페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

wisest Man, because he knew how ignorant he was, better than other Men did.

As to the Chinese Philosophy, we know little of it, their cBooks of Philosophy being all destroyed, at the command of a Tyrant who reigned about two hundred Years before Christ: From the fragments which were afterwards gathered up, and yet remain among them, we can only perceive, that Confucius, and the rest of their best Philosophers, taught no more than what they had learnt by Tradition from their Ancestors; and when they forsook this Tradition, they fell into the groffest Errors, which are maintained by the learned Men amongst them at this day,

II. Whatever there is of Excellency in the Philosophy of the Heathen, is owing to Revelation. It is generally supposed, that human Reason could have discover'd the more common and obvious Precepts of Morality, contained in the Scriptures; but it is more probable, that it could not have discoverd most of them, if we may judge by the gross Absurdities which we find, as to some particulars, in the best Systems of Heathen Philosophy, and from the general Prađice of offering up Men for Sacrifices to their Gods, and of casting away and exposing their Children, in the most civiliz’d Nations. The d Sayings of the Wife Men, that contain Rules, which to us seem very plain and obvious, were esteemed as Oracles, and in Golden Letters dedicated to Apolio 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 Philosophers had read ; and many things which seem now to be deductions from natural Reason, might have their original from Revelation : for things once discovered, leem easie

c Confuc. lib. iii. par. 4. p. 36. & Philippi Couplet Proæm. Declar. d. Plin. Hift. lib. vii. c. 32. Pausar.. Phocic.

and

and obvious to Men, which they would never have been able to discover of themselves. We wonder now, how Men should ever suppose there could be no Antipodes, and are apt to admire how America could lie so long conceald, rather than how it came af last to be discover'd: The case is the same in many other Discoveries, especially in moral Truths, which are so agreeable to Reason, that they may seem the natural Productions of it; though a contrary custom and inclination, and the subtilty of Satan working upon our depraved Nature, might perhaps have made it very difficult, if not impossible, without a Revelaation, to discern many Doctrines even of Morality, which now are most common and familiar to, us, What Maxim is more agreeable, and thereforeas one would think, more obvious to human Reason, than that no Man should do to others, as he would not have them do to him ? And yet Spartianus an Heathen Historian says, that Alexander Severus had this excellent Rule of natural Justice and Equity, either from the Jews or Christians. There is no Book of Scripture which seems to contain plainer and more obvious things, than the Proverbs of Solomon ; and yet an e Author of great Learning and Judgment has given an Essay, how a considerable defect of Learning may be supplied out of this very Book, producing such Cautions, Instructions, and Axioms from thence, relating to the business and government of human Life, in all varieties of occasion, as are no where else to be met withal. No Man can tell, how far human Reason could have proceeded without Revelation; since it never was without it, but always argued from those Principles which were at first delivered by God himself to Noah, and were propagated amongit his Pofterity throughout all Ages and Nations, though

[ocr errors]

© Ld. Bacon's Advancement of Learning, f, viii. c. 2.

they

they were more corrupted and depraved in some 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 Philosophers were a kind of Cabala, consisting of general Maxims and Proverbs, without Argument or Deduction from Principles; as we see by the & Apcm thegms of the seven Wise Men, collected by Demetrius Phalareus. And it is the same thing at this day in those Countries where Aristotle's Philosophy has not prevailed, who was one of the first that undertook to argue closely from Principles in Morality. But h Aristotle testified, that Proverbs were the Remains of the ancient Philosophical Precepts. And in other parts

of Philosophy, I shall prove, by some remarks able Instances, that human Reason failed them in the explication of things which were generally received, and acknowledged. The Existence of God is clearly and unanswerably demonstrated by i Tully, and the Unity of the Godhead is as plainly asserted by him. With what strength of Reason, with what plainness, with what assurance, doth k Balbus the Stoick speak concerning the Existence of the Deity? But when he would explain the Divine Nature, he describes a mere Anima Mundi, and exposes himself to the scorn and laughter of his Adversary; which fhews, that human Řeason could go no farther, than to discover the Existence 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 ascribed to that.

That the World was created, the Philosophers before Aristotle generally asserted; and that Water was the first Matter out of which it was formed, is ac-.

f Plat. de Legib. dialog. 1. & Stohæ. serm. iii. h Synes. Calvit. Encom. sub fin. Tull. de Legib. 1. i. k Tul. de Natur. Deor. lib. ii.

know

בת

knowledged by . Aristotle, to be esteemed the most ancient opinicn; but when he set himself to argue the point, he concluded the World to be eternal; which, according to modern Philosophy, is as absurd and impossible as any thing that can be imagined.

The Do&rine 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 asserted it, yet they acquiesced in Tradition, by which they had received it from the Eastern Nations ; but m Plato, either learning the Doctrine of the Soul's Įmmortality in Ægypt, where it is generally supposed he conversed with the Jews, or being, at his coming into Italy, acqua:nted 'n with thar, amongst other Notions of the Pythagoreans, began to argue upon it ; but not being able to make it fully out, has only shewn how far Reason could proceed upon those grounds, which were then known in the World from Revelation. Seneca, though he sometimes afferts the Immortality of the Soul, yet at other times doubts of it, and even denies that the Soul has any subsistence in a separate State. P M. Antoninus speaks doubtfully of the Soul's Existence after Death. And yet this Do&rine of the Immortality of the Soul, which the greatest of the Heathen Philosophers could not certainly prove from Reason, was firmly believed even amongst 9 Barbarians.

| Arist. de Cælo, lib. i. c. 10. Metaphys. lib. i. c. 3.
m Pausin. Meffen. Tull. Tusc. Qu. lib. i.
o Epist. 54. 102. Consol. ad Marciain. c. 19.
P M. Antonin. lib. iv. § 21. lib. v. 31.

lib. vii. $ 32. lib. xii. 4. 5

9 Grot. de Verit. lib. i. Annot.

ConfuConfucius, " the famous Chinese Philosopher, profess’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 Aristotle has declared, that the Ancients left many Traditions, which their Pofterity had corrupted; but from the remains of those Traditions, we know that they were originally derived from Revelation. Pherecydes was the first of the Italick Sea of Philosophers; and Thales was the Author of the Ionick Sect: from which Two Sects all the rest came, being only Divisions and Subdivisions from them. The first of the Philosophers that taught the Immortality of the Soul, was + Pherecydes; and he left his Writings to Thales , su who taught, that all things were produced by God out of Water. Pythagoras was a Scholar of Pherecydes; and Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle ,, conversed with the Learned Fews.' Socrates disputed of a future State from Tradition, and y profess’d, that he always fol lowed the Tradition which had descended from Antiquity, and that he was at a loss whenever that failed him. And this ? Tradition could not have its Rise from the Greeks, who were confess'd to understand little or nothing of Antiquity. The * Ægyptian Priests affirmed, that they found it in their sacred Books, that Orpheus, Mulæus, Homer, Lycurgus, Solon, Pythagoras; Plato, Democritus, and divers others of the wisest and most learned Men of Greece had travelled thither, and something they shewed as a Memorial of every one that had been among them; the Statues of some, and certain Places denominated from others, or from the Studies which they followed, were a token

* Confuc. lib. iii. Part 4. p. 36. s Arift. Metaph. lib. xii. c. 8. + Tull. Tusc. Qu. lib. i. u Tull. de Nat. Deor. l. i. x Plat. Phæd. y Plat. Phileb. 2. Plat. Timæ. * Diod. Sic. 1. i. c. 6.

of

« 이전계속 »