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Republic: but it being at the same time altogether employed in overturning the practice of the Sophists, was, I suppose, the reason why Albinus thought it came more naturally into that class which he calls subrersive. This is a true account of the Gorgias; as well as of my plain sentiments, concerning it, in the first volume of The Dicine Legation. And yet this Writer cries out, II'ho can read the Gorgias, and conceire that Plato did not really believe a future state of rewards and punishmçits? Rather, let me ask, Who that has read the Gorgias, can talk at this rate?
Well, but his reason: "When he (Plato) had professed at large, how wicked men are punished, and horv
good men are rewarded in a future state, he declares “that to be his full persuasion, and from thence it was, " that he endeavoured to appear before his Judge having
a most pure soul.” The original is, 'Eyw pièv švie Καλλίκλεις, ΥΠΟ ΤΟΥΤΩΝ ΤΩΝ ΛΟΓΩΝ έπεισμαι, και σκοπώ όπως αποφανέμαι το κρίση ως υγιεράτην έχων την fuxíu. Here, we see, the Writer has sunk upon us the iimportant words υπό τέτων των λόγων, upon which the whole sentence turns. This could hardly be by chance. The reasous of the omission are but too evident. - 'Εγώ μεν έν, ώ Καλλίκλεις, Υπο ΤΟΥΤΩΝ ΤΩΝ Aorn wénisiouxs, I am persuaded (says the speaker) O Callicles, ON THE AUTHORITY OF THESE DOCTRINES. Say you so? To understand then how full the persuasion was, we must consider what credibility these doctrines had. Now lie that reads the Gorgias will find, that they consisted of a long fabulous account of the establishment of the three judges of Hell*: and.of a strange opinion, that the dead put only retained the visible marks of the passions and affections of the soul, but also the scars and blemishes of the body t: It was on the authority, therefore, of these goodly doctrines, that the spcaker founds his belief: and what is more, it was to these doctrines that the very words, in which he expresses this belief, allude:: 'Atropa võuezo TW KPITH, relating to the infernal judges; and the TTIEETATHN This fuxim, the most sound or healthy soul, to its affections,
* Tom. I. p. 523. Ed. Serr.-See Div. Leg. Book 11:$ 4.
marks and blemishes. The speaker therefore must of course believe a future state 'thus circumstanced, if he believed any future state at all. Here is no room for the Writer's evasion : who supposes the philosophers. might reject the fables of Acheron, ard Styx, and Cocy, tus, and Elysian Fields, and yet believe the thing conveyed under these words. For here the belief of the thing is expressly said to be built on the authority of those fables : but those fables our Author gives up as not really believed. By his favour therefore I would conclude that the thing built upon them was not believed.
But as I little thought this Writer would have had the better of me on the believing side, I will suppose, as he does contrary to evidence, that the speaker did indeed in this place deliver his real sentiments. Let'us see now -what will come of it." He asks, Who can read the Gor: gias, and conceive, that Plato did not really believe when he 'has professed at large.--So then; the dispute between us is, Whether Plato believed a future state of rewards and punishments ? And, to prove 'that Plato did, he gives me a speech of Socrates. For unluckily what he quotes for the words of Plato are the words of his master; who, I have endeavoured to shew, by better reasons than such a kind of speech, did really believe a future state of rewards and punishments.
But he goes on :- And IF THEY IMAGINED' men tò be punished for sin, and rewarded for virtue, even supposing that this was talked of in a way that might be PROVED fabulous, yet the doctrine itself was unshaken. "Without doubt, if I will allow they imagined a future state of rewards and punishments, he will prove they believed one; that being the conclusion he seems to aim at in the aukward expression of-proved fabulous, andwas unshaken. For the point between us is not about what was true or false, but about what was believed or disbelieved. But he himself seems dissatisfied with his expression, and therefore attempts to mend it in this repetition (for it would be hard that he who begs his question, should not be able to get to his conclusion). Suppose the fables of Acheron, and Styx, and Cocytus, and Elysian Fields, may be all DEMONSTRATED to be false, yet it does not follow, that the thing conveijed under Vol. XI.
these words was believed to be all false, ". Here again his words, demonstrated to be false, leave him just where he way. For nothing can be concluded concerning the philosophers believing or ' not believing a thing, from our demonstrating it to be true or false. His expression fails Him here again. He therefore attempts it a third time.
It does not folloto, that souls were beheved to die; or to be' uncapable of receiving punishments or rewards, but only that this manner of representing them IS "FALSE, As sil as ever! He is still in the very place where he set out. And that which at first so perplexed him, has stuek by him through all his variation of phrase-Is false, for, was not believed. As if the philosophers must needs disbelieve all that was false, and believe all that was true, And indeed it seems to have been this strange prepossession that has made him run into all bis confusion of are.
A disease that fatally infected the Lawyer of late memory. I put his expressions in the most favourable light. For if there be no blunder, there is much malice: The period (supposing the words accurate) tending to prove the credibility of a future state of rewards and punishnients; which, being directed''against my discourse, necessarily insinuates, that I had wrote something against that credibility. But I have too good opinion of his honesty, to believe this to be his secret purpose....1
What therefore this Writer so fruitlessly labours to bring forth, is this simple conception, That the philosaphers might believe tlie doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments in general
, and yet
disbelieve all the particular fables of the populace concerning it. But those who are acquainted with antiquity, will-know, that this was not, and could not be the case. I have given a reason in the first volume of The Divine Legátion, to shew, it was not, in these words: “ We have given just above a quotation from Tully's oration for
Cluentius, in which he having ridiculed the popular * fables concerning a future state, subjoins, If these be "false, as all men sce they are, what hath death deprived sus of besides a sense of pain? Nam nunc quidem " quid tandem illi mali mors attulit; Nisi forte ineptiis ac fabulis ducimur, ut existimemus illum apud inferos • Div. Leg. Vol. III. pp. 122, 123.
s impiorum supplicia perferre, &c. Quie si falsa sunt,
id quod omnes intelligunt, quid ei tandem aliud mors "eripuit præter sensum doloris? From this inference of
Cicero's it appears, that we have not concluded ammiss, when, from several quotations, interspersed throughout this work, in which a disbeliet of the common notion of
a future state of rewards and punishınents is implied, 4 we have inferred the Writer's disbelief of a future state
of rewards and punishments in general.” There are many reasons likewise, why it could not be the case; too long indeed to mention here; however, I will just hint at one. The Pagan yotion of a future state of rewards and punistaments was founded in old tradition : but that tradition, which conveyed down the general 'doctrine, brought along these circumstances of
But I forget, that I am arguing with an enemy to all tradition: who, as highly as he advances the knowledge of the philosopbers, yet is unwilling to allow they were indebted for it to any thing but their own reason. Só entirely has that childish sophism got the better of him: Whatsoever reason might teach, it did teach. But how bas he made out his point ? By encountering a few weak efforts of the Fathers in support of traditional knowledge. He has great reason to boast his victory: it is like his who' triomphed for having tript up a cripple. But reverence for age should dispose us to spare the Fathers, especially when more able-bodied men stand in our way. Till he meet with these, I would recommend the following fact to his conșideration: ; The more ancient philosophers, in the delivery whether of their moral, natural, or theologic prins ciples, constantly recommend them on this footing, that they received them from TRADITION: one truth came from a priest of this religion; and another from the sacred books of that. Scarce any thing is ever represented as the deduction of their own reasoning: though such a representation had been attended with much honour, and we know they were immoderately fond of glory. Now if this were the case, I only ask, Why should we not believe them?
II: The Writer's second remark begins thus : " It has be been maintained indeed by some, that all that the
.. philosophers held, was a natural mètempsychosis
, or a "-transition froin one body to another, without any moral “ designation whatsoever. But surely this conclusion is
too basty: for when it was said, that the souls of il! men descended into asses or swine, they did not suppose " the souls of good men so to descend. The souls of evil
mei, e.g. of murderers, went into the bodies of beasts, " those of lascivious men into the bodies of swine or
goats, wori; xómaoiv, for punishment, says Timæus " Locrus. Was this done for punishment, and yet was.
no regard paid to the morals of wicked men *?"
It hath been maintained (says he) by some, that the old philosophers held only, a natural metempsychosis--but surely this conclusion is too hasty. . Who it is that has been too: hasty, is submitted to the judgment of the public: whether I, in concluding from a hundred wellweighed. cireumstances; or he, in censuring from one only, and that, as we shall see, neither weighed nor understood...
But it is too hasty, FOR when it was said, that the souls of ill men descended into asses or suine, they did not suppose the souls of good men so to descend. How are we to understand him? If by SAID be only meant taught, then, from what they said of the souls of ill men, nothing can be concluded, concerning what they suPPOSED or believed of the souls of good men; because it was their, way to say: one thing and suppose another. But if by said we are to understand supposed or believed, then I will readily grant, that, if they supposed the souls of ill mien to descend, they did not suppose the souls of good men so to descend. But why this to me? Did I ever. say, the old philosophers, supposed, that is, believed, that the souls of ill men descended into asses or swine ? He would
insinuate I did; as appears not only from his address, but from his plain allusion to the following words of
my book: However, it is true, that in his writings he [Plato) inculcates the doctrine of a future state of reward and punishment -that the souls of ill men de scended into asses, and swine--did he himself believe it? we may be assured he did not t, &c. Was it from these tords he gathered, that I held, Plato supposed, what, Div. Leg. Vol. III. pp. 78, 79.
1 Ibid. p. 94