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"philosophers held, was a natural metempsychosis, or a "transition from one body to another, without any moral "designation whatsoever. But surely this conclusion is
too hasty for when it was said, that the souls of ill "men descended into asses or swine, they did not suppose the souls of good men so to descend. The souls of evit men, e. g. of murderers, went into the bodies of beasts; "those of lasovvious men into the bodies of swine or goats, wari nilag, for punishment, says, Timæus "Locrus. Was this done for punishment, and yet was: "no regard paid to the morals of wicked men*?" f
It hath been maintained (says he) by some, that the old philosophers held only a natural metempsychosis-but surely this conclusion is too hasty. Who it is that has been too hasty, is submitted to the judgment of the public: whether I, in concluding from a hundred wellweighed circumstances; or he, in censuring from one only, and that, as we shall see, neither weighed nor understood.
But it is too hasty, FOR when it was SAID, that the souls of ill men descended into asses or swine, they did not suppose the souls of good men so to descend. How are we to understand him? If by SAID be only meant taught, then, from what they said of the souls of ill men, nothing can be concluded, concerning what they SUPPOSED or believed of the souls of good men because it was their way to say one thing and suppose another. But if by: SAID we are to understand supposed or believed, then I will readily grant, that, if they supposed the souls of ill: men to descend, they did not suppose the souls of good men, so to descend. But why this to me? Did I ever, say, the old philosophers supposed, that is, believed, that the souls of ill men descended into asses or swine? He would insinuate I did; as appears not only from his address, but from his plain allusion to the following words of my book: However, it is true, that in his writings he [Plato] inculcates the doctrine of a future state of reward and punishment that, the souls of ill men descended into asses and swine-did he himself believe it? we may be assured he did not †, &c. Was it from these words he gathered, that I held, Plato supposed, what, Div. Leg. Vol. III. pp. 78, 79+Ibid. p. 94
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 lascivious men into the bodies of swine and GOATS, woli xóλasiv, 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 unwholesome 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 sout, &c. Ὡς γὰρ τὰ σώματα νοσώδεσι πόκα ὑγιάτομες, εἴνα μὴ εἰκη τοῖς ὑγιεινοτάτοις· ἔτω τὰς ψυχὰς ἀπείργομες ΨΕΥΔΕΣΙ ΛΟΓΟΙΣ, · εἴκα· μὴ ἄγεται ἀλαθέσι· λέγοιντο δ ̓ ἀναγκαίως καὶ τιμωρίας ξέναι ὡς μελενδυομένων τῶν ψυχῶν, τῶν μὲν δειλῶν ἐς γυναικέα σκάνεα, ποθ ̓ ὕβριν ἐκδιδόμενα· τῶν δὲ μιαιφόνων ἐς θηρίων σώματα, ΠΟΤΙ ΚΟΛΑΣΙΝ· λάμνων δ ̓, ἐς συῶν ἢ κάπρων μορφάς †
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.
Div. Leg. Vol III; pp. 78,79. + Ibid. De Anima Mandi, sub fin. However,
However, to do the Writer justice, I must be so fair to say, that it may admit 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 translated is KAIPON as, into the forms of swine guy · ΚΑΙΡΩΝ 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 for a goat, he would conclude, by analogy, that the Locriaus, another Greek colony in Italy, did the same. Again, Timaus Locrus says, is Ingiw owałą; Toland, 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 piw signifies beasts of prey: and that precise idea is required to complete the sense; the habitation of the murderer being here spoken of. Again, Timeus says, ποτὶ κόλασιν,
Ori xéλag, 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 sine or goats, woli xéλ, FOR PUNISHMENT, 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 bad read and compared my translation, in which the English of those formidable words, wori xiaow, is not literally to be found. And now the secret is out. He seems to suppose I omitted thein, as conscious of their containing some strange matter against my general opinion. But in truth, it was partly, because they were redundant; Timaus representing the whole affair under the general idea of a punishment; and partly, because the sense of WOT xóλav was comprized in the word imprisoned, which Letters to Serena, p. 58, t P. 492 of his Connexions, &c.
I used in thre 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.
He goes on: They [the philosophers] really conceived punishment's and rewards of evil or good actions in men; and some imagined a punishment by the means of trans migration, others imagined a prenishment inflicted th in Hades, others BY IMMEDIATE ACTS OF PROVIDENCE; and all supposed rewards or punishments, notwithstandin
might treat as fubles the stories of Cocytus and Acheron * Te sticks to his point, we see; and will still have it, that they believed a holl, though they treated the stories of Cocytus and Acheron as fables, which (to tell him my mind ofice for all) is just as if one should say, some among us believe the miseries of the King's Bench prison, and yet treat the stories of jailors, turit 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 He? These words therefore, as they are found in a paragraph that 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 content 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 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. ↑ 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.