페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

us. And when Julian the Apoftate hoped to bring Oracles into request again, Apollo told him, (as I have mention'd before,) That he could return no Answer to any thing which was asked him, 'till the Bones of the * Martyr Babylas were removed 3 and when that was done, God was pleafed to fuffer the Oracle of Daphne, and others, to give out their Anfwers; but so notoriously false, that they exposed them as much as their silence had done before for when all the Oracles were consulted, to know y whether Julian, Uncle to the Apoftate, should recover of his Sickness, and they all agreed that he would recover, he died while the Answers were reading that foretold his Recovery

z St. Augustine observes, that none of the False Gods ever durst deny by any Oracle, that the God of Israel is the True God: And we have the Testimony of a Porphyry, that the Oracle of Apollo confefled him to be so. But for the Sins of Men against natural Conscience, and the contempt of the Divine Revelations made to Mankind, and so often promulged amongst all Nations, God might permit the Devil to delude the World with fuch Signs and Predictions, as either were indeed true; or could not be discerned to be false, but by the Doctrines and Pradices which they were brought to countenance and eftablish. There is no doubt, but that Evil Spirits '

may be able to delude and impose upon Men, and to do many things by their Sagacity and Cunning, which may be above the power of Man not only to perform, but to understand or find out : but their Miracles were never wrought to confirm any found and useful Doétrine; nor had they been plainly foretold by ancient Prophecies, as

* Soz. I. 5. C. 19. Chryf. de S. Babyl.
y Philoftorg. lib. 7. C. 12.,
7 Aug. de Divin. Dæm. c. 8. De Consens. Evang. ! 1.c. 18, 32.
Porphyr. apud Eufeb. Evang. Præpar. 1. 9. c. 10.

the

[ocr errors]

.

the Miracles of our Saviour and his Apoftles had been : And the power by which our Religion was attested and established, was so much fuperior to any power in the Heathen Gods, that when they were adjured by Christians, they were forced to confess themselves to be wicked and seducing Spirits; as the Primitive Christians declare in their Writings, and appeal to the Heathens of their own Times for the truth of it, and undertake, upon pain of Death, to prove it before them. This 6 Tertullian undertakes, in his Apology, (as I have before observed) addressed to the Emperor and Senate of Rome, or at least to the Proconful of Africk, and the Governors of the several Cities and Provinces, written in Latin, and tranflated into Greek. And St. Cyprian affirms the like, in his Treatise to Demetrianus a Judge of Carthage, or, as some think, the Pro-consul: To the same purpose likewise speak Origen, Minutius Fælix, and others of the Primitive. Christians. And we cannot imagine, that Men of common Sense would ever have made fuch publick and repeated Appeals, if their Pretences had been false, to the hazard of their own Lives, and the utter disgrace and extirpation of their Religion, for which they

endeavoured to plead, by such confi. dent and bold Discourses, so eafie to be disproved, if they had not been true. Men, who have the Wealth and Power of the World on their fide, may perhaps fometimes make large boasts and high pretences, when they can eafily hinder others from bringing them to the Teft; but Men that had all the power and policy of the Empire against them, would never have offer'd any thing of this nature in defence of

b Educatur hic aliquis sub Tribunalibus vestris, quem Damone agi conftet, jussus à quolibet Christiano loqui Spiritus ille, tam se Demonem confitebitur de vero, quàm alibi Deum de falso. Tertull. Apol. C. 23; c Euseb. Hift. lib. ii. c. 2.

their Religion, unless they had been able to make it good to the faces of their worst Enemies, to whom, their Apologies were directed

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

.

CH A P. IV. The Defect in point" of Doctrine, in the

Heathen Religions, IT

T is undeniable; that the Doctrines of all the Hea-,

then Religions have been wicked, and contrary to the Unity, and Goodness, and Purity of God, and to the Vertue and Happiness of Mankind. This might be made olit at large by Particulars, as,

1. The Theology of the Heathens was so confused and absurd, that the only Evasion which the Philofophers could find, who undertook the defence of Paganism against Christianity was to expound their Theology by Allegories; but this "a Philo"Biblius, cenfures as absurd, and maintains, that it was a mere abuse and innoyation in their Divinity; in proof of which, he alledges the Authority of Santhoniathon ; and Eusebius besides makes good the charges zem first begun this way of Allegorizing, in which he was followed by Cleaniles, Chwylippus,

and other

Stoičksa c Plutarch says, that Cleanthes feem'd to be in jest, in some of his Interpretations, and that those of Chrya sippus were strangely forc’d'; and he gives Instances of both kinds. But this preténce'to Allegories is 'by none

GR 190 a Euseb. Præpar. 1. i. c. 9, 10,

b Magnam molestiam suscepit e minimè necessariam primus Zeno, poft Cleanthes, deinde Chryfippus, commentitiarum fabularum reddere rationem. Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. iii, « Plut. Quomodo Juven. audiend fint Poëm.

more

Аа

2

more fully confuted, than by d Arnobius. It is well Qbserved by e Dionysius Halicarnasseus, that those Ex-. positions were known to very few ; but that the Peo ple understood the Fables of their Theology in the grofseft fense, and either despised all Religion, or encouraged themselves in Wickedness, by the Example of their Gods.

The f Chaldæans had twelve principal Deities, according to the number of Months in the Year. And & Zoroafter taught Men to sacrifice to Arimanius the Damon, or Evil Being, as well as to God, or the good Being, whom he stiled Oromazes. h Varro makes three forts of Heathen Theology; the Fabulous invented by the Poets; the Physical, or that of the Philosophers; and the Civil or Popular, being such as the several Cities and Countries had set up. The i Greek Theology was thus distinguished: 1. God, who rules over all. 2. The Gods, who were supposed to govern above the Moon. 3. The Demons, whose Jurisdiction was in the Air below it. And, 4. The Heroes or Souls of dead Men, who were imagined to preside over Terrestrial Affairs. And besides all these, the evil Damons were worshipped, out of fear of mischief from them, which gives some account of the prodigious multitude of their Gods; whereof * Hefiod.computes thirty thousand hovering about the Earth in the Air, (unless he be to be understood of an indefinite number.) Orpheus reckon'd' but three hundred sixt ty five; and at his Death, in his Will, asserted only

* Varro reckon'd up three hundred Jupiters; and the Gods of Mexico (as the Indians reported to

1

one.

d Advers. Gent. lib. 5.

e Dion. Hist. lib. 2. f Diod. Sic. l. 1. & Plut. de Ilid. & Ofir. h. Tertull. ad Nat. lib. 2. C. 1. Aug. Civ. Dei, lib. 6. c.5. i Euseb. Præpar. 1.4. c. 5, k Hesiod. Oper. & Dier. lib. i. | Theoph. ad Autol. lib. 3.

m. Tertull. Apol. + Gage's Survey of the Welt-Indies, c. 12.

V. 250. C. 14.

the Spaniards) were two thousand in number. Varro, Tully, and Seneca, and most sober and discreet Men, were ashamed of the Heathen Gods, and believed that there is but one God; to which purpose, the Verses of n Valerius Soranus are produced and expounded by Varro. Theophilus • Bishop of Alexandria order'd one Image of Serapis to be preservd, when all the other Idols were demolish'd, that the Gentiles might not be able to deny, that they had worshipt such Gods. At which Æmonius the Grammarian, a Heathen Priest P, who was Master to Socrates the Ecclesiastical Historian, was much concerned, saying, It was hard, that their Religion should be exposed by the preserving of that one Statue, when the rest were destroyed.

The Worship of their Gods, and of their Images or Idols, was so gross amongst the ancient Heathen, and is to this day in China, and in both the Indies, that one would almost think it impossible for Men to be so far deluded by the Devil : They worshipped not only the Ghosts of dead Men, but Birds and Beasts, and creeping Things, and the Devil himself under Images of such hideous Forms and Shapes as are frightful to look upon. The I wiser Heathen were ashamed of these Idolatries; and "Varro particularly commends the Jews for using no Images in their Djvine Worship, which, he says, were not in use at Rome 'till above one hundred and seventy Years after the Foundation of the City; for Numa, the Contriver of their Religion, forbad Images: Which makes

n Aug. de Civ. Dei, lib. iv. c. 31. vii. 9.
8 Socrat. Hift. l. 1. C. 16.
Þ Tibi,xy iepows, The Priest of an Ape.

9 Gentes verò quadam Animalia etiam, aliqua o obfcæna, pro Diis habent, ac multa diftis magis pudenda, per fætidos cibos com alia fimilia jurantes. Plin. Hist. 1.2. c. 7.

r Aug. Civ. Dei, lib. iv. c. 31. s Plut. in Vit. Numæ.

[blocks in formation]
« 이전계속 »