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It cannot be denied that the commentator Calmet, profound as he is, violates all the rules of logic in pretending that Job announces the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, when he says
"For I know that my Redeemer liveth. And though after my skin-worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. But ye should say, Why persecute we him?-seeing the root of the matter is found in me. Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishment of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment."*
Can anything be understood by those words, other than his hope of being cured? The immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body at the last day, are truths so indubitably announced in the New Testament, and so clearly proved by the Fathers and the Councils, that there is no need to attribute the first knowledge of them to an Arab. These great mysteries are not explained in any passage of the Hebrew Pentateuch; how then can they be explained in a single verse of Job, and that in so obscure a manner? Calmet has no better reason for seeing in the words of Job the immortality of the soul and the general resurrection, than he would have for discovering a disgraceful disease in the malady with which he was afflicted. Neither physics nor logic take the part of this
As for this allegorical book of Job:-it being manifestly Arabian, we are at liberty to say that it has neither justness, method, nor precision. Yet it is perhaps the most ancient book that has been written, and the most valuable monument that has been found on this side the Euphrates.
A MOUNTAIN of Armenia, on which the Ark rested. The question has long been agitated, whether the Deluge was universal,-whether it inundated the whole earth without exception, or only the portion of
* Chap. xix. v. 25, &c.
the earth which was then known. Those who have thought that it extended only to the tribes then existing, have founded their opinion on the inutility of flooding unpeopled lands, which reason seems very plausible. As for us, we abide by the Scripture text, without pretending to explain it. But we shall take greater liberty with Berosus, an ancient Chaldean writer, of whom there are fragments preserved by Abydenus, quoted by Eusebius, and repeated word for word by George Syncellus. From these fragments we find, that the Orientals of the borders of the Euxine, in ancient times, made Armenia the abode of their Gods. In this they were imitated by the Greeks, who placed their deities on Mount Olympus. Men have always confounded human with divine things. Princes built their citadels upon mountains; therefore they were also made the dwelling-place of the Gods, and became sacred. The summit of Mount Ararat is concealed by mists; therefore the Gods hid themselves in those mists, sometimes vouchsafing to appear to mortals in fine weather.
A God of that country, believed to have been Saturn, appeared one day to Xixuter, tenth king of Chaldea, according to the computation of Africanus, Abydenus, and Apollodorus, and said to him—
"On the fifteenth day of the month Oësi, mankind shall be destroyed by a deluge. Shut up close all your 1 writings in Sipara, the city of the sun, that the memory of things may not be lost. Build a vessel; enter it with your relatives and friends; take with you birds and beasts; stock it with provisions: and, when you are asked, 'Whither are you going in that vessel?' answer, "To the Gods, to beg their favour for mankind."
Xixuter built his vessel, which was two stadii wide and five long; that is, its width was two hundred and fifty geometrical paces, and its length six hundred and twenty-five. This ship, which was to go upon the Black Sea, was a slow sailer. The flood came. When it had ceased, Xixuter let some of his birds fly out; but, finding nothing to eat, they returned to the vessel. A few days afterwards, he again set some of his
birds at liberty, and they returned with mud in their claws. At last they went, and returned no more. Xixuter did likewise: he quitted his ship, which had perched upon a mountain of Armenia, and he was seen no more: the Gods took him away.
There is probably something historic in this fable. The Euxine overflowed its banks, and inundated some portions of territory; and the King of Chaldea hastened to repair the damage. We have in Rabelais tales no less ridiculous, founded on some small portion of truth. The ancient historians are, for the most part, serious Rabelais.
As for Mount Ararat, it has been asserted that it was one of the mountains of Phrygia, and that it was called by a name answering that of ark, because it was enclosed by three rivers.
There are thirty opinions respecting this mountain. How shall we distinguish the true one? That which the monks now call Ararat, was, they say, one of the limits of the terrestrial paradise,—a paradise of which we find but few traces. It is a collection of rocks and precipices, covered with eternal snows. Tournefort went thither by order of Louis XIV. to seek for plants. He says that the whole neighbourhood is horrible, and the mountain itself still more so; that he found snow four feet thick, and quite crystallized; and that there are, perpendicular precipices on every side.
The Dutch traveller, John Struys, pretends that he went thither also. He tells us that he ascended to the very top, to cure a hermit afflicted with a rupture. "His hermitage," says he, was so distant from the earth, that we did not reach it until the close of the seventh day, though each day we went five leagues." If, in this journey, he was constantly ascending, this Mount Ararat must be thirty-five leagues high. In the time of the Giants' war, a few Ararats piled one upon another would have made the ascent to the moon quite easy. John Struys moreover assures us, that the hermit whom he cured presented him with a cross made of the wood of Noah's ark. Tournefort had not this advantage.
THE great theological disputes, for twelve hundred years, were all Greek. What would Homer, Sophocles, Demosthenes, Archimedes, have said, had they witnessed the subtle cavillings which have cost so much blood?
Arius has, even at this day, the honour of being regarded as the inventor of his opinion, as Calvin is considered to have been the founder of Calvinism. The pride in being the head of a sect, is the second of this world's vanities; for that of conquest is said to be the first. However, it is certain that neither Arius nor Calvin is entitled to the melancholy glory of invention. The quarrel about the Trinity existed long before Arius took part in it, in the disputatious town of Alexandria, where it had been beyond the power of Euclid to make men think calmly and justly. There never was a people more frivolous than the Alexandrians; in this respect they far exceeded even the Parisians.
There must already have been warm disputes about the Trinity; since the patriarch who composed the Alexandrian Chronicle, preserved at Oxford, assures us, that the party embraced by Arius was supported by two thousand priests.
We will here, for the reader's convenience, give what is said of Arius in a small book which every one may not have at hand.
Here is an incomprehensible question, which, for more than sixteen hundred years, has furnished exercise for curiosity, for sophistic subtlety, for animosity,— for the spirit of cabal,-for the fury of dominion,-for the rage of persecution,-for blind and sanguinary fanaticism,-for barbarous credulity, and which has produced more horrors than the ambition of princes, which ambition has occasioned not a few. Is Jesus the Word? If he be the Word, did he emanate from God in Time or before Time? If he emanated from God, is he co-eternal and consubstantial with him, or is he of a similar substance? Is he distinct from him, or is he not? Is he made or begotten? Can he beget
in his turn? Has he paternity? or productive virtue without paternity? Is the Holy Ghost made? or be gotten? or produced? or proceeding from the Father? or proceeding from the Son? or proceeding from both? Can he beget? can he produce? is his hypostasis consubstantial with the hypostasis of the Father and the Son? and how is it that, having the same nature-the same essence as the Father and the Son, he cannot do the same things done by these persons who are himself?
These questions, so far above reason, certainly needed the decision of an infallible church.
The Christians sophisticated, cavilled, hated, and excommunicated one another, for some of these dogmas inaccessible to human intellect, before the time of Arius and Athanasius. The Egyptian Greeks were remarkably clever; they would split a hair into four; but on this occasion they split it only into three. Alex andros, Bishop of Alexandria, thought proper to preach that God, being necessarily individual-single-a monade in the strictest sense of the word, this monade is trine.
The priest Arius, whom we call Arius, was quite scandalized by Alexandros's monade, and explained the thing in quite a different way. He cavilled in part like the priest Sabellious, who had cavilled like the Phrygian Praxeas, who was a great caviller.
Alexandros quickly assembled a small council of those of his own opinion, and excommunicated his priest. Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, took the part of Arius. Thus the whole church was in a flame.
The Emperor Constantine was a villain; I confess it:-a parricide, who had smothered his wife in a bath, cut his son's throat, assassinated his father-in-law, his brother-in-law, and his nephew; I cannot deny it :-a man puffed up with pride, and immersed in pleasure; granted:-a detestable tyrant, like his children; tran seat-but he was a man of sense. He would not have obtained the empire, and subdued all his rivals, had he not reasoned justly.
When he saw the flames of civil war lighted among the scholastic brains, he sent the celebrated Bishop