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such as that no man does, or no man can recover PROP. from it; so neither does it make any difference whether by philosophy no man is, or no man can be made wise and good: So that, without some greater help and assistance, mankind is plainly left in a very bad state. Indeed, in the original uncorrupted state of human nature, before the mind of man was depraved with prejudicate opinions, corrupt affections, and vicious inclinations, customs, and habits, right reason may justly be supposed to have been a sufficient guide, and a principle powerful enough to preserve men in the constant practice of their duty. But, in the present circumstances and condition of mankind, the wisest and most sensible of the philosophers themselves have not been backward to complain, that they found the understandings of men so dark and cloudy, their wills so biassed and inclined to evil, their passions so outrageous and rebelling against reason, that they looked upon the rules and laws of right reason as very hardly practicable, and which they had very little hopes of ever being able to persuade the world to submit to. In a word they confessed that human nature was strangely corrupted; and they acknowledged this corruption to be a disease whereof they knew not the true cause, and could not find out a sufficient remedy. So that the great duties of religion were laid down by them as matters of speculation and dispute, rather than as the rules of action; and not so much urged upon the hearts and lives of men, as proposed to the admiration of those who thought them hardly possible to be effectually practised by the generality of men. To remedy all these disorders, and conquer all these corruptions, there was plainly wanting some extraordinary and supernatural assistance, which was above the reach of bare reason and philosophy to procure, and yet without which the philosophers themselves were sensible there could never be any truly great men.*

* Nemo unquam vir magnus sine divino afflatu fuit.-Cicero.



A divine

covery of

VII. For these reasons there was plainly wanting a divine revelation, to recover mankind out of their universally degenerate estate, into a state suitable to the original excellency of their nature: Which divine revelation both the necessities of men and their natural notions of God gave them reasonable ground to expect and hope for; as appears from the acknowledgments which the best and wisest of the heathen philosophers themselves have made of their sense of the necessity and want of such a revelation; and from their expressions of the hopes they had entertained that God would some time or other vouchsafe it unto them.

1. There was plainly wanting a divine revelation, revelation to recover mankind out of their universal corruption absolutely necessary and degeneracy; and without such a revelation it for the re- was not possible that the world should ever be effecmankind. tually reformed; for if (as has been before particularly shown) the gross and stupid ignorance, the innumerable prejudices and vain opinions, the strong passions and appetites of sense, and the many vicious customs and habits which the generality of mankind continually labour under, make it undeniably too. difficult a work for men of all capacities to discover every one for himself, by the bare light of nature, all the particular branches of their duty; but most men, in the present state of things, have manifestly need of much teaching and particular instruction; if those who were best able to discover the truth, and instruct others therein, namely the wisest and best of the philosophers, were themselves unavoidably altogether ignorant of some doctrines, and very doubtful and uncertain of others, absolutely necessary to the bringing about that great end, the reformation of mankind; if those truths, which they were themselves very certain of, they were not yet able to prove and explain clearly enough to vulgar understandings; if even those things which they proved sufficiently, and explained with all clearness, they had not yet authority enough to enforce and inculcate upon men's


minds with so strong an impression as to influence PROP. and govern the general practice of the world; nor pretended to afford men any supernatural assistance, which yet was very necessary to so great a work; And if, after all, in the discovery of such matters as are the great motives of religion, men are apt to be more easily worked upon, and more strongly affected, by good testimony, than by the strictest abstract arguments; so that, upon the whole, it is plain the philosophers were never by any means well qualified to reform mankind with any considerable success; then there was evidently wanting some particular revelation, which might supply all these defects. There was plainly a necessity of some particular revelation, to discover in what manner,* and with what kind of external service, God might acceptably be worshipped. There was a necessity of some particular revelation, to discover what expiation God would accept for sin, by which the authority, honour, and dignity of his laws might be effectually vindicated, There was a necessity of some particular revelation, to give men full assurance of the truth of those great motives of religion, the rewards and punishments of a future state, which, notwithstanding the strongest arguments of reason, men could not yet forbear doubting of. In fine, there was a necessity of some particular divine revelation,‡ to make the whole doctrine of religion clear and obvious to all capacities, to add weight and authority to the plainest precepts, and to

* Νομοθέτης ὅστις νἂν κέκτηται, ἔποτε μὴ τολμήσῃ καινοτομῶν ἐπὶ θεοσε Γειαν, ἥτις μὴ σαφὲς ἔχει τι, τρέψαι πόλιν ἑαυτῆ. μηδὲν τοπαράπαν ἐἰδὼς, ὥσπερ ἐδ ̓ ἂν δυνατὸν εἰδέναι τῇ θνητῇ φύσει τῶν τοιέτων πέρι. Plato in Epinomide.

Τα γὰρ δὴ τοιαῦτα [θεῶν θεραπέιας] ἐτ' ἐπιστάμεθα ἡμεῖς, οἰκίζοντές τε πόλιν ἐδενὶ ἄλλῳ πεισόμεθα εαν νῦν ἔχομεν, οὐδὲ χρησόμεθα ἐξηγητῇ, ἀλλ ̓ ἢ Targiy Os.-Plato de Republ. 4.

† Τὸ μὲν ἀληθὲς, ὦ ξένε, δισχυρίζεσθαι ταῦτα ἔτως ἔχειν, πολλῶν ἀμφισ βητέντων, Θεῖ ἐστι. Plato de Legib.lib. 1.

† Τοῦτο δὴ ἦν τὸ μέρος φαμὲν φύσει κυριώτατον, καὶ δυνατὸν ὡς οἷον τε μάλιστα καὶ ἄριστα μαθεῖν, εἰ διδάσκοι τις· ἀλλ ̓ ἐδ ̓ ἂν διδάξειεν, ἐι μὴ Θεὸς spnyoro.-Plato in Epinomide.

PROP. furnish men with extraordinary assistances, to enable VII. them to overcome the corruptions of their nature : And, without the assistance of such a revelation, it is manifest it was not possible that the world could ever be effectually reformed. Ye may even give over, saith Socrates,* all hopes of amending men's manners for the future, unless God be pleased to send you some other person to instruct you. And Plato: Whatever, saith he,† is set right and as it should be, in the present evil state of the world, can be so only by the particular interposition of God.

That it

able to the

right rea.

pect or


2. Since, therefore, there was plainly and confeswas agree- sedly wanting a divine revelation, to relieve the nedictates of cessities of men in their natural state; and since no nature and man can presume to say that it is inconsistent with son, to ex- any of the attributes of God, or unbecoming the wisdom of the Creator of all things, to supply that hope for such a die want; to reveal to his creatures more fully the way vine reve- to happiness; to make more particular discoveries of his will to them; to set before them in a clearer light the rewards and punishments of a future state; to explain in what manner he will be pleased to be worshipped; and to declare what satisfaction he will accept for sin, and upon what conditions he will receive returning sinners: Nay, since, on the contrary, it seems more suitable to our natural notions of the goodness and mercy of God, to suppose that he should do all this than not; it follows undeniably, that it was most reasonable and agreeable to the dictates of nature to expect or hope for such a divine revelation. The generality of the heathen world, who were far more equal and less prejudiced judges in this matter than modern deists, were so fully persuaded that the great rules for the conduct of human life must re

* Εἶτα τὸν λοιπὸν χρόνον καθεύδοντες διατελεῖτε ἄν, εἰ μή τινα ἄλλον ὑμῖν ὁ Θεὸς ἐπιπέμψειε, κηδόμενος ὑμῶν.-Plato in Apolog. Socratis.

† Εὖ γὰρ χρὴ εἰδέναι, δ, τι περ ἂν σωθῇ τε καὶ γένηται οἷον δεῖ, ἐν τοιαύτῃ καταστάσει πολιτειῶν, Θεοῦ μοῖραν αὐτὸ σῶσαι.-Plato de Republ. lib. 6.


ceive their authority from heaven, that their chief PROP. lawgivers thought it not a sufficient recommendation of their laws that they were agreeable to the light of nature, unless they pretended also that they received them from God. But I have no need, in this argument, to make use of the examples of idolatrous lawgivers. The philosophers themselves, the best and wisest, and the least superstitious of them that ever lived, were not ashamed to confess openly their sense of the want of a divine revelation, and to declare their judgment that it was most natural and truly agreeable to right and sound reason to hope for something of that nature. There is, besides the several places before cited, a most excellent passage in Plato to this purpose; one of the most remarkable passages, indeed, in his whole works, though not quoted by any that I have met with, which therefore I think highly worthy to be transcribed at large, as a just and unanswerable reproach to all those who deny that there is any want or need of a revelation. It seems best to me, saith Socrates* to one of his disciples,

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* ΣΩΚ: Εἰ μὲν μὲν ἔν δοκεῖ κράτιστον εἶναι, ἡσυχίαν ἔχειν. ἀναγκαῖον ἐν ἐστι περιμένειν, ἕως ἄν τις μάθη ὡς δεῖ πρὸς Θεὸς καὶ τὰς ἀνθρώπες διακεῖσθαι. ΑΛΚ. Πότε ἦν παρέσται ὁ χρόνος ἔτος, ὦ Σώκρατες ; καὶ τίς ὁ παιδεύσων; ἥδιστα γὰρ ἄν μοι δοκῶ ἰδεῖν τοῦτον τὸν ἄνθρωπον τίς ἐστι. ΣΩΚ : Οὗτός ἐστιν, ᾧ μέλει περὶ σοῦ· Αλλὰ δοκεῖ μοι, ὥσπερ τῷ Διομήδει φησὶ τὴν ̓Αθηνῶν "Ομηρος ἀπὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν ἀφελεῖν τὴν ἀχλὺν, ὀφ ̓ εὐ γιγνώσκοι ἐμὲν Θεὸν ἠδὲ καὶ ἀνδρὰ, ὕτω καὶ σοῦ δεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς ψυχῆς πρῶτον ἀφελόντα τὴν ἀχλὺν, ἢ νῦν παροῦσα τυγχάνει, τοτηνικαῦτ ̓ ἤδη προσφέρειν δὲ ὧν μέλλεις γνώσεσθαι ἠμὲν κακὸν ἠδὲ καὶ ἐσθλόν· νῦν μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ἄν μοι δοκῇς δυνηθήναι. ΑΛΚ : Αφαιρείτω, εἴτε βούλεται, τὴν ἄχλὺν, εἴτε ἄλλο τί· ὡς εγὼ παρεσκεύασε μαι μηδὲν ἄν φεύγειν τῶν ὑπ' ἐκείνα προστασσομένων, ὅστις ποτ ̓ ἐστιν ὁ ἄνθρω πος, ἔιγε μέλλοιμι βελτίων γενέσθαι. ΣΩΚ: ̓Αλλὰ μὴν κἀκεῖνος θαυμαστὴν ὅσην περί σε προθυμίαν ἔχει. ΑΛΚ: Εἰς τότε τοινυν καὶ τὴν θυσίαν ἀναβάλ λεσθαι κράτιστον εἶναι μοι δοκεῖ. ΣΩΚ: Καὶ ὀρθῶς γε σοὶ δοκεῖ· ἀσφαλεσ τερον γὰρ ἐστιν ἤ παρακινδυνεύειν τοσοῦτον κίνδυνον. ΑΛΚ: Τοῖς θεοῖς δε καὶ στεφάνες καὶ τἄλλα πάντα τα νομιζόμενα τότε δώσομεν, ὅταν ἐκείνην τὴν ἡμέ ραν ἐλθῆσαν ίδω· ἥξει δ' ἐ διὰ μακροῦ, τέτων θελόντωιν.—Plato in Alci biade, 2. [If it be supposed that Socrates in this passage means himself, (which is very difficult,) yet it nevertheless very lively represents the great sense which the most considerate heathens had of their want of some extraordinary instruction.]

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