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SECT. III. A proof that evil spirits were worshipped by the heathen, and the unfitness of it shewn.

BUT that the spirits to which the heathen pain their worship were evil, and not good, appears from many substantial arguments. First, because they did not direct their worshippers to the worship of the Supreme God;473473   This is very well treated of by Augustin, book x. chap. 14, 16, 19. of his city of God. but did as much as they could to suppress such worship, or, at least, were willing in every thing to be equalled with the Supreme God in worship. Secondly, because they were the cause of the greatest mischiefs coming upon the worshippers of the one Supreme God, provoking the magistrates and the people to inflict punishments upon them: for though they allowed their poets the liberty to celebrate the 159murders and adultries of their gods; and the Epicureans to banish the Divine Providence out of the world; nor was there any other religion so disagreeable in its rites, but they admitted it into their society, as the Egyptian, Phrygian, Greek, and Tuscan rites at Rome; yet the Jews were every where ridiculed,474474   “As being cropt, circumcised, sabbath-keepers, worshippers of the clouds and heavens, merciful to swine.” as appears from their satires and epigrams, and were sometimes banished;475475   Josephus, xviii. 5. Tacitus, Annal. ii. Seneca, Epist. cix. Acts xviii. 1. Suetonius in Tiberius, chap. xxxvi. and the Christians had moreover the most cruel punishments inflicted upon them;476476   Tacitus, Annal. xv. to which that of Juvenal relates:    —“You, like a torch, shall burn,
As they who flaming stand, stifled with smoke,
And with their body’s print have marked the ground.
for which there can be no other reason assigned, but because these two sects worshipped one God, whose honour the gods they established opposed, being more jealous of him than of one another. Thirdly, from the manner of their worship, such as is unworthy of a good and virtuous mind; by human blood,477477   See what was said of this, book ii. by men’s running naked about their temples,478478   As in their rites dedicated to Pan. See Livy, book i. Plutarch in Antonius, and others. by games and dancings,479479   As in the rites of Flora. See Ovid’s Fasti, book iv. and Titian, and Origen, in his eighth against Celsus. filled with uncleanness; such as are now to be seen amongst the people of America and Africa, who are overwhelmed in the darkness of heathenism. Nay, more than this, there were of old, and still are, people who worship evil spirits, which they know and own to be such; as the Arimanes of the Persians,480480   See Plutarch’s Isis and Osiris, and Diogenes Laërtius in his preface.—(See also Thomas Stanley, of the philosophy of the Persians; and our observations upon the word Arimanes in the Index. Le Clerc.) the Cacodæmons of the Greeks, and the Vejoves 160of the Latins:481481   Cicero, book iii. of the nature of the gods. and some of the Ethiopians aad Indians now have others; than which, nothing can be imagined more impious. For what else is religious worship, but a testimony of the exceeding goodness which you acknowledge to be in him whom you worship; which, if it be paid to an evil spirit. is false and counterfeit, and comprehends in it the sin of rebellion; because the honour due to the king is not only taken from him, but transferred to a deserter and his enemy. And it is a foolish opinion, to imagine that a good God will not revenge this, because that is not agreeable to his goodness; for clemency, if it be reasonable, hath its proper bounds;482482   “How can you love, unless you be afraid not to love?” Tertullian first against Marcion. and where the crimes are very great, justice itself forces punishment, as it were. necessarily. Nor are they less blameable who say, that they are driven by fear to pay obedience to evil spirits; for he who is infinitely good. is also in the highest degree ready to communicate; and therefore all other beings were produced by him. And if it be so, it will follow that he hath an absolute right over all creatures, as his own. workmanship; so that nothing can be done by any of them, if he desires to binder it: which being granted, we may easily collect, that evil spirits cannot hurt him who is in favour with the most high God, who is infinitely good, any further than that God suffers it to be done for the sake of some good. Nor can any thing be obtained of evil spirits, but what ought to be refused; because a bad being, when he counterfeits one that is good, is then worst;483483   See the verses of Syrus the mimic. and the gifts of enemies are only snares.484484   Sophocles.
   “Enemies’ gifts are no gifts, no advantage.”

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