Imatges de pÓgina
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the four elements. Our modern philosophers, who have rejected the faculties and the qualities of the peripatetician physics, will find the same defects in the description of the chaos of Ovid; for that which they call general laws of motion, mechanical principles, modifications of matter, the form, situation, and arrangement of atoms, comprehends nothing beyond the active and passive virtue of nature, which the peripatetics understand by the alterative and formative qualities of the four elements. Seeing therefore that, according to the doctrine of this school, these four bodies, separated according to their natural heaviness and lightness, form a principle which suffices for all generation, the Cartesians, Gassendists, and other modern philosophers, ought to maintain, that the motion, situation, and form of the particles of matter, are. sufficient for the production of all natural effects, without excepting even the general arrangement which has placed the earth, the air, the water, and the stars where we see them. Thus the true cause of the world, and of the effect which it produces, is not different from the cause which has bestowed motion upon particles of matter,--whether at the same time that it assigned to each atom a determinate figure, as the Gassendists assert; or that it has only given to particles entirely cubic an impulsion which, by the duration of the motion according to certain laws, makes it ultimately take all sorts of forms—which is the hypothesis of the Cartesians. Both the one and the other consequently agree, that if matter had been, before the generation of the present world, as Ovid describes, it would have been capable of withdrawing itself from chaos by its own necessary operation, without the assistance of God. Ovid may therefore be accused of two oversights—having supposed, in the first place, that without the assistance of the Divinity, matter possessed the seeds of every compound, heat, motion, &c.; and in the second, that without the same assistance it could extricate itself from confusion. This is to give at once too much and too little to both God and matter; it is to pass over assistance when

most needed, and to demand it when no longer necessary.”

Ovid may still reply-You are wrong in supposing that my elements originally possessed all the qualities which they possess at present. They had no qualities; matter existed naked, unformed, and powerless; and when I say, that in my chaos heat was mingled with cold, and dryness with humidity, I only employ these expressions to signify that there was neither cold nor heat, nor wet nor dry, which are qualities that God has placed in our sensations, and not in matter. I have not made the mistakes of which you accuse me. Your Cartesians and your Gassendists commit oversights with their atoms and their cubic particles; and their imaginations deal as little in truth as my Metamorphoses. I prefer Daphne changed into a laurel, and Narcissus into a flower, to subtle matter changed into suns, and denser matter transformed into earth and water. I have given you fables for fables, and your philosophers have given you fables for truth.

PARADISE

THERE is no word whose meaning is more remote from its etymology. It is well known that it originally meant a place planted with fruit-trees; and, afterwards, the name was given to gardens planted with trees for shade. . Such, in distant antiquity, were those of Saana, near Eden, in Arabia Felix, known long before the hordes of the Hebrews had invaded a part of the territory of Palestine.

This word.paradise' is not celebrated among the Jews, excepting in the book of Genesis. Some Jewish canonical writers speak of gardens; but not one of them has mentioned a word about the garden denominated the earthly paradise.' How could it happen, that no Jewish writer, no Jewish prophet, or Jewish psalmodist, should have once cited that terrestrial paradise which we are talking of every day of our lives? This is almost incomprehensible. It has induced many daring critics to believe that Genesis was not written till a very late period.

The Jews never took this orchard or plantation of trees—this garden, whether of plants or fowers-for heaven.

St. Luke is the first who uses the word 'paradise'as signifying heaven, when Jesus Christ says to the good thief- *«. This day thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

The ancients gave the name of heaven' to the clouds. That name would not have been exactly appropriate, as the clouds actually touch the earth by the vapours of which they are formed, and as heaven is a vague word signifying an immense space in which exist innumerable suns, planets, and comets, which has certainly but little resemblance to an orchard.

St. Thomas says, that there are three paradises--the terrestrial, the celestial, and the spiritual. I do not, I acknowledge, perfectly understand the difference between the spiritual and celestial. The spiritual orchard is, according to him, the beatific vision. But it is

precisely that which constitutes the celestial paradise, it is the enjoyment of God himself. I do not presume to dispute against the angel of the schools. I merely say-Happy must he be who always resides in one of these three paradises!

Some curious critics have thought, that the paradise of the Hesperides, guarded by a dragon, was an imitation of the garden of Eden, kept by a winged ox or a cherub. Others, more rash, have ventured to assert that the ox was a bad copy of the dragon, and that the Jews were always gross plagiaries; but this will be admitted to be blasphemy, and that idea is insupportable.

Why has the name of paradise been applied to the square courts in the front of a church?

Why has the third row of boxes at the theatre or opera house been called "paradise ?': Is it because, as these places are less dear than others, it was thought * Luke xxiii. 43.

+ First Part, question cii. A similar equivoque to that which in England tenants the galleries with gods.'-T.

they were intended for the poor, and because it is pretended that in the other paradise there are far more poor persons than rich? Is it because these boxes are so high, that they have obtained a name which also signifies heaven?' There is however some difference between ascending to heaven, and ascending to the third row of boxes.

What would a stranger think on his arrival at Paris, when asked-Are you inclined to go to paradise to see Pourceaugnac?

What incongruities and equivoques are to be found in all languages! How strongly is human weakness manifested in every object that is presented around us!

See the article Paradise in the great Encyclopædia. It is certainly better than this.

We conclude with the abbé de St. Pierre's favourite sentiment,—" Paradise to the beneficent."

PARLIAMENT OF FRANCE.

From Philip le Bel to Charles VII. PARLIAMENT comes, no doubt, from parler;' and it is pretended that parler comes from the Celtic word paler, of which the Catalonians and the Spaniards made palabra.' Others assure us that it is from ‘parabola,' and that of the word 'parabole' is made parliament. This is doubtless very useful erudition.

There is some appearance of more serious doctrine in those who tell you, that we are not able to discover monuments in which the barbarous word 'parlamentum' was found, until towards the time of the first crusades.

We can answer: The term parlamentum was then used to signify assemblies of the nation. Therefore, it was in use long before. A new term is never invented for ordinary things.

Philip III., in his charter of this establishment at Paris, speaks of ancient parliaments. We have sessions of judiciary parliament since 1254; and one proof

that the general word 'parlement' was often made use of in designating assemblies of the nation is, that as soon as we wrote in the French language, we gave this name to these assemblies; and the English, who took all their customs from us, called their assembly of peers a parliament.

This word, the source of so many equivoques, was applied to several other bodies; to the municipal officers of towns, to monks and schools-another proof of an ancient custom.

We will not here repeat how king Philip le Bel, who destroyed and formed so many things, formed a chamber of parliament at Paris to judge, in the capital, great law-suits which were formerly carried wherever the court assembled; how this chamber, which sat but twice a year, was pensioned by the king at five sous a day for each counsellor or judge. This chamber was necessarily composed of temporary members, since all had other employments; so that he who was a judge at Paris at All-hallows, commanded troops at Whitsuntide.

We will not repeat how this chamber for a long time judged no criminal process; how the clerks or graduates--commissioners established to report the causes to the lords judges and not to give their voices—were soon put in the places of these judges of the sword, who seldom knew how to read or write.

We know by what astonishing and melancholy fatality the first criminal process, judged by these new graduate judges, was that of Charles VII. their king, then dauphin of France; that they declared, without naming him, that he had forfeited his right to the crown; and how some days after, these same judges, overcome by the prevailing English party, condemned the dauphin, the descendant of St. Louis, to perpetual banishment on the 3rd of January, 1420; a sentence as incompetent as infamous—an eternal monument of the opprobrium and desolation in which France was plunged, and which the president Hénault has vainly endeavoured to palliate in his Abridgment, a work as estimable as useful. But everything wanders from its sphere in times of

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