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nothing. These doctrines passed on the one side into the absolute and universal scepticism of Pyrrhonism, and on the other into the opposite system of atomic atheism, which, going to the contrary extreme, admitted of no existence but that which came within the sphere of the senses. Thus the world by wisdom knew not God; the more they reasoned the more they departed from the truth. “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Nothing can be more striking than the incongruity and absurdity of the motions and arguments of the most eminent men of antiquity in their attempts to reason on the nature of the first Cause. This is exhibited within a short compass in Cicero's eloquent treatise concerning the nature of the gods. No doubt their absurdities lose nothing by passing through his hands, and had they been accompanied by the elaborate trains of reasoning which led to them, they would have appeared more specious than when represented in the nakedness of their ridiculous and jarring conclusions. Still these conclusions are presented by Cicero with considerable accuracy, and with great beauty and spirit; and afford an admirable commentary to St. Paul's remarks on Gentile wisdom. It is true that Socrates, in his striking and original efforts to discover truth, promised to bring back the philosophy of Greece to saner views; but though the genius of Socrates lent its colouring to many of the systems which followed him, yet his sobriety of investigation had few imitators. Plato added the dreams and wonders of Pythagoras to the more practical tenets of his master, and lost himself in his favourite ideal world, instead of looking at existence in its actual condition. Nor were the varying and contradictory opinions of Aristotle concerning the first Mover, though more destitute of imagination, on that account, nearer to the truth. Many of the Stoick dogmas, though sounding high and plausible concerning the divine nature, are yet found, when examined upon the genuine principles of their philosophy, to have more show than significance. Nor was there any hope of amendment in new systems springing up, for the Grecians were continually reasoning upon false principles, and the more accurately they reasoned, the more erroneous and monstrous were their conclusions. The best and most correct opinions concerning religion which the ancients possessed, were those which were handed down to them from remote antiquity, which were celebrated in the writings of their moral poets, and which their legislators adopted and inculcated in order to give a sanction to their laws. These form the outer doctrines of philosophy, and are very superior to the tenets of the inner school. In these outer doctrines, the philosophers considered not what was true, but what was useful; and they showed themselves much better judges of utility than of truth. They were ignorant of the simple demonstration which proves that general utility and truth must be for ever coincident. Hence the pernicious and perplexing division of their doctrines into the exoteric and esoteric; the first adapted to the world at large; the second hurtful, if generally promulgated, but which might be revealed to the few who were devoted to the pursuit of wisdom. Thus, in their own estimation, their whole stock of opinions were made up of useful errors and dangerous truths. But in the absence of just principles, as it is more easy to discover what is useful than what is true, their supposed errors were often truths, and their supposed truths were always errors. Entangled in the web of their own double doctrine,—and at best by no means remarkable, notwithstanding their genius, even in their most lucid moments, for perspicuity and consistency, they expressed themselves so vaguely and figuratively, that they leave ample room for the conjectures, disputes, and mistakes of commentators. We are principally indebted to the vigorous mind and sagacious learning of Warburton for first pointing out determinately the real opinions of the ancient philosophers respecting the nature of the Deity and of the soul, and also for placing in the clearest light the ultimate principle upon which these reasonings proceeded. VII. The philosophy of the ancients took its form and character from their entire ignorance of the principle of creation, and from their denial of the possibility of any other change than a change of form, and the giving a new mould to pre-existing materials. Thus, whatever had real existence was eternal; it was only the modifications of that existence which were temporary. Hence the belief that matter and mind were both of them self-existing and ever-enduring; and hence the obvious conclusion, that all finite souls were but rays emitted from the original mind, and would soon return to the ocean from which they had been for a moment exhaled. But the doctrine of two principles yielded to the belief of one principle, as being a more harmonious and comprehensive scheme of philosophy, and hence pantheism, or the considering the universe as God, the one and only true existence, has chiefly prevailed in all ages and countries where revelation has been unknown. In the scheme of pantheism the great difficulty is to account for finite existence; this has given rise to two systems, emanative philosophy, and pantheism, strictly so called. The emanative philosophy considers all changes as taking place in the divine substance itself; but pantheism considersall changes to be merely deceptions, yet it fails to account for the origin of illusion, nor can it explain in what manner this can have any place in the infinite mind. The system of emanation has most generally prevailed; it is not only found in numerous schools of philosophy, but many of the ancient superstitions have been remodelled on its basis. The mythology of the Hindoos has been recast upon this model by the ancient Braminical priesthood, while the opposing doctrines of Boudh derive their character from pantheism, strictly so called. These systems have reappeared in modern times, both in the east and in the west, and have given rise to peculiar modifications in mystical devotion, which shall afterwards be noticed. It is thus that opinions descend lower and lower in the scale of mind, and that the errors of ancient genius become the heresies of modern sectarians. VIII. Thus we observe, that the great and everrecurring error of the ancients proceeds from their ignorance of creation. The substance of all things they supposed to be necessarily eternal. Forms might be changed, but essences were for ever the same ; and all essences were but one essence, the one eternal and unbounded existence. Possessed with this false principle, the more they reasoned upon it, the deeper they sunk into error; it haunted them on every side, and blinded them to every sane

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