Immagini della pagina

The Question then may return, Could God, according to the idea we have of his attributes, give á less perfect Religion, in order to facilitate the reception of one more perfect? The question may return, I say, but in order to be sent back for its confutation, to the answer already bestowed upon it, in the examination of M. Voltaire's Objections.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


P. 10. [A] may not be improper, on this occasion, to

present the Reader with an extract from a Letter of the late President MONTESQUIEU to the Author, who had given him some account of Lord Bolingbroke's Posthumous Works, just then on the point of publication-.“ J'ay lu quelques ouvrages de

My Lord Bolingbroke-Or, Monsieur, dans cet

ouvrage posthume, dont vous me donnes une “ idée, il me semble qu'il vous prepare une matiere “ continuelle de triomphe. Celui qui attaque la

Religion revelée n'attaque que la Religion revelée; “ mais celui qui attaque la Religion naturelle attaque

toutes les Religions du monde. Si l'on enseigne aux hommes qu'ils n'ont pas ce frein ci, ils peuvent

penser qu'ils en ont un autre : Mais il est bien “ plus pernicieux de leur enseigner qu'ils n'en ont “ pas du tout. Il n'est pas impossible d'attaquer une

Religion revelée, parce qu'elle existe par des faits particuliers, et que les faits, par leur nature, peuvent être une matiere de dispute : mais il n'en


A A 2


“ est pas de même de la Religion naturelle; elle est “ tirée de la nature de l'homme, dont on ne peut

pas disputer, et du sentiment intericur de l'homme, “ dont on ne peut pas disputer encore. J'ajoute à “ ceci, Quel peut être le motif d'attaquer la Reli

gion reveléc en Angleterre? on l'y a tellement,

purgé de tout prejugé destructeur qu'elle n'y peut “ faire de mal, et qu'elle y peut faire, au contraire,

une infinité de biens. Je sais, qu’un homme en Espagne ou en Portugal que l'on va bruler, ou

qui craint d'être brulé, parce qu'il ne croit point " de certains articles dependans ou non de la Re

ligion revelée, a une juste sujet de l'attaquer, parce qu'il peut avoir quelque esperance de pourvoir à sa defence naturelle : Mais il n'en est pas de même en Angleterre, où tout homme qui

attaque la Religion revelée l'attaque sans interest, “ et où cet homme quand il reussiroit, quand même “ il auroit raison dans le fond, ne feroit que

detruire une infinité de biens pratiques pour établir une “ verité purement speculative. J'ay eté ravi, &c.

* A Paris, ce 26 May, 1754.” MONTESQUIEU."

P. 10. [B] Strabo's words are--Kai pótes, rs απειλας, ή δια λόγων, ή δια τύπων αώρων, « Fears and threatenings either by words or dreadful forms." Casaubon, who corrected the last word very justly, has given us no explanation of the allusion in this obscure sentence. I am persuaded, the author had in his mind the dreadful words spoken, and the


representations exhibited in the Mysteries, for the very purpose the author here mentions : so engina's refers to λόγων, and φόβες tο τύπων αώρων. The reader, who remembers what has been said in the section of the Mysteries, in the foregoing book, concerning this matter, will be inclined to believe this to be the true explanation.

P. 17. [C] And, without doubt, this was amongst the reasons for his declining, throughout the whole course of his life, the study and the teaching of physics, or natural philosophy, which had a direct tendency to shake and overturn one half of the national religion, namely the worship of, what were called, the celestial Gods, or Host of Heaven.

P. 18. [D] We have, indeed, been told, that, to his Cock he might have added a Bull; for that the Philosopher was now in a delirium, occasioned by the cicuta, to which, Scribonius Largus attributes this effect. But I apprehend, the eminent persons who then attended the last moments of the expiring Philosopher (and must have been well apprised of the nature of a draught, whose legal application to criminals of state had made its effects familiar to every one) would have been the first to observe this symptom, if, indeed, the drug had any such property. Whereas they speak of Socrates as perfectly in his senses when he made this request; and I think They are rather to be relied on who, understood what related both to the sacrifice and the drug, than They who know so little of either; especially as we find this rite was exactly suitable to the foregoing declaration of CONFORMITY, in his defence before his judges.

A A 3


P.21. [E] Duplex enim erat doctrinæ genus apud antiquas gentes, dopwdo5 wij a'róppalov, doctrina vulgaris & doctrina arcana : idque non tantum ob diversitatem materiæ, sed eandem sæpe materiam duplici modo tractabant, populari & philosophica. Archæol. Phil. 1. i.c. 8. ---See this matter explained at large by the very learned author of the Critical Inquiry into the Opinions and Practice of the ancient Philosophers, &c. 2d edit. chap. xi. xii. & xiii.

P. 21. [F] “ The author of the philosophical

piece commonly ascribed to Origen, says, That " he sometimes complied with the popular opinion,

and declared that the universe would be one day « destroyed. Και Παρμενίδης εν μέν το σαν υποτίθεθαι, “ ΑΓΔΙOΝΤΕ, και εγέννητον, και σφαιροειδές έδ' αυτός

ΕΚΦΕΥΓΩΝ ΤΗΝ ΤΩΝ πολλών ΔΟΞΑΝ, σύρ λεγαν και γην ΤΑΣ ΤΟΥ ΠΑΝΤΟΣ ΑΡΧΑΣ, την

main gör, as SARIE so di sus, a's aitiov, xai Jouër * ΤΟΝ ΚΟΣΜΟΝ ΕΙΙΙΕ ΦΘΕΙΡΕΣΘΑΙ. It appears " too tium this pussage that he spoke popularly, * watu he said that the world was made, or had * a lvyimning; and that this doctrine was merely "mis may be sta tow frun the following

* words

« IndietroContinua »