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chal creed :' and there is scarcely any thing good or commendable said of the Deity, but what he had from antient creeds, which prevailed before the general defection to idolatry. Plato confesses that the Greeks borrowed their knowledge of the one infinite God from an antient people, better and nearer to God than they. His account of man's state of innocence--that he was born of the earth that he was naked that he enjoyed a truly happy state that he conversed with brutes--that a personage was expected, who would give mankind a model for devotion, &c. in short, all parts of his philosophy bear evident marks of being derived from Revelation.
6. Academic Philosopky was originally derived from Socrates and Plato, who taught in a grove near Athens, consecrated to the
memory of Academus, an Athenian here. Labour and caution in their researches in opposition to rash and hasty decisions, were the distinguishing characteristics of the disciples of the antient academy. The sceptical netions of Arcesilaus, Carneades, and i he other disciples of the succeeding academics, were of very opposite nature to tliose which were inculcated by Socrates and Plato.
7. Cyrenaic Philosophy, so called from Aristippus of Cyrene, a disciple of Socrates. Their leading tenets were unfriendly to virtue and the welfare of society. This sect was afterwards divided into three branches, when it soon languished and sunk into deserved oliscurity.
8. Epicurean Philosophy, so named from Epicurus the founder. The Epicureans have in all ages been decried for their morals and their attachment to the pleasures of sense ; and in the common use of the word, Epicurean sig. nifies an indolent, effeminate, and voluptuous person. But there were two kinds of Epicureans, the rigid and the remiss. The rigid were strictly attached to the sentiments of Epicurus, and placed all their happiness in the pure pleasures of the mind, resulting from the practice of virtue. The remiss placed all their happiuess in pleasures of the body, in eating, drinking, &c. The former who were the genuine Epicureans, called the others the sophists of their sect. Epicurus flourished more than 300 years before Christ.
9. Stoic Philosophy includes the followers of Zeno; so called because Ženo used to teach under a portico or piaz.
He is supposed to have borrowed many of his dog
nata froin the Phenician philosophy, which was in fact taken from the Jewish. Many things also appear to be borrowed from the schools of Sucrales and Plato. The morality of the Stoics was couched in paradoxes:--as, the wise man is void of all passion and perturbation of mindthat pain is no real evil--that a wise man is happy in ile midst of the severest torture that a wise man is always the same, and always joyful- that none but a wise man is free and rich, or ought to be esteemed or acknowledge as a king, magistrate, poet, or philosopher-that all wise men are great--that all things are a wise man's who is contented with himself-that wise men are the only true friends and lovers--that nothing ever happens to a wise man beyoud expectation—that all good things are equal, and equally to be desired and that gooduess admits of no increase or dimiuution; with many others. They acknowledged one God, whom they called mind, fate, Jupiter, and believed that the human soul survived the body.
10. Cynic Philosophy. The disciples of this sect valued themselves upon a contempt of every thing, especially riches and estates, arts and sciences; all excepting morality. The founder of this sect was Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates, pearly 400 years before Christ. He was callent an ingenuous and sincere deg, it being the distinguished character of the Cynics to attack and bark at the wicked, and to defend and fawn on the good; hence they were called Cynics. Antisthenes had an academy not far from the gates of Athens. There is an affinity between the Stoics and the Cynics; but the former were more modest and reserved than the latter, who are said to have banished all shame. Diogenies was of this sect; he lived 380 years before Christ.
11. Sceptic Philosophy. The doctrines and opinions of tire Sceptics, called also Pyrrhonism, from its author Pyrrho, who lived about 500 years before Christ. The antient scepticisin consisted in doubting of every thing, in affirming nothing, and in keeping the judgincnt in suspense on every thing. Socrates, as was before observed, used to say, 'I know nothing but this, that I know nothing :' which the Sceptics altered to this, “I know nothing, not even this, that I know notliing.'
Iu concluding these observations on the antient philoso
phy and philosophers, it may be observed that Scripture was the basis, or rather the chief source whence the hea. thens of Greece and Rome drew their fables;--they founded their tenets on the first principles of religion. Their philosophy seemed but a prelude to that conversion of them which God had so freqnently predicted by his prophets. The truths of the Christian religion they thus inculcated to their disciples, and what is more remarkable, taught almost 400 years before the light of the gospel had shed its blessings on the world. Plato began to write immediately after the three last prophets that were in Israel. When the prophets ceased among the Jews, God raised these philosophers to illuminate the Gentiles. Thus many of the principles of the gospel were publicly taught at Athens. The philosophers instructed their scholars in the belief of one God; that they ought to love and serve him, and to endeavour to reseinble him in holiness and righteousness; and that this God rewards humility and punishes pride; with many other tenets nearly similar to those con fained in the gospel.
Select Books on artient Philosophy and Philosophers. Dr. Enfield's History of Philosophy, 2 vols. 4to. Stanley's Lives of the Philosophers, 4to. A good account of the opinions, &c. of antient Philosophy and Philosophers may also be found in Lempriere's Classical Dictionary, 8vo.
CHAP. IX.-MYTHOLOGY. MYTHOLOGY, comprehends all those fabulous details concerning the objects of worship which were invented and propagated by men, who lived in the early ages of the world, and transmitted to succeeding generations, either, by oral traditions, or written records. Fable is a crealure of the human imagination, and owes its birth to that love of the marvellous, by which man is so peculiarly distinguished. Many circumstances conspired to extend and establish the empire of fable. The legislator employed fiction as the most effectual means of civilizing a rude work; pbilosophers, theologians, poets, and musicians, made ihis a vehicle of instruction to the savage tribes. A fondness for fable, and her attendants allegory and personi
fication, early characterised the orientals. The boldness, and the extravagance of their mythology, are to be attributed, in a great measure, to the genial warmth of the climate, and to the fertility of the soil ;-to the face of nature perpetually blooming around them; and to the opportunity they had of contemplating tne heavenly bodies, continually, under a cloudless sky. These were soon considered as the residence of Divine intelligence, and worshipped, together with the elements, as deities. The historians of antiquity, were all poets. To immortalize the heroes, whose deeds they described, they translated them to the skies, and bestowed on them the names of the celestial lumioaries. The sculptor and the painter exercised all their skill to encourage this strange delusion. The use of hieroglyphics was another fertile source of error. The miputest animals and plants were worshipped as emblems of deity.
Mythology is divided into Egyptian, Chinese, Hindu, Persian, Pheniciani, Grecian, and Roman; Celtic or Druid, and that of the Northern nations.
1. Egyptian. The pagan priests in Egypt, were the first who reduced mythology to a system. The priests here, were the grand depositaries of learning and religion : and the exclusive monopolists of the arts and sciences. The Egyptians and Chinese, two of the most antient na. : tions, were unacquainted with fabulous details, until sonie centuries after the general deluge; before which time they retained and practised the worship of the true God. That species of idolatry, called Zabiisin, or the worship of the heavenly bodies, overspread the world early, and almost universally. In Egypt, this mode of worship was adopted in its most absurd forms. The Egyptians confounded the revolutions of the heavenly bodies with the reigus of their earliest monarchs. They liad eight superior gods who reigned as kings for an incredible number of years; and their imaginary exploits formed a fund of mythological ro
These were merely the revolutions of the leavenly bodies. To the demi-gods, succeeded the kings of the cynic, or royal cycle. Then came another race, denominaied Nekyes, a title implying splendid, or glorious. The wars and adventures of Osiris, Orus, Typhon, and other allegorical personages; the wanderings of Isis; the
transformation of the gods into various animals, their birth, education, and exploits, compose this complicated, ridiculous, and absurd system of mythology. The worshlp, of, brutes, and of certain vegetables, was almost universal
al among the Egyptians. When animals were consecrated as the visible symbols of their deities, they began to use their figures to represent these deities. Jupiter Ammou was represented by a ram; Apis, by a cow ; Osiris, by a bull; Pan, by a goat, Thoth, by an ibis, &c. Their Thoth, or Mercurius Trismegistus, was esteemed the in veptor of letters, geometry, astronomy, music, and arcbitecture :zall the elegant and useful arts ;--- all the branches of science and, philosophy, were attributed to the, sanie source.
2. Chinese. The records of ihis people are said to l'ecile the events wbich happened many myriads of years before the creation : consequently, their pretensions to antiquity are sar higher than these of any other nation. An idea so childish and absurd, needs so refutation. The Chinese, however, certainly deserve the second nicļie in the gallery of antiques. Their fabulous history may be thus briefly detailed. To, Fohi, or Foe, is said to have laid the foun. dation of the Chinese empire 4000 years ago. He was half a man, and half a serpent. In one day he discovered 50 different species of poisonous herbs: He taught his countrymen the art of agriculture, and invented boats and nets for fishing, The art of making porcelain, the management of silkworms, and the manufacture of silk, ars also attributed to him. He composed that code of laws, which is still the wonder of the Chinese. Afterwards, ap. peared the famous pbilosoplier Con-fu-tsé, or Councias, who was not born according to the course of nature, but was able to speak and to reason, the moment after his birth., Jle wrought no miracles;-he performed no romantic exploits;- he lived an austere life;m-inculcated morality ;-and died, remarkable only for superior wisdom. The doctrine and worsbip of Fo, made a rapid progress all: over China, Japan, and Siam. The name of Talapoins, is appropriated to the priests of Fo, by the Siamese; Lamas, by the Tartars; Ho-chang, by the Chinese; and Bonzes, by the inhabitants of Japan. They are known in Europe by this last designation.