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strangely in his head, that if I thought the philosophers practised the double doctrine on the point in question, I must needs suppose they had no fixed principles.—But it is very unreasonable (says he) and unjust from hence to conclude, that they who do so, have no belief of their own, or that they think all religion whatever the invention of designing men. And again,-So that, notwithstanding their double doctrine, they had still some fixed ones of their own. pp. 45. 47. Why, thou mighty defender of heathen wisdom! who ever said they had not! Or who but such a defender would not have seen, that all the force of my argument rests upon this very truth, that they had fixed principles, that they had a belief of their own?
But as if he had not done enough in this obliging way, he will go on, and prove for me, that the double doctrine was not about different opinions, but the same. I indeed thought it incumbent on me to shew this because it was bringing my argument home to the point, that a future state was one of the objects of the double doctrine. But how it could be made to serve his purpose, was quite beyond my reach. Judge then of my surprise, when I saw him attempt to prove it at large; and to conclude his proof thus: it appears then that the external doctrine related to the same thing as the internal. p. 24. I was some time at a loss for his meaning in the former case: but here I gave over the search as desperate. Not but I concluded there was mischief somewhere. At last I found this slender thing of an argument lie lurking under a conundrum. I don't know whether it will bear the handling; but at present it hangs together thus: "The "external doctrine related to the same thing as the "internal. Now a future state is one thing, and no "future state, another. These therefore being two, "could not be the object of the double doctrine, which was concerned with one thing only." But our advocatę is so far from being able to make a good argument, that, to the shame of his profession, he knows not how to make a good quibble. For I had all along affirmed the philosophers, both in their external and internal teaching, held a future state (here's his one and the same thing for him:) in their external, a future state with rewards and punishments;
punishments; in their internal, a future state without them.
But though he contends, that the external doctrine related to the same thing with the internal, yet it does not (he says) in the least appear, that the philosophers believed one thing, and taught a quite contrary to the people. p. 19. This is strange indeed. These philosophers then must be like their advocate, and teach nothingOtherwise, if the external teaching was for the people, and the internal what the people could not be trusted with, and both about the same thing, the two ways of teaching must certainly proceed upon contrary propositions. But, perhaps, in the humour he is now in, an authority may be better liked than a reason. I will give him one above all exception: his own. In another place he tells us, it did fully appear, that the philosophers believed one thing, and taught a quite contrary to the people; for he says-THE EXTERNAL THEREFORE MUST BE JUST THE REVERSE [to the internal] wITH RELATION TO THE SAME POINTS. p. 24.
IV. Our advocate hath given me so little room to quarrel with him on this head, that the reader must needs have had a very poor and meagre entertainment. Nothing but a still-born blunder, and the ghost of a departed quibble. He must therefore be content to make out his treat with what cold scraps I can pick up from the oversodden crambe of his logic and literature.
In the fifth page he says, Mr. Warburton EXPRESSES himself very AMBIGUOUSLY, where he asserts that they held it lawful, for the public good, to say one thing when · they thought another. FOR, in the present question, if we understand by this, that the philosophers believed a future state in a spiritual, refined, and rational sense, while they sometimes countenanced the people in their gross, vulgar, and corporeal notions of it, then what he lays down is certainly true: but if we understand it, as HE INTENDS WE SHOULD, that the philosophers preached the doctrine of a future state to the people, while themselves believed the contrary, viz. that there was no future state of rewards and punishments at all; then his charge on the philosophers is absolutely false.
The logic of this incomparable period stands thus: 1. First I talk ambiguously, BECAUSE it is in his power to misunderstand me; for in the present case (says he) if we understand, &c. not because of any thing I myself said, or omitted to say. For when I asserted what he here lays to my charge, I had added, that the philosophers preached the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments to the people, while themselves believed the contrary; and repeated it so often over, that this writer himself, who accuses me of expressing myself ambiguously, confesses, in the very attempt to prove his accusation, that he knows my meaning. But if we understand it (says he) AS HE INTENDS WE SHOULD
2. Secondly, I talk ambiguously, BECAUSE, in his sense of the words, they are true-in mine, not true.
These are such discoveries in the art of reasoning, that I could almost wish the Author would add a chapter of ambiguities to our common logics. A thing, I'll assure him, very much wanted.
In his 17th page we have these words, Notwithstanding which [viz. the double-doctrine] the design and end of the philosophers in both, was still in general the same, that is, to improve mankind as much as they would bear; and the doctrines in substance and at the bottom were all along one and the same; JUST AS true Christianity MAY NOW BE, though in some countries scarce discernible, being overwhelmed with legends, false_miracles, image-worship, and all the trumpery of Popish superstition.
Here's a period, let me tell you, that has no weak side of sense, but is impenetrable all round. Does he mean that the external and internal doctrines of the philosophers were in general the same, just as pure Christianity, and corrupt Christianity overwhelmed with legends, false miracles, image-worship, and all the trumpery of Popish superstition, are in general the same? Or does he mean that the external and internal doctrines of the philosophers were both to improve mankind as much as they could bear, just as pure Christianity, and corrupt Christianity overwhelmed with legends, false miracles, image-worship, and all the trumpery of Popish superstition, are both to improve mankind as much as they can bear? Or, lastly,
which perhaps should have been asked first, had he any meaning at all? However it is every way so profound, that I should advise him to add a chapter of comparisons to his chapter of ambiguities, that the one may furnish us with examples to fit his rules in the other. This shall suffice at present for a specimen of his Art of Reasoning. Let us turn to his literature, and see first how he manages his Latin translations.
He gives us the following quotation from Ælian's Various History: Ita vero etiam Socratem non explicite disserere; si quis autem eas dissertationes CONVERTAT, planissimas esse; and translates it thus: Socrates used to talk ambiguously; but if any one turns and SIFTS his discourses WITH ATTENTION, they will appear most plain and easy. p. 18.
The reader will seek to no purpose in the Latin for sifts with attention; but this was the paraphrase of a word he did not understand, convertat, sive, used by the Author in allusion to its literal, not figurative sense. Elian had just before told a story of one, a connoisseur like our Advocate, who would needs have a horse painted rolling on his back. The artist brought him a running horse; which not contenting him, the other put it into the posture required, by turning the picture upside down. Turn Socrates thus, says Elian, and you have his true meaning. That is, understand him by contraries. And this rule was given with judgment. For Socrates being perpetually ironical, take him in the reverse, and he is in his right senses. But our Advocate knew as little of Socrates's character as of his Translator's Latin. "Pausonem enim pictorem, quum "audioisset a quodam, ut volutantem se equum pingeret, "currentem eum pinxisse. Quum igitur is qui tabulam pingendam locárat, indignaretur, tanquam contra pac"tum ille pinxisset, respondisse pictorem, VERTE [OTS "sgélov] tabulam, & ita volutans tibi esto equus, qui 66 nunc est currens. Ita vero etiam Socratem non explicitè disserere; si quis autem eas dissertationes CON"VERTAT [spés] planissimas esse." Let us now see how ably he acquits himself of his original writers.
L. xiv. c. 15
He brings a passage from Macrobius in these words, Si quid de his assignare conantur, quæ non sermonem tantummodo, sed cogitationem quoque humanam superant, ad similitudines & exempla confugiunt.—Sic ipsa mysteria figurarum cuniculis operiuntur; ne vel hæc adeptis nuda rerum talium se natura præbeat; sed summatibus tantum viris sapientia interprete veri arcani consciis; contenti sint reliqui ad venerationem figuris defendentibus a vilitate secretum, 1 Macrob. 2. Ed. Lond. 1694. Which he translates thus: TO THE SAME PURPOSE Macrobius, speaking of God and Nature, says, The philosophers when they treated of such subjects as were beyond all our words, and exceeded even our thoughts, they had recourse to similes and allusions. FOR THAT THESE THINGS WERE AS MYSTERIES, WHICH THE WISE ONLY, WERE CAPABLE OF RECEIVING; but that others should be content WITH AN AWFUL VENERATION for them under the veil of figures and allegories, LEST THEY SHOULD BE DESPISED. p. 20.
This comes of free-thinking, and leaving his schoolbooks to the clergy: who owe him a shame for that contemptuous donation*.
1. We see here, he makes the words, Si quid de his assignare conantur, to confugiunt, to relate to the double doctrine of the philosophers, as is evident by this introduction, To the same purpose Macrobius. To what purpose, I beseech you? Why, to the purpose of Burnet's words immediately preceding, which expressly treat of the nature of the twofold doctrine of the ancients. But who but a free-thinker, would not have found that these of Macrobius relate to a quite different thing? namely, the inability of expressing spiritual and abstract ideas any otherwise than by words conveying sensible and material images. Not, like the external doctrine, a matter of choice, but necessity; a necessity arising from the nature of things. A way of speaking the philosophers could not avoid, even when conveying their internal doctrine to their adepts. But now the reader will be apt to ask, if this be so, as is evident even from the words themselves, what must we do with the rest of the pas
See the quotation, at p. 151.