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will not enlighten the mob; but the principal citizens will restrain it. Formerly, there was not perhaps a single religious tumult, not a single violence, in which the townspeople did not take part, because these townspeople were then part of the mob; but reason and time have changed them. Their ameliorated manners will improve those of the lowest and most ferocious of the populace; of which, in more countries than one, we have striking examples. In short, the fewer superstitions, the less fanaticism; and the less fanaticism, the fewer calamities.
SYMBOL, OR CREDO. WE resemble not the celebrated comedian mademoiselle Duclos, to whom somebody said—“ I would lay a wager, mademoiselle, that you do not know your credo?”—“ What!" said she,“ not know my credo? I will repeat it to you. Pater noster qui ... Help me, I remember no more.” For myself, I repeat my
pater and credo' every morning. I am not like Broussin, of whom Reminiac said, that although he could distinguish a sauce almost in his infancy, he could never be taught his creed or paternoster:
Broussin, dès l'age le plus tendre,
Posséda la sauce Robert,
Ni son credo, ni son pater. Symbol, or collation, comes from the word 'symbolein,' and the Latin church adopts this word because it has taken everything from the Greek church. Even slightly learned theologians know that the symbol, which we call apostolical, is not that of all the apostles.
Symbol, among the Greeks, signified the words and signs by which those initiated into the mysteries of Ceres, Cybele, and Mythra, recognised one another; *
Arnobius, book v. Symbola quæ rogata sacrorum, &c. See also Clement of Alexandria, in sermon, or Cohortatio ad Gentes.
and christians in time had their symbol. If it had existed in the time of the apostles, we think that St. Luke would have spoken of it.
A history of the symbol is attributed to St. Augustin in his sermon one hundred and fifteenth; he is made to say, that Peter commenced the symbol by saying,—“I believe in God, the father almighty;" John added," Maker of heaven and earth;" James proceeded,—“ I believe in Jesus Christ, his son, our Lord," and so on with the rest. This fable has been expunged from the last edition of Augustin; and I relate it to the reverend father Benedictines, in order to know whether this little curious article ought to be left out or not.
The fact is, that no person heard speak of this 'creed' for more than four hundred years. People also say, that Paris was not made in a day, and people are often right in their proverbs. The apostles had our symbol in their hearts, but they put it not into writing. One was formed in the time of St. Irenæus, which does not at all resemble that which we repeat. Our symbol, such as it is at present, is of the fifth century, which is posterior to that of Nice. The passage
which says, that Jesus descended into hell, and that which speaks of the communion of saints, are not found in any of the symbols which preceded ours; and indeed, neither the gospels, nor the Acts of the Apostles, say that Jesus descended into hell; but it was an established opinion, from the third century, that Jesus descended into the Hades, or Tartarus, words which we translate by that of hell. Hell, in this sense, is not the Hebrew wordscheol,' which signifies' under ground,'' the pit;' for which reason St. Athanasius has since taught us how our Saviour descended into hell. His humanity, says he, was not entirely in the tomb, nor entirely in hell. It was in the sepulchre, according to the body, and in hell, according to the soul.
St. Thomas affirms, that the saints who arose at the death of Jesus Christ, died again rise afterwards with him, which is the most general sentiment. All
these opinions are absolutely foreign to morality. We must be good men, whether the saints were raised once or twice. Our symbol has been formed, I confess, recently, but virtue is from all eternity.
If it is permitted to quote moderns on so grave a matter, I will here repeat the creed of the abbé de St. Pierre, as it was written with his own hand, in his book on the purity of religion, which has not been printed, but which I have copied faithfully:
“ I believe in one God alone, and I love him. I believe that he enlightens all souls coming into the world; thus says St. John. By that, I understand all souls which seek him with good faith.
“ I believe in one God alone, because there can be but one soul of the great all, a single vivifying being, a sole creator.
“I believe in God, the father almighty; because he is the common father of nature, and of all men, who are equally his children. I believe, that he who has caused all to be born equally, who arranges the springs of our life in the same manner, who has given them the same moral principles, as soon as they reflect, has made no difference between his children but that of crime and virtue.
“I believe, that the just and righteous Chinese is more precious to him than a cavilling and arrogant European scholar.
“ I believe, that God being our common father, we are bound to regard all men as our brothers.
“ I believe, that the persecutor is abominable, and that he follows immediately after the poisoner and parricide.
“ I believe, that theological disputes are at once the most ridiculous farce, and the most dreadful scourge of the earth, immediately after war, pestilence, famine, and leprosy.
“ I believe, that ecclesiastics should be paid, and well paid, as servants of the public, moral teachers, keepers of registers of births and deaths; but there should be given to them neither the riches of farmersgeneral, nor the rank of princes; because both cor
rupt the soul, and nothing is more revolting than to see men so rich and so proud preach humility through their clerks, who have only an hundred crowns wages.
“ I believe, that all priests who serve a parish should be married, as in the Greek church ; not only to have an honest woman to take care of their household, but to be better citizens, to give good subjects to the state, and to have plenty of well-bred children.
“ I believe, that several monks must absolutely be given up to society, and that it is serving the country and themselves. It is said, that there are men whom Circe has changed into hogs, whom the wise Ulysses must restore to the human form.
“ Paradise to the beneficent!” We repeat this symbol of the abbé St. Pierre historically, without approving of it. We regard it merely as a curious singularity, and we hold with the most respectful faith to the true symbol of the church.
SYSTEM. We understand by system a supposition; for if a system can be proved, it is no longer a system, but a truth. In the mean time, led by habit, we say the celestial system, although we understand by it the real position of the stars.
I once thought that Pythagoras had learned the true celestial system from the Chaldeans; but I think so no longer. In proportion as I grow older, I doubt of all things.
Notwithstanding that Newton, Gregory, and Keil, honour Pythagoras and the Chaldeans with a knowledge of the system of Copernicus, and that latterly M. Monnier is of their opinion, I have the impudence to think otherwise.*
* If we may venture to give an opinion on this subject, we are disposed to say, that neither the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, nor the Indians, were ever acquaivted with the true system of the world, but that Pythagoras did know this system, because he founded it upon the observations of the Orientals, at that time much more ancient
One of my reasons is, that if the Chaldeans had been so well informed, so fine and important a discovery would not have been lost, but would have been handed down from age to age like the admirable discoveries of Archimedes.
Another reason is, that it was necessary to be more widely informed than the Chaldeans, in order to be able to contradict the apparent testimony of the senses in regard to the celestial appearances; that it required not only the most refined experimental observation, but the most profound mathematical science; as also the indispensable aid of telescopes, without which it is impossible to discover the phases of Venus, which prove her course round the sun, or to discover the spots in the sun, which demonstrate his motion round his own almost immoveable axis.
Another reason, not less strong, is, that of all those who have attributed this discovery to Pythagoras, no one can positively say how he treated it.
Diogenes Laertius, who lived about nine hundred years after Pythagoras, teaches us, that according to this grand philosopher, the number one was the first principle, and that from two sprang all numbers; that body has four elements---fire, water, air, and earth; that light and darkness, cold and heat, wet and dry, are equally distributed; that we must not eat beans ; that the soul is divided into three parts; that Pythagoras had formerly been Atalides, then Euphorbus, afterwards Hermotimus; and finally, that this great man studied magic very profoundly. Diogenes says
and complete than those of Greece. These might suffice to furnish a clear notion of the apparent laws of motion to a man of genius like Pythagoras. His system was rejected by the Greeks, because it so much opposed their general notions on the subject, and because Pythagoras could not supply the necessary demonstration; but the Greeks have retained a vague idea of this system, which they have handed down to us. The book of Eusebius of Cæsarea swarms with gross errors in regard to the astronomy and physics of the ancients; but it is valuable, because these errors themselves preserve the truths which they disgrace. The same obser, vation applies to Plutarch, a much better writer than Eusebius of Cæsarea. - French Ed.