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Bishop Warburton proves that this opinion was held not merely by the Atheistical and skeptical sects among the Greeks, but by what he calls the Philosophic Quaternion of dogmatic Theists, the four renowned schools, the PYTHAGORIC, the PLATONIC, the PERIPATETIC, and the STOIC; and on this ground argues, that though they taught the doctrine of future rewards and punishments to the populace, as a means of securing their obedience to the laws, they themselves did not believe what they propagated; and in this he was doubtless correct. With future reward and punishment, in the proper and commonly received sense in all ages, this notion was entirely incompatible. He observes, "And that the reader may not suspect these kind of phrases, that the soul is part of God, discerpted from him, of his nature, which perpetually occur in the writings of the ancients, to be only highly figurate expressions, and not to be measured by the severe standard of metaphysical propriety, he is desired to take notice of one consequence drawn from this principle, and universally held by antiquity, which was this, that the soul was eternal à parte ante, as well as à parte post, which the Latins well express by the word sempiternus. But when the ancients are said to hold the pre and post existence of the soul, and therefore to attribute a proper eternity to it, we must not suppose that they understood it to be eternal in its distinct and peculiar existence; but that it was discerpted from the substance of God in time, and would in time be rejoined and resolved into it again; which they explained by a bottle's being filled with sea water, that swimming there awhile, on the bottle's breaking, flowed in again, and mingled with the common mass. They only differed about the time of this reunion and resolution, the greater part holding it to be at death; but the Pythagoreans not till after many transmigrations. The Platonists went between these two opinions, and rejoined pure and unpolluted souls, immediately on death, to the universal Spirit. But those which had contracted much defilement, were sent into a succession of other bodies, to purge and purify them before they returned to their parent substance."

Some learned men have denied the consequence which Warburton wished to establish from these premises, and consider the resorption of these sages as figurative, and consequently compatible with distinct consciousness and individuality. The researches, however, since that time made into the corresponding philosophy of the Hindoos, bear this acute and learned man out to the full length of his conclusion. "God, as separated from matter, the Hindoos contemplate as a being reposing in his own happiness, destitute of ideas; as infinite placidity; as an unruffled sea of bliss; as being perfectly abstracted and void of conscious. ness. They therefore deem it the height of perfection to be like this being. The person whose very nature, say they, is absorbed in Divine meditation; whose life is like a sweet sleep, unconscious and undisturbed;

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who does not even desire God, and who is changed into the image of the ever blessed, obtains absorption into Brumhu." (Ward's View of the Hindoos, 8vo, vol. ii, p. 177-8.) And that this doctrine of absorption is taken literally is proved, not merely by the terms in which it is expressed, though these are sufficiently unequivocal; but by its being opposed by some of the followers of Vishnoo, and by a few also of their philosophers. Mr. Ward quotes Jumudugnee, as an exception to the common opinion he says, "The idea of losing a distinct existence by absorption, as a drop is lost in the ocean, is abhorrent. It is pleasant to feed on sweetmeats, but no one wishes to be the sweetmeat itself." So satisfactorily is this point made out against the "wisdom of this world;" -by it the world neither knew God nor man.

Another notion equally extensive and equally destructive of the original doctrines of the immortality of the human soul, and a state of future rewards and punishments, which sprung up in the Egyptian schools, and was from thence transmitted into Greece, India, and throughout all Asia, was that of a periodial destruction and renovation of all things. "They conceived," says Diodorus Siculus, "that the universe undergoes a periodical conflagration, after which all things were to be restored to their primitive form, to pass again through a similar succession of changes." The primitive tenet, of which this was a corruption, is also evident; and it affords another singular instance of the subtlety and mischief of that spirit of error which operated with so much activity in early times, that the doctrine of the destruction of the world, and the consequent termination of the probationary state of the human race preparatory to the general judgment, an awful and most salutary revelation, should have been so wrought into philosophic theory, and so surrounded with poetic embellishment, as to engage the intellect, and to attract the imagination, only the more effectually to destroy the great moral of a doctrine which was not denied, and covertly to induce an entire unbelief in the eternal future existence of man.

As the Stoics held that all inferior divinities and human souls were portions separated from the soul of the world, and would return into the first celestial fire, so they supposed, that at the same time the whole visible world would be consumed in one general conflagration. "Then," says Seneca, "after an interval the world will be entirely renewed, every animal will be reproduced, and a race of men free from guilt will repeople the earth. Degeneracy and corruption are however to creep in again, and the same process is to go on for ever." (Ep. 9.) This too is the Brahminical notion: "The Hindoos are taught to believe that at the end of every Calpa (creation or formation) all things are absorbed in the Deity, and at a stated time the creative power will again be called into action." (Moore's Hindoo Pantheon.) And though the system of the Budhists denies a Creator, it holds the same species of

revolution. They are of opinion that the universe is eternal, at least they neither know it had a beginning, or will have an end; that it is homogeneous, and composed of an infinite number of similar worlds, each of which is a likeness of the other, and each of which is in a constant state of alteration,-not stationary for a moment, at the instant of greatest perfection beginning to decline, and at the moment of greatest chaotic ruin beginning to regenerate. They compare such changes to a wheel in motion perpetually going round." (Dr. Davey's Account of Ceylon.)

But other instances of darkness and error among even civilized heathens respecting the human soul, and a future state are not wanting; for it is a fact which ought never to be lost sight of in these inquiries, that among pagans, opinions on these subjects have never been either certain or rational; and that error once received has in no instance been exchanged for truth; but has gone on multiplying itself, and assuming an infinite variety of forms.

The doctrine of Aristotle and the Peripatetics gives no countenance to the opinion of the soul's immortality, or even of its existence after death. Democritus and his followers taught, that the soul is material and mortal; Heraclitus, that when the soul is purified from moist vapours, it returns into the soul of the universe; if not, it perishes: Epicurus and his followers, that "when death is, we are not." The leading men among the Romans, when philosophy was introduced among them, followed the various Greek sects. We have seen the uncertainty of Cicero. (2) Pliny declares, that "non magis a morte sensus ullus aut

(2) From the philosophical works of Cicero it may be difficult to collect his own opinions, as he chiefly occupies himself in explaining those of others; but in his epistles to his friends, when, as Warburton observes, we see the man divested of the politician and the sophist, he professes his disbelief of a future state in the frankest manner. Thus in lib. 6, epis. 3, to Torquatus, written in order to console him in the unfortunate state of the affairs of their party, he observes: "Sed hæc consolatio levis est; illa gravior, qua te uti spero; ego certe utor. Nec enim dum ero, angar ulla re, cum omni vacem culpa; et si non ero, sensu omnino carebo. But there is another and a far higher consolation, which I hope is your support, as it certainly is mine. For so long as I shall preserve my innocence, I will never while I exist be anxiously disturbed at any event that may happen; and if I shall cease to exist, all sensibility must cease with me."

Similar expressions are found in his letters to Toranius, to Lucius Mescinius, and others, which those who wish to prove him a believer in the soul's immortality endeavour to account for by supposing that he accommodated his sentiments to the principles of his friends. A singular solution, and one which scarcely can be seriously adopted, since in the above cited passage he so strongly expresses what is his own opinion, and hopes that his friend takes refuge in the same consolation. It may be allowed that Cicero alternated between unbelief and doubt; but never I think between doubt and certainty. The last was a point to which he never seems to have reached.

animæ aut corpori quam ante natalem, the soul and body have no more sense after death, than before we were born." (Nat. Hist. lib. 7, cap. 55.) Cæsar, "that beyond death there is neque curæ neque gaudio locum, neither place for care or joy." (Sallust. De Bello Catil. sec. 5.) Seneca in his 102d epistle speaks of a Divine part within us, which joins us to the gods; and tells Lucilius, "that the day which he fears as his last æterni natalis est, is the birth-day of eternity;" but then he says, " he was willing to hope it might be so, on the account of some great men, rem gratissimam promittentium magis quam probantium, who promised what they could not prove ;" and on other occasions he speaks out plainly, and says that death makes us incapable of good or evil. The poets, it is true, spoke of a future state of rewards and punishments; they had the joys of Elysium and the tortures of Tartarus; but both philosophers and poets regarded them as vulgar fables. Virgil does not hide this, and numerous quotations of the same import might be given both from him and others of their poets.

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas;
Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum

Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari !"-Georg. 2, 1. 490, &c,

Happy the man, whose vigorous soul can pierce

Through the formation of this universe,

Who nobly dares despise with soul sedate

The din of Acheron, and vulgar fears and fate.-WARTON.

Nor was the skepticism and unbelief of the wise and great long kept from the vulgar, among whom they wished to maintain the old superstitions as instruments by which they might be controlled. Cicero complains, that the common people in his day mostly followed the doctrine of Epicurus.

Since then these erroneous and mischievous views concerning God, providence, and a future state, or the total denial of all of them, are found to have resulted from the rejection or loss of the primitive traditions; and farther as it is clear that such errors are totally subversive of the fundamental principles of morals and religion, and afford inducement to the commission of every species of crime without remorse, or fear of punishment; the necessity of a republication of these great doctrines in an explicit and authentic manner, and of institutions for teaching and enforcing them upon all ranks of men, is evident; and whatever proof may be adduced for the authentication of the Christian revelation, it can never be pretended, that a revelation to restore these great principles was not called for by the actual condition of man; and, in proportion to the necessity of the case, is the strength of the presumption that one has been mercifully afforded,

CHAPTER VII.

The Necessity of Revelation :-State of Morals among the Heathen.

Ir the necessity of a revelation may be argued from the confused, contradictory, and false notions of heathen nations as to the principal doctrines of religion; no less forcibly may the argument be pursued from the state of their morals both in knowledge and in practice.

This argument is simple and obvious. If the nature, extent, and obligation of moral rules had become involved in great misapprehension and obscurity; if what they knew of right and wrong wanted an enforce. ment and an authority which it could not receive from their respective systems; and if, for want of efficient, counteracting religious principles, the general practice had become irretrievably vicious;-a direct interposition of the Divine Being was required for the republication of moral rules and for their stronger enforcement.

The notions of all civilized heathens on moral subjects, like their knowledge of the first principles of religion, mingled as they were with their superstitions, prove that both were derived from a common source. There was a substantial agreement among them in many questions of right and wrong; but the boundaries which they themselves acknowledged, were not kept up, and the rule was gradually lowered to the practice, though not in all cases so as entirely to efface the original communication.

This is an important consideration, inasmuch as it indicates the transmission of both religion and morals from the patriarchal system, and that both the primitive doctrines and their corresponding morals received early sanctions, the force of which was felt through succeeding ages. It shows too, that even the heathen have always been under a moral government. The laws of God have never been quite obliterated, though their practice has ever been below their knowledge, and though the law itself was greatly and wilfully corrupted through the influence of their vicious inclinations.

This subject may perhaps be best illustrated by adverting to some of the precepts of the Second Table, which embodied the morals of the patriarchal ages, under a new sanction. Of the obligation of these, all heathen nations have been sensible; and yet, in all, the rule was perverted in theory and violated in practice.

MURDER has in all ages and among all civilized and most savage heathen nations also, been regarded as an atrocious crime; and yet the rule was so far accommodated to the violent and ferocious habits of men, as to fill every heathen land with blood guiltiness. The slight regard paid to the life of man in all heathen countries, cannot have escaped the

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