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men, even to the most rude and barbarous, and flowing from common principles or notions of truth) did beget this agreement in them : thus Plutarch* derives it from men's common observations of the stars' constant order and motion ; so St. Paul also seems to imply the knowlege of God manifest to all men from the creation of the world, and the works of God visible therein ; and here (in this 19th Psalm) the prophet may seem to intend the same, although it be not certain he does; for that general acknowlegement and glorifying of God as maker of the heavens, which he avouches, may be understood as well the consequence as the cause of this religious opinion. Or, 4. it might from some common fountain of instruction (from one ancient master, or one primitive tradition) be conveyed, as from one common head or source, into many particular conduits, Thus the author of the book de Mundo (dedicated to Alexander) seems to deduce it : 'It is an ancient saying,' says he, • and running in the race of all men, that from God all things, and by God all things were constituted, and do consist.'+ The like Aristotlet himself implies in a notable place, which we shall afterward have occasion to produce.

No other way beside one of these can we (following experience or reason) imagine, by which any opinion or practice should prevail generally among men, who otherwise are so apt to differ and assent in judgment about things.

And be it any one or more of these ways that this opinion became so universally instilled into men's minds, our argument will thereby gain weight and force : if we assign or acknowlege any of the two first ways, we do in effect yield the question ; and grant it unreasonable to deny our conclusion : if nature forcibly drives men, or strongly draws men into this persuasion, (nature, which always we find in her notions and in her instincts very

sincere and faithful, not only to ourselves, but to all other creatures,) how vain an extravagancy will it then be to oppose it? also, if we grant that plain reason, apparent to the generality of men, hath moved them to consent herein, do we not therefore, by dissenting from it, renounce common sense, and confess ourselves unreasonable ? but if we say that it did arise in the last

Plut. de Plac. i. 6.

+ Cap. 6.

# Metaph, xii. 8.

manner, from a common instruction or primitive tradition, (as indeed, to my seeming, from that chiefly, assisted by good reason, it most probably did arise,) we shall thereby be driven to inquire, who that common master, or the author of such tradition was; of any such we find no name recorded, (as we do of them, who have by plausible reasons or artifices drawn whole nations and sects of people to a belief of their doctrine ;) we find no time when, no place where, no manner how it began to grow or spread, as in other cases hath been wont to appear ; what then can we otherwise reasonably deem, than that the first deliverers and teachers thereof were none other than the first parents of mankind itself, who, as they could not be ignorant of their own original, so could not but take care by ordinary education to convey the knowlege thereof to their children ; whence it must needs insensibly spread itself over all posterities of men, being sucked in with their milk, being taught them together with their first rudiments of speech ? Thus doth that consideration lead us to another, very advantageous to our purpose; that mankind hath proceeded from one common stock of one man or a few men gathered together; which doth on a double score confirm our assertion : first, as proving the generations of men had a beginning; secondly, as affording us their most weighty authority for the doctrine we assert. For, 1. supposing mankind had a beginning on this earth, whence could it proceed but from such a Being as we assert? who but such an one (so wise, powerful and good) could or would form these bodies of ours so full of wonderful artifice ? who should infuse those divine endowments (not only of life and sense, but) of understanding and reason? Aristotle,* discoursing about the generation of animals, says, “ If man (or any other perfect animal) were ynyevis, be must be necessarily produced, either as out of a worm, or as from an’egg ;' but is it not ridiculous to suppose bim to arise in either of those manners ? did we, did ever any one in any age observe any such production of a man? yet, why if once it could be, should it not happen sometime, yea often again, in some part of the earth, in so many thousand years ? what peculiar lucky temper of slime can we

* De Gener. Anim. iii. cap. ult.

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imagine to have been then, which not at sometime afterward, not somewhere should appear again? Experience sufficiently declares, that more is required to so noble a production, that men no otherwise come into the world, than either from another man, (fitted in a manner curious above our conception with many organs most exquisitely suited to that purpose,) or immediately from a cause incomprehensibly great and wise. And could we without fondness conceive man's body possibly might arise (like mice, as Diodorus Siculus tells us, out of the mud of Nilus) from earth and water fermented together, and organised by the sun's heat; yet (as more largely we have discoursed at another time) we cannot however well suppose his soul, that principle of operations so excellent, (so much different from, so far elevated above all material motions,) to spring up from dirty stuff, however baked or boiled by heat. I ask also, (supposing still this notion derived from the first men,) 2. who instilled even this notion into them ? why they should conceive themselves to come from God, if they did not find it so; if he that made them, did not sensibly discover himself to them, and show them, that to him they owed their being? In short, if they did testify and teach their posterity, that they came from God, we can have no reason to disbelieve them; nor can imagine more credible witnesses, or more reasonable instructors than themselves concerning their own original: it is a discourse, this, which we find even in Plato : •We must,' saith he, yield credence to them, who first avouched themselves the offspring of God, and did sure clearly know their own progenitors; it is indeed impossible to distrust the chil. dren of the gods, although otherwise speaking without plausible or necessary demonstrations; but, following law, we must be lieve them, as testifying about matters peculiarly belonging to themselves.'*

Thus do these two notions, that of general tradition concerning God, and that concerning man's origin on earth from one stock, mutually support and defend each other. And indeed, concerning the latter, there be divers other arguments of the same kind, although perhaps hardly any so clear and valid,

* Tim. p. 1053.

confirming it; I mean divers common opinions, stories, and practices, of an unaccountable rise, which cannot be well deemed to have been introduced, and so universally diffused among men, otherwise than from this fountain. I think it worth the while to propound some instances thereof, of each kind.

* Even this opinion or story itself, concerning mankind proceeding from one single or very narrow stock, was commonly received, and that from this head of tradition; as also divers other concerning the nature and state of man. That God did form man and breathe his soul into him, (as Aratus says, that 'we are God's offspring,' and as Cicero speaks, that we have our souls drawn and dropped from the Divine nature,'t) might be shown by innumerable testimonies to have been a general opinion ; which although it have a very strong foundation in reason, yet it seems rather to have obtained by virtue of tradition.

That man was formed after the image of God, and doth much resemble him, was also a general opinion, as Aristotle himself observes; and Ovid most expressly, according to what he found set down in ancient stories.

That man's soul is immortal, and destined to a future state of life, in joy or pain respectively, according to his merits or demerits in this life; that there should accordingly pass severe scrutinies and judgments after death on the actions of this life; that there were places provided of rest and pleasure for good men, of horror and misery for bad men departed; were opinions that did commonly possess men's minds ; none of them, it seems, on the force of any arguments having a common influence on men's minds, (such as philosophers did by speculation invent, being indeed too subtile for vulgar capacities to apprehend, and scarce able to persuade themselves,) but rather from their education, continued through all times, and commencing from that head we speak of ; as even such philosophers themselves confess : · We must,' says Plato, “believe the reports of this kind, (speaking about these matters,) being so many and so very ancient :'* and, . We suppose,' saith Cicero, “that souls abide after death from the consent of all nations.'+ And, I cannot,' saith he again, assent unto those who have lately begun to discourse, that souls do perish together with bodies, and that all things are blotted out by death : the authority of the ancients doth more prevail with me.'| And, 'When,' saith Seneca, we dispute concerning the eternity of souls, the consent of men either fearing or worshipping the Inferi (that is, the state of things after death) hath no slight moment with us.' Even Celsus bimself (an Epicurean philosopher, and great enemy of our faith) confesses that · divine men had delivered it, that happy souls should enjoy a bappy life hereafter.'H

+ Cic. Divin. 1.

* Vid. Clem. Alex. Str. v. p. 401.
I 'Av@pwroeideîs beoùs, &c.—Metaph. xii. 8.

The opinion concerning man having sometimes been in a better state, (both in regard to complexion of mind and outward accommodations of life,) but that he did by his wilful miscarriages fall thence into this wretched condition of proneness to sin, and subjection to sorrow, was an ancient doctrine, (if we take Plato's word ;) and concerning it Cicero hath these remarkable words : · From which errors and miseries of human life we may,' saith he, conclude that sometime those ancient prophets, or interpreters of the Divine mind in the delivery of holy mysteries, who have said that we are born to undergo punishments for the faults committed in a former life,

may seem to have understood somewhat.'1—(It is true, these authors assign this fall to the souls of singular persons in a state of preexistence; but it is plain enough how easy it might be so to mistake and transform the story.) To the same head

may

be referred that current story concerning the golden age, in which men first did live so happily without care and pain ; which so livelily expresses man's condition in Paradise. As also thereto may belong that relation concerning man's being thrown into this miserable state, because of a rapine committed against God's will, and that by the means of a woman sent down; who • with her hands opened the lid of a great vessel, (fraught with mischiefs,) and thence dispersed sad disasters and sorrows

* Plat. de Leg. 2. Vid. Gorg. sub fin. + Cic. Tusc. 1. I In Læl.

§ Sen. Ep. 117. # Celsus apud Orig. pag. 350. Cic. Fragm. pag. 79.

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