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tector of learning, who introduced the study of philosophy, had he not observed the ill effect of that study. It had raised doubts in the minds of men; it had discovered to a great many people the fooleries of the Mahometan sect, and by that means the public worship, piety, and devotion had laboured under a surprising discouragement. Some learned men maintain that the Arabian philosophers professed only Mahometism outwardly, and laughed at the Koran in reality, because they found in it some things contrary to reason. A great many people are not to be beaten out of the notion that Des Cartes and Gassendus believed the real presence in the Eucharist, as little as the fabulous stories of old Greece. It is no less difficult to persuade the world, that the followers of those two great philosophers are good Catholics, and that, if they were allowed to teach publicly their principles, they would not quickly undermine all the foundations of the Romish religion. The Protestants have not a better opinion of Des Cartes' doctrine. Generally speaking, the Cartesians are suspected of irrreligion, and their philosophy is thought to be very dangerous to Christianity; so that, according to the opinion of a great many, the same persons who have removed in our age the darkness which the schoolmen had spread all over Europe, have increased the number of freethinkers, and made way for Atheism, or Scepticism. or the disbelief of the greatest mysteries of Christianity.
But irreligion is not only ascribed to the study of philosophy, but also to philology; for it is pretended that Atheism never began to discover itself in France till the reign of Francis I, and that the first appearance of it in Italy was when philological learning was revived there. “ The less foreign learning we have,” says a Catholic writer, “ the greater submission we express for the Christian faith; and the most learned ages,' says Baronius, ' have often proved the most unbelieving. The Aladinists appeared only under the reign of Almansor, who was the most learned monarch of his age ; and I find no Atheists in France before the reign of Francis I, nor in Italy till after the taking of Constantinople, when Argyropilus, Theodorus Gaza, Georgius Trebizontius, with the most celebrated men of Greece, retired to the dukes of Florence.” It is certain that most of the wits and learned philologers, who shined in Italy when the Belles Lettres began to revive there, after the taking of Constantinople, had but little religion; but on the other hand, the restoration of the learned languages and polite literature made way for the reformation, as the Monks and their adherents clearly foresaw, who continually inveighed against Reuchlin, Erasmus, and the other scourges of ignorance. Thus whilst the Roman Catholics deplore the fatal consequences of the study of good literature, the Protestants have all the reason in the world to praise God for it. They are not so much beholden to the new philosophy, which demonstratively overthrows transubstantiation, and all its dependencies, because the same weapons are made use of against the most essential doctrines. In a word, so unhappy is the fate of man, that the knowledge which frees him from one evil throws him into another. Drive away ignorance and barbarity, and you put an end to superstition, and the foolish credulity of the people, so profitable to their leaders, who afterwards employ their gain only to plunge themselves into idleness and debauchery ; but by putting men in a capacity of discovering such disorders, you raise in them a desire of examining everything, and at last they are so much for enquiring and scanning, that they find nothing that will satisfy their miserable reason.
However it be, I have heard some wise men say, that the too common affectation of charging the Philosophers with impiety is very imprudent; for how
great a scandal would it be for ignorant people, if they took the pains to consider it with due attention, to find that, according to the opinion of a great many divines, there is but little religion among great philosophers; that devotion is chiefly to be found
among the vulgar, and that those who have most carefully examined the marks of the divine authority of the holy scripture, are commonly less pious and devout than others. It were much more edifying to teach, with Plutarch, that philosophy is a remedy for impiety and superstition; and with Origen, that no man can be truly pious without philosophy. “ Omnino nec pium erga communem omnium Dominum esse absque philosophia quemquam censebat.” The mixture of good and evil that is to be found in all human things, appears on this occasion in a particular manner. The Arabian philosophers came to know by their philosophy that the Koran was a false revelation; but, on the contrary, many Jews forsook their religion, and embraced the Pagan philosophy, which discovered to them, as they pretended, that Moses had prescribed them needless laws. Thus the same principle, which is sometimes serviceable against error, is sometimes prejudicial to truth.—Art. TAKIDDIN.
PIOUS CREDULITY. An old man had been made to believe that Junius, the heretical preacher, had cloven feet, and he was not undeceived till he had viewed him from head to foot. It was in the presence of a great company, who were met in hopes of hearing a dispute between Junius and a Franciscan. The place and hour for the conference were appointed, but the Friar went back, under pretence of having forgotten something. I have a hundred times heard such kind of stories, but never saw them before supported by a printed and authentic testimony, which makes me set it down in Junius's own words : “ What I am going to relate is ridicu
lous, but it is an instance of the folly and lying impudence of these persons. When we were in the field, expecting the coming of that Franciscan, a certain old man, breaking through the crowd, clemanded to see me. Hearing a noise, I asked what was the matter, and finding that one desired to see me, I desired they would make way for him. Then he, casting his eyes downward, and surveying me from head to foot, broke out into these words : now I am convinced it is not true what was told me of you.' Upon asking him what that was, he answered, he had been told that I had cloven feet.'”-Art. JUNIUS.
PIOUS FRAUD, I shall make a remark on the pious fraud which was published concerning the foundation of the convent of St Sulpice.
The ancient manuscript chronicle of Savoy imports that Amé, the second of the name, first earl of Savoy, and lord of Bugey, made a vow to found an abbey in his estates, in order to obtain issue, after which he had a son called Humbert, who falling sick, and being in danger of dying before the accomplishment of the vow, his father built and founded the abbey of St Sulpice, in Bugey, at the persuasion of the countess of Savoy, his wife.” The words of the chronicle are these.
“ It happened one night that the countess, as she lay in bed, sighed several times ; the earl enquired the reason of it. "Sir,' said she, “I fear the loss of our son Humbert.' Why so ? replied he: ‘because, said the lady, 'you have made a vow to our Lord to found an abbey, in case God grant us issue, and you have forgotten to perform it, and seem not to care for it.' Then the earl replied, “ doubt not but I shall shortly accomplish it, God willing.' Then he sought for a proper place, and finding it, he built a tine abbey on a mountain, situated in Bugey, under the
name of the confessor St Sulpice, which he properly endowed, and established an abbot and monks to praise God for the issue he had granted him.” Paradin, in his history of Savoy, confirms this, and adds, " that when the abbey was finished, and the vow accomplished, the young prince of Savoy recovered ;" placing the time of this foundation before the year 1118. Guichenon refutes all this very solidly. He says, “ that he found in the archives of St Sulpice, that in the year 1130, fifteen monks of the order of Citeaux, and one Bernard, by permission of Hugh, abbot of Pontigni, with a design of doing penance there, and leading an austere life; and that Amé, the first earl of Savoy, who was preparing to go to the holy land, in order to engage their stay, granted them letters and privileges.” As to the occasion of the foundation, it is certain that the historians of Savoy are mistaken in publishing “ that it was after the birth of the young earl Humbert, son of the said Amé," for the grants of earl Amé import the direct contrary, the first of which, dated at Yenne, in the presence
of Pontius, bishop of Bellay, and Humbert, bishop of Geneva, has these words : “ Be it known to all, who shall read or hear these presents, that I bestowed this gift at the time when I entertained the brotherhood in the mountains, that is, before I had a child by my wife;" and the second : “ Be it known to all strangers as well as natives, that this grant was made before my wife Matilda had brought me any children.”
I cannot persuade myself that chance, or ignorance produced the falsehood which Guichenon has refuted. It is rather the effect of the artifice of the ecclesiastics. They bring water to their mill whatever way they can, and, to encourage the great to build monasteries, or give pious donations, they forge instances of fruitfulness, or recovery, or some other temporal advantage, which they ascribe to a liberal piety.