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CH A P. VI.
If NON-TOLERATION is agreeable to the Law
of NATURE and of SOCIETY.
HE law of nature is that which nature
points out to all mankind. You have brought up a child, that child owes you a respect as its paient, and gratitude as its benefactor. You have a right over the productions of the earth which you have raised by the labour of your own hands; you have given and received a promise, that promise ought to be kept,
The law of society can have no other foundalion in any case than on the law of nature. - Do not that to another which thou wouldest not he should do unto thee”, is the great and universal principle of both throughout the earth: now, agreeable to this principle, can one man fay to another, “ Believe that which I believe, " and which thou thyself can'ít not believe, or 66 thou shalt die ?” And
yet this is what is every day said in Portugal, in Spain, and at Goa.
In fome other countries indeed, they now con| tent themselves with saying, “ Believe as I do, or I will hold thee in abhorrence; believe like me,
or I will do thee all the evil I can : wretch, 46 thou art not of my religion, and therefore«s thou hast no religion at all, and oughtest to 6. be held in execration by thy neighbours, thy 65 city, and thy province.”
If the law of society directs such a conduct, the Japanese ought then to hold the Chined in detestation'; the latter the Siamese, who should persecute the inhabitants of the Ganges; and they fall upon those of India ; the Mogul should put to death the first Malabar'he found in his kingdom; the Malabar fhould poignard the Persian ; the Persian maflacre the Turk and, altogether, should fall upon us Christians, who have so many ages been cutting one another's throats..
The law of persecution then is equally ab. furd and barbarous ; it is the law of tygers : nay, it is even still more favage, for tygers deftroy only for the sake of food, whereas we have butchered one another on account of a sentence or a paragraph,
CH A P. VII.
If Non-TOLERATION was known among the
HE several nations with which history
has made us in part acquainted, did all consider their different religions as ties by which they were united; it was the association of human kind. There was a kind of law of hospitality among the Gods, the same as amongst
If a stranger arrive in any town, the first thing he did was to pay his adoration to the Gods of the country, even though they were the Gods of his enemies. The Trojans offered up prayers even to those Gods who fought for the Greeks.
Alexander made a journey into the desarts of Lybia, purpolely to consult the God Ammon, to whom the Greeks gave the name of Zeus, and the Latins that of Jupiter, though both countries had their Jupiter and ineir Zeus amongst themselves. When they lat down betore any town or city, they offered up facrifices and prayers to the gods of that city or
town, to render them propitious to their undertaking. Thus, even in the midst of war, religion united mankind; and though it might sometimes prompt them to exercise the most inhuman cruelries, at other times it frequently softened their fury.
I may be mistaken, but it appears to me, that not one of all the civilized nations of antiquity, ever laid a restraint upon liberty of thinking. They had all a particular religion ; but they seemed to have acted in this respect towards men in the same manner as they did towards their gods; they all acknowledged one fupreme Being, though they affociated with him an infinite number of inferior deities : in like manner, though they had but one faith, yet they admitted a multitude of particular systems.
The Greeks, for example, though a very religious people, were not offended with the Epicureans, who denied Providence and the exist-, ence of the soul; not to mention divers other fects, whose tenets were all of them repugnant to the pure ideas we ought to entertain of a Creator, and yet were all of them tolerated.
Socrates, who came the nearest to the knowledge of the true God, is said to have suffered on that account, and died a martyr to the Deity; he was the only one whom the Greeks ever put to death on account of opinion. If this was really the cause of his being condemned, it does very little honour to persecution, since he was put to death for being the only one who gave true glory to God, whilft those who taught notions the most unworthy of the Deity were held in high honour: therefore, I think, the enemies of toleration should be cautious how they lay a stress upon the infamous example of his judges.
Moreover, it is evident from history, that he fell a victim to the revenge of an enraged party. He had made himself many inveterate enemies of the for hifts, orators, and poets, who taught in the public schools, and even of all the preceptors who had the care of the children of diftinction. He himself acknowledges in his dif course handed down to us by Plato, that he went from house to house, to convince these preceptors, that they were a set of ignorant fellows; a conduct certainly unworthy of one who had been declared by an oracle the wiseft