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- How deteftible foever, says he, the doctrine of two principles may have appeared to all Christian communions, nevertheless Christians have acknowleged a subaltern principle of moral evil. Divines tell us, that a great number of angels having finned, formed a party against God, in the universe. The head of this party is distinguished by the name of Devil, or Demon, and is acknowleged to be the cause of the fall of the first man, and to be the perpetual tempter and seducer of the human race. This party having declared war againit God, the instant of its fall, has always continued its rebellion, with out the least truce, or peace.

The Devil has been pera petually endeavouring to ufurp the rights of his Creator, and to debauch his subjects from him, in order to make rebels of them, who might serve under the standards of their common master. He succeeded in his first hoftilities on mankind; he attacked, in the garden of Eden, the mother of all inen, and triumphed over her ; upon which he instantly fell upon the first man, and conquered him. Thus he rendered himself master of the whole human race. God, huwever, did not abandon this prey to the Devil, but freed man from that lla-, very, by virtue of the satisfaction which the fecond person of the Trinity was to make to his justice. This second person bound himself to become man, to perform the office of mediator between God and mankind, and to redeem Adam and his pofterity. He fet himself at the head of God's party, and undertook to fight that of the Devil.

• The interests of thefe two parties were directly opposite: the design of the Mediator, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was to recover the conquered country; that of the Devil, to maintain himself in it. The Mediator's victory confifted in making mankind walk in the paths of truth and vintuc; and that of the Devil, to lead them through the paths of error and vice: and therefore, to know whether moral good cquals moral evil among mankind, we need but compare the Devil's victories with those of Christ. Now luch is the fate of mankinu, ald so impenetrable are the judgments of God, that in contuliing the history of the world, we find that Christ has gained but few triumphs, and we every where meet with the trophies of the Devil. The war of these two parties is a perpetual, or almost a perpetual, series of prosperity on the Devil's fide; and was the rebellious party to write the annals of it exploits, there would {carce be a single day that would not be distinguished by fuccefles; that would not be crowned with bontires, fongs of triumph, and all other indications of victory. The annaliit would be under no necessity of einploying hyper

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boles, and flattery, to fhew the superiority of this faction. The facred writings mention but one good man in Adam's family; they reduce to one worthy man, the family of this worthy man, and fo on in other generations, till Noah, with whom were three sons, whom God saved from the flood, with their father, their mother, and their wives. Thus we find, at the end of fixteen hundred and fifty-fix years, all mankind, excepting one family, consisting of eight persons, fo deeply engaged in the Devil's intereit, that it was necessary to extirpate them, because of the enormity of their crimes. This flood, this formidable monument of God's justice, is a splendid monument of the Devil's victories; and the more fo, as this universallyinflicted punishment did not deprive him of his prey: for the fouls of those who perished in the flood, were tent to Hell : this was his aim and intention, and consequently his triumph.

• This terrible punishment did not render mankind wiser. Error and vice foon sprouted up in the family of Noah. His descendants plunged into idolatry, and all kinds of debaucheries. An handful of people, indeed, confined in Judea, preserved their orthodoxy; but notwithstanding this, it must be confefled, that the success of the good party in that country was often various, since that people suffered themselves fometimes to be deluded into ide latry; fo that their conduct was a vicissitude of true and false wo thip. But as to the article of vice, there never was a real interregnum among the Jews, any more than in other countries; and, consequently, the Devil always kept a footing in the petty conquests recovered by the good party. A happy revolution was seen at Christ's birth ; his miracles, his gospel, and his apostles, gained noble conquests. The Devil's empire then received a very severe blow; he was dispofiefied of a considerable part of the earth : however, he was not driven fo entirely from it, but that he continued to have a great number of correspondents and creatures. He maintained himself in it by the abominable heresies he spread up and down. Vice was never driven entirely from it; and it soon returned as in triumph. Errors, schisms, disputes, and cabals, insinuated themselves, with the fatal train of Thameful passions, which usually attend upon them. The heresies, superstitions, violent attempts, frauds, extortions, and impurities, that appeared in the whole Christian world, during several centuries, are things which can be but imperiectly described. What Virgil faid is literally true Non mihi fi linguæ centum,

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oraque centum, Farrea vox, omnes scelerum comprendere formas

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Thus, whilst the Devil reigned fingly out of the bounds of the Christian world, he disputed the ground fo firmly in Chris-, tendom, that the progress of his arms was greatly fuperior to the progress of those of truth and virtue. ' A ftop was put to them, and he was even drove back, in the sixteenth century; but what he lost on one side, he gained on the other; what he cannnot effect by lies, he does by the corruption of manners. There is no asylum, no fortress, in which he does not shew his power in that respect. If we leave society, and shut ourselves up in monasteries, he will follow us thither; he will introduce intrigues, envy, factions; or, if he can do no worse, lewdness: this last resource is almost infallible. A modern Author asserts, that it is notorious, and publicly acknowleged, that all the convents in Spain and Portugal are places of prostitution, and when chance happens to draw up the curtain, to give us a sight of what is doing in the convents in France, we perceive that they behave a little better outwardly, but that they are as impure, within, as ellewhere. He spares the Protestants a little more, but he nevertheless, says, that there is an extreme corruption among them; and that it is so general, that the disorder prevails not only among the Proteitants in France, but also among those of England, in the kingdoms of the North, and the German provin. ces; that the Princes and Sovereigns of those countries study nothing but their political intereits; that the people have no piety, and that the pastors are remiss. That a prodigious in-, difference, in general, with respect to religion, is seen in those countries; that the Princes pay no regard to truth; that the English women are debauched to the last degree; and that the Protestant provinces in Germany are immersed in such a riotous excess, as quite debafes and brutalizes them. Though some may think, that the Author (Jurieu, Esprit de M. Àrnaud) has exaggerated in these descriptions, it, nevertheless, must be owned, that the corruption of manners among Christians is deplorable. Observe the two following circumstances. There is as great a proportion, at least, of war, among Christians, as peace. In speaking thus I confine myself to Christianity; for with respect to the infidel nations, I need not mention them, they being always in the Devil's service, and under his empire, and the usurper reigns over them undisturbed. It cannot be denied, but that war is the Devil's time, and, as it were, bis turn for reigning: peaceful times do not seem so favourable to his empire, and yet they are so, greatly: for nations, in proportion as they enrich themselves, become more voluptuous, and immerse themselves still more and more in luxury and effeminacy,

My

My other remark is more decisive. Both the Roman Ca. tholics and Protestants agree, that there are but very

few

pero fons who escape damnation. They fave only the orthodox, who lead good lives, and repent of their crimes, in their last moments. They do not deny but habitual finners

may

be saved, in case they repent sincerely on their death-beds ; but then they affert, that nothing is less common than such a repentance. According to this it is plain, that for one man that is saved, there are, perhaps, a million damned. Now the war which is waged between God and the Devil, is for the conqueft of fouls. It is therefore certain, that the Devil is victorious; he wins all the damned, and lofes only the few souls who are predestinated to Paradise. He therefore is viétor prelio, et vittor bello. Christ Jesus does not fight to force away the dead from him. We therefore must say, that this war ends to the advantage of the Devil; what he claimed is yielded and given up to him. I am senfible, that he himself will be eternally punished for his victories; but this circumstance, fo far from weakening my hypothesis, viz. that moral evil surpasses the good, only makes it inore indisputable. For the Devils, in the midst of the flames, will curse the name of God, and make the damned curse it eternally ; consequently more creatures will hate God than love him: besides, in the present hypothesis, the question is only about the state of things in this life.

“I have an Italian book, entitled, Monarchia del nostro Signor Giesu Chrijts, that is, The Monarchy of our Lord Je'us Chrift, printed at Venice in 1573. The Author of it gives the history of the battles fought by Lucifer against Chrift, from the beginning of the world, till the Mahomedan times. He makes but a transient mention of the attempts in which Lucifer was triumphant, but sets forth amply, and without omitting so much as one, those which have failed; such as the designs of destroying Abraham's descendants in Egypt; the attempts against David, against the Maccabees, the person of Christ, &c. This is juft as if a man, in looking over persons playing, shculd take an account only of what is loft; it would appear froni such a calculation, that the greatest winner had lot all his money, This is an emblem of the conduct of several historians; their nation appears always vitorious, because they exhibit none but the fortunate events.

I must observe, that all the particulars I have just now been mentioning, are delivered daily from the pulpit, and that without any design of derogating from the Almighty power of the Word made Fleih. No more is meant by it, which also is my

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opinion, than that man is, by his nature, so strongly inclined to evil, that if we except only the few that are elected, all the rest of mankind live and die in the service of the wicked spirit; so that the paternal care of God to save them, cannot eradicate their wickedness, nor bring them to repentance.'

This is what Bayle has advanced under his first head of enquiry, and I cannot help making a few observations on what he has said. The first is, that which side soever of a difficult question an ingenious writer takes, indeed almost of any question that does not admit of demonstration, he may advance many specious and plausible things upon it. If the question is of lo general a nature, as that concerning the proportion of virtue to vice, which, in order to a proper discussion of it, requires an extensive knowlege of mankind in all ages and nations, and a close attention to an almost infinite variety of circumstances, many of which are placed beyond the reach of human knowlege,-ail that is necessary to be done, is only to collect those circumstances which seem to favour his fide of the question, and place them in a striking point of view. Had Bayle taken it into his head to give us the bright, instead of the gloomy side of human nature, we should then have had such a picture of man exhibited to our view, as, initead of making us deteft him as a Devil, would have been apt to make us admire him as an Angel. But whoever would give a just delineation of his character, would neither make him the one nor the other.

I would observe, in the second place, that supposing the cale to be as Bayle has represented it, tho' I am far from thinking that it is so, such representations can answer no valuable purpose; nay, they are extremely injurious to the interests of virtue. They have a natural tendency to damp every generous and noble effort of the mind, and cool the ardor of virtuous resolutions. The man who looks upon himself as strongly inclined to evil, by the very frame and constitution of his nature, and is made to think that there are insurmountable obstacles to his reaching any considerable attainments in virtue, can scarce be supposed capable of rising to anything truly great and honourable. Besides, what an idea must such a person entertain of the Author of Nature, who has, indeed, endowed him with power and faculties, to distinguish between good and evil, to difcern the beauty and excellency of virtue, and its importance to his happiness; but has placed him, at the same time, in such circumstances as chain him down to vice and misery. It is, indeed, impoffible to survey the circumstances of the Woild, and the character of mankind, if they are such as

Bayle

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