Page images

What have the Turks done for glory?-Nothing. They have ravaged three empires and twenty kingdoms; but any one city of ancient Greece will always have a greater reputation than all the Ottoman together.*

See what has been done in the course of a few years at Petersburg, which was a bog at the beginning of the seventeenth century. All the arts are there assembled, while in the country of Orpheus, Linus, and Homer, they are annihilated.

That the recent Birth of the Arts proves not the recent Formation of the Globe.

All philosophers have thought matter eternal; but the arts appear to be new. Even the art of making bread is of recent origin. The first Romans ate boiled grain; those conquerors of so many nations had neither wind-mills nor water-mills. This truth seems, at first sight, to controvert the doctrine of the antiquity of the globe as it now is, or to suppose terrible revolutions in it. Irruptions of barbarians can hardly annihilate arts which have become necessary. Suppose that an army of Negroes were to come upon us, like locusts, from the mountains of southern Africa, through Monomotapa, Monoëmugi, &c. traversing Abyssinia, Nubia, Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, and all Europe, ravaging and overturning everything in its way: there would still be a few bakers, tailors, shoemakers, and carpenters left; the necessary arts would survive; luxury alone would be annihilated. Such was the case at the fall of the Roman empire; even the art of writing became very rare; nearly all those which contribute to render life agreeable were for a long time extinct. Now, we are every day inventing

new ones.

*This question, which was put by Voltaire more than half a century ago, can never be more timely repeated than at present. The support of this people, either directly or indirectly, against the glorious exertions of the Greeks, is not merely repressing freedom, but perpetuating incurable tyranny and barbarity.-T.

From all this no well-grounded inference can be drawn against the antiquity of the globe. For, supposing that a flood of barbarians had entirely swept · away the arts of writing and making bread-supposing even that we had had bread, or pens, ink, and paper, only for ten years, the country which could exist for ten years without eating bread or writing down its thoughts, could exist for an age, or a hundred thousand ages, without these helps.


[ocr errors]

It is quite clear that man and the other animals can very well subsist without bakers, without romancewriters, and without divines, as witness America, and as witness also three-fourths of our own continent. The recent birth of the arts amongst us, does not prove the recent formation of the globe, as was pretended by Epicurus, one of our predecessors in reverie, who supposed that, by chance, the declination of atoms one day formed our earth. Pomponatius used to say"Se il mondo non è eterno, per tutti santi è molto vecchio."*

Slight Inconveniences attached to the Arts.

They who handle lead and quicksilver are subject to dangerous colics and very serious affections of the nerves. They who use pen and ink are attacked by vermin, which they have continually to shake off; these vermin are some ex-jesuits, who employ themselves in manufacturing libels. You, Sire, do not know this race of animals; they are driven from your states, as well as from those of the Empress of Russia, the King of Sweden, and the King of Denmark, my other protectors. The ex-jesuits Polian and Nonotte, who like me cultivate the fine arts, persecute me even unto Mount Krapak, crushing me under the weight of their reputation, and that of their genius, the specific gravity of which is still greater. Unless your majesty vouchsafe to assist me against these great men, I am undone.†

* If this world be not eternal,-by all the saints, it is very old.-T.

†This banter, on the part of Voltaire, is pleasant enough. The Jesuits are once more reviving, and with them some very


No one at all versed in antiquity is ignorant that the Jews knew nothing of the angels but from the Persians and Chaldeans, during the Captivity. It was they, who, according to Calmet, taught them that there are seven principal angels before the throne of the Lord. They also taught them the names of the devils. He whom we call Asmodeus, was named Hashmodai or Chammadaï. "We know," says Calmet, "that there are various sorts of devils, some of them princes and master-demons, the rest subalterns."*

How was it that this Hashmodaï was sufficiently powerful to twist the necks of seven young men who successively espoused the beautiful Sarah, a native of Rages, fifteen leagues from Ecbatana? The Medes must have been seven times as great Manichees as the Persians. The good principle gives a husband to this maiden; and behold! the bad principle, this king of demons, Hashmodaï, destroys the work of the beneficent principle seven times in succession.

But Sarah was a Jewess, daughter of the Jew Raguel, and a captive in the country of Ecbatana. How could a Median demon have such power over Jewish bodies? It has been thought that Asmodeus or Chammadaï was a Jew likewise; that he was the old serpent which had seduced Eve; and that he was passionately fond of women, sometimes seducing them, and sometimes killing their husbands through an excess of love and jealousy.

Indeed the Greek version of the Book of Tobit gives us to understand, that Asmodeus was in love with Sarah "oti daimonion philei autein." It was the opinion of all the learned of antiquity, that the genii, whether good or evil, had a great inclination for our virgins, and the fairies for our youths. Even the Scriptures,

amusing absurdities. What a piquant article would our author furnish, were he now alive, under the bead HOHENLOHE!-T. Calmet.-Dissertation on Tobit, p. 205.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

accommodating themselves to our weakness, and condescending to speak in the language of the vulgar, say figuratively, that "the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose."*

But the angel Raphael, the conductor of young Tobit, gives him a reason more worthy of his ministry, and better calculated to enlighten the person whom he is guiding. He tells him that Sarah's seven husbands were given up to the cruelty of Asmodeus, only because, like horses or mules, they had married her for their pleasure alone. "Her husband," says the angel, "must observe continence with her for three days, during which time they must pray to God together."+

This instruction would seem to have been quite sufficient to keep off Asmodeus; but Raphael adds, that it is also necessary to have the heart of a fish grilled over burning coals. Why, then, was not this infallible secret afterwards resorted to in order to drive the Devil from the bodies of women? Why did the apostles, who were sent on purpose to cast out devils, never lay a fish's heart upon the gridiron? Why was not this expedient made use of in the affair of Martha Brossier; that of the nuns of Loudun; that of the mistresses of Urban Gandier; that of La Cadiére; that of Father Girard; and those of a thousand other demoniacs in the times when there were demoniacs ?‡

The Greeks and Romans, who had so many philters wherewith to make themselves beloved, had others to cure love; they employed herbs and roots. The agnus castus had great reputation. The moderns have administered it to young nuns, on whom it has had but

[ocr errors]

*Genesis chap. vi.

+ Chap. vi. v. 16, 17, 18.

Are there not still demoniacs, even in the nineteenth century? For a most edifying illustration of the fact, not only that demoniacs still exist, but also that there still exists in the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church a power to eject the saucy demons from their tenements of clay, see, in the Orthodox Journal the account of an excursion performed near Birmingham," in thunder, lightning and in rain," by the worthy and reverend Edmund Peach.-T.

little effect. Apollo, long ago, complained to Daphne, that, physician as he was, he had never yet met with a simple that would cure love—

Heu mihi! quòd nullis amor est medicabilis herbis.*
What balm can heal the wounds that love has made!

The smoke of sulphur was tried; but Ovid, who was a great master, declares that this recipe was useless.Nec fugiat viro sulphure victus amor.†

Sulphur-believe me—drives not love away.

The smoke from the heart or liver of a fish was more efficacious against Asmodeus. The reverend father Calmet is consequently in great trouble, being unable to comprehend how this fumigation could act upon a pure spirit. But he might have taken courage from the recollection, that all the ancients gave bodies to the angels and demons. They were very slender bodies; as light as the small particles that rise from a broiled fish; they were like smoke; and the smoke from a fried fish acted upon them by sympathy.

Not only did Asmodeus flee, but Gabriel went and chained him in Upper Egypt, where he still is. He dwells in a grotto near the city of Saata or Taata. Paul Lucas saw and spoke to him. They cut this serpent in pieces, and the pieces immediately joined again. To this fact Calmet cites the testimony of Paul Lucas, which testimony I must also cite. It is thought that Paul Lucas's theory may be joined with that of the vampires, in the next compilation of the Abbé Guyon.



A CHALDEE word, signifying a species of bitumen. There is a great deal of it in the countries watered by the Euphrates it is also to be found in Europe, but of a bad quality. An experiment was made by covering the tops of the watch-houses on each side of one of the gates of Geneva: the covering did not last a

* Ovid's Metamorphoses, book i.

+ De Remedio Amoris, book i.

« EelmineJätka »