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whom all the wisdom of the Wise was supposed to be deposited, had philosophised themselves out of one of the most evident and useful truths with which mankind has any concern; and a full justification of the severity with which the holy Apostles always speak of the Philosophers and the Philosophy of Greece, since it is hereby seen to be directed only against these pernicious' principles; and not, as Deists and Fanatics concur to represent it, a condemnation of human learning in general.

3. But as now, it inight be objected, “ that by this representation, we lose on the one hand what we gain on the other; and that while we shew the ešpediency of the Gospel, we run a risque of discrediting its reasonableness ; for that nothing can bear harder upon this latter quality, than that the best and wisest persons of Antiquity did not believe that which the Gospel was sent to propagate, namely, the Doctrine of a future state of Rewards and Punishments." As this, I say, miglit be objected, we have given (besides explaining on what absurd' principles their unbelief rested) a further' answer; and, to support this answer, shewn, that the two extremes into which Divines have' usually run, in representing the state and condition of revealed Religion, are attended with great and real mischiefs to it; while the only view of Antiquity which yields solid advantage to the Christian Cause, is such a one as is here represented for the true: Such a one as shews natural Reason to be clear enough to perceire TRUTH, and the necessary deductions from it when proposed, but not generally strong enough to discover it. He, who of all the Pagan World best knew its force, and was in that very state in which only a true judgment could be passed, has with the greatest ingenuity confessed this truth, “ Nam

neque tam est acris acies in naturis hominum et ingeniis,

ut res tantas quisquam, nisi moństratus possit videre ; “ neque tanta tamen in rebus obscuritas, ut eas peritus '“ acri vir ingenio cernat, si modo aspexerit.” . In explaining this matter, it is occasionally shewn, that the


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great and acknowledged superiority of the modern Systems of Deistical Morality above the ancient, in point of excellence, is entirely owing to the unacknowledged, and perhaps unsuspected, aid of Revelation.

Thus the Reader sees, in what manner we have endeavoured to prove the MAJOR PROPOSITIONS of the two Syllogisms, that whatsoever Religion and Society hate no future State for their support, must be supported by an extraordinary Providence. And that, The ancient Lawgivers universally believed, that a Religion without a future State could be supported only by an extraordinary Providence. For having shewn, that Religion and Society were unable, and believed to be unable, to support themselves under an ordinary Providence, without a future State; if they were supported without that Doctrine, it could be, and could be believed to be, only by an extraordinary Providence.

But now as the proof is conducted through a long detail of circumstances, shewing the absolute necessity of Religion to civil Society; and the sense which all the wise and learned amongst the ancients had of that necessity; lest this should be abused to countenance the idle and impious Conceit that RELIGION WAS THE INVENTIÓN OF POLITICIANS, I concluded the third Book and the Volume together, with proving that the Conceit is both IMPERTINENT and FÅLSE.

1. Impertinent, for that, were this account of the origin of Religion true, it would not follow, that the thing itselt was visionary; but, on the contrary, most real, evidently so even from that universal utility, on which this its pretended origin is supported. Indeed, against this utility, paradoxical men, or men in a paradoxical humour, have often reasoned; such as BAYLE, PLUTARCH, and Bacox; Their arguments are here examined : And the Master sophismi, which runs through the reasoning of all three, is detected and exposed.

2. False;


2. False; for that, in fact, Religion existed before the .civil Magistrate was in being. In proving this point, the matter led me to speak of the origin of Idolatry; to distinguish the several species of it; to adjust the order in which they arose out of one another; and to detect the ends of the later Platonists, in their attempts to turn the whole into an ALLEGORY (in which the reasonings of a late Writer in his Letters concerning Mythology are considered). And because the rage of ALLEGORISING had spread a total confusion over all this matter, The origin, and progress of the folly, and the various views of its sectators in supporting it, are here accounted for and explained. But

my end and purpose in all this, was not barely to remove an objection against the Truths delivered in this place, but to prepare a reception for those which are to follow: For if Religion were so useful to Society, and yet not the invention of the Magistrate, we must seek for its original in another quarter; either from NATURE or REVELATION, or from BOTH.,

Such is the subject matter of the First Volume of The Divine Legation: which, as it was thought proper to publish separately, I contrived should not only contain a part of that general Argument, but should likewise be a complete Treatise of itself, establishing one of the most important Truths with which man has any concern; namely, THE NECESSITY OF RELIGION FOR SUPPORT OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT. And if, in support of this truth; I hạve entered into a long detail of some .capital articles of Antiquity, I presume I shall not need an apology.

U. We come now to the second VOLUME of The Divine Legation, which is employed in proving the Minor ProPOSITION of the two Syllogisms; the first, that the Jewish Religion and Society had no future state for their

support :


support: the other, that Moses, an ancient Laugiver, and learned in all the IVisdom of Egypt, purposely instituted such a Religion, in order to which the THIRD GENERAL PROPOSITION was to be inforced; That the Doctrine of a future state of Rewards and Punishments is not to be found in, nor did make part of, the Ilosaic Dispensation. But in proving the mixor, a method something different from that observed in proving the MAJOR PROPOSITIOns was to be followed. These, in the first Volume, were proved successively and in order. But here the MINOR PROPOSITions are inforced all


way together. And this difference arises from the reason of the thing; the facts, brought to prove the doctrine to be omitted, do, at the same time, accidentally shew that the Omission was designed: And the reasons, brought to prove the uses in a designed omission, necessarily shew that the Doctrine was omitted.

To proceed therefore with the subject of the SECOND VOLUME.

IV. I just before observed, that the conclusion of the first Volume, which detected the absurdity and falsity of the Atheistic Principle, that Religion was an invention of Politicians, and a creature of the State, opened the way to a fair inquiry wliether its true original was not as well from REVELATION as from NATURAL REASON.

In the introduction therefore to this second Volume, I took the advantage which that opening afforded ine, of shewing that the universal pretence to Revelation proves some Revelation must be true: That this true Revelation must have some characteristic marks to distinguish it from the false : And that these marks are to be found in the Institutions of Moses.

But this was only by way of introduction; and to lead the Reader more easily into the main road of our inquiry; by shewing that we pursued no desperate adventure, while we endeavoured to deduce the divinity


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of Moses's Law from the circumstances of the Law itself.

I proceeded then to the proof of the Minor ProPOSITIONS, that the Jewish Religion and Society had no future State for their support: and that Moses, an ancient Lawgiver, and learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, purposely instituted such a Religion. To evince these truths with sufficient evidence, the nature of that Instiv tion was to be first understood ; which again required a general knowledge, at least, of the manners and genius of the Hebrew People, and of the character and abilities of their Lawgiver. Now these having been entirely fashioned on Egyptian models, it was further expedient that we should know the state of Egyptian supersition and learning in that early period.

1: In order to this, the following proposition is advanced, that the Egyptian learning celebrated in Scripture, and the Egyptian superstition there condemned, were the very learning and superstition represented by the Greek Writers as the honour and opprobium of that kingdom. Where I first state the 'question; and then sbew the equal extravagance of each of those two parties amongst the learned, who have been accustomed to advance or to depress the high antiquity of Egypt.

1. I corroborate the Proposition, first, by Fact, the testimony of holy Scripture, and of the ancient Greek Writers, set together and supporting one another; and both supported by circumstances regarding the peculiar situation of the land of Egypt. And here the objections of the author of the Sacred and Proplane History of the World connected, frightened by the common panic of the bigh antiquity of Egypt, are confuted and exposed.

Secondly, by REĄSon, in an argument drawn from the nature, origin, and various uses of their so famed HIEROGLYPHICS. Where it is shewn,

1. That this species of writing was employed by the Egyptians as the vehicle of learning, even after the inven


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