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from Semiramis, or whatever else her name was, the first foundress of Babylon, who seems to have been translated into the queen of heaven, the Moon, as Belus, or Pul, the first Assyrian monarch, was into the Sun; that all the Junos and Jupiters are de rived from this source, and that on this foundation the whole superstructure of the Greek POLYTHEISM and Idolatry was raised. Univ. Hist. vol. iv.
By what has transpired of these old secrets, it seems probable enough that the Romans considered these three principal deities, Jupiter, Minerva, and Juno, as one and the same divinity under three different names; among which names that of Jupiter might signify the supreme goodness, that of Minerva the supreme wisdom, and that of Juno the supreme power; somewhat after the manner that our Cudworth (Intell. Syst. lib. i. c. 4, p. 450) and some other learned writers have imagined. Hence may appear too, by the way, the reason why Jupiter is generally placed in the middle, Minerva on his right hand, and Juno last, in the joint representation of these three great divinities. Spence's Polymetis, p. 58, 64.
And might not this system of the three Supreme Deities being considered as one arise from a corruption of an antient tradition concerning the creation of the world by the trinity of persons? and the Father might be supposed to be Jupiter, as the very name implies Jehovah the Father; the Son, or Aryos, Minerva, as he is expressly called the Wisdom of God, 1 Cor. i. 24; and the Holy Ghost, Juno, or the air, which idea might take its rise from that passage, Gen. i. 2, " And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters;" and Juno, or the air, being the last, may refer to the Holy Spirit, the third person.
Whether an insurrection against a PRINCE can, on any account, be lawful, is a question that hath greatly been disputed: though, possibly, cases might be put of oppression, cruelty, and absolute tyranny, over the properties, the religion, and lives, of subjects which human nature could not endure, but would be roused by a kind of natural instinct to shake off the present incumbrance; to say men are bound to sit still under such a load, would be establishing an unequal law against themselves and rendering free subjects ever liable to change their condition for that of slavery, without having any means to prevent it. At such junetures, therefore, if some bolder steps should be taken to rescue themselves, the necessity of the times might seem tổ excuse them. But then as, on one land, liberty might be lost, if to resist was in no way allowable, so, on the other, government could not subsist if men might rebel as oft as they were dissatisfied. Nothing, therefore, less than the greatest evils felt or reasonably apprehended can afford any plea to justify a forcible opposition. Dr Tho mas Fothergill's 'Serin. on Jan. 30.
To combat the dangerous position of deposing kings, so prejudicial to the power of kings, and which was meant to justify all attempts of violence on the lives of heretical princes, the protestant divines went into the other extreme; and, to save the person of
their sovereign, preached up the doctrine of divine right. Hooker, superior to every prejudice, followed the truth, but the rest of our reforming and reformed divines stuck to the other opinion; which, as appears from the Homilies, the Institution of a Christian Man, and the general stream of writing in those days, became the opinion of the church, and was, indeed, the received protestant doctrine. And thus, unhappily, arose in the church of England that pernicious system of divine indefeasible right of kings, broached, indeed, by the clergy, but not from those corrupt and temporising views to which it has been imputed. And, being thought to receive a countenance from the general terms in which obedience to the civil magistrate is ordained in Scripture, it has continued to our days, and may, it is feared, still continue to perplex and mislead the judgement of too many amongst us. Hurd's Dialogues, vol. ii. p. 301.
Since religion would be but a very imperfect institution, should not POINTS of faith be seconded with suitable rules of practice, hereupon (in the church of Rome) mortification and austerity of life were (in shew at least) equally advanced; and Satan began to play the white devil by prohibiting, upon pretence of higher sacerdotal purity, the marriage of the clergy, though at the same time reckoned by themselves a sacrament, forbidding also certain sorts of meat, &c.; for the recommending of all which to men's use, they taught them that these practices were satisfactory for sin and meritorious of heaven. South's Serm. on 2 Cor. xi. 14.
In one of the public prints of February, 1806, this paragraph was inserted: "TuoMAS PAINE. Of this arch infidel and well-known disturber of the happiness of his fellow-mortals, Relfe's American Gazette of December, 1805, says, in consequence of having been visited by a second stroke of the palsy, this man at last is deeply impressed with the heinousness of a life spent in reviling all religion and in contemning divine revelation, and that he is in daily practice of prayer for heavenly grace and reconciliation.
Would it not be highly proper, for the societies for promoting Christian knowledge and the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, to have this very interesting ac knowledgement in favour of religion printed and placed at the beginning of all the bibles which they distribute, which might be done at a very small expense, as twenty thousand of them would not cost more than ten pounds.
The religion of the QUAKERS seems to have been borrowed from some of the heathen philosophers, who were thought to have the sublimest notions of the Divinity and seemed to be against all external worship of the supreme God. For, Appollonius Tyaneus was of opinion, "That no sensible thing was fit to be offered or dedicated to the God whom we call the first, but that he ought to be worshipped by the word or reason which is inward, not that which proceedeth out of the mouth; and that we must ask good
things from the best of Beings by that which is best and most excellent in us; and. this is intellect which does not need any organ or instrument of speech." And Porphyry adds, "That we must worship him in silence and pure thought." Thus, under pretence of inward religion and pure devotion, the outward expressions of it were to be neglected, and the only true God, who alone deserves to be worshipped, is not to have any outward homage rendered to him at all. And this seems to be the foundation of the absurd religion of the quakers. Leland on Christian Revelation, vol. i. p. 374.
Theodoret speaks of some Christians who were called Euchita, because they were for prayers without sacraments, and of some who conceived so highly of the spiritual nature of Christianity, that they would allow of no matter or element whatsoever. They had the name of Ascodruta, AoxoT, and they are more worthy of notice, as their notion seems to be the same with that of our modern quakers, though the quakers are said, by Mosheim, to have had their rise about the middle of the seventeenth century. The etymology of Ascodruta is not well understood: even Theodoret (Hæret. Fab. lib. i. cap. 10) seems at a loss about them, and I have consulted a number of books about the name without obtaining any satisfaction. They seem to have made this their fundamental principle, that invisible things are not to be completed by visible, of course they baptised not; but, moreover, they had no dua purngra, divine mysteries. Theodoret next speaks of some called Archontici, Agxoto, with whom a knowledge of God, of the mystic sort, seems to have been all in all. These went so far as to anathematise το λύτρον, και την γων μυτηρίων μεταλεψιν, baptism, and the receiving of the holy mysteries. Hey's Divin. Lect. vol. iv. p. 196.
The rejection of the two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's supper, by the quakers seems to have been borrowed from the Paulicians, who treated both these institutions as mere allegorical ceremonies. Mosheim's Ecc. Hist. vol. ii. 8vo.
Baptism not only unnecessary but unlawful, a tenet of quakers, a doctrine first broached by Socinus. That baptism is not superseded by extraordinary gifts of the spirit, which quakers profess themselves endowed with, proved from Acts x. 47. Quakers claim our attention and submission to their doctrines as the infallible dictates of the Holy Spirit speaking in them, and will not suffer any carnal reasonings to be offered in restraint of authority. Rogers's 12 Serm. p. 136.
Are not these pretensions equally as arrogant and unfounded as the infallibility of the church of Rome?
It is something extraordinary that Beattie ranks ROUSSEAU amongst the moral writers of true genius, when he has professedly wrote against the miracles of Christ; and more truly deserves a place with those writers, Hume, Hobbes, &c. to whom he has contrasted him. See Beattie and Munter's Conversion of Count Struensee.
It was the nonsense and knavery of such doctrines, i. e. the merit of good works and supererogation, together with the infamous trade of retailing indulgences and par dons, that offended all sober, honest, and sensible, men, and contributed greatly to bring on the REFORMATION. But the zeal of the reformers against such abuses seems to have inclined some of them towards the contrary extreme; to depreciate good works and to set up faith in opposition to them; though Christian faith, right'y understood, always implies Christian obedience. Jortin's Serm. vol. i.
Our Saviour's argument, Matthew, xxii. 32, in the opinion of many, seems rather directly to prove a future state, or another life, or the permanency of the soul, than a RESURRECTION, by which a dead man shall become a living man again. But it seems most probable that our Saviour intended to convince the Sadducees of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and it was a good argument ad hominem. But here observe, that a living state of the same person, after this and besides this present state, may justly be called a resurrection, and is as much as the word resurrection, áváracis, considered in itself, ever implies. They, therefore, who, in the text above mentioned, look for a proof of the rising of that body which died, are seeking what they will not find. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead undoubtedly contains thus much, that a dead man shall be a living man again, and the same person that he was before; and this sufficeth for moral and practical purposes. All beyond this is of the speculative and metaphysical kind, in which religion seems not to be concerned. Jortin's Sermons, vol. vii. p. 342, 343; and vol. iv. p. 134.
But, if the resurrection of the same body is not intended, how can it with any propriety be called a resurrection? And why is not the identity of the body necessary to constitute the same person, as well as the identity of the soul?
Man is, in his original constitution, an embodied spirit. Though the rational soul is the noblest part of our nature, yet it is not the whole of it; nor could the whole man be properly said to be made perfect in bliss, if the body, which was from the beginning a constituent part of his frame, in which he lived and acted during his abode on earth, were left utterly to perish in the grave. Eternal life, therefore, as it signifies the happiness of our entire nature, takes in not merely the immortality of the soul, but the resurrection of the body too, and the immortal existence of the whole man, soul and body united, in a state of felicity and perfection. Leland on Christian Revel. vol. ii. p. 448.
It is not improbable that some notion of the resurrection of the body might have been part of the original tradition derived, along with the notion of the immortality of the soul, from the first ages. And some learned persons have supposed that the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, which became very general, was a corruption and depravation of that doctrine. Perhaps, also, it was owing to a corruption of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, that, in many parts of the world, where they Hh
held a life after this, the notion they had of it seems to have been this, that it shall be a life perfectly like the present, with the same bodily wants, the same exercises and employments, and the same enjoyments and pleasures, which they had here. Leland pn Christian Revel. vol. ii. p. 438. 1) 1.
- Christ being called the first fruits of them that slept, and Paul saying, (1 Cor. xv, 49) that," as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly," we seem to be authorised to conclude, that the essential properties of our future bodies will be the same with those of Christ's after his resurrection; but what those were we have no sufficient data from which to draw a certain inference. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to be in all respects the very same that he had been before. He had, as he himself says, flesh and bones, was capable of being handled, and also of eating and drinking, But then, as he appeared with the wounds in his hands, feet, and side, that peculiar change, adapted to his future and permanent mode of existence, did not probably take place till after his ascension, nor till he had been seen by Paul, to whom he no doubt appeared, as he had done to the other apostles, in all respects the same that he had been before. Indeed, without this, it might not have been possible to identify his person, so that he could not have been a proper witness of his resurrection, and consequently could not have had the requisite qualifications of an apostle. Priestley's Evidences, vol. ii. P 23.1.
1 power of raising the dead, however, Jesus was careful to observe was not naturally inherent in him, but what was imparted to him by God, as well as his other extraordinary powers. Priestley's Evidences, vol. ii. p. 196.
But how is this consistent with John, ii. 19, vi. 40, 54?
Harrison asserts that 72,000 criminals were executed, during the reign of Henry VIII. for THEFT and ROBBERY, which would amount nearly to 2000 a year. He adds, that, in the latter end of Elisabeth's reign, there were not executed 400 a year, It appears that in all England there are not at present 40 executed for those crimes. If these facts be just, there has been a great improvement, in morals since the reign of Henry VIII Hume's Hist. vol. iv. p. 276.
And may not this improvement be very fairly attributed to the reformation?
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.. Several considerations make it highly probable that RELIGION first entered into the world by divine revelation; that it was not merely the result of men's own unassisted reason, or the effect of learning and philosophy, which had made little progress in those early ages, but owed its original to a revelation communicated from God to the first, parents of the human race. From them it was delivered down by tradition to their descendants; though, in process of time, it became greatly obscured and cor rupted with impure mixtures, Leland on Christian Revel 4to, vol. is p. 68............
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