صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

he is the principle of heaven and earth, the mother of all beings, -incomprehenfible and moft int. lligent."-Again "This Tao produced one, one produced two, two produced three, and three produced all things." That this fentence may not be carried, as an auxiliary, into the field of polemic theology, we must ob ferve, that by the term one, the Chinese doctor underflood WATER, by two FIRE, and by three, WOOD.-Here we have another excellent paragraph in point of perfpicuity: rifum teneatis!" The heavens arrive at unity by purity, the earth arrives at unity by tranquillity,-the mind arrives at unity by intelligence, the void (vacuum) arrives at unity by plenitude,

things arrive at unity by production-fovereigns arrive at unity by juftice: if things are not fo, continues Lao tfe, (refuming all the links of this feries) all must be deftroyed."- Now Lao-tfe may have attached fome ideas to this jingle of words, but we can attach none. His moral precepts are more clear, and are fometimes fenfible: they turn upon apathy, humility, and felf-government, on the contempt of riches; all which he lays down as the basis of true glory and exaltation.

The fchool of Lao-tfe or Tao, combined together religion and philofophy, affirmed the poffibility of preventing death by a golden pill, and a certain beverage, which were the objects. of their deep and affiduous researches, pretended (by the help of chemistry and magic) to do fupernatural things, fuch as to difpofe of rain, ftorms, and thunder, and command, reftrain or modify them at pleasure. Thus the fchool of Tao obtained a high degree of credit in the esteem of certain princes, and in the opinion of the people; and it was a zeal for this fect, that engaged the emperor Chi-hoang-ti to burn the books of the fchool of the learned. But thefe magical tricks, which railed their reputation, for fome time, occafioned, at length, their dif grace. The doctrine of Confucius, which was collected, in part, from the remains of the fchool of the learned, became the religion of the empire, and the fchool of Lao-tfe was left to the populace.

Thus, according to our Academician, the doctrine of Pytha goras feems to have formed (if there be not fancies connatural to minds of a certain turn, and in fimilar circumftances, which therefore may exift in diftant regions without traditionary com→ munication) two fchools in China, that of the learned, who, involving their fpeculative fcience in the mysterious labyrinth of mufic and numbers, chofe, in their practical leffons and inftruc tions, the plaineft rules and maxims of morality - and the school of Tao, whofe followers applied themfeives to the ftudy of magic, and difdained to form or correct the manners of man kind. These two schools ftill exift-but the latter is funk into contempt.

Nn 2

Reflections

Reflections on an Indian book called BAGAVADAM, one of the eigh teen Pouranam, or facred Books of the Indians, of which a Tranflation was fent in 1769 to M. Bertin, Minifter and Secretary of State. By M. de GUIGNES. It is the fate, and feems to be the tafte, of this learned man, to be almoft always wading through the clouds of philology, to fnuff up conjectures. In the piece, how ever, now before us, he makes good ufe of his critical acumen, and the object is of fome confequence. This Bagavadam, ot Divine Hiftory, which claims an antiquity of above five thou fand years, and has given rife to a fuppofition, that all the other nations of the world have derived their knowledge of the arts and fciences from the Indians, has been tranflated into French by Meridas Poullé, of Indian origin, chief interpreter to the fupreme council of Pondicherry, and dedicated to his protector, M. Bertin. The tranflator tells us, in his preface, that the book was compofed by Viaffer the fon of Brahma, the fame who digefted the four Vedam, and is of facred authority among the Vaijfchtnaver, or thofe who confider Vifchnow as the Supreme Being. The French tranflation was made from a verfion in Tamoul; for the language of the original text is the Sanfert, or facred language of the Indians. M. de GUIGNES collects all the traditions and relations of the Indians, that are defigned to afcertain the antiquity of this book; and they all tend to date s compofition from the year 3116 before the Chriftian æra. He then proceeds to examine the pretenfions of this book to fuchs remote antiquity, and both finds and proves them unfatisfactory. Among other things he copies from it a curious chronicle of th kings of India, which furnishes evident proofs that the Baga dam is of a much more recent date than the Indians pretend, nat to mention an account of the deluge contained in this chronic which has been probably borrowed from the writings of Chri tians or Jews, and been disfigured into a conformity with the fpirit of the Indian theology, by the addition of fome fabulos circumftances. M. de GUIGNES finds alio, in this book, th veftiges of foreign, nay even of Greek and Latin words, which betray a modern date; and he thinks it abfurd to explain this by the confufion of tongues after the deluge, fince the Gree (who founded the kingdom of Bactria after the death of Alexa der, and after the deftruction of that kingdom, fettled on the banks of the Indus) muft (or may) have conveyed inftruction to that people, as alfo the Romans, who followed their examp and fince it is well known that the Arabians carried the philo fophy of Ariftotle into India.

An Enquiry into the Nature and Origin of the Hellenifmus, concerning the Religion of Greece. Memoir VII. and Vili. B

the Abbé FOUCHER.

La

[ocr errors]

In the first of thefe Memoirs we have an account of the Phenician Theophanies (i. e. appearances of deities in human forms). In the first and fecond parts of this Memoir, the very learned and judicious Abbé inveftigates the origin, and unfolds the nature of the idolatry that reigned among the Phenicians; and in the third part, difcuffes the two following queftions: Did the Phenicians pay divine worship and adoration to men?-What were the men to whom this worship was paid? The learned Freret, who examined, with his ufual fagacity and erudition, the former of thefe questions, and decided it in the negative, is, we think, refuted with great modefty, candour, and dexterity, by the Author of this Memoir, who in the course of his reafoning appreciates, with exquifite judgment, the credit that is due to the Fragment of Sanchoniathon, and fteers a wife and middle way, between the fupercilious contempt, and enthufiaftic veneration, with which that hiftorical relic has been treated by different writers. The fourth part of this feventh Memoir contains an, account of the new Theophanies, which took place among the Affyrians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, and Phenicians.-To understand what our Academician means by the new Theophanies, it must be observed, that the first Theophanies, or men to whom. divine honours were paid, in the earlier periods of the Phenician hiftory, must have been the antediluvian patriarchs, or thofe, who peopled the world anew, after the deluge: for our. Academician renders it more than probable, that the Phenicians (who were early a learned people) could not be fo ftupid as to take (like the Greeks) one of their cotemporaries for a god; but they were more easily deceived with respect to the ancient heads of the nations, whom they faw (as it were) magnified through the mift of antiquity, and fo exalted by the reports of tradition, that they appeared above the common measure of humanity. This was alfo the cafe with the Syrians and Affyrians in the earlier periods of hiftory; but in more modern times, in the reign of Manaffeh, king of Judah, and from thence to the conclufion of the Babylonifh captivity, the frenetic habit of deifying mortals became more and more in vogue. These were,. what our Author calls, the new Theophanies, with refpect to which our Abbé fhews, that the eaftern nations, among whom. they took place, did not look upon the man, as become a god, but as being no man, but an ancient god, defcended from heaven, under a human form.-From this principle, which is learnedly proved, our Author throws great light upon the oriental deifications-the principal object of this Memoir,

The eighth Memoir, contains an account of the Indian, Peruvian, Aufonian, and Celtic Theophanies; and both these papers do great honour to the extenfive erudition and critical fagacity of the Abbé Foucher.

Nn 3

Memoir

[ocr errors]

Memoirs I. II. and II. Concerning the Marine of the Ancients. By M LE ROY.

Thefe inftructive memoirs have been published apart in a work, which we mentioned in the Foreign Article of our Review for November 1777.

ART. IX

Tableau de l'Hiftoire generale des Provinces Unies, &c - A Sketch of the general History of the United Provinces. Vol. III. 12mo. 1778.

W

HEN the first and fecond volumes of this Work appeared, we took the liberty to fay, that, though greatly defective in compofition and ftyle, they were not deftitute of a certain degree of merit. This was a fentence of clemency and indulgence, which in courts of literature, as well as in courts of justice, may, now and then, be pronounced in favour of an individual, whofe cafe and circumftances render him an object of mercy, but which our regard for the well being of the republic of letters, will not permit us to pronounce frequently.Our correfpondents at trecht and Amfterdam had informed us that M. CERISIER, the Author of this work, though naturally of a completion somewhat rough, cynical, and fanguine, was nevertheless a laborious man, who compiled, compofed, and tranflated without ceafing, and thus ate the bread of honeft induftry. This laft circumftance difarmed our critical justice, Inftead of faying, that his French was barbarous and difgufting in the highest degree, and that his hiftorical facts, uncouthly drawn together, were often inter perfed with flat, and fometimes obfcene anecdotes, beneath the gravity of hiftorical compofition (which is strictly true), we only faid that his work was defective in compofition and ftyle, and that he had not the art of leaving out, in his perfpective view, uninteresting objects.

Our decifion with refpect to the merit of his book has put M. CERISIER out of humour, and made him fay, more rafhly than might have been expected from a fober, candid man, that we had judged his book without having read it. We were surprised to find this accufation in the preface to the third volume now before us; for this is making too free with truth, and is therefore peculiarly unbecoming in an hiftorian. How can we beJieve the facts which M. CERISIER relates in his hifto y without vouchers, when we fee him here forging an untruth with fuch boldness and facility? we declare, upon honour, that we read his book, though with heavy eye-lids, and if any circumft nce can render this declaration doubtful to good judges of historical compotition, it must be the tender manner in which we treated it.

This third volume is dedicated to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, which may appear fingular, when it is confidered that M. CERISIER is a Roman Catholic, and, though a Frenchman, yet is no farther interested in the tobacco-trade of Nantz, than as it may concern his private pipe or fnuff box. He tells the confcript fathers of the Congress, in the spirit of a fanguine republican, that they have, now, given to the universe the fame grand fpectacle, that the States of the Netherlands exhibited with fuch glory in the fixteenth century.-We do not mean to enter into a difcuffion of the grounds and principles of the American contest; we are rather difpofed to drop a tear of patriotic forrow, on the unhappy fpectacle of the British empire divided against itself. But we owe to the faith of history, and the cause of truth, the correction of an error, and a palpable one too, that has wrought its way into the minds of many, in the high tide of political animofity; and that error is, the fuppofing the Belgic and American revolts to be parallel cafes, founded on the fame principles, and conducted by the fame views and mctives. It would be fwelling this extract to too great a length, to point out all the ftriking circumftances that diftinguish thefe two momentous contefts.-To rectify the error, now under confideration, it will be fufficient to obferve that, after the most violent and bloody acts of perfecution and oppreffion, that, perhaps, were ever recorded in the annals of hiftory, the Hollanders in particular, and the Flemings in general, perfevered in their acknowledgment of Philip's fupremacy: they declared, perpetually, that they had no other object in view, than to defend their lives and privileges against the violent conduct, and fanguinary measures of the monter ALBA, until the Monarch, informed of the true ftate of things, should restore them to their violated rights and liberties. In particular, the States of Holland and Žealand, while they had recourse to WILLIAM 1. as their defender, declared their intention to perfevere in their allegiance to PHILIP, and jointly with the immortal Hero, whom they had only chofen as a temporary chief, they addrefied to their fanguinary and defpotic fovereign an humble fupplication, which concludes with the following memorable words: "Therefore do we lay ourselves at the feet of your Majesty, and beseech you, in the name of that God, who has placed the crown on your head and the fcepter in your hand, that you will caft an eye on our fituation, and lend a paternal car to cur just and affecting complaints: WE DO NOT DESIRE TO BE EMANCIPATED FROM OUR SUBJECTION AND OBEDIENCE, but only that our confciences may remain free to God, that we may be allowed TO HEAR AND OBEY HIS HOLY WORD, in order to be qualified to give an account of our fouls to our Supreme Fudge at the last day." Purluant to this declaration, the most important edicts of thefe ftruggling heroes were figned with the

Nn 4

name

« السابقةمتابعة »