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vours to establish them on a fure foundation; that he hath oppofed nothing but what he ought to oppofe, the blindness of fanaticism, the cruelty of fuperftition, and the abfurdity of prejudice. "Will it be faid," continues he, "that all these ought to be refpected? I afk, why?-Because it is by fuch means the people are ruled.Yes, it is by fuch means they are ruled to their deftruction. Superftition is the moft terrible fcourge of mankind; it brutalizes the ignorant and fimple, perfecutes the wife, enflaves the free, and is productive of innumerable evils to ftates. And, of what use is it? Of none unless it be to tyrants, in whofe hands it becomes the fevereft fcourge on their people; and this is perhaps its greatest evil. Mr. d'Alembert very juftly obferves that the more culpable it is to propagate irreligion, the more criminal it is to accufe any one falfely of doing it. Those who thus publickly judge of my Christianity, only expofe the nature of their own, and all they prove is that we are not of the fame religion. This is the very circumftance that enrages them; the pretended evil they discover in my Writings, difpleafes them less than the good, which they are obliged to acknowlege contained in them*. To prove that the Author had no fuch horrible defign as is imputed to him, there is but one way, and that is to appeal to his works themselves. To this I confent; but it is by no means a task proper for me. No, fir, there is no misfortune, no punishment fhall ever reduce me to fo abject an attempt. I fhould think it an affront to the Author, the Editor, and even to the Reader, to undertake a juftification the more shameful as it is the more eafy. It would depreciate virtue, to maintain it was not criminal. It would render the evidence of truth obfcure, to undertake to prove that evidence true. No! read, and judge for yourfelf. The more is your misfortune, if, during fuch perufal, your heart does not frequently pour out bleffings on the virtuous and intrepid Author, who hath thus dared, at his own peril, to inftruct his fellow-creatures.”
Does not this confirm the fuppofition we have hazarded above, that if Mr. Rouffeau, inftead of difclaiming the Philofophers, and fo tenacioufly infifting on his profeffion of Christianity, had contented himself with being thought either, he might have efcaped the cenfures of both, which he hath now, and not without fome reason, incurred. Prepoffeffed as we are in his favour, we cannot help thinking his adopting the divifion of religion into two parts, dogmatical and moral, a little unlucky for him; as his adverfaries, if any of them were men of abilities, might find it no very difficult matter to prove him a Chriftian only with regard to Morals. And how this might fupport his Christian character with those who make an effential diftinction between Morals and Religion, we leave him to judge,
But we are here obliged to ftop, and, however concerned for the occafion, confidering our Author's circumstances, to pass our cenfure on him for that extreme degree of felf-importance, which he affumes throughout these letters. When a man writes about himself, indeed, we are fenfible he must entertain his Readers with much egotifm; and it is natural for him to exprefs himself warmly, when he thinks himself injured, and is pleading his own cause against his oppreffors, at the bar of the publick. But we cannot help thinking we have discovered, in the perufal of thefe letters, what we more than fufpected on reading our Author's reply to the mandate of the arch-bifhop of Paris; viz. that his natural temper and difpofition is a good deal tinctured with a glowing fpirit of fingularity and contradiction, which too frequently poffeffes men of genius, and, by inducing them to mistake obftinacy for refolution, plunges them into misfortunes, and fometimes hurries them on to their ruin. Suppofing our Author not to be mistaken in any fingle 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 inftruct and reform the world in those particulars, was the moft likely to answer the end of such inftruction and reformation? We do not mean merely in writing and publishing his fentiments, which every man ought to be at liberty to do; but in the manner, perhaps too dictatorial and exceptionable, in which it was done; a manner that is ftill heightened in every defence our Author hath made for fo doing. The paffage, in the midft of which we stopped above, runs thus.—
Non, lifez et jugez vous-même. Malheur à vous, fi, durant cette lecture, votre cœur ne benit pas cent fois l'homme vertueux et ferme qui ofe inftruire ainfi les humains. Eh! comment me refoudrois-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 compenfation de ceux que j'ai faits, moi qui, plein de confiance, espere un jour dire au juge fupreme: daigne juger dans ta clemence un homme foible ; j'ai fait le mal fur la terre; mais j'ai publié cet ecrit." We leave our Readers to judge, whether, making every allowance for Mr. Rouffeau's fpirited ftile, there is not fomething very extravagant in his hopes of making a merit with God Almighty, of writ ing Emilius? It would be no impertinent queftion alfo to afk, 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 obferver of men and manners; that, in daring to think for himself, he hath discovered the abfurdity of nu
* See Review Vol. XXVIII. page 228.
merous prepoffeffions and prejudices entertained by the vulgar. But this, any man, with the fame refolution, though with half the talents, might have done as well as he. It is true he would not have been able to expofe fuch abfurdity in fo glaring a light, as our Author has done. This, however, must be placed to the account of his ingenuity as a Writer; which, after all, has not been the leaft of thofe caufes which have contributed to the popularity of his works. For as to his being a juft or acute reafoner, we hold his arguments, and have fhewn them on more occafions than one, to be very superficial and inconclufive. 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 fince known and familiar to philofophers. In a word, Mr. Rousseau appears much too vain of his ftock of knowlege, and talks as much too pofitively of the force of evidence, and demonftration, for fo fallible a logician. But we fhall dwell no longer on fo difagreeable a fubject as the mistaken self-sufficiency of a man, in other refpects fo truly eftimable.
In remonftrating against the unfair methods that have been taken, by means of partial quotations, and wilful misconstructions, to mifrepresent his Writings, he hath the following remarkable paffages, with which he clofes his firft letter. "Is there a book in the world, however true or excellent in its nature, that can escape fo infamous an inquifition? No, Sir, I will venture to fay, not one, not even the gofpel itself. For the evil they did not find there, they would fupply by partial extracts and falfe interpretations. They might reprefent it as a fcandalous, daring, and impious book, inftigating mankind to encrease the wealth of the rich and to rob the poor; teaching children to deny their parents; exciting us without fcruple to poffefs ourfelves of the property of others; forbidding us to instruct the wicked left they fhould repent and be forgiven; telling us to hate father, mother, wife, children, and relations. They might reprefent it as a work, breathing throughout the spirit of difcord; in which a boaft is made of arming the fon against his father, relations against each other, and fervants against their masters; in which the violation of human laws is justified, and perfecution is impofed as a duty; and in which, in order to ftir up mankind to ufe violence towards each other, the kingdom of Heaven is reprefented as fuffering violence and to be taken by force-Figure to yourself fome infernal genius thus
analyfing In juftification of, which impious mifreprefentations,, Mr. Rouffeau conceives they might quote the following texts. Matth. xiii. 12. Luke
analyfing the gospel of Chrift, under the title of the Evangelift's Creed; and the devout Pharifees producing it, with an air of triumph, as an abftract of the doctrines of Jefus Chrift!" 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 difcuffion of the subject of Miracles. What is his opinion of the reformation and his respect for the Church of Rome, of which he was once a member, may be fufficiently 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 effential tenet in difpute among Chriftians. During this ftate of tranquillity, there ftarted up, at once, two or three men; who, with the violence of their out-cries, foon alarmed all Europe *. "Chriftians, faid they, beware! you are deceived, you are led astray, and are in the high-road to damnation; the Pope is the Anti-chrift, the fubftitute of Satan; and the Church is the fchool of falfehood. You are all ruined and undone, if ye attend not to our counfel." 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.-Matth. x. 34. Luke xii. 51, 52. Matth. x. 35.-Luke xii. 53.-Matth. x. 36.-Matth. xii. 2. et feq.-Luke xiv. 23.- -Matth. xi. 12.
+ Have we not in this paffage, another proof of that felf-confequence we have above cenfured? Should a feverer perfecution render our Author ftill more popular, (which God forbid !) we should not be furprifed to fee him introduce a third Perfon into the famous parallel he hath drawn between Socrates and Jefus Chrift.
Is this ftrictly true, Mr. Rouffeau? 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 fcandalous immorality which almoft univerfally prevailed among them, and rendered their paftors contemptible even to the moft ignorant of their flock? Will it be faid the tenets in difpute were mere matters of difcipline and not effential? This is not altogether true. They were full as effential as many of those which have fince occafioned their violent and fanguinary difputes. 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 fenfible people now living, who think the belief of that doctrine no more effential to Salvation, than that of the immaculation of the ble.ied Virgin.
They would have found more difficulty of effecting this, had not all Europe been already prepared and ripe for fuch an alarm.
mours, the aftonished nations a while kept filence, attending the At length, the Clergy, recovering from their firft furprife, and feeing thefe declaimers gain converts, as every one who attempts to form a fect will certainly do; they thought it expedient to enter into fome ecclairciffement with them. To this end, they begun by asking them, the reafon of all this difturbance? 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 Priefts, from whom have you received this fine commiffion to trouble the public repofe, and difturb the peace of the Church? Our confciences, faid they,-reafon, the light within us, the voice of God, which we cannot disobey. It is God who hath called us to this holy miniftry, and we purfue his vocation.
"You are then the minifters of Heaven! replied the Catho licks. In this cafe doubtlefs, it is your duty to preach, to reform, to inftruct us, and it is ours to hear you. But to obtain this right, produce your credentials. Prophecy, heal the fick, work miracles, difplay the proofs of your miffion.-The anfwer of the Reformers is curious, and deserves to be faithfully tranfcribed. "Yes, it is true that we are fent from above, but it is not by extraordinary miffion. Our infpiration lies in the impulse of a good confcience, 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 fo many false doctrines are already fupported; but with the evidence of reason and truth, which cannot be deceitful; with the holy gospels, that you have fo disfigured and perverted, and which we will explain to you. Invincible arguments are our miracles, and demonftrations our prophecies. We predict, that, if you liften not to the voice of Chrift, who speaks to you, by our lips, you will fuffer the punishment due to those unfaithful servants, who, being told the will of their mafter, refufe to obey it." It was not to be expected the Catholicks fhould be very readily convinced of the truth of this new doctrine. And thus we fee the point in difpute reduced to fuch a state that it could not be determined. The Proteftants, on the one fide, ftoutly maintained that their interpretations were fo clear and evident, that nothing but wilful blindnefs could refufe to admit them. On the other hand, the Catholicks conceived that the trifling, and not unanfwerable, arguments of a few individuals, ought not to fuperfede or out-weigh the authority of the whole Church,'