Abbildungen der Seite

in the case of Socrates; and a quotation or two from Mr. Dow and Mr. Grose, with a prayer from Dr. Hyde, to ascertain the religious notions of the Parsis and the Hindoos. These, with a few vague observations on the tenets of certain Atheists of ancient and modern times; the tendency of which is to shew, that men who did not believe in a moral Governor of the Universe, did not fear one; complete his survey of the religious history of the Heathen world-and, in the conclusion, derived from this very copious induction, he satisfactorily acquiesces, and boldly defies his opponents to produce a single contradictory instance.—(N. B. His abstract of the Jewish testimonies, I reserve for a distinct discussion in another place; see No. XXXIII.)

When Dr. Priestley thus gravely asserts, that by this extensive review of facts, he has completely established the position, that natural religion impresses no fears of divine displeasure, and prescribes no satisfaction for offended justice beyond repentance; it seems not difficult to determine, how far he re

the ignorance of his readers, and upon the force of a bold assertion. As to the position itself, it is clear, that never was an avtos epa, more directly opposed to the voice of history, and to notoriety of fact. Parkhurst, in his Hebrew Lexicon, on the OVX, says, “it is known to every one, who is acquainted with the mythology of the Heathens, how strongly and generally they retained the tradition of an atonement or expiation for sin.” What has been already offered, in this number, may perhaps appear sufficient to justify this affirmation. But, indeed, independent of all historical research, a very slight glance at the Greek and Roman Classics, especially the Poets, the popular divines of the ancients, can leave little doubt upon this head. So clearly

lies upon

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

does their language announce the notion of a propitiatory atonement, that if we would avoid an imputation on Dr. Priestley's fairness, we are driven of necessity, to question the extent of his acquaintance with those writers. Thus in Homer, (II. i. 386.) we find the expression Deov Vacxeoba so used, as necessarily to imply the appeasing the anger of the God: and again (Il. ii. 550.) the same expression is employed, to denote the propitiation of Minerva by sacrifice Eνθάδε μιν ταυροισι και αρνειoις ιλαονται. He siod, in like manner, (Epy.xou Hu. 338.) applies the term in such a sense as cannot be misunderstood. Having declared the certainty, that the wicked would be visited by the divine vengeance;


proceeds to recommend sacrifice, as amongst the means of rendering the deity propitiousAdote in σπονδυσι θυεσστε ελασχεσθαι. Ρlutarch makes use of the word, expressly in reference to the anger of the Gods, εξιλασασθαι το μηνιμα της θεου. That the words ιλασκεσθαι, ιλασμος, &c. carry with them the force of rendering propitious an offended deity, might be proved by various other instances from the writers of antiquity: and that, in the use of the terms anoτροπιασμα Or αποτροπιασμος, καθαρμα, περιψημα, and papuaxos, the ařicients meant to convey the idea of a piacular sacrifice averting ihe anger of the Gods, he who is at all conversant with their writings needs not to be informed. The word tuepuinua particularly, Hesychius explains by the synonimous terms, αντιλυτρον, αντιψυχον : and Suidas describes its meaning in this remarkable manner, OUTWS ETENEYOV (Αθηναιοι) τω κατενιαυτον συεχοντι παντων κακα. (this Schleusner affirms to be the true reading)-Teepunua ημων γενου, ητοι σωτηρια και απολυτρωσις. Και ουτως ενεβαλλον τη θαλασση, ωσανει τω Ποσειδωνι θυσιαν αποτιννύντες. .

Nor is the idea of propitiatory atonement, more

clearly expressed by the Greek, than it is by the Latin, writers of antiquity. The words placare, propitiare, expiare, litare, placamen, piaculum, and such like, occur so frequently, and with such clearness of application, that their force cannot be easily misapprehended or evaded. Thus Horace, (lib. ii. sat. 3.) Prudens placavi sanguine Divos: and (lib. i. Ode 28.) Teque piacula nulla resolvent : and in his second Ode, he proposes the question, cui dabit partes scelus expiandi Jupiter? (" to which,” says Parkhurst, whimsically enough, “ the answer in the Poet įs, Apollo—the second person in the Heathen Trinity.”) Cæsar likewise, speaking of the Gauls, says, as has been already noticed, Pro vita hominis nisi vita hominis reddatur, non posse deorum immortalium numen placari arbitrantur. . Cicero (pro Fonteio. x.) speaking of the same people, says, Si quando aliquo metu adducti, deos placundos esse arbitrantur, humanis hostiis eorum aras ac templa funestant. The same writer (De Nat. Deor. lib. iii. cap 6.) says, Tu autem etiam Deciorum devotionibus placatos Deos esse censes. From Silius Italieus and Justin, we have the most explicit declarations, that the object of the unnatural sacrifices of the Carthaginians, was to obtain pardon from the Gods. Thus the former (lib. 4. lin. 767, &c.)

Mos fuit in populis, quos condidit advena Dido
Poscere cæde Deos veniam, ac flagrantibus aris

(Infandum dictu) parvos iinponere natosAnd in like manner the latter (lib. xviii. cap. 6.) expresses himself; Homines ut victimas immolabant: et impuberes aris admovebant; pacem sanguine eorum exposcentes, pro quorum vità Dii rogari maxime solent. Lucan also, referring to the same bloody rites, usual in the worship of the cruel Gods VOL. I.


of the Saxons, thus speaks of them, (Pharsal. lib. i. lin. 443. &c.)

Et quibus immitis placatur sanguine diro
Teutates, horrensque feris altaribus Hesus,

Et Tharamis Scythiæ non mitior ara Dianæ
Virgil likewise, (Æn. ii. lin. 116.)

Sanguine placastis ventos, et virgine cæsa,
Sanguine quærendi reditus, animâque litandum

Argolica Suetonius relates of Otho. (cap. 7.) Per omnia piaculorum genera, manes Galbæ propitiare tentasse. And Livy (lib. vii. cap. 2.) says, Cum vis morbi nec humanis consiliis, nec ope divinâ levaretur, ludi quoque scenici, inter alia cælestis iræ placamina institui dicuntur: and the same writer, in another place, directly explains the object of animal sacrifice; Per dies aliquot, hostiæ majores sine litatione cæsæ, diuque non impetrata pax Deûm. The word litare is applied in the same manner by Pliny, (De Viris Illust. Tull. Host.) Dum Numam sacrificiis imitatur, Jovi Elicio litare non potuit; fulmine ictus cum regiâ conflagravit. This sense of the word might be confirmed by numerous instances. Servius, (En. iv. lin. 50.) and Macrobius, (lib. iii. cap. 5.) inform us, that it implies, “ facto sacrificio placare numen : and Stephanus says from Nonius, that it differs from sacrificare in this, that the signification of the latter is, veniam petere, but that of the former, veniam impetrare.

But to produce all the authorities on this head, were endless labour: and indeed to have produced so many, might seem to be a useless one, were it not of importance to enable us to appreciate with exactness, the claims to literary pre-eminence, set up by a writer, who on all occasions pronounces ex cathedra; and on whose dicta, advanced with an authoritative and imposing confidence, and received by his followers with implicit reliance, has been erected a system, embracing the most daring impieties, that have ever disgraced the name of Christianity. If the observations in this number, have the effect of proving to any of his admirers, the incompetency of the guide whom they have hitherto followed with unsuspecting acquiescence, I shall so far have served the cause of truth and of Christianity, and shall have less reason to regret the trouble oceasioned both to the reader and to myself, by this prolix detail.


Page 10. (f)-This thought we find happily conveyed by Mr. Pope, in his Essay on Man:

“In human works, tho' laboured on with pain,
“ A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
“ In God's, one single does its end produce;
" Yet serves to second too, some other use.

In the illustration of this part of my subject, I have been much indebted to the excellent Sermons of the Bishop of London, on the Christian doctrine Redemption : and also to the sixth Letter of H. Taylor's Ben Mordecai's Apologya work, which though it contains much of what must be pronounced to be erroneous doctrine, is nevertheless, in such parts as do not take their complexion from the tinge of the author's peculiar opinions, executed with acuteness, learning, and research.


Page 10. (8)-The objection stated in the page

« ZurückWeiter »