« AnteriorContinua »
per cent for in the parable of the talents he says, that the servant who had received five talents gained five others in Jerusalem by them; that he who had two gained two by them; and that the third who had only one, and did not turn that to any account, was shut up in a dungeon by his master, for not laying it out with the money-changers. But these money-changers were Jews; it was therefore between Jews that usury was practised at Jerusalem; therefore this parable, drawn from the circumstances and manners of the times, decidedly indicates that usury or interest was at the rate of cent. per cent. Read the twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew; he was conversant with the subject; he had been a commissioner of taxes in Galilee. Let me finish my agreement with this gentleman; and do not make me lose both my money and my time.
THE ABBE DES ISSARTS.
All that you say is very good and very fine; but the Sorbonne has decided, that lending money on interest is a mortal sin.
You must be laughing at me, my good friend, when you cite the Sorbonne as an authority to a merchant of Amsterdam. There is not a single individual among those wrangling railers themselves who does not obtain, whenever he can, five or six per cent. for his money by purchasing revenue bills, India bonds, assignments, and Canada bills. The clergy of France, as a corporate body, borrow at interest. In many of the provinces of France, it is the custom to stipulate for interest with the principal. Besides, the university of Oxford and that of Salamanca have decided against the Sorbonne. I acquired this information in the course of my travels; and thus we have authority against authority. Once more, I must beg you to interrupt me no longer.
THE ABBE DES ISSARTS.
The wicked, sir, are never at a loss for reasons. You are, I repeat, absolutely destroying yourself, for the abbé de St. Cyran, who has not performed any
miracles, and the abbé Paris, who performed some in St. Medard. . . .
3. Before the abbé had finished his speech, the merchant drove him out of his counting-house; and after having legally lent his money, to the last penny, went to represent the conversation between himself and the abbé to the magistrates, who forbade the jansenists from propagating a doctrine so pernicious to com
Gentlemen, said the chief bailiff, give us of efficacious grace as much as you please, of predestination as much as you please, and of communion as little as you please; on these points you are masters; but take care not to meddle with the laws of commerce.
READ the article "Intolerance" in the great Encyclopedia. Read the treatise on toleration composed on occasion of the dreadful assassination of John Calas, a citizen of Thoulouse; * and if, after that, you allow of persecution in matters of religion, compare yourself at once to Ravaillac. Ravaillac, you know, was highly intolerant.
The following is the substance of all the discourses ever delivered by the intolerant.
You monster! who will be burnt to all eternity in the other world, and whom I will myself burn as soon as ever I can in this; you really have the insolence to read De Thou and Bayle, who have been put into the index of prohibited authors at Rome! When I was preaching to you in the name of God, how Sampson had killed a thousand men with the jaw-bone of an ass, your head, still harder than the arsenal from which Sampson obtained his arms, showed me by a slight movement from left to right that you believed nothing of what I said. And when I stated, that the devil Asmodeus, who out of jealousy twisted the necks of the seven husbands of Sarah among the Medes, was
* See the secondtyolume of Policy and Legislation.
put in chains in Upper Egypt, I saw a small contraction of your lips, in Latin called cachinnus (a grin) which plainly indicated to me, that in the bottom of your soul you held the history of Asmodeus in derision.
And as for you, Isaac Newton; Frederick the great, king of Prussia and elector of Brandenburgh; John Locke; Catherine, empress of Russia, victorious over the Ottomans; John Milton; the beneficent sovereign of Denmark; Shakspeare; the wise king of Sweden; Leibnitz; the august house of Brunswick; Tillotson; the emperor of China; the parliament of England; the Council of the great Mogul; in short, all you who do not believe one word which I have taught in my courses on divinity, I declare to you, that I regard all as you pagans and publicans, as, in order to engrave it on your unimpressible brains, I have often told you before. You are a set of callous miscreants; you will all go to the gehennah were the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched; for I am right, and you are all wrong; and I have grace, and you have none. I confess three devotees in my neighbourhood, while you do not confess a single one; I have executed the mandates of bishops, which has never been the case with you; I have abused philosophers in the language of the fish-market, while you have protected, imitated, or equalled them; I have composed pious defamatory libels, stuffed with infamous calumnies, and you have never so much as read them. I say mass every day in Latin for fourteen sous, and you are never even so much as present at it, any more than Cicero, Cato, Pompey, Cæsar, Horace, or Virgil, were ever present at it; consequently you deserve each of you to have your right hand cut off, your tongue cut out, to be put to the torture, and at last burnt at a slow fire; for God is merciful.
Such, without the slightest abatement, are the maxims of the intolerant, and the sum and substance of all their books. How delightful to live with such amiable people!
WAS there ever a time when the globe was entirely inundated? It is physically impossible.
It is possible that the sea may successively have covered every land, one part after another; and even this can only have happened by very slow gradation, and in a prodigious number of centuries. In the course of five hundred years the sea has retired from AiguesMortes, Frejus, and Ravenna, which were considerable ports, and left about two leagues of land dry. According to the ratio of such progression, it is clear that it would require two million and two hundred and fifty thousand years to produce the same effect through the whole circuit of the globe. It is a somewhat remarkable circumstance that this period of time nearly falls in with that which the axis of the earth would require to be raised, so as to coincide with the equator; a change extremely probable, which began to be .considered so only about fifty years since, and which could not be completed in a shorter period of time than two million and three hundred thousand years.*
The beds or strata of shells, which have been discovered at the distance of some leagues from the sea, are an incontestible evidence that it has gradually deposited these marine productions on tracts which were formerly shores of the ocean; but that the water should have ever covered the whole globe at once, is an absurd chimera in physics, demonstrated to be impossible by the laws of gravitation, by the laws of fluids, and by the insufficient quantity of water for the purpose. We do not however, by these observations, at all mean to impeach the truth of the universal deluge, related in the Pentateuch; on the contrary, that is a miracle which it is our duty to believe; it is a miracle, and there-fore could not have been accomplished by the laws of
All is miracle in the history of the deluge-a mi
It is believed that La Place, in his Mecanique Celeste, has corrected this supposition.-T.
racle, that forty days of rain should have inundated the four quarters of the world, and have raised the water to the height of fifteen cubits above the tops of the loftiest mountains; a miracle, that there should have been cataracts, floodgates, and openings in heaven; a miracle; that all sorts of animals should have been collected in the ark from all parts of the world; a miracle that Noah found the means of feeding them for a period of ten months; a miracle, that all the animals with all their provisions could have been included and retained in the ark; a miracle, that the greater part of them did not die; a miracle, that after quitting the ark, they found food enough to maintain them; and a further miracle, but of a different kind, that a person, of the name of Pelletier, thought himself capable of explaining how all the animals could be contained and fed in Noah's ark naturally, that is, without a miracle.
But the history of the deluge being that of the most miraculous event of which the world ever heard, it must be the height of folly and madness to attempt an explanation of it: it is one of the mysteries which are believed by faith; and faith consists in believing that which reason does not believe—which is only another miracle.
The history of the universal deluge therefore is like that of the tower of Babel, of Balaam's ass, of the falling of the walls of Jericho at the sound of trumpets, of waters turned into blood of the passage of the Red Sea, and of the whole of the prodigies which God condescended to perform in favour of his chosen people— depths unfathomable by the human understanding.
I ASK not in regard to Japan, whether this mass of islands is much greater than England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Orcades together, whether the emperor of Japan is more powerful than the emperor of Germany, or whether the Japanese bonzes are richer than the Spanish monks.
I will even unhesitatingly avow, that banished as we