« AnteriorContinuar »
displayed in all other Things, appeared particularly in the Number of coftly Monuments erected to this very Purpose, which remained for a Shew several Ages after. The Egyptians " interred Wolves, Bears, Crocodiles, Dogs, and Cats in facred Places, embalmed their Bodies, and wore Mourning at their Death. Cimon gave k an honourable Burial to the Mares with which he had won three Prizes at the Olympic Races. Old Xanthippus caused his Dog to be buried on a Promontory, near the Sea-side, which has, ever since, retained its Name. And " Plutarch says, that he made Conscience of selling and sending to the Shambles, for a small Profit, an Ox that had served him a good while.
An Apology for RAIMOND DE SE BONDE.
EARNING is, in Truth, a Possession of very great
Importance and Utility, and they who despite it, plainly discover their Stupidity ; yet I don't Learning, its prize it at that excessive Rate as some Men Ulefulness. do, particularly Herillus the Philosopher, who therein placed the Sovereign Good, and maintained, that it was alone sufficient to make us Wise and Happy ; which I do not believe, nor what has been said by others, that Learning is the Mother of all Virtue, and that all Vice is produced from Ignorance. If this be true, 'tis a Point liable to a tedious Discussion. My House has been, a long Time, open to Men of Learning, and is very well known by them;
; for my Father, who was the Master of it fifty Years, and more, being warmed with that Zeal with which King Francis I. had newly embraced Literature, and brought it into Esteem, spared no Pains nor Expence to get an Acquaintance with Men of Learning, treating them, at his House, as Persons sacred, who had
Divine Diodorus of Sicily, lib. xiii. c. 17. i Father of Miltiades, Herodot. lib. vi. p. 419. k Herodot. lib. ii. p. 129.
| Plutarch's Cata the Censor, Ibid.
Divine Wisdom by some special Inspiration, colle&ting their Sentences and Sayings as so many Oracles, and with the more Veneration and Religion, as he was the less qualified to judge of them; for he had no Knowledge of Letters any more than his Predecessors had. For
For my Part, I love them very well, but don't adore them. Amongst others, Peter Bunel, a Man of great Reputation for Learning, in his Time, having, with others of his Class, spent some Days at Montaigne with my Father, presented him, at his Departure, with a Book, intitled Theologia NaturaThe Work of
lis, five Liber Creaturarum Magistri Raimondi Raimond de de Sebonde, i. e. Natural Theology, or a TreaSebonde.
tise of the Animal Creation, by Master Raimond de Sebonde. And, because both the Italian and Spanish Languages were familiar to my Father, and it being a Book writ in Spanish, fuftianed with Latin Terminations, M. Bunel hoped, that, with a very little Affistance, my Father would make it turn out to his Account; and hé recommended it to him as a very useful Book, and proper for the Juncture of Time in which he gave it to him, which was when the Innovations of Luther began to be in Vogue, and in many Places to stagger our ancient Faith. And herein he judged very right, foreseeing plainly, by the Dictates of Reason, that, as the Diftemper appeared at its breaking out, it would easily turn into execrable Atheism : For the Vulgar, not being qualified to judge of Things as they are in themselves, but being governed by Accidents and Appearances, after they have been once inspired with the Boldness to contemn and controul those Opinions which they had before in extreme Reverence, as those, particularly, which concern their Salvation, and, after any of the Articles of their Religion are brought into Doubt and Dispute, are soon apt to reject all the other Articles of their Belief, as equally uncertain, and having no other Authority or Foundation than those in which they have been already puzzled ; and shake off all the Impreslions they had received from the Authority of the Laws, or the Reverence of ancient Custom, as a tyrannical Yoke;
Nam cupidè conculcatur nimis antè metutum **
For with most Eagerness they spurn the Law,
By which they were before most kept in Awe. resolving to admit nothing, for the future, without the Interposition of their own Decree and particular Consent.
My Father, a few Days before his Death, happening to meet with this Book under a Heap of other
Translated Papers that were laid by, commanded me to from the Spatransate it for him into French. 'Tis good nish, into to translate such Authors as this, wherein French, by
Montaigne. there's scarce any Thing to represent, except the Matter ; but as for those Books wherein the Grace and Elegancy of Language are mainly affected, they are dangerous to undertake, for fear of translating them into a weaker Idiom. It was an Undertaking new, and quite ftrange to me; but happening, at that Time, to have Leisure, and not being able to resist the Command of the beft Father that ever was, I did it as well as I could, and so much to his Satisfaction, that he ordered it to be printed, which also, after his Death, was performed ". I was charmed with the Author's fine Imagination, the regular Contexture of his work, and the extraordinary Piety of his Design. Because many people take a Pleasure in reading it, particularly the Ladies, to whom we owe most
Service, m Lucret. lib. v. v. 1439.
* Montaigne, speaking of this first Edition of it in the first Edition of his Esays, at Bourdeaux, in 1580, and that of 1588, in Quarto, fays, it appears to have been carelessly printed, by reason of the infinite Number of of the Press, committed by the Printer, who had the sole Care of it. This Translation was reprinted, aud, no doubt, more correctly, because More taigne has purged it of the Printer's Errors in the former. I have an Edition printed at Paris in 1611, and said to be translated by Michael Seigneur de Montaigne, Knight of the King's Orders, and a Gentleman of his Chamber in Ordinary; the last Edition, revised and corrected. And, indeed, this is a very correct Edition. There is such a Perspicuity, Spirit, and natural Vivacity in this Translation, that it has all the Air of an Original. Mona taigne has added nothing of his own to it, but a short Dedication of it to his Father, wherein he owns, that he undertook this work by his Order.. The Reader will find this Dedication at the End of the third Volume of this Edin tion of the Esays.
Service, I have often been ready to assist them, in defeating two main Objections to this their favourite Author. His Design is bold and courageous; for he undertakes to establish and verify all the Articles of the Christian Religion, against the Atheists, from Reasons that are human and natural; wherein, to say the Truth, he is so folid and successful, that I do not think it possible to do better upon that Subject, and do believe that he has been equalled by none". This Work seeming to me too sublime and too elegant for an Author whole Name is fo little known, and of whom all that we learn, is that he was a Spaniard, who profeffed Physic at Tholoufe, about two hundred Years ago, I once asked Adrian Turnebus, a Man of universal Knowledge, what he thought of this Treatise. : The Answer he made to me, was, that he believed it to be some Extract from Thomas Aquinas ; for that, in Truth, none but a Genius like his, accompanied with infinite Learning, and wonderful Subtilty, was capable of such Ideas. So it is, that, be the Author and Inventor who he will, (though, without greater Reason than has yet appeared, it would not be right to strip Sebonde of this Title) he was a Man of great Sufficiency, and of very fine Parts.
The first Fault they find with his work is his affert-, The Objection ing, 'That Christians are in the wrong to
· endeavour to make human Reasoning the Book; and • Basis of their Belief, since the Object of it Montaigne's
' is only conceived by Faith, and by a speAnswer.
'cial Inspiration of the Divine Grace. In this Objection there feems to be a pious Zeal, and, for this Reason, 'tis absolutely necessary that we should endeavour, with the greater Mildness and Respect, to satisfy those who have advanced it. . This were a Talk more proper for a Man well versed in Divinity, than for me who know nothing of it. Nevertheless, this is my Judg-. ment, that, in a Point of so divine and sublime a Nature, and so far transcending human Understanding, as this
Truth, • Grotius's Treatise of the Truth of the Christian Religion was not yet published, wherein that great Man expressly fays, that this Subject had been before treated by Raimond de Sebonde, Philosophicâ Subtilitate.
made to the
Truth, with which it has pleased the Divine Goodness to enlighten us, there is great Need that he should also lend us the Affittance, in the Way of an extraordinary Favour and Privilege, to enable us to conceive and imprint it in our Understandings, of which I don't think Means merely human are, in any fort, capable of doing; for, if they were, so many Men, of rare and excellent Talents, lo abundantly furnished with natural Abilities, in former Ages, had not failed to attain to this Knowledge by the Light of Reason. 'Tis by Faith alone that we have a lively and certain Comprehension of the sublime Mysteries of our Religion ; not but that 'tis a very brave and laudable Attempt to accommodate also the natural and human Talents, which God has given us, to the Service of our Faith : 'Tis not to be doubted, that this is the mofi noble Use that we can put them to, and that there is no Employment nor Design more worthy of a Christian, than to aim, by all his Studies and Meditations, to illuftrate, extend, and amplify the Truth of his Belief. We do not content ourselves by serving God with our Hearts and Understandings; we, moreover, owe and render him corporeal Reverence; we apply our very Limbs, and our external Motions, &c. to do him Honour: We must here do the same, and accompany our Faith with all the Reason we have, but always with this Reserve, not to fancy that it depends upon us, nor that our Efforts and Arguments can attain to Knowledge fo supernatural and divine. If it enter nog into us by an extraordinary Infufion; if it only enters by Reason, and by human Means, it does not enter us in its Dignity and Splendor ; and yet I really am afraid that we only possess it by this Canal. If we laid hold upon God by the Mediation of a lively Faith ; if we laid hold upon God through Him, ard not through ourselves; if we had a Divine Footing and Foundation, human Accidents would not have the power to shake us as they do; our Fortress would not be the Conqueft of so weak a Battery : The Love of Novelty, the Constraint of Princes, the Success of a Party, the ralh and fortuitous Change of our Opinions would not have Power to stagger and alter, our Faith : We should not