Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

PHILOSOPHICAL

DICTIONARY.

FROM THE FRENCH OF

M. DE VOLTAIRE.

Without Philosophy, we should be little above the animals that dig or erect their
habitations, prepare their food in them, take care of their little ones in their dwellings,
and have, besides, the good fortune, which we have not, of being born ready-clothed.

Article ANTIQUITY, Vol. 1. p. 89.
How charming is divine Philosophy!
Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose,
But musical as is Apollo's lute,
And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
Where no crude surfeit reigns.

Milton's Comus, Scene 2.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOLUME THE SECOND.

WITH A FULL-LENGTH LIKENESS OF THE AUTHOR.

London:
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY W. DUGDALE,

16, HOLYWELL STREET, STRAND.

1843.

V 62 1843 V. 2

A

PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY.,

From the French of Voltaire.

{ who entertained chosen opinions of their HERESY.

s own? Those who had such opinions

were undoubtedly criminal in the sight of SECTION 1.

God, since they were obstinate. They A GREEK word, signifying“ belief, or will, therefore, as no one can possibly elected opinion.” It is not greatly to the doubt, be burnt to all eternity in another honour of human reason, that men should world; but why burn them by a slow be hated, persecuted, massacred, or burnt { fire in this ? The sufferers have repreat the stake, on account of their chosen sented that such conduct is an usurpation opinions ; but what is exceedingly little of the jurisdiction of God; that this pun10 our honour is, that this mischievous ishment is very hard and severe, conand destructive madness has been as pe-sidered as an infliction by men ; and that culiar to us as leprosy was to the He- } it is, moreover, of no utility, since one brews, or lues formerly to the Caribs. { hour of suffering added to eternity is an

We well know, theologically speaking, absolute cypher. that heresy having become a crime, así The pious inflicters, however, replied even the word itself is a reproach; we { to these reproaches, that nothing was well know, I say, that the Latin church, { more just than to put upon burning coals which alone can possess reason, has also } whoever had a self-formed opinion ; that possessed the right of reproving all who to burn those whom God himself would were of a different opinion from her own. burn, was in fact a holy conformity to

On the other side, the Greek church God; and finally, that since, by admisbad the same right; accordingly, it re- sion, the burning for an hour or two was proved the Romans when they chose a a mere cypher in comparison with eterdifferent opinion from the Greeks on the nity, the burning of five or six provinces procession of the Holy Spirit, the viands í for chosen opinions--for heresies-was a which might be taken in lent, the autho- matter in reality of very little conserity of the pope, &c. &c.

quence. But upon what ground did any arrive } In the present day, it is asked, among tually at the conclusion that, when they what cannibals have these questions been were the strongest, they might burn those agitated, and their solutions proved by

VOL. 11.-61

A

915

facts? It was, we must admit with sor- ; Christians in general, for a long tirre, row and humiliation, even among our- assumed the name of Nazarenes, and selves, and in the very same cities where even the gentiles gave them no other apnothing is minded but operas, comedies, pellations during the two first centuries. balls, fashions, and intrigue.

But there soon arose a particular school Unfortunately, it was a tyrant who in- of Nazarenes, who believed a gospel diftroduced the practice of destroying here- ferent from the four canonical ones. It tics. Not one of those equivocal tyrants has even been pretended that this gospel who are regarded as saints by one party, differed only very slightly from that of and monsters by another, but one Maxi- St. Matthew, and was in fact anterior to mus, competitor of Theodosius I., a de- it. St. Epiphanius and St. Jerome place cided tyrant, in the strictest meaning of the Nazarenes in the cradle of Christithe term, over the whole empire. anity.

He destroyed at Treves, by the hands Those who considered themselves as of the executioner, the Spaniard Priscillian knowing more than the rest, took the deand his adherents, whose opinions were nomination of gnostics,“ knowers ;" and pronounced erroneous by some bishops this denomination was for a long time so of Spain. These prelates solicited the honourable, that St. Clement of Alexancapital punishment of the Priscillianists dria, in his “Stromata," always calls the with a charity so ardent, that Maximus good Christians true gnostics." Happy could refuse them nothing. It was by are they who have entered into the gnosno means owing to them that St. Martin į lic holiness! He who deserves the name was not beheaded as a heretic. He was of gnostic, resists seducers, and gives to fortunate enough to quit Treves, and es- every one that asks.” cape back to Tours.

The fifth and sixth books of the “StroA single example is sufficient to esta- mata” tum entirely upon the perfection blish a usage. The first Scythian who of gnosticism. scooped out the brains of his enemy, and T'he Ebionites existed incontestably in made a drinking-cup of his skull, was the time of the apostles. That name, followed by all the rank and consequence - which signifies“ poor," was intended to in Scythia. Thus was consecrated the express how dear to them was the popractice of employing the executioner to verty in which Jesus was born. cut off“ opinions."

Cerinthus was equally ancient. The No such thing as heresy existed among Apocalypse of St. John was attributed to the religions of antiquity, because they him. It is even thought that St. Paul had reference only to moral conduct and and he had violent disputes with each public worship. When metaphysics be- { other. came connected with Christianity, con- It seems to our weak understandings troversy prevailed ; and from controversy very natural to expect from the first disarose different parties, as in the schools ciples a solemn declaration, a complete of philsoophy. It was impossible that and unalterable profession of faith, which metaphysics should not mingle the uncer- { might terminate all past, and preclude tainties essential 10 their nature with the any future quarrels ; but God permitted faith due to Jesus Christ. He had him- it not so to be. The creed called the self written nothing ; and his incarnation | Apostles' Creed, which is short, and in was a problem which the new Christians, which are not to be found the consubwhom he had not himself inspired, solved stantiality, the word trinity, or the seven in many different ways. “Each," as St. } sacraments, did not make its appearance Paul expressly observes, “ had his pecu- , before the time of St. Jerome, St. Auliar party; some were for Apollos, others į gustin, and the celebrated priest Rufinus. for Cephas.”

It was by this priest, the enemy of St.

« AnteriorContinua »