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Rovigo, Foi, Rapp, Dumas, Montholon, De Rocca, &c. &c.—these are the historiographers of modern France, and well worth Racine, and all the other bland and laudatory chroniclers of church and state, who wrote under the surveillance of the Maintenons, the Montespans, and their complaisant ministers, or influential valets and femmes de chambre.
MANY suppose that the practice of infant baptism is derived from a Hebrew rile; but the oriental christians, by whom baptism was first adopted, confined that ceremony to adults. It seems probable that the modern usage was introduced into the western church, in imitation of the lustration of the Romans; a ceremony performed, according to Macrobius, on the ninth day after birth with males, and on the eighth with females.*
LOGIC OF FINE WRITERS.
“ Chateaubriand, speaking of the variety and extent of modern discoveries, observes “ Le Génie de l'homme est véritablement trop grand pour sa petite habitation ; il faut en conclure qu'il est destiné à une plus haute demeure."*
Voyage en Italie et en Amérique.
This is a good specimen of the logic of “ fine writing,"
,” “plenty of eloquence, and little wisdom.” What a sweeping conclusion from one little word (trop)! Man is too great for this world, and therefore he belongs to another ! Never was an oratorical exaggeration worse applied. Amidst all the magnificent results of human ingenuity, which have thus powerfully excited the susceptible imagination of the French academician, want, and disease, and ignorance, are still the especial characteristics of the species. No where are the essentials of good government generally understood; still less so the art of maintaining public liberty, when once ac
• “ The genius of man is too great for his little habitation ; we must, then, conclude that he is destined to a more elevated existence."
quired. No where is morality independent of the executioner,—no where is life maintained by the great bulk of the community at a less expence, than that of constant unremitting labour. Look at that half-starved moving mass of rags, by courtesy called an Irish peasant; reflect upon his helpless incapacity, his physical destitution, his moral annihilation! Yet is he the subject of an empire, in which all the powers of the species are carried to the highest point of development, to which man has ever reached. Might we not equally conclude, from this spectacle, that the human animal is so ill adapted to his mundane existence, that he must be intended for another ? Stripped of all exaggeration, the adaptation of our intellectual powers to our necessities, though exceedingly imperfect, is still abundantly sufficient to carry conviction, that the earth is the sojourn of man's especial destiny: whether, with Chateaubriand, we are to jump to a conclusion, and say, “therefore he is destined to no other," I leave to the consideration of those who have no better argument for determining their faith.
“ Donner à l'oubli le passé,
Le présent à l'indifférence,
L'avenir à la Providence."
WHAT excellent advice, if it were in every one's power to adopt it : but the colour of a man's phi. losophy is, after all, no more at his own disposal, than the colour of his eyebrows. Both depend upon the same cause, the temperament of the subject. The stoics and the epicureans have been thought to differ only in words; and, as far as mere reason is concerned, an accurate definition would force agreement between them. But till the stoic can be cured of his bile, and his habitually uneasy sensations, or the constitutional indolence of the epicurean can be broken down by disease and misfortunes, a real unity of sentiment is impossible. There is nothing, concerning which a man is more positive than his own sensations : and these determine the point of view from which every one regards the nature of things. The same landscape is before us all : but we see it through Claude Lorraine glasses-one man couleur de rose, another du plus beau noir : and then we fall to quarrel, like the knights, concerning the gold and silver shield! It is nearly the same thing with religion.
*“Give the past to oblivion, the present to indifference; and, to live exempt from all care, leave the future to Providence.”