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I own, he inculcated? Let him look again, and I imagine he will alter his opinion. But he will still say, though I do not hold, that the ancient philosophers so supposed; yet, what is more to the purpose, an ancient philosopher does.
For thus he goes on: The souls of evil men, e. g. of murderers, went into the bodies of beasts, those of lascicious men into the bodies of swine and GOATS, woli zónaσw, for punishment, SAYS TIMEUS LOCRUS. Was this done for punishment, and yet was no regard paid to the morals of wicked men? This is indeed amazing! The reader cannot forget, that I quoted this very passage at large ? as the most incontestable evidence, that the Pythagoreans did not believe one word of all they taught concerning the souls of ill men descending into the bodies of brutes for punishment; Timæus Locrus prefacing the relation of those transitions in these very words: For as we sometimes cure the body with unholesome remedies, when such as are most wholesome have no effect, so WE RESTRAIN THOSE MINDS BY FALSE RELATIONS which will not be persuaded by the true: there is a necessity therefore of instilling the dread of those foreign torments. As that the soul shifts and changes its habitation; that the coward is thrust ignominiously into a woman's form, the murderer imprisoned within the furr of a savage, the lascivious condemned to animate a boar or a sowt, &c. Ως γὰρ τὰ σώματα νοσώδεσι πόκα ὑγιατομες, εἴνα μὴ εἰκη τοῖς υγιεινολάτοις· ἔτω τὰς ψυχὰς ἀπείργομες ΨΕΥΔΕΣΙ ΛΟΓΟΙΣ, εἴνα μὴ ἄγκλας ἀλαθέσι λέγοιντο δ' αναγκαίως και τιμωρία. ξέναι ὡς με ενδυομέναν τῶν ψυχῶν, τῶν μὲν δειλῶν ἐς γυναικέα σκάνεα, ποθ ̓ ὕβριν ἐκδιδόμενα τῶν δὲ μιαιφόνων ἐς θηρίων σώματα, ΠΟΤΙ ΚΟΛΑΣΙΝ· λαίνων δ', ἐς συῶν ἢ κάπρων μορφάς μ
Did Timæus Locrus then suppose, i. e. believe, that the souls of ill men descended into brutes? Does he not expressly tell us he supposed they did not, but that these fables were inculcated in order to restrain the populace from vice? To tamper then with my own evidence, and to turn it against me in this manner, as if nothing had been said, is so new a stroke in controversy, that we have yet no name for it; but, on occasion, shall now be able to assign it a Patronymic.
* Diy. Leg: Vol. III. pp. 78,79.
Ibid. De Anima Mundi, sub fin. P 3 However,
However, to do the Writer justice, I must be so fair to say, that it may adinit of some doubt, whether ever he read this passage in The Divine Legation, or only in the Letters to Serena, a book that undergoes his censure in the same place where I am so unhappy to incur it. I am inclined to think the latter, from this remarkable circumstance. The Author of the Letters to Serena had trans> lated ἐς συῶν ἢ ΚΑΠΡΩΝ μορφάς, into the forms of seine or GOATS". And so too has this Writer: into the bodies (says he) of swine or GOATS†, which is so singular an interpretation, that, notwithstanding the proverb, that good wits jump, I can hardly think them to be both original. But perhaps that excellent correspondent of Serena's had here a mind to shew his learning; and knowing, that the Tyrrhenians, a Greek colony in Italy, used xamp for a goat, he would conclude, by analogy, that the Locrians, another Greek colony in Italy, did the same. Again, Timæus Locrus says, is Ingiwv owμała; Teland, into beasts of prey. This Writer, into the bodies of beasts. Here, where Toland is right, he leaves him ; but sticks charitably by him while he continues wrong. For Spiwy signifies beasts of prey: and that precise idea is required to complete the sense; the habitation of the murderer being here spoken of. Again, Timæus says, worì nónan, which Toland faithfully renders for a punishment; and which this Writer particularly insists on, as the very cream of his argument: murderers (says he) went into the bodies of beasts, those of lascivious men into the bodies of swine or goats, woll nó, FOR PUNISHWMENT, says Timæus Locrus. Was this done for punishment, and yet, &c. But here I must retract my suspicion; for from this last instance it would seem, that he had read and compared my translation, in which the English of those formidable words, wori xóλou, is not literally to be found. And now the secret is out. He seeins to suppose I
in truthitted them, as conscious of their containing
some strange matter against my general opinion. But in truth, it was partly, because they were redundant; Timeus representing the whole affair under the general idea of a punishment; and partly, because the sense of worl xóλac was comprized in the word imprisoned, which Letters to Serena, p. 59. † P. 402 of his Connexions, &c.
I used in the very case to which those words are applied. As to the idea itself, that was so far from hurting my argument, that it could not do without it and buon
He goes on→They [the philosophers] really conceived punishments and rewards of evil or good actions in men ; and some imagined a punishment by the means of transmigration, others imagined a punishment inflicted in Hades, others BY IMMEDIATE ACTS OF PROVIDENCE; and all supposed rewards or punishments, notwithstanding they might treat as fables the stories of Cocytus and Acheron * He sticks to his point, we see; and will still have it, that they believed a hell, though they treated the stories of Cocytus and Acheron as fables, which (to tell him my mind once for all) is just as if one should say, some among us believe the miseries of the King's Hench prison, and yet treat the stories of jailors, turns keys, bailiffs, and attorneys, as mere fables. But what have immediate acts of Providence to do in this period? Did not I endeavour to prove, that all the Theistical philosophers believed a Providence in this life? These words therefore, as they are found in a paragraph thuit relates solely to my peculiar opinion, I can consider in no other light than as a false insinuation ad invidiam.
I have now attended this Writer quite through his little excursion. Let us see how he returns to himself; HOWEVER, what I contend, for, is, that the HEATHEN held a moral [a future] state of rewards and punishments, according to good and evil done heret. It is worthy his contention; and I should be ready to be his second in it. But why then should he go out of his way, and contend for another thing, that will do neither himself nor his cause any credit? I mean him honour, when I say his cause: for I really believe it to be the cause of Christianity. Now, I conceive this not at all advanced by endeavouring to shew that the sacred writers had but small reason for their harsh censure of the Greek philosophy; as the contending for its orthodoxy in this point effectively does. But I will suppose the sacred writers have been misunderstood. And perhaps this And perhaps this may be no great reflection upon any party; if we consider, that the Jansenists, scarce inferior to any in their talents of rea• Connexions, &c. p. 402..1 ↑ Ibid. Div. Leg. Book III. § 4.
soning and criticism, have strangely mistaken those censures, while they understood them to be directed against human science in general. I supposed therefore, that, to shew the sacred writers only censured the Greek philosophy, and that it deserved their censure, was not one of the least services one might render to our holy religion. But the occasion now seems to be more urgent. The pretensions of these philosophers have been of late highly advanced. The author of the book, intitled, Future Rewards and Punishments believed by the Ancients, hath, we see, forced the inspired teachers of mankind to give them the right hand of fellowship. I had exposed their profane and vain babblings in one capital instance, because it came directly into my particular design; as well for that I thought it useful to Revelation in general. I did not then indeed imagine the necessity so pressing. I may hereafter perhaps find occasion to examine these spurious rivals of the Apostolic function on every head of morality and religion, in the manner I have already done on one; and fully vindicate the majesty of Sacred Writ in the just sentence it hath passed upon them.
THIS trouble is occasioned by a passage in your Lordship's late printed Charge* to your Clergy, in which you have been pleased to censure me by name with some frankness, and, I am sorry to say, with equal injustice.
The regard due to your Lordship's Order, especially while in discharge of your function, would have certainly restrained me from complaining of aught that was a mere declaration of your Lordship's dislike of my Writings. It is your Lordship's right and duty to warn your Clergy against all ill books: and your Lordship is, in that place and on that occasion, an authorized denouncer
of what are so. Had your Lordship therefore only said, that The Divine Legation was a very bad book, I had not attempted, by any address of this nature, to disturb you in the quiet possession of your opinion. But when a reason added to that declaration turns your vague censure into a formal accusation, then, my Lord, it becomes equally my right and duty to defend my character, if I find it mistaken.
To put the public therefore (which your Lordship has forced me to appeal to) in possession of the fact, it will be necessary to go so far back as to tell them what it is your Lordship says you propose to make the subject of
* Printed in 1741, by J. & P. Knapton, Octavo.