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with which they struck the pregnant women of quality, who unblushingly presented themselves to them in the hope of thereby obtaining a happy deliverance.
Now, in the first place, it is not said that these Romans of quality ran quite naked; on the contrary, Plutarch expressly observes in his remarks on the custom, that they were covered from the waist downwards.
Secondly, it seems by the manner in which this defender of infamous customs expresses himself, that the Roman ladies stripped naked to receive these blows of the whip, which is absolutely false.
Thirdly, the Lupercal feast has no relation whatever to the pretended law of Babylon, which commands the wives and daughters of the King, the satraps, and the magi, to sell and prostitute themselves to strangers out of pure
devotion. When an author, without knowing either the human mind or the manners of nations, has the misfortune to be obliged to compile from passages of old authors, who are almost all contradictory, he should advance his opinions with modesty, and know how to doubt, and to shake off the dust of the college. Above all, he should never express himself with outrageous insolence.
Herodotus, or Cetesias, or Diodorus of Sicily, relate a fact: you have read it in Greek, therefore this fact is true. This manner of reasoning, which is not that of Euclid, is surprising enough in the time in which we live; but all minds will not be instructed with equal facility; and there are always more persons who compile than people who think.
We will say nothing here of the confusion of tongues which took place during the construction of the tower of Babel. It is a miracle, related in the Holy Scriptures. We neither explain, or even examine any miracles, and as the authors of that great work, the Encyclopedia, believed them, we also believe them with a lively and sincere faith.
We will simply affirm, that the fall of the Roman empire has produced more confusion, and a greater number of new languages than that of the tower of Babel. From the reign of
Augustus to the time of the Attilas, the Clovises, and the Gondiberts, during six ages,
terra erat unius labii,”_" the known earth was of one language." They spoke the same Latin at the Euphrates as at Mount Atlas. The laws which governed a hundred nations were written in Latin, and the Greek served for amusement, whilst the barbarous jargon of each province was only for the populace. They pleaded in Latin, at once in the tribunals of Africa and of Rome. An inhabitant of Cornwall departed for Asia Minor, sure of being understood everywhere in his route. It was at least one good effected by the rapacity of the Romans, that people found themselves as well understood on the Danube as on the Guadalquiver. At the present time a Bergamask, who travels into the small Swiss cantons, from which he is only separated by a mountain, has the same need of an interpreter as if he were at China.
This is one of the greatest plagues of modern life.
SECTION II. Vanity has always raised stately monuments. It was through vanity that men built the lofty tower of Babel. “ Let us go and raise a tower, the summit of which shall touch the skies, and render our name celebrated before we are scattered upon the face of the earth.” The enterprise was undertaken in the time of a patriarch named Phaleg, who counted the good man Noah for his fifth ancestor. It will be seen that architecture, and all the arts which accompany it, had made great progress in five generations. St. Jerome, the same who has seen fauns and satyrs, has not seen the tower of Babel any more than I have, but he assures us that it was twenty thousand feet high. This is a trifle. The ancient book “Jacult," written by one of the most learned Jews, demonstrates the height to be eighty-one thousand Jewish feet; and every one knows that the Jewish foot was nearly as long as the Greek. These dimensions are still more likely than those of Jerome. This tower remains, but it is no longer quite so high; several very
veracious travellers have seen it. I, who have not seen it, will talk as little of it as of my grandfather Adam, with whom I never had the honour of conversing. But consult the reverend father Calmet; he is a man of fine wit, and a profound philosopher, and will explain the thing to you. I do not know why it is said, in Genesis, that Babel signifies confusion; for, as I have already observed, ba answers to father in the eastern lauguages, and bel signifies God. Babel means the city of God, the holy city. But it is incontestible that Babel meant confusion, possibly because the architects were confounded after having raised their work to eighty-one thousand feet; perhaps, because the languages were then confounded, as from that time the Germans no longer understood the Chinese ; although, according to the learned Bochart, it is clear that the Chinese is originally the same language as the High German
BACCHUS. Of all the true or fabulous personages of profane antiquity, Bacchus is to us the most important. I do not mean for the fine invention which is attributed to him by all the world except the Jews, but for the prodigious resemblance of his fabulous history to the true adventures of Moses.
The ancient poets have placed the birth of Bacchus in Egypt; he is exposed on the Nile, and it is from that event that he is named Mises by the first Orpheus, which, in Egyptian, signifies saved from the waters, according to those who pretend to understand the ancient Egyptian tongue, which is no longer known. He is brought up near a mountain of Arabia, called Nisa, which is believed to be Mount Sinai. It is pretended that a goddess ordered him to go and destroy a barbarous nation, and that he passed through the Red Sea on foot, with a multitude of men, women, and children. Another time, the river Orontes suspended its waters right and left to let him pass, and the Hydaspes did the same. He commanded the sun to stand still; two luminous rays proceeded from his head. He made a fountain of wine spout up by striking the ground with his thyrsis, and engraved his laws on two tables of marble. He wanted only to have afflicted Egypt with ten plagues, to be the perfect copy of Moses.
Vossius is, I think, the first who has extended this parallel. The Bishop of Avranches, Huet, has pushed it quite as far; but he adds, in his Evangelical Demonstrations, that not only Moses is Bacchus, but that he is also Osiris and Typhon. He does not halt in this fine path. Moses, according to him, is Esculapius, Amphion, Apollo, Adonis, and even Priapus. It. is pleasant enough that Huet founds his proof that Moses is Adonis, in their both keeping sheep:
Et formosus oves, ad flumina pavit Adonis. He contends that he is Priapus, because Priapus is sometimes painted with an ass, and the Jews were supposed, among the Gentiles, to adore an ass. He gives another proof not very canonical, which is, that the rod of Moses might be compared to the sceptre of Priapus. “ Sceptrum tribuiter Priapo, virga Mosi.” Neither is this demonstration in the manner of Euclid.
We will not here speak of the more modern Bacchuses, such as he who lived two hundred years before the Trojan war, and whom the Greeks celebrated as a son of Jupiter, shut up in his thigh. We will pause at him who was supposed to be born on the confines of Egypt, and to have performed so many prodigies. Our respect for the sacred Jewish books will not permit us to doubt that the Egyptians, the Arabs, and even the Greeks, have imitated the history of Moses. The difficulty consists solely in not knowing how they could be instructed in this incontrovertible history. With respect to the Egyptians, it is very likely that they never recorded these miracles of Moses, which would have covered them with shame. If they had said a word of it, the historian Josephus and
* Evangelical Demunstrations, pp. 79, 89, 100,
Philo would not have failed to have taken advantage of it. Josephus, in his answer to Appion, made a point of citing all the Egyptian authors who have mentioned Moses, and he finds none which relate one of these miracles. No Jew has ever quoted any Egyptian author who has said a word of the ten plagues of Egypt, of the miraculous passage through the Red Sea, &c. &c. It could not be among the Egyptians, therefore, that this scandalous parallel was formed between the divine Moses and the profane Bacchus.
It is very clear that if a single Egyptian author had said a word of the great miracles of Moses, all the synagogue of Alexandria, all the disputatious church of that famous town, would have quoted such word, and have triumphed at it, every one after his manner. Athenagorus, Clement, Origen, who have said so many useless things, would have related this important passage a thousand times, and it would have been the strongest argument of all the fathers. The whole have kept a profound silence; they had therefore nothing to say. But how was it possible for any Egyptian to speak of the exploits of a man who caused all the firstborn of the families of Egypt to be killed; who turned the Nile to blood, and who drowned in the Red Sea their king and all his army?
All our historians agree that one Clodowick, a Sicambrian, subjugated Gaul with a handful of barbarians. The English are the first to say that the Saxons, the Danes, and the Normans, came by turns to exterminate a part of their nation. If they had not avowed this truth, all Europe would have exclaimed against its concealment. The universe ought to exclaim in the same manner at the amazing prodigies of Moses, of Joshua of Gideon, Sampson, and of so many leaders and prophets. The universe is silent notwithstanding. Amazing mystery! On one side it is palpable that all is true, since it is found in the holy writings, which are approved by the church ; on the other, it is evident that no people have ever mentioned it. Let us worship Providence, and submit ourselves in all things.
The Arabs, who have always loved the marvellous,