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very great inattention to the language and design of ancient writers, or elfe of that kind of prejudice which admits of no cure.' We believe, that many persons whose attention and judgment are equal to Mr. Fell's, will still be of opinion, that Horace referred to the chief deity of the Heathen. Whether they or Mr. Fell be under the worse kind of prejudice, must be left to others to determine.
In the fequel of this chapter, he labours to prove, in opposition to Mr. Farmer, that the Pagans never confounded their natural with their hero gods, or even affociated them together. His proofs are vague and inconclufive; but his assertions are as pofitive as if they had been supported by demonstration.
The chapter clofes with the following paragraph, which we give our Readers as a specimen at once of the loose reasoning and of the illiberal sentiments of this writer.
• Idolatry, indeed, is in its very nature the nurse of vice; because it cannot exist without a denial of the strongest moral obligations. Nothing can be more repugnant to reason, and the first principles of natural religion. That which fetteth afide our most solemn duties towards God, must, in its consequences, be pernicious to the interests of mankind; the religious worship therefore of any creature is the height of wickedness. Hence the extensive influence of this crime, which was a continued opposition to the light and dictates of nature, clearly proves all idolaters to have been void of true morality and religion. For if genuine virtue doth not include a refolute and steady observance of those facred duties which we owe to our Maker, it is an empty name, and not worth cultivating: if, indeed, we also understand by it, those highest moral obligations which are due to God, then genuine virtue never can be found but in the exercife of pure religion, undefiled with idolatrous practices. To talk therefore of virtuous Heathens, if idolaters be meant, is an absurdity, too great for language to express!'
That idolatry and superstition have a tendency to corrupt the mind and manners, will readily be allowed ; but that no virtuous characters are to be found amongst idolaters, is a position inconsistent with the common use of words, with all just notions of human nature, and with the united testimony of ancient and modern history,
The second chapter is entitled, The Testimony of Scripture con cerning Heathen Gods. The design of it is
The design of it is to prove, that the worthip of dead men is never mentioned, or even referred to in the Old Testament; that that kind of idolatry was not practised in the neighbourhood of Judea, till after the time in which the books of the Old Testament were written; and confequently, that the only deities to which the Jews and neighbouring nations sacrificed, were the heavenly bodies, or those which
are called the natural and primary gods of the Heathen. To this end he first quotes a passage from Deuteronomy, chap. iv. ver. 15-19, as describing the state of idolatry in the time of Moses. The generality of readers and commentators, we believe, are of opinion, that by the likeness of male or female, ver. 16. is intended, the likeness of man or woman : but Mr. Fell afferts, without hefitation, that Mofes, in this defcription of the idolatry of his own times, doth not even intimate that any of their emblematic figures were in the Shape of men. In order to set aside the proofs, which Mr. Farmer has brought from the writings of the Old Testament, that the Pagan deities were considered as dead men, an interpretation different from that of the most eminent and learned commentators is put upon the passages that he has quoted. In particular, the Hebrew word, Schedim, Deut. xxxii. 17. and Pfal. cvi. 37. is af. serted to signify not destroyers, as is generally imagined, but distributers, feil. of good things. It might have been imagined; that the fingularity of this interpretation was sufficient to have inspired even Mr. Fell, with some degree of modesty and diffi: dence. On the contrary, he feems to rise in positiveness and assurance upon the occasion. • But,' are his words,'hé, that is, Mr. Farmer,' thus goes on : “ the word fchedim, is derived from a verb which fignifies to lay waste, to destroy, and ought to have been rendered the destroyers. It expresses the fuppofed cruel nature and character of these gods, who were thought to delight in, and who were accordingly worshipped by, the destruction of the human species, and who required, as appears from the context, even the blood of their fons and daughters." To this we answer with all brevity, that the word fohedim, is not derived from a verb which fignifies to lay waste, and to destroy; that it ought not to have been rendered the destroyers; that it does not express the fupposed cruel nature of those false gods; and that it doth not refer to thofe mischiefs which they had formerly occafioned, but to those bounties which they were then thought to give.'
This, however, is but one inftance out of many, in which Mr. Fell has replied to Mr. Farmer in the same concise and con vincing manner
Mr. Fell's principal arguments in support of his own opinion are, that whenever the particular objects of idolatrous worship in Judea or the neighbouring countries are specified in the Old Teftament, no others are mentioned than the fun, moon, planets, and hosts of heaven;' and that even the writers of the New Teftament are so far from representing all the Pagan deities as nothing but dead men, that they do not take any notice of the worship of deceased persons, even when reasoning with idolaters, where dead men were known to be worshipped.'
It might have occurred to him, that as the filence of the writers of the New Testament is no proof that the worship of dead men had not obtained in their time ; so the filence of the writers of the Old Testament is no proof that that kind of idolatry was not practised in the age in which they lived. He tells us, indeed, that there were no facrifices offered to dead men in the days of Moses; for the Grecian heroes, the first deihed human spirits, were not then even born: nor was that fuperftition ever practifed among the nations, round Judea, during the time of any of the prophets ;-' But for these things we have only his word: he has not vouchsafed to offer any proof of his affertions.
In the two next chapters, Mr. Fell proposes to confider the various application of the term, Demons, among the ancient Greeks, and by the sacred penmen.' These chapters are principally employed in combating Mr. Farmer's ideas and reasoning on the subje&. Mr. Fell's inquiry into the meaning of the term, as used by the ancient Greeks, is very fhort and indecisive: and we have not the shadow of an argument to prove, that poflelling demons were not considered by them as humar Spirits converted into dæmons after death. With respect to the sacred writers, it is Mr. Fell's opinion, that the apostles,' agreeably with the established and common ule of the word, as signifying, intelligent natures in general, and more especially, beings luperior to men, have applied it to fuch intelligent natures as are superior to mankind, and particularly, to those rialignant Spirits, the head of which is “ Satan,” &c.' that is, to the devil and his angels. With these two chapters the Inquiry properly ends.
The rest of the publication, which is by far the greater part of it, comprehending fix chapters, is taken up in answering the objections that have been alleged against the doctrine of poffeffions, and asserting the common notions of the agency and influence of angels both good and evil,' in the natural and moral world. Through the whole, we meet with more railing than reasoning: Mr. Farmer, his opinions and arguments, are treated with much scorn and abuse; and the most unworthy practices and designs are charged upon him, and other opposers of dæmoniacal possessions. Mr. Fell (as well as his predecesfor, Dr. Worthington) seems to forget that all Chriftians are agreed, that the facts contained in the evangelical history are true. The matter in debate respecting the present subjet is, what the facts were, or what is the sense and meaning of the language in which they are recorded. It is in vain, therefore, to quote text after text, in which dæmons are said to be cast out, &c. The fame principles upon which we reject the literal tenie of the phrase, this is my body, will justify us in rejecting tne
literal sense of, the devils, or dæmons, went into the herd of swine.
'In opposition,' says he, to that account, which hath been so often juftly urged from the Holy Scriptures, concerning the entrance of lin into this world, and the rise of human calamities, the following objections may, perhaps, have been alleged, “ That the origin of evil, both natural and moral, is a fubjcct which hath employed, and hitherto perplexed, the greatest plopers and divines in every age; and that some judicious persons will probably be of opinion, that the Mosaic history of the fall, however explained, is not a complete solution of it, or that, if it hath removed some difficulties, there are others remaining.” To this, or to any thing of the like import, if it thuld be pleaded, the following brief answer may be given, “ That the Mosaic history of the fall was never intended as a
folution of the origin of evil, far less as a complete one, nor was it ever so urged, that we know of, by any Christian divine; none, therefore, but either injudicious or uncandid persons will represent the subject in this light.” Our business, at present, is with the following question, “ Will any Christian divine take upon him to say, that the account which is delivered to us by the facred penmen, concerning the introduction of natural and moral evil into this world, is not a just one ?" According to the Holy Scriptures, neither human calamities, nor death, nor the evil passions of men, are from the original conftitution of nature, but were brought into the world by that fin to which the Devil firft seduced man. The history of the fall, the previous threatening of God in case of disobedience, and the fentence pronounced on Adam's transgresjon, together with the consequent alteration in the state of the world, and in the cons dition of mankind, do all naturally lead us to a source of hu. man calamities very different from the original constitution of nature. That account which is given us in the Bible, concern. ing the introduction of natural and moral evil among men, hath hitherto been received by Christians in general, as authentic; the principles and design of the Gospel everywhere suppose its truth; there is nothing in it contradictory to human realon, or inconsistent with our natural ideas of the divine perfections, for nothing injurious throughout the whole affair is attributed to the agency of God. The origin of evil is a fubjeét not within the comprehension of the human mind, because we are, at present, destitute of those common principles without which a clear knowledge of the matter cannot be conveyed to us : if there were a proper medium through which such information could be given, we should undoubtedly perceive, that God was no more che contriver and agent in the first rise of moral evil, than he was, according to the Scriptures, in the entrance of fin into this world.'
In the next passage that we shall quote, Mr. Fell, after the load. of abuse that he has thrown upon Mr. Farmer, in the preceding three hundred pages, and the many pernicious views and sentiments he has ascribed to him, many of which are afterwards repeated, generously acquits him of all badiintentions.
• Far be it from us,' says he, to impute any evil design to this writer ; we doubt not, he really meant to serve the caule of virtue, which he thought could not be more effectually done, than by removing every thing which appeared to him in the light of superstition. But we have a right tɔ affirm, that in supporting his hypothefis concerning Dæmoniacs, and in point. ing out what he apprehends to be the true source of human calamities, he urges those very arguments that have been fo often alleged both against the truth and necesity of a revelation. In