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and Aristotle, who mistook those thin inhabitants of CHAP. the brain they see in sleep for so many incorporeal men; and yet allow them motion, which is proper only to things corporeal. Before he seemed only to say, that the ignorant superstitious people entertained this notion of spirits or invisible powers being only creatures of the brain like the images in sleep: but now it seems Plato and Aristotle were no wiser, and that we receive it from them. But I have made it appear that the difference of mind and matter was before them; and that not by mere fancy, but by invincible reason; because otherwise there could be no such thing as the motion and disposition of matter in such a manner as we see it in the world. And this was the ground which those philosophers went upon; who were as little given to be imposed upon by their dreams, as any before or since their time. And it is a strange confidence in any man to think to bear down the general sense of the most philosophical part of mankind, with bare saying, that an immaterial substance implies a contradiction. But he offers to prove it after an extraordinary manner; For, saith he, it is in English P. 33. something that without a body stands under- Stands under what? Will you say, under accidents ? Ridiculous ! Did Plato or Aristotle use the word substance ? And when it came to be used, the word signified the same with being; and so the jest is quite lost. Such pitiful things as these must pass for wit and philosophy with some men.
But to proceed with Mr. Hobbes. After he hath reckoned up the many follies which the Gentiles fell into by their superstitious fear, he concludes in this manner. So easy are men to be drawn to believe any thing from such as have got credit with them, and can with gentleness and dexterity take hold of their igno
ever so muupon, but this doth
BOOK rance and fear. Still we meet with nothing but the
-- result of ignorance and fear in the Gentile world. We
do not deny that religion was exceedingly corrupted among them; but we affirm, that the true foundations of religion were kept up among men of understanding; as fully appears by the discourses of Socrates, Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Cicero, &c. Why are their reasons never so much as mentioned, and nothing thought worth insisting upon, but only the gross superstitions and follies of the people? This doth not look like fair dealing with mankind; to represent only the meanest and most deformed parts, and to conceal what any
ways tended to the honour of them, and of religion. Cicero de Cicero dealt with mankind in this matter in a much
more ingenuous and candid manner. He doth not conceal the follies either of the people or of the philosophers about their gods; but then he sets down all the arguments for God and Providence, and urges them with
all his force. And in other places he owns the general · consent of mankind, as to the esteem and worship of a
Divine nature: which he is far from imputing to men's
ignorance and fear; but he saith it is the voice of naCicero de ture itself. Nay, he goes so far as to say, Quid enim Leg. i. c. 8. Tusc. l. i. potest esse tam apertum, tamque perspicuum, cum De Nat. cælum suspeximus, cælestiaque contemplati sumus,
quam esse aliquod Numen præstantissimæ mentis quo C. 2.
hæc regantur ? That there is nothing more evident to any one that looks up to the heavens, than that there is a most excellent Mind, by which these things are governed. Quod qui dubitet, haud sane intelligo, cur non idem, sol sit, an nullus sit, dubitare possit. Quid enim est hoc illo evidentius ? And he questions whether it be more evident that the sun shines. At what another rate doth that excellent orator speak of human nature with respect to religion, than our mo
dern pretenders to philosophy ? Nay, Sextus Empiricus CHAP. himself sets down the arguments fairly which provethe being of God, viz. the consent of mankind; the ad Mathem. order of the world; the absurdities of atheism, and 25 the weakness of the arguments for it. Which he doth largely insist upon; and distinguishes between the common errors of the people, and the natural arguments of mankind, with the consent of the wisest and sharpest men among them; as Pythagoras, Empedocles, the Ionic philosophers, (from Anaxagoras,) Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. And, saith he, if we inquired after an object of sight, we would rely most on those who saw best; or, after a sound, on those of the quickest hearing : so in matters of speculation, the opinion of philosophers ought most to be regarded. Which he never answers when he sets down the arguments on the other side; which are chiefly those of Carneades against the Stoics, who laid themselves open by some hypotheses of their own.
But Mr. Hobbes tells us, that the first founders and legislators of commonwealths among the Gentiles took great care to keep the people in obedience and peace ; and to that end pretended to revelation for their laws; and prescribed ceremonies, and supplications, and sacrifices, &c. by which they were to believe the anger of the gods might be appeased. And thus the religion of the Gentiles was a part of their policy. Who goes about to deny this, or to justify the vain pretences to revelation among some of the ancient legislators, besides Numa Pompilius, whom Diodorus Siculus takes care to preserve the memory of? as of Mneves, as he calls him, the first legislator in Egypt, who pretended to have his laws from the god Hermes : but this seems to have been a mistake for Menes, whose counsellor Hermes was. His others are, Minos of Crete, Lycur
1. i. et 93.
BOOK gus at Sparta, Zathamustes (as he calls him) among
the Arimaspi, Zamolxis among the Getæ; and among
the rest he reckons Moses, who had his laws from the Diod. Sic. god läo. No question Diodorus Siculus believed all 59, alike; but I hope to shew the mighty difference be
tween Moses and the rest in the following discourses. But here I am only to consider the force of the argument. These Gentile legislators did pretend revelation when they had it not, only with a design to deceive the people. Doth it hence follow, that there is no such thing as religion ; but that it is only a trick made use of by cunning legislators, to draw the people the better to obedience ? Now I think the argument holds the other way; for if the people were not before well persuaded of the truth of religion in general, this argument would have no force at all upon them. For, let us suppose a people altogether unacquainted with religion, or uncertain of the truth of it, to be dealt with by some cunning legislator, and he comes and tells them he had brought them an excellent body of laws, which he had by revelation from God; what would this signify to a people that were possessed with Mr. Hobbes's notion of invisible powers, that were only fancies, such as appear in a dream or a glass; would they be at all persuaded by such an argument to obedience ? No; but they would rather look on him as an impostor, that went about to deceive them in the grossest manner; which would raise an invincible prejudice against them. But, saith Mr. Hobbes, they had the original seeds of religion, viz. ignorance and fear; and upon these such legislators did work. But he can never make it out that ever there was a people possessed with such ignorance and fear, but they had a notion of a Deity among them before such legislators' appearing; and all the advantage they had was from such an antecedent belief
of a God : then indeed it was no hard matter for such chAP. legislators to impose upon them ; but without it the supposition is unreasonable. But Mr. Hobbes saith, that men in the dark are afraid of invisible powers. As though there were no more to be said for the being of God and Providence, than for stories of hobgoblins; and this lies at the bottom of all his discourse. Wherein he contradicts the common sense and reason of mankind, who have agreed in the notion and belief of a Deity, and that as I have shewed from Socrates and Xenophon, as well as others in the eldest and best ages even of the Gentile world. But Mr. Hobbes saith, where he speaks his mind more freely, that there is Phys. c. 26 no argument from natural reason doth prove that the" world had its beginning from God; and yet he saith, there is no argument to prove a Deity but from the creation. So that all proof of a God, in point of reason, must be destroyed by him. This he knew was objected against him; and the answer he gives is, That there Mr.Hobbes
considered, are no arguments from natural reason, except the p. 34. creation, that have not made it more doubtful to many than it was before ; and therefore his opinion is, that this matter is to be left to the law to determine. A very philosophical answer! But why doth not the argument from the creation hold, when himself had said, that from the series of causes there must be one first Mover, i.e. a first and an eternal Cause of all things ? But that came in by the bye, to avoid odium in a book for all persons' reading ; but in his Philosophical Discourses he doth not allow this argument to hold. For what reason? Because, saith he, it only proves that a man's mind cannot go on in infinitum, but he must stop somewhere; and at last he grows weary, and knows not whether he should go on farther or not. And is this all the force of the argument from the creation ?