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SERMONES

SERPENTES

66

destruendi, versipellem in sententiis coactam, in

conjecturis duram, in argumentis operariam, con“ tentione molestam, etiam sibi ipsi omnia retrac” tantem, nequid omnino tractaverit. Hinc illæ “ fabulæ & genealogiæ indeterminabiles, & quæsti

ones 'infructuosæ & VELUT CANCER, a quibus nos apostolus refræ

nans *,” &c. One would almost imagine, from these last words, that Tertullian bad foreseen that ARISTOTLE was to be the founder of the School DIVINITY.

He observes, that the Heresy, which denies the Resurrection of the Body, arose out of the whole School of Gentile philosophy. But he omits another, which we have shewn stood upon as wide a bottom; namely, that which holds the HUMAN SOUL TO BE OF THE SAME NATURE AND SUBSTANCE WITH God; espoused before his tiine by the Gnostics, and afterwards, as we learn by St. Austin, by the Manichæans and Priscillianists t.

* De præsc. adv. Hæret. pp. 70, 71. Ed. Par. 1580.

4 Priscillianistæ quos in Hispania Priscillianus instituit, maxime Gnosticorum & Manichæorum dogmata permixta sectantur; quamvis et ex aliis hæresibus in eas sordes, tanquam in sentinam quandam horribili confusione confluxerint. Propter occultandas autem contaminationes & turpitudines suas habent in suis dogmatibus & hæc verba, Jura, perjura, secretum prodere noli. Hi, ANIMAS DICUNT EJUSDEM NATURÆ ATQUE SUBSTANTIÆ CUJUS EST Deus. Aug. De Hæresibus.

Why

Why the heathen Philosophers of our tiines should be displeased to see their ancient brethren shewn for knaves in practice, and fools in theory, is not at all strange to conceive : but why any else should think theinselves concerned in the force and fidelity of the drawing, is to me a greater mystery than any I have attempted to unveil. For a stronger proof of the necessity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot, I think, be given than this, That the SAGES of GREECE, with whom all the WISDOM of the world was supposed to be deposited *, had PhiloSOPHISED themselves out of the most evident and useful TRUTH with which mankind hath any concern.

Besides, what greater regard could any one shew to the authority of the Sacred Writers than to justify their CENSURE of the Greek philosophy; a censure which Deists and Fanatics, though for different ends, have equally concurred to represent as a condemnation of human learning in general ?

In conclusion, it is but fit we should give the reader some account why we have been so long and so particular on this matter.

One reason was (to mention no other at present) to obviate an objection, which might possibly be urged against our proof, of the divine legation of Moses, from the omission of a future state. For if now the Deists should say (and we know they are ready to say any thing) that Moses did not

1 Cor. i. 20.

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propagate that doctrine, because he did not believe it; we have an answer ready: having shewn from fact, that the not believing a doctrine so useful to society, was esteemed no reason for the Legislator not to propagate it. I say, having shewn it from the practice of the Philosophers : For as to the Lawgivers, that is, those who were not Philosophers professed, it appears, by what can be learnt from their history and character, that they all believed, as well as taught, a future state of rewards and punishments. And indeed how should it be otherwise? for they were free from those metaphysical whimsies, concerning God and the Soul, which had so besotted the Greek Philosophers. And I know of nothing else that could hinder any man's believing it.

Against all this force of evidence, weak, indeed, as it is against the force of prejudice, the learned Chancellor of Gottingen has opposed his Authority, which is great, and his talents of reasoning and eloquence, which are still greater. Magnam non ita pridem (says he) ut Antiquiores mittam, ingenii vim et doctrinæ copiam impendit, ut in hanc nos sententiam induceret GUILIELMUS WARBURTONUS, vir alioquin egregius & inprimis acutus, in celeberrimo et eruditissimo libro, quem, The divine Legation of Moses demonstrated, inscripsit Lib. iii. Sect. 4. Jubet ille nos existimare OMNES PHILOSOPHOS, qui animorum immortalitatem docuerunt, eamdem clam negasse. Naturam rerum revera Dei loco habuisse atque mentes hominum Particulas

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censuisse ex mundi anima decerptas, et ad eam post corporum obitum reversuras. Verum, ut taceam, Græcorum tantum Philosophos eum testari, quum aliis tamen Populis sui etiam Philosophi fuerint, a Græcorum sententiis multis modis semoti, ut hoc, inquam, seponam, non apertis & planis testimoniis causam suam agit Vir præclarus, quod in tanti momenti accusatione necessarium videtur, sed conjecturis tantum, exemplis nonnullis, denique consectariis ex institutis quibusdam et dogmatibus Philosophorum quorumdam ductis.”—De rebus Christ. ante Constantinum Magnum, p. 18. Here the learned Critic supposing the question to be, -What the Philosophers of the ancient IVorld in general thought concerning a future state ? charges the Author of the Divine Legation with falling short in his proof, which reaches, says he, only the Greek Philosophers though there were many other in the world besides, who dognatised on very different principles. Now I had again and again declared, that I confined my Inquiry to the Greek Philosophers. We shall see presently, for what reason. What then could have betrayed this great Man into so wrong a representation ? It was not, I am persuaded, a want of candour, but of attention to the Author lie criticised.- For, seeing so much written by me against the principles of those Ancients who propagated the doctrine of a future state, he unwarily concluded that it was in my purpose to discredit the doctrine, as discoverable by the light of nature; and, on that

ground, ground, rightly inferred that my husiness was with the whole tribe of Ancient Philosophers: and that to stop at the Greeks was mistaking the extent of my course.

But a little attention to my general argument would have shewn him, that this inquiry into the real sentiments of a race of Sages, then most eminent in all political and moral Wisdom, concerning this point, was made solely to shew the vast importance of the doctrine of a future state of reward and punishment to society, when it was seen that these men, who publicly and sedulously taught it, did not indeed believe it. For this end, the Greek Pbilosophers served my purpose to the full. Had

my end been not the importance, but the discredit of the Doctrine (as this learned man unluckily conceived it) I had then, indeed, occasion for much more than their suffrage to carry my point.

In what follows of this learned Criticism, I am much further to seek for that candour which so eminently adorns the writings of this worthy person. He pretends I have not proved my charge against the Greek Philospohers. Be it so. But when he says, I have not ATTEMPTED it by any clear and evident testimonies; but only by conjectures; by instances in some Particulars ; by consequences deduced from the Doctrines and Institutes of certain of the Philosophers; This, I cannot reconcile to his ingenuous spirit of criticism. For what are all those passages given above, from Timæus the Locrian, from Diogenes Laertius, from Plutarch, Sextus

Empiricus,

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