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Full text of "Letters to Eugenia [microform] : on the absurd, contradictory, and demoralizing dogmas and mysteries of the Christian religion"

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LETTERS TO EUGENIA, 



OW TBS 



ABSURD, GONTRADICTORY, AND DEMORALIZING 



JBogma^ aim im^utu» 



or THE 



CHRISTIAN religion: 



NOW FOIST TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF FRERET, 

V- BUT SUPPOSED TO BE WBITTBIT BT 

BARON HOLBACH, 

AVTBOB OP THE SYSTEM OP NATUBE, CHBISTIAHITT ONTEILBD, COHMOV 
SIKIB, UMIVEBSAI> MOBALITT, MATUBAL HOBALITT, &C> 



■MMMlAiiBhUHIt^hUMi 



SB 



Hottiron: 

PRINTED AVD PUBLISHED BY R.CARLILB, 55, FLEET STREET. 



1819. 



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Mi 



LETTERS TO EITG^.,*... 




■Had not your lettep^ Madam, contained- so s^ong ar 
ceniiriXHitioii of the troul^es that agitate you, I should 
neverthel88» have eas»ly recognized the work g£ supef>- 
stition. 't'hat done is enable of alarming booda^ 
ilundsy without calming the passions of the corrupt, 
and stilffices for ever to annihilate repose from tbe heajrC^ 
6i which it Once obtains the possession. 

. Yesy S^adaai, I hayeloi^known the melancholy effects 
of veligidtis pr^udiee^ and I now intend to speak to 
y6ti With freedom respecting them. Pisrha^ at first 
view my ideas may appear itritagt, but on a (Closer e3t- 
aikiinati^i they will ceaste to shock yon. In a mind 
like yours, reason, sincerity, and truth will always 
possess their rights. ^^*--^' 

Your goodness, candour, and sincerity, prevent yaa 
from suspecting in others any thing tike fraud or madignity^ 
The OMkiness of your dispositioB prevents yon frcmi 
ceittradictmg notions thfit would appear to you reivolt* 
ing« if you deigned to examine them ; bat you would 
ra^«r refer to th^ judgment of o^ers, and subscribe to 
tliiir ideaSf than consult your own reason and trnder-* 

sftonding. The vivacity of your imaginatdoii maJces ' 

you aeiae wi^ es^emess the dark pictures preseDted to 
YOU ; intecested i^atea avail theiaselves of your seitsi* 
Wiity in order fio alarm you ; lk^ see you shodder atr.^ 

the teniUB nsiD6B of dtath, judgnufrU, helly puiM* ^ 
mei^^ and btemUy^ &ey stiifee you witk awe at die 






4 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

name of an inflexible Judge, whose decrees are un- 
changeable. You imagine you see around you demons 
that are made the ministers of vengeance on his feeble 
creatures. Thus is your mind in continual alarm ; 
each instant you are afraid of unknowingly offending a 
capricious God, who is always threatening and revenge- 
ful. If you be consistent in your principles, every 
moment of a life which would have been remarkable 
only for its contentment and peace, will soon be in- 
fected with inquietudes, scruples, and panic terrors, 
from which a mind like yours ought for ever to have 
been exempted. The agitation into which these fatal 
ideas have thrown you, suspends the use of your facul- 
ties ; your reason is drawn aside by a wandering imagina- 
tion ; you fall into perplexity, lowness of spirits, and 

self-distrust, and you thus become the dupe of ineii, 
who by addressing themselves to our imagination and 
deafening our reason, have long since succeeded in 
subjugating the universe, and in persuading rational 
beings that their reason is either useless or dangerous. 

Such, Madam, is the constant language of the apos- 
tles of superstition, whose project has been, and al- 
/ \ ways will be, to annihilate human reason, in order that 
// // / their authority over mankind may be exercised with 
j^ . j impunity. 

Every where have the perfidious ministers of re- 
vealed religion been either the avowed or the sea-et 
enemies of reason, because they always found reason in 
opposition to their views. They have every where de- 
cried it, fearing it would destroy their empire, by dis- 
covering their plots and the futility of their j^bles. 
They have every wheJTe endeavoured to erect on its 
ruins the empire of fianaticism and imagination. To 
make sure of success, they have continually alarmed 
mankind by hideous representations ; they have asto- 
nished and seduced them by wonders and mysteries; 
they have embarrassed them by enigmas and uncertain- 
ties ; overloaded them with duties and ceremonies, and' 
filled: their minds with scruples and superstitious feam. 



-■■"^^^a;^- " ^' 






LETTERS TO EUGENIA. "» 

We have only to open our eyes to perceive the dis- 
gracefbl means made use of by political priestcraft to 
stifle the aspiring reason of man. Xn his infancy he is 
taught to respect tales that are ridiculous, impertinent, 
contradictory, and wicked ; he is then ^miharized by 
d^rees with inconceivable mysteries, which are an- 
nounced to him as sacred truths. * • :;>' * , 
You have no occasion to blush, Madam, forli wesHj- 
ness which you possess in common with every one 
around you, and firom which the greatest men are not 
always exempt. Let your courage, then, be re-ani- 
mated, and dare to examine with coolness the phan- 
toms that alarm you. In a case so interesting to your 
peace, consult this enlightened reason which plax?es 

you as much above the vul^r, as it places the human 

species above all other animals. Leave inquietude 
and remorse to those profligate women, who feel self- 
reproach, or who have crimes to expiate. Leave 
-superstition to those ignorant females, whose narrow 
minds jare incapable of reflection. ^ .fm^mmmj^m^^^^ - 
'i^t Do not tell me. Madam, that your understanding 
is too feeble to sound the depths of theology. Do not 
tell me in the language of our priests that religious 
truths are mysteries which we must adopt in silent ado- 
ration, without being able to understand them. By 
ispeaking in this way, do you not see that they pre- 
riscribe and cond^nn this religion to which they pretend 
to subject you ? Whatever is supernatural was not \ 
intended for man to know, and whatever is out of the * 
reach of his knowledge ought not to occupy his 
attention. 

To say that religion is superior to reason is an ac- 

knowlec^^ement that it was not intended for rational 

beings, and a confession that our Doctors know nothing 

about, the wonders with which they daily entertain us. 

01 If the truths of religion be as they assure us, neces- 

; ^sry to all men, they ought to bedear and intelligible 

to all inen. If the dc^mas of this religion were as 

cimportant afrwe are. given to understand they ar^, they 



// 



5;iR.'»;vs'SH?j|^.^^sw;"^?^ 






/ 



'/ 



m LETTDBS TO EOGfiBTIA. 

jQUghtDot oaly to b£ suited ;K> the iqaiMcit)e8X}f ^e doc- 
ipis nviio pre^ them, but to all those ^fnho-faeBitoiitlip 
4heir vdiscourses. ' Is it not very wondeiffiil :that those 
^hose ^]HQfesaioii it is to make ^themselves maat^^ tof 
therrel^ion^which sthey are to teach toothers, iaekaow- 
ledge that its dogmas ace above their own understi^d- 
ing, and are yet so obstinate as to inculcate to ithe peo- 
^Jle, what by their own confession they cannot com- 
|»ehend? 

Should we have much confidence in a physician, ,wbo 
■after declaring that he did not understand his -profea- 
sion, should:nevertheIessboast of the excellence of^lys 
^remedies? This however is daily performed hy wa 
-^iritual quacks. By a strange fatuity, fthe most sen- 
sible people consent to be the dupes of those empi- 
licks, who are perpetiKilly iforced to acknowledge their 
-profound ignorance. 

JBut if the mysteries of .religion are incomprehensi- 
ble to those who teach them ; if among those who pro- 
fess it, none can be fbund^who knows precisely either 
^hat fhe believes or can give any account of the motives 
cf bis belief and conduct, this is not the case vwith 
;sespect ;to the ^difficulties which .we oppose to this reli- 
^tim. Xhese ;are witiiin ?the?reach of all, and rare so 
simple as to: be capable of eonvincing every man ^who 
jnenottnoes the prejudices of childhood, aiid deigi^ to 
e<{oi]sult that common sense which nature JsasibeatOMred 
^on each i ndi vidual of the, human race. • ' ^ -« '*? *- <^ 
j f If ^ycM consult our <kictors they will not fail to-dis- 
\ oplay^^e antiquity of* tiieir doctrine, which has alw^is 
( upheld itself in spite of the continual attacks of fa«re- 
\ tics, wicked men and infidels, and in spite of ^pagan 
{ |)ef$e^i1aon. You have too goodan imdeiBtandlng^ not 
/ -to iperceive that ;the ^aatiquity of an opioion. -pnsv^ 
( ^^QOthisg iift ite Jaivour. Jf antiquity .were a proof ef 
) ^tffttb, dGbfistianity would be forced to .give way to 
( ibtdaism, whidi >forthesame reason must -yield' to >^e 
^j ;fe%i<in lof >tbeiEgyptiaii»fiad Chakkans, tliatds «o saijF, 
{ 'loiidQlAtE^ which ^n^BoloBg smteiEiortto^Moses* ilt^ieas 



*^A?rs^-. v^^ '^^^- -■ ■■ ^- ^ ;*?i*'' -/ ?.^^T^^ 3f''^^^^j^7^ 



LEfTER&'TO EUGENU.- 



believed for thousands of years that the sun turned 
(ound the earth, which reiusuned stationary ; and ytlt 
it is not the less true that the sun is iQxed, and that the 
earth turns round the sun. 

You are not calculated to be the dupe of names and 
authorities. You will be astounded with the multipled 
testimony of many illustrious and learned men, who 
have not only admitted the Christian religion, but have 
been its most zealous defenders. You will be told of 
holy doctors, great philosophers, powerful reasoners, 
fathers of the church, and learned interpreters, who 
have successively supported this religious system. I 
shall not in this place contest their understandings 
which are nevertheless frequently defective; I shall 
content myself with saying that in religious matters 
M tl)e greatest genuises are freque^ntly less clear sighted 
// j than the people themselves ; that they have not exa- 
f / HMn^ the opitiions they taught, either because they 
regarded them as sacred, or because they had never 
traced the origin of their principles, which they would 
jiave found ruinous, after an unprejudiced considera- 
tion ; or in short, because they saw themselv^ inte- 
KSted in the defence of a cause to which their own 
ibrtttne was attached./ Thms is their te8tiaK>ny except 
tioimble, aad their authority of no great weight. 

Witb respect to interpreters and commentators, who 
have pflii^iltilly laboured during so many ages' to elocit 
(j^te the divine laws ; to explain the sacred writings of 
the Christians, and to fix, the dc^mas of feith, even 
ih^ iabpurs ought to make us suspect a religi^ 
IbfiiKied on those books, and. teaching those dogmas. 
They jM'ove to ns that works said to emanate from the 
3^retli6 Beingi are obscure, unintelligible, and stunl 
in need of human assistance to be understood by those 
to wiiomthte Deity wished to discover his wiM. Tbe 
^H'S of a wise God oiirght to be simple and clear; noiae 
t^t d^ective lavps stand in need of interpretation. 
^ It is not then to those interpretei^ to whom you 
must 9^pfy' o It i» i^^^eur^f ; it is your own Kea«^ 






LfelTTSa^ TO WB^EMA. 



that you must consult. Your own happiness liftd Wef^ 
^e -are at stake, and. these objects are of too seribm 
aiiature for you to entrust to others the decision re- 
specting them. If rehgion be a matter as iroportaBt 
as it is asserted to be, it undoubtedly, merits the great- 
est attention. If this religion must have an infloeace 
on the happiness of men in this world, and the next, 
there is no afl&tr of more lively interest, nor which 
consequently demands a more mature examination. 
Can any thing then be more strange than the conduct 
adopted by the greater part of mankind ? Thou^ 
perfectly convinced of the necessity of religion, and 
of its importance, yet never do they ^Fve tbemselvesi 
the trouble to examine it ; they observe it from custom 
and habit ; they never account to themselves for its 
dogmas ; they revere it, they submit to it, and groan 
under its burthen, without asking themselves why 
they do so. In short, they have recourse to others 
to examine for them, and those in whose judgment 
y i they put such blind trust, are precisely the persons 
// / whose decisions they ought to regard with suspicion. 
Priests have the right to judge exclusively, and with* 
out any appeal, the merits of a system evidently in* 
ventesd for their own emolument. But what do these 
priests say to us } Visibly interested in maintaining 
received opinions, they represeut them to us as neces- 
sary to the public, as interesting and consoling to ^aeh 
of us, as intimately connected with morality, as indis^. 
[ pensible to society ; in a word, as bein^ <rf the verf 
1 first importance. After having thus prejudiced as lA 
their favour, they immediately forbid ui to examtne 
/ matters- so important to be known. "What are you to 
\ think of such conduct ? You must conclod& thi^ 

/ they wish to deceive you ; that they fear examination 

\ only because their religion cannot withstahd kr^<^ 

that they are afraid- of reason, which might unveil the 

\ wicked proj^tsof the priesthood to enslave the hiiman 
race. 

& Thu» Mfidam,. I camiot too often repeat it, cgtamifie 



■;* •;-;■:■ -'^■rf^f.tlK-'^ 



LETTERS TO EVGSNIA. 0. 

fer yourself, make 1)66 of your own understafidm^, 
seek tru<ii in the sinceri^ of your heart, silence pre- 
judice, and be on your guard against habitual cenemo*' 
mes. Bid . defiance to imagination, and then in sin43mty 
with yourself you will weigh with a sure hand, thjsr 
opinions of relAgion^^Uimk- ^^^^tk-W''^^^ ' '-r^W^ 
.i From whatever source they spripg, you will acquiesce 
only in what is convincing to your own reason, satis- 
factory to your underetaading, conformable to sound \ ''^ 
morality, and approved of by a virtuous raind. You / ^ 
will reject with disdain^ what is contradictory to rea- \ '^ 
son ; you will cast from you wit|i dread, such notions 
as are criminal and injurious to morality, and which 
neligioD strives to injpose upon us as virtues that ace 
supernatural and divine. - v>;^5s ^ ^im'fi 

Wise and amiablie Eugenia! Rigorously examine 
the ideas which at your own request I intend to lay 
beftMre you^ Do not suffer your confidence in me^ nor 
your prejudice for my weak understanding, to blind 
3SOU with respect to my opinions. I submit them to 
your judgment ; discuss i^em, combat them, and do 
not yield, till you think you have discovered the truth. ■ 

My sentiments are not offered as so many oracles, 
norane they like theological opinions, against which 
nm are not permitted Jto make any appeal. If I havie 
told the truth, adopt my ideas ; if I be deceived, point 
out my ^Tors ; I am ready to .acknowledge thepi, ^nd 
^ sign juy own condemnation, 
i I <shi^ esteem myself happy if my reflections «on« 
tribiite^ to ceatore to you that tranquillity of mind/^ 
wliich is so necessai^ to end^le lis to judge of tfaing^'- 
ratfonally, ^ed without which th^e can be no hap^ 

» I riiaU eiater into^nticaia^ in m^ Second Letter, liM ^ 
abail gOf bade to the foundation. I flatter myself I ^ 
»baH prove to you, in the course of this correspondence, ' ; 

iibat'the olgects which thed(^y endeavours to perplex 
^and surround with darkness, in order to render them *^ 
fiiore sacred and respectable, are not only sasceptiblfe 







ft 



, _.' »-> 



v^K^?".^ 



it LEfTfeRS TO ECGENIA. 

bf bdtigf udderstood by you, but may even be fiiJIy 
. compr^ended by any one who enjoys the most orifi- ' t 
Bwy share of common «ense. ' '• 

Should my freedom, Madam, dp^r too ybrtrjitj 
you must consider that you are the cause of H. It 
was necessary to speak plainly. I thought mj^lf 
bbh^d to oppose a violent and prompt renoredy to the 
Hialady that had attacked you. Besides, I dare to 
hope, that in a short time you will thank me, for bat- 
ing shewn you the truth in all its brightness ; and that 
you will pardon me for having dispelled the incommo- 
dious phantoms that infested your mind. My efforts 
for your tranquillity will prove to you at least, the 
interest I feel in your happiness, and the respect with 



I am, &c. 



m ^i 



■■fS-'' ■ ■' ^ r'H :ii\- H t ''»£ 



LETTER II.- 



( !. 



7 '■ : .^'^ii'-f'^^ 

V ErER Y rd^ion is a system of opinions and con- 
' ( duct, founded on the true or false notions which we 
'' fiwia respecting fhe Deity. „<: v.« ^;=.4. ,; .^iu-c^c. 

To judge of the truth of a system, we must'^xsm^iie 
Its principles, see if they be in agreement one with 
anoth^, and ascertain that every part theleof is an 
additional support to that system. JPor a leligioo to 
be true, it must give us true notions of God. It is 
4mly by the aid of our reason that it is possible fbr us 
to judge whether the attributes which theology ascribes 
to the Deity, be true or not; and truth, te it regards 
TnaBr ir nothing more than a conformity to reason. 
Thus we see it is this same reason^ now attempted to 
\^ be proscribed, which is alone capable of enabling us to 
' judge of the truths that religion offers to us. The 
true God must be a God conformable to reason, imd 



\ 






LETTERS TO JLUGENIA. If 

true worship caoaot consist in any ^ts- but those 
which i%asoii approves. 

Religion is important only in proportion to the a^ 
vantages it procures for xnaBkind. The best religion is , ^ 
that which enables those whp profess it, to enjoy beoe- \ / 
fits that are real, substantial, and lasting. A false peXi- 
gion can give nothing to those who practise it that i^ 
not false, chimerical, and of short duration. It is for 
reason to judge whether the advantages procured are 
real or imaginary ; and it belongs to reason to decide 
whether a religion, a worship, a system of comiuct, be 
advantageous or injurious to tlie human race. 
r' It is according to these incontestible princlpres that 
i proceed to examine the Christian religion. I begin by 
analyzing the ideas which it gives us of the Deity, 
whom it boasts to make known to us in a more per- 

; feet manner than all the other religions in the world. 
I shall examine whether these ideas agree one with 
another ; whether the dogmas taught by this religion 
are in reality <:onformable^ these fundamental rules, 
and can be reconciled with them ; and whether the 
conduct it prescribes answers to the conceptions it 
gives us of the Deity. I shall then close the subject 
with an examination of the advantages which the 
Christian religion procures to mankind ; advantages 
which, in the opinion of its partisans, infinitely sur- 
fnam : those which result from all the other religions, of 

ii the earth. .:*ja.'':»>^*:¥^.i^*^^^^>^f^i>^*ii«.'. ^^sis 

V *jChrietianity admits for its basis, the belief of one 

*God, whom it defines to be a pure spirit, an eternal, 
independeof^ and immutable intelligence, whoperfornas 
every tiiiog^^^ows every thing, foresees every thing, 
and fills the universe with his immensity. He creat»i \'f " 
out of nothing, the world, and all it contains ; he pre- ( n 
^serves aad governs it according to the laws of his wis- 

r^om, his goodeess^'his justice, and the infinite per- 

:$^^tions displayed in all 4^6 works. 
r*i These arc the ideas which Christianity gives us of 

^ the Deity. Let m see, then, if they agree with tlie 



// 



*asr.-.-^ 



1^ LETTBRS TO EUGElflA. 

I Qtfaer. OQtioQS which this religious system presents to 
( us,,.pDder the pretence that they were reveded by God 
) MipMtelft und that from him alone we hold those truths 
i which he has hidden from the rest ot' mankind, to 
) whom his perfections have never been made known. 
Thus the Christian rehgion is founded on a particular 
revelation. Tp whom was this revelation made? 
First to Abraham, and then tahis posterity. The God 
of the universe, the Fatlier of all mankind, resolved 
to make himself known only tp the descendants of a 
" \ Chaldean, who during the space of some thousands of 
years, were in exclusive possession of the knowledge 
<»f the true God. ^'^ an act of his special goodness, 
the Jews were a long time the only people who were 
favoured with that knowledge which is equally neces- 
sary to all mankind. This was the only people that 
knew how to conduct themselves towards the Supreme 
Being ; all other nations were in darkness, or had ideas 
that we-re imperfect, ridiculous, and criminal respecting 
the Sovereign of Nature. 

Thus, at the very first step, we perceive that Chris- 
tianity annihilates the goodness and justice of its God. 
A'.fiar^culiu: revelatbn announces a partial God, who 
£siv6urs part of his children to the prejudice of all the 
(1^^ c«wiiQ, consults only his own caprice, instead of 
reii^ardUig real merit ; who from his inability to give 
^{^>iness to.the whole human race, shews his tendef> 
oess only to a few individuals, who are nevertheless as 
much iuecaj^citat^d to please him as the rest of their 
" I iuethren. What shall we say of a father placed at the 
liead of a numerous iamily, who should shew his pa« 
rei^ kindness only to one of his children; who 
should.fix the whole of his attention on him alone, and 
/ %vho ^oul4 be dissatisfied with all the rest for not per<^ 
\ ^rmi|ig bis will, although he had never consented to 
1 let them approach his person. Should we not aoeuse 
( such a lather of caprice, cmelty, stupidity and foUy^ 
\ were he to inflict his wrath on those children, whom 
/ ize himself had excluded ffom his pr^seace ? Should 



■.^^ Z'^frv-f:^-^.,^^^-^i 



Utters TO EtGtNtA; u 

We not tax him with an injustice of whfdi Mly tlib' 
most senselesfl of our species could be capable, wem [y 
he to ponish them fot hot obeying' cothmslin(fe, i^Hb^Mi ] // 
he bid not condescended to make known to them ? 

Let us conolude then, Madam, that a particuW 
revelation does not suppose God to be good, imp&F& 
tial, and equitable, but that it rather suppDses~aik 
unjust and a whimsical tyrant, who thoiugfa he may 
display a kindness and a preference for some df hi* 
Gr«itures, is for that very reason cruel to all the test. 
This being the case, revelation does not pwve the' 
goodness, but it proves the caprice and partiality of 
the God whom the Christian religion teaches uS t(^ 
regard as a being of infinite wisdom, benevolence antl 
equity, and as the common Father of all tiie inhabi-^^ 
tants of the earth. If the interest and self-love bf 
those whom he has favoured, cause them to admire thfe 
profound ways of a GJod, because he heaps bene^lr 
upon them to the injury of their fcllow-creatur^, he 
must appear very unjust to those who are tlie yidtiitti 
of his partiaHty^ i^t^^^^ -mmtit^ -Mm^m^^^^pim^fK-^'^'^^ 

\ Nothing but pride could persuade those men, that 
they were, to the exclusion of all others, the ^eci^le 
cherished by Providences^ ^-'H''"'^* * -rm rm'^i 

Blinded by then* vanity, they did lic* p^t^Vc tfe* 
his universal and infinite goodness, was bdled'^y sup- 
posing him capable of giving a preference to s&ci^ |Kir- 
Hcular men, or some particular nations, all of whom 
ought to be equal in his eyes, if it be true thatthl^y 
are equally the work of his hands. 

Nevertheless on particular revelations, ate fotfttiled 
all the religions of the world. As each man has the \ 
vanity t<i think himself the most important i>etng iil 
the universe, so is each natioli^^fsoaded tiiat tt>th^ 
exchision of all others^ it ought to enjoy the ten^ef^ 
ness of the Sovereign of Natttire. -If fh8 Irtdiatn? mia- 
gine that it is to theni oMy that Brama has spoken ; 
the Jews and Christian^, ]^r«uade themselves tLiit* 



'/ 






V • • _ ' - • "J 



LETHiRS TO EWiENU. 



■-^;*^^?^5C»;-<.(I-'r-7^TT^>;TrT-«RJS5pE. - 



fert&an^akme, the world was created^ and that it is H^ 
them'alone that God has revealed himsek* ^i ;q 

But let us for a moment suppose that God has 
really manifested himself; how could a pure Spirkren- 
d^ faiiaself sensible ? What shape did he take ? 
What kind of material organs did he make use of ia 
peaking ? How did the infinite Being communif- 
catebis thoughts to finite beings ? I shall be answered 
tbat to accommodate himself to the weakness of his 
creatures, be employed in his ministry, a chosen uuib-^ 
bef of men to announce his will to others ; that he has 

/ filled them with his own spirit, and spoken i>y Ibeie 
mouths. 

But bow shall we conceive the infinite Being capa< 
Ue of uniting himself with the finite nature of raiiQ ? 
How shall I ascertain whether he who pretends, to he 

j in^ptred by the Deity, does not publish his own reve* 
ries CH* impositions for the oracles of lieaven ? How 
shall I ascertain if it be really true that God speaks 
by his voice ? — It is immediately replied that to give 
weight to the words of those whom he has chosen ta 
be bis interpreters, God has conununicated to them a 
poitioD of his omnipotence, and that they have per- 
formed miracles which prove their divine mission* On 
Hl^T asking, what is a miracle? lam toldtfaat it is 
an opemtion contrary to the laws of nature which God 
bimseir has -fixed ; to which I reply, that, accordiDg 
to the ideas I have formed of the divine wkdom, it 
appieafs to me impossible that an immutable God can 
change the wise laws which he himself has established. 
1 thcHoce conclude that miracles are impossible, seeing 
they are incompatible with our ideas of the wisdom 
and immutability of the Creator of the universe^ 
Besides, tiieee miracles would be useless to God ? If 
be be omnipotent, can he not modify the minds of 
his creatures according to his own will ? ,^-,^( 

J To convince and to persuade them, he has only to 

j willjtb^ they shall be convinced and persuaded* , H^ 



// 



LETTER»TO-E»€ateiai. ■.;■ v<^^| 

bat only to tell them things that are clear and sensibly ) 
things that may be demonstrated ; and to evideiice of \ 
sueb a lund, they vvill not fail to giv6 their assent. Td / 
do this, he will have no need either of miracles or in* \ 
terpreters ; truth alone is sufficient to win mankind* 
/Supposing, nevertheless, the utility and possibility of 
these miracles, bow shall I ascertain whether die won^^ / 
derful operation which I see performed by the inter* \ - 
jHeter of the Deity, be conformable or contrary to the 
laws of nature ? Am I acquainted with all these laws I 
May not he who speaks to me in the name of the^ 
Lord, execute by natural means, though to me un* 
known, those works which appear altogether extraor- 
dinary ? How shall I assure myself that he does not 
deceive me? Does not my ignorance of the secrets / 
and shifts of his art, expose me to be the dupe of an 
able impostor, who might make use of the name of 
God to inspire me with respect, and to screen his de* 
ception I Thus, his pretended miracles ought to make 
me suspect him, even though I were a witness <tf 
them.; but how would the case stand, were these mira* 
cles said to have been performed some tbousands of 
years before my existence ? 1 shall be told that thej 
were attested by a multitude of witnesses ; but if I 
cannot trust to myself when a miracle is performin^^ 
how shall I have confidence in others, wbcr 0iay be 
either more ignorant, or more ,8tupid than myaelt^ or 
who perhaps thought themselves^ interested in Mip*> 
porting by their testimony, tales entirely destitute qf 

If« on the contrary, I admit these miracles, what 46 
they prove to me? Will they furnish me wkh the 
belief, that God has made use of his omnipotence ^ 
convince. me of things, which are in direct oppositton 
to the ideas I have formed c^ bis essence, bis natUF«« 
and his divine perfections? If I be jpersuaded tint/ ^/ 
God ia immutable, a miracle will tipt K>rce,me to be- \/y ^^ 
iieve that he is subject to chan^. If I be ebnvineed 
- that God is just and good; a miracle will jnever bt 



// 






( 



'Z 



16 I JITTERS TO EUGENIA. 

sufficient to persuade me that he is unjust and wicked. 
If I possess an idea of his wisdom, all the miracles in 
the vvprld would not persuade me that God would act 
like a madman. Shall 1 be told, that he would con- 
sent to perform, miracles that destroy his divinity, or 
that; are proper, only to erase from the minds of men 
the ideas which they ought to entertain of his .infinite 
perfections ? This, however, is what would happen 
were God himself to perform, or to grant the power of 
performing miracles in favour of a particular revelation. 
He would, in that case, derafige the course of nature, 
to teach the world that he is capricious, partial, unjust, 
and cruel ; he would make use of his omnipotence 
purposely to convince us, that his goodness was in- 
sufficient for the welfare of his creatures ; he would 
ixiake a vain parade of his power, to hide his inability 
to convince mankind by a single act of his will. In 
sh^ort, he would interfere with the eternal and immuta- 
ble laws of nature, to shew us that he is subject to 
change, and to announce to mankind some important 
news, which they had hitherto been destitute of, not- 
withstanding all his goodness. ^ ^- . J ;: 'i4^ .*» 
-5 Jhus under whatever point of v\e\v>we regard reve- 
lation, by whatever miracles we may suppose it attest- 
ed, it will always be in contradiction to the ideas we 
h^ve of the Deity. They will shew us that he acts in 
an unjust and an arbitrary manner, consulting only his 
own whims in the favours he bestows, and continually 
changing bis conduct ; that he was unable to commu- 
nicate all at once to mankind, the knowledge neces- 
sary to. their .existence, and to give them that degree of 
perfectipn, of which their natures were susceptible* 
Hence, Madam, you may see, that the supposition of 
a revelation, catt neveE. be reconciled with the infinite 
goodness, justice, omnipotence, and imnuitability of 
tlie Spvereigp of the. universe. . .. ; ' -«* 
.. They will not fail to tell you, that the Creator of 
all things, the, imdependent Monarch of Nature is the 
master of his favours ; that he owes : nothing to his crea- 






,' 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. ^ 

ttf res ; that be can disp6se of them as he ptdt^^; ^itil- 
put any injustice, and without their having any right 
of complaint.; that man is incapable of sounding the 
profundity of his decrees, and that his justice k not (// 
the justice of men. But all these answers which di- 
vines have continually in their mouths, serve only to 
accelerate the destruction of those sublime ideas, which 
they have given us of the Deity. The result appeal^ 
to be, that God conducts himself according to the 
maxims of a fantastic sovereign, who satisfied in hav- 
ing rewarded some of his favourites, thinks himself jus- 
tified in neglecting the rest of his subjects, and to leave 
them groaning in the most deplorable misery. ^^** ; 

You must acknowledge. Madam, it is not on suck 
a model, that we can forma powerful, equitable and 
beneficent God, whose omnipotence ought to enable 
him to procure happiness to all his subjects, without 
any fear of exhausting the treasures of his goodness. • 

If we are told that divine justice bears no resem- 
blance to the justice of men, . \ reply that in this ca^, 
we are not authorized to say that God is just ; seeing 
that by justice, it is not possible for us to concervfe 
any thing, except a similar quality to that called jus- \ ^/ 
tice by the beings of Our own species. If divine justice ( ^^ y 
biiars no resemblance to human justice ; if, on thie con- 
trary, this justice resembles what we call injustice, 
then all our ideas confound themselves, and we know 
not either what we mean or what we say, when we 
affirm that God is just. According to human ideas 
(which are however the only ones that men are pos- 
sessed of) justice will always excl ude caprice and par- 
tiality ; and never can we prevent ourselves from re^ 
garding. as : iniquitous and vicious, a sovereign, who 
being both able and willing to occupy himself with Ae 
happiness of his subjects, should plunge the greater 
number, of them into misfortune, and reserveiiis kaid- 
ness ^- those to whom his .whims have given the \ 
preference'fT* ^'|e-f**f%# 'M#!;t-^«;gsl5^^f9^0^f''" '■■'■' '.^ ' 
<* With respect-to telling us, that God owes Mvthing 



1/ 
If 



g^^igFn^>^g??^'^Mg^'^»^.y--r-;=^::V"-^^^ 



^ £ETt0tS TO &JGEKU. 

iQ hi$ crmiures^ such aB«trocions in'inciple is tlestrtHi- 
liyfebf every idea of justice hdcI goodness, and tends 
visibly to sap the foundation of all f^Iigion. A<5od 
/^ \ tbat is just and good, owes happiness to ewry being to 
.whom be has given existence ; he ceases to be just and 
good, if he produce them only to render them miser- 
able ; and he would be destitute of both wisdom and 
reason, were he to give them birth only to be the vic- 
tims of his caprice. What should we think of a 
father bringing children into the world, for the sole 
purpose of putting their eyes out, and tormenting them 
at his ease ? 

On the other hand, every religion is founded on the 
reciprocal engagements supposed to exist between God 
•ad bis creatures. If God owe nothing to men ; ff 
tie be not bound to fulfil his engagements with them, 
when they fulfil their's, what purpose is religion in- 
tended to serve ? :* ' *• ,-,H...^^..w 

What motives can men have to render to the Deity 
:tiieir homage and their worship ? 

Why should we shew so much officiousness in loving 
Of serving a master, who thinks himself justified in dis- 
p^nsiog with all duty towards those be has engaged in 
Jms service ? . ^ r^^:--^--^*-i-i€.ui?-?^^''e^^i^i«>mH^ 

I -i^It is easy to perceive that the ideas which they pro- 

\ BtnJgate, are destructive of divine justice, and that they 

•PC founded on a fatal prejudice, common among the 
/ j vulgar, that great power must necessarily place its pos- 
^^1 aessor beyond the laws of equity, that force can give 
a right to act wickedly, and that no one ought to ques- 
tioii the actions of a man sufficiently powerful to fol- 
low his own CftpHces. These notions are visibly bor- 
aowed from the conduct of tyrants, who na sooner 
Msess uaKi^ted power, than they cast off all restraint 
ant ^lat of their own ^cy, and imagine that justice 
iMaaothiag to do with their condition. It is in this 
h i Mcieug fbape^ tb^ our divines hare ^>rmed their God, 
triloiHr jus<9ce nevertheless they pretend to sobtltttiatB ; 
f^ if^^^he cofidttet attributed to him wtjre true, we 






if 



t£TtkRS TO ECGSNIil: 

should be compelled to r^id him as the dtost 4H|Ji»t 
of tyrants, the most partial of fathers, and the To&ed 
fantastical of princes. In short, of all the beings tbtl 
our nrinds can conceive, he would certaiirfy be 1^ 
most fearful and the least worthy of our love. We are 
likewise told that God, who created all men, wished 
himself to be known only to a veiy small numbw 
among them ; that whilst these chosen few exclusively 
enjoyed his kindness, all the rest are the objects of 
his wrath, and that he created them only with a view 
of leaving them in ignorance and darkness, in order 
to inflict on them the most cruel of punish meats* 
We see that these unhappy traits in the character of 
the Deity, pierce through every shade of the Christian \ "^ 
economy ; we find them in the books which they pie^ 
tend .to be inspired, and witness them in the dogmas (^ 
predestination and grace. 

In a word, this religion announces a despotic deity 
whom we vainly attempt to justify, whilst every thio^ 
related of him serves only to prove his injustice, his 
capricious tyranny, and whimsical partiality. When 
we expostulate against his conduct, which, in the 
eyes of every rational man must appear so inocdtoate, 

the priests think to stop our mouths by telling us he w 
omnipotent ; that he is the master of his own £ivoui« ; 
that he owes nothing to any creature, and that we 

worms of the earth, have no right to criticise his 

actions. They finish by intimidating us with the 
frightful and iniquitous chastisements which are ill 
reserve for all those who dare to murmur at bis decrees. 
?i It is easy to perceive the futility of these argwneistiu. 
Power, I do contend, can never confer the right of l^^ | 
violating equity. Let a sovereign be as powerful as ^ ^ 
he may, he is not on that account less blan^abler 11^1^9 
in leti^rds and punishmente he fellows only his ca-- 
price. It is true, we may fear him, we may Batter 
him* we may pay him servile homage : but never ^shaU 
ve lore him tnica«ly \ Bevo* shall we serve iiimciwtb^ 
Mly i never shall we look up to him as the modet ^ 



,f 



- -^jt^^^r * *:r^*'iT^-'rT^r; 



■^^^flF-'^Brf--" • _^- - 7c:^-3f|E^vve->wwBf^7!^?r«^ - '^^*^^^*f'7V^v^^''^S^'^^'W5e^'^ 



H^ LETTERS TQ ECJGENIA: 

^gtice and goodness. If those who receive his kind* 
ftesis brieve him to be just and good, those who are the 
trf>jects of his folJy aod yfgour, cannot prevent them- 
^Ives from detesting his monstrous iniquity in their 
hearts. 
If we be told that we are only as worms of earth 

relatively to God, or that we are only like a vase in the 
hands of a potter, I reply in this case, that there cart, 
neither be connection nor moral duty between the 
creature and his Creatcw; and 1 shall hence conclude, 
that religion is useless, seeing that a worm of earth can 
Owe nothing to the man that crushes it, and that the 
vase can owe nothing to the potter that has formed it. 
In the supposition, that man is only a worm, or art 
earthen vessel in the eyes of the Deity, he would be 
incapable either of serving him, glorifying him, honour- 
ing him, or offending him. -We are, however, con- 
tinually told, that man is capable of merit and demerit 
in the sight of his God, whom he is ordered to love, 
serve, and worship. We are hkevvise assured, that it 
was man alone, whom the Deity had ih view in all his 
works ; that it is for him alone, the universe was 
created ; for him alone, that the course of nature was 
so often deranged ; and, in short, it was with a view of 
being honoured, cherished, and glorified by man, that 
God has revealed himself to us. According to the 
principles of the Christian religion, God does not 
cease, for a single instant, his occupations for man, 
this ieorm of earth, this earthen vessel, which he h^s 
formed. Nay, more; man is suflSciently powerful to 
influence the honour and glory of his God ; it rests 
neither with man to please him, or to irritate him, to 
deserve his favour or his hatred, to appease him or to 
kindle his wrath. ^ ■^'<xm^-:y'^--'^^^m'if^-i!m'^ ^^mismpn 
4'Do you not perceive, Madam, the striking contra- 
dictions of those principles which, nevertheless, fonn 
the basis of all revealed religions? Indeed, we cannot 
fiwi wie of them that is not erected on the reeiprocsal 
influence between God and man, and between man 



LETTERS TO EUG^EmA> «t 

and God. Our own species, which are annihilated {if \ // 
I may use the expression) every time that it becomes \ // ^ 

necessary to whitewash the Deity from some reproach-- / „ 

ful stain of injustice" and partiality; these miserable- \ 

beings, to whom it is pretended that God owes no- / 
thing, jand who, we are assured, are unnecessary to ] 
him for his own felicity ; the human race, which is 
nothing in his eyes, becomes all at once the principal 
performer on the stage of nature. We find that man- 
kind are necessary to support the, glory of their Crea- 
tor ; we see them become the sole objects of his care ; 
we behold in them the power to gladden or afflict him; 
wesee them meriting his favour, and provokinghis wrath. 
According to these contradictory notions concerning 
the God of the universe, the source of all felicity, i» - 
he not really the most wretched of beings ? We be- 
hold him perpetually exposed to the insults of men, 
who offend him by their thoughts, their words, their 
actions, and their neglect of duty. They incommode 
him, they irritate him, by the capriciousness of their' 
minds, by their actions, their desires, and even by tii«r 
ignorance. If we admit those Christian principles 
which suppose that the great portion of the human 
race excites the fury of the Eternal, and that very few 
of them live in a manner conformable to his views; 
will it not necessarily result therefrom, that in the im- 
mense crowd of beings whom God has created for his 
glory, only a very small number of them glorify him 
and please him ; while all the rest are occupied in 
vexing. him, exciting his wrath, troubling his felicity,^ 
deranging the order that he loves, frustrating his de- 
signs, and forcing him to change his immutaMe in*^ 
tentions? 

You are, undoubtedly, surprized at the coQ^^rs-^ 
dictions to be encountered at the very iirst step we \ '^ 
take in exami ni ng this religion ; and 1 take upon roy- 
selF to predict that your embarrassment will increase ) ^^ 
asyou proceed therein. If you coolly examifie the* 
ideas presented to us in the revelation common bodi to 



•» ■. . * * f 



91^ LETTERS TO EUGEfflA. 

J«ws aiid Christians, and contained in the books, 
which 4hey tell u» are sacred^ you will find that the 
Deity who speaks, is always in contradiction with him- 
self; thai he becomes his own destroyer, and is per- 
petually .occupied in undoing what he has just done* 
and in repairing his own workmanship, to which, in 
the first instance, he was incapable of giving that de- 
^•ee of perfection he wished it to possess. He is 
never satisfied with his own works, and cannot, in 
spite of his omnipotence, bring the human race to the 
point of perfection he intended. The books contain- 
ing the revelation, on which Christianity is founded, 
every where display to us a God of goodness in the 
commission of wickedness ; an omnipotent God, 
whose projects unceasingly miscarry ; an immutable 
God changing his maxims and his conduct ; an omnis- 
cient Grod, continually deceived unawares ; a resolute 
God, yet repenting of his most important actions ; a 
God of wisdom, whose arrangements never attain suc- 
cess. He is a great God, who occupies himself with 
the most puerile trifles ; an all-suificient God, yet sub- 
ject to jealousy ; a powerful God, yet suspicious, vin- 
dictive, and cruel ; and a just God, yet permitting and 
1 prescribing the most atrocious iniquities. In a word, 
' be is a perfect God, yet displaying at the same time 
such imperfections and vices, that the most despicable 
of men would blush to resemble him. 

Behold, Madam, the God whom this religion orders 
you to adore 2» spirit and in truth. I reserve for an- 
other letter, an analysis of the holy books which you 
are taught to respect as the oracles of heaven. I now 
per^oeive, for the first time, that I have perhaps made 
too long a dissertation, and I doubt not, you have al- 
ready perceived, that a system built on a basis possess- 
ing so> little solidity as that of the God whom bis de- 
votees raise with one hand and destroy with the other, 
can have no stability attached to it, and can be regard- 
ed^ooly as a long tissue of erroi^ and contradictio^.^,; 
^r. - ■ \ I am, $K^ '-:^Mi 



■ ■ ■ ■ - ■ : J- , ■:' 

USfTERS TO ijUGENU. ^% 

Ydtjbttve seen, Madam, ifi toy preSfieding letter, the 
incompatiblie and contradictory ideas which this religion 
gives us' of the Deity. You will have seen that the 
revelation which is announced to us, instead of being 
the offspring of his goodness and tenderness for the 
human race, is really only a proof of injustice and 
paitiality, of which a God who is equally just and 
good, would be entirely incapable. Let us now ex- 
amine, whether the ideas suggested to us by these 
books, containing the divine oracles, are more ra^ 
tional, more consistent, or more conformable to the 
divine perfections. Let us see whether the statements 
related in the Bible, whether the commands prescribed 
to us in the name of God himself, are really worthy 
of God, and display to us the characters of infinitei 
wisdom, goodness, power and justice. 

These inspired books go back to the origin of the } 
world. Moses, the confidant, the interpreter, the his^ ' 
torian of the Deity, makes us (if we may use su(^ 
kn expression) witnesses of the formation of like uni« 
verse. He tells us, that the Eternal, tired of his inac- 
tion, took it into his head to create a world that was 
necessary to his glory. 

To effect this, he forms matter out of nothing; a 
pure spirit produces a substance which has no affinity 
to himself ; although this God fills all space with hid 
immensity, yet still he found room enough in ittd j ^^ 
adniit the univeirse, as well as all the material bodieii 
contained therein,. 

>These at least j^re the ideas which divines wish iis to 
^orm, respectiiig the creation, if such a thing were pos^ 
sibte, as thaa^ possessing a clear idea of a piu^ spi- 
rit producing Matter.. But this discussion is ^rowir"' 
Us into metaphysical researches which I wislii l^siivoi 









"^'sj^fWTftse^e^^^Ksn^^fap*^-** 



24 , fcETt^t^TO Et/GBWA. 

It will be sufficient to tell you that you may cons(4e 
yourself for not being able to comprehend it, seeing 
that the most profound, thinkers who talk about the 
creation, or the eduction of the world from nothing, 
have no ideas on the subject more precise than those 
.which' ypu form to yourself. As soon, Madam, as 
you take the trquble to reflect thereon, you. will find 
that divines, instead of explaining things, have done 
nothing but invent words in order to render them. du- 
bious, and to confound all our natural conceptions. 

I will not, however, 4:ire you, by a fastidious display of 
the blunders which fill the narrative of Mos^s, which 
ihe}^ announce to us as- being dictated by the Deity. 
If we read it with a little attention, we shall perceive 
jto every page, philosophical and astronomical errors, 
unpardonable ; in an inspired author, and such. as we 
should consider ridiculous in any man, who in the 
most superficial manner, should hayestpdr^,^AdcQnT 
tetoplated nature. ■[ ; ; { * t - o ;r i ; it r ' r:^ -ci 
'. You will find for example, light created before the 
sun, although this star is visibly the source of the 

light which communicates itself to our globe. You 

jvill find^the evening and the morning established before 

the formation of this same sun, whose presence ,^lc»je 

produces d^, whose absence produces aightj :,^,o,d 

wbose different aspects constitute morning and,evSfl- 
iflg. : You will there find that the mgon is spoken of, 
as a body possessing its own light, in a similar manner 
asthe sun possesses it, although this planet is a dark 
body and receives its light from the. sun. These igno- 
rant blunders are sufficient to shew you, that the Deity 
who revealed himself to Moses, was quite unacquainted 

with the nature of those substances which he had 
created out of nothing, and that you at present pos- 
sess more information respecting them, than was once 
possessed by the Creator of the world. q;^^ *4ti-iri 

. t am not ignorant that our divines have an answer 
always ready to those - difficulties which would attack 
their divine science, and place their knowledge far 






below "(iiat of ^Gmlii^,^1K^rt^^^ j 

beloV that k)f ycrtiri^ people, Syhohavfe scatc^ly studied ' \ '' 
the ' 'first ^lerafettts of ttdtural philosophy.' They will ' / / " 
tell us thslt'God in order to render himself intefligibl^ \ >' 
to the safvage and rgii6rant Jews, spoke in 'conformity' | 
to thfeir imperfect notions, in the false and incorrect ) 
language of the \'ulgar. We must not be imposed ( 
upon by this solution, -which our doictbre regard as / 
triumphant^ and which they so freqiieiaftry eiHploy'\ ^ 

wheri it becomes necessary to justily the Bibfe against / | 

the ignorance land vulgarities contained therein.' W'ti'S | 

answer them, that a God who knows every thing, and 1 ^ 

can perform every thing, might by a single wotd, have* \ 
rectified the false notions of the people he wished to' 
enlighten, and enabled them to know the nature of bo-| \ ^ 

dies more perfectly than the most able inen who havef 
since appeared. If it be replied that revelation is not 
intended to ' render men learned, but to make .them 
pious, I answer that revelation was not seut to esta-^ 
blish fali^^ notions, thiat it would be unworthy of GcH 
to Ijorrbw rtie 'language of falsehood and ignorance • 

that the knov^ledge of n?iture, so far from being an' \ 

injury^ to piety, \k by the ayo^wal of divines, the liiost / 

pfbper Study to display the greatness of God." Tfiey 

tell usi 'that religion would be unmoveabie, were it ) 
ccrhformable to true knowledge,' that we should haV^ / ,/ 
tib ot^ectibns to make to the recital of Moges, "nbr to' 
the -philosophy of the Holy Scriptures, if 'y/e foutfd' 
ndtftittg biit^what was continually cbtifirmed by ^xpe-* 
ri6nce, astronomy,"" and the demonstrations ' of geo-' 
mietry.'-' --'' . ' ' ' \' / '' 'y ' ■' v-m -; --^■■' '^r''- '■ 

To maiiitaiTi ^a cbtftraiy bfTthionr^^,^© i^y " ^^ 
is pleased in corifbunjdhig th^ knowledge of mien ahd 
in i^'nde?i.ng it ustelessi is to pretend that he is'plea^ed 
with itifiiking wis ignorant and cbahgeable, and tb^t^he' 
colideinns ihe prbgre^' of the human mind, iahhpijgih 
wcl 'blight 'to '^suppose him the author of it. " To'"(i^ j 
tend thkt Crod was obliged in the scriptures to confonnH 
himself to the language of ■ m^n,' is ^ to pretend thiat he' \ 






, :% 



■-■^?^'^^=^^mS'.=-'r^^^^^ • - ^-i^ »^-". -^=?.*'|«5g^^'-=^~^«^" '"'■ - ■ k^^^ii-^Ki^gv^jj, ; » i^^j^^^^^y^'^;^ 









withdee^ his assistance from those be wish^ed to en-' 
lighten, and that he was unable of rendering them siis- 
o6ptit)]e of comprehendiDg the language of truth. 
This is an observation not to be lost sight of in the 
examination of revelation, where we find in each page 
that God expresses himself in a manner quite unwor- 
thy of the Deity; Could not an omnipotent God, in- 
stead of degrading himself, instead of condescending to 
speal^ the language of ignorance, so far enlighten them as 
to make them understand a language more true, more 
noble, and more conformable to the ideas which are given 
Tus of the Deity? An experienced master, by degrees 
enables his scholars to understand what he wishes to 
\ I teach them, and a God ought to be able to communi- 
cate to them immediately, all the knowledge he in- 
tended to give them.- , r; ffV ft) Ti :t fno^rf jM^b 
However, according to Gfenesis, God after creating 
the World produced man from the dust of the earth. 
In the mean while we are assured that he created him 
in his own image ; but what was; the image of God } 
How could man, who is at least partly materiaK, i'6£ffr, 
sent a pure spirit which excludes all matter ?i ':f?ft ^^a^ 
I How conld his im4>erfect mind be formed on the 
model of a mind possessing all perfection, like that 
vh)ch we suppose in the Creator of the universe t 
What resemblance, what proportion, what aflSnity. 
could there be between a 6nite mind united to a body^ 
and the infinite spirit of the Creator } These, doub^ 
less, ^e gpeat difficulties ; hitherto it has been thpught 
impossible to decide them ; and they will probably, fyt' 
a long time employ the minds of those who strive. to 
understand the incomprehensible meaning of a book, 
which God provided for our instruction, 

Silt why did God create man ? Because he wisl^ed 
to people the universe with intelligent beiqgs who 
would render him homage, who should witness his, 
wonders, who should glorify him, who should medif^ 
late and contemplate his works, aiid PE^Ht his f?^V9^f^' 
b^Uthejr submission to his laws, -^,j^t*vff orif n5i ^i^^nvW' 



r-r-; *: ^ - -^j-'^w, ♦. ■• 








m 


m; 



^ Here we behoid man becoming iiiec^siAr^ tot ihie cig- 
ni^ of bis God, wbo without him would live wilhoufc 
being glorified, who would receive no homage^ UMi 
who would be the melancholy Sovereign of an &g^\ft^ 
widiout subjects, a condition not suited to his vaoitjr* 
I ^ink it useless to remark to you what little qqb^ 
formity we find between those ideas, and such as ase^ 
given us of a sel^ufficient beings who without ^ i j 
assistance of any other, is supremely happy. All the ) 1 
charaGters in which the Bible pourtrays the Deity, are 
always borrowed fi-om man, or from a proud monarchy 
and we every where find, that instead of having mada 
man after his own image, it is man that has always 
made God after the image of himself, that has con-. \ 
ferred on him his own way of thinking, his own vir- ) 
tues and his own vices. i 

But did this man whom the Deity has created for 
his glory, feithfully fulfil the wishes of his Creator ^ 
This subject that he has just acquired, will he be ^^b^n 
dient, will be render homage to his; power, wilt he \ 
execute his will } He has done nothing of the kind. / 
Scarcely is he created when he becomes rebellious to^ ( 
the ordeis of his sovereign ; he eats a forbidde^t fruit ! 
^ich God has placed in his way in order totempift/ 
htm, and by this act, draws the divine wsatb, not \ 
pnly on himself, but on all his posterity. Thus it », 
that he annihilates at one blow the great piieijteotaof 
the omnipote»t, who had no soonermade misi» for hi& 
glory than he ^comea c^fended with that conduot 
ivhich he ought to hAv^e foreseen. 

Here he fiods himself obliged to change his projesofeft 
wdth r^ard to maekind, be becomes their enemy, and 
condemns them and the whole of the race (who hadt 
not yet the poiwer of sinning) to innume»ble penalties, 
to cruel .calamities, and to. death ! What da I say I 
To punishments which death itself shall not terminate^ 
Thus God, who wished t& be glorified, is not glonficd ; 
he seefns^to have created man ooiiy to offend himi. thtk 
bBn^^ aftqni^aKk punish the joJendeiu . . ^ .j tnm 



1/ 



// 



|«^^«p«5^5^5^^5g5g^5?'"ip5»!»5^^j^|gsg5»j?iH»«gi» .^■.'-'" - '^■''••'~'-:!^r~-'-'?rr^'^«!,r'-'?r^-t?>^r'^f" ;y_ > m,s ^i)^^ 



iS' LETTERS TO EUGENIA; 

-^ In this recital, which is founded-on :the Bible, Mkai 
y<Hl recognize, 'Mddam, an omfti potent God, whose or- 
ders'are'always accoinplished, and whose projects, are- 
all ^necessarily executed ? In a God who tempts 'us,* 
or whb permits us to be tempted, do you behold a 
b^ng of beneficence and sincerity ? In a God w4io 
punishes the being he has tempted or subjected to- 
temptation,.->'do you, perceive any equity ? In -a Grod: 
who 'extends his vengeance even to those who have- 
not sinned, do you behold any shadow of justice ? 
\ In a' God who is irritated at what he knew must neces-^ 
sgffily happen, can you imagine any foresight ? In- 
the irigorous' punishments by which this Goid is des- 
tined to avenge himself of his feeble creatures, both 
in this world and the next, can you perceive the least 
appearance of goodness ?' 

It is however this history, or rather this fable, on 
which is founded the whole edifice of the Christiaoi 
rel^on. ' - • vni ??;;= p-d-.-Ki tr--^ ^7'=>f-'*f;> ^'-ir 

t If ttefirstman had not been disobedient, the human' 

race bad not been the object of the divine wrath, and' 

would»havehaBd no need of a redeemer. -If this God 

I who knows all things, foresees all things, and possesses^ 

aH power, had prevented or foreseen the fault of -Adam/ 

it would not have been necessary for God to sacrifice 

his own innocent son to appease his fury. Mankind,' 

for whom he created the universe, would ^en have been ' 

alwayi^ teppy i they would not have incurred the dis-- 

pleasure of that Deity who demanded their adoration,: 

In a word, if this apple had not been imprudently- 

eaten by Adam and his spouse, miankind woufd-not 

have steered so much mis^y, man would have en-^' 

joyed without interruption, the immortal happiness to- 



// 



I 



which God had^destined him, and the views- of iProvi-; 
dence towards his creatures would not have been- 
filistiated.i ion Iwnaji^eu ibfi^b M'yh^fr^fl'immuwq:&i^^ 
; Jt would be useless to make reflections ^ oh no^oris' 
so -whimsical, «o contrary to the wisdom, ^ the -power! 
and the justice of the Deity. It is doing 'quite enougb; 



m- 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. ?«l 

to compare the different objects which ■ the the Bible 
presents, to us to perceive. their inutihty, absurdities, 
and contradictions. . We there see, icontinuallyy a wise 
Ck>d conducting himself like a madman.' He defeats 
his own projects that he may afterwards repair them ; 
repents of what he has done ; acts as if he had foreseen . 
nothing, and . is . forced to permit proceedings which 
his omnipotence could not prevent. In the writings 
revealed by this €^d, he appears occupied only in 
blackening his own character, degrading himself, vili- 
fying r himself, even i n the eyes of men whom he 
would )exeite to worship him and^payihim homs^e; 
overturning and confounding tlie minds of those whom 
he had designed to enlighten ^ .What has just been^ said, 
might suffice to undeceive us with respect to a book 
which would pass better as being intended to destroy 
the idea of a Deity, than as one containing the oracl^ 
dictated and revealed by him. Nothing but a heap of 
absurdies could possibly result from principles so false 
and irrational ; nevertheless, let us take another glance 
at the principal objects which this divine work conti- 
nually offers to our consideration. Let us pass.oa :to \ 
the . delgge. The holy books tell us, that, in spite of • 
the will of. the Almighty, the whole human race, who 
had already been, punished ;by infirmities, accidents 
and death, continued to give themselves up to . the 
most unaccountable depravity. ■ God±>ecomes Irritated 
and repents having created them. Doubtless he could I ,, 
not have foreseen this depravity, yet, rather than change / 
the wicked disposition of their hearts, which he holds \ ~ 
in his own hands, he performs the most surprizing, 
the most impossible of miracles. He at once drowns 
all the inhabitants, with the exception of some fevour- 
itesj whom he destines to re-people . the earth with . a 
chosen race, that . will render themselves more agree- 
able to their God. But does the Almighty succeed in 
this new project ? The chosen race, saved from tiie 
waters of ; the deluge, . on the wreck of the earth's de- 
struction^ begin again to offend the .Soyaeigni'Df 



-:■,". "-'s^'^v -3?*j££?LiVi-,.:v i-: 






^'■-T^^.^^j:-;'6r.-._^ .■--4J^,»»Ji.-■-.v^r:-^--^■^••??.■^^--T^^=.^T.■^— - „ ' - - ^-''-^v- "?^^,*^ -r'^^^?^ .^^"=^=i«p-*crT^43%v*T^t 



i$fTEit& tt2 0H^N1A; 



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IS^iiturey abandon themselves to new crimes, give theraw 
ti^fes up to idolatry, and forgetting the recent effects 
^ cdestiai vengeance, seem intent only on provoking 
heav^ by their wickedness. In ord^ to provide a 
ronedy^ God chooses for his ^vomite the idolator 
AbrahsUn. To him he di^overs himself ; he orders 
him to renounce the worship of his fathers, and em- 
brace a new religion. To guarantee this covenant, the 
Sovereign of nature prescribes a melancholy, ridiculous 
and whimsical ceremony, to the observance of which 
^^ \ B, God of wisdom attaches his favours. The posterity 
^^ ' / of this chosen man are consequently to enjoy ior ever- 
lasting, the greatest advantages ; -they will always be 
the most partial object of tenderness with the Al- 
mighty ; they will be happier than all other nations 
whom the Deity will abandon to- occupy himself only 
I for them. 

j These solemn promises, however, have not prev^nt- 
^ ed the race of Abraham firom becoming the slaves of a 
vile nation, that was detested by the Eternal ; his dear 
friends experienced the most cruel treatment on the 
part of the Egyptians. God could not guarantee them 
from the misfortune that had befallen them; but in 
order to finee them again, he raised up to them a libera- 
tor, a chief, who performed the most astonishing mira- 
des. At die voice of Moses, all nature is confbobded; 
I God employs him to declare his will, yet he who could 
I create and anhihilate the world, could not subdue 
i Pharaoh. The obstinacy of this Prince defeats in ten 
I successive trials, the divine omDi[>otence of ^which 
\ Moses is the depositary. After having vainly attempt- 
ed to overcome a monarch, whose heart God had been 
pleased to harden, God has recourse to the most ordi-< 
nary method of rescuing his people ; he tells them to 
// I Fon off, after having first counselled them to rob the 

j Egyptians. The fugitives are pursued, but God, who 
j protects these robbers, orders the sea to swallow up the 
I miserable people, who had the temerity to run after' 
/ thdrpropwty. : „ ,_ , .. j--i»T 






i-^-,m 



.^^.'■■.■v 



^ 



UCtTlRS arO Ell9€dENU.T 



ai^ 



^i^k^ Deity would, doubtless, have reason to be8ati&'* 
fied with the conduct of a people that he had just de^ 
Uvered by such a great number of miracles^ AIs»t' 
Neither Moses oif the Almighty, could succeed in pre^ 
suading this obstinate people to abandon the lalse gods 
c^ that country where they had been so miserable ; 
they preferred them to die living God wbd had just 
saved them. All the miracles which the Eternal was 
daily performing in favour of Israel, could not over- 
come their stubboroDess, which was still more iocoii^ 
ceivable and wonderful than the greatest miracles. 
These wonders which are now extolled as convincii^ 
;myx>& of the divine mission of Moses, w^re by the 
confession of this same Moses, who has himself trans^ 
mitted us the accounts, incapable of convincing the 
people who wctc witnesses of them, and never pro* 
duced the good effects which the Deity proposed 16 
himself in performing them. 

- The credulity, the obstinacy, the continual depravity 
of the Jews, Madam, are the most indubitable pro6§ 
of the falsity of the miracles of Moses, as well as 
those of all his successors, to whom the Scriptures at- 
tribute a supernatural power. If in the face of these 
facts it be pretended that these miracles are attested, 
we shall be compelled, at least, to agree that, according 
to the Bible account, they have been entirely useless, 
that the Deity has been constantly baffled in all his 
projects, and that he could never make of the Hebrews 
a people submissive to his will. 

We find, however, God continues obstmately em- 
ployed to render his people worthy of him ; he does 
not lose sight of them for a moment; he sacrifices 
whole nations to them^ and sanctions, their rapine, vio- 
lence, treason, murder, and usurpation. In a word, 
he permits them to do any thing to obtain his ends. 

^ .He is continually sending them chiefs, prophets, and 

jiRFonderfiiJ no^i who try in vain to brinr^hem to t&eir 

/ widiityi The whole history of the Old Testament dis- 

~^$lays nothing but the vain efforts of God to vanquish 



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t.f«> 



..* ■ 



■ ■sflBs. 






/ 



Ae obsfin^lcy^ his peo>|>le. To wKiieed til' fW^ 'lie 
eDQiplo^ ! kiadidessesj miracles, and' severity-.' ' SbincM • 
tiBaes be delivers up to them wtioie naiions to b«i 
hated V pillaged, and exterminated ,' at* others tifnei^ he 
permits these same nations to exercise ovei* Jiis •fe'i 
vourite people, the greatest of cruelties. He delivers 
thein into the^ hand of their eilemies, who are liteeWi^ 
^enemies of God himself. ^ Idolatrbus nati^nRbe^ 
come masters of the J^ws^ tdio are left to feel th^in^ 
suits, the contempt, and the most unheard-of severi- 
ties j and are soHletimes compelled to s^rifice to idols,' 
^d to violate iiie law of their God. The taee sof 
Abraham becomes the prey of impious natioDs>. Th0 
Assyrians^ Persians, Greeks, and Rom^ns^ make th€*n 
saccessavseiy undergo the most cruel treatment, and 
suffer the most bloody outrages, and God eveto permits 
his tempje to be pollwted in order to punish the Jews: 
To terminate, at length, the troubles of his cheri^ed 
people, the pure Spiril that created the timfverse, sends 
his own son. It is said that he had already beeti' an- 
nounced by his prophets, though this was certainly 
done in a manner admirably ^adapted to prevent his bet- 
ing Itnown cm his arrival. This Son of God becomes 
a man through his kindness for the Jews, 'whbm be 
came to liberate, to enlighteuj and^to l^ender thfe most 
happy of mortals; Being Clothed with' divine mnni^- 
potenccj he performs the most astonishing miracles; 
Kvhich do not, however, -convince the Jews. Me:ci^ 
do every thing but convert them. Instead of conviiMti. 
ing and liberating the Jews, he is hiinself- compeHed, 
notwithstanding'all his miracles, to uBdergO the most 
in&mous of punishments, and tot^minatehis'life like 
a common malefactor. God is condenmed td death 
By tbe?4>eople he came to ^save^ The £temd hardened 
and bhnded those anoong whom he sent his'own Spni; 
^^ ^did not foresee that this Son would be rejected. 
^ I 'Whiat ' do I ". say ? He managed ' matters in such >a ^way 
^ )^ not4o be recognized, and' took such Steps that his 
^Vourite people derived no ^benefit from thecoming^ 



y 



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LETTERS Jl»EUGia^lA4J H 

^he-Mjsm9hk .M 9. ^ot^i .the; Deity ^eem^ tpihave 
lUkm the Ifreat^tcaije that; his proj^ct^ 30;fay<?urabJ^ 

i^tHbh^MAi ... ft ;.'fil adl 'lo ^i'o^/is^iii'^ril j'lii oj w<ni 
•s; . Wben ; we . «xpQ^ulate against a 69p4iaQt - «(> strange 
and so unworthy of the Deity, WQ^re-tOldiitjWas n^ 
lOe^ai^'jEir winery: thing to to^iifrfape iq atieh Sfc imartner, 
&r tjllig ){)C(>QmpHshment M prophecies; which had a&- 
iHOBQOed that the Messiah sbQ^ld: he dispwHi^, rejects 
fCsd, and : put> to death. But why did Gcjd, .who know^s 
iaU,,and itrho foresaw thfe fate of his dear SQBilbrm thfe 
-pre|ject.<^f ending hi roaaaong itheJewSi to whoqa he 
iSiiist have known that his mission would b^ useiess ? \ /^ 
•iWo^ldl it iiK^ have: b«9n easijern^ithar to announiee I /f 
ihim ^Q<^ send hida ?, Would it not have t«eoo more ( / 
,<;ouforQ0»^: to. -divise omiiipotence, /tp spare fMmself 
•the trouble of so many-ipiracles, sojoaany prophecies, 
:«o much useless labour, so tnuch wrath, and so many 
iwflferings to his own Son, by giving at once to <jhe 
.^uman race thpt degnee of ^perfection he intended for 

^i vWe are toid it was necessary that the Deity should 

have a victim ; that to repair the fault of the first man, 
'Qb expedient would be sufficient but the death of an^ 

<Hher God ; :»that the only Ciod of ithe universe could 

pot be appeasied but by the blood of hi^ own Son. I 
M^ply^ m the first place, that Ood had only to prev^t 
^Q ^t man from committing a fault; tbat this iwpuki 
.hftw^ftp9rQd bim mucdj cbagrjn and sorrow^ apd savsed 

the life oft Atadear^Sofii. vliref^j^^i likewise, that ftaan 
is jqcapible t>f;ofieiiding Qod unlessH^od e^her pier- 

iiiitted it^olr coQsented.to it I shaU not examine: how 
'iti m possible for^ God tig havie a s<>n *■ who . .being ^s 

iBUCh aGod as him^dif, can be subject to death. cJ 
>t&f\fi iftlso, that it is , impos^ble to perceive such a ] . 

grave fault and sin in taking an apple % and^ that W!e / \^ 
i^can find veiy little proportion between the^crime com- 
imitted agamst the Deity: by eating an lapple, and his 
:j$Qn'aide^,. . . ..^mkan j^ri^: . ■• ; _^..'{^.. .. 



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i-u> 






<-i~.y;r-r:-^-.t^ ,It ^r" \-^ 



f 



I 



94 LStTBR« IK) fiUCAMlA. 

**»J know well ericiugfav i sliali be told that tbes^4reaH 
iDysterie^ ; but £ in my turn ^aii reply, tbat myslen^ 
are; imposing words, imagined by men -who know not \ j 
how to get themselves out of the labyrinth, into whioh 
their ^Ise reasonings and seosekss. principles' have 
ouce plunged them. -^^^^M:^^-MNh^i-^sMA<- 
r ' ^Be this as it may, we are assured that the Me^iab or 
the Deliverer of the Jews, had been clearly predicted 
and described, by the prophecies contained in the Old 
Testament. In this case, I demand wh^- the Jews 
have disowned this wonderful man, this God whom 
God sent to them ? They answer me, that the incre- 

dality of the Jews was likewise predicted, and that 
divers inspired writers had announced the death of the 
Son of God. To which I reply, that a sensible God 
ou^t not to have sent him under such circumstances, 
that an omnipotent God ought to have s^opted mea- 
sures more efficacious and certain, to bring his people 
into the way in which he wished them to go. If he 
"wished not to convert, and to liberate the Jews, it was 
quite useless to send his Son among them, and thereby 
expose him to^ a death that was both Certain and 
foreseen. >£i^.'Ji<^bijUji m^:-M\i!iS^^%-Ai^ ■% m^^^^ 

- They will not fail to tell me, that in the end, the 
Divine patience became tired of the excesses of the 
Jews; that the immutable God, who had sworn an 
eternal alliance with the race of Abraham^ wished at 
length to break the treaty, which he had however, assured 
them should last for ever. It is pretended that God 
had determined to reject the Hebrew nation, in order 
to adopt the Gentiles, whom he bad hated and despised 
nearly four thousand years. I reply, that this discoursie 
is very little confcnmable to the id^ we ought to have 
of a Grod who changes net, whose mercy is iitfiniiey 
and whose goodness is inexhaustible. I shall tell 
them, that in this case, the Mes»ah announced by 
^e Jewish prophets was destined fcN* the Jews, and 
that he ought to have been their liberator, instead of 
destroying dieir worship, and their religion. If it be 



; -^sf?'^?'?-^ -^ ^^; > -^i-f 



HtelV tfiid Symbolical oitfctes of the |>Pophets of Ju4ea, 
as w6 find them in the Bible ; if there be any means 
of guessing the meaning of the obscure riddles^ wbidi 
have been decorctted with the pompous name of pro- 
phecies, we shall perceive that the iispired writensj 
t^heh ■ they stfe in a g^ood hiimour, always promise. ; the 
jiews, ai man tot will tedress their grievances, restore 
tiie kiingdom of JTtidah, and not one that should de- 
stroy the rehgion of Moses. If it were for the Gent 
tiles that' the Messiah should come^ he is no longer 
the 'Messiah promised to the Jews, and annomiced by 

their prophets. If Jesus be 4he Messiah of the Jews, 

he could not be the deistroyo' <rf their natioo. [ -; 

Should I' be told, that Jesus himself declared ijiat | <) 
( ( became to fulfil the law of Moses, and' not to abolish / '/ 
^/ it, I ask^' why Christians do not observe the law iof I (/ 
' \ the Jews?" ^fr^r . ' ;^s. 

Thus, in whatever light we regard Jesus Christ, we 
"j^eWieive that he cbUld not be the man whom the pro- 
Jrfif^ have predicted, since it is evident that he came 
only to destroy ihe reli^on of l^e Jews, which though 
instituted by God himself, had nevertheless become 
disagreeable to him. If this inconstant. God, who 
was weafried with the worship of the Jews, bad at 
length "Repented of his injustice towards the Grentiles, 
it wasj to them, that he ought to have sent his Son. 
BJ^ ^ting in this way^ he would at least, have savied 
his Old'fiiends fi^om a frightful dekide which he fofc^ 
A«Ji to commit, because th^ were not able toree(^ 
nizetheGod hesentatnfongstthem. Besides, the Jews 
Were v^ pardonaHTe in not acknowledging; thdr 'ex- 
pected Messiah, in an artisan of Galilee, who was des- 
titute of all the characteristics which the prophets had 
related^ and during whose life-time, his fellow-citizens 
were neither libemted nor happy. 
~ We are told, Ihat he performed miracles. He 
%ealed tiie sick ; caused the lame to walk ; gave sight 
to the blind, and raised Uie drad. At leng^ Jteact 



^ 



- \ "^^ '^yFy'^ry - ^^™p^~Tv^*«if?^ f.s^'^ff'.fu^vvtf^ff^^^^^^fgrtss^t^- 



bdl^Vfed;^ y«^ liejias^visiWy Hfeited id tbat Hik^lev for 
Wiiic^ a^ose tie -fXBiie tipon ^eaftb. : ' lie wflf Beiterafa^e 
^thkt to ' ^rsoade dr to convert the J^s^ who. wit- 
n^edati the ^ily woaders. ttmt he porfoifmed* ' Kott 
s^fii^andifig ^fiese prodigies, theypkced hifii igaoni|f 
r&tmdiy dfi Che ccoBs* Inrspile of his divine powc^, -he 
^^1^ inca^eifele of escaping puqi$hflien(t. r . r He wisheid 
id^ \<liev to render die Jelvs culptkble^ and^^ ihave 
the pleasure of rising again the third 4ay, An. order 
to confound the ingratitide aiid - sobstiMcy^l of his fel- 
lOW^itizens. What is theresirit?^^ D^^ bis, feiiow- 
. dtizens ooncede to this great i&itaote) and : have they 
^ ' at length ^kiiowleidged him? far fromjti tb^ never 
to# hifid. The Son of God, w^fao.iOse from tj]# dead 
hi seteredy^ showed hitaself only, to his .adherent^. 
They ^lone pretend to havie conversed with; hin^. , Th^ 
alone, have furnished us with the particulars g^. his life 
diMi tsiiracles, ahd yet by subhsuspiciiHiS: testimony, 
dtey wish^ to convince us of tbiS' divinky of iiis mis* 
fiion, e^hteea hundred years alter > the event,,- although 
Ji^^ould not convince his cot^inporanes the Jews, .r. 
We are tjien told^ that many Jews have been con- 
certed to J«8U8 Christ; that a^ his death many 
^c^hfefH wete converted ; that the witnesses of the life 
iHid Ifiiraclds of the Son of jGod ; have sealed their 
jt^stimotiy with tbdr blood.; that o^en will iiot die to 
;tttt68t fakiebood ; that by a visible ^ect of ; tfc^ diviae 
^iOWfel-, tto^ people of a gre^t part of tjie vOEVth have 
^atck^ited Christianity, and still per^st ia the beli^ of 
JIW8 divine religion. . '^ ■ 

' itt ail this, 1 Jjerceive mrthjng^^ like a ixui^icle. I see 
liothtlifg but what is conforfoable to the ordiirary pro- 
/ \ ^tiessof th«huttaaninind> An ^filhusiast^ a dextrous 
/f fi \ impOfftOf, a Ctafky juggler, can easily find adherents in 
/ \ a stupid, ignorant and superstitious populace.^ These 
followed, captivjited by counseUi or seduced by pro- 
iilises, consent to quit a painful and laborious fife, to 
fdlow Gi itian ^rho gives thetn to understand that h« 



Z- . yv^^.^^r^-^^T^yT^^^?^'' '■'*" 



wiH roak* tbem^A«r« »/ men; that is fca say, lie will 
eddble ttremta subsist by) his cunning tricky, Qt the 
ekpe^se: ofithe rasthitude^ who are ; always credulQiiSi 
'fihe J4ig^erviwiteh (the , assistance of his. remedies^ .can 
perfoFm «anra whick seem miraculous toi igoorant spec* 
taitons; These simple creatures immediately regard 
hioi as a supernatural jieiiig'^ Headopts this opiqioii 
biiqself, and confirms tbe lugh notions which his parr 
tisans have formed fespecting him*. He feels himself 
interested^ n maintaining this opinion amoj;^ h^ sec- 
taffies, and finds oat the seccet (^ exciting their entbui^ 
sksm. iTo'. acfcomplish: this pointy our iEm{Mrick: Jb^ 
comes a preachen; he imikes use of riddles,?,jObscui!!f 
sentences, and parables to the multitude^; that ak^ys 
admire what they do< not understand. ; To render hmt 
self more a^eedble to the people^ lie declaims amoti^ 
poor, ignorant, foolish men, against the: rich, the 
great, the learned; but above allj against the priests^ 
who in ail ages, have been. az;0r2V;2ote«^.v»9»pmo«^,tt9if 
charitaMe^ and burtheasome to the .people. If these 
discourse-be eagerly received among the vulgar, who 
are dways moRse, enviousi, and jealous, they dis^ 
please aU: those who see themselves the objects of the 
invective and satire of the popular preacher. > ^yii. 
• They^cMosequ^atiy wish to check his progress, tfaejjr 
lay snares' for him, they seek to surprize him in, a &ai^ 
io order that they may unmask him and have dieir 
i«venge. By dint of. im^posture he outwits tiiem ; yet^ 
in consequenceof his miracles and illusions, be at length 
discovi^^s himself. :iDe is^dien seized and^^piunkhed) 
and none of his adherents abide by him, except/a few 
idiots that nothing can undeceive ; ncme butpnisti^nv 
accustomed to lead with him a life of idleness;; nofie 
but dexterom knaves who wish to continue their im- 
pdBtddmJon the^public, by deceptions similar> to those 
of their oM master, by obscure, uncoonected, i QQn» 
ftised, and fanatical harai^ues, and by ■. declamati^cHiB 
agftmist magistrates and jmesis. Tliese wbo have Kim 
^wer in t£eir own^ handsk, :£nish by persecuting theoi^ 



impiiso&ing' them, flogging them> chastising di^m, and 
putting them to death* Poor wretches habituated to 
poyerty, undei^o all these sufferings with a fortitude 
which we frequently meet with in malefactors. In 
some we find their courage fortified by the zeal of fin 
naficism. This fortitude surprizes, agitates, excites 
pity, and irritates the spectators against those who tor- 
ment men, whose constancy makes them looked upon 
as being innocent, who it is supposed, may possibly 
be right, and for whom compassion likewise interests 
itself^ It is thus, that enthusiasm is propagated, and 
that persecution always augments the number of tbe 
partisans of those who are persecufed. : r^? ^» -jinei- 

I shall leave to you. Madam, the trouble of apply- 
ing the history of our juggler and his adherents, to 
that of the founder, the aposdes, and the martyrs of 
tiie Christian religion;?;. »UiMiM^^^!i^mSi^.ij.ii^>-^^^} . • M 

With whatever art they have ' writtMi the life of 
Jesus Christ, which we hold only fix>m his apostles, or 
their disciples, it furnishes a sufficiency of materials on 
which to found our conjectures. I shall ouly observe 
to you, that the Jewish nation was remarkable for its 
credulity ; that the companions of Jesus were chosen 
from among the dregs of the people ; that Jesus al- 
wajrs gave a preference to tBe populace, with whom he 
wished, doubtlessly, to form a rampart against the 
priests; and that, at last, Jesus was seized imme^ 
diately after the most splendid of his miracles. We 
see him put to death immediately after the resurrection 
of Lazarus^ which, even according to the Gospel acr 
count, bears the most evident characters of fraudy:. 
which are visible to every one who examines it witht s 
out prejudice. i^ * «m^-~^m b>^ f ut^t ^h^mrn^ -sKxia^.^ 

1 imagine. Madam, that what I have just stated mlk^^ 
suffice to shew you what opinion you oug^t to entenn^i 
tain respecting the founder of Christianity and his firs^ 
sectaries. These have been either dupes or fanatjcstli 
wbo_pennitted themselves to be seduced by decepti6ns#^^ 
and by discourses conformable to their desires, or b^f ^ 






lETTESS TO EUGBNIIKy )Jmm 

Bexteroua impostors, who knew how to isake tNef best 
of "liie/ tricks of tbeir old master, to .whcHntJiey have 
become-such able succ^sors^ In this * wa?f <- did ithej 
establish a religion which enabled them taHv«.atllie 
people's e^^ncev and which sttU maintains? in abuol- 
daboe, those we pay at such ,8 hi^ iat^ for trans- 
mitting fiom father tojson the fables, visions /and loa- 
ders, < whick were born; and nursed in Judea;; /The 
propagation of the Christian faith, and the. constancy 
of their martyrs, have nothing surprizing in them. 
The peoplefloci, after all those that shew tiieoL won- 
^Bs, and receive without reasoning on it, every thing 
that is told them. * They transmit to their diiidren the /^ ^ '^ 
tales they have heard related, and by degrees these 
opinions are adopted by kings, by the great, and even 
byitheliearned. 1 ¥/!mii«t.vt:f <;4 MiHil , 

^s for the martyrs, their constancy has nothing^'j 
supernatural in it. The first Christians, as well as aE 
new sectaries, were treated by the Jews and Pagans, 
asrdistiirbersof the public peace. They werealroady^ 
sufficiently intoxicated widi the fanaticism with which r^ 
their religion inspired them ; and were persuaded that 
Crod held hiiBself in readiness to crown them,: and to 
receive them into his eternal dwelling. In a word, see- 
ing the heavens opened, and being convinced that the 
endiOf die world was approaching, it is not surprizing ^ | 

that they had courage to set punishment at defiance, to * 
endure it with constancy, and to despise death. To 
these motives, founded on their religious opinions, 
many others were added, which are always of such a 
nature, as to operate strongly upon the minds of men. 
Those, who as Christians were imprisoned, and ill- 
treated OB account of their ^ith, were visited, eonisoled, \ /f 
encouraged, honoiwed, and loaded with kindnesses |// f^ 
by their brethren* who took, care of, and succoured 
them during-tbeir . idetendon, and who almost adored 
them after theiii death. Those on the other iKUid, who 
displayed weakness, were despised and detested, and 
whienibey gave way to re^ntancer they .were com- 



ji 






ti 



ll 



if 



«#4ft LBFEBRS TO WQESMu 

f^iUedf to lifl^ergo a ingoiQtis penitenoey whidi istoted 

as feng as diey^ IwecL. Thus weve the most powerful 

vaotives' united to inspire the martyrs witiH»urage ; 

«scl tiin eoors^e ifaas nothiag^ Hioie supernatural about 

4t« than that id^di iietermiijcs m daily to encounter 
^e.inost peoloBs daaigers, thfougb the feorof cb^o 

^Mxirii^ oafselves-ia the eyes o£ our Mow^tizdns. 
CkiwaSice wcndd expose u» tfrii^amy att the rest of 

^Otir days. ;. Theue is nothing mivaciik>us in the <%>»• 

^stancy of a man, to wfaora sm offer is made on tbe 

-«Mate haod^ of eternal faupptBessy and the highest ho- 
tioQis; »ntd who (Hi the other hand, sees himself met- 
fiaccd with hatred, contempt; and tiae moBt lasting 
-f^ret« ' tjfri^^-^^- .! . -^u 

■tm^mi. perGeive then, Madam, that nothing can be 
easier, than to overthrow the proofs by which Chris- 
tiaji doctus establish the FevelatiOQ., which they pre- 
tend ift so well authenticated. Miracles, maxHyrs, and 
prophecies^ prove noliiiiig. 

Were all the wonders true, that are related in the 
Old and New Testament, they would afford no proof 
in favour of divine omnipc^uce, but on the oontraxy, 
would prove the inabiUty under which the Deity ha6 
•eoBtinuaUy laboured, of convinctng mankind of tiie 
truths he wished to announce to thetn. On the other 
band, supposing these miracles to have preifkiced aU 
'the effects which the Deity had a right to expect ftom 
tkem,. we haive no longer any reason to believe tbeaaiv 
except on the tradition and recitals of others, which are 
^ften suspicious^ ^Ity, and • exaggerated. The vitra- 
eles c^ Moses, syce attested only by Moses, orby Jei»- 
ish writecBv interested in making them believed br the 
peOfde they wished to govern. • Themirades of Jesus 
: are attested only by his disciplesi, wha sought to ob- 
tain adbereate, ifi resting to a credulous peopki, pro- 



H I .^igiea tne wiiieh they pretended to have^een witnessed, 

" ^ 'Or wluch aome of them periiaps,>»believed th^ had 

^Ire^lly aeen.. > Ali those wabo^iekeeeivi^inianlriiliiafreiiiot 

^^wa)» jdfieats, the^ are tojuent.ly'^eceiye^ % 'tiiiiMe 



'f 

II 



MdM^rare kfiaTes ifi^ r^\^< Pdside^ J. believe Jt teivef 
s«Jici(sndy ^n>i^, that in«r8iel($8> £HPe r«ptii||(aanit to^t^^^ 
e«»e6c€i €f an imMtlibie Godf a9 w^A>«tfir^ his.wip^ 

he has hiinBelf€9(abti$bed» Iii s^oift) jtpwpk^ ar^ us^ 

les% $ui!9Q those relMad^fa $<»i|(liiiJpe:^»v^«pv9t:«pj^odfup^d 

the e£fect» Wiiicb ;G^ eicpeiQt^ ^omt tbo^ r 

ptieejirr has nor^ bett^r^iQunniblioftfi : > Who^yer. iW^l^ 6Xa- 
miBe without ;prej(idiee^wt^b^>4;^p|a^l^ pe^M^^ i«i 
dWIney will fiad oaJij rcii^ ;liilbigU9l)l(y >lu)HHeUig9^1e,i 

ahsuid, «od unconnelctecl: jatig;pQ^)epliiely. tmiyocii jr^^t' 
ar God who inteftdeid to? dispk^^ . J3)» preacieoce^ . jaQj}; . %» 
instruct his people wkh FegWd to future eTentSw Thi^ \ // 
does DOt exist in the Holy S<2fiptur«8j a sin^e prppbe- 
cy sufficiently precise^ to be li.tefally applied tp> Jesua 
Ciiii^. To convince yourself of this truths ;i|s^tbo 
most karued <^ our doctoits^ wh)<^ £^ the £^Biai pro- 
phecies, wherein they have ^ happiness^ to- discoveif 
the Messiah ? You will then {)erceive^ that i}; is ool^ 
by the aid of forced explanations^'figHres^epareibleSv'lifid 
mystical interpretationsy by which they are enabled to 
bring foryfrard any thing sensible and applicable to JJie 
god-made-man whom they tell us jto adore. It wou^ 
seem as if the Deity had made predictions only that 
we might understand nothiiig about tbein*; 
rla these equivocal oracles, whose meaning it isim* 
posA&le to pesetrafte^ we find notbing but the laiiguage 
of intoxication, fanaticism, and delirium. Wb^a we 
fancy we have found something inteUigibie, it is easy 
to perceive that the prophets intended, to, speak of 
events that took place in th^r own age* or.of person- 
ages who bad preceded ^em« It ia thijys, that our 
doctors apply gratuitously to Cbristi: pFc^eeiesy or 
rather narratives of what happened respeqtiag JDfavid^ 
Solomon, Gy«us^' &c. 
't#>^We imagine,, we see the chastisement of t^Je,i^ish ) // 
people annouooed in recitals, where it is evident Uie/// ^^ 
only matter in question was the >Babyloni8b caj^yity. \ ^^ 



ffia3sS65iiii::;iiifiafei >r;-E'Viiife ukiferisiy:- 



-,«^.. 



4ff LETtE^ 'Td £U<»»UJ '^^ 

i&^isletrefiit; io^oi^g prioi' to Jesus ebrist^ th^ liftt^ 
imagined finding a prediction of tbe dtspereion of '^le^ 
JevrSi supposed to be a visible punisbment for tbetr' 
deieid&i and' wbieb tbey now wish to^pass off dt^an^ 
indubitable proof of tbe truth of Cbrii^nity;. i 

I-' It IS not then astonishing, that the ancient and ao- 
dern Jews, do not see in the in-ophets what our^doc-- 
tors teach- us, and what they themselves imi^ne Ibey 
have seen . Jesus himself has not been more happy iw 
his predictions, than his predecessors. In the gospel^*^ 
he announces to his, disciples in the most formal man-' 
ner,; the destruction of the world, and the last judg-v 
menty as events that were at hand, foid which must: 
f/ \ take place before the existing generation had passed 
away; i Yet, the world still endured, 'and appears >io» 
no danger of finishing. ' It is true, our doctors pre-» 
tenldi that in the prediction of Jesus Ghrist, he spoke 
of tlie ruin of Jerusalem, by Vespasian and Titus? 
but none but those who have not read the gospel 
would submit to such a change, cm* satisfy themselves • 
with such an evasion. Besides, in adopting it, we i 
muist confess at least, that the Son ot'rGbd himself,' , 
was unable to prophesy with greater p.reeisik>n than his 
obscure predecessors. ^J itt*^ /mfcf «b*^w ftiiiii»»bBt<»4»«^^ ■ 
f^ Indeed, at every page of these sacred bboks^ wbicb 
we are assured were inspired by God himself, this God k 
seems to have made a revelation only to conceal him- '. 
self. He does not speak but to be misunderstood, .^ 
He announces his oracles in such a way only that we 
can neither comprehend them, nor make any nppiiea* 
tion of them. He performs miracles only to make 
unbelievers^ ' Hemanifests himself to mankindonly to 
stiipify their judgment, and bewilder the reason he 
liad bestowed on them. *^Tbe Bible continually repre* * 
sents God to us, as a seducer, an enticer, a suspicious 
tyrant, who knows not what kind of- conduct to ob- 
serve With respect to his subjects ; who amuses hinliself 
by laying snares for his creatures, and who tries- them •; 
tbat be may have the pleasure oi' inflicting a punish- >^ 



S^'. VV. ■'^ - . '.-'.".iT-'-T— ^-'isp«-g.^?(» 



"S" a\ ~- 



// 



LBfFTEitS TO EUGiatliU ^ 4t 

nent lor jrielding to hk temptadc^i^hrTliis^Gpd ittoo-: 
eiif>ied onJy in btnlding to de^trojr, in djemolishiEig to 
rebuilcl. LUce « k^d di^usted iinth its play*thm 
hotlg^ contimiailjr^uodoing what he has dODe* aidbreak- 
iagi what was ijbe oli^oct of ^ h»; desires; > We, find oo 
foresight, do constancy, no coisisteocy in hi^^coodticjt ; 
BOi«ottBen<Hi, no ^deamesB in his dbeburses. When 
heperformsa^ thing, he sometimes approves what 
he has done^ mnd^at other times ropehtr of it. : He irrU 
tates andr^v^es himself with what he has permitted to 
be doiie,(>aiidrin spite of his in&i^te: powers hci suffers ^ ^'^ 
aAtt to offend him, and consents tO' let Satan^ his crea- 
ture,' derange^ all bis projects^ in a word, the revela- 
tions of the Christians and Jews, seem to have beep \ 
imagined only to render uncertain, ^nd to annihilate I 
the -qualities attributed to the Deity ^ and whi<^ sffe I 
declared to. consti^ite his essence. The whole Scrips 
ture, the entire system of the Christian religion, ap- 
pears to bcifounded only on the incapability of God, 
who was unable to render the human race as wise, a^ 
good; and i» happy, as he wished thiem . Ti^ death of 
his innocent Son, who was immokited to liis vengeance, 
is entirely useless for the irao6t-num^x>us portion of 
^e earth's inlmbitants ; almost the whole; hMD$an lace, 
in spite of the continual efforts of the Deity, Continue 
to offend himy to frustrate his designs, resist; hit ^iHrill, 
and to pCTsevere in their wickedness. • J « . ; > 
< J It is on notions so fetal, so contradictory^ and so 
unw<Mrthy of a God who is just, wi^, and good j of a 
i^odr that is rational, independent, immutable, and 
omnipot^it; on whom the Christian religion is'^nnded, 
and which religion is said to be establishes^ for. ever, 
by Goc^v w^ nevertheless became disgusted with the 
religion; of the Jews,' with whom he bad; made and 
^6 worn an eternal covenant. ; ,rw .<i *, : = > 

Time must prove ^whether God be more constant ( '^ 
and faithful in fulfilling his engagements with the 
^Christians, than he has heen to fulfil thosei^ made 
^with Abraham and his posterity. I confess, Madam j 



// *^ 



;: -^.«^^!?r^-^^ TST ^^^''^■J*^^ 



m LETISIIS TO EeesiiUw 

tiMit ^ii^|i^e ' Mndmti idMn» m' al to tififaat: h^ tm^ 
iiil^itjii |»«[#Mra[l; -If- be himself aekwy^ledg^bjrliiie 
BSt^atii'dfSiz^iei^ that liie kw9 h^4wd gi^en ^ libsf 
5e^mfh¥i! tmt ^(MhI; he may very possflUyv soiDe-4c^ 
<M^<)Mr, ikid &ttlt iXrith those wiiicb be Imb grrenjo 

'^ Out p»est9 themselves^ seem to paitakft of a^ susu 
^ion^) '^ti'^ "feartini God wiii be .weaned Wf-^iai 
protection, wbidi he has so long gratoted^ahwbhiirdk 
The iiKi^ettidesi triich th6^ ev'nee^ the 'ciforts wbkb 
Aey make to hinder the civilization of the worid ; the 
pers^^tioos whieb tb^ laise against att those who 
contradict them, seem to prove tfa»t they Bustriist the 
^romi9e» of Jesus Christ, and thaft they wet not oer^ 
Uimify Gonvinoed of the eternal durability of a nAigkm 
tvbich does not appear to then^divine^ but, beeavse it 
gwes them die right to command lilce gfods,« over their 
fe]k>w^itizens* it would be^ without doubt, exceed* 
ingiy dlss^reeable to them, were thek entire o¥eri^ 
thrown ; however, it is only through iesBe, that both 
^e sovereigns and people of the earth have endured 
th^ yoke so loBg : the sovereign of hearea is already 
sufficiently disgusted with thenk^m^Jt- f^^j^^^mf Mh^timf^((-i 
' May I then, dare to hope. Madam, that the reading 
of this letter will undeceive you effectually, respecting 
aldtnd veneiDtioa for books which thev call divine, 
seeing they appear to have been written ntfher to de* 
grade and lessen the character of the Deity, than to 
prove him their author^ In my first letter, 1 trust you 
isee that the d(^^as established by those bo(^«. or in- 
vented long since to justify the ideas^they give us of 
the ]>eity, are not less contradictory than our notions 
of that Being are infinitely perfect. A ^^stem which 
sets Out with £ilse principles, caof never end' but in a * 
mass of falsehoods, r, .-?;,»-.>.. —it*^ ji4Jvj «.i 

I 

V 




) 

- ■ . "... -*f'.'- . 

rm^ -LETTER ■iV.- ^* :' . -iidi 



fc^^- YotJ kiRyw^ Madmm, thdtouf teachers pretend that- 
those reveiMerf hook^ which 1 hare «utttiiariily exa^ . 
,**jjn<id hi isif precedfitg^te^^ <Jo ndt^contahi one 
wdM, ^idi is tiot by the mspiratiqn of the spirit of 
Gbd, What I have safd to you ought, thereft^, otf 
W^ suf^pQsirkm to 'piY>ve, that the Dmnity has made' 
■«Wotk the most mis-ehapen, the most contradictoiy, . 
the most irrnntelKgible that has ever existed; ma 
4%ord, ^^ortc of Wfaieh any man of sense would faiusb 
:^fo be the ■atithof ; If any prophesy hath verified itsdf \ 
i for the Christians, it is that of Isaiah, which saith,' / 
»** Hearing ye shaJi hear, but shaU not understand;-* ) 
; Btot in this case, we reply that it was sufficiently use- 
'fess to speak not to be comprehended, to reveal ihtU 
■Jtvhich cainnot be comprehended, is to reveal nothing, 
*^^''Woiieed not thenj be surprised if the Ghristiaris, 
-^riotwitJistandingthe revelation of which they assure us 
f^they have been the favourite^, baveno precise ideas either 
of the Divinity, or of His will, or the way in whidiHis 
'^oracles are to be interpreted. The book from which 
>lhey should be able to do so, serves only to confound 
>the sinrplest notions, to throw them into the greatest 
/Incertitude, and create eternal disputations. If it was 
,^<he project of the Divinity, it would without doubt, 
the attended wifli perfect success. The teachers of 
"Christianity n^ver agree on the manner in which they 
'dre^ to understand the truths, that God has given him- , 
'/Setf the ti^Jtrblie to rev^l ; air the efforts which they / ^ 
jliavel employed to thfis time, hiETve notyetbeett <Sapab1e K 
/of rtJifcirig 4hy thing clear; andthedogmas which they ) /^ 
-^ have successively invented, have been insufficient to 
. jusrtfiiy to thetindersftindingof one man of goodsenSfe, 
I fhe^condttct Of an infinitely perfect Being; ^v ^^ * 
^'^■Wetieef^ nidny amortg^^thfem perceiving jtfieineortVe- 
^ Irfencies w^hieh would result^ from tlie rwrding^of the 



'^TTT^rr^--™^. *;-^*v^' ^■^^■-^:- 



4i^ LFTTERS TO EUGENlil 

holy books, have carefully kept them out of the hands 
of the vulgar and illiterate ; for they plainly foresaw, 
that if they were read by 9i^h, they'v^ould necessarily 
bring on themselves reproach, since it would nev^er 
ffMl',that e\^ry honest ; man \ of ^gQcid sense, wojild 
discover in mose books pnly a crowd of £d[>surditie^. 
Thus, the oracles of (xpd, • are not even made for ikq^^ 
for whom they are addressed ; it is requisite tcl be ivj.-, 
t^ated in the mysteries of priesthood, to have the pri- 
vilege of discerning in the holy writings, the light, 
which the divinity destined to all his dear chiic|ren.. 
But, are the theologians themselves able, to.mal^e. 
plain j the difficulties which the sacfed books present in 
every page? By meditating on the mysteries which 
tl^y contain; have they given us ideas more . plain pf 
the, intentioDs of the divinity ? , No ;; without doubty. 
they explain one mystery by citing another V. they scat- 
ter* new. obscurities on previous obscurities ; rarely, do 
they agree among themselves, and when by chance 
their opinions coincide, loe are not mor^ enjightenjed, 
nor is our judgment more convinced ; on thejQtther 
handj our reason is the more confounded^.>.*f^^i^i ,4»,!'| 
^4 If they do agree on some point, it is onlyto tellus, 
that: human reason, of which God is the author, is de- 
prived ; but what is the purpoi^t of this coincidence 
in their opinions, if it be not to tax the Deity with im^ 
becility, injustice, and malignity? For why should 
God, in creating a reasonable being, not have given him 
an understanding which nothing couldcorrupl ? They 
reply to us, by saying: " that the reaspn of man is 
necessarily limited; that perfection could pot be the 
portion of a creature ; that the designs of God are not 
like those of man.'^ But, in this case, why should 
the Divinity be offended by the necessary imperfec- 
tions which he discovers in his creatures ? How can a 
just God require that our mind must admit what it was 
not made to comprehend ? Can He who is above oiv 
reason, b^^utiderstood by us, w^ose reafon is so limit- 
edj,, If jGodbe infinite, how cam a fii^t^, cre^Uure 



/ 



■ '.'I'fr^f^'ff^'nr.:'^ ; 



iM'^M W fetcHnfi. 




tinff fiirii ? If tlie mysfenes mid luddea 



Uiyiiiity are of suc6 a nature as nc^ tt) 
iSe 'coiiijire^endecl By maii^ what good can we derive 
iVotn ileir Mv^ti^^ Had Gbd designed iiat 
sfhouid Occupy dur'tfeughts with fais purposes, would 
h^ hBi h4ve ^tveri us an understaiic^ng proportionate 
id ' the' tfiings ne wished us ic) penetrate ? , 
/' Y6\i iee then, Madam, tfiat in depressing our rea- 
S6ti, in' supposing it coituptedf> our priests, a^t /thite 
sam6 titfie, ^nnihiMte even the necessity of religio^, 
wWicK cahhdtb^ either useful or important to us, jf 
above bur cbfinprenension. They do more, in sup- 
posii)j3: huttiah reason depraved j'tliey accuse Glod of 
injuStic^y in requiring that our reason should con- 
cei\^e what bknnbfbe conceived. They accuse Hiiu 
of imbecility in l^i reriderjrig this reason more per- 
fect. lA at woril, in degrading man, they degi^de God, 
antf fob him of thbi^ attributes whicli compete his es- 
sence, t^'^oulidf you callhim a just and good parent, who^ 
wishing that his children should walk b^ an obscure 
route nllecf with dfi^'iilties, woufd ohhr give th«aa 
fof their conduct a light too weak to find weir way^, and 
to £(void the continual dangers by which they. are slir- 
rounaed? Should you ^nd, that this father had^onv 
seen their actual situation, biit had given them written 
instructions, which were both unintelligible and inade- 
quate for their guidance, would you not pronounce 
him weak and designing, or renounce any report that 
drew such a picture of a parent ? 

The priests do not, however, offend us when tbey 
say that the corruption of reason and the weakness of 
the human mind are the consequences of sin. But 
why has man become sinful? How has the .good 
God permitted his dear children, for whom he creaieq 
the universe, and of whom he exacts obecfience, t9 
offend bim, andf theiieby extinguish, or, jt . least^ 
weaieh tfie light he had ^i ven them ? Qn^^^^^ qth<» 
hand, the reason of Adam ought to Be, #ith6ut 
dbiiht,' codtjpletely perfect before his fall. In th» 



// // 



I 



,' 



y^^:-^ 






// 



48 LETTERS TO EUGENIA* 

f - . *i I if.- "J « » J 1 . ' I r ijt:k % « » i i 



*f- 



ca^ J w^ did it mot prnveiit: tet fell and its coiue- 
"cjtib'tjc6s r Was tfee reason of Adam corrupted eveii' 
|Tbelx)re-hand by incurring the wrath of his God ? Was 
" I it depraved before he had done any thing^ to deprave it? 
^f-^ ^6 jCistify this strange conduct Of Jnrbyidence ; to 
'tiear him 4om passing as the author of sin ; to save 
^im the ridicule of being the cause, or the accomplice 
of offences which he did against hiniself, the tbeolo- 
'gi^ns have imiagined a being subordinate to the divine 
' 'jjOwer. It is this secondary being they make the au- 
,'tiior of ail the evil which is committed in the iini- 
^Versfe. In the impossibility of reconciling the con- 
"tlbuai disorders of which the world is t!he theatre, with 
^ttie purposes of a Deity replete with goodness, the 
"^eator and preserver of the universe, who delights in 
^drder, and who seeks only the happiness of his crea- 
i;ums, they have trumped up a destructive genius, im- 
'bued with wickedness, who conspires to render men 
miserable, and to overthrow the beneficent views of 
ihfe Eternal. This bad and perverse being they call 
Satan, the Devil, the Evil One — and we see him play 
'a great game in all the religions of the world, the 
foiinders of which have found in the impotence of 
Deity, the sources of both good and evil. By the aid 
of this imaginary being, they have been enabled to 
resolve all their difficulties ; yet they could not foresee 
that this invention, which went to annihilate or abridge 
the power of Deity, was a system filled with palpable 
tontradictions, and that' if the Devil were really the 
// ^' j author of sin, it would be he, in all justice, who ought 
.£o undergo all its punishment. ; 

*'^ Jf God is the author of all, it is he who created the 
^bvil ; if the Devil is wicked, if he strives to counter- 
act the projects of the Divinity, it is the Divinity who 
has allowed the overthrow of his projects, or who has 
not had sufficient authority to prevent the Devil froni 
)exercising his power. If God had wished that the 
pevil should not have existed, the DeVil would not 
hi^ve existed. God could annihilate him at one word. 



' -^ ( r - _-,?»-' '^''j^^se3^!^^f9i?=7^'fw^ynir^ 



// 



TO EUGENfA; * . &' 

6t^ at least^ JG<Mj could c^oge^h^ 
rioiis tp list, aM ?:bhti^ry to tlie OT^ 
Proviclep^; Ipnce; tfi^nlti^: D^ll'do^ ^v^^ 
does such' marvellous things a4 are attfibiit^rf * 'tb fai r^^'* 
wea|«| cppapelled to cbnclu^^^^^ thattKk OfviiiJty 1^ 
fpiujicl^ It g;ood * that he shojald e3f ist afia ^.^i^ate, ';as^ ne 
db^, kit nis Works by a perpetuat intferftption lan^.d^Fi^ 
ve§oa6rHisaesi^r^:,.7 ,;•'' .i- ua v, ,^urM.niIt 
. thus, Madani, the mvfelid^^^^^ 
remedy &e evil ;"on1^^ 

priests more ' .an^ mpre.l '' 'By pl^cf^^' * t& feat^ti'^ ^Ud- 
count atf :^e evit wliich h^^d6iiimit^'iir'tii^^%i^d/|fch%' 
exculpate the' :l)e¥tybfnbtH^ thb''t)dW6i' im^ 

^d:;>^li%hb^*/ ,/ 

j 
up tp revolt against God ;, without c6asfpg, iti d^pite 
of God*,,, Satan leads them" into perdition,, 'e^^ceptPijifef; 
riuin only, who .Refused, to ^fo^^ aiid'iviib i5>iibd ' 

grace in the eyes of the Lord. You ar^ndt ignorant, ^ 
that the millions that follow the standard of Beelzebub^ 
are to- be plunged with him into eternal miserjfi 'j '.^?^ 
But even has Satan himself incurred the dis^tew' 
the all-powerful ? By what forfeit has he meinte^ be^' 
coming the eternal object of the anger of that God whip 
created him? The Christian religion will explain' aHl 
It informs us, that the Devil tvas in his origin an atigielV 
that is to say, a pure spirit full of perfections, created' 
by the Divinity to occupy a distindfuishing Situation inf ' 
the celestial court, destinfed like the other ministbi^iD>jr 1 
the Eternal, to receive his orders, and erijdjing perpetiial y " 
blessedness. But he lost himself through! ambitiok; his | '' 
pride blinijed hino, arid he dared to revblt against *iiis^ 
creator ; he engaged other spirits, as pure %as himself, 
in the same senseless enterprize ; in consequence of 
his rashness he was, hurled headlong out of h^ven^'lris 
miserable adherents were involved in hisfefl», and hav-r 



■>i-:'^^as 



i$ !Q(is^jii6n^ tbey b^ve no other p<x;ij{mtibna^ig^^^^^ ^ 
€^ J^iei^: Icj tbjs pniy^rse, ^n ta ,temj[>t jpian^kinci,, ^ii 
eiHleayquF to augipent tjie nuiip^bef pf the ieiieimies of \ 
God, f pjj tbe yictiiDs of fcisi wi^th . [\ 

" liis'fii^jlieassis^Qce of^^^^^^ that the Cbris^' 

tian . doM^9ra perceive the fall of Adam, prepaired by/ 
the Almi^ty himself, anterior to the creation of the' 
WGfld. Was it pc^eeasai^ that the divinity should en- 
tertain a great de^re that jnan might sin, sihcehe 
would thereby h^ye an opportunity of prbvicfing the^ 
means of inakiog Him sinful ? In effect, it was the 
I^^ ^ho ^n process of time covered with the skin of 
a se^p^t,^ solicited the mpdbc^r of the human race tq^^ 

chsobey God, s^d involve her tiusband in her rebellion. 
Bpt jtqe difl^ulty Is not lemoved by these inventions. 
If $^tan, in the tiine he was an angel, lived in inno«. 
ci^nce^ and i?^|^ltp5d t^egood willof his Majter,^ how- 
aune CiOjd tp suffer him tp entertain idea;» of pride,M 
ambitipn, and rebellion? How, came this angel of' 
]^f;.so blind as not to see the folly of such ap enter- ^^ 
prbee^ Did he not know that ^is Creator was alU 
pjowerfnl ? Who was it that tempted Satan ? What- 
reason had the Divinity for selecting him to be the 

(^]j^t of his. fury, the destroyer of his prpjectSj the' 
enenyr of his power? If pride be a sin, if the ides^^ 
iteeif pf rebeUion i§^he greatest of crimes, ^m tpa«, 
thf^y, anterior to s^v^^ and Lucifer pffended God, even ' 
in his state of purity ! for, in fine, i^ being pure, inno-, 
oent, agreeable to his God, who had all the perfections^, 
of wiiich a creature could be susceptible, ought to he] 
enjpempt from ambition, pride, and folly v. .We ought! 
s^p| to^y as much pf pur first parent, w^6,, notwith-^ 
sIfMiding his wisdom, his innocence, and the know-. 

' * Matundifite tell iw tfaf serpent owrtf ; its skim Did &itaa creiep ' 



'^'**^^*'^-^*^'j»-» -;•*■■ ''.'.r*'.".^ »'-,-■; ■•. > >,/-■'■<■ i PSr^^ri.ff'i^pryy!-;:.': 



€K)d the author of sm. 4t fif^ Qpq i^^ljp . tem 

his pnu, became tji^^temptae^ of i^^ ^ W ^W ^fl 
all the eyU pur i^.^^fife^. It app^arSj», ^eref^* tbst^ 
God pi^ed botj^i, apg^, »i^ niei* ;to giy^. j^lie^^ 
oppprtiAiHtjrpf 9^y^j vr '^VV. - 

tp ^we w)^^ ,th^ ti^t^^ iqy^t^ ^npth^r. 

stfll rao;re ^()9i^ tii?^; U qaiglit jljuefoonafe tKf3 foiifld^tipii^ 
of ajl tbfir »^]^^j^ j19yeJ«^op?r a^ hy metiia^ (^ 
^vj^qh ^^ ji^jy iwfflipe t^y c»|i iii||y i^stify Uie 
dinrin^ plPpvifePic^, Jh^ Sjfst^ of ,tn^ f lupppses ^t 

of 4pi^g gw4 0? ill? 4^^ of directing Im pwn pl^ps» , 
A? 4ie W9fdfi/?«e w?ft I ^tre^dy.pj»c;eis?e, :^a(l^[ 
tbi^t ym t^eipble* apd doubtless ^qtj^:^^!^ a metpj)^^,; 
sjp^J di^s^ftation. Rest jfs^qred of the ^ofltrsry ; for. 
I ^attcyr ipyself ||)a$ th^ i^ue^tipa ijv;iU; he sin^^^^^^ 
ai^d r^ndeied pleac, I shj^ll not mierejy ^y for ypM, jm^ » 
for ^ your se:^, lylip a^ v^tcesplypd tgi hp ^llfu^y 

Tp say that map^ is a free agent, say lti!§ prif^^^ 19 tOsj 

di^^t froi^ the power of the Supre^pc^ ,^eiqg, l;p pre^ 
t^jf\iifx9t Qod is j^ot tijp master of l^s will; tpp^cp^r,, 
raige ^ii^eak cr^^use tp revplV^ig^^ M^. ^?R^^)'^?;t, 
derange bis pla^, tp di^urb.the order ii^ ^hicb fapde^.i 
ligbts, to^ render bj^ works useless, an^ thereby f^cit^^ 
in iiio;t papsipi^^) and wrath, like whs^t ^e, s^i^ ^tno|3g^j 
oqrsehfes. Thpsj a^/fifst sight, ypu disco^r from,, 
tji^ principle, a iproii^^ of abs^r^mes. If (5pd la- 
the friend of order, all who are his creatures ought ne^ , 
cessarH;y toi^ ^^ii^ ^ qiai^ts^A order ; without this, 
the divine will c^ase^ tp h^ve its, e&^t. If God ha^^^iis 
^OWQ pla^y tbey piugbt always, ^d of i^cessity, to be 
e:i(ecuted; if n)An faastbe ppwier to h^r^i^ss, tl^ divine 
loind, and to fill it with ang^r, raan its ^e jp^tcir of 



// 



If 



l^^^n^' 



(* 



utttBKsi to ktf^&iiSt^ 




tan is stn^^ enough to dipsip^te the projects dt iifte* 
dignity. 1^' a >ord, If n^ ,cbiniii|^ '^»^ 

Cjk)d is no longer 6mDi|K>tet}t* ' ' '/''. '^ 

[ They i«ply to us; that God, without compronaT^ihfe;' 
bis omnipdteQCe, miglit give ihitja- freedom of jictibfl-—' 
that this freedom, or liberty, isrd^b^nefk by WhiclrOo^ 
iiiftends to give^hira the ability >dfmeritingliis|food-* 
i^pess ; but,. 9n. the other h9nd,,thisr]ib^y d6es not yield' ' 
biih suiffidi^iit '^ility to merit his hatred, by offending 
and eiicourslging others to cdmmitV crimes': fr^jn^ 



\^encel cbnqlud^^ that this liberty is. libt ocily a b^w-"^^ 
fit, but consikeift witft the divine giooldness. Thi/s ' 
goodness would be more real, if ikilBn had, ai#ay^ duf-, 
Icient resolmiotf to do what js. pl6^ing t^i 'Sod; * 
conformable to ■ 6rder,' an<i condubiyfertbthfe bkpprhe^ 
of their /fellow-creatures; [ If ^then, ' ' in virtue of thei^ ' 
libertyi do things'' contrary tb the will, of God, Gdi 
whb is supposed to have the prescience of foreseejbg 
all; ought to have 'taken measures to prevent men frpm . 
abusing their liberty ; if he foresaw they would, sin, he 
ought to have given them the means ^f avoiding it;; if 
be could not prevent them from doing ill, he has con- 
sented to the ill they have done ; if he has consented, 
hfe ■ should not be' offended ; if. he is ofiende^^ or if 
be punish them for the evil they have ,done with his 
permission, he is unjust and cruel ; if he suffer them 
to rush on to their destruction, he is bound afleirwards, 
to take them to himself, and he cannot with reaspn 
find fault with them for the abuse of their liberty, in 
being deceived or seduced, by the objects which 
he himself had placed in their way to seduce them ^ 
to tempt them, and to determine their wills to do 
evil; 






ni 



Hi 



>:What would you say 6rf a'firlher who should give; ' 
tdliis children, in the infancy of age, and when they 
were without experience, the liberty of satisfying their 
disordered appetites, till they should convince themselves/ 
of their evil tendency ? Would not such a pcu^nt h^^ivT 



LTO^^ TO EtJj^l^i lip 

■-,■-' * " ' , ^ - 

s^iil^ make of their liberty which he had given them ? 
Would; it not be accounted malice in this parent, who 
should have, foreseen; what was to happen, not to have 
ivrnished his children; with thecapaei^ .pf^direciting 
their own conduct, , so as to avoid the evils they migl^ ^ ,, 
l>e assailed with ^. Would it not shew in him the height 
of ;madness, were he to; punish them for the, evil which 
he had, done, and ;the ehagrin which they occasionec^i 
b|m ; would it not be to himself that we should ascribe 
Ihe sottishiiess aiid wickedness of his children ? 

You see, then, the points of yiew under which this 
system of man's frpe-wiU shews us the Deity. This / 
free-will becomes a present the most dangerous, since 
it puts man in the condition of doing evil liiat is truly 
frightiiil^,; We msp^ thence conclude, tlmt this system, 
fyf: frota justifying God, makes him capi^le of ma- 
<lH:e»' imprudence, and injustice. But this is to over- 
turn all our ideas of a being perfectly, nay, infinitely \ 
wise ,and good, consenting to punish his creatures for I 
^ins which he gave theni the power of committing, or, 
which is the same, suffering the Devil to inspire them 
with evil. AH the subtilties of theology tend really 
todestroy the notions which are given us from the 
book of nature, of its Author, This theology is evi- 
dently the mythology of the heathens. However, 
our doctors have fancied they have found means to ' 
support their ruinous suppositions. You have more 
than once heard of predestmation and ^mce— terrible !^ ~ 
words! which create among us disputes, at which | " 
reason would be compelled to blush, if the Christians ^ 
had not come to the resolution to renounce their inteU 
lects, and which have not less fatal consequences to 
society^ But do not you be surprised ; these false 
and obscure principles have even among the tfae(^Q» 
gians produced dissensions : and their quarrels woiild 
he indifferent, if they did not attach more importance 
to them than they f^ly deserve. 
V *im t9,j^jm^A:^^^»l^X^^9i prodeBtinatiop sup» 



4 









■'«^-;j^-~r^-^*'.. .-"^ '- ■-■T'.''-' "■/ '^'~^; ;wr"r^f«^t?:ajf 



f // 



i^»^mi& Td> ^@iemi[ 



S-^A.aife: liw. ■"'. 



«ditd^ ttn^ shduld \^ eh^^v^^i^i^i^t^ttt his fb- 
voMritttty tecdyig dpetis^gfa^i By this girtk^ tbiey iife 
suppdie^ to be fiiade bgip^^le' td God, and UK^ fbtr 
^teimeii fastppio^^. But thlsil stfi iiiifltiite Binilb6f ttf 

"OCiia^ afb ct^^iti^ to pefditidif^ add i-eceTv6 ttbt' th^ 

gface necesssiFy to ctefnal salvation. Thesd <SMt?i 

^Ctety and bp^sodite propOi^itions make it -^rtt^ ev- 
ident that the $ystefl» is absurd. ^ It it^kes Gbdj ^ b^ 
feg infinitely p<H-fk;t and ^oodj a ptaltial tyi^nt, Wh6 
has create a 'Tast hiimber of Hmnan heinfgS 10 bfe th^ 
'BpOrt of his ba^iee, and the ticthns of his vengeance. 
It fiuf^ses that God wii] piinitih hk creatures fbi* not 
btfvhig Hecaved that gratee iiHifeh be did not de%H l6 
l^d th€*« ; it presents fhis God tb tls ^der traStS do 
tev6iting4 th^ the theologians are forced to avoM^ that 
the itbote i» a profound mystery, into vrbich tbehtinife^ 
mind datfnot penetrate. But if tnan i^ n<6t inade t^ 
Hft his inquisitive eye on this fir^btfu! mystery, th^t il( 
to say, on this astonishing absurdity, which ottf 
teachers have idly endeavoured tO square to their viewa 

of Deity; or to reconcile the atrocious injustice of 

tteii^ €rod with his ipfinite goodness, by what right do 
they #ish us to adore this mystery which they wowM 
compel »8 to believe, and tb subscribe to an bpinioii 
that Saps the divine goodness to its very foundation? 
'Hour do they reason upon a dogma, and quarrel with 
acrimony, aoout a system of which even themseli^ea 
can comprehend nothing ? 

* The more you examine this religion, the more you 
will have occasion to be convinced, that the things 
which Its teachers call mysteries, are clusters of cfiffi- 
ctihies which embarrass themselves ; that when they ^^ 
cannot steer clear of the dilenima into which their ab- 
surdities plunge them, their false principles are resort- 
ed tO; but tfa^se leave them #here they fofund them. 

This phrase, 7ny«/«yy^ re not siiited tb^ur compr^eti-^ 

sien ; even these grave teachers themselves do not un* 

dofstand the things they talk of Withbot ceasing ; they 



t 



^fipfim^To Eo««WAv m 



.,! i 



atwkllfaeygiw the uaime^ of^ naysteries to^ thiijgsf Aey* ( 
jMMte^stm ii^ li<l!l}e as we do. 

Afl' tbe rel^km* fe tlie world are ftmnded oa pre- 
destioattioti' ; a\\ the' rev^lMiofiS' aasdng DoMAkmd, as 
you havfr been alrea^p teldi aopposeti^kodibiis dc^ma- 
wbie&^ niafkes' Frovidenee an uajtist master, wiK) shews' 
a^ btlndi ^^tted^lietioiv ft)r'Sofleii&' of hi^ children; to the' 
pr<!^di<<ee of^ others. They malie Gbd^a tyranr, wii6^ 
podfih^ tile fkults -oi^tneii'wkom he has not'ereated&ult-' 
less^ and^paKlbDS' those^^ wkom^ he ha^ allofred CogO' 
astmjfs This- 4bgmat whick has' s^ved as the basis" 
of Plaga»!#iiif j» akse t^ grand jetvot <# ^e Cbrifltiaa' 
rellgi^a-^ the'li€«d'of which doth not' exeFcisel^ssha^^ 
trad tio* 1^ woKhippers, than* the difiiiities ai ttiie' 
wieked^sf idoiaten^ Wkh such notioDS, is it not as*^ 
toBishkig^ that'this 6od' should appear to those wlier. 
iDedita|0'O»hisii attributes, an object suffietentiy- terri- 
bie to- agitate the imaghisHonv and to lead some to in^ 
duibe iii^dlHigeBOiis^^^^es f' 

- Tb6 deg»a of another ¥lk serves^so to exculpate 
the D^l^ ftom 4he8e appareHt4njust3ees ordb^rrations, 

(wttii'Vi4ie)i^heRi%ht^natitrafly b^at^ It is pre- 

teadod, iImiI^ it> lS» pleas^ kite to dfsttn|tiisb bis 
friends on earth, seeing he has amply p^vided for tkeir 
future bc^iaese in an abode prepare^ for their souls. 
But as I believe I have alresujy hinted, these proofs 
that Gpd makes some good, and leaves others wicked, 
jeither evince injustice on hj&part» at least temporary, 
^^r they contradict his Omnipotence. If God can do 
iail tkings, if he is privy to all the thoughts and ac- 
tions of men« what need has he of any proofe ? If 
^^fce hajs resolved. to give them grace necessary to save- 
f them* has he not assured them they ^lAi not perish ? 
{f he, is unjust and cruel, this Grod is not immutable,, 
and' t^ies his chara/cter ; at least, ^r a time he de-^ 

^fogates fixjm the perfeetions which we should es^tect 
^i^ find in him. What would you think of a king, who, 

, cbij% a pa^ Ucular time,^livpuld (^^ycr to^^^ k^ favour- 

~v -'" ■ • '■■-■'" "'\- -. ■ .If'' ,, "-" '"■■•.--^"-^ 






ff 



// 



\ 






5fl LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

ites, ti^its jthq ; mo^t ftigbtfnlj.riiUQrd^r that ;they might! 
iucur^ his.jdisgr^c^, aiid whQ should afterwards. insist- 
on their believing him a very gpod and amiable mto, 
tot ,obt^)i hiSt .favour again ? Would not such a, prince 
be . pronounced • ^ic;ked, fanciful, and tyrannical ? Ne- > 
vpr^heless, t^l^s supposed prince might be pardoned by - 
spmej if ft>r hill own interest, and the better to assiim- 
hiiDself of l^eiattachment pf his friends, he m%ht.giv&; 
t^ei^ somp; ismiles of his favour. It is not so with: 
Ood,^who ki^qws ^11, who can do all, , who has notMng: 
tp f^ frpEo the dispositions of his creabures; From- 
all these reasonings, we may see that the Deity» whbmi 
the priests have conjured up, plays a great game, very ^ 
ridiculous, yery unjustj on the supposition that he* 
tri^e^ his ^erit^ants,, and- that he allows thei^i to:su3*er in; 
this world, . to prepare them for another. The ^edlo-- 
gians have iiot .failed to discover motives- in thi$ con^r 
duct of Crpd, which they can ;as readily justify ; but- 
these pretended motives are borrowed from the Omni-^ 
potence of this being, by his absolute powef over his> 
creatures, to whcmx be is not obliged to repder an ac- 
count of his actions; but especially in this theolc^,* 
^hich jMpfesses to justify God, do we not see it inak& 
htm a d<^pot and tyniBt inore hateful thaa any of bi»' 
creatures r 4v*;tfi^t^u^ns'#c^i.iMi':^?|i.ti^f«^-"i^ 



(( 



Allow me now. Madam, to proceed witn you ta 
ah'examination of the dogma of a future life, in which; 
it is supposed, thpat the Deity, after haying suffered men 
to be tempted with the trials and difficulties of this life; 
in fine, to assure himself whether they are worthy of. 
his love or hatred, that he may bestow on them re- 
wards or inflict on them the punishment which they 
deserve. This do&^ma, which is one of the capital 



oratty hypbtKeses or suppositions, ^faich' "We " havfe aj- 
r^dy glanced ati arid which we hav6' ^tifewh to 'be ab- 
surd and incompatible, with the notions: whMi fhie 
s^nife religion gives'us bf the Beity; '^'Iii ei^t, It* sOp- 
pcw^'trs capable of offendiibg or pleasiH|the'i^uth(:^ 
of 'JNatnrev of infliiet^cing^ Sis^ huiHbuf;°4)f ^ibitt^fe 
his passiobs ; tifflic^ing',: tdrmentiiig^, rc^tmgi ' ^tid 
thwarting -the plans W- Deity. IV i^trg!>^4j, '/to /^ 

over, ihfe ^ee-will of mahl /a systfem* wnldiSr^ |i^vp )// 
seen inconi^tibie with th^ goodness, Jdstidb,' jftid dra- \ ,/ 
•nipotehee ctf the Dfeity.. It supposes,' furthei^, that 

God his bccaslon of provtng'his creatufesV%<i Waki^ 
then[ii''ff't ifiacy so Speak; pass % lifovrdrat^l tb''kiidw 
^hit'flSiliyaMi worth whetr he shall squai^'iicdbfuntk 
^^ilJlr'tfcetiiV-'' ^supposes ih CJod; wKcr h^ (ii^eaked ineti 
fbr - haJ3<"*'«^s^6nlyi the- inal^itity to 'puti By* brie gtand 
effc^, all'ttieh' in the'r^ad; whetice they inaV itAalliblJr 
arrivfe at ^rttrafnent felidt^. Itsuppo^^s that irijari w^ 
stnrire' hihiself, or that thei sanie b^rag dfter death', 
wiltcbirtlndfe.itbthmkr,''t6^^^^f^^^^^ and'a(if lis^h^*' didift 
this Kfel* 'lAa wo^ 'It snpt)bse^ thefts of 

thfe sbtil V* *rt ^ 'bpimoh' bh 

giver, wh*) ii^Hotally sitetot biit'thfs^tibpibf tb the pebpfe 
to whom God had^mahiTest^d' himsfelf i ;'ati opSri^^ 
"^^ich 'even Mn the tfme of Jesus • Christ brie ' sect at 
Jehisalem admitted, WhHe )ahbther sect f(^J6ct^ ; art 
opinionabout which the 'Messiah, who came tb instruct 
thetti, deigned to fix the ideas of thbse' who mi^ht 
deciei ve tfeettiselves, in this respect ; an :b pitiiori ^hich 
ajipeareto have t)e«n engendfered in Egyjit, orfe In- 
dia, anC^ior to the Jewfsh religion, bur tvhich was |^ 
uriknown airiong the Hebrews^ till they took bdcasiori 
to insthK^ themselves in ther Pagan philosophy of the 
G&'eeksi and the doctrines bf Plato. \ 

^ -Whatever liiight be the bri^n "bf th^^dcMii^ 8 
^*^'eagerlr Adopted by the Cnristiahs, who judged it 
very ijbnveflient to their system bf religion, all the 
pms^of Which atre fourided x>n the marvelious, arid 



// 






&:M^ 



'J-^^-S^d^al^SdjIr^-,. 






JX UETTERS TO BUQ^M- 

1 which ma4e it a crime to ;»dimt tgnjr irut^ fgreei^Je 
\ to reason and common sense, fhus, without ^pio^ 
/ back to ihe inventors of thi;s inconceivably d<!)gma, let 
m es:amJi3e dispassionately what this opinion T^^lly is;; 
let us epf^avour to penetrate to the prinqi^^ iOa 
,wh]cb it is supported 4 let us adopt it, if we shaU find 

i' ]t an idea f bnform^ble to ve^on ; Jet u^rejectt^, if ,it 
^)}dil af^eaj^ destitute of ptoof^ and at variano^ with 
common sense, even thoi^b it had been r^ceivedas aa| 
^ts^li^ed truth in all antiquity^ though it mi^ bav^ 
Jb^een adopted hy many milUoos <of jnankind. v 
; Those who Maintain the opinion of the soul's im* 
mortality r^egard it, that is, the soul, as a being distinct 
j&om the body, as a substance, or essencf , totailj; ^i^ 
jferent irom the corporeal firame, and they de^gnatejt 
]t»y the name of smriL- If we ask theni what ^a, s>p^it 
IS, they tell us it. is not matter; and if we ask^A 
.what they undeiMand by that which is not matter, 
ffirhich is the only thing of which we cannot /orm an 
idea, they tell us it is a spirit. Is general, it is easy to 
pee that Boen the most savage, as wdii as ^e most sub* 
tie thinkers, make use of the word spirit to designate^ 
all the^causes of which they cannot ionxi <^ar notions ; 
hence the word spirit h^h been used to designate a 
being of which none can form any idea. <t ,<> - 

Notwithstanding, the divines pretend, that ths no- 
Icnown being, entirely different from tbe body, of ft 
substance which has oothing conformable with itself, 
i^ nevertibeless, capable of setting the body in motion} 
and this, doubtless, is a mystery very inconceivable^ 
We have noticed the alliance between this sfMritufd 
substance and the mate-rial body, whose functions it ' 
regulates. As the divines have supposed that matter 
could neither think, nor will, nor perceive, they have 
believed that it might conceive, much better those 
liberations attributed to a being of which they bad 
ideas less clear than they can form of matter. In ooo- 
se(|uenc€f, they have imagined many gratuitous sup- 
|K^tions to explain the union of dbe soul with liie 



■^fe£' :..-:^i^^f< 



II 

I 



LEITfiilS TO "EfMSMk, 

ho&f, iU^vHd, in th^ Siiif]lessf^lit;f of ^d^iiercoiiiHig the 
iBstamncmiitaAile barraers iwbioh t>p^o^ tb^lii, the priests 
hvre ihade<niaa twofeid, by suppoinngtbtft be contains 
something distinbt irom bitnselfv thfey have cat 
tbrougfa atl difficulties by sayttig that this iinion is a 
great m^yMery which tnan cannot HTMki^and ; ^^nd 
they teive ererlasting recourse to t^e dmtii^tetice QiC 
Qo6i to his supreme wilU to the miraoies which be hm 
always wr@fi9ght; aopd those last -are never-^^iting^ fioat 
resouices, which l^e theoiogiafis reservts for ev^ tid^ 
wliereib thisf can fkid neither as&^t iff eksEipiidg^ 
graeefiiiHy from die argutii^t of their advisrsan^Si 

Yoii seei tben^ to what we n^iluce all the jargofi^tf 
the metaphysidana^ all thci ptofouHd r^v^^ whieli ^ 
«o many ages havd beet> so ittdfistrk>usly hawked ab^tiri 
in <iefence of the so^l of man ; an immat^ai Uf^ 
stance^ of which no living being can fetitt an id^ea? l 
spirit^ ^at is to say, a being totally di£%^iit frdm setf 
thing we know^ AH the theologieal i^rbiage ^4$ 
here, by t^ing usf i& a ro^aiid of pott^ilii tetti^ 
fooleries thkt impose on the igif)cffaht-=^that we do ^gtH 
know what le^senee the ma\ is of; but #e Cafl it il 
spirit hipcause of iid nature, and because we feel dma 
selves agitated by some uifkifdWtt dgem ; we <call«li8t 
coihprehend the mechavism of the soul ; yet eati we 
feel ouiiselves ihoved^ as it were, by ah eflfect of the 
power of God, whose essence is ikr removed from diirSi 
add more concealed ffoto us than the humliti ilbnl it- 
sdf. By the aid of this language, from which 5^^ 
cannot possibly 4ea^n any thing, ydu will be as wise^ 
Madanij as all the thec^ogiaiis in the wdrld ! 

If you would d(»ireto form ideas the md^ pfeeticf 
of yourself, banish from you the prejudices of a vain 
th^logy, which only eondists in repeating W<^a witb- 
out attedmig any new ideitt to them, istd which aire in- 
sufficient to distingaiah the soul from the body, whidi 
appear only capable of multiplying bein^ without 
reason^ of rendering more in^ompietie~nstbIe, and more 
Qbsciirey notions less distinct than we^reidj^ hlit^^ of 

♦•"'-'-« ♦'■ --■'.-*■■;■■"" " f -■ . ■ 



w;.;^stSkt* 




/ 



qitrseives^ -^fEbese notiofi^^io^d be-> at ieaist' the most 
simple, and the most exact, if we consutt our nature, 
experience, and reason. They prove that man knows 
nothing hut by his material sensible organs, : that be 
sees only by his eyes, tet he feels by his touch, that 
he hears by bis ears ; and that when either of those or- 
gans is actually deranged ,' or has been previously 
wanting or imperfect, man can have none ai the ideas 
that organ is capable of furnishing him with, oeitheF 
thoughts,^ memory, reflection, judgment^' desire^ or 
with Experience shews us, that corporeal andi mate-^ 
rial beings j are alone capable of being moved anid acted, 
tipoii^t ^)d that without those oigana we: have enulne- 
raled, the ;Soul thinks not, feds not, wills not, nor ii^ 
moved. Every thing shews us that the soul undei^oes 
al|i9^ays the same vicissitudes as the body ; it grows td 
Qiaturity, gains strength, becomes weak, and puts on 
old age like the body ; in fine, every thing we can uq-i 
dj^rstand of it^ goes to prove that it perishes with thei 
^ikody ; at least, we want proo& to convince us, bow 
Ihat^ which isees, feels, tastes^ smells, and hears, by 
means of the: (^'gans of sight, touch, taste,/ smell,' 
and^hearingv shall ^ist when the organs that coknmu* 
nieate-jth^e sensations to it are levelled ^^ii^itbe dust; 
In.shost, the soul seems to exist only through the bo- 
dily organs ; destroy them ; -kill the body ; the soul 
yif'^l be incapable of feeling, of sensibility. . . i r ' 
.-Every thing we hear about the soul, coD8f»res t(v\ 
prove it is the same with our body, cooinected relatively . 
to .some one or other of its facukies, less visibly :to> 
our understanding, than.it may be to beings of si 8u4 
pefior nature. Every thing serves to convince us, that 
without the body the SQul is nothing, and that all the> 
operatioiis which are attributed to the soid cannot be 
exercised any longer when the body is destroyed. 
Our body is a machine, which so loi^ as we live, i» 
susceptible of producing the effects which have bec^ 
designated under different names, one fi!»m another fi. J ^ 
sen^ent is one of these effected thought is, anolhej^^ 



j*S<iif.5^ 



// 



'I 



fefiej^Stiontl third. This last passe&soraetiiBesbii^to^i^^ \ 
namesi^^ iiDd>our braifl appears to be the seat<)f aH eur - 
oi^aDs :. itis. that which is the most susce^ibie. This > 
Qcgaoicc machine, once destroyed or- deranged, is bo 
longer <;apable of produoing the same effects, or of ex- i 
ercisaag thci same functions, it i^ with oift body^- as 
it i$. v^ith a watch which indicates tbe ho^fs, aad \ 
.li^icl^ go^ not if the spring or a pinion be broken. ^ 
lC!easfe,.Etigenia, cease totorxnent yourself about the^ 
fate i(^hic^ shall attend you when death will hat«isq}a-> 
ratadyou from ail that is dear on ea^h4 After ^le. 
dissolution of this lif%. the ; isojiil shall » cdase ifsa exist ; 
thos^: rderouring flames with which you : have Admxk • 
thre^ateneid by 4be priests, will have noiefieettipon the-' 
soult which can neither be susceptibte itbea of plea-i 
suires papains, of agreeable orsorrovvMidea», of lively s' 
or doleful reflections. i ; i 

It is only by means of the bodily- organs that wei 
ieel, think) and are n^ry or sad, happy of UHserable ;; 
this body, once reduced ^to dust, wie wiH neither ^ave* 
perceptions nor sensations, and, byf€onsequen«e, i)ei«> 
tber memory nor ideas ; the dispersed particles will noi 
longer have the same qualities they possessed wheat 
united ; nor will they any longer conspire to produce; 
the same effects. In a.w^^d, the body being destroy-; 
ed, the soul) which is merely .a result of all the parts of 
the body in action, will: cease to be what it is ; it wiU.^ 
be reduced to nothing with the life's breath, ' 

Gur teachers , pretend to understand the soul wdlii- 
they profess to be able to distinguish it from the body ;< 
in short, they c?ip do nothing without it ; and therefore 
to keep up the farce, they have been compelled to ad-i 
mit tiie ridiculous <k)gma of the Persians, known by 
the name of the resurrection. This system supposes^^; 
that the particles of the body which have been seatter-l 
ed at death, will be collected at the last day to be re^l 
placed in their primitive condition. But that' thisv^-^ 
strange phenomenon may take places it is necessary^ 
th^,|^^ particles of our destroyed bodies, of whi(i^i 



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.i5fcil&;i}iiM.J!t*ss:i 



/ 



) some hi|ve bdeti^^coBveitedi ioio ear^, echen hafve* ftm-^ 
( ed into pkints^ odiera into animals^ soom^of^ one t^pe* 
I des, other^ x^ aaother^ eveor of our owd ;= it» i» requi->' 
\ site, 1 ^y^ that these particles, o^ whiish some have; 
' been mci^ with the watei» of the deep, others have^ 
h&etk oefflpieii cm- the ^iogs of the wind; it is requisite 
that these particles, som6 of whicb have belonged at 
one time to one person, atasother- toaisother; ]Mtfti« 
ded which have nourished the grass of a ohiirchhyard. 
Oil which a ^eep, or an ox, or a g|oose has fed, aud on' 
which sheep, or ox^ or goose, the pampered pnestha8'( / 
afberwards fed, till he i^in became fobdfop h» sug« 
cesser, aad so on ; it is neoessaiy that ^lese partides, 
so ^i^ttQscent' in name, so common r to sO" many di^ 
f«p8nt in<Mviduals, of so many different species of ani- 
mals, (»LeveH'Of vegetables^ should be reunite to re> 
produce the individual to whom they fermerfy be- 
longed. If you cfflinot get over this impossibiii^, ike 
theologians will explain it to you by sayings very' 
brie%, *^ Ahl it is a profound mystery^ wbicli we' 
cannot comprehend. - They will inform yoU) that thev 
resurrection is &' miracle, a supernatural effect^ wtuch*; 
is to result from the divine power. It i» thus they' 
overcome all the difficulties which the good sense of a- 
few opposes to their rbapsodhes. 

If, perchance, M^dam, you do not wish to lem^' 
content with these sublime reasons, against which' 
your good sense will naturally revolt, tbe parsons, i^oM 
have left no stone unturned that they migbt seduce Mie;^ 
imagination of mankind by vague pictures of the in-f 
efiable pleasures to be enjoyeid in Paradise by ih^ 
bodies and souls of those who have been predtetinated^^^ 
will warn you against rising to credit on their wordjr^ 
without examination, what they proclaim, as^ if t^eyfi 
had journeyed into the oth^ wotkJ, and retwrneiS* 
fraught with its. secrets; nay, they will bid you, at>^ 
your peril, refuse to disbelieve the jargon of nonsense^ 
which they Hiunder forth, and which they ss^, if yo«^ 
do liot believe, God will heap on you his eternal in^' 







f 
f 






cKgnationl Thus they alarm youi'i iraaginaUoQ Iby 
horrifyJQg pictures of the eternal crue|ties of Oed, and 
torments ^f man ; as if a beneficent '^ing had pre- ] // 
pared a host of creatures to sufier so muiE^ and so long 
for his mirth or madness. ^^X < : 

But if you consider the thing coolly^ ybfe:will -per- 
ceive the futility of their flattering promises, Wfiad of 
their^puny threatenings, which are uttered mer^to 
catcfa^ the unwary. You may easily discover, that if it 
could be true, that man shall survive himself, God, ii| 
rei^mpensing -himj would only recompense himself 
for the grace which he had granted; and when he 
punishes him, he punishes him for not receiving die 
grace which he had hardened him against receiving. This 
line of conduct, so cruel and barbarous, appears equally 
unworthy of a wise God as it is of a being perfectly 
good. 

If your mind, proof against the terrors with which 
1iie~Chrisi^n religiou penetrates its secta:ries, is capa- 
bleoof^ contemplating these frightful circumstances, 
which itis in»agined will accompany the punishments 
which <God has destined for the victims of his ven- 
geance, yQu will find that they are impossible and to- 
tally incompatible with all the ideas which we can 
form of the Divinity. In a word, you will perceive, 
that the chastisements of another life are but a crowd 
of chimeras, invented to disturb human reason, to sub- }/^ '^ ^^ 
jugate it beneath the feet of imposture, to annihilate 
for ever the repose of slaves, whom the priesthood 
would enthral and retain under its yoke. 

Ia short, Eugenia, the priests would make you be- 
lieve- that these torments will be horrible, a ^ing 
which accords not with our ideas of Ciod's goodness f 
theyL tell you they will be eternal, a thing which ao-' 
ccsds not with our jdeas of the justice of God, who, 
QBiK .would very naturally suppose, will proportion 
chastisements to faults, and who, by consequence, will 
rio^pimish without end, th&4)eings whose actions are 
bounded by time. They tell us, that the offences 
■ -.-j^^-. ■ I 



'-^■■^- 1- 






^ng^^c;^^ iijg^te, ^Pij^by cQii^pqo?ac0, that AeV 

Ctbt good; tb^t he is vindict^ye,: £| ch^-^qt^E n^cb 

^, tj^t ^^S^^J9lS ^^ W^P!^^^ h^iog^ who compose the. 
]^m|jp^£cie^,, there is not, pe^rbaps^i a single one who,? 
%it^<^ sqs^ tp hiiQ^^l^ ipthQi^ personal 

te^r, mi^ wprfi, without folly, wouI<l coiisent to.pUBish 
l^yerlais^i^dy, the \^rel^h,who^ mjght have the iitisfoEi 
tiwe'to 9^en4-lijm, hnt/wlK^np Ipnger. had either* the; 
ajj^tjrj ' Of. di^ iqciin^f iqn to , cpDHpit aPQ^ec offence,; 

(^a|igiila, 4*^9^. ?^- ^^jJS^^'S^ ^^ aPMsenient to, fom 
^^l^eTot a time. the; cares of g^yernooiestt,, and eBijoy) the 
^spjectfwjle of pnnishmgn^ w^ he iis^icted^ pn those r 
^ubfortunate men. whom he bad an interest in destroyn. 
^%{» ^ . B^cil; w^at^. adi'antage can it be to God ta heap on 
t^ dpmn^ ^yeriastin^ torments, ? Will t&ia amuse 
li^il,? Will fheir fiighj^l punishments correct tb^ 
f^utffi? Can, these exaiQples of the divine severity be 
of aji^y s^viqeto those on earth) whp^ witness, not ^teir/ 
fri^^l in \ii^X Vj^iU it not , bie the most astonisbing^of ' 
aii|^'t()^ip]raqles, of Deity^ to m^e i&e bojiiesL <tf fhe 
d^^^d inyulnerable-r-ipi'^ist, thipug^.the ceaaeleas: 
ag^ q ete^iit^,, tl|^ frightful toiments^ destined ior^ 

'^^^.sep tjien, j^Ja^JaJP,. that, the ideas, which. the 
^l^^^^^Yf{Vi&.^^^^^ God a being infinitdy 

more insensible, fiof^e wicked and crueLthan the most 
b?yrb^g)^,9f ipen. Th^y ad4,to allt^is*. that.it will 
b^ t^ Devil so^ the appstiate angels, th$«t is to^say, the^ 
enj^ifis'ofj6^p4> wbomhewiU eflUplgy as^heminiitos. 
of hi$.. in^j^l^^^al^e vengeanpe. , These wieke4;Spirits« 
th^n|/wi|t exfpi^e- the commands whidiithko.s«7eie> 
JUQ^ wjll^prppounce^inst men at4h|» last ju^nieBt^' 
^ Eor^you u^M^^kflQw,^^ that.a.Godf whoisiieway 

( ali^ N^ill at sQp§,fpture tin^takfe an ^ -account of? whatf 
I h^^iJp^y knows* So then, not content with judging^! 






'■^. 



tsefidt^eath, bg will a9««Hll4& th^ ^l#6ik|fiik^ ^c^ 
wWi pekt pd«j^ -dt th^ liSt^ l^tf^rfcl jmgimi^'Ni 
"^which he will Confirm 1lifesfe#^«^ittil*liewl^ 

Thu8/on the^vredt ofliie w6rid;^^lte|i«^ 
fimtive judgifiettt, froto wImcH there*^ W^ vip^kV, 
r fiut i>n >attendi)i| titf^ men&bratile Jii^Hii^V W^ 
wiii feeooffii* of the s»«i!s of knehi i^^t^ #oB tll^ 
todies, #hicll hav^ ttot l^t 6^di r^^s^il^d^ TJft^ 
Bevls <cyf ^ just wilt pi iitmiyHo ^j6y te^bl^)a|l 
of l^sttfdfse'; 4!>^^^4>lil i^ S 6^i^^ bf tiM^ if^gdfe 
«m#di^ ^Is iitibw^ With *utt* I6r Ifrfni^s,* «Sd1Jil 
wh^isi dl^ ittddHble )>{ihdd9, who dre^^^liitistiH)e^ 
in what i» pmtig in dttothdr W^d^^^^^tMbl ^j^k frmi 
tertaflity «H^ td their f^^ ymdr^iW^ t6 KdtAe feT tftM© 
wcs«itteK«; Gdd Will pr#!!% d^ ^tils d^ biibfa 8^^ ii^ 
WhDttydiit^te^i^ t6 him^ Sd^ pRb^ of fWifiii]^ 

%httyg^e»^ie <^ deftChi A^ordi^ tb thl» M^ ^i^sl^l 

«p ^rdfitdbtb t6 6i^ %pMiM goSd^ <Gotf!i^ FdHttH"^ 

^e fiiost i^Sttkjpflemethcm to Um^m^fAMbefoflM 

SDute Wlmh^nbt b(i^^^ffei^d]f i^^ m d^ to 

enter Paradise, but Witty, ttftet' lektiiigttt^^didte ^e^ 
titiited mthmht^',mA0iUigth^tm^M<msLif IB 
arrive at thUt ^mandmeni^Mfi^ Hy Whlt^ tMf Bdi)[ 
iks*miei»w*fersi5f th^*Ul}i*Kteifel*Mt5r dfHli^,tif^ 
daiBS that thejr %hatl e%|»kte ih^f bfi[^<(^ ih l^rmi^htr It: 
» rni tiii^Hdibtllbds dbtibA that diirl^ne^tshave^tic^^ 
ttm ^^atViim df purgatm^ #Hich fe^rt gdttd taftnDli$ 
H bbKged tb b^^^« fit)¥ the benefit bf m ^^^ Wh^ 
t^me tb tii^hig^lv^, ks 1» V^f^ f^asbi^b^iti^ IP^f 
dn)£>m|>eiiibg bjr lh^h-^<|f^y^]^ li jd^ Uh» In|WH(bil 
God tb fSlHit ih hil^ dt^hlh^j ^Hd Itl^i^W the (^0fh 
m\M^ W^i«ih M h&d dnljr iifdiftdetfiU^ tb mdhr§6 llhil 
fMfafiObf M (^<e^ that th^y thi^t bb iMdbbi^t !B^ 
tt!^5<^ftbf.Fdfaaise. 
#, With l-eS^tb the Prcftfestaiits wfe6 kre,ii le^fe^ i)tt$ 



r^'>. 



kaowftj ,|i^reUc^ andi :iin|rloiiS!» ydu will obsenre that 
they pretrndnot to tboa^ lucrative views of the Romaa^ 
electors^ On the coatniy^ they think that, at theina- 
stant of death,, every .raan is irrevocably judged ; that 
he goes directly to glory, cm* into a place of punishment', 
to suffer. the aw^d of evil by the enduring of punish- 
ments £ffr-»t\Mi. Grod had eternally prepared both the 
sufferer amd his torments ! Eyen before the re-unibn 
of soul/and body, at the final judgmeut, they fency 
tbat the soul of the wicked) (which on the pi^i fief pie of 
all soal? being spirits must be the same jn^-^sseoce as 
the ^oul of the elect,) wiU> though deprived of those 
Cleans by which it feltr and thought and acted, be 
capable of undei^oing the agency or action of a fire ! 
It is true that some Protestant tl^ologians tell us, that 
the fire of hell is a spiritual fire, and by consequence 
very different from, the xn£it^al fire vomited out of 
YesuvJus, and iEtna, and Hecla. Nor ought we to 
doubt that ^ese informed doctors of the . Protestant 
// ^ iaith know very well what they say,- and tlwtthey have 
as precis^ and clear ideas of a. spiritual fire as they 
hiave of theiue£y>Ie joys of paradise^, which, may be 
as spipj^ual as the punishment c^ the damned; ia heU. m' 
Sucli arcj Madam, in a few words the -absurdities^ 
pot less revolting than ridiculous, which thie jdogmas 
of a future hfe and of the immortality of the^ soul 
have engendered in the minds of men. Such areithe 
phantoms which have been invented and propagated^ 
to seduce and alarm mortals, to excite their hopes and 
their fears ; such the illusions that so powerfully ope^ 
rate on weak and feeling beings. But lest these gloomy 
ideas should have too much influence in depressing the 
imagination, and banishing from it the agreeable 
thoughts which the variegated scenes of life so natu- 
rally and so fiequently furnish us with, the priests have 
always insisted more forciUy on what men have to 
fear on the part of a terrible God, than on what they 
have to hope from the mercy of a forgiving Deity, iiill 
of;;50odness. Princes the most wicked aw infinilely 






more respected than those -Iwho are femfed 'for andob 
gei>ce and huinanity; Th^ priests have had the art to 
throwr us. into uncertainty and mistrust by the twi*- 
fold character which thiey have given the divinify. 1| 
th^' promise us salvation, they tell us that we must 
work it out for ourselves, "with fear and. tremblii^." 
It is thus that they have contrived; to inspire the minds 
of 'the most honest men with dismay* and .doubt,. r&». 
peating without ceasing, that time only must disclose 
who are worthy of the divine iove, or who are to^he 
'&et>bjects of the divine wrath. Terror basbeen^ and 
always will be the-most certain means of corrujpth^ 
and eoslaving thfe mind of man. - \ ^ ; * p m U 

i^jS'hey will tell us, doubtless, that the terrors wbichi 
religion inspires, are salutary terrors ; that the dc^msa 
of another life is a bridle sufficiently. powerful. fa>|)re? 
vent the commission of crimes^ and restrain men wi*bs 
in the path of duty. To undeceive one^s self :6f tW^ 
maxim, so often thundered in our earsv and.so gen^l- 
ly adopted on the authority of *He priests, ;Wje ^aye 
only to open our eyesi iNeverthelesS; we. seeilsome 
Christians thoroughly persuaded of another lifey; wboj^ 
notwith^nding, conduct themselves as if they had ncN 
thing to fear on the part of a God of vengeance, iUqi any 
thing to hope from a God of . mercy. ■ When any of 
these are engaged^ in some great project, at all times 
that they are tempted by some strong .passion, or by 
some bad habit, they shut their eyes on anoth^ life^ 
they see not the enraged judge, they suffer themselves 
tertsinj and when it is committed, they comfcutdicsi^ 
selves by sayings that God is good. ' Besides^ .ifa^ 
console themselves by the same contradictory religion 
which shews them also this same' God, wh<wih it reprer 
sents so susceptible of wrath, as full ofnaercy, bestow- 
ing bis grace on all- those who are sensible of their 
evils and repent. In a word, I see none whom the 
§ems of hell will restrain, when passion or interest so? 

li<^ obedien<Je. The very priests, who make ^ many 
4^ortsto convince us of their dogmas, too ofl^n evince 



// 

// 



% USPnERSl^iaBVi&XIAd 



II 'I 



wfa5 tiave never beard one word t^bout another ii(|e» 
TboBe wbo ^om in fmx<ts^ bave been taugbt these tenii- 
fying, lessons are nertherkss debauched^ nor less prdiidi 
fior lead passionate;, nor kss irajtisl, nor less wraricimM 
than odiers, utiio have lived and died ignoitsuat > 'of 
CbriBtian porgatoiy and Paradises i Is :fiftei, tbedognui 
ei another 1^ has Ht^e or oo m^Nience oo thenk:; it 
anaiihikites none of tfaenr passions ; it is a btidie m^etf 
with some few timid souls, wbo> Without its JEnow<t> 
k*%ei wouid wever have the haniihood tobe^il^ of 
asy freatiexoesses* This dogtaa is vteiy fit to dieting 
the quiet of some honestv timoroiw persons^ suad :tl» 
credulous^ whc»6 im^inattcai it kifiaanelft^ wkfaoitt 6ver 
staying the hand of great rogues^ without iraposHig on 
them Aidre than the decency of oivilisE^ibfeii ani} a sp«» 
cious momhty of iife, restrained chi^y by the cciardoH 
ef Inlblks kwa. r • >a .• 

in shoit, to sum att^p^iiroefe ^bi^ l ^ I beh<^.fi 
le^oti gloomy and formidable to fliake iAipvessionl 
irery livcSy, very deep, and very dangwous <» a mind 
8iii^h as ybon^ dthougb it rasdres but very momentaiqir 
iffipj^easions on the mind of 8^:h as are faonldmd in 
erime, or whose dissipatton -destrc^ (fonst^ndy tfa» 
^eets of its threats^ More lively afifeded tiian others 
by 3^ar principlesr you have been but too often and 
too seriousiy occupied for your hapfMsess^ by gioon^ 
and haftlsstng' objects, H^ich have powei^lljr dfeeted 
yotir B^isibleiimigiBation, f^dug^ the same phaatomt 
thatha^ve pureiEKd you have been ait(^etbef bannhed 
ftotH &e miAd of those who bave had neither yckir 
virtues, your understanding, nor your senmbilityi 

Aoctftdii]^ to his principles, a Chnsti^ mu^ atwaya 
Kve in fefur; he can never know with <»rteinty whe* 
ther he pleases or dispkases God ; ^e least movement 
of pfidej or of cov^ousness, the least desfre wilt suf^ 
fice to merit the divine anger^ and lose^ In one mo* 
ment, the fruits of years of devotion. It is nht inir* 
^isidgi thiit with d»i^ firigbt(y priQci^les before them^ 



,'!fmm *i^ ifm-^'^'dj 









e^i^k^oieBib for tbdo kigubrioiss reflections* 'Wheie. ( ^, 
tib^ il^a^i aToifi the oix:asioBSt that ^ solicit themi feo>do 
wioii^ and embraee such. iiieaj}|i asaie most Ukely^tao^r 
^ ) cokbiig^ to tbeiffi notions o£ the iikelibpod^ of the. thing, 
to expiate the ^Its wluchi they, fency mighl ioeuf tfaej 
etetiiaii vengsaace of ,@odL . 

Thus the daric; iiotic»»of a future life,} ici^vef^ose' 
o^iyin peace wiiothiDk.iiotOTioi^y>«^on it^.lheyaief ( 
vei^' disconsolatSi to aiii those whose teaiperain€»t cbf ^ 
tei^abes tiieaa to coutevipiate ; it« . Th^ are ; but: t^i 
ai^ooieils ideasi^ however, which the : priests s^^udy to^ 
gefr^in.Qft the^De^jr^ And: Uy whiek ^y haire«'Cioa»«' 
pefledso, saaay^ wor&y people to thiowthemselbFes into: 
the anns of iacredulity. If some libertjaes, ipcapdale; 
o£ veasoning^^ abjure, a. re^gion troubfeaome ta^ thdr 
piiBsioaBj or ^^ abric^es. their pleasures^. there ;aie 
veiy many who h«vre maturely examined it^ ^Hit havsi 
beentdiiigttstedirwith it, because -they could not cook* 
8eal3to4iv» in^ the £e9ar»^it) «igende);ed9 nor to noude^; 
the; dsBpaiv i/t • oieated; They, ba^w then id>jured tiiia; 
leKgioBf fife oAly^ tat fili &e soul: with inquietudes^ thati 
tbey^xrainiiit mid in^ the bos6Bi» of neason^ the^feposei 
wMeh it ensures^ to good sense. > 

TimeS' of the- greatest ccitnes are always tamesiof^ / 
tbegreatest ignoranoe. Itis^intbese times^or usualiy - 
88^^ t^t tho gre^iest noise: is made about religion* 
]MRlB-the» follow mechanicalfyj and without ezamlna^i 
tioii^itfao tenets wfaiohv their priests impose om them^ 
Kfldbout>>ev» diving to thebottom of their doetrines; 
I&>]M*oportioBi as mankind become enlightened, great 
crimes become more rare, the manners of n^i are^ 
more, polsshed^ the sciences are cultivated, and the 
reli|^'oB; which. they have coolly and .cardfully ^Ea«> 
mined, lo8e» sensibly its credits It is thus that we ^ 
now. see>so many incredulous people in the.bosora of 
so^etiF beoooie inore agreeable and oomplac^it no^w^ 
tfaiui: fermeify, when tfey were governed by theca? 
pnee ofi apnest whoicraramed them with difficulties^ 




iX.4. *.*i 5--i /i r 5 



■ 1 









^P LEtTI^S ItO EGGENIilui 

ii^cb himsitf fi^'^llliWtoft could' go thrdogl^ ^1^ 
God, and tbois secure for the credulous thexiope of 
Heaven. The deeper the purse of the votery, the 
surer was Heaven t& him at death; the more the ) ^. 
pri^t felt of the gold, the more apparent was Paradise 
to the giver of the " filthy lucre." 

Religion is consoling only tOithoise who have no em- 
barragstneut abckit it ; the indefinite and vague recom- 
pence which it promises, without giving ideas (rf it, 
if made to deceive those who make no reflections On 
the impatient, variable, false, and cruel character Which 
tills religion giveis of > its God. But how can it make 
aay promises cmj the part of a God whom it represents 

as a teoapter, a seducea-j who appears, moreover, to take 

pleasure in kyiflg the most dangerous snares for bis 

weak creatures ? How can it reckon on the favours of 
a God full of caprice, whom it altertiatdy informs us 
is replete with tenderness or with hatred? By what 
right dbes it bold out -^ to us the rewards of a despotioii 
tmd tyrannical Gdd, Who does wr does not choose men^ 
for bappiness, and who consults only bis own fentasy 
to destine some of his creatures to bliss and others to 
perdition? Nothing, doubtless, but the blindest enthu-$ 
siasni could induce mortals to place confidence in such 
ft God as &e priests have feigned ; it is to folly alone^ 
we must attribute the love some well-meaning peoplei 
profess to the God of the parsons ; it is matchless ex-^^ 
trdvagance alone that could prevail on men to reckdiiV 
on the unknown rewards which are promised thembj^ 
this religion, at the same time that it assures us, that 
God is the author of grace, but that we have no right, 
to expect any thing from hi mi 

In a word. Madam, the notions of another life, far 
from consoling, are fit only to embitter all the sweets 
of the present life. After the sad and gloomy ideas, 
which Christianity, always at variance with itself, pre- 
sents us with of. its God, it then affirms, that we are_ 
much more likely to incur his terrible chastisements,-' 
than possessed of power by which we may mtnX me£»^ 



:WSa5?%«?S?p?*!:"----T?39F;» 



/ 



,.1 



,.^ 



%bkjjr^^9gpd|^ and it piroc^s to ipfon© ustv^t God 
wju giVfe;gi^ ^o wtiofnsoeyer he please?^ ^i^h yemain« 
i^iffe tjhenaselye?! w^e'flier. they: lescape daihi^tiQO ;;^nd 

tbat they are wortliy of his favour. Iir^^^ ^ttth-i 

>v;ouI4, jtiQt totaj euiiiihil^ipi) hi^^fera|i^e1^« 

Tajher thaA, Mi ng j nto , the Sands of; % jO^i^ 9P iara- 

i^^f x^nu^^ ann^ljifipji'f^ y | 

?i fl^JX? 3?9i.f^^# a? .^od^pji ,»nd f i?ri[ii^>i|^n«ntboii| 
^Iid»^he,^{jtotjp9le hein^ 

l^^ir^i^ J.- j(ftiodJ8igo^ as we.ai^ ^^s^, notf ( \ J 

\ir|tb$l^ndiiig tji^ cruelties of which thepr|^te(9uppo8i; \ .■__%4 

iiim, c^abj^ if it npt papice congonant |a alllo^r ickis of ;; !> v 3 
al^^ing pwectly good, to^ Believe tha^ he ^^ cii^t9 ' 

■fl^q^V lU? s^^ r^^^i^K , tte^i ih <a sjtate of e^nal daroma^ : 
t|!^ ^tjioh they had not jSie power of ^hposingi or off 
riijjeptii^aiid ^u^ Has i^ot the Cod iwhoro; thj^. 

^Aedo^gyais' Wf;|cqni^ ^ ^ 

l^t^^ ip^re ptai^ouj^Wy j^han^e, h»; treat|q^,ii^n» ! sinpe 
4e^hap .^2^p;^,lL^iBi^ by, "consequence 

has not exposed them to suffer an! )e^ert)ajl,finliapr 

.jTl>ei?ogpa^a,Qf, tl^e. ^rafiiQitaljty qftte.sou), orofa 

rgfigio^v . X( n j^erpoqtto|r^ it WiM calcu^tl^ .ei^pFessly 

mye. any tDioe- consphng ^n them ? t Wb^ieyeF tt^ 

»m (idea has pri$seotea 

ge^you^jthacpldai 
^ ^„_CQi}S^iousness_of.a|if^ ^ 

Jess, shpum jtjpubtless Be capable of sepuiing you 

ipfit ithpselr^ra ^hich th^^ 
, ^ ►/ lDjpubt(ess U does so, : else are you ROt inspicei 
^i|||;|^;;i$^ (gf^ sevear#, ;catprictoua^ 



// ^ I 



1 









/ 

/ 



^;:l!'kfadW/t#5^>WeIl what ybti W^adTahce' t'aiilifeott 
ym^my^ ^tUc^V^ Tl#'riWve td f#iblfe^^<i*i6i 










M|ht^d(l'j6iil^<if their state ^er death'; they i^jieak bijlj 
^the Ife^es wliich we inay^ritatatri of tfee goodne^ 
of^CfeliaJ ;'1>S^ thbie Who haire tp^ 
'*bb;f pi?^ch li^ &e^terii*s c^'tjje Lord; v'apa 'the jbd|gi- 
«i^nt8^df'&^e?te'Gbdl ^ ^^,tBi8 chicanei^ they co^- 
tHti'^p te 4itj»^iwlitk^ians^ tio keep, iitiaei Hieir yOkfe 
^eipn^l^'aba'lhe <a)^inMe'i afll<thps0 li^ho are i^eat 
en^feh>^b>*e.' ie^ by the idbbtra<Jitet!cWyl ddctrines ibjf 




iet^Wilfy. .^f* '« W^rdi tfi^i'^ ^'h^dHWr desirfe <lt6 



*e M6^'%na haj^^br^b^ia^^^ 
wa^ h^tne^of^ ijsr '^^ \ii^,Ca^nDt d^ii^ WmisetaBlfe 
leiij^enitfe^^r?^ lea^iv fe^ In Which It is'ijabi^ iti^Ji finii. 
feable^e^mkyt^tmsierabl^rsfth^lWanliiab^ M^ 
fteft^ehiistiaii reli^on'So^ofteii- repeats, the n&imber ibf 



7 
> 






y 
/z' 



'''"• '■ ■ ■ ■;>■&:''. ''■ ' ,. " ■■'. . 

number df the t^^^i^^x^m^ m^ms^mm'^^m 

5WiPlw^3^? wiJth 90 eyJ5}^jt,^,ri?k'pC ,peiflg i^t^ff^j^^^ 

OTl WW y^\V,)chQipp, of being bora, o^ 

i^Vp'T)!^/ ,j.v;ii,,i /^r,bio .rhi,.;b f/-i' cHii f.f) ,';au nt 

4lie hoji^ o^^je^oying, eteiji^iw^iniBas. ; .ftvi^ 4^!^ I^ 

you ^ut^U f^il^fi^ly to? tl^^jfUlie^iit^r'es^^ tiPat 
to conform one's s^l itQ jtfaiesie iFules, is it ^oii; ii^ece^sary 
|tQ baye gr^qe from Ji^veQ? An^ ar? we ib^.sure 
.we sbail obl$iin that jgraqe, cv if w<e do,; merjil H^^? 
.pp-v^he, prj^tf not rejpeat to u% wjth^t 9f^|pg,f tb^ 
Gp4 is thei ^i|tbor of grpce, an4 that hfj jx|i ly {giye& ft 
^ a^ small l^i^l3^^^t^ 
ll^eli f us - t(»t^ - ca^^pt/pflp; ^^1^^ 

ing|hi^ bigtk Toa^ U> da^^tijD)p/?;-;}t ipi ^plajb^^^at eyeiy 
^^bjristi^-^bo wquldso-Be \ /^ 

jdfssire a future exvsl^nce wljich, Ji^ h^ soipany flWi- 
i^«:es to fear, ot; to reckon q^j \ l^ppj^pess tWJ^ch.; eyeijr 
tbing,co|QS|)iFes^ , to shew ,. .l^im; is ^ass uc^prtaifi,' -a^ iifl- 
.oik. to ^obtained, .as- i^ ,fe iiin?qui«ocally; jgl^p^n^e^t 



/ 



'■"4i.i- 



::'f^y»-:i^i^^,-;-^ 



ff 






m ^ m^mr^^mm^ 




atJgteia'df the soul's immdrtajltj^ we^ ar^ 6<5ti^ 

lealiz^ their' wistbe^'ap'^d^ 

Justify Pfoindien^ ft-oA^^tr^i^iftdit ttjMk!a8!df ttiii 
•#6iM;; iThlsi^a^* W^ rtic^irea With aVidJtyi'Btou^ 
,1 \M flideHre& ^^d^»h^ -^d^ e^^ 

ihai^^ %ho ihoptfd^b hitilself i^ "supcrt<n^if -^bbrfe ^11 
-tolieii^:* tfiyf'e#f65r eksferfitfe, ^d^h^hM tb^ 
S^ t^%nd jf^uce to mere d^f i^ i^ 
jiaf thef ^v^Me^bf G6d,(wM*utev^f taaSnl'^fJs # 
tetttioitf ^witii this oth^ faCt^'tlif^ 0pd m^k^ Mrft eVeVf 
iliitaht fexperiecfee ^ tifeifei^ti^es; jidafetnitidj,^ ^nd triisls*^ 
irt all* sienti^nt iiattifd5^j;kii^ri<^ ;f that CSad mi^dehiilitf, 
iQ fine, to undeigo death, or dissolutioD, which is ail 
iR&tiriabfe law ^that M^ \Wft '^iSts ^ toiis(if'^*?venfed. 
l^is haughty creature, tirhd fen^c^hiifis^Fh JiBvili^ 
ibeing^ aldne a^fe<^hte:to his Maker, dq^Ubtperce^fe 
Iffiat there aire st^^ hvM^^ life when- Sfe existence ffe 
tDore uncertain and muelh' mbre' w«)k th^n that of the 
^ther animals^ or even of sonoe Inanimate thiUg^ 
^Man is unwilling to admit, that he possesses riot the 
strength of the lion, nrtr the swifitness of the stag, libr 
'the durability of an oak, nor the solidity of toarole, ^ 
iiietal. He believes himself the greatest fevoarite, the 
most sublime^ the most noble ; hef believes himself su- 
:|)eri<»- to all other anim^als, because he possesses'* the 
iaeulties <^ thinking, judging, and reasoning; Bi^t hib 
thoughts only render him more wretched than all the 
:animals whom he supposes deprived of this fkcultyvor 
who, at least, he believes, do not enjoy itin the ianie 
;4]egree With himself. Do not the faculties of thrnking, df 
remembering, of fijresightj- too often render him un- 
happy by the very idei of the past, the present, and 
the future? Do not his passions drive hina to ex- 
^psses unknown to the other animals^ Are fafs judg* 






deV^f^-ln iiian^ ttteii Itlat tile prints >«ftCefdi<^ kr 
j4s& 8^ ^ftiigeroudf ' ' Af€f mankind eatflli^i^ty ad 
Wkiki^tdgetoheaH^ form^nMHii^ tbis^prejudioe8>{Bid 
Jehiiiiigttts iPvSich leik^ iteii anfaa{^ydariiig the greats 
r^e'|>k^t>f ^ir liv^s? In fiii$, harv^ the beasis'isonie 
^^j^i^ti^ '^%i^t%iQ]iii^' 'kdpressi^ Which ' inspif^^'^xm^ 
^in aat terroi^s; in their bi^east, lAdkinf^ dnstii lodit i|poa 
iomeawfu! ^fvetit; #hieh c^bitl^^^ib^ ^f^^st^i^lea- 
sures, whicfa'eDjdins theih ^ t<Mefit^4Hefliutel««s^' «iid 
^^vhieh'^re^^s llieiii neitheternal^adfRitiofi 1^ NtoriS>t 
'- In^ trutbyModMni if you weigh ill ai^ eqoitableibit^ 
y ianoe^the pfretended advantages of man ^abb^e'tfie o^rar 
* %faiifaal8, yoii wiH sobn 6e0 how e^^anescent It this fictti 
lioii^ ^superiority i^ich he^has arrogatec^Mto^ hiiiMi«lf* 
^ie find that all the productions of nkore ar&siibaii^ied 
to-tbe same liaWs ; that all beriigs'af*e only; born to die:; 
4h^ 'ifiirddtiee their Hke to destroy f^etnsekes ; that all 
sentient betngs^ are coinpelled to unila^ plea^res fold, 
pdins ; ^ t^ey appear : and tbejr disappear- ; they are and 
thi^'^etee to be ^thef evince nftder; oae. form tM 
^jrWWl quit' it to prodiK^e anoth^^^ Sueb ^are the 
continuai^ vicissitudes to which 'every ■ thi ng that &lw^ 
hr (evidently objected, and ironi which man is not 
^x^iiiptj any ihore than the other beings and productions 
that' he appropriates to his use. -as l&rd ofcreaiitm;. 
Even ourgtebe itself undergoes change ; the seas change 
their place r the mountains are gath^ed in heaps or &• 
irielled into plains r every thing that breathes is destroyed 
:'8t li^t, and man alone pretends to«n et^DaLdumti6nj> 
It is unnecessary ' to tell me, thut we d^rade- cmdl 
-when we compare him with the beasts, deprived of 
souls and intelligence ; this iriio levelling doctrine, 
but one which places him «bcactly- Where natore places 
him, but from which bis vanity h^ nnfortufiately d^ 
Veil him^ Allbeings are equal ; under various ami dif* 
ferent forms they act differently ; they are governed in 
their appetites and passions by law& which are itivarkibly 
'the same for all of the same species ; ev^y thing' winch 



.' '-' ■ j^i^vr^r:. ; ^T> 



"wkuAklhrnMe^tm^ pa^ ml^ M.^ 4eat^ ;, ai),q^^,aie; 

«qiiday[f}Oi)Qtpii»Ufe«irii^ t^ys fate,;jt^y ^n^ ^qua^ 

ati^ao^i^dlthoi^b cijuuiBgiifeiljfitf. power, m^kt^^j^t^f 

teno» whid» d^$h^i9» hiUiQrft^l$U(9^ you ^^^ 4f j^ 

fdrtthe \^retobe4^i»{«dfe baF0A 9g^iii0f ihe mwfpfUKiiqi^ 

of Ityi^ lufewv if itiappieafs, fi cruel alteipativat^ il^pse 

TidDlOfeilJQy *be g©^ thii^ of JblfT ^I«»rl4» T«ijy ijp'^^ 

BOtC3iii9o|e tiMiDaselves with tbe i(|isa| oC w^at t))^y cjo 

a^taally enjoy ?i?l;<et^ tbem ^)1 te&ii^D totheiraidtf.il 

lm\\ cdtak^ tJae mqiaett^es of ulieir inuigjqatioPlK tiot.^ 

gfciatiy ftlartmeid^ it will diap^iFs^ the <^OMjds w^<^ {fcjl^r 

gi0ii;8pre«ds<o«fef t^eir imqd ;;)$ VifiU teach.tti^ip^ 4Jfi^ 

tUs 4ealb«do t^TJ^iiQ appi^bi^M^ion^is^^r^l^r 9i^Hi^, 

bod 4hat^ iti wiH . oeitbesp he.^^ic^i^mv^^f^^^'^^^^^ 

bntoo^of |»8t pl^^fiure^y QQc of 8i9rFOws'i|oi;^>9gaio£^ 

wliike, tfeeij, btfirpr^^^mid t^iaiq^il, < amii^l^l^ ^i^gopi^) 

Pfeserva ieareMly i8t» ^idsteace . so iaterestiog, . w^ < ,80 

iiece88aiy;tOf^}. those *ivitb -wboni yovt li^f* , .^Uow 

aot yoar bdailb toi^-mjuredl^i ^o^tFo^ble.yo^Fquie^ 

vtitfa melattcboly ideas. Without beii^ teazed rby the 

prospect of ^n event whicb biaa iio right to disturb* 

y«iir sepose^ : cultivate virt^e^; ] wbipb has always been 

iyestr tfe;TOtorite,<^ oiecessary \0 your ioterojal: peao^ 

aad which ihas t^adef ed . yoq -so ^eatr ^ all ^ itbose yfyix^ 

hatve the happiness of being your firieods !, , Let 3fOur 

ranik,yt)iii! credit^ your riches, ;yoiir t^eute.beieoiplo}^ 

jed to nlake Otbei« bappy, loisuppoil; tfae oppfces^ed,. to 

«ticcour tbe uo^cfflUBate, tO:dr;y up the tear^ of those 

^wbom you may have au , ^poprtuni^, of .comforting.! 

li&tyour miad be occupied. about such agreea^te aud 

profitable eraployments as are likely to please you;^ \j/ 

iJaJi m the. aid ^ your reasofi to dissipate the; pl^^ 

txHOs whicb ftkrm you, to efiJMJe tiN. prejudice? \vhii?{i 



/ 



■ jp-J.fjMi.*' ■ 



mv--^ 



iMm^i^^f^mmm W 



you do,you'Csliim^^(^^^n'^^^ <i^^ 

^hhAt Wh^ tmrvUSi ift»-'fenitf'*irigdr5ii^^pta^^h- 
mm foHM JgodiSfMii^* Vfll liJHHfe str&t^gesiJi the 



// " 




y/ ^' ^. 



good, in stifling pity, every^aii^^ #hi6^r^s6^ fe' Udi 
t€rtallycfel^nged,' perceives clearly that he will render 
himself odious to others, that he ought to fear their ) '^ 
enmity. He will bteshf^thetiv^f he thinks he has ren- 
dered himself hateful and detestable in their eyes. 
He knows the contki^a] ' i^es^ he| has of their esteem 
and assistEfnce. Experience proves to him, that vices 
the n^st concealed are injurious to himself. He lures 
itf ^ftfeetol feir Wi ^iti6 itilsh^p '^rMfd iifnf^M ^his 
^i^tflsi^'a^d ^6i^t4adlts:* if 1^li^*Mlf^tl^^^^fei 
i&kx.%€ m te 1b(ik ifiifr regi^t ^atitl: M^ ev^tt' % 
^^^'*^^-'^'^-ta<frtvBeB^ ih' the' ^Ib^^ tT^*^^^^ 

Sf hc> i4r6 erie^va^' \k thi^ir p^n 

s'littfed ti Vlce^j^ the t6aiii^6f h^it; eVeiiWi^ 

f!i40i^ i^A^d^s, n^ Idg^'w^ ) ^ 

<j6d witi dievei'"iii!|i#<5^ 

r^^j»otf S§ iniay'inakfe 'iiita regardlbss of j^iihfe bfiitlilmfi; 
j)fed^6h<j^*tilidyr'f(k>t, brave the laws, dtid (Me- 
)^erh1ni$^(f'!to ^eri^dh and human^^^e^ 

fii^n y* is^h^fe is^ly lirididrstanife, tl^.1rt^ ?^ 
world the esteem and affection of others? are h^cessdry 






// 






4l i^Ei^nats fp EupciHi^' 

foribis happiness, and that life is,but«lM]f<ka to.#|QfQ 
who |>y their. yic^es injure themselves, and render theSQ? 
sdiyes reprehensijbl^ in the eyes of society. « , > 

. \Tjlie true means. Madam,. Q£li?iQg happy in this 
'^ I wppidis todogqod to yourfellosir^reatures^jj^db^^ »^ 
^ ^ I for the faappinessy^of yQi»,,8pecies4 tbiajs^ th^^^ 
yir^uev; ^t least, 4t|istp have Tirtu^ s^ ^it|^ v^r^n^ you 
will appear c^reeable to otherB,.and be .withonjl^ .1^10919^ 
;j^cHirself to the, end of life, ^^emorse.is. a Jej^ng^ha^ 
cliQttjd be far firom your . bosons ^ 4l^ very .jivpld if^n- 
jures up fears to the simply ; it is a tena> whici(jti)i; 
wants, and -desires of all those -whp^knpw. you j^^ 
s&ive^o keep remotefrom yQur mind,^ .that you way 
ifiiways partake of that contend aqd joy .wHicii, eveiy 
thing around you should create for your. well4)e}iw, 
fmd multiply ta your advantage as you ^ide ti^roi;iga 
life to the bosom of nature. ,,,. 

i^^rl^'S'lr v*-^it, : • aaesBSSsssBsssEB. .. • »■ 

,^ Tbie reflectj(MS, IJIadam, /\yhicb J bay^; ^\r(s^^ 

-^IT^^ you -in these letters oi^ht, X cooeeiyef ^.tipj .^v^ 

iu^ce<| to undeceive you, in .a great meas^uirie,^ ^f . the 

tiiglibrious an<d afflicting notioASi with Vhicbiy 

b^n inspiiei^ by Feligious pip^i|$ces;, H^^eyer, , ip 

iu'iOlthe task wlnc^^^ have Iwpopbd^pn ipe» jan,d( to 
assisi you in -freeing yourself fr^ja^ Jtji^^ ^i^vj^v^}i\(^ 

ideas you may have imbibed iroin ft sysj^ l^ljete 
y/ , with irrelevancles >nd contrajdictipji^^^^ cpnnQU^ 

to examine the strange mysteries with wb)ch.0h^is^ 
tianity is adorned. . They are foiinded on idisa^ 9P'5?dd 
ftnd- so contrarjr to reason, thatif from in&ncy we& 
not been familiarised with them, yif e sbouljl Musn ft 
^ur species in having fix one instant JbeUeyeda^ 
adopted them* , 



'^A-j ■c^«.a># J. *-• ,> ..•rf.Ci-J' »»— « 



V'^ji* 



LETTERS TO EUGENfA. 79 



>iW'4t> 



{The GfaristianSj scarcely content with the crowd of 
enigmas with which the books of the Jews are iiiledi 
have besides fancied they must add to them a great 
many incomprehensible mysteries, for which they. have 
the most profound veneration. Their impenetrable 
obscurity appears to be a sufficient motive among them 
for adding these. Their priests, encouraged by their 
credulity, which nothing cau outdo, seem to be stu- 
dious to multiply the articles of their faith, and the 
number of inconceivable objects which they have said 
must be received with submission, and adwed even if 
not understood. ;^ w>^;i . 

^ The first of these mysteries is the Trinity, which 
supposes. that one God, self-existent^ who is a pure 
spirit,, is, nevertheless, composed of three Divinities, 
which have obtained the names of persons* These 
three Gods, who are designated under the respective 
names of the Father, the Son^ and the Holy Ghost ^ 
are, nevertheless, but one God only. These three per- 
sons are equal in power, in wisdom, in perfection^; yet 
the second is subordinate to the first, inconsequence 
of which he was compelled to become a man, and be 
the victim of the wrath of. his Father. This is what 
the priests call themystery of the incarnation. Not- 
withstanding his innocence, his perfection, his purity, 
the- Son of Grod became the object of : the vengeance 
of a just God, who is the same as the Son in question, 
but. who would not consent to appease himself but by 
the death of his own Son; who is a portion of himself. 
The Son of God, not. content with becoming man, 
died without having sinned, for the salvation of men 
whahad sinned. God preferred to the punishment of 
imperfect! beings, whom he did not choose to amend, ^ 
tbe; punishment of his only Soii, full of <^divine per- 
fections. The death of God became necessary to re- 
claim the human kind from the slavefry of Satan, who 
withdut. that ; would i not have. quitted his fjney, and 
who >:bai» ; been found". sufficiiBnibly powerfinl against the 
^fDnipotenti to oblige him to aacrifice his Son. i This 









.M: 



m LETmRS TO EUGBNIAl 

is what the priests desig^iate by the name c^ the 

mysXeryoi redemption, il^i ^ .:|(»n -'4^^«' <mif*i«^^: ^ — 

It is, unquestionably, the briefigst way to shew the t 
absurdity, of these notions, to state them fairly as the 
priests deliver tbem to us. It is evident, that if there 
be but one Godabne, there could not b4 three. Yet 
one may very easily conceive such a trifoid Divinity 
much in the same way as Plato, who has, doubtless^ 
had the advantage of the Christian teachers in this re- 
spect, since he fashioned the Deity under three different 
pconts of view, namely, alUpowertul, alUwise, reason- 
able, and, in fine, as full of goodness ; but in the ex-» 
cess of his zeal for these perfections, Plato, who per- 
sonified these three divine qualities, either himself 
transformed them into three real beings, or, at least, 
furnished the Christians with the means of their com*- 
poisition. It is not a difficult task to suppose, ikoi • 
those m<»ral attributes may be found in one andithe 
sanie Gk>d ; but it is the height of folly, because such 
a suppesition can be reasonably entertained, to ^hion 
three different Gods ; and in vain shall we be able to 
remedy this metaphysical polytheism by arguments to 
make of one three, and of three one, i^esides, this 
reverie never entered the head of the Hebrew Legis* 
latxjr. The Eternal, it is true, revealed himself to 
Moses, but not as a threefold Deity. There is not one 
syllable in the Old Testament about this Tnnity, al-* 
though a notion so hizzare, so marvellous, andtso little 
consonant with our ideas of a divine being, deserved to 
have b^>n fctrmally announced, especially as it is the 
foundation and comerf^tone of the Ciudstian religion^ 
which, was from all <<^ernity an ofc^t of tte divane so* 
licitiide, and on the establishmeiit of which) if we ii^ay 
credit our sapient priests, God seems to ba«se enter- 
tained seiious thoughts long before the creation of the 
world. 
. h Nevect|ieieas,^ the aeconrd person, ortheseconti God 
' of the. Tnmly is reveaied in flesh, the son of God is 
m^e man. But how could the pure Spirit who pre^ 



jMrrmas to Et^GENi^Ac. 



sides over the uoivene begpet a son ? How ^oiiidi ibis 
aott, who before hi& incarnation was only a pwe^^piritj 
coihbine ih&t ethemi . essence sHtfa ia tiiiitel^ hOdf\ 
and.ienvelope himself with it^? - How i^ould the d\^m 
vakvae amalgainate itself with tkb fmperfect nsNcti^ ^ 
iBuiy and how could an immense aodinfiiHtelfeitlgGil 
the Dei^^ is represented, befo#ined in the ivboib of a 
tiigia^ Aifer what mann^ could a pufe 8|iirit fe^iiltU 
dale thiai^?durite vir^fl ^ Did l^e Son of 6bd^njoy 
«» the womb of his mc^er, -the ' facntoieis^of^ omnipo^ 
tea^i OF wad hfe like other childreh duiingtiis itffedcy, 
wealL^ Habletto isiSrmitieSy sickness^ and iiitellectual 
imbecili^V ao conispiciioiis i n the years ^f childhood ; 
andJf ^Oy what, dnribg this period^ became of thedl- 
Tiae wisdoin and power? In fine^ how <^uld €k)d 
sufier and die ? How couM a just (jlod cotis^^ thdt 
a God exempt from all sin should endure the chasti^ 
ments vidiich are due to sinners ? Why did he nOt 2^ 
pease himself without immolating a victim so precious 
and ao innocent ? What would yon think of tbs^^o^ 
verereign who, in:^he event of his subjects rebelling 
gainst thein, should forgive them all, or a selebt num- 
ber of th^m, by putting to death his only and beloved 
son^ who had not rebelled ? 

Tlie priests tell us, that it was out of tenderness for 
the human kind that God wished to accomplish this sa- 
crifice. But I still ask, if it would ^(ot have been more 
simple, more conformable to all our idea^ o#i Deity, 
'for God to pardon the iniquities of the human race, or 
to have prevented them committing transgiessioiis, by 
filacing them in a condition in whrch by tb^rownt iM 
they ^bjouM never have sinned ? According to the en^ 
tire ^rstem of the Christian religion, it ifi^evident, that 
God did only create the world to have an c^jporfemty 
of imiaiolating his Son for the rebellious beings be might 
liave formed and preserved immaculate. The fall 6f th6 
feb^lious angels had no visible end to serve but to e^ 
feet and hasten the fell of Adam. It appears frotn 
this system, that God permitted the ^rst> man to sin 






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1£TTERS TO EUGENIA. 



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that bie; might have the pleasure c^ shewing his good- 
pe^i in j^rificing hi&z 'f lonly hegotteh soa" ^toiiieclaiin 
in0Pifit^j|il the thraldona' of Satan. He t eiltrusted to 
Sataii a^>miich powerlas intght erial^e hmi; to. worklthe 
rui^rof our race, with the view of afterwards chaagiog 
the projects of the great mass of maDkindy by malung 
jOne God to die^ , and thereby^ destroy the fiowfeirof the 
d^yil. PR the earth . . ^ow the Son iof Godi'died, ^cord- 
ing to; the priests, but the power of Satan weJaitoiii 
i^mains as great as ever— How can these things bdf^"- 
^«^ Has God succeeded in these projects to thetend he 
prop(^ed?. Are men entirely' rescued from the domi- 
nion of Satan ? Are they not-still the slaves of sin ? 
Do they find themselves in the happy, kripossibility of 
kindling the divine wrath ? Has-the blood of the Son 
of Qod washed away the sins of .the whole wcaiWf ? 
Do those who are reclaimed, those to whom he has 
made; himself known,! those who bielicjveji offend :;not 
against heaven ? Has the Deity who / ought : without 
doubt; to be perfectly satisfied with so memorable a! sa- 
crifice, remitted to them the punishment of sin ? Is it 
jiot necessary to do something more for them? And 
since the death of his son, do we find the Christians 
exempt from disease and from death ? Nothing; of all 
this has happened. The measures ^takenfirom all eter- 
nity by the wisdom and prescience of a God, who 
should find against his plans no obstacles, have been 
overthrown. The death of God himself has been of 
noutilHytO: the world. All the divine projects, have 
militated against the free-will of man, but they Mave 
n<^ destroyed the power of Satan. Man:continuiB8 tp 
jsin and to die ; the devil keeps possession of the field 
of battle: and it is for a very small number of .tbe^dect 
that jthe Deity consented to die. r h h hoi 

Ypu dp indeed smile. Madam, at my being obliged 
iseriousiy tO: combat such chimeras. If they have som&- 
.thing of the marvellous in them it is quite ;adapted^ to 
jthe heads of children, not of men, i and ought not to 
jbe Emitted by reasonable beings. All the notions 



) 



I^TTERS TO EUGEflFA. S3 

)j^i¥e can form of ^hose things must be mysrt;erious ; yet 
tthfere' is nd- sulj6clf^ mor^ demonsteable' a<:cord«ig to 
thbi^'whose. interest it is -to have' it believed, though 
4-th'^iai^ ds incapaible -a* oi^selv^ fo <^Jmplf6bend tibiO 
sf^mattJei*. : For thie prieste to ^y^theit they believe stfcb 
/|««biiri^<ies'> to fe 'gililty of itiiiiififest feteebood ; be- 
'^^cause a propositidn 'to be bdieved must neeessariiy be 
^^^iiWderstbod. 'To belliie^fe whtrf th^y do not ^fi)^iehend, 
iis to adhere sottishly to riie absurdities bf^t^iers^;^ to 
* believe things which arei notcomprdiencbed l^- fllOS^ 
?rwho gossip about them, is the b^ght of ifolly ; to-be- 
Ifctlieve 'blindly tlie mysteries of-thfe Chiistmtl^ i^ig^on, 
^^is to admit contradictions of which they who declare 
t' them arfe ' not convinced. In fine, is it nece^ary ' to 
^abandon one's reason among absurditieis that htEveb^n 
^^^ received without examination from ancient priests, who 
^ were either the dupes of more knowing mert ortliefiah 
3^'selves' the impostors who' fabricated the trfesJ* in- 
1^ question. ^ ■■■■.•■■■ 'M^l'i - - . ^ ..■■-;-..:• '^jmua 

' tf you ask of me, how men have not long ago b6da< 
shocked by such 'absurd and unintelligible reveries ? 
I shall proceed, in m^ turn, to explain to you this 
secret of the church,- this mystery of -our priests. 
It isk not necessary, in doing this, to pay any at- 
tention to those general dispositi6ns of = man, espe^ 
cially when he is ignorant and incapablig of ■ reaSon- 
' ingi 3 All' men are curious> inquisitivie ; their curiosity 
spurs them on to inquiry-, and their ^maginatibn'tMisies 
itself to clothe with mystery, every thing the fencycoii- 
jtires'up as importahl to happiness. The vtil|arm«^ 
take even w^at th^ have the 'meaiis of- knowing^ ' ovi 
which is the sahie thing, what they are least pra«edsed 
iri,*they are dazzled with ;* they proclaim it;aecoi:diiigly, 
marvdilbus, prodigi6us,extriaordinary ; it is a ph^nome- 
ftom * They neither admire, nor reSpe<A much what is 
always visible to their eyes ; btit whatever strikes i^Aeir 
imaigi'i]ktion,whaiteVer 'gives scbpetb the mind beieomes 
itselfthe fruitful sOurcie<)f'Otti^ ideas far mor-e extra- 
vag>ant. The priests have had the art to prev^ui on^the 



iSjPi6aSi£t£4!J?iiS£ft^L>-i-'.i-.ii:5iSs*. . -^ t'-,-ir.-.-. :->■.•.. .::j' i^,;.v*l;«iiKi2'i; 



84 LSpifiilS TO mJGENIA^ 

pepple ;tQ brieve m 4b^ic secret con^^pqadence with 
tlte^ J^ity ; ; they have been tbenpe EE^lch respected i 
ami; id ,all <x)uiitries tbeir professied iot^poucse with, ^ii 
un$e0ii: Dmos^y^ . has giyea room for tiieir anopiHice- 
Bl^it <^ things tfae iQOst ,i|]arv^lous;aD(l my^teriou^^ ;<, ( / 
- Besides, the DivioHy l^ing a bejyi^g whose ^mpi^Qe* 
trableesseoce is vejl^ from mortal sight, it has been 
commoniy admitted by the igBortmtt that what could 
mt im 9een by mortal «ye iiiMst Deqess^ily be divine. 
Hi&stee tacted^ mysterieusi apd diuiney are sy oopyrapus 
terms;; and these imposing words have suMced topjace 
the hum^ui race on thear knees to adore what seeks jiot 

their. inflated cievotioa^iM/. to ««oimi«n3 n oo i i ml,'} ■■■^omi^ 
The three mysteries which I have exasuned ai^ re- 

c^ved unanimously by all sects of Christians!; but 

there are otheiis od w^ich the theolc^ians ;9re not 
agftpfld. In fine, we see men, who after they haye ad- 
mitted, without repugnance, a certain number of ab^ 
surdities, stop all of a sudden in the way, and refuse 
to admit more. The Christian Protestants are in tiiis 
Cds^, They reject with disdain, the mysteries ioi 
whtch the Church of Rome shews the greatest respect. 
Seeing) then, that our doctors, the most opposite to 
those ^ the Protestant, have adroitly multiplied mtys* 
steries, oi^ is naturally led to conclude, they despaired 
x>f governing the mind of man, and comman(^ng his 
purs^ if th^e was any tin ug in their religion that was 
elear^ intelligible, and natural . More mysterious than 
the priests of E^ypt itself, they have found means to 
cfaaoge ewexy thmg into mystery ; the very moyemeuts 
of the body, usages the most indifferent, ceremonies 
^ mostfirivolous, have become, in the powerful hands 
of the {»iestSj sublime and divine mysteries. In the 
Roioan religion all is magic, all is prodigy, all is super- 
natural. In the decisicms of our theologians^ the side 
which they espouse is almost always that which: is the 
most abhorrent to leascMif the most calculated t^ con^ 
^Mmd sod overtfairow common sense. Inconser 
^^oeirce, 9m priests are by far the mo^ rich, powerfuli 



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LETTERS To< EOGemAi . ' m 

und considerable. The tx)iitiniKd want which we have 
of their aid to obtain from Hestren that grace which it 
is their province to bring down for. us, pla^s us in con- 
tinual dependence on those marvellous men who have 
received their commission to treat with the Deity, and 
become the ambassadors between Heaven and us. 

Each of our sacraments envelopes a great myst^y. 
They are ceremonies to which the Divinity, they say, 
attaches some secret virtue, by Jinseen views of which 
we can form no ideas. In baptism, without whidi no 
man can be saved, the water sprinkled on~the head of 
the child washes his spiritual soul, and carries away the 

defilement which is a consequence oftlie sin com-' 

mitted in the person of Adam, who sinned for all men. 
By the^ mysterious virtue of this watery and of some 
words equally unintelligible, the infent finds itself le. 
conciled to God, as his first &ther had made him 
guilty without his knowledge and consent). In all this. 
Madam, you cannot by possibihty comprehend die 
complication of these mysteries^ with whidi no Christ 
tian can dispense, though, assuredly^ diere is not oae 
believer wIk> knows what the virtue of the marvellous 
water ojnsists in, which is necessary fcnr his regeiM^a* 
tion. Nor can you conceive how the supreme and 
equitable Governor of the universe could impute traits 
to those poor little children who have nev^ bees 
guilty of any transgressions against eith^ the laws of 
€kxi or the laws of man. Nor can you comprehend 
how a wise Deity can attadi his favour to a futile odre- 
mony, which, witliout changing the imture of the beings 
who iias derived an existence it neidier oorameiieed 
nor was copsuHed in, must, if administered:in -winter^ 
be attended with serioiffi coosei^Bcea to the beakb^of 
tiiecbild; ■ • ■" -"n;-!-:.-. ;• , . 'o' ^ 

t In C^mfirTmUien, a sacrament. or cereaiOBy,whtell^ 
to have any value, ought to be admitiiiterei by- a-bishopv 
the laying c^ the liandb on the head ofthe youBg et»K 
finmmt makes, the Holy Spirit descend upon inm^ and* 
procures the grace of God to upheki Mbi in ithe fakh. 



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You see, M^dam, that the efficacy of this sacrament .^ 
is unfortunately lost in my person ; for, although i» ^^ 
my youth I had be^a duly confirmed, I have not been 
preserved against smiling at this faith, nor have I been 
kept invulnerable in the credence of my priests and 
forefatherSiii^ siM'i^^*4 :fe *awi^#>^>^^^^ 
vV In the sacrament ' of 'Penitence^ or . confession, a 
ceremony which consists in putting a priest in posses- 
sion of all one's faults, ^public or private, you . will dis- 
cover mysteries equally marvellous. In favour of this 
submission, to which every good Christian is nec^sa- 
rily obliged to submit, a priest, himself a sinner, 
charged with full powers by the Deity, pardons and 
remits in His name the ^ins against which God. is en- 
raged. God reconciles'himself with every man i who 
humbles hi mself before the priest, and by means of 
this' ainbass^dor, the unfortunate sinner scales the bat- 
tlements) of heaven again, from which his crimes had 
e^ccluded him. If this sacrament doth not always pro- 
cure grace very distinguishing to those who use it, it 
has; at all events, the advantage of rendering them 
pliable, to the clergy, who, ; by. its means, find an, easy 
sway in their spiritual emipire over the human > mind,' 
an empire that enabled th«n not unfrequently to.dis- 
turi) society, and more, often the repose of families and 
tile -very, conscience of ' the person confessing. » . 

! iTbere ^ is amcwig the . Catholics another sacrament^' 
which contains the most strange mysteries. It is that 
oCiheJEucharist. Our teachers, under pain of being 
damzied, . enjoin us to believe that thevSon of.Godris 
compelled by a priest to quit the abodes of glory, and 
to come and miasque himself under the appearance of 
lifiseaki! This; bread becomes forthwith the body: of 
Goa — This God multiphes himself in all places, and^ 
at all limes when and where the priests scattered over 
t^p. face, i oil liiei «asthj findiit;necessary to command 
his presence in , the shape of ?bread— yet lire see^oiilylone 
sm^ithesiime Gdd^ ^d> receives thehomage aiKl;^dor9k 
tidn of 3aH those gobd/people^ who find it very lidicu!* 



jtmmm m wmmmii^ 






h^k^ jth0JEgg^py&Ba< tondom iiipHisf and oxricms^ iBbt 
j^r^Ck^i^liG^iiie J9^ a^safif content, with wwts^ 

add regard those who do, a3 real idoltti)eeB.<. Wfaat'^tt'^ 
Tiiifl iBSFvielloJas jd(^p»ft i% withoul dbi^ of the giieatw 
@9t;v«tiUty ^ vihjBijH-i^ts^ la^lihe .e3|le9 oiiliiaBe umibd) 
adou^ iti tfae^beoome veiy iinportaiil.geiitleineav wko 
ha«0 tbe povf&t o£ di^posiaffof the Deify, WhoiB 1^^ 
JBftke to desoend! between^ l»eir bands- ;^aad^dKn5 u4^ 
Iboiic furiest is ixi &et,; tiie cre^nr ef hiB'€bd'^ i^ 
t^ifidim is alao jB^v<r«fii« IJiitttiin, a saJeiaaieBiiwIifeil 
eoBstata in anoiatiHg witfe oil those sicit peisons^^ii4id 
are^fibottlto: depfflt ult& <the odierj worid ;> and ii^ii^ 
]i«it ODi5r sQOtltiieflr tfaeif boctiiy iMiim^i hot also late 
awB]^ theski of tbsiif soiilsi. If k|»ocHicesvtbeBe gd^ 
e£^eti^ it is an knfiail&le^ aad mysterious vnied»Nl' of 
ami^ii^idbitioitt rasdtes ;^^f^ we ^requedtiy hdidd 
sick pefsOBrha«ie^eir fears of death afiafsdf tfafo^^ 
tb«v~opi»9iiii<tii nwy btkt too olten accdemte i^ek disso- 
]«[^0D» But our priests are so fnll of ^KuriQry and 
tiMf interest themselves so greatfy in die^salvatioD^ 
mAi tfaotvl^ey like mhei' totiuik tiieir own hoddi be^ 
side -the; 8i^-bed> of f&nemB i^^ted miMb tfaeri&ost 
eetdagidus diseases, dsuklos^' ttie^opportunity of adi»ii 
B]Sti»iag thdi^ sahitery oistment. ^MMiii^ 

CMnia<Minj is: another iT^ laystenous eeape&iiQmf% 
bjrf whieh ^e Bdty secretly bestows his iavi8ible;''gi^age 
on ttoe whom he baa^^cted to M the office d^ the 
holj^^fxriesthood. Aeoording to tba Cath^ie re%i^ 
God tnvcB to the piiests » ik& power of mskmg ]@&d 
bimseif, as we h«re sbewn above, a privilege ^kik 
wttbdut doubt, cuinot be sufficie&^y admired. ^^1^^ 
re8|»ectto the semdUe e&<^ of ^is sacrament^ ^^ 
cifthevi^le grace which it confer^ th^ are ^^abied 
hfi the help of sMBe wofds and certain eevdmonies, to 



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lETEEKi TO EfKant!^. 



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ichaDge :a profane mmmt» ene fhaf i^ )$ai0i^t^ tha^ is to 
say>yiwliO:tsnot|>roiB«eai;^>ioDg«^ > Bjp tbi^ sjMrit^l 
Hiietamorpbosis, this man becodie^ daptifole^<dP'^jc^ji^9g; 
k^fWsideiabieFeveiujes without beii«g bbllged to S& fAsy 
^i%r; useful Ibr spci^iy;^^ Oiit tte k>Alsaty]!i'!beav^ 
^tseirconfea^ oia^ himtheiiight of'de<e^r4i%^ ofi^aiino^^ 
^^g, andvof^^^ pillaging di6ipi'<^a^)^ cMzen^^^ who lahour 
for his eas6 andJOiXuryiK 



HOil 



'>'?;: ;'n 



; JRinally^ vi&trriagei is: i a sacfame^t ' thilt ^coai^rs bb 
4ihe. pair thiis yoked,: ^ifiiysterious aiad^ J invisible igrace^ 
<;^^/which you aad-Iv Eugenia, have«^^y0i; to aciJtiJre 
{>FQcis& ideas*; 'Protestants aE^inftdeisi' who look 
ji|>oii marriage as a civil iooniai^aict, atid'oot -as a sacbm- 
ment, rletd^ neither more nor 1^ of its^ visible '^o^ 
liMBi M the good C!atholics> > The ^ toiler •' see BOtV that 
tiK^sewho; are married enjoy by this'<sacraine'Rtaiiy 
Secret virtiie,l Hirbence theyiinay< ^cori|e m<»e coastaitt 
and faith&il to.' the engagements they have^oiitracled. 
Ajid S hc^eve-botb y»u land >Iv< <MadainV< >h«9e li^ard'df 
jCathc^ics who j after maiiie^eV^ hare detested each iodtier 
as.cCOididly^Tas.any Frdtestaatsior.'infidels? ever de- 
tested tti^ir/niivesl:. '*».*^'9S* • ^ 

, !>, will not now enter ' upo^D- the consideration of ^ a 
midtijtudejofi Other magic ceremonies, admitted by some 
C>faristiari sectaries md rejected by^ others, bat to whidi 
Ae devout, who embrace thenlv atiaich the>raost4ofty 
ideas, jn the^'firm persuasion, that God- will, on '^at 
account, visit them/widi his isvisiUe grace; 'h All these 
ceremonies, doubtless,: contain great mysteFiesy<and the 
method of handting'or speaking of th^ is; exceeding- 
ly mysterious^. ^ it-is thus that the' wsA^r on whr^^^ 
priest has ; pronoimced a few words,! contarned^n his 
conjaring boc^, acquires the invisible virttie of chasing 
away wicked spirits, who are invisible to our organs of 
sight, smell, and touch. It is thus that the oil, on 
which a bishop has muttered some certain formula, be- 
€omes capable of eoramunicating to men, and even to 
some inanimate jsubstances^ such as wood, stone, me- 
tals, and .walls, those iavisible virtues which they did 







^ho'cOfi^j^T^li^ in^^ lidt the:iessN^i»; 

p^fed ^ttj "ateftfe, ^td b^ fefe6ina<M withi andtto respect 
i^th a' biiiKi- delf tttfofi ; ^ Btiti^oon WodM ^^ey cetoe iter 
have ihis tlefi^mtion #<» di^'ftkii^wfii/ ifiJrtieyc^ 
pwliericfeJif tfefe?tksign 'fiftd ^<J 'die- ip^ie^nhaf^ is -view; 

^ Itier^iitfeS*^ bf r'allMlliations b«ve=^>€^n by MBgckarw 
fel^fls, ' dftltfe-buitdtefsj divinersvl J and ? sbrbereis. . W^ 
fiiiiij' riieii iof f Ifti^e^iMt^teF^ in fiatibns .the ixiofst ignd^ _^ 
te arid s8iVi^/'wh6i«eth)ey lire% tHeisnbiainceaqd / J/7 

r^ cbuntl^iijfefA' ^ superior brings,' ehddwed wkh su^ 
peiMtefr^'grftS,- iaVoiirite^ 'of the t^ry <3^^ because 
the uninVjuiring multitude see (tHem ^i)erftrt'ia things 
i^iS*[^they tak6^ to bi6 TOi^Hty? matVeHoosii or wbidithe 
''^^^^^'MWt^e'-tX'^^ (jdhfeidered tnarnrekowb; .Mnvna- 



iiiyi^illipeiiMi^ieii- 
Ji/ft^^'^ airthbrii^d^ < th^ ififwnent lolly =Gf. itbe f nralti- 
tttfdi^;' -bofill^e^'flieir old '^ iftflcks, and 'leceivef runi veissal 

:'%#ldi^:tiot;^tten, tb be Mit^^ ' Midaini, if you 
sn!f%eSt^ otii- pSdWtifis fitid oorprie^s exercise tii«r 
ihMi^^^l'iyr fefclr^tle^ b^re the ^yes of people 
}jir^|iditle& in 'Av©»^6f tfe^r aneieai-iittiMjioHSvi^^^a^ 
tJAo' 'aittadh to these myst^ries^' at die^eldf eonse^' 
qtlfellite • s^iAg' they are ncmin fc 'Condition t6 compEe^ 
hi^ild th^' tiicltives of the labriiktdrs; Evea^thing that 
id'^^^dhs^has^eharms fbr theigi&oTaHt ; :the man^ 
I^)af.^!ap8^eis|fttll tEteh i pterse^s^jKhe most^nligbfeeo^ 
fifi^it'<3tecelt't^ad5E*idf'th€tdse]^ 1 y 

^jnSl- ' It^i*fefyiD«i Hfia^ ^fe<^er that the? pri^fets aee | ^^ 
ififlvaj^bpftriiti^y'kttafeh^ 

iiil»§*W jfc^ir^'^j^hfpl ^bd fit ■ has^ever i been wiDbetft 
s<!ibl^'H^6rit t^volutioft fhsit -^ey % 
W^tt^lfedr '■ Tm^TtmiMim of * a ttiflingJGeremoi^ 






%^\ 



9d ugrtEmto 



,1 



bave MievcJd . thegaiselyes lest ^^- M^opf^ ^n^ies :eiie 
boider thai} the sest MriJBhed to^iMsnrHtein lOf^^ 
lietigioii ( tbcff time feni^ed 4iat tb^y ^efe to te 4^ 
p^veA of ioeBtmrable «df»s$ag^ ftbd im^^Ie :^iit 
ssmg grace, whkh they We 9ti|>pp8ied to he jerttscbed 
%- l£s Dhdnky hioBuielf feo isom^ moTemeBtB of t^e 
body. Priests the most adiioit bstve ov^rehwiged reli.* 

f'od witb <»riemoBies, and piactices, and ipysteries. 
bey dueled that all these iveie so m^ny coids to bind 
the people to their interest, to aUnre tbem by ^tbur 
iiasm, aad render them necessary to dieir idle 9saA 
hixurious existence, whioh is iipt spen|; ^tfaoiit iWPb 
money extracted iirom the bvd^arpiags of the peo» 

i p^ and much of that respect wbich is 1^ tiie bon^^Dga 

\ of slaves to spiritual tyrants. 

You cannot any longer, I persuade myself, Mad^r 
be made the dupe of these holy juggleip, who vnofOftQ 
on the Tuig^ by their marvellous ts^. You WH^ 
nowi>eeoi]vinced, that thethiiigs whieb } have tpiKJied 
upon as mysteries are profound absurditaes, of which 
their inventors can render po reaspiHible aceoiiiit 
ei^i^ to tbemselvesor to oth^s; You must nowr be 
certified j that the movements of the body, soumcb 
obserired in te Catholic worship, as ibr exaipple, ^e 
erossingx^ one's self, are o^^emonies p<^ectly indi^ 
§et&A\ik themselves, and in which a ]d|ei^, wise 9SfA 
good, sees neither reverence nor iprorsbip. Yoq^nMist 

be sensible now, that a reasonable PeityeilPBOl be 
"fiattered by suisfa puerile eeremonies, and ^lat tfae^om* 
nipotent Sovereign of all patnre is j^cefppt fromii^cll 
wants as the ministeifs of fd^[ion ap@^ to bWr fpf 
flJioiiff devotions su{^)ose in him ^q^e /eai^li^ ^^ 
wadt ; l^t this Being, ^etppt fhHQ piido und ;if(n%, 
is not IHie the princes of th^effftfa, whoezactetiqui^tt^i 
'f " I Irom tiieir subjects ; that He jEittaiche» odtl^ ^viiy ^pl 
// ( fiE^nour to vain ceremonies, di8^)f»oved of by feafK^Uf 
^dr^Hignant to common sense. You co^ck^ 
#eii, that, all, these i»9n^iksi^f^ iaifli^fp^c 



^ 






pri€it8 annoiinee SO jBHich mystefy^ mi ijl iHiiGhrtlM»> 
poepie me feaugiit to consider the filioleof religion as'' 
eensistiBg, are splhiag more Cbaa pueriUtie&» to whicii 
peo^ of uoderstaiidtiig oi]^t never to submit^r^^That 
Ifac^ aie ina^ ealeulated priBcipatty to akinn the 
minds of the weak, and keep in bondage tiiose iwha 
hare not the cour^ to throw off the yoke of priests*/ 



;.V'. 



" '" ' l "l' 




LETTER VII^^^,^^. 

Yoo now)aiow» Madam, what you ought b^ attach 
tioiiie n^tedes ami ceremonies of tluit religion you 
pippofl^ IP Ciedkate on* and odore in silenoe« 1 proceed 
BOW to examine soma rof those practices to w&ch the 
»i98|s teH lis the Dei^rntiaches Im comph^stmoe anid 
W^voiirs* In fpons^uence of the Mae^ maler, 
oM^dictcH^, iin(lif9Cpmp«^b|e i<W» which aU fev^aled 
n^f^m pv& ttsof t^ J^^tyi ^ priests have m-; 
v^mted^ Cfiewd'fif nnfeasonabte usages^ but which are 
cQiiiiNnudi^ liitb^ie erroneous notiont that tjiey have 
flamed oCi^Beiig^ God is always#^[anied.«a anran 
iiiU^ IMMiont aen$ib4e to presents* to flatteries, and 

morloi^ fluMMttan ; (^.rather as a feotastic and punc- 

dyoiis sovereign, who is very serioudy smgryvmmW. 
i^^^^^ t9 shew him that resp^t and obeisancet m]mhi 
the #fBlity of earthly potentates exacte fiom theit; 

t% ris^, ^^ these notioi» so little :a§^ree«»le t!9 the^ 
Deily, that the priests have conjured- up a Oroi^defr 
pfsatioes jBiQd sJ4»nge in?ef)tio&s, fidiiQidous* ineeqiire- 
ment. r ig4; ^ften^ ftniel 4* bu^ by which they ii^arah^iSf 
vpe sbaliivedt^ugood £M¥0Mr of Godii oc disaimi^ 
wm^iof the IMv^rsp^ Iiord* r^ith)is«»ne all flonsisiji! 
in 'l^rayeia, oflferin»9i. and issiwifieea, wi^iwdnidi they 
iMMy (M is mlkn^kmsd* Th^ jiwget ^mm G0^ 






// 






// 



// 




pei^&i>m&>ik6n zeal fb*- !nVfeitfe-behiggj'l<FM0hithyyt 

dife«v*sied'that^ iii labboring for^tfe^r Ga^tit thty^iS^^ 
h^ljied up^tvealth* fop therasdVe^; litWeyjftav^ i«6l:ietil« 
of tlife prints, s^Crificesv arid ofifei:^g«^f the.C3ods, ifi^ 
order to rarocure for the devout, the blessing* I Aejf* 
wbftfcf mith&vfmhy; i)f,< did thej^not cJtirieef and^piNk^ 
tiG0 Ais''libei!alityv=*'i.i=-'^ ^'^>'»'' >j-uiq -jilj jwiji ^viiiMCri 
' >¥cm ithiia^^ pi^j^Jtej 'BMailai how the pt\egtsi'iim^\ 
ifittde icoiiimoR ^iiisfe '^eitb^ A<6' Divittftyi ^^ Tb^: pdlteyi 
lii^cieobltged tfeetoi to ^rt«d«> ktid^-im^se ih^'^eitcAW 
of^b^ttiimaai kind;* 'fhei|'»tQlk bf!«WB^iteMbIfe'lfeftlg^^ 
al$Ji6f ikti*^MtdHS^€ed^«tf^iSai*ht><ji^lai«i^^M of 1f«liil^i 
ivtid giv^ ^^t jt'lb^y f y^ r^totdl>]toiit4tn '«g«lB>; '{^KeT 



§8 LBin'^iinTOii^icsgRiau 

vvte»tisi^eodsi who kflDWsrsdlitbn^v'^has.-no ii0edito>be| 
8olicke)d;Uhat kni(j^ii»rhol>iBitherctulAiQr:of fdl Ifcingsr 
iKiSitio need to bepi^esQiiitediwith^ an^'partof.bisJWQirik^ 
mai^hip!; .that a'God iwbo know8>:hi6^ i|bwer;jhas pq 
Dctid fof : i^ther ^cdtteries of submissions^: to remind kinii 
of' bis^^'graindeiirv bis pbw^ <>r liis ^^gfats ; ith£rt>»iGcMl 1/ 
who ivj Lord^ of all, has' no^ •neied:[^ofiK>fi'erings wbicfat 
be]ong to>hi0»el^; that a Grod who has no need of any 
thiogiiTom any created being, cannot be won by presents 
nor allured by the attpmpts of his creatures with the 
goods of this life, which they have leceiv^ from the 
Divine bounty. "^ j^^^vf .i « i -r t *^ «#**« 
U One is compellea to nlafe^ tnese simple reflections, 
since all the religions in the world are filled with an infi- 
i^tetitai5ab^#of frivolous ^Mctit^^s^fc^whiGhbeniiate^^^^ 
iitrofv^i^ix 'render' thtetoSelVeS' saccijpbible^ to th^ D^fJ 
f^hepri^swfaoriare^failwdjs declared td'be^th^'ifihn^^ 
th^ 4'W>tirit6s-, the interpreters irf"Odd^*«wilH>^h«i^ 
dkim^i^ how they might ^itidist'lBbililf prcit^bj^tfefe' 
err^i^ m^nkind^ and th^>^«)e!S)6bt8 l^icbth^^f^'^fl^^ 
to the D^ity. Ichey ^m thenaftflnteiiebted t0f€tot^Tft»6' 
the Miie ideas of tk^peo^e^Undf^eV^tt-to redoii^lci^ikf' 



/ 



timms tcr msm^M. 



fi 



tbetr imstks^of^¥esp^i for hint >; Who wiMk kobi6%^ 
^fiffdy ^^ isi^¥el^ disposed t&te^^|ieftSed'ii^'v^ii 

^y^^fte ;of 'Which iiid^ minfet^ fiseic^iiif^ the>gi^t^ 

' It is evident that it is o^ ideas that hfiviffllj^ft ^r- ( 
fowted from the beings, aihd their Jiracftices that isltiri- / 
rmitid tis, from' SovfeteigBs and their '<iourtsi' that *the 
ptieits have f^itlnded all their practic^^ th^r'c^ei'^ttlQi- 
ui<6s,iand the rites which we behoW ciirreht^ dM i€- 
ligions '• established in the WOridW ■ fiach sdct? b^'^iife 
oii to make it^ God the greatest, the mbsf a^futy -the 
HKist despbticj the most interestedv'f^l^ jWsO^te^ std- 
quainted^simpfy wkh h^manopinibd^, atiiffftlll ^'dfe^ 
baisemeht,' have adopted witWdttt ^iiaminafkttjf,; tbe-ift- 
''Vefttions which 'thd miiiist^FS bfUbe*Ii)e*ty hav*^ SheWii 
them as the fittest to obtain his favour, and soft^ii his 
wratfyi' «Tbi^ pri^sts^fial not to adap^ thes€?^ 'j^^^ces, ' 
which they haffe invfented, ta thdr own system' of li^B- 
gi<Mi,''andpeisohal interest ; and the ignorant arid tti^r 
haVj^f ^lloWe^ 'them^lves to be blindly Ifed' bjfuhese 
guides, if abft ^ has famHisaized them with iMiigk i^a- 
«dh would Hever-othirahvise submit to, vatJ<l they gd 
through the rou^iBe-^^jf their <iutiesfrotn^gehepatf off' tb 
g«neratib0|' frmii^ father to soWy withotft >4[|^(^id^ihg 
-the imposture.' ■-* - - ^^^ ^ --k 4«^^^^#fH0i- :/ ^m 
i Wile infatit as ^oon as it em he made to tific^dtiifiil 
aBy>tbing, i^ tat^htmechamcaily to-jolri its littlfe l^fids 
i&'^»rayer.-'' Jliis tongue is forced to lisp a JfoiiBtiht 
whfeh' it does n©t comprehend, jMlcfeessed to a Gbd 
w^ich its understanding can never ^ Condeive. Iri ' thC 
aimft of its- nurse it is <;arried into the t6m|4i&, ' br 
cfetarch, where its eyes are habituated to 'C(^ltem|^^ 
spectacles, ceremonies, and pretended 'mysteii€^,ibf 
which even when it shall have arrived at bid a^, It WiW 
understand ^ more than it does -nowi*^ If 'any bfte 
asks the good BUfse why^he takes the child thither? ©r 






is^i_ 



M LSfTBAS TO EOOeNM. 

t^^jm^vn^ why tbey sei^ it toebun^l ^^Boilish^ 
apd they^ C{|n4i4ly t^ ^u^ l^ey cfo-ap ^nt ctf seyeieDce 
iofisacre^ thi|i}gp9, a^ ^to the child may beqooie «ariy 
acqiiAP^ w^h itaduti^to its Gods >ijjFettb$Sje du^ 
am i^i^tellipble to theoiselves, ^ouki y4>«i atleB^nt 
ta uod^ceivie them in xegafd to tbese^eiciuTing futiliti^ 
Jj ) / either they will not listen to you, or they will 0y 
mtf> 9 paissuoo, aod ask if you are going to sweep away 
jihebope of ^e helples^) and expose the wwld tO/if^ 
pine and murder, rebellioa and, crime. These ate 
their arguments. All pieti who streouously . fortify 
themselves in their good senses and reason against 
thiese Gon^nual oontmdictions^, appear ridiquloua or 
insensible to the wise Christia»« or they are reprobated 
by him as impious and blasphemous ;. for it is by diis 
foarse appellatioB he d^igoatea the laen who tread 
not the same routine with himself and who attaeh not 
their ^th |o notipas that wlli iiot bear the scf utiny of 
( reason"jr''-f^f)'i#^^»Mi^ j*IM«^4^rf#\ • •■ •; ;., ■ 
>^iWhat horror does it not fill the Christian-devotee 
wi^i if you tell him that his priest is unnecess^i 
What would be his surprise if you were to prove to hin», 
eveo^ OIK the principles of his religion^ that the prayers 

whi<^ in his in^cy he bad been taught to consoder as 

the moat agreeable to hi^God,^ are unwortby and unne- 

eessfflry to tim Deity I For if 6iod knows ail, what 
Beedifttii^re to lemind him <^ the waats of his enea^ 
fures whom he loves ? If God is a ^her full of leiv 
dcaroess aodr of goodness^ is it neceasai^ to ask hkn to 
'' give us day by day oiir daily bread ?" If this God^ 
so gpod, foresaw the wants of his children, and knew 
much belt^ than they whsA they could not.knowof 
themselves, whence is k he bids them importime him 
to grant them their requests ? If this God is ijBmu- 

tabi^ and wise, how can his creatures chan^ the 

fixed resQlutioQr of the Deity? If this God is just 

and goodj how can he injure us, or pdace us in a 

// '^ I situatiiMi |o require the use of that pn«^r which eo- 

tseats .^ Deity notio iMd mhUo tempkt^hommtui^ ; 



ii 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. ||Br 

t* You see by this. Madam, that there is but a very 
snmli. portion of what, the Christians pretend they 
understand and eonsider absolutely necessary,, that 
accords at all with what they tell us has been dic- 
tated ^ by God himself.. You see that the Lord's 
Prayer itself, contains many absurdities and ideas, 
U)tally contrary to those which every Christian ought 
to have of his God. If you ask a Christian why he 
repeats without ceasing this vain formula on which he \// 
never reflects, he can assign little other reason, than j 
that he was taught in his infancy to clasp bis bands, ( 
repeat words, the meaning of which his priest, not 
himself, is alone bound to understand. He may pro^ 
bably add, that he has ever been taught to consider 
this formula requisite, as it was the most sacred and 
the most proper to merit the favour of Heaven. 
. We should, without doubts form the same judgment 
of fnany other prayers which our teachers recommend 
to us daily. And if we believe them, man, to please 
Gody ought to pass a large portion of his existence in 
supplicating Heaven to pour down its blessings on. 
him. But if God is good, if he cherishes his crea« 

tures, if he knows their wants, it 6eems superfluous to 

pray to him.^ If God changes not, he has never pro- 
mised tO alter his secret decrees, or« if he has, he is 
yariable ID his fancies, like man : to what purpose are 
ail our petitions to him ? If God is offended with us, 

will he not reject prayers which insult his goodness, 
his justice, and infinite wisdom ? . 

What motives, then* have our priests to inculcate 
constantly the necessity of prayer? It iSj that they 
may thereby bold the minds of mankind in opinions 
more advantageous to themselves. They represent 
God to us iinder the traits of a monarch difficult of 

access, who cannot be easily pacified j but of whom 

they are the ministers, the favourites, and servants. I 
They become intercessors between this invisible- Sove- 
feign and his subjects of this nether worid. They 
sell to the ignorant,' their intercession with the AlU 

N 






jn 



Vv 



96 LETTERS TO EUGEraA. 

powerful ; they pray for the people, and by society, 
they are Fecompens^ with real advantages, with 
riches, faoBours, and ease. It is on the necessity ei 
prayear that our priests, our monks, and all religious 
men ^tablish thc^ir lazy existence y that they profess 
to win a place in heaven for their followers and pay* 

masters^ who, without this intercession, could neiti^ 

obtain the favour of God, nor avert his chastisements 

and the calamities the world is so often visited with; 
The prayers of the priests are regarded as an universal 
remedy for all evils. All the misfortunes of nations 
£^ laid before these spiritual guides, who find publid 
calamities a source of profit to themselves, as it is then 
they are amply paid for their supposed mediation be-^ 
tween the Deity and his suffering creatures. They 
never teach the people that these things spring from 
the course of nature and of laws they cannot controul. 
Oh! no. They make the world believe they are the 
judgments of an angry God. The evils for which 
they can find no remedy are pronounced marks of the 
divine wrath, they are supernatural, and the priests 
must be applied to. God, whom they call so good^ 
appeare sometimes obstinately deaf to their entreaties; 
Their common Parerit, so tender^ appears to derange 
the order of nature 4€( manifest his anger. The God 
who is so just, sometimes punishes men who cannot 
divine the cause of nis^en^ancle. Then, in their disi^ 
teess they flee to the priests, ^ho never fail to find mo- 
tives for the divine wrath. They tell them, that Ood 
has been offended ; that he has been neglected ; that 
he reiquires prayers, offerings, and sacrifices. They 
pretend, also, that he is appeased when his ministers 
supplicate him. Without this intercession, they an- 
Bounce to the vulgar, that their harvests will fail ; that 
their fields will be inundated ; that pestilence, famine, 
w^r, and contagion will visit the earth ; and when 
these misfortunes have arrived, they declare they may 
be removed by means of prayers. 

Should fear and terror, allow the poor to reason, 



\^J 



i£TT£RS TO EUGESiA. > ^07 

dteyrilFill^cQv^ that aU the evils thiej are afflict^ wiUi> 
jW Weil as ali^ good .thii^gs of thi^ life they have; j^- 
joye<i) are necessary couaequenc^ of the order of j)^ 
tUre* They will easily discover that a wise God, iii}-» 

wulajble in his conduqt, cannot alloW; any thing to 

iraHspii^ but according to those laws of which h^ is 
the author. They will discover that the comities, 
sterility; maladies, contagions, and even death itself 
areejQTects as necessary as happiness, ajbiindance, health, \ (Q 
and life itself. They will find that wars, wants, and ' ~ 
famine, are often the effects of human imprudence. 
We must submit to accidents which we cannot pre- 
vient, and we must bear up under those we could not 
^resee, with the same equanimity we would share 
good fortune that we had anticipated. Opinions that 
are unsophisticated and accordant to nature, stand in 
no need of such remedies as are not within our reach. 
If they are above that, in vain shall we strive by an 
age of prayer to surmount them. Experience proves 
tbait men profit by exertion, manual or mental, rather 
than by the illusions of priestcraft, and the adoration 
jcf incomprehensible mummeries. Would that all men 
vf&ee stripped of their religious prejudices, to see the 
question in this light ! ^u ^^ >?e 

Nor ought we to set value on the prayers of our 
priosts, from this consideration. We discover the in- 
efficacy of their prayers, and the futility of their prac- 
tices, from the little effect which all these have on 
their own conduct ; yet these are the men who put the 
human race on their knees. They compel their vota- 
riesralways to run down those who discredit their pre- 
t^^ioDS. They terrify the weak minded by frightful 
ideas which they hold out to them of the Deity. 
They forbid Aem to reason ; they make them deaf to 
reason, by conforming them to ordinances the most 
Qdt of the way, the most unreasonable, and the most 
oHitTadietory to the very principles on which they pre- 
tend to establish them. They change practices, aii>i- 
traryin themseto, or, at nu»t, iadiffereiit ai»d use- 



// ~. 



// 



i^&:^i^&i^.sSiS£:aii 



iess, into important duties, which thay pi%>cilikn the 
most essential of all duties, and the most sacred and 
moral. They know that man ceases to reason In |nt)ir* 
portion as he suffers, or is wretched. Hence, if he 
experiences real misfortunes, the priests make siipfe<tf 
him; if he is not unfortunate they menace him ; they 
create imaginary fears and troubles. . * • > *' 

In fine, Madam, when you wsh tb^fexatniiie with 
your own eyes, and not by the help of the pretensions 
set up and imposed on you by the ministers of religion, 
you will be compelled to acknowledge the things we 
have been considering, as useful to the priests alone, 
4hey are useless to the Deity, and to society they are 
often very obviously pernicious. Of what utility can 
it be in any family, to behold an excess of devotibn 
in the mother of that family. One would suppose 
it is not necessary for a lady to pass all her time in 
prayers, and in meditations, to the neglect of other 
duties. Much less is it the part of a Catholic moth^ 
to be closetted in mystic conversation with her priest. 
Will her husband, her children, and her friencfe, ap- 
plaud her who loses most of her time in prayers and 
meditations, and practices, which can tend only to 
render her sour, unhappy, and discontented ? Would 
i^ it not be much better, that a father, or a mother of a 
\ femily, should be occupied with what belonged to their 
! -domestic affairs, than to spend their time in masses, in 
\ hearing sermons, in meditating on mysterious and un- 
/ intelligible dogmas, or boasting dhout exercises of 
piety that tend to nothing ? ^ti'J*^*^ «rte^*«ii^i«t' 
Madam, do you not find, in the country you in- 
habit, a great many devotees who are sunk in debt, 
whose fortune is squandered away on priests, and whq 
are incapable of retrieving it ? Content to put their 
conscience to rights on religious matters, they neither 
, trouble themselves about the education of their chil- 
I dren nor the arrangement of their fortune, nor the dis- 
charge of their debts. Such men as would be thrown 
info despair did they omit one mass, will consent to 



^^-■1:-; "*" - - r-.-^----»£,''iJtt;-«E*i 



/ 

A 



,1 



Y/ 



/^'^■r.-*''-- 



IcttV^'tkek'ttpedit^Mrs'witHdut A^ their 

n^igence 'as much as by their prkici|i4e». * In ti-iltiif 
M^dam, on what side soev^er you smvty this religion) 
yoii viKM not I find it gOdd for much i^knt^ r^it r , ij ^ .iVst 
What shall we saiv blT^ those l(ltes wliiieh s»e so inui-i 
tiplfed amongst ns r Are they riot I evidenlly ' petpU 
ciotis to society ? Are not atldliys' the -same to tite 
Etertid? Am there' g^rffe days in heattn ? Can Gdd 
be honoured by the business of an jatdsan or a ifadr-^ 
chant; who j in place of earning ; breads ^on which his 
family may subsist,^ squanders away his time in tfcle 
church, land afterwards goestospeiid his. iiioriey in iM^ 
public-house? It is necessary, the priests wMl tell 
ycrtij for man to have repose. But will he not seek M«. 
pose when he is fatigued by the labour of* his hands^? 
Is it not more necessary that every man should iaboiir 
in his vocation than go to a temple tbchanto^i*a se*- 
^ / vice which benefits only the priests, or hear a serm^ 
of which he can understand nothing? 'Arid do not 
such as find great scruple in doing a necessary labour ' 
on Sunday, fi'equently sit down and get drank on thkt 
day, consuming in a few hours the receipts of their 
week's labour ? But it is for the interest of the cMgy 
that all other shops should l)e shut when t^eir's & 
open. We may thence easily discover why f«^te»^re 
necessary.; . . -u;-::-.; ,:: ; ; ■■ a. .^■'.■^^ a;' 

Is it not contrary to aH^^th^ riotiicms whi(ch we i^ 
form of the goodness arid wisdom of the Divinity^ 3that 
rdigion should form into duties both abstineoce and 
privations ; or that penitences and austerities,; should 
be the sole proofs of virtue ? Whatwoiildibe sfdd «f 
a lather who should place his children at a table loaded 
with the fi-uits of the earth,' but who; nevertheless^ 
should debar them fi:6m touching certain of ^theIll, 
though both nature and reason, dictated their nse/and 
nutriment ? Can we then suppose, that a Deity it^se 
and gbod, inteniicts to his creatures the enjoyaaent of 
innocent pleasures which may coritributetOirendeii life 
agreeable, or, that a God, who has^ created {fiitiiBgEr, 




>Sk«S^^3a' .¥'■•! 



':tkL3i^^^:^Ji:'^irJ^j^i£i^:-~^i^',y,^^ ■. .■■•■.'■■t .■»'-',.-: ■Ji-Z'-i.. 3^ ti^'j^ji-^Ai^i^^it^^ 



&ret «i^jeei» t^e hm^. desirable tfy th(s nourisbmepti 
^Mod tiealh of )mi»ih shcmXd neveitheMs forbid him t^ir 
tiae? The:Christian religion appears to doom its wo- 
taries to the punisbpaent of Tan^u^. The niost part 
cC the «upers1aliofi9 in the world bsare made of God a 
G^rieious and jealous sov^ieign^ ivhp amusesf Jba«&* 
seir by tempting the passions and exciting the desires 
6f 'Ids slaves, without permitting them the gratification 
of die one, or the enjoyment of the other. We see 
andong all sects the portraiture of a chagrined Deity, 
tbe enemy of innocent ^nusenoents, dmd offended at 
iHae Mrell tieing of bis creatures. We see in all coun- 
tries Bfiany men so foolish as to imagine they will me- 
rit heaven by fighting against their nature, refusing 1^ 
^^ ] the goods of ftwrtune, and tormenting themselves un- ' ^ 
'^ dar an idea that they wiH thereby rendw themselves 
i^ieeable to God. Sspeoiajjy do they believe that 
ftb^ will by these means disarm the fiiry of God, pre- 
srent the infiiction of bis chastisements, if they sacri- 
fice to %i;he -whims of priests, the enjoy meo^ of those 

|ileasuies which are the Batumi inheritance of the hu- 

liianrace. ;" ^ -r^j^df ^yorF^af .i; . --' 

\ We find these atrocious, fanatical, and sen^i^ess 
^bas in liie Christian religion, which supposes its Go<il 
as <»iiel to «xact sufiTerings from men, as death from 
his only Son. If a God, exempt from all sin, is him- 
adf also the sufferer for the sins of all, which is the 
dobtriiie of those who maintain universal redemption, 
St is not surprising to see tnen that ale sinners making 
It a duty k) assemUe in large meetings, and ipvent the 
Intos of rendering themseiv^ misemble.- 
1- These^loomy notions have banished men to the 
4e8^. They have fanatically renounced society and 
Jfae :|>l^ures of iiife, to be buried alive, believing 
Miey avoidd merit heaven if tb^ afflicted themselves 
^i^th stripes, asd p^sed then- esdstence in muminical U 
cefemmmis, as injurious to their hesdth as iisdess to ) j 
^ter domitiy . And these are .die ialse ideas by which 
Sk» Mvkdtjf is tmadbrmod iiilo a ^^^sint as btubarous 



■fiM^-. 



.c^^i- \3:<^W<-'?'!!P5?wrs^i».i?f;; 7 ■' 



\ 



LETEEltS: TO EUGCaCU. Vjj^ 

as. insensible, who, agreeable to pfiestcruft ha^ pre- 
scribed, how both men and women might live in ennoi^ 
penitence, sorrow, and tears; for the perfection of 
monastic institutions consists in the ingenious art of 
seil|.ioiture. But sacerdotal pride finck its accoiint iq 
these atisterities. Rigid monks gloiy in barbtiroua 
rules j the observance of which attracts the respect cf 
the Credulous, who imagine that men who tonnent 
themselves, are indeed, the ^vourites of heaven. Btil 
these monks, who follow those aqstere rules, are fyxm* 
tics, who sacrifice tliemselves to the pride of diedlergy 
who live in luxury, atid in wealth, dthou^iheif 
dup^, imbecile brethren have been knoi4ri] to tiiake it 
a point of honour to die of femine. 

How often, Madam, has your attention not been 
roused when you recalled to mind the fate of the jxkit 
religious men of the desert, whom an. unnecessaory 
vow has condemned, as it were voluntarily, to a life 
as rigorous as if spent in a jH'isoh ! Seduced by th0 
enthusiasm of youth, or forced by the ord«?sc* in- 
human parents, they l^ave been obliged to cany to the 
tomb the chains of their captivity* They have beed 
obliged to submit without appeal to a stem sup^or; 
who finds no consolation in the dislchai^e of his slaVisli 
task, but in making his einpire more hard to those b^^ 
neath him. Ydu ^ve seen unfortunate young ladies 
obliged to renounce their rank in society^ the innocent 
pleasures of youth, the joys of their sex, to grodn f^* 
ever under a r^orous despotism to! which indiset^i 
vows had bound themi. All monasteries pvesedt io ii§ 
m odious groj^p of ianatioB, who have separated d^ttl^ 
selves from society to pass the reniainder of the^r lived 
in unhappiness. The society of theto d6v<^6^ is^^ 
culated solely to render their liv^s mutually mc#6tin^ 
suppprtahle. But it seemis strange that mensh^ld 
expeqt to merit heaven by suffering the tormiehtdftf 
hell oq earth ; yet so it is, and reason has too often 
proved iiisufiicienttocG^vincetbemof thecoiilikry^: 
-if this religion does not eaill all Christians tb tA^se 





// /-' Z'' 



1 



3 






-V. 



SiiHi-lf-ii&f:'' 



; *x.\.^.-;^sS^^itA;£i^^"^i-,^^.\ ■ 



rlt«\ 



JLETTERS TO EfCENIA/ 



// 
// 



sublime perfections, it nevertheless enjoins on all its 
v<M;ariea,. suffering, and mortifying of the body. The 
diurch prescribes privations to all her children, and 
I j abstinenceespecially to the young; these thinpjhey 
practise amongst us as duties ; and the devotees ima- 
gine they render themselves very agreeable to^e Divi- 
nity when they have scrupulously fulfilled those minute 
and puerile practices, by which they tell us that the 
pdl^sts have proof whether their patience and obedience 
be siicha&arie dictated by, and acceptable to Heaven, j-: 
\; What a ridiculous idea is it, for example, to make of 
the Deity, a trio of persons ; to teach the faithful that 
this Deity takes notice of what kinds of food his peo- 
ple eat ; that he is displeased if they eat beef or mut- 
ton; but that he is delighted if they eal: beans and 
#sh ? In good sooth. Madam, our priests, who some- 
times give us very Jofty ideas of God, please them- 
selves but too often with vilely misrepresenting' the 
Sovereign of the universe. - 

. The life of a good Christian, or of a devotee, i» 
crowded with a host of useless practices, which would 
be, at least, pardonable if they procured any good for 
^i^ty. But it is not for that purpose that our priest» 
f) / make so much to do about them ; they only wish to \I 
* " have submissive slaves, suflSciently blind to respect 
their caprices, as the orders of a wise Grod ; sufficient- 
ly stupid to regard all their practices as divine duties, 
and they who scrupulously observe them as the real 
favourites of the Omnipotent. What good can; there 
result to the world from the abstinence of meats, so 
much enjoined on some Christians, especially when 
other. Christians judge.this injunction, a very ridicu- 
lous law, and contrary to reason and the order, of things 
^t^blished in nature ? It. is not difficult to perceive 
amongst us, tiiatthisinjunction, openly>iblatedby the 
TJqh, is an oppression ou; the poor, iirho are compelled 
to pay dearly for an indifferent, often an unwholesome 
dietj, llii^tipjoies rather than repairs the natural strength 
o^tbeir' constitutions. Besides, do not the priests sell 



.; , 



/ 



iBrrERi; to eucchia. 



103 



// 



nw pismiisdiGn to the ridi, to tratn^esft sn iiijuiictioti 
the poor must not violate with impunity? In fine, 
they «eem to have myitipiied our practices, oitr duties, 
and our tortures, to have the advantage of nraltiplying 
out fkults, md thus strip us of a kuge portion of tiie 
hanniesfi delights whidi nature bids us fniiocently 
eiijov. 

The more we «camine religion, the m^^ reason 
shall we have to be convinced that it is beneficial to 
the prieHs alone^ Every part of this religion con- 
spires to render us submissive to the iantaues of our 
spiritual guides, to labour for Uieir grandeur, to con- , 
tribute to their riches. They appoint us to perform 
disadvantageous duties ; they prescribe impossible per** 
Sections purposely that we may transgress; they have 
thereby engendered in piotw minds, scruples and diffi- 
imlties whkh they oondesoending^ appease fcurmon^. 
A devotee is <^liged to observe wimout ceasin^^ tbe 
useiesfs and frivoioiis rules of his priest, and e^ea dien 
he is subject to ooutiiiuai reproaches ; he is perpetud- 
ly in want of his priest to expiate his pretended faults 
^iritb which he chai^^ himself, and die omisston of 
^faties that he reganis ei the most important acts If his 
Hfe, but whidk are rirefy such as interest soeteli^ or 
benefit it by their peribrmance. By a train of reS^ous 
prejudices with whi(^ ^he priests infect the mind of 
their weak devotees, these bdieve themsdves infinltdy 
more <:ulpable when they have omitted some useless 
praccie^, than if tliey had committed some great injus- 
(tee or atrocious sin against humanity. It is oomoioa- 
iy sufficient for ttie devotees to be on gocxl terms with 
Cbd^ whether &ey be consistent in their actions with 
man, or ifi ^e practice of those duties they om^ 
to soci^t^. But Ibey who have set up a Divinity of 
^eir own makings can, of course, bakmce their co0- 
tcienee to the attributes of the^ God, though tiiey 
may find them somewhat stubborn in bendii^ to 
the^ulciB of human c^onduct estc^idied pdo^g BMn by 



{f/ 



l> 



// 



-Wilt 






■ t" - - -.Vj. »r-<'x - 



M4 LETTERS TO 'mJWfiA. 

the experience Mpfuipges ^wj. iheici mJU^^* , ^epieh- 



.^•^i 



jiBesides, Madam, what real ^vantage does society 
derive from repeated prayers, abstinences, privations, 
seclusioDSj meditations, and austerities, to which reli- 
gion attaches so much value? Do all the mysterious 
practices of the priests produce any real good ?,/ Are 
they capable of calming the passions, of correcting 
vices, and of giving virtue to those who most scrupu- 
lously observe them ? Do we not daily see persons 
who believe themselves damned if they forget a mass, 
if they eat a fowl on Friday, if they neglect a con- 
fessioni though they are guilty at the same tim^ of 
/ grejitidi reliction to society ? Do they not bold the 
. \ conduct of those very unjust, and very cruel, who 
^j ■' happen to have the jmisfortune of ndt thinking arid 
^y,/( doingas they think and. act? These practices, otit 
,/ ] of lyhich a great number of men haye creaited essehtial 
duties, but too commonly absorb ^1 moral duties^ 
fcMTiif the devotees are ovjer religious, it is rare to find 
them virtuously nice. Content with doing what relil- 
gion requires, they trouble themselves very little, about 
oth©^ matters* They believe themselves the favoured 
of Goidi and that it is a proof of, this if they afe de4 
tested by men, whose good opinion , they i&re seldom 
anxious to. deserve. The whole life of a devotee is 
spent ; in fulfilling with . Scrupulous exactitude duties 
indifferent to God, unnecessary to himself and useless 
1 toothers. He fancies he is virtuous; when he has per* 
fprmed the rites which biis religion prescribes ; when 
he has meditated on mysteries of which he undei^tand^ 
ADfching ; when he has struggled with sadness to do 
things in which a man of sense can perceive no ad- 
vantage ; in fine, when he has endeavoured to pracr 
tise as much as in him lies, the Evangelical, or Ghria- 
tiab virtues, in which bethinks all morality essentially 
^consist&itjff - 11- ; li-miiihm ^ ft^^^fhl^'^WViW^'^^mfR^^H^ 
V ? J[ shall proceed in my next letter to examine these 



LETTERS TO Etl^ENiA. t05 

virtues, an.d.to prove to you that they are contrary to 
the ideas we ought to form of (jlod, useless to our- 
selves and often dangerous to others. In the mean 
timer?'-' 'H'^ -^i' 'T"' ^v-*^ uu,^ii/ ni f v ' 

^%; »' ' f. * ^"Tv 4 • fT >% * «"*» etc. , 

■jjiw,y»»X,.. ^- f-'^---^ J.frii-M-'nrc 

^to)i]3> . .,^ii; Letter viii. ^^.r^ ^,]^m 

*I-p^ We believe the priests, we shall be persuaded, 
(bat the Christian religion, by the beauty of its morals, 
excels philosophy and all the other religious systems 
in the world. According to them, the uniassisted rea- 
son of the human mind could never have conceived 
sounder doctrines of morality, more heroical virtues, 
or precepts more beneficial to society. But this is not 
all; the virtues known or practised among the heathens \ ^ 
^re considered zs false virtues, far from deserving our 
esteem, and the favour of the Almighty, they are en- 
titled to nothing but contempt, and„ indeed, 2iTe fla- 
grant tins in the sight of God. In short, the qy sfs 
labour to convince us, that the Christian e^S^are 
purely divine, and the lessons inculcatedso sublime, that 
they could proceed from nothing less than the Deity. 
M If, indeed, we call that Divine which men can nei- 
ther conceive nor perform ; if by divine virtues we are 
to understand virtues to which the mind of man dMinot 
possibly attach the least idea of utility ; if by divine 
perfections are meant those qualities which are not only 
foreign to the nature of man, but which are irreconcileably 
repugnant to it — ^then, iiideed, we shall be compelled to 
acknowledge that the morals of Christianity are divine, 
at leiast we shall be assured that they have nbthing in 
common with that system of morality which arises out 
of the nature and relations of men, but on the con- 
trary, that they, in many instances, confound: the best 
conceptions we are able to form of virtue, mm^u 






ff 



\ 



/ 



/ 



1Ai8 



, Guktcid by the ligM of r^ai^^, w^ compreh^d un^ 
tlie n^me of virtues, t|iQ9e t^itii^l disppsitioQ^ of the 
heart wh^h tend to the happiuess, and the realadvaa^ 
tage of those with whom we associate, and by the ^^ 
ercise of which our fellow-creatures are induced to feel 
a reciprocal interest in'our welfare. Under the Chris- 
tian system the name of virtues is bestowed upon dis- 
positions which it is impossible to possess without su- 
pernatural grace, and which, when possessed, are use- 
less if not injurious, both to ourselves and others. 
The morality of Christians is, in good truth, the 
morality of another world. Like the. philosopher of 
antiquity, they keep their eyes -fixed upon the slai^i 
till they &U into a well, unperceiv^,. 9k their foet. ]^ 
The only €ihject whicfai their acbeiOf^ of 0)Qf«I» yr<^ 
poses to itself is, to disguat tbeii mind^ wilUi th^ttuog^ 
of this world, in order that they ntay plaee their e«Mce^ 
affections upon things above» of which they bavfrnd^ 
knowledge whatever ; their happtaess here below, forms 
no part of their consideration ; this life. Id the view of 
a CbristiaB, is nothii^ but a pilgrimage, leadisg to a&- 
other existence, infinitelv moi« ialeresting to bia 
b6p|ft^ because infinitely beyond tba reach of bis> w^ 
dersoMl^. Besides, before we can d«ser?« to be- 
bappy in tbe world which we ^ not; know,, we are io'- 
formed that we must be miserable in the world wbiek 
we do know ; and, above all things, in order IKH secure 
to oursehres happiness hereafter, it is espeeia% oeee^n 
sar| tRat we altogether resign the iMte of ow Qwq le^r 
SOD, that is to say, we must seal up our eyes in Utier 
darkness, and surrender ourselves to the g^dsRCe of 
o^r priests. These are tbe principles opoft whic^ t^, 
i^ric of Christian morals is evidently constmeted, 
. Let us now proceed. Madam, to a more 4et«kl«4 
examination of the virtues lipoa wbieb the Chns^an 
religion is built — these virtues, ace £tangelicftl» ^^» if 
destitute of them, we are assured that, it is in vain fcir 
us to seek tbe &vour of the Beity^ ^^m^^- .- / 

Of these virtues the fijBt is Mhitm, ksxm^^^ ^ 

f 



TO 



m 



the dactri&e of the dMirdi, fMt is the g^ of €k^ a 
sttperkiatui^ TKtue^ by means of which weare inspiied 
with a fipili belief in GSod^ aiid m all that he has rouck^ 
safed to- reveal to man» aldsough oar reason is utter^ 
unable to. eQDQ|»eheiid it. Faith is, : sa^ the ehurchy 
founded upon the word€>f God» wfoocan neither dcM 
oeive qor he deceived. Thus fd;th supposes, that God 
baa sfKikeQ to i]ianr**4)ut whsd evidence have; wb (bat 
Go^ los spoken to maoB The Hdly^ Scriptutesj 
Who is it that assures us the Holjr Scsiptures coiitai» 
thfr wordof GiodB kiathe church. Bui vriv> iai^ 
^ that assures us the diusch canaoi aod will aot dee^vet 
US ^ The Holy Scri^tiire& Thtn the Scriptures bear 
witnesa te the iniaiiibihty of the danrcii-<-atid the 
ehuichi,; in return, testifies the truth of the ^mptureaj 
Ffon this stateineiit of the case^ yoii imist perceive^ 
that lakh is aothing nK)«e dma an implicit belief in the 
pneats whose assurances we adopt as the fouiidation' 
0$ opinions in themselves iBcompreheBsil;)e. It i»j 
true, that as a confirmation of the truth of Scripture,' 
we are referred to* miTacles~>*but it is these identical 
Sdriptures which report to na and testiilry those verj^ 
rairacies. 0€ the dosbluite ivnpoeBibihty of any #iira* 
cks, 1 flatter mya^ that 1 have aheadjr convinced 
yon^ -■'„■'- 
\ Bemdes, I cannot but think. Madam, diat you musir 
) he, by idiia time, tfaoroughliy salisfiisd how afistirdi it is 
to say that- the uodeotanding is convinced oi amy 
thiiig::vi^ieb k does not oottiprehend; the insight I 
httve §fi¥eiK you intOi felie: boioks Which the Chftstians^: 
catt aaersd^ must halve left opon your inind ai fiim pcb^ 
suasion,, that tbey^ neier >eooid havo |Mt>ceedad fib«ei 
a wisev-agaodv aa omoiseiemi, a just, and ^^x)W€9i5Il 
GaiL / 1^ then, we eimiBOt yieidi tbem a iea£ bdief^ 
wJMi we cali .faitb can b e ndtfaiof asoro thm ^blind^ 
saMl>iimtio«al adfaemirt toil syiste^^^vised'typri^^ 
'I wfaMe'yBgl^'s^isfinaai has matedlenrCTureiut fi oife' 
^ ^ the eariiaat mtancy to mi our lander minda wuh pi^ 
pcaoeSBJopa m tiwiour og thcw ctoctrines; inteicsted, 



.4 




1^ 



ff 



x^ 



106 LETTERS TO EU€£NIA; 

however," as they are in the opinions' which they endejt- 
TOiar to force upon us as truths, isiit possible; for these 
priests to beiieve them themsefves? Unquestionably 
not-^the thing is out of nature. They are men like 
ourselves, furnished with the same faculties, and nei-^ 
ther they nor we* can be convinced of any; thing whicfa 
^ Mes iBqually beyond the scope of us alf. If they pos- 
' ' sessed an additional sen6e, we should perhaps *a]low: / // 



'^ ' that they'lnTghrcompfefiefid what/ is unintell^igibliB to 
US ; but as We clearly see that they have no intellectual 



// 



privileges abote the rest -of i the speciies, ^weare/.-comHi 
pelkd to conclude; thattheir laitb, iikentbeifaithi ol6 
others, is; a blind; acquiesc«ice^- in opiriidns' derived^ 
without examiriation, from their predecessors ; and 
that they must be hypocrites when they pretend to 6e- 
lievem doctrines of the.truth- ofwhich they-cannot be 
convinced, since these doctrines have been shewn to 
be destitute ofiihat degree of evidence which is neces- 
sary to inipiress the mind with a feeling of their proba- 
j bility, inuch less of certamlyiTiawtfiti^j® lis^^li^^l^i^i:? 
It wiiJ be said that feith, or the iaculty of believing 
things incredible, is th& gift of God, and can only 
be kaown to thoise upon whom God has bestowed the < 
favour. My answer isiithat; if that be the c£as^, we 
have no alternative but to wait till the grace of God 
shall be shed upon u» — andthatin the oaean time we 
may be allowed to doubt whether credulity, stupidity, 
and the perversion ef reason caaproce^, las tfavours, 
firbm a ratioiial: Dei^ who >hasf endowed us with, the 
,' power of tkinldng^^t^f God he ixifinitely wisey> how cao 
\ fojly and imbecihty be pleasin^ito him?; If there were 
j s^bi si thing as sfaith, phk^eeding from gxace^ i it ivould 
I be the. privilege of seeing tbingsr otherwise than' as God 
\ hasjmade them; and if ;^at>were so, it follows, that 
' the ; "Whole creation would; ; i>e a merei ch^atL ' > N^ man 
{^ can believfe thie Bible; to^ be the rproducticwi '■. of (Sod 
without idoing yiolience to every corisisitent/notiGnthat \ 
he is able toiform oft Hetty); ItiotOian «an beliekrethat; | 
i oHeGodid threeiGod^^ taid that those, three (Gods are 



^ 






// 



LETTERS TO EUGEIOA. iWP 

< <Hie <ai0idv i^itboutr r^ioimci Dg all pretension to coqel- 
^^nqu- sense^^ and pei^^ajding himself that there is. no 
such thing as certainty in mathematics ! . w#M« 

fjii.^hus, Madam j we are bound to suspect that what 
;tb,e church caUs a gift from above, a supernatural grace, ( ,) 
is, in fact, a perfect WiDdfieas,. an:]inraitional credulity, W '/ '^ 
a brutish submission, a vague uncertainty, .a stupid 
ignorance, by which we are kd to. acquiesce, without 
investigation, in every tlogma that our priests think fit 
to> irqpose upon us^— by which we are Jed to adopt, 
without Jknowing why, the pretended opinions of men 
jwhocan have no better means of arriving at the truth 
th^( rj^e have. In short, we are authorized in sus- 
pecting; that no motive but that, of blinding, us, in 
Older more effectually to deceive us,, can actuate those 
men who are eternally preaching to us about a virtue 
whichi .if it could exist, .would throw into utter cop- 
fusion the simplest and clearest pejfpeptions pfjiyi»e 

4>un0k^n mind.fe[ fff^JT wipti i^'rofrHimmft^n) ^ sshniJ 
f»ij 'This isuppositipn is amply, .con^rmed by th^ cpisduc^ 

of our- ecclesiastics— forgetting Wihat tliey Wye.tpld 

us, that \^;iF9^ is the gratuitoi^s ipresent of; ,Go4»/ ;l?e- 

stowed j or , withheld at : his ; sover^igii ; pleasure,; f ,they 

nevertheless, indulge their w^ii^th agdijost ^all; thoseiie\fho 

have iipt, received tlie gift of faith ;, jthey Jceep up pjie 

incessant anathema against all uubelievers, and nothi,ng 

Jess than absolute extermination of heresy; can appear 

]tbeir,anger wfherever they have the strength to accqiii- 

plish jt. ; So that heretics ^id unbelievers iarena^e 

accountable for the grace of God, although thjsy neypr 

received it ; Uiey are punished in this world for tbqse 

advantages i^hich God has not been pleased to extejid 

tPi them in, their journey to the next. Inthfeestiina- 

jtioja , of , pTjiests and devotees, the want ;of faith is 

the. ,iii08t; unpardonable' of all offencesTr-it is pre- 

ci^ely: diat offence which, in the cruelty : of dieir^b- 

surd( injustice, they visit with the last rigours of 

punish^ient, for yo^- cannot be ignorant. Madam, that 

JUfialL countries where the clergy possess sufficient 



\ 



110 USTTBRS TO BUOEdf A. 

Myeace) ^ flam^ of pHegtly Charity are lighted cfp 
to consume all those who aredefident in the prescribed 
allowance of faith. 'i*^^?i**^*^*»**5^**M*^**^^***'j^^***^^^^^ 

When we enquire t^ titiotive for their unjttti and 
deitseless preceedttigs, Pre are told that faith is the nk»t 
oeoessary of all things, Uiat £uth is of the most essen^ 
tial service to morals, that without ^th a man is a 
dimgerous and wid^ed wretch, a pest to society. Aiid, 
y \ after all, is it our own <^K»oe to havie feith ? Can We 
M I helieve just what we please ? Boes it depend upon 
ourselves not to think a proposition absurd wbfch OKr 
understanding shews us to he absurd ? How oould 
we avoid receiving, in our infeticy, whatever rmpres- 
sions and opinions our teacfa^^ and relations chose to 
Impkiit in us ? And where is the man who <»n boast 
/ Hiat he has faith — that he is fully convinced of myste- 
ries which he cannot oonceive) and wonders which he 
«annot comprehend ? -^m^r-yim&^mmt^f^'^mi^MBmm' 

Under these circumstances how can faith be set^<g#> 

able to morals ? If no one taa have ^th but epon the 

assurance of another, and consequentiy <»nnot en'EeitaiVi 

( i^feal <KnivictioB, whs^beeomcB of the aeeial virtues^ 

) Admitting that fakh wev« possibte, whil connection Cdn 

( esmt be!twe«i seeh oceutt speeula^ions and "^e mant*- 

I fest duties of mankind^ duties which are pnlpfiMe to 

/ every one who, in ^e leasA^ consults his reason, his 

] interest or the weliWe of ^ society to which he be- 

rp / tongs. Before I can be satisfied of the adva^ages •of 

^^ i justice, temperance, and hienevolence, musA I first be- 

\^ ) lieve in the Trinity, the incarnation, the Eucharist, and 

^^ ati the ikbles of the OM Testennent ? If I beheve in 
\ all ^ atrocious murders attributed by the B4l»le, to 
/ that God whom 1 am bound to consider as the foun* 
l tainef jus^ce, wisdom, and goodness, is 4t not lilc^y 
I that I shall feel encouraged to the comifiiflsion of 
/ crimes when I €nd them sanctioned by such en exany- 
pie? Although unable to discover the value of ad 
many mysteries which I cannot wnderstand, <)r ef so 
'many fsaciM and cumbersome ceremonies presctibed 



^ 



LETTERS to E0GfeWii.^ 



11 r 



Irf ^^upcb. Bits I, 0n that aceount, to be denouncecJ 

as a moi^ dsangerous citizen than those who persecute, 

tcmnefit^ muidestrdy every one of their fellow-creatures 
who does not think and act at their dictation ? The 
evidieBf resalt of all these considerations, must be, tlM 
he who has a livdy faith, and a blind zeal for opinions 
eoBtra^ctCM'y to common sense, is more irrational, and ' 
consequently more wicked than the man whose mind 
is untainted by such detestable doctrines ; for when 
OBce the priests have gained their fatal ascendancy over 
his mind, and have persuaded him that, by commit- 
ting all sorts of enormities, he is doing the work of 
the Lord, there can be no doubt that he will make 
greater havoc in the happiness of the world, than the 
man whose reason tells him that such excesses cannot 
be acceptable in the sight of God. v- 

The advocates of the church will here interrupt itte*; 
by alleging that if divested of those sentiments which 
religion inspires, mien would no longer live under fc 
influeneeof motives strong enough to induce an ab- 
stinence from vice, or to urge them on in the career 
of virtue wYseti obstructed by painful sacrifices, in a 
word, it will be affittned that unless men are made to 

feel a conviction of rewards and punishments hereafter, 
the5r afe released from every motive to fulfil their du- 
ties to each other in the present life. 

You are doubtless, Madam, quite sensible of the 
filfility of such pretences, put forth by priests, who, 
i»*erder to render themselves more necessary, are inde- 
fii(%able in endeavouring to persuade us that their 
system is indispensable to the maintenance of social 
oi^ei*. To aniiihilate their sophistries it is sufficient to 
reflect Upon the nature of man, his true interests, and 
the end for which society is formed. Man is a feeble 
being, whe^necessities render him constantly depen- 
dent upon the support of others, whether it be for the 
preservation or the pleasure of his existence ; he hasno 
means of interesting others in his welfare except by 
bis manner of conducting himself towards them ; that 



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112 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

conduct which renders him ^n object of. afiectioB id 
others is called virtue— whatever is pernicious U>so- 
i) \ ciety is called crime — and where the; consequences. are 
''' injurious only to the, individual himself, it is called 
vice. Thus all men must immediately perceive that 
they consult their own happiness by advancing that of 
others — that vices however cautiously disguised from 
public observation are, nevertheless, fraught with ruin 
to those who practice them — and that crimes are sure 
to render their perpetrators odious or contemptible in 
the eyes of their associates. In short, education, pub- 
lic opiDioD, and the laws point out to us. our mutual-du- 
ties much more clearly than the chimeras of an ineom- 
, prehensible rehgion. ;:*.*--: j • :> t 

j The idea of self-preservation being implanted in ^s 
by nature, we require no priest to suggest it to us;*ex- 
perience informs us b;^ what means we best consult our 
own safety; instructed by her faithful and salutary 
admonitions we avoid those excesses which might be 
injurious ; we debar ourselves those gratifications which, 
in their consequences, might render us unhappy ; we 
submit to momentary privations in orderto secure those 
lasting advantages which we should have forfeited by 
unreasonable indulgence. 

Here, Madam, you have a short but perfect sum- 
mary of all morals, derived, as they must be, from 
the nature of man, the uniform experience, and the \ 
universal reason of mankind. These precepts are 
compulsory upon our minds, for they shew ua that 
the consequences of our conduct flow firom. our actions 
with as natural and inevitable a certainty as the return 
of a stone to the earth after the impetus is exhausted 
which detained it in the air. It is natural and inevita- 
.^■^ j ble that the man who employs himself in doing good 
.^^)^i must be preferred to the man who does mischief. 
£yery thinking being must be penetrated with the 
truth of this incontrovertible maxim, and all the pon- 
derous volumes of theology that ever were composed can 
0dd nothing to the force of his conviction; evciy 



I 



(I 



LETTERS TO EUGlSNIA. ^W3 

t)nnking being will, therefore, avoid a conduct calcu- \ 
lated ta injure either himself or others ; he will feel / 
himself under the necessity of doing good to others, as ) / 
V j the only method of obtaining solid happiness for him- 
self, and of conciliating to himself those sentiments on 
the .'part of others, without which society would be 
worse than solitude. [ ^ 

! Can any thing be more obvious, Madam, t^an that \ 
I faith has no concern in the support of morality ? You / 
\ see how widely separated are these aerial notions from ) 
j the practical obligations arising out of the nature of 
things. In fact, the more mysterious and incompre- 
hensible are the dogmas of the church, the more likely 
are they to draw us aside from the plain dictates of 

Nature and the straight-forward directions of Reason, 
whose voice is incapable of misleading us. A candid 
[ survey of the causes which produce an infinity of evils 
\ that dffiict society, will quickly point out the specuia- 
^ I itive tenets of theology as their most fruitful source, i ^f 
'j The intoxication of enthusiasm and the phrenzy of L ^, ^z 
' fanaticism concur in overpowering reason, and by ren- I i^ 
\ dering n^en blind and unreflecting, convert them into 
I enemies both of themselves and the rest of the worid. 
It is impossible for the worshippers of a tyrannical, 

partial, and cruel God, to practice the duties of justice 

and philanthropy. As soon as the priests have suc- 
ceeded in stifling within us the commands of Reason, 
they have already converted us into slaves, in whom 
they can kindle whatever passions it may please them 
to 'inspire US' with. mi^MWWfmm ■ "- 

*. Their interest, indeed, requires that we should be ) 
slaves. They exact fi*om us the surrender of our rea^ \ j/7 
] son, because our reason contradicts their impostures, j 
' ( and wouH ruin their plans of aggrandizement. Faith / V^ 
' is the instrument by which they enslave us, and make | 
us subservient to their own ambition. Hence arises i 
their zeal for the propagation of the faith ; hence arises ( 
their implacable hostility to science^ and to all those 
who refuse submission to their yoke; hence arises 



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IM LETTERS TO £UGENIA.i 

their incessant endeavour to establish the dominion of / ^ 
Faith (that i» Mto say, their own dominioni), even hy 
ire and sword, the only ar^^ments they condescend 
to employ, mfqipm mio« ;itmi*is#»<?>^^<>it«»irj»ant' vwer^ifj?' 
i r It must be confessed that society derives but little ad- 
vantage from this supernatural faith which the church 
has exalted into the first of virtues. As it r^ards God, 
it is perfectly useless to him, since if he wishes man- 
kind to be convinced it is sufficient that He wills them 
tabe so. It is utterly unworthy of the supreme wis- 
dom of God, who cannot exhibit himself to mortals id 
a manner contradictory to the reason with which he 
has endowed them. It is unworthy of the divine jusc 
tice, which cannot require from mankind to be coo«- 
vineed of that which they cannot understand. It de- 
nies the very existence of God himself, by inculcating 
\ a belief totally subversive of the only rational idea we 
! are able to form of the Divinity. '* ^.rv* i-vif|i.t\».;>it 
( . >' As it regards morality, faith is also useless. Faith 
] call add nothing to the inherent sanctity of mosals, no- 
{ thing to their importance. Faith is not c»ily useless, 
] but injurious to society, since, under the plea of its pre- 
'^ ( tended necessity, the world is frequently disfigured by 
^ "" j war and bloodshed. In short, faith is self-contradic- 
^ ( tory — since, by it, we are required to beheve in things 
I inconsistent with each other, and even incompatible 
I with the principles laid down in the books which we 
\ have already investigated, and which contain what weare 
I ccHnmanded to believe. %*H^f -W^MiM I ¥fu^tih m^' 'lrij§#l*»tl tM 
I To whom then is faith found to be advantageous ? 
) To a few men only, who, availing themselves of its in- 
] fluence to degrade the human mind, contrive to render 
I the labour of the whole world tributary to their own 
luxury, splendour, and power. Are the nations of 
the earth any happier for their faith, or their l^ind re- 
liance on priests ? Certainly not. Look round the 
universe and confess, with me, that in every coun- 
try where the lofty church overshadows and darkens 
tfaeiand, there neither morality nor virtue, neither in- 



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LETTERS TO EUGEfffA. 



116 



diistry nor happiness can take root in the soU, but on 
the contrary, wherever the furiests ar e powerful, there 
the people are sure to be found ab^t in their minds, 
and squalid in their condition, > ;#fff- 
; But liope — Hope, the second in order ctf the Chris- 
tian perfections, is ever at hand to console us fcH* the 
evils inflicted by Faith. We are commanded to be 
firmly convinced that those who have faith, that is to 
say, those who believe in priests, shall be amply re- 
warded in the other world for their meritorious sub- 
mission in this. Thus hope is founded on fsaXh, in the 
same manner as faith is established upon hope- — ^faith 
enjoins us to entertain a devout hope that our fmth 
will be rewarded. And what is it we are tc^ to hope 
for? For unspeakable benefits — ^that is, benefits for 
which language contains no expression ! So that, after 
all, we know not what it is we are to hope for. And 
how can we feel a hope cm: even a wish for any object 
thiat is undefinable ? Really, these priests oirry tbeir 
presumption very far in everlastingly prating to us 
about things of which they, at tlte same time, acknow- 
ledge it is impossible for us to form any idea,; 

It thus appears, that hope and faith have one com- 
mon foundation ; the same blow which overturns the 
one necessarily levels the other with the ground. But 
let us pause a moment, and endeavour to discover the 
advantages <^ Christian hope amongst men. It en» 
courages to the practice of virtue ; it supports the un^ 
fortunate under the stroke of affliction ; and consoles 
the believer in the hour of adversity. But what en** 
couragement, what support, what consolation can be 
imparted to^the mind from these undefined and unde* 
finable sliadows? No one, indeed, will deny, that 
hope is sufficiently useful to the priests, who never 
fail to call in its assistance for the vindication of Pro* 
vidence, whenever any of the elect have occasion to 
eompkin ^of the unmerited hardship or the transient 
injustice of his dispensations. Besides, these priests, 
notwithstanding their beautiful systems, find them- 



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116 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

selves unable to fulfil the high-sounding promises ^ey 
so liberally make to all the Siithful, and are frequently 
\ at a loss to explain the evils which they bring upon 
I their flocks by means of the quarrels they engage in, 
/ and the false notions of religion they entertain ; on 
\ these occasions the priests have a standing appeal to 
hope, telling their dupes^ that man was not created for 
this world, that Heaven is his home, and that his sui^ 
ferings here will be counterbalanced by indescribable 
bliss hereafter. Thus, like quacks, whose nostrunas 
have ruined the health of their patients, they have still \ /^ 
left to themselves the advantage of selling hopes to 
those whom they know themselves unable to cure; 
Our priests resemble some of our physicians, who be- 
gin by frightening us into our complaints, in order that 
they may make us customers for the hopes, which they 
offer us at an exorbitant price. This traffic consti- 
tutes, in reality, all that is called religion, 
i J The third of the Christian virtues is Charity ; that 
is, to love God above all things, and our neighbours as 
ourselves. But before we are required to love God 
above all things, it seems reasonable that religion 
^ould condescend to represent him as worthy of our 
l&ve. In good faith. Madam, is it possible to feel that 
the God of the Christians is entitled to our love ? Is 
it possible to feel any other sentiments towards him 
than those of aversion, when we find him depicted as 
a partial, capricious, cruel, revengeful, jealous, and 
sanguinary tyrant ? How can we sincerely love the 
most terrible of Beings ? The living God, inta whose 
hands it is dreadful to think of falling ? Tike .God who 
can consign to eternal damnation those veiy creature 
who, without his own consent, would never have exist- 
/ed? Are* our .theologians aware of what they say, 
* " ^ when they tell us that the fi&r of Grod is the fear of a 
child for its parent, which is mingled with love ? Are 
we not bound to hate, — can we by any means avoid de- 
testii^ a barbarous father, whose injustice is so bound- 
\&&& as to punish the whole human race, thot^h inno- 






LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



117 



cei»t, in order to revenge himself upon two individuals 
for the sin of the apple, which sin he himself n^ght 
have prevented if he had thought proper? In short. 
Madam, it is a physical impossibility to love^ above 
aU things, a Crod,. whose whole conduct, as described 
in the Bible, fills us with a freezing horror. I|^ ^here* 
fore, the love of God, as the Jansenists assert, is in- 
dispensable to salvation, we cannot wonder to find that 
the elect are so few. Ind,eed, there are not many.per^ 
sons who cau resti'ain themselves firom hating liiis 
God ; and the doetrine of the Jesuits is^ that to ab> 
stain from hating him is sufficient for salvation. The 
power of loving a God, whom religion paints as the 
most detestable of Beings, would, doubtless, be a 
proc^ of the most supernatural grace, that is, a grace 
the most contrary to nature ; to love -that which we do 
not know, is,' assuredly, sufficiently difficult ; to love 
that which we fear, is still more difficult; but to love 
that which is exhibited to us in the most repulsive 
colours^ is manifestly impossible. r, 41^. 

?]*jirWe must, after all this, be thoroughly convinced 
that^ except by means of an invisible Grace never com- 
municated to the proiane, no Christian in his sober 
senses, can love his God; even those devotees who pre- 
tend to that happiness are apt to deceive themselves — 
their conduct resembles that of hypocritical flatterers, 
.who, in order to ingratiate themselves with aii odkius 
tyrant, or to escape his resentment, make eveiy pro- 
fession of attachment, whilst, at the bottom of their 
hearts, they execrate him ; or on the other hand, they 
must be condemned as enthusiasts who, by means'Ctfja 
heated imagination, become the dupes of tl^irowa ii> 
iusionsj and only view the favourable side of a God, 
deekuFed to be the fountain of all. g^od, yet, never- 
theless, constantly deUneated to us with every' ^feature 
of wickedness. Devotees, when sincere, are like' vk)- 
men giveh up to the infatuation of a blind passion by 
which they are enamoured with lovers, rejected by ^e 
rest of the sex as unworthy of their affe<^on^ It was 



) 



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// ) yiid by Mad ame de Sevignfe that she lorved God, aa a 
//,/ '/^ peytiBBtty' well bred Gentle ffl^ \ i, 

,1 ) Been acquainted wit&. ~ TOtt can the G od^oTtfte Clrris^ /, 
I tions be ^teemecraTwein&red GeniHeman ?~~i rnfe88 fer 
j T iead wag turnedT onewouM thmk^tE it she aauBt bayc 
/ Been fcvied^ oilieiFfMig^B by the sHghtest r^renoTfe 
her inaaffl ngtfy^Tc^yei^pQrtrait lis d ra^^ '** the^ Sible,^ or 
as- It «- spread upon the canvass t^ourtheoiogiciftta-'i^ 
/ t ists. ~ ■ ~ -r — "r 

With regapd to the love of our neighbour, where was 
the necessity of rd^gion to teach as our duty, which 
as men we cannot but feel^ of cherishing sentiments of 
good-wiU towairds each other, it is only by shewing 
in our conduct an a#ectionate disposition to< others 
that we' can produce in them correspondent feelings to*' 
wards onrselves. The smsple circumstance of bei««^ 
men Is quite sufficient to give us a claim upon tbe 
heart of ev^y man who is susceptible of ^ sweet 
\ sensibilities of our natiTre. Who is better acquainted 
than yourself, Madam, with this truth? Does not 
yomr conpassionate soul expenenco, at every moment; 
the delightful satisfaction of solacing the unhappy ? 
Setting aside the superfluous precepts of religion^ 
think you that you could by any efforts', steel your 
heart against the tears of the unfortunate? Is it 
not by rendering otff fellow-creatures happy that we 
estsMsh an empire in: <their hearts ? Enjoy ^en,. M»- 
dam, thfs* delightful sovereignty, continue to Mess> with 
ywn benttficenee all that surround yon ; the oonsciotra^ 
Hess of being the dispenser of so much good wili> al- 
ways suslain' your mind with the most ^Msfying sel& 
fl^piaMser ; those whity have received your kindness^ will 
iteward yoi¥with tbeif blessings, and a(]fonl ytMPtlv^ 
tribute of ajSreCticHa, which mankind are ever eager to 
kiy at the feet of their benefactors. 

Chrmtitsnity, not satisfied with recommending the 
love of o«r neighbour, superadds the injunction of lov- 
ing our enemies. This precept attributed to the "Sod 
<^God himself, forms ^e ground on which our di* 



LETT^IS TO EUimmm. 



vines claim for tbeh* rdigron a superiority of mofal 
doctrine over all that the philpsopfaers of/antiquity were 
kaown to teach. Let/us, thierefore. examfoe honr far 
tbk- precept admits of. being rediK^^ to practide. 
Tm^ that an elevated mind may; easily placev itself 
above a sense of injnries'r^a noble spirit retails t^l^ 
sentfiil Tec611ections-^a great soul revenges itM^llf^T 
a generoos clemeric^, but it is an absurd coiitradic^Gttt 
to require thatiiinan ^hall entertaiii fedii^ of tender^ 
ness and regard for those whom he knows to be b&nk 
on his destniction,— ^this love of our enemies^ which 
Chrktismity is so vain of having promuigated» tiuus out 
then to be an impracticable commandment, bdied and 
denied by every Christian at every moment of his life. 
How preposterous to talk of loving: that^ whiclr annoys 
us! Of cherishing an attachment for that whicb^€» 
us paia^-df receiving an .outrage with joy— sof loving 
those who mbject us to misery and sufienng I No:; 
ill the midst of thei^ trials* our firmness may perhaps 
be strengthened by the hope of reward hereafter^' but 
it is a mere fallacy to talk of our entertaining a sincere 
love for those virhom we deem the authors of our a^ 
flictions— ^the least that we can do is to avoid tbein^ 
which will not be looked upon as a very strcmg tncUca-- 
tion Of ouriove. . < i 

Notwithstai»3ing the solemn formality with lidbicb 
the Christian rdigion obtrudes upon us these^ vaunted 
precepts of love of our neighbour, love of onri ciie-f 
mies, and forgiveness of injuries, it cannot escapetfac^ 
observation of the weakest amongst us, that those veijr, 
men who are the loudest in praising, are ^tiso the^rst 
and most constant in violating them. Our priests e»- 
peci&yy seem to consider themselves exempt fincMntiie 
troufai^me ne^ldSBity of adopting for their own ccp^ 
duct a too literal intei^retation of this divine law. 
They have invented a mostt convenient salvo, siImsb 
they affect to exclude all those who do not profess tb 
^inki^l^y dictate, not only fkmi th6 iciddnessM 
neigbbonn^. bat even ^om the rigkts of fetto«-«feA- 



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130 LBTTEaS TO EUGENIA. 

tures. Ofi this principle they defame, persecute, and 
destroy everyone who displeases them* When doiyou 
see «< priest forgive ?.- When revenge isoutofhis reach^! 
.But it is never their owa injuries they pimiah<— it is 
^never their own enemies they .seek to exterminate. 
(c^ I ^Their disintetested indignation founis with resentment 
v^ / against the enemies of the Most High, who, without 
I their assistance, would be^ iiKapable of ac^ustrng his 
I -own quarrel I By ■ an unaccountable coincicl^ice, 
/ however, < it is sive to happen that the enemies of the 
;church are the enemies of the Most High, who never 
laij to make; common cause with the ministers of i fthe 
faith, aiid who would take it extremely ill if his mini&- 
.ters should relax in the measure of punishment dueto 
their common enemy. Thus our priests. are cruel aud 
revengeful from pure zeal-<— they; would aridently wish 
,tOi forgive their own eaemies, but how could they jus- 
tify themselves to the God of Mercies, if they extended 
tbeieast indulgence to his enemies i><^i;ll£^.igbi» :t i 
iMv^ true Christian Icves the Creator, above all things, 
: and .o>nsequently he must love him . in preference to 
-the. creature. „ We feel a lively intei^est in every thing 
^hat concerns the object of, our love ; . from^ all which it 
-foirows, that we must evince our zeal, and eyen,.,wli^n 
/ \ . necessary, we must not hesitate to. exterminate our 
f " '^ ] ;neighbour, if he says or does what is displi^sing or in- 
-^ I Jurious tQ God..;, lutsuch a.case, indifference would be 
•<?riaiinal-ra sincere love of God breaks out into a holy 
^ardpqr. in his . cause, . and pur jnerit rises in proportion 
.;^o.ouf vjolenfl^..i •^^,.■.:4ii^.i*;iv^>>-W*i^f'«^^'1y^4*• '•-;*•' ■ 
i^ijii.Tbese notions, absurd as they are, liav« been sufficient 
-in eyery j^ to produce in the world a multitude, x)f 

:crime$9 .extrayiiga^cies, aod follies, the; legitimate pflf- 
-spring of a religious zeal. Infatuated fanatics, exaspe- 
.lated by priests against, each other, have been driven 
cinto, mutual hatred, persecution, and. destruction ; they 
have thought 'themselves called upon < to. avenge the 
iAlm^tyi; t]:^y;iiave carried theirinsane delusions so 
• £u:asto,|>ec5tiadethemselve8,thdt iheGodof qlemeocy and 



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goodness could look on with pleasure whik they nauir- ' 
dered their brethren ; in the astonishing bUndness 'Ot' 
th^r stupidity, they have imagined that^in defending ( // 1 
the temporalities of the' church, they were defending ' 
God himself. < In pursuancex)f diese errors, 4X)ntntdic& • 
ed even' by the de^ription which th^y thetnsfel ves give 
us of thfe Divinity, the priests of every age hav<s found 
means to introduce confusion into the peaceful h^bita- 
dons of men, and to destroy all who: dared to resist 
their tyranny. 'Under the laughable idea of re vengmg 
the alUpow^ul Cr^tor, these priests have disco veered 
the secret of revenging themselvesi tnid that too^ with- 
out drawing down upon themselves the hatred andteae-' 
ecration so justly -^ue to their vindicfive fury and 
unfeeling selfishness, i In- the niame of the God oif; Na^' 
ture, they stifled the voice of nature in the teeaSts^of 
men ;• in the name of; the God of good nessjthey incited 
nien<to theifury of wrld^beasts ; in the name of the> 
God of mercies, they prohibifed all 'Ii9}^ivqne8$4 'The* 
earth has never ceased to grban^with^^ rravdges-eieiiiu' 
mitted by maniacs, under the influen€e>e€ that zeal 
which springi'fcom the Christian doctri^ie-df 'thei^o^^' 
of <jod. ThJ&God of the Chris tians^ like the Janug^f? 
Roman itfy tftologyjliastwo iaces ; gometimte heipepfe>' I J// 
sen ted with thie- renlgn ■ featu res of mercy and googhacss ; ' / ^-^ 
sonietinies ■ mureter, revenge^ argTSjiy^ss qe tmm ftil ' ( \st 
n^bntev^: Andwiiat is the consequence bui ifaAcifae> 
Ofanstmns amtniiich indrereasily terrified Bt4ii» I #igliit{ 
f«l afcpect^ than they are recovei^fh)m>'theirfears#^^ 
his aspect'Of mercy ; haifing been tai^ht ito iaf^iewi^him ^ 

as ff>diprfcipii9 beiogv ^y are naturally misfriistM' 
oif liimj^and' imagine ithair the safest part rtliey^ ckn i«ct> 
for tbemseiveis is to set^ abotit^the #ork of v^geance 
i^h gri^at zeal ; they conclude that a cruel master ' 
cannot find fauk wiUit cruel imitatdrs,^ and that faii^'seiv; 
vants cannot render i themselves sa acceptable ^as thy : 
extii^pating all his enemies. ' : n *f'<)!t 

The preceding femarks shew Very clearly ,i Madbmi^ 
the highly pernicious consequences which jesult froni 



the zeal engeiidered by tbe"k>lfe,pf iGo4t \ If tbls love 
i$ a virtue, its j^^qefits 8Bfe cdpihJefl jq ibQ .prieslS, wbo 
^TFG^te tb tfaemselyes. ^ ieKcliisive ppyjfc^ pf de- 
dariidg wben >God » ofiendedji yirlio i^bt^p^ it 
^oi6brings, aji^ monopolize aU^ homager of thfefleiWutk; 
wbo decide vpop ^ ^piiuons tbat pfeiseipr diapl^i^ 
Ite/;, who undertake to inform lolmkiBKl: iof - the'duti^s 
l^is tiftue requffes irom tb^aiifind of the ptoper .time 
^d manner of perfo^Iling^tbem r who ave inU^resled 
imenderingtbo^duties^mielaod intinltdatjiigmprd^to 
ii%hten mankind into a profitable subjectiOfi ; who con- 
vert it into the instrument of gratifying thejroivn malig- 
;iant passions, by ihspirihgmen with ^spirit of headlong 
aad raging in^leraiice, which in its furious^ course of j»- 
4is(riininate destriiction holds nothing sacred, and whkh 
|iasinflictedit]credib|eravag)esupon aUchristaaneountries- 
In confinmity with si^ abominable .priiiciple9» a 
Christian is bound to detest and destroy all whopi the 
ichurch ma^i point out as die eneniies of God. . Having 
adfiutted t£e paramount duty of yielding their entire 
jEifl^tioiis to a rigorous nlastefirHquick to resent, and 
c^^ded even iKkh the iavoluntaiy thoughts and. c^l^ 
nioBS of his x:reiiaitures, they, oC courae, feel thenselvsiss > 
bound by entenog with zesik into his quar^efefio obtaiilf 
for him a. vengeance worthy Of a fjod^: diat is to^ 
jsayi a vengeance that knoivs. no bounds. A cOn^- 
duGt like this isthepatural offspring of those revolting" 
ideasiwhich'ourpriestsgiveusiof tb^ IXei^ ^ A good 
CfaHstianiSyiitherefOre, necessarily iatoldinnt; ;]l » 
true^thatiChcisti^ity in the ipuip^ preacbesi no^ng 
hxA mildness^ i meekness, tcj^tion^ pewse, «f^ 
c»d }: butC^stiapi^ in the wotid » a straiiger to itt 
^faeae yiitues, nOrodoes she ever ^ceietse themi except 

whsB .{die is d^diexit m the necessHDry power to giiie 
eieetiO her 'destructive zeal. The: real trutk o£ die 
pia^er is, that Chriatians: think: th^nselvesr absolved 
from every tie of humanity, ^kcept with those r^ho 
t^ink asT they do, who/pidfess to believe the s&lie 
fffse^ ;s]r'they have a repu^mce, moi^ or less decided, - 






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ag%iftst ^iJl. thci^ who di^r^ vi}^ tlj^eir prie^ ia 
theological^^ speculation.. JEIow coianH]^, 1^ ^i, >^Q,jse^ 
p«r90^ Q^, ^e ipUdent cbarac^r aii4c .iPQf^t.b^i}^yo)ent 
ciiaposijdims: t^m^. m^ ^ver&ion lthe;ia|^f'6fitf , ql. ^ 
4^ib;^r9^t &08a ;|b^ CMiirn \S^ r^^ipgr |r^^f>Pv 

aU rival f;ecUt>pr^Jea^>i^ / // 

' I i^^Mpefioiil?}^ s»4 i|i9>Ji9ttpdY ixiiift oafiniiec. <^||3;eg^^ly, 

^ ^ iBEsi;i|t4iig, and cakul^fced JO m*$e- 1^, Jndi^i^tim^. 
By; tjbesiB ^l!^ns ijtifrequ^liy ^/ha^DSof^tlIt|l%rd^ 
rence of tbe: prinoe ^o ;t^ wjs|N?&i!^|th^li^Fie8|^i j^ 
th0 :6^ct of ^ienati^g; tbe he^ir^ i^f ibis ipost; i^b^ 
sujbjeciSi aod brin^ hin> tb^iiKjcejG^t^qwbic^ pygH^v 
iji JNHtie^lob^ teaped ieitelMsiv^y upon bia w^- 
]i«(m^o»isin$tigal»in« ; -,. , ;; v ; dii dr 

whei^9 skicet^ely^respttctod r :tbe 1^^ Ijbe vafio^s, 

, cetigtQu^secta b^i^ifttl^i?^ Ites^hrfall 

Cbri$tian8^ riiate^and despite ^cbi:>l^er ^^ll^^t- «Hi|e 
tbeolQgv»l poini ;i9^i^ nqbody 1^ 
<?ie«lghy^r wben^vesteft .witb pOwerj; ij^m^ ^"^acb If^^in- 
tiqn^;: 1^ tbe contisy^^ they iqqfesider ,giiej^( «b^ii a^^an 
QQcaadiy kba ;ti ft frk^ Ift r^^^il^^iio^^l^i # 
hiin <d ii:i^waiaauiies8, infidelity i^ ii^^tsr^ bosj^Ul^y^^*^ 
i»;^rt, ;h6ii8ijdeiioiiiiiiat0d; a fals0jbl!Qtbef. (jTfee §<^r 
bonn^jdeeltnod io %be 4iiilde^i^ io^s^ty^; tlias^l It^ 9^ 
h6re(if»l t$^<9ay iijiat;|bE^lie9]?f»)gbt4»Qt/^f:I^^ pm^% 

pjBridd,Bi:but if .wati ^ftrn^ berwaii :^iii^^i|^9i^di$? the 
m^rat^rkMi^ ^ fM^^tdoteiL p>dyk^^r^hiefekti% 0t^ if^i^-^ 
Qftsit toutxHeifltioii. irFi^'seciitiiiia^^b H^cMutHi tgii^ouTi 

<llftir! ^aT8ric!e> ! ^heii* J^mMlioiii ,>t&i]r i vanity^ iSi^/^^ 



// " 



// 



/f " 
1/ 



I 



Hky iJrntRisTdcOGEiriA.- 

tete to bend j heir nedks to its yok^J ^r who refuse their 
assent to its a^tr ary d(^ision s^- - 

Our divin»"have, theretbreTyou see^ very good rea- 
sons for raising humility into the rsnk of a virtue. An 
amiable modesty, a diffident mildness of demeanour, 
are uhquestionaEbly- calculated to promote the pleasures 
and the advantages of society ; it is^ equally certain 
thkt insolence and^arrbgance are disgusting, that th^ 
wbtmd our self-love, iirid excite our aversion by their \J/ 
repulsive conduct ;— but that amiable modesty which 
/^ / charms all who cdlne within its influence, is. a ^r 
different quality from that which is designated humv 
Mty in the vocabulary Of Christians* A truly humble 
Ghristian despises his own unworthinessy avoids the 
esteem of others, mistrusts his own understanding, 
submits with docility to the unerring guidance of his 
spiritual masters, and piously resigns to his priest the 
clearest and most irrefutable conclusions of reason. - ^ 

But to what advantage can this pretended virtue^ i 
l^id its followers ? How can a man of sei^ and in-' | 
t^rity despise 'bimself? Is not public opinion the 
guardian of private virtue ? ; If you deprive men of the 
Jove of glory, and the desire of deserving the approbar 
tiondf their fellow citizens, are you not divesting them 
of the noblest and most powerful incitements by which 
they caiJ be impelled to benefit their countiy' ? Whirt 
recoinpetice wijtreaiain to the benelaetors of mankind, 
ify first of aUy we are unjust enough to tefuse them the 
praise they merit/ and aita'wardsid^>ar them from the 
satisfaction of' sel^ap^use, and tlie happiness they; 
would feel int^e consciousne^of having ^dcme • good 
tOJ "an ui^^rateful world ? What ■ infatuati on^ w hat ' 
ato^ng infatu ation, \& require^t Tmi D ^^^rig ht ^t^ 
tix^& ^m\ak^^\&y\tiX<&\\\T^^ tb^^thlnt; 

him^fon' a- level wi ma^tffih.piiest,- or • vito mi9> U 
^^gic, who dKri ouTBieirab^rd Jables an d inco fe \) 
T5e5l dreai^^ Xlflir priests are neyer weary ^ telhng 

tSiriOdc^'tEat pride leads OD to infidelity, and thi^ 



tJBTrSRS TO EUGEfflA. ^ 

V an humble and submissive spirit is alone fitted to receive 
I the truths of the' gospel; la good earnest, should we 
I .not be utterly bereft of every claim to tiie name of 
rational beings, if we consent to surrender our judg- 
ment and our knowledge at the command of a hierar- 
jchy, who have nothing to^give us in .^change but the 
most palpable absurdities? \yidi what fece can a 
revCT gnd Doctor of Nonsen se dare to exact from im^ j g^ 
jind^^ahding a humble acq uiescenc e in a bunqid^ot ^^ 
If 1 mysterious opi nions, tor wbtcIT he is u nabie_^ oleF \ s^^ 
me asingle sohd reasop i As itthen presump tuotjsjo '*^ 
think q^B sself superior to a d a^8: of pri^end ers,lyhos^ 
&y8teBM~ape -%, mass pi jfal^ ge s, ^bsur diti es^and jncoi i^ 
iiitencies , of which the y 'contrive to make mankind at 
onc^ the d upes'^and ttie victims ? Can pride or vanity 
Be, with jusHce^ imputed to youj Madam, if you see 
reason to prefer the dictates of your own understand- 
ing to the authoritative decrees of IVfes* 0—^ — ^, whose 
isenseless malignity is obvious to all her acquaintance^ 
If Christian humility i^ a virtue at all, it can be one 
only in the cloister ; society, can derive no sort of be- 
nefit from iti it enervates the mind ; it benefits nobckly 
but priests, who, under the pretext of rendering men 
humble, seek, in reality, only to de^de. them, to sti^e 
in their souls every spark of science and of courage, 
thi^fthey vipaye«the more easily impose the yoke of ^ith, 

that is to say, their own- yoke^ ^Cooc|ii4e,.then, with 
me, that the Christian virtues are Ghiinericai/a[ii|a^js 

\ useless, and sometimes pernicious to «aen, and attended 
with advantage to none but priests. Conclude that 
this religion, with all the boasted beauty of its morality, 
recommends to us a set^of virtues, and enjoins a line 
Of conduct at variance with good sense. Conclude, 
tbat in order to be moral and virtuous, it is far from 
necesi^y to adopt the unintelligible creed of the 
priests; or to pride ourselves upon the empty virtues 
they preach, and still less to annihilate all sense of dig- 
niTf i ija ourselves, by a degrading subjection to the 
duties, they require. Conclude, in short, that the 



V 
/J 



m VEtTEks to mjtMiil 



i.>i 



inehd of viHae IS riot, of necessity, tfa^lHend of pHest' 
ijrtft-^ aftd that f^ msai ;mdy h^ :^d<>ttied with eve^y 
h^ittkn per^^oi^i #fthoiift possi^ssiog on6 of ^ife Clnrifii^ /^ 

-All wha'dcaEhitte tiiis matter vfiih a candid and in- 

teiUgerrt; eye^icfnn^ to see tli^t'^rye niordlity, that 

is to say, a moii^ity T<§ally 8€lrviceab1<e to noabk^nd, is 

^dlutely incompat^Ie ivitb the Ct^^fikhitligidliv or 
ai^ other professed revefeitioii. Wboeveir itoi^nes 

himself the favoured object of fc Crektbi^s love, mvLSt 
Idoik down with disdaih lipoii hi^ le^- fortunate feUow 
eieatiires, espeeia]Iy'if-her(%ftitf» that Creator 2$ par^ 
^aly bholaric; revt^dg^fiil, aiid fickle, eatrity incensed 
against us, even by^our ' invplHntary tiiovi^hts, or our 
most innocent words knd action^ ; such a man na(^ 
ndty conducts himself vi4th''cOntetnpt and ptide, with 
hai^hhess and barbarify tdwafdst s^ o^rs whom hk 
ihay ideem obnoxious to the re^ntment olT his tteatenly 
King; Those men w^hbsg fbliy leads :them to irvew 
the'Deity in the %hf of a capricfious, trritabk, and un- 
appeasable defsfki^ can be ifiothlng but gloomy and 
ib'etnbhng slaves, evet eager to anticipate' the f^engeabce 
6f €r6d upon all whose cdnduct or- d'pinions they liia;^ 
conceive likely to ptOvoke the ^le^ial wrath. Afe 
soon as th^ priests have succeeded iti reducing men to 
a jitkte of stupidity gross enougli %o make them bieKev^ 
that their ghostfy fathers are the fkithfiil organs of tiife 
divine will, they natiirally commit every species of 
crime, which theh" spirituat teachers may pleaise to tell 
them is cafcUlated to pacify the anger of th^lr tended 
Crod. Af en silly enough to accept a system of morak 
from guides thiis hollow in reasoning, and tfauftdii^ 
cordant in opinion, mu^t necessarily be unstable Ifi 
tiicir principles^ and subject to eH^y Variati6ft that tbfe 
ihterest of their guides may suggest. In short, it is 
inipossible to coufsti^ct a solid morality, ff#e take^feir y 
otrr fouridation tlie attributes Of a Ddty so unjusf, sO 
capricious, and sO changeable as the God of the Bibte^ 
Whom we are commanded to imitate and adorie. "'' 



E ^S^22i^-'\^^^-V^M 



r;&»!.rii,.ii;fcf/<c-i'^;^-;^;iUi'--?^^ 



■ ^rJ'ereeyere, then, ,my de^f; JN^adam^ in the practice of , 
' those, virtues whj^cii; your own ; uaspphi^ticated heart , 
approF^;,,tliejj w^l' i^ure you a fjcli.^ry^t of hap- ^ . 
pin^s An the present, existenc^,;. tl*ey, ypiU injure you 1 ,; 



' /- 



a rich ^^tum of gi^titgde,; , rjKipect and^ love; from all [// - 

^ / wjio enjoy their benign influence ; they will insureyou ; ^ »' 
the solid satUfaclion.pf a well-fpunded self-esteem, and I 
thus provide you w^th that unfiling source of inward 
grati%^tion, which arises from the consciousness qf 

• 3«'Miod 'Jilt 'io Liiiai 5>flT ■ .ffumA^W? P^^aOiM tr>i*i^« 

fMC^lcV I N^^ already shewn y<^u, j lAadam, the . ieeble- 
nea8>of .thcKse succours which religipia furni^es to 
morals, I shall il^ow pippeedjx>: examine; whether it 
propure; advantages in . themselves really vfpoUtic, , and. 
wbetjbitfir it b^ tpi<3, ,as has so; often becyi urged > by d^e 
priestS} itbfitrit,^ absolutely necessary to t^ existence 
of: ev^>goy©ri\iBent«i ^, j^f] j ^mmnamyu aAi j ; : 
•HiW^'^r ;W^i(dispP9fi4 ; to shjut oi^ -^yeg, and. delhef 
outadyes..up iotbe jlangnag^, pf , pur, priests, wersbpuld 
bt^lw^ith^tiihcfr o{»tnions, are necessarj^^P the. public 
tranquillity, and the repose, and security ipf the statfy 
for vtbPi^ : holy/g^i^^s actually. telL the . ^rediiipus impb, 
ftoiPiteiypi^ |>^sipner to the lap^^^y of bis lowest 
[ twflewnsWbr ^^jPROjc^.w^ the ^^icls 

\ of i lel^gj^ ,;g<]^yf3rn ^eifi Pffo^ple, afidr^xef^, tbemselwes 
foc^^ip»ffP9|»^i;^ aa4<'j4^ NocJs 

^ia ^;i >5>Mrj spirit, piioifejaijprc^ph jtbe tlirone, ; an^ 
g^^ij^it^ifis^? of tbe.8p^s^i^%naaJf;efhiiH^^^ b(^l|^ye 
tb^l»R,eSU^bli^bj^ .retigio^j^^^^ absolutely necessary to 
fii^t^i^bffla t<Q(^r#8p ^tb^ ac^t^^v and epjpy the gran- 
4f^my^ad,jSt%te,]ol,^gy^\%}i[ii ,tbat. be must,; therefpf^, 
^p^(:||rni;to tbe qhurebi ,tl^ kings in all ages bave,b^e?i 
,^, A^pJ^mP'^^S^^^^^ as !be p^le>i^it,tp:be 















128 LETTERS TO EUGMftti 

) governedj so tlie moharch most submit to th^ y<^e of 

!, the church; that reJigion is the peace-makCT in aBJ^ 

I political quarrels ; that the enemies of the priesthood 

! are the enemies of all power; that they who sap tire i 

) foundlations of the altar, tPDuld dV^rthrow; the thtotie 

( itself ^ ''■*'''' '^^^''' ^■■*i''' ; r>*: •njiiu ov :!h1 ^if-^at v.-;.; . r^'=// 

I Let US examine if these things aire so ; fbf assertion 
j is not proof, atid the ipsi diiternnt oi priests, like thef; 
ptoclamatidns of princes, are not laws fdr thfe woHd. 
No; the former are the thunders of the pulpit, thb 
latter, those of the throne. The mind of the honest 
citizen, like the face of a granite rock, suffers the blast 
of both to blow against it, without losing its equili- 
brium. 

We have, then, oii\y to opeli our eyes and consult 
history, to be convinced of the falsity of these preten- 
sions, arid to appreciate the important ser^^ices which 
the Christian priests haVe rendered -t<y their sdverdgns. 
Ever since the establishment of Christianity We have 
seen, in all the countries itt %hieh this rdigiod has 
gained ground, that two tivai powers atfe pi^p^tus^y d« 
wdr one with the other. We ^tiA df gdVet-niment #ithf 
in the government. That is to ^y,' we fidd thfe 
Church, a body of priest^j totetiftti&lly oppoted ito the 



/ 
/ 






\ sovereign power^and ib Virtue of their pretended divine 
I mission and \sacr€cf office, pretending to give laws to 
I all the sbverieigns of the eaitli. r ' ' ^tk * ^n^* ,/ <^^ « Hf^^^ '' 1 
\ Nor is this the case with khe hIeiiMrdiy of Rome i 
I alone; the bishops and pHests Of all seceders from tha€ / 
/ church have arrogate to themiselVes th!e satt» iktttiK^ \ 
rity. Wefindthe:cl^^ 
',, \ the titl(^jffi^5]S^g^^^atii^<^ t«^^ )// 

/ acttEe obedience ^d^tottie~^S?i^j^^, pt<&te^ / ' 

I chinoerit^d and da^i^ous prert^tiVei^ Wbiefaf ^i)9i^ 
\^ suffered to question, wit&bdt rtokiibg ^ dispSeaiSdi^ of r 
the Almighty. And sa well ha^e thie -ptrieSlA<tk>ci tilJE^ 
n£^;ed this matter, that in ihany idoutitries we atctiKdfy 
see the people more inclined to l^n to the authdrity 
of the clergy, than to that of the ftfiflce. It is dot t^ 






w 



Ijmum XO EWOBNIA. 



/ 129 



\- 



^he Pppe alqi^^ , t^ Vicaf c^f Jfesws Cferist, that this 
degrsKJtiid 8Vil»Eai^on of ^Kniod and liberty has been 
sbjewQ ; i^ Pi^e^itjaiit cwiEtries, also, the clergy have 
contrived to fn^e it be beliesved* that the law of the 
land is fciundefl otmlJieir r<€;%iqD ; thati^ioce obedience 
'\f .due tp ihe l^^y iti^ nimeb more^^o due to that in 
)ir)ii<3b the ^^ iQ fpuipded. 3ut it is very ex^ordi- 
yaiyythff^jp j^ ^surji^iD^ of dmu^JBin the j^is- 

j^g^ Qfiy# >c9fl^ f jtfe ftgyiptttresT as lo ^^at laws 
they should enact.~ OB"! ' no ; circumstances, the 
p^l^wTr^ rSfe 1W9rM»i the^ Iftwch . . of - iat^iigence 
ag#^> the <5i^^||,^l^ai(|^ .^ idespotism; give occasion 
^^^(^f^li^^Q^ pilaws; ^d'th^j Bible is nojnore 
,^ho^h)t>|^ in j^a^steoijbly of legisl^ojsi than the " Ara- 
jbi^ ^igjita? JEnt^rtaiiwente." So jaaucb. Madam, for 
ilitie lajW cif ^ j^d beiiigfqu^ded on the rd%ion of 

o v^Mt |i?|; US f et^n to the pretensions of the priest- 
j h^k>4* ;TJ^88egeiitieiiien;prej€3ad that.tbe sanctity of 
j ^^h^iWifisioiJijTrrwl^ich by the bye is meiie assertion^ 
\ jfpir Ihef^; /@^ \!^, I^Hle divide about naeii mortal li ke our- 
.^l^^j^ \\^^ i^^fictit^i s^bout joen who ane eternally 
,SiQua]^]^ling: W\^ the rest of the world for .comfortdbie 
^ ) liyiBgSj.tyil^i^iid ppwerjprerogativeandrule,-^^ 
' / ge^Qien 9f^^fi^^ ^pw-eye^, that Ahe sanctity of their 
\ r.nwssifWi^Otilfes tern tP idiietafce ip moaarehs them- 
y iSelv^ jn9<^d:lb^e lup Qot w£wting cases, oia the ipage 
,^ hisliCffy , mhmm^ <\m. see lim dergy supported by 
^eir {ffoif ^fts ^<j[; ^\r jt^jiediilous urdbblp of devotees, 
^s^usMOgil^'iQPstrFidA^liJNie^ pcetei^aioDS^ liiingling in 
the a^a^^ pf st9(te,i ^nd ^y tbe. sii»»t<sMd methodseon- 
jltfiviqgi^ gpt ^iospst pieriiiie«»is:«Bd dangeKOUs jprp- 
.j^^i5«ef?i*tejd apimfiiaB *bose mhot aie honestienei%h 
jtip^ii^pectti^m of i^ricl^ejry:? OTj jfobcasaon< serves tliem, 



// 



r*' 



Z'/ 



I \ 



I i to <»fti1© tfl^; pri«WQ jljoJoj^plve Ws uoofiefiding subjects 
/ /m ^ua«^e||> w&h aP0»e Qieiglftbouriiig slates ; for iyiiile 
^ »i»QtiW'i^^9(^\;«r«e distract^ fey the cry of *> .war,*'^— 






/ 



\ 






// 



74 



•| 



\ 



^ W«r»*'"rr'-*iRViasiop/*T-r1* invasion ;** .M^ea discord aad 
iakym|»;ajre ^sfUfead ¥^ithiQ« land When nothing but trouble \ 



f'- 



130 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



''il 



'j-ji 



,; 



if 



't 



If 
■ It 



// 



V appears without, "they who had ftwrnerly harmJessly 
questioned the right of the priests to amass weafthi artd 
grind the poor for the ^tification of their luxury and 
extrav^nce, will have leisure to fight the battlies of 
domestic liberty; and honest meiJ, who care little 
about the cry of " the church is in danger," will Con- 
descend tO defend the throne at aity ris^, at all ex- 
pences. This, Iiowever, i& but one-figure in the groiipe 

which the entablature of priestcraft offers to thiB eye of 
the observer; if^im • on i^Qfc* ;r,i3Bct^^ liii«>tiir %*Ui 

Yet, Madam, su<*b i^ ^rt itMT thfe imporl^nt ^tvices 
which religion has a thousand time* pl^t^nded to rfenider 
kings. The people, blitided by thte sttperstitiori, coUW 
hesitate but little between God and the lirince of the 
earth. The priests being the visible Organs' of an itftisi- 
ble monarch, have gained immense cpeditbvter the hu- 
man mind. The ignorance of the people has'ptit' th^m, 
as well as their princes, entirely i^ifdter th6 auifliOrity of 

the priesthood. And till a time shall arrive M4ien thJe; peo- 
ple shall put down the power of the priests, th€lir kings 

must also be the common slaves \3^ the drtifty clergy. 
Do we not find, from history, that great miitor of ^the 
universe, that nations have been constantly embroiled 

by. the futile and malicious quarrels Of the clergy ; that 

princes and people, who have ever attempted to oppose 
those oveibearing'tyrants of the humaif niind, have b^en 
denounced as opinionative Heretics, blaspb^eiis,' and 
enemies of God ; that tbe most bitted nations; people 
and princes, who have voluntarily yielded to the iron 
despotism of the priestiiood, have been pronounced the 
greatest favcmrites of heiaven, aiid all others ripe for 
perdition. The conclusion is here but one «tep— the 
destruction of these last was believed by thefortner, not 
only meritorious, but necessary, and \iccordingly, hav- 
ing caught hold of this fiery link' in the chain of discord, 
nation wars agai nst nation, the mi n isters of pieace are 
seen in the field of bkttle, their iive» are stained -With the 
murder of mankind, their palaces are enriched with the 
spoils of the vanquished, and all is holy, just; and good. 






LETTERS TO EUGBIItAi ^ ^ 131 

;^^'Such is the iipxt figure in the base of the pyriaini- 
dal grbupe of the portraiture of priestcraft. The fol- 
lowing is still more hideous;-^--' ^ ' ' y^i*3 JV i :,. 

The contiiiua} attention whtch- the^pri^ces of Europe 
have been forced to pay to the clef^; has prevented 
them from occupying their thoughts about the wel- 
fare 6f th^ r^St of their industrious subjects, iwhoi in 
many instances thie; dupes of the priesthood, have un- 
\ wittingly become opposed even to th^ gbbdihey have 
desired to procure by resistance^ In like manner the 
heads of the people, their . kings and goVearDOrg^ too 
I weak to resist the torrent of opinions propagated by 
I the dergyi and swallowed without examinatidn by 
the people, have been- forced to yield, to' bow^ nay, 
even to caress the priesthood, and to consent to grant 
it all its' demands: Whenever they have wished to 
resist 'the encroacbnients of the clei^y, theiy have 
encouhteped <;6ncealed snares or open opposition, as 

the Ao/y power was either too 'weak to act in the face 
of day, or strong, enough to contend in the sunshine. 

Whett "prinees have wished to be listened to by the 
clergy, these test have invariably contrived to make them 
cowardly, and to sacrifice the happiue^ and respect of 

their people. We have frequently seen the hand» of 

parricides and rebels,-assassins and fanatics armed in 
the sacerdotal worship,' to destroy princes 'whom the 
clergy have thought unworthy to reign, because, for- 
sooth, those princes have desired to miake; ^1 their 
subjects happy, the people as well ias the priests. 
France lost two monarchs by the madhi nations of the 
clergy. There the priests, under the pretext of aveng- 
ing God, hai« murdened fei«g;Bi This' is orie • way of i 
preserving the yoke bn- the tieck* of the mukitude. 

' Iti a word, Madam, in all countries, we* see that the 
ministers of religion have ekercised at all times; the 
•nttOst frightful liiJence to establish and perpetfirate 
theiip power. We fhid empires torn by tt^ir - feuds, 
thrones (^erturned by their machinations ; princes 

' immolated to their power and revenge ; subjects ani- 



/ 



yf^^^^ 



// 



) n^?^ to ^ve^ ag£^9ist jtbfi prince that ought tp give > 

I them fpore Jbap^iaes^ than ■4'!^ ( 

^^ / when we take the retrospect ^9^ i^^se) we find that ) t 

\ tl^ a^tutiOsQ, the cupidity, ^d the vaAity of the [// 

/ (' p^ei^y Ijave beep the true causes ^qd wotives of ail / / 

^-^ ] fthiese optfiagie^ oji M^ , peace pf the (Upvverse. Audit \ 

J : AS th,«$^ that thek ^^Ugif^ ib^;SO often produce^ anar- ] 

(ehy> and pw^f*r#i^ the veFjf 1^^ , 

,tQ,fi^}pQr|t% its^QQqence4>,^:.<<f:rT ^mftn-^ff ^fi^mimf » 
,f{tThiw ;We M^ie: cpnteipplatied <anpther hprrjble de- 
,li|oi^,^^he tahia^MW*^ ^4 prieslhpqcl, J^n the rep?ain- 
Wgi^^etsh pf thejftpflsterp that ppmppse the. grpupe, 
we f^4U a^teW<i to t^ cpu|i;tenaw?;e ai|4 the cc^puring 
pf the 4vapery .; hy ^hi^^eai^s the reader will re- 
.cpgni^ ^le J^Mres $bt hi? leisure p(ie by one. 

irhat|K>ve;'j^g^8 have 90^ enjoyed peace, even when, 
w^h a jalse Jjiuipiiit^ 4evQted tp priests, they have 
4suh)9itte(ii tP t^^ qaprieesy become e^alaved to their 
ppii^i^is, aip4 ^llpv^^hem tp govern ip place pf 
th^m^nesn yv^ y^j^l ,*ee m tbe Siequei I fpr, wheu- 
eyer the sfuv^^^gp {^w^^ ha^ become suhordi^ialje $0 
,/ \ Ui)^ sacefiiotal) Ji^e priuce wa9 pnly jtjie jfipt f^rs^n^ pf 

thechuiic^;. ;^hi?.|ia* used hi.ip9 we^e'y as a topi to 

enrich her cqI^^> j^ ,?3fecVte her secret, sanguinary 
idecreess an4 jthtl§ |p haMpe his .hap4s >in the iiipocent 
blood pjf. his .pi^Pifl^nding ^ybjieptf^, ^h(Hn the prie^t- 

jhpp4ba4 marke<^ 0^ fpr their yteog^a^^^ coq- 
ceale4 pa^svo^s f l^ist^ry ajt^te^l^ i^hat, ii;» ^ place pf 
iabpufing ^or thjs .^appin^ss .of th^ people* the SOK^ 
,reigR has pft^ .^n jOpk?ipelle!d tP tprnaeflt, jtpper- 
Sj^MJ^, ^to impv^^ the qaqst wi^rthy citi^ei^SyT- 
A^#ll this 4P ^ k0ep on H^im with > ^ .pvectori^g, 
prpH^ revQiftgefwl,, ^aiBihitHWis hertl Npf ppieste.! ^^d 
^ ^s tpgr^tify ;the rewpgie pf sp^^ ipne :man iw a 
iQil|ip9 j t spflae paa)i)ei^ bypppritet^ho acrpgail^ecl jto 
bi^Piaplf the ;pm>st iielli^ prpjeot^ ^de^ rthejsaacl^V^a^ 
pf his pffifle. ' Npr is. it >\n one reHgiou^ persiiasiipn 
this jp alone i^ ^aise; iQ a. greater ipr less degree, 
qpe^ly or secretly iJby ^ sw^prdlor tbefteQwlafippwi^r ; 






LEttERSTO EUGEfttA. .^ ^ m 

by tb^ perversion of laws and the point of the bj^o. 
net, we find it true in all persuasionsi KMi>^y..> ^ ihn^ui 

How little soever you are disposed to rieflecti yoii 
will be convinced, Madam, that I do not exaggierate I 
these things. Recent examples ptove 10 you that \ 
even in this age, nations are distracted by the intrigfues ' 
of priests ; you have an hundred tinies^ sigfced at the ( 
sight Of the sad follies which puerrte question have ] 
produced amongst us. Y^i have shuddefe^l' itt the'/ 
frightful consequences which have i^esutfed froth Ihe \ 
unreasoriaWe squabbles of thfe fclefgy* You haVe: j 
trembled With alt good c^tieens at the Sigl^ of tli<e' tra^ | 
gical e^ts, which have been brougllt abottt by the / 
furious wickedness of a fanatic^ Who sliewed i& hy\ 
character every thing that was not sacred. It* fitie, 
you haVe seen the sovereign alfthoriQr icoittpelle# to 
struggle Incessantly against rebenidus s^bjeetSj wha 
pretend that their Conscience, or the interesfiS^ tft reli-l'^ J 
gion have obliged them to resist opinions the most ) 
agreea^e to co^mnion sense, and ^ mib^ eqili^le. / 

Our priests more religious and legs brj^anvi than we* 1 
have Witnessed thetn in fornier linieSj are yet! the \ 
actors of scenes more terrible thah heaihemstnr boastS; / 
They have gloried iii CFvil wars, the Overthrttw Of mset-i 
tiesj the shedding in the very capital i^e bldod df ^e\ 
innbcerft ; two ilaoliatxihs sue<9eSsiVety iftfnSOifeted tdi 
the Airy of the cler^^ whd kitidle iii li^ parts' the fire i 
of Sedition . In Fmfice - we have seen the €{^lmlic i 
chutch banish the industrious Prote^lEkhtS ; in £ng^\ 
laud We' see the furious Phi^estaiil Ws^ WiET s^tiinst' i 
the opiuit^s of ^ose Who^ffer l)<hil hilBay ancT wlh«y| 
caunctt belit^ve^thattht^ Gods ate bUI:0^; afld'lftaf?\ 
Ode Gk^ 6nly fS i^ever^ek^ three dl9t¥Aei>di^i]^<ii^;' 
'^'Pn all fiu¥6pe W^ fin<d the saniei liif Spaiti irelig$6» 
is the tool w^ \^i(ih the ma^clh of <^pv^6B is ari^^ed ^ 
a&d Whoever is not a ^nacic i& ail dbjedt of ptiA^ 
vengeaucei Ii^ Genbany two gi^^t Mi^biis iiSi^lleih!^ 
distract pritic^ aiid pe6pie ; the Ca^ielics are taijighll: 
^ from their cradles to hate the Prdtestanis ; aiid (b^. 






134 LETTERS. TO EUGENIA. 



?«»?*^. . ji 



Protestants to despise the Catholics as idolaters. £^ch u 
faction is leagued agafnst the other, with somfe neigb^n 
bouring faction of a similar persuasion. But all areT 
alikethe servile creatures (if artful priests and clergymen.-f 
Thus you see, Madam, the signal advantages which! j 
the priesthood brii^ to nations. But the clergy forgel > 
not to tell us that sH. those terrible effects which I. > 
have detailed, are to be traced to the passions of man- >^ 
kind, and not to the doctrines of the Christian relirf 
gion, which always reccmimends charity, concord, and^i 
peace. Yet if we reflect on the principles 'of this 
religioa» we shall pelf ceive that they are incompatible 
with the fine .maxims which yvete practised by tlie. 
Cl^ristian teachers, at a time when they had not the; 
power, and we may believe also the inclination to per-: 
secute; their enemies, and ensanguine .their hands rjn 
the blood of their countrymen. Nevertheless we find 
that the adorers of ar jealous God, vindictive and san- 
guinary, as is obviously the character of the God of 
the Jews and Christians, could not evince in their 
conduct moderation, tranquilhty, and humanity. . The 
adorers of a God who takes offence at the opinions of 
his weak creatures,; who reprobates, and glories in the 
extermination of all who dp not worship him in a psfff 
ticular way, for the which, by the bye, he gives theoOf 
•neither the means nor the inclination, must necessa-^ 
rily. be intolerant persecutors. The adorers of a God,- 
who has nO;t thought fit to illuminate With an equal 
portion ; of light the minds of all his creatures, . who 
reveals his fiivour, and bestows his kindness on a f§w, 
only of;. those creatures, who leaves the remainder io; 
blindness and uncertainty, to follow tl^r passions,^ of, 
adopt opinions against which diejavoi^ed wage war,., 
must of necessity be e|£rnally at odds with the rest? of 
the world, icanting about their oracles and , mysteries, 
supeivatural, precepts, in vepted puFely to torment the 

human miD(l, to enthral it, and leave man answer- 
able for what he coidd not obey, and puaishahle /p^ 
what he was restrained from performing. , ,.,, nu^ii 



. .---=>^<!i»i^T. . aM^^a 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



im 



We need mot then be astonished, }f, sibee the otigiri 
of Cbristianityj out prfestS' have never been without 
dfsptftes. It appear^ from thei^ conduct, attd ffova i y 
their conduct we must judge of their religion, for it is \^// 
very natural to suppo^ that the priests of every rfeli-' ) ^z 
gion are fashioned according to the tenets of that 
religioft, else are they not its priests, but a herd of 
im^dtors, the annihilation of whose pretensions must 
always be the duty of the state they are in ; that triMi 
priests and true religibn may prosper,' it appears from 
their conduct, I say, that God sent his Son upon earth 
soieiy to cast among mankind the apple of discord. 
The ministers of a church founded bv Christ himself, 
wh6 promised to send them his Holy Spirit to lead 
them into ail the truth; have never been in unison^ 
with &eir dogmas. We have seen this iiifallible 
church for whole ages enveloped in error. At least 
its modern seceders say so. And if doctors differ^ 
who shall agree ? You, know. Madam, that in i^ii 
fourth century, by the acknowledgment of the priests 
themselves, the great body of the church foHt^Wed the. 
opinions of the Arians, who disavowed even the divi- 
nity of Jesus Christ. The spirit of God must then 
have abandoned his church, else why did its minister^ 
Mt into this error, and dispute, aflterWards about so 
fbndamehtal a dogma of the Ch/istiaA religion ? p^'> 
: Notv^ithstanding th^e totitinM ^narrel^, ^e 
ehtlrch arrogates to itself th^ri^t of fiking the M^ 
df the irue htlievefii atad' in this it {M'etends to infail^- / /; 
bility ; and if the Prote^^t piars6i)s have renduneed [ „ > 
tilfe lofty and ridibolous' pt>etensiohs 6f theit Catholic 
iH^hten, thf^y ak>e not lesti derfot^i in the: infallibility 
oftheirdecisioi^; for they ^Ik with the duthd^ity of 
otiacleil, atid semi to hell' and d^i^nation all who dd 
iifOt yield sihliimissioh to their dogmas. Thiis on bbf^ 
Mdies of the croy^ \^e see* division and discord; eabfa 
party is CHrthodox: in its oWn eyes, and rails against 

tfc6 Other as decefvei^; and- too frequently vioienice 
settles tiieir dlspi^tes; and wftJi^ them might is right, 

s " '\ 



// 



13if - LETTERS TO EUGENIA. i 

as much ds with the conqueror^ The orthodox are 
those among whom the prince ranl^ ; the heretics are< 
those who are not of the estabUshed sect. Hindoos, 
Mussulmen, Christians, all are right in their own 
eyes ; but let us examiue their pretensions. 

According to tlie Christians, there is no salvation, 
no getting up to heaven, no escaping bell, — a place no 
one knows where situate, whether in the sun or the 
nucleus of a comet — but by Christ. Now the Hini-f 
doos believe not in Christ but in Vislnou, a God of 
their own making, therefore the Hindoos cannot get 
to heaven. And the Musselmans believe in Maho- 
y/ ( met ; but Mahomet was an impostor according to the 
Christians ; therefore the Musselmans cannot get to 
heaven. According to the Protestants, idolaters canr 
not get to heaven ; but according to the same t'rotes- 
ants, the Roman Catholics worship images ; therefore 
the poor Catholics cannot get to heaven, for no ido- 
later shall enter that blest abode. According to the 
Catholics, there is no salvation but within the pale, of 
their church, at the head of which his Holiness of 
Rome presides, as vicar of Jesus Christ upon earth ; 
therefore the Protestants being without the pale of 
the Church of Rome, must all be damned. Accord- 
ing to the Jews, Christians are impostors ; and the 
impostor and his followers must both perish ; therefore 
both sects of Christians, Catholics and Protestants, 
must go headlong to the devil. And for the same rea- 
son the Musselmans may go to the devil also. In what 
religion then is salvation to be found ? , ' 

Yet although we have considered the priests as the 
authors of the various religions they as variously sup- 
port, we shall find, that kings and emperors have been 
4;he chief, the final resort of the priests for fixing the 
faith of the Christians; and that one stroke of the 
sword has done more to establish it than all the ratio- 
'^ -cinations of the clergy ; yet by this means opinions 
'^ ^^ I pleasing to the divinity are propagated. So Mahomet 
'/ \ established the A I* Coran ; sq the Roman emperors 



^^^^''"'"^'ntpmiippiniippmp^iqi^: 



UETTERS TO^fetjfe^eSifAi 



i9T 



after Constantine made whole nations of the Germans- 
Christians, and baptized them by the thousand in the wa-^ 
ters of the Danube. The true faith is, then, thatwhitA 
has always princes as its adherents ; the faithful are 
always those who are employed to exterminate their 
enemies ; the weak, not the powerful, are the enemies 
of God ! Horrible ! most horrible ! In a word, the 
princes of the earth, not the priests of this or that reli- 
gion, are infallible; they are those whom we must 
regard as the true founders of the faith over which they 
preside; they are those who, in all ages and in all 
countries, have fixed the faith that must be obeyed ; they 
are those who have invariably fixed the religion of their 
subjects. 

Ever since Christianity has been adopted by some 
nations, have we not seen that religion has almost en-( 
tirely occupied the attention of sovereigns ? For the' 
prinbes, blinded by superstition, have been wholly de-i 
voted to the priests, and have believed that prudence 
required, as the surest means for supporting their own 
power, that they also should submit themselves to the 
clergy, who seenied to be the real leaders and guides of 
the people, who saw nothing more divine than the 
ministers of a God, of whom all their ideas resemble 
the shadows of evening, growing darker, and rendering 
them more gloomy as the twilight of time rapidly de* 
clines. In either case the health of the body politic 
has never been consulted ; it was cowardly sacrificed 
to the interests of the -court, or the vanity and luxury 
of the priests.- It is by a continuation of superstition 
on the part of the princes, that we behold the chnreh 
so richly endowed in times of ignorance ; when men 
believed they would enrich Deity, by putting all their 
wealth into the hands of the priests of a good God, 
the declared enemy of riches. Savage warriors, desti- 
tute of the manners of men, flattered themselves that 
they could expiate all their sins by founding monastie^ 
- ries, and giving immense wealth to a set of men who 
had made vows of poverty. It was believed that they 



ri 



rf 



w 



Ll^fTERS TO EII£^»a4. 



I- 
t 

I' 



// 



// 



// ^/ 
// 



s* 



/ 



^ould merit fi:p^) the all-powerful a grea|t j^dif^fsige })y 
recpmpensdjc^ i^ness, lyhicb, in the pnest^j W9sj;e« 
^ded^a great good, and that t^e j^jdessing^ pro- 
ci^^ l^y their prayers would-be in proportion to the 
cpn^nujal ai^d pressing dtsmands th^r ^yerty m^i^pa. 
t^e w^thy. 

It is thus that by the superstition pf princ^, ti^e 
great men of ti^e eeurth, ^d the people ^o, the cleigy 
h^y^ become ppulent and powerful.; that monachjsm 
was honoured, and citizteiis the most j^ieless^ the }^sst ^ 
ips^uc^qd, bjot witha) tb§ moi^ fdange^ous, wene very 
W^l recompensied and become in t^m^ t))e nic^t cpi^r 
sideral^e portion of the commynity^ ^urrojun^ed by 
privileges and immunities, enjoying independepqe, 
power, and licence denied to all other rai)ks ^n^ cl;^ses ; 
it was th]i^^ that the imprudent deivp^ipn of §oy^e^gp§ 
put the priests in a conditipq to resist evep tbp^ ^ove- 
reigns tjbi^mselves, to make laws injd^pendent; pf their 
^i^^prity, arid trouble their goverpments with im- 
punity. 

The cl^gy arriving at this point of power and g^ifr 
deur, l^ecame redoubtable to mpn^urchs then^lyes, wl^p 
were frequently forced to submit to the yoke ij9:ipoae4 
Gja, thenj by the haughty priesthood, ^hep ^ 
sqyereign^ yielded, they yv^ere tbe veriest slaves^ of the 
priests, the instruments of ^heir passipps, the yile ^dpr 
rers of their power. When they refused to yield, tfie 
priests annoyed and embarrassed them by the crue|est 
s^tagepis ; hurled against them th^ anathemas of th^ 
^yj^ch, |[)js80lyed the people fropa their ob^ience, ^i)4 
^p subjects laod princes in array, declaring that whor 
ever obeyed the church were the fevpurites of heaven, 
apd those who refused the children of the dieyil. Nor 
could the pdnce in this case keep higiself onhjs throne 
but by consenting at length to obey the priests. An4 
there have been times when, in Europe, princes coulc) 
enjoy no repose for theoiselves or their people, unless 
they unequivocally conceded every point to tbe caprice > 
of th^ clej]gy. for in these times of ignorance, civil 



Lpprpfl^ TO EUj^NU. 

broils were as ^vour^e to tjae c^use pi the clera^, ^ 
devotiop , aad a wea)^ ,and poQf prmqe, swrp^ndeia by ^ 
wretched people, yv^ ^fifej^ ^ th|g a^ercy )pf 4ie, 
priesthood, whp wQuld ^t ^y joaomeDt they ch|9se^a^ 
n^hilate bis power, excite his people agfuoat \iii^, fi^d 
hurl him from the height pf ^ py^lty into jthe (oiv^st £^yss 
O^mi^y, 

,', |n geoeral, A^^dazp, we fini^ that ip countries w)^^ 
religion has gained dominion, the sovereigi) is f^ece^^ 
rily dependent on the clergy, and eiijpys power in pror 
portion as he obeys theoi, for l^e instant he displeases 
them, his power vanishes'like the dew of mpfrnjiig ; aii4 
the priests, with the people, and the cross for ti^ejr jbian- 
ner, hold the balance to weigh the legitimacy of ^iffsry 



But we no where find, except in the cret^ which 
the priests have formed for themselveS) that the l^^t 
nesB, the ignorance, and unreaspnal^lfs demands of the 
priesthood should be supporteid ; ai^ii on e^minat)on 
lire discover that perpetual t|ricjcery and coBJun^tipti ai)^ 
at work an^ong the priests to prevent; the pieQple %>ai 
prying into the fiilsehooidam] phicaoe^of idie^e pi^ganp 
of tl^e diymity, . . < 

^; Do you not, then, cpnclude with pe, th^|: the inter 
rests of the sovereign accord npt Vf^th the ministeFs of 
the Christian religion, who hav^, in ^ ages?* k^^ ^6 
mo^t troublesome of the p<6opl^ ^png whpm ^ey 
have s^prung up, the most rebellioMs, the n^ofit dij^ 
ficul^ tp reduce tp obediei^e, un^ ^hpse satellites 
are too often the declsM^ed ene^^ies pf the perspn of 
the king ? And it is thus tl^t Christi^qity is the 
firmest support of the thfpq^ ; that if reg£u^^ ]cin^ as 
the express images pf the diyinity ; that it s^^ressei 
^ woru^ of the dust with the title of the MighHe^loD^ 
the ERghe$^, 

The maxims of the pleigy are» hpwever, best calcur 
lated to lull kings pn ^e coiich of slumber; they^are 
cdcul^tpd to flatter those on whom the clergy can riB|y> 



// 



// 



\ 






// r/ I' 
if 



■* ■ ■ . • . ' . 

Wi / LETTERS^ TO Eugenia: 

and who will serve their ambition ; and their flatterers 
can soon change their tone, wheii the princes have the 
temerity to question the perniciotiR tendency of priestly 
influence. Then the prince is a heretic ; his destruc^ 

tiori is laudable; heaven rejoices in his overthrow; 
And all this is the religion of the Bible ! 

You know, Madam, that these odious maxims have 
been a thousand times enforced by the priests, who, 
when they have found themselves puzzled, have inva- 
. 1 riably replied, that the sovereign cannot encroach Upon 
the authority of the church, since it is better to obey 
God'than mah;-'-'-^^ ^^^- ■-^••.-^^^-^^li...... ./o- ^ui. ^i-^j^\ 

' The priests' alr*e devoted to tbe prim^es, when the 
ptrinces are blindly led by the priests. These last 
preach arrogantly that the former ought to be extermi- 
nated, when they refuse^to obey the church, that is 
to' say, the priests ; yet how terrible soever may be 
these maxims, how dangerous soever their practice 
to the security of the sovereign, and the tranquillity of 
the state, they are the immediate consequeDces drawn 
firbm Judaism and Christianity. We find in the Old 
Tfe^ment that the regicide is applauded ; that treason 
and rebellion are approved. Why then Should we 
suppose that Grod is offended with the thoughts of his 
creatures, that hwetics are displeasing to him ? It is 
very natutal to conclude, that if a sovereign be a here- 
tic or impious, that is to say, if he disobeys the clergy, 
or opposes their views of aggrandizement, and is even- 
tually successful in carrying Ws projects ^s David of 

old, or Heiiiy VIII. in modern times, then the clergy 
conform to the king, who is now no longer a heretic, 

might being right, incapacity error, but the head of 
the church legitimately king, and the church and he 
are infallible ; the One can do no wrong ; and whoever 
> '^ / does not conform to the other is incapable of enjoying 
,/ \ the rights and privilieges of a citizen. rtiiiAji<4fc#«4^: 
You perceive theti. Madam, that such conduct, 
though talked of by the priests, as founded on thepritt- 



• . -«!L.HJl JIHBI.ilii.IIIH il|il!|pjliippi||ppiP 

I«TTERS TO EUGEViA. / %ft 

ciples. of their religtoio, their: precepts are very much 
opposed to the surety of sovereigns, and the repose of 
nations. Ho w;ever, followhig these maxinas, the Hfet 
of the prince too often depends on the caprice of the 
priesthood, who may d^lare him a. heretic, as has beea 
donie by the Pope in noany instances, even to excooh' 
munication. And if the.' priesthood be flatterers of 
kings, they have been so to establish between thenv- 
selves and those sovereigns a system of absolute power, 
which might secure to them an . enipi re not only over 
the persons, but the consciences of the people. Who- 
ever resists them is a rebel or a seditious person, or he 
is persecuted as a blasphemer., ,^ nyjiiio yrM^Ba^q' m 

On the other hand, the obedience of the clergy to 
their prince is only conditional. They v^ill submit to 
him, they will flatter his whims, and strengthen his / ^\ 
power, provided he submit to their orders, and do not W ^ J 
traverse their projects, nor encroach on their livings, ] '^ 
nor change any of their dogmas ; but sd soon as he 
attempts to contravene their sentiments, there is an 
open war, in which the victor is infallibly right, and 
the vanqui||jed is necessarily wrong. V-i . - 

These considerations prove how dangerous are the 
priesthood, since the end they purpose by all their pro- 
jects, is dominioa over the mind of mankind, and by 
subjugating itf to enslave their persons, and render 
them the creatures of despotism and tyranny. . And 
we shall find, upon .exan^ination, that, with one or two 
exceptions, the pious have, been the enemies of the 

progress of science, and the deyelopement of the hu- 
man understanding ; f^r by brutalizing niankiDd, they 
have invariably strove to bind thenato their yoke. Their 
avarice, their thirst of power and wealth, have led theip 
to plunge their fello.w-eitizens in ignc^ra^ce, in misery, 
an4 unhappiness. They discourage the' cultivation t pf 
the earth by their system of tythes, their ext»rtipns, 
^nd their secret projects ; they annihilate activity, .ta* 
leats, and industry ; jtheir pride is to reign on the,,ruin 
of^erestof their species. The finest countries in 




"■ n-. • 



t ■ ■ ' ■ ■■ t . 

14^ ijgfrreits to eugenu. 

Bi:Hrof>e have, wbren btindty subn^ssive to the priests, 
h«geir the worst cultivated, the thinnest peopled, and 
the mb^t wreleh^. The Inquisition in Sptiin, Itafy, 
and Portugal, has only tended to impoverish those 
coontries to debase the miiid, and render their subjects 
. \ the teriest slaves of superstition. And in countries 
I #hei'e w6 see heaven shovrering down abundance, the 
I ''' ( pfec^ple are pOdr and famished, while the priests^and 
motiks aiFe opulent and bloated. Their kings are with- 
6elt power and without gl()#j ;' their subject languish 
i^ indigence ai»l wretchednessv^^^^^i? imi^m&m^i'^r 
The priests boast of the utility of their offi<je. In^ 
dependently of their prayers from which the WOfM has 
ftw" st> mafny «iges derived neither instruction nor peace, 
pro9pa*ity not happiness ; their pretensions to teach 
Ae rising generations are often frivolous, and soiae- 
^tties arrogant'j since we have Ibund others equally well 
edeililate^ to the discharge of those functions, vrtio 
have been good citizens, that have not drawn from the 
pockets of their neighbours the tenth of their earnings. 
Thusi in what light soever we ^ew them, the ^eten- 
sions of the pri6sts are reduced to a ik)n-e||tity, com- 
pared to the disservice they render the community by 
their exactions and dissolute lives. 

If, Aeft^, the services of the elergy were propeSfly 

appreciated, in place of immense revenues and priikiely 

pisWer, their salaries w^ld be on a par with the ib^' 

of empyrlts, and' thei* nostrums as highly valued. 

B^ I will only refer you t& my formed* letters^ in- prbof 

cyf this,' and f^l^ ib ^nfihhati6n of thdr inutihty in 

malify {^btatiferife, in which they have cdntrived to push 

fheftiselVes^ to the g^eat detriment of society. They 

// \ *fe iftsip^ siehsible, th^ as thie hui^ai^ inind expands and 

// ^^ I frfees itself from thie prejudicies of early eductioo, their 

// i afiDthoirfty d^ndfes into nothingness. Their ^dea-. 

vOtir, ti^n, 19 to mislead princes, by false charges 

against those who befHend mdn^ind. Nevertheless, 

prine^ ^« actually itlit^ested in the progress of Kea^ 

son, and When tfc^y attempt to fimit its ran^, liiey 



|.l^>JWIUPpi^i.ll,J,|l,Uj[||ip||U|>.li|iii I VWJIiJI^illlpiiLii 



iJMt»«^ *i^ M^^^i^ftii. 



m 



only add to the n»8«rtSby tvfrifch itrift^ftys'^aitiggrdtihd, 
and due more Yioftm^ fhey jniirabfate to tfhe'fsige of thi^ 
clergy, they ereclj tfete tiMfre* steps on the pfOrticd of 
truth. Bat ev€Vy dtatfe has its tiioi'mtig tvvf%ht of 
knowkdge, its Bo©i!N*ay 'of s<6ience, awd' it* 6^nirtg 
of ignorance. Ttfe priests krtow whidfi pieriod suits 
theui best, and that tliey are busiesriti, like oWls in 
tiie absence of the sun from a particular te^bftv of the 
earth, ^If5>'=**-=hf"^":> it;^'^' if-**- « '^'f ■•^yKii^^* ti^uj 

You perceive, then, t^t. in bariishtng philosophy, 
an^ repressi ng i ntellection , a governtnent ddibrifiee^ the' 
dearest interests of the people to a seditious ^iesthood, 
for there is not a single priest on earth who does- not 
suppose himself equal to a king — Who does not avow 
as high pretensions, and rulie his flock with a deis^pot- 
ism equal to that practisetl in Algiers. 

The clergy are essentially ttie most wick6d m^n' of 
the state, and it requires* somediing equsrf tbi mirtitcfe' 
to find one of them otherwise. They dte the bahlJling^ 
of minds in their d»tage; Their pulpits alte the aiiViiff, 
whereon#ll that is destructive of the progress of m't^i. 
lect is hamifipef^forth. Their pr«Stended missioh^iaak^ 
them redoabtablt?; the kindnesses of priiibe^'and pcd^ 
pie they ctMlcei*^ t<4 berdiitieddue tb'theitifis'tfte irtcsi. 
sengersi of hedVetf. Noi* havte Tr ih thi^ p6rft^tiir6, 
depaiiie*ft'oraitheWig^rtidr ferduHtlg a^long Wdc^ 
sioti of figesi the ' (i\^¥^ have- botitrfV^ tb* ^acftfi^; liotfe 
pritioes aiidtpefopleit^^h^ir avaviee-atid^ssJoiis: MhH 
how happen»'*|i that»lh^ sftOuld' Bectoltife isd^ifchi tH^t 
]^rinbes>skoalid hOtticfur ffeen^^lth tlftiif " ddnfid&pcej ati^d* 
regard them as the props of their power, and • i!Hd saffe- 
^uards of thetr>%tatteS'K Tht^' chief aim of the priest- 
hood is to cajole kings^whom they may hold in slavery 
with the people. 

Against all those .who meddle with theological ques- 
tions, the priests complain bitterly, and encourage their 
princes to side with them, and persecute those who do 
not submit ; proscribe with fury all the friends of rea- 
son, and stifle liberal opinions which benefit society. 

T 



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^ L^TTEHS TO ^GENIA. 

¥pT those very, priests >yhp cry ^* j^acrilege'^ -when tbe 
«^ / princes meddle with their dogmas, or more prt^erly 
^ " j their livings, are iDdign^nt jUgainst ; tbe same princes^ ( . 
" ' \yhen t(iey refuse to destroy their enemies, or treat ^ 
them.as.iQipious, when they stirr 90! in religious broils^ >! 
^.:,We l^ave seen some beod their paWer to the. better-/ 
ing . of their people, and the diasemina^on .of know- 
ledge among them ; but we have seen the clergy op^ 
pose those princes, by a zeal that could result from^ 
npthipg but their self-interest, which, is always in- 
creased in. proportion as they propagate their mystical 
j^rgpn, .and secure believers to their fanatical ? prac- 

., .What do we behold useftil toi society in r tb6 inonu*^ 
n>ent3 of piety furnished by the lives of the priests ? 
We find the most fantastical notions maintained of a 
l^^yippnastic life ; temples and palaces .for the heads 
of .the churqh, enriched by the hard-earned labours ofi 
tJbe poor ; for since the establishment of Christianity, 
the sacerdotal power has been raised on the ruin of* 
nations, and the annihilation of every prince iM^ dared 
to oppose it. A jealous religion is : exclusively calcu-' ( / 
lated to cramp: the minds of men, , and .keep them in y/ 
terror and. suspense. And we see in all ages that the. \ ^ 
interests of the clergy are incompatible with those of 
tjie.peoipie. In every state, therefore, -sin which the. 
ij^^erests .of ,one class of the community is at variance 
with those of ^other cla^sesa disorder, ; Rising from dis-r 
content and misery from inidifference, iojust, be thecon-i 
sequences; This is also the case where the> biind lead 

the.pilQU.i^f^;- ;,T>7f.-;<| Ti'^fiJ li'^fii'iif ojIj ftK tff'nli \y\i^n 

-Jwtji'Rf i&(it 'iw i\WA V?i *■*"">' M«^am,i&|!,.f ft :Jo»!m;itx; 
71T/fiip iii h\c-iiS ■rv.iW v'HiT {^^H^lf r--^\A ')iri;:0 Ot ??; hood 

->"vHp h::>i^«*l' '^y{\v:u ■'H>]»'^tT; cAfl ^VrXtM llK VeVi\u%l' . 

<4i odw-fy^od) <>ij^f>-v-.q4Hif^ ,!:r fit ihr// -sbM o) -i^oo^niiq 
-i-rn i'^ ^Kvm\ vfit \\v. n'\i (III// '><}n'>5»oi<} : lifftrfn^ iHri 
.vj^bo- ?ii :-fi H^ n'»n!Y/ >ni'>f*ii<ri lfiT><ii! sHil>: ban ,no^ 



f^g?^ ; 



I D^Kuilatter tnyself;' Madam, thdf 1 h^v&'hl^ktlf 
demonstrated to you, tHat the Christian retigioni far 
from being the: support of sovereign atithority,^ is its'; 
greatest enemy ; and of having plainly con vitif^ed^bii^^ 
that its ministers are, by the very natisre of thieir nmc- 
tions,:the rivals of kingsi, and adversaries the niost'to' 
be feared .by all who value or exercise temporal powcfr.' 
In a word, I think I have persuaded yoii; that Soici^ty- 
could better dispense with the services of the priest^ 
hood, than it could with the pufse of society ; and 
that of the two classes, the priests ape less benefici^ 
to the state than the labouring pocw. " ': li u '^^n -on \ ^^ 
fI'Let us now examine the advantages which this reli- 
gion procures to individuals, who are most strongly 
convinced of its pretended truths, and who conform 
the most rigidly to its precepts. Let us see if it is 
calculated* to tender its disciples more content, more 
happy, and more virtuous than they would be with- 
out the burden -of its ministers. ^ ' ■ ' 

In order to decide this question, we haive 6nl jr t^y 
look j around us j and consider the eflFects- which this 
religion prodttoes in minds truly penetrated ; with its 
pretended truths.^ We usually find in all those- who 
profess: it the most sincerely, and who practisfe it the 
most exactly,' cha^in and meiancholy, which announce 
plainly,' that they derive no iuternai peace from that^^ 
about which they talk incessantly ; and we have foi^nd' ^ 
some of .them confess, that while they are obliged to j " 
appearito the world as contented and happy, they^ are 
interilidly the victims of a secret inqeietude^.* ^^'^. '^ 
i Whoever shall meditate seriously on the God of thfe* 
Old Testameaty will be convinced how much Hcehce 
the |>riests and their followers have, from thie despotic 
and tyrannical character of their Deityi to be ovier-' 
bearing in their exterior, and the slaves of fedrwitbin \ 






// 



True, the doctrine of predestination is a panacea for 
al] climes, but then what a number of human be» 
ings it sends to the devil, merely because they did not 
do what they could not do ! Even the worker of good 
works has ^p hope from thein, unless he can persuade 
hi^:isej[f ^t he is <ffle of the elect ; while, the true be^- 
l^ver in this doctrine cannot faii tp get iiit$> beuven, 
b^ bis jsin$ what they may. ;- ^ > v-rr 

Tl)^?e ^ littl^e occQsicH), bowever, J^Jfudam, to in- 
sii^tQp this to|HC witb you; yet I may g-lance at the 
co9^QUf^|^a<e}^iige of devoti<Miand pleasure, of piety 
a^d ^issipatipp, of momeptary feiSvour aud conti- 
Tklied derangement, which the priests and their devo- / y 
tees offer to the world. If prie«te faat, it is firom ( ^ 
prjdp and ambition; their principles are not better, \/ 
nor are their passions weaker than those of other men. 
'' [ Their sevel^ties are stoicism blended occasionally with 
^aticism ; (qt they are enemies to the refined plea- 
sures of mipd, and' their unsociability proves them to 
be the victims of chagrin. Their jealousy, in facty 
compels theai to interdict harmless pastimes, which 
both God and Nature allow. /> ?.; n. ,^41^ 

May we not, then, conclude, that the reHgioii of 
these priests is not designed for beings who have to 
fi^lfil the duties of society ; its precepts are often im- 
practicable; they check activity, and rePder the com- 
placent frequently morose and disagreeable. For a 
Christian is forced ta abstract his maxims or himself 
f^om thpm, if he would live oa a footing with other 
Pl^n^ Interest and emulation bid him set the dogmas 1 ; 
^ bis prie$t aside,; and he does, so, but is furnished ^ 
Tfitb a panacea in the event of offending God, a salvo 
fof the sins of omission and commission. In a word, 
a good QhosM^ i^ > ^apicif afMither, Jiot of this 

rr^Tbie w^ see, that Christians, to belong to the^ great 
jili^^ of manlfjnd, a/^ every -moment compelled to 
depmrt from t^ir supernatural speculations. Their 
passions necessitate them to compromise their tenets. 



I^BniSB TO EOeENtA> w 

which have DOtforoft to extirpate the springs of hu* 
f ( man nature, as vanousas the cifc^iiiistances and ob» 
^ / jects that solicit obiservation^ and claim a share in the 
round of pastime man has pleasure in enjoying. ' -* 
^ I believe, Madam, that you Ivill now be convince& 
that the true friends of the human kind and of princes 
are not the friends of the priesthood.- But what are 
the motives which determine a man to incredulity? 
Yet is incredulity not that which pretends to dottiineer 
over the conscience ; it furnishes no pretexts for vio^ 
lating the laws of the understanding ; it teaches none 
to hate and despise men on account of their opinions, 
at least not of opinions which carry to evil tendency 
in their practice* The motives, then, for incredulity, 
as in my case, are infinite, and I do not know that I 
am either more just or more depraved than other inen, 
but I am confident I entertain no persecuting spirit. 

The incredulous who reflect, perceive, tiiat without 
abandoning society, they have pressing and real mo- 
tives which invite them to be honest men and good 
citizens ; they understand that reciprocal interest which 
is the first law of nature; they strive to render them- 
F { selves agreeable to all, from a principle of justice, and 
'/ \ thiey injure none from a conviction of the utility of 
p^^onal virtue; they obey the Jaws, because good 
laws are for the protection of the good, and tlie chas- 
tisftment of the bad. They have a perfect idea 6f die 
beauty of decency, and the propriety of good order ; 
they devise. to merit the appellation of their felloe- 
citizens; they fear to incur their disapprob^ion of 
censure. And such are some of the motives which 
actuate the incredulous, on which the conduct of the 
free-thinker is grounded. 

But you may rejoin, " And are all the incredulous 

such as you have pourtrayed ?" The partizans of the 

Christians have, I believe, found as little to censure 

} \ in the conduct of tKe incredulous, as in their own 

^ / companions in fanaticism. But the incredulous do not 

appeal to supernatural aid and divine instruction for 



/} 



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.j'-i ■^■"-^'"-WkS.JJi 



lit , LETTERS TO EU^nflAl 

the propriety of their conduct ; the credulous do-sa 
/ I appeal, and there is no qiiestion that, if they evinced 
^ / in their lives the perfection they boast as attainable by ( ^ 
their religion, the whole world would follow them in 
devotion. A happy temperament, an honest educa- 
tion, the desire to live peaceably, the fear of incurring 
blame, the habitude of doing always good, and think- 
ing well of mankind, furnish motives for the incredu- 
lous to abstain from vice, and practise virtue; Besides, 
they have an inexhaustible fund oi motives which re- 
ligion does not furnish to the superstitious, who, 
when they have crimes to expiate, reconcile themselves 
to God, and set their conscience at rest. The incre- 
dulous man, who does wrong, cannot reconcilie him- 
self to society, nor with his own mind ; and if he 
has no hope of recompense in another life, but from 
the good he does in this, he must of necessity practise 
virtue and probity. 

It appears obvious, that all men who consult their 
reason, ought to be more reasonable than those who 
consult only their imagination ; that those who con- 
sult well their own nature, ought to have more correct 
ideas of good and evil, of justice and injustice, of 
// / honesty and dishonesty, than those who consult a 
vague theology, and incomprehensible mysteries. The 
incredulous do the former ; the credulous, I mean the 
Christians, do the latter ; and I shall therefore conclude 
this letter b}' requesting you will use your own judgi 
ment in examining on which class your happiness bids 
you arrange yourself; jt -io f i oi -sc ;t t^rit : ?ii*»sri!a 

I am, Madam, ike. >Ki^H'>n 



'J 



.'jK.;nb^n 'rii -h: ih; ■:,: :../, " .vyy^h r^irA mo/ luH 

■"• ; i " - ■ -" , . . . ■ . '■ 









c 



LETTERS. TO BUGEMIA.' 



140 






11 



''Ui/"i'"iX;nf;'; j';jin 



iri>ut| ,;5«i\u-H\^^^*f 



vLETTER XL 



4v/ -isl-; jruf j">ijisf-:. 



3r> /ui^d ^aoifiKjQ;-? 



By thisi time, ,Madamy you will have reflected on 
what I had the honour to:addresstoyoa ; and perceived 
how impossible it is to found a certain and invariable 
morality on a religion enthusiastic, ambiguous, mys- 
terious, and contradictory, and which never agreed 
with itself.: You know that the God who appears to 
have taken pleasure in rendering himself unintelligi- 
ble, that the God who is partial and changeable, that 
\.the God whose precepts are at variance one with ano- 
ther, can never serve as the base on which to rear a 
morality that shall become practicable among the in- 
habitants of the earth. In short, how can we found 
justice and goodness on attributes that are unjust and 
evil; yet attributes of a Being who ten:^)ts man, whom 
he crated, for ; the purpose of punishing him when 
tempted ? How can we know when we do the will 
of a God, who has said. Thou shall not kill, and who 
yet allows his people to exterminate whole nations ^ 
What idea xan we form of the morality of that God, 
who declares hiniself pleaded with the sanguinary con- 
duct of Moses, of the rebel, the assassin, the adul- 
terer David > Is it possible to found the holy duties 
of iuimanity on a God, whose favourites have been 
inhuQian persecutors and crud monsters }, How can 
we deduce our duties from the lessons of the priests 
of a God of peace,, who, nevertheless, breathes only 
setlition, vengeance) and carnage? How can we take 
as ipckoctels for our conduct «a^n/», who were useless 
enthusiasts, or turbulent ^natics, or seditious apos- 
tates; who, under the pretext of defending the cause 
of God, ;haiVe stirred up the greatest ravages on the 
earth ? What wholesomis morality can we reap from 
the adoption lO^ impracticable virtues, from their: being 
supernatural, which are i^^bly useless to ourselves, to 
thps« among whom we live, and in their consequences \ 



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often dangerous? How can we take as guides in our 
conduct priests, whose lessons are a tissue of unintel- . 
ble opinions {for aUr^l^^i&ii is- b^t opini on^^, puerile 
and frivolous practices, which these gentlemen prefer 
to real virtues ? In fine, bow can "we fee taught- the 
^i<l^, conducted in an unerrifij^ path, by men of a 
chtiBgeable morality, calculated upon' and actuated by 
thdc present interests, and who Although they pret«o^ 
to pfeach good^will to men, humanity, and peaee*,- 
ha>ve) as their text book, » Tol«ime i^ained with the 
recoidSi of injustice, inhufiaanity, sedition, and per* 

fidy» /Jixn-^^it'-'lij ^iiT-ii' i.^>.'i.A| tl iJtiJi iJ^Vv:^,. U;.y. .!j4:i-; .;'/''•■ 

You know; Madam* thar it i* k^possib1g''tblbb&*J^ j 
morality on notions that are so unfixed and so eott- 
trary to all our natural ideas of virtue. By virtue wc 
ought to understand the habitual dispositions to' do' 
whatever will procure us* the happiness of ourselvesi 
and our species. By virtue, religion understands only 
that which may contribute to render us favourable to a" 
bidden God, who attaches his feivour to practices and* 
opiDions that are too often buftftii to ourselves, and' 
little- beneficial to oti^ers. The morality of the Ghris- 
fiinsiis a mystic morality, which- resembles the dog' 
mas of their religio»; it is- obscure, unintelligible, 

uncertain, and 8Cit>je€t to the interpr^ation of' frait 
c^eataieii This-morality)k>ttever fixed, because it is? 
subordinate to^ai retigion- whifch varies incessantly' it»* 
principles, and wiiieh fs^ regulated' according to the 
pteasure of adespotio divinityi andi more especially; 
acoojrdtBgi tOi the pleasure of prvestS' whose interests are^ 
changing daily, whose caprices are as^ variable as th€= 
lMMirs<'Of their existence, and who are, consequently^ 
Del} always in agreenrant with one another. 

The writings which are thfe source* whence • tfJef 
Christians if&ve drawn- their mofallty v are not only an 
aby^ qi obscurity^ but d«mand<^«ontkiuai explications 
fipm their masters, the prTesls^, vtfho, in expiami ng,^ 
make them still more* obseurei'^tfH' nrore contradiii^ 
twyu If? these oracles of* heavewprescnttertttf^sin'fm^ 



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LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 151 

place the virtues truly useful, in another part they 
approve, or prescribe, actions entirely opposed to ail 
the ideas that we have of virtue. The same GkxJ who 
orders us to be good, equitable, and beneficent, who 
forbids the revenging of injuries, who declares himself 
to be the God of clemency and of goodness — shews 
himself to be as implacable in his rage, announces him- 1 v 
self as bringing ih^ sword, and not peace : tells us that 

jf [ he is come to set mankind at variance ; and finally, 
in order to revenge his wrongs, orders rapine, treason, 
usurpation and carnage. In a word, it is impossible 
to find in the scriptures any certain principles, or 
sure rules of morality. You there see in one part 
a small number of precepts useful and intelligible, 
and in another part maxims the most extravagant and 
the most destructive to the good and happiness of all 
society. 

It is in punctuality to fulfil the superstitious and fri- 
volous duties, that the morality of the Jews in the Old 
Testament writings is chiefly conspicuous ; lega> obser- 
vances, rites, ceremonies, are all that occupied the 
people of Israel. In recompence for their scrupulous 
exactness to fulfil these duties, they were permitted to 
commit the most frightful of crimes. The virtues 
recommended by the Son of God, in the New Testa- 
ment, are not in reality, the same as those which God 
the Father had made observable in the former case. 
The New Testament contradicts the Old. It an- 
nounces that God is not pacified by sacrifices, nor by ) ^^ /, 

f \ offerings, nor by frivolous rites. It substitutes in 
place of these, supernatural virtues, of which I be- 
lieve i have sufficiently proved the inutility, the im- 
possibility, and the incompatibility with the well- 
being of mail living in society. The Son of God, by 
the writers of the New Testament, is set at Variance 
with himself; for he destroys in one place what he es- 
tablishes in another ; and moreover, the priests have ap- 
propriated to tliemselves all the principles of his mis- 
sion. They are in unison only with God when the pre- 

u 



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152 LETTERS TQ EUGENIA. 

cepts of the Deity accord with their present interest. 
Is it their interest to persecute ? They find that God 
ordains persecution. Are they thenoselves persecuted? 
They find that this pacific God forbids persecution, 
and views with abhorrence the persecution of his ser- \ 
vants. Do they find that superstitious practices are 
lucrative to themselves ? Notwithstanding the aversion 
of Jesus Christ from offerings, rites and ceremonies, 
they impose them on the people, they surcharge them 
with mysterious rites : they respect these more than 
those duties which are of essential benefit to society. 
If Jesus has not wished that they should avenge them- 
selves, they find that his Father has delighted in ven- 
geance. If Jesus has declared that his kingdom is not 
of this world, and if he has shewn contempt of riches, 
they nevertheless find in the Old Testament, suffi- 
cient reasons for establishing a hierarchy for the govern- 
ing of the world in a spiritual sense, as kings do in a 
political one, — for the disputing with kings about their 
power, — for exercising in this world, an authority the 
most unlimited, a licence the most terrific. In a word, 
if they have found in the Bible, some precepts of a mo- \ff 
ral tendency and practical utility, they have also found / ' 
others to justify crimes the most atrocious. 

Thus, in the Christian religion, morality uniformly 
depends on the fanaticism of priests, their passions, 
their interests : its principles are never fixed, they vary 
according to circumstances ; the God of whom they are 
the organs, and the interpreters, has not said any thing 
but what agrees best with their views and what never 
contravenes their interest. Following their caprices, 
he changes his advice continually; he approves, and 
disapproves, of the same actions; he loves, or detests, 
the same conduct, he changes crime into virtue, and 
virtue into crime. 

What is the result from all this ? It is that the 
Christians have not sure principles in morality: it 
varies with the policy of the priests, who are in a situ- [ 'r 
ation to command the credulity of mankind, and who 



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LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



153 



\ by force of menaces and terrors oblige men to shut 
their eyes on their contradictions, and minds the most 
honest to commit faults the greatest which can be com, 
mitted against religion. It is thus that under a God who 
recommends the love of our neighbour, the Christians 
accustom themselves from infancy to detest an here- 
tical neighbour, and are almost always in a disposition 
to overwhelm him by a crowd of arguments received 
from their priests. It is thus that, under a God who 
ordains we should love our enemies and forgive their 
ojffences, the Christians hate and destroy the enemies 
of their priests, and take vengeance, without measure, for 
injuries which they pretend to have received. It is thus, 
that under a just God, and who never ceases to boast 
of his goodness, the Christians, at the signal of their 
spiritual guides, become unjust and cruel, and make a 
merit of having stifled the cries of nature, the voice of 
humanity, the counsels of wisdom, and of public interest. 
In a word, all the ideas of justice and of injustice, 
of good and evil, of happiness and of misfortune, are 
necessarily confounded in the head of a Christian. 
His despotic priest commands him in the name of 
God to put no reliance on his reason, and the man 
who is compelled to abandon it for the guidance of 
a troubled imagination, will be far more likely to con- 
sult and admit the most stupid fanaticism as the inspira- 
tion of the Most High. In his blindness, he casts at 
his feet duties the most sacred, and he believes himself 
virtuous in outraging every virtue. Has he remorse ? 
his priest appeases it speedily, and points out some 
easy practices by which he may soon recommend him- 
self to God. Has he committed injustice, viofence, 
and rapine ? he may repair all by giving to the 
church the goods of which he has despoiled worthy citi- 
zens ; or by repaying by largesses, which wn 11 procure 
him the prayers of the priests and the favour of heaven. 
For the priests never reproach men who give them of 
this world's goods, of the injustice, the cruelties, and 
the crimes they have been guilty, to support the church 



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If 



IS* LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

and be friend her ministers ; the faults which have al- 
most always been found the most unpardonable, have 
always been those of most disservice to the clergy. 
To question the faith and reject the authority of 
the priesthood, have always been the most frightful 
crimes ; they are truly the sin against the Holy Ghost, 
which can never be forgiven either in this world or in 
that which is to come. To despise these objects 

/ ( which the priests have an interest in making to be res- 
pected, is sufficient to qualify one for the appellation 

,/ / of a blasphemer and an impious man. These vague 
words, void of sense, suffice to excite horror in the 
mind of the. weak vulgar. The terrible word sacrilege, 
designates an attempt on the person, the goods, and 
the rights of the clergy. The omission of some useless 
practice is exaggerated and represented as a crime more 
detestable than actions which injure society. In favour 
of fidelity to fulfil the duties of religion, the priest 
easily pardons his slave submitting to vices, criminal 
debaucheries, and excesses the most horribje. You per- 
ceive then, Madam, that the Christian morahty has 
really in view but the utility of the priests. Why then 
should you be surprised that they endeavour to make 
themselves arbitrary and sovereign ; that they deem as 
faults and as criminal, all the virtues which agree not 
with their marvellous systems. The Christian morali- 
ty appears only to have been proposed to blind men, 
to disturb their reason, to render them abject and 
timid, to plunge them into vassalage, to make them 
lose sight of the earth which they inhabit, for visions 
of bliss in heaven. By the aid of this morality the 
priests have become the true masters here below ; . they 
have imagined virtues and practices useful only to 
themselves ; they have procribed and interdicted those 
which were truly useful to society ; they have made 
slaves of their disciples, who make virtue to consis;! in 
blind submission to their cajwrices. 

To lay the foundations pf a good morality, it is ab- 
solutely necessary to destroy the prejudices which the 



ft 



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LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



Idd 



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f 

I 



priests have inspired in us ; it is necessary to begin by 
rendering the mind of man energetic, and freeing it 
from those vain terrors vv'hich have enthralled it ; it 
is necessary to renounce those supernatural notions 
which have till now hindered men from consulting the 
volume of nature, which have subjected reason to the 
yoke of authority ; it is necessary to encourage man, 
to undeceive him as to those prejudices which have 
enslaved him ; to annihilate in his bosom those false 
theories which corrupt his nature, and which are in 
fact, infidel guides destructive of the real happiness of 
the species. It is necessary to undeceive him as to the 
idea of his loathing himself,, and especially that other 
idea that some of his fellow creatures are not to labour 
with their hands for their support, but in spiritual mat- 
ters for his happiness. In fine, it is necessary to in- 
fluence him with self love, that he may merit the 
esteem of the world, the benevolence and consideration 
of those with whom he is associated by the ties of 
nature or public economy. 

The morality of religion appears calculated to con- 
found society and to replunge its members into the 
savage state. The christian virtues tend evidently to 
isolate man, to detach him from those to whom nature 
has united him, and to unite him to the priests; to 
make him lose sight of a happiness the most solid, to 
occupy himself only with dangerous chimeras. We 
only live in society to procure the more easily those 
kindnesses, succours, and pleasures, which we could 
not obtain living by ourselves. If it had been destined 
that we should live miserably in this world, that we 
should detest ourselves, fly the esteem of others, vo- 
luntarily afflict ourselves, have no attachment for any 
one, — society would have been one heap of confusion, 
the human kind savages and strangers to one another. < 
However, if it is true that God is the author of man 
it is God who renders man sociable ; it is God who 
wishes man to live in society where he can obtain the 
greatest good. If God, is good, he cannot approve 



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156 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

that men should leave society to become miserable ; if 
God is the author of reason, he can only wish that 
men who are possessed of reason should employ this 
distinguishing gift to procure for themselves ail the 
happiness its exercise can bring them. If God has re- 
vealed himself, it is not in some obscure way, but in 
a revelation the most evident and clear of all those sup- 
posed revelations, which are visibly contrary to all the 
notions we can form of the divinity. 

We are not however obliged to dive into the mar- 
vellous to establish the duties man owes to man ; since 
God has very plainly shown them in the wants of one 
and the good offices of another person. But it is only 
/ [ by consulting our reason that we can arrive at the 
means of contributing to the felicity of our species. 
It is then evident that in regarding man as the creature 
of God, — God must have designed that man should 
consult his reason, that it might procure him the most 
solid happiness, and those principles of virtue which 
nature approves. 

What then "might not our opinions be, were we to \ 
substitute the morality of reason for the morality of / 
religion } In place of a partial and reserved morality \ 
for a small number of men, let us substitute an uni- / 
versal morality, intelligible to all the inhabitants of ( 
the earth, and of which all can find the princi- \ 
pies in nature. Let us study this nature, its wants ) 
and its desires ; let us examine the means of satisfying- / 
) ( it: let us consider what is the end of our existence in \ 
society,— -we shall see that all those who are thus as- \ 
sociated, are compelled by their natures to practise 
affection one to another, benevolence, esteem and re- 
lief, if desired ; we shali see what is that line of conduct 
which necessarilv excites hatred, ill- will, and all those 
misfortunes which experience makes familiar to man- 
kind ; our reason will tell us what actions are the 
most calculated to excite real happiness and good will, 
the most solid and extensive ; let us weigh these with 
those that are founded on visionary theories; their 



/ 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



157 



\ 



\ 



I 

'/ 
t 



If 



diflference will at once be perceptible ; the advantages 
which are permaaent we will not sacrifice for those 
that are momentary ; we will employ all cur faculties 
to augment the happiness of our species ; we will la- 
bour with perseverance and coun^e to extirpate evil 
from the earth ; we will assist as much as we can, those ( '/ 
who are without friends ; we will seek to alleviate \ 
their distresses and their pains ; we will merit their ) 
regard, and thus fulfil the end of our being on earth. 

In conducting ourselves in this manner, our reason 
prescribes a morality agreeable to nature, reasonable to > 
all, constant in its operation, effective in its exercise 
in benefiting all, in contributing to the happiness of 
society, collectively and individually, in distinction 
to the mysticism preached up by priests. We shall ( 
find in our reason and in our nature the surest guides, 
superior to the clergy who only teach us to benefit 
themselves. We shall thus enjoy a morality as dura- 
ble as the race of man. We shall have precepts foun- 
ded on the necessity of things ; that will punish those 
transgressing them, and rewarding those who obey 
them. Every man who shall prove himself to be just, 
useful, beneficent, will be an object of love to his 
fellow citizens ; every man who shall prove himself un- 
just, useless and wicked, will become an object of 
hatred to himself as well as to others ; he will be forced 1 
to tremble at the violation of the laws ; he will be ' 
compelled to do that which is good to gain the good 
will of mankind and preserve the regard of those who i 
have the power of obliging him to be an useful member \ 
of the state. j 

Thus, Madam, if it should be demanded of you, \ 
what you would substitute for the benefit of society in 
place of visionary reveries ? I reply a sensible morality, 
a good education, profitable habits, self-evident princi- 
ples of duty, wise laws which even the wicked cannot 
misunderstand, but which may correct their evil pur- 
poses, and recompenses that may tend to the promotion 
of virtue. The education of the present day tends only 



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158 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

\ to make youth the slaves of superstition, the virtues 
( which it iticulcates on them are only those of fanatic 
\ cism, to render the mind subject to the priests for the 
/ remainder of life; the motives to duty are only ficti- 
\ tious and imaginary ; the rewards and punishments 
/ which it exhibits in an obscure glimmering, produce 
\ no other effect than to make useless enthusiasts and 
) dangerous fanatics. The principles on which enthu- 
I siasm establishes morality are changing and ruinous ; 
\ those on which the morality of reason is established 
/ are fixed, and cannot be overturned. Seeing then that 



')> [ man, a reasonable being, should be chiefly occupied \ ^ 
\/t \ about his preservation and happiness, that he should / 
j love virtue ; that he should be sensible of its advan- 
f tages, that he should fear the consequences of crime, 
\ is it to be wondered I should insist so much on the 
' practice of virtue as his chief good ? Men ought to 
hate crime, because it leads to misery. Society to 
-exist must receive the united virtue of its members, 
obedience to good laws, the activity and intelligence 
,' of citizens to defend its privileges and its rights. 
\ Laws are good when they invite the members of so- 
/ ciety to labour for reciprocal good offices. Laws are 
just when they recompense or punish in proportion to 
the good or evil which is done to society. Laws sup- 
ported by a visible authority should be founded on 
present motives ; and thus they would have more force 
! than those of religion which are founded on uncertain / 
motives, imaginary and removed from this world, and / 
which experience proves cannot suffice to curb the 
passions of bad men, nor shew them their duty by the 
fear of punishments after death. 

If in place of stifling human reason, as is too much \ 
clone, its perfectibility were studied ; if in place of / 
deluging the world with visionary notions, truth were in- \ 
culcated ; if in place of pleading a supernatural morali- 
ty, a morality agreeable to humanity and resulting 
iiom experience were preached, we should no longer >' 
be the dupes of imaginary theories, nor of terri^ing V 



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LETTERS TO EUGENIA. IS!! 

[ ) fables as the base s of virtue. Every one would then 
jjerceive thatlFis to the practice of virtue, to the faith- 
ful observation of the duties of morality, that the hap- 
pinesfs of individuals and of society is to be traced. Is 
[ he a husband? he will perceive that his essential hap- 
I piness is to shew kindness, attachment, and tenderness 
I to the companion of his life, destined by his own choice 
I to share his pleasures and endure his misfortunes. 
And on the other hand, she, by consulting her true , 
interests, will perceive that they consist in rendering! 
1 homage to her husband, in interdicting every thought 
/ that could alienate her aflPections, diminish her esteem 
; and confidence in him. Fathers and mothiers will 
I perceive, that their children are destined to be one day 
; their consolation and support in old age ; and that 
by consequence they have the greatest interest in in- 
\ spiring them, in early life, with sentiments of which j /r^. 
\ they may themselves reap the benefit when age or / ^ 
misfortune may require the fruits of those advantages 
that result from a good education. Their children, 
early taught to reflect on these things, will find their 
interest to lie in meriting the kindness of thfeir parents, 
and in giving them proofs that the virtues they are 
taught will be communicated to their posterity. The 
master will perceive, that to be served with affection, he ' 
I owes good will, kindness, and indulgence, to those at 
whose hands he would reap advantages, and by whose 
labour he would increase his prosperity ; and servants 
will discover how much their happiness depends on fi- 
delity, industry, and good temper in their situations. 
Friends will find the advantages of a kindred heart for 
friendship ; and the reciprocity of good ofiices. The 
members of the same family will perceive the necessity 
of preserving that union which nature has established ^ 
among them ;^to render mutual benefits in prosperity / '^ J 
or in adversity. Societies, if they reflect on the end 
of their association, will perceive, that to secure it they 
must observe good faith and punctuality in their engage- 
ments. The citizen, when he consults his reason,] | 

X 



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LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



/' / 



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// 



will perceive how much it is necessary, for the good of 
the nation to which he belongs, that he should exert 
himself to advance its prosperity or in its misfortunes to 

retrieve its glory. By consequence every one in his 

sphere, and using his faculties for this great end, wil]|find 

his own advantage in restraining the bad as dangerous 

and opposing enemies to the state, as enemies to himself. 

In a word, every man who will reflect for himself 

will be compelled to acknowledge the necessity of vir- 
tue for the happiness of the world. It is so obvious 

that justice is the basis of all society ; that good will and 
good offices necessarily procure for men affection and 
respect ; that every man who respects himself ought to 
seek the esteem of others ; that it is necessary to merit 
the good opinion of society; that he ought to be 
jealous of his reputation; that a weak being who is 
every instant exposed to misfortunes, ought to know 
what are his duties, and how he should practise them 
for the benefit of himself and the assembly of which he 
is a member. 

If we reflect for one moment on the effects of the 
passions, we shall perceive the necessity of repressing 
them, if we would spare ourselvfes vain regrets and 
useless sorrows, which certainly always afflict those 
who obey. not the laws. Thus, a single reflection wiU 
suffice to shew the impropriety of anger, the dreadful 
consequences of revenge, calumny, and backbiting. 
Anger is madness; it is the child of folly, the enemy 
of society. 

If the man who consults' his reason has real and 
powerful motives for doing good to others and abstain- 
ing from injuring them, he has present motives equally 
urgent to restrain him from the commission of vice. 
Experience may suffice to shew him that if he become 
sooner or later the victim of his excesses, he ceases to 
be the friend of virtue, and exists only to serve vice 
which will infallibly punish him. This being allowed, 
prudence, or the desire of preserving one's self fre« 
from the contamination of evil, ought to indicate to 



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LETTERS to EUGENIA. 161 

every maii his path of duty ; (and, unless bhnded by 
his passions, he must perceive how much moderation 
in his pleasures, temperance, chastity, Qontribute to 
happiness; that those who transgress in these respects 

are necessarily the victims of ill-health, and too often 

pass a life both infirm and unfortunate, ^hich tenni- 
^nates soon in death. 

How is it possible then. Madam, from visionary the- 
ories to arrive at these conclusions, and establish from 

supernatural fantasms the principles of private and 

public virtue. Shall we launch into unknown regions 

to ascertain our duty and to keep our station in society, i 
Is it not sufficient if we wish to be happy that we \ ,} 
should endeavour to preserve ourselves in those max- // // 
ims which reason approves, and on which virtue is ( n 
founded ? Every man who would perish, who would ^ 
render his existence miserable, whoever would sacri- 
fice permanent happiness for present pleasure is a fool, 
who reflects not on the interests that are dearest to 
him. : - 

If there are any principles so clear as the morality of 
humanity has been and is still proved to be, they are 
such as men ought to observe. They are not obscure 
notions, mysticism, contradictions, which have made 
of a science the niiost obvious and best demonstrated, 
an unintelligible science, mysterious and uncertain to 
those for whom it is designed. InJ;he hands of the 
priests, moralit y has become an enigma ; ~th^ have 
founde d our duties o n the attri butes ot a deity who m 
the mincTot man cannot comprehendj^DTplac e of gu n- / 
ding them on the character "o f^man himself^ They 
have thrown in among them theToundatioris^of an edi- 
fice which is made for this earth, j'hey^ ha ve d esired 
to regulate our m annersa greeably to equivoca l oracles^ 
which e very in stant contradict the m seives,^hd^hich 
too often render th eir^ evotees useless to society and / ;;| 

to themselves. They have pretend ed to render theiF ( I 

morality more sacrecf by mviting us to ioo£~f o r recom- 
penses and punishmente removed beyond this life, but 




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162 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

) which they announce in the name of the divinity. Fn ) 
Uiiei fhey'liave madejman_V"BeiD^jwhb ma^^^not even \ 
Ttriveatperlectron Tby a preo rel i naFi on oTs om e jo ^Ijss , ' 
andjcorisequentdfemnaUonjof^^ insensibili- ^ 

ty iFtbe result of this sele ction. ( 

Need 'w^ not then wonder that this supernatural 
[ morality should be so contrary to the nature and th« 
j mind of man } It is in vain that it aims at the annihi- 
lation of human nature which is so much stronger, so 
\ much more powerful than imagination. In despite 
; of all _the subtile and marvellous speculatioijV^f the 
/^ priest&T m^n^o^SnrTues^a^ to de- 

\ sire~his^ell bei ng, an d to Tlee^ lstortune and sorrow. 
He has t hen always been actuated^by the same pas- 
sionsT W hen these passionsTiave been moderate and 
Tiave tended to the publi<^ good they are legitimate, and 
\ we approve those actions which are their effects. 
When these passions have been disordered, hurtful to 
society, or to the individual, he condemns them ; they 
punish him ; he is dissatisfied with his conduct which 
others cannot approve. Man^lwaysJ^»vesJiis_plea- 
1 sures, because in their enjoymentlie ful fils the e nd of 
bis existen ce ; lY he exce^stheir^just bounds he ren- 
'^ ders himselt miserabl e. " j f 

1 he morality of the clergy, on the other hand, ap- 
pears calculated to keep nature alwa^'s at variance with 
I herself, for it is almost always without effect even on 
the priesthood. Their chimerafs serve but to torture 
weak minds, and to set the passions at war with nature 
and their dogmas. When this morality professes to 
restrain the wicked, to curb the passions of men, it 
operates in opposition to the established laws of na- 
/ ) tural religion; for by preserving all its rigour, it be- 
// ^'^ j comes impracticable ; and it meets with real devotees 
f \ only in some few fanatics who renounced nature, and 
who would be singular, even if their oddities were in- 
^ jurious to society. This morality adapted for the most 
] part by devotees, without eradicating their habits or 
their natural defects, keeps them always in a state of 



\ 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



J63 



opposition even with theniselves. Their life is a round 
of faults and of scruples, of sins and remorse, of crimes 
and expiations, of pleasures which they enjoy, hut for 
which they again reproach themselves for having tasted. 
In a word the morality of superstition necessarily carries 
with it into the heart and the family of its devotees, 
inward distress and affliction ; it makes of enthusiasts 
and fanatics, scrupulous devotees; It makes a great 
many insensible and miserable ; it renders none per- 
fect, few good ; and those only tolerable whom nature, 
education, .and habit had moulded for happiness. 

It is our temperament which decides our condition ; 
the acquisition of moderate passions, of honest habits, 
sensible opinions, laudable examples, and practical 
virtues, is a difficult task, but not impossiWe when 
undertaken with reason for one's guide. It is difficult 
to be Virtuous and happy with a temperament so ar- 
dent as to sway the passions to its will. One must 
in calmness consult reason as to his duty. Nature, in 
giving us lively passions and a susceptible imagination 
has made us capable of suffering the instant we trans- 
gress her bounds. She then renders us necessary to 
ourselves, and we cannot proceed to consult our real 
interest if we continue in indulgence that she forbids. 
Thejiassionswhich reason cannot restrain are not to 
be bridle d by~religionT~"Tt is^iTT va m that wel iope~to 
derive ^ uccou rs from feIigron,~irwe clespise and~Tefuse 
what "iTature offers ~ ij s^^ Keliglb n leaves liien just" 
such as nature" and habit have made th enTi^andTnt 
pro duce any changes on some tew, 1 befiev e IJi^LT^ 
proved that jhose changes are not al ways for the better. 

(JongratuTate yourself then. Madam, on being born 
with good dispositions, of having received honest prin- 
ciples which shall carry you through life in the prac- 
tice of virtue, and in the love of a fine and exalted 
taste for the rational pleasures of our nature. Conti- 
nue to be the happiness of your family, which esteems 
and honours you. Continue to diffuse around you 







1 



164 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

> 

the blessings you enjoy ; continue to perform only 
those actions which are esteemed by all the world, and 
all men will respect you. Respect yourself, and 
others will respect you. These are the legitimate sen- 
timents of virtue and of happiness. Labour for your 
\ own happiness, and you will promote that of your fa- 
/ mily, who will love you in proportion to the good 
\ you do it. Allow me to congratulate myself, if in all 
} I have said, I have in any measure swept from your 
I .mind those clouds of fanaticism which obscure the 
( reason ; and to felicitate you on your having escaped 
j from vague theories of imagination. Abjure super- 
/ stition, which is calculated only to make you miser- 
( able ; let the morality of humanity be your uniform 
/ \ religionTT^a^ourhappTness'may^c^ 

I son be~your guideT~that virCue~may^^ the idol'oT 
' your soul, ^litfivate and love only what is virtuous 
I and good in the world; and if there be a God, who 
is interested in the happiness of his creatures ; if there 
\ be a God, full of justice and goodness, he will not be 
I angry with you for having consulted your reason; if 
i there be another life, your happiness in it cannot be 
\ doubtful, if God rewards every one according to the 
good done here. 

I 

I am, with respect, &c. 



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LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



16^ 



LETTER XII. 



Permit me, Madam, to felicitate you on the happy 
change which you say has taken place in your opi- 
nions. Convinced by reasons as simple as obvious, 
your mind has become sensible of the futility of those 
notions which have for a long time agitated it; and 
the inefficacy of those pretended succours which reli- 
gious men boasted they could furnish, is now appa- 
rent to you. You perceive the evident dangers which 
result from a system that serves only to render men 
enemies to individual and general happiness. 

I see with pleasure that reason has not lost its au- 
thority over your mind ; and that it is sufficient to 
shew you the truth that you may embrace it. You 
may congratulate yourself on this, which proves the 
solidity of your judgment. For it is glorious to give 
one's self up to reason, and to be the votary of common 
sense. Prejudice so arms mankind, that the world 
is full of people who slight their judgment ; nay, who 
resist the most obvious pleas of their understanding. 
Their eyes long shut to the light of truth, are unable 
to bear its rays ; but they can endure the glimmerings 
of superstition, which plunges them in still darker 
obscurity. 

I am not, however, astonished at the embarrassment 
you have hitherto felt, nor at your cautious examina- 
tion of my opinions, which are better understood the 
more thoroughly they are examined and compared 
with those they oppose. It is impossible to annihj- 
late at once deep-rooted_prejudrces7jnre mrnd of man 
appears to waver iri_ajppjd^_whenthose Tdeas~~are at- 
tecke3^on^]whicli^^[tTasT^ 

a new~world^vvherein all i s unkn own. Ev ery sy stem 
of opini ons i s bu t tEie elfe ct_of habit. The" mind has 
as great ^niiculty to disengagejtself from its custom 
oTtEinking, and reflect on iSwTdeas,~as the^ody Tias 



./ 
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166 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



JP 



b' 



to remjain quiescent after i t has lon g been accustomed 
to exercise. STio uTd^'ovi ~i'oT iDstance,~ pfopose to y ou r 
frjencTto leave^ff^snulfT a s a^ ractlce neither healtti^ 
ful nor 'agreeable Th~conipany7~he"wnrnot probably 
listen to you7~of "if he should, it will be with extreme 
paTn tbatlie can "bring liimself to^l'ehounce~a habit 
\ long familiarized to hun. ~~~ "~ ' 

\ ^It^js^precTsely^the^ same with all our prejudices ; 
those of religion have the^jpost po werfu r iiold of us . 
From infancy w e have been lamilTanzed ^ith them ; 
Eabit has made them a~s6ft~Qt"vvant~w^c~caT]rnot dis- 
peuse with ; our"mode~oflh1nEihg "is formed, and fa- 
miTiiFtolisT^5ur mind" Is ac ciistom ed To enga ge Ttself 
with ce rtam classes~of ^objects ; and our jmagmation 
iancies that^t wariders^^Th chaos wheii~it is IToF fed^ 



,/ >f '^ 

if 



with those chimerasTcTwhich^it had ^eeli Iqn^ accus- 
l<ant6ms,~the" most horrible," are even clear" 

with 



tomedT 



to it;~objects the most familiar to it, if viewed 
the calm eye of reason, are disagreeable and revolting. 
Religion, or rather its superstitions, in consequence 
of the marvellous and bizzare notions it engenders, 
gives the mind continual exercise; and its votaries 
fancy they are doomed to a dangerous inaction when 
they are suddenly deprived of the objects on wliich 
their imagination exerted its powers. Yet is this ex- 
ercise so much the more necessarv as the ima^fi nation 
is by far the most lively faculty of the mind. Hence, 
without doubt, it becomes necessary, men should re- 
place stale fooleries by those which are novel. This 
is, moreover, the true reason why devotion so often 
affords consolation in great disgraces, gives diversion 
for chagrin, and replaces the strongest passions, when 
they have been quenched by excess of pleasure and 
dissipation. The marvellous arguments, chimeras mul- 
tiply as religion furnishes activity and occupation to 
the fancy ; habit renders them familiar, and even ne- 
cessary ; terrors themselves, even minister food to the 
imagination ; and religion, the religion of priestcraft, 
is full of terrors. Active and unquiet spirits conti- 



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INTERS 10 EUGENIA. 



107 



Dually requires this nourishment ; the imagination re- 
quires to be alternately alarmed and consoled; and 
there are thousands who cannot accustom themselves 
to tranquillity, and the sobriety of reason. Many per- 
sons also require fantoms to make them religious, and 
they find these succours in the dogmas of priestcraft. 

These reflections will serve to ex^ain to you the con- 
tinual variations to which many persons are subject, 
especially on the subject of religion. Sensible, like ba- 
rometers, you behold them wavering without ce£»ing; 
their imagination floats, and is never fixed : so often 
as you find ^em freely given up to the blackness of 
superstition, so often may you behold them the slaves 
of pernicious prejudices. Whenever they tremble at 
the feet of their priests, then are their necks under the 
yoke. ' £ven people of spirit and understanding in 
other . affairs, are not altogether exempt from these va- 
riatrons of mental religious temparament; but their 
judgment is too fi*equently the dupe of the imagina- 
tion. And others, again, timid and doubting, without 
spirit, are in perpetual torment. 

What do I say ? Man is not, and cannot always be 
the same. - His frame is exposed to revolutions and 
perpetual vicissitudes ; the thoughts of his mind ne- 
cessarily vary with the different degrees of changes to 
which his body is exposed. When the body is lan- 
guid and fatigued, the mind has not usually much in- 
clination to vigour and gaiety. The debility of the 
nerves commonly annihilates the energies of the soul, 
although it be so remarkably distinguished fix)m the 
body; persons of a bilious and melancholy tempera- 
ment, are rarely the subjects of joy ; dissipation im- 
portunes some, gaiety fatigues others^ Exactly after 
the same fashion, there are some who love to nourish 
sombre ideais, and these, religion^u^Iies them. De- 
votion attects tft em like the vapours ; superstition is an 
inveterate maladyptor which there is no cure m me- 
dicine. And It IS impossible to keep him tree rirom 
superstition whose breast, the slave of fean was never 



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168 LETTERS TO EUGENIA; 

sensible of courage; nay, soldiers and sailors, the 



I 



> ^.^. — _. ,^ — — >-.- — ^— — — .. — -- . 

^^'") superstition. It is educat i on alone that operates in r a- j , 
^ically curing ttie iiuman^ind of its errors. t 

V ibose who think it sutlident, iVIadam, to render a | 
reason for the variations which we so frequently remark j 
in the ideas of men, acknowledge that there is a se 
cret bent of the minds of religious persons to preju* / 
■dices, from which wc shall almost in vain endeavour to i 
rescue their understandings. You perceive, at pre- j 
sent, what you ought to think of those secret transi- 
tk)ns which our priest would fcwrce on you, as the in- 
spirations of Heaven, as divine solicitations, the effects \ 
of grace ; though they are, nevertheless, only the effects | 
of those vicissitudes to which our constitution is lia- j 
„ I ble, and which affect the robust, as well as the feeble ; U 
the man of health, as well as the valetudinarian. \ ' 

If we might form a judgment of the correctness of ) 
those notions which our teachers boast of, in respect 
to our dissolution at death, we shall find reason to be 

I satisfied, that there is little or no occasion that we 
should have our minds disturbed during our last 

\ moments. It is then, say they, that it is necessary to 

attend to the condition of man ; it is then that man, 

undeceived as to the things of this life, acknowledges 

-his errors. But there is, perhaps, no idea in the whole 

circle of theology more unreasonable than this, of which 

the credulous, in all ages, have been the dupes. Is 

jit not at the time of a man's dissolution, that he is th e 
lea st capable of judging of his true interest ? His bodily 
irame racked, it may be, with pain ; his mind is necessa- 
rily weakened or chafed; or if he should be free from 
excruciating parn, the lassitude and yielding of nature 
to the irrevocable decrees of fate at death, unfit * man 
for reasoning and judging of the sophisme that are pro- 
posed as panaceas for all his errors. There are, with- 1 
out <k)ubt, as strange notions as those of^religion ; but ( 
wlu> knows that body and soul sink alike at death ? / 
It is in the case of health that we can promise our- , '- 



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LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



169 



i 

\ 

I 

/ 

V 



\ 
• \ 

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'/ 

\ 



selves to re ason with justness ; it is then that the soul, 
n elttTCTtro^iibleirBylearTno Faltei^ by disease, nor led 
asfray by passion, can ju dge soundly of what is bene^ 
ficiaf t"o~man, rhe judgments~of the^ying can have 
n o weigE t wi th me n in goocTtrealtF; and^they^e the j 
veri est impostors who lendlhe m belie f. The truth can 
aloBe. be kn own, when both I)ody and minJ are in 
goo dliealtti . N'o man,~witfiout~evmcihg^an uisehsiBIe" 
and rid ic ulous^resumptionr can answer tiprlSe id eas 
be i§ occupied wit h, when wo rn durwith sid sri^JTand 
disease ; yet have the inbumanpr iests t he eiffro ntery^ 
pej-su ade the credulous to^ ke as~tbeir examples the 
words a nd actions of me iiT^ ecessar ily oerang^^ii~iii- 
tellect, ^y the der angemenrof their corporeaTframe. 
In short, since the ideas oFmen necessarily Vary with 
the different variations of their bodies, the man who 
presumes to reason oa his death-bed with the man in 
health, arrogates what ought not to be conceded. 

Do not then. Madam, be discouraged nor surprised, 
if you should sometimes thinly of ancient prejudices re- 
claiming the rights they have for a long time exercised 
over your reason ; attribute then these vacillations to 
some derangement in your frame — to some disordered 
movements of mind, which, for a time, suspend your 
reason. Think that there are few people who are con- 
stantly the same, and who see with the same eyes. 
Our frame being subject to continual, variations^ it ne- 
cessarily follows that our modes of thinking will vary. 
We think one custom the result of pusillanimity, when 
the nerves are relaxed, and Dur bodies fatigued. We 
think justly when our body is in health, that4s^^-say, 

when all its parts are fulfilling their various functions. 
There is one mode of thinking, or one state of mind, 
which in health we call uncertainty, and which we 
rarely experience, when our frame is in its ordinary 

condition. We do not then reason justly, when our 

frame is not in a condition to leave our. niW;Subj^t 

,to incredulity. :• '.. .;>^ , .^ >- 

What then is to be done, when we would calm our 






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170 LltTfiRS TO EUGENIA* 

mind, when we wish to reflect, even for an instant? ( 
Let reas^ be our guide, and \i'e shall soon arriye at 
that mode of thinking, which shall be advantageous to 
ourselves. In effect. Madam, bow can a God who is 
just, good, and reasonable, be irritated by the manner 
in which we shall think, seeing that our thoughts are 
always involuntary, and that we cannot believe as we 
would, but as our convictions encrease, or become 
weakened, Man is not th en for one instant the master 
of his ideas, whic h are evei y momen t exc Tted Fy o R- 
jec te overwhic h he haslio controul, ah^caugeswhlch (<^ 

Oepend not oh his wilF or exertions. StT^ugustine 

ftimselt bearelestimony to this truth : *' There is not," 

\ says he, *' one man who is at all times master^of that 

/ which presents itself to his spirit.^'-^Have we not, 

then, good reason to conclude, that our thoughts are 

entirely indifierent to God, seeing they are excited by 

objects over which we have no controul, and by con- 

t sequence that they cannot be offensive to the Deity. 

If our teachers pique themselves on their principles, 
) they ought to carry along with them this truth, that a 
\ just God canhot be offended by the changes which take 
/ place in the minds of his creatures. They ought to 
( know that this God, if he is wise, has no occasion to 
be troubled with the ideas that enter the mind of man ; 
that if they do not comprehend all his perfections, it 
is because their comprehension is limited^ They ought 
to recollect, that if God is all powerful, his glory and 
his power cannot be affected by the opinions and ideas 
of weak mortals, any more than the notions they form ( > 
f, // // / of him, can alter his essential attributes. In fine, if \^ 
our teachers had not made it a duty to renounce com- 
mon sense, and to close with notions that carry in 
their consequences the contradictory evidence of their 
premises, they would not refuse to avow that God 
would be the most unjust, the most unreasonable, the 
most cruel of tyrants, if he should punish beings, 
\diom he himself created imperfect, and possessed 
of a deficiency of reason and common sense. 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



171 






1 



Let us reflect a little longer, and we shall find that 
the theologians have studied to make of the Divinity 
a ferocious master, unreasonable and changing, who 
exacts from his creatures qualities they have not, and 
services they cannot perform. The ideas they have 
formed of this unknown being, are almost always bor- 
rowed from those of men of power, who, jealous of 
their power and respect from their subjects, pretend 
that it is the duty of these last to have for them sentir 
ments of submission, and punish with rigour those, 

who, by their conduct or their discourse, announce 

sentiments not sufficiently respectful to their superiors. 
Thus you see. Madam, that God has been fashioned 
by the clergy on the model of an uneasy despot, sus- 
picious of his subjects, jealous of the opinions they 
may entertain of him, and who, to secure his power, 
cruelly chastises those who have not littleness of mind 
sufficient to flatter his vanity, nor courage enough to 
resist his power. 

It is evident that it is on ideas so ridiculous, and so 
contrary to those which nature offers us of the Divi- 
nity, that the absurd system of the priests is founded, 
which they persuade themselves is very sensible and 
agreeable to the opinions of mankind ; and which is 
very seriously insulted, they say, if men think diffe- 
rently ; and which will punish with severity those who 
abandon themselves to the guidance of reason, the 
glory of man. Nothing can be more pernicious to 
the human kind than this fatal madness, which de- 
ranges all our ideas of a just God-— of a God, good, 
wise, all-powerful, and whose glory and power, nei- 
ther the devotion nor rebellion of his creatures can af. 
feet. In consequence of these impertinent supposi- 
tions of the priesthood, men have ever been afraid to 
form notions agreeable to the mysterious Sovereign of 
the universe, on whom they are dependent ; their mind 
is put to the torture to divine his ipcomprehensible 
nature, and, in their fear of displeasing him, they 
have assigned to him human attributes, without per- 



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172 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

\ ceiving that when they pretend to honour him, they 
' dishonour Deity, and that being compelled to bestow 
i on him qualities that are incompatible with Deity, 
i they actually annihilate froni their mind the pure re- 
^ i presentation of Deity, as witnessed in all nature. It 
is thus, that in almost all the religions on the face of 
I the earth, under the pretext of making known the Di- 
1 vinity, and explaining his views towards mortals, the \ 
/ .priests have rendered him incomprehensible, and have 
\ actually promulgated, under the, garb of religion, no- 
\ thing save absurdities, by which, if we admit them, / 
/ we shall destroy those notions which nature gives us 
j of Deity. 

- When we reflect on the Divinity, do we ffot see 
that mankind have plunged farther and farther into 
dafkness, as they assimilated him to themselves ; that 
their judgment is always disturbed when they would ) 
make their deity the object of their meditations ; that / 
they cannot reason justly, because they never have any 
but obscure and absurd ideas; that they are almost 
always in uncertainty, and never agree with them- 
i' selves, because their principles are replete with doubt ; / 
\ that they alw^ays tremble, because they imagine that it 
/ is very dangerous to be deceived ; that they dispute L 
i without ceasin g, because that is impos sibletoHBe con- / ^ 
^\ v mced of any^ thing, when they reaso n on obj ects of 

Mi __ __„_ , ___ 

i they crueTIytorment one anotherabout opmi ons equally 
. unmter^tmg, thoj^h^ they attach to them tEe~gre atest 
i importance7~a nJTjecause the yanity of the one^arty 
/ never allows^iFto^ subscribe to the liveries of the 
I other. ~~ " ' ^^ 

!"r~ins13ius that the divinity has become to us a source 
/ of evil, division, and quarrels ; it is thus that his name 
alone inspires terror ; it is thus that religion has be- 
come the signal of so many combats, and has always 
been the true apple of discord among unquiet mortals, 
who always dispute with the greatest heat, on subjects 



J 



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P J ! which they know nbth mg , and which the imag inations 
(C^i ot men are^ ^P^^^ to pamt diiierently ; in nne7~tliat 



// 



LKTTERS TO EUGENIA. 173 

■ 1 

of which they can never have any true ideas. They \ 
make it a duty to think and reason on his attributes ; / 
and they can never arrive at any just conclusions, be- ) 
cause their mind is never in a condition to form true / 
notions of what strikes their senses. In the impossi- 
bihty of knowing the Deity by themselves, they have 
recourse to the opinion of others whom they consider 
more adroit in theology, and who pretend to an in- 
timate acquaintance with God, being inspired by him, \ '^ 
and having secret intelligence of his purposes with \ 
regard to the human kind. Those privileged men / 
teach nothing to the nations of the earth, except what \ 
their reveries have reduced to a system, without giv- \ 
ing them ideas that are clear and definite. They \ 
paint God under characters the most agreeable to their ( 
own intei-ests ; they make of him, a good monarch 
for those who blindly submit to their tenets, but ter- 
rible to those who refuse not to blindly follow them. 

Thus you perceive. Madam, what those men are 
who have obviously made of the Deity an object so biz- ( 
zare as they announce him, and who, to render their ) 
opinions the more sacred, have pR^tcnded that he is i 
grievously oflfended, when we do^not admit implicitly | 
the ideas they promulgate of God. In the books of / 
Moses, God defines himself, / am, that I am; yet I 
does this inspired writer detail the history of this \ 
God, as a tyrant who tempts men, and who punishes I 
them for being tempted, who exterminated all the | 
human kind by a deluge, except a few. of one family, 1 
because one man had fallen ; in a word, who, in all 1 
his conduct behaves as a despot, whose power dis- / 
penses with all the rules of justice, reason, and good- 
ness.ii' ^-•a'K';n*'V-'i^ ^ '■-■i-' -'-' ' ^ 'j5^-tn.j ^.m^^m^y^-wf*^ 
• Have the successors of Moses transmitted to us 
ideas more clear, more sensible, more comprehensi- 
ble of the divinity ? Has the Son of God made his 
Father perfectly known to ns ? Has the church, perpe- 
tually boasting of the light she diffuses among men, 
become more fixed and certain, to do away our un- 



? 






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174 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



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\ certafnty ? AJas ! In spite of all these supernat ural^ 
succours, we know nothing^liT nature IBeyond^ the 
grave ; the ideas which are communicatecTTd" U87 the 
recitals of our in talhble~ t e acher s, are~caJculated only 
contound our jud gmentr^od reduce CTirl^ason Jtosif 
lence. They mage l)f (jloda^ pure spirit; that is to 
say,~aT)eing who has nothing in common with mat- 
ter, and who, nevertheless, has created matter, which 
he has produced from his own fiat — his essence or 
substance. They have made him the mirror of the 
universe, and the soul of the universe. They have 
made him an infinite being, who fills all space by hi» 
immensity, although the material world occupies some 
part in space. They have made him a being all 
powerful, but whose projects are incessantly varying, 
who neither can nor will maintain man in good order, 
nor permit the freedom of action necessary for rational 
beings, and who is alternately pleased and displeased 

with the same beings, and their actions. They make 
him an infinite good father, but who avenges . himself 

without measure. They make of him a monarch in- 
finitely just, but who confounds the innocent with 

the guilty, -who has /ningled injustice and cruelty, in 

causing his own son to be put to death to expiate the 

crimes of the human kind ; though they are inces- 
santly sinning and repenting for p&rdoiiiiki-^^^msi^mm^ 
-' They make of him a being full of wisdom and fore- 
sight, yet insensible to the folly and short-sighted- 

ness of mortals. The make him a reasonable being 
who becomes angry at the thoughts of his creatures, 
though involuntary, and consequently necessary ; 
thoughts which he himself puts into their heads; and 
who condemns them to eternal punishments if they 
believe not in reveries that are incompatible with the 
divine attributes, or who dare to doubt whether God 
can possess qualities that are not capable of being re- 
conciled among themselves. *ii**« «s*j^#««^?f . m^^^m'mjt 
Is it then surprising that so many' good people are 
shocked at the revolting ideas, so contradictory and 



s&-!-^;ir:f^^. 



LITERS TO EUGfi&riA. 175 

SO appalling, which hurl mortals into a state of uncer* 

tainty and doubt as to the existence of the Deity, or 

even to force them into absolute denial of the same. 

^ It is impossible to admit in effect, the doctrine of the 

' deity of priestcraft, in which we constantly see infi- , 

\ nite perfections, allied with imperfections the most \ 

striking; in which, when we reflect but momentarily, } 

\ we shall find that it cannot produce but disorder in 

/ the imagination, and leaves it wandering among errors \ 

j that reduce it to despair, or some impostors, who, to i 

j subjugate mankind, have wished to throw them into ' 

/ embarrassment, confound their reason, and fill them I 

V with terror. Such appears in effect, to be the mo- j 

\ t'lves of those who have the arrogance to pretend to a j 

j secret knowledge, which they distribute among man- | 

\ kind, though they have no knowledge even of them- ] 

j selves. They always paint God under the traits of 

/ an inaccessible tyrant, who never shews himself but 

[ to his ministers and favourites, who please to veil 
] him from the eyes of the vulgar ; and who are vio- 

' lently irritated when they find any who oppose their 

I pretensions, or when they refuse to believe the priests 

\ and their unintelligible farragoes. 

I If, as I have often said, it be impossible to believe 

\ what we cannot comprehend, or to be intimately con- \ 
I vinced of that of which we can form no distinct and 
\ clear ideas, we may thence conclude that, when \ 
I the Christians assure us they belieye that God has / 

\ announced himself in some secret and peculiar way \ 

] to them that he has not done to other men, either 
they are themselves deceived, or they wish to deceive 
us. Their faith, or their belief in Jgod, is me rely an 

\ acceptance of what their priests bave taught themoTa 
IBeing whose existence tSey haveTenderm^ more tfia^ 

/ doubtTul to those who would reason" and meditate. 

' TEeTIeilylcgnncS; assijreai3s "Be^ t^^ the 

Christians admit on the word of their theologians. Ip 
there, in good truth, a man in the world, who cah 
form any idei oFrspiriFF~If we ask the priests" what' 



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a spirit is ? they wilj tel[jLis^that a spirit^s^a immas^ 
terlal being who has none of tlie passions^ of which_ 
inM^^rejhe'suBjects. ^ut wHatTs auTminateriaT spi^ 
HT? Tf S^a Befng fhit hasnone oPthe qualities whiehj 
we caif fat^oittT that ha» neitlier form, nor extension'," 
Tior cofeorr " ' ~ ~~ ' ' '" 

~ Butliow can we be assured of the existence of a 
being who has none of these qualities ? It is by faithy 
say the the priests, that we must be assured of his 
existence. But what is this faith ? It i« to adhere, 
without examination, to what the priests tell us. But 
what is it the priests tell us of God ? They tell us of 
things which we can neither comprehend nor recon- 
cile among themselves. The existence, even of God, 
has, in their hands, become t1ie most impenetrable 
mystery in religion. But do the priests themselves, 
comprehend this ineffable God, whom they announce 
to other men ? Have they just ideas of him ? Are they 
themselves sincerely convinced of the existence of a 
-being who unites incontpatible qualities which reci- 
procally exclude the one or the other ? We cannot ad- 
mit it ; and we are authorised to conclude, that when 
the priests profess to believe in God, either they 
know not what they say, or they wish to deceive us. 

Do not then be surprised. Madam, if you should 
find that there are, in fact, people who l>ave ventured, 
to doubt, of the existence of the Deity of the theo- 
logians, because, on meditating on the descriptions 
given of him, they have discovered them to be incom- 
prehensible, or replete with contradiction. Do not 
be astonished if they never listen, in reasoning, to any 
arguments that oppose themselves to common sense, 
and seek for the existence of the priest's deity ; other 
proofs than have yet been offered mankind. His ex- 



)I 



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// " '' \ 

" \ 



jstence cannot be demonstrated in revelations, which 
we^disiEover on examjnatioiT, to^ the work of im- 
pbstureTlrevelations^ sap tfie'^undations la|d_ down 
'fer befi ef^ia~a Divimty, which they wouH wrsfi^^ 
jestablTsRT This exTstence cannot be Ibunded on the 






I 9 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA.: 



J77 



] 



) 



\ 



I 

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finalities which our priests have assigned to the Divi- 
tiity, seeing, thai in the association of these qualities, 
there only results a God whom we cannot compre- 
hend, and by consequence of whom, we can form no V 
certain ideas. This existence cannot be founded on /' 
the moral qualities which our priests attribute to the f 
Divinity, seeing these are irreconcilable in the same \ 
subject, who cannot be at once good and evil, just ) 
and unjust, merciful and implacable, wise and the { 
enemy of human reason. \ 

On what then ought we to found the existence of ' 
God ? The priests, themselves, tell us, that it is on { 
reason, and the spectacle of nature, on the marvellous 
order which appears in the universe. Those to whom 
these motives for believing in the existence of the Di- 
vinity, do not appear convincing, find not, in any of 
the religions in the world, motives more persuasive ; 
for all systems of theology, framed for the exercise of 
the imagination, plunge us into more uncertainty re- 
specting their evidence, when they appeal to nature 
for proofs of what they advance. 
. What then are we to think of the God of the clei^y ? 
Can we think that he exists, without reasoning on 
that existence ? And what shall we think of those who 
are ignorant of tHTsGbd, or have iio Belief JnTHF ex- 
istence; who cannot discover him uTthe works of na- 
ture,~eithera8"goOd~9F€viTT who Behold o nly order 
and disorder succeeding attefhately ? W hat "tdea shalt / 
wetorm ot those men jwh^ regard^ matter as eternal, \ 
as actuated^iTBy laws^peculTaF tcTTtselfT^ asT sutlici- ) 
ently'powerfui to produce itself under s^l theTlbrmT j 
we~beholdT^~perpetuany exertin gitself in nbu rish- 
fng ahd"c[estroyrhg itseTI71n^mBining~ahd ^ssHvmg 
Jtsen TasTi ncap abTe~oirTove Of of hatredTaT^eprived 
oTtHe faculties olTtnteili^ence and^ sentiment known 
to Eelbrtg~ to beings of our specTes,~Fut~capahle- of 
supporHng thoseJ)eingswh^e^ has ^Sade 

Hrein1nt<^igen T,ns€iisi5Ie7 and reasonable?'' 

SrBat"shall we sav of those~Eee-TOnEefs' w^ho find 



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178 LETTERS TO EUGENIAw 

Beither^odd ncrr evil, neithfer order nor disorder i<i \ 

eUnfm^eT tMtlill tHmgs^renbut relative to diflTe-i ( 

reHTjCOTiditiong ^Tl)eing^j~ of w^ thej JiaVe evi- | 

I ^Gn^B| and" that all tbat Bappen^jti the ufliverse is j^^ 

) liweMary^ and~stiB3ected'to~destrnj. I n a word, 

i wBat Wall We' think of the^ inenT 

SHalT'we say that they have only a different manner 
Of viewing things, or that they u^e different words in 
expressing thenaselveg ? They call that Nature which 
others call the Divinity ; they call that Necessity, 
which Others call ^e Divine decrees ; they call that U 
the Energy of Nature, Which others call the Author 
of Nature; they call that Destiny or Fate, which 
others call God, whose laws are always going forward. 
Have we theft any right to hate and to exterminate 
\ them ? No, without doubt ; at least, we cannot admit 
( that we have any reason that those should perish, who 
I speak only the same language with ourselves, and who 
( are reciprocally beneficial to us. Nevertheless, it is 
1 to this degree of extravagance that the baneful ideas 
j of religion have carried the human mind. Harrassed 
) ^4^^* ^" ^y ^^^^ priests^ men have hated and^ssas- 
^) j smated^eacfi^oth^f, Tjecause th^T^nreligions^aiters 
tliey'a^re^ nofto one creedT^ Vanity lias made some 
imagme tKaflhey are^betleflhan others, more intelli- 
giblcj although they sefe that theology is a language 
which they neither understand, nor which they them- 
selves could invent. The very name of Freethitiker, 
sufficed to irritate them, and to arm the fury of others, 
who repeat, without ceasing-, the name of God, without 
having any precipe idea of the Deity. Ifj by chance, 
they imagine that they have any notions of him, they 
are only confused, contradictory j incompatible, and 
Senseless notions, which have been inspired in their in- 
fancy by their priests, and those Who, as we have seen^ 
have painted God in all those traits which their ima- 
gination furnishedj or those who appear more con- 
formed to their passions and interests, thaii to th6 
well-being of their fellow^reatifres. 



j^-j-y. 



■,// 



1 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. I^ 

The least reflection will, nevertheless, suffice to \ 
make any one perceive, that God, if he is just and 
good, cannot exist as a being known to some, but un- 
known to others. If Freethinkers are men void of 
reason, God would be unjust to punish them for being i 
blind and insensible, or for having too little penetra- / 
tion and understanding to perceive the force of those \ 
natural proofs on which the existence of the Deity has \ 
been founded. A God full of equity cannot punish | 
men for having been blind or devoid of reason. The / 
) Freethinkers, as foolish as they are supposed, are beings \ 
; less insensible than those who make professions of be- \ 
) lieving in a God full of qualities that destroy one ano- / 
- ther ; they are less dangerous than the adorers of a j 
, changeable Deity, who, they imagine, is pleased with \ 
^ the extermination of a large portion of mankind, on 
account of their opinions. Our speculations are in- / 
' different to God, whose glory man cannot tarnish — f 
; whose power mortals cannot abridge. They ma}', \ 
"^however, be advantageous to ourselves; they may be 
I perfectly indifferent to society, whose happiness they 
I may not affect ; or they may be the reverse of all this. I '^^^ 

For it is evident that the opinions of men do not in- i 
I fluence the happiness of society. ; 

j Hence, Madam, \g,X. us leave men to think as they / 
I please, j>rovided that the y act J^n such a manner as ' 
/ pronaotesjEe^^eheraTgood of society. The tBoughts" ' 
\ oT^en injure not btners ; their actions may — their 
' reveries nevei\ ^CTur ideas, our thoughts, our systems, i 
\ Hepend^ibt oq us. He who is fully convinced on one 
) point, is not satisfied on another. All men have not 
' the same eyes, nor the same brains ; all have not the 
\ same ideas, the same education, or the same opinions ; 
j they never agree wholly, when they have the temerity 
to reason on matters that are enveloped in the obscu- 
rity of imaginative fiction, and which cannot be sub- 
ject to the usual evidence accompanying matters of \ 
report, or historic relation. ' ,> 

Men do not long dispute on objects that are cogni- '/ ^-^ 






rMiiVihiiirtii-i i-jT^-'^---- --'*■•— -"^>'' 



ISO 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



) 



. ii 



\ 






; 



zable to their ^enses, and which they can sul)nait to { 
the^test of experience. The number of selKevident \ 
truths oh wTiich men agree i^"TerysmaT]. And the 
lun damen taTs ^f moraT!ty~area'mong' tTii s number. It 
is^vious fo alPmen of sehse7^hat~beings^^uhited in \ 
society, require to be regulated by justice, that they J 
ought to respect the happiness of each other, that mu- / 
tual succour is indispensable ; in a word, that they are I 
obliged to practice virtue, and to be useful to society, ] 
for personal happiness. It is evident to demonstration, / 
that the interest of our preservation excites us to mo- j 
derate our desires, and put a bridle on our passions ; \ 
to renounce dangerous habits, and to abstain from vices I 
which can only injure our fortune, and undermine our / 
health. These truths are evident to every being whose [ 
passions have not dominion over his reason : they are \ 
totally independent of theological speculations, which 1 
have neither evidence nor demonstration, and which / 
our mind can never verify ; they have nothing in com- 
mon with the religious opinions, on which the imagi- 
nation soars from earth to skv, nor with the fanaticism 
and credulity, which are so frequently producing among 
mankind the most opposite principles to morality and 
the well-beinjj of societv. 

They who are of the Freethinkers' opinions, are not 
more dangerous than they who are of the priests' opi- 
nions. In short, Christianity has produced effects 
more appalling than heathenism. The speculative 
principles of the Freethinkers, have done no injury to 
society ; the contagious principles of fanaticism and 
enthu>nasm, have only served to spread disorder on 
the earth. 

Jf there are dangerous notions and fatal speculations 
HI the world, they are those of^the devotees, who "obey 
a religion that divides men, aridlexcltes their p^sions, 
and^who sacrifice the interests ot society, orsbvereigns, 
aiid^theiir subjectslo t^ff owITaimbitTdn 
thefr^vengeance jmd TuryT ~~ ----- - ^ 

~There is no qu^estTon that the Freethinker has mo- 1 






,/ 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. ISl 

K lives to be good, even though he admit not notions \ 
that bridle his passions. It is true that the Free- / 
thinker has no invisible motives, but he has motives, (. 
^ and a visible restraint, which, if he reflects, cannot ; 
fail to regulate his actions. If he doubts about reli- / 
', gion, he does not question the laws of moral obliga- \y/ 
^ tion ; nor that it is his duty to moderate his passions, ^ / 
to labour for his happiness, and that of others, to avoid / 
hatred, disdain, and discord as crimes ; and that he \ 
should shun vices which may injure his constitution, \ 
; reputation, and fortune. / 

\ Thus relatively to his morality, the Freethinker has ( 
principles more sure than those of superstition and fa- \ 
naticism. In fine, if nothing can restrain the Free- \ 
\ thinker, a thousand forces united, would not prevent / 
the fanatic from the commission of crimes, and the ! 
\ violation of duties the most sacred. 

Besides, I believe that 1 have already proved that the 
; morality of superstition has no certain principles ; that 
\ it varies with the interests of the priests, who explain 
. ! the intentions of the Divinity, as they find these ac- 
■/ cordant or discordant to their views and interests; 
.which, alas I are too often the result of cruel and 
\ wicked purposes. On the contrary, the Freethinker, 
' who has no morality but what he draws from the na- 
ture and character of man, and the constant events j 
which transpire in society, has a certain morality that 
\ is not founded either on the caprice of circumstances, | 
' Or the prejudices of mankind ; a morality that tells \ 
him when he does evil, and blames him for the evil so i 
; done, and that is superior to the morality of the into- 1 
\ lerant fanatic and persecutor. j 

\ You thus perceive. Madam, on which side the mo- \ 
I rality of the Freethinkers leans, what advantages it \ 
possesses over that inculcated on the superstitious de- ^^ 
^1 votee, who knows no other rule than tbe caprice of \r^^'^ 
', \ his priest, nor any other morality than what suits the 
interest of the clergy, nor any other virtues than sucii 



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I 188 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 



\ as make hiiti the slave of their will, and which are too 
often in opposition to the great interests of mankind. 
/ Thus you perceive that what is understood by the na- 
\ tural morality of the Freethinker, is much more con- 
stant, and more sure than that of the superstitious, who 
\ believe they can render themselves agreeable to God 
! by the intercession of priests. If the Freethinker is 
blind or corrupted, by not knowing his duties which 
nature prescribes to him, it is precisely in the same 
'. way as the superstitious, whose invisible motives and 
sacred guides prevent him not from going occasionally 

astray. 

These reflections will serve to confirm what I have 

already said, to prove that morality has nothing in 

common with religion ; and that religion is its own 

, enemy, though it pretends to dispense with support 

' from other sources. True morality is founded on the 



/ 



y 



I 



■^ 



nature of man ; the morality of religion is founded 
only on the chimeras of imagination, and on the ca- 
price of those vvho speak of the Deity in a language 
too often contrary to nature and right reason. 

Allow me then. Madam, to repeat to you, that mo- 
rality is the only jiatural^ religjqn for man ; the only 
b^ect worthy^ his^otice on earthy the on]y worship 
wbich he is required to render to the Deity. IF is 
umform and replete with otvious duties whfch rest 
not on the dictation of priests, blabbing chit-chat they 
do not understand. If it be this morality which I 
have defined, that makes us what we are, ought we ( 
not to labour strenuously for the happiness of our \ 
race? If it be this morality that makes us reasonable, | 
that enables us to distinguish good from evil, the use- / 
ful from the hurtful ; that makes us sociable, and ena- ,' 
1^ I bles us to live in society to receive and repay mutual \ ' 
'' "( benefits; we ought at least to respect all those who \^ 
'' ] are its friends. j ^ 

I If it be this morality which sets bounds to our tem- 
i per, it is that which interdicts the commissioa la 



LETTERS TO EUGSmA. im 

] thought, word, or action, of what would injure ano« \ 
' ther, or disturb the happiness of society* If it attach / 
us to the preservation of all that is dear to us, i€ ^ 
X points out how by a certain line of conduct we may ( 
^ preserve ourselves ; for its laws, clear and of easy | 
pi-actice, inflict on those who disobey them instant \ 
j punishment, fear and remorse; on the other hand, the ) 
observance of its duties is accompanied with imme* ( / 
diate and real advantages, and notwithstanding the '// ,^ 
! depravity which prevails on earth, vice always finds ( ^, 

itself punished, and virtue is not always deprived of \ 
\ the satisfaction it yields, of the esteem of men, and 
j the recompence of society ; even if men are in other I 
' respects unjust, they will concede to the virtuous the j 
due meed of praise. / 

[' Behold, Madam, to what the dogmas of natural \ 
j religion reduce us: in meditating on it, and in / 
\ practising its duties^ we shall be truly religious, and ( 
i filled with the spirit of the Divinity; we shall be ' 
) admired and respected by men, we shall be in the '. 
I right way to be loved by those who rule over us, and j 
j respected b}' those who serve us ; we shall be truly \ 
\ happy in this world, and we shall have nothing to fear j 
) in the next. \ 

I These are laws so clear, so demonstrable, and whose { 
infraction is so evidently punished ; whose observance j 
is so surely recompensed, that they constitute the \ 
code of nature of all living beings, sentiment and / 
reasoning, all acknowledge their authority ; all find in \ 
them the evidence of Deity, and consider those as ) 
sceptics who doubt their efficacy. The Freethinker ( 
does not refuse to acknowledge as fundameutal laws, j 
those which are obviously founded on the God of j I 

Nature, and on the immutable and necessary circum* 
stances of things cognizable to the faculties of sentient 
natures. The Indian, the Chinese, the savage, per* 
ceives these self-evident laws, whenever he is not car- 
ried headlong by his passions into crime and error. 

2 a 



If 



igjiligilimiiimmaitliSi^^ 



184 LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 

f In fine, these laws, so true, and so evident, never can ( 

j appear uncertain, obscure, or false, as are those su- \ 

( perstitious chimeras of the imagination which knaves ■' 

] have substituted for the truths of nature, and the dicta \ 

[ of comnion sense ; and those devotees who know no 

\ other laws than those of the caprices of their priests, 

.' necessarily obey a morality little calculated to produce 

[ personal or general happiness, but much calculated ! 

{ to lead to extravagance and inconvenient practices. \ 

i Hence, charming Eugenia, you will allow man- j 

• kind to think as they please, and judge of them after ' 

/ their actions. Oppose reason to their systems, when I 

I they are pernicious to themselves or others ; remove j 

1 their prejudices if you can, that they may not become / 

I the victims of their capfiifes, shew them the truth j 

' which may always remove error ; banish from their • 

i> j minds the fantoms which disturb them ; advise them j ^ 

///» "i not to meditateon the naysteries^of their~pnests~rbid |/ 

.> themlrenounce all those ijlusions they have substu i f 

I ^ uted Tot jnorality ; and advise tbein* to turn their j 

'< thoughts on that which conduces to their happiness, i 
I Meditate yourself on your own nature, and the du- j 
j ties which it imposes on you. Fear those chastise- | 
\ ments which follow inattention to this law. Be am- | 
bitious to be approved by your own understanding, i 
and you will rarely fail to receive the applauses of 
^1 the human kind, as a good member of society. 
/ If. you wish to meditate, think with the greatest 
, strength of your mind on your nature. Njever aban- 
\ don the torch of reason ; cherish truth sincerely. 
\ When you are in uncertainty, pause, or follow what 
I appears the most probable, always abandoning opi- 
/ nions that are destitute of foundation, or evidence of 
\ their truth and benefit to society. Then will you, in 
j good truth, yield to the impulse of your heart when 
/ reason is your guide ; then will you consult in the 
^ calmness of passion, and counsel yourself on the ad- 
\ iiantages of virtue, and the consequences of its want; 



LETTERS TO EUGENIA. 185 

\ and you may flatter yourself that you cannot be dis- \ 

u pleasing to a wise God, though you disbelieve ab- ^ 

} ) surdities, nor agreeable to a gopd God in doing things / 

•( hurtful to yourself or to Others. \ 






I am, Madam, &c. 



THE END. 



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