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power communicated to devils, the predilection entertained by the Supreme Being for the Jewish people, and the ceremony of baptism substituted for that of circumcision, are answers that clear up every difficulty: We have been here arguing only against Zoroaster, and not against the university of Coimbra, to whose de. cisions and doctrines, in all the articles of our work, we submit with all possible deference and faith.
See the Letters of Memmius to Cicero; and answer them if you can.
WHOEVER holds both the sceptre and the censer has his hands completely occupied. If he governs a people possessed of common sense he may be considered as a very able man; but if his subjects have no more mind than children or savages, he may be compared to Bernier's coachman, who was one day suddenly surprised by his master in one of the public places of Delhi, haranguing the populace, and distributing among them his quack medicines. “What! Lapierre, says Bernier to him, “ have you turned physician?"
Yes, sir," replied the coachman; “like people, like doctor."
The dairo of the Japanese, or the grand lama of Thibet, might make just the same remark. Even Numa Pompilius, with his Egeria, would have answered Bernier in the same manner. Melchisedec was probably in a similar situation, as well as the Anius whom Virgil introduces in the following two lines of the third book of his Æneid :
Rex Anius, rex idem hominum Phobique sacerdos,
* Verses 80, 81.
Melchisedec and Yvetot, was one of the least considerable in the world; but the worship of Apollo had conferred on it a high reputation; a single saint is enough to raise any country into credit and consequence.
Three of the German electors are more powerful than Anius, and like him unite the rights of the mitre with those of the crown; although in subordination, at least apparently so, to the Roman emperor, who is no other than the emperor of Germany. But of all the countries in which the plenitude of ecclesiastical, and the plenitude of royal claims, combine to form the most full and complete power that can be imagined, modern Rome is the chief.
The pope is regarded in the catholic part of Europe as the first of kings and the first of priests. It was the same in what was called pagan' Rome; Julius Cæsar was at once chief pontiff, dictator, warrior, and con. queror; distinguished also both for eloquence and gallantry; in every respect the first of mankind; and with whom no modern, except in a dedication, could ever be compared.
The king of England, being the head also of the church, possesses nearly the same dignities as the pope.
The empress of Russia is likewise absolute mistress over her clergy, in the largest empire existing upon earth. The notion that two powers may exist, in opposition to each other, in the same state, is there regarded even by the clergy themselves as a chimera equally absurd and pernicious..
In this connection I cannot help introducing a letter which the empress of Russia, Catherine II., did me the honour to write to me at Mount Krapak, on the 22d of August 1765, and which she permitted me to make use of as I might see occasion..
“ The capuchins who are tolerated at Moscow (for toleration is general throughout the Russian empire, and the jesuits alone are not suffered to remain in it),
The jesuits have been tolerated there since they were abo: lished by the pope; as they can now be no longer dangerous.-French Ed. Query:-T..
having, in the course of the last winter, obstinately refused to inter a Frenchman who died suddenly, under a pretence that he had not received the sacraments, Abraham Chaumeix drew up a factum, or statement against them, in order to prove to them that it was obligatory upon them to bury the dead. But neither this factum, nor two requisitions of the governor, could prevail upon these fathers to obey. At last they were authoritatively told that they must either bury the Frenchman, or remove beyond the frontiers. They actually removed accordingly; and I sent some Augustins from this place, who were somewhat more tractable, and who perceiving that no trifling or delay would be permitted, did all that was desired on the occasion. Thus Abraham Chaumeix has in Russia become a reasonable man; he absolutely is an enemy to persecution: were he also to become a man of wit and intellect, he would make the most incredulous believe in miracles; but all the miracles in the world will not blot out the disgrace of having been the denouncer of the Encyclopedia. . .
“ The subjects of the church, having suffered many, and frequently tyrannical, grievances, which the frequent change of masters very considerably increased, towards the end of the reign of the empress Elizabeth rose in actual rebellion; and at my accession to the throne, there were more than an hundred thousand men
This occasioned me, in 1762, to execute the project of changing entirely the administration of the property of the clergy, and to settle upon them fixed revenues. Arsenius, bishop of Rostow, strenuously opposed this, urged on by some of his brother clergy, who did not feel it perfectly convenient to put themselves forward by name. He sent in two memorials, in which he attempted to establish the absurd principle of two powers. He had made the like attempt before, in the time of the empress Elizabeth, when he had been simply enjoined silence; but his insolence and folly redoubling, he was now tried by the metropolitan of Novogorod and the whole synod, condemned as a fanatic, found guilty of attempts contrary to the orthodox faith as well as to the supreme power, deprived of his dignity
and priesthood, and delivered over to the secular arm. I acted leniently towards him; and after reducing him to the situation of a monk, extended his punishment no farther.”
Such are the very words of the empress; and the inference from the whole case is, that she well knows both how to support the church and how to restrain it; that she respects humanity as well as religion ; that she protects the labourer as well as the priest; and that all orders in the state ought both to admire and to bless her.
I shall hope to be excused for the farther indiscretion of transcribing here a passage contained in another of her letters, written on the twenty-eighth of November, in 1765.
“ Toleration is established among us; it constitutes a law of the state: persecution is prohibited. We have indeed fanatics who, as they are not persecuted by others, burn themselves ; but if those of other countries also did the same, no great harm could result; the world, in consequence of such a system, would have been more tranquil, and Calas would not have been racked to death."
Do not imagine that she writes in this style from a feeling of transient and vain enthusiasm, contradicted afterwards in her practice, nor even from a laudable desire of obtaining throughout Europe the suffrages and applause of those who think, and teach others the way to think. She lays down these principles as the basis of her government. She wrote with her own hand, in the Council of Legislations, the following words, which should be engraved on the gates of every city in the world.
“In a great empire, extending its sway over as many different nations as there are different creeds among mankind, the most pernicious fault would be intolerance.”
It is to be observed, that she does not hesitate to put intolerance in the rank of faults—I had nearly said offences. Thus does an absolute empress, in the depths of the north, put an end to persecution and slavery ;-while in the south.
* Judge for yourself, sir, after this, whether there will be found a man in Europe who will not be ready to sign the eulogium you propose. Not only is this princess tolerant, but she is desirous that her neighbours should be so likewise. This is the first instance in which supreme power has been exercised in establishing liberty of conscience. It constitutes the grandest epoch with which I am acquainted in modern history.
The case of the ancient Persians forbidding the Carthaginians to offer human sacrifices, is a somewhat similar instance.
Would to God, that instead of the barbarians who formerly poured from the plains of Scythia, and the mountains of Imaus and Caucasus, towards the Alps and Pyrennees, carrying with them ravage and desolation, armies might be seen at the present day descending to subvert the tribunal of the inquisition--a tribunal more horrible than even the sacrifices of human beings which constitute the eternal reproach of our forefathers.
In short, this superior genius wishes to convince her neighbours of what Europe is now beginning to compretend, that metaphysical unintelligible opinions, which are the daughters of absurdity, are the mothers of discord; and that the church, instead saying-I come to bring, not peace, but the sword-should exclaim aloud, I bring peace, and not the sword. Accordingly, the empress is unwilling to draw the sword against any but those who wish to crush the dissidents.
Conversation between the reverend Father Bouvet, Mis.
sionary of the Company of Jesus, and the Emperor Camhi, in the presence of Brother Attiret, a Jesuit ; extracted from the Private Memoirs of the Mission, ina 1772.
FATHER BOUVET.. Yes, may it please your sacred majesty, as soon as you will have had the happiness of being baptised by
* This is a part of a letter from a citizen of Mount Krapacs which contains the extract from the empress? letter.