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The Pharisees held fatality or predestination to
The above remarks are not at all foreign to the principal point in queftion, which is to know whether men are bound to tolerate each other ; inasmuch, as by proving that in all times those of different opinions have been alike mistaken, it appears to have been the duty of all mankind in every age, to treat each other with kindness and forbearance.
# The doctrine of predestination is both of long standing and universal; we find it in Homer. Jupiter was defirous to save the life of his son Sarpedon; but Destiny had marked him for death, and Jupiter was obliged to submit. Dertiny was with the philosophers, either the neces fary concatenation of causes and effects neceffarily produced by nature, or that same concatenation ordained by Providence; the latter of which is most reasonable. We find the whole fyftem of fatality, or predestination comprized in this line of Annæus Seneca :' " Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem tra“ hunt.” It has been always acknowleged, that God governs the universe by eternal, univerfal, and immutable laws: this truth gave rise to the many
and believed in the Metempsichosis , the Effenians thought that the souls of the just went
unintelligible disputes concerning free-will, which had never been defined before the great philosopher Lock arose, who has proved it to be the power of acting. God bestows this power, and man, acting freely according to the eternal decrees of Providence, is one of the wheels of the great machine of the universe, Free-will has been a subject of difputation from all antiquity; but no one 'till of late times, was ever perfecuted on this subjects How horrible, how absurd is it to have imprisoned and banished on account of this dispute, a Pompone d’Andilly, an Arnaud, a Nicole, a Sacy, and so many others who were the mining lights of France !
The Theological Romance of the Metempaichofis came from India, a part of the world to which we are indebted for many more fables than is generally believed. We find this doctrine exa plained by that beautiful poet Ovid, in the twelfth book of his Metamorphoses. It has been received in almost every part of the world, and has every where met with its oppofers : neverthelefs, we do not find that any priest among the antients ever procured a disciple of Pythagoras to be sent to
into fome happy islands I, and those of the
t Neither the antient Jews, the Egyptians, nor the Greeks, their cotemporaries, believed that the foul of man went to heaven after death. The Jews thought, that the fun and moon were placed fome leagues above us in the same circle, and that the firmament was a thick and solid vault, which supported the weight of the waters, that however fometimes ran out through the crevices in this vault. The antient Greeks placed the palace of their gods upon mount Olympus. And the abode of heroes after death, was in Homer's time, thought to be in an island beyond the ocean. This likewise was the opinion of the Effenians.
After Homer, planets were assigned to the gods ; but there was no more reason for men to place a. god in the moon, than for the inhabitants of the moon to place a god in our planet of the earth. Juno and Iris had no other palaces assigned them but the clouds, where there was no place to rest the. fole of their feet. Among the Sabeans, every deity had its far. But as the stars are little suns, it would be impossible to live there, without partaking of the nature of fire. Upon the whole, then, it is very needless to enquire what the antients thought of heaven ; since the best answer that can be given is, they thought nothing about it.
wicked into a kind of Tartarus or Hell. They offered no facrifices ; and assembled together in particular synagogues of their own. In a word, if we examine nicely into the Jewish oecono, my, we shall be surprized to find the inoft extensive toleration prevailing amidst the most Shocking barbarities. , This is indeed a contradiction, but almost all people have been govern. ed by contradictions. Happy are those whose manners are mild, while their laws are bloody!
CHA P. XIV.
If NÓN-TOLERATION was taught by CHRIST.
ET us now see whether Christ establish
ed sanguinary laws, whether he enjoined non-toleration, instituted the horrors of the inquisition, or the butchery osan Auto-da-fé.
There are, unless I am much mistaken, very few passages in the New Testament from which the spirit of perfecution can have inferred that tyranny and constraint in religious matters are permitted: one is the parable, wherein the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king :who made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his fervants to invite guests to the wedding, fa, ing, “ tell them which were bidden, “ my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all “ things are ready, come unto the marriage." But those who were bidden, made light of the invitation, one going to his farm, and another to his busines; and the rest of them took the king's fervants and flew them. Upon which
|| Matth. ch. xxii. v. 1-13.