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the same caution concerning the Most High, and treated with equal respect and tenderness the words of the ever-living God. But, in his writings, we see the beginning of the thunder and lightning hypothesis. The cherubs, according to him, were nothing but the horses which drove the thundering chariot of Jehovah, and whenever they are mentioned, we must expect an allusion to thunder and lightning. Many other parts of the Scriptures he disfigures by attempts at inapplicable learning. He translates the wings of the morning, the wings of Aurora, and then wonders at a coincidence wholly of his own making; and he is still further surprised that the Orientals should only give Aurora wings, when the western poets had furnished her with a chariot. In the following verse of Job, “He is swift as the waters, their portion is cursed in the earth, he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards,” Michaelis sees a plain and palpable allusion to the Grecian fables of Tartarus and the Elysian fields; He is swift as the waters evidently signifies, He is swiftly carried over the water of Styx in Charon's boat. “Celerrimè cymbā vehuntur Acherontiá.” And, He beholdeth not the way of the vineyards, means, he shall have no entrance into the gardens of Elysium. In the hands of such commentators, the Scriptures may easily be made to bear any sense. It is also amusing to see how the frequency of absurO

dity diminishes the consciousness of it. Nothing is too ridiculous for the credulity of these Neologians, who are ready to admit of any thing except the inspiration of the Bible. But the reign of absurdity and error cannot be perpetual in any country; there is a continual progress in human affairs, however some nations may appear to be returning to the barbarism of ancient errors. The true system of the Bible, and of nature, must everywhere prevail at last, and the great difficulty then will be, to believe that the opinions of the Pantheists and Neologists of Germany entitled their holders, not to a place in Bedlam, but to the applause of their countrymen, and to the chairs of philosophy and divinity. V. The Academic scepticism, which the genius of Bayle revived, and made popular in modern times, is fast passing away, if not altogether extinct; nor is it likely ever to be restored by any such favourable train of circumstances, as have given a new influence to the doctrines of Spinoza in Germany. To excel in it would demand great labour and considerable ingenuity. Its essence consists in opposing all the systems of speculative belief to each other. But these speculative systems have entirely lost their interest. The difficulty is not to refute them, but to present them in any form which would attract the least attention. The academic philosophy is much more suitable to the genius of ancient than of modern times, and more fitted for the infancy of the understanding than for the present more advanced period, when many important discoveries have been ascertained, and the strength of men's faculties have been successfully tried in explaining several of the mysteries of nature. There is a radical absurdity in academic doubt and research, which is ever seeking for the avowed purpose of never finding; and which is perpetually reasoning, in order that it may never come to any conclusion. The great temptation to adopt the academic philosophy was the quantity of the ready-formed materials which the sceptic found prepared to his hand. Before the academy existed, the various theories of philosophy were all at war with each other, and had clearly proved that, if they were weak for defence, they were strong for attack. The academic had only to inflame the combat which was already begun, and to take care that it should never be terminated, by bringing prompt assistance to the weaker party. The first academics were no doubt the sophists, whose vocationand boast it was to display their skill indefending both sides of the question. Socrates, in attacking the sophists, did not disdain occasionally to use their own weapons; and the Socratic doubt, though intended to recall men from vain speculations, has unwittingly given its rise and its peculiar colour to the scepticism of the academy. This scepticism was peculiarly adapted to the genius of the Greeks; it was alike fitted to display their eloquence and their intelligence. Cicero has shown of what advantage it was to oratory; and, in its moderate indulgence, it was to the understandings of the Greeks what the gymnastic exercises were to their bodies. In naming Cicero, one cannot help reflecting how superior he was to Bayle, not only in genius and eloquence, in which of course there can be no comparison, but in the mode in which he pursued the academic system. While Bayle is taken up too often with a warfare of petty details, and cavilling about some obscure fact, or disputing about the consequences of some insignificant opinion, Cicero is entering into the spirit of every ancient system, and shows that he understands their strength as well as their weakness, before he brings them to mutual combat, and weighs in the balance of academic suspense their conflicting opinions. Cicero adopted the academic philosophy for a suitable end; Bayle for none that he chose to avow. Cicero aimed at improving his eloquence by the abundance of topics which the study afforded him, and his purpose was to bind himself, by his academic profession, to understand all the theories of Greece, and to wield them at his will. Bayle, while he seems to have no other object than to keep the understanding in suspense, with an impartial indifference to all opinions, is manifestly aiming his blows at natural and revealed religion. His favourite topic,

which occupies so disproportioned a space in his pages, is the prevalence of evil, and the impossibility that thisworld, constituted as it is, could either be created or governed by a good Deity. He is also well aware that the only practical end of scepticism is to reject Christianity. Men neither eat nor drink the less on account of the arguments of the Sceptic. On the contrary, the vanities of life are pursued with stillmore avidity, the more doubtful our prospects of immortality. When reason is set at war with itself, the only effect is to give freer scope to the lower propensities of our nature. If all things be so doubtful, this conclusion at least remains certain, * Let us eat and drink to-day, for to-morrow we die." Bayle was sensible that his scepticism could only affect religion. * C'est avec raison qu'on déteste le Pyrrhonisme dans les écoles de Théologie. C'est par rapport à cette divine science que le pyrrhonisme est dangereux ; car on ne voit pas qu'il le soit guère ni par rapport à la physique, ni par rapport à l'état.—La vie civile n'a rien à craindre de cet esprit là ; car les Sceptiques ne nioient pas qu'il ne se fallût conformer aux coutumes de son pays, et pratiquer les devoirs de la morale, et prendre parti en ces choses là sur des probabilités, sans attendre la certitude.—Il n'y a donc que la religion qui ait à craindre le Pyrrhonisme." Yet this exception of religion is founded not upon reason, but upon the alienation of the

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