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is not expected, therefore, they fhould conviņce him, though they may the attentive and unprejudiced reader,
When I had expressed myself to this purpose in my letter, « That I denied that God ever did discover « his mind to men, by an immediate internal reve« lation of the Spirit, without the use of sounds, vi“ fions, dreams, or something addressed to the bodily « senses," Mr. Phipps observes upon me, P. 24. " I cannot think it would become the wisest of men " to be so absolute and positive in things manifeftly « above his knowledge. It appears to me too bold “ a freedom in any limited creature, to presume to “ deny, that omnipotence ever did this or that, un« less he could indisputably prove it an impoffi66 bility.”
If Mr. Phipps had been disposed to put the best construction upon the Letter-writers affertions, hę would have observed, that he had just before expressed himself thus, P. 14. “ Now I take not upon me to
deny God's power of doing this, but to call in " question, whether he ever has, or does now teach
men in this metaphysical way:
By the first of these paragraphs, which Mr. Phipps animadverts upon, it may be clearly seen by the reader, that I meant not to deny, that there had been revelations by visions, dreams, and the like, however obscurely and improperly I may have used the terms 66 bodily senses,” and that therefore I have no occafion to say any thing about the subject of internal vifions, which the observator has so much laboured.
7. The religious opinions and practices of Mr. Phipps's
brethren, whom he has selected from among the Heathens, recapitulated, that he may see what their supposed divine inspiration taught them.
His list of inspired Pagans we must by no means pass over, as they are placed by him in such a reIpectable light.
The Letter-writer had expressed himself to this effect—"Suppofing some of the Patriarchs, Prophets,
Apostles, and first Christians, had their sentiments of “ religion, by an internal, immediate revelation of the « Holy Spirit, in Mr. Barclay's sense, how can it be “ proved that any of mankind have, or may have the “ fame now* !” Mr. Barclay every where supposes this; it is the grand design of the second proposition to prove it: Nay, he not only afferts that this is the case with genuine Christians, but in some measure with all others. That all men have some knowledge of right and wrong is allowed ; and that when they act according to the former, their consciences approve, and when according to the latter, they condemn. Whether they had these notions of right and wrong,
Mr. Phipps here produces a passage from the letter he animadverts upon, P. 45. in which the Author describes the workings of conscience, as an answer to this question : From whence it apo pears he means by “ internal, immediate revelation,” nothing more than the true light of conscience, or Dr. Tindal's inward law of nature.
As to what he says, concerning the Letter-writer's resolving the approbations and condemnations of conscience, into “notions • only,” he would reply, that however cautious Mr. Phipps may be, to suit his expreffions to his system, he does not think him such an irrational and absurd mortal, as to suppose, a man had ever any compunction of mind, without an apprehenfion of his having acted contrary to that which was right: If ever this was the case, the man ceased to be rational, nay, was worse than a lunatic, a mere subject of sensation without thought. Now by “notions,” it is clear to every unprejudiced and impartial reader, that the Letterwriter here meant, “ apprehenfions, ideas, or thoughts on that ", which was or was 3.0t agreeable, to what the mind conceived “' to be the will of the Deity.” And if Mr. P. can prove, that he himself ever experienced any compunction and forrow, upon the account of the state of his soul towards God, without its arising from fome notion or apprehension of this kind, his opponent engages to prove to the public, that he was not at thas time compos Mirtis.
by an immediate impression of the Deity, or by tradition, I will not absolutely determine ; though the latter seems most probable. But this is not solely what Mr. Barclay, in some places, would be understood to mean by his “ internal, and immediate revelation," as is mori obvious to every reader ; for, according to him, saving faith, or the knowledge of Christ, which is necessary to eternal happiness, may be, and is, obtained too, without any external means or light received from any written revelation whatsoever * Now we want to know, whether there ever was a Savage, Turk, Hottentot, or any Pagan, that obtained this Surely if this “ reveļation, internal, and immediate," without the Scriptures, be so universal, or in any cases effectual, there inay be instances and facts adduced to prove it incontestibly. Where are there any? Produce one example. Mr. Phipps replies, “ I'll give him several,” and
56 Plato, Plotin, Cleanthes, Seneca, " Philo, and Dindimus King of the Brachman's.” After producing fome testimonies from these, he concludes thus, P. 54. “ What a reproach is it to the “ Christian name, that any who profess themselves “ Christians, and especially any of those who act as “ Leaders in Christianity, and make a boast of their
fuperiority, should fall so far short of these virtuous “ and intelligent Heathens, as openly to profess a total “ insensibility of that radical vital principle of all true
religion, which these bear such clear and experi“ mental testimony to !” And as Plato's and Cleanthes's language is peculiarly suited to his system, he several times repeats their fayings, with apparently
then he quotes
* The system of the Apologift evidently implies this, as well as that of his defender, for they both suppose,
know and “ believe in the mystery of Christ's incarnation (as they express it) “ and be saved by it, though they are ignorant of the history." Apol. Prop. v. vi. Sect. 25. See also Sect. 15.
stronger feelings, than he does many expressions of the New Testament. Now the impartial reader will observe; the question
Whether any of the Pagans, without the help of a written revelation, ever had any true faving knowledge of Jesus ? But there is not a fyllable produced by Mr. P. ftom either of these his inspired friends, which gives us any intimation of their having the least apprehenfion of or belief in him, as "the Son of God,” or " Meffiah, that was to come, or that was already “ come :" All his quotations then are foreign to the in dispute.
However, as Mr. Phipps has the highest opinion of their “ radical, vital principle of all true religion, “ internal, immediate revelation,” it may not be amifs to inquire into some of those sentiments, which these supposed inspired servants of God maintained.
* Plato"* allowed that there was one fupreme God, but he apprehended it was not safe or proper to publith him to the vulgar; wherefore he only proposes to thein' a plurality of deities * : Nor was there any occasion for it according to him, for his first and highest God was not concerned in the creation, neither is he so in the government of the world f.
So far was he from depending in all cases upon the inspiration of the Deity, in his own mind, that he has expressed an high opinion of “the oracles," as the best and only guides in the matters of religion, and divine worship
Plato Oper. p. 536. Edit. Lugd. Etiam, P. 101, et P. 845. + As a passage of Numenius, the celebrated Platonist, quoted by Eufebius, teftifies. Lib. xi. Cap. 18. P. 537. Eufebii Oper.
| Plat. Oper. P. 448. Repub. IV.
if Mr. Phipps would see this subject more fully investigated, he would recommend to him the late Dr. Leland's book npon The a 'vantage and necefity of the Chrißian Revelation di ewn from the State of Religion in the ancient Heathen wo.ld. By this most elaborale and accurate performance, I have been direcied to most of the passages here produceda
He not only charges the opinion of the stars being inanimate bodies as leading to Atheism, but he frequently prescribes the worship of them, which seem to be the Deities he principally recommends to the people *. These were fome of his notions concerning God and religion. Let us next just mention some of his opinions about morals.
Diogenes Laertius tells us t, that it was a saying of Plato, that " it was not allowable to drink to 'excess,
except upon the festival of that god who is the to giver of wine.'
He would have the Greeks behave in a very friendly and brotherly manner towards one another, but approves their regarding and treating the Barbarians, (a name they bestowed upon all other nations but their own) as by nature their enemies I: Socrates, his much admired leader, is introduced as saying this, which he is far from disapproving.
He not only would have the woinen appear naked at the public exercises, but prescribes a community of wives in his common wealthill; gives also great liberties to incontinency, not reconcilable to the rules of modesty and decency; allows, and in some cases prefcribes, the exposing and destroying childreng.
I will only add, he teaches that “ lying is lawful “ when it is profitable, and in a fitting or needful 6 season"* *
The next in order of time is “ Cleanthes,” a difciple of Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect.
Laertius, in his life of Zeno, explains the doctrine of the Stoics thus *. *; “They maintained, that the “ world is governed by mind and Providence, and “ that this mind pafseth through every part of it, as “ the foul doth in us : Which yet doth not act in all
parts alike, but in some more, in some less.-And
* Epinomis, P. 701, 702. t Lib. iü. Segm. 39. I Republ. V. | Republic. V.
** Apud Stob. Serm. 12. it Lib. viii. Segm. 138, 139.