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of invifible Powers; or else in so many Nations both the Kings and People would never have facrific'd their own Children to their falfe Gods, to avert the Evils which they were threatned withal. But what Sins could the Death of thefe Innocents be defign'd to expiate, when the very Acts of their Religion confifted in the Commiffion of Wickednefs? Or what Reward in another World, for a Life loft in this, could be expected from a Religion, which placed all Happiness in the Enjoyment of the Pleafures and Vices of this World? Muft the Sins against Venus or Flora, against Bacchus or Mercury, be expiated by the Death of innocent Children? Or could any Reward in another Life be expected from fuch Deities, when Innocence and Vertue are the things, which give them the most Offence, and nothing can delight them fo much, as the Sin and Misery of Mankind? Julian used all imaginable Arts to restore the Heathen Worship, and to recommend it to the World, by reducing it to fuch a Syftem, as that it might neither be expofed to the Contempt, nor raife the Horror of Mankind. But a discoveries were, after his Death, made by the Remains of Bodies found both at Carrha where he had kept his Court, in his Perfian Expedition, and in his Palace at Antioch, that he had offered Humane Sacrifices. So infeparable were fuch Sacrifices from the Religion of the Heathen.
The Perfons that introduced the Heathen Religions, were either Men of Defign, who eftablifh'd themselves in their Power and Authority by it, as Numa; or Men of Fancy and Fiction, as the Poets, whom Plato would have banifh'd out of his Commonwealth. And the Gods of the Heathen, who muft be supposed to reveal thefe Mysteries and Ways of
Greg. Nazianz. Invect. 1. p. 54. Invect. 2. Schol. p. 91. Edit, Eton. Theodoret. Hift, lib. iii. c. 26, 27.
Worship, were always more wicked than their Votaries, whose greatest immoralities confifted in the Worfhip of them; the grofs Enormities not only of Venus and Bacchus, but of Saturn and Jupiter, are too well known to need any particular Relation.
When the b Athenians confulted Apollo Pythius, what Religious Worfhip they fhould establish, the Oracle anfwer'd; That, to which their Ancestors had been accuftomed; and when, fince their Ancestors had often changed their ways of Worfhip, they came again to enquire, which of their Customs was to be follow'd; he answer'd; The beft. Which was in effect to give no Answer at all; for their Defire was to know, which was to be fettled as the best. But what could be beft, when all was fo bad? There was no Body of Laws, or Rules of good Life, propofed by their Oracles; but on the contrary, they were in commendation of lafcivious Poets, or they flatter'd Tyrants, or they appointed Divine Worship to be paid to fuch as won the Mastery at the Olympick Games, or to Inanimate things; or they promoted fome other ill, or vain and unprofitable Defign, as Oenomaüs the Phi lofopher obferv'd, and proved by particular Inftances recited out of him by Eufebius. The Laws of Lycurgus were approv'd of, and confirm'd by the Del phick Oracle, and yet Theft, and a Community of Wives, and the Murther of Infants, was allow'd by thefe Laws. And the fame f Oracle not only order'd Divine Honours to be paid to Hercules and 8 Alexander
b Cic. de Legib. 1. 2. §. 40.
c Confecratus eft vivus fentiénfque Oraculi ejufdem (Delphici) juffu, & Jovis Deorum fummi aftipulatu, Euthymus Pycta, femper Olympia victor & femel victus.quod & vivo factitatum & mortuo facrificia oblata] nihilque adeo mirum aliud, quàm boa placuiffe Diis. Plin. Hift. 1. 7. c. 47.
d Eufeb. Præpar. lib. v. c. 34, 35.
e Plutarch. in Lycurg.
f Arr. de Expedit. Alex. I. iv.
g Socrat. Hift. 1. iii. c. 23.
but appointed Cleomedes a Madman and a Murtherer, to be worshipp'd with Sacrifice. Porphyry prov'd, from Oracles, that Magick was the Gift of the Gods. And I have already obferv'd, that they commanded Humane Sacrifices.
This is enough to fhew, that the Heathen Religions could not be from God, fince they taught the Worship of Idols and of Devils; and the Mysteries and Rites of them were utterly inconfiftent with the Goodness and Purity of Almighty God. And whoever doth but look into the Religions at this day amongst the Idolatrous Indians, by their ridiculous and cruel Penances, and other Superftitions, (befides the facrificing of Men, and fometimes of themselves, as the Women, who offer themselves to be burnt with the Bodies of their dead Husbands, and the like) will foon be convinced that they cannot be of God's Inftitution. The Chineses themselves, who have fo great a Reputation for Wisdom, are like the reft, both in their Idolatries, and in many of their Opinions and Practices.
It is evident therefore, that none of the Heathen Religions can make any probable Claim to Divine Revelation, having none of the Requifites to fuch a Revelation, but being but of a late Original, not far divulg'd, fupported neither by Prophecies nor Miracles from God, and containing Doctrines that are idolatrous, impure, cruel, and every way wicked and abfurd.
h Paufan. Eliac.
i Apud Eufeb. Præp. Evan. 1. vi. c. 4.
CHA P. V.
Of the Philofophy of the Heathen.
UT befides the Religions of the Heathens, divers of the Philofophers pretended to fomething fupernatural, as Pythagoras, Socrates, and fome others, and therefore it will be proper here to examine likewife the Juftice of their Pretenfions. And indeed, whatever the Original of the Heathen Philofophy were, whether from their Gods, or from themselves, if the Precepts of Philofophy amongst the Heathens were a fufficient Rule of good Life, there may seem to have been little or no neceffity for a Divine Revelation. But I fhall prove, 1. That the Heathen Philofophy was very defective and erroneous.. 2. That whatever was excellent in it, was owing to the Revelations contain❜d in the Scriptures. 3. That if it had been as excellent, and as certain, as it can be pretended to be, yet there had been great need of a Divine Revelation.
I. The Heathen Philofophy was very defective and erroneous. It was defective in point of Authority. Socrates, though he would be thought to be infpir'd, or fupernaturally affifted, gave Men only his own word for it. Pythagoras indeed pretended both to Prophecies and Miracles, but he was a great Magician, in the opinion of a Xenophon, Pliny, and Plutarch, and therefore whatever he did or foretold, must be afcribed to that Power, which, as it has been before declared, the Devils may have, to do ftrange things, and to know things done at a distance, or fome time after; and his Predictions and Miracles, (even as they are related by Porphyry and Jamblicus) were fuch, as
a Xenoph. Epift. ad fchinem. Plutarch in Numà. b Plin. Hift. 1. 30. c. 1. §. 2.
that a bare Recital of them were enough to confute any Authority, which could be claim'd by them. His Impostures may be feen in Diogenes Laërtius. Pliny writes, that not only Pythagoras, but Empedocles, Democritus, and Plato himfelf, made long Voyages to learn Magick. Ariftotle fays, Epimenides foretold nothing, whatever others relate of him. And as the Philofophers had no Divine Authority for what they deliver'd, fo their own was but of fmall account; they were generally rather Men of Wit and Humour, than of found Doctrine or good Morals. And whoever reads the Lives of the Philofophers written by Diogenes Laërtius, and the Lives of the Cafars by Suetonius, would believe the World might have been as foon reform'd by the one fort of Men as by the other. As to the Philofophers, who, after the Chriftian Religion appear'd in the World, pretended to Miracles, it is a hard matter to think the Writers of their Lives in earneft, when they relate them: For a Man may as well believe the Fables of Efop or Lucian to be true Hiftory, as the Stories in the Life of Apollonius Tyaneus written by Philoftratus, or thofe in the Life of Ifdorus written by Damafcius, an Abftract whereof we have left preferv'de in Photius.
The Heathen Philofophy was defective likewife in point of Antiquity and Promulgation. Philosophy, as far as we have any Account of it, was but a late thing; fo it is ftyled in Tully, neque ante philofophiam patefactam, qua nuper inventa eft. & Seneca computes the Rife of it to be lefs than a thoufand years before his own time: about that diftance of time h Pliny places Homer, whom he ftyles the firft Parent of all Learning and Antiquity. But the moral and useful part of
d Arift. Rhet. 1. iii. c. 17.
c Plin. ib.
h Plin. Hift. 1. vii. c. 16. 1. xxv. c. 7.
f Tul. de Divin. 1. i.