Imatges de pÓgina

· Phil. Another Objection, which I have against the doctrinal Part of Christianity, is, because it teaches Meckness and Humility; which in my Mind, are Qualifications for a Sheep, and not for a infan. These are * Despondencies of Mind, for à Mian's not being so contiderable as he ought to be ; but then he ought to arrive to that Pitch, and not to be creeping in a lower Class of Virtue, when he ought to have advanced himself to an higher. And therefore I like Machiavel's Notion very well, who says the Christian Religion is not a proper Religion for a brave Prince, for if it liave any Influence upon him, it will infuet his Soul with such a poor Pufilanimity, as will render him unfit for any great or glorious Actions. These are Virtues unheard of by the Greeks and Romans, who studied these Matters the best, for their Philolophers read noble Le tures upon Magnanimity, and a Generousness of Soul but never thought of two such narrow-spirited Habits, as Micekness and Humility.

Cred. I very much wonder, you thould go about Himility to undervalue and expose that modest and humble Tem- and Meek, per

of Mind, which our Religion recommends, under hela moral the Names of Meekness and Humility; I should think you

should rather look upon it, as the great Glory of our Saviour's Institution, to recommend a Virtue, which

is so useful to Society, and which yet the most learned s Sages of the World have passed over unregarded, in

their Ethicks. The Heathen Philosophers make a mighty 5 Scir, with their Magnanimity, or Bravery of Soul, and

yet all this, at the bottom, is nothing but unregenerate

Pride. A Man perhaps had cnjoy'd the Honour of a ♡ considerable Victory, was born in the famous City of * Athens, had studied some Years in the Porch or Academy, s had gotten some Fallacies together, to prove that Nothing

could be made out of Nothing, that there could be no Foto Motion, that a wise man was happy in Pain, or that

Virtue was an Animal, &c. and the vain Man was so
elated with one or two of these Trifles, that he defpi-

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fed all the World besides, as barbarous Fools, and an unthinking Mob. Others laid down for themselves fome Principles of Honour which were in Repute with the common People, and they chose closely to follow these, because they found they should be applauded for it, and mightily admired. Now this Sort of Pride they gave a good Name to, and stiled Magnanimity, or Greatness of Soul, and made this pass too for another venerable Quality amongst the People, who were so well managed as to admire the Philosophers the more for their despising them. But I wonder you should so abandon your Reason, as to find Fault with our Christian Humility, and extol this philosophick Pride for a famous Virtue. Do you your felf be Judge; which is the most commendable Quality, for a Man humbly to acknowledge his own Imperfections and Failures, and to own how far he falls short of the Measures of the exactest Vertue, or arrogantly to pretend that he is arrived to a Pitch of Virtue, by which he is equal to the God's? Is it not more modeft and reasonable, to atrribute the Success of our best Actions to the Grace of God; than to ascribe it to, I know not what infallible Rules of Virtue, and to pretend we are, a Sort of Gods to our selves? What Reason was there, that those old Sages should be so elated upon their natural Stock of Parts, upon the Advantage of their Education, and their philosophick Studies? Is not a ChriStian much the better Man, who tho' he stands polleffed of these Qualifications, does reflect no Glory upon himself for them, but humbly considers, that these are al the Gift of a gracious God, to whom all the Praise of them belongs? There is no way to excuse the Philo Sophers for their arrogant Contempt of the common people, because they wanted the Education they enjoy'd; and for their refusing them the Knowledge of those virtuous Rules, they kept under Lock and Key among theme felves. How much more is the Christian Religion to be admired that teaches an Humili y, to be kind and oble ging to all, and to look upon the whole Race of Mankinta as our Fellow-Creatures and Brethren; to despise no one's


Imperfections, when we consider our own; to undervalue
none for their Wants and Failures, but rather to pity
them, and when 'tis in our power to relieve them; to
think no Body fit to be despised, that God has given an
immortal Soul 10, and that we can never be too great to
do good to our Fellow-Creatures, who have received all
that we have from an infinite God. But if our Religion
instead of Humility taught, your Hear hen Magnanimity,
what a conceited Worlă should we in a little while fee?
Tho' Men are daily taught to have as humble and mean
Thoughts as they can of themselves; yet notwithstand-
ing this, many will be meddling with Matters out of
their Sphere, and neglect their Profession to be menders
of Church and State; but if all Men ihould once get in
their Heads your Notion of philosophick Bravery or Mag-
nanimity, we should have all méan People despise their
Callings, and leave the Fields, and their Shops, to turn
Philosophers, Statesmen, and Politicians.

But is it a Fault to be humble, because Humility is a Spinola's Sorrow for not having that just Perfection a Man ihould Argument have? If it be a Virtue to desire to be as good as one


Chriftianity car, it is some Degree of Virtue to be sorry one is no afwered better. But your Philosopher Spinosa mistakes the Marter, when he makes Humility a Sorrow of Mird, for want of that virtuous Perfe£tion we would have: This is properly that passion of the Mind, we generally call Amulation. But Humility is quite another 'Thing, it is a fix'd Temper of Mind, whereby, after a serious Consideration of humane Imperfection, and the Divine Bouny, we attribute no Giory, to our selves for any thing va uable we possess, nor undervalue others for want of them. And if by God's Grace, the whole World was brought to this Christian Temper, we should find that Mankind would be more peaceable and good, more kind and riaritable, than when they are led by their own Paffions, nay, than if they were all instructed, by the swaggering

your Philosophick Mugnanimity. Nor is there any Weight in your Machiavelian Reac and Mafon; that a good Chriftian can't be a brave Prince, It chiavel's.



Principle of

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is a horrible Reflexio:2 upon the Royal Dignity, to think that it cannot be discharged, by an honest Man. For Christianity really forbids nothing, but what is wicked. Indeed, if Cruelty and Oppreflion, Fraud and Perfidiousness, Plundering and Ravaging the Countries of harmless Neighbours, and an insatiable Desire of Conquet, at the Expence of the Blood of ones dearest Friends, do qualify a Man to be a great Prince; then, I confefs, the the true Christian Religion will never aslift any one with these Methods : But if it be any Ingredient of the Character of a brave Prince, to cherish and defend his own Subjects, and to do no Injustice to his Neighbours; to keep his Word inviolable, and his Oaths facred; to {ncourage Virtue and Goodness, and to despise Falsehood and I reachery; then our Holy Religion, if sincerely praticed, will make the noblest Prince ; and may God 1. mighty, of his Mercy, grant that all, whose Lot it is to fit upon our English Throre, may be the most Christian Kings

, in this Sense." As for the good Government of a Nation in time of Peace, I think there is no Doube to be made, but that a wise Prince of a good Conscience, is the best qualified; and, if he has equal Courage, he is the same in time of War; for Instances have not been wanting in History of Princes, such as Constantine, and Charles the Great, who were religious Christians, and brave Warriors.

Phil. Next I have to objc&t against the Doctrine of Christianity, for its commanding Men to forgive Injuries, after such a simple Rate, as would expose Men, if they practifed it, to all the Calumny in the World. * Who can ever be brought to think, that a Man, having received a Blow on one Cheek, should be obliged to offer the other? This would be to invite one Injury upon the back of another, and to make innocent Men suffer, only to make ill-natur'd People sport. But to be obliged to love our Enemies, is a thing naturally impossible to do; for God has naturally implanted in

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* Uriel Acoftæ Exemplar. Hum. Vitæ, ed.


P. 352.


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Men Passions of Anger and Revenge, which are excited
in them upon Injuries received; and therefore it is im-
possible to love them, that Nature inclines and disposes
us to hate.

Cred. You now find Fault with the most glorious Mo- Tierring
rality, which ever was preached in the World, and which

is laid out by the Wisdom of God, for the greatest Peace rical.
and Quiet of Mankind, and is agreeable to the exactest
Rules of unprejudiced Reason. As for the Initance
of our Saviour, in the left and right Cheek; that is
only a proverbial Saying, which he uses, as an Illustra-
tion of what he Preached. He was endeavouring to
amend, in the Jews, that vindictive Humour, which
was so common among them, and which the old Law
did, in some Measure connive' at, by allowing them
the Law of Retaliation, An Eye for an Eye, and a
Tooth for a Tooib; but over Saviour is for prohibiting
all sort of Revenge, tho' never so specious and legal;
and therefore tells them, that they should be so far from
demanding an Eye for an Eye, or a Blow for a Blow,
that they should rather turn the right Cheek to him that
smote the left. That is, you Christians ought to take
no manner of Revenge, and tho' your suffering pari-
ently, one Affront may produce another, yet choose ra-
ther to suffer that too, 'than to retain Malice or Revenge
in your Minds.

Neither is it at all unreasonable to bear and forgive In- To forgize
juries, but is really agreeable to the highest Wisdom, Injuries
and Discretion. What can be more reasonable, than for reasonable.
one Man patiently to bear an Offence from another, who
is conscious to himself of having so often provoked a
merciful God, who continues still to bear with him?
What more reasonable to suffer these from other Men,
when we our selves cannot live, without giving Offen-
ces to them? It is highly reasonable to bear with Inju-
ries, and readily to forgive them, if it were only to
be rid of those tormenting Passions, which accompany a
State of Enmity; and to be freed from the Study of Ma-
lice and Revenge, which do so gnaw Men's Souls,


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