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or it. For learned Ancients of the Univeaufe
births. chther of Jupit to dethro
Phil. I beseech you, Sir, don't go to run down the Grounds we bụild our Assertion upon, without under, standing what they are. For there is a great Deal of Reaz son to believe, that the ænigmatical Way of explaining the Nature and Providence of the Deity, gave Occasion to the Heathen Polytheism, and serves very much to apologise for it. For I look upon the Heathen Zeis, or Jupiter, with the learned Ancients *, to be but the
Æther, or that fuid agitated Part of the Universe, which permeates the Pores of all Bodies, and is the Cause of all Motion, Generation, Fermentation, &c. and therefore is well called Jupiter, quafi juvans pater, The Godz. dess Juno t, or "Hi" (i. e.) quasi a'egén, is the Air, which warmed, or agitated by the Aiher, is a principal Cause of the Procreation of Animals and Vegetables, and was for that Reason worshiped as the Goddess of Child births, 11 Saturnus quali satur annis, or Keros, is said to be the Father of fupiler, becaule before the World was, Time was. He is said to dethrone his Father because the Creation of the World put a Period to that long unmea, sured Duration, Ceres quası Geres à gerendo, the Goddess of Corn, or Anusing qu. Insons, or Mother-Earth, is only the Ground, as Neptunus, the Sea, or the same Deity exercising his Providence in all ; or to use St. Austin's Words, who expresses the Meaning of the Ancients well, thus : Ipfe in athere eft Jupiter, ipse in aere Funo, in mari Neptunus, in inferioribus etiam maris ipse Salacia, in tcrra Pluto, in terriì inferiore Proserpina, in focis domesticis Vesta, in fibrorum fornace Vulcanus, in fyderibus Sol, Luna,
Stella : In divinantibus Apollo, in mercé Mercurius, in Jino Initiator, in termino Terminator, Saturnus in Tempore, Mars e Bellona in Bellis, Liber in vineis; Ceres in frumena tis, Diana in sylvis, Minerva in ingeniis, &c. So that all the ancient Theology and Theogony is only ap Account of the divine Attributes and Providence in an ænigma
* Cic. de Nat. Decr. Lib. 3. Plat. in Timxo. Sallust. de Diis & Mund. 6 p.6. + Cic. ib. Plato in Cratyl. || Cic. ib. Nat. Com. Muth. Lib. 2. Cap.2. Aug. Civ. Dei, Lib. 7, Cap. 19. & Civ. Doi. Lib. 4. Cap: ?!. Vid. De, hac se Var. De Ling. Lat. Lib, *:
tical and mythological Manner; and it was only owing to the mean Capacities of the Vulgar, that they blundered into Polytheism by it: Just as if when the Scripture mentions Wisdom and Religion in the Notion of a Person, Her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness, &c. an ignorant Chriftian should take her for a Goddess, and as when St. Paul preached ingos j azgaszon, Jesus and the Resurrection, the Greeks took him for a fetter forth of strange. Gods, Acts xvii. 18. an Introducer of a new God and Goddess, which the Athenians in all their Theogony had never heard of, So that at last there was but the same Deity under Varro's three thousand Names, and the fame, supreme Fupiter was not more distinct under all these, than when he was called ipéstos, Eirios, tervios, or 74, piter Capitolinus, or Stator. And this I think is a fair Aca count of the Rise of the Heathen Polytheism, and the many superstitious Rites which crept into natural Religia on upon it.
Cred. I confess, Philologues, you are not mistaken, that Heathen many of the ancient Philosophers have given this Aco Polytheism count of the Rise of the Heathen Idolatry which you do; nor the di:
40; verfe Exhie but then I very much question the Truth of their Alo biti sertion, and the Validity of their Arguments, and I think Providence, there are other and better Reasons to be given of the Origin of it. Nor is the Opinion of the Philosophers much to be relied upon ; for they lived long after Polytheism was introduced, and knew as little of its Origin as we. do; and besides, they had an Interest to ferve, which was to represent the Folly of the Heathen Polytheism as favourably as they could to Men of Sense; they were (if I may so fay) the Condoms of Paganism, to qualify it, the better to go down with Men of Thought and Enquiry. Neither is there any Thing in it, for ought I see, but a little Wit and Fancy, of which Plato, who (I think) was the Author of it, had enough. For. Socrates having suffered for an Unitarian, and deriding the Gentile Multitude of Gods, Plata had a Mind to trim the Matter, by this kind of Reconciliation, which you have mentioned in hış Dialogues Times and Cratylus. And
Beard, an houfand Yeaf your Gent. Bute after allegorising. For
upon the by many times it wou
what I pray are all these fine Derivations of the Names of these Deities (which are the principal part of the Ara gument) but mere sportive Rovings of Fancy, and as lplenetick as making Men and Chariots in the Clouds? I would undertake, as easily to make these principal Deities to be the four Quarters of the Year, as you have made them the chief Parts of the World ; and I think with as much Veri-fimilitude. Let Yuno be the Spring, and the Greek" "Hpn 'is nigher "Hg the Spring, than 'Avig the Air. · Let Zços be the fervid hot Summer, Pluto the rich Autumn, and Neptune (or if you will Saturn) the cold watery Winter. Now if this had come from an old Beard, and a Pallium, and had had but the Prescription of two thousand Years, it would have been lookt upon, perhaps, by many of your Gentlemen, as a rare Comment upon the Heathen Theology. But after all, these fabuJous Stories of the Gods are uncapable of allegorising, or
having any tolerable mystical Sense put upon them. For "", what other Senfe besides the literal Meaning can be put : Apon the Rapes and Whoredoms of Jupiter, and the other
Gods? What mystical Meaning can be put upon Jupiper's Rape of Enropa, in the Shape of a Bull, or Danse in a golden Shower? Indeed so far the Story may be unriddled, that Jupiter who committed this Wickedness was a Grecian Prince named Taurus, as * Palapharus cons tends, or in a Ship called the Bull as others : That the golden Shower by which he corrupted Danae was by giving her Money, or by bribing her Keepers, But after all, the Story is a lewd Story still, and which cannot without Horror be heard to be attributed to the supreme God of Heaven and Earth. And what good Sense can be put upon those yet lewder Amours of Jupiter and his Boy Ganymede, Apollo and Hyacinthus, Hercules and Hylas ? Indeed Plato in his Dialogue de Pulchro, seems as if he had a Mind to interpret this infamous Familiarity of Faiter with Ganymede into his platonick Love; but in my Mind that very Dialogue lacks Apology its fclf ; for
* Palaph. de Incred. de Europa.
á Mari a Man finds there so much of the épôv and the igaueros, the Anator and Amafius, with such odd Allusions to that execrable Vice, that one had need of very virtuous Thoughts, and a very charitable. Mind to allegorise all the strange Metaphors of that Discourse into a chalte Meaning. A Man would be hardly put to it, to moraLise and unriddle all the poetical Banter about Jupiter, and Mars, and Venus, and Bacchus, &c. and at the same Time take them for Gods, or only particular Energies of the divine Providence. For what can one make, besides some fanciful Remarks, of Saturn's devouring his Children; of Jupiter's castrating his Father ; of Rhea the old Beldam Goddess, her being in Love with Arys, a young Boy; of the Adultery of Mars and Venns ; of the Th tan's Wars, and Vulcan’s, celestial Forge? Ņow who can ever imagine, that all this horrid, lewd, and simple Stuff, was ever designed for practical Divinity, and to teach Morality to Mankind, by representing their Gods so mean, so fooliih, and so debauched? It remains therefore, that fome other Account must be given of the Heathen Mythology, than that of ancient Riddles, and Theology, and Morality's being delivered under those Umbrages, . Therefore, I suppose, that the Heathen Idolatry and Caused by mythological Divinity was owing to the illiterate Dark, the Darkness of some Ages, which succeeded after the Flood. ness of the
Postdiluvio * Varro does very well divide . Time (at least as far as a
an Ages, twas known to the Heathens) into the "Adner, or that obscure Time which was from the beginning of Things to the first Cataclysm (i. c.) Ogyges's Flood; the second ! was the uw sixón reaching from the first Cataclysm to the is dit dit first Olympiad, called fabulous, because all the poetical History was transacted in it; and ever since has been the isegıxdy, or Time of History, when a true Account of Matters of Fact hath been given us. Now the Reason why there was no certain Account of these two former Stages of Time, was the Want of the Invention of Wri, ting, or at least the general Use of it, so that all the
* In Cenforin. de Die Nat. Cap. 21.
Accounts of former Times could only be deduced and carried down by Tradition ; and what fad Work this would make in History and Theology, every one knows. The People of the several Nations had some general Notions of the Deity; they had heard of Gods freely conyersing with the Patriarchs after the Flood, of the Ministry of Angels, &c. and this they jumbled together with the Stories of their Kings, like a piece of Turkish Chronology. Their Kings, according to the usual Flattery of those Ages, were made Gods; and then the common People who never stood upon the Decency of the Character, ascribed to them all the Actions and Infirmities which belonged to their Manhood, after they were Gods. When they told a Story of former Times in a barbarous Age, it was hardly worth hearing, unless there was something strange and prodigious in it, and it was safe making it as wonderful as one pleased, because there was no standing History to contradict it. From hence no doubt it must come to pass that all our monkish Stories and Romances must be out-done, as the Barbarity of those first Times was greater ; so that all the Stories of Jupiter, and the Centimani, and Pelion and ofa, Bacchus and Thea feus, Andromede and Medea, &c. were but the first Edition of Giants, enchanted Castles, Knight-Errants and King's Daughters. Therefore it grieves me to see learned Men (Christians especially) abusing their Time and Letters, to fish out philosophical Reasons for all these lying
Fooleries. Dy deifying 2. It was in great Measure owing to the deifying of of Princes. Princes. For most of those Gods which were worshiped
by the old Heathens, were Kings formerly of the Coun. try where they were adored. It is agreed by all, that the great Asyrian Belus was either Nimrod, or some other great Prince of that Country : And* Diodorus Siculus relates the same of the Ægyptian Horus, and Ofris. The Greek Zeus, or Jupiter, was King of Crete, at least he that was commonly worshiped ; as Tully himself is forced to