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of mankind. A priest, and one of the members of the Areopagus, were let loose upon him, who accused him 'I cannot precisely say of what, as his apology to me seems very vague; from which however we learn in general, that he was charged with inspiring the youth of the nation with notions contrary to the religion and government of the country: an accusation which the flanderers of all times and places have conftantly made use of ; but a court of justice requires positive facts, and that the charge should be circunstantial and well supported, none of which are to be found in the proceedings against Socrates. All we know is, that he had at first two hundred and twenty voices for him; therefore, there must have been two hundred and twenty out of the five hundred judges, who were philosophers ; a great many more, I believe, than are to be found any where else. At length, however, the majority were for the hemlock potion. But here let us not forget, that when the Athenians came to their reason, they held both his accusers and judges in deteftation; made Melitus, who had been the principal author of the sentence pronounced against him, pay for that act of injustice with his life ; banished all the others that were concerned in it, and erected a temple to Socrates. Never
was philosophy fo nobly revenged, so highly honoured. This affair of Socrates then is, in fact, the most powerful argument that can be alledged againft persecution. The Athenians had an altar dedicated to the strange gods, gods they could never know. What stronger proof then can there be, not only of their extreme indulgence towards all nations, but even for their respect for the religion of those nations?
A very worthy perfon, who is neither an enemy to reason, learning, or probity, nor to his country, in undertaking to justify the affair of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, quotes the war of the Phocians, by ihem called the sacred. war, as if that war had been entered into on the score of religion, or a particular point in divinity; whereas it is well known, that it was caused by a dispute about a particular spot of ground, the constant cause of all wars. A few
corn-grounds can certainly never be a symbol of belief; it is as certain, that none of the Greek cities ever made war upon each other for the sake of opinion. After all, what would this modest and humane writer drive at? Would he have us undertake a sacred war?
CH A P. VIII.,
Whether the ROMANS encouraged TOLERA
MONG the antient Romans, from the
days of Romulus to those in which the Christians began to dispute with the priests of the empire, we do not find a single instance of any person being persecuted on account of his sentiments. Cicero doubted every thing; Lucretius denied every thing; and yet, neither one nor the other, underwent the least reproach from their fellow citizens : nay, so far did this licence go, that Pliny the naturalist begins his book by denying the existence of a God, and saying, That if there is one, it must be the sun. Cicero, in speaking of hell, says, Non est unus. tam excors quæ credat. “ There is not even an old “woman fo filly as to believe it.” Juvenal says, Nec pueri credunt : “ Even our children laugh
6 at it.” And the following maxim was publicly repeated on the Roman theatre: Poft mortem nihil eft, ipfaque mors nihil:“ nought after death, even " death itself is nought.” While we abhor these maxims, let us pardon them in a people, who were never enlightened by the holy truths of the gospel ; and, while we own them to be false and impious, let us however confess, that the Romans were great friends to toleration, seeing that such tenets never excited any commotions.
Deorum offensa diis cure, was the grand prine ciple of the senate and people of Rome; that illustrious nation employing their attention wholly to conquer, govern, and civilize the universe. They were our legislators as well as our conquerors; and even Cæsar, who reduced us to his subjection, and gave us laws and games, never attempted to compel us to quit our Druids for him, though supremne pontiff of a nation, whose subjects we were now become.
The Romans themselves did not profess all kinds of religion, therefore they did not give public sanction to all, but they permitted them. Under Numa, nothing material was the object of their worship. They had neither statues nor pictures ; in process of time, however, some were erected to the Dii Majorum Gentium, with which the Greeks brought them acquainted. That law in the twelve tables, Deos peregrinos ne colunto, was confined to the allowing
no public worship to be paid, except to the superior and inferior deities, approved by the sea nate. The Egyptian goddess Isis had a temple in Rome to the time of Tiberius, who demolished it, because its priests, having been bribed by Mundus, suffered him to lie with a lady called Paulina in the temple itself, under the name and form of the god Anubis. Indeed this story is to be found only in Jofephus, who did not live at that time; and was moreover a credulous and exaggerating writer : and there is very little probability, that, in so enlightened an age as that of Tiberius, a lady of the first distinction in Rome, could be so weak to believe that a god cohabited with her..
But whether this anecdote be true or false, this one thing is certain, that the Egyptian ido. latry was in the possession of a temple at Rome with the public confent. The Jews had also lived as traders in that city ever since the Punic war ; they had their fynagogues there in the time of Augustus, and alınost always continued to have them in the same manner as they now have in modern Rome. Can we defire a stronger in-. stance, that the Romans looked upon tolera