Imágenes de páginas

“ Il est vrai," says Mezeray, “ qu'on peut dire que Jupiter se monstra beaucoup plus desbordé, que son pere Saturne: car il ne se contenta pas d'epouser Junon, mais de violer encor son autre sæur Ceres, dont il engendra Proserpine. Et autre il eut affaire avec trois de ses propres tantes, a scavoir avec Themis, donc il en. gendra les Heures et les Parques; avec Dione, d'on naquit Venus; avec Mnemosyne, dont les Muses prirent l'origine. Encore ’t’il bien plus avant, car il voulut forcer sa mere Rhæa, au rapport d'Arnobius, lib. v. Bref; se changeant en serpent, il viola sa fille Proserpine, dont il engendra le premiere Bacchus, comme descrit Nennius, lib. xv. xvi. et Arnobius, lib. v. Plusieurs auteurs font mention de cette inceste, comme Clem. Alexandr. en son Protrepo tique-Le Scholiaste de Pindare sur la septieme des IsthmiquesDiod. Sicul. lib. iii.; Arrian, lib. ii.; Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. iii. Mezeray was a man of learning in the theology of Greece, and his Commentaires sur les Epitres D'Ovide, is a repertory of the scandalous anecdotes which the Greeks and Romans told and believed of their gods.

NOTE B. p. 27 THE view which I have taken of the temper and frailties of the gods of Greece may be completed by a passage in Cicero, which I am unwilling to translate. Exposui fere, says the Epicurean Velleius, speaking of the religion of his country, non philosopborum judicia, sed delirantium somnia. Nec enim multo absurdiora sunt ea, quæ, poetarum vocibus fusa, ipsa suavitate nocuerunt; qui et ita inflammatos, et libidine furentes induxerunt deos; feceruntque ut eorum bella, pugnas, prælia, vulnera videremus, odia preterea, dissidia, discordias, querelas, lamentationes, effusas in omni intemperantia libidines, adulteria, vincula, cum humano genere concubitus, mortalesque ex immortalibus procreatos. Cicero de Nat. Deor. lib. i. $ 16. This is, indeed, the painting of an enemy, but the colouring is just.

NOTE C. p. 30.

IN his conversation with Aristodemus, Socrates describes the attributes of Deity with admirable precision and strength of language. Yet, through this whole dialogue, be speaks of God, and of the gods, with equal frequency; and, in the last sentence he utters, the term το θείον is immediately succeeded by that of αυτές, i. e. θεες. Xenoph. Memorabl. lib. i. seg. 18. In the same manner he dise closes his polytheism, in his discourse with Euthydemus. Memorabl. lib. iv. c. 3. See also, lib. i. c. 4. seg. 11, 12, 13, 14, 19. Plato is not more consistent--Idem et in Timæo dicit, et in Legibus, et mundum deum esse, et cælum, et astra, et terram, et animos, et eos quos majorum institutis accepimus. Cicero, de Nat. Deor. lib. i. c. 12. Cicero adds, that the Father of the Academy admitted - Modo unum, tum autem plures deos. Ibid. Thales, Cicero, Epictetus, Marcus Antoninus, and the whole body of the Stoics, were also decided Polytheists. Diogen. Laert. lib. i. segm. 36. Tuscul. Disput. lib. i. c. 13. De Nat. Deor. lib. iii. c. 3. et lib. ii. c. 4. De Legib. lib. i. c. 7. Enchirid, c. xxxi. Dissertat. lib. i. c. 4. fere ad fin. Marcus Antonin. Meditat. lib. iii. $ 9. et lib. iii. § 33: “ The philosophers,” says Cudworth, “ made the theology of the Pagan look a little aristocratically, by their speaking so much of the gods in general, and without distinction; and attributing the government of the whole to them in common, as if it were managed and carried on by a common council and republic of gods, and as if their Jupiter or supreme god were no more among them than a Speaker of the House of Commons, or the chairman of a com. mittee." Intellect. Syst. p. 357.

NOTE D. p. 31. THE opinions of the Philosophers on this subject are adverted to by Seneca. Quantum Deus possit? Materiam sibi ipse formet, an datâ utatur? Utrum Deus quicquid vult, efficiat, an a magno artifice pravé formentur multa, non quia cessat ars, sed quia id in quo exercetur sæpe inobsequens arti est? Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. i. In Proæm. See also Aristot. de Cælo. lib. i. c. 10. Plut. de Placit. Philosoph. lib. ii. c. 4. Diogen. Laert. lib. iii. segm. 69, et lib. vii. segm. 134. Stobæus, Eclog. Physic. lib. i. c. 14. p. 29. Edit. Plautin.

NOTE E. p. 33. HÆC enim quæ dilatantur a nobis, Zeno sic premabat. Quod ratione, utitur, id melius est quam id quod ratione non utitur. Nihil autem mundo melius. Ratione, igitur, mundus utitur. Pergit idem et urget angustius. Nihil quod aniini, quod rationis est expers, id generare ex se potest animantes, compotesque rationis. Mundus autem generat animantes, compotesque rationis. Animans igitur est mundus, compotisque rationis. Cicero, de Nat. Deor. lib. ii. $ 7, 8, 13, &c.

Cotta, the Academician, ludicrously applies the same mode of argument to prove the musical, and oratorical powers, of the world:

That which knows how to pipe and harangue,
Is better than that which does not.
But the world is the best of things;
Therefore the world knows how to pipe and barangue.

Cicero, de Nat. Deor. lib. ii.

NOTE F. p. 37. THE theology of Plato is generally obscure and often unintelligible. Rerum obscuritas, non verborum, facit ut non intelligitur oratio, qualis est in Timæo Platonis. Cicero de Finibus. lib. ii. c. 5. See also Academical Quest. lib. ii. 39.

Nec ipse quoque Plato, says Jean de Serres, fortasse satis recte seipsum intellexerit. In Argument. Timæ. p. 5.

The learning and acuteness of Bayle were often baffled by this ambiguity of language. Il est si obscur, qu'il rebute toutes les esprits, qui ne cherchent que la humiere. Continuat. de Pens. Divers. Ở cvi.

Plotinus endeavours, with much zeal, and much appearance of learning, to illuminate the darkness which has excited so much complaint. But the disciple becomes as enigmatical as the master. The master, probably did not understand himself, and the disciple, therefore, could not understand the master. Nothing, says Plotinus, can be predicated of The Good, the Supreme Deity, of the Platonists,-not being, nor essence, nor lise, nor yet intellect and intelligence, lest of one you make two gods, the Intelligent and the Good-Llovens røy xui ayaboy. Ennead. lib. viii. c. 7, 8, 9.

Cudworth, who endeavours to discover a Trinity of divine Hypostases in the writings of Plato, seems to coincide, in some degree, with Plotinus. “ Plato," says he,“ professing, in his tenth book of laws, to oppose the atheists, undertakes to prove the existence of a Deity. Yet he ascends no higher than to the Psyche, or universal mundane soul, as a self-moving principle, and the immediale or proper cause of all that motion which is in the world. But, in other places of his writings, he frequently asserts, above the selfmoring Psyche, an immovable and standing Mind, which was properly the Demiurgus, or architectonick framer of the whole world. And, lastly, above this multiform Intellect, he plainly asserts a yet

bigher Hypostasis, one most simple and absolutely perfect Being, which he calls tò ev, in opposition to that multiplicity which speaks something of imperfection in it, and to kyalàr, goodness itself, as being above mind and understanding.” Intellect. Syst. vol. 1. lib.i. C. 4. pp. 406, 407.

“ The Good,” he adds from Plato, “ is the same, in the intelligible world, to intellect, or knowledge and intelligibles, as the sun, that heavenly god, is, in the sensible world, to sight and visibles. For, as the sun is not light, but only the cause of it, nor is Lbat light by which we see, but only a sun-like thing; so neither is the supreme and highest Good knowledge, but the cause of knowledge, nor is Intellect the best and most perfect Being, but only a Boniform thing. This highest Good is not itself properly essence, but above essence, both in respect of dignity and power." Plat. Polit. lib. v. Intellect. Syst. vol. i. pp. 407, 8.

Plotinus endeavours to describe more fully and clearly what Plato has thus involved in such impenetrable darkness.

“ The Good," says he, " is the cause of himself, and he is from himself, and himself is for himself. He is the Maker of himself, the Lord over himself. His will and essence are the same thing. Wherefore, since his willing is from himself, his being is from himself also. For, if his volition be from himself, and his own work, and this be the same with his hypostasis or substance, he may, then, be said to have given substance to himself. Wherefore, he is not what happened to be, but what he willed himself to be.” Ennead. vi. Jib. viii

P. 748, &c.

NOTE G. P. 41.

THE whole passage in which this Deity is described is worthy of uotice. It is not perfectly decorous; but it throws some light on the genius of Oriental theology, and I therefore introduce it.

“ Nothing existed in the world before the existence of mind. This universe was encircled by death, eager to devour. He framed mind; and mind felt dread, till he reflected, that, as nothing existed but himself, he had no cause to fear. Then bis terror departed from him.

“ But be experienced not delight. He wished the existence of another, and he instantly became such as man and woman. He caused, then, his own self to fall in twain, and, thus becoming a husband and wife, all human beings were produced.

“ The wife reflected, doubtful. How can he, having produced me from himself, incestuously approach me? I will assume a dis

guise. She, accordingly, assumed various forms. But she could never deceive him. He perpetually approached her in the same form which she had assumed ; and every existing pair were con. sequently produced, from the nobler animals to the ant and the worm." Translat. of the Veibad Aranyaca, the conclusion of the White Yajush, a portion of the Vedas, by Colebrook. Asiat. Reg. v. viii.

The division of the substance of the Supreme Being into male and female, and his incestuous marriage with his daughter, are asserted in several Puranas, and in some with little delicacy and reserve of language. Asiat. Reg. vol. viii. pp. 439, 440, 441.

NOTE H. p. 48. THE world, says the Manava Sastra, was all darkness, undiscernible, undistinguishable, altogether as in a profound sleep, till the self-existent, invisible God, making it manifest with five elements and other glorious forms, perfectly dispelled the gloom. He, desiring to raise up various creatures by emanations from his own glory, first created the waters, and impressed them with a power of motion. By that power was produced a golden egg, blazing like a thousand suns, in which was born Brama, the self-existing, the great parent of all rational beings. But Brama, having dwelt in the egg through revolving ages, himself meditating on himself, divided it into equal parts, and from those parts formed the earth and heavens, placing in the midst the subtle æther, the eight points of the world, and the permanent receptacles of the waters."

Other tales of the creation, equally extravagant, are repeated in the Vedas. Death, it is said, was not, nor immortality. But That breathed, single with Swadha, her who was sustained within bim. Desire was raised in his mind, and became the original principle, which the wise recognising by the intellect in the heart, distin. guish in non-entity as the bond of entity. Did the luminous ray of these creative acts expand in the middle, or above, or below? Who knows exactly, and who in this world shall declare, whence and by whom this creation took place? The Gods are subsequent to the production of the world. Then who can tell whence it proceeds ? Colebrook on the Vedas. Asiat. Reg. vol. viï.

NOTE I. p. 53.

THE prophet, having limited his libertinism to a certain number of wives and concubines, subsequently found that he had consented to

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