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ritons [that the Soul is Mortal, or that it is Immortals be true, God only knows ^ which, among other Declarations of the like Nature, might probably induce h Seneca to lay, That Immortality, however desirable in it self, was rather promised\ than proved by these great Men.
They had weak and uncertain Notions of a future State : for though «* their Poets had prettily fancied an Elysium and an Hell, yet all sober Men looked upon these, rather as well contrived Re^flraints for the Vulgar, than any Matters of their own Belief; and therefore k Socrates Is introduced, as saying, I hope there is a Place where I, .andgood Men jhall meet, yet I cannot affirm it. I wish, lays l Cicero, that you could prove to me that our Souls are Immortal, and, if wife Men have said true, fays m Seneca, there is a Place to receive us after Death; so that, after all their Meditations on a future State, they wanted Arguments to convince themselves, and ended all their Disquisitions in a Peradventure and a Wish. But, what is more,
They had no Notion at all of the Resurrection of the Body: For, tho' their Poets make frequent mention of the Ghosts of departed Men, appearing in a visible
"Ep. 101. 'Toung\ Sevm. Vol. 1. k Plato in PhxA. 'Tnsc. Quest. m Ad Lucil.
Form, and retaining, in the Shades below, their former Shape ; yet by this (if they mean any thing) they mean no more, than that the Soul, after this Life, passes into another State, and is there invested with a Body made up of light Aerial Particles, quite different from what it were before: For, that the gross Matter, which they saw laid in the Grave, and turned to Corruption, or burnt to Ashes, and blown away in the Air, should ever be railed or collected again, and revivified, of this the most Speculative among them had no Conception. And therefore, when n St. Paul preached at Athens (which was then the great Seat of Learning) Jejus and the ReJurreBion, Ib- ignorant were the Philosophers, that at first they took them to be a new God, and a new Goddess; but, when, upon a second hearing, they came to perceive what he meant by the Resurrection of the Dead, they mocked him, and made Ridicule of what he said.
Thus ignorant, or thus doubtful at They aleast, were some of the greatest Names he."?dA in Antiquity of these prime and funda- p^;w. mental Truths, which must be acknowledged the great Barriers of Virtue and Religion : And therefore we need less wonder, that we find so many of them F f 4 abetting
• Affi xvii,
abetting Practices apparently flagitious j P That we find every Sect esteeming Revenge, not only lawful, but commend-r able, and the desire of popular applause, the greatest Incentive to all kind of Virtue; that we find some of the greatest of them full of the Praise of Sels-Murther, and setting themselves for the Example of it to their Followers; that we find Cato commending Fomication, as a proper Remedy against Adultery j Plato, asserting the Expediency of Mens having their Wives in common; Chryjippus, teaching the worst of Inceji, that of Fathers with their Daughters, and pleading the Lawfulnels of unnatural hufi; that we find, in short, whole Fraternities degrading humane Nature into that of Beasts -, the Cynicks laying aside all the natural Restraints of Shame and Modesty, to commit their Lusts openly ; and the Stoicks affirm^ ing, that no Words or Speech of any •kind ought to be censured or avoided, as filthy and obscene. So true is the Observation; which P Quintilian makes of the Philosophers of his time, viz. tfhat the moji notorious Vices were screen d under that Name, and that they did no/ labour to maintain the Charaffer os Phi
"Bishop of London's id Pastoral Letter, and Jerkins'* Reasonableness, Vol. l. 'lust. L. i. Prxc.
hfophers by Virtue and Study, but concealed very vicious hives under an aufiere Look, and a different Habit from the reji of the World.
And, if these Men of Speculation and Modem profound Reasoners, who made Reli- u"M'e
*. ' vets eti
gion and Nature their daily Study, far'd
1 Clark's Evidence of Natural and Revealed Religion.
Book would they have made the adequate Rule of their Lives and Conver— lations? Or had they let up for themselves, how are they certain, they should have been able to deduce the several Branches of their Duty, and to apply them to the several Cases of Life, by Argumentation and Dint of Reason? "Tis one thing to find out a Rule at first, and another to perceive its Agreement with Reason, after it is found out for us; and the Difficulty is not much, when once we know our Duty, to begin and deduce its Obligation from Reason, but to begin and discover our Duty in all points, with all its true Motives, merely by the help of natural Reason, is a Work of Pains and Nicety, and like groping for an unknown Way in an oblcure Twilight. And therefore those, who think themselves sufficient for iiich an undertaking, at least must be thought to condemn the Generations that are past, by their disparaging a Dispensation, which the best, and wisest, and least-superstitious of the Philosophers of old, were not afham'd to confess their want of. Thew/Vi- Men may talk of the natural Light thesis? and Power of Reason, as long as they thenWorid please, and the Topick perhaps is well [hcwn enough for popular Eloquence to