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every infant science, are diligently sought out and arranged in due form on the side of those that are called the free-thinkers: and frequently the data which a really reflecting person would think it worth his while at least to examine, are thrown aside because of ancient date, and with a Frenchman, therefore, of no avail. The arguments drawn from anatomy or physiology, from mineralogical studies or metaphysics, however daily changing in their form and application as to other matters, are still held sufficiently good to this one purpose, and quoted with an air of triumph and of pride. Even the zodiac of Tentyra no sooner makes its appearance in the metropolis, than it is instantly seized upon to be brought forward (erroneously, as it has since been proved,) as an engine of attack upon the credibility of the Mosaic history.

In spite of the real power of the court, the breath of whose fashion is not, indeed, felt by the multitude, the religious establishment of France has at this hour a very feeble hold upon the minds and feelings of her citizens. Le grand Monarque, or le bon Dieu, (ideas which,

it is true, used to be too nearly confounded together,) are now as the phrases of other times; scarcely is a feeling of even respect attached to their names: often, indeed, they do not escape mention without a sneer. Newer thoughts are more inviting; the name of science seems to give a dignity to any pursuit which may be brought under that denomination, and confers upon it a certain degree of credit and importance, however unsettled and uncertain may be its aim. The Institute or the Academy, not the Church, dispense the data of a modern creed; and any man of erudition who, in the preface of a speech, or of a scientific treatise, appealed to the Bible as to an authority, would only be treated with ridicule and contempt at Paris. Scarcely does it seem to be imagined that any ethical studies whatever can be founded upon the maxims of the sacred volume, or that there is in existence what may be called Christian philosophy: the ingenious researches of Cabanis, the ideologie of Count de Tracy, with some other speculative works of a similar description, furnish to the young men of France the substance of their favorite studies, and all

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their knowledge of the moral constitution of

man.

Other causes, indeed, have combined in that country to give the nation, generally speaking, a tendency to irreligion. The immorality of the court under Louis XIV. and XV. had by degrees poisoned all the natural sources of good feeling, and destroyed that respect for morality which it was the duty of exalted individuals to exhibit to their people. At the time when the storm of the revolution burst forth, in the reign of their successor, there was little or nothing of good principle, in any shape, remaining, so as to enable those who had courage enough for the attempt to make any successful effort against the anarchists of the day; and the consequence was, that religion was overturned with greater facility even than the throne. The insidious efforts too of such as had long before prepared the mind of the nation for the melancholy catastrophe; those witty and specious writers who had circulated their lawless and uncertain' thoughts during the last century, over almost the whole of the continent, had gained in this, the country of their birth, a still more power

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ful ascendancy. It was in vain that a church, (especially one formed as the Roman church is,) attempted to counteract their evil designs; their effect might indeed be speculated upon with an unerring certainty, amongst a people proverbial for their levity of thought; a people with whom a witticism or a phrase is even of more avail than the most weighty and welllaboured argument; and we may imagine that the pious eloquence of a Massillon or a Bourdaloue were quoted in vain, when they might be parried with a joke from Voltaire.

Under such auspices was it, and with such preparatory operations, that religion itself was once abolished by a public decree of the state. It is now but a few years since the miscalled goddess of human reason was formally enthroned, and many a year will pass away before the minds of the people can be in any degree settled, or before any set of maxims whatever can be expected to be so far established as to have a hold upon their minds, much less to lead them back to those principles which they have once disavowed.

In other countries of Europe, if we continue

our views around us, the doctrines of scepticism are in vogue amongst the wealthier classes at least, because they are French; and the opposition made to them is feeble, since the continuance of the enquiry involves deeper principles than are generally taken into consideration by the diletantti in ethics, or the politico-economists of morality. Such persons as enquire only after these things as a plausible method of combining amusement and instruction, are for the most part deficient not only in the industry and perseverance requisite for this purpose; but however well fitted for discussion on ordinary topics, are wanting in that depth of philosophy, as Lord Bacon expresses it, which bringeth about men's minds to religion.'

Indeed, another obvious cause of scepticism may be assigned in many cases, namely, that the system of the Roman Catholic religion, even under its present mitigated ideas of intolerance and mysticism, must be regarded as one that was better fitted to command the human mind in its uninstructed state, during the darker ages of history, than to struggle with the enquiring spirit of the present day. In those

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