Imatges de pÓgina

fluence. We ought not, I conceive, in , series of two hundred years bas interphysics, to admit of any action taking ? vened, a circumstance naturally tending place without contact, until we have dis- to weaken belief; and because I can covered some well recognised and ascer- ascribe the impression made upon the tained power which acts at a distance, { brain of James to other causes than the like that of gravitation, for example, or imagination of Mary: The royal assaslike that of your thoughts over mine, sins, headed by her husband, rush with when you furnish me with ideas. Be- drawn swords into the cabinet where she yond these cases, I at present perceive is supping in company with her favourite, no influences but from matter in contact and kill him before her eyes; the sudden with matter.

convulsion experienced by her in the inteThe fish of my pond and myself existe rior of her frame extends to her offspring ; each of us in our natural element. The and James I. although not deficient in water which touches them from head to courage, felt during his whole life an intail is continually acting upon them. { voluntary shuddering at the sight of a The atmosphere which surrounds and sword drawn from a scabbard. It is closes upon me acts upon me. I ought however possible that this striking and not to attribute to the moon, which is peculiar agitation might be owing to a ninety thousand miles distant, what I different cause. might naturally ascribe to something in- There was once introduced, in my precessantly in contact with my skin. This sence, into the court of a woman with would be more unphilosophical than my child, a show-man who exhibited a little considering the court of China responsible { dancing dog with a kind of red bonnet for a law-suit that I was carrying on in on its head: the woman called out to France. We should never seek at a dis-? have the figure removed ; she declared tance for what is absolutely within our { that her child would be marked like it; immediate reach.

she wept; and nothing could restore her I perceive that the learned and inge- } confidence and peace.“ This is the senious M. Menuret is of a different opi- {cond time,” she said, “ that such a misnion in the Encyclopedia under the article { fortune has befallen me. My first child “ Influence.” This certainly excites in bears the impression of a similar terror my mind considerable diffidence with that I was exposed to; I feel extremely respect to what I have just advanced. weak. I know that some misfortune will The abbé de St. Pierre used to say, we reach me.” She was but too correct in should never maintain that we are abso- { her prediction. She was delivered of a lutely in the right, but should rather say, child similar to the figure which had so “ such is my opinion for the present.” terrified her. The bonnet was particu

larly distinguishable. The little creature Influence of the Passions of Mothers lived two days. upon their Fætus.

In the time of Malebranche no one I think, for the present, that violent entertained the slightest doubt of the adaffections of pregnant women produce venture which he relates, of the woman often a prodigious effect upon the embryo who, after seeing a criminal racked, was within them; and I think that I shall { delivered of a son, all whose limbs were always think so: my reason is that I broken in the same places in which the hare actually seen this effect. If I had malefactor had received the blows of the no voucher of my opinion but the testi- executioner. All the physicians at the mony of historians who relate the in- time were agreed, that the imagination stance of Mary Stuart and her son James had produced this fatal effect upon her I., I should suspend my judgment ; be- offspring. cause between that event and myself, a Since that period, mankind are believed

to have refined and improved ; and theç ticipators in them soon became so. And influence under consideration has been while the number of these was small, it denied. It has been asked, in what way was respected; but at length. having do you suppose that the affections of a grown too numerous, they retained no mother should operate to derange the more consequence and consideration than members of the fætus ? Of that I know we perceive to attach to German barons, nothing; but I have witnessed the fact. since the world became full of barons. You new-fangled philosophers enquire Initiation was paid for, as every canand study in vain how an infant is formed, } didate pays his admission fees or weland yet require me to know how it become, but no member was allowed to comes vleformed.

talk for his money. In all ages it was

considered a great crime to reveal the INITIATION.

secrets of these religious farces. This Ancient Mysteries.

secret was undoubtedly not worth know

ing, as the assembly was not a society of The origin of the ancient mysteries philosophers but of ignorant persons, dimay, with the greatest probability, be as- { rected by a hierophant. An oath of sescribed to the same weakness which crecy was administered, and an oath was forms associations of brotherhood among always regarded as a sacred bond. Even ourselves, and which established congre- { at the present day, our comparatively gations under the direction of the Jesuits. pitiful society of free-masons swear never It was probably this want of society to speak of their mysteries. These myswhich raised so many secret assemblies teries are stale and flat enough; but of artizans, of which scarcely any now men scarcely ever perjure themselves. remain besides that of the free-masons.

Diagoras was proscribed by the AtheEven down to the very beggars them- } nians for having made the secret hymn selves, all had their societies, their con- of Orpheus a subject for conversation. fraternities, their mysteries, and their Aristotle informs us, that Eschylus was particular jargon, of which I have met in danger of being torn to pieces by the with a small dictionary, printed in the people, or at least of being severely beaten sixteenth century.

{by them, for having in one of his dramas This natural inclination in men to as- s given some idea of those Orphean myssociate, to secure themselves, to become teries in which nearly every body was distinguished above others, and to ac- then initiated. quire confidence in themselves, may be It appears that Alexander did not pay considered as the generating cause of all the highest respect possible to these rethose particular bonds or unions, of all { verend fooleries; they are indeed very those mysterious initiations which after- apt to be despised by heroes. He rewards excited so much attention and vealed the secret to his mother Olympias, produced such striking effects, and which but he advised her to say nothing about at length sunk into that oblivion in which it-so much are even heroes themselves everything is involved by time.

bound in the chains of superstition. Begging pardon, while I say it, of the “It is customary," says Herodotus, gods Cabiri, of the hierophants of Samo- {“in the city of Rusiris, to strike both thrace, of Isis, Orpheus, and the Eleusi- men and women after the sacrifice, but nian Ceres, I must nevertheless acknow- } I am not permitted to say where they ledge my suspicions that their sacred { are struck. He leaves it however to secrets were not in reality more deserving } be very easily inferred. of curiosity than the interior of the con- I think I see a description of the mystevents of Carmelites or Capuchins. ries of the Eleusinian Ceres, in Cau

These mysteries being sacred, the par- dian's poem on the rape of Proserpine,

ulgarit arcanae sub iisdem


much clearer than I can see any in the tomime, of the same description as we sixth book of the Æneid. Virgil lived have seen many very amusing ones, in under a prince who joined to all his other which were represented all the devilish bad qualities that of wishing to pass for tricks and conjurations of doctor Fausa religious character ; who was probably { tus, the birth of the world and of Harlequin initiated in these mysteries himself, the who both came from a large egg by the better to impose thereby upon the peo- heat of the sun's rays. Just in the same ple; and who would not have tolerated { manner, the whole history of Ceres and what would have been pretended to have Proserpine was represented by the mysbeen such decided profanation. You see s tagogues. The spectacle was fine; the his favourite Horace regards such a reve- cost must have been great; and it is no lation as sacriliege

matter of astonishment that the initiated

should pay the performers. All live by ..Vetabo qui Cereris sacrum

their respective occupations.
Sit trabibus, vel fragilem que mecum
Sulvat pbaselum

Every mystery had its peculiar cere-
Horace, book iii., ode 2. monies, but all admitted of wakes or vi-
To silence due rewards we give:

gils of which the youthful votaries fully And they who mysteries reveal Beneath my roof shall never live,

availed themselves; but it was this abuse Shall never boist with me the doubtful sail.

in part which finally brought discredit

upon those nocturnal ceremonies instiBesides, the Cumean sibyl and the de- tuted for sanctification. The ceremonies scent into hell, imitated from Homer thus perverted to assignation and licenmuch less than it is embellished by Vir- tiousness were abolished in Greece in gil, with the beautiful prediction of the the time of the Peloponnesian war; they destinies of the Cæsars and the Roman were abolished at Rome in the time of empire, have no relation to the fables of { Cicero's youth, eighteen years before his Ceres, Proserpine, and Triptolemus. consulship. From the * Aulularia” of Accordingly, it is highly probable that Plautus, we are led to consider them as the sixth book of the Æneid is not a de- exhibiting scenes of gross debauchery, scription of those mysteries, If I ever and as highly injurious to public mosaid the contrary, I here unsay it; but I rals. conceive that Claudian revealed them Our religion, which, while it adopted, fully. He flourished at a time when it { greatly purified various Pagan instituwas permitted to divulge the mysteries of} tions, sanctified the name of the initiated, Eleusis, and indeed all the mysteries of nocturnal feasts, and vigils, which were the world. He lived under Honorius, in a long time in use, but which at length it the total decline of the ancient Greek became necessary to prohibit when an and Roman religion, to which Theodo- administration of police was introduced sius I. had already given the mortal { into the government of the church, so blow.

long entrusted to the piety and zeal that Horace, at that period, would not have } precluded the necessity of police. been at all afraid of living under the The principal formula of all the myssame roof with a revealer of mysteries. teries. in every place of their celebration, Claudian, as a poet, was of the ancient į was, “Come out, ye who are profane;" religion, which was more adapted to po- that is, uninitiated. Accordingly, in the etry than the new. He describes the first centuries, the Christians adopted a droll absurdities of the mysteries of similar formula. The deacon said, Ceres, such as they were still performed “Come out, all ye catechumens, all ye with all becoming reverence in Greece, who are possessed and who are uninitidown to the time of Theodosius II.ated." They formed a species of operatic pan- It is in speaking of the baptism of the

VOL. 11,467


dead that St. Chrysostom says, “I should they may be, are accused by the public
be glad to explain myself clearly, but I voice, the falsehood of the charge is urged
can do so only to the initiated. We are } in vain, and it is deemed meritorious to
in great embarrassment. We must ei- persecute them.
ther speak unintelligibly, or disclose se- How could it easily be otherwise, than
crets which we are bound to conceal.” that the first Christians should be even

It is impossible to describe more held in horror, when Si. Epiphanius
clearly the obligation of secrecy and the } himself urges against them the most ex-
privilege of initiation. All is now so ecrable imputations? He asserts that the
completely changed, that were you at Christian phibionites committed inde-
present to talk about initiation to the cencies, which he specifies, of the gross-
greater part of your priests and parish est character; and, after passing through
officers, there would not be one of them various scenes of pollution, exclaimed
that would understand you, unless by each of them,---" I am the Christ.”
great chance he had read the chapter of According to the same writer, the
Chrysostom above noticed.

gnostics and the stratiotics equalled the You will see in Minutius Felix the phibionites in exhibitions of licentiousabominable imputations with which the ness, and all three sects mingled horrid Pagans attacked the Christian mysteries. } pollutions with their mysteries, men The initiated were reproached with treat- and women displaying equal dissoluteing each other as brethren and sisters, { ness. solely with a view to profane that sacred The carpocratians, according to the name. They kissed, it was said, particu- same father of the church, even exceeded lar parts of the persons of the priests, as the horrors and abominations of the three is still practised in respect to the santons sects just mentioned. of Africa; they stained themselves with The cerinthians did not abandon themall those pollutions which have since selves to abominations such as these : but disgraced and stigmatized the templars. they were persuaded that Jesus Chuist Both were accused of worshipping a kind was the son of Joseph. of ass's head.

The ebionites, in their gospel, mainWe have seen that the early Christian tain that St. Paul, being desirous of marsocieties ascribed to each other, recipro- rying the daughter of Gamaliel, and not cally, the most inconceivable infainies. able to obtain her, became a Christian, The pretext for these calumnies was the and established Christianity out of reinviolable secret which every society {venge. made of its mysteries. It is upon this

All these accusations did not for some ground that in Minutius Felix, Cecilius, time reach the ear of the government. the accuser of the Christians, exclaims.- The Romans paid but little attention to

“Why do they so carefully endeavour the quarrels and mutual reproaches to conceal what they worship, since what which occurred between these little sois decent and honourable always courts cieties of Jews, Greeks, and Egyptians, the light, and crimes alone seek se- } who were, as it were, hidden in the vast

and general population; just as at Lon“Cur occultare et abscondere quid- } don, in the present day, the parliament quid colunt magnopere nituntur ? Quum does not embarrass or concern itself with honesta semper ,publico gaudeant, sce- the peculiar forms or transactions of memlera secreta sint.

nonites, pietists, anabaptists, millinarians, It cannot be doubted that these accu- moravians, or methodists. It is occupied sations, universally spread, drew upon with inatters of urgency and importance, the Christians more than one persecution. and pays no attention to their mutual Whenever a society of men, whatever charges and recriminations till they be

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come of importance from their publicity. The difficulties raised by critics upon

The charges above mentioned, at this point of history have been all length, however, came to the ears of the solved by shrewd and learned commensenate ; either from the Jews, who were implacable enemies of the Christians, Objections have been started in relaor from Christians themselves ; and hence tion to the star which conducted the it resulted, that the crimes charged magi from the recesses of the east to Jeagainst some Christian societies were im- rusalem. It has been said, that the puted to all; hence it resulted, that journey being a log one, the star must their initiations were so long calumniated; have appeared for a long time above the hence resulted the persecutions which horizon; and yet that no historian bethey endured. These persecutions, how- sides St. Matthew ever took notice of ever, obliged them to greater circumspec- this extraordinary star; that if it had tion; they strengthened themselves, they shone so long in the heavens, Herod and combined, they disclosed their books his whole court, and all Jerusalem, must only to the initiated. No Roman ma- have seen it as well as these three magi, gistrate, no emperor, ever had the slight- or kings; that Herod consequently could est knowledge of them, as we have al- (not, without absurdity, have enquired ready shewn. Providence increased, diligently, as Matthew expresses it, of during the course of three centuries, both these kings, at what time they had seen their number and their riches, until at the star; that, if these three kings had length, Constantius Chlorus openly pro- made presents of gold and myrrh and tected them, and Constantine his son em- incense to the new-born infant, his pabraced their religion.

rents must have been very rich : that In the mean time, the names of initi- | Herod could certainly never believe that ated and mysteries still subsisted, and this infant, born in å stable at Bethlethey were concealed from the gentiles as hem, would be king of the Jews, as the much as was possible. As to the mys- kingdom of Judea belonged to the Roteries of the gentiles, they continued mans, and was a gift from Cæsar ; that if down to the time of Theodosius.

three kings of the Indies were, at the

present day, to come to France under INNOCENTS.

the guidance of a star, and stop at the

house of a woman of Vaugirard, no Of the Massacre of the Innocents.

one could ever inake the reigning moWhen people speak of the massacre narch believe that the child of that poor of the innocents, they do not refer to the woman would become King of France. Sicilian Vespers, nor to the matins of A satisfactory answer has been given Paris, known under the name of St. to these difficulties, which may be consiBartholomew; nor to the inhabitants of dered preliminary ones, attending the the new world, who were murdered be subject of the massacre of the innocents; cause they were not Christians, nor to and it has been shown, that what is imthe auto-da-fés of Spain and Portugal, possible with man, is not impossible with &c. &c. They usually refer to the God. young children who were killed within With respect to the slaughter of the the precincts of Bethlehem, by order of little children, whether the number was Herod the Great, and who were after- fourteen thousand, or greater, or less, it wards carried to Coloyne, where they are has been shown, that this horrible and still to be found.

unprecedented cruelty was not absolutely Their number was maintained by the incompatible with the character of Hewhole Greek church to be fourteen thou- rod; that, after being established as sand.

King of Judea by Augustus, he could

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