Imatges de pÓgina
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as much as I believe it of the Athenians, the Egyptians, and even of the Jews.

INCUBUS. From the above it might be concluded, Have there ever been incubi and sucthat it was common for children to marry } cubi ? Our learned jurisconsults and dewith their fathers or mothers ; whereas monologists admit both the one and the even the marriage of cousins is forbidden other. among the Guebres at this day, who are It is pretended that Satan, always on held to maintain the doctrines of their the alert, inspires young ladies and genforefathers as scrupulously as the Jews. tlemen with heated dreams, and by a sort

You will tell me, that everything is of double process produces extraordinary contradictory in this world ; that it was consequences, which in point of fact led forbidden by the Jewish law to marry to the birth of so many heroes and demitwo sisters, which was deemed a very in- } gods in ancient times. decent act, and yet Jacob married Ra- The devil took a great deal of superchel during the life of her elder sister } fuous trouble : he had only to leave the Leah ; and that this Rachel is evidently young people alone, and the world will a type of the Roman Catholic and apos- } be sufficiently supplied with heroes withtolic church. You are doubtless right, out any assistance from him. but that prevents not an individual who An idea may be formed of incubi by sleeps with two sisters in Europe from the explanation of the great Delrio, of being grievously censured. As to power- { Boguets, and other writers learned in ful and dignified princes, they may take sorcery ; but they fail in their account of the sisters of their wives for the good of succubi. A female might pretend to betheir states, and even their own sisters by } lieve that she had communicated with the same father and mother, if they think and was pregnant by a god, the explicaproper.

tion of Delrio being very favourable to It is a far worse affair to have a com- the assumption. The devil in this case merce with a gossip or godmother, which acts the part of an incubus, but his perwas deemed an unpardonable offence by formances as a succubus are more inconthe capitularies of Charlemagne, being ceivable. The gods and goddesses of called a spiritual incest.

antiquity acted much more nobly and One Andovere, who is called Queen of decorously : Jupiter in person, was the France, because she was the wife of a incubus of Alcmena and Semele; Thetis certain Chilperic, who reigned over Sois- { in person, the succubus of Peleus, and sons, was stigmatised by ecclesiastical } Venus of Anchises, without having rejustice, censured, degraded, and divorced, course to the various contrivances of our for having borne her own child to the bap- } extraordinary demonism. tismal font. It was a mortal sin, a sacri- Let us simply observe, that the gods lege, a spiritual incest; and she thereby frequently disguised themselves, in their forfeited her marriage-bed and crown. pursuit of our girls, sometimes as an This apparently contradicts what I have eagle, sometimes as a pigeon, a swan, a just observed, that everything in the way | horse, a shower of gold; but the goddesses of love is permitted to the great, but then { assumed no disguise : they had only to I spoke of present times, and not those of } show themselves, to please. It must howAndovere.

ever be presumed, that whatever shapes the As to carnal incest, read the advocate } gods assumed to steal a march, they conVoglan, who would absolutely have any summated their loves in the form of men, two cousins burned who fall into a weak- As to the new manner of rendering ness of this kind. The advocate Voglan girls pregnant by the ministry of the devil, is rigorous—the unmerciful Celt. it is not to be doubted, for the Sorbonne

decided the point in the year 1318.

« Per tales artes et ritus impios et inFocationes et demonum, nullus unquam

INFINITY. sequatur effectus ministerio demonum, Who will give me a clear idea of infiError."

nity? I have never had an idea of it " It is an error to believe, that these which was not excessively confused magic arts and invocations of the devils possibly because I am a finite being. are without effect."

What is that which is eternally going This decision has never been revoked. on without advancing—always reckoning Thus we are bound to believe in succubi { without a sum total—dividing eternally and incubi, because our teachers have without arriving at an indivisible para always believed in them.

ticle? There have been many other sages in It might seem as if the notion of infithis science, as well as the Sorbonne. nity formed the bottom of the bucket of Bodin, in his book concerning sorcerers, the Danaïdes. dedicated to Christopher de Thou, first Nevertheless, it is impossible that infipresident of the parliament of Paris, re- nity should not exist. An infinite duralates that John Hervilier, a native of tion is demonstrable. Verberie, was condemned by that parlia- The commencement of existence is ment to be burned alive for having pro- } absurd; for nothing cannot originate stituted his daughter to the devil, a great something. When an atom exist, we black man, whose caresses were attended must necessarily conclude that it has exwith a sensation of cold which appears to isted from all eternity; and hence an inbe very uncongenial to his nature; but finite duration rigorously demonstrated. our jurisprudence has always admitted | But what is an infinite past?--an infinithe fact, and the prodigious number of į tude which I arrest in imagination whensorcerers which it has burnt in conse- ever I please. Behold! I exclaim, an quence will always remain a proof of its infinity passed away ; let us proceed to accuracy.

another. I distinguish between two The celebrated Picus of Mirandola (a eternities, the one before, the other behind prince never lies) says, he knew an old man of the age of eighty years who had When however I reflect upon my words, slept half his life with a female devil, and | I perceive that I have absurdly proanother of seventy who enjoyed a similar > nounced the words—“one eternity has felicity. Both were buried at Rome, passed away, and I am entering into anbut nothing is said of the fate of their ļother." children.

For at the moment that I thus talk, Thus is the existence of incubi and eternity endures, and the tide of time succubi demonstrated.

flows. Duration is not separable; and It is impossible, at least, to prove to as something has ever been, something the contrary ; for if we are called on to must ever be. believe that devils can enter our bodies, The infinite in duration, then, is linked who can prevent them from taking kindred to an uninterrupted chain. This infinite liberties with our wives and our daughters? perpetuates itself, even at the instant that And if there be demons, there are pro- { I say it is passed. Time begins and ends bably demonesses ; for to be consistent, with me, but duration is infinite. if the demons beget children on our fe- The infinite is here quickly formed males, it must follow that we effect the { without, however, our possession of the same thing on the demonesses.

ability to form a clear notion of it. Never has there been a more universal We are told of infinite space-what is empire than that of the devil. What has space? Is it a being, or nothing at all ? dethroned him!_Reason.

If it is a being, what is its nature ?

me.

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You cannot tell me. If it is nothing, no- } practically divisible, and if the last atom thing can have no quality ; yet you tell could be divided into two, it would no me that it is penetrable and immense. I { longer be the least ; or if the least, it am so embarrassed, I cannot correctly would not be divisible; or if divisible, call it either something or nothing. what is the germ or origin of things ?

In the meantime, I know not of any- These are abstruse queries. thing which possesses more properties than a void. For if passing the confines

Of the Universe. of this globe, we are able to walk amidst Is the universe bounded-is its extent this void, and thatch and build there immense—are the suns and planets withwhen we possess materials for the pur- | out number? What advantage has the pose, this void or nothing is not opposed | space which contains suns and planets, to whatever we might chuse to do; for over the space which is void of them? having no property it cannot hinder any ;{ Whether space be an existence or not, moreover, since it cannot hinder, neither what is the space which we occupy, precan it serve us.

ferable to other space. It is pretended that God created the If our material heaven be not infinite, world amidst nothing and from nothing. it is but a point in general extent. If it That is abstruse; it is preferable to think is infinite, it is an infinity to which somethat there is an infinite space; but we thing can always be added by the imagiare curious—and if there be infinite space,

nation. our faculties cannot fathom the nature of it. We call it immense, because we can

Of the Infinite in Geometry. not measure it; but what then? We We admit, in geometry, not only infihave only pronounced words.

nite magnitudes, that is to say, magni

tudes greater than any assignable magniOf the Infinite in Number. tude, but infinite magnitudes infinitely We have adroitly defined the infinite in greater, the one than the other. This arithmetic by a love-knot, in this manner astonishes our dimension of brains, which

0; but we possess not therefore a is only about six inches long, five broad, clearer notion of it. This infinity is not and six in depth, in the largest heads. It like the others, a powerlessness of reach- means, however, nothing more than that ing a termination. We call the infinite a square larger than any assignable square, in quantity any number soever, which surpasses a line larger than any assignsurpasses the utmost number we are able able line, and bears no proportion to it. to imagine.

It is a mode of operating, a mode of When we seek the infinitely small, we working geometrically, and the word individe, and call that infinitely small finite is a mere symbol. which is less than the least assignable quantity. It is only another name for} Of Infinite Power, Wisdom, Goodness, incapacity.

&c.

In the same manner, as we cannot form Is Matter infinitely divisible ?

any positive idea of the infinite in duraThis question brings us back again tion, number, and extension, are we unprecisely to our inability of finding the able to form one in respect to physical remotest number. In thought we are and moral power. able to divide a grain of sand, but in We can easily conceive, that a power. imagination only; and the incapacity of ful being has modified matter, caused eternally dividing this grain is called in worlds to circulate in space, and formed finity.

animals, vegetables, and metals. We It is true, that matter is not always are led to this idea by the perception of

we

the want of power on the part of these not for him and his family to expire of beings to form themselves. We are also famine for the sake of an old woman. forced to allow, that the Great Being At all events, the infinite justice we exists eternally by his own power, since attribute to God can but little resemble he cannot have sprung from nothing ; but the contradictory notions of justice of we discover not so easily his infinity in this woman and this savage; and yet, magnitude, power, and moral attribuies. when we say that God is just, we only

How are we to conceive infinite extent pronounce these words agreeably to our in a being called simple ? and if he be own ideas of justice. uncompounded, whai notions can We know of nothing belonging to virform of a simple being? We know God tue more agreeable than frankness and by his works, but we cannot understand cordiality, but to attribute infinite frankhim by his nature.

ness and cordiality to God would amount If it is evident that we cannot under- to an absurdity. stand his nature, is it not equally so, We have such confused notions of the that we must remain ignorant of his attri- attributes of the Supreme Bing, that butes ?

some schools endow him with prescience, When we say that his power is infinite, an infinite foresight which excludes ali do we mean anything more than that it contingent event, while other schools conis very great? Aware of the existence tend for prescience without contingency. of pyramids of the height of 600 feet, we Lastly, since the Sorbonne has decan conceive them of the altitude of clared that God can make a stick divested 600,000 feet.

of two ends, and that the same thing can Nothing can limit the power of the at once be and not be, we know not Eternal Being existing necessarily of what to say, being in eternal fear of adhimself. Agreed: no antagonists cir- } vancing a heresy. cumscribe him; but how convince me One thing muy however be asserted that he is not circumscribed by his own without danger,—that God is infinite, nature?

and man exceedingly bounded. Has all that has been said on this The mind of man is so extremely nargreat subject been demonstrated ? row, that Pascal has said : “Do you

We speak of his moral attributes, but believe it impossible for God to be infiwe only judge of them by our own; and nite and without parts? I wish to conit is impossible to do otherwise. We vince you of an existence infinite and attribute to him justice, goodness, &c. } indivisible,—it is a mathematical pointonly from the ideas we collect from the moving everywhere with infinite swiftsmall degree of justice and goodness ex- ness, for it is in all places, and entire in isting among ourselves.

every place." But, in fact, what connection is there Nothing more absurd was ever asserted, between our qualities so uncertain and and yet it has been said by the author of variable, and those of the Supreme Being? the Provincial Letters. It is sufficient

Our idea of justice is only that of not to give men of sense the ague. allowing our own interest to usurp over the interest of another. The bread which

INFLUENCE. a wife has kneaded out of the flour pro- Every thing around exercises some duced from the wheat which her hus- influence upon us, either physically or band has sown, belongs to her. A hungry morally. With this truth we are well savage snatches away her bread, and the acquair.ted. woman exclaims against such enormous Influence may be exerted upon a being injustice. The savage quietly answers, } without touching, without moving tbat that nothing is more just, and that it was being.

In short, matter has been demonstrated ? diligence had some peculiar and marvelto possess the astonishing power of gra- lous influence on the lady's constitution. vitating without contact, of acting at im- There was a time when the inhabitants mense distances.

of every sea-port were persuaded, that One idea influences another; a fact no one would die while the tide was not less incomprehensible.

rising, and that death always waited for I have not with me at Mount Krapac { its ebb. the book intitled “On the Influence of Many physicians possessed a store of the Sun and Moon,” composed by the strong reasons to explain this constant celebrated physician Mead; but I well phenomenon. The sea when rising comknow, that those two bodies are the municates to human bodies the force or cause of the tides; and it is not in con- strength by which itself is raised. It sequence of touching the waters of the < brings with it vivifying particles which ocean that they produce that Aux and reanimate all patients. It is salt, and reflux : it is demonstrated that they pro- salt preserves from the putrefaction atduce them by the laws of gravitation. tendant on death. But when the sea

But when we are in a fever, have the sinks and retires, everything sinks or resun and moon any influence upon the tires with it; nature languishes; the paaccesses of it, in its days of crisis? Is tient is no longer vivified; he departs your wife constitutionally disordered only with the tide. The whole, it must be during the first quarter of the moon ? admitted, is most beautifully explained, Will the trees, cut at the time of full but the presumed fact, unfortunately, is moon, rot sooner than if cut down in its after all untrue. wane ? Not that I know. But timber The various elements, food, watching, cut down while the sap is circulating in sleep, and the passions, are constantly it, undergoes putrefaction sooner than exerting on our frame their respective inother timber; and if by chance it is cut fluences. While these influences are down at the full moon, men will certainly thus severally operating upon us, the say it was the full moon that caused all planets traverse their appropriate orbits, the evil.

and the stars shine with their usual brilYour wife may have been disordered liancy. But shall we really be so weak during the moon's growing; but your { as to say that the progress and light of neighbour's was so in its decline. those heavenly bodies are the cause of

The fitful periods of the fever which our rheums and indigestion, and sleepyou brought upon yourself by indulging lessness ; of the ridiculous wrath we are too much in the pleasures of the table, in with some silly reasoner; or of the occur about the first quarter of the moon; passion with which we are enamoured of your neighbour experiences his in its de- some interesting woman? cline.

But the gravitation of the sun and Everything that can possibly influence moon has made the earth in some degree animals and vegetables must of course flat at the pole, and raises the sea twice necessarily exercise that influence while between the tropics in four-and-twenty the moon is making her circuit.

hours. It may, therefore, regulate our Were a woman of Lyons to remark { fits of fever, and govern our whole mathat the periodical affections of her con- chine. Before however we assert this to stitution had occurred in three or four be the case, we should wait until we can successive instances on the day of the prove it. arrival of the diligence from Paris, would The sun acts strongly upon us by its her medical attendant, however devoted { rays, which touch us, and enter through he might be to system, think himself our pores. Here is unquestionably a authorised in concluding that the Paris - very decided and a very benignant in

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