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too well the direct tendency of such a spirit to darken the understanding, and to lead to error instead of truth.
We would not, however, confound this with a modern affectation which has sought to support itself by the authority of our philosopher. Plato, it should be ever borne in mind, had no Bible, and he did well, therefore, and exercised his highest reason in seeking for a Divine revelation in those universal sentiments of all people and nations, which were as ancient in time as they were extended in space, and which could most truly be said to be, semper, ubique, et ab omnibus. Thiş object of his reverence was something far different from the vox populi of the demagogue, who is often most successful when he can array the artificial and transient feeling of one generation, or one nation, against what he would style the antiquated prejudices of mankind. It was rather that vox humanitatis, which, by its universality at all times and in all regions, gave evi, dence of having been once the voice of God, remains of a primitive inspiration, however darkened it may have been by human depravity-opinions which had not been the product of the speculative reason, but which, under the conserving influence of a higher principle, had maintained their ground in spite of the opposition of human depravity, and the consequently superinduced darkness of the human understanding. It was this vox humanitatis to which Hesiod
seems to allude:
φήμη δ' ου τις πάμπαν απόλλυται, ήν τινα πολλοί
Works and Days, 709. Compare, also, Cicero, De Nat. Deorum, i., 43: Solus enim videt, primum esse Deos, quod in omnium animis eorum notionem impressisset ipsa natura. Quæ est eniin gens, aut quod genus hominum, quod non habeat sine doc, tring anticipationem quamdam Deorum ? quæ apóambus appellatur, &c. Quum enim non instituto aliquo aut more aut lege sit opinio constituta, maneatque ad unum omnium firma consensio, intelligi necesse est esse Deos, quoniam insitas eorum vel potius innatas cogitationes habemus. De quo autem omnium natura consentit, id verum esse necesse est. And again, lib. ii., 12: Itaque inter omnes omnium gentium sententia constat. Omnibus enim innatum est et in animo quasi insculptum esse Deos.
through de luni
Still more to the same effect, Tusc. Disp., i., 30, where we find the best definition of the Law of Nature that has ever been given. Ut porro firmissimum hoc afferri videtur, cur Deos esse credamus, quod nulla gens tam fera, nemo omnium tam sit immanis, cujus mentem non imbuerit Deorum opinio. Multi de Diis prava sentiunt (id enim vitioso more effici solet), omnes tamen esse vim et naturam Divinam arbitrantur. Nec vero id collocutio hominui:2 aut consensus efficit: non institutis opinio est confirmata, non legibus. Omnis autem in re consensio omnium gentium LEX NATURÆ putanda est.
Antiquity of Atheism. PAGE 11, LINE 12. Γίγνονται δε αεί πλείους ή ελάττους ταύτην την νόσον έχοντες. «There have always been more or less who have had this disease of atheism.” It has been maintained that there were no philosophical atheists, professedly so, before Democritus and Leucippus. Plato, however, asserts that some such have existed from a very early period, and in this he is borne out by Aristotle, who tells us that most of the earliest philosophers, especially those of the Ionic school, assigned only material causes of the universe : των πρώτων φιλοσοφησάντων οι πλείστοι τας εν ύλης είδει μόνον ώήθησαν αρχάς είναι πάντων.
Aristotle, Metaph., i., 3. A distinction, however, should be made between those who were professed atheists, such as Democritus and Diagoras, and those who were inclined to an atheistical mode of philosophizing, while they yet professed to be theists, although of an impure and inconsistent species. In this latter class the world has always abounded. On the other hand, it is most conclusively shown by Cudworth, that, although this materializing school was ancient, the first philosophy was spiritual, and that the subsequent atheism arose from a perversion of the atomical theory, which, when truly held, and according to the views of those who originated it before Democritus, was not only favourable to, but one of the firmest supports of a pure
theism. Plato, in this passage, styles atheism a disease, as though it were something unnatural, a corruption, diaplopà (see page 4, line 18), a departure from those innate sentiments or poÝWels, of the race of which he and Cicero speak so emphatically. So, also, the apostle treats it as a degeneracy from a primitive better state, Rom., i., 28. He speaks of this tendency as a darkness of the spirit, και εσκοτίσθη ή ảOÚVETOS Kapdía aútāv, Rom., i., 21 : as a reprobate mind or reason, ådókiuov voữv, 28, to which men “ had been given up, because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” We cannot read these Scriptures without calling to mind a similar sentiment expressed in a fragment of the old poet Empedocles :
Δειλός δ' ώ σκοτόεσσα θεών πέρι δόξα μέμηλεν. .
If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness !
, 1 espez
Principle of Authority. PAGE 12, LINE 6. αν εμοί πείθη, περιμενεις ανασκοπών είτε ούτως είτε άλλως έχει, πυνθανόμενος παρά τε των άλλων, και δη και μάλιστα και παρά του νομοθέτου. «If you will take my advice, you will patiently wait, repeatedly examining whether it is thus or otherwise, learning from others, and therefore, and in a most especial manner, from the Lawgiver.” Notwithstanding the earnest recommendation to most diligent study and inquiry, and in perfect con. sistency with it, Plato holds that the acceptance of established opinions must go before and guide the exercise of private judgment; not to supersede or dispense with the ne. cessity of the latter in its proper time and place, but be. cause the state of mind which submits to lawful authority affords the surest guarantee of subsequent mental independ. ence, instead of that counterfeit which is often nothing more than a slavish fear of a creed, and which loses all true independence, in its premature efforts to avoid what the best and wisest of mankind have long regarded as established.
The next sentence contains a thought of the highest practical importance: εν δε δή τούτω τω χρόνω μή τολμήσης περί θεούς μηδεν ασεβήσαι, « but during this period see to it that you venture upon nothing impious or unholy." That is, religious obligation must be revered, and pious emotions cherished, before the young soul can reason about them, and there is no period, however short, that we have a right to remain atheists until we are able to prove by induction the existence of a God. He who thus honours reason, by following its first dictate, submission to authority which God himself has established, will doubtless leave those who have been taught to pursue a different course, far behind him in all the severer and more abstruse depart.
ments of philosophy and theology. Throughout this whole
Ist. An absolute denial of the existence of a Deity.
2d. The opinion that, if a Deity exists, he does not con-
3d. A sentiment clearly allied to the second ; that if a
e expect a direct argument on the first head, conduct-