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RIES, a large account is given of their rise and progress, from Egypt into Greece, and from thence, throughout the civilized world." I have attempted to discover the APOPPHTA, or hidden doctrines of these Mysteries, which were THE UNITY OF THE GODHEAD and the ERROR OF THE GROSSER POLYTHEISM, namely, the Worship of dead men, deified. This discovery not only confirms all that is advanced, concerning the rise, progress, and order of the several specieses of Idolatry, but clears
and rectifies much embarras and mistake even of the most celebrated Moderns, such as Cudworth, Stilling fleet, Prideaux, Newton, &c. who, contrary to the tenour of Holy Scripture, in order to do imaginary honour to Religion, have ventured to maintain, that the one true God was generally known and worshipped in the Pagan World; for, finding many, in divers countries, speaking of the one true God, they concluded, that he must needs have a national Worship. Now the Discovery of the droppata of the Mysteries enables us to explain the perfect consistency between sacred and profane Antiquity; which, left to speak for themselves, concur to inform us of this plaitř and consistent truth, " That the Doctrine of the one true God was indeed taught in all places, but as a profound secret, to the Few, in the celebration of their mysterious Rites ;- wbile, in the Land of Judea alone, he had a public and national Worship." For to the Hebrew. PeoPLE alone, (as Eusebius expresses it) was reserved the honour of being INITIATED into the knowledge of the Creator of all things. And of this difference, God himself speaks by the Prophet,--I have not spoken IN SECRET, IN A DARK PLACE OF THE EARTH*. And the holy Apostle Paul informs us of the consequence of that mysterious manner of teaching the true God amongst the Pagan nations, that when, by. this means, they caine to the knowledge of him, they glorified him not as Godt. * Isaiah xlv, 19.
+ Roni. i. 22. VOL. VI. I
To confirm and illustrate my account of the MYSTERIES, I subjoin a Dissertation on the sixth Book of Virgil's Æn is; and another on the Metamorphosis of Apuleius. The first of which books is shewn to be one continued description of the Eleusinian Mysteries ; and the other to be purposely written to recommend the use and efficacy of the Pagan Mysteries in general.
And here the attentive Reader will observe, that throughout the course of this whole argument, on the conduct of the ancient ĻAWGIYERS, it appears, that all the fundamental principles of their Policy were borrowed from Egypt. A truth which will be made greatly subservient to the minor of the second Syllogism; that Moses, though learned in all the Wisdom of Egypt, yet instituted the Jewish Religion and Society without a future State.
From this, and from what has been said above of MORAL OBLIGATION, the intelligent Reader will perceive, that, throughout the Divine Legation, I have all along endeavoured to select for my purpose such kind of arguments, in support of the particular question in hand, as may, at the same tine, illustrate the truth of Revelation in general, or serve as principles to proceed ypon in the progress of the present Argument. Of which will be given, as occasion serves, several other instances in the course of this review.--And now having shewn the Legislators care to propagate Religion in general, and the Doctrine of a future state of Rewards and Punishments in particular (in which is seen their sense of the inseparable connexion between them); I go on, to explain the contrivances they employed to perpetuate the knowledge and mflueryce of them: by which it appears that, in their opinion, RELIGION was not a temporary expedient, useful only to secure their own power and authority, but a necessary support to civil Society itself.
1. The first instance of this carę was, as we shew, their ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL RELIGION, protected by the Laws of the State, in all places where they were concerned. But as Men, ignorant of true Religion, could hardly avoid falling into mistakes in contriving the mode of this Establishment, I have therefore the subject of my Work being no idle speculation, but such a one as affects us in our highest interests, as Men and Citizens) attempted to deliver the true Theory of the Alliance between Church and State, as the best defence of the justice and equity, of an ESTABLISHED RELIGION.
2. The second instance of their care, I shew to have been the allowance of a GENERAL TOLERATION; which as it would, for the like reason, be as imperfectly framed Theory of that likewise. The ancient Lawgiver contrired to establish one mode, of Religion, by allying it to the State, for the sake of its DURATION : He tolerated other modes of it, for the sake of their INFLUENCE, for a Religion forced upon man, has none; and the Lawgiver concerns himself with Religion only for the sake of its influence. Discoursing upon this Subject, I was naturally led to vindicate true Religion from an aspersion of Infidelity: Where, I shew, that the first persecution for Religion was not that which was committed, but that which was undergone by the Christian Church: And that the ill success attending its propagation amongst barbarous Nations in our times, is altogether owing to the preposterous method employed for that purpose. ---And with this, the second Book of the Divine Legation concludes.
III. The third Book goes on in supporting the MAJOR of the second Syllogism, by the opinions of the Philoso
For as the great waste and ravages of tiine have destroyed most of the Monuments of ancient Legislation, I held it not improper to strengthen iny position of the sense of their Lawgivers, by that of their Sages and Philosophers. In this is shewn,
1. From their own words, the conviction they in general had of the necessity of the doctrine of a future state of Reüards and Punishments to civil society. And, to set this conviction in the strongest light, I endeavour to prove, that even such of them (viz. the several sects of Grecian Philosophers) who did not believe a future state of Rewards and Punishments, did yet, for the sake of Society, diligently teach and propagate it.- That they taught it, is confessed; that they did not believe it, was my business to prove': whicle I have done by shewing, 1. That they all thought it lawful to say one thing, and thik another. 2. That they constantly practised what they thus thought to be lawful: and, 3. That they practised it on the very Doctrine in question.— To explain and verify the two first of these assertions, I had occasion to enquire into the rise, progress, perfection, decline, and genius of the ancient Greek Philosophy, under all its several divisions. In which, (as its rise and progress are shewn to have been from Egypt), still more materials are laid in for inforcing the minor proposition of the second Syllogism.—I then proceed to a more particular inquiry into the sentiments of each sect of Philosophy, on this point; and shew from the character and genius of each School, and from the Writings of each man, that none of them did indeed believe the Doctrine of a future state of Rewards and Punishments. At the same time it appears, from almost every proof brought for this purpose, that they all thought the Doctrine to be of the highest utility to the State. Here, in examining the philosophy of PYTHAGORAS, the subject led me, to consider his so celebrated Metempsychosis; in which, I take occasion to speak of the origin of the Pagan Fables, and the nature of the Metamorphosis of Ovid, here shewn to be a Popular History of Providence, very regularly and artfully deduced froin the most early times to his owo : From the whole I draw this conclusion, " that Pythagoras, who so sedulously propagated this species of a
future state of Rewards and Punishments (the Metempsychosis) that he was thought by some to be the author of it, considered it only as a commodious Fable to restrain the unruly populace.”
2. To support this fact, it is shewn, in the next place, that these Philosophers not only did not, but that they could not possibly believe the Doctrine of a future state of Rewards and Punishments, because the belief of it contradicted two Metaphysical principles universally held and believed by them, concerning the nature of God and of the Soul; which were, that the Deity could not hurt any one; and that the soul was part of the substance of the Deity, and resolvable again into him. In explaining and verifying their reception of this latter principle, I take occasiou to speak of its original; which, I prove, was Grecian and not Egyptian; as appears from the genius and character of the two Philosophies; thougli the spurious books going under the name of Hermes, but indeed written by the later Platonists, would persuade us to the contrary. The use of this inquiry likewise (i. e. concerning the origin of this principle) will be seen when we come to settle the character of Moses, as aforesaid. But, with regard to the belief of the Philosophers on both points, besides the direct and principal use of it, for the support of the major of the second Syllogisın, it haih (as I said before, it was contrived iny arguments should have) two further uses; the one, to serve as a principle in the progress of my general Argument: the other, to illustrate the truth of Revelation in general. For, ist, it will be a sufficient answer to that solution of the Deists, (to be considered hereafter) that Aloses did not teach the Doctrine of a future state because he did not believe it, since it is shewn by the stron rest evidence, that the not believing a doctrine so useful to Society, was esteemed no reason why the Legislator should not pro
2. It is a convincing proof of the expediency of the Gospel of Jesus, that the Sages of Greece, with