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value so much, fall infinitely short of this. And I CHAP. have shewed that Aristotle himself came to this at last; for which I have produced unquestionable authorities from his works. That religion and piety are very great and com- . 4.
Plut. in mendable virtues in mankind. Plato said, the greatest. Numā.
. Cic. de Leg. Pythagoras gave very good rules about Divine worship; 1. ii. c. II that it should be performed seriously, and with great attention of mind; and not by the bye, and by chance. That our minds were most affected with religion and piety in the due worship of God; that we should undertake nothing without prayer; wherein Socrates and Pyth. Aur. Plato agree with him. And Aristotle looked on it as Carn madness to despise God and religion.
That good men are to bear the troubles of this world 5. as well as they can, and to look for happiness in a future state. This appeared by the carriage of Socrates at his death, and his discourses then; and the courage and constancy of Pythagoras and his disciples, when they were so miserably handled by their inveterate enemies; setting fire in the house where they met, banishing some, and famishing others, and dispersing the rest.
That there was a common consent of mankind as to 6. the being of God, and immortality of souls. Which appears not only by express testimonies of philosophers, but by their appeals to the sense of former ages and distant nations about them.
That, notwithstanding that light of reason which 7. they had, yet they found it so defective in many things, that they thought nothing more desirable than a clear revelation about such things which were of great importance to mankind, but they found to be out of their reach to recover; as appeared by the confession of Socrates, and the silence of Aristotle about a future state,
BOOK when his reason could only go to the possibility, and
not to the undoubted certainty of it. For I have shewed that Aristotle hath asserted so much concerning the nature and properties of the soul, or rather the mind of man, that it cannot be destroyed by death; but yet he was so far to seek concerning a future state after death, by reason of the poetical fictions about it, that he rather chose to say nothing, than what might be thought fabulous or uncertain.
And now, I hope, I have sufficiently cleared the first thing which I undertook; which was to shew, that it was a most unreasonable prejudice against religion, that it was only a contrivance of priests and politicians for their own ends.
I come now to consider, in the next place, what account is given by such men of that impression of religion, which hath been upon the minds of men in all ages. And the cause must be as general as the effect. Since then we find this effect of religion in all kinds of men, some universal and common reason must be assigned for it: which is the thing I am now to consider. And since no person hath undertaken this matter in
such a manner as Mr. Hobbes hath done, I shall partiLeviathan, cularly examine what he hath said concerning it. Seech. 12.
ing there are no signs nor fruit of religion but in man only, there is no cause to doubt, but that the seed of religion is also only in man, and consisteth in some peculiar quality, or at least in some eminent degree thereof, not to be found in other living creatures.
But what is this peculiar quality in mankind ? For therein the difficulty lies. How come men of all sorts to be possessed with it? not merely the unthinking multitude, but men of the deepest sense and greatest capacity, and who have taken the most pains to inquire into these matters.
And first, saith he, it is peculiar to the nature of CHAP. man to be inquisitive into causes of the events they see, _' some more, some less; but all men so much as to be curious in the search of the causes of their own good. and evil fortune. To be inquisitive into the causes of events, is very proper for rational beings; but we do not mean such as relate merely to their own good or evil fortune, which is no commendable curiosity; but into the nature and reason of things which they see in the world ; and this we say leads men to a first cause, which is God. This he mentions in the next words.
Secondly, upon the sight of any thing that hath a beginning, to think also it had a cause to determine the same to begin when it did, rather than sooner or later.
And was not this a very reasonable thought ? For what hath a beginning must certainly have a cause which produced it; which determined its being at that time. And if this be such a peculiar quality in mankind, then there is something in reason which carries them to the owning a God, which gave a being to the world, and to the things in it.
Thirdly, Man observeth how one event hath been produced by another, and remembereth in them antecedence and consequence; and if he cannot find out the true causes of things, he supposes causes of them rather from his own fancy, or authority of others whom he esteems.
But how come mankind not to find out the true causes of things ? For this is here very slily supposed, without giving the least reason for it; and withal, the things that men search for the causes of are supposed to be only such as relate to their good and evil fortune, (which are said to be for the most part invisible ;) but is it not possible for men to inquire into the
BOOK causes of other things, which we plainly see? Do we
not see our own bodies, and those of other animals, as well as the heavens and earth? And is it not as proper and reasonable for mankind to inquire into the causes of these, as well as into their good and evil fortune? What strange stuff is this, to suppose all mankind only to run after fortune-tellers, and never to concern themselves about the causes of the visible world! Could any one, that in the least pretended to philosophy, ever think so meanly of the rest of mankind ? But these are the causes which we search for; and we hope natural reason will conduct men in this inquiry to their satisfaction, so that they need not to have recourse to fancy or authority.
But he goes on: The two first make anxiety, i. e. a man's inquisitiveness into causes in general, and thinking that what had a beginning must have a cause. For being assured that there be causes of all things, this fills him with solicitude for the time to come; and so his heart is gnawed on perpetually by fear of death, poverty, or other calamity; and hath no repose or pause of his anxiety but in sleep. What! Do men think of nothing but what calamities may befall them? And must they needs perpetually perplex themselves with the fear of future evils? Those who were called philosophers in former times thought it possible for such who believed God and Providence not to live under such perpetual anxiety. But what follows ? This perpetual fear always accompanying mankind in the ignorance of causes, as it were in the dark, must needs have for object something; and therefore when there is nothing to be seen, there is nothing to accuse, either of their good or evil fortune, but some power or agent invisible. Thence the poets said, that the gods were first created by human fear; which •
being spoken of the many gods of the Gentiles, is CHAP. very true. But how come we from the qualities of human nature to fall upon the gods of the Gentiles ? The question was, what it is in mankind which inclines them to believe a God? The answer is, that fear made the gods of the Gentiles. What is that to all mankind ? Suppose there had been no such saying among the poets, nor such gods among the Gentiles, the question still remains, whence comes mankind to apprehend a Deity ? Doth it all come from a vain superstitious fear, such as men have in the dark, of they know not what; and because they see nothing, they imagine some invisible power? Is this the true ground of the seed of religion in men's minds ? If so, then there is no ground in reason to believe a God, but only an ignorant superstitious fear.
Not so, saith Mr. Hobbes. But the acknowledgment of one God, eternal, infinite, and omnipotent, may more easily be derived from the desire men have to know the causes of natural bodies, and their several virtues and operations, than from the fear of what was to befall them in time to come. What is the meaning of this? The acknowledgment of one God may be more easily derived, &c. If he had meant sincerely, he would not have said, that it may be more easily derived, but that no tolerable account can be given of those things any other way. But we are to observe, that he makes ignorance and fear to be the general seeds of religion in mankind : so that this acknowledgment of one God doth not come from the seed of religion, but only from men's being puzzled about a series of causes. For, as he goes on, he that, from any effect he sees come to pass, should reason to the next and immediate cause thereof, and from thence to the cause of that cause, and plunge himself profoundly
STILLINGFLEET, VOL. II.