An Enquiry Into the Morals of the Ancients (Classic Reprint)

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Fb&c Limited, Oct 22, 2017 - Literary Collections - 382 pages
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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