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" adopt it. I cheerfully determined upon it without “ the least scruple; and the only one I had to over

come was that of Theresa ; whom, with the greatest imaginable difficulty, I persuaded to

comply.” The year following a similar inconvenience was remedied by the fame expedient : no more reflection on his part, nor approbation on that of the mother. “ She obliged with trembling. My fault, says he, was great ; but it was an er

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He resolved on settling at Geneva; and on going thither, and being mortified at his exclufion from the rights of a citizen by the profession of a religion different from his forefathers, he determined openly to return to the latter. I thought, says he, " the gospel being the same for every Christian ; “ and the only difference in religious opinions the “ result of the explanations given by men to that “ which they did not underftand, it was the exclu“ five right of the fovereign power in every coun

try to fix the mode of worship, and these unin

telligible opinions ; and that consequently it was " the duty of a citizen to admit the one, and con“ form to the other, in the manner prescribed by " the law.” Accordingly at Geneva he renounced popery.t

After passing twenty years with Theresa, he made her his wife. He appears to have intrigued with a Madame de H- Of his defires after that lady he says, “ Guilty without remorse, I soon became « fo without measure." +

Such according to his own account was the life



* Part II. Vol. 1. pp. 123, 154, 155. 183, 187, 315. + Part II. Vol. 1. pp. 263, 264.

# PP. 311, 378

of uprightness and honour which was to expiate for a theft which he had committed when a young man, and laid it to a female fervant, by which the lost her place and character.* Such was Rousseau, the man whom the rulers of the French nation have delighted to honour; and who for writing this account had the vanity and presumption to expect the applaufe of his Creator. “ Whenever the last trum“ pet shall found, faith he, I will present myself “ before the sovereign Judge, with this book in

my hand, and loudly proclaim, Thus have I act" ed--these were my thoughts -fuch was 1. Pow

er eternal ! Affemble round thy 'throne the in" numerable throng of my fellow-mortals. Let them listen to my Confessions, let them blush at my depravity, let them tremble at my sufferings, let each in his turn expose with equal sincerity.

the failings, the wanderings of his heart; and “ if he dare, aver, I was better than that man.”+

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Christianity has not only produced good effects in thofe

who cordially believe it, but has given to the morals of society at large a tone, which Deism fo far as it operates, goes to counteract,


O man walks through life without a rule of some kind, by which his conduct is directed, and his inclinations restrained. They who fear not God are influenced by a regard to the opinions of

* Vol. 1: pp. 155, 160:

+ Vol. p. 1.

men. To avoid the censure, and gain the applause of the public, is the summit of their ambition.

Public opinion has an influence not only on the conduct of individuals in a community, but on the formation of its laws. Legislators will not only conform their systems to what the humours of the people will bear, but will themselves incline to omit those virtues which are the most ungrateful, and to spare those vices which are most agreeable.

Nor is this all : so great is the influence of public opinion, that it will direct the conduct of a community against its own laws. There are obfolete ftatutes, as we all know, the breach of which cannot be punished: and even statutes which are not obsolete, where they operate against this principle, have but little effect; witness the connivance at the atrocious practice of duelling.

Now if public opinion be fo potent a principle, whatever has a prevailing influence in forming it, must give a decided tone to what are considered as the morals of a nation. I say to what are considered as the morals of a nation : for strictly speaking, so much of the love of God and man, as prevails in a nation, so much morality is there in it, and no more. But as we can judge of love only by its expreffions, we call those actions moral, though it is possible their morality may be only counterfeit, by which the love of God and man is ordinarily exprefled. If we perform those actions which are the ordinary expreflions of love, from some other motive, our good deeds are thereby rendered evil in the fight of him who views things as they are : nevertheless what we do may be equally beneficial to fociety as though we acted from the purest motive. In this indirect way Chriftianity has operated

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more than any thing that has been called by the name of religion, or by any other name, towards meliorating the state of mankind.

It has been observed, and with great propriety, that in order to know what religion has done for an individual, we must consider what he would have been without it. The same may be said of a nation, or of the world. What would the nations of Europe have been at this time, if it had not been for the introduction of Christianity ? It cannot reasonably be pretended that they would have been in any better situation, as to morality, than that which they were in previous to this event: for there is no instance of any people having by their own efforts emerged from idolatry, and the immoralities which attend it. Now as to what that state was, some notice has been taken already, so far as relates to the principles and lives of the old philosophers. To this I shall add a brief review of the state of society amongst them.

Great praises are bestowed by Plutarch on the customs and manners of the Lacedemonians. Yet the fame writer acknowledges that theft was encouraged in their children by a law; and that to “ sharp

en their wits, to render them crafty and subtle, " and to train them up in all sorts of wiles and « cunning, watchfulness and circumspection, where« by they were more apt to serve them in their

wars, which was upon the matter the whole " profession of this Commonwealth. And if at any time they were taken in the act of stealing, they

most certainly punished with rods, and the penance of fafting; not because they esteemed " the stealth criminal, but because they wanted “ skill and cunning in the management and conduct


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“ of it."* Hence, as might be expected, and as Herodotus obferves, their actions were generally contrary to their words; and there was no dependance

upon them in any matter. As to their chastity, there were cominon baths in which the men and women bathed together : and it was ordered that the young maidens should appear naked in the public exercises, as well as the young men, and that they should dance naked with them at the folemn festivals and facrifices. Huf • bands also were allowed to impart the use of their wives to handsome and deserving men, in order to the producing of healthy and vigorous children for the Commonwealth.

Children which were deformed, or of a bad conftitution were murdered. This inhuman custom was common all over Greece ; so much fo that it was reckoned a fingular thing among the Thebans, that the law forbad any Theban to expose his infant, under pain of death. This practice, with that of procuring abortion, were encouraged by Plato and Aristotle.

The unnatural love of boys was so common in Grecce, that in many places it was fanctioned by the public laws, of which Aristotle gives the reason : viz. to prevent their having too many children. Maximus Tyrius, celebrates it as a most fingular heroic act of Agesilaus, that being in love with a beautiful barbarian boy, he suffered it to go no farther than looking at him, and admiring him. Epictetus also praises Socrates in this manner :

6 Go to Socrates, and see him lying by Alcibiades, yet slighting his youth and beauty. Consider what a victo


Plutareb's Morals, Vol. I. p. 25.

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