Imatges de pÓgina

more surprised when we see that they { A gross and superstitious populace were not idolaters.

who reason not, and who know neither They had some temples more privi- how to doubt, deny, or believe ; who visit leged than others. The great Diana of the temples out of idleness, and because Ephesus had more reputation than a vil- ; the lowly are there equal to the great ; lage Diana. There were more miracles who make their contributions because it performed in the temple of Esculapius at is the custom; who speak continually of Epidaurus, than in any other of his tem- miracles without examining any of them; ples. The statue of the Olympian Ju- and who are very little in point of intelpiter attracted more offerings than that {lect beyond the brutes whom they sacriof the Paphlagonian Jupiter. But to fice--such a people, I repeat, in the sight oppose the customs of a true religion to of the great Diana, or of Jupiter the those of a false one, have we not for se- {thunderer, may well be seized with a reveral ages had more devotion to certain ligious horror, and adore, without conaltars than to others?

sciousness, the statue itself. This is Has not our lady of Loretto been pre- } what happens now and then, in our own ferred to our lady of Nieges, to that of churches, to our ignorant peasantry, who Andens, of Hall, &c. ? That is not say- however are informed that it is the blessed ing there is more virtue in a statue at mortals received into heaven whose interLoretto than in a statue of the village of} cession they solicit, and not that of images Hall, but we have felt more devotion to of wood and stone. the one than to the other ; we have be- The Greeks and Romans augment the lieved that she whom we invoked, at the number of their gods by their apotheoses. feet of her statues, would condescend, The Greeks deified conquerors like Bacfrom the height of heaven, to diffuse more chus, Hercules, and Perseus. Rome favours and to work more miracles in devoted altars to her emperors. Our Loretto than in Hall. This multiplicity apotheoses are of a different kind: we of imayes of the same person also proves, have infinitely more saints than they have that it is the images that we revere, and secondary gods, but we pay respect neithat the worship relates to the person who į ther to rank nor to conquest. We conis represented; for it is not possible that secrate temples to the simply virtuous, etery image can be the same thing. who would have been unknown on earth There are a thousand images of St. Fran- } if they had not been placed in heaven. cis, which have no resemblance to him, The apotheoses of the ancients were the and which do not resemble one another; } effect of flattery, ours are produced by a and all indicate a single saint Francis, in- respect for virtue. Foked, on the day of his feast, by those Cicero, in his philosophical works, only who are devoted to this saint.

allows of a suspicion that the people may It was precisely the same with the Pa- mistake the statues of the gods and congans, who supposed the existence only of found them with the gods, themselves. a single divinity, a single Apollo, and not } His interlocutors attack the established es many Apollos and Dianas as they had religion, but none of them think of actemples and statues. It is therefore cusing the Romans of taking marble ani proved, as much as history can prove brass for divinities. Lucretius accuses anything, that the ancients believed not į no person of this stupidity, although he the statue to be a divinity ; that worship reproaches the superstitious of every class. was not paid to this statue or image, and This opinion, therefore, has never existed : consequently that they were not idolaters. there never have been idolaters. It is for us to ascertain how far the im- Horace causes an image of Priapus to putation has been a mere pretext to ac- speak, and makes him say, “ I was once cuse them of idolatry.

the trunk of a tig-tree, and a carpenter VOL. 11.-64


being doubtful whether he should make Lucan, too, calls the universe the of me a god or a bench, at length deter- abode and empire of God :--mined to make me a divinity." What

Estue Dei, sedes, nisi terra, et poutas, et aer? are we to gather from this pleasantry? Priapus was one of the subaltern divini- A volume might be filled with pasties, and a subject of raillery for the wits, sages, asserting idols to be images and this pleasantry is a tolerable proof alone. that a figure placed in the garden to There remains but the case in which frighten away the birds could not be very statues became oracles ;--- notions that profoundly worshipped.

might have led to an opinion that there Dacier, giving way to the spirit of a was something divine about them. The commentator, observes, that Baruch pre- predominant sentiment, however, was, dicted this adventure. “They became that the gods had chosen to visit certain what the workmen chose to make them :" | altars and images, in order to give aubut might not this be observed of all } dience to mortals, and to reply to them. statues. Had Baruch a visionary anti- We read in Homer and in the chorus of cipation of the Satires of Horace? the Greek tragedies, of prayers to Apollo,

A block of marble may as well be } who delivered his responses on the hewed into a cistern, as into a figure of į mountains in such a temple, or such a Alexander, Jupiter, or any being still town. There is not, in all antiquity, the more respectable. The matter which least trace of a prayer addressed to a composed the cherubim of the holy of } statue ; and if it was believed that the holies, might have been equally appro- divine spirit preferred certain temples priated to the vilest functions. Is a and images, as he preferred certain men, throne or altar the less revered, because it was simply an error in application. it might have been formed into a kiichen | How many miraculous images have we? table?

The ancients only boasted of possessing Dacier, instead of concluding that the what we possess, and if we are not idoRomans adored the statue of Priapus, } laters for using images, by what correct and that Baruch predicted it, should principle can we term them so ? have perceived that the Romans laughed Those who profess magic, and who eiat it. Consult all the authors who speak ther believe, or affect to believe it, a of the statues of the gods, you will not science, pretend to possess the secret of find one of them allude to idolatry: their making the gods descend into their statestimony amounts to the express con- tues, not indeed, the superior gods, but trary. " It is not the workinan,” says the secondary gods or genii. This is Martial," who makes the gods, but he what llermes Trismegistus callsó making who prays to them."

gods -a doctrine which is controverted

by Si. Augustin in his City of God. But Non facit ille deos, qui coza: ille facit.

even this clearly shows that the images

were not thought to possess anything di“ It is Jove whom we adore in the į vine, since it required a magician to aniimage of Jove," writes Ovid :

mate them, and it happened very rarely that

, a magician was successful in these Colitur pro Jove, forma Jovis.

sublime endeavours.

In a word, the images of the gods “ The gods inhabit our minds and bosoms," observes Statius, “and not images tue, launched his thunderbolts ; it was

'vere not gods. Jupiter, and not his stain the form of them :"

not the statue of Neptune which stirred

up tempests, nor that of Apollo which Forma Dei, mentes habitare et pectora gaudet.

bestowed light. The Greeks and the

Qui finxit sacros agro vel marmere valtus

Yulla 20tpm effigiey, nulli commissa metallo.



Romans were gentiles and polytheists, } and even in the blessed, only revere but not idolaters.

the virtues of God manifested in them. We lavished this reproach upon them {The image-breakers (iconoclastes) and when we had neither statues nor temples, the Protestants who reproach the Caand have continued the injustice even af- tholic church with idolatry, claim the ter having employed painting and sculp- same answer. ture to honour and represent our truths, As men rarely form precise ideas, and precisely in the manner in which those still less express them with precision, we we reproach employed them to honour call the gentiles, and still more the polyand personify their fiction.

theists, idolaters. An immense number of volumes have been written in order to

develop the various opinions upon the Whether the Persians, the Sabæans, the origin of the worship rendered to the

Egyptuns, the Tarturs, or the Turks, deity. This multitude of books and hare been Idolaters ? and the extent

opinions proves nothing, except ignoof the Antiquity of the Images called

It is not known who invented coats, Idols. History of their worship.

shoes, and stockings, and yet we would It is a great error to denominate those would know who invented idols. What idolators who worship the sun and the signifies a passage of Sanchoniathon, who stars. These nations for a long time had } lived before the battle of Troy? What Deither images nor temples. If they were does he teach us, when he says, that wrong, it was in rendering to the stars that Chaos—the spirit, that is to say, the which belonged only to the creator of the { breath-in love with his principles, draws stars. Moreover, the dogma of Zoroas- { the veil from it, which renders the air luter, or Zerdusht, unfolded in the Sadder, minous; that the wind Colp, and his teaches a Supreme Being, an avenger { wife Bau, engendered Eon; that Eon and rewarder, which opinion is very dis- engendered Genos, that Cronos, their tant from idolatry. The government of} descendant, had two eyės behind as well China possesses no idol, but has always { as before ; that he became god, and preserved the simple worship of the mas- that he gave Egypt to his son Thaut? ter of heaven, Kien-tien.

Such is one of the most respectable monuGhengis Khan, among the Tartars, was ments of antiquity. not an idolater, and used no images. Orpheus will teach us no more in his The Mahometans, who inhabit Greece, Theogony, than Damascius has preserved Asia Minor, Syria, Persia, India, and to us. Ile represents the principles of Africa, call the Christians idolaters and the world under the figure of a dragon giaours, because they imagine that Chris-with two heads, the one of a bull, the tians worship images. They break the other of a lion; a face in the middle, statues which they find in Sancta Sophia, which he calls the face of God, and golthe church of the Holy Apostles; and den wings to his shoulders. others they convert into mosques. Ap- But, from

nese fantastic ideas may pearances have deceived them, as they { be drawn two great truths the one, that are eternally deceiving man, and have sensible images and hieroglyphics are of led them to believe, that churches dedi- } the remotest antiquity ; the other, that cated to saints, who were formerly men; all the ancient philosophers have recogimages of saints worshipped kneeling ; nised a First Principle. and miracles worked in these churches, As to polytheism, good sense will tell are invincible proofs of absolute idola- you, that as long as men have existeduy; although all amount to nothing. That is to say, weak animals capable of Christians, in fact, adore one God only, reason and folly, subject to all accidents,


sickness, and death—these men have felt | Bel, at Babylon, was a great colossus. their weakness and dependence. Obliged Brama was a fantastic monster in the peto acknowledge that there is something ninsula of India. Above all, the Greeks more powerful than themselves; having multiplied the names of the gods, statues, discovered a principle in the earth which ? and temples, but always attributed the furnishes their aliment; one in the air supreme power to their Zeus, called which often destroys them; one in fire Jupiter by the Latins, the sovereign of which consumes ; and in water which } gods and men. The Romans imitated drowns them- what is more natural than the Greeks. These people always placed for ignorant men to imagine beings which all the gods in heaven, without knowing preside over these elements ? What is what they understood by heaven. more natural than to revere the invisible The Romans had their twelve great power which makes the sun and stars gods, six male, and six female, whom shine to our eyes ? and, since they would | they called “ Dii majorum gentium ;' form an idea of powers superior to man | Jupiter, Neptune, Apollo, Vulcan, Mars, —what more natural than to figure them Mercury, Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, in a sensible manner? Could they think Venus, and Diana ; Pluto was therefore otherwise ? The Jewish religion, which } forgotten : Vesta took his place. preceded ours, and which was given by Afterwards, came the gods “minorum God himself, was filled with these images, ) gentium,” the gods of mortal origin; the under which God is represented. He heroes, as Bacchus, Hercules, and Escudeigns to speak the human language in lapius: the iufernal gods, Pluto and a bush; he appeared once on a moun- | Proserpine ; those of the sea, as Tethys, tain ; the celestial spirits which he sends | Amphitrite, the Nereids, and Glaucus. all come with a human form : finally, the The Dryads, Naiads, gods of gardens ; sanctuary is covered with cherubs, which those of shepherds, &c, They had them, are the bodies of men with the wings and indeed, for every profession, for every heads of animals. It is this which has į action of life, for children, marriageable given rise to the error of Plutarch, Taci-girls, married, and lying-in women : they tus, Appian, and so many others, of re- had even the god Peditum ; and finally, proaching the Jews with adoring an ass's } they idolized their emperors. Neither head. God, in spite of his prohibition these emperors, nor the god Peditum, to paint or form likenesses, has, there- } the goddess Pertunda, or Priapus, nor fore, deigned to adopt himself to human | Rumilia, the goddess of nipples; nor weakness, which required the senses to Stercutius, the god of the privy, were, in be addressed by sensible beings. truth, regarded as the masters of heaven

Isaiah, in chapter vi. sees the Lord and earth. The emperors had sometimes seated on a throne, and his train filled { temples, the petty gods- the penatesthe temple. The Lord extends his hand, had none; but all had their representaand touches the mouth of Jeremiah, in tions, their images. chap. i. of that prophet. Ezekiel, in There were little images with which chap. i. sees a throne of sapphire, and they ornamented their closets, the amuseGod appeared to him like a man seated ments of old women and children, which on this throne. These images alter not were not authorised by any public worthe purity of the Jewish religion, which ship. The superstition of every indinever employed pictures, statues, or idols, { vidual was left to act according to his to represent God to the eyes of the peo

These small idols ard still ple.

found in the ruins of ancient towns. The learned Chinese, the Persees, and If no person knows when men began the ancient Egyptians, had no idols ; but to make these images, they must know Isis and Osiris were soon represented. that they are of the greatest antiquity.

own taste.

Tersh, the father of Abraham, made 3 believed nothing of it; but the old wothem at Ur in Chaldea. Rachel stole man, to whom Encolpus gave a crown to and carried off the images of Laban her buy geese and gods, might very well father. We cannot go back further. credit it.

But what precise notion had the an- \ Idols also gave oracles, and priests cient nations of all these representations ? ? hidden in the hollow of the statues spoke What virtue, what power, was attributed } in the name of the divinity. to them? Believed they that the gods How happens it, in the midst of so descended from heaven to conceal them- many gods and different theogonies and selves in these statues ; or that they particular worships, that there was never communicated to them a part of the di- any religious war among the people called vine spirit; or that they communicated | idolaters? This peace was a good proto them nothing at all? There has been duced from an evil-even from error; for much very uselessly written on this sub- each nation, acknowledging several infeject; it is clear that every man judged of rior gods, found it good for his neighbours it according to the degree of his reason, also to have theirs. If you except Camcredulity, or fanaticism. It is evident byses, who is reproached with having that the priests attached as much divinity killed the ox Apis, you will not see any to their statues as they possibly could, to conqueror in profane history who illattract more offerings. We know that the treated the gods of a vanquished people. philosophers reproved these superstitions, The heathens had no exclusive religion, that warriors laughed at them, that the and the priests thought only of multiplymagistrates tolerated them, and that the ing the offerings and sacrifices. people, always absurd, knew not what The first offerings were fruits. Soon they did. In a word, this is the history after, animals were required for the table of all nations to which God has not made of the priests; they killed them themhimself known.

selves, and became cruel butchers; finally, The same idea may be formed of the they introduced the horrible custom of worship which all Egypt rendered to the sacrificing human victims, and above all, cow, and that several towns paid to a children and young girls. The Chinese, dog, an ape, a cat, and to onions. It Persees, and Indians, were never guilty appears that these were first emblems. of these abominations; but at Hieropolis, Afterwards, a certain ox Apis, and a cer- in Egypt, according to Porphyrius, they tain dog Anubis, were adored : they al- } immolated men. ways ate beef and onions; but it is diffi- Strangers were sacrificed in Taurida: cult to know what the old women of happily, the priests of Taurida had not Egypt thought of the holy cows and much practice. The first Greeks, the onions.

Cypriots, Phenicians, Tyrians, and CarIdols also often spoke. On the day of thagenians, possessed this abominable the feast of Cybele at Rome, those fine superstition. The Romans themselves words were commemorated which the fell into this religious crime; and Plutarch statue pronounced when it was translated { relates, that they immolated two Greeks from the palace of King Attilus :-“I and two Gauls to expiate the gallantries wish to depart; take me away quickly; of three vestals. Procopius, contempoRome is worthy of the residence of every rary with the King of the Franks, Theogod."

dobert, says, that the Franks sacrificed Ipea peti volui; ne sit mora, mitte volentam:

men when they entered Italy with that Dignus Rona locus quo Deus omnis eat. prince. The Gauls and Germans com

monly made these frightful sacrifices. We The statue of Fortune spoke; the Sci- can scarcely read history without conceive pios, the Ciceros, and the Cæsars, indeed, ing horror at mankind.

Qvid's Fasti, iv, 26)..270.

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