:
So that upon the whole, Sir, you see, that natural Rea ligion, as it is the Result of Reason only, is a Rule of Morals miserably defective. For how strangely at a Loss must the poor common People be, to get a Knowledge of a great Part of their Duty, which the most fagacious and learned Philosophers blundered at? Or how Mall we think that natural Religion is sufficient to regulate the Lives of ignorant and barbarous People, which the World is for the most Part made up of; when two such knowing Nations, as the Greeks and Romans, were so scandalously mistaken in it? Make the best of natural Religion you can, it will be at least but a Candle to the Sun, iñi Respect of the Knowledge which our Christian Revelation affords; for under the Gospel our very Women and Children, and the ordinariest of our Catechumens, are more knowing in moral Duties, and more right in their Notions of the Nai ture and Attributes of God, than the Sages of old were; after a Life spent in the Porch or the Garden : And tell me any Philosopher that has bravely defied Death; and we will with infinite Advantage on our Side, confront him with whole Armies of Christian Martyrs:
Phil. This is brave, positive, tearing Stuff, for a Parson ; to talk to a bigoted Auditory, where there is no Fear of being contradicted; but I can never believe, that God should give such an imperfect Law, which you would "Bhake of the natural one, to the Generality of Mankind, and put no Body of all the vast Swarms in the Gentile World in Hopes of Salvation, but only fome few Chriftians for their believing in Jesus Christ. God Almighty, I am sure, is a kind and merciful Father, and contrives the greatest Good for all his Creatures, which they are capable of; and therefore whereas all the Gentile Nations have immortal Souls, and are capable of everlasting Felicity, it can never be supposed, but that in this world they are in the Way to Salvation; and that the Law that is given them, which can be none but the natural one, is sufficio ent to attain it by : So that if this be sufficient to carry them to Heaven, you may banter what you please about the Imperfection of it. For my Part, I am for going thither the nearest Way, and that is by natural Religion : I am not for Coasting about to take in Ceremonies and long Articles of Faith, to no Purpose. Either God Almighty has damned all the Heathen World, that practised natural Religion, which none but a Popish or a Calvinistical Cruelty can affert ; or I, who am for the same natural Religion, am in as comfortable a Way of Salvation, as e'er a Gospeller of you all.
Cred. I think, Sir, you conclude a little too fast, when God more you say, that you modern Theists are in as good Hopes severe to
modern of everlasting Happiness, as the old Heathen ; for I take your Cases to be very different. They, poor People, ne-than ancia ver were in a Capacity of receiving the glad Tidings of ene Her the Gospel, or they were possessed with such invincible thons. Prejudices of Education under a superstitious Worship, chat they could not receive the blessed Seed to Improvement ; which, without all Doubt, God will make great Allowances for. But the Persons of your Way, after having received the Seed of God's Word, have trampled upon it ; you have seen the Light of the Gospel, and Thut your Eyes upon it; you have turned Renegadoes to
your blessed Redeemer, and perfidiously deserted his Institution, which in your Baptism you swore to live and die under. So that you are strangely mistaken, to think that your Condition hereafter will be as good as the old Pagans. Your Cales are as wide, as those of Foreigners and Domestick Rebels, in a Civil War ; their Obedience was not expected by Christ, but you have traiterously deserted him, and fought against him, contrary to your fworn Allegiance. So that whatever Mercy they inay find at God's Hand, you can expe& nothing but the ut.
most Severity. Heathens And then as for the Case of the Heathens, which you do not go to would willingly skreen your selves under ; tho' I cannot Heaven.
be fo uncharitable as to think, that all they are concluded under eternal Damnation, for not being of a Religion they never heard of; yet I can see no Grounds to believe they shall ever be Heirs of our Christian Salvation, or that State of Glory which Christ has promised to his Followers. To be saved, or to partake of whatsoever Glories are comprehended under that Name, is the peculiar Privilege of us Christians ; for the Scripture says plainly, there is no other Name given under Heaven, by which we may expect Salvation, but only the Name of o::r Lord Jesus Chrift; ihat 10 Man cometh to the Father but by him ; that God added to the Church such as should be saved, and the like. So that a Heathen has no more 'Title or Probability to be saved, than I have to be a Nobleman of Venice. Because Salvation, as I observed, is the peculiar Christian State of Glory, that place which our Saviour says he is gone 10 prepare for us, John xiv. 3. So that, thoʻthe Heathen may probably have other places, or States of Glory, ours does not belong to them. Nay, it is hardly reconcileable with the distributive Tuftice of God, to advance unregenerate Hcathens to the same State of Happiness, as those that are redeemed by the Eicod of his Son, baptised into his Cross, have partaken of his Sufferings, and have denied and mortified the deareft of ilicii Affections in Obedience to his Commands.