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wifeft Man, because he knew how ignorant he was, better than other Men did.
As to the Chinese Philofophy, we know little of it, their Books of Philofophy being all deftroyed, at the command of a Tyrant who reigned about two hundred Years before Chrift: From the fragments which were afterwards gathered up, and yet remain among them, we can only perceive, that Confucius, and the reft of their beft Philofophers, taught no more than what they had learnt by Tradition from their Anceftors; and when they forfook this Tradition, they fell into the groffeft Errors, which are maintained by the learned Men amongst them at this day.
II. Whatever there is of Excellency in the Philofophy of the Heathen, is owing to Revelation. It is generally fuppofed, that human Reafon could have difcover'd the more common and obvious Precepts of Morality, contained in the Scriptures; but it is more probable, that it could not have difcover'd most of them, if we may judge by the grofs Abfurdities which we find, as to fome particulars, in the beft Syftems of Heathen Philofophy, and from the general Practice of offering up Men for Sacrifices to their Gods, and of cafting away and expofing their Children, in the moft civiliz'd Nations. The d Sayings of the Wife Men, that contain Rules, which to us feem very plain and obvious, were efteemed as Oracles, and in Golden Letters dedicated to Apollo in the Temple at Delphi. But it is evident, from what has been already proved at large, that the Heathen were not left deftitute of many Helps and Advantages from the Scriptures, which divers of the Philofophers had read; and many things which feem now to be deductions from natural Reason, might have their original from Revelation for things once difcovered, feem eafie
c Confuc, lib. iii. par. 4. p. 36. & Philippi Couplet Prooem. Declar. d Plin. Hift. lib. vii. c. 32. Paufan. Phocic.
and obvious to Men, which they would never have been able to difcover of themselves. We wonder now, how Men fhould ever fuppofe there could be no Antipodes, and are apt to admire how America could lie fo long conceal'd, rather than how it came ap laft to be difcover'd: The cafe is the fame in many other Discoveries, efpecially in moral Truths, which are fo agreeable to Reason, that they may feem the natural Productions of it; though a contrary. cuftom and inclination, and the fubtilty of Satan working upon our depraved Nature, might perhaps have made it very difficult, if not impoffible, without a Revela tion, to discern many Doctrines even of Morality, which now are most common and familiar to, us, What Maxim is more agreeable, and therefore, as one would think, more obvious to human Reason, than that no Man fhould do to others, as he would not have them do to him? And yet Spartianus an Heathen Hiftorian fays, that Alexander Severus had this excellent Rule of natural Juftice and Equity, either from the Jews or Chriftians. There is no Book of Scripture which feems to contain plainer and more obvious things, than the Proverbs of Solomon; and yet an Author of great Learning and Judgment has given an Effay, how a confiderable defect of Learning may be fupplied out of this very Book, producing fuch Cautions, Inftructions, and Axioms from thence, relating to the bufinefs and government of human Life, in all varieties of occafion, as are no where elfe to be met withal. No Man can tell, how far human Reafon could have proceeded without Revelation; fince it never was without it, but always argued from thofe Principles which were at firft delivered by God himfelf to Noah, and were propagated amongit his, Pofterity throughout all Ages and Nations, though
eLd. Bacon's Advancement of Learning, F. viii. c. 2.
they were more corrupted and depraved in fome Ages and Nations than in others.
f Plato derives the Original of all Laws from Revelation; and the Doctrines of Morality of the most ancient Philofophers were a kind of Cabala, confisting of general Maxims and Proverbs, without Argument or Deduction from Principles; as we fee by the 8 Apcthegms of the Seven Wife Men, collected by Demetrius Phalareus. And it is the fame thing at this day in those Countries where Ariftotle's Philofophy has not prevailed, who was one of the firft that undertook to argue closely from Principles in Morality. But h Ariftotle teftified, that Proverbs were the Remains of the ancient Philofophical Precepts. And in other parts of Philofophy, I fhall prove, by fome remark able Inftances, that human Reason failed them in the explication of things which were generally received and acknowledged. The Exiftence of God is clearly and unanfwerably demonftrated by i Tully, and the Unity of the Godhead is as plainly afferted by him. With what ftrength of Reason, with what plainness, with what affurance, doth Balbus the Stoick speak concerning the Existence of the Deity? But when he would explain the Divine Nature, he defcribes a mere Anima Mundi, and exposes himself to the fcorn and laughter of his Adverfary; which fhews, that human Řeafon could go no farther, than to discover the Exiftence of God, and that we can know little of his Nature but by Revelation; and that whatsoever true and just Notions the Heathen had of the Divine Nature, must be chiefly afcribed to that.
That the World was created, the Philofophers before Ariftotle generally afferted; and that Water was the firft Matter out of which it was formed, is ac-.
f Plat. de Legib. dialog. 1.
g Stobæ. ferm. iii.
Tull. de Legib. 1. i. know
knowledged by Ariftotle, to be efteemed the most ancient opinion; but when he fet himself to argue the point, he concluded the World to be eternal; which, according to modern Philofophy, is as abfurd and impoffible as any thing that can be imagined.
The Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul, was deliver'd down from all Antiquity, as Tully affures us: but the Antients gave no Reasons to prove it by; they only received it by Tradition. Plato was the first who attempted to prove it by Argument; for though Pherecydes Syrus and Pythagoras had afferted it, yet they acquiefced in Tradition, by which they had received it from the Eastern Nations; but m Plato, either learning the Doctrine of the Soul's Immortality in Egypt, where it is generally fuppofed he converfed with the Jews, or being, at his coming into Italy, acquainted with that, amongst other Notions of the Pythagoreans, began to argue upon it; but not being able to make it fully out, has only fhewn how far Reafon could proceed upon thofe grounds, which were then known in the World from Revelation. Seneca, though he fometimes afferts the Immortality of the Soul, yet at other times doubts of it, and even denies that the Soul has any fub÷ fiftence in a feparate State. P M. Antoninus fpeaks doubtfully of the Soul's Exiftence after Death. And yet this Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul, which the greatest of the Heathen Philofophers could not certainly prove from Reason, was firmly believed even amongst Barbarians.
Arift. de Cœlo, lib. i. c. 1o. Metaphyf. lib. i. c. 3.
m Paufin Meffen. n Tull. Tufc. Qu. lib. i. • Epift. 54. 102. Confol. ad Marciam. c. 19. P M. Antonin. lib. iv. § 21. lib. v. 33. lib. xii. 5. q Grot, de Verit. lib. i. Annot.
lib. vii. § 3.
Confucius, the famous Chinese Philofopher, profefs'd himself not the Author, but the Relater only of the Do&rine which he taught, as he had received it delivered down from all Antiquity; and Ariftotle has declared, that the Ancients left many Traditions, which their Pofterity had corrupted; but from the remains of thofe Traditions, we know that they were. originally derived from Revelation. Pherecydes was the firft of the Italick Seat of Philofophers; and Thales was the Author of the Ionick Sect: from which Two Sects all the reft came, being only Divifions and Subdivifions from them. The firft of the Philofophers that taught the Immortality of the Soul, was Pherecydes; and he left his Writings to Thales," who taught, that all things were produced by God out of Water. Pythagoras was a Scholar of Pherecydes; and Pythagoras, Plato and Ariftotle, converfed with the Learned Jews. Socrates difputed of a future State from Tradition, and y profefs'd, that he always followed the Tradition which had defcended from Antiquity, and that he was at a lofs whenever that failed him. And this Tradition could not have its Rife from the Greeks, who were confefs'd to understand little or nothing of Antiquity. The * Ægyptian Priests affirmed, that they found it in their facred Books, that Orpheus, Mufæus, Homer, Lycurgus, Solon, Pythagoras, Plato, Democritus, and divers others of the wifeft and moft learned Men of Greece had travelled thither, and fomething they fhewed as a Memorial of every one that had been among them; the Statues of fome, and certain Places denominated from others, or from the Studies which they followed, were a token
r Confuc. lib. iii. Part 4. p. 36.
2 Plat. Timæ. * Diod. Sic. 1. i. c. 6.
t Tull. Tufc. Qu. lib. i. * Plat. Phæd.
y Plat. Phileb.