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vours to establish them on a sure foundation ; that he hath opposed nothing but what he ought to oppose, the blindness of fanaticism, the cruelty of superstition, and the absurdity of prejudice. “ Will it be said,” continues he, “ that all these ought to be respected ? I ask, why? Because it is by such means the people are ruled. — Yes, it is by such means they are ruled to their destruction. Superftition is the most terrible scourge of mankind; it brutalizes the ignorant and simple, persecutes the wise, enslaves the free, and is productive of innumerable evils to states. And, of what use is it? Of none; unless it be to tyrants, in whose hands it becomes the severelt scourge on their people; and this is perhaps its greatest evil. Mr. d'Alembert very juftly observes that the more culpable it is to propagate irreligion, the more criminal it is to accuse any one falsely of doing it. Those who thus publickly judge of my Christianity, only expose the nature of their own, and all they prove is that we are not of the fame religion. This is the very circumstance that enrages them; the pretended evil they discover in my Writings, displeases them less than the good, which they are obliged to acknowlege contained in them*. To

prove that the Author had no such horrible design as is imputed to him, there is but one way, and that is to appeal to his works themselves. To this I consent; but it is by no means a task proper for me. No, fir, there is no misfortune, no punishment shall ever reduce me to fo abject an attempt. I should think it an affront to the Author, the Editor, and even to the Reader, to undertake a justification the more shameful as it is the more easy. It would depreciate virtue, to maintain it was not criminal. It would render the evidence of truth obscure, to undertake to prove that evidence true. · No! read, and judge for yourself. The more is your misfortune, if, during such perusal, your heart does not frequently pour out blessings on the virtuous and intrepid Author, who hath thus dared, at his own peril, to instruct his fellow-creatures.”

Does not this confirm the supposition we have hazarded above, that if Mr. Rousseau, instead of disclaiming the Philosophers, and so tenaciously insisting on his profeslion of Christianity, had contented himself with being thought either, he might have escaped the censures of both, which he hath now, and not without some reason, incurred. Prepofíefied as we are in his favour, we cannot help thinking his adopting the division of religion into two parts, dogmatical and moral, a little unlucky for him; as his adversaries, if any of them were men of abilities, might find it no very difficult matter to prove him a Christian only with regard to Morals. And how this might support his Christian character with those who make an essential distinction between Morals and Reli. gion, we leave him to judge.

But

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ROUSSEAU's Letters, But we are here obliged to stop, and, however concerned for the occasion, considering our Author's circumstances, to pass our censure on him for that extreme degree of self-importance, which he assumes throughout these letters.

When a man writes about himself, indeed, we are sensible be must entertain his Readers with much egotism ; and it is natural for him to express himself warmly, when he thinks himself injured, and is pleading his own cause against his oppressors, at the bar of the publick. But we cannot help thinking we have discovered, in the perusal of these letters, what we more than suspected on reading our Author's reply to the mandate of the arch-bishop of Paris *; viz. that his natural temper and disposition is a good deal tin&tured with a glowing spirit of fingularity and contradiction, which too frequently pofTefles men of genius, and, by inducing them to mistake obstinacy for resolution, plunges them into misfortunes, and sometimes hurries them on to their ruin. Supposing our Author not to be mistaken in any single article among the many uncommon and extraordinary things he hath advanced or adopted in his Writings; is he very certain that the method he took to instruct and reform the world in those particulars, was the most likely to answer the end of such inftruction and reformation? We do not mean merely in writing and publishing his sentiments, which every man ought to be at liberty to

do ; but in the manner, perhaps too dictatorial and exception-
able, in which it was done ; a manner that is still heightened
in every defence our Author hath made for so doing. The pal-
sage, in the midst of which we stopped above, runs thus.
« Non, lisez et jugez vous-même. Malheur à vous, fi, durant
cette lecture, votre cour ne benit pas cent fois l'homme ver-
tueux et ferme qui ose instruire ainsi les humains.

Eh! comment me resoudrois-je à justifier cet ouvrage? Moi qui crois 'effacer par lui les fautes de ma vie entiere; moi qui mets les maux qu'il m'attire en compensation de ceux que j'ai faits, moi qui, plein de confiance, espere un jour dire au juge supreme : daigne juger dans ta clemence un homme foible ; j'ai fait le mal sur la terre ; mais j'ai publié cet ecrit.” We leave our Readers to judge, whether, making every allowance for Mr. Rourseau's spirited stile, there is not something very extravagant in his hopes of making a merit with God Almighty, of writing Emilius? It would be no impertinent question also to ask, in what this virtuous and intrepid Writer hath really instructed mankind ?

We admit that he is poffeffed of great ingenuity; that he is a very accurate observer of men and manners; that, in daring to think for himself, he hath discovered the absurdity of nu* See Review Vol. XXVIII, page 228.

merous

merous prepossessions and prejudices entertained by the vulgar. But this, any man, with the same resolution, though with half the talents, might have done as well as he. It is true he would not have been able to expose such absurdity in so glaring a light, as our Author has done. This, however, muito be placed to the account of his ingenuity as a Writer; which, after all, has not been the least of those causes which have contributed to the popularity of his works. For as to his being a just or acute reasoner, we hold his arguments, and have shewn them on more occasions than one, to be very superficial and inconclusive. And as to any new discoveries in religion, morals, or politics, we recollect but very few of any great importance, to be met with in his works, if we abstract from those works the merit of their compofition, which may have contributed to throw fome new light on objects long since known and familiar to philosophers. In a word, Mr. Rousseau appears much too vain of his stock of knowlege, and talks as much too positively of the force of evidence, and demonstration, for so fallible a logician. But we fhall dwell no longer on so disagreeable a subject as the mistaken felf-sufficiency of a man, in other respects to truly estimable.

In remonstrating against the unfair methods that have been taken, by means of partial quotations, and wilful misconstructions, to misrepresent his Writings, he hath the following remarkable passages, with which he closes his first letter. “Is there a book in the world, however trūé or excellent in its nature, that can escape so infamous an inquisition ? No, Sir, I will venture to fay, not one, not even the gospel itself. For the evil they did not find there, they would fupply by partial extracts and false interpretations. They might represent it as a scandalous, daring, and impious book, instigating mankind to encrease the wealth of the rich and to rob the poor ; teaching children to deny their parents ; exciting us without scruple to possess ourselves of the property of others; forbidding us to instruct the wicked left they should repent and be forgiven; telling us to hate father, mother, wife, children, and relations. They might represent it as a work, breathing throughout the spirit of dircord; in which a boast is made of arming the son against his father, relations against each other, and servants against their matters ; in which the violation of human laws is justified, and perfecution is imposed as a duty; and in which, in order to ftir up mankind to use violence towards each other, the kingdom of Heaven is represented as suffering violence and to be taken by force *.-Figure to yourfelf some infernal genius thus

analysing • In justification of which impious misrepresentations, Mr. Rousseau conceives they might quote the following texts. Matth. xii. 12. Luke

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analysing the gospel of Christ, under the title of the Evangelist's Creed; and the devout Pharisees producing it, with an air of triumph, as an abstract of the doctrines of Jesus Chrift!t" In his fecond letter, the Writer treats of the established religion of Geneva ; and the principles of the reformation ; after which he enters on a discussion of the subject of Miracles. What is his opinion of the reformation and his res: pect for the Church of Rome, of which he was once a member, may be sufficiently gathered from the relation he gives of that event.

“ When the first Reformers began to make a noise in the world, the Church enjoyed universal peace; the sentiments of its members were unanimous, nor was there any essential tenet in dispute among Christians [. During this state of tranquillity, there started up, at once, two or three men ; who, with the violence of their out-cries, soon alarmed all Europe *. $ Christians, said they, beware! you are deceived, you are led astray, and are in the high-road to damnation ; the Pope is the Anti-christ, the substitute of Satan ; and the Church is the school of falsehood. You are all ruined and undone, if ye attend not to our counsel.” On the first hearing of these cla

xix. 26. Matth. xii. 48. Mark iii. 33.-Mark xi. 2. Luke xix. 30.Mark iv. 12. John xii. 40.-Luke xiv. 26.-Match. x.. 34. Luke xii. 51, 52.- Marth. x. 35.-Luke xii. 53.-Matth. x. 36.-Matth. xii. 2. et seq.-Luke xiv. 23.

-Matth, xi. 12. : + Have we not in this passage, another proof of that self-consequence we have above censured ? Should a severer persecution render our Author ftill more popular, (which God forbid !) we should not be surprised to see him introduce a third Person into the famous parallel he hash drawn between Socrates and Jesus Chrilt.

| Is this ftrictly true, Mr. Rousseau ? Were not the different orders of the Clergy as much at variance with each other on account of particular tenets of Faith, as they were all obnoxious to the Laity, on account of that scandalous immorality which almost universally prevailed among them, and rendered their pastors contemptible even to the most ignorant of their flock? Will it be said the tenets in dispute were mere matters of discipline and not essential? This is not altogether true. They were full as essential as many of those which have since occasioned their violent and sanguinary disputes. Men may be told, indeed, that they will infallibly be damned if they do not believe Athanafius's doctrine of the Trinity; but there are many very pious, learned and sen. sible people now living, who think the belief of that doctrine no more ellential to Salvation, than that of the immaculation of the bleiled Virgil.

• They would have found more difficulty of effecting this, had not all Europe been already prepared and ripe for such an alarm, 3

mours,

event.

mours, the astonished nations a while kept filence, attending the

At length, the Clergy, recovering from their first furprife, and seeing these declaimers gain converts, as every one who attempts to form a sect will certainly do ; they thought it expedient to enter into some ecclaircissement with them. To this end, they begun by asking them the reason of all this disturbance ? to which the former haughtily replied, that they were the Apostles of truth, called to the reformation of the Church, and to bring back the faithful from the way of perdition, into which the priests had led them.

." But pray, returned the Priests, from whom have you received this fine commission to trouble the public repole and disturb the peace of the Church ? Our consciences, said they,- reason, the light within us, the voice of God, which we cannot disobey. It is God who hath called us to this holy ministry, and we pursue his vocation.

“ You are then the ministers of Heaven! replied the Catholicks. In this case doubtless, it is your duty to preach, to reform, to instruct us, and it is ours to hear you. But to obtain this right, produce your credentials. Prophecy, heal the fick, work miracles, display the proofs of your mission.—The answer of the Reformers is curious, and deserves to be faithfully transcribed. « Yes, it is true that we are sent from above, but it is not by extraordinary mission. Our inspiration lies ini the impulse of a good conscience, and the light of a found understanding. We do not pretend to bring you a new revelation; but confine ourselves to that which hath been given you, and which you no longer understand : We come to you, not with miracles, which may be fallacious, and by which so many false doctrines are already supported; but with the evidence of reason and truth, which cannot be deceitful; with the holy gospels, that you bave fo disfigured and perverted, and which we will explain to you. Invincible arguments are our miracles, and demonstrations our prophecies. We predict, that, if you listen sot to the voice of Christ, who speaks to you, by our lips, you will suffer the punishment due to those unfaithful servants, whoi being told the will of their máfer, refuse to obey it." It was not to be expected the Catholicks should be very readily convinced of the truth of this new doctrine. And thus we see the point in dispute reduced to such a state that it could not be determined. The Protestants, on the one side, stoutly maintained that their interpretations were so clear and evident, that nothing but wilful blindness could refuse to admit them. On the other hand, the Catholicks conceived that the triling, and not unanswerable, arguments of a few individuals, ought not to supersede or out-weigh the authority of the whole Church,

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