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delightfully. They know not that, under all, there! is not a more cruel nation than the French.* The Russians were considered barbarians in 1700; we are not so until 1769; an empress comes to this great state to give laws which would do honour to Minos, Numa, or Solon, if they had had spirit enough to have invented them. The most remarkable is universal tolerance; the second is the abolition of torture. Justice and humanity have guided her pen; she has reformed all. Woe to a nation which, being more civilized, is still led by ancient atrocious customs! Why should we change our jurisprudence ? say we. Europe is indebted to us for cooks, tailors, and wig-makers; therefore our laws are good.t
PROTESTANTS, and above all, philosophical Protestants, regard transubstantiation as the most signal proof of extreme impudence in monks, and of imbecility in laymen. "They hold no terms with this belief, which they call monstrous, and assert, that it is impossible for a man of good sense even to have believed in it. It is, say they, so absurd, so contrary to every physical law, and so contradictory, it would be a sort of annihilation of God to suppose him capable of such inconsistency. Not only a god in a wafer, but a god in the place of a wafer; a thousand crumbs of bread become in an instant so many gods, which innumerable crowd of gods make only one God. Whiteness without a white substance; roundness without rotundity of body; wine changed into blood, retaining the taste of wine ; bread changed into flesh, and into fibres still preserving the taste of flesh,—all this inspires
* The manly manner in which Voltaire exposes the vices of his countrymen, in order to cure them, supplies an admirable contrast to the thick and thin defenders of Manchester brutality, and to the gross perversion of truth, justice, and even law, which followed that nationally disgraceful transaction; possibly the boldest outrage on constitutional and legal decency which has occurred since the revolution.-T.
+ See the article QUESTION.
such a degree of horror and contempt in the enemies of the catholic, apostolic, and Roman religion, that it sometimes insensibly verges into rage.
Their horror augments when they are told, that in catholic countries, are monks who rise from a bed of impurity with unwashed hands and make gods by hundreds; who eat and drink these gods, and reduce them to the usual consequences of such an operation. But when they reflect, that this superstition, a thousand times more absurd and sacrilegious than those of Egypt, produces to an Italian priest from fifteen to twenty millions of revenue, and the domination of a country containing a hundred thousand square leagues, they are ready to march with their arms in their hands and drive away this priest from the palace of Cæsar. I know not if I shall be of the party, because I love peace; but when established at Rome, I will certainly pay them a visit.
By M. GUILLAUME, a Protestant Minister.
The first among the westerns who spoke of the Trinity was Times of Locris, in his Soul of the World.'
First came the Idea, the perpetual model or archetype of all things engendered ; that is to say, the first Word,' the internal and intelligible Word.'
Afterwards the unformed mode, the second word, or the word spoken.
Lastly, the son' or sensible world, or the spirit of the worlá.
These three qualities constitute the entire world, which world is the son of God 'Monogenes.' He has a soul and possessed reason; he is'empsukos, logikos.'
God, wishing to make a very fine God, has engendered one:
Touton epoie theon genaton.' It is difficult clearly to comprehend the system of Timeus, which he perhaps derived from the Egyptians or Brahmins. I know not whether it was well under
stood in his time. It is like decayed and rusty medals, the motto of which is effaced: it could be read formerly; at present we put what construction we please
It does not appear that this sublime balderdash made much progress
until the time of Plato. It was buried in oblivion, and Plato raised it up. He constructed his edifice in the air, but on the model of Timeus.
He admits three divine essences : the Father, the Supreme Creator, the Parent of other gods, is the first
The second is the visible God, the minister of the invisible one; the Word,' the understanding, the great spirit.
The third is the world.
It is true, that Plato sometimes says quite different and even quite contrary things; it is the privilege of the Greek philosophers; and Plato has made use of his right more than any of the ancients or moderns.
A Greek wind wafted these philosophical clouds from Athens to Alexandria, a town prodigiously iufatuated with two things—money and chimeras. There were Jews in Alexandria, who, having made their fortunes, turned philosophers.
Metaphysics have this advantage, that they require no very troublesome preliminaries. We may know all about them without having learned anything; and a little to those who have at once subtle and very false minds, will go a great way,
Philo the Jew was a philosopher of this kind; he was contemporary with Jesus Christ; but he has the misfortune of not knowing him any more than Josephus the historian. These two considerable men, employed in the chaos of affairs of state, were too far distant from the dawning light. This Philo had quite a metaphysical, allegorical, mystical head. It was he who said, that God must have formed the world in six days; he formed it, according to Zoroaster, in six times,* “ be
cause three is the half of six, and two is the third of it; and this number is male and female."
This same man, infatuated with the ideas of Plato, says, in speaking of drunkenness, that God and wisdom married, and that wisdom was delivered of a wellbeloved
which son is the world. He calls the angels the words of God, and the world the word of God-logon tou Theou.'
As to Flavius Josephus, he was a man of war who had never heard speak of the logos, and who held to the dogmas of the Pharisees who were solely attached to their traditions.
From the Jews of Alexandria this platonic philosophy proceeded to those of Jerusalem. Soon, all the school of Alexandria, which was the only learned one, was platonic; and Christians who philosophised, no longer spoke of anything but the logos.
We know that it was in disputes of that time the same as in those of the present. To one badly understood passage was tacked another unintelligible one, to which it had no relation. A second was inferred from them, a third was falsified, and they fabricated whole books which they attributed to authors respected by the multitude. We have seen an hundred examples of it in the article APOCRYPHA.
Dear reader, for heaven's sake cast your eyes on this
passage of Clement the Alexandrian:* “When Plato says, that it is difficult to know the Father of the Universe, he demonstrates by that, not only that the world has been engendered, but that it has been engendered as the Son of God.”
Do you understand these logomachies, these equivoques? Do you see the least light in this chaos of obscure expressions?
Oh, Locke, Locke! come and define these terms. In all these platonic disputes, I believe there was not a single one understood. They distinguished two words, the logos endiathetos'--the word in thought, and the
* Strom. book y.
word produced-logos prophorikos.' They had the eternity of a word, and the prolation, the emanation from another word.
The book of Apostolic Constitutions," an ancient monument of fraud, but also an ancient depository of these obscure times, expresses itself thus:
“ The Father who is anterior to all generation, all commencement, having created all by his only Son, has engendered this Son without a medium, by his will and his power.”
Afterwards Origen advanced, that the Holy Spirit was created by the Son, by the word.
After that came Eusebius of Cæsarea, who taught, that the spirit paraclete is neither of Father nor Son.
The advocate Lactantius flourished in that time.
“ The Son of God,” says he, “ is the word, as the other angels are the spirits of God. The word is a spirit uttered by a significant voice, the spirit proceeding from the nose, and the word from the mouth. It follows, that there is a difference between the Son of God and the other angels; those being emanated like tacit and silent spirits; while the Son, being a spirit proceeding from the mouth, possesses sound and voice to preach to the people."
It must be confessed, that Lactantius pleaded his cause in a strange manner. It was truly reasoning à la Plato, and very powerful reasoning. It was about this time, that among
violent disputes on the Trinity this famous verse was inserted in the First Epistle of St. John:
“ There are three that bear witness in earth—the word or spirit, the water, and the blood ; and these three are one.'
Those who pretend that this verse is truly St. John's, are much more embarrassed than those who deny it; for they must explain it.
St. Augustin says, that the spirit signifies the
* Book viii, chap. xlii. + I Part on St. Joha.
† Theol. b. ii. chap. vi.
Book iv. chap. viii.