ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Theot. The Greek church is very affiduous in encouraging her clergy to marry; the church of England and other Proteftant churches have followed the same wise principle. But the church of Rome has adopted a different policy, and I must fubmit. Possiblv, in these days, when the spirit of philosophy has made so considerable a progress, some future council may make laws more favourable to humanity. In the mean time, however, it is necessary that I should conform to the laws in being; the sacrifice is great, I own, but as so many people of fuperior merit submit, I ought not to murmur. · Arif. You speak like a man of sense. Pray what kind of fermons do you propose to give your country congregation ?

Theot. The same that I would preach before kings; always moral, never controversial. Heaven preserve me from diving into the mysteries of grace concomitant, grace effectual but refiftible, and grace sufficient which fufficeth not ;~from exa. mining whether the angels that eat with Abraham and Lot had real bodies, or only seemed to eat. A thousand things there are of this kind, which neither my people would understand, nor yet their pastor. I fall endeavour to make both them and their minister honeft men, but I Mall, by no means, be ambia tious of making them theologians, and I shall be as little as posible in that character myself.

Arift. O worthy rector ! I will purchase a country. house in your parish. But tell me, pray, what use will you make of confeffion?

Tbeot. Confession is an excellent thing: a restraint upon vice, which had its origin in the remoteit antiquity. It was used in the celebration of all the ancient mysteries. We have adopted and fanétified that sage custom. Nothing more effectual to induce those hearts that are eaten up with the rancour of malice to reconciliation, or to make petty thieves restore what they have stolen from their neighbour. It has some inconveniences. There are many indiscreet confessors, particuJarly among the monks, who sometimes teach more follies to the girls than all the boys of the village would make them guilty of. I would have no details in confeffion. It is not a judicial examination. It is an acknowledgment of those offences which one finner commits against the Supreme Being, to another, who is to make the same acknowledgment in his turn. It is a falutary acknowledgment, not calculated to gra. tify the curiosity of man.

Aril. Then, with regard to excommunications, what will

Theot. Nothing. There are rituals for excommunicaring grashoppers, conjurers and comedians. While the grafhop

Theo in that cale ith regard to

[ocr errors]

nu

preierea

[ocr errors]

cope mer! Of con : 10 makt Preve

by no mean the uri D / A23 poor wr

Voltaire's Questions sur L'Encyclopédie. 657 Eac248 pers come not into my church, I shall lay no interdict upon came them them. I shall not excommunicate conjurers, because there are

mi no conjurers; and as to the players, as they are pensioned by on the images the king, and authorized by the magiftrate, I shall beware of [meist hurting their characters. I will own to you, as a friend, that nity. I have a taste for a play, if there is nothing in it offensive to d contorno decency or good manners. I am passionately fond of the po ashe Misanthrope, and of all the moral tragedies. The Lord of mit the manor has some of these pieces performed in his house by Gole Pirgo young people who have a theatrical turn. These exhibitions

convey the principles of virtue through a vehicle of pleasure. home They teach the art of speaking and pronouncing well. I see

nothing but whap is both innocent and useful in all this: I sometiines go for my own initruction ; but am behind the

fcenes, that I may not offend weak minds. . Arifi. The more I learn of your sentiments, the more de

i sirous I am of becoming your parishioner; but there is one point ", of consequence, which embarraffes me. What will you do to

prevent the peasants from getting drunk on holidays ? That is the usual way in which they celebrate them. You see the poor wretches half dead with swallowing a liquid poison, their heads hanging down to their knees, their hands danglins, un.

able either to fee or hear, reduced to a condition far beneath ciale 20 that of brutes, led reeling home by their weeping wives, inca

pable of working the next day, often fick, and belotted for the

rest of their lives. Others you fee absolutely francic in their hing: 2 cups, fall into bloody frays, and close in murder those scenes notch that are the disgrace of human reason. It is certain, that the

ftate lofes more subjects by holidays than by battles ;-what No will you do to conquer chis execrable abuse in your parish ? ten Up For Theot. My measures are taken. I will suffer, I will even

ke perante sollicit, my people to cultivate their grounds on holidays, after 2003. divine service, which I Ihall begin at an early hour, is over. rect com It is the idleness of holiday-making that leads them to the ale. mes trace house. Days of work are not the days of debauchery and mure e vilz der. Moderate labour contributes equally to the health of the is in engine body and of the mind : this labour is moreover necessary to the imperatorem ftate. Let us suppole five millions of men, who make, one off the day with another, five pence each by their labour, and this is

nesto putting the account on a moderate footing. You make these Dorchids five millions useless thirty days in the year. The state, there.

fore, loses thirty-five millions of ten sous pieces (five pence] ningtones and a year in manual labour. Certainly, neither chis lols, nor

drunkennels, could ever be instituted by God. Geelong Arijt So you would reconcile prayer and labour. Both, 1933 wndoubtedly, were of divine appointment. bus you will

si vle ni thate

[ocr errors]

ferve both God and your neighbour. But in ecclefiaftical di putes, what part will you take ?

Theot. None. Virtue occasions no disputes, because virtu is of God. Opinions create quarrels, because they are of met.

Arist. O WORTHY RECTOR ! WORTHY RECTOR!

We find under the letter D a refutation, or rather a filo denial, of a cenfure which the Bishop of Gloucester has pated on Cicero in one of his prefaces to the Divine Legation. « Warburton has abused Cicero, and ancient Rome, as weil 23 his own contemporaries. He has the assurance to take it to: granted, that Cicero thus expresses himself in bis oration for Flaccus : Majeftatem imperii non decuit ut unus tantum Deus coletar: i. e. It is inconsistent with the dignity of the Roman empire, to worship one God only. Indeed! who could have thought it: Not one syllable like this either in the oration for Flaccus, c: in any other part of Cicero's works! Some grievances were 2. leged against Flaccus in his pretorate of Asia Minor. He wa privately persecuted by the Jews, who then swarmed in Rome: for they had purchased their enfranchisement, at the same time that Pompey, after Craffus, having taken Jerusalem, causei their petty King Alexander, the son of Ariftobulus, to be hanged. 'Flaccus prohibited the currency of gold and filter coin in Jerusalem, because the Jews altered it, and commerce fuffered by it. What was fraudulently conveyed, he afterwards seized. This coin, says Cicero, is still in the treasure, and Flaccus has conducted himself as disinterestedly as Pompey. Cicero, afterwards, in his peculiar ironical way, proceeds thus : 56 Every country has its religion, we have ours. While Jerusaleim was yet free, and the Jews lived in peace, those Jews held in abomination the splendor of the Roman empire, the dignity of the Roman name, and the inftitutions of our ancestors. That nation has now shewn by its arms wha: idea it ought to entertain of the Roman empire; it has thero. by its valour, how dear it is to the Gods!. All this it has proved by being conquered, dispersed, enslaved !” In short, neither Cicero, nor any other Roman writer, ever let fall an expression in the least importing, that to acknowledge one God only was inconsistent with the dignity of the Roman empire. The Roman Jupiter, the Zeus of the Greeks, and the Jebavi of the Phænicians were always considered as the supreme Divinity; and this is a truth which cannot be too generally culti

vated.'

- As Spinosa was of the famous band of the esprits forts, his profefsion of faith may be a curiosity to many of our Readers wbo have not met with it. It is as follows : « Should I conclude from comprizing, under the idea of a God, the infinity of the uni.

Yere,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

verse, that my love, worship, and obedience, may therefore
be dispensed with, I Mould make a very pernicious use of my
reason. For it is evident to me, that the laws I have re-
ceived, not through human negociation or conveyance, but im-
mediately from himself, are those which the light of nature.
gave me, as the true guides of a rational conduct. Should I
tail in my obedience in this respect, I should fin, not only
against the principle of my being, and against the society of my
fellow.creatures, but against myself, by depriving myself of
the greatest advantage of my existence. It is true this obedi.
ence binds me only to ihe duties of my station, and makes me
look upon all the rest as frivolous practices, invented by super-
Itition, or for the emolument of those that inftituted them. :

"With respect to the love of God, far from being weakened
by this idea, I know of nothing more calculated to encourage
and inspire ic. le is the idea of connecting the infinity of the
universe with his being which brings him home to myself,
which makes me perceive his intimacy with my own existence;
that he gave me this existence with all its fáculties, but that
he gave it me freely and disinterestedly, without subjecting me
to any thing but the laws of my own nature. This idea ba'
nishes fear, inquietude, diftruft, and all the weakness of a
vulgar or interested love. It convinces me, that the divine
Being is a blessing which I cannot lose, and which I possess the
more, the more I know and love him.
• There is certainly something very noble in these sentiments,
and were the whole world a society of philosophers, actuated
by the same refined principles, this creed would sufficiently
serve for a system of religion. It is remarkable that these fena
timents on the love of the Supreme Being are precisely the
same with those of the divine Fenelon. How could men of
such opposite principles unite so closely in so effential a point ?

This Writer's remarks on the fabulous nature of ancient history are certainly very just. Herodotus and Diodorus Sicu, Jus were the great fathers of it. Hear his observations on those writers : : When Harry Stephens called his comic Rhapsody an Apology for Herodotus, it is obvious that his aim was not to justify the tales of that writer. He meant only to laugh at us, and to shew that the follies of our own times were worse than those of the Egyptians and Persians. He treats them as a protestant would treat the papists. He reproaches them with their debauchery, their avarice, their crimes expiated with money, their indulgences sold in public houses, the falle relics exhibited by their monks.—He calls them idolaters. He is daring enough to say, that if the Egyptians worshipped, according to the vulgar report, cats and onions, the papists, with equal absurdity, worship dead bones. The latter he calls, in

than thoant would their avar

his

his preliminary discourse, Theophagi, God-eaters,' We have fourteen editions, says Voltaire, of this book, because we are fond of scandal when it is levelled at a community, though we hate it abominably when it is pointed at ourselves. And his observation is very just. • Harry Stephens then, continues he, availed himself of this edition of Herodotus only to render us ridiculous. We have a different view. We propose to thew that the modern histories of our best authors are, in general, as replete with good sense and as true, as those of Diodorus and Herodotus are fabulous and foolish.

• What says the father of history in the beginning of his work? The Persian historians relate that the Phænicians were the authors of all the wars. What then ! did they come from the Red Sea into ours ? &c. It should seem that the Phænicians embarked at the Gulf of Suez; that, when arrived at the Screights of Babel Mandel, they coasted along Ethiopia, pafled the Line, doubled the Cape of Storms, now called the Cape of Good Hope, repassed the Line, entered the Mediterranean at the Sıreights of Gibraltar, which must have been a voyage of more than four thousand leagues, at a time when navigation was but in its infancy.

With respect to Diodorus Siculus, our Author observes, and we agree with him, that his veracity is as little to be depended upon. • One of his most shining scenes is his description of the island of Panchaia, that Panchaica Tellus celebrated by Vir. gil. Here are vistas of trees that breathe everlasting fragrance, a parte de vue, myrrh and incense which a sacrificing world could not exhauft; fountains that divide themselves into numberless canals, whose borders blush with a succesive bloom of flowers ; birds that, unknown in oiher regions, sing beneath the unfading foliage of their fhades ; a temple of pure marble, four thousand feet in length, adorned with columns and cololial statues.

This puts one in mind of the Duke de la Ferté, who, to fatter the humour of the Abbé Servien, raid to him one day, Ah ! my dear Abhé, if you had seen my son, who died at the age of fifteen! What eyes! what a vernal bloom of com. plexion! What a shape! Symmetry itself! The Antinous of Belvidere was a Chinese baboon to him.-And then, what sweet affability of manners! Oh! wherefore was that excel. lent, that beautiful ornament of humanity inatched from me? -The Abbé was affected; the Duke too grew tender under the influence of his own ideas. Both wept, till at last, the noble romancer owned that he never had a long

Dis P U T E. • Men have always disputed, and upon all subjects. Mun. dum tradidit difputationi eorum. Violent have been the quarrels

whether

« 前へ次へ »