Page images

vain Ambition, that put them upon such affects

which many of them are reported to have n fuch fingular Dier and odd Actions, which $ of their Lives relate of them? If they had

do as much good as they could by their Phihey would have communicated it to all; but

whis, they taught it only to a select 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 philosophical 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 Doctrine which was taught by the Generality Philofo- of the Heathen Philosophers, was injurious to the Nature phers mo.. and Attributes of God. Now to conceive wrong Noftaken in : The Nature, tions of God's Nature, will perfectly poison Men's Moof God, rality; for Men must needs fuit their Actions 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 Thall we find them subject to of this Kind? Some of them were downright Arbeiftss 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, fimply presuming that God was of the Figure of a Man';. and by Zenophanes, who made him opcigae a na Suis, a great impassable Sphere or Globe of Matter. So Parmenides

* Cext. Emp. HyTot. Lib. 3. Cap. 24.

obl. ib.



Eliates * would have the Deity to be Fire and Earth, and
Hippafus Metapontinus, and Heraclitus, the Fire only which

Justin Martyr t relates of Plato likewise. The Unity
of the Deity 1l 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-righi Pagan, and orders his Executors to Saa
crifice the Cock # he had vowed to Æfculapius. And as
for Plutarch ; one of the soberest of the Philosophers,
he was the horridest Polytheist of them all; for he afferts
two fupreme Anti-Gods, oře 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 infinite Number
of Worlds *, as Anaximander, Anaximeñes, Archelans, Dios
genes; Lencippus, Democritus, and Epicurus ; and by the
Stoicks, who generally made him the Anima Muidi: 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 dia
vine Will was destroyed by the Fatality of the Stoicks;
and so was God's Omnipotence fetter'd by the stubborn
Laws of their unalterable Fate. As for God's Providence,
that was perfe&tly excluded the World by Epicurus, and
not allow'd by Aristorle 7 on this Side the celeltial Spheres.
Thus you have seeni, how these great Oracles of Reason,
and brave Natural-Religion-Men have been mistaken, eveni
in the common Notions of the Deity. Let us see now
whether they are not's
.. Clem. Alex. Protrept.

+ Tòrcoolestw Jedy co zna zupcó de soia savas Grrcos.

# See Onatus the Pythagorean's Arguments for ilurality of Godsa Stob. Ecl. Phys. Lib. í. $ Plat. Plædo. # Plutarch.

Stob. Ed. Phys. Cap. 'de Ort. & Ir.ter. * H. Ec, Phyf. Cap. 25...

N 2

3. Mifikasi

[ocr errors]

Erroneous in their Moral Doc.rines.

3. Mistaken in their Opinions concerning Virtue and Vices I should make a Day of it, should I recite all the hilly, 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 Theiftical 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 Plato * himself was an Advocate for the Community of Goods, which would perfectly destroy all Industry and Peace in a Commonwealth ; and what is yet woi?, 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 lawful 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 +, as making that execrable Crime of masculine Venery a Thing indifferent. And Diogenes Laertius + 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 cat their Parents Fler as other Food. He asserted that his ugyanonfuzia, or Greatness of Soul, which was nothing else but a Stoical Pride, was sufficient for Happiness; but his Scholars, t Paratii:s and Pollidonists, seeing this liable to so many Abo furditics, were forced afterward to allow Health, W alch,

* Plat. Repub. Lib. 1. + Lactant. Lib. 3. Cap. 22.

|| Ei re di SE VS Tun Tu orðnide raïs gees jobes wpérast mir eigen. Ei ti Érpa Keifer seinas, e süpsy as Swrefer les apé tocs,

πι σεις, και ποιες εκ της μοίρες γυναίκες αιτήσας, τήν αίκε;; Hyp. Lib. 3. Cap.2.1.

I ld. ih. + Diog. Lacrt. Vi. Zcn. * Ad. Au ol.Lib. 2. + Lacrt. in Vit. Zen.


and Strength to make it up. Diogenes the Cynick *, as . all his currish Sect, denied, that there was any Shamefulness in publick Commixtures, and asserted, that Parents + might lawfully sacrifice 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 Body. He made the positive brutish Pleasure of the Body (not Epicurus's Indolence) to be the chief Good of Man ; and taught, that a wife Man might commit Theft, or Adultery, or Sacrilege, és xcuses, when he saw. convenient Opportunity, and not otherwise ; that these Crimes are not sinful in themselves, setting aside the Opi. nion of the simple Multitude which has made them lo. And Loertins records a sophistical Argument of his, which he used, to prove the Lawfulness of Sodomy. Democritus + condemns the Use of Marriage for the Trouble of it, and Epicurus agrees with him in the fame. And even Aristotle * and Tully t are Advocates for Hatred and Revenge, those two most diabolical Dispositions which Mankind is subject to. Now this is eidough upon this Head, to fhew 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 fo shamefully mistaken.

4. Neither was the Practice of the Heahen Philosophers, Their lives as to Moral Duties, better than their Principles. And truly, vitious, si without Breach of Charity, I may conclude them all, except Socrates (whom I am willing to have a good Opinion 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. Auftin || remarks Plato to practise

* Laert, in Vit. Diog. + Thcoph. Antioch. ał Autol. 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. 7 Aug. de Civ. Dei, Lib. 8. Cup, 12.

the Idolatry of his Country, tho’against his Conscience. His Spleen and Pride were noted by all his Cotemporaries; which made Artisthenes *, when he saw him once vomiting, fay, I sec his Gall come up, but where is his Pride? The fame Philosophier seeing 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 Dionyfiues's Court. Diogenes the Cynick kept a dirty Whore called Phryne †, and lay with her openly in the Streets 1. The famous Speusippus was killed in Adultery. Aristippus I, besides a Houseful of Boys and Whores which he kept, was familiar, as he acknowledges himself, with the famous Strumpet Lais. The fame Aria stippus villainously forswore + the Money which was depolited in his Hands. Crates, and the Philofophefs 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, I would be blind to all Things else, fo I might see Clinias; Thanks to the Day and the Sun that reveal to me Clinias's F:ce: And his Adversary Mcro Pharsaliss there upbraids him, not for the Vice it self, but for his usilova i udrugi, liis making Use of grown Men for his lewd Purposes. Menippus is 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 Sun, Dial, said only, 'twas a fine Invention for a Man not to Jere his Supper, The Philosopher Herillus was in his Youth a pathick Boy, . Cleanthes #, Chryfippus, and Zeno, made away with themselves; and so did Cato, whom Lactantius calls Socratice vanitaris imitator ; and Cleombroins, by reading Plato's Book of the Immortality of the

* Laert, in Vit. Antift. + Tertul, in Apol. | Lacrt. in cjus Vit,

$ Tert. Apol. Lactant. Lib. 3. Cap.7. Lacrt. in Äriliippo. + Ter.. tr). in Arol. * Laert, in via Hippir. + Diog. Laert. in l'it. Xenoph. | Id. Vit. Merip. I Id. Vit. Menedemi. + Id. in ejus Vit. # Laét. Lib. z. Cap. 7.


« PreviousContinue »