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The Gospel, though it makes favourable allowances to human infirmities, and accepts of humble repentance and honest endeavours, yet holds no fellowship and makes no composition and truce with the worldly and selfish affections; it requires of all those who would hope and expect a reward hereafter, to set their affections, not on things below, but on things above, that the heart and the treasure may be in the same place.
ON THE STATE OF THE DEAD, AS DE
SCRIBED BY HOMER AND VIRGIL.
QUALE PER INCERTAM LUNAM, SUB LUCE MA
EST ITER IN SILVIS.
ON THE STATE OF THE DEAD, AS DESCRIBED BY HOMER AND VIRGIL.
HERODOTUS saith of Homer and Hesiod, that they were the first who made a Theogony for the Greeks, that is, who collected and drew it up into a kind of system: Οὗτοι δέ εἰσι οἱ ποιήσαντες 5 ογονίην Ἕλλησι, καὶ τοῖσι θεοῖσι τὰς ἐπωνυμίας δόντες, καὶ τιμάς τε καὶ τέχνας διελόντες, καὶ ἴδεα αὐτῶν σημ Illi fuere qui Græcis Theogoniam fecerunt, deisque et cognomina dederunt, honoresque et artificia separaverunt, et figuras eorum designaverunt." ii. 53.
To suppose Homer to have been the author of the Theology and Mythology contained in his poems, would be as unreasonable as to imagine that he first taught the Greeks to read and to write. As he lived in no barbarous age or country, but when the Greek language was polished and copious, if he had been the first inventor and spreader of the fables which ascribe such wild inconsistency, weakness, folly, misery, and
wickedness a to the Gods, his works would hardly have been received by his contemporaries with favour and applause. We find that in the following ages, when wise men began to reason more upon these subjects, they censured Homer's theology, as highly injurious to the Gods, if it were understood in the literal sense. But when Homer wrote he had sufficient excuse and authority for the fables which he delivered; and he introduced into his poems, by way of machinery, and with some decorations, theological legends contrived in more rude and ignorant times, and sanctified by hoary age and venerable tradition. Tradition had preserved some memory of the things which the Gods had done and had suffered when they were
'I do not believe,' says Iphigenia, ‘that Diana delights in human victims,'
Οὐδένα γὰρ οἶμαι δαιμόνων εἶναι κακόν.
Neminem enim Deorum malum esse censeo.'
̓Εγὼ δὲ τὸς θεὸς ἔτε λέκτρ ̓ ἃ μὴ θέμις,
Eschylus also, in his Prometheus, describes Jupiter just as a
Jew or a Christian would represent the Devil, as a hater of man
kind, and a tyrant void of all gratitude and clemency.