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isting in their airy vehicle were actuated by opposing desires; and when the Supreme One conducts the inferior gods to the highest celestial elevation, he is followed, with ease, by beings like himself. Not so with others. By means of conflicting desires, their wings, while mounting to the source of felicity, became impaired and broken. They fall from their superior regions and enter into gross bodies on the earth.t. This is the Platonic fall of


Into these bodies the souls enter with their luciform bodies, or vehicles. This light is shut up in these dark terrestrial bodies like a light in a dark lantern. This internal light was called by some of them a spirit:|| Seneca makes it a sacred spirit. "Sacer inter nos sedet spiritus." Lucan confers divine honours upon it. "Est deus in nobis."§ And Ovid shuts up this god in the human breast. Hence the demon of Socrates, which directed his mind in the search of truth; which prescribed the measures that he pursued; which dictated what he ought to say or sealed his lips in dutiful silence; which lifted the curtain of futurity and blessed its votary with visions and predictions.** And, hence, the attendant god of Plotinus, to whom "the divine eye of his soul was continually elevated."It

In its present debased state the soul is urged on to re-ascend to its original. The "deity within" utters soft voices; but these cannot be heard until a dream, or a rapture, or the slumbers of silence and the retirement of the soul into itself shall still the clamours of reason and of sense. Nothing is more hostile to this divine enthusiasm than mortal wisdom and bodily desires.‡‡ To detach the soul from these was the grand art taught by this philosophy. Hence Socrates and Plato prescribed rules for purging the rational soul, and clarifying the luciform vehicle in which

Plat. Oper. 1223, and Ogil. Theol. Plat. p. 160, 161.

Suidas, Isidore, Hierocles used this language. Cudw. Intel. Syst. 4to. p. 790. The ancient Quakers were, by the wags of that age, called “dark jantern men." The "light within" was the beginning, the middle, and the end of their extemporaneous effusions.

|| Pletho in Oracul, Chald. Cud. In. Sys. i. 791, 4to.

S Phars. lib. 9. v. 568.

Metaph. ii. Fab. 10. Et de arte Amandi, lib. iii. ver. 549.

Xenoph. Memor. Socrat. & Pluta. de genio Socr. and W. Penn, ii.



tt Taylor's Plat. Philos. ii. p. 238.

Plutar, De Defect, Orac. Spencer on Vulg. Prophecies, p. 32.

the soul was enveloped.* For, being attenuated to a certain degree, it becomes "light and wingy;" it mounts aloft as the thin gas to the summit of perfection. Hence their cathartic virtues--hence their corporal afflictions. By these means they chained down the carnal mind, that the light within might spring up. Hence this mode of address: "Let us hasten to the light whence the soul came: look within: the fountain of good is within: you will be wise if you behold yourselves in the Deity; in that light which alone is capable of teaching you. If you look into that which is without, you will only do the works of darkness. And this specimen of a Platonic address will show with what scrupulous fidelity the disciples adhere to their masters: "O Friends! turn in, turn in: where is the poison, there is the cure there you want Christ, and there you must find him.”‡

The soul, being purified, according to the Platonists, is elevated to a union with the Supreme God. They are surrounded by divine splendours: rays of celestial light are extended to their eyes they speak, they write, from the inspirations of Deity.§ At death the body is dissolved for ever-and the soul, bursting from that vile prison, returns, in its luciform body, to God, out of whom it came, and is absorbed into him. The resurrection of the body was a subject of derision to these sophists. "To be again placed in the same body," said Plotinus, "would be no better than a second sleep." And Celaus reproached this doctrine, the hope of all good men, as """ the hope σκωλήκων έλπις-6 of worms."¶


§ 3. These doctrines have been handed down from a remoté antiquity. Plato has not the honour of discovering them: he was not even the first whose genius illustrated them: he was in

Jamblicus De Myst. Egypt. sec. 3. cap. 7. Lampe Theol. Dissert. De Theopneust, sec. 37.

*Bar. Apology, orig. Lat. edit. On the light, called it "Vehiculum Dei." Engl. copy, p. 152. ed. Phil.-Compared with Taylor's Plat. Philosophy, vol. ii. p. 236, 4to. Lond. ed.

Sybil. Orac. ii. 79. Ogil. Theol. Plat. 188. and Plat. Dial. of Soc. and Alcib.

Penn in his pref. to Fox's Jour.p. 57. mihi.-Comp. Ban. Apol. and prop. 586. sec. 13.


STaylor's works of Plat. ii. 237, and 238, 4to. A. D. 1792.

Taylor's works of Plat. ii. p. 268.

1 Orig. contra Cels. lib. v. 240.

debted for them to the philosophy of Egypt, and especially to the school of Pythagoras. This philosopher was a native of Sidon: it was in his native city that Pythagoras met with some of the disciples of Moschus, or Mochus, who is supposed, by some of the learned, to have been the Moses of the Jews :* who, at any rate, was a Phenician; and had, undoubtedly, borrowed from the Mosaic writings, or the traditions of the Jews. Moschus taught that, besides matter, there are immortal souls, and a deity distinct from the corporal world. This fair system suffered grievously from the hands into which it fell: the atheistic school of Democritus and Epicurus formed their system from his doctrine of the corporal world, and denied the existence of God and of spirits. Pythagoras, and especially Plato and Aristotle, filled with prejudices against this philosophism, went into an opposite extreme. They rejected his opinions on the corporal world, and confined their system to the spiritual part. Giving loose reins to their glowing imaginations, they formed a sublime theology, in which the character of their deity, and the pre-existence and fimmortality of souls form the only conspicuous part. But matter is invincibly malignant: the body is a vile prison: the only object to be kept in view with it is to get quit of it, as the prisoner longs and labours after emancipation from bondage. Plato was the most laborious and successful of the Socratic school in propagating these doctrines. He died in the year before Christ three hundred and forty-eight.‡

B. C. 270, to B. C. 246.-The philosophy of Plato was widely spread through Asia by the patronage of the kings of Egypt and of Syria. Ptolemy, surnamed Lagus, caused a library to be erected at Alexandria, and he collected into it every book which he could procure. His son continued his patronage, and, enlarged its stores. The Syrian monarchy also formed an extensive library.§ The writings of Plato were too valuable, and too well known not to occupy a conspicuous place in them. The schools of Egypt and of Syria became the resort of men of

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learning and taste. From thence the sentiments of Plato were spread widely abroad. Thus, two hundred years before Christ, Asia was filled with the disciples of Plato.*

The Platonic philosophy underwent various transformations before it reached the humble pages of the founder of the society. Fathers and bishops, and heretics, united their efforts to christianize the sentiments of Plato. The result, as will appear in our progress, was, that instead of bringing the sophism of that sage into a christian form, they were invariably drawn off from the pure fountain of truth, to the polluted streams of Egypt and Greece.

Splendid as the language of Plato is, (and its beauties have charmed every scholar,) it must be admitted that his ideas are extremely obscure; and many of them altogether unintelligible.† The proofs of this appear strikingly, even on the pages of Taylor, who has given us, perhaps, the purest system of Platonism, and certainly the least obscure, from the hand of a disciple.‡ But the commentators on that philosophy brought with them much knowledge from the Jewish and Christian doctors. They have illumined his pages, and brought his opinions to a systematic form. Toward the close of the second century, the sect of the Eclectics appeared. They adopted in general the doctrines of Plato, respecting the Deity, and the human soul: but they added to his opinions the rich gleanings from other systems. This sect arose in Alexandria, at that time the seat of the sciences. It spread rapidly through the Roman empire; bearing down before it all other sects. Even christian fathers embraced its opinions. At the head of these was Clemens Alexandrinus. This christian father was in the habit of teaching his pupils a system of Platonic philosophy, before he led them to the knowledge of the holy scriptures !§

Near the close of the second century flourished Ammonius

Le Clerc's Life of Euseb. p. 69.

+ Longinus speaking of him and his commentator Plotinus, says: greatest part of the matters of which they treat, is incomprehensible." Madame acier's Plato, vol. i. p. 162, Lond. Edit. 1720.

See his works of Plato, 2d vol. quarto, London, A. D. 1792. "Heu prisca jacet pietas," was the motto of Taylor as he gave up the Lord Jesus Christ for Plato. p. 32.

Le Clerc's life of Clem. AI.


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Saccas.* He affected a change in the Platonic system: which produced the most extensive and serious consequences. He held, that the great principles of religious truth, were to be found equally in the opinions of all sects; that they differed only in the manner of expressing themselves; that all religions, both Gentile and Christian, are to be explained by the principles of the universal philosophy; that this philosophy was taught by Hermes in Egypt; that it was preserved in the purest manner by Plato; that, therefore, all religions, in order to their being restored to their original purity, must be reduced to this standard, which was called the philosophy of the East; that in the accomplishment of this reformation, the historical fables of the heathen gods must be turned into allegory; and modelled after Plato; and that, by the same process, the mysteries of the holy scriptures are to be reconciled to the theology of Plato.

The rules of his moral discipline, were conformed to these tenets. They embraced all the catholic virtues and forms prescribed by the Platonic doctors, for purifying the soul, and separating it, as much as possible, from the trammels of the bodily sensations, that it might be elevated to its original source. Saccas had been educated in the faith of the gospel.†

In expounding his novel doctrines, his manner was pleasing and insinuating. He made a free use of the language of the holy scriptures, and his followers profiting by his example, seemed to clothe Plato entirely in the garb of a christian, and outstripped even the fathers of the church in the profusion of scripture questions. This suited the taste of the age. Plato was not sacrificed; and the badge of christianity was at least put on. Saccas met the prejudices of his audiences, as the Jesuits did those of the Chinese. He met them more than half way in their superstition. He did not ask them to change their idols. He asked them only to adopt a new nomenclature. He brings forward a creature of his brain. The body is weak. The name and language resembles that of Christ. The multitude shouted their applause. Their opinions were eagerly embraced. The sect spreads its doctrines with rapidity into all quarters.

Mosh. i. cent. ii. p. 2. ch. 1. Or according to others, A. D. 232. Lempr. Bigr. Dict. +Milner's ch. hist. vol. i. ch. 9, cent. 2, Mosh. cent. ii. part 2, ch. 1.

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