An Enquiry Into the Morals of the Ancients (Classic Reprint)
Excerpt from An Enquiry Into the Morals of the Ancients
In apt to ﬂatter myfelf with Hopes, that, by relating many of the great Aétions of the Ancients, I may faife a Spirit of Emulation, if we are not totally loft to all Senfe of Good nefs that we may be alhamed, not only to be firrpaffed, but even equalled, by Thofe who had fuch inferior Advantages. This has been a Method praaifed by the bell Moraliﬂs When I employ myfelf upon a Paper of Morality. (fays Mr. Dddtfon, in his 213th Spefiator) I generally confider, how I may recommend the articular Virtue which I treat of, by the Precepts or Examp es of the Ancient Heathens by that Means, if poffible, to ihame thofe who have greater Advan tages of knowing their Duty, and therefore greater Obliga' tions to perform it, into a better Courfe of Life Befides that many among us are unreafonably difpofed to give a fairer Hearing to a Pagan Philofo her, than to a Chriftian Writer. Thus far that excel ent Author; and his laft Obfervation leads me to affirm, with great Truth, (and I iball demonftrate it) that how much Ioever the Pagans might furpafiv. The Chriﬂians in the Praaice, that nothing but the Chriftian Religion can give True Virtue, becaufe nothing can afford Mo. Rives fo pure and perfect: In ibort, that if Chrifiians did but a&_ according to the Precepts that are contained in the Gofpel, their Virtues would be of the true and genuine Kind, would be more in Number, and far fuperior in every rcfpeét to any thing that could poﬂibly be found amongfi the Ancients; but unfortunately we have the Theory, and they had the Prac tice. The Caulk of this (hall be examined into with the greateflt Exafinefs in the following Treatife. I hope I ﬂiall not be thought too fevere in what I fay of the Immorality, and Wickednefs of Mankind; I believe Hillary and Experience will but too much confirm what! Aﬂert and it is my Opinion, that diﬂempered Morals are no more to be ﬂattered nor indulged, than diftem md Bodies, if we are to endeavour at an Amendment: This ever I mull: in Jufiice fay, that there are, no doubt, feveral Peribns'who do not deferve our Cenfure, and who therefore are hereby excepted. I a M very fenfible how unequal I am to fuch awork as this; and therefore I declare, that I intend this Efi'ay rather as a Hint B a. To.
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An Enquiry Into the Morals of the Ancients. by George England,
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