Imatges de pÓgina

sacred, as they have now to say, that ş but zeal of this description is injurious God wrote the history of their kings. to the great society of mankind. Ro

We may be allowed here to make one mulus murders his brother, and he is reflection; which is, that as God was for made a god. Constantine cuts the throat à very long period their king, and after- of his son, strangles his wife, and mur. wards became their historian, we are ders almost all his family : he has been bound to entertain for all Jews the most eulogized in general councils, but history profound respect. There is not a single should ever hold up such barbarities to Jew broker, or slop-man, who is not in- detestation. It is undoubtedly fortunate finitely superior to Cæsar and Alexander. for us that Clovis was a Catholic. It is How can we avoid bending in prostration fortunate for the Anglican church that before an old-clothes-man, who proves to Henry VIII, abolished monks, but we us that his history has been written by must at the same time admit that Clovis God himself, while the histories of Greece and Henry VIII. were monsters of cruand Rome have been transmitted to us elty. merely by the profane hand of man.

When first the Jesuit Berruyer, who If the style of the history of the kings, although a Jesuit was a fool, undertook and of the Paralipomena, is divine, it to paraphrase the Old and New Testamay nevertheless be true, that the acts ment in the style of the lowest populace, recorded in these histories are not divine. with no other intention than having them David murders Uriah ; Ishbosheth and read. He scattered some flowers of rheMephibosheth are murdered ; Absalom toric over the two-edged knife which the murders Ammon; Joab murders Absa- Jew Ehud thrust up to the hilt in the lom ; Solomon murders his brother Ado- stomach of the King Eglon; and over nijah; Baasha murders Nadab; Zimri the Sabre with which Judith cut off the murders Ela; Omri murders Zimri;} head of Holofernes after having prostiAhab murders Naboth ; Jelu murders tuted herself to his pleasures; and also Ahab and Joram; the inhabitants of Je-over many other acts recorded of a sirusalem murder Amaziah, son of Joash; milar description. The parliament, reShallum, son of Jabesh, murders Zacha-} specting the Bible which narrates these riah, son of Jeroboam ; Menahhem mur-histories, nevertheless condemned the ders Shallum, son of Jabesh ; Pekah, Jesuit who extolled them, and ordered son of Remaliah, murders Pekahiah, son} the Old and New Testament to be burnt: of Manehem; and Hoshea, son of Elah, -I mean merely those of the Jesuit. murders Pekah, son of Remaliah. We But as the judgments of mankind are pass over, in silence, many other minor ever different in similar cases, the same murders. It must be acknowledged, { thing happened to Bayle in circumstances that, if the Holy Spirit did write this totally different. He was condemned for history, he did not choose a subject par-not praising all the actions of David, ticularly edifying.

King of the province of Judea. A man of the name of Jurieti, a refugee preacher

in Holland, associated with some other Of bad Actions which have been conse- Ling him to recant.

refugee preachers, were desirous of oblig

But how could he crated or excused in History.

recant with reference to facts delivered It is but too common for historians to } in the scripture? Had not Bayle some praise very depraved and abandoned reason to conclude that all the facts recharacters, who have done service either { corded in the Jewish books are not the to a dominant sect, or to their nation at actions of saints ? that David, like other large. The praises thus bestowed, conse men, had committed some criminal acts ; perhaps from a loyal and zealous citizen; } and that if he is called a man after God's


own heart, he is called so in consequence ? Tacitus applies to Domitian. This book of his penitence, and not of his crimes ? did not raise in England the slightest

Let us disregard names and confine murmur; every reader felt that bad acour consideration to things only. Let us tions are always bad, that God may suppose, that during the reign of Henry pardon them when repentance is proporIV: a clergyman of the League party tioned to guilt, but that certainly no man secretly poured out a phial of oil on the can ever approve of them. head of a shepherd of Brie; that the There was more reason, therefore, preshepherd comes to court ; that the cler- vailing in England than there was in gyman presents him to Henry IV. as an Holland in the time of Bayle. We now excellent violin player, who can com-perceive clearly and without difficulty, pletely drive away all care and melan- that we ought not to hold up as a model choly; that the king makes him his į of sanctity what, in fact, deserves the equerry, and bestows on him one of his severest punishment; and we see with daughters in marriage; that afterwards, equal clearness that, as we ought not to the king having quarrelled with the shep- consecrate guilt, so we ought not to beherd, the latter takes refuge with one of į lieve absurdity. the princes of Germany, his father-inlaw's enemy; that he enlists and arms

HONOUR. six hundred banditti overwhelmed by The author of the Spirit of Laws has debt and debauchery; that with this re- founded his system on the idea ihat virgiment of brigands he rushes to the field, } tue is the principle of republican governslays friends as well as enemies, exter- ment, and honour that of monarchical. minating all, even to women and children Is there virtue then without honour, and at the breast, in order to prevent a single show is a republic established on virtue ? individual's remaining to give intelligence Let us place before the reader's eyes of the horrid butchery. I farther sup- that which has been said in an able little pose this same shepherd of Brie to become book upon this subject. Pamphlets soon king of France after the death of Henry sink into oblivion. Truth ought not to IV. that he procures the murder of that be lost, it should be consigned to works king's grandson, after having invited him of duration. to sit at meat at his own table, and de “ Assuredly republics have never been livers over to death seven other younger formed on a theoretical principle of virchildren of his king and benefactor. } tue. The public interest being opposed Who is the man that will not conceive to the domination of an individual, the the shepherd of Brie to act rather harshly? spirit of self-importance, and the ambi

Commentators are agreed that the tion of every person, serve to curb amadultery of David, and his murder of } bition and the inclination to rapacity, Uriah, are faults which God pardoned. } wherever they may appear. The pride We may therefore conclude that the mas- of each citizen watches over that of his sacres above mentioned are faults which neighbour, and no person would willingly God also pardoned.

be the slave of another's caprice. Such However, Bayle had no quarter given are the feelings which establish republics, him ; but at length some preachers at and which preserve them. It' is ridicuLondon having compared George II. to } lous to imagine that there must be niore David, one of that monarch's servants virtue in a Grison than in a Spaniard.”. prints and publishes a small book, in That honour can be the sole principle which he censures the comparison. He of monarchies is a no less chimerical idea, examines the whole conduct of David; } and the author shows it to be so himself, he goes infinitely farther than Bayle, and without being aware of it. The nature of treats David with more severity than honour, says, he, in chapter vii. of book

E fare a se de l'altrui biasmu onore,

Pastor Fido, atto v. scena i.

Seagraisser de rapine en attestant les lois,

ü. is to demand preferences and distinc- } mility :-" If thou passest for a person tions. It, therefore, naturally suits a of consequence in the opinion of some monarchical government.

people, distrust thyself.—No lifting up Was it not on this same principle, that of thy eye-brows. Be nothing in thine the Romans demanded the prætorship, own eyes-If thou seekest to please, thou consulship, ovation, and triumph in their art lost.-Give place to all men; prefer republic? These were preferences and them to thyself; assist them all.' distinctions well worth the titles and pre We see by these maxims, that never ferences purchased in monarchies, and capuchin went so far as Epictetus. for which there is often a regular fixed Some theologians, who had the mis: price.

fortune to be proud, have pretended that This remark proves, in our opinion, humility cost nothing to Epictetus, who that the Spirit of Laws, although spark- was a slave ; and that he was humble by ling with wit, and commendable by its station, as a doctor or a Jesuit may be respect for the laws and hatred of super- proud by station. stition and rapine is founded entirely But what will they say of Marcus Anupon false views.

toninus, who on the throne recommended Let us add, that it is precisely in courts humility? He places Alexander and his that there is always least honour : muleteer on the same line. He said that

L'ingannare, il mentir, la frode, il furto, the vanity of pomp is only a bone thrown
E la rapina di pict i vestita,

in the midst of dogs; that to do good, Crescer col danno e precip zio altrul,

and to patiently hear himself calumniSon le virtù di quella gente intidà.

ated, constitute the virtue of a king. Ramper avec bassesse en affectant l'audace,

Thus the master of the known world

recommended humility ; but propose huLouir en secret son ami qu'on embasse. Voila l'honneur qui regne à la suite des rois. mility to a musician, and see how he will To basely crawl, yet wear a face of pride; laugh at Marcus Aurelius. To rob the public, set d'er law preside; Salute a friend, yet stong in the emb ace

Descartes, in his treatise on the PasSuch is the honour wbicb in cuurta takes place. sions of the Soul, places humility among Indeed, it is in courts, that men de- their number, who-if we may personify void of honour, often attain to the highest this quality-did not expect to be redignities; and it is in republics that a garded as a passion. He also distinknown dishonourable citizen is seldom guishes between virtuous and vicious trusted by the people with public con- humility, cerns.

But we leave to philosophers more The celebrated saying of the regent, } enlightened than ourselves the care of Duke of Orleans, is sufficient to destroy explaining this doctrine, and will confine the foundation of the Spirit of Laws. ourselves to saying, that humility is “ the « This is a perfect courtier-he has nei- modesty of the soul.” ther temper nor honour.”

It is the antidote to pride. Humility

could not prevent Rousseau from beHUMILITY.

:lieving, that he knew more of music than PHILOSOPAERS have enquired, whether those to whom he taught it; but it could humility is a virtue ; but virtue or not, induce him to agree that he was not suevery one must agree that nothing is more ; perior to Lulli in recitative. rare The Greeks called it 'tapeinosis' The reverend father Viret, cordelier, or "tapeineia.” It is strongly recom- theologian, and preacher, all humble as mended in the fourth book of the Laws he is, will always firmly believe that he of Plato: he rejects the proud and knows more than those who learn to read would multiply the humble.

and write ; but his Christian humility, · Epictetus, in five places, preaches hu- {his modesty of soul, will oblige him to


confess in the bottom of his heart, that į fered his zeal to carry him too far; that he has written nothing but nonsense. when we strip beautiful women, it is not Oh, brothers Nonotte, Guyon, Pantou 10 massacre them ; that St. Cyril, no illet, vulgar scribblers! be more humble, doubt, asked pardon of God for this and always bear in recollection “the abominable action ; and that I pray the modesty of the soul.”

father of mercies to have pity on his soul.

He who wrote the two volumes against HYPATIA.

EccLECTISME, also inspires me with inI will suppose that Madame Dacier } finite commiseration. had been the finest woman in Paris; and that in the quarrel on the comparative

IDEA. merits of the ancients and moderns, the Carmelites pretended that the poem of the Magdalen, written by a Carmelite,

What is an idea? was infinitely superior to Homer, and It is an image painted upon my brain. that it was an atrocious impiety to prefer Are all your thoughts, then, images ? the Iliad to the verses of a monk. I will Certainly; for the most abstract take the additional liberty of supposing thoughts are only the consequences of that the Archbishop of Paris took the all the objects that I have perceived. I part of the Carmelites against the go- utter the word being' in general, only vernor of the city, a partisan of the beau- because I have known particular beings; tiful Madame Dacier, and that he excited | I utter the word 'infinity,' only because the Carmelites to massacre this fine wo I have seen certain limiis, and because man in the church of Notre Dame, and I push back those limits in my mind to to drag her naked and bloody to the } a greater and still greater distance, as far Place Maubert, --would not everybody as I am able. I have ideas in my head say that the Archbishop of Paris had only because I have images. done a very wicked action, for which he And who is the painter of this picture ? ought to do penance ?

It is not myself; I cannot draw with This is precisely the history of Hy-sufficient skill; the being that made me, patia. She taught Homer and Plato, in { makes iny ideas. Alexandria, in the line of Theodosius And how do you know that the ideas II. St. Cyril, incensed the Christian are not made by yourself? populace against her, as it is related by Because they frequently come to me Damasius and Suidas, and clearly proved { involuntarily when I am awake, and alby the most learned men of the age, such ways without my consent when I dream. as Bruker, La Croze, Basnage, &c. as is You are persuaded, then, that your very judiciously exposed in the great ideas belong to you only in the same Dictionaire Encyclopedique, in the ar manner as your hairs, which grow and ticle ECCLECTISME.

become white, and fall off, without your A man whose intentions are no doubt { having anything at all to do with the very good, has printed two volumes { matter? against this article of the Encyclopedia. Nothing can possibly be clearer; all Two volumes against two pages, my that I can do is to frizzle, cut, and powe friends, are too much. I have told you der them; but I have nothing to do with á hundred times you multiply being producing them. without necessity. Two lines against You must then, I imagine, be of Matwo volumes would be quite sufficient ; } lebranche's opinion, that we see all in but write not even these iwo lines. God?

I am content with remarking, that St. I am at least certain of this, that if Cyril was a man of paris ; that he suf we do not see things in the great being,

we see them in consequence of his pow- all those ideas which have crowded into erful and immediate action.

my brain in conflict with each other, and And what was the nature or process actually converted my medullary magaof this action ?

zine into their field of battle. After a I have already told you repeatedly, in hard sought contest between them, I the course of our conversation, that I did have obtained nothing but uncertainty not know a single syllable about the sub- from the spoils. ject, and that God has not communicated It is a melancholy thing to possess so his secret to any one. I am completely many ideas, and yet to have no precise ignorant of that which makes my heart knowledge of the nature of ideas ? beat, and my blood flow through my It is, I admit; but it is much more veins ; I am ignorant of the principle of melancholy, aud inexpressibly more foolall my movements, and yet you seein toish, for a man to believe he knows what expect that I should explain how I feel in fact he does not? and how I think. Such an expectation But, if you do not positively know is unreasonable.

what an idea is, if you are ignorant But you at least know whether your whence ideas come, you at least know faculty of having ideas is joined to ex- by what they come ? tension ?

Yes; just in the same way as the anNot in the least. It is true that Ta- } cient Egyptians, who, without knowing tian, in his discourse to the Greeks, says, { the source of the Nile, knew perfectly the soul is evidently composed of a body. { well that its waters reached them by its Irenæus, in the twenty-sixth chapter of bed. We know perfectly that ideas come his second book, says, the Lord has to us by the senses; but we never know taught that our souls preserve the figure whence they come. The source of this of our body in order to retain the me- Nile will never be discovered. mory of it. Tertullian asserts, in bis If it is certain that all ideas are given second book on the Soul, that it is a by means of the sensés, why does the body. Arnobius, Lactantius, Hilary, Sorbonne, which has so long adopted Gregory of Nyssa, and Ambrose, are this doctrine from Aristotle, condemn it precisely of the same opinion. It is with so much virulence in Helvetius ? pretended that other fathers of the church Because the Sorbonne is composed of assert that the soul is without extension, theologians. and that in this respect they adopt the opinion of Plato; this, however, may well be doubted. With respect to my

All in God, self, I dare not venture to form an opinion ; I see nothing but obscurity and

In God we live and move and have our being. incomprehensibility in either system; and, after a whole lise's meditation on the subject, I am not advanced a single

Aratus, who is thus quoted and apstep beyond where I was on the first proved by St. Paul, made this confession day.

of faith, we perceive among the Greeks. The subject, then, was not worth think

The virtuous Cato says the same ing about

thing :That is true; the man who enjoys Jupitnr est quodcumque vides quocumque moveris. knows more of it, or at least knows it

Whate'er we nee, whate'er we feel, is Jove. better, than he who reflects; he is more happy. But what is it that you would Malebranche is the commentator on have? It depended not, I repeat, upon Aratus, St. Paul, and Cato. He sucmyself whether I should admit or reject ceeded, in the first instance, in showing


Ja Deo vivimus, movemur, et sumus.

St. Paul, Acts xvii. 28.

Lucan's Pharsalia, ix. 580.

« AnteriorContinua »