The travels of Cyrus. To which is annexed, a discourse upon the theology and mythology of the pagans.
Ramsay, Chevalier (Andrew Michael), 1686-1743., Fréret, Nicolas, 1688-1749.
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THE TRAVELS OF CYRUS. TO WHICH IS ANNEXED, A DISCOURSE UPON THE THEOLOGY AND MYTHOLOGY OF THE PAGANS.

BY THE CHEVALIER RAMSAY.

THE TENTH EDITION.—FIRST AMERICAN.

BURLINGTON, PRINTED BY ISAAC NEALE, OCT. 1, M,DCC,XCIII.

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TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE LORD LANSDOWN.

MY LORD,

THE most amiable virtues and the brightest talents formed the character of that HERO, whose travels I re∣late: And to whom could I offer a picture of so fine a genius and so generous a mind, but to a person of YOUR LORDSHIP'S TASTE?

THE singular friendship with which your Lordship honors me, gave rise to this undertaking; and my obli∣gations are of such a nature, that to let pass the present opportunity of acknowledging them, would be the highest injustice, as well as ingratitude. Accept this mark of the inviolable attachment and profound respect of,

MY LORD,

YOUR LORDSHIP'S MOST OBLIGED, MOST OBEDIENT, AND MOST HUMBLE SERVANT, ANDREW RAMSAY.

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PREFACE.

EVER since the first edition of THE TRAVELS OF CYRUS, the author has listened with respect and deference to the judgment of the Public; and as se∣veral specious objections have been made to the work, and many real faults discovered in it, his design in this preface is to give the best answer he can to the one, and to acquaint the reader with what he has done to correct the other.

THE most general defect in the former editions is the inaction of Cyrus, who through the whole course of his travels has too much of the indolent Philoso∣pher, and too little of the Hero, who was one day to be the conqueror of Asia. The nature of this work not requiring the action of an epic poem, this fault might have been excused; the author has neverthe∣less submitted to the judgment of the Public, and has made Cyrus act in the several countries through which he passes; and this without departing from the character of a young hero upon his travels, or shocking the reader with tales and fictions that have no foun∣dation in antiquity. Besides this general defect there are 〈◊〉 peculiar to each book.

〈◊◊〉, the narration is too hasty and concise: the reader feels a tender concern for Cassandana, loves her and fears to lose her; nevertheless she dis∣appears on a sudden, and this episode concludes too abruptly. It has been likewise observed, that there is no relation between the virtuous love of Cyrus for Cassandana, and the criminal passion of Stryangeus for Zarina. Nor is this all, Cambyses and Mandana consent to their son's marriage contrary to all the rules of good policy. The author hopes he has cor∣rected these faults, by the additions made to the first book, where he gives a view of the political state of Asia in Cyrus's time.

IN the second book the author had not assigned a proper motive for Cyrus's journey to see Zoroaster; Page  vi the occasion of it at present is this. The Prince of Persia begins to entertain a contempt for Religion, and in order to guard him against this danger, Hy∣staspes, his governor, engages him to make a visit to the Magi: the representation which Zoroaster makes of the wonders of nature, and the amiable ideas he gives him of the Divinity, satisfy his doubts, and set∣tle his mind; and while he is thus instructed by phi∣losophical reasonings, which could not be supposed very agreeable to a young Princess accustomed to the gayeties and diversions of the court of Ecbatan, the author to amuse Cassandana has introduced the wives of the Magi celebrating the festival of the God∣dess Mythra; this description relaxes the mind, serves for an introduction to the Theology of the Persians, and makes a proper division of Zoroaster's discourse upon natural philosophy and religion.

THE third book was all narration, there was no ac∣tion; the episode of Amenophis was thought interest∣ing enough, but Cyrus seemed to be forgotten, and was remembered only by reflection. The author has found means to make this Prince present at the revo∣lutions of Egypt, without becoming a prisoner with A∣pries, or countenancing the usurpation of Amasis, dis∣playing occasionally his military virtues and heroic sentiments.

IN the fourth and fifth books the Spartans and A∣thenians were put to a great expence of men and ships only to amuse Cyrus. Virgil kills and maims some of the Athletae in the games in order to give a lustre to his heroes, but the author had exceeded the liberty taken by the Latin poet. To correct this fault he has related in his fourth book the war be∣tween the Lacedaemonians and Tegeans, mentioned by Herodotus, and which happened precisely at the time when Cyrus is supposed to be at Sparta. This episode has given the author occasion to unfold, in a more extensive manner, the political state of Sparta, Page  vii and the different opinions of Polybius and Plutarch concerning the designs of Lycurgus in his Laws and institutions of government. In the fifth book a sea fight is supposed between Megacles and Pisistratus, when the Persian Prince went into Attica.

IN the sixth book Pythagoras shewed clearly, that Thought could not be a property of Matter; but it was necessary some pages should be added, to evince that we have no reason to believe that extension and thought are properties of the same substance; and that the system of Spinoza, (who is meant by Anaxi∣mander) is a series of loose suppositions without any demonstrations.

THE author has made a considerable addition to the seventh book with regard to the religion of the Tyrians and the death of Adonis. He thought he might take advantage of this beautiful part of my∣thology, to explain the ancient tradition common to almost all nations concerning a middle God, who was to expiate and destroy moral evil by his own great sufferings. As the Phoenicians lived near Judea, they might possibly have clearer ideas of religion than other nations, and this bare possibility may perhaps justify that new episode. However it would be un∣reasonable to expect, that what is put in the mouth of each philosopher relating to the religion of his own country, should be found word for word in the anci∣ents. The author of Cyrus has only wrought into a connected system, the most beautiful hints of antiquity, in order to unfold the great principles of religion, and shew that all nations had from the beginning some ideas of those principles more or less confused.

IN the last book, several important reflections are added, to give more accuracy to the reasonings of E∣leazar; and more strength to the discourse of Daniel: the latter proves the supernatural establishment of re∣ligion by the only proper method for it, that is to say, by a relation of facts; but his discourse at present con∣tains Page  viii several corroborative hints, so shew that these facts are incontestible. And lastly, he refers Cyrus to the accomplishment of the prophecies in his own per∣son, as an invincible proof of all the truths he had told him.

THE author has made several additions to his dis∣course on the ancient mothology, in order to shew, that as all the fictions of the Pagans suppose the reality of the three states of the world, so all the Pagan di∣vinities may be reduced to one supreme God, the prin∣ciple of all beings, a Goddess his wife, sister or daugh∣ter, and a middle God who is his son, his representa∣tive or vicegerent. Besides these additions, which are the most important, there are many others less consi∣derable, which the author thought necessary, to ren∣der the transitions more easy and natural, the narra∣tion more connected, the principles more palpable, and the reasonings more conclusive. This is what the au∣thor has done, to correct the real faults in the former editions of his work. The objections, to which he thinks he can give a solid answer, without changing any thing in his plan, are as follow.

I. To begin with the least important of them, It has been objected, that the author is a plagiary, and that he has in several places transcribed whole pages from the Bishop of Meaux's universal history, M. de Tourreil's historical preface, Dr. Cudworth's intellec∣tual system, and the life of Hay-Ebn-Yokdan, trans∣lated from the Arabic.

THESE pretended thefts imposed at first upon those who were not in a condition to consult the originals, but upon a strict examination, the injustice and igno∣rance of the critics appeared. The third took which treats of ancient Egypt contains several remarks, of which there is not the least trace in the Bishop of Meaux's universal history. The author has indeed in some places followed the translation made by that Prelate of certain passages in Diodorus Siculus, He∣rodotus Page  ix and Strabo: But is a man a plagiary because in his citations from the ancients he chuses rather to follow a good translation than a bad one? So in com∣paring M. de Tourreil's preface with the fourth and fifth books of his work, the reader will find nothing common to them, except certain passages purely histo∣rical. The life of Hay-Ebn-Yokdan, translated from the Arabic into Latin by Dr. Pocock, has no resem∣blance with the author's history of Hermes the second, unless it be the general idea of a savage brought up in a desart; there is not the least likeness either in the matter or in the method of reasoning. The Arabian philosopher begins with very refined disquisitions in anatomy, passes thence to metaphysical discussions, and concludes, with the dreams of the Mahometan con∣templatives. All the author's reasonings are, on the contrary, so managed, that they do not exceed the capacity of a common good understanding, who has no other instructor than nature: he has endeavored so to introduce his ideas as not to transgress the bounds of probability, to range each truth in its proper place, to mix speculation with sentiment, and to raise the soul by easy and natural gradations to the knowledge and love of the first Being. Lastly, as to Dr. Cudworth, notwithstanding his mistakes and want of method, he had penetrated farther into the mysteries of antiquity than the most part of critics: nevertheless this learned man says nothing of the three states of the world, which are the foundation of all that the author of Cy∣rus advances upon religion. Far from being a plagi∣ary he had not consulted enough the Doctor's excel∣lent remarks concerning the three forms of the Divi∣nity; he has made more use of them in this edition, but has always quoted him or the originals.

II. IT is thought that the episodes, in which the author speaks of love, are related with two much rapidity, so that the reader has not time enough to be touched, moved and transported.

Page  x To this it may be answered, that those stories are related by persons who ought not to launch out into love-speeches, tender sentiments and sprightly images. The ancients are very sparing in words when the si∣tuation and circumstances speak sufficiently of them∣selves. When Homer is to paint the charms of Helen, he does it by a single stroke; she goes into the coun∣cil of the old men, they fix their eyes upon her, are discomposed and suspend their deliberations. When Virgil makes Dido speak, her words are few, but each word is a sentiment: the tender passions lose their force and their delicacy when they become too elo∣quent. Besides, all the author's fictions, where love is the object, are in the two first books, and tend to preserve Cyrus from the follies of youth, by shewing him, not so much the sweets of love, as the bitter ef∣fects of it: as soon as he attains to a riper age, Cas∣sandana dies, and the hero begins his travels. Thus history simply relates facts as they happen, without endeavoring after the intrigues, speeches and surpri∣sing adventures of romance.

III. SOME object that the travels of Cyrus are not well imagined, and that any other hero would have suited better with the author's project than the con∣queror of Asia.

Conquerors have generally no other view in ex∣tending their dominions, than to satisfy their unbound∣ed ambition: Cyrus on the contrary made use of his victories to procure the happiness of the conquered na∣tions. The author's intention in making choice of such a Prince was to shew, that courage, great ex∣ploits and military talents may indeed excite our ad∣miration, but do not form the character of a true he∣ro, without the addition of wisdom, virtue and noble sentiments. In order to form such a hero, it was thought allowable to make him travel; and the silence of Xenophon, who says nothing in his Cyropaedia of what happened to Cyrus from his sixteenth to his for∣tieth, Page  xi year, leaves the author at liberty to imagine this fiction. The relation of the Prince's travels furnishes an occasion to describe the religion, manners and po∣litics of the several countries through which he passes. These travels cannot surely appear unnatural; a pru∣dent Prince like Cambyses, a father who is supposed to be informed of the oracles concerning the future greatness of his son, a tributary King who knows the danger of sending the young Prince a second time to the court of Ecbatan, ought to be sensible that Cyrus at twenty-five years of age could not better employ his time during the interval of a profound peace, than by travelling into Egypt and Greece. It was neces∣sary to prepare a Prince who was to be one day the founder and lawgiver of a mighty empire, to accom∣plish his high destiny by acquiring in each country some knowledge worthy of his great genius. Is there any thing strained in all this? No other hero could an∣swer the author's intention; had he made any other Prince travel, he would have lost all the advantages he has drawn from the choice of Cyrus, as the deli∣verer of the people of God, as contemporary with the great men with whom he consults, and as living in an age, the learning, manners and events of which, could alone be suitable to the design of this work.

IV. THOSE who make no distinction between the plan of Telemachus and that of Cyrus, continually cry out that there is no unity of action in the latter.

NOTHING is more unreasonable than to compare two works of such different natures; instruction is in∣deed the aim of both, but they are not formed upon the same originals; the author of Telemachus writes a continuation of an epic poem; the author of Cyrus fills up the chasm in a philosophical history; the one has imitated Homer with success, the other has taken Xe∣nophon for his model. M. de Cambray strews every where the richest flowers of poesy; he paints nature in all her variety, and the objects themselves become Page  xii visible, he describes all the motions of the heart of man, and makes us feel them successively; he renders the most sublime truths palpable, and never fatigues the mind with abstracted ideas; he passes from beautiful images to noble sentiments, and finding a shorter way to the heart than by reasoning; he walks, he flies, he sighs, he thunders, he mourns, he rejoices, he assumes all forms by turns, and never fails to transform us with him.

THE author's utmost ambition was to unfold the principles of his master, without daring to attempt an imitation of his graces; he chose a subject more pro∣portioned to his capacity, a work in which he was to compare the philosophical ideas of others rather than exert a poetic invention; he did not pretend to write an epic poem: in this kind of fiction the hero should never disappear; it is he whom we listen to, it is he on∣ly whom we love; the poet grows tiresome when he personates too much the philosopher: he is to instruct only by hints, and not by long and elaborate discussi∣ons. The observation of these rules was incompatible with the author's views; his design was to shew the gradual progress of the mind in the search of truth, to compare the religions, governments, and laws of dif∣ferent nations, and to form the legislator rather than the conqueror; unity of action is by no means neces∣sary in a work of this nature, it is sufficient if there be unity of design. All the author's episodes tend to in∣struction, and the instructions are, as he apprehends, proportioned to the age of Cyrus: in his youth he is in danger of being corrupted by vanity, love and ir∣religion; Mandana, Hystaspes and Zoroaster preserve him from these snares. The history of Apries lays open to him all the artifices of a perfidious courtier; that of the Kings of Sparta, the dangers of an exces∣sive confidence in favorites, or of an unjust diffidence of ministers; that of Periander, the fatal mischiefs which attend despotic power and the dispensing with Page  xiii ancient laws; that of Pisistratus, the punishment of a base and crafty policy, and that of Nabuchodonosor, the dreadful consequences of relapsing into impiety, after due light and admonition. The Prince is at first instructed by fables, to preserve him from the passions of youth; he afterwards instructs himself by his own reflections, by the examples he sees, and by all the adventures he meets with in his travels; he goes from country to country, collecting all the treasures, con∣versing with the great men he finds there, and per∣forming heroic exploits as occasion presents.

V. SOME persons, to discredit the author's work, have insinuated that far from doing homage to religi∣on he degrades it.

HE should think himself very unhappy to have pro∣duced a work so contrary to his intentions. All that he advances upon religion may be reduced to two prin∣cipal points: the first is to prove against the Atheists the existence of a supreme Deity, who produced the world by his power, and governs it by his wisdom. To this end Zoroaster unvails to us all the wonders of nature, Hermes consults the native and genuine tendency of the heart, and Pythagoras ascends to first principles: and thus the author endeavors to unite the strength of all that sense, natural sentiment, and reason can afford us for the proof of the first and most important of all truths. Tradition strikes in with phi∣losophy: the author has endeavored to shew that the earliest opinions of the most knowing and civilized na∣tions come nearer the truth than those of latter ages; that the theology of the Orientals is more pure than that of the Egyptians, that of the Egyptians less cor∣rupted than that of the Greeks, and that of the Greeks more exalted than that of the Romans: that the pri∣mitive system of the world was that of one supreme Deity; that in order to adapt this idea to the capacity of the vulgar, the divine attributes were represented by Page  xiv allegories and hieroglyphics; that mankind sinking into matter quickly forgot the meaning of those sacred symbols, and fell into idolatry; that idolatry brought forth irreligion; that rash and inconsiderate minds not being able to distinguish between principles and the abuses of them, ran from one excess to another. Such have been the variations of the human mind, with regard to the Deity in almost all times and countries. The author's intention throughout his whole system was to shew the wild extravagance of those who maintain that the doctrines of religion are only the ef∣fects of the ignorance and stupidity of the infant world; that the first men not knowing the physical causes, had recourse to invisible powers to explain the phaenome∣na of nature; and lastly, that politicians refined and improved these indigested ideas, in order to compose a system of religion useful and necessary to society.

THE second point is to shew, in opposition to the Deists, that the principal doctrines of revealed religi∣on, concerning the state of innocence, corruption and renovation, are as ancient as the world; that they were the foundation of Noah's religion; that he trans∣mitted them to his children; that these traditions were thus spread throughout all nations; that the Pagans disfigured, degraded, and obscured them by their ab∣surd fictions; and lastly, that these primitive truths have been no where preserved in their purity except in the true religion. When we see divers nations a∣gree concerning the beginning, the decline and the re-establishment of a monarchy, the birth, exploits and virtues of the hero who is the restorer of it, is not this a sufficient proof of these principal facts, though the circumstances should be related differently and be even fabulous? The author in unfolding the ancient tradi∣tions has distinguished between fable and truth, philo∣sophical hypotheses and doctrines of faith, essence and form, the spirit and the letter which ought never to be separated, but which cannot be confounded with∣out Page  xv disguising and dishonoring Christianity; he hoped thereby to have given a plan of religion, equally ami∣able and reasonable, and to have shewed that its prin∣ciples are beautiful, its consequences natural, and its original ancient; that it enlightens the mind, com∣forts the heart and establishes the welfare of society.

VI. THOSE who degraded the wisdom and Good∣ness of God, under the pretence of extolling his Pow∣er and Justice, have thought that Eleazar's discourse too plainly favored the opinions of Origen concern∣ing the pre-existence of souls and the restitution of all spirits. One may venture to say, that whoever makes this objection does not understand the plan of the work; it is as follows: Each philosopher speaks to Cyrus the language of his own religion and coun∣try. The Orientals, Egyptians, Greeks and Tyrians all agree in the original purity, present corruption and future restoration of mankind, but they wrap up these truths in different fables, each according to the genius of their nation. Eleazar clears their system from the Pagan fictions, but retains in his own the opinions of his sect. The errors which prevail at this day resemble those of former times. The mind of man sees but a small number of ideas, reviews them continually, and thinks them new only because it ex∣presses them differently in different ages. The Magi in Cyrus's time were fallen into a kind of Atheism like that of Spinoza; Zoroaster, Hermes and Pythagoras adored one sole Deity, but they were Deists; Elea∣zar resembled the Socinians, who are for subjecting re∣ligion to philosophy; Daniel represents a perfect Christian, and the Hero of this book a young Prince who began to be corrupted by the maxims of irreligi∣on. In order to set him right, the different philoso∣phers with whom he converses successively unfold to him new truths mixt with errors. Zoroaster, con∣futes the mistakes of the Magi; Pythogoras those of Zoroaster; Eleazar those of Pythagoras; Daniel re∣jects Page  xvi those of all others, and his doctrine is the only one which the author adopts. The order of these conversations shews the progress of the mind, the mat∣ter being so disposed, that the Atheist becomes Deist, the Deist Socinian, and the Socinian Christian, by a plain and natural chain of ideas. The great art in instructing is to lead the mind gradually on, and to take advantage even of its errors to make it relish truth. That Cyrus might thus be conducted step by step, it was necessary to introduce a person of the re∣ligion of the Hebrews, who should confute by reason, all the objections drawn from reason; Daniel could not act this part, it would not have become him to solve difficulties by uncertain conjectures; the philosopher might prepare the Prince by bare hypotheses, to sub∣mit and to distrust his understanding: but it was ne∣cessary that the phrophet should disengage Cyrus from all bold speculations, how refined and bright soever they might appear, and lead him to the belief of a su∣pernatural religion, not by a philosophical demonstra∣tion of its doctrines, but by proving them to be divine∣ly revealed. In a word, he should fix the mind of the young hero by indisputable facts, which strike much more forcibly than abstract ideas. And it is for this reason that the author introduces in his last book two persons of very different characters, a philosopher and a phrophet; the one employs the powers of rea∣son against incredulity, the other imposes silence on all reasonings by a supernatural authority. This is the only use which the author would make of the opinions of Origen; they answer the objections of the incredu∣lous concerning the beginning and duration of evil; they shew, that since the weak reason of the philoso∣phers can find a plausible solution of those great diffi∣culties, we may well conclude that the infinite Wis∣dom will be able one day to justify his ways, which are now impenetrable. So long as it is allowable to philosophise, the author exposes the most probable sy∣stems Page  xvii and hypotheses; but when the question is of faith, he reasons only upon palpable facts; in order to discover whether God has spoken to his creatures or not: the moment we were convinced of this, all doubtful opinions are lost and absorbed in the depth of the divine incomprehensibility.

VII. THOSE who thought the sketches of natural philosophy in this work misplaced, pretending that the ancients are represented more knowing than they re∣ally were, will be much more shocked to see those philosophical descriptions augmented in the present edition. It is not surprising to hear this objection made by empty, superficial minds, who laugh at the Mosaic history, while they adopt the Greek fables concerning the origin of mankind; but it is astonish∣ing to hear the same cavils from those who reverence revealed religion, who do not believe that man was created originally wild and savage, that he wandered in the woods and desarts without knowledge, religion or law, and who have philosophy enough to discern that the world could not come out of the hands of a wife, good, and powerful Creator in its present igno∣rance, disorder, and corruption. These persons might easily be persuaded that the first men had knowledg∣es of God and nature, which are lost in these latter ages; that the sacred writers did not talk at random when they extolled the profound learning of the O∣rientals and Egyptians, even in the time of Moses; and lastly, that* Josephus was not a visionary, when he said that the Pagans of his time had an ancient tra∣dition, that Abraham who was famous in Asia commu∣nicated many sublime discoveries in natural philosophy to the Chaldeans and Egyptians. The author how∣ever has no need of these pretexts to justify the philo∣sophical descriptions in this work. His aim being to Page  xviii set before the eyes of a young Prince those elements of science which might help to form his understanding and his heart, he thought those physical pictures more proper than poetical paintings to give his pupil a ge∣neral idea of nature, inspire him with a taste of phi∣losophy, and awaken his desire of knowledge. In pursuing this design he has taken the liberty to de∣part from strict truth, content himself with probabili∣ty and make anachronisms in natural as well as civil history.

VIII. SOME pretend that the author has but lightly touched a great many subjects, without going to the bottom of every one; that this book is rather a sum∣mary than a work; that he steps too quick from one subject to another; and that his stile is every where too laconic, sometimes too metaphysical and abstruse, and often too void of ornament.

To this it may be answered, that profound reason∣ing does not consist in a multiplicity of words; it is perhaps easier to write a great volume than a little one; the labor is not the less real because it is con∣cealed. It was intended that each intelligent reader should have the pleasure of drawing the consequences from the principles, unfolding those first seeds of truth, cultivating them and gathering thence a harvest of knowledge, of which the author himself had perhaps no idea. We have a sufficient number of books which convey instruction by diffusive reasonings, ingenious aphorisms and florid illustrations. The author's de∣sign was to habituate the mind of a young Prince to judge by principles, discover the connection of essen∣tial truths and unite them under one view. He says to him upon each subject what is necessary to shew, that all nations had originally the same fundamental principles, that the duties of religion, morality and good policy flow from the same source, conspire to the same end, and mutually support and fortify each other: and in a word, that all the civil and human virtues, Page  xix the laws of nature and nations are, so to speak, but consequences of THE LOVE OF ORDER, which is the e∣ternal and universal law of all intelligences. In a work of this nature, it is necessary to unbend the mind of the reader, without carrying it off from its princi∣pal object; all the flowers should be thoughts, the graces noble and tender sentiments, the paintings cha∣racters, and the descriptions such pictures as make us acquainted with nature, and admire the Creator. The author s sensible that he is far from having executed this vast design, but in the attempt he has made to∣wards it, he was obliged to avoid all foreign embel∣lishments, labored connections, and the ambitious or∣naments of the Greek and Latin poesy.

To speak more clearly: poesy has had the same fate with philosophy. The Orientals, the Chaldeans, and above all, the Hebrews, painted nature without disgui∣sing it, and gave life to every thing without deifying it. According to them every thing proceeds from God, and ought to flow back to him again. All the visible wonders of nature are faint images of his greatness, and the innumerable orders of spirits ema∣nations from his wisdom. Mankind are all but one family of that immense republic of intelligences, of which God is the common Father. Each man is as a ray of light separated from its source, strayed into a corner of disordered nature, tossed about by the tu∣multuous wind of passion, transported from climate to climate by restless desires, purified by all the mis∣fortunes it meets with, till it becomes like a subtile vapour reascending to the superior regions from whence it fell. We have here a fruitful source of ideas, beautiful images and sublime expressions, such as we find in the holy scripture, and in Milton who has copied them. The Egyptians corporalized too much these ideas by their sensible symbols; but the Greek poets, and their imitators the Roman poets, entirely mangled and degraded them. The Divinity Page  xx is no longer a sovereign wisdom but a blind destiny, man is but a mass of atoms, of which nothing remains after death but an empty shade, immortality is a dream, the Elysian fields a mere subterraneous cavern, and the habitation of the Gods a mountain of Greece: by this means a dark vail is drawn over the whole uni∣verse, the source of noble ideas is dried up, and rea∣son becomes a barren field: the imagination, destitute of principles, seeks to supply its indigence by creating a new world; it transforms all objects in order to embellish them, it exalts men into Gods, and debases Gods into men, it gives body to spirits and spirit to bodies; its descriptions are florid but false, and its marvellous degrades the divine Nature; the agreea∣ble and the gay take the place of the true and sub∣lime, and of that diviner poetry, which first leads man into his own heart, and then raises him above him∣self. Such is the Greek poesy, always poor in the midst of its seeming abundance; had the author been able to imitate it, it is what he ought to have avoid∣ed, as improper in a book of principles.

IT is not pretended by all that has been said, that this work, as now given to the public, is free from faults; there will no doubt always remain a great number; nor would the author have troubled the reader with these reflections, but to justify his main design and explain more fully the plan of his book.

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THE TRAVELS OF CYRUS.

FIRST BOOK.

THE Assyrian empire having been for many ages extended over all Asia, was at length dismem∣bered, upon the death of Sardanapalus* Arbaces governor of Media entered into a league with Belesis governor a Babylon, to dethrone that effeminate monarch: they besieged him in his capital, where the unfortunate Emperor, to avoid being made a priso∣ner, and to hinder his enemies from becoming masters of his immense riches, set fire to his palace, threw himself into the flames, and perished with all his trea∣sures. Ninus the true heir succeeded him in the throne, and reigned at Nineveh; but Arbaces took possession of Media, with all its dependencies, and Belesis of Chaldea, with the neighboring territories And thus was the ancient empire of the Assyrians di∣vided into three monarchies, the capitals of which were Ecbatan, Babylon and Nineveh. It was not long before the last became a prey to the ambitious successors of Belesis; nor did those of Arbaces fail to push their conquests; they brought several of the Page  2 neighboring nations under tribute, and particularly Persia; so that the kings of Media and Babylon be∣came the two great potentates of the East. Such was the state of Asia when Cyrus was born: his father Cambyses was king of Persia, Mandana his mother was the daughter of Astyages king of the Medes.

He was educated from his tender years after the manner of ancient Persia, where the youth were in∣ured to hardship and fatigue; hunting and war were their only exercises; out confiding too much in their natural courage, they neglected military disci∣pline. The Persians were hitherto rough, but vir∣tuous; they were not versed in those arts and scien∣ces which polish the mind and manners; but they were great masters of the sublime science of being content with simple nature, despising death for the love of their country, and flying all pleasures which emasculate the mind, and enervate the body. Being persuaded that sobriety and exercise prevent almost every disease, they habituated themselves to a rigor∣ous abstinence and perpetual labor:* the lightest indispositions proceeding from intemperance were thought shameful. The youth were educated in pub∣lic schools, where they were early instructed in the knowledge of the laws, and accustomed to hear cau∣ses, pass sentence, and mutually to do one another the most exact justice; and hereby they discovered their dispositions, penetration and capacity for em∣ployments in a riper age. The virtues, which their masters were principally careful to inspire into them, were the love of truth, humanity, sobriety, and obe∣dence: the two former make us resemble the Gods; the two latter are necessary to the preservation of order. The chief aim of the laws in ancient Persia was to prevent the corruption of the heart: and for Page  3 this reason the Persians punished ingratitude; a vice against which there is no provision made by the laws of other nations: whoever was capable of forgetting a benefit was looked upon as an enemy to society.

Cyrus had been educated according to these wise maxims; and though it was impossible to conceal from him his rank and birth, yet he was treated with the same severity as if he had not been heir to a throne; he was taught to practise an exact obedience, that he might afterwards know how to command. When he arrived at the age of fourteen, Astyages desired to see him: Mandana could not avoid com∣plying with her father's orders, but the thought of carrying her son to the court of Ecbatan exceedingly grieved her.

For the space of three hundred years the kings of Media had by their bravery extended their conquests; and conquests had be got luxury, which is always the forerunner of the fall of empires. VALOR, CON∣QUEST, LUXURY, ANARCHY, this is the fatal circle, and these are the different periods of the politic life, in almost all states. The court of Ecbatan was then in its splendor; but this splendor had nothing in it of solidity. The days were spentin effeminacy, or in flattery; the love of glory, strict probity, severe ho∣nor, were no longer in esteem; the pursuit of solid knowledge was thought to argue a want of taste; a∣greeable trifling, fine spun thoughts, and lively sallies of imagination, were the only kinds of wit admired there. No sort of writings pleased, but amusing fic∣tions where there was a perpetual success on of events, which surprised by their variety, without improving the understanding or ennobling the heart. Love was without delicacy; blind pleasure was its only attract∣ive charm: the women thought themselves despised, when no attempts were made to ensare them. That Page  4 which contributed to encrease this corruption of mind, manners and sentiments, was the new doctrine spread every where by the ancient Maji, that pleasure is the only moving spring of man's heart: for as each man placed his pleasure in what he liked best, this maxim authorised virtue or vice according to every one's taste, humor, or complexion. This depravity, however, was not then so universal as it became af∣terwards. Corruption takes its rise in courts, and extends itself gradually through all the parts of a state. Military discipline was yet in its vigor in Me∣dia; and there were in the provinces many brave sol∣diers, who not being infected by the contagious air of Ecbatan, preserved in themselves all the virtues which flourished in the reigns of Dejoces and Phra∣ortes.

Mandana was thoroughly sensible of all the dan∣gers to which she should expose young Cyrus, by car∣rying him to a court, the manners of which were so different from those of the Persians; but the will of Cambyses, and the orders of Astyages, obliged her, whether she would or not, to undertake the journey. She set out attended by a body of the young nobility of Persia under the command of Hystaspes, to whom the education of Cyrus had been committed: the young Prince was seated in a chariot with her, and it was the first time that he had seen himself distinguish∣ed from his companions. Mandana was a Princess of uncommon virtue, a well cultivated understanding, and a superior genius. She made it her business du∣ring the journey to inspire Cyrus with the love of virtue, by entertaining him with fables according to the Eastern manner. The minds of young persons are not touched by abstracted ideas, they have need of agreeable and familiar images; they cannot reason, they can only feel the charms of truth; and to make it lovely to them, it must be presented under sensible and beautiful forms.

Page  5 Mandana had observed that Cyrus was often too full of himself, and that he discovered some tokens of a rising vanity, which might one day obscure his great qualities. She endeavored to make him sensi∣ble of the deformity of this vice, by relating to him the fable of Sozares, a Prince of the ancient empire of Assyria. It resembles the story of the Grecian Narcissus, who perished by the foolish love of himself. For thus it is that the Gods punish; they only give us over to our own passions, and we immediately commence unhappy. She then painted forth the beauty of those noble virtues which lead to heroism, by the generous forgetting of one's self, and related to him the fable of the first Hermes. This was a di∣vine youth, who had wit and beauty without know∣ing it, and was unacquainted with his own virtue, because he knew not that there were any vices: the Gods to reward this happy ignorance endowed him with such sublime wisdom as made him the oracle of all Egypt. It was thus that Mandana instructed her son during the journey; one fable gave rise to ano∣ther. The questions of the Prince furnished the Queen with new matter to entertain him, and with opportunity of teaching him the hidden meaning of the Egyptian fables, the taste for which had prevailed very much in the East, since the conquests of Sesos∣tris.

As they passed one day by a mountain, consecrated to the great Cromazes*, Mandana stopped her chari∣ot, alighted, and drew near to the sacred place. It was the day of a solemn festival, and the high priest was already preparing the victim, crowned with flow∣ers; he was of a sudden seized with the divine Spi∣rit, and interrupting the silence and solemnity of the sacrafice, cried out in a transport: I see a young lau∣rl Page  6 rising, it will soon spread its branches over all the East, the nations will come in crowds to assemble to∣gether under its shadow Mandana made deep re∣flections upon this oracle, and when she was got up again into her chariot, said to her son: the Gods give sometimes these happy presages to animate heroic souls: but the event of such predictions, as far as they are personal, depends upon our virtue: the designs of the great Oromazes never fail of their accomplish∣ment, but he changes the instruments of them, when those whom he had chosen render themselves unwor∣thy of his choice.

As soon as they arrived upon the frontiers of Me∣dia, Astyages with all his court came out to meet them. He was a Prince of great beneficence and hu∣manity, but his natural goodness made him often too easy, and his propensity to pleasure had brought the Medes into the taste of luxury and effeminacy. Cy∣rus, soon after his arrival at the court of Ecbatan, gave proofs of a wit and judgment far beyond his age. Astyages put divers questions to him concerning the manners of the Persians, their laws, and their method of educating youth. He was struck with astonishment at the sprightly and noble answers of his grandson. Young Cyrus was the admiration of the whole court, insomuch that he began to be intoxicated with praise; a secret presumption stole into his heart; he talked a little too much, and did not hearken enough to o∣thers; he decided with an air of sufficiency, and seemed too fond of it. Mandana, to remedy this fault, contrived to set before him his own picture by certain passages of history; for the proceeded in his education upon the same plan on which she had be∣gun it. She related to him the story of Logis and Sygeus.

Page  7 My son, said she, it was formerly the custom at Thebes in Boeotia, to raise to the throne, after the death of the king, him of all his children who had the best understanding. When a Prince has sine parts he can choose able ministers, make proper use of their talents, and govern those who govern under him; this is the great secret of the art of reigning. Among the King's sons there were two who seemed of a superior genius. The elder, named Logis, loved talking; the younger, who was called Sygeus, was a man of few words. The first made himself admired by the charms of his wit, the second made himself loved by the goodness of his heart. Logis shewed plainly, even while he endeavored to conceal it, that he spoke only to shine; Sygeus hearkened readily to others, and looked upon conversation as a sort of commerce, where each person ought to furnish some∣thing of his own. The one made the most thorny and perplexed affairs agreeable by the lively and shi∣ning strokes of wit he intermixed in all he said; the other threw light upon the obscurest points, by redu∣cing every thing to simple principles. Logis affected mystery without being secret, and his politics were full of stratagems and artifice; Sygeus, impenetrable without being false, surmounted all obstacles by his prudence and courage. The one never displayed his talents but to serve his ambition; the other frequently concealed his virtues that he might taste the secret pleasure of doing good for its own sake.

After the King's death, all the people got together in haste to choose a successor to the throne: twelve old men presided at the assembly to correct the judg∣ment of the multitude, who seldom fail to be carried away by prejudice, appearances, or passion. The e∣loquent Prince made a long but fine harangue, wherein he set forth the duties of a King, in order to insinuate, that one who was so well acquainted with them, would undoubtedly fulfil them: Prince 〈◊〉Page  8 in a few words represented to the assembly the great hazards in the exercise of sovereign authority, and confessed an unwillingness to expose himself to them. It is not, added he, that I would shun any difficulties or dangers to serve my country, but I am afraid of being found unequal to the task of governing. The old men decided in favor of Sygeus; but the young people, and those of superficial understanding, took the part of the elder brother, and raised by degrees a rebellion, under pretext that injustice had been done to Logis. Troops were levied on both sides; Sygeus proposed to yield his right to his brother, in order to hinder the effusion of the blood of his countrymen, but his army would not consent to it.

The chief men of both parties seeing the miseries with which the state was ready to be overwhelmed, proposed the expedient of letting both the brothers reign, each a year, by turns. This form of govern∣ment has many inconveniences, but it was preferred before a civil war, the greatest of all calamities. The two brothers applauded the proposal for peace, and Logis ascended the throne. He changed in a little time all the ancient laws of the kingdom; he was al∣ways listening to new projects; and to have a lively imagination was sufficient to raise a man to the high∣est employments: that which seemed excellent in spe∣culation could not be executed without difficulty and confusion; his ministers, who had no experience, knew not that precipitate changes, how useful soever they may appear are always dangerous. The neigh∣boring nations took advantage of this weak admini∣stration to invade the country; and had it not been for the prudence and bravery of Sygeus, all had been L••t, and the people must have submitted to a foreign yoke. His brother's year being expired he ascended the throne, gained the confidence and love of hi people, re-established the ancient laws, and by his wise conduct, even more than by his victor 〈◊〉, drove Page  9 the enemy out of the country. From that time Sy∣geus reigned alone, and it was decided in the su∣preme council of the old men, that the King to be chosen for the future should not be the person who gave proofs of the quickest parts, but of the soundest judgment. They were of opinion that to talk elo∣quently, or to be fruitful in expedients and strata∣gems were not talents so essential to a good gover∣nor, as a just discernment in choosing, and a steadiness and courage in pursuing the best and wisest councils.

Cyrus usually confessed his faults without seeking to excuse them: he listened to this story with atten∣tion, perceived the design of Mandana in telling it, and resolved to correct himself.

Soon after this, he gave a notable proof of his ge∣nius and courage. He was scarce sixteen years of age when Merodac, son of Nabuchodonosor King of Assyria, assembled some troops, and under pretence of a great hunting, made a sudden irruption into Me∣dia: he marched in person with twelve thousand men towards the first strong places belonging to the Medes, encamped near them, and from thence sent out detachments every day to scour and ravage the country. Astyages had notice of it, and having giv∣en the necessary orders for assembling his army, he set out with his son Cyaxares and young Cyrus, fol∣lowed only by some troops levied in haste, to the number of eight thousand men. When he was come near the borders of his own country, he encamped upon a rising ground, from whence he could discover the plain which the detachment of Merodac were laying waste. Astyages ordered two of his general officers to go and observe the enemy; Cyrus desired leave to accompany them, in order to inform himself of the situation of the country, the advantageous posts and the strength of the Assyrian army: having made hi observations he came back, and gave an 〈◊〉 account of all he had seen.

Page  10 The next day Merodac left his camp and advanced toward the Medes; whereupon Astyages assembled a council of war to deliberate upon the motions he should make. The general officers, fearing the num∣bers of the enemy, thought it most adviseable to re∣tire, or at least to suspend all action till the arrival of fresh troops. Cyrus, who was impatient to engage, heard their opinions with uneasiness, but observed a profound silence out of respect to the Emperor, and so many experienced commanders; at length Asty∣ages ordered him to speak. He then rose up in the midst of the assembly, and with a noble and modest air, said: Merodac is now in full march, but he can∣not come up with us without passing between a wood to his right and a morass to his left: Let the army advance to attack him in that place, where he will not be able to extend his troops and surround us. In the mean time I will convey myself with five hun∣dred young Medes through this deep narrow valley, and line the wood. I have just caused it to be view∣ed, and find that the enemy have neglected this post.

He said no more, blushed, and feared to have spo∣ken two much. All admired his genius for war at such tender years; and Astyages surprized at his ready thought and judgment, immediately command∣ed that his counsel should be followed. Cyaxares marched strait to meet the enemy, while Cyrus ac∣companied by Hystaspes filed off with a body of vo∣lunteers, and without being discovered seized an an∣gle of the wood. The Prince of the Medes attack∣ed the Assyrians in the narrowest part of the pass, and while Astyages advanced to sustain him, Cyrus sallied out of the wood, fell upon the enemy in flank, and with his voice animated the Medes, who all fol∣lowed him with ardour; he covered himself with his shield, pierced into the thickest of the battalions, and spread terror and slaughter where ever he came. The Assyrians, seeing themselves thus attacked on all Page  11 sides, lost courage, and fled in disorder. As soon as the battle was over, generosity and humanity re∣sumed their empire in the breast of Cyrus: he was sensibly touched with seeing the field covered with dead bodies: he took the same care of the wounded Assyrians as of the Medes, and gave the necessary or∣ders for their cure. They are men, said he, as well as we, and are no longer enemies when once they are vanquished. The Emperor having taken his precau∣tions to prevent such irruptions for the future, re∣turned to Ecbatan.

Mandana, being soon after obliged to leave Me∣dia and return to Cambyses, would have taken her son with her, but Astyages opposed it: Why, said he, will you deprive me of the pleasure of seeing Cy∣rus? He will here learn military discipline which is not yet known in Persia. I conjure you, by the tenderness which I have always shewn you, not to refuse me this consolation. Mandana could not yield her consent but with great reluctance. She dread∣ed the leaving her son in the midst of a court which was the seat of voluptuousness. Being alone with Cyrus: My son, said she, Astyages desires that you should continue here with him; yet I cannot with∣out concern resolve to leave you: I fear least the purity of your manners should be stained, and you should be intoxicated with foolish passions. The first steps to vice will seem to be only innocent amuse∣ments, a well-bred compliance with received customs, and a liberty which you must allow yourself in order to please. Virtue may come by degrees to be thought too severe an enemy to pleasure and society, and e∣ven contrary to nature, because it opposes inclinati∣on; in a word, you will perhaps lok upon it as a matter of mere decency, a politic phantom, a popular prejudice, from which men ought to get free, when they can indulge their passions in secret. Thus you may go from one step to another, till your under∣standing Page  12 be infatuated, your heart led astray, you run into all sorts of crimes.

Leave Hystaspes with me, replied Cyrus; he w•• teach me to avoid all these dangers. Friendship 〈◊〉 long accustomed me to open my heart to him, and 〈◊〉 is not only my counsellor, but the confident of 〈◊〉 weaknesses; Hystaspes was an experienced command∣er who had served many years under Astyages, in 〈◊〉 wars against the Scythians and the king of Lydia and had all the virtues of the ancient Persians, toge∣ther with the politeness of the Medes. Being a great politician and a great philosopher, a man equally a∣ble and disinterested, he had risen to the first employ∣ments of the state without ambition, and possesses them with modesty. Mandana being persuaded o the virtue and capacity of Hystaspes; as well as of the advantages her son might find by living in a court that was no less brave and knowing in the art of war than polite, obeyed Astyages with the less re∣gret. She began her journey soon after, and Cyrus accompanied her some leagues from Ecbatan; at par∣ting she embraced him with tenderness; My son, said she, remember that your virtue alone can make me happy. The young Prince melted into tears, and could make no answer; this was his first sepa∣ration from her: he followed her with his eyes til she was out of sight, and then returned to Ecbatan.

Cyrus continued at the court of Astyages without being infected by it. This however was not owing to the precautions of Mandana, the counsels of Hy∣staspes, or his own natural virtue, but to love. There was then at Ecbatan a young Princess named Cassan∣dana, related to Cyrus, and daughter of Pharnaspe who was of the race of the Achemenides. Her mo∣ther dying, her father, who was one of the prin∣cipal Satrapes of Persia, had sent her to the course of Astyages, to be there educated under the eye of Ariana the Queen of the Medes. Cassandana had all Page  13 the politeness of that court without any of its faults; her wit was equal to her beauty, and her modesty heightened the charms of both; her imagination was lively, but directed by her judgment; a justness of thought was as natural to her as a gracefulness of expression and manners; the delicate strokes of wit, with which her easy chearful conversation a∣bounded, were unstudied and unaffected; nor were the acquired accomplishments of her mind inferior to her natural graces and virtues; but she concealed her talents with so much care, or discovered them with so much reserve, that every thing in her seemed the work of pure nature. She had entertained a particular regard for Cyrus from the first moment she had seen him, but had so carefully hid her senti∣ments as not to be suspected.

Proximity of blood gave Cyrus frequent opportu∣nities of seeing her, and discoursing with her. Her conversation polished the manners of the young Prince, who insensibly acquired by it a delicacy with which till then he had been unacquainted. The beauties and virtues of the Princess produced by de∣grees in his soul all the motions of that noble passion, which softens the heart of heroes without lessening their courage, and which places the principal charm of love in the pleasure of loving. Precepts, maxims and severe lessons, do not always preserve the mind from the poisoned arrows of sensuality. Virtue does not render the heart insensible, but it often happens that well-placed love is the only security from dan∣gerous and criminal passions.

Cyrus enjoyed in the conversation of Cassandana all the pleasures of the purest friendship, without da∣ring to declare his love; his youth and his modesty made him timorous. Nor was it long before he felt all the pains, disquiets and alarms, which ever attend upon such passions, even when they are most inno∣cent. Page  14 Cassandana's beauty created him a rival; Cy∣axares felt the power of her charms; he was much about the same age with Cyrus, but of a very differ∣ent character; he had wit and courage, but was of an impetuous, haughty disposition, and shewed alrea∣dy but too great a propensity to all the vices com∣mon to young Princes. Cassandana could love no∣thing but virtue, and her heart had made its choice. She dreaded more than death a marriage which should naturally have flattered her ambition. Cyax∣ares was unacquainted with the delicacy of love: his high rank augmented his natural haughtiness, and the manners of the Medes authorized his presump∣tion; so that he used little precaution or ceremony in letting the Princess know his passion for her. He immediately perceived her indifference, sought for the cause of it, and was not long in making the dis∣covery. In all public diversions she appeared gay and free with him, but was more reserved with Cy∣rus. The guard she kept upon herself gave her an air of constraint, which was not natural to her. She answered to all the civilities of Cyaxares with ready and lively strokes of wit; but when Cyrus spoke to her, she could hardly conceal her perplexity.

The Prince of Persia, being little skilled in the secrets of love, did not interpret the conduct of Cas∣sandana in the same manner with his rival. He imagined that she was pleased with the passion of Cyaxares, and that her eyes were dazzled with th lustre of that Prince's crown. He experienced al∣ternately the uncertainly and hope, the pains and pleasures of a lively passion: his trouble was to great to be long concealed; Hystaspes perceived and said to him: For some time past I have observed that you are thoughtful and absent; I believe I 〈◊〉 into the cause of it, you are in love, Cyrus; 〈◊〉 is no way to vanquish love, but to crush it in 〈◊〉 birth. You are ignorant of its wiles, and the dan∣gers Page  15 into which it leads; at first it enchants with its sweetness, but in the end it poisons: it passes in the beginning for nothing more than an homage paid to merit, and a sentiment worthy of a tender and ge∣nerous heart; by little and little the soul loses its vigour, the understanding is bewildered, and the in∣toxication augments; that which seemed in its birth an innocent inclination and a lovely passion, becomes on a sudden all fury and madness. Cyrus, touched to the quick by these words, hearkened to them with great uneasiness; he frequently changed colour, but durst not make any answer. Hystaspes knowing that examples make a deeper impression than reasoning, related to him the history of Zarina and Stryangeus; in which we have an instance of the fatal consequen∣ces of a violent passion; and at the same time of the possibility of surmounting it.

* In the reign of Cyaxares son of Phraortes, said he, a bloody war was kindled between the Sacae and the Medes. The troops of Cyaxares were com∣manded by his son-in-law Stryangeus, the bravest and most accomplished Prince of all the East. He had married Rhetea the Emperor's daughter, who had both wit and beauty, and was of a most amiable temper. Nothing had hitherto either lessened or disturbed their mutual passion. Zarina, Queen of the Sacae, put herself at the head of her own troops; for she was not only adorned with all the charms of her sex, but was mistress of the most heroic vir∣tues: having been educated at the court of Media, she had there contracted an 〈◊〉 friendship with Rhetea from her childhood. For two whole years the war was carried on with equal advantages on both sides. Truces were often made in order to treat of peace; and during these cessations of arms, Page  16 Zarina and Stryangeus had frequent interviews. The great qualities which he discovered in this Prin∣cess immediately produced esteem; and under the cover of that esteem, love soon insinuated itself into his heart. He no longer endeavored to put an end to the war, for fear of being separated from Zari∣na; but he made frequent truces, in which love had a greater share than policy.

The Emperor at length sent express orders to give a decisive battle. In the heat of the engage∣ment the two commanders met each other; Stryan∣geus would have avoided Zarina; but she, whose heart was yet free from any thing which should re∣strain her, attacked him; and obliged him to defend himself: Let us spare, cried she, the blood of our subjects: it belongs to us alone to put and end to the war. Love and glory by turns animated the young hero; he was equally afraid of conquering and of being conquered; he frequently exposed his own life by sparing Zarina's but at length found means to gain the victory; he threw his javelin with a skil∣ful hand, yet scarce had he let it fly when he repent∣ed, and would have recalled it; the Queen's horse was wounded; the horse fell, and the Queen with him: Stryangeus flew instantly to her relief, and would have no other fruit of his victory, than the pleasure of saving what he loved. He offered her peace with all sorts of advantages, preserved her do∣minions to her, and, in the name of the Emperor, swore a perpetual alliance with her at the head of the two armies. After this he begged permission to wait upon her to her capital, and she consented to it; but their motives were very different. Zarina thoughts were wholly taken up with the care of tes∣tifying her gratitude, while Stryangeus sought only an opportunity of discovering his love; he accompa∣nied the Princess in her chariot, and they were con∣ducted with pomp to R••anacia. Stryangeus easily Page  17 found means to prolong his stay there. It was ne∣cessary that the Emperor should ratify by a treaty the engagements into which his general had enter∣ed; and the Prince by his address caused several dif∣ficulties to be started which might make his presence requisite at the court of Zarina. He artfully made advantage of these negociations to let Queen see how much he had her interest at heart; he at first concealed his designs that he might secure her friend∣ship. Virtuous souls do not easily entertain distrust, their very innocence helps to betray them when they are ignorant of the wiles of love. Zarina was all gratitude, and her esteem for Stryangeus began by little and little to grow into affection, without her perceiving it. She often suffered her sentiments to break forth, in the most conspicuous manner, because she knew not as yet the source of them; she tasted the secret sweets of a young and growing passion, and was unwilling to examine into the motions of her own heart; but at length she discovered, that love had too great a share in them; she blushed at her weakness, and resolved to get the better of it; she pressed the departure of Stryangeus, but the young Mede could not leave Roxanacia: he was no longer mindful of glory, he forgot all his affections for Rhetea, he yielded himself up entirely to a blind passion, sighed, complained, and being no longer mas∣ter of himself, declared his love to Zarina in the strongest and most passionate terms.

The Queen dd not seek to hide the situation of her mind, but shunning all affected evasions and my∣stery, answered with a noble frankness: I am in∣debted to you for my life and for my crown; my love is equal to my gratitude, and my heart is no less touched than yours; but I will sooner die than betray my virtue, or suffer that your glory should receive the least blemish. Consider, dear Stryangeus, that you are the husband of Rhetea, whom I love; Page  18 honor and friendship oblige me equally to sacrafice a passion which would prove my shame and her misfor∣tune. As she ended these words she retired. Stry∣angeus remained confounded, and in despair; he shut himself up in his apartment, and felt by turns all the contrary motions of an heroic soul that is combated, conquered, and insulted by a violent and tyrannical passion. One while he is jealous of Zarina's glory and resolves to imitate her; the next moment cruel love sports with his resolutions, and even with his virtue. In this tempest of passions his understanding is clouded, his reason forsakes him, and he resolves to kill himself; but he first writes these words to Zarina.

I saved your life, and you take away mine; I fall the victim of my love and of your virtue, being unable to conquer the one or to imi∣tate the other. Death alone can put an end to my crime, and to my torment. Farewell for ever.
He sent this letter to the Queen, who in∣stantly flew to the apartment of the young Mede; but he had already plunged the dagger into his breast; she saw him weltering in his blood, fell in a swoon, came again to herself, and by her tears cal∣led back his soul that was ready to take its flight. He sighed, opened his eyes, beheld the grief of Za∣rina, and consented to have his wound taken care of, which for many days was thought mortal.

Rhetea, being informed of this tragical adventure, soon arrived at Roxanacia, Zarina related to her all that happened, without concealing either her weakness or her resistance. Such noble simplicity cannot be understood or relished but by great souls. Though the war between the Sacae and the Medes had interrupted the correspondence of these two Princesses, i had not in the least diminished their friendship; they knew and esteemed each other too well to be susceptible of distrust or jealousy. Rhetea always beheld Stryangeus with the eyes of a lover: Page  19 she lamented and compassionated his weakness, be∣cause she saw it was involuntary. His wound was at length healed but he was not cured of his love: Zarina in vain pressed his departure, he was not able to tear himself away from that fatal place, his passion and his torments were renewed. Rhetea perceived it, and fell into a deep sadness; she suffered all the most cruel agitations of soul; grief for being no lon∣ger loved by a man whom alone she loved; commise∣ration for a husband given up to despair; esteem for a rival whom she could not hate. She saw her∣self every day between a lover hurried away by his passion, and a virtuous friend whom she admired; and that her life was the misfortune of both. How cruel a situation for a generous and tender heart! The more she concealed her pain, the more she was oppressed by it. She sunk at last under the weight, and fell dangerously sick. One day when she was a∣lone with Zarina and Stryangeus, she dropt these words: I am dying; but I die content, since my death will make you happy.

Zarina melted into tears at these words and with∣drew: these words pierced the heart of Stryangeus: he looked upon Rhetea and beheld her pale, lan∣guishing, and ready to expire with grief and love. The Princess's eyes were fixed immoveably upon the Prince; his own at length were opened; he was like a man who awakes from a profound sleep, or comes out of a delirium, where nothing had appear∣ed in its natural shape. He had seen Rhetea every day without perceiving the cruel condition to which he had reduced her; he saw her at present with o∣ther eyes, it awakened all his virtue, and kindled again all his former tenderness. e acknowledged his error, threw himself at her feat, and embracing her, repeated often these words, interrupted by tears and sighs; Live, my dear hetea, live to give me the pleasure of repairing my fault; I am now ac∣quainted Page  20 with all the value of your heart. These words brought her again to life: her beauty return∣ed by degrees with her strength: she departed soon after with Stryangeus for Ecbatan, and from th time nothing ever disturbed their union.

You see by this continued Hystaspes, to what ex∣tremities love may reduce the greatest heroes; you see likewise the power of resolution and courage in conquering the most violent passions, when we have a sincere desire to get the victory. I should fear nothing for you if there were at this court such persons as Zarina; but heroic virtue like hers would now be thought romantic, or rather a savage insen∣sibility. The manners of the Medes are very much changed: Cassandana, continued he with design, is the only person I see who is worthy of your affecti∣on—He was going on, when Cyrus interrupting him cried out—You have named the dear object of my heart; Cassandana has rendered me insensible to eve∣ry thing that could have seduced my virtue, I love her, but I am not loved. The Prince stopped here, fearing to have said too much; he looked upon Hy∣staspes to see whether he approved of his love.

Hystaspes, overjoyed to have discovered the Prin∣ce's passion by this innocent artifice, resolved instant∣ly to employ all his endeavors to cure him of it, but yet to manage him with delicacy and tenderness; h dissembled his concern, and embracing the young Prince, with a serene countenance said to him, Cas∣sandana's beauty is the least of her charms, her heart is as pure as her understanding is bright: I cannot however approve of your passion, you know that Cambyses has other views for you. He designs you 〈◊〉 the daughter of Croesus, one of the most potent 〈◊〉 of the East. It is by this marriage that you must begin to verify the oracles; Persia is a tribu∣tary province, too inconsiderable to be the centre o a vast empire, and the scene of those great expl•••Page  21 to which the Gods have destined you; do not oppose their decree; you cannot without a crime give your heart to any other but her whom Cambyses has cho∣sen for you; remember the story of Stryangeus, and the excesses to which that hero was hurried by his love. This discourse threw Cyrus back into his for∣mer sadness; but out of friendship for Hystaspes he concealed his pains without disguising his sentiments. If the great Oromazes, said he with a submissive tone of voice, decrees me for the daughter of the King of Lydia, he will doubtless give me the strength to get the mastery of my passion. But, alas, can you com∣pare my love to Cassandana with that of Stryangeus for Zarina? That Prince's love, answered Hystaspes, was criminal, but yours cannot be innocent, if it be not approved of by Cambyses. He durst not say any more, well knowing, that opposition for the most part serves only to irritate the minds of young per∣sons. He contented himself with observing for some days all the Prince's motions, and at length conclu∣ded that the only means to cure him of his passion was to separate him from the obect of it. He inform∣ed Cambyses of Cyrus's affection for Cassandana, and as the King of Persia had other views for his son, which suited better with his politics, he recalled him into Persia.

The young Prince received his father's orders with a concern that was suitable to the violence of his love. Cassandana on the other hand could not support the thought of a separation, which left her wholly exposed to the importunities of Cyaxares, and she gave herself up to grief; even love itself obliged her to fly what she loved; she was afraid of contri∣buting to the misfortunes of Cyrus by approving of his passion: but while she carefully avoided him, he sought for her with eagerness; and decency at length required she should see him to receive his last adieu. The Prince was no longer able to hide his sentiments, Page  22 he discovered at the same time both the violence of his passion and the excess of his affliction. Some te••• dropped from the Princess's eyes, and in spite of her reservedness these words escaped her: Ah Gods, why have you given me a heart capable of tenderness, if you forbid me to love? She blushed as she uttered these words and retired. Cyrus durst not follow her; the joy of finding that he was loved by Cassan∣dana and the fear of losing her, excited such a 〈◊〉 of contrary motions in his soul as exceedingly distressed him. After long struggle and violent a∣gitations of mind he at length flattered himself, that when he arrived at the court of Persia he might be able to move Cambyses, by the help of Mandana, and this hope hindered him from sinking under the weight of so cruel a separation.

The young nobility would accompany him to the frontiers of Media. As he we 〈…〉, he often stopped to look back upon the place where he had left Cassandana; at length he le••〈◊〉 of that stately city, and continued his way. When he came to the frontiers where the young Medes were to leave him, he made then all 〈◊〉 presents, but with admirable distinction, preferring merit and service to birth and rank. During the rest of the journey, the hope of engaging Mandana in the interest of his love seemed entirely to calm his mind, and diffused an air of contentment upon his face which he had not be∣fore. His return into Persia was celebrated by pub∣lic feasting and rejoicings; and when these were o∣ver, he left his father's palace, and retired to the place allotted for the education of the young Persian mobility, where he continued till he was eighteen. The young Satrapes seeing Cyrus returned, find one to another, he has been living 〈◊〉 at the court of Media, e will never be able 〈◊◊〉 custom himself to our simple and laborious manner of life▪ but when they saw that he was content with 〈◊〉Page  23 ordinary diet, that he was more temperate and ab∣stemious than they themselves, and that he shewed more skill and courage in all his exercises, they were struck with admiration, and confessed, that he had yet a juster title to the throne by his merit than by his birth.

Some days after his return Cambyses sent for him, and seeming ignorant of his passion for Cassandana, imparted to him the design he had of speedily mar∣rying him to Candaules, daughter of the King of Ly∣dia. Cyrus made no answer but by a deep sigh and a respectful silence; but the moment he left the King he ran to the queen's apartment to disclose to her the secret of his heart. I have followed your counsels, said he, at the court of Ecbatan, I have li∣ved insensible to all the most 〈◊〉 charms of vo∣luptuousness; but I owe nothing to myself on this account, I owe all to the daughter of Pharnaspes; I love her, and this love has preserved me from all the errors and extravagances of youth: do not think that my attachment to her is only a transient liking which may soon be over; I have never loved any other than Cassandana, and I feel that I never can love but her alone; will you suffer the happiness of my life to be made a sacrifice to political views? It is pretended that my marriage with the daughter of Croesus is the first step I must take to enlarge my empire, but surely the Gods can make me a conquer∣or without making me miserable. Mandana per∣ceived that her son's passion was yet too strong to suffer any remonstrances against it, and hoping that time and absence would insensibly weaken it, 〈◊〉 in the mean time soothed and encouraged him.

Cassandana lived still at the court of Ecbatan, but she always received Cyaxres with great coldness. He owed all the complaisance she had shewn him to Cyrus's presence. The pleasure of seeing Cyrus, of loving him, and being loved by him, filled her 〈◊〉Page  24 with a secret joy that diffused itself through all her actions: but after the departure of the young Prince, her conversation, which had been so sprightly and cheerful, was changed into a mournful silence: she languished, her lively wit seemed to be extinguished and all her natural charms to disappear. In th mean while Pharnaspes ell dangerously ill at the court of Persia, and desired to see his daughter; up∣on this news she left Ebatan in haste, to pay the last duties to her father. Several ladies of the court regretted her, but the greater part rejoiced at the absence of a Princess, whose manners were too per∣fect a model of discreet conduct. Cyaxares saw the departure of Cassandana with inexpressible dissatisfac∣tion; spite, jealousy, hatred to his rival, all the pas∣sions which arise from slighted love, tyranized over his heart. He gave orders to young Araspes, the son of Harpagus, to go privately through by ways and stop Cassandana, and to conduct her to a solitary place on the borders of the Caspian sea.

Araspes, though he had been educated amidst all the pleasures of a voluptuous court, had nevertheless preserved noble and generous sentiments, and sin∣cerely abhorred every thing that was dishonorable. Whatever faults he had, proceeded rather from ea∣siness and complaisance, than viciousness; he was of an amiable temper and a sound understanding: and being born for arms, as well as formed for a court, was qualified for any employment civil or military.—He communicated the orders given him by Cyaxares, to his father Harpagus, who loved Cyrus. Harpa∣gus, having long signalized his courage in war, lived at the court of Ecbatan, without being corrupted by it: he beheld with concern the manner of the age, but said little choosing rather to condemn by his conduct than by his discourse. I foresee, said he to Araspes, all the misfortunes which virtue will bring upon us; but beware of gaining the Prince's favor by Page  25 a crime: go, my son, and instead of oppressing inno∣cence, make haste to its succour. Araspes departed with expedition, overtook the Princess near Aspada∣na, told her the orders of Cyaxares, and offered to conduct her into Persia. She wept for joy to see the generosity of the young Mede, and made haste to gain the frontiers of her own country. Pharnas∣pes died before his daughter could reach the court of Cambyses. When the Princess had mourned for the death of her father as nature and decency required, she at length saw Cyrus, and informed him of the generous proceeding of Araspes. The Prince from that moment conceived a tender friendship for him which lasted to the end of their lives. But Cyaxares resolved to avenge himself of Araspes, and this in so cruel a manner as was a dishonour to human nature. He caused Harpagus's second son to be murdered, and his mangled limbs to be served up before the un∣happy father at a feast. The report of so horrible a cruelty stirred up the indignation of all the Medes: but Astyages, being blinded by paternal affection, would not see nor punish his son's crime: and thus a Prince, who was naturally beneficent, countenan∣ced vice by a shameful weakness: he knew not the value of virtue, and was only good by complexion. Harpagus, being utterly disconsolate, retired from the court of Ecbatan, and went privately into Per∣sia, where Cambyses granted him all the advantages and honours he could offer him to compensate his losses in Media.

Cassandana, being not without hopes that Camby∣ses would be prevailed on to alter his designs, lived at the court of Persia in great tranquility. By her virtue, wit and good sense she had gained the heart of Mandana, whose sentiments in relation to her son's marriage were altered by the death of Pharnas∣pes. Cassandana's mother was daughter of the King Page  26 of Armenia, and the young Princess might one day be heiress of that crown; an alliance with Croesus would probably excite the jealousy of the Eastern Princes against Cyrus, and Lydia was at too great a distance to have speedy succours from thence; even the oracles themselves seemed to be against this alli∣ance, seeing they foretold that Lydia was to be Cy∣rus's first conquest. All these reasons joined toge∣ther, determined Mandana to oppose no longer her son's inclination; however, she durst not for the pre∣sent discover her thoughts to Cambyses, because he was still eagerly bent upon an alliance with the king of Lydia.

Croesus had long formed the design of extending his dominions in Asia. His numerous troops, and his prodigious wealth had inspired him with these ambitions thoughts. He had drawn into his service, or into his alliance, the Egyptians, the Thracians, the Greeks, and divers nations that were settled in Asia minor; he behld with a jealous eye the conquests of Nabuchodonosor, and was seeking all means to stop the progress of them; he knew that Cyrus would be heir to the crown of Media in case Cyaxares died without children; the Persians had acquired the reputation of a warlike people, and their country was conveniently situated for making incursions upon the territories of the king of Baby∣lon if ever that Prince should begin a war with Ly∣dia. These considerations made Croesus very desi∣rous of informing himself by his own eyes of the re∣spective forces of the Kings of Media and Babylon, and of the advantages of an alliance with the one and with the other: and having more artifice and ambition than skill and prudence, he rashly resolved to leave his dominions, which were not then very distant from Media*, and convey himself with all Page  27 his court, into the very heart of Asia. In order to conceal his real views, he raised several difficulties concerning the marriage of his daughter with Cyrus, which could not be well adjusted by embassies, and he proposed a conferrence with Cambyses on the con∣fines of Persia: Suza being a neutral city, was cho∣sen for the congress; it was at this time under the government of Phraortes, a tributary Prince to the Babylonians, and father of Abradates, who was af∣terwards so remarkable for his devotion to Cyrus. Croesus carried the Queen of Lydia and his daughter with him, under pretence of letting them see Cyrus before the conclusion of the marriage. He sent no∣tice to the court of Persia of his departure for Suza, upon which Cambyses prepared likewise for his jour∣ney thither: But this news threw the young Prince of Persia into the utmost despair, and Cassandana in∣to a terrible consternation. She had no distrust of Cyrus's constancy, but she dreaded the ambition of Cambyses. Mandana who was steady in her views, desired that Cassandana might go with the court to Suza: Cambyses at first opposed it, but fearing to heighten his son's passion for that Princess by a forc∣ed separation, he at length yielded to the dexterous insinuations of the Queen; he flattered himself with the hope of changing his son's inclination by the new object he should present him with, and which, in∣deed, would have been capable of stealing away the heart of Cyrus, had he been of that fickle humor so natural to young Princes.

The two courts being met at Suza, the first days were spent in feastings and rejoicings. Croesus, who was naturally vain, affected a pompous shew of mag∣nificence. Cambyses, like a wise Prince, placed all his glory in the genius and military virtues of his sub∣jects. The extraordinary concourse of men of two nations, so different in their manners, created a wonderful diversity in all the public shews and enter∣tainments, Page  28 and a perfect contrast of courtiers and warriors. The Lydians, though grown not quite effeminate, made a shining figure by the magnificence of their dress, the delicacy of their manners, and the sprightliness of their conversation: but the Persians, who were rough without ferocity, humane without politeness, and haughty notwithstanding their sim∣plicity, carried all the prizes in the games by their superior address and strength of body. The nego∣tiations were soon begun; and while the two Kings employed all the art of policy to promote their de∣signs attentive love set all his engines at work to disconcert them, and render them fruitless.

The daughter of Croesus no sooner appeared at Suza, but all eyes were dazzled with her charms, and the Persians universally cried out that she alone was worthy of Cyrus, and the only Princess who could make him happy. She had a manner and a turn of mind which were perfectly agreeable to the taste and genius of that people; her noble and sprightly air was tempered with a majestic sweetness; she loved hunting and other masculine exercises, and never shewed any token of the weaknesses natural to her sex: the more she was seen, the more she dis∣covered of rare accomplishments. Her superior gra∣ces and wit eclipsed those of all the Lydian, Suzan and Persian ladies. Cassandana's beauty maintained its prerogative no where but in the heart of Cyrus. One bashful, tender, modest look from that Princess was sufficient to render him insensible to all the charms of Candaules. He behaved himself however with so much discretion in public, that the fair Ly∣dian did not perceive his indifference; but he was no sooner alone with her than he became pensive, and seemed quite absent; she was far from guessing the cause of it, and made him sometimes call home his thoughts by delicate strokes of raillery, to which he seldom gave her any answer; when he did, he seem∣ed Page  29 always embarassed and at a loss; the Princess im∣puted this to a want of sense rather than of sensibi∣lity, and she began to repent of her journey. The negociations went on, but Cyrus sought all means to retard them; neither the anger of Cambyses, nor the counsels of Hystaspes made any impression on his mind. Nevertheless he inwardly condemned him∣self for his rebellion against his father's will; he beg∣ged time to vanquish his passion, and promised to use 〈◊〉 utmost efforts to get the mastery of it; nay, he thought himself sincere in the promises he made, but he saw Cassandana, and all his resolutions vanished. He pressed, importuned, made his tears plead with Mandana, and used all his arguments with Camby∣ses; he justified his passion to himself by the oracles, and would needs believe, that the Gods, by calling him to the conquest of Lydia, were secretly averse from his father's designs; he left no pretext unem∣ployed to keep off the marriage, and love savored his endeavors.

The Lydian Princess had known Cassandana at the court of Ecbatan, and she loved her with true affec∣tion—She never once imagined herself to be her ri∣val. Cassandana on the other hand felt no regret nor jealousy to see the homage that was paid to her friend's beauty, but she could not consent to lose the heart of Cyrus; she never saw the young Lydian without uneasiness; she would not deceive her, and she durst not speak to her; she was afraid of drop∣ping the least word which might either be unworthy of her love, or impose upon her friend; her trouble and her alarms were daily augmented, the amuse∣ments of the court became insipid to her, she scarce appeared any more in public; she retired at length to a solitary place upon the frontiers of Persia where the Princes of her family used ordinarily to reside. Page  30 It was about twenty furlongs from Suza*, in a plea∣sant vale watered by three rivers, whose copi••• streams being multiplied by the industrious inhabi∣tants, and distributed into several canals, fertilized the meadows and kept them in a perpetual verdure. On one side the little hills which rose one above ano∣ther were covered with olive, pomegranate and o∣range trees; nature shewed herself there in her rich∣est and gayest dress: the lofty mountains which ap∣peared at a greater distance all around, and with their craggy tops seemed to touch the sky, served as a barrier against the winds. Through the middle of a garden less beautified by art than nature, ran a crystal stream, which falling on a bed of pebbles, formed a cascade, whose agreeable murmur soothed the soul to sweet musings. Not far from hence a wild vine, interweaving its branches with many odo∣riferous shrubs, afforded all the day long a cool and refreshing shade. Pharnaspes had brought from Ba∣bylon the statues of Pyramus and Thisbe, on the pe∣destals of which was represented in Bas-relief the history of their misfortunes, which had made that city famous before it became so by its conquest: he had placed these statues in a bower, and they were almost the only ornament with which art had beau∣tified this peaceful abode.

Candaules being informed of her friend's retreat went in all haste to make her a visit. Cassandana was retired into the bower of Pyramus and Thisbe. The Princess of Lydia intending to surprize her, stole softly along behind the trees and beheld her prostrate before the statues; she drew near unseen, and listening to what she said, heard her thus de∣plore her misfortunes. O ye manes of chaste lovers, if ye ever come into these places hear my complaints, Page  31 be witnesses of my passion, and soften the God of love in favor of two the most unhappy of his vota∣ries, whose fortune resembles yours; let him either perfect our union, or put an end to my life, which serves only to be an obstacle to the happiness of Candaules and grandeur of Cyrus. The Princess of Lydia could refrain no longer, but entered the bow∣er; the two friends embraced each other, and re∣mained a long time without words or motion. Can∣daules was capable of strong and generous friendship, she had never felt the power of love, she had seen Cyrus with other eyes than Cassandana, and continu∣ed at the court of Suza more out of obedience than inclination, so that her heart had no sacrifice to make; she at length broke silence with these words: Ah Cassandana, why did you conceal from me your sen∣timents and your affliction; Banish your fears, Cyrus had made no impression on my heart, I will soon put an end to your misfortunes without giving offence either to Croesus or Cambyses. After this they pas∣sed several hours together, made a mutual vow of e∣ternal friendship, and then Candaules returned to Suza.

Cyrus was informed of what had passed, and being now no longer in any fear of injuring his love, began to contract a very strict friendship with the Lydian Princess. She very soon perceived the wrong judg∣ment she had made of his understanding, and became fully sensible of the superiority of his genius. They jointly concerted measures to disturb the negotiati∣ons, and he resumed his easy, frank and chearful air. Cambyses was rejoiced at this change, imputed it to another cause, and pressed the conclusion of the mar∣riage; but then Croesus began to dissemble: he had discerned that it would be much more advantageous for him to have an alliance with the King of Baby∣lon than with the King of Persia: and while he was privately sounding the dispositions of Nabuchodono∣sor, Page  32 raised several difficulties which it was impossible for Cambyses to have foreseen. Candaules had seen Merodac, the Assyrian Prince, at the court of Lydia, and though she was not susceptible of the soft passio of love, she was much better pleased with this match than with the other; her ambition struck in with her friendship for Cassandana, and she used all her endeavors to engage her father in this design. Man∣dana having learned how Candaules stood inclined, the more easily persuaded herself, that the oracles were against the intended marriage, and endeavored to make Cambyses indifferent about the success of the negotiations. Cyrus, who knew how every one was disposed drew thence all possible advantage to break off the treaty. Thus religion, love and poli∣cy made each act a different part; the conferences were spun out to a great length, and nothing was determined. But now Croesus receiving intelligence that the King of Babylon was not averse from an al∣liance with him, left Suza on a sudden without de∣claring the reasons of his conduct. Cambyses was picqued at this proceeding, but like a wife Prince dissembled his resentment and went back to his capi∣tal.

Cassandana returned soon after to the court of Persia, and Cyrus pressed Mandana to speak to his father. Cambyses who did not easily forsake his first opinions, was for renewing the negotiations with Croesus; but the queen represented to him, that Cassandana by her mother's side was grand-daughter to the King of Armenia, who was far advanced in years, and had but one son; that in case this Prince should die she would be heiress of that crown; that the oracle seemed to discountenance her son's mar∣riage with the daughter of Croesus; having fore∣told that Cyrus should begin his conquests by that of Lydia. Let us leave to the Gods, said she, the care of accomplishing their own decrees, without pre∣scribing Page  33 to them the means they shall employ; they often fulfil their designs by such methods as to us would seem calculated to disappoint them. Two considerable events wrought that effect upon the King's mind, which the Queen's solicitations would never have done. Advice came that the daughter of Croesus was promised to the son of the King of Babylon, and that these two Princes had entered in∣to a strict alliance: This news disconcerted his schemes; but what determined him at length to com∣ply with his son's wishes, was the death of the Prince of Armenia, by which Cassandana became presump∣tive heiress of that crown.

The nuptials were celebrated according to the manner of the age and of the country. Cyrus and Cassandana were conducted to the top of a high mountain consecrated to the great Oromazes; a fire of odoriferous wood was lighted; the high priest bound together the flowing robes of the two lovers as a symbol of their union: then holding each other by the hand and surrounded by the Estals*, they danced about the sacred fire, singing, according to the religion of the ancient Persians, the love of Oro∣mazes for his daughter Mithra before the beginning of time; the picture which she presented him, con∣taining the ideas of all things; the production of in∣numerable worlds resembling those ideas: the birth of the pure Genii, appointed to inhabit these worlds; the revolt of Arimanius against the God Mythras; the origin of the chaos, and how it was reduced to order; the fall of spirits into mortal bodies; the la∣bours of Mythras to raise them again to the Empyre∣um; and lastly, the total destruction of the evil prin∣ciple, who diffuses every where hatred, discord, and the hellish passions.

The young Prince's happiness increased daily; Page  34 the more he was acquainted with the mind and heart of Cassandana, the more he discovered there of those ever new and ever blooming charms which are not to be found in beauty alone. Neither marriage which often weakens the strongest passions, nor that almost invincible fondness for novelty, so universal in mankind, diminished in the least the mutual affection of these happy lovers.

SECOND BOOK.

THE Prince of Persia was so enamored with Cas∣sandana, and his thoughts were so entirely em∣ployed in furnishing amusements for her, that there were great reason to fear he would give himself up to an indolent life. He was daily inventing new shews and entertainments unknown before in Persia, and introduced all the diversions in vogue at the court of Ecbatan: he gave no attention to business, and even neglected military exercises: this kind of life exposed him continually to be seduced by the dis∣courses, of the young Satrapes who were about him. The Gymnosophists were beginning at this time to spread abroad in Persia their pernicious doctrine con∣cerning the two principles, which make men virtu∣ous without merit, or vicious without fault, by the force of an invincible fatality. All the younger sort readily adopted this opinion because it favored their passions: the deadly poison was stealing by degrees into the heart of Cyrus, and even Araspes helped to Page  35 cherish in his breast these rising prejudices against religion.

On the borders of the Persian gulf there had been lately settled a famous school of Magi, whose doc∣trine was entirely opposite to those fatal errors. Cyrus had a taste and a genius which led him to the study of the sublimest science; and Hystaspes, with∣out letting the Prince perceive his views, laid hold of this advantage to raise a desire in him of conver∣sing with those sages: as they never left their soli∣tude, shunning the courts of Princes, and had little intercourse with other men; Cyrus resolved to go see them in their retreat.

He undertook this journey with Cassandana, ac∣companied by Hystaspes, Araspes, and several of the Persian nobles. They crossed the plain of Passagar∣da, travelled through the country of the Mardi and arrived upon the banks of the Arosis. They enter∣ed by a narrow pass into a large valley incompassed with high mountains, the tops of which was covered with oaks, fir-trees, and lofty cedars; below were rich pastures, in which all forts of cattle were feed∣ing; the plain looked like a garden watered by ma∣ny rivulets, which came from the rocks all around and emptied themselves into the Arosis. This river lost itself between two little hills, which, as they o∣pened, presented to the view successive scenes of new objects, and discovered at distances fruitful fields, vast forests, and the Persian gulph, which bounded the horison. Cyrus and Cassandana, as they advanced in the valley, were invited into a neighboring grove by the found of harmonious music. There they beheld, by the side of a clear fountain, a great number of men of all ages, and over against them a company of women, who formed a concert. They understood that it was the school of the Magi, and were surpri∣sed to see, instead of austere, melancholy, and thought∣ful men, an agreeable and polite people.

Page  36 These Philosophers looked upon music as something heavenly, and proper to calm the passions, for which reason they always began and finished the day by con∣certs* After they had given some little time in the morning to this exercise, they led their disciples through delightful walks to the sacred mountain, ob∣serving all the way a profound silence; there they offered their homage to the Gods, rather by the voice of the heart, than of the lips. Thus by music, pleasant walks and prayer, they prepared themselves for the contemplation of truth, and put the soul into a serenity proper for meditation; the rest of the day was spent in study. Their only repast was a little before sun set, at which time they eat nothing but bread, fruits, and some portion of what had been of∣fered to the Gods concluding all with concerts of music Other men begin not the education of their children till after they are born, but the Magi seemed to do it before. While their wives were with child, they took care to keep them always in tranquillity, and a perpetual cheerfulness, by sweet and innocent amusements, to the end that from the mother's womb the fruit might receive no impressions, but what were pleasing, peaceful and a∣greeable to order.

Each sage had his province in the empire of Phi∣losophy; some studied the virtues of plants, others the metamorphoses of insects; some again the for∣mation of animals, and others the course of the stars: but the aim of all their researches was to come to the knowledge of the Gods, and of themselves. They said, that the sciences were no father valuable than they served as steps to ascend to the great Oromazes, and from thence to descend to man. Though the love of truth was the only bond of society among these philosophers, yet they were not without a head; Page  37 they called him the Archimagus. He, who then possessed that honour, was named Zardust or Zoroa∣ster; he surpassed the rest more in wisdom than in age, for he was scarce fifty years old; nevertheless he was a consummate master in all the sciences of the Chaldeans and Egyptians, and had even some know∣ledge of the religion of the Jews, whom he had seen at Babylon. Having observed the corruption which had crept in among the Magi, he had applied himself to reform their manners and their doctrine*.

When Cyrus and Cassandana entered the grove, the assembly rose up and worshipped them, bowing themselves to the earth, according to the custom of the East; and then retiring left them alone with Zo∣roaster. This philosopher led them to a bower of myrtle, in the midst of which was the statue of a woman, which he had carved with his own hands. They all three sat down in this place upon a seat of verdant turf, and Zoroaster entertained the Prince and Princess with a discourse of the life, manners, and virtues of the Magi.

While he was speaking he frequently cast a look upon the statue, and as he beheld it his eyes were bathed in tears. Cyrus and Cassandana observed his sorrow at first with a respectful silence, but after∣wards the Princes could not forbear asking him the reason of it. That statue, answered he, is the statue of Selima, who heretofore loved me, as you now love Cyrus. It is here that I come to spend my sweetest and my bitterest moments. In spite of wisdom, which submits me to the will of the Gods; in spite of the pleasures I taste in philosophy; in spite of the insen∣sibility I am in, with regard to all human grandeur, the remembrance of Selima often renews my regrets Page  38 and my tears. True virtue, though it regulates the passions, does not extinguish tender sentiments. These words gave Cyrus and Cassandana a curiosity to know the history of Selima. The philosopher would have excused himself, but he had already be∣trayed his secret by the sensibility he had shewn, and could not go back without failing in due respect, to persons of such high rank: having therefore wiped away his tears he thus began his narration. I am not afraid of letting you know my weakness; but I should avoid the recital I am going to make, if I did not foresee that you may reap some useful instructi∣ons from it. I was born a Prince; my father was sovereign of a little territory in the Indies, which is called the country of Sophites. Having lost my way one day when I was hunting, I chanced to see in the thick part of a wood a young maid, who was there reposing herself. Her surprizing beauty im∣mediately struck me; I became immoveable, and dust not advance; I imagined she was one of those aerial spirits, who descend sometimes from the throne 〈◊〉 Oromazes, to conduct souls back to the empyreus Seeing herself alone with a man, she fled, and 〈◊〉 refuge in a temple that was near the forest. I dust not follow her; but I learned that her name was Selima, that she was daughter of an old Brachma, who dwelt in that temple, and that she was conse∣crated to the worship of the fire. The Estals may quit celibacy and marry: but while they continue priestesses of the fire, the laws are so severe among the Indians, that a father thinks it an act of religion to throw his daughter alive into the flames, should she ever fall from that purity of manners which she has sworn to preserve.

My father was yet living, and I was not in a con∣dition to force Selima from that asylum; may had I been King, Princes have no right in that country 〈◊〉 persons consecrated to religion. However, 〈◊〉Page  39 these difficulties did but increase my passion; and the violence of it quickened my ingenuity: I left my fa∣ther's palace; I was young, a Prince, and I did not consult reason. I disguised myself in the habit of a girl, and went to the temple, where the old Brach∣man lived. I deceived him by a feigned story, and became one of the Estals, under the name of Amana. The King, my father, who was disconsolate for my sudden leaving him, ordered search to be made for me every where, but to no purpose. Selima not knowing my sex, conceived a particular liking and friendship for me. I never left her; we passed our lives together in working, reading, walking, and serving at the altars. I often told her sables and af∣fecting stories, in order to point forth the wonderful effects of friendship and of love. My design was to prepare her by degrees for the final discovery of my intentions. I sometimes forgot myself while I was speaking, and was so carried away by my vivacity, that she often interrupted me, and said, one would think, Amana, to hear you speak, that you feel in this mo∣ment all that you describe. I lived in this manner several months with her, and it was not possible for her to discover either my disguise or my passion. As my heart was not corrupted, I had no criminal view; I imagined, that if I could engage her to lose me, she would forsake her state of life to share my crown with me: I was continually waiting for a favoura∣ble moment, to reveal to her my sentiments; but a∣las! that moment never came.

It was a custom among the Estals, to go divers times in the year upon a high mountain, there to kin∣dle the sacred fire, and to offer sacrifices: we all went up thither one day, accompanied only by the old Brachman. Scarce was the sacrifice begun, when we were surrounded by a body of men, armed with bows and arrows, who carried away Selima and her father. They were all on horseback; I follow∣ed Page  40 them some time, but they entered into a wood, and I saw them no more. I did not return to the temple, but stole away from the Estals, changed my dress, took another disguise, and forsook the Indies. I forgot my father, my country, and all my obligati∣ons; I wandered over all Asia in search of Selima: what cannot love do in a young heart given up to its passion? One day, as I was crossing the country of the Lycians, I stopt in a great forest to shelter my∣self from the excessive heat. I presently saw a com∣pany of hunters pass by, and a little after several women, among whom I thought I discovered Seli∣ma: she was in a hunting dress, mounted upon a proud courser, and distinguished from all the rest by a coronet of flowers. She passed by me so swiftly, that I could not be sure whether my conjectures were well founded; but I went strait to the capital.

The Lycians were at that time governed by wo∣men, which form of government was established a∣mong them upon the following occasion. Some years ago the men became so effeminate during a long peace, that their thoughts where wholly taken up about their dress. They affected the discourse, manners, maxims, and all the imperfections of wo∣men, without having either their sweetness or their delicacy; and while they gave themselves up to in∣famous laziness, the most abomiable vices took the place of lovely passions; they despised the Lycian women, and treated them like slaves: a foreign war came upon them; the men being grown cowardly and effeminate were not able to defend their country, they fled and hid themselves in caves and caverns; the women being accustomed to fatigue, by the sla∣very they had undergone, took arms, drove away the enemy, became mistresses of the country, and e∣stablished themselves in authority by an immutable law. From that time the Lycians habituated them∣selves to this form of government, and found it the Page  41 mildest and most convenient. Their Queens had a council of senators, who assisted them with their ad∣vice: the men proposed good laws, but the executive power was in the women. The sweetness and soft∣ness of the sex prevented all the mischiefs of tyran∣ny; and the counsel of the wise senators qualified that inconstancy, with which women are reproached.

I understood that the mother of Selima having been dethroned by the ambition of a kinswoman, her first minister had fled to the Indies with the young Princess; that he had lived there several years as a Brachman, and she as an Estal; that this old man ha∣ving always maintained a correspondence with the friends of the royal family, the young Queen had been restored to the throne after the death of the usurper; that she governed with the wisdom of a person who had experienced misfortunes; and lastly, that she had always expressed an invincible dislike to marriage. This news gave me an inexpressible joy; I thanked the Gods for having conducted me by such wonderful ways near the object of my heart; I implored their help, and promised never to love but once, if they would favor my passion.

I then considered by what method I should intro∣duce myself to the Queen; and finding that war was the most proper, I entered into the service. There I distinguished myself very soon; for I refused no fa∣tigue, I avoided no danger, I sought the most ha∣zardous enterprizes. Upon a day of battle, on the success of which, the liberty of Lycia depended, the Carians put our troops into disorder; it was in a large plain, out of which there was but one narrow pass for the fugitives to escape. I gained this pass, and threatened to pierce with my javelin whoever should attempt to force it, In this manner I rallied our troops, and returned to charge the enemy; I routed them and obtained a complete victory. This action Page  42 drew the attention of all the army upon me: nothing was spoken of but my courage; and all the soldiers called me the deliverer of their country. I was con∣ducted to the Queen's presence, who could not re∣collect me; for we had been separated six years, and grief and fatigue had altered my features. She ask∣ed me my name, my country, my family, and seemed to examine my face with a more than common curio∣sity. I thought I discovered by her eyes an inward emotion, which she endeavoured to hide. Strange capriciousness of love! Heretofore I had thought her an Estal of mean birth; yet I had resolved to share my crown with her. This moment I conceived a design of engaging her to love me as I loved her; I concealed my country and my birth, and told her I was born in a village of Bactria, of a very obscure family; upon this she suddenly withdrew without an∣swering me.

Not long after, she gave me, by the advice of her senators, the command of her army; by which I had free access to her person. She used frequently to send for me, under pretence of business, when she had nothing to say; she took a pleasure in discoursing with me. I often painted forth my own sentiments to her under borrowed names; the Greek and E∣gyptian mythology, which I had learned in my tra∣vels, furnished me with abundant arguments to prove that the Gods were heretofore enamoured with mor∣tals, and that love makes all conditions equal. I re∣member, that one day while I was relating to her a story of this kind she lest me in a great emotion; I discovered by that her hidden sentiments; and it gave me an inexpressible pleasure to find that she then lo∣ved me as I had loved her. I had frequent conver∣sation with her, by which her confidence in me daily increased: I sometimes made her call to mind the misfortunes of her early youth; and she then gave me an account of her living among the Estals, her Page  43 friendship for Amana, and their mutual affection. Scarce was I able to contain myself when I heard her speak; I was just ready to throw off my disguise; but my false delicacy required yet farther, that Seli∣ma should do for me what I would have done for her. I was quickly satisfied; an extraordinary e∣vent made me experience all the extent and power of her love.

By the laws of Lycia the person who governs is not permitted to marry a stranger. Selima sent for me one day, and said to me: My subjects desire that I would marry; go tell them from me, that I will consent, upon condition that they leave me free in my choice. She spoke these words with a majestic air, and almost without looking upon me. At first I trembled, then flattered myself, then fell into doubt; for I knew the Lycians to be strongly attached to their laws: I went nevertheless to execute the com∣mands I had received. When the council was assem∣bled I laid before them the Queen's pleasure, and after much dispute it was agreed, that she should be left free to choose herself a husband. I carried Se∣lima the result of their deliberation: she then direct∣ed me to assemble the troops in the same plain where I had obtained the victory over the Carians, and to hold myself ready to obey her farther orders; she likewise commanded all the principal men of the na∣tion to repair to the same place. A magnificent throne being there erected, the Queen appeared up∣on it encircled with her courtiers, and spoke to the assembly in the following manner: People of Lycia, ever since I began my reign I have strictly observed your laws; I have appeared at the head of your ar∣mies, and have obtained several victories; my only study has been to make you free and happy—Is it just that she who has been the preserver of your li∣berty should be herself a slave? Is it equitable that she who continually seeks your happiness should be Page  44 herself miserable? There is no unhappiness equal to that of doing violence to one's own heart. When the heart is under a constraint, grandeur and royalty serve only to give us a quicker sense of our slavery: I demand therfore to be free in my choice.

This discourse was applauded by the whole assem∣bly, who immediately cried out, you are free, you are dispensed from the law. The Queen sent me or∣ders to advance at the head of the troops. As soon as I was come near the throne she rose up, and, pointing to me with her hand—There, said she, is my husband; he is a stranger, but his services make him the father of the country; he is not a Prince, but his merit puts him on a level with Kings. She then ordered me to come up to her; I prostrated myself at her feet, and took all the usual oaths; I promised to renounce my country for ever, to look upon the Lycians as my children, and, above all, never to love any other than the Queen. After this she stepped down from the throne, and we were conducted back to the capital with pomp, amidst the acclamations of the people. As soon as we were alone, Ah Selima! said I, have you then forgot Amana? It is impossible to express the Queen's surprise or the transport of affection and joy which these words gave her. She knew me, and conjectured all the rest; I had no need to speak, and we were both a long time silent: I at length told her my family, my adventures, and all the effects that love had produced in me. She very soon assembled her council, and acquainted them with my birth; ambasiadors were sent to the Indies; I re∣nounced my crown and country for ever, and my brother was confirmed in the possession of my throne.

This was an easy sacrifice; I was in possession of Selima, and my happiness was complete: but alas! this happiness was of short continuance. In giving myself up to my passion, I had renounced my coun∣try, I had forsaken my father whose only consolation Page  45 I was, I had forgot all my duty: my love, which seemed so delicate, so generous, and was the admira∣tion of men, was not approved of by the Gods; ac∣cordingly they punished me for it by the greatest of all misfortunes; they took Selima from me, she died within a few days after our marriage. I gave myself up to the most excessive sorrow; but the Gods did not abandon me. I entered deeply into myself; wis∣dom descended into my heart, she opened the eyes of my understanding, and I then comprehended the ad∣mirable mystery of the conduct of Oromazes. Vir∣tue is often unhappy, and this shocks the reason of short-sighted men; but they are ignorant that the transient sufferings of this life are designed by the Gods to expiate the secret faults of those who ap∣pear the most virtuous. These reflections determi∣ned me to consecrate the rest of my days to the study of wisdom. Selima was dead, my bonds were bro∣ken, I was no longer tied to any thing in nature; the whole earth appeared to me a desert; I could not reign in Lycia after the death of Selima, and I would not remain in a country where every thing continually renewed the remembrance of my loss. I returned to the Indies, and went to live among the Brachmans, where I formed a new plan for happi∣ness. Being freed from that slavery which always accompanies grandeur, I established within myself an empire over my passions and desires, more glorious and satisfactory than the false lustre of royalty. But now notwithstanding my retreat and the distance I was at, my brother conceived a jealousy of me, as if I was ambitious of ascending the throne, and I was obliged once more to leave the Indies. My exile proved a new source of happiness to me; it depends upon ourselves to reap advantage from our misfor∣tunes. I visited the wise men of Asia, and conversed with the philosophers of different countries: I learn∣ed their laws and their religion, and was charmed to Page  46 find, that the great men of all times, and of all pla∣ces, had the same ideas of the Divinity, and of mora∣lity. At last I came hither upon the banks of the A∣rosis, where the Magi have chosen me for their head.

Here Zoroaster ended; Cyrus and Cassandana were too much affected to be able to speak. After some moments of silence, the philosopher discoursed to them of the happiness which faithful lovers enjoy in the empyreum when they meet again there; he then concluded with these wishes: May you long feel the happiness of mutual and undivided love! may the Gods preserve you from that depravity of heart which makes pleasures lose their relish when once they become lawful! may you, after the trans∣ports of a lively and pure passion in your younger years, experience in a more advanced age, all the charms of that union which diminishes the pains of life, and augments its pleasures by sharing them! may a long and agreeable old age let you see your distant poste∣rity multiplying the race of heroes upon earth! may at last one and the same day unite the ashes of both, to exempt you from the misfortune of bewailing like me the loss of what you love! my only comfort is the hope of seeing Selima again in the sphere of fire, the pure element of love. Souls make acquaintance only here below; it is above that their union is con∣summated. O Selima, Selima! we shall one day meet again, and our flames will be eternal: I know, that in those superior regions your happiness will not be complete till I shall share it with you; those who have loved each other purely will love so for ever; true love is immortal.

The history which Zoroaster had given of his own life made a strong impression upon the Prince and Princess; it confirmed them in their mutual tender∣ness, and in their love of virtue; they spent some time with the sage in his solitude before they return∣ed to the court of Cambyses. It was during this re∣treat Page  47 that Zoroaster initiated Cyrus into all the my∣steries of the eastern wisdom. The Chaldeans, the Egyptians and the Gymnosophists had a wonderful knowledge of nature, but they wrapped it up in alle∣gorical fables and this doubtless is the reason that venerable antiquity has been reproached with igno∣rance in natural philosophy. Zoroster laid open be∣fore Cyrus the secrets of nature, not merely to gra∣tify his curosity, but to make him observe the marks of an infinite wisdom diffused throughout the uni∣verse, and thereby to guard his mind against irreli∣gion.

One while he made him admire the structure of the human body, the springs of which it is composed, and the liquors that flow in it; the canals, the pumps and the bason which are formed by the mere interweaving of the fibres, in order to separate, pu∣rify, conduct and reconduct the liquids into all the extremities of the body; then the levers and the cords, formed by the bones and muscles, in order to the various motions of the members. It is thus, said the Philosopher, that our body is a surprizing contex∣ture of tubes, branched out into endless divisions and subdivisions, which have a communication with one another, while different and suitable liquors are insi∣nuated into them, and are there parpared according to the rules of the most exact mechanism. An infi∣nity of small imperceptible springs, the construction and motions of which we are ignorant of, are conti∣nually playing in our bodies; and it is therefore evi∣dent that nothing but a sovereign intelligence could produce, adjust and preserve so compounded, so deli∣cate, and so admirable a machine. The life of this machine depends on the freedom and amenity with which the liquids flow in the various canals; all our diseases on the other hand proceed from the thick∣ness of the liquids, which stopped in those impercept∣ible vessels, choak them up, swell and relax them; Page  48 or from the acrimony of the juices, which prick, 〈◊〉 and tear those delicate fibres. Indolence occasions 〈◊〉 first, and intemperance the second; for which reason the Persian laws have wisely enjoined sobriety and exercise, as necessary to prevent the enfeebling 〈◊〉 of the political and natural body.

At another time he explained to him the configu∣ration of plants, and the transformation of insects. They had not our optic glasses to magnify objects and bring them near; but the penetrating spirit of Zoroaster saw farther than the eye can reach by their help; because he was acquainted not only with all the experiments of the ancients and their traditi∣ons, but also with the occult* sciences revealed by the Geni to the first men. Each seed, said he, con∣tains within it a plant of its own species, this plant a∣nother seed, and this seed another little plant, and so on without end. These organic moulds cannot be formed by the simple laws of motion: they are the production of the great Oromazes, who originally enclosed within each seed all the bodies to be derived from it. None but he alone could thus conceal in∣numerable wonders in a single imperceptible atom. The growth of vegetables is but the unfolding of the fibres, membranes and branches by the moisture of the earth, which in an admirable manner insinu∣ates itself into them. Every plant has two sorts of pipes; the one filled with air like lungs to it, the o∣ther filled with sap may be compared to arteries. In the day time the heat of the sun rarefies, swells and dilates the air contained in the first sort, so that they compress the other, and thereby break the par∣ticles of the sap, refine it and make it rise, in order to the production of leaves, flowers and fruits. The same air growing cool during the night is condensed and contracted, and no longer presses upon the ali∣mentary Page  49 tubes; so that these being opened and di∣lated, receive the moisture of the earth, pregnant with salts, sulphurs, and minerals, which the pressure of the atmosphere forces in through the roots: it is thus that the plants feed in the night and digest in the day; the nutritive sap being distributed through all the branches, at length perspires, and, spurting out of their small delicate pipes with an incredible force, forms an infinite number of jets d' eau: these spouts, meet, mix, cross one another, and perhaps serve for an entertainment of the aerial Genii, before whom the wonders of nature lay all unveiled. One blade of grass presents more various and amazing ob∣jects to their view, than all the water-works in the inchanted gardens of the King of Babylon. If po∣ets were philosophers, the bare description of nature would furnish them with more agreeable pictures than all their allegorical paintings; the poor resource of a hood-winked imagination, when reason does not lend it eyes to discern the beauty of the works of Oroma∣zes. Zoroaster then shewed the Prince the trees, plants, and roots, the gums, bitters, and aromatics, which help to dissolve, attenuate, and liquify our jui∣ces when they grow too thick; to pound, blunt, and absorb the humors when too sharp; to fortify, re∣pair, and give a new tension to the fibres when weak∣ened, torn and relaxed. Heroes were in former times philosophers, and conquerers were fond of knowing themselves how to repair in part the mischiefs occasi∣oned by their battles and victories.

After this the philosopher gave Cyrus a view of the wonderful art discoverable in the formation of insects. Their eggs, said he, scattered in the air, upon the earth, and in the waters, meet in each with proper receptacles, and wait only for a favorable ray of the sun to hatch them. Sometimes they are worms crawling upon the earth; then fishes swimming in Page  50 liquors, and at last they get wings and rise into the air. These almost invisible machines have in each of them numberless springs at work, which furnish and prepare liquors suited to their wants. What mecha∣nism, what art, what fresh and endless proofs have we here of an infinite wisdom which produces all.

At another time, the sage carried the thoughts of Cyrus up into the higher regions, to contemplate the various phaenomena which happen in the air. He explained to him the wonderful qualities of the sub∣tile and invisible fluid which encompasses the earth in order to compress all the parts of it, keep each of them in its proper place, and hinder them from dis∣uniting; how necessary it is to the life of animals, the growth of plants, the flying of birds, the forming of sounds, and numberless other useful and important effects. This fluid, said he, being agitated, heated, cooled again, compressed, dilated, one while by the rays of the sun, or the subterraneous fires, sometimes by the salts and sulphurs which float in it, at other times by nitres which fix and congeal it, sometimes by clouds which compress it, and often by other causes which destroy the equilibrium of its parts, produces all sorts of winds, the most impetuous of which serve to dispel the noxious vapours, and the softer breezes to temper the excessive heats. At other times the rays of the sun, insinuating themselves into the little drops of dew which water the surface of the earth, rarefy them, and thereby make them lighter than the air, so that they ascend into it, form vapours, and float there at different heights, according as they are more or less heavy. The sun having drawn up these vapours loaded with sulphur, minerals, and dif∣ferent kinds of salts, they kindle in the air, put it in∣to a commotion, and cause thunder and lightening. Other vapours that are light gather into clouds and float in the air; but when they become too heavy they fall in dews, showers of rain, snow and hail, ac∣cording Page  51 as the air is more or less heated. Those va∣pours which are daily drawn from the sea, and car∣ried in the air by the winds to the tops of mountains, fall there, soak into them, and meet in their inward cavities, where they increase and swell till they find a vent, or force a passage, and so become plenteous springs of refreshing water. By these are formed ri∣vulets of which the smaller rivers are composed; and these latter again form the great rivers which return into the sea to repair the loss it had suffered by the ardent rays of the sun. Thus it is that all the irregularities and intemperature of the elements which seem to destroy nature in one season, serve to revive it in another: the immoderate heats of sum∣mer, and the excessive cold of winter, prepare the beauties of the spring, and the rich fruits of autumn. All these vicissitudes, which seem to superficial minds the effects of a fortuitous concourse of irregular caus∣es, are regulated according to weight and measure, by that sovereign wisdom who weighs the earth as a grain of sand, and the sea as a drop of water.

Then Zoroaster raised his thoughts to the stars, and explained to Cyrus how they all float in an active, uniform and infinitely subtile fluid, which fills and pervades all nature. This invisible matter, said he, does not act by the necessary law of a blind mecha∣nism. It is, as it were the* body of the great Oro∣mazes, Page  52 whose soul is truth. By the one he acts upon all bodies, and by the other he enlightens all spirits. His vivifying presence gives activity to this pure aether, which becomes thereby the primary machani∣cal spring of all the motions in the heavens and upon the earth: it causes the fixed stars to turn upon their axes while it makes the planets circle round those stars; it transmits with an incredible velocity the light of those heavenly bodies, as the air does sounds; and its vibrations as they are more or less quick, pro∣duce the agreeable variety of colours, as those of the air do the melodious notes of music. Lastly, the fluidity of liquids, the cohesion of solids, the gravita∣tion, elasticity, attraction, and fermentation of bodies, the sensation of animals, and the vegetation of plants come all from the action of this exceedingly subtile* SPIRIT which diffuses itself throughout all the im∣mensity of space. The same simple cause produces numberless, and even contrary effects, yet without any confussion in so infinite a variety of motions.

Page  53 We are struck with surprise continued the Philo∣sopher, to see all the wonders of nature, which dis∣cover themselves to our short and feeble sight; but how great would be our amazement, if we could transport ourselves into those aetherial spaces; and pass through them with a rapid flight? Each star would appear an atom in comparison of the immensity with which it is surrounded: what would our won∣der be, if descending afterwards upon earth, we could accommodate our eyes to the minuteness of ob∣jects, and pursue the smallest grain of sand through its infinite divisibility? Each atom would appear a world, in which we should doubtless discover new beauties. There is nothing great, nothing little in itself; both the GREAT and the LITTLE disappear by turns to present every where an image of infinity through all the works of Oromazes. What a folly is it then to go about to explain the* original of things by the mere laws of matter and motion? The universe is the work of the great Oromazes: he pre∣serves and governs it by general laws, but these laws are free, arbitrary, and even diversified in the differ∣ent regions of immensity, according to the effects he would there produce, and the various relations he would establish between bodies and spirits. It is from him that every thing slows; it is in him that Page  54 every thing exists; it is by him that every thing lives; and to him alone should all things be referred. Without him all nature is an inexplicable aenigma; with him the mind conceives every thing possible, even at the same time that it is sensible of its own ig∣norance and narrow limits.

Cyrus was charmed with this instruction; not worlds seemed to be unveiled before him; where have I lived, said he, till now? The simplest objects contain wonders which escape my sight: every thing bears the mark of an infinite wisdom and power. The great Oromazes ever present to his work, give to all bodies their forms and their motions, to all spi∣rits their reason and their virtues; he beholds them all in his immensity; he governs them, not by any necessary laws of mechanism; he makes and he chan∣ges the laws by which he rules them, as it best suits with the designs of his justice and goodness.

While Cyrus was thus entertained with the con∣versation of Zoroaster, Cassandana assisted, with the wives of the Magi, in celebrating the festival of the Goddess Mythra. The ancient Persians adored but one sole supreme Deity, but they considered the God Mythras and the Goddess Mythra, sometimes as two emanations from his substance, and at other times at the first productions of his power. Every day was sacred to the great Oromazes, because he was never to be forgotten: but the festival of the Goddess My∣thra was observed only towards the end of the spring, and that of Mythras about the beginning of autumn. During the first, which lasted ten days, the women performed all the priestly functions, and the men did not assist at it: as on the other hand the women were not admitted to the celebration of the last. This separation of the two sexes was thought necessary, in order to preserve the soul from all ima∣ginations which might profane its joys in these so∣lemn festivals.

Page  55 The ancient Persians had neither temples nor al∣tars; they sacrificed upon high mountains and emi∣nencies; nor did they use libations, or music, or hal∣lowed bread. Zoroaster had made no change in the old rites, except by the introduction of music into di∣vine worship. At break of day all the wives of the Magi being crowned with myrtle and cloathed in long white robes, walked two and two with a slow grave pace to the mount of Mythra; they were fol∣lowed by their daughters clad in fine linen and lead∣ing the victims adorned with wreaths of all colours. The summit of the hill was a plain covered with a sacred wood; several vistas were cut through it, and all centred in a great circus, which had been turned into a delightful garden. In the middle of this gar∣den there sprang a fountain, whose compliant waters took all the forms which art was pleased to give them. After many windings and turnings these cry∣stal streams crept on to the declivity of the hill, and there falling down in a rapid torrent from rock to rock frothed and foamed, and at length lost them∣selves in a deep river which ran at the foot of the sa∣cred mount.

When the procession arrived at the place of sacri∣fice, two sheep white as snow were led to the brink of the fountain; and while the priestess offered the victims, the choir of women struck their lyres, and the young virgins joined their voices singing this sa∣cred hymn,

Oromazes is the first of incorruptible natures, eternal, unbegotten, self-sufficient, of all that's excellent most excellent, the wisest of all in∣telligences; he beheld himself in the mirror of his own substance, and by that view produced the Goddess Mythra; Mythra the living image of his beauty, the original mother and the immortal vir∣gin; she presented him the ideas of all things, and he gave them to the God Mythras to form a world resembling those ideas. Let us celebrate the wis∣dom Page  56 of Mythra, let us do her homage by our pu∣rity and our virtues, rather than by our songs and praises.
During this act of adoration, three times the music paused, to denote by a profound silence that the divine nature transcends whatever our words can express. The hymn being ended, the priestess lighted by the rays of the sun a fire of odoriferous wood, and while she there consumed the hearts of the sheep, sung alone with a loud voice,
Mythra desires only the soul of the victim.
Then the re∣mainder of the sacrifice was drest for a public feast, of which they all eat sitting on the brink of the sa∣cred fountain, where they quenched their thirst. During the repast twelve young virgins sung the sweets of friendship; the charms of virtue, the peace, innocence, and simplicity of a rural life.

After this regale, the mothers and daughters all assembled upon a large green plot encompassed with lofty trees, whose shady tops and leafy branches were a defence against the scorching heat of the sun and the blasts of the north wind: here they diverted themselves with dancing, running, and concerts of music. Then they represented the exploits of heroes, the virtues of heroines, and the pure pleasures of the primaeval state before Arimanius invaded the em∣pire of Oromazes, and inspired mortals with deceitful hopes, false joys, perfidious disgusts, credulous suspi∣cions, and the inhuman extravagancies of profane love. These sports being over, they dispersed them∣selves about the garden, and by way of refreshment bathed themselves in the waters. Towards sun-set they descended the hill and joined the Magi, who led them to the mountain of Oromazes, there to per∣form the evening sacrifice; the victims which were offered served every family for supper, (for they had two repasts on festival days, and they chearfully pas∣sed the time till sleepiness called them to rest.

It was in this manner that Cassandana amused her∣self, Page  57 while Zoroaster was discovering to Cyrus all the beauties of the universe, and thereby preparing his mind for matters of a more exalted nature, the doc∣trines of religion. The philosopher at length con∣ducted the Prince with Hystaspes and Araspes into a gloomy and solitary forest, where perpetual silence reigned, and where the attention could not be diver∣ted by any sensible object; and then said; It is not to enjoy the pleasures of solitude that we thus forsake the society of men; to retire from the world in that view would be only to gratify a trifling indolence, unworthy of the character of wisdom: but the aim of the Magi in this retreat is to disengage themselves from matter, rise to the contemplation of celestial things, and commence an intercourse with the pure spirits, who discover to them all the secrets of nature. When mortals have gained a complete victory over all the passions, they are thus favored by the great Oromazes: it is however but a very small number of the most purified sages who have enjoyed this privi∣lege. Impose silence upon your senses, raise your mind above all visible objects, and listen to what the Gymnosophists have learned by their commerce with the Genii. Here he was silent for some time, seem∣ed to collect himself inwardly, and then continued.

In the spaces of the empyreum a pure and divine fire expands itself; by the means of which, not only bodies but spirits become visible.* In the midst of this immensity is the great Oromazes, first principle of all things. He diffuses himself every where; but it is there that he is manifested after a more glorious manner. Near him is seated the God Mythras, or the second Spirit, and under him Psyche, or the Page  58 Goddess Mythra: around their throne in the first rank are the Jynges, the most sublime intelligences; in the lower spheres are an endless number of Genii of all the different orders.

Arimanius chief of the Jynges aspired to an equali∣ty with the God Mythras, and by his eloquence per∣suaded all the spirits of his order to disturb the uni∣versal harmony, and the peace of the heavenly mo∣narchy. How exalted soever the Genii are, they are always finite, and consequently may be dazzled and deceived. Now the love of one's own excellence is the most delicate and most imperceptible kind of de∣lusion. To prevent the Genii from falling into the like crime, and to punish those audacious spirits, Oro∣mazes only withdrew his rays, and immediately the sphere of Arimanius became a chaos and a perpetual night, in which discord, hatred, confusion, anarchy, and force alone prevail. Those aetherial substances would have eternally tormented themselves, if Oro∣mazes had not mitigated their miseries; he is never cruel in his punishments, nor acts from a motive of revenge, for it is unworthy of his nature; he had compassion on their condition, and lent Mythras his power to dissipate the choas. Immediately the min∣gled and jarring atoms were separated, the elements disintangled and ranged in order. In the midst of the abyss was amassed together an ocean of fire, which we now call the sun; its brightness is but ob∣scurity, when compared with that pure aether which illuminates the empyreum. Seven globes of an opa∣que substance roll about this flaming centre, to bor∣row its light. The seven Genii, who were the chief ministers and companions of Arimanius, together with Page  59 all the inferior spirits of his order, became the inha∣bitants of these new worlds, which the Greeks call Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Murcury, the Moon, and the Earth. The slothful, gloomy and malicious Genii, who love solitude and darkness, retired into Saturn. From hence flow all black and mischievous projects, perfidious treasons, and murderous devices. In Jupiter dwell the impious and learned Genii, who broach monstrous errors, and endeavour to persuade men that the universe is not governed by an eternal Wisdom; that the great Oromazes is not a luminous principal, but a blind nature, which by a continual agitation within itself produces an eternal revolution of forms. In Mars are the Genii who are enemies of peace, and blow up every where the fire of dis∣cord inhuman vengeance, implacable anger, distract∣ed ambition, false heroism, insatiable of conquering what it cannot govern, furious dispute which seeks dominion over the understanding, would oppress where it cannot convince, and is more cruel in its transports than all the other vices. Venus is inha∣bited by the impure Genii, whose affected graces and unbridled appetites are without taste, friendship, no∣ble or tender sentiments, or any other view than the enjoyment of pleasures which engender the most fa∣tal calamities. In Mercury are the weak minds ever in uncertainty, who believe without thinking and doubt without reason; the enthasiasts and the free-think∣ers, whose credulity and incredulity proceed equally from a disordered imagination; it dazzles the sight of some, so that they see that which is not; and it blinds others in such a manner, that they see not that which is. In the Moon dwell the humorsome, fan∣tastic and capricious Genii, who will and will not, who hate at one time what they loved excessively at another; and who by a false delicacy of self-love are ever distrustful of themselves and of their best friends.

All these Genii regulate the influence of the stars. Page  60 They are subject to the Magi, whose call they obey, and discover to them all the secrets of nature. These spirits had all been voluntary accomplices of Arimanius's crime. There yet remained a number of all the several kinds who had been carried through weakness, inadvertency, levity and (if I may venture so to speak) friendship for their companions. Of all the Genii these were of the most limited capacities, and consequently the least criminal. Oromazes had compassion on them, and made them descend into mortal bodies; they retain no remembrance of their former state, or of their ancient happiness; it is from this number of Genii that the earth is peopled, and it is hence that we see here minds of all characters. The God Mythras is incessantly employed to cure, purify and exalt them, that they may be capable of their first felicity. Those who follow virtue fly a∣way after death unto the empyreum, where they are re-united to their origin. Those who debase them∣selves by vice, sink deeper and deeper into matter, fall successively into the bodies of the meanest animals, and run through a perpetual circle of new forms, till they are purged of their crimes by the pains which they undergo. The evil principle will confound e∣very thing for nine thousand years; but at length there will come a time, fixed by destiny, when Ari∣manius will be totally destroyed and exterminated; the Earth will change its form, universal harmony will be restored, and men will live happy without any bodily want. Until that time Oromazes reposes him∣self, and Mythras combats; this interval seems long to mortals, but, to a God, it is only as a moment of sleep.

Cyrus was seized with astonishment at the hearing of these sublime things, and turning to Araspes said to him: what we have been taught hitherto of Oro∣mazes, Mythras and Arimanius, of the contention be∣tween the good and the evil principle, of the revolu∣tions Page  61 which have happened in the higher spheres, and of souls precipitated into mortal bodies, was mix∣ed with so many absurd fictions, and wrapped up in such impenetrable obscurity, that we looked upon those doctrines as vulgar and contemptible notions unworthy of the eternal Being. I see now that we confounded the abuses of those principles with the principles themselves, and that a contempt for religion can proceed only from ignorance. All flows out from the Deity and all must be absorbed in him a∣gain. I am then a ray of light emitted from its prin∣ciple, and I am to return to it. O Zoroaster, you put within me a new and inexhaustible source of pleasures; adversities may hereafter distress me, but they will never overwhelm me; all the misfortunes of life will appear to me as transient dreams; all hu∣man grandeur vanishes; I see nothing great but to imitate the immortals, that I may enter after death into their society. O my father, tell me by what way it is that heroes re-ascend to the empyreum. How joyful am I, replied Zoroaster, to see you relish these truths; you will one day have need of them. Princes are oftentimes surrounded by impious and profane men, who reject every thing that would be a restraint upon their passions: they will endeavor to make you doubt of eternal Providence, from the miseries and disorders which happen here below; they know not that the whole earth is but a single wheel of the great machine; their view is confined to a small circle of objects, and they see nothing be∣yond it, yet they will dispute and pronounce upon e∣very thing; they judge of nature and of its author like a man born in a deep cavern who has never seen the beauties of the universe, nor even the objects that are about him, but by the faint light of a dim taper. Yes, Cyrus, the harmony of the universe will be one day restored, and you are destined to that Page  62 sublime state of immortality; but you can rise to it only by virtue; and the great virtue for a Prince is to make other men happy.

These discourses of Zoroaster made a strong im∣pression on the heart of Cyrus; he would have staid much longer with the Magi in their solitude, if his duty had not called him back to his father's court. Scarce was he returned thither when every body perceived a wonderful change in his discourse and behaviour. His conversation with the Archimagus had stifled his rising prejudices against religion. He gradually removed from about him all the young Sa∣trapes who were sond of the principles of impiety. Upon looking nearly into their characters he disco∣vered not only that their hearts were corrupt, void of all noble and generous sentiments, and incapable of friendship; but that they were men of very su∣perficial understandings, full of levity and little qua∣lified for business. He then applied himself chiefly to the study of the laws and of politics; the other sci∣ences were but little cultivated in Persia. A sad mis∣fortune obliged him at length to leave his country and travel: Cassandana died, though in the flower of her age, after she had brought him two sons and two daughters.

None but those who have experienced the force of true love, founded upon virtue, can imagine the disconsolate condition of Cyrus. In loosing Cassanda∣na, he lost all. Taste, reason, pleasure and duty, had all united to augment his passion for her: in lo∣ving her he had experienced all the charms of love, without knowing either its pains or the disgusts with which it is often attended: he felt the greatness 〈◊〉 his loss, and refused all consolation. It is not the sudden revolutions in states, nor the heaviest strokes of adverse fortune, which oppress the minds of he∣roes; noble and generous souls are little moved by any misfortunes but what concern the objects of their Page  63 softer passions. Cyrus first gave himself wholly up to grief, not to be alleviated by weeping or com∣plaining; this silent sorrow was at length succeeded by a torrent of tears. Mandana and Araspes, who never left him, endeavored to comfort him no other way than by weeping with him. Reasoning and persuasion furnish no cure for grief; nor can friend∣ship yield relief in affliction but by sharing it. After he had long continued in this dejection, he returned to see Zoroaster, who had formerly suffered a misfor∣tune of the same kind. The conversation of that great man contributed much to molify the anguish of his mind; but it was only by degrees that he reco∣vered himself, and not till he had travelled for some years.

THIRD BOOK.

THE empire of the Medes was at this time in a profound peace. Cambyses being sensible of the danger to which he must expose his son, should he send him again to the court of Ecbatan, and think∣ing that Cyrus could not better employ the present season of tranquility, than in travelling to learn the manners, laws, and religion of other nations, he sent for him one day, and said to him; you are destined by the great Oromazes to stretch your conquests over all Asia; you ought to put yourself into a condition to make those nations happy by your wisdom, which Page  64 you shall subdue by your valour. I design, there∣fore, that you travel into Egypt which is the mother of the sciences, pass thence into Greece where are many famous republics, go afterwards into Crete to study the laws of Minos, and return at last by Baby∣lon, that so you may bring back into your own coun∣try all the kinds of knowledge necessary to polish the minds of your subjects and to make you capable of accomplishing your high destiny. Your stay in this place serves only to nourish your grief; every object here quickens the melancholy remembrance of your loss. Go, my son, go see and study human nature under all its different forms; this little corner of the earth, which we call our country, is too small and imperfect a picture, to form thereby a true and ade∣quate judgment of mankind.

Cyrus obeyed his father's orders, and very soon left Persia, accompanied by his friend Araspes. Two faithful slaves were all his attendants, for he desired to travel unknown. He went down the river Agra∣datus, embarked upon the Persian gulf, and soon ar∣rived at the port of Gerra, upon the coast of Arabia Felix. Thence he continued his way towards the city of * Macorabia. The serenity of the sky, the mildness of the climate, the perfumes which embalm∣ed the air, the variety, the fruitfulness and smiling appearance of nature in every part, charmed all his senses. While Cyrus was unweariedly admiring the beauties of the country, he saw a man walking with a grave and slow pace, and who seemed buried in some profound thought. He was already come near the Prince, without having perceived him. Cyrus interrupted his meditations to ask him the way to Ba∣deo, where he was to embark for Egypt.

Amenophis (for that was his name) saluted the tra∣vellers Page  65 with great civility, and having represented to them, that the day was too far spent to continue their journey, hospitably invited them to his rural ha∣bitation. He led them through a by-way to a little hill not far off, where he had formed with his own hands several rustic grottoes. A spring, which rose in the side of the hill, watered with its stream a little garden at some distance, and formed a rivulet, whose sweet murmur was the only noise that was heard in this abode of peace and tranquility. Amenophis set before his guests some dried fruits of all sorts, the clear water of the spring serving them for drink, and he entertained them with an agreeable conversation during their repast. An unaffected and serene joy dwelt upon his countenance; his discourse was full of good sense, and of noble sentiments, and he had all the politeness of a man educated at the courts of Kings. Cyrus observing this, was curious to know the cause of his retirement, and in order to engage Amenophis to the greater freedom, he discovered to him who he was, and the design of his travels; he then intimated to him his desire, but with that mo∣dest respect which one ought to have for the secret of a stranger. Amenophis understanding that his guest was the Prince of Persia, immediately conceiv∣ed hopes of improving this acquaintance to the ad∣vantage of his master Apries King of Egypt; he made no delay therefore to satisfy the Prince's curi∣osity, and endeavored to move him by the history of his life and misfortunes, which he related in the fol∣lowing manner.

Though the family from which I am descended be one of the ancientest in Egypt, nevertheless by the sad vicissitude of human things our branch of it fell into great poverty. My father lived near Diospolis, a city of Upper-Egypt, and cultivated his little pa∣ternal farm with his own hands; he bred me up to Page  66 relish true pleasures in the simplicity of a country life, to place my happiness in the study of wisdom, and to make agriculture, hunting, and the liberal arts my sweetest occupations. It was the custom of King A∣pries, from time to time to make a progress through the different provinces of his kingdom—One day as he passed through a forest near the place where I liv∣ed, he perceived me under the shade of a palm-tree, where I was reading the sacred books of Hermes. I was then but sixteen years of age; my youth and something in my air drew the King's attention; he came up to me, asked me my name, my condition, and what I was reading; being pleased with my answers, and having my father's consent, he ordered me to be conducted to his court, where he neglected no∣thing in my education. The liking which Apries had for me changed by degrees into a confidence, which seemed to augment in proportion as I advan∣ced in years; and my heart was full of affection and gratitude. Being young, and without experience, I thought that Princes were capable of friendship; and I did not know that the Gods have refused them that sweet consolation.

After having attended him in his wars against the Sidonians and Cyprians, I became his only favorite; he communicated to me the most important secrets of the state, and honored me with the chief posts about his person. I never lost the remembrance of that obscurity from whence the King had drawn me. I did not forget that I had been poor, and I was afraid of being rich. Thus I preserved my integrity in the midst of grandeur, and I went from time to time to see my father, in Upper-Egypt, of which I was governor, I visited with pleasure the grove where Apries had found me: blest solitude, said I within myself, where I first learned the maxims of true wis∣dom! How unhappy shall I be, if I forget the inno∣cence and simplicity of my first years, when I elt no Page  67 mistaken desires, and was unacquainted with the ob∣jects that excite them. I was often tempted to quit the court, and stay in his charming solitude; it was doubtless a pre-sentiment of what was to happen to me, for Apries soon after suspected my fidelity.

* Amasis, who owed me his fortune, endeavoured to inspire him with this distrust; he was a man of mean birth, but great bravery; he had all sorts of talents, both natural and acquired, but the hidden sentiments of his heart were corrupt: when a man has wit and parts, and esteems nothing sacred, it is easy for him to gain the favor of Princes. Suspici∣on was far from my heart; I had no distrust of a man whom I had loaded with benefits; and the more easily to betray me, he concealed himself under the veil of a profound dissimulation. Tho' I could not relish gross flattery, I was not insensible to delicate praise; Amasis soon perceived my weakness, and art∣fully made his advantage of it; he affected a candour, a nobleness of soul, and a disinterestedness which charmed me; in a word, he gained my confidence to such a degree, that he was to me the same that I was to the King. I presented him to Apries, as a man very capable of serving him; and it was not long be∣fore he was allowed a free access to the Prince.

The King had great qualities, but he would go∣vern by his arbitrary will; he had already freed him∣self from all subjection to the laws, and hearkened no longer to the council of the thirty judges. My love for truth would not always suffer me to follow the rules of strict prudence, and my attachment to the King led me often to speak to him in two strong terms, and with too little management. I perceived by degrees his coldness to me, and the confidence he was beginning to have in Amasis. Far from being alarmed at it, I rejoiced at the rise of a man, whom Page  68 I thought not only my friend, but zealous for the public good. Amasis often said to me, with a seem∣ingly sincere concern; I can taste no pleasure in the Prince's favor since you are deprived of it. No matter, answered I, who does the good, provided it be done.

About this time all the principal cities of Upper∣Egypt addressed their complaints to me upon the ex∣traordinary subsidies which the King exacted; and I wrote circular letters to pacify the people. Amasis caused these letters to be intercepted, and counter∣feiting exactly my hand-writing, sent others in my name to the inhabitants of Diospolis, my native city, in which he told them, that if I could not gain the King by persuasion, I would put myself at their head, and oblige him to treat them with more humanity. These people were naturally inclined to rebellion; and believing that I was the author of those letters, imagined they were in a secret treaty with me, Ama∣sis carried on this correspondence in my name for se∣veral months. At length, thinking that he had suffi∣cient proofs, he went and threw himself at the Prince's feet, laid open to him the pretended conspi∣racy, and shewed him the forged letters.

I was immediately arrested, and put into a close prison; the day was fixed when I was to be execu∣ted in a public manner. Amasis came to see me; at first he seemed doubtful and uncertain what he should think, suspended in his judgment by the knowledge he had of my virtue, yet shaken by the evidence of the proofs, and much affected with my misfortune. After having discoursed with him some time, he seemed convinced of my innocence, promised me to speak to the Prince, and to endeavour to discover the authors of the treachery. The more effectually to accomplish his black designs, he went to the King, and by faintly endeavouring to engage him to pardon me, made him believe that he acted more from gra∣titude Page  69 and compassion for a man to whom he owed all, than from a conviction of my innocence. Thus he artfully confirmed him in the persuasion of my be∣ing criminal; and the King being naturally suspicious was inexorable.

The report of my perfidiousness being spread throughout all Egypt, the people of the different provinces flocked to Sais, to see the tragical specta∣cle which was preparing; but when the fatal day came, several of my friends appeared at the head of a numerous crowd, and delivered me by force from the death which was ordained me; the King's troops made some resistance at first, but the multitude increa∣sed and declared for me. It was then in my power to have caused the same revolution which Amasis has done since; nevertheless, I made no other use of this happy conjuncture, than to justify myself to Apries. I sent one of my deliverers to assure him, that his in∣justice did not make me forget my duty, and that my only design was to convince him of my innocence. He ordered me to come to him at his palace, which I might safely do, the people being under arms, and surrounding it. I found Amasis with him; this per∣fidious man, continuing his dissimulation, ran to meet me with eagerness, and presenting me to the King, how joyful am I, said he to him, to see that the con∣duct of Amenophis leaves you no room to doubt of his fidelity! I see very well, answered Apries coldly, that he does not aspire to the throne, and forgive him his desire of bounding my authority, in order to please his countrymen. I answered the King, that I was innocent of the crime imputed to me, and was igno∣rant of the author of it. Amasis then endeavoured to make the suspicion fall upon the King's best friends, and most faithful servants. I perceived that the Prince's mind was not cured of his distrust, and there∣fore to prevent any new accusations, having first per∣suaded the people to disperse themselves, I retired Page  70 from court, and returned to my former solitude, whi∣ther I carried nothing back but my innocence and poverty. Apries sent troops to Diospolis, to prevent an insurrection there, and ordered that my conduct should be observed. Doubtless he imagined, that I should never be able to confine myself to a quiet and retired life, after having been in the highest employ∣ments. In the mean while Amasis gained an abso∣lute ascendant over the King's mind; this favorite made him suspect and banish his best friends, in order to remove from about the throne those who might hinder the usurpation which he was projecting. An occasion very soon offered to put his wicked design in execution.

* The Cyrenians, a colony of Greeks who were settled in Africa, having taken from the Lybians a great part of their lands, the latter submitted them∣selves to Apries, in order to obtain his protection. The King of Egypt sent a great army into Lybia, to make war against the Cyrenians. This army, in which were many of those malcontents whom Amasis was solicitous to remove from court, being cut in pie∣ces, the Egyptians imagined that the King had sent it thither only to be destroyed, that he might reign the more despotically. This thought provoked them, and a league was formed in Lower-Egypt, which rose up in arms. The King sent Amasis to them to quiet them, and make them return to their duty; and then it was that the designs of this perfidious mi∣nister broke out. Instead of pacifying them, he in∣censed them more and more, put himself at their head, and was proclaimed King. The revolt became uni∣versal; Apries was obliged to leave Sais, and make his escape into Upper-Egypt. He retired to Diospo∣lis, where I prevailed upon the inhabitants to forget the injustices he had done them, and to succour him Page  71 in his misfortunes. All the time that he continued there, I had free access to his person; but I careful∣ly avoided saying any thing which might recal to his mind the disgraces he had made me undergo.

Apries soon fell into a deep melancholy; that haughty spirit, which had been so vain as to imagine it was not in the power of the Gods themselves to dethrone him, could not support adversity; that Prince, so renowned for his bravery, had no true fortitude of soul; he had a thousand and a thousand times despised death, but he could not contemn for∣tune. I endeavored to calm and support his mind, and to remove from it those melancholy ideas which overwhelmed him. I frequently read to him the books of Hermes; he was particularly struck with that famous passage:

When the great Osiris loves Princes, he pours into the cup of fate a mixture of good and ill, that they may not forget that they are men.
These reflections alleviated by degrees his vexations; and I felt an unspeakable pleasure in seeing that he began to relish virtue, and that it gave him inward peace in the midst of his misfortunes.

He then applied himself with vigour and courage, to get out of the unhappy situation into which he was fallen. He got together all his faithful subjects who had followed him in his exile; and these, being joined by the inhabitants of the country-whom I en∣gaged in his service, formed an army of fifteen thou∣sand men. We marched against the usurper, and gave him battle near Memphis; but being overpow∣ered by the enemy's numbers, we were entirely de∣feated. Apries escaped to the mountains of Upper∣Egypt, with the remains of his shattered troops: but as for me I was taken with a crowd of other prison∣ers, and without being known confined in a high tower at Memphis. When Amasis had put garrisons in all the cities of Upper-Egypt, and had given direc∣tions to guard the passes into the mountains in order Page  72 to shut up Apries there, and destroy him by famine, he returned in triumph to Sais.

The usurper, by the favor and protection of Na∣buchodonosor King of Babylon, was soon after so∣lemnly crowned, but on condition that Egypt should be tributary to that conqueror. Scarce were the people quieted, when they gave way to that in∣constancy which is natural to the multitude; they began to dispise the new King for his mean birth, and to murmur against him; but this able politician successfully made use of his address to pacify them and prevent a revolt. The Kings of Egypt were wont to invite their courtiers to solemn feasts, and on these occasions the guests washed their hands with the King in a golden cistern kept always for that use; Amasis caused this cistern to be made into a statue of Serapis, and exposed it to be worshiped; he was o∣verjoyed to see with what eagerness the people ran from all parts to pay their homage to it, and having assembled the Egyptians, harangued them in the fol∣lowing manner: Hearken to me, countrymen; this statue which you now worship served you heretofore for the meanest uses; thus it is that all depends upon your choice and opinion; all authority resides origi∣nally in the people; you are the absolute arbiters of religion and of royalty, and create both your Gods and your Kings: I set you free from the idle fears both of the one and of the other, by letting you know your just rights: all men are born equal, it is your will alone which makes a distinction; when you are pleased to raise any one to the highest rank, he ought not to continue in it but because it is your pleasure, and so long only as you think fit: I hold my authori∣ty from you alone; you may take it back and give it to another who will make you more happy than I; shew me that man, and I shall immediately descend from the throne, and with pleasure mix among the multitude.

Page  73 Amasis by this impious harangue, which flattered the people, solidly established his own authority; they conjured him to remain upon the throne, and he seem∣ed to consent to it as doing them a favor: he is ado∣red by the Egyptians, whom he governs with mild∣ness and moderation; good policy requires it, and his ambition is satisfied. He lives at Sais in a splen∣dor which dazzles those who approach him; nothing seems wanting to his happiness; but I am assured, that inwardly he is far different from what he ap∣pears outwardly; he thinks that every man about him is like himself, and would betray him as he be∣trayed his master: these continual distrusts hinder him from enjoying the fruit of his crime, and it is thus that the Gods punish him for his usurpation: cruel remorses rend his heart, and dark gloomy cares hang upon his brow; the anger of the great Osiris pursues him every where; the splendor of royalty cannot make him happy, because he never tasted either peace of mind, or that generous confidence in the friend∣ship of men, which is the sweetest charm of life.

Amenophis was going on with his story, when Cy∣rus interrupted it, to ask him how Amasis could get such an ascendant over the mind of Apries? The King, replied Amenophis, wanted neither talents nor virtues; but he did not love to be contradicted; even when he ordered his ministers to tell him the truth, he never forgave those who obeyed him; he loved flattery while he affected to hate it; Amasis perceiv∣ed this weakness, an managed it with art. When Apries made any difficulty of giving into the despotic maxims which that perfidious minister would have in∣spired him with, he insinuated to the King that the multitude, being incapable of reasoning, ought to be governed by absolute authority; and that Princes, being the vicegerents of the Gods, may act like them without giving a reason of their conduct: he season∣ed Page  74 his counsels with so many seeming principles of virtue, and such delicate praise, that the Prince be∣ing seduced made himself hated by his subjects with∣out perceiving it.

Here Cyrus, touched with this melancholy ac∣count of an unfortunate King, could not forbear say∣ing to Amenophis: Methinks Apries is more to be pitied than blamed; how should Princes be able to discover treachery, when it is concealed with so much art? The happiness of the people, answered Ameno∣phis, makes the happiness of the Prince; their true interests are necessarily united, whatever pains are taken to separate them. Whosoever attempts to in∣spire Princes with contrary maxims, ought to be looked upon as an enemy of the state. Moreover, Kings ought always to be apprehensive of a man who never contradicts them, and who tells them only such truths as are agreeable. There needs no farther proof of the corruption of a minister, than to see him prefer his master's favor to his glory. In short, a Prince should know how to make advantage of his minister's talents, but he ought never to follow their counsels blindly; he may lend himself to men, but not yield himself absolutely to them.

Ah! how unhappy, cried out Cyrus, is the condi∣tion of Kings! you say they must only lend them∣selves to men, they must not give themselves up with∣out reserve to them; they will never then be ac∣quainted with the charms of friendship: how much is my situation to be lamented, if the splendor of roy∣alty be incompatible with the greatest of all felicities? When a Prince, replied Amenophis, whom nature has endowed with amiable qualities, does not forget that he is a man, he may find friends who will not forget that he is a King: but even then, he ought never to be influenced by personal inclination in af∣fairs of state. As a private man, he may enjoy the Page  75 pleasures of a tender friendship, but as a Prince, he must resemble the immortals who have no passions.

After these reflections, Amenophis at the request of Cyrus, continued his story in the following man∣ner: I was forgotten for some years in my prison at Memphis. My confinement was so close, that I had neither the conversation nor the sight of any person; being thus left in solitude, and without the least com∣fort, I suffered the cruel torments of tiresome loneli∣ness. Man finds nothing within himself but a fright∣ful void, which renders him utterly disconsolate; his happiness proceeds only from those amusements which hinder him from feeling his natural insufficiency. I ardently desired death, but I respected the Gods, and durst not procure it myself; because I was persuaded, that those who gave me life had the sole right to take it away.

One day, when I was overwhelmed with the most melancholy reflections, I heard of a sudden a noise, as if somebody was breaking a way through the wall of my prison. It was a man who endeavored to make his escape; and in a few days he made the hole wide enough to get into my chamber. This prison∣er, though a stranger, spoke the Egyptian tongue per∣fectly well; he informed me that he was of Type, his name Arobal, that he had served in Apries's army, and had been taken prisoner at the same time with me. I never saw a man of a more easy, witty, and agreeable conversation; he delivered himself with spirit, delicacy, and gracefulness. When he repeat∣ed the same things, there was always something new and charming in the manner. We related to each other our adventures and misfortunes—The pleasures which I found in the conversation of this stranger made me forget the loss of my liberty, and I soon con∣tracted an intimate friendship with him. At length we were both brought out of prison, but it was only to undergo new sufferings, for we were condemned Page  76 to the mines; and now we had no longer any hopes of freedom but in death. Friendship however, soft∣ened our miseries, and we preserved courage enough to create ourselves amusements, even in the midst of misfortunes, by observing the wonders hidden in the bowels of the earth.

The* mines are of a prodigious depth and extent, and are inhabited by a kind of subterraneous repub∣lic, whose members never see the day. They have, nevertheless, their polity, laws, government, families, houses and highways, horses to assist them in their la∣bors, and cattle to feed them. There one may be∣hold immense arches, supported by rocks of salt hewn into the shape of pillars. The salts are white, blue, green, red, and of all colours, so that an infinite number of lamps hanging against these huge pillars, form a lustre which dazzles the eyes, like that of dia∣monds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and all precious stones. What seems incrediable, a rivulet of fresh water flows through these salt mines, and furnishes drink to the inhabitants. This water is distributed into canals, cascades, basons and reservatories to a∣dorn these places where the sun never shines, and to be made use of in the works which are here carried on.

After some years hard and painful labor, we were appointed masters of the slaves. I had read the books of Hermes, knew his whole doctrine about the myste∣ries of nature, and had been instructed in the occult sciences. We applied ourselves to study those won∣ders by experiments; to descend from known effects to those which are more hid, to re-ascend from thence to first causes. When we had examined, compound∣ed and decompounded bodies of all kinds that are sound in those subterranous regions, we at last dis∣covered Page  77 that in the visible universe there were but two principles, the one active, and the other passive: an elementary fire, uniform, universal, and infinitely subtile, and an original virgin earth which is hard, solid, and the substance of all bodies.

Before Typhon broke the egg of the world, and introduced the evil principle there, the etherial mat∣ter penetrated all the parts of the virgin earth; by compressing some of them it gave compactness to solids, and by making others of them float produced liquids, the former were the canals through which the latter flowed, in order to an universal and regular circulation in all the parts of the universe; the wa∣ters inclosed in the centre of the earth not only per∣spired through its pores, and supplied that moisture which is necessary to vegetation, but sprang out in fountains, whose united streams flowed in rivers great and small to beautify the face of nature. The in∣ward constitution of bodies was then visible, because every thing was luminous or transparent; the earth receiving or reflecting the rays of light, produced the agreeable variety of colours, and there was nothing dark or dazzling.

After the fall of spirits and the revolt of Typhon, this beautiful order was destroyed. The active prin∣ciple which bound together all the parts of our globe, withdrawing itself, the waters burst forth from their abyss, and overflowed the face of the earth; the common mass was totally dissolved, it was all a dark choas and an universal confusion. The Goddess Isis, beholding the ruin of her work, resolved to repair it, yet without restoring it to its first perfection. She laid the plan of a new world, very different indeed from the former, but such a one as was proper to be the habitation of degraded spirits. She spake, nature obeyed her voice, and the shapeless chaos took a form, yet so, as that art and seeming chance, light Page  78 and darkness, order and confusion were mingled throughout. The earth was now opaque, ugly and irregular, like the intelligences that inhabit it. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds and the other precious stones, are but the ruins of the primitive earth which was all composed of such materials. Some say that the choas happened a long time before the deluge, that the first ensued upon the fall of the Genii, and that the other was the punishment of the crimes of men: be that as it will, we have every where con∣vincing proofs of the universal dissolving* of the common mass. We find in the inmost bowels of the earth, in mines and upon the highest mountains, fishes, birds, and all sorts of animals which floated in the water, and are petrified since that inundation.

At present all fluids and solids result from the irregular combination of the active and passive prin∣ciple, and it is the philosopher's province to discover the general laws of this combination. One may con∣sider the particles of the pure elementary fire as in∣visible points, and those of the earth as lines, as sur∣faces, or as grosser corpuscles; when the etherial matter sticks to those terrestrial particles that are long and pointed, it produces spears, darts, and wing∣ed arrows, which are the principles of salts; when it brings together, unites and compresses several surfa∣ces, and penetrates them without being absorbed in them, it engenders the principles of crystals; when it is imprisoned in the cavities of opaque corpuscles, it forms spunges of fire, or the principles of sulphurs; and hence results the first elements of all solids: when the terrestrial particles float in the etherial matter, and wear themselves round by rubbing against one a∣nother, these invisible spheres become the princi∣ples Page  79 of all fluids; little balls of mercury when they are opaque and heavy, drops of water when they are transparent and light, bubbles of air when they are endued with elasticity by the incessant egress and re∣gress of the etherial matter throughout their pores.

From the combination of these three solids, and three fluids, which are not themselves simple but compounded, all other bodies are engendered. The mixture of sulphur with mercury makes the basis of metals, which are more or less pure, as there are more or less of the terrestrial particles in their com∣position. Precious stones are formed by the incor∣porating of metals with crystal, gold makes rubies, mercury diamonds, copper emeralds. The grosser and more irregular particles of earth, when cement∣ed by water, constitute the opaque and common stones. Lastly, sulphurs, salts, mercury and earth blended together in one common mass, without rule or proportion, produce minerals, half metals, and all kinds of fossils; while the more subtile and volatile parts being diluted with water and air, turn into li∣quors and vapours of all sorts.

We frequently amused ourselves with imitating these operations of nature, dissolving solids, fixing li∣quids, and then reducing them to their first forms; with mixing sulphurs, salts and minerals together, in order to make them erment and thereby engender exhalations, clouds, wind, thunder, and all sorts of meteors, with making transparent bodies opaque, and opaque bodies transparent; with suddenly chaging colours into their opposites by barely mixing with them certain fluids that have no colour. Being thus entertained with the sports of nature and art, we were beginning to make ourselves tolerably easy un∣der our misfortunes, when heaven restored us to li∣berty, by a stroke equally terrible and unexpected.

The subterraneous fires sometimes break their pri∣sons with a violence that seems to shake nature even Page  80 to its foundations; like the thunder which bursts the clouds, vomiting out flames and filling the air with its roarings. We frequently felt those terrible con∣vulsions. One day the shocks redoubled, the earth seemed to groan, and we expected nothing but death, when the impetuous fires opened a passage into a spa∣cious cavern, and that which seemed to threaten us with a loss of life procured us liberty. We walked a long time by the light of our lamps before we saw day; but at length the subterraneous passage ended at an old temple, which we knew by the bas-reliefe upon the altar, to have been consecrated to Osiris. We prostrated ourselves and adored the Divinity of the place; we had no victims to offer, nor any thing wherewith to make libations, but instead of all sacri∣fice, we made a solemn vow, for ever to love virtue.

This temple was situated near the Arabian gulf. We embarked in a vessel which was bound for Muza, landed there, crossed a great part of Arabia Felix, and at length arrived in this solitude. The Gods seem to have concealed the most beautiful places of the earth, from those who know not how to prize a life of peace and tranquility. We found men, in these woods and forests, of sweet and humane dispo∣sitions, full of truth and justice. We soon made our∣selves famous among them; Arobal taught them how to draw the bow, and throw the javelin to destroy the wild beasts which ravaged their flocks; I instruct∣ed them in the laws of Hermes, and cured their dis∣eases by the help of simples. They looked upon us as divine men; and we every day admired the ••oti∣ons of beautiful nature, which we observed in them; their unaffected joy, their ingenious simplicity, and their affectionate gratitude. We then saw that great cities and magnificent courts have only served too much to corrupt the manners and sentiments of man∣kind; and that by uniting a multitude of men in the same place, they often do but unite and multiply their Page  81 passions. We thanked the Gods for our being unde∣ceived with regard to those false pleasures, and even false virtues both political and military, which self∣love has introduced into numerous societies, and which only serve to delude men, and to make them slaves to their ambition. But, alas! how inconstant are human things! how weak is the mind of man! Arobal, that virtuous, affectionate, and generous friend, who had supported imprisonment with so much courage, and slavery with so much resolution, could not content himself with a simple and uniform life. Having a genius for war, he sighed after great ex∣ploits, and being more a philosopher in speculation than in reality, confessed to me, that he could no lon∣ger bear the calm of retirement; he left me, and I have never seen him since.

I seem to myself a being left alone upon the earth; Apries persecuted me, Amasis betrayed me, Arobal forsakes me; I find every where a frightful void. I experience that friendship, the greatest of all felicities, is hard to be met with; passions, frailties, a thousand contrarieties either cool it or disturb its harmony. Men love themselves too much to love a friend well; I know them now, and I cannot esteem them; how∣ever I do not hate men; I have a sincere benevo∣lence for them, and would do them good without hope of recompence. Whilst Amenophis was speak∣ing, one might see upon the Prince's countenance the different sentiments and passions, which these various events would naturally raise in a generous mind. The Egyptian having finished the relation of his mis∣fortunes, Cyrus asked him, whether he knew what was become of Apries. Amenophis answered, I am informed that the King is yet alive, and that after having wandered a long time in the mountains, he has at length got together an army of Carians and Ionians, who during his reign and by his permission, Page  82 settled in Upper-Egypt, and has made himself 〈◊〉 of the city of Diospolis.

Cyrus then said to the Egyptian, I admire 〈◊〉 constancy and courage with which you have 〈◊〉 the shocks of fortune, but I cannot approve of 〈◊〉 remaining in this inaction: it is not lawful to 〈◊〉 repose so long as we are in a condition to labor 〈◊〉 the good of our country; man is not born for 〈◊〉 self alone, but for society; Egypt has still need 〈◊〉 your assistance, and the Gods present you a new ••∣portunity of being useful to her; why do you conti∣nue a moment in this solitude? An ordinary virtue 〈◊〉 disheartened by ill success and adverse fortune, 〈◊〉 heroic virtue is never discouraged: let us fly to 〈◊〉 assistance of Apries, and deliver him from the opp••∣sion of an usurper. Amenophis to increase the 〈◊〉 of Cyrus seemed very unwilling at first to 〈◊〉 to Egypt, and suffered himself to be long entreat 〈◊〉 before he yielded to the Prince's solicitations.

Cyrus, before he left Arabia, dispatched 〈◊〉 to Nabuchodonosor King of Babylon, who had 〈◊〉 Amytis the sister of Mandana, to solicite his 〈◊〉 in favour of Apries; then having concerted 〈◊〉 Amenophis all the necessary measures to make 〈◊〉 designs succeed, they set out together, crossed 〈◊〉 country of the Sabeans with great expedition, 〈◊〉 arrived upon the shore of the Arabian gulf and em∣barked for Egypt. Cyrus was surprised to find here a new kind of beauty which he had not seen in Ara∣bia: there, all was the effect of simple nature, but here, every thing was improved by art.

It seldom rains in Egypt, but the Nile by its regu∣lar overflowings supplies it with the rains and mel••• snows of other countries. This river, by the means of an infinite number of canals, made a communicati∣on between the cities, joined the great sea with the red sea, and thus promoted both foreign and domestic commerce. The cities of Egypt, ere numerouPage  83arge, well peopled, full of magnificent temples and ately palaces; they rose like Islands in the midst of the waters, and overlooked 〈◊〉 plains, which appear∣ed all fruitful, gay and smiling; there one might see hamlets neat and commodious, villages sweetly situa∣ted, pyramids that served for the sepulchres of great ••en, and obelisks which contained the history of their exploits. Agriculture, the mechanic arts, and com∣erce, which are the three supports of a state, flou∣rished every where and proclaimed a laborious and 〈◊〉 people, as well as a prudent, steady, and mild government.

The Prince of Persia, could but take a cursory view of these things in the haste he was in to get to diospolis, where he joined the army of Apries. The King, touched with the generosity of Cyrus, embra∣ced him affectionately, and then said to him, looking at the same time upon Amenophis; Prince, let my example teach you to know men, and to love those who have the honesty and courage to tell you truth when it is disagreeable. The presence of the young hero revived the hopes of Apries, and that of Ame∣nophis contributed much to augment his army; it soon increased to the number of thirty thousand men. The two Princes accompanied by Amenophis and A∣raspes left Diospolis, marched against the usurper, and came in sight of his army, which was strongly en∣camped near Memphis.

Apries was a Prince of great experience in the art of war, and was thoroughly acquainted with the country; he seized all the advantageous posts, and pitched his camp over-against that of Amasis. The usurper, not imagining that the King of Egypt could have got together such a numerous body of troops in so short a time, had marched from Sas with only twenty thousand men. When Apries had in person taken a view of the enemy, and had discovered that they were much inferior in number, he resolved to Page  84 attack them in their camp. The next day Cyrus a•• Araspes, at the head of ten thousand Carians, foro•• the advanced guards of Amasis, and approached 〈◊〉 lines, and being soon after joined by Apries and A∣menophis, broke through the intrenchments, and vi∣gorously attacked and Egyptians; the engagement was bloody, and the victory for a long time doubtful. Cyrus impatient to finish the battle by some remark∣able exploit, put himself at the head of a choice bo•• of cavalry, sought every where for Amasis, and found him. The usurper being a brave general, as well as able politician, was flying from rank to tank, encou∣raging some, and hindering others from running a∣way. Cyrus lanced his javelin at him, crying out Tyrant, it is time to put an end to thy crimes and thy usurpation. The javelin pierced the cuirass of Amasis, and entered his body; a stream of blood flow∣ed form his wound; furious as a wild boar pierced by the hunter's spear, he came up to Cyrus with his drawn sabre, and raising his arm, Rash youth, he cri∣ed, receive the reward of thy audaciousness: the Prince of Persia avoided the blow, but when he would have taken his revenge he found himself sur∣rounded by a troop of young Egyptians, who came to the relief of Amasis. Then Cyrus, like a young lion just robbed of his prey, made himself a passage through the enemy; every blow he gave was mortal, he defended himself a long time, but was at last rea∣dy to be overpowered when Amenophis came to his succour, and then the battle was renewed. Amasis notwithstanding his wound did not quit the field, but raised the drooping courage of his men, and made Cyrus admire both his bravery and conduct. Night at length put an end to the action; Apries remained master of the field, yet Amasis retired in good order with his troops, repassed the Nile, and gained the neighboring mountains; the passes into these moun∣tains were narrow and difficult, and he resolved Page  85 therefore to continue in this secure post till he was recovered of his wounds, and had reinforced his ar∣my.

Apries took advantage of the enemy's inaction to make himself master of Memphis, which he carried by assault in a few days. Upon this Amasis, without waiting till he was perfectly cured, got together with incredible expedition an army of sixty thousand men, and gave a second battle. As Apries troops were already much weakened, the usurper overpowered them by numbers, and took the King of Egypt pri∣soner. Cyrus, Araspes and Amenophis fearing to be surrounded, retired with the bravest of the Carian and Ionian troops to the city of Memphis; those who did not follow them were either put to the sword, or made prisoners of war.

Amasis, understanding who the young hero was that had wounded him, was apprehensive of his cre∣dit at the court of Babylon, and dispatched couriers thither; till their return he contented himself with blocking up the city, and retired with the greatest part of his army to Sais, whither he likewise conduct∣ed the captive King. Amasis paid him great honors for some days, and in order to ound the inclinations of the people, proposed to them the replacing him on the throne, but at the same time secretly formed a design of taking away his life. The Egyptians were all earnest to have the Prince put to death, Amasis yielded him to their pleasure, he was strangled in his own palace, and the unfortunate remains of the roy∣al family were massacred the same day. Cyrus heard with grief the melancholy news of the fate of Apries, and understood at the same time by the return of his couriers the dispositions of Nabuchodonosor. This conqueror sent Cyrus word to abandon Apries to his fae, but commanded Amasis to obey the orders of the Prince of Persia. Cyrus sighed within himself, Page  86 and could not forbear saying, I fear that the God will one day severely punish Nabuchodonosor for 〈◊〉 insatiable thirst of dominion, and above all, reve••• upon him his protection of Amasis.

As soon as the usurperund erstood the King of B•••∣lon's pleasure, he ordered his troops to retire from ••∣fore Memphis, and set out in person from Sais to 〈◊〉 upon the Prince of Persia. He advanced towa••• Memphis with all his court, but Cyrus refused to 〈◊〉 him, and only wrote him this letter: "The faults Apries are punished by the crimes of Amasis; it is th•• that the just Gods sport with mortals, and seem 〈◊〉 leave crowns to the disposal of chance: Thy 〈◊〉 will come; in the mean time I send Amenophis 〈◊〉 declare to thee my will and pleasure. Hadst thou 〈◊〉 feeling of virtue, the sight of him alone would o∣verwhelm thee with reproaches that I disdain 〈◊〉 make thee."

Amenophis, followed by some Carians, hastened 〈◊〉 meet Amasis, and found him not many furlongs from Memphis. He was surrounded by all the chief 〈◊〉 of Egypt; 'twas an assembly of old courtiers, 〈◊〉 had betrayed Apries through ambition, and of young men corrupted by pleasures. Amenophis, approach∣ed Amasis with a resolute, noble and modest air, and delivered him Cyrus's letter; the usurper read 〈◊〉 and immediately a dark cloud overspread his face; the remembrance of his crimes confounded him, and struck him dumb; he endeavored to summon up all his confidence but in vain; he cast a look upon Ame∣nophis, yet without during to fix his eyes upon him; shame and remorse were succeeded by rage and in∣dignation, but the dread of Cyrus forced him to dis∣semble; laboring under the conflict of so many dif∣ferent passions, he turned pale and trembled; he would have spoke, but utterance failed him: it is thus that vice, even when triumphant, cannot sup∣port the presence of virtue; though in adversity and Page  87 disgrace. Amenophis perceived his confusion and perplexity, and only said to him, it is the will of Cy∣rus that all the prisoners of war be set at liberty, and be suffered, together with the troops that are in Memphis, to return to their former habitations in Upper-Egypt, and to live there without molestation. O Amasis, I have nothing to demand of thee for my∣self, the present disposition of thy soul will not suffer me to put thee in mind of my former affection, and my ingratitude! mayst thou one day see the beauty of virtue, repent of having forsaken her, and divert the anger of heaven which threatens thee. This 〈◊〉, he retired, and left Amasis covered with shame and confusion; he hastened back to Memphis, and the usurper returned to Sais, after he had given or∣ders to put Cyrus's commands in execution. From this time to his death Amasis was always plunged in a gloomy sadness.

Cyrus, seeing the war at an end, applied himself to learn the history, policy, and laws of ancient E∣gypt: he stayed sometime at Memphis, and convers∣ed every day with the priests of this city, in presence of Amenophis and Araspes. He found that the E∣gyptians had composed their history of an almost un∣bounded succession of ages; but that the fictions with which they had filled their annals about the reign of Ammon, Osiris, Isis and Orus, were only allegories to express the first state of souls before the great change which happened upon the revolt of Typhon: they believed, that after the origin of evil, their country was the least disfigured, and the soonest in∣habited of any. Their first King was named Menes; and their history from his reign is reduced to three ages; the first which reaches to the time of the Shep∣herd-Kings, takes in eight hundred years; the second from the Shepherd-Kings to Sesostris, five hundred; the third, from Sesostris to Amasis, contains more than seven centuries.

Page  88 During the first age, Egypt was divided into seve∣ral dynasties or governments, which had each i King. She had then no foreign commerce, but con∣fined herself to agriculture, and a pastoral life; shep∣herds were heroes, and Kings philosophers. In those days lived the first Hermes, who penetrated into 〈◊〉 the secrets of nature and divinity; it was the age 〈◊〉 occult sciences. The Greeks, say the Egyptians imagine that the world in its infancy was ignorant, but they think so, only because they themselves are al∣ways children*; they know nothing of the oigin 〈◊〉 the world, its antiquity, and the revolutions wh••• have happened in it. The men of Mercury's 〈◊〉 had yet a remembrance of the reign of Osiris, 〈◊〉 had divers traditional lights which we have lost. The arts of imitation, poesy, music, painting, and eve∣ry thing within the province of the imagination, are ut sports of the mind, in comparison of the subli•• sciences known by the first men. Nature was then obedient to the voice of the sages; they could put all its hidden springs in motion; they produced the most amazing prodigies whenever they pleased; the 〈◊〉 Genii were subject to them; they had frequent intercourse with the etherial spirits, and sometimes with the pure intelligences that inhabit the empyre∣um. We have lost, said the priests to Cyrus, this ex∣alted kind of knowledge. We have only remaining some traces of it upon our ancient obelisks, which may be called, the registers of our divinity, mysteries, and traditions relating to the Deity and to nature, and in no wise the annals of our civil history, as the ignorant imagine.

The second age was that of the Shepherd-Kings, who came from Arabia; they over-ran Egypt with an army of two hundred thousand men. The igno∣rance Page  89 and stupidity of these uncivilized Arabians occa∣sioned the sublime and occult sciences o be despised and forgotten; their imagination could receive no∣thing but what was material and sensible. From their time the genius of the Egyptians was entirely changed and turned to the study of architecture, war, and all those vain arts and sciences which are useless and hurtful to those who can content themselves with simple nature. It was then that idolatry came into Egypt: sculpture, painting and poesy obscured all pure ideas, and transformed them into sensible ima∣ges; the vulgar stop there, without seeing into the hidden meaning of the allegories. Some little time after this invasion of the Arabians, several Egyptians, who could not support the yoke of foreigners, left their country, and settled themselves in colonies in all parts of the world. Hence those great men fa∣mous in other nations; the Belus of the Babylonians, the Cecrops; of the Athenians, and the Cadmus of the Boeotians; and hence it is, that all the nations of the universe owe their laws, sciences, and religion to E∣gypt. In this manner spoke the priests to Cyrus. In this age lived the second Hermes, called Trisme∣gistus; he was the restorer of the ancient religion; he collected the laws and sciences of the first Mercu∣ry in forty-two volumes, which were called THE TREASURE OF REMEDIES FOR THE SOUL, because they cure the mind of its ignorance, the source of all evils.

The third age was that of conquests and luxury. Arts were perfected more and more: cities, edifices, and pyramids multiplied. The father of Seso∣stris caused all the children, who were born the same day with his sons, to be brought to court, and edu∣cated with the same care as the young Prince. Upon the death of the King, Sesostris levied a formi∣dable army, and appointed the young men who had been educated with him, to be the officers to com∣mand Page  90 it; there were near two thousand of them, who were able to inspire all the troops with courage, military virtues, and attachment to the Prince, whom they considered both as their master and their bro∣ther. He formed a design of conquering the whole world, and penetrated into the Indies farther than either Bacchus or Hercules; the Scythians submitted to his empire; Thrace and Asia Minor are full of the monuments of his victories; upon these monu∣ments are to be seen the proud inscriptions of Seso∣stris King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Having extended his conquests from the Ganges to the Dan∣ube, and from the river Tanais to the extremities of Africa, he returned after nine years' absence, loaded with the spoils of all the conquered nations, and drawn in a chariot by the Kings, whom he had sub∣dued. His government was altogether military and despotical; he lessened the authority of the Pontifs, and transferred their power to the commanders of the army. After his death dissentions arose among those chiefs, and continued for three generations. Un∣der Anisis the blind, Sabacan the Ethiopian took ad∣vantage of their discords and invaded Egypt. This religious Prince re-established the power of the priests, reigned fifty years in a profound peace, and then returned into his own country, in obedience to the oracles of his Gods. The kingdom thus forsa∣ken, fell into the hands of Sethon the high-priest of Vulcan; he entirely destroyed the art of war among the Egyptians, and despised the military men. The reign of superstition, which enervates the minds of men, succeeded that of despotic power, which had too much sunk their courage. From that time Egypt was supported only by foreign troops, and it fell by de∣grees into a kind of anarchy. Twelve Normarchs, chosen by the people, shared the kingdom between them, till one of them, named Psammeticus, made himself master of all the rest: then Egypt recovered Page  91 itself a little, and continued pretty powerful for five or six reigns; but at length this kingdom became tributary to Nabuchodonosor King of Babylon. The conquests of Sesostris were the source of all these calamities. Cyrus perceived by this, that Princes who are insatiable of conquering, are enemies to their posterity; by seeking to extend their dominion too far, they sap the foundation of their authority.

The ancient laws of Egypt lost much of their force even in the reign of Sesostris; in Cyrs's time no∣thing remained but the remembrance of them: this Prince collected all he could learn of them from his conversation with the great men and old sages who were then living. These laws may be reduced to three, upon which all the rest depend; the first re∣lates to Kings, the second to polity, and the third to civil justice.

The kingdom was hereditary, but the Kings were subject to the laws. The Egyptians esteemed it a criminal usurpation upon the rights of the great Osi∣ris, and as a mad presumption in a man to give his will for a law. As soon as the King rose in the mor∣ning, which was at the break of day, when the un∣derstanding is clearest, and the soul most serene, all matters upon which he was to decide that day, were plainly and distinctly laid before him; but before he pronounced judgment, he went to the temple to in∣voke the Gods and to offer sacrifices. Being there surrounded by all his court, the victims standing at the altar, he assisted at a prayer full of instructions, the form of which was as follows: Great Osiris! Eye of the world and the light of spirits, grant to the Prince, your image, all royal virtues, that he may be religious towards the Gods, and benign to∣wards men, moderate, just, magnanimous, generous, an enemy of falshood, master of his passions, punishing less than the crime deserves, and rewarding beyond merit. After this the high-priest represented to him Page  92 the faults he had committed against the laws; but it was always supposed that he fell into them by sur∣prise, or through ignorance; and the ministers who had given him evil counsels, or had disguised the truth, were loaded with imprecations. After the prayer and the sacrifice, they read to him actions of the heroes and great Kings, that the monarch might imitate their example, and maintain the laws which had rendered his predecessors illustrious, and then people happy. What is there that might not be ho∣ped for from Princes accustomed, as an essential p••• of their religion, to hear daily the strongest and mo•• salutary truths? Accordingly, the greatest number of the ancient Kings of Egypt were so dear to their people, that each private man bewailed their 〈◊〉 like that of a father.

The second law related to polity, and the subordi∣nation of ranks. The lands were divided into three parts; the first was the King's domain, the second belonged to the chief priests, and the third to the mi∣litary men. The common people were divided into three classes, husbandmen, shepherds and artizans: these three sorts made great improvements, each in their profession; they profited by the experience of their ancestors; each father transmitted his know∣ledge and skill to his children; no person was allow∣ed to forsake his hereditary profession: by this means arts were cultivated and brought to a great perfecti∣on; and the disturbances, occasioned by the ambition of those who seek to rise above the rank in which they are born, were prevented. To the end that no person might be ashamed of the lowness of his state and degree, the mechanic arts were held in honor. In the body politic, as in the natural, all the mem∣bers contribute something to the common life. In Egypt it was thought madness to despise a man be∣cause he serves his country in a laborious employ∣ment. And thus was a due subordination of ranks Page  93 preserved, without exposing the nobler to envy, or the meaner to contempt.

The third law regarded civil justice. Thirty judg∣es, drawn out of the principal cities, composed the supreme council, which administered justice through∣out the kingdom; the Prince assigned them revenues sufficient to free them from domestic cares, that they might give their whole time to the composing of good laws, and enforcing the observation of them; they had no farther profit of their labors, except the glo∣ry and pleasure of serving their country. That the judges might not be imposed upon, so as to pass un∣just decrees, the pleaders were forbidden that delu∣sive eloquence which dazzles the understanding; and moves the passions; they exposed the matters of fact with a clear and nervous brevity, stripped of the false ornaments of reasoning; the president of the senate wore a collar of gold and precious stones, at which hung a small figure without eyes, which was called truth; he applied it to the forehead and heart of him who gained his cause; for that was the manner of pronouncing sentence. There was in Egypt a sort of justice unknown in other nations: as soon as a man had yielded his last breath, he was brought to a trail, and the public accuser was heard against him. In case it appeared that the behaviour of the deceased had been culpable, his memory was branded, and he was refused burial; if he were not convicted of any crime against the Gods, or his country, he was en∣tombed with marks of honor, and a panegyric made upon him, without mentioning any thing of his birth and descent. Before he was carried to the sepul∣chre, his bowels were taken out and put into an urn, which the pontif held up towards the sun, making this prayer in the name of the deceased*. Great O∣siris! Life of all beings! Receive my manes, and re∣unite Page  94 them to the society of the immortals; whilst I lived, I endeavored to imitate you by truth and goodness; I have never committed any crime contra∣ry to social duty; I have respected the Gods of my fathers, and have honored my parents; if I have committed any fault through human weakness, in∣temperance, or a taste for pleasure, these base sports of my mortal nature have been the cause of it. 〈◊〉 he pronounced these last words, he threw the 〈◊〉 into the river, and the rest of the body when embal•••∣ed, was deposited in the pyramids. Such were 〈◊〉 notions of the ancient Egyptians: being full of the hopes of immortality, they imagined that human frailties were expiated by our separation from 〈◊〉 mortal body; and that nothing but crimes committed against the Gods and society, hindered the soul from being reunited to its origin.

All these things raised in Cyrus a great desire 〈◊〉 instruct himself thoroughly in the religion of ancient Egypt; and for this purpose he went to Thebes-Zoroaster had directed him to Sonchis the high-priest of this city, to be instructed by him in all the religious mysteries of his country. Sonchis conducted him in∣to a spacious hall, where there were three hundred statues of Egyptian high-priests. This long successi∣on of pontifs gave the Prince a high notion of the antiquity of the religion of Egypt, and a great curio∣sity to know the principles of it. To make you ac∣quainted, said the pontif, with the origin of our wor∣ship, symbols and mysteries, I must give you the hi∣story of Hermes Trismegistus, who was the founder of them.

Siphoas, or Hermes, the second of the name, was of the race of our sovereigns. While his mother was with child of him, she went by sea to Lybia, to offer a sacrifice to Jupiter Hammon. As she coasted along Africa, a sudden storm arose, and the vessel pe∣rished near a desert island. She escaped by a parti∣cular Page  95 protection of the Gods, and was cast upon this island alone; there she lived a solitary life, until her delivery, at which time she died. The infant remain∣ed exposed to the inclemencies of the weather, and the ury of the wild beasts; but heaven, which de∣signed him for great purposes, preserved him in the midst of these misfortunes- A young she-goat, hear∣ing his cries, came and suckled him till he was past infancy. For some years he fed upon the tender grass with his nurse, but afterwards upon dates and wild fruits, which seemed to him a more proper food. He perceived by the first rays of reason which began to shine in him, that he was not of the same make with the beasts; that he had more understanding, in∣vention and address than they; and then conjectur∣ed, that he might be of a different nature.

The she-goat, which had nourished him, died of old age. He was much surprised at this new pheno∣menon, of which he never observed the like before; he could not comprehend why she continued so long cold and without motion; he considered her for se∣veral days; he compared all he saw in her with what he felt in himself, and perceived that he had a beat∣ing in his breast, and a principle of motion in him which was no longer in her. The mind speaks to it∣self, without knowing the arbitrary names which we have affixed to our ideas. Hermes reasoned thus: the goat did not give herself that principle of life, since she has lost it and cannot restore it to herself.

As he was endowed by nature with a wonderful sagacity, he sought a long time for the cause of this change; he observed that the plants and trees seem∣ed to die, and to revive every year, by the going a∣way and return of the sun; he imagined that this star was the principle of all things, and he exposed the carcase to its rays, but life did not return: on the contrary he saw it putrify, grow dry and fall to pie∣ces, nothing remained but the bones; it is not the Page  96 sun then, said he within himself, that gives life to animals. He examined whether it might not be some other star; but having observed that the stars which shined in the night had neither so much heat no light as the sun, and that all nature seemed to la∣guish in the absence of the day, he concluded that the stars were not the first principles of life.

As he advanced in age, his understanding ripened and his reflexions became more profound. He 〈◊〉 remarked that inanimate bodies could not move of themselves, that animals did not restore motion 〈◊〉 themselves, when they had lost it, and that the 〈◊〉 did not revive dead bodies; hence he inferred, that there was in nature a first mover more powerful than the sun or the stars, and which gave activity and motion to all bodies.

Reflecting afterwards upon himself, he observed that there was something in him which felt, which thought, and which compared his thoughts together. Dissipating minds wandering about in vain pursu•• and lost in amusements, never enter into themselves; their nobler faculties are benumbed, stupified and bu∣ried in matter. Hermes not being diverted by pre∣judices and passions, from listening to the still voice of wisdom, which incessantly calls us into ourselves, obeyed that divine whisper without knowing it; he retired more and more into his spiritual nature, and by a simplicity of heart attained to the discovery of those truths, which others arrive at by subtilty of reasoning. After having meditated several years on the operations of his own mind, without knowing or imagining that there was any difference between the soul and the body, he concluded that he himself was not the first cause of thought, any more than of mo∣tion; that he derived both the one and the other from the same source, and consequently that the first mover must have intelligence as well as power.

Scare had he got a glimpse of these truths when Page  97 transported with joy he said within himself,

Since the first mover has so much power and wisdom, he must also abound in goodness; he cannot but be ready to succour those who have need of his assist∣ance; as I endeavor to relieve the animals that want my help, my power, my reason, and my goodness, which can only be emanations from his.
Man, in the midst of beings that can give him no suc∣cour, is in a wretched situation; but when he disco∣vers the idea of a being who is able to make him happy, there is nothing can compare with his hoped and his joy.

The desire of happiness inseparable from our na∣ture, made Hermes wish to see that first mover, to know him, and converse with him. If I could said 〈◊〉, make him understand my thoughts and my de∣sires, doubtless he would render me more happy than 'am. His hopes and his joy were soon disturbed by great doubts. Alas! said he, if the first mover be as good and benficent as I imagine him, why do I not 〈◊〉 him? And above all, why am I in this melancho∣ly solitude, where I see nothing like myself, nothing that seems to reason as I do, nothing that can give me any assistance! In the midst of these perplexities, his weak reason was silent, and could make no an∣swer. His heart spoke, and turning itself to the first principle, said to him in that mute language which the Gods understand better than words: Life of all beings! shew thyself to me: make me to know who thou art, and what I am; come and succour me in this my solitary and miserable state.

The great Osiris loves a pure heart, and is always attentive to its desires. He ordered the first Her••es, or Mercury, to take a human form, and to go and instruct him. One day, when young Trismegistus was sleeping at the foot of a tree, Hermes came and sat down by him. Trismegistus when he awakened Page  98 was surprised to behold a figure like his own: he ut∣tered some sounds, but they were not articulate; he discovered all the different motions of his soul, by those transports, that earnestness, those ingenious and artless sighs, whereby nature teaches men to express what they strongly feel. Mercury in a little time taught the savage philosopher the Egyptian language. He then informed him what he was, and what 〈◊〉 was to be, and instructed him in all the sciences which Trismegistus afterwards taught the Egyptians. He now began to discern several marks, which he had not observed before, of an infinite wisdom and power diffused throughout all nature; and thereby perceiv∣ed the weakness of human reason when left to itself and without instruction. He was astonished at his former ignorance, but his new discoveries produced new perplexities. One day, when Mercury 〈◊〉 speaking to him of the noble destiny of man, the dig∣nity of his nature, and the immortality which awaits him, he answered; If the great Osiris ordains mor∣tals to so perfect a felicity, whence is it that they are born in such ignorance? Whence comes it that he does not shew himself to them, and dispel their dark∣ness? Alas! if you had not come to enlighten me, I should have sought long without discovering the first principle of all things, such as you have made him known to me. Upon this Mercury unfolded to him all the secrets of the Egyptian theology, in the fol∣lowing manner.

* The primitive state of man was very different from what it is at present. Without, all the parts of the universe were in a perfect harmony; within, all was in subjection to the immutable laws of reason; every one carried his rule within his own breast, and all the nations of the earth were but one republic of sages. Mankind lived then without discord, ambiti∣on, Page  99 or pomp, in a perfect peace, equality and simpli∣city: each man however had his particular qualities and inclinations, but all inclinations were subservient to the love of virtue, and all talents applied to the discovery of truth: the beauties of nature, and the perfection of its author, were the entertainment and study of the first men. The imagination presented nothing then but just and pure ideas; the passions, being in subjection to reason, raised no tumult in the heart, and the love the pleasure was always regulated by the love of order. The God Osiris, the Goddess Isis, and their son Orus, ame often and conversed with men, and taught them all the mysteries of wis∣dom. This terrestrial life, how happy soever, was nevertheless but the infancy of our beings in which souls were prepared for a successive unfolding of in∣telligence and happiness. When they had lived a certain time upon the earth, men changed their form without dying, and flew away to the stars, where with new faculties and new lights they discovered new truths and enjoyed new pleasures; from thence they were raised to another world, thence to a third, and so travelled through the immense spaces by end∣less metamorphoses.

A whole age, and according to some, many ages passed in this manner at length there happened a sad change both in spirits and in bodies. Typhon, chief of Genii and his companions had formerly inhabited our happy dwelling; but being intoxicated with pride, and forgetting themselves so far as to at∣tempt to scale heaver, they were thrown down head∣long, and buried in the centre of the earth. They came out of their abyss, broke through the egg of the world, diffused the evil principle over it, and cor∣rupted the minds, hearts and manners of its inhabi∣tants. The soul of the great Osiris forsook his body, which is NATURE, and it became a carcase. Typhon Page  100 tore it in pieces, dispersed its members and blasted all its beauties.

From that time the body became subject to diseases and to death, the mind to error and to passions; the imagination of man presents him now with nothing but chimeras; his reason serves only to contradict 〈◊〉 inclinations, without being able to correct them; the greatest part of his pleasures are false and deceitful and all his pains, even imaginary ones are real evils, his heart is an abundant source of restless desires, •••∣volous fears, vain hopes, disorderly inclination, which successively torment him; a crowd of 〈◊〉 thoughts and turbulent passions cause an intesti•• war within him, make him continually take arms a∣gainst himself, and render him at the same time both an idolater and an enemy of his own nature. That which each man feels in himself, is a lively image of what passes in human society. Three different em∣pires are risen in the world, and share among them all characters, the empire of OPINION, that the AMBI∣TION, and that of SENSUALITY: error presides in the first, force has the dominion in the second, and vani∣ty reigns in the third. Such is the present state of human nature. The Goddess Isis goes over all the earth, seeking the dispersed, deluded souls, to con∣duct them back to the empyreum, while the God O∣rus continually attacks the evil principles. It is said, that he will at last re-establish the reign of Osiris, and will banish for ever the monster Typhon; until that time good Princes may alleviate the miseries of men, but they cannot entirely cure them. You, continu∣ed. Mercury, are of the race of the ancient Kings of Egypt, and are destined by the great Osiris to re∣form that kingdom by your wise laws. He has pre∣served you only that you may one day make other men happy; you will very soon see your own coun∣try. He said, and of a sudden rose into the air, his body became transparent and disappeared by degrees Page  101 like the morning star, which flies at the approach of Aurora. He had a crown upon his head, wings at his feet, and held in his hand a caduceus; upon his flowing robe were all the hieroglyphics which Tris∣megistus afterwards made use of to express the myste∣ri•• of theology and of nature.

Meris the first, who then reigned in Egypt, being admonished by the Gods in a dream of all that passed in the desert island, sent thither for the savage phi∣losopher, and perceiving the conformity between his story and the divine dream, adopted him for his son. Trismegistus, after the death of that Prince, ascend∣ed the throne, and made Egypt for a long time happy by his wise laws. He wrote several books, which contained the divinity, philosophy and policy of the Egyptians. The first Hermes had invented the inge∣nious art of expressing all sorts of ounds by the dif∣ferent combinations of a few letters; an invention most wonderful for its simplicity, but not sufficiently admired, because it is common. Besides this manner or writing there was another, which was consecrated to divine things, and which few persons understood. Trismegistus expressed the virtues and the passions of the soul, the actions and attributes of the Gods, by the figures of animals, insects, plants, stars and divers other symbolical characters: hence it is that we see sphynxes, serpents, birds and crocodiles in our ancient temples, and upon our obelisks; but they are not the objects of our worship, as the Greeks foolishly ima∣gine. Trismegistus concealed the mysteries of reli∣gion under hieroglyphics and allegories, and exposed nothing to the eyes of the vulgar but the beauties of his morality. This has been the method of the sages in all times, and of the great legislators in all coun∣tries. These divine men were sensible that corrupt∣ed minds could have no relish for heavenly truths till the heart was purified from its passions; for which Page  102 reason they spread over religion a secret vail, which opens and vanishes when the eyes of the understand∣ing are able to support its brightness.

Cyrus perceived by this history of Hermes, that the Osiris, Orus and Typhon of the Egyptians, were the same with the Oromazes, Mythras and Arima•• us of the Persians; and that the Mythology of these two nations was founded upon the same principles. The notions of the Orientals were only more simple clear and undisguised by sensible images; those of the Egyptians more allegorical, obscure and wrap up in fiction.

After Souchis had discoursed with Cyrus in this manner, he conducted him to the temple, where he let him into all the ceremonies and mysteries of the Egyptian worship; a privilege which had never been granted before to any stranger, till he had gone through a severe probation. The temple was conse∣crated to the Goddess Isis, and built in an oval form to represent the egg of the world; over the great gate was this inscription,* TO THE GODDESS WHO IS ONE, AND WHO IS ALL. The altar was a great obelisk of porphyry, on which were engraven several hieroglyphics containing the secrets of the Egyptian re∣ligion. Towards the top appeared three dark clouds, which seemed to meet in a point; somewhat lower a tree planted in a muddy marsh, upon whose branches, which reached up to the clouds, sat an hawk; by the side of this tree was a winged globe with a serpent coming out of it; at the bottom of all, a crocodile without a tongue hid itself in the waters of an abyss, a sphynx at the same time walking upon the surface. On one side of this altar stood the statue of the God∣dess, covered with a vail, upon which were repre∣sented the figures of the celestial and terrestrial bo∣dies; Page  103 on the other side was the statue of Harpocrates, holding one hand upon his mouth, and pointing to the Goddess with the other.*

The high-priest, clothed in his pontifical robes ex∣plained to Cyrus the meaning of these symbols, be∣fore he began the sacrifice. We adore, said he, no other but the great Ammon, that is to say the un∣known God; we consider him sometimes as he is in himself, and at other times as manifested by nature. In the first sense we call him Eicton, Emeph, Ptha, Life, Light, and Love, all whose operations, thoughts and affections being concentred in himself, he remains in his solitary unity incomprehensible to mortals; thus considered we adore him only by silence, or by the name of INCOMPREHENSIBLE DARKNESS thrice repeated; and we represent him by the clouds which you see towards the top of the obelisk.

Then we consider him as he has manifested himself in the multiplicity of nature, by a diffusive Goodness that communicates itself every where, by a sovereign Wisdom which forms within itself the ideas of all things, and by an infinite Power that produces, animates, preserves and governs whatever has a be∣ing. We call these three forms of the divinity, Osi∣ris, Isis, Orus, and we represent them by many dif∣ferent symbols: sometimes by an hawk, which ha∣ving of all birds the most piercing eye and the most rapid flight, serves to express the divine intelligence and activity. This bird sits upon the top of a tree, to signify that the Eternal Nature is infinitely exal∣ted above matter, which is as dirt in comparison of Page  104 the pure essence of the Deity. The globe denotes the indivisible Unity without beginning or end; the serpent, the supreme Wisdom, and the wings, that ac∣tive Spirit which animates and gives life to all. The crocodile which appears under a deep water, and without a tongue, represents the great Osiris hidden in the abyss of nature, and doing all in a profound ••∣lence; but you see, walking upon the surface of this abyss, a sphynx, which, being half man and half lion, signifies the wisdom and strength of the two other principles. Lastly the Goddess Isis covered with ∣vail, and having, as you see, this inscription on her pedestal, I AM ALL THAT IS, HAS BEEN, OR SHALL BE, AND NO MORTAL CAN REMOVE THE VAIL THAT COVERS ME, declares that universal nature is but a vail which covers the divinity, and that no one, can behold the splendor of his pure and naked essence. The posture of the God Harpocrates, denotes that we ought never to speak of the incomprehensible es∣sence of Isis, but only of her manifestations. The Egyptians in all other places have forgotten the ori∣ginal and sublime meaning of these sacred symbols; they adore the animals whose representations you see here, and pay contributions for their nourishment; but the inhabitants of Thebes refuse to do it: they acknowledge no mortal Gods, and adore but one sole Deity uncreated and eternal*

Cyrus no sooner understood the meaning of these hieroglyphics, but he was the more desirous of seeing the Egyptian ceremonies, and the sacrifice began. While the victims were offering, and their blood streaming at the foot of the altar, there was heard the most delicious music: on a sudden the high-priest rising up, cried with a loud voice, Let us adore the great Ammon the unknown God, the incomprehensi∣ble darkness; thrice he repeated these words, and Page  105 thrice the people fell prostrate; the music stopped, an universal silence reigned, every one was afraid to breath, left he should disturb the stillness and tran∣quility of the place; then the voice, joining the in∣struments, began this sacred hymn,* Let us cele∣brate the praises of the immortal Isis, she is the mo∣ther of nature, the origin of all things, the sum of all the divine virtues, the uniform face of the Gods and Goddesses; by one single look she enlightens the stars; at her command soft zephyrs refresh the earth; she cherishes mortals, and shews them the affection of a mother in their afflictions; she calms the tempests of fortune, she restrains the noxious influences of the stars; celestial deities prostrate themselves before her, the infernal powers obey her; all the universe adore her under different names, and by different rites. The service being ended, forty priests walked two and two from the temple in processions, singing hymns in honor of the God: the high-priest came last with Cyrus at his right hand, and Amenophis at his left, encompassed by a vast throng of people, who attend∣ed them in a respectful silence without tumult, and conducted the Prince back to the palace of the Pontif.

Cyrus stayed some days with Sonchis, and then prepared to pass into Greece. This country had fil∣led all the East with the fame of her excellent laws, brave warriors, and wise philosophers. The Prince would gladly have engaged Amenophis to accompany him in his travels; and in order to prevail upon him, promised that he would return by Babylon, and en∣deavor to persuade Nabuchodonosor to alter his reso∣lutions. O Cyrus, replied Amenophis, you are a stranger to the politics of that conquerer; he re∣solves to have none but tributary Kings in Egypt, mere slaves to his will; Amasis is a man for his pur∣pose; Page  106 Apries is dead, the race of our ancient Kings 〈◊〉 extinct, the usurper governs with gentleness and mo∣deration; Egypt is in peace and tranquility, and there is no longer any pretence for revolting 〈◊〉 I am, going back to my solitude, where I shall find those pure pleasures, which are not to be met with at the courts of Kings, nor in the hurry of business. Go, Prince, go, render yourself worthy to accomplish the oracles; and never forget in the midst of your suc∣cesses that you have seen a Monarch, who was here∣tofore triumphant and glorious, driven on a sudden from his throne, and become the sport of fortune. They parted soon after; Amenophis returned to his former solitude in Arabia, and Cyrus left Egypt without seeing Amasis, whose character and usurpa∣tion he abhorred.

FOURTH BOOK.

CYRUS resolving to go the shortest way into Greece, went down the Nile from Memphis to the mouth of that river, and embarked upon the great sea in a Phoenician vessel, that was bound for Argolis. Araspes, during the voyage, was some∣times sad and thoughtful, which Cyrus perceiving, asked him the reason. Araspes answered, you are a Prince, I dare not speak my heart to you; let us for∣get the Prince, said Cyrus and converse like friends. Well then, said Araspes, I obey: Every thing that Page  107 Amenophis has said upon the instability of the heart of man in friendship, terrifies me; I often feel those contrarieties he has spoken of; your manners, which are two averse to pleasure, sometimes offend me; and, without doubt, my imperfections make you un∣easy in their turn; how unhappy should I be, if this difference of character could alter or diminish our friendship. All men have their frailties, replied, Cy∣rus; whoever looks for a friend without imperfecti∣ons, will never find what he seeks; we are not al∣ways equally content with ourselves, how should we be so with our friend? We love ourselves neverthe∣less with all our faults, and we ought to love our friend in like manner; you have your failings, and I have mine, but our candor in mutually confessing our errors, and our indulgence in excusing each other, ought to remove your fears of any breach in our friendship. It is treating one's friend like another self, thus to shew him our soul quite naked, and this ingenuity makes all imperfections vanish. With o∣ther men it is sufficient to be sincere by never affect∣ing to appear what we are not; but with a friend we must be simple, so as to shew ourselves even such as we are.

Cyrus then changed the conversation, and discours∣ed with his friend of all they had seen in Egypt: when he had dwelt a good while upon the beauties of that country, its revolutions, sciences, religion and form of government, he thus concluded; I admire the wisdom of all the laws of ancient Egypt, except that which forbids the Egyptians to quit their pater∣nal professions: We see in almost all countries and all ages, that the greatest men have not always had the advantage of an high birth. There are in all states superior geniuses that would be rendered use∣less if confined to the sphere in which they were born; in political establishments we should avoid eve∣ry thing whereby nature may be constrained and ge∣nius Page  108 cramped. The noblest prerogative of a King 〈◊〉 to be able to repair the injustice of fortune, by doing justice to merit.

While a favourable wind filled the sails, Araspes, calling to mind the notions of Zoroaster and the Ma∣gi, discoursed with Cyrus upon all the wonders which are discoverable in the vast empire of the waters; of the comformation of its inhabitants, which is suit•• to their element; of the use of their sins, which the employ sometimes as oars to divide the water, and sometimes as wings to stop themselves by extending them; of the delicate membranes which they have in their bodies, and which they distend or contract to make themselves more or less heavy, according as they would go upwards or downwards in the water of the admirable structure of their eyes, which are perfectly round, to refract and unite more readily the rays of light, without which they could not see in the humid element. After this they discoursed of the beds of salts and bituminous matter, hid in the bottom of the sea. The weight of each particle of these salts is regulated in such a manner, that the sun cannot draw them upwards; whence it is, that the vapours and rains which fall again upon the earth, not being overcharged with them, become plenteous sources of fresh water. Then they reasoned upon the ebbing and flowing of the tide, which are not so discernible in the great sea as in the ocean: of the in∣fluence of the moon which causes those regular mo∣tions, and of the distance and magnitude of that pla∣net, which are wisely adjusted to answer all our wants; if it were bigger or nearer to us, or if there were many of them, the pressure being thereby aug∣mented would raise the tides two high, and the earth would be every moment overflowed by deluges; if there were no moon, or if it were less or at a greater distance, the ocean would soon become a mass of stag∣nated waters, and its pestiferous exhalations diffusing Page  109 themselves every where, would destroy plants, beasts and men. At length they came to discourse of that sovereign Power, which has disposed all the parts of the universe with so much symmetry and art.

After some days failing the vessel entered the Sa∣onic ulph, and soon arrived at Epidaurus, from whence the prince made haste to get to Sparta. This famous city was of a circular form, and resem∣bled a camp. It was situated in a wild and barren valley through which the Eurotas flows, an impetu∣ous river which often lays waste the whole country by its inundations. This valley is hemmed in on one side by inaccessible mountains, and on the other side by little hills, which scarcely produced what was ne∣cessary to supply the real wants of nature. The si∣tuation of the country had contributed very much to the warlike and savage genius of its inhabitants.

As Cyrus entered this city he beheld only plain and uniform buildings, very different from the stately palaces he had seen in Egypt; every thing still spoke the primitive simplicity of the Spartans: but their manners were upon the point of being corrupted un∣••• the reign of Ariston and Anaxandrides, if Chilo one of the seven sages of Greece had not prevented it. These two Kings of the ancient race of the He∣••clides, shared the sovereign power between them; one governed the state, the other commanded the troops. They received Cyrus with more politeness ••an was usual for the Spartans to shew to strangers. They seemed to have very little curiosity about the manners, sciences and customs of other nations; their great concern was to make the Prince of Persia ad∣mire the wisdom of their law-giver, and the excel∣lence of his laws. To this end they presented Chilo to him. This philosopher had by his talents acquired great credit with the Kings, the senate and the peo∣ple, and was looked upon as a second Lycurgus; no∣thing Page  110 was done at Lacedaemon without him. The Spartan sage, in order to give Cyrus a lively notion of their laws, manners and form of government, first led him to the council of the Gerontes, instituted by Lycurgus. This council, where the two Kings pre∣sided, was held in a hall hung with mat, that the magnificence of the place might not divert the senators' attention. It consisted of about forty persons, and was not liable to that tumult and confusion which frequently reigned in the debates of the peo∣ple at Athens.

Till Lycurgus's time the Kings of Sparta had been absolute: but Eurytion, one of those Kings, having yielded some part of his prerogatives to please the people, a republican party was thereupon formed, which became audacious and turbulent. The Kings would have resumed their ancient authority, but the people would not suffer it; and this continual strug∣gle between opposite powers rent the state to pieces. To establish an equal balance of the regal and popu∣lar power, which leaned alternately to tyranny and anarchy, Lycurgus, in imitation of Minos, instituted a council of twenty-eight old men, whose authority keeping a mean betwixt the two extremes, delivered Sparta from its domestic dissentions. An hundred and thirty years after him, Theopompus having ob∣served, that what had been resolved by the Kings and their council, was not always agreeable to the multitude, established certain annual magistrates cal∣led Ephori, who were chosen by the people, and consented in their name to whatever was determined by the King and Senate; each private man looked upon these unanimous resolutions as made by himself; and in this union of the head with the members con∣sisted the life of the body politic at Sparta.

After Lycurgus had regulated the form of government, he gave the Spartans such laws as were proper to prevent the disorders occasioned by avarice, ambi∣tion Page  111 and love. In order to expel luxury and envy from Sparta, he resolved to banish for ever both riches and poverty. He persuaded his countrymen to make an equal distribution of all their wealth and of all their lands, decried the use of gold and silver, and ordained that they should have only iron money, which was not current in foreign countries. He chose rather to deprive the Spartans of the advanta∣ges of commerce with their neighbors, than to ex∣pose them to the misfortune of bringing home from other nations those instruments of luxury which might corrupt them.

The more firmly to establish an equality among the citizens, they eat together in public halls; each company had liberty to choose its own guests, and no one was admitted there but with the consent of the whole, to the end that peace might not be disturbed by a difference of humors; a necessary pre∣caution for men naturally fierce and warlike. Cyrus went into these public halls, where the men were seated without any distinction but that of their age; they were surrounded by children who waited on them: their temperance and austerity of life was so great, that other nations used to say, it was better to die, than to live like the Spartans. During the repast they discoursed together on grave and serious matters, the interests of their country, the lives of great men, the difference between a good and bad citizen, and of whatever might form youth to the taste of military virtues. Their discourses contained much sense in few words, for which reason the Laco∣nic style has been admired in all nations; by imita∣ting the rapidity of thoughts, it said all in a moment, and gave the hearer the pleasure of discovering a profound meaning which was unexpressed; the grace∣ful, fine and delicate turns of the Athenians were unknown at Lacedaemon; the Spartans were for strength in the mind as well as in the body.

Page  112 Upon a solemn festival, Cyrus and Araspes were present at the assemblies of the young Lacedaemoni∣ans, which were held within a large inclosure, sur∣rounded with divers seats of turf raised one above a∣nother, in form of an amphitheatre. Young girls al∣most naked contended with boys in running, wrest∣ling, dancing, and all sorts of laborious exercises, the young men were not permitted to marry any 〈◊〉 such as they had vanquished at these games. Cyrus was shocked to see the liberty which reigned in these public assemblies, between persons of different sexes and could not forbear representing it to Chilo. There seems, said he, to be a great inconsistency in the laws of Lycurgus; his aim was to establish a re∣public which should consist only of warriors, inured to all sorts of labours, and at the same time he made no scruple to expose them to sensuality, the most ef∣fectual means to sink their courage.

The design of Lycurgus in instituting these festi∣vals, replied Chilo, was to preserve and perpetuate military virtue in his republic. That great law gives was well acquainted with human nature; he knew what influence the inclinations and dispositions of mo∣thers have upon their children; his intention was to make the Spartan women heroines, that they might bring the republic none but heroes. Besides, conti∣nued Chilo, gross sensuality and delicate love are e∣qually unknown at Lacedaemon; it is only in these public festivals that the familiarity which so much of∣fends you is allowed. Lycurgus thought it possible to deaden the fire of voluptuous desires, by accustom∣ing the eye sometimes to those objects which excite them. At all other times the women are very re∣served; nay by our laws new married persons are permitted to see one another but rarely, and that in private; and thus our youth are formed to temper∣ance and moderation, even in the most lawful plea∣sures. By this means also are prevented those dis∣gusts Page  113 which frequently arise from the permission of an unbounded liberty in the marriage state. The constraint, which the Spartans are under, keeps up the ardor of their first flame; so that marriage does not make them cease to be lovers. On the other hand, stolen amours and jealousy are banished from Sparta; husbands who are sick, or advanced in years, and their wives to others, and afterwards take them again without scruple. Wives look upon themselves as belonging to the state more than to their husbands. The children are educated in common, and often without knowing any other mother than the republic, or any other father than the senators.

Here Cyrus, struck with a lively remembrance of Cassandana and of the pure pleasures of their mutual love, sighed within himself, and felt an abhorrence of these odious maxims. He despised effeminacy, but he could not relish the savage fierceness of the Spartans, which carried them to sacrifice the sweetest charms of society to ambition, and to think that military virtues were inconsistent with tender passions; however, as he was sensible that Chilo would little understand what he meant by these delicate sentiments, he con∣tented himself with saying; Paternal love seems to me a source of great advantages to a state: fathers are careful of the education of their children, and this education obliges children to gratitude; these are the original bands of society. Our country is nothing else but many families united; if family-love be weak∣ened, what will become of the love of one's country, which depends upon it? Ought we not to be afraid of such establishments as destroy nature, under pre∣tence of improving it? The Spartans, answered Chi∣lo, all constitute but one family. Lycurgus had ex∣perienced, that fathers are often unworthy, and chil∣dren, ungrateful; that both are wanting to their re∣ciprocal duties, and he therefore trusted the educati∣on Page  114 of the children, to a number of old men, who con∣sidering themselves as the common fathers, have 〈◊〉 equal care of all.

In reality, children were no where better educa∣ted than at Sparta: they were chiefly taught to o∣bey, to undergo labour, to conquer in combats, and to face pain and death with courage. They 〈◊〉 with their heads and feet naked, lay upon rushes, and eat very little; and this little they were obliged to procure by dexterity in the public banqueting rooms. Not that the Spartans authorised thefts and robbe∣ries, for as all was in common in that republic, those vices could have no place there; but the design was to accustom children who were distined for war, to surprise the vigilance of those who watched over them, and to expose themselves courageously to the severest punishments, in case they failed of that dex∣terity which was exacted of them.

Lycurgus had remarked, that subtile speculations, and all the refinements of science, served often only to spoil the understanding and corrupt the heart; and he therefore made little account of them. No∣thing however was neglected to awaken in children the taste of pure reason, and to give them a strength of judgment; but all kinds of studies, which were not serviceable to good manners, were looken upon as useless and dangerous occupations. The Spartans were of opinion, that in the present state of human nature, man is rather formed for action than know∣ledge, and better qualified for society than contem∣plation.

Cyrus went afterwards to the Gymnasia, where the youth performed their exercises; Lycurgus had renewed the Olympic games instituted by Hercules, and had dictated to Iphitus the statutes and ceremo∣nies observed in them. Religion, warlike genius and policy, all contributed to perpetuate the custom of solemnizing these games; they served not only to do Page  115 honor to the Gods, to celebrate the virtues of heroes, to prepare the body for the fatigues of a military life, but also to draw together from time to time in the same place, and unite by common sacrifices, divers nations whose strength was in their union. The Spartans employed themselves in no sort of labor but the exercises necessary to qualify them to dispute the prizes in the Olympic games. The Helots, who were their slaves, manured their lands, and were the only mechanics among them; for they esteemed eve∣ry employment as mean and ignoble, which regarded only a provision for the body.

Cyrus, having learned this maxim of the Lacedae∣monians, said to Chilo: Agriculture and the mechanic arts appear to me absolutely necessary to preserve the people from idleness, which begets discord, effe∣minacy, and all the evils destructive of society: Ly∣curgus seems to depart a little too much from nature in all his laws. The tranquility and sweet leisure of a rural life, replied Chilo, were thought by Ly∣curgus to be contrary to a warlike genius; besides the Spartans are never idle; they are continually employed in all those exercises that are images of war, in marching, encamping, ranging armies in or∣der of battle, defending, attacking, building and de∣stroying fortresses. By this means a noble emulation is kept up in their minds without enmity, and the de∣sire of conquest preserved without shedding blood: every one disputes the prize with ardor, and the vanquished take a pride in crowning the victors; the pleasures which accompany these exercises make them forget the fatigue, and this fatigue prevents their courage from suffering any prejudice in times of peace*

This discourse raised in Cyrus a curiosity to know the military discipline of the Spartans, and he soon Page  116 found an opportunity to inform himself in it. The Tegeans, who inhabited a part of Peloponnesus, ha∣ving entered into a league with several cities of Greece had raised troops, and were coming to attack the Spartans upon their frontiers. The latter pre∣pared to repulse the enemy, and Cyrus resolved 〈◊〉 signalize his courage on this occasion, but he would first know the reasons of the war, and Chilo explain∣ed them to him in the following manner.

The Spartans, said he, being arrived to a flourish∣ing condition by a strict observance of the laws of Lycurgus, laid a scheme first to make themselves masters of Peloponnesus, and then of all Greece Courage and success begot in them a thirst of domi∣nion, contrary to the original design* of our great lawgiver: his intention of forming a republic of war∣riors, was not to disturb the peace of other cities, but to preserve his own in union, independence and li∣berty. That we might never entertain the unjust, ambition of making conquests, he forbad us the use of money, commerce and fleets, three helps absolute∣ly requisite for those who set up for conquerors. The Lacedaemonians therefore departed from the spirit of Lycurgus, when they resolved to attack their neighbors; their first design was to fall upon the Arcadians, but having consulted the oracle of Delphos, the Pythian priestess advised them to turn their arms against the Tegeans. The Spartans, de∣pending on a deceitful oracle, marched out of their city, and carried chains with them in full assurance of reducing their enemies to slavery. Several battles were fought without victory's declaring for either side. At length, in the beginning of the present reign, our army was put to flight; our prisoners loaded with the same chains which we had prepared for the Tegeans, were yoked like beasts, and con∣demned Page  117 to draw the plough. The bad conduct of our Princes was the source of these calamities: I should be far from discovering to you their faults if they had not had the courage to correct them.

Ariston, who governed the state, was naturally of a sweet disposition, affable and beneficent; he put an equal confidence in all those who were about him; Anaxandrides who commanded the troops was of a quite contrary character, dark, suspicious and distrust∣ful. Prytanis the favorite of Ariston had been edu∣cated at Athens, and had given himself up to plea∣sure; having a great deal of fine wit, he had the se∣cret of making even his faults agreeable; he knew how to suit himself to all tastes, and to all characters; he was sober with the Spartans, polite with the A∣thenians, and learned with the Egyptians; he put on all shapes by turns, not to deceive (for he was not ill-natured) but to gratify his prevailing passion, which was the desire of pleasing, and of being the i∣dol of men; in a word, he was a compound of what∣ever is most agreeable and irregular. Ariston loved him, and was entirely governed by him. This fa∣vorite led his master into all sorts of voluptuousness; the Spartans began to grow effeminate; the King bestowed his favors without distinction or discern∣ment.

Anaxandrides observed a quite different conduct, but equally ruinous to the state: as he knew not how to distinguish sincere and honest hearts, he be∣lieved all men false, and that those who had the ap∣pearance of probity were only greater hypocrites than the rest. He entertained suspicions of the best officers of his army, and especially of Leonidas, the principal and most able of his generals, a man of strict honor and distinguished bravery. Leonidas loved virtue sincerely, but had not enough of it to bear with the faults of other men; he despised them too much, and was regardless both of their praises and Page  118 favors: he humored neither princes nor their ••••∣ers; his hatred of vice was such, that it rendered 〈◊〉 manners fierce and rugged, like those of the 〈◊〉 Spartans; he looked for perfection in every body and as he never found it, he had no intimate friend∣ship with any person; no body loved him, but all ∣steemed and feared him; for he had all those virtue which make men most respected and most avoid. Anaxandrides grew weary of him and banished him; thus did this Prince weaken the strength of Spar••, while Ariston corrupted her manners.

Our enemies drew advantage every day from 〈◊〉 divisions and disorders. Perceiving the misfortu•• which threatened our country, I went to the 〈◊〉 Princes, and spoke to them in the following ••••∣ner: My age, my long services, and the care I have taken of your education, give me a right to tel you freely, that you both ruin yourselves by contrary faults; Ariston exposes himself to be often 〈◊〉 by flattering favorites, and you, Anaxandrides, ex∣pose yourself to the misfortune of never having a true friend. To treat men always with the 〈◊〉 rigor they deserve, is brutality and not justice; 〈◊〉 on the other hand to have so general a goodness, and such an easiness of temper as not to be able to 〈◊〉 crimes with firmness, or to reward merit with dis∣tinction, is not a virtue but a weakness, and is fre∣quently attended with as bad consequences as severi∣ty and ill-nature itself. As for you, Anaxan drides, your distrust does more hurt to the state than the 〈◊〉 easy goodness of Ariston. Why do you entertain 〈◊〉 diffidence of men upon bare surmises, when their ta∣lents and capacities have rendered them necessary to you? When a Prince has once honored a minister with his confidence, for good reasons, he ought ne∣ver to withdraw it without manifest proofs of perfi∣diousness. It is impossible for him to do every thing himself, and he must therefore have the couragePage  119 hazard sometimes the being deceived, rather than miss the opportunities of acting; he should know how to make a wise use of men, without blindly yielding himself up to them like Ariston; there is a medium between an excessive diffidence, and a blind confidence; without this medium no government can long subsist. Reflection and experience rectified by degrees the faults of Ariston, and he dismissed Pryta∣is; but the morose temper of Anaxandrides could be corrected only by misfortunes; he was often de∣feated in his wars with the Tegeans, and at length found the necessity of recalling Leonidas. Our troops since that time have been more successful; we have recovered our prisoners and obtained seve∣ral victories; but these advantages have made the Tegeans more jealous of us, and we are become the object not only of their hatred, but of that of all the Greeks.

Cyrus listened with attention to this account given him by Chilo, and then said to him, looking upon A∣raspes: The history of your Kings will be an eternal lesson to me to avoid two faults very common with Princes. As for the rest, I observe that the republic of Sparta is like a camp always subsisting, an assem∣bly of warriors always under arms; how great a re∣spect soever I have for Lycurgus, I cannot admire this form of government. You assure me that your law giver in constituting such a republic had no other design but to preserve it in union and liberty; but would a legislator who has only these pacific views banish from a state all other professions except that of war? Would he enjoin that no member of it should be bred to any other exercise, study or occu∣pation, but that of making himself dextrous in de∣stroying other men? Lycurgus has indeed prohibited the use of money, commerce and fleets, but are these necessary to the conquest of Greece? I rather be∣ieve, that he made these prohibitions only out of po∣licy, Page  120 in order to conceal from the neighboring cities his ambitious designs, hinder the Spartans from beco∣ming soft and luxurious, and deprive them of 〈◊〉 means of dividing their forces by foreign and distant wars*. Your lawgiver has again departed both from nature and justice; when he accustomed each private citizen to frugality, he should have taught the whole nation to confine her ambition. An 〈◊〉 politician ought to provide not only for the liberty of his own state, but for the safety of all the neigh∣boring ones. To set ourselves loose from the 〈◊〉 of mankind, to look upon ourselves as made to con∣quer them, is to arm all nations against us. Why do not you reform these unjust maxims. Why 〈◊〉 not you put an end to the war? Why have you not recourse to the supreme council of the Amphictions to terminate your differences with the Tegeans! The reason, replied Chilo, is the obstinacy of the Te∣geans; they are so enraged against us, that they re∣fuse to submit to the arbitration of that council; they breathe nothing but our destruction; they have en∣gaged several cities of Peloponnesus in a league a∣gainst us. The notion which is entertained of our designing to conquer all Greece, has excited the ha∣tred and distrust of our neighbors. Such is the pre∣sent state of Sparta.

Not many days after this, the Lacedaemonians, having advice that the Tegeans were advancing to∣wards their frontiers, marched out of Sparta to give them battle. Anaxandrides appeared at their head in his military habit, his casque was adorned with three birds, of which that in the middle was the crest, upon this cuirass he bore the head of Medusa, all the insigna of the God Mars were represented upon his shield, which was an hexagon; and he held in his hand a staff of command. Cyrus marched by his side; Page  121 his buckler resembled that of Achilles; upon his casque was an eagle, whose plume and tail overspread his shoulders; upon his cuirass was engraven in bas∣relief the Goddess, Pallas wise and warlike, to express the inclinations of the Prince. Araspes and Leoni∣das less magnificently accoutred accompanied the two Princes, who thus left the city followed by the Lace∣daemonian troops. The whole army formed into a square battallion, a double rank of cavalry inclosed a third rank of archers, which encompassed three in∣ner ranks of pikemen and slingers, and left an empty space in the centre for the provisions, ammunition and baggage. All the soldiers marched to the sound of flutes, and singing the hymn of Castor. The Spartan general, knowing how fond the Prince of Persia was of information, entertained him in the way after the following manner.

Greece is divided into several republics, each of which maintains an army in proportion to its extent. We do not affect to bring prodigious armies into the field like the Asiatics, but to have well disciplined troops; numerous bodies are difficult to manage, and are too expensive to a state; our invariable rule is to encamp so, that we may never be obliged to fight against our will; a small army well practised in war may, by entrenching itself advantageously, oblige a very numerous one to disperse its troops, which would otherwise soon be destroyed for want of pro∣visions. When the common cause of Greece is to be defended, all these separate bodies unite, and then no state dare attack us. At Lacedaemon all the citi∣zens are soldiers; in other republics the dregs of the people are not admitted into the soldiery, but the best men are chosen out for the army, such as are bold, robust, in the 〈◊〉 of their age, and inured to laborious occupations; the qualities required in their leaders are birth, intrepidity, temperance and Page  122 experience; they are obliged to pass through the most rigid trials, before they can be raised to a com∣mand; they must have given signal proofs of all the different sorts of courage, by greatly enterprising, executing with vigor, and above all by shewing them∣selves superior to the most adverse fortune. By this means each republic has always a regular militia, a∣ble officers, soldiers well disciplined and inured to fa∣tigues. The Spartans in time of war, abate some∣what of the severity of their exercises and austerity of life; we are the only people in the world to whom war is a kind of repose; we then enjoy all those plea∣sures which are forbidden us in time of peace. Up∣on a day of battle we dispose our troops in such a manner, that they do not all fight at once like the Egyptians, but succeed and support one another with∣out confusion. We never draw up our men in the same manner as the enemy, and we always place our bravest soldiers in the wings, that they may extend themselves, and inclose the opposite army. When the enemy is routed, Lycurgus has required us to ex∣ercise all acts of clemency towards the vanquished, not only out of humanity but policy; for hereby we render our enemies less fierce. The hope of be∣ing well treated, if they surrender their arms, pre∣vents their giving way to that desperate fury which often proves fatal to the victorious.

While Leonidas was speaking, they arrived in the plain of Mantinea, where they discovered the camp of the Tegeans, which was covered on the one side by a forest, and on all the other by a terrass, with parapets, palisadoes and towers at certain distances. Anaxandrides encamped on the banks of the river Eurotas: Leonidas gave orders, and immediately the soldiers hung their casques on their pikes struck in the ground, and fell to work without putting of their cuirasses. The river made the camp inaccessible on one side, the other three were surrounded by lines Page  123 of circumvalliation; the waters of the Eurotas quick∣ly filled the ditches; portable houses were erected, the different quarters of the officers regularly dispo∣sed, the cavalry put under shelter, a moveable city was raised with four gates, several large streets cross∣ed one another, and had likewise a communication by others that were less.

The river Eurotas ran between the two camps, and was a security against any surprise: Leoidas took this opportunity to shew Cyrus the military ex∣ercise in use among the Greeks, and made his troops often pass in review before the Prince: they were divided into divers bodies of horse and foot; at their head were the Pelemarchi, and the commanders of the several corps. The soldiers were clothed in red, that in the heat of action the sight of their blood might not terrify either the wounded or their com∣panions*. Upon the least signal of their command∣ders, the different cohorts separated, reunited, ex∣tended themselves, doubled, opened, closed their ranks and ranged themselves by various evolutions and windings into perfect squares, oblong squares, lozenges and triangular figures.

The Spartans waited several days in their camp to take advantage of the enemy's motions. In the mean time divisions arose among the allies; the wisest of them desired peace but the greater number were ea∣gerly bent on war. Cyrus understanding their dis∣positions, offered to go in person to the camp of the Tegeans, and speak with their leaders. The King consented, and the young Prince passed the Eurota, and advanced to the confederates; their chief officers assembled about him and he addressed them in the fol∣lowing manner.

People of Greece, I am a stranger, the desire of knowing your laws, sciences and military discipline Page  124 has engaged me to travel among you. Your wit is every where extolled, but I cannot admire your wis∣dom. The Spartans would be much in the wrong to make any attempt upon your liberties, but neither is it just in you to endeavor their destruction. They are not afraid of war, they love fatigues and dangers, and are prepared for all events; but they do not re∣fuse to grant you peace upon honorable conditions. I understand that you have in Greece a wise council, whose business it is to terminate the differences that arise between your 〈◊〉. Why have you not re∣course to this council! The mutual war you make upon each other, and your domestic jealousies, will weaken you by degrees, and you will fail a pray to some conqueror emboldened by your divisions.

All the old men looked upon one another while he was speaking, and seemed to approve of what he said; their General, on the contrary, fearing lest the Prince's advice should be followed, murmured within himself; he was a young impetuous hero, a martial fire sparkled in his eyes, he had a sprightly, a masculine and captivating eloquence, capable of inspiring cou∣rage into the most timorous. When Cyrus had done speaking he raised his voice and answered him thus. Whoever you are, O stranger, you are unacquainted with the boundless ambition of the Spartans; their fundamental constitution tends to destroy all the neighboring states. Lycurgus their lawgiver laid the foundations in Lacedaemon of an universal mo∣narchy, and inspired his countrymen with a desire of domination, under pretence that Greece cannot main∣tain her freedom and independency while divided in∣to so many petty republics. Ever since that time the avaricious Spartans are greedy of what they have not, while they refuse themselves the enjoyment of what they have; when they are weakened and brought low, they moderate their ambitious desires; but they have no sooner recovered their strength, 〈◊〉 they Page  125 return to their old maxims; we can have no security but in their total destruction. Scarce had he pro∣nounced these words, when a confused murmur rose among the soldiers, the fire of disorder was kindled 〈◊〉 in their breasts, and they all cried out, war, 〈◊〉, let the Spartans be destroyed.

Cyrus perceiving the fury which animated them, and that they would no longer hearken to him, re∣turned to the camp of the Lacedaemonians. They immediately called a council of 〈◊〉, and it was resol∣ved to attack the enemy in their entrenchments. Cyrus offered to pass the river at the head of a cho∣••• body of cavalry, and this being agreed to, he •••ted for night to put his design in execution; he passed without any opposition; and at break of day the infantry followed him on rafts and buck-skin boats. The Tegeans taking the alarm left their amp and drew up in battalia. The two armies ad∣vanced with their pikes ported, each phalanx in the closest order, buckler struck to buckler, helmet to hel∣met, man to man; the battle began; the left wing of the Lacedaemonians commanded by Cyrus quickly broke the right wing, of the Tegeans; Araspes pur∣sued the fugitives warmly, and put them out of a con∣dition to rally; they fled to a neighbouring 〈◊〉. Cyrus returned with his troops to sustain the centre of the Spartan army which began to give way; but while he was putting the enemy into disorder, the right wing of the Spartans fled before the left of the allies; Leonidas who commanded it gained an eminence, from which he could discover all that pass∣ed; when he saw the happy success of Cyrus's skill and bravery he encouraged his men, called them and returned to charge the enemy. The Tegeans, find∣ing themselves, attacked both in front and rear, dis∣persed and fled, and where almost all cut in pieces 〈◊〉Page  126 taken prisoners: the few that escaped in the night took refuge in the same fortress with the others.

The battering engines and other machines, which have since been used in attacking of towns, were not then known to the Greeks; on these occasions 〈◊〉 disposed their men in a certain form which they cal∣led a Tortoise. The next day Leonidas gave the word of command, the Spartans drew up and mar••∣ed to the fortress; the formost ranks covered them∣selves with their square bucklers, the rest raised them over their heads, pressed them against one ano∣ther, and then gradually bending formed a kind of sloping roof impenetrable to arrows. A trible 〈◊〉 of this sort raised the assailants to the height of the walls. The besieged rained down a shower of 〈◊〉 and darts; but in the end the besiegers made them∣selves masters of the fortress. Four thousand Tege∣ans were slain in the two actions, and three thousand taken prisoners.

After the battle a new council of war was called Leonidas by the King's orders made encomiums upon Cyrus in presence of all the commanders, and ascr∣bed the victory to his conduct and courage. All the soldiers sent up shouts of joy, and looked upon the Prince of Persia as a divine man sent by the Gods 〈◊〉 save Sparta in her weak and tottering condition. It was afterwards proposed in the council to carry the Tegean prisoners to Lacedaemon, and to treat them like slaves, as they had done the Spartans. Cyrus then rose up in the midst of the assembly, a divine fire darted from his eyes, wisdom descended into his heart, and he said: You are going, in my opinion to violate one of the principal and wisest laws of Ly∣curgus; he has enjoined you to treat the vanquished with clemency; the right of conquest even in a law∣ful war is the least of all rights, and is never just but when it is made use of to render the conquered hap∣py. A conqueror who seeks only to domineer, ought Page  127 to be deemed an usurper upon the rights of nations, and an enemy of mankind who sports with their mi∣series only to gratify his brutal and unnatural passi∣ons. It is by reason alone that man should subdue man; no one deserves to be a King but he who en∣gages in the toils of empire, and subjects himself to the slavery of governing purely out of compassion to men incapable of governing themselves. If there∣fore you desire to become masters of Greece, let it be only by shewing yourselves more humane, and more moderate than all the other cities. The rest of the Grecian states, when they see your wisdom, your courage, and your excellent laws, will be eager to put themselves under your protection, and with emu∣lation sue to be received as members of your repub∣lic. It is by this means that you will sweeten all minds, and captivate all hearts. Anaxandrides influ∣enced by this discourse granted peace, on condition that the Tegeans should for the future be tributary to Lacedaemon. He detained the chief men among them as hostages, and carried them to Lacedaemon, where he granted them all the privileges of citizens.

Cyrus at his return to Sparta revolved in his mind all that he had seen and heard, and formed great ideas relating to the art of war, which he resolved to improve one day in Persia. After he had thoroughly studied the laws, manners and military discipline of the Spartans, he left Lacedaemon to visit the other republics of Greece. Chilo and Leonidas conducted him to the frontiers of their country. He swore an eternal friendship to them, and promised to be always a faithful ally of their republic; and he was true to his word for the Persians had never any war with the Greeks in that conqueror's time.

Cyrus resolved before he left Peloponnesus, to visit all its principal cities. He went first to Argos, then to Mycenae, afterwards to Sicyon, and at length stopt at Corinth, which was the most flourishing republic Page  128 of Greece, after those of Sparta and Athens. As he entered the town, he beheld with surprise all the peo∣ple in mourning; several players upon flutes mar••∣ed at the head of a funeral procession, and increased the public sorrow by their plaintive sounds: forty young girls bare-footed, their hair disheveled, and clothed in long white robes surrounded the bier, and melted into tears while they sung the praises of the dead; a little after followed the soldiers with a slow pace, a sorrowful air, their eyes upon the ground and their pikes reversed; at their head marched a vener∣able old man; his noble and military air, his tall 〈◊〉 majestic stature, and the bitter grief that was paint•• upon his face, drew the attention of Cyrus. The young Prince having asked his name, understood th•• it was King Periander, who was conducting his so Lycophron to his tomb.

Cyrus and Araspes joined themselves to the crowd which was going to a fortress called Acro-Corinthus it was built upon the summit of an high mountain from whence might be seen the Aegean and Ionian seas; for which reason it was called The Eye of Greece. Being come to the fortress, which was the burial place of the Kings, Periander first of all poured wine, milk and honey upon the body of his son; he then lighted with his own hands the funeral pile, up∣on which had been poured in ense, aromatics and o∣doriferous oils; he remained mute, immoveable, and with his eyes drowned in tears, while the devouring flames consumed the body; after having sprinkled the yet smoaking ashes with perfumed liquors, he gathered them together into a golden urn, and then making a sign to the people that he was go∣ing to speak, he thus broke silence. People of Co∣rinth, the Gods themselves have taken care to re∣venge you of my usurpation, and to deliver you from slavery; Lycophron is dead, my whole race is ex∣tinct. I will reign no longer; countrymen, resume Page  129 your rights and your liberties. As soon as he said these words, he ordered all the assembly retire, cut off his hair to denote his sorrow, and shut him∣self up in the tomb with his son. Cyrus being ex∣tremely affected with this sight, was very desirous to learn the reason of it, and he received the following account*; Corinth was at first governed by Kings, but monarchy being abolished, prytanes or annual ma∣••••tes were established in their place. The popu∣lar government continued for a whole age, and Co∣rinth was daily increasing in wealth and splendor, when Cypselus, the father of Periander, usurped the 〈◊〉 authority. Having reigned above thirty years, 〈◊〉 his passions being satisfied, he began to be trou∣••• with remorse. Reason resumed its empire, he 〈◊〉 with horror upon the crime he had commit∣••• and resolved to free the Corinthians from their 〈◊〉; but death prevented him. A little before 〈◊〉 expired, he called Periander to him, and made 〈◊〉 swear to restore his countrymen their liberty. The young Prince blinded by his ambition quickly forgot his oath; and this was the source of all his misfortunes. The Corinthians sought to dethrone 〈◊〉, and rose in arms against him several times; but 〈◊〉 subdued the rebels, and strengthened his autho∣rity more and more. His first wife being dead, he, in order to secure himself against these popular insults, courted an alliance with Melissa heiress of Arcadia, and married her; she was the most beautiful Princess of her time, a woman of consummate virtue and great courage.

Several years after this marriage, Periander decla∣red war against the Corcyreans, and put himself at he head of his troops. The Corinthians in his ab∣sence revolted anew. Melissa shut herself up in the Page  130 fortress, vigorously sustained the siege of it, and 〈◊〉 to demand succour of Procles tyrant of Epida••• who had always seemed a faithful ally of Perian••• Procles, who had long formed a project of extend his dominion over all Greece, took advantage of 〈◊〉 juncture to seize upon Corinth; he considered it 〈◊〉 city very proper to be the capital of a great 〈◊〉 he came before it with a numerous army, and 〈◊〉 himself master of it in a few days. Melissa, 〈◊〉 was ignorant of his design, opened the gates of 〈◊〉 fortress, and received him as her deliverer, and 〈◊〉 friend of her husband. The tyrant, seeing 〈◊〉 master of Corinth, established his residence there, 〈◊〉 gave Periander to understand that he must 〈◊〉 himself with reigning at Corcyra, which this 〈◊〉 had just conquered.

Melissa quickly found that usurpation was not 〈◊〉 only crime of which Procles was guilty. He 〈◊〉 entertained a violent passion for her, and he tried 〈◊〉 means to satisfy it: after having in vain employ•• both caresses and threatnings, he inhumanly 〈◊〉 her to be shut up with her son Lycophron in a 〈◊〉 tower, situated upon the borders of the sea. In 〈◊〉 mean while Periander was informed of Procles treachery, and of his love for Melissa, he was at the same time assured, that she had not only favored the perfidious designs of the tyrant, but that she answer∣ed his passion. The King of Corinth listened too readily to these calumnies; possessed with the rage of jealousy he equipped a great fleet, and embarked for Corinth before Procles could put himself in a posture of defence. He was just entering the port when a violent storm rose and dispersed his ships. Melissa knew not the sentiments of Periander, and was al∣ready blessing the Gods for her approaching deliver∣ance, when she saw part of the fleet perish before her eyes; the rest being driven on the coast of Africa were there cast away; the only vessel that escaped Page  131〈◊〉 fury of the tempest, was that which Periander 〈◊〉 on board.

He returned to Corcyra, where he fell into a deep melancholy; his courage had enabled him to bear up under the loss of his-dominions, but he could not sup∣port the thoughts of Melissa's imagined crime. He 〈◊〉 loved her, and her only; he sunk under the weight of his grief, and his mind was disturbed to a agree of distraction.

In the mean while Melissa, who was still shut up 〈◊〉 the tower, believed Periander dead, and wept bit∣••ely for him; she saw herself exposed afresh to the 〈◊〉 of a barbarous Prince, who could commit the ••eatest crime without horror. While she was im∣•••ing the help of the Gods, and conjuring them to •••tect her innocence, the person under whose charge 〈◊〉 had left her, being touched with her misfor∣tunes, informed her that Periander was living, and 〈◊〉 to conduct her with her son to him. They 〈◊〉 three escaped, and travelling in the night through ••ways got in a few days out of the territory of Co∣•••th; but they wandered long upon the coasts of 〈◊〉 Ionian sea, before they could pass over to Corcy∣r. Procles mad with rage and despair at the escape of the Queen, contrived means to confirm Periander 〈◊〉 his suspicions, and to make him believe that Me∣lissa who would very soon be with him intended to ••ison him. The unfortunate King of Corinth lis∣tened with greediness to every thing that could in∣flame his jealousy, and increase his rage.

In the mean while Melissa and Lycophron arrived with their conductor in Corcyra, and hastened to see Periander; he was not in his palace, but in a gloomy forest, whither he often retired to indulge his grief; he no sooner perceived the Queen at a great distance, ut it awakened all his jealousy and made him furi∣ous; he ran towards her; the stretched out her arms to receive him, but as soon as he came near her, he Page  132 drew his dagger and plunged it in her bosom. 〈◊〉 fell with these words, Ah, Periander! is it thus 〈◊〉 reward my love and my fidelity? She would 〈◊〉 proceeded but death put an end to all her mis•••∣tunes, and her soul flew away to the Elysian 〈◊〉 there to receive the recompence of her virtue. Ly∣cophron beheld his mother weltring in her bloo, 〈◊〉 burst into tears and cried out: Revenge, just 〈◊〉 revenge the death of an innocent mother, 〈◊〉 barbarous father, whom nature forbids me to 〈◊〉. This said, he ran away into the woods, resolving ••∣ver to see his father more. The faithful Corinth 〈◊〉 who had accompanied the Queen and Prince to Cor∣cyra, let Periander then know the innocence ••∣delity of Melissa, and all the miseries which 〈◊〉 had made her suffer in her imprisonment.

The wretched King perceived his credulity ••••∣late, gave way to his despair, and would have 〈◊〉 himself with the same poinard, but was preven•••〈◊〉 he threw himself upon the body of Melissa, and 〈◊〉 ten repeated these words: Great Jupiter 〈◊〉 by thy thunderbolts the punishments which men ••∣der me from finishing! Ah Melissa! Melissa! 〈◊〉 the tenderest love to have concluded thus with 〈◊〉 most barbarous cruelty? It was with great diffic••• that he was forced away from that fatal place 〈◊〉 led to his palace; he continued to refuse all cons••∣tion, and reproached his friends with cruelty, 〈◊〉 seeking to preserve a life which he detested. The•• was no way to quiet his mind but by representing 〈◊〉 him that he alone could punish the crimes of Proce•• this hope soothed the anguish of his soul, and 〈◊〉 grew calm. He went among all his allies, represent∣ing his misfortunes and the usurper's crimes; the Thebans lent him troops, he besieged Corinth, 〈◊〉 Procles prisoner, and sacrificed him upon Melissa tomb. But Lycophron remained still at Corcyra and refused to return to Corinth, that he might 〈◊〉Page  133 see a father who was the murderer of a virtuous mo∣ther, whom he had tenderly loved. Periander drag∣ged on the rest of his unhappy life without enjoying his grandeur; he had stabbed a wife whom he ado∣red; he loved a son who could not endure the sight of him. At length he resolved to lay down his roy∣alty, crown his son, and retire into the island of Cor∣cyra, there for ever to lament his misfortunes, and expiate in retirement the crimes he had committed. With these views he ordered a vessel to Corcyra to bring Lycophron to Corinth. The King impatient for his son's arrival, went often to the sea-side, the 〈◊〉 at length appeared, Periander run with eager∣ness upon the shore to embrace his only son, but 〈◊◊〉 was his surprise and grief, when he beheld Ly∣cophron in a coffin! The Corcyreans groaning under 〈◊〉 yoke of Periander, whose cruelties they abhor∣red; and to extinguish for ever the tyrant's race, those barbarous islanders had assassinated the young Prince, and had sent his dead body in the vessel, as a testimony of their hatred. Periander struck with this sad spectacle entered deeply into himself, discern∣ed the wrath of heaven and cried out, I have viola∣ted the oath made to a dying father; I have refused to restore liberty to my countrymen. O Melissa! O Lycophron! O vengeful Gods! I have but too well deserved all these calamities which overwhelm me! he then appointed a pompous funeral, and command∣ed all the people to be present at it: some days after he ordered two slaves to go by night to a certain place, and kill the first man they should meet, and then throw his body into the sea; the King went thither himself and was murdered; his body could never be found to receive the honors of burial, nor could his shade which wanders upon the banks of Styx ever enter the mansion of heroes. What a dreadful series of crimes and misfortunes! The hus∣band Page  134 stabs his wife, rebellious subjects assassinate their Prince, the tyrant procures his own murder, and the avenging justice of the Gods pursues him beyond the grave. How dreadful a spectacle, and how instruct∣ive a lesson for Cyrus? He made haste to leave; place so full of horror.

FIFTH BOOK.

CYRUS leaving Corinth and crossing Boeotia, entered Attica, and soon after arrived at A∣thens, where Pisistratus then reigned: the young Prince was seized with admiration when he beheld the edifices, temples and splendid riches of a city where the liberal arts flourished: he came at length to the King's palace: It was of a noble but plain kind of architecture; all the ornaments of the build∣ing seemed necessary parts of it; upon the freezes were represented, in bas-relief, the labours of Her∣cules, the exploits of Theseus, the birth of Pallas and the death of Codrus. A vast portico of pillars, of the Ionic order, led into a great gallery adorned with paintings, brass and marble statues, and with e∣very thing which could engage the eye and charm the sight.

Pisistratus received the Prince with joy, and made him sit down by him: the principal senators, with several young Athenians, seated themselves round them upon rich carpets. A magnificent repast ac∣cording Page  135 to the mode of the country, was served up: the most delicious wines were poured into golden cups finely wrought, but the Athenian politeness which seasoned the conversation of Pisistratus, was the principal delicacy of the feast. During the re∣gale the King entertained Cyrus with a general account of the revolutions which had happened in the state in his time; of his exile, misfortunes and restoration, after having been twice dethroned. He dexterously painted forth in the most odious colours all the disor∣ders of a popular government, that he might create in abhorrence of it. He seasoned his discourse with historical remarks and lively strokes of wit, which de∣lighted all the assembly. Thus Pisistratus artfully made use of the charms of conversation, and of the freedom usual at banquets, to confirm his authority and gain the good will of the Athenians. The sena∣tors and young men who heard him, seemed to for∣get their natural aversion to monarchy. Cyrus by this example perceived with pleasure the empire which Princes, by their amiable qualities, may gain over the hearts even of those who are the greatest enemies to their power.

The next day Cyrus signified to Pisistratus, his im∣patience to be acquainted with Solon, whose reputa∣tion was spread over all Asia. This Philosopher af∣ter his travels, had refused at first to return to A∣thens, because Pisistratus had got himself declared King; but having understood with how much wis∣dom and moderation he governed, he was reconciled to him. The Sage had chosen his habitation upon Mars-Hill, where was held the famous council of A∣reopagus, near the tomb of the Amazons. Pisistratus would himself conduct the young Prince thither, and present him to the Athenian lawgiver. Solon, though in a very advanced age, still preserved the remains of his sprightly genius, that chearfulness and those beauties of the mind which never grow old. He em∣braced Page  136 Cyrus with the affectionate tenderness which is natural to old men, when young person seek their counsels and conversation in order to learn wis∣dom. Pisistratus knowing that the Prince's design in visiting Solon was to inform himself thoroughly of the Athenian laws, retired and left them alone.

That they might discourse with the greater liber∣ty, and more agreeably, the sage conducted him to the top of the hill, where they found a delight••• verdure, and seated themselves at the foot of a sacred oak. From this place they beheld the fertile plain and craggy mountains of Attica, which bounded the view on one side with an agreeable mixture of every thing most smiling and wild in nature: on the other side the Saronic gulph widen••g by degrees, 〈◊〉 a prospect of several islands, which appeared to seat upon the waves. At a greater distance the rising coasts of Argolis seemed to lose themselves in the clouds, while the great sea, which looked as if it touched the skies, terminated the view, and relieved the eye, weary with surveying so great a variety of objects. Below was the city of Athens, which ex∣tended itself upon the declivity of a hill; the numer∣ous buildings rose one above another, and their dif∣ferer structure shewed the different ages of the re∣public; its first simplicity in the heroic ages, and it rising magnificence in the time of Solon: in one part might be seen temples with sacred groves, magnifi∣cent palaces with gardens, and a great number of stately houses of a regular architecture: in another a great many towers, high walls and little irregular buildings, which discovered the warlike and rustic taste of ancient times; the river Ilissus which flowed near the city, and winded through the meadows, ad∣ded a thousand natural beauties to those of art. It was in this agreeable place that Cyrus desired Solon to give him an account of the state of Greece, and Page  137 particularly of Athens; and the wise lawgiver satis∣fied his curiosity in the following manner.

All the Grecian families are descended from Hel∣lan, son of Deucalion, whose three children gave their names to the three nations of Greeks, the Aeo∣••••, Dorians and Ionians. These built themselves several cities, and from those cities came Hercules, Theseus, Minos, and all those first heroes to whom divine honors are paid, in order to shew that virtue 〈◊〉 be fully rewarded only in heaven. Egypt first inspired the Greeks with a taste for arts and sciences, ••tiated them into her mysteries, and gave them both Gods and laws. Greece, being thus civilized, form∣ed herself by degrees into several republics. The su∣preme council of the Amphictions, composed of the deputies of the principal cities, united them all in the same view, which was to preserve independence a∣broad, and union at home. This excellent conduct kept them clear of an unbridled licentiousness, and inspired them with the love of a liberty regulated by laws, but these pure maxims did not always subsist: every thing degenerates among men; wisdom and virtue have their vicissitudes in the body politic, as health and strength have in the natural.

Amongst all these republics, Athens and Lacedae∣mon are without comparison the principal. The character of Athens is wit, elegance, politeness, all the amiable and social virtues. That of the Spartans is fortitude, temperance, military virtue, and reason stript of all ornament. The Athenians love the sci∣ences and pleasures, their great propensity is to vo∣luptuousness. The life of the Spartans is laborious and severe; all their passions have a turn to ambiti∣on. From the different genius of these nations have proceeded the different forms and revolutions of their governments. Lycurgus followed the austerity of his natural temper, and consulted the savage fierce∣ness Page  138 of his fellow citizens in his reformations at La∣cedaemon: he considered the happiness of his coun∣try as placed in conquest and dominion; and upon that plan formed all the laws of Sparta, in which you have been instructed: it was impossible for me to i∣mitate him.

Athens in the beginning had Kings, but they were such only in name, and not absolute as at Lacedae∣mon. The genius of the Athenians was so different from that of the Lacedaemonians, that it made regal power insupportable to them. The authority of their Kings being almost wholly confined to the com∣mand of their armies, vanished in time of peace: we reckon ten from Cecrops to Theseus, and seven from Theseus, to Codrus, who made a sacrifice of himself to the safety of his country: his children Medon and Nileus, disputed for the throne. The Athenians took this occasion to abolish intirely the regal power, and declared Jupiter sole King of Athens; a specious pretext to favor rebellion and to shake off the yoke of all settled authority. In the place of Kings, they created perpetual governors, under the name of Ar∣chons; but even this faint image of royalty appeared odious. That they might not leave so much as a shadow of regal power, they established Decennial Archons; nor was their restless humor yet satisfied: they reduced the duration of these magistracies to one year, that they might the oftner take into their own hands the supreme authority, which they never trans∣ferred to their magistrates but with regret. So li∣mited a power was but ill qualified to keep such rest∣less spirits within bounds; factions, intrigues and ca∣bals sprung up every day: each man with a book of laws in his hands, was for disputing about the sense of them. Men of the most lively imaginations are commonly the least solid, and the most apt to create broils; they think every thing due to their superfici∣al talents: under pretence that all men are born e∣qual, Page  139 and endeavor to confound all ranks, and preach up a chimerical equality only that they themselves may get the ascendant. The council of Areopagus, instituted by Cecrops, reverenced throughout all Greece, and so famous for its integrity, that the Gods are said to have respected its decisions, had no longer any authority; the people judged of every thing in the last resort, but their resolutions were not fixed and steady, because the multitude is always humour∣•••e and inconstant. The smallest umbrages height∣ened the presumption, provoked the folly, and armed the fury of a multitude corrupted by an excessive li∣berty. Athens continued thus a long time under an impossibility of extending her dominion; happy in be∣ing able to preserve herself from total destruction, a∣midst dissentions which rent her in pieces. Such was the situation of my country when I undertook to re∣medy its calamities.

* In my first years I gave myself up to luxury, intemperance and all the passions of youth, and was cured of them by the love of science, for which the Gods had given me a taste from my infancy. I ap∣plied myself to the study of morality and policy, in which I found charms that soon gave me a disgust for a loose and a disorderly life. The intoxication of my passions being dispelled by serious reflections, I beheld with concern the sad condition of my coun∣try; I turned my thoughts to provide a remedy, and communicated my scheme to Pisistratus, who was likewise come off from the follies of youth. You see, said I to him, the miseries which threaten us: an unbridled licentiousness has taken the place of true liberty; you are descended from Cecrops and I from Codrus: we have more right to pretend to the royal power than any other, but let us take care not to a∣spire to it. It would be a dangerous exchange of Page  140 passions, to forsake sensuality, which hurts only our∣selves, in order to pursue ambition, which might be the ruin of our country: let us endeavor to be ••∣viceable to her without attempting to bring her un∣der our dominion.

An occasion soon presented to facilitate my •••∣jects. The Athenians chose me to be chief of an ••∣pedition against the Megarians, who had seized 〈◊〉 island of Salamis. I embarked with five hundred men, made a descent upon the island, took the 〈◊〉 and drove away the enemy. They still insisted 〈◊〉 the justice of their pretensions, and chose the Lace∣daemonians to be judges of it; I pleaded the common cause and gained it. Having by these actions 〈◊〉••red credit among my countrymen, they pressed 〈◊〉 to accept of the regal dignity, but I refused it, applied myself to cure the public evils in quality 〈◊〉 Archon.

The first source of all those evils was the 〈◊〉 power of the people. Monarchial authority ••∣derated by a senate, was the primitive form of go∣vernment in all wise nations. I was desirous to •••∣tate Lycurgus in the establishment of it, but was 〈◊〉 well acquainted with the natural temper of my coun∣trymen to undertake it. I knew that if they suffer∣ed themselves to be stripped of the sovereign power they would soon take it back again by open violence; I therefore contented myself with setting bounds to it. I was thoroughly sensible that no state can sub∣sist without some subordination: I distributed the people into four classes, and chose an hundred man out of each class, whom I added to the council of A∣reopagus; I shewed these chiefs that sovereign au∣thority of what kind soever is but a necessary evil for preventing greater evils; and that it ought only to be employed to restrain men's passions. I repre∣sented to the people the mischiefs they had suffered by giving themselves up to their own fury: by this Page  141 means I disposed the one to command with modera∣ion and the other to obey with readiness.

I caused those to be punished severely who taught, that all men are born equal, that merit only ought to regulate ranks, and that the greatest merit a man can have is wit. I made the Athenians sensible of the fatal consequences of such false maxims. I pro∣••• to them that the natural equality, which those 〈◊〉 talk of, is a chimera founded upon the poetical 〈◊〉 of the companions of Cadmus and the children of Deucalion; that there never was a time, in which 〈◊〉 rose in that manner out of the earth, in a state of perfect manhood; that it was ridiculous to offer 〈◊〉 sports of the imagination for principles; that e∣••• since the golden age, the order of generation had made a necessary dependance and inequality a∣•••• men; and lastly, that paternal authority had 〈◊〉 the first model of all governments. I made a 〈◊〉 by which every man who had given no other proof of his good sense, than lively sallies of imagina∣tion, florid discourses, and the talent of talking upon all subjects, without going, to the bottom of any¦thing, was declared incapable of public employments.

Here Cyrus interrupted Solon, and said to him: But after all, methinks merit is what ought to make the distinction among men. Wit is the lowest sort of merit, because it is always dangerous when alone; but wisdom, virtue and valour give a natural right to govern. He alone ought to command others who has most wisdom to discover what is just, most virtue to adhere to it, and most courage to put it in execu∣tion. Merit, replied Solon, essentially distinguishes men, and ought solely to determine ranks: but igno∣rance and passions often hinder us from discerning it; self-love makes each man pretend to it; the most de∣serving are the most modest, and never seek to rule. Besides, that which appears to be virtue, is sometimes nothing but a deceitful mask. Disputes, discord and Page  142 illusion would be endless, if there was not some 〈◊〉 more fixed, certain and palpable than merit alone, whereby to settle ranks and degrees. These ranks are regulated in small republics by election, and 〈◊〉 great monarchies by birth. I confess it is an evil 〈◊〉 grant dignities where there is no real merit, but it is a necessary evil, and this necessity makes the differ∣ence between the natural and civil right: the 〈◊〉 is always conformable to the most perfect justice, the other is often unjust in the consequences, but it is ne∣cessary to prevent confusion.

It was not so* under the reign of Saturn; in 〈◊〉 golden age God was the universal Prince and com∣mon father of all; he himself took care of the su••∣nance of men and governed them; he was their guardian and shepherd; there were then no ma∣gistrates nor civil polity as now, every one follow∣ed THE LAW WHICH IS, and not that WHICH 〈◊〉 BEEN MADE. Under the reign of Jupiter, the mass of the universe having, as it were quitted the rei•• of his empire, hid himself in an inaccessible retreat the foundation of the world was shaken by motion contrary to its principle and its end, and it lost 〈◊〉 beauty and its lustre; then it was that good and 〈◊〉 were mingled together; ignorance and passions 〈◊〉 civil laws and civil magistrates necessary; these laws are often imperfect, and these magistrates are not al∣ways good; but we are obliged to observe the 〈◊〉 and submit to the other, left the world should fall in∣to perpetual anarchy. All men are brethren and each man has a right to whatever he has need of they are children of the same father, and no one should lord it over another; but if there were not laws established to settle ranks and property among men, the avarice and ambition of the strongest would invade all: these laws are not always founded upon Page  143 what is best in itself, but upon what is least mischiev∣ous to society. Such is the source of almost all poli∣tical establishments. Astrea must return upon earth before merit alone will determine the fortunes of men; at present we must often content ourselves with less equitable decisions. Ranks and dignities are, af∣ter all, but the shadows of real grandeur. The ex∣ternal respect which is paid to them, is likewise but the shadows of that esteem which belongs to virtue alone. Is it not an instance of great wisdom in the first lawgivers, to have preserved order in society by establishing such regulations, that those, who have only the shadow of virtue are satisfied with the sha∣dow of esteem?

I understand you, said Cyrus, sovereignty and ranks are necessary evils to keep the passions within bounds. The lower sorts should be content with meriting the internal esteem of men, by their plain and modest virtue; and that the great should be per∣suaded that nothing but outward homage will be paid them unless they have true merit. By this means the one sort will not be dejected or repine at their low condition, nor the other pride themselves in their grandeur; men will become sensible that Kings are necessary, and Kings will not forget that they are men; each man will keep himself within his own sphere, and the order of society will not be disturbed. I see clearly the beauty of this principle, and am very impatient to know your other laws.

The second source of the miseries of Athens, said Solon, was the excessive riches of some, and the ex∣treme poverty of others; this terrible inequality in a popular government occasioned eternal discord: I durst not attempt to remedy this mischief by establish∣ing a community of goods as at Sparta; the genius of the Athenians, which carries them to luxury and pleasures, would never have suffered such an equality; but in order to diminish our evils I cancelled all Page  144 debts; I began by remitting those which were due to me; I enfranchised all my slaves, and forbid any one for the future to pledge his liberty for what he borrowed. I never tasted so much pleasure as in ••∣lieving the miserable; I was still rich, but I thought myself poor, because I had not enough to distribute something to all the unfortunate; I established at A∣thens this useful maxim that all the members of the same commonwealth ought to feel and compassions the miseries of one another, as parts of the same body.

The third source of our calamities was the multi∣plicity of laws, which is as evident a token of the cor∣ruption of a state, as a diversity of medicines of the distempers of bodies. Here again I could not imitate Lycurgus; community of goods and an equality of all the members of a republic, render useless a great many laws and forms, which are absolutely necessary where there is an inequality of ranks and property. I contented myself with abolishing all those laws which served only to exercise the subtle genius of the sophists, and skill of the lawyers, reserving only a small number of such as were simple, short and clear; by this means I put a stop to contentious chi∣cane, that monstrous invention of crafty knaves to e∣lude justice; I fixed certain times for the final deter∣mination of lawsuits, and ordained severe and dis∣graceful punishments for the magistrates, who should lengthen them beyond the bounds prescribed; lastly I repealed the too severe laws of Draco, which pu∣nished the smallest transgressions and the greatest crimes equally with death; and I proportioned the punishment to the offence.

The fourth source of our misfortunes was the bad education of children; none but superficial qualities, wit, bright imagination and gallantry were cultiva∣ted in young persons; the heart, reason, noble senti∣ments and solid virtues were neglected; the value Page  145 both of men and things was rated by appearances and not by reality; the Athenians were serious about trifles, and looked upon solid matters as too abstract∣ed. In order to prevent these mischiefs, I ordained that the council of Areopagus should superintend the education of children: I would not have them edu∣cated in such ignorance as the Spartans, nor confined as before to the study of eloquence, poesy and those sciences, which serve only to adorn the imagination. I would have them apply their thoughts to all those ••nds of knowledge which help to fortify reason, ha∣••tuate the mind to attention, and are serviceable for acquiring penetration and judgment; the proportion of numbers, the calculation of the celestial motions, the structure of the universe, the great art of know∣•••g how to mount up to first principles, descend to consequences, and discover the whole series of truths, with their dependance upon one another. These peculative sciences, nevertheless, serve only to exer∣cise and cultivate the mind in early youth. The A∣thenians in a riper age apply themselves to the study of the laws, policy and history, to learn the revolu∣tions of empires, the causes of their rise, and the oc∣casions of their fall; in a word, to every thing which may contribute to the knowledge of man and of then*

The fifth and last source of our evils was an im∣moderate fondness for pleasures; I knew that the temper of the Athenians required amusements and public shows; I was sensible that I could not subdue those republican and untractable souls, but by making use of their inclinations towards pleasure, to captivate and instruct them. In these public shows I caused to Page  146 be represented the fatal consequences of their disuni∣on, and of all the vices prejudicial to society; by this means multitudes of men assembled in the same place, were induced to spend whole hours in hearing lessons of a sublime morality; they would have been disgus∣ted with dry precepts and cold maxims; and there was no way to instruct, unite and correct them, but under pretence of amusing them. Such were my laws and institutions.

I see very well, said Cyrus, that you have consult∣ed nature more than Lycurgus has done; but on the other hand, have you not been too indulgent to hu∣man weakness? It seems dangerous in a republic, which has always been inclined to voluptuousness, to endeavor the uniting of men by their taste for plea∣sures. I could not, replied Solon, change the nature of my countrymen; my laws are not perfect, but are the best which they could bear. Lycurgus found in his Spartans a genius apt to all heroic virtues; I found in the Athenians a bent towards all the vices, which make men effeminate. I will venture to say, that the laws of Sparta by carrying the virtues to an extreme, transform them into faults; my laws, on the contrary, tend to render even the weaknesses of men useful to society. This is all that policy can do it does not change mens hearts, it only makes the 〈◊〉 advantage of their passions.

I thought, continued Solon, to have prevented or cured the greatest part of our evils by the establish∣ment of these laws, but the restlessness of 〈◊〉 people accustomed to licentiousness occasioned me daily vex∣ations: some blamed my regulations, others pretend∣ed not to understand them; some were for making additions to them, others for retrenching them. I perceived then how useless the most excellent laws are without a fixed and stable authority to put them in execution. How unhappy is the 〈◊〉 of mortals! By endeavoring to avoid the terrible evils of popular Page  147 government they run a risque of falling into slave∣ry; by flying the inconveniences of regal power they become exposed by degrees to anarchy. The path of just policy is bordered on both sides with precipices. I saw that as yet I had done nothing: I went therefore to Pisistratus and said to him: You see all the endeavors I have used to cure the distem∣pers of the state; my remedies are all useless for want of a physician to apply them. This people is so impatient under a yoke, that they dread the em∣pire of reason itself; all subjection to laws is insup∣portable to them; every one is for reforming them after his own fashion; I am going to absent myself from my country for ten years; I shall avoid by that means the perplexity and trouble to which I am daily exposed, of spoiling the simplicity of my laws by ad∣ding to them and multiplying them: endeavor to accustom the Athenians to them in my absence, and suffer no alteration in them. I have refused to ac∣cept the regal dignity which has been offered me; a true legislator ought to be disinterested; but for you, Pisistratus, your military virtues qualify you for go∣vernment, and your natural humanity will hinder you from abusing your authority: make the Atheni∣ans subject without making them slaves, and restrain their licentiousness without taking away their liber∣ty; avoid the title of King and content yourself with that of Archon. Having taken this resolution, I went to travel in Egypt and Asia. Pisistratus, in my absence, mounted the throne notwithstanding the a∣version of the Athenians to regal power; his address and his courage raised him to it, and his mildness and moderation maintain him on it; he distinguishes himself from his countrymen chiefly by an exact sub∣mission to the laws; and his manner of life is plain, without pageantry and pomp. Besides, the Atheni∣ans respect him as he is descended from Cecrops, and because he has only resumed the authority of his an∣cestors Page  148 for the good of his country. As for me, I spend my days here in solitude without meddling with the government; I content myself with presi∣ding in the Areopagus, and explaining my laws when an dispute arises about their meaning. The Prince of Persia saw clearly, by the discourse of Solon, the inconveniences of a popular government, and the despotic power in the multitude is more insupporta∣ble than absolute authority in a single person.

Cyrus having instructed himself in the laws of So∣lon and the government of the Athenians, applied himself afterwards to learn their military strength it consisted chiefly in their fleets. Pisistratus conduc∣ted him to Phalerus a maritime town situated at the mouth of the Ilissus; this was the ordinary place of retreat for the Athenian ships; for the famous port of yraceus was made afterwards by Themistocles. They went down the river accompanied by Araspes and se∣veral Athenians in a bark made on purpose; while delightful music charmed the ear and governed the notion of the oars, the Prince desired the King of Athens to give him a more particular account than he had done at first, of the various revolutions which had happened under his reign. Pisistratus satisfied his curiosity in the following manner:

* You know that when I first formed the design of making myself King, the state was rent in pieces by two factions; Megacles was the head of one party and Lycurgus led the other; Solon put an end to our divisions by his wife laws, and went soon after into Asia. In his absence I gained the hearts of the people, and by artifice and address obtained guards for my person; I made myself master of the fortress and was proclaimed King. In order to engage more thoroughly the good will of the people, I slighted a∣ny alliance with the Princes of Greece and married Page  149 Phya daughter of a rich Athenian of the Paeanean ••ibe. Love united with policy: besides her surpri∣sing beauty, she had all the qualities worthy of a throne, and all the virtues of a noble soul: I had lo∣ved her in my youth, but ambition had diverted my passion.

I governed in peace for some years, but at length the inconstancy of the Athenians signally shewed it∣self anew. Lycurgus raised a general murmuring against me, under pretence that I was exhausting the public treasury to maintain useless fleets; he artfully spread it abroad, that my only design in augmenting our naval strength, was to make myself master of Greece, that I might afterwards invade the liberty of the Athenians; and he laid a plot to take away my life; he communicated his design to Megacles who abhorred the treason and gave me notice of it. I took all possible precautions to avoid falling a vic∣tim to the jealousy of Lycurgus. The traitor how∣ever found means to raise an insurrection, and the fu∣ry of the people grew to such a height, that they set fire to my palace in the night; I ran to the apart∣ment of Phya, but it was already consumed by the flames, and I had but just time enough to save myself with my son Hippias; I escaped in the dark, and fled to the island of Salamis, where I concealed myself two whole years: I doubted not but that Phya had perished in the flames; and how great soever my ambition was, her death affected me infinitely more than the loss of my crown.

During my exile the animosity of Megacles against Lycurgus revived, and their differences threw the city again into the utmost confusion; I gave Mega∣cles notice of the condition I was in, and the place of my retreat; he sent a proposal to me to return to Athens, and offered me his daughter in marriage: in 〈…〉 engage the Athenians to come into our mea∣sures, Page  150 we had recourse to religion, and corrupted the priests of Minerva; I left the island of Salamis; Me∣gacles came and joined me at a temple some furlongs from Athens; he was accompanied by several sena∣tors and a crowd of people; sacrifices were offered, and the entrails of the victims examined, upon which the high-priest declared in the name of the Goddess, that her city could not be happy but by my restorati∣on, whereupon I was crowned with solemnity. The better to impose upon the people, Megacles chose out from among the young priestesses, her who was of the most majestic stature, and armed her like the daughter of Jupiter; she wore the dreadful Aegis up∣on her breast, and held in her hand a shining lance, but her face was vailed: I seated myself with her in a triumphal chariot, and we were conducted to the city; trumpeters and heralds went before, and cried with a loud voice, People of Athens receive Pisistra∣tus, whom Minerva resolving to honor above all other mortals, brings back to you by her priestess* The gates of the town were immediately opened, and we went directly to the fortress where my marriage was to be celebrated; the Priestess stept down from her chariot, and taking me by the hand, led me into the inner apartment of the palace: as soon as we were alone she took off her vail, and I perceived that it was Phya; imagine the transports of my joy; my love and my ambition were both crowned the same day; she gave me a brief account of her escaping the flames, and of her retiring to the temple of Minerva upon the report of my undoubted death.

Megacles, seeing all his projects disconcerted by the Queen's return, employed his thoughts to disposses me again; he persuaded himself that I had acted in concert with Phya to deceive him by false hopes: he spread a rumour at Athens that I had corrupted the Page  151 Pontif, and had abused religion to impose upon the people: they rose in arms against me a second time, and besieged the fortress; Phya seeing the cruel ex∣tremities to which I was reduced, and apprehending the effects I might feel of the fury of a superstitious and enraged multitude resolved to leave me; she thought herself obliged to sacrifice her own happiness to that of her country, and Minerva without doubt inspired her to make this sacrifice. So great an ex∣ample of generosity filled me with admiration, over∣whelmed me with sorrow, and redoubled my love. Megacles, being informed of Phya's flight, offered me peace, upon condition that I would divorce the Queen and marry his daughter; but I resolved to renounce my crown, rather than be false to my duty and my love. The siege was renewed with more vigor than ever, and after a long resistance I was obliged to give way to the storm; I left Attica and made my escape into Euboea.

I wandered a great while 〈◊〉 that country, till be∣ing discovered and persecuted by Megacles, I retired into the island of Naxos; I entered into the temple of Minerva to pay my devotion to the protectress of Athens; just as I had ended my prayer, I perceived an urn upon the altar, and going near it, I read this inscription:

Here rest the ashes of Phya, whose love to Pisistratus and her country made her a will∣ing victim to their happiness.
This wonderful spec∣tacle renewed all my sorrows, yet could I not tear myself away from that fatal place: I often went to the temple to bewail my misfortunes; it was my on∣ly remaining consolation in this lonely condition, in which I suffered hunger, thirst, the inclemency of the seasons, and all sorts of misery. One day while I was plunged in the most melancholy reflexions and in a profound silence, I know not whither in a vision or a divine dream, but the temple seemed to shake, and the top of it to open; I beheld Minerva in the air Page  152 in the same form as when she came out of the 〈◊〉 of Jupiter, and I heard her pronounce these words in a majestic and threatning tone:
It is thus the Gods punish those who abuse religion, by making it subservient to their ambition.
My soul was 〈◊〉 with a sacred horror: the presence of the Goddess confounded me, and laid open before my eyes all my crimes; I continued a great while without sense or motion; from that time my heart was changed; I discerned the true source of all my misfortunes; I detested that false policy which makes use of wiles artifice and mean dissimulation; I resolved for the future to employ no methods but what were noble, just and magnanimous, and to make it my endeavor to render the Athenians happy, in case the Gods should be appeased, and should suffer me to re-ascend the throne: the Gods were appeased, and delivered me from my exile. My son Hippias engaged the Argians and several cities of Greece to assist me; I went and joined him in Attica; I first took Mara∣thon and then advanced towards Athens; the Athe∣nians came out of the city to give me battle; I sent some children on horseback to them, to assure them that I did not come to invade their liberties, but to restore the laws of Solon: this moderation removed their fears, they received me with acclamations of joy, and I ascended the throne a third time. My reign has never since been disturbed; but I under∣stand that Megacles who is retired to Corinth has engaged the Corinthians to lend him a fleet, and I am daily making preparations to withstand the inva∣sion with which he threatens me.

Pisistratus was in this manner discoursing with Cyrus, when they arrived at Phalerus; the haven stretched itself in form of a crescent; great chains went from one side to the other to be a barrier to the ships, while several towers at certain distances served to defend the mole. The two Princes went Page  153〈◊〉 with Araspes to a temple of Venus built upon the •••mit of mount Colias, from whence they discover∣ed a fleet under full sail, making towards Phalerus. Pisistratus presently discerned the Corinthian flag, and going down to the port went aboard his fleet, giving orders to weigh anchor and meet the enemy. The wind changed on a sudden and favored Pisistra∣tus the two fleets came up with each other, and 〈◊〉 ranged in order of battle: a forest of masts 〈◊〉 on one side three lines of a vast length, whilst a riple line of Athenian vessels, bending into the fi∣••re of a half moon, presented an opposite forest up∣•• the water; the heavy armed soldiers were posted 〈◊〉 the decks, the bowmen and slingers at the prow 〈◊〉 poop. The trumpet gave the signal to begin the attack; the galleys on both sides first drew back, then advanced and struck against each other with violence; they pierced and to••e each other with their iron beaks; some struck against the prow, o∣thers against the poop, and others against the sides, while those vessels which were attacked presented their oars to break the violence of the shock. The two fleets mixed, grappled and came to a close fight; here the Athenian soldiers flung themselves from one ship to another, there the Corinthians threw bridges to board the enemy.

Cyrus followed Pisistratus every where, and by his courage supplied his want of experience in this sort of fight. Giving way to his ardor he would have thrown himself into one of the enemies ships, but fell into the sea: several arrows were shot at him, but he plunged into the water, saved himself by swimming, and got on board an Athenian galley, which Pisistratus sent to his assistance. Ashamed of his want of dexterity, he resolved to perish or repair his misfortune: he ordered the rowers to advance to the vessel where Megacles was in person, he came up with it, and with a flaming dart set fire to it; Page  154 the Athenian rebel endeavored to escape, but pe∣rished in the fire. Pisistratus and his captains followed the example of Cyrus; the wind freshened and 〈◊〉 high; the flames mixed with the waves; the Co∣rinthians threw themselves into the water to escape: the sea was soon covered with men swimming among rudders and rowers seats: this sad spectacle continu∣ed till the Corinthian fleet was quite dispersed with the wind, or consumed by the flames. After the ac∣tion Cyrus was wholly employed in saving the lives of those who were upon the point of perishing: then he returned into the port, and spent some days at Phalerus to observe the manner of building ships, and to learn the names and uses of all their different parts.

When Pisistratus had given all the necessary or∣ders for repairing his galleys, to took Cyrus with him in a chariot, and returned to Athens by a terrass which run along the banks of the river Ilissus. By the way he discoursed with the Prince of the naval force of the Athenians, the schemes he had laid to augment it, the advantages which might be drawn from it for the security of Greece against foreign in∣vasions, and lastly of the usefulness of commerce with regard to the navy. Hitherto, said he, the Atheni∣ans have applied their thoughts rather to grow rich than great, and this has been the source of our lux∣ury, licentiousness and popular discord: where ever a people carry on commerce only to encrease their wealth, the state is no longer a republic, but a socie∣ty of merchants, who have no other bond of union but the desire of gain. The generous love of their country is no longer thought of when the public good interferes with their private interest. I have endea∣vored to prevent these mischiefs; our ships subsist by their trade in time of peace, and are of service in de∣fending our country in time of war; by this means commerce contributes not only to enrich the subjects, Page  155 but to augment the strength of the state; the public good unites with the interest of each private subject, and trade does not in the least diminish military vir∣tue.

When Cyrus was returned to Athens, Pisistratus and Solon carried him to see their dramatic enter∣tainments. Magnificent theatres, pompous decorati∣ons, and the nice rules which have been since observ∣ed, where not then known. Tragedy was not in that perfection to which it was brought by Sophocles, but it answered all the views of policy for which it had been introduced. The Greek poets, in their dramatic pieces, usually represented the tyranny of Kings, in order to strengthen the aversion of the A∣thenians to regal government; but Pisistratus direct∣ed the deliverance of Andromeda to be acted. The poet has scattered throughout this tragedy several strokes of panegyric, which were the more ingenious, as they might be applied not only to Perseus, but to Cyrus who was descended from him. After this en∣tertainment Solon led the young Prince to his retreat on Mars-hill to take a repast there; it was more fru∣gal than that at the palace of Pisistratus, but not less agreeable. During this repast Cyrus desired the wise old man to explain to him the political design and principal parts of tragedy, which he did not yet un∣derstand.

Solon, who was himself a poet, answered: The theatre is a living picture of the virtues and passions of men; imitation deceives the mind into a belief that the objects are really present and not represented. You have formerly read our poet Homer, the drama is only an abridgement of epic poesy; the one is an action recited, the other an action represented; the one recounts the successive triumphs of virtue over vice and fortune, the other represents the unforeseen mischiefs caused by the passions; the one may abound with the marvellous and supernatural, because it Page  156 treats of heroic exploits, which the Gods alone in∣spire; but in the other the natural must be joined with the surprising, to shew the genuine effects 〈◊〉 play of human passions; the heaping of wonders ••∣on wonders transports the mind beyond the limits of nature, but it only excites admiration; on the con∣trary, by describing the effects of virtue and 〈◊〉 boh without us and within us, man is brought to 〈◊〉 and know himself, the heart is touched while 〈◊〉 mind is delighted and amused. To reach the 〈◊〉 lime the poet must be a Philosopher; the most beau∣tiful flowers, graces and paintings only please their i∣magination, without satisfying the heart or impro••• the understanding; solid principles, noble sentime••• and various characters must be dispersed through 〈◊〉 in order to display to us truth, virtue, and nature. Man must be represented as he is and as he appears in his native colours, and under his disguises, that the picture may resemble the original, in which there is always a contrast of virtues and imperfections. 〈◊〉 the same time it is necessary to conform to the we••∣ness of mankind; too much moralizing tires, 〈◊〉 much reasoning chills the mind; we must turn 〈◊〉 into action, convey noble sentiments by a single stroke, and instruct rather by the manners of the here than by his discourse.

These are the great rules founded upon human nature, and the springs which must be put in motion to make pleasure serviceable to instruction. I foresee that one day these rules may be improved; hitherto I have contented myself with making the theatre 〈◊〉 school of philosophy for the young Athenians, and useful to their education. It argues an ignorance of human nature to think of leading it to wisdom at once by constraint and severity: during the spright∣liness and fire of youth, there is no fixing the atten∣tion of the mind but by amusing it; this age is al∣ways upon its guard against precepts, and therefore Page  157 that they may be relished it is necessary to disguise them under the form of pleasure.

Cyrus admired the great designs both political and moral of the theatre, and saw clearly at the same time that the principal rules of tragedy are not arbi∣••ry, but taken from nature. He thought he could 〈◊〉 better shew his thankfulness to Solon for his in∣structions, than by letting him see the impression they had made upon him. I now perceive, said he, that the Egyptians are much in the wrong to despise the Greeks, and especially you Athenians: they look up∣•• your graces, your delicacies, and your ingenious ••ns as frivolous thoughts, superfluous ornaments, ••d childish prettinesses, which denotes a puerility of mind and a weakness of genius, which will not suffer you to rise higher. But I see that you have a nicer taste than other nations, that you are better acquaint∣ed with human nature, and know how to make plea∣sures instructive. The people of other countries are mostly affected with bold flights, violent transports, and bloody catastrophes: it is for want of sensibility that we do not distinguish like you the different shades of human thought and passion; we are not ac∣quainted with those soft and sweet pleasures that a∣rise from delicate sentiments. Solon touched with the politeness of the Prince's discourse, could not for∣bear embracing him and saying: Happy the nation that is governed by a Prince who travels over the earth and seas, to carry back into his own country all the treasures of wisdom! Cyrus soon after prepa∣red to leave Athens, and at parting made the same promise to Pisistratus and Solon which he had made to Chilo and Leonidas, of being ever a faithfully ally to Greece: he embarked with Araspes at the port of Phalerus in a Rhodian vessel which was bound for Crete.

The Prince's design in going thither was not only Page  158 to study the laws of Minos, but likewise to see Py∣thagoras who had stopped there in his way to Cro∣ton: all the Eastern Magi, whom that sage had seen in his travels had spoken of him to the Prince with encomiums; he was esteemed the greatest Philoso∣pher of his age, and to understand best of all men the ancient religion of Orpheus: his dispute with Anax∣imander the naturalist had filled all Greece with his same, and divided all the learned. Araspes had been informed of this matter by the Philosophers of A∣thens, and during the voyage gave Cyrus the follow∣ing account of it.

Pythagoras, who was descended from the ancient Kings of the island of Samos, had been captivated with the charms of wisdom from his tenderest years; he discovered even from that time a superior genius and a sovereign taste for truth. Not finding at Sa∣mos any Philosopher who could satisfy his eager thirst for knowledge, he left it at eighteen years of age, to seek elsewhere what he could not meet with in his own country; after having travelled for several years in Egypt and Asia, he returned home fraught with all the sciences of the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Gymnosophists and Hebrews; the sublimity of his genius was equal to the extent of his learning, and the excellent qualities of his heart surpassed both; his lively and fertile imagination did not hinder the justness of his reasoning.

Anaximander had gone from his own country Mi∣letus to the island of Samos; he had all the talents which can be acquired by study, but his understand∣ing was more subtile than profound, his notions more glittering than solid, and his deluding eloquence full of sophistry; he was impious in the very bottom of his soul, yet affected all the outward appearances of an extravagant superstition; he held as divine truths all the fables of the poets, and stuck to the literal sense of their allegories; he adopted all vulgar opi∣nions Page  159 as principles, in order to degrade religion, and make it monstrous.

Pythagoras loudly opposed these mischievous max∣ims, and endeavored to clear religion of those absurd opinions which dishonoured it. Anaximander had known Pythagoras from his infancy, he had instruct∣ed him in all the secrets of natural philosophy and had loved him with the affection of a father; but af∣ter the young Samian returned from his travels, the Milesian became jealous of his talents, and resolved to ruin him as an ingrate, who usurped upon his rights, obscured his glory, and was like to be the o∣racle of Greece; he covered himself with the vail of hypocrisy, and accused Pythagoras of impiety; he se∣cretly made use of all arts to incense the people and alarm Polycrates, who then reigned at Samos; he addressed himself to all the sects of Philosophers, and to the Priests of the different Divinities, to persuade them that the Samian Sage, by teaching the unity of one sole principle, destroyed the Gods of Greece: the King esteemed and loved Pythagoras, yet he suffered himself to be deceived by the artful representations of Anaximander: the Sage was banished from court, and obliged to quit his country. He leads at present a retired life in the island of Crete, and there studies wisdom without books or conversation. Having searched deep into all the mysteries of nature, and discerned those marks of an infinite Wisdom and Power, with which every part of the universe a∣bounds, he soars upon the wings of contemplation, that he may unite himself to the sovereign truth, whose impressions he receives without the medium of words or sounds.*: this inspiration as I am told, is nothing like that enthusiasm which heats the mind and agitates the body; but it gradually stills the Page  160 noise of the senses and imagination, imposes silence on all vain reasonings, and brings the soul to an in∣ward calm, that resembles the repose of the Gods themselves, whose infinite activity does not in the least diminish their perfect tranquility. In this sub∣lime state Pythagoras practises all the human and so∣cial virtues, but it is with an ultimate regard to the Gods, and in imitation of their veracity and goodness; he is modest, affable, polite, delicate in all his senti∣ments, disinterested in all his actions, speaks little, and never displays his talents but to inspire the love of virtue. This account of the Samian Philosopher gave Cyrus a great desire to see him, and to learn the particulars of his dispute. The wind continued favorable, and the vessel in a few days made the i∣sland of Crete.

SIXTH BOOK.

CYRUS no sooner arrived at Crete, but he went strait to Gnossus, the capital of the island, fa∣mous for the wonderful labyrinth made by Dedalus, and the stately temple of Jupiter Olimpius. This God was there represented without ears, to show that the sovereign Lord of the universe has no need of bodily organs to hear the complaints and prayers of men*. The temple stood within a large enclo∣sure Page  161 in the midst of a sacred wood; the entrance in∣to it was through a portico of twenty pillars of orien∣tal granate; the gate was of brass finely carved, and was adorned on the sides with two large figures, the one representing Truth, and the other Justice. The fabric was an immense arch, which let in light only at the top, in order to hide from the eye all objects abroad except the heavens. The inside was a peris∣tyle of porphyry and Numidian marble: At certain distances one from another were several alters conse∣crated to the celestial Gods, with the statues of ter∣restrial Divinities between the pillars; the dome was covered on the outside with plates of silver, and a∣dorned on the inside with the images of heroes, who had been deified for their merit.

Cyrus entered this temple; the silence and majesty of the place filled him with awe and respect: he pro∣••ated himself and adored the Divinity present: he had learned from Zoroaster that the Jupiter Olym∣pius of the Greeks was the same with the Oromazes of the Persians, and the Osiris of the Egyptians. He then cast his eye over all the wonders of art which beautified this place; he was less struck with the rich∣ness and magnificence of the altars, than with the nobleness and expression of the statues: as he had learned the Greek mythology, he could easily distin∣guish all the Divinities, and discern the mysteries couched in all the allegorical figures that were before him. What drew his attention more especially, was to see that each of the celestial Deities held in his hand a golden tablet; upon these tablets were writ∣ten the exalted ideas of Minos in religion, and the se∣veral answers which the oracles had given that law∣giver when he consulted them about the nature of the 〈◊〉, and the worship they required.

Upon the tablet of Jupiter Olympius were to be read these words:

I give being, life, and motion to Page  162 all creatures*; no one can know me but he 〈◊〉 seeks to resemble me.
Upon that of Pallas:
The Gods make themselves known to the heart and conceal themselves from those who endeavor to comprehend them by the understanding alone
Upon that of the Goddess Urania:
The divine laws are not chains to fetter us, but wings to raise us to the bright Olympius§.
Upon that of the Pyth••• an Apollo was this ancient oracle:
The Gods take less delight to dwell in heaven than in the souls of the just, which is their true temple.
While Cyrus was meditating on the sublime sense of these inscriptions, a venerable old man entered the temple, prostrated himself before the statue of Harpocrates, and remained there a long time in profound silence. Cyrus suspected it to be Pythagoras, but durst not interrupt his devotion. Pythagoras (for it was he) having paid his homage to the Gods, rose up and per∣ceived the two strangers: he imagined, that in the air and mein of Cyrus he saw the same marks which Solon had described, when he gave him notice of the young Prince's intended voyage to Crete: he acco••∣ed him with a salutation, and made himself known.

The Samian Sage, that he might not disturb the silence which ought to be observed in a place dedica∣ted to the adoration of the immortal Gods, led Cyrus and Araspes into the sacred wood adjoining to the temple. Cyrus then said to him: What I have seen upon the golden tablets gives me a high notion of your religion; I made haste to come hither, not on∣ly to be instructed in the laws of Minos, but to learn from you the doctrine of Orpheus about the golden age; I am told that it resembles that of the Persians concerning the empire of Oromazes, and that of the Page  163 Egyptians relating to the reign of Osiris; it is a plea∣sure to see the traces of those great truths in all nati∣ons; vouchsafe to unfold to me your ancient traditi∣ons. Solon, replied Pythagoras, acquainted me with your design of coming into this island; I was going to Croton, but I have put off my voyage to have the pleasure of seeing a hero, whose birth and conquests have been foretold by the oracles of almost all nati∣ons: I will conceal nothing from you of the myste∣ries of wisdom, because I know that you will one day e the lawgiver of Asia as well as its conqueror. After this they sat down near a statue of Minos in the sacred wood, and the Philosopher rehearsed to them all the Mythology of the first Greeks, making use of the poetic stile of Orpheus, which by its paint∣ing and images rendered sensible the sublimest truths.

* In the golden age the inhabitants of the earth lived in perfect innocence: such as are the Elysian fields for heroes, such was then the happy abode of men; the intemperature of the air, and the war of the elements were unknown; the North winds were not yet come forth from their deep grottoes; the Zephyrs only enlivened all things with their soft and gentle breezes; neither the scorching heats of sum∣mer, nor the severities of winter were ever felt; the spring crowned with flowers, and the autumn loaded with fruits, reigned together; death, diseases and crimes durst not approach these happy places. The soul was not then imprisoned in a gross mortal body as it is now; it was united to a luminous, heavenly, ethereal body which served it as a vehicle to fly through the air, rise to the stars, and wander over all the regions of immensity. Sometimes those first men reposing themselves in odoriferous groves, tasted all the purest pleasures of friendship; sometimes they Page  164 sat at the tables of the Gods, and were feasted with nectar and ambrosia; at other times Jupiter, attend∣ed by all the Divinities, mounted his winged chariot, and conducted them above the heavens. The poets have not celebrated nor known that* HIGHEST PLACE; it was there that the soul beheld truth, justice and wisdom in their source; it was there that with the eyes of the pure spirit they contemplated the first Es∣sence of whose brightness Jupiter and the other God are but so many rays; there they were nourished with beholding that object, till being no longer able to sup∣port its splendor, they descended again to their ordina∣ry abode. The Deities at that time took a pleasure in conversing, with men; the shepherdesses were loved by the Gods, and the Goddesses did not disdain the love of shepherds; the graces accompanied them every where, and these graces were the virtues themselves! but alas! this golden age was of no long duration.

One day men neglected to follow Jupiter's chariot, stayed in the fields of Hecate, got drunk with nectar, lost their taste for pure truth, and separated the love of pleasure from the love of order. The shepherd∣esses viewed themselves in fountains, and became ido∣laters of their own beauty; each had her thoughts wholly taken up about herself: love forsook the earth, and together with him all the celestial Divini∣ties disappeared: the Sylvan Gods were changed into Satyrs, the Napaeae into Bacchae, and the Nayads into Syrens; the virtues and the graces were no lon∣ger the same; and self-love, the parent of all vices, begot sensuality, the source of all miseries. Nature was quickly transformed in this lower sphere: the sun had no longer the same force, nor the same mild∣ness, its light was obscured; our globe fell to ruins, the abyss was opened and overflowed; it was divi∣ded Page  165 by seas into islands and continents; the fruitful 〈◊〉 became craggy rocks, and the delightful val∣leys frightful precipices: nothing remained but ••ins of the old world drowned in the waters. The wings of the soul were clipt; its subtile vehicle was ••oken, and spirits were thrown down into mortal bodies, where they undergo divers transmigrations, all they are purged of their crimes by expiatory 〈◊〉.* The ethereal body was contracted, impri∣••ned, and buried in a living sepulchre, a coarse co∣vering, which is ever changing, which does not con∣•••ue one moment the same, and is something merely ••cidental to our substance: the immortal seed, the ••orruptible body, the subtile vehicle is at present the seat of the soul, and the channel of communicati∣on between the pure spirit and the gross body, the ••den spring of all the motions and operations of our walking carcase. It was thus that the iron age succeeded to the golden, and it will last ten thousand years; during which time Saturn conceals himself in 〈◊〉 inaccessible retreat; but in the end he will resume the reins of his empire, and restore the universe to its original splendor: all souls will then be reunited to their principle. This, continued Pythagoras, is the allegory by which Orpheus has made us under∣stand the first condition of man, and the misery into which he is fallen. Our mortal body is the punish∣ment of our crimes, and the disorder of our hearts is an evident proof of our being degraded.

I perceive, said Cyrus, that the principles of Zoro∣aster, Hermes and Orpheus are the same: their alle∣gories abound with the sublimest truth; why then will your priests reduce all to an outward worship? They have spoken to me of Jupiter only as of a law∣giver, who promises his nectar and ambrosia, not to to solid virues, but to the belief of certain opinions Page  166 and the observance of some ceremonies which are 〈◊〉 no use either to enlighten the mind, or to purify the heart. The corruption and avarice of priests, repli∣ed Pythagoras, is the source of all these misch•••. The ministers of the Gods, who were established at first to make men good, turn the priesthood into a vile trade; they mind only the outward shew of religios. The vulgar, not understanding the mysterious mean∣ing of the sacred rites, fall into a gross superstiti••, while the bold wits give themselves up to impre••. Some despise even the purest antiquity; others de∣ny the necessity of an outward worship; others a∣raign the eternal Wisdom, because of the evils and crimes which happen here below. Anaximander and his audacious school actually spread abroad at 〈◊〉 time throughout all Greece, that God and Nature are the same thing. Every one forms a system after his own fashion, without respecting the doctrine of the ancients.

When Cyrus heard him name Anaximander, he said to him, I have been informed of the cause of your disgrace and exile; and have a great desire to know the particulars of your dispute with that Mile∣sian Philosopher; tell me in what manner you com∣bated this doctrine; it may help very much to pre∣serve me from those dangerous maxims. I have al∣ready seen at Ecbatan several Magi who talked the same language with Anaximander: the errors of the human mind are pretty near the same in all countries and in all times. The particulars of that dispute, answered Pythagoras, will be long, but I shall not affect to shorten them lest I should become obscure. Upon my return to Samos, continued the Philoso∣pher, after my long travels, I found that Anaximan∣der, who was now advanced in years, had spread e∣very where his impious doctrine: the young people had embraced it; the love of novelty, the inclination to flatter their passions, the vanity of thinking them∣selves Page  167 wiser than other men, had blinded their un∣derstandings and drawn them into these errors. In order to remedy the mischiefs, I attacked the princi∣ples of the Milesian; he made me be cited before a tribunal of Pontifs in the temple of Apollo, where the King and all the people of the city were assem∣bled; he began by representing my doctrine under the most odious form, he gave false and malicious 〈◊〉 to my words, and endeavored to make me su∣spected of the impiety of which he himself was guilty: I then rose up and spoke in the following manner.

O King! image of the great Jupiter, priests of A∣pollo and you citizens of Samos! hearken to me and judge of my innocence; I have travelled among all the different nations of the universe to learn wisdom, which is only to be found in the tradition of the an∣cients; I have discovered, that from the origin of things men adored but one sole eternal Principle; that all the Gods of Greece are but different names to express the attributes of the Deity, or the properties of Nature, which is the image of him. All that we can conceive of the supreme Essence pre∣sents itself to the mind under the three forms of goodness, wisdom and power; the sovereign good, the principle of all beings, the intelligence which de∣signed the plan of the world, and the energy which executed it. The Orientals call these three forms* OROMAZES, MYTHRA and MYTHRAS; the Egypti∣ans OSIRIS, ISIS and ORUS; the Thracians URAN∣US, URANIA and LOVE; the Tyrians BELUS, VENUS and THAMMUS; the Greeks JUPITER, MINERVA and APOLLO. Sometimes we represent these three forms of divinity by the principal parts of nature, as the sun, the moon and the earth, and we stile them VULCAN, JUNO and NEPTUNE; one while by that prolific virtue which produces wine, corn and fruits, Page  168 and they are called BACCHUS, CERES and VERTUM∣NUS; and often by the justice they exercise in the ••∣fernal region, and they bear the names of PLUTO, PROSERPINE and MINOS: moreover the first 〈◊〉 of the divinity is represented by his eternity as he is the most ancient of all beings, and we call it COELU CHRONUS and SATURN: the second Form by his e∣gundity as containing the seeds of all things, and we stile it RHEA, VESTA and CYBELE: the third Form by the authority he exercises in the government of the world, and we call it MARS as the arbiter of war, MERCURY as the ambassador of the supreme God, HERCULES as a hero who purges the earth of monsters. Thus we express the three attributes of the Deity which comprehend the totality of his na∣ture by the original Father the author of all beings, the immortal Virgin the mother of nature, and the son of Jupiter the emanation from these two princi∣ples.* All these names nevertheless denote but one and the same power which drew all beings visi∣ble out of nothing; but mankind have confounded the work with the artificer, the image with the ori∣ginal, the shadow with the substance; they have for∣gotten the ancient doctrine, they have lost the mean∣ing of our allegories, and stopt at the outward sym∣bols without entering into the spirit of them: this is the source of those numberless errors which prevail at present throughout all Greece, degrade religion, and render it contemptible. Moreover I find that it is a stedfast maxim in all nations, that men are deba∣sed, and that religion is the only means to restore the soul to its original grandeur, to make her wings grow again, and to raise her to the ethereal regions from whence she is fallen. It is necessary first to be∣come man by civil and social virtues, and then to re∣semble the Gods by that love of the SOVEREIGN Page  169 BEAUTY, ORDER and PERFECTION, which makes us love virtue for itself: this is the only worship worthy of the immortals, and this is all my doctrine.

Anaximander then rose up in the midst of the as∣sembly; his age, talents and reputation gained him a silent and universal attention. Pythagoras, said he, destroys religion by his refinements; his love of ORDER is a chimera; let us consult nature, let us search into all the secret recesses of man's heart, let us interrogate men of all nations, we shall find that self-love is the source of all our actions, all our passi∣ons, and even all our virtues: Pythagoras loses him∣self in his abstract reasonings; I keep to simple na∣ture, and there I find my principles: the feeling and sentiment of all hearts authorises my doctrine, and this kind of proof is the shortest and most convincing.

Anaximander, answered I, substitutes irregular passions in the room of noble sentiments, he always represents what men ordinarily do, as the standard of what they ought to do; but the weakness of na∣ture blinded and enfeebled by the passions, is not the rule of nature enlightened and fortified by the sove∣reign reason; he affirms boldly, but he proves no∣thing; this is not my method, my proofs are these, they seem to me clear and solid; the sovereign will of the great Jupiter ought to be the universal rule of our will; he loves all beings more or less, in pro∣portion to their resemblance with him; it is the de∣gree of this resemblance which constitutes the beau∣ty, truth and goodness of each intelligence. The Father of Gods and men loves himself as the sove∣reign good, and all other beings as his emanations; and this should be our rule: self-love, to be regular, must be the effect and not the cause of our love for the supreme good; the love of the INFINITELY GREAT should be the ground of our love for the INFINITELY LITTLE; the love of the original, the Page  170 motive of our love for the pictures. This is the e∣ternal law, the immutable order, and the love of the sovereign beauty.

Anaximander interrupted me with a disdainful smile and answered; Pythagoras imposes upon you by words without meaning, by abstracted ideas that are of no use in social life, by chimeras hatched in the empty brain of idle sophists who exhaust themselves in vain speculations; what is this eternal law? this or∣der conformable to it? this love of the sovereign beauty with which he continually dazzles our eyes? let him explain himself clearly, and all his fine-spun notions will vanish into smoke.

* The law, replied I, is the intelligence which produced all things, the sovereign reason of the great Jupiter, the divine Minerva who incessantly springs from his head. The order conformable to this law is founded upon the different degrees of reality which the All-producing Spirit has given to his works, the immutable relations and essential differences which are between them. The love conformable to this order, is to prefer that which is more perfect to that which is less so, not only in all kinds but in the seve∣ral species and individuals Lastly, the sovereign beauty has no perfect similitude with any thing we behold on earth, or in the heavens; whatever else is beautiful is only so by a participation of its beauty; all other beauties may increase, decay, change or pe∣rish, but this is still the same in all times and in all places; it is by contemplating the different degrees of transient, variable and finite beauty, and by carry∣ing our thoughts beyond them all, that we at length reach to that supreme Beauty which is simple, pure, uniform, immutable, without colour, figure or human qualities. Anaximander pretends this doctrine is a Page  171 chimerical idea, and a vain refinement which has no influence in social life, but all the philosophers and legislators have thought otherwise; Hermes, Orphe∣us and Minos laid it down as a fundamental principle, that a man must prefer the public good to his private interest from the sole love of goodness, justice and perfection; it was to this order that Codrus thought himself bound to sacrifice not only his crown but his life; his view in conforming to this order was not to render himself happy, on the contrary he believed it his duty to devote himself to death, and to make no account of himself because the love of order exacted 〈◊〉. If we can love nothing but with reference to ourselves, each member of society will come by de∣grees to consider himself as an independent being ••de for himself; there will be no reason to sacrifice private interest to public good; noble sentiments and heroic virtues will be destroyed: nor is this all, eve∣ry concealed crime will soon be authorised; if virtue be not amiable for itself, each man will forsake it when he can hide himself from the eyes of the pub∣lic, he will commit all crimes without remorse when interest carries him to it, and he is not with-held by fear; and thus is also society dissolved; whether therefore you consider religion or policy, both con∣spire to prove my doctrine.

Here Anaximander answered: Pythagoras is un∣acquainted with the nature of the soul; the desire of happiness constitutes the essence of the will; pleasure is the great law both of mortal and immortal natures, its attractive force is irresistible, and it is the only moving spring of man's heart; the sight of perfecti∣on acts upon us only by the pleasing sensation it causes in us.

We always love with pleasure, answered I, but we do not always love for the sake of pleasure. As the delight which accompanies the perception of truth is not the reason why we acquiesce in truth, so the Page  172 pleasure which accompanies the view of order is not the reason why we love justice. That which deter∣mines the pure act of the will, both in the one and the other case, is the perception of the immutable re∣lations, and essential differences between beings; 〈◊〉 know these relations, and these differences is Truth, to act according to these relations and differences 〈◊〉 Virtue. We may follow justice for the good it pro∣cures us, but we cannot love it but for itself, that only, for the sake of which we love, being properly the object of our love As the most unjust of all men would be he, who, while he committed all sorts of crimes, should pass for just, and so enjoy the ho∣nors of virtue and the pleasures of vice; so the per∣fectly just man would be he who should love justice for itself; and not for the honors and pleasures which accompany it; who should pass for unjust while he practised the most exact justice; who should not suf∣fer himself to be moved by ingnominy, distress, or the most cruel sufferings, but should continue stedfast in the love of justice, not because it is delightful, but because it is just. It is thus that the Gods do good from the pure love of good; the soul is an i∣mage of their substance, consequently she may imitate them, and love virtue for itself; the perception of truth may act as strongly upon her as the sensation of pleasure.

Ever since the iron age began, men are so blinded that they do not comprehend this sublime love of virtue; the Philosophers themselves arrive to it but by slow degrees; wisdom, in purifying the heart, accommodates herself to the weakness of our distem∣pered and imperfect nature* The divine Themis Page  173 inebriates us at first with heavenly delights to coun∣terbalance in us the weight of terrestrial pleasures. She allures us by a sweet smile, enchants us by her looks all charming, transports us by the amiable truths she presents to the mind; we then adhere to virtue for the sake of those sweets that accompany it: but in proportion as the soul withdraws from out∣ward objects, her love becomes more exalted, more delicate and more generous; she enters deeply into herself, concenters all her powers, and retires into her spiritual nature; she sees all the windings and turnings of the heart, she discovers all the enormities of her self-love, which made her refer all her virtues to herself, and practise them only out of vanity, that she might become the idol of men by an usurpation upon the rights of the Gods; she suffers inexpressible pains to expiate these secret iniquities; she at length gets out of herself, rises above herself, separates and disengages herself from every thing, that she may be nited to the immutable Beauty, and behold him with that eye with which alone he can be seen; then it is that she brings forth not the shadows of virtue, but the virtues themselves, she becomes immortal and the friend of God* Such is the immutable law of Themis, the human virtues are acquired with plea∣sure, but deification only by sufferings, and by being stript of every thing that is mortal and terrestrial in us. It was thus that Hercules found exquisite plea∣sures in his twelve labors, and in all the exploits of an heroic virtue; but he was no deified till he had passed through the purifying flames o Themis, which your poets have represented by those of his several pile on mount Oeta. They consumed the •••soned robe of the Centaur, of the monster Typhon, and of the evil principle, which that son of Jupiter had put Page  174 on to give us an example of perfect virtue; in the midst of the devouring flames he rejoiced at the de∣struction of all that he had received from his mother Alcmene: the fight of the immutable order so ra∣vished and transported him out of himself, that her could not give a thought to his own happiness.

Here Anaximander cried out with fury, Pythago∣ras is ignorant of the history of the Gods, he says we must resemble them, they swim in delights above, and descend upon earth only to please themselves with terrestrial Goddesses; Jupiter himself is an in∣stance of it; to imitate them is to pursue pleasure; Pythagoras artfully endeavored to create in you a brutal indifference for the fear of the Gods, make you despise nectar and ambrosia, and destroy in you the invincible desire of happiness natural to all intelligences; I gave you warning of the horrible consequences of his system, beware of his sophistry.

* Justice, replied I with an intrepid 〈◊〉 is amiable of itself; if we love it only for the advantages it pro∣cures us, we are not good but politic; it is the high∣est injustice to love justice only for the sake of reward; to asire to the table of the Gods merely to please and delight ourselves, is not to love the sovereign good, it is to degrade it and make if subservient to our interest. It was thus that souls fell from the sublime place in heaven, they loved nectar and am∣brosia more than truth, and separated the love of pleasure from the love of order. To love the sove∣reign BEAUTY only as beneficent, is to love him for the finite participation of his gifts, it is to love him for what he does in us, and not for what he is in himself; it is to separate the sovereign goodness from the su∣preme justice; to love the immutable BEAUTY for his perfection is to love him for his immense totality; it is to love him for what we know of him, and not for Page  175 what we feel of him; it is to love without measure the Being without limits, and it is this love which ••ates, elevates, deifies, and gives a kind of immensi∣ty to the soul. I maintain therefore with all the an∣cients that we are not to desire admittance to the ta∣ble of the Gods, but as a state in which we are uni∣ted to the sovereign BEAUTY, transformed into his image and perfected in his love. Is Olympus less the object of our desire, because we desire it from a mo∣tive worthy of the Gods? Do we love the Gods the less, because we prefer their friendship to the nectar that is drunk at their table?

O Samians! Anaximander endeavours not only to loud your minds, but to corrupt your manners; he deceives you by sticking to the literal sense of your Mythology. The Gods who are exempt from hu∣man frailties do not descend upon earth to satisfy any passions; all that wise antiquity tells us of the amours of Jupiter and the other Divinities, are but an inge∣nious allegory to represent the pure communications of the Gods with mortals since the iron age. Your Philosophers, always describe virtue to us as divine energy descending from heaven, they continually speak of guardian Deities, who inspire, enlighten and strengthen us, to shew that heroic virtues can proceed from the Gods alone; but those poets who seek only to please and to strike the imagination by heaping wonders upon wonders, have disfigured your Mytho∣logy by their fictions.

Here Anaximander cried out again with an air of zeal and enthusiasm; Will you suffer, O Samians, your religion to be thus destroyed, by turning its my∣steries into allegories, blaspheming against the sacred books of your poets, and denying the mo•• undoubted facts of tradition? Pythagoras overthrows, your al∣tars, your temples and your priesthood, that he may lead you to impiety, under pretence of destroying su∣perstition. A confused murmur immediately arose in Page  176 the assembly; they were divided in their sentiments: the greatest part of the priests called me impious, and an enemy of religion. Perceiving then the deep dis∣simulation of Anaximander, and the blind zeal of the people who were deluded by sophistry, it was impos∣sible for me to contain myself, and rising my voice I said:

O King, priests and Samians, hearken to me for the last time. I would not at first lay open the myste∣ries of Anaximander's monstrous system, nor endea∣vor in a public assembly to render his person odious as he has labored to do mine: hithero I have re∣spected his grey hairs, but now that I see the pit of destruction into which he seeks to hurry you, I can no longer be silent without being false to the Gods and to my country. Anaximander seems to you to be zealous for religion, but in reality he endeavors to destroy it. Hear what his principles are, which he teaches in secret to those who will listen to him. There is nothing in the universe but matter and mo∣tion; in the fruitful bosom of an infinite matter every thing is produced by an eternal revolution of forms; the destruction of some is the birth of others; the different rangings of the atoms is what alone makes the different sorts of minds, but all is dissipated and plunged again into the same abyss after death. Ac∣cording to Anaximander, that which is now stone, wood, metal, may be dissolved and transformed not only into water, air and pure flame, but into rational spirit; according to him our own idle fears have dug the infernal pit, and our own scared imagination is the source of those famous rivers which flow in gloo∣my Tartarus; our superstition has peopled the coele∣stial regions with Gods and Demi-Gods, and it is our vanity which makes us imagine that we shall one day drink nectar with them; according to him goodness and malice, virtue and vice, justice and injustice, are but the names which we give to things as they please Page  177 to displease us; men are born virtuous or vicious, s tygers are born fierce, and lambs mild; all is the effect of an invincible fatality, and we think that we choose only because the sweetness of pleasure hides the force which irresistibly draws us. This, O Sami∣ans, is the precipice to which he would lead you.

While I was speaking, the Gods declared them∣selves. Before the dispute the high priest of Delphos had been consulted about my doctrine; his decisions are always agreeable to the will of the great Apollo; the answer he sent to the priests of Samos was this;

You accuse Pythagoras of erring through an ex∣cess of love for the supreme Beauty, and I accuse you of erring through a friendship for your fellow citizen; the God whom I serve, equally abhors those who aspire not to the pleasures of Olympus, and those who desire them only to gratify their passions; mortals have often need to think of nec∣tar and ambrosia, in order to reject the enchanting cup of Circe, which transforms men into hogs; but when the Goddess Minerva descends into heroes, they perform noble actions from noble motives; pure pleasures accompany them, glory environs them, immortality follows them, but virtue is alone their object.
Scarce had they read this answer of the pontif, when a divine voice seemed to come from the innermost part of the temple, and to say:
* The Gods do good for the sole love of good, you cannot honor them worthily but by resembling them.
The priests and the multitude, who were more struck with the prodigy than they had been with the truth, changed their sentiments and declared in my favor. Anaximander perceived it, and imagining that I had corrupted the pontifs in order to delude the people, hid himself under a new kind of hypocrisy, and said to the assembly,
The Oracle has spoken and I must Page  178 be silent: I believe, but I am not yet enlightened; my heart is touched, but my understanding is not convinced; I desire to discourse with Pythagoras in private, and to be instructed by his reasonings.
Being moved and softened with Anaximander's seem∣ing sincerity, I embraced him with tears of joy in presence of the King and the pontifs, and conducted him to my own house. The impious wretch, imagi∣ning that it was impossible for a man of sense not to think as he did, believed that I affected this zeal for religion only to throw a mist before the eyes of the people and gain their suffrages. We were no soon∣er alone than he changed his stile and said to me:

The dispute between us is reduced to this question; whether the eternal Nature acts with wisdom or de∣sign, or takes all sorts of forms by a blind necessity: let us not dazzle our eyes with vulgar prejudices; a Philosopher cannot believe but when he is forced to it by a complete evidence; I reason only upon what I see, and I see nothing in all nature but an immense matter and an infinite activity; this active matter is eternal; now an infinite active force must, in an e∣ternal duration, of necessity give all sorts of forms to an immense matter; it has had other forms than what we see at present, and it will take new ones; every thing has changed, and does change, and will change, and this is sufficient for the production not only of this world, but of numberless worlds invisible to us.

What you offer, replied I, is nothing but sophistry instead of proof. You see nothing in all nature, say you, but an infinite activity and an immense matter; I allow it; but does it follow from thence, that the infinite activity is a property of matter? Matter is e∣ternal (add you) and it may be so, because the infi∣nite force which is always acting may have always produced it; but do you conclude from thence that it is the only existing substance? I shall agree also Page  179 that an all-powerful, active force may in an eternal duration give all sorts of forms to an immense mat∣ter; but is this a proof that force acts by a blind ne∣cessity and without design? Though I should admit your principles, I must deny your consequences, which seem to me absolutely false. My reasons are these:

The idea which we have of matter does not in∣clude that of active force; matter does not cease to be matter when in perfect rest; it cannot restore mo∣tion to itself when it has lost it; from whence I con∣clude that it is not active of itself, and consequently that infinite force is not one of its properties. Fur∣ther, I perceive in myself and in several beings with which I am encompassed, a reasoning principle which feels, thinks, compares and judges; motion only changes the situation or figure of bodies; now it is absurd to suppose that matter without thought and sensation can become insensible and intelligent merely by shifting its place, or changing its figure; there is no connection between these ideas; I allow that the quickness of our sensations depends often upon the motion of the humors in the body, and this proves that spirit and body may be united, but by no means that they are the same; and from the whole I con∣clude, that there is in nature another substance be∣sides matter, and consequently that there may be a sovereign intellect much superior to mine, to yours, and to those of all other men. In order to know whether there be such an intellect, I sally out of my∣self, I run over all the wonders of the universe, I observe the constancy and regularity of its laws, the fruitfulness and variety of its productions, the conect∣ion and suitableness of its parts, the conformation of animals, the structure of plants, the order of the ele∣ments and the revolutions of the heavenly bodies: I cannot doubt but all is the effect of art, contrivance and a supreme wisdom. I then draw a vail over all Page  180 the beings with which I am encompassed; I consider them only as phantoms, mere appearances and illusi∣ons; I shut my eyes, I stop my ears, I return again into myself, to consider that reasoning principle which I have already proved not to be material, which might subsist though all bodies were annihilated, and which shews me all objects without presenting itself to my view. Since there cannot be an eternal suc∣cession of effects without a cause, it follows necessarily that he who made this intelligent principle must be himself intelligent; hence I conclude that the INFI∣NITE FORCE which you acknowledge to be in nature, is a SOVEREIGN INTELLIGENCE. When I thus re∣turn into myself, I again perceive the great Jupiter whom you would hide from my eyes; I find myself at present alone with him, he is sufficient to me, he continually acts upon me, he is the cause of all my sensations and of all my thoughts; he can represent numberless worlds to me, though there were nothing in all nature but he and I. Earth, air and heaven, planets and stars, universal nature, I behold you no more; vain shadows, imperfect images, disfigured pictures, you are vanished away, I perceive nothing but your original and your cause, I am swallowed up, I lose myself in his bosom, and I need only feel my own being to be convinced of his.

I remember, said Cyrus, that Zoroaster laid open to me all these truths: a superficial veiw of the won∣ders of the universe might leave the mind in some uncertainty, but when we descend to particulars, when we enter into the sanctuary of nature, and stu∣dy its secrets, laws and effects to the bottom, when we are well acquainted with ourselves, and compare what we feel within us with what we see without us, it is impossible any longer to hesitate: I do not see how Anaximander could resist the force of your argu∣ments.

He answered me, Your reasoning is plausible, but Page  181 has no solidity in it; you always shun the main ques∣tion by the dextrous agility of your mind. I agree with you, that there cannot be an eternal succession of effects without a* first cause; this would be an infinite chain hanging upon nothing, an immense weight without a support; I likewise allow that the idea of the matter does not include that of active force, as the idea of active force does not include that of wisdom; because the different attributes of one and the same essence may be separately conceived. Lastly, I grant that bodies do not become intelligent by changing of place and figure; but you ascribe to matter properties which it has not; matter and ex∣tension are the same thing now you know that extension has neither colour, nor smell, nor taste; and I add, that it has neither fixed bounds, nor dis∣tinct parts, nor real motions: all these qualities are but ideas or perceptions of the soul, caused by the action of the immense§ extension, which shews itself successively to us under different forms: this principle being laid down, my real doctrine is this. We cannot banish from our minds the ideas of eterni∣ty, immensity and infinity, they every where present themselves to us; we can explain nothing without them; these three poperties are therefore the attri∣butes of some eternal, immense and absolutely infi∣nite Being; there can be no other substance but Page  182 his, it is one and it is all; it is the universal being and is both* extended and intellectual; what makes the diversity of beings is not any real distinction of substance, but the difference of form; the eternal nature acts continually within itself, by itself, and up∣on itself, according to the whole extent of its infinite power, and thereby necessarily produces all sorts of forms; this boundless§ power is not restrained by those rules which are called wisdom, goodness and ju∣stice, for these belong to finite beings, and by no means to the infinite. Let me see you attack this sy∣stem with solid reasons, without seeking to dazzle my eyes with metaphors, allegories and the loose decla∣mations of an orator.

I answered; If you only maintained, that all es∣sences are but different forms of the divine essence, that our souls are portions of the soul of the world, and our bodies parts of his immense extension, you would not be an atheist, but you would hold absurdi∣ties with many other philosophers who have a sin∣cere Page  183 abhorrence of all impiety. They suppose as you do that there is in all nature but one substance, that the whole universe is an emanation from the divine essence, or an expansion of it; but they believe that there is an infinite Spirit who presides over all spirits, a sovereign wisdom that governs the world, a su∣preme goodness that loves all its productions; they never imagined as you do, that the only substance acts without intelligence or justice, without knowing or having any regard to the immutable relations and es∣sential differences between beings; your atheism lies there: and what proof do you offer for your opini∣on? In order to demonstrate and convince, is it e∣nough to heap proposition upon proposition, take for granted, and affirm boldly!

He replied with an haughty assurance, my whole system turns upon this single* principle, that there is but one only substance in nature; this being de∣monstrated, all the rest follows by necessary and un∣avoidable consequence. Now this great principle I prove thus; when the eternal Being produces new substances, he gives them something or nothing; if he gives them nothing, he will never produce any thing, if he gives them a part of his own essence, he does not produce a new substance, but a new form, this is demonstration: provided the unity of substance be not destroyed, it is indifferent to me how it is cal∣led, whether soul or body, spirit or matter, intelli∣gent or intelligible extension.

Page  184 When the great Jupiter, said I, creates, he does not draw a being out of nothing, as out of a subject which contains in it some reality, neither does he di∣vide his essence to make a separate substance of it, but he makes something exist which did not exist before: now to make a substance exist which was not before, has nothing in it more inconceivable than to make a form exist which was not before; since in both cases there is a new reality produced and whatever difficul∣ties there are in conceiving the passage from non∣existence to Being, there are as puzzling in the one as in the other: you cannot deny a creating energy without denying for the same reason all active force. Thus your eternal nature is reduced to a formless mass, or to an infinite space without action and pow∣er, as well as without wisdom and goodness. Where will you find an active Deity to reduce that chaos to order, or to fill that immense space: but I will re∣store you, out of compassion, that active principle and that moving force, which you have need of to form your world; I will suppose, contrary to all reason and evidence, that your eternal nature acts as neces∣sarily as it exists, you will gain nothing by this con∣cession, you will only plunge yourself into a new a∣byss of contradictions more absurd and more frightful Page  185 than the first. You cannot deny that there are in nature beings who suffer, and others that do not suf∣fer, intelligences that are ignorant, and others who have knowledge; some who deny, others who affirm, and others who doubt of the same things; intelligen∣ces who love and hate the same objects, and who of∣ten change their thoughts, sentiments and passions: now is it conceivable that the same immutable, im∣mense, infinite Substance should be at the same time knowing and ignorant, happy and unhappy, a friend and an enemy of its own nature? Does this mon∣strous assemblage of variable, bounded, fantastical and jarring forms square with the attributes you ascribe to the eternal Nature? You may weaken your un∣derstanding by too much refining, you may exhaust yourself by spinning a thin web of sophisms, you may wrap yourself up in these cobwebs, and endeavor to entangle light fluttering minds in them; but I defy you to consider attentively the consequences of your system without horror and shame: what motive is it that could induce you to prefer the system of a blind nature to that of a wise intelligence? Do but ascend to first principles, make use of that accuracy in which you formerly excelled, and you will find that the in∣finite being, which you admit equally with me, is not a universal being, but a being vastly distinct from all o∣thers; that he has produced new substances as well as forms: that he knows himself and all his producti∣ons; that he loves himself essentially, and all other beings in proportion to the degrees of reality he has communicated to them; that he is by consequence supremely powerful, wise and good; that it is absurd to conceive what is only power, wisdom and good∣ness, under the form of length, breadth and thickness; that he may exist every where without succession of thoughts; that infinite extension is not his immensity, as infinite time is not his eternity; that space is only Page  186 the manner in which bodies exist in him, as time is only the manner in which created beings exist with him; and lastly, that variable and finite beings are not different forms of his substance, but free effects of his power. Examine geometrically this chain of consequences drawn from the idea of the eternal, im∣mense, infinite Being; descend from the first to the last, remount from the last to the first, and you will see that they are all of them necessarily linked toge∣ther; every step you will discern new rays of light, which, when they are all united, form a complete e∣vidence: I challenge you to shew me where it fails.

Thrice he essayed to speak, and thrice his perplex∣ed mind endeavored in vain to rally its confused i∣deas; at length he collected all the powers of his un∣derstanding, and answered me thus: The universe is full of defects and vices, I see every where beings that are unhappy, and wicked; now I cannot con∣ceive how sufferings and crimes can begin or subsist under the empire of a being supremely good, wise and powerful: if he be wise he must have foreseen them, and if he be good he would have prevented them. Here is therefore as manifest a contradiction in your system as in mine; you must deny that there are crimes and miseries in the universe, or that there is a sovereign Wisdom and Goodness that governs it; take your choice.

How, answered I, will you deny what you see clearly because you do not see further? The smallest light induces us to believe, but the greatest obscurity is not a sufficient reason for denying: in this dawn of human life the lights of understanding are too feint to shew us truth with a perfect evidence; we only get a glimpse of it by a chance ray, which suffices to conduct us; but it is not such a broad day-light as dispels all obscurity. You deny a creating power because you do not conceive how it operates; you reject an eternal Wisdom because you know not the Page  187 secret reasons of its conduct: you refuse to acknow∣ledge a sovereign Goodness because you do not com∣prehend how evil can subsist under its government. O Anaximander! is this reasoning? A thing is not because you do not see it! All your difficulties are reduced to this.

You do me injustice, replied the wretched old man, who began to wave and to change his style, I neither affirm nor deny any thing, but I doubt of every thing, because I see nothing certain, nothing but what is wrapt up in darkness; and this obscurity reduces me to the necessity of fluctuating for ever in a sea of un∣certainties; there is no such thing as demonstration*. It does not follow that a thing is true because it ap∣pears so; a mind which is deceived often, may be de∣ceived always, and this possibility is alone sufficient to make me doubt of every thing.

Such is the nature of our understanding, replied I, that we cannot refuse to do homage to truth when it is clearly discerned, we are forced to acquiesce, we are no longer free to doubt: now this impossibility of doubting is what men call conviction, evidence, de∣monstration: the mind of man can go no farther. This light strikes with equal force upon all minds, it has an irresistible power over Scythians and Indians, Greeks and Barbarians, Gods and men; and it can therefore be nothing else but a ray of that eternal Wisdom which enlightens all intelligences. This light is the last tribunal for trying our ideas, we can∣not appeal from it without ceasing to be reasonable. To doubt contrary to all reason is extravagance; to pretend to doubt when the evidence makes doubting impossible is adding insincerity to folly. See to what a dilemma you are reduced by too much refining; observe the inconstancy of your mind and the incon∣sistency of your reasoning; you were at first for de∣monstrating Page  188 that there is no sovereign Intelligence; when I shewed you that your pretended demonstra∣tions were only loose suppositions, you then took re∣fuge in a general doubting; and now at last your philosophy terminates in destroying reason, rejecting all evidence, and maintaining that there is no rule whereby to make any settled judgments: it is to no purpose therefore to reason longer with you.

Here I left off speaking that I might listen to what he would answer, but finding that he did not open his mouth, I imagined that he began to be moved, and I continued thus: I suppose that you doubt seri∣ously, but is it want of light, or the fear of being convinced, which causes your doubts? Enter into yourself; truth is better felt than understood; heark∣en to the voice of nature that speaks within you, she will soon rise up against all your refined sophistry; your heart which is born with an insatiable thirst of happiness will give your understanding the lie, when it rejoices in the unnatural hope of its approaching extinction; once again, I say, enter into yourself, impose a silence upon your imagination, let not your passions blind you, and you will find in the inmost of your soul an inexpressible feeling of the Divinity which will dispel your doubts: it is by hearkening to this internal evidence that your understanding and your heart will be reconciled; on their reconcile∣ment depends the peace of the soul, and it is in this tranquility alone that we can hear the voice of wis∣dom, which supplies the defects of our reasonings. O my father, my dear father, where are you? I seek you in yourself without finding you. What is be∣come of that divine man who formerly carried me through all the regions of immensity, who taught me to run back through all times to eternity itself? What then is become of that sublime, subtile and ex∣tensive understanding? What cloud of passions has obscured it? What midnight of prejudice is cast over Page  189 it? Here I fixed my eyes upon him to see whether my arguments or sentiments had made any impression on his mind, but he looked upon me with the disdain∣ful smile of a haughty soul that hides her weakness and despair under an air of contempt. I then held my peace and invoked the heavenly Minerva in a profound silence; I prayed to her to enlighten him, but she was deaf to me because he was deaf to her; he saw not the truth because he loved it not.

Here Pythagoras ceased and Cyrus said to him: You join the most affecting considerations with the most solid arguments; whether we consult the idea of the first cause or the nature of its effects, the hap∣piness of man or the good of society, reason or expe∣rience, all conspire to prove your system; but to be∣lieve that of Anaximander we must take for granted what can never with the least reason be imagined, that motion is an essential property of matter, that matter is the only existing substance, and that the in∣finite force acts without knowledge or design, not∣withstanding all the marks of wisdom that shine throughout the universe. I do not conceive how men can hesitate between the two systems; the one is obscure to the understanding, denies all consolation to the heart, and is destructive of society; the other is full of light and of comfortable ideas, produces no∣ble sentiments, and confirms us in all the duties of civil life. One of the two systems must be true; the eternal Being is either blind, or a wise intelligence; there is no medium; you have shewn that the first opinion is false and absurd, the other therefore is e∣vidently true and solid. Your arguments have dart∣ed a pure light into the inmost of my soul: you seem nevertheless to have left your adversary's objection concerning the origin of evil in its full strength; help me to answer this grand difficulty. Here Pythago∣ras ran through all the different opinions of the Phi∣losophers without being able to satisfy Cyrus; the Page  190 Prince found a solution of this difficulty no where but among the Hebrews; but though he was not content with the answers of the Samian on this 〈◊〉 he would not make him feel the weakness of that, nor let him perceive that he himself was sensible 〈◊〉 it; he dexterously shifted the question, and returning to his dispute, make haste to tell me, said he, O 〈◊〉 Pythagoras! what impression your discourse made upon Anaximander.

He withdrew, answered the Philosopher, in con∣fusion and despair, and with a resolution to ruin 〈◊〉. As weak eyes, which the sun dazzles and blinds, 〈◊〉 was the heart of Anaximander; neither prodigies, nor proofs, nor touching considerations can move the soul, when errors has seized upon the understanding by the corruption of the heart. Since my depart∣ure from Samos, I hear that he has fallen into the wild extravagance which I had foreseen: being re∣solved to believe nothing which could not be demon∣strated with geometrical evidence, he is come not on∣ly to doubt of the most certain truths, but to believe the greatest absurdities. He maintains, without any allegory, that all he sees is but a dream; that all the men who are about him are phantoms; that it is he himself that speaks to and answers himself, when he converses with them; that the heaven and the earth, the stars and the elements, plants and trees, are only illusions; and in a word, that there is nothing real but himself: at first he was for destroying the divine Essence to substitute a blind nature in its place; at present he has destroyed that nature itself, and main∣tains that he is the only existent being*. Thus ended the conversation between Cyrus and Pytha∣goras. The Prince was touched with the considera∣tion of the weakness of human understanding; he Page  191 few by the example of Anaximander, that the most ••btile geniuses may go gradually from impiety to extravagance, and fall into a philosophical delirium, which is as real madness as any other. Cyrus went the next day to see the Sage, in order to put some questions to him about the laws of Minos.

The profound peace, said he to Pythagoras, which is at present in Persia, gives me leisure to travel; I am going over the most famous countries to collect useful knowledge; I have been in Egypt where I have informed myself in the laws and government of that kingdom; I have travelled over Greece to ac∣quaint myself with the different republics which compose it, especially those of Lacedaemon and A∣thens. The ancient laws of Egypt seem to me to have been excellent and founded in nature, but its form of government was defective: the Kings had no bridle to restrain them; the thirty judges did not share the supreme authority with them; they were but the interpreters of the law. Despotic power and conquests at last destroyed that empire. I fear that Athens will be ruined by a contrary fault; its go∣vernment is too popular and tumultuous: the laws of Solon are good, but he had not sufficient authori∣ty to reform the genius of a people that have an un∣bounded inclination for liberty, luxury and pleasure. Lycurgus has provided a remedy for the defects which ruined Egypt and will destroy Athens; but his laws are too contrary to nature: equality of ranks and community of goods cannot subsist long; as soon as the Lacedaemonians shall have extended their do∣minion in Greece, they will doubtless throw off the yoke of these laws; they restrain the passions on one side but indulge them too much on another, and while they proscribe sensuality they favor ambition. None of these three forms of government from to me to be perfect; I have been told that Minos hereto∣fore Page  192 established one in this island, which was free from the defects I have mentioned.

Pythagoras admired the young Prince's penetrati∣on, and conducted him to the temple where the laws of Minos were kept in a gold box; they contained all that regarded religion, morality and policy, and whatever might contribute to the knowledge of the Gods, ourselves and other men; Cyrus found in this sacred book all that was excellent in the laws of E∣gypt, Sparta and Athens, and thereby Perceived, that as Minos had borrowed from the Egyptians, so Lycurgus and Solon were indebted to the Cretan lawgiver, for the most valuable parts of their institu∣tions; and it was upon this model also that Cyrus formed those admirable laws which he established in his empire after he had conquered Asia.

Pythagoras after this explained to him the form of government of ancient Crete, and how it provided e∣qally against despotic power and anarchy. One would think, added the Philosopher, that a govern∣ment so perfect in all its parts, should have subsisted for ever, but there hardly remain any traces of it. The successors of Minos degenerated by degrees; they did not think themselves great enough while they were only guardians of the laws; they would substitute their arbitrary will in the place of them. The Cretans opposed the innovation from thence sprang discords and civil wars; in these tumults the Kings were dethroned, exiled, or put to death, and usurpers took their place; those usurpers to flatter the people weakened the authority of the nobles; the Comes or deputies of the people invaded the so∣vereign authority; the monarchy at first shaken and then despised was at last abolished, and the govern∣ment became popular. Such is the condition of hu∣man things. The desire of unbounded authority in Princes, and the love of independence in the people, expose all kingdoms to inevitable revolutions; no∣thing Page  193 thing is fixed or stable among men. Cyrus perceived by this, that the safety and happiness of a kingdom do not depend so much upon the wisdom and laws as upon that of Kings. All sorts of government are good when those who govern seek only the public welfare, but they are all defective; because the go∣vernors being but men, are imperfect.

After several such conversations with the wise Sa∣mian, the Prince prepared to continue his travels, and at parting said to him, I am extremely concerned to see you abandoned to the cruelty of capricious for∣tune! How happy should I be to spend my life with you in Persia! I will not offer you pleasures or rich∣es which allure other men; I know you would be little moved by them: you are above the favors of Kings, because you see the vanity of human grandeur, but I offer you in my dominions, peace, liberty, and the sweet leisure which the Gods grant to those who love wisdom. I should have a sincere joy, replied Pythagoras, to live under your protection with Zo∣roafter and the Magi, but I must follow the orders given me by the oracle of Apollo; a mighty empire is rising in Italy, which will one day become master of the world; its form of government is like that established in Crete by Minos; the genius of the peo∣ple is as warlike as that of the Spartans; the gene∣rous love of their country, the esteem of personal po∣verty in order to augment the public treasure, the noble and disinterested sentiments which prevail a∣mong the citizens, their contempt of pleasure, and their ardent zeal for liberty, render them fit to con∣quer the whole world; I am to introduce there the knowledge of the Gods and of laws. I must leave you, but I will never forget you; my heart will fol∣low you every where; you will doubtless extend your conquests as the oracles have for told; may the Gods preserve you then from being intoxicated by so∣vereign authority! may you long feel the pleasure of Page  194 reigning only to make other men happy! Fame will inform me of your successes: I shall often ask, has not grandeur made a change in the heart of Cyrus? Does he still love virtue? Does he continue to fe the Gods? Though we now part we shall meet again in the abode of the just; I shall doubtless descend thither before you; I will there expect your manes. Ah Cyrus! how joyful shall I be to see you again af∣ter death among the good Kings, who are crowned by the Gods with an immortal glory! Farewel, Prince, farewel, and remember that you never employ your power but to execute the dictates of your goodness.

Cyrus was so much affected, that he could not an∣swer; he respectfully embraced the old man, and be∣dewed his face with tears; but in short they must separate; Pythagoras embarked very soon for Italy, and the Prince in a Phoenician vessel for Tyre. As Cyrus was failing from Crete, and the coasts of Greece began to disappear, he felt an inward regret, and calling to mind all he had seen, said to Araspes: What! is this the nation that was represented to me as so superficial and trifling; I have found there great men of all kinds, profound philosophers, able captains, wise politicians, and geniuses capable of reaching to all heights, and of going to the bottom of things. Other nations methinks do not do the Greeks justice.

I cannot admire, answered Araspes, either their talents or their sciences; the Chaldeans and Egypti∣ans surpass them exceedingly in all solid knowledge. Lycurgus, Solon, Thales and Pythagoras would ne∣ver have known any thing, if they had not travelled in Egypt and the East: all that they have added to our philosophy has been only so much allay to it. The doctrine of* Thales is a series of loose suppositi∣ons; Page  195 his ethereal fluid is a mere whim and not at all geometrical; what comparison between his philoso∣phy and that of* Moschus the Phoenician? Besides I do not find any thing of the original, creating, mas∣culine genius in the Greek poets and orators, but a diffused style, superfluous flowers, ideas that seem dear and transparent only because they are light and thin; their pretty thoughts, ingenious turns and pre∣tended delicacies, proceed wholly from the infant weakness of their understanding, which cannot rise to the sublime, and continually hovers above the sur∣face of objects: in a word, all that I admire in the Greeks is their politeness, their conversible qualities, their taste for pleasure and their continual joy; they purchase happiness at a cheaper rate than other na∣tions.

It is true, replied Cyrus, we find sublime ideas and useful discoveries among the Chaldeans and Egypti∣ans, but their depth of science is often full of obscu∣rity; they know not like the Greeks how to come at hidden truths by a chain of known and easy ones; that ingenious method of ranging each idea in its proper place, of leading the mind by degrees from the most simple truths to the most compounded, with order, perspicuity and accuracy, is a secret with which the Chaldeans and Egyptians, who boast of having more of original genius, are little acquained. This nevertheless is the true science by which man is taught the extent and bounds of his own mind, and this is what we owe to Thales; his works and his travels spread this taste in the East; what ingratitude and injustice to make no other use of his great disco∣veries than to despise him because he did not discover all! It is true his philosophy is not exact; but Mos∣chus, Page  196 the great Moschus, has not he himself had re∣course to an ethereal fluid in order to explain his principle of attraction, which, as at first represented by his disciples, was wholly unintelligible, a mere oc∣cult quality. I know that the Greeks love the a∣greeable kinds of knowledge more than abstract ideas; the arts of imitation more than nice speculati∣ons; but they do not despise the sublime sciences; on the contrary, they excel in them when they apply their minds to the study of them. Have we in all the East such a* history of physic as that written by A∣naximenes? Do not you find beauties in Homer, the fables of Aesop, Archilochus's satyrs, and in the dra∣matic pieces which are acted at Athens to render vi•• odious and ridiculous? I repeat what I said to Solon, the Greeks have a finer taste than other nations. It is for want of sensibility that we do not sufficiently admire the delicate thoughts, the tender passions, 〈◊〉 natural and unaffected graces in their writings. The poem of Abaris the Scythian, concerning the ruin of the garden of the Hesperides would have been more perfect if the author had been a Greek. We see there all the efforts of a genius that can rise to the highest heaven, descend to the lowest abyss, and fly with a rapid wing from one end of immensity to the other: yet Abaris, the admirable Abaris, does he always distinguish between the natural and the low, sublimity and bombast, enthusiasm and fury, de∣licacy and subtility? I grant that the Greeks seem to be sometimes taken up too much with trifles and a∣musements; but the great men among them have the secret of preparing the most important affairs, even while they are diverting themselves: they are sensible that the mind has need now and then of rest; Page  197 but in these relaxations they can put in motion the greatest machines by the smallest springs; they look upon life as a kind of sport, but such as resembles the Olympic games, where mirthful dancing is mixed with laborious exercises. They love strangers more than other nations, and their country deserves to be styled the common country of mankind. It is for these qualities that I prefer the Greeks to other na∣tions, and not because of their politeness.

True politeness is common to delicate souls of all nations, and is not peculiar to any one people. Ex∣ternal civility is but the form established in the differ∣ent countries for expressing that politeness of the soul. I prefer the civility of the Greeks to that of other nations, because it is more simple and less trou∣blesome; it excludes all superfluous formality; its only aim is to render company and conversation easy and agreeable: but internal politeness is very differ∣ent from that superficial civility. You were not pre∣sent that day when Pythagoras spoke to me upon this head; I will tell you his notion of politeness to which his own practice is answerable. It is an even∣ness of soul which excludes at the same time both in∣sensibility and too much earnestness; it supposes a quickness in discerning what may suit the different characters of men; it is a sweet condescension by which we adapt ourselves to each man's taste, not to flatter his passions, but to avoid provoking them. In a word, it is a forgetting of ourselves in order to seek what may be agreeable to others, but in so delicate a manner as to let them scarce perceive that we are so employed: it knows how to contradict with respect, and to please without adulation, and is equally re∣mote from an insipid complaisance and a low familia∣rity. Cyrus and Araspes were discoursing together in this manner when they discovered the coasts of Phoenicia, and they soon after arrived at Tyre.

Page  198

SEVENTH BOOK.

THE King of Babylon having destroyed ancient Tyre, the inhabitants had built a new city in a neighbouring island, thirteen leagues from the shore This island stretched itself in form of a crescent, and enclosed a bay where the ships lay in shelter from the winds; divers rows of cedar beautified the port; and at each end of it was a fortress for the security of the town and of the shipping. In the middle of the mole was a portico of twelve rows of pillars, where, at certain hours of the day, the people of all nations assembled to buy and sell; there one might hear all languages spoken, and see the manners and habits of all the different nations; so that Tyre seem∣ed the capital of the universe. A prodigious number of vessels were floating upon the water, some going, others arriving; here the mariners were furling their fails while the weary rowers enjoyed repose; there one might see new built vessels launched; a vast mul∣titude of people covered the port; some were busy in unloading ships, others in transporting merchan∣dize, and others in filling the magazines; all were in motion, earnest at work, and eager in promoting trade.

Cyrus observed a good while with pleasure this scene hurry and business, and then advancing to∣wards one end of the mole met a man whom he Page  199 thought he knew: Am I deceived, cried out the Prince, or is it Amenophis who has left his solitude to come into the society of men? It is I, replied the Egyptian Sage; I have changed my retreat in Ara∣bia for another at the foot of mount Libanus. Cyrus surprised at this alteration asked him the reason: A∣robal, said Amenophis, is the cause of it; that Arobal of whom I spoke to you formerly, who was prisoner with me at Memphis and my fellow-slave in the mines of Egypt, was son to the King of Tyre, but knew not his birth; he has ascended the throne of his ancestors and his true name is Ecnibal; I enjoy a perfect tranquility in his dominion; come and see a Prince who is worthy of your friendship. I have al∣ways had a concern for him, replied Cyrus, on ac∣count of your friendship for him, but I could never forgive his leaving you: I rejoice with you on your finding him again, I long impatiently to see him, and to testify to him the satisfaction I feel.

Amenophis conducted the Prince to the royal pa∣lace and presented him to the King, noble souls make acquaintance at first sight, nor does it require time to form strict friendships, where a sympathy of thoughts and sentiments have prepared the way for them. The King of Tyre asked Cyrus divers questions about his country, his travels, and the manners of the dif∣ferent nations he had seen: he was charmed with the noble sentiments and delicate taste which disco∣vered themselves in the young Prince's discourse, who on the other hand admired the good sense and virtue of Ecnibal; he spent some day at his court, and at length desired Amenophis to relate to him the misfortunes of the King of Tyre, and by what means he had ascended the throne.

The Egyptian Sage retired one day with Cyrus and Araspes into the hollow of a rock beautified with shell-work; from thence they had a view of the sea, the city of Tyre, and the fertile country about it; Page  200 on one side mount Libanus bounded the prospect, and on the other the isle of Cyprus seemed to fly a∣way upon the waves; they all three sat down upon a bed of moss on the brink of a fountain whose still waters seemed to sleep in their very source. When they had reposed themselves awhile the Egyptian Sage began thus:

While Ecnibal was yet a child in his cradle his fa∣ther died; his uncle Itobal aspiring to the throne re∣solved to rid himself of the young Prince: but Ba∣hal, to whom his education was committed, spread a report of his death to preserve him from the cruelty of the tyrant, and sent him to a solitary part of the country at the foot of mount Libanus, where he made him pass for his own son under the name of A∣robal, without discovering his birth even to the Prince himself. When Ecnibal was in his fourteenth year, Bahal formed the design of putting him upon the throne: the usurper being apprised of it, clap up the royal Tyrian in prison and threatened him with the most cruel death, if he did not deliver up the young Prince into his hands. Bahal would make no discovery, being resolved to die rather than fail in his duty and affection to Ecnibal. In the mean while the tyrant, knowing the heir of the crc••n to be yet living, was greatly disturbed and incensed. To satiate his rage and calm his disquiets he ordered all Bahal's children to be put to death: but a faith∣ful slave, having notice of it, contrived to save Ecni∣bal; so that he left Phoenicia without knowing the secret of his birth. Bahal escaped out of prison by throwing himself from a high tower into the sea; he gained the shore by swimming, and retired to Baby∣lon, where he made himself known to Nabuchodono∣sor. To revenge himself for the murder of his chil∣dren, he stirred up that conqueror to make war upon Itobal, and to undertake the long siege of Tyre. The King of Babylon, being informed of the brave∣ry Page  201 and capacity of Bahal, chose him to command in chief in this expedition. Itobal was killed, and after the taking of the town Bahal was raised to the throne of Tyre by Nabuchodonosor, who in that manner recompensed his services and fidelity. Bahal did not suffer himself to be dazzled by the lustre of royalty: having learned that Ecnibal had escaped the rage of the tyrant, his first care was to send over all Asia to seek him, but he could learn no news of him; for we were then in the mines of Egypt.

Arobal having wandered a long time in Africa and last the slave, his conductor; engaged himself in A∣pries's troops, being resolved either to end his days, or to distinguish himself by some glorious action. I have formerly given you an account of our first ac∣quaintance, our mutual friendship, our common sla∣very, and our separation. Upon his leaving me he went to Babylon, where he was informed of the re∣volution which had happened at Tyre, and that Ba∣hal, whom he believed his father, was raised to the throne; he left the court of Nabuchodonosor with∣out delay, and soon arrived in Phoenicia where he was introduced to Bahal. The good old man loaded with years was reposing himself upon a rich carpet; joy gave him strength; he got up, ran to Arobal, ex∣amined him, recalled all his features, and in a word knew him to be the same; he could no longer con∣tain himself, he fell upon his neck, embraced him, be∣dewed his face with tears, and cried out with trans∣port: It is then you whom I see, it is Ecnibal him∣self, the son of my master, the child whom I saved from the tyrant's hands, the innocent cause of my disgrace and the subject of my glory; I can then shew my gratitude towards the King who is no more, by restoring his son. Ah Gods! it is thus that you recompense my fidelity, I die content. He immedi∣ately dispatched ambassadors to the court of Babylon to ask permission of the King to resign the crown and Page  202 recognise Ecnibal for his lawful master. It was thus that the Prince of Tyre ascended the throne of his ancestors, and Bahal died soon after.

As soon as Arobal was restored he sent a Tyrian to me in my solitude to inform me of his fortune, and to press me to come and live at his court: I was charmed to hear of his happiness and to find that he still loved me; I expressed my joy in the warmest manner, and signified to the Tyrian that all my de∣sires were satisfied since my friend was happy; but I absolutely refused to leave my retirement: he sent to me again to conjure me to come and assist him in the labors of royalty; I answered, that he was suffi∣ciently knowing to fulfil all his obligations, and that his past misfortunes would enable him to shun the dangers to which supreme authority is exposed. At last, seeing that nothing could move me, he left Tyre under pretence of going to Babylon to do homage to the Assyrian King, and arrived very soon at my soli∣tude. We tenderly embraced each other a long while; doubtless you thought, said he to me, that I had forgotten you, that our separation proceeded from the cooling of my friendship, and that ambition had seduced my heart; but you were deceived: it is true that when I left you I could no longer support retirement, I had no peace in it: this restlessness no doubt proceeded from the Gods themselves; they drew me away to accomplish the designs of their wis∣dom; I could enjoy no repose while I resisted them: it was thus that they conducted me to the throne by unknown paths; grandeur has not changed my heart; shew me that absence has not diminished your friendship; come and support me in the midst of the toils and dangers in which an elevated state engages me. Ah! said I to him, do not force me to quit my solitude; suffer me to enjoy the repose which the Gods have granted me; grandeur excites the passi∣ons; courts are stormy seas, I have been already Page  203 shipwreck'd and have happily escaped; expose me not to the like misfortune a second time. I perceive your thoughts replied Ecnibal, you are afraid of the friendship of Kings, you have experienced their in∣constancy, you have found that their favor is fre∣quently the forerunner of their hatred: Apries loved you once and deserted you afterwards; but alas! should you compare me with Apries? No, no, repli∣ed I, I shall always distrust the friendship of a Prince brought up in luxury and effeminacy like the King of Egypt; but for you, who were educated far from a throne and in ignorance of your rank, and have since been tried by such a variety of adverse fortune, I have no fear that the regal dignity should alter your sentiments: the Gods have conducted you to the throne, you must fulfil the duties incumbent upon a King, and sacrifice yourself to the public good; but for me nothing obliges me to engage anew in tumult and trouble; I have no thought but to die in soli∣tude, where wisdom nourishes my heart, and where the hope of being soon reunited to the great Osiris makes me forget all my past misfortunes.

Here a torrent of tears obliged us to silence, which Ecnibal at length breaking said to me: Has then the study of wisdom served only to make Ame∣nophis insensible? Well, if you will grant nothing to friendship, come at least to defend me from the frailties of human nature; I shall one day perhaps forget that I have been unfortunate, I may come to be unmoved with the miseries of men, supreme au∣thority will perhaps poison my heart, and render me like other Princes; come and preserve me from the errors to which my state is ever liable; come and confirm me in all those maxims of virtue with which you formerly inspired me; I feel that I have more need of a friend than ever. Ecnibal melted me with these words, and I consented to follow him, but up∣on condition that I should not live at court, that I Page  204 should never have any employment there, and that I should retire into some solitary place near Tyre; I have only changed one retreat for another, that I might have the pleasure of being nearer my friend. We left Arabia Felix, went to Babylon, and saw there Nabuchodonosor; but alas! how different is he now from what he was heretofore! He is no lon∣ger that conqueror who reigned in the midst of tri∣umphs, and astonished the nations with the splendor of his glory; for some time past he has lost his rea∣son, he flies the society of men, and wanders about in the mountains and woods like a beast; how terri∣ble a fate for so great a Prince! When we arrived at Tyre chose my retreat at the foot of mount Li∣banus, in the same place where Ecnibal was brought up; I come here sometimes to see him, and he goes frequently to my solitude; nothing can impair our friendship, because truth is the only bond of it. I see by this example that royalty is not as I imagined, incompatible with tender sentiments; all depends on the first education Princes; adversity is the best schools for them; it is there that heroes are formed; Apries had been spoiled by prosperity in his youth; Arobal is confirmed in virtue by misfortunes.

Cyrus's esteem for Ecnibal was much heightened by this relation; he admired that Prince's constancy in friendship more than all his other great qualities. During this stay at Tyre he was entertained in a ve∣ry magnificent manner, and often expressed to the King his astonishment at the splendor which reigned in that city. Be not surprised at it, answered the Tyrian Prince, where-ever commerce flourishes un∣der the protection of wise laws, plenty becomes quick∣ly universal, and magnificence costs the state nothing. Cyrus, upon this, desired the King of Tyre to explain to him how he had brought his dominions into such a flourishing condition in so short a time.

The wisest of the Hebrew Kings, said Ecnibal, Page  205 shewed many ages ago to what a pitch of splendor and magnificence commerce will raise a little state: his ships failed even to the remotest islands to import from thence the wealth, perfumes, and rich commo∣dities of the East; after the ruin and captivity of the Hebrews we seized upon all the branches of their commerce. Tyre is happily situated; her inhabi∣tants understand navigation; trade was at first per∣fectly free there; strangers were treated as citizens of Tyre: but in the reign of Itobal all fell to ruin: instead of keeping our ports open according to the old custom, he shut them up out of political views, formed a design of changing the fundamental consti∣tution of Phoenicia, and of rendering a nation war∣like, that had always shunned having any part in the quarrels of her neighbors. By this means commerce languished, and our strength diminished; Itobal drew upon us the wrath of the King of Babylon, who ra∣zed our ancient city and made us tributary. As soon as Bahal was placed upon the throne, he endeavored to remedy these mischiefs; I have but followed the plan which that good Prince left me.

He began by opening his ports to strangers, and by restoring the freedom of commerce. He declared that his name should never be made use of in it, but to support its rights and make its laws be observed. The authority of Princes is too formidable for other men to enter into partnership with them. Commerce was carried on in the first republics only by exchange of merchandize; but this method was found trouble∣some, and subject to many inconveniences; the value of provisions is not always the same, they cannot be transported without expence, nor distributed without trouble, nor long kept without spoiling. It was ne∣cessary to have such a common measure of the value of merchandize, as should be incorruptible, portable and divisible into small parts for the convenience of Page  206 the poorest citizens. Metals seemed proper for this use and it is this common measure which is called mo∣ney. The public treasure having been exhausted 〈◊〉 long wars, there was not money enough in Phoenic to set the people to work; arts languished, and agri∣culture itself was neglected. Bahal engaged the principal merchants to advance considerable sums to the artizans, while the former trafficked together up∣on safe credit; but this credit never took place a∣mong the labourers and mechanics. Coin is not on∣ly a common measure for regulating the price of 〈◊〉 several kinds of merchandize, but it is a sure pled•• which has intrinsic value, and pretty near the same in all nations. Bahal would not have this pledge ••∣ver taken out of the hands of the people, because they have need of it to secure themselves against the corruption of ministers, the oppression of the rich and even the ill use which Kings might make of the authority. In order to encourage the Tyrians to work, he not only left every one in the free possessi∣on of his gain, but allotted great rewards for those who should excel by their genius, or distinguish them∣selves by any new invention. He built great work∣houses for manufactures; he lodged there all those who were eminent in their respective arts; and that their attention might not be taken off by uneasy cares, he supplied, all their wants and he flattered their ambition by granting them such honors and dis∣tinctions in his capital, as were suitable to their condi∣tion. He took off the exorbitant imposts, and for∣bad all monopolies; so that neither buyers nor sel∣lers are under any constraint or oppression. Trade being left free, my subjects import hither in abund∣ance all the best things which the universe affords, and they fell them at reasonable rates. All sorts of provisions pay me a very small tribute at entering; the less I fetter trade the more my treasures increase; the diminution of imposts diminishes the price of mer∣chandize; Page  207 the less dear things are, the more are con∣sumed of them, and by this consumption my revenues exceed greatly what they would amount to by lay∣ing excessive duties. Kings, who think to enrich themselves by their exactions, are not only enemies 〈◊〉 their own people, but ignorant of their own in∣terests.

I perceive, said Cyrus, that commerce is a source great advantages in a state; I believe that is the only secret to create plenty in great monarchies, and repair the desolations caused there by war: nu∣••ous troops quickly exhaust a kingdom if we can∣•• draw subsistence for them from foreign countries 〈◊〉 a flourishing trade. Have a care, said Amenophis, 〈◊〉 you do not mistake. Commerce ought not to 〈◊〉 neglected in great monarchies, but it must be re∣•••ated by other rules than in petty republics. Pho∣enicia carries on commerce, not only to supply her own wants, but those of foreign states. As her ter∣ritories are small, her stregth consists in making her∣self useful and even necessary to all her neighbours; 〈◊〉 merchants bring from the remotest islands the ••ches of nature, and distribute them afterwards a∣mong other nations. It is not her own superfluities, but those of other countries, which are the foundati∣on of her trade. In a city like Tyre where com∣merce is the only support of the state, all the princi∣pal citizens are traders; the merchants are the Prin∣ces of the republic: but in great empires, where mi∣litary virtue and subordination of ranks are absolute∣ly necessary, commerce ought to be encouraged with∣out being universal. To this end, it is necessary to establish companies, grant them privileges, and in∣trust them with the general commerce of the nation: they should make settlements in remote islands, and maintain a naval force for their desence against pi∣rates: those who cannot employ themselves in trade shall lodge their money in these public companies: Page  208 the magistrates, priests and military men cannot traf∣fic without neglecting their proper employments and demeaning themselves; those trading companies shall be the depositaries of every man's money, which thus united will produce an hundred sold. In a kingdom that is fruitful, spacious, populous, and abounding with sea-ports, if the people are laborious they may draw from the bosom of the earth immense treasures, which would be lost by the negligence and sloth of its inhabitants. By improving the productions of na∣ture by manufactures, the national riches are aug∣mented: and it is by carrying these fruits of industry to other nations that a solid commerce is established in a great empire: but nothing should be exported to other countries but its superfluities, nor any thing imported from them but what is purchased with those superfluities. By this means the state will never con∣tract any debts abroad, the balance of trade will be always on its side, and it will draw from other nati∣ons wherewith to defray the expences of war; great advantages will be reaped from commerce without destroying the distinction of ranks, or weakening mi∣litary virtue: one of the chief accomplishments of a Prince is to know the genius of his people, the pro∣ductions of nature in his kingdom, and how to make the best advantage of them. Cyrus by his conversa∣tion with Ecnibal and Amenophis, learned many use∣ful notions and maxims in government which he had not met with in other countries; they were great service to him after the taking Sardis, when he ordered gold money to be coined, and turned the King of Lydia's treasures into specie*.

The next day Cyrus accompanied the King of Tyre some furlongs from his capital, to assist at the annual rites instituted in commemoration of the death of Adonis. Between Hellopolis and Byblos there Page  209 was a stately temple consecrated to Venus: on one side of the portal was placed a statue of the Goddess, she leaned her declining head on her left hand, grief appeared in her countenance, and tears seemed to slow from her eyes, which were turned upon the sta∣tue of her lover placed on the other side; a stream of blood seemed to spring from his heart, and to dye the river Thammuz whose purple waters rolled with impetuosity towards the sea. The srizes and the ar∣chitraves were adorned with sculptures in bas-relief, representing the three metamorphoses of the God∣dess, the history of her unfaithfulness, and of all the effects of Adonis's constancy.

The temple was built of fine Parian marble; its immense vault represented that of heaven; in the middle of it appeared the chariot of the sun encircled by the planets, and at a greater distance the empyre∣um spangled with stars. Upon the altar stood a sta∣tue of the Goddess; she held in her hand the globe of the world, and upon her wonderful girdle were described the twelve constellations. The artist had animated the marble in such a manner, that the sta∣tue expressed three different passions according to the different points of view from whence it was beheld*; at a distance it was a noble and majestic beauty that seemed to invite with a soft smile, accompanied with a tender and modest look; upon a nearer view, her face turned towards the East, proclaimed the peaceful joy of a soul that sees the beauty of truth, possesses it and is possessed by it; when viewed from the other side she seemed to turn away her eyes, and despise those who durst approach her with a profane heart, and impure thoughts. In the sculptures of Page  210 the altar, Love under the shape of Adonis seemed to descend from heaven, his infant look spoke nothing but candour, innocence and simplicity; the virtues walked before him, the muses followed him, and the graces hovered about him; he had no bandage upon his eyes, and held in his hand a lighted torch, to shew that he enlightens at the same time that he in∣flames.

When Cyrus entered the temple he found all the people, clad in mourning, in a cavern, where the i∣mage of a young man was lying upon a bed of flow∣ers and odoriferous herbs; nine days were spent in fasting, prayer and lamentations, after which the public sorrow was changed into gladness; songs of joy succeeded to weeping*, and the whole assembly began this sacred hymn.

Adonis is returned to life, Urania weeps no more, he is reascended to heaven, he will soon come down again upon earth to banish thence both crimes and miseries for ever.

Cyrus was struck with the august solemnity of the Tyrian rites; he knew nothing of the history of Ve∣nus and Adonis but by the Mythology of the Greeks, and suspected that they had debased it according to their custom; he desired Amenophis to explain to him the true meaning of the Phoenician ceremonies. The wise Egyptian sat down with the young Prince over-against the great gate of the temple, in a place from whence they could see the statues of the God and Goddess, with all the bass-reliefs that represent∣ed their adventures, and then said: It is not long since the Greeks were utter strangers to letters, the muses and the sciences; their understanding is still young, they have no true knowledge of antiquity; Page  211 they have disfigured all the mysteries of the ancient religion by their absurd fictions and gross images: the combats of Mythras, the murder of Osiris, the death of Adonis, and banishment of Apollo, and the labours of Hercules, represent to us the same truths; but the different nations have painted them under the different similitudes; what we learn from the Tyrian annals is as follows:

Before the formation of the elements, the heavens and the earth, an eternal silence reigned through all the ethereal regions, and the music of the stars had yet begun: the great God* Belus dwelt in an inac∣cessible light with the Goddess Urania, who inces∣santly sprang from his head and with the God A∣donis whom he had engendered like unto himself. Belus being more and more charmed with the beauty of his son, desired that there might be several minia∣tures and living images of him. Adonis, animated by the power of Belus, moulded some rays of light, and made suns, stars and numberless worlds invissible to us; but as yet there were no inhabitants for them. He looked upon his mother, and on a sudden he saw spring out from the vast abyss a beautiful flower which contained the soul of the world; Adonis breathed upon it; what cannot the almighty breath of a God? The flower swelled, expanded itself and was changed into a young Goddess whom he named§ Urania after his mother. Transported with love and pleasure, he would have presented her to his father, but she was not yet able to support the splendor of the divine pre∣sence, or to breathe the pure air of the empyreum.

Page  212 Adonis placed the young Goddess in a star, in the centre of the universe, from whence she could see the course of all the heavenly bodies, and hear the music of the celestial spheres: he then said to her, Beauti∣ful Urania, I love you, and design you for a more transcendent glory than what you at present enjoy; I intend to make you my spouse, bless you with a hap∣py race that shall people the heavens, and conduct you at last with all your children into the sublime place above the stars where my father dwells: the only condition I require of you is, that you never wish to know more than what suits your present state, that unreasonable curiosity would render you both unhappy and criminal: such are the immutable laws of Belus. Urania thought herself too happy to enjoy her felicity on such easy terms; she loved Adonis more than all the glory that he promised her, the sight of her lover made her forget all his gifts; he looked upon her with complacency and by this look made her pregnant; she became the mother of all Divinities without ceasing to be the immortal virgin; she quickly peopled the stars with Gods and Goddess∣es, who had no other law but that of obeying the will of Adonis, loving each other tenderly as the chil∣dren of the same father, and aspiring by their virtue to become one day worthy of seeing the God Belus.

Urania continued long faithful; she followed Ado∣nis every where, he led her through the immense spa∣ces to shew her the numberless worlds which he had there produced; he often talked with her of the su∣perior regions, and of the pleasure which she would one day feel in knowing him of whom all nature is but a feint image, in comparing the original with its pictures, and in seeing their various relations. These discourses kindled in her the fatal curiosity, she began to be weary of her happiness, and had no longer any relish for the pleasures she enjoyed: she durst not speak, but Adonis perceived the first motions of her Page  213 unfaithfulness, and endeavored to stop its progress; she grew pensive, melancholy, distrustful, and broke out at last in these bitter complaints: Adonis, cruel Adonis! why did you give me the idea of a happiness which makes me miserable? You promised to carry me up to the empyreum, shew me the kingdom of your father, and make me partaker of his glory; you should have concealed your designs from me, or have accomplished them sooner. Imprudent Urania, re∣plied Adonis, you are going to ruin yourself in spite of me, you are not yet capable of beholding the God Belus, you would not be able to support the splendor of his presence, he will be loved as he deserves be∣fore he manifests himself as he is; the smallest de∣sire, the least motion contrary to his order is an in∣croachment on his rights.

A vain curiosity and an ambitious desire of know∣ing overcame the Goddess, she no longer beheld A∣donis with the same complacency, she no longer found the same charms in his company, she received his caresses with coldness and indifference; he re∣newed all his endeavours to cure her distempered mind, but to no purpose; she forced him at length to leave her: the Gods are delicate in love, and can∣not suffer a divided heart; he reascended to his fa∣ther and left her alone, hoping that the pains of ab∣sence would recover her from her error. As soon as he was gone she renewed her complaints, and tor∣mented herself with new reflections; she began to doubt, and by that doubting she became darkened; she suspected all that Adonis had said to her of his fa∣ther and of the superior regions to be only a chime∣ra; she forgot her origin and her dependent state: to convince her of her error, she was thrown down, from the ethereal regions into the sphere of the sun; she drew after her the inhabitants of seven other stars; these luminous bodies lost their light, became planets, and rolled about the sun to receive its influ∣ences: Page  214 the Gods who inhabited them became Demi∣Gods, and the Goddess Urania was condemned to live in the moon; she now enjoyed only a borrowed light, was cloathed with an aerial and transparent body which the Greeks call the subtile vehicle of the soul; she no longer breathed as formerly the pure a∣ether, which made her life and nourishment; she liv∣ed upon nectar and ambrosia with the Demi Gods, whom she had drawn after her in her fall. Adonis ever faithful and ever loving descended into the sun to be nearer to his beloved Urania; he took the name of Apollo and tried new means to make her sensible of her fault: sometimes she was softened, she yielded to the sun's attraction, and brought her silver car near his rays; then on a sudden she chan∣ged her sentiments and wandered from him: she be∣came inconstant and fantastical, she put on new forms according as she retired from her lover or approach∣ed to him; she at length gave way to her ambition, and made the inhabitants of the planets adore her under the name of* Astarte or the Queen of heaven.

By the laws of immutable fate it was necessary that the Goddess should undergo a new metamor∣phosis, as a punishment for her new crime: she fell from the moon to the earth, and took the name of Venus. The inhabitants of the planets did not all follow her example, she seduced but a small number of them, and these Demi-Gods became men, but men of the golden age, they were not yet guilty of gross crimes, they still preserved some marks of their origi∣nal nature. The Goddess by changing her element changed her food, instead of ambrosia she fed only upon fruits, instead of drinking nectar she quenched her thirst in limpid streams and clear fountains; she Page  215 did not as yet lost either her transparency or her a∣ility, she could mount into the air when she pleased, but she could not rise to the superior regions. Ado∣nis left the sun, took the form of a young man, and came and dwelt with Venus upon earth; at first she did not discover who he was and fell in love with him; but having felt his divine influences she knew 〈◊〉, was afraid and fled from him: he pursued her, he called after her, and at last stopt her, but she es∣aped him again: he could have employed his almigh∣ty power, but the Gods will be loved by choice; he endeavoured to touch her heart by complaints and 〈◊〉, by caresses and threats, but she had no longer 〈◊〉 taste for the refined delights of virtue; her first 〈◊〉 was now changed into profane love of pleasure, and she forced Adonis to quit her a third time.

The inhabitants of the stars saw these repeated in∣••nces of Urania's ingratitude, and began to be sha∣en in their obedience: Belus, said they, has no such aversion to vice as we imagined, since he does not inish it; since rebellion is not followed by misery why are we subject to laws? It is true Urania is no longer what she was, but she is still a Goddess and till happy; provided we enjoy pleasure it is no mat∣ter upon what terms; independence and liberty heighten the relish of the most vulgar enjoyments. An universal revolt was breeding through all the ce∣lestial regions, the designs of Belus were going to be frustrated; he called up Adonis into that solitude a∣bove the heavens where he lived with him before the formation of the stars, and said to him: I repen••• me to have drawn the imprudent Urania from he 〈◊〉 o∣riginal flower, you see her ingratitude and her ob••∣nacy notwithstanding all your endeavors to reclaim her; universal harmony is disturbed, the celestial monarchy is shaken, and the heavenly spirits begin to despise my sovereign laws: should I pardon the in∣habitants of the earth, my clemency would encou∣rage Page  216 a new revolt, and the sight of their impunity would have a bad influence on all the inhabitants of the stars, who already begin to murmur and to su∣spect my goodness of indifferency with regard to crimes: I cannot vindicate the honor of my laws, nor confirm the immortals in their duty, without an∣nihilating the unfaithful Goddess and all her rebelli∣ous children. These terrible words rent the vault of heaven, resounded even to the abyss, and frighted the kingdom of chaos and eternal night. Belus at length lifted up his sceptre to replunge the earth and all its inhabitants into their original nothing; Adonis threw himself at his father's feet, he with-held his a∣venging arm by these words: I love Urania notwith∣standing her unfaithfulness, I see her errors and fol∣lies with grief, but her children are yours since they are mine; punish them, but do not entirely destroy them; should they enjoy a happy immortality upon earth, they would think no more of reascending to to heaven; curse their habitation, blast its beauty, expose the guilty race to sickness and death, but let your punishments be remedies; all the celestial and terrestrial Deities who know the crimes of Urania will see also her misery, and be confirmed in their duty by her punishment. He spoke, and suddenly the pillars of the earth were shaken, the poles of the heaven changed their situation, the sun grew pale and retired to a greater distance, the moon and the five planets altered their motions, thunder, winds and rain mingled and confounded the elements, the herbs and flowers faded, the trees dried up and with∣ered, the earth refused its usual bounty, the fruitful∣ness of nature degenerated into a horrible barreness.

Venus struck with terror fell into a long swoon, and when she recovered out of it, beheld nothing but desolation all around her; she found herself in a frightful desert, upon the banks of the river Tham∣muz, whose plaintive murmurs seemed to proclaim Page  217 Mania's crime: her misfortunes did not change her heart, she sought to compensate her real miseries by creating to herself imaginary pleasures; she caused •••ples to be erected every where to her honor, she invented impure sacrifices and a profane worship; her stars were quickly besmeared with the blood of ••mless animals; instead of odoriferous herbs and exquisite fruits, she fed upon the flesh of the victims, he sought for all sorts of meats which might excite and nourish her sensuality, she gave herself up to the 〈◊〉 instinct of pleasure, her blood grew thick, and slowed no longer in her veins with the same freedom and amenity, the subtile vehicle of the soul was 〈◊〉 round with a terrestrial and gross body; Venus could no longer fly in the air, she lost her lightness and transparency and became mortal; her children underwent the same fate, she saw many of them expire before her eyes by intemperance and vo∣luptuousness; others hoping to shun the decrees of fate heaped mountains upon mountains, and endea∣vored to scale heaven; but being struck down and crushed by thunderbolts, they dug themselves an a∣byss in the bosom of chaos, where Pluto, their chief, erected his empire, and Venus was there adored un∣der the name of Proserpine.

The Goddess became frantic, she ran about the mountains and vallys, bewailed her children and worshippers, and blasphemed against Belus. Adonis heard her, he left the celestial regions and came down upon earth; she perceived him at a distance, and would have thrown herself into the water to hide herself from his presence, but he stopped her and sat down by her; she held down her head with shame and confusion and was afraid to look upon film; finding at last that he made her no reproach she raised her eyes from the ground, but durst not yet fix them upon his face; she recovered heart by Page  218 degrees, she observed him nearly, she beheld him pale, meagre and disfigured; he had no longer any remains of his former beauty, he was covered with wounds and bruises; he continued a long time silent, and she durst not speak; at last he said to her, Ah Venus, inconstant Venus! you bewail your own mi∣series, but you are insensible to mine; to what a con∣dition have you reduced me? JUDGE OF YOUR GUILT BY MY SUFFERINGS: the God Belus was going to destroy you and all your race if I had not softened him; I came down myself upon earth to make repa∣ration for your offences against the immutable laws of the empyreum, and make war with all the mon∣sters which your crimes have brought forth.* I have killed the serpent Python, the Nemean lion, the hydra of Lerna which sprang from your head when you became false, the Centaurs that devoured men, the Cyclops who forged the thunder-bolts, the wild boar of Erymanthus who wounded me with his murderous tusk, the Symphalian birds that spoiled the fruits of the earth, and the dragon which had seized the garden of Hesperia; I have driven them all down into hell, and am going to pursue them thi∣ther that I may complete my conquest: Adonis as he uttered these words fell into a mortal agony, a stream of blood gushed forth from his heart and dyed the waters of the river Thammuz. All the children of Venus assembled about him, he opened his eyes from time to time, and repeated these words with a sigh, JUDGE OF YOUR GUILT BY MY SUFFERINGS: he continued thus many hours, and at last expired through an excess of pain. His soul descended into hell to deliver Theseus, Pirithous, all the heroes vanquished by Pluto, and all the manes that suffered in those gloomy habitations.

Page  219 Venus bewailed her lover for nine days and nine nights? she continued disconsolate near the dead bo∣dy, and could not tear herself away from it. Being at length exhausted with grief she fell into a pro∣found sleep, nor did she awake till her ears were struck by a heavenly voice; she looked up and beheld Adonis in the air surrounded by all the heroes, and all the shades which he had brought back from the dark abode. He had resumed his first form and his pristine beauty; he darted upon her a heavenly ray to restore her strength and calm her spirit, and then said to her: I have followed you, my dear Urania, I have followed you in all your wanderings; I de∣scended into the moon, upon earth, and even into hell to deliver you and your disloyal children; I have suffered all that a God can suffer in seeing your fals∣hood and inconstancy; but you are now no longer insensible to my love, and I don't repent of my suf∣ferings: I leave you, but my wisdom shall never for∣sake you if you continue faithful to me: farewel, dear Urania, you can see me no more till you be transformed into my image, the Gods are only ena∣moured with their own beauty: you must suffer a thousand miseries before this metamorphoses, nor can you reascend to heaven but by the same way by which you fell from it; you must first be stripped of your terrestrial body by sufferings, diseases, and death; you shall then rise to the regions of the moon where you will undergo a* second death by the de∣struction of your aerial body; your pure spirit, free and disengaged from every thing that could stop it, will fly away to the stars, where you will resume your former beauty, but you must at length lose even that before you are transformed into my image. When you have undergone these three metamorpho∣ses, expiated your guilt by the purifying pains of each Page  220 new transformation, practised upon earth, in the moon and in the stars, all the human, heroic and di∣vine virtues, you shall ascend with me into the sub∣lime place above the heavens, where you shall see the God Belus, and the Goddess my mother; virtue, truth and justice, not as they are here below, but as they exist in him who is Being itself. Fear nothing, I will be present with you in all these states, I will help you to support your sufferings if you never cease to invoke me: those of your children who shall imi∣tate your example shall reascend with you to the fields of Hecate, the rest shall descend to the gloom kingdom of Pluto, and be there tormented for their crimes. I have chained up the fierce Cerberus, henceforward he shall be only the vile instrument of my justice. I have established judges in hell, who will inflict punishments only to exterminate vice; they will not annihilate the essence of the soul but restore it to a true existence by purging it of all irre∣gular passions. When your children have been* plunged nine times in the purifying waves of the burning Acheron, the chilling Styx, the black Cocy∣tus and the foaming Phlegeton, they shall at length drink the waters of the river Lethe, which shall make them forget all their past miseries and crimes. When there shall be longer any mortal or immortal, in hell, Page  221 upon earth, or in the planets that is not purified and prepared to behold my father, I will then return to banish all evils out of the universe, abolish hell, and re∣establish harmony throughout all the immensity of space; in the mean time assemle those of your chil∣dren who are willing to follow you, institute festivals to my honor, and let them be annually celebrated with pomp to perpetuate the memory of your faith∣fulness and of my love.

Cyrus was overjoyed to see that all nations were agreed in the doctrine of the three states of the world, the three forms of the Divinity, and a middle God, who by his conflicts and great sufferings was to expiate and exterminate moral evil, and restore in∣nocence and peace to the universe.

While he was yet at Tyre couriers came from Persia to inform him that Mandana was dying: this news obliged him to suspend his journey to Babylon, and to leave Phoenicia in haste: at parting he em∣braced the king of Tyre: O Ecnibal; said he, I en∣vy neither your riches nor your magnificence; to be perfectly happy, I desire only such a friend as Ame∣nophis. Cyrus and Araspes crossed Arabia Deserta, and a part of Chaldea; they passed the Tygris near the place where it joins the Euphrates, and entering Susiana, arrived in a few days at the capital of Per∣sia. Cyrus hastened to see his mother; he found her dying, and gave himself up to grief, which he ex∣pressed by the most bitter complaints. The Queen, being tenderly affected with the sight of her son, en∣deavored to moderate his affliction by these words: Comfort yourself, my son; souls never die; they are only condemned for a time to animate mortal bodies, that they may expiate the faults they have commit∣ted in a former state; the time of my expiation is at an end; I am going to reascend to the sphere of fire; there I shall see Perseus, Arbaces, Dejoces, Page  222 Phraortes, and all the heroes from whom you are descended; I will tell them that you resolve to imi∣tate them: there I shall see Cassandana, she loves you still, death changes not the sentiments of virtu∣ous souls: we shall be always with you though invi∣sible, we will descend in a cloud and be your protect∣ing genii; we will accompany you in the midst of dangers; we will engage the Virtues to attend you; we will preserve you from all the errors and vices which corrupt the hearts of Princes: one day your dominion shall be extended, and the oracles accom∣plished; O my son; my dear son, remember that you ought to have no other view in conquering nati∣ons, than to establish among them the empire of virtue and reason. As she uttered these last words, she turned pale, a cold sweat spread itself over all her limbs, death closed her eyes, and her soul flew away to the empyreum: she was long lamented by all Per∣sia; and Cambyses erected a stately monument to her memory. Cyrus's grief wore off only by degrees, and as necessity obliged him to apply himself to af∣fairs of state.

Cambyses was a religious and pacific Prince; he had never been out of Persia, the manners of which were innocent and pure, but austere and rugged; he knew how to choose ministers capable of supplying what was defective in his own talents: but he some∣times yielded himself up too blindly to their conduct, from a diffidence of his own understanding: he pru∣dently resolved that Cyrus should himself enter into the administration of affairs; and having sent for him one day, said to him: Your travels, my son, have improved your knowledge, and you ought to employ it for the good of your country; you are destined not only to govern this kingdom, but also, one day, to give laws to all Asia; you should learn betimes the art of reigning, a study to which Princes seldom apply themselves; they ascend the throne before Page  223 they know the duties of a King: I intrust you with my authority, and will have you exercise it under my inspection; the talents of Soranes will not be useless to you, he is the son of an able minister, who served under me many years with fidelity; he is young, but indefatigable, knowing and qualified for all sorts of employments.

Under the government of Cambyses this minister had found it necessary to appear virtuous, nay, he thought himself really so, but his virtue had never been put to the trial: Soranes did not himself know the excess to which his boundless ambition could carry him. When Cyrus applied himself to learn the state and condition of Persia, her military strength, and her interests both foreign and domestic, Soranes quickly saw with concern that he was going to lose much of his authority, under a Prince who had all the talents necessary for governing by himself; he endea∣vored to captivate the mind of Cyrus, and studied him a long time to discover his weaknesses. The young Prince was not insensible to praise, but he loved to deserve it; he had a taste for pleasure, but he was not a slave to it; he did not dislike magnificence, but he could refuse himself every thing rather than oppress his people: thus he was inaccessible to flattery, and proof against voluptuousness and pomp. Soranes per∣ceived that there was no means to preserve his credit with Cyrus, but by making himself necessary to him by his capacity: he displayed all his talents both in public and private councils; he shewed that he pos∣sessed the secrets of the wisest policy, and at the same time could enter into that sort of detail in business, the knowledge of which is one of the chief qualifica∣tions of a minister; he prepared and digested matters with so much order and clearness that he left his mas∣ter little to do. Any other Prince would have been charmed to see himself excused from all application to business: but Cyrus resolved to see every thing Page  224 with his own eyes; he had a confidence in his fa∣ther's ministers, but he would not blindly yield himself up to their counsels. When Soranes per∣ceived that the •••nce would himself see every thing to the bottom, he studied to throw obscurity over the most important affairs, that he might make himself yet more necessary. Cyrus observed the crafty con∣duct of this able and jealous minister, and managed him with so much delicacy that he drew from him 〈◊〉 degrees what he endeavored so artfully to conceal. When the Prince thought himself sufficiently instruct∣ed, he let Soranes see that he would himself be his father's first minister; and in this manner moderated the authority of that favourite without giving him any just cause of complaint. The ambitious Soranes was nevertheless offended at the Prince's conduct, and could not, without mortal uneasiness, see the fall of his credit and that he was no longer necessary: this was the first source of his discontent, which might have proved fatal to Cyrus, if virtue and prudence had not preserved him from its effects.

Persia had for some ages been in subjection to Me∣dia, but upon the marriage of Cambyses with Manda∣na, it had been stipulated that the King of Persia should for the future pay only a small annual tribute as a mark of homage. From that time the Medes and Persians had lived in perfect amity till the jealou∣sy of Cyaxares kindled the fire of discord. The Me∣dian Prince was incessantly calling to mind with vex∣ation the oracles which were spread abroad concern∣ing the future conquests of young Cyrus; he consi∣dered him as the destroyer of his power, and ima∣gined already that he saw him entering Ecbatan to dethrone him; he was every moment soliciting Astyages to prevent those fatal predictions weak∣en the strength of ersia, and reduce it to its former dependance. Mandana, while she lived, had so dex∣terously managed her father as to hinder an open Page  225 rupture between him and Cambyses: but as soon as she was dead, Cyaxares renewed his solicitations with the Median Emperor.

Cambyses was informed of Cyaxares's designs and sent Hystaspes to the court of Ecbatan, to represent to Astyages the danger of mutually weakening each other's power, while the Assyrians, their common enemy, were forming schemes to extend their domi∣nation over all the East. Hystaspes, by his address, put a stop to the execution of Cyaxares's projects and gained Cambyses time to make his preparations in case of a rupture. The Prince of Media seeing that the wise counsels of Hystaspes were favorably listened to by his father, and that there was no means sudden∣ly to kindle a war, attempted by other ways to weak∣en the power of Persia: being informed of Soranes's discontent, he endeavored to gain him by an offer of the first dignities in the empire. Soranes at first was shocked at the very thought; but being afterwards deceived by ••s resentment, he knew not himself the secret motives upon which he acted; his heart was not yet become insensible to virtue, but his lively ima∣gination transformed objects, and represented them to him in the colours necessary to flatter his ambition; at length he got the better of all remorse, by reason∣ing with himself, that Cyaxares would one day be his lawful Emperor, and that Cambyses was but a tribu∣tary master. There is nothing which we cannot persuade ourselves to think when blinded and drawn away by strong passions. Thus he entered by degrees into a close correspondence with Cyaxares, and se∣cretly employed all means to render Cyrus's admini∣stration odious to the Persians.

Cyrus had raised Araspes to the first dignities in the army, upon account of his capacity and talent for war; but he would not bring him into the senate, because it was a law in Persia that no stranger should sit in the supreme council. The perfidious Soranes Page  226 nevertheless pressed the young Prince to infringe their law, knowing that it would be a sure means to excite the jealousy of the Satrapes, and to stir them up a∣gainst Cyrus. You have need, said he to him, of a man like Araspes in your council: I know that good policy and our rules forbid the intrusting of stran∣gers with the command of an army and the secrets of state at the same time; but a Prince may dispense with the laws when he can fulfil the intention of them by more sure and easy ways, and be ought ne∣ver to be the slave of rules and customs: men ordina∣rily act either from ambition or interest; load Aras∣pes with dignities and riches; by that means you will make Persia his country: and will have no reason to doubt his sidelity. Cyrus was not aware of Soranes's secret design, but he loved justice too well to depart from it. I am persuaded, answered the Prince, of the sidelity and capacity of Araspes; I love him sin∣cerely, but though my friendship were capable of making me break the laws in his favor, he is too much attached to me even to accept a dignity, which might excite the jealousy of the Persians and give them cause to think that I was influenced by particular in∣clination and friendship in affairs of state.

Soranes, having in vain attempted to engage Cyrus to take this false step, endeavored to surprise him ano∣ther way, and to create a misunderstanding between him and his father: he artfully made him observe the King's imperfection, his want of capacity and genius, and the necessity of pursuing other maxims than his. The mild and peaceable government of Cambyses, said he to the Prince, is incompatible with noble views; if you content yourself like him with a pacific reign, how will you become a conqueror? Cyrus made no other use of these insinuations than to avoid the rocks upon which Cambyses had split; he did not lessen his deference and submission to his father whom he tenderly loved; he respected him even in his fail∣ings, Page  227 which he endeavored to conceal: he did no∣thing without his orders, but consulted him in such a manner, as at the same time to give him a just notion of things: he frequently discoursed with him in pri∣vate, that the King might be able to decide in public. Cambyses had judgment enough to distinguish and made himself master of the excellent advices of his son, who employed the superiority of his genius only to make his father's commands respected and never displayed his talents but to strengthen the king's au∣thority: so admirable a behaviour greatly increased Cambyses's affection and esteem for him, and his con∣fidence in him; the prince never abused it, but con∣tinued the same conduct, in which he thought he did nothing more than his duty.

Soranes, enraged to see all his schemes frustrated, endeavored secretly to raise a distrust in the minds of the Satrapes, as if the Prince would incroach upon their rights and ruin their authority; and in order to augment their jealousy, he endeavored to inspire Cyrus with despotic principles. You are destined by the Gods, said he, to stretch your empire one day o∣ver all the East: in order to a happy execution of this design, you should accustom the Persians to a blind obedience; captivate the Satrapes by dignities and pleasures; put them under a necessity of fre∣quenting your court if they would partake of your favors; get the sovereign authority by degrees into your own hands; abridge the rights of the senate, leave it only the priviledge of giving you counsel: a Prince should not abuse his power, but he ought ne∣ver to share it with his subjects; monarchy is the most perfect kind of government; the true strength of a state, secrecy in councils and expedition in enter∣prizes, depend upon the sovereign power's being lod∣ged in a single person; a petty republic may subsist under the government of many heads, but great em∣pires can be formed only by the absolute authority of Page  228 one; other principles are the chimerical ideas of weak minds, who are conscious of their want of ca∣pacity to execute great designs.

The Prince was shocked at this discourse, but con∣cealed his indignation out of prudence, and dexter∣ously breaking off the conversation, left Soranes in a persuasion that he relished his maxims. As soon as Cyrus was alone, he made deep reflections on all that had passed; he called to mind the conduct of Amasis, and began to suspect Soranes's fidelity; he had not indeed any certain proofs of his perfidiousness; but a man who had the boldness to suggest to him such counsels seemed very dangerous at least, though he should not be a traitor. The young Prince by de∣grees excluded this minister from the secret of affairs, and sought for pretences to remove him from about his person, yet without doing any thing to affront him openly. Soranes quickly perceived this change, and carried his resentment to the last extremities; he persuaded himself that Araspes was going to be put in his place, that Cyrus intended to make himself ab∣solute master in Persia, and that this was the Prince's secret view in disciplining his troops with so much exactness. The jealousy and ambition of Soranes blinded him to such a degree, that he imagined he did his duty in practising the blackest treasons. He informed Cyaxares of all that passed in Persia; the augmentation of her forces, the preparations which were making for war, and Cyrus's design of extend∣ing his empire over all the East, under pretext of ac∣complishing certain pretended oracles by which he imposed upon; the people. Cyaxares made advantage of these advices to alarm Astyages, and to insinuate uneasiness and distrust into his mind; Hystaspes was ordered away from the court of Ecbatan, and the Emperor threatened Cambyses with a bloody war, if he did not consent to pay the ancient tribute, and return to the same dependance from which Persia Page  229 had been set free, upon his marriage with Mandana: Cambyses's refusal was the signal of the war, and preparations were made on both sides*.

In the mean while Soranes endeavored to corrupt the chief officers of the army and weaken their cou∣rage, by insinuating that Astyages was their lawful Emperor, that the ambitious designs of Cyrus would ruin their country, and that they could never make head against the Median troops, who would over∣whelm them with numbers. He continued likewise to increase the distrust of the senators, by artfully spreading a rumour among them, that Cyrus under∣took this war against his grandfather, only to weak∣en their authority, and to usury an absolute power. He concealed all his plots with such art, that it was almost impossible to discover them; every thing he said was with so much caution, that there was no seeing into his secret intentions; nay, there were certain moments in which he did not see them him∣self, but thought he was sincere and zealous for the public good; his first remorses returned from time to time, but he stifled them by persuading himself that the ill designs he imputed to the Prince were real. Cyrus was quickly informed of the murmurs of the people; the army was ready to revolt, it was doubt∣ful whether the senate would give the necessary sub∣sidies, and the Emperor of the Medes was upon the point of entering Persia at the head of sixty thousand men: the Prince was in the greatest grief to see the cruel extremities to which his father was reduced, and the necessity of taking arms against his grandfa∣ther.

Cambyses observing the Prince's struggles between nature and duty said to him, You know, my son, all that I have done to stifle the first seeds of our differ∣ences; Page  230 I have labored to no purpose; the war is in∣evitable; our country ought to be preferred to our family; hitherto you have assisted me in business by your prudence, you must now give proofs of your courage: would my age allow me to appear at the head of our troops, yet my presence would be neces∣sary here to keep the people in awe; go, my son, go and fight for your country; shew yourself the defend∣er of its liberty, as well as the preserver of its laws; second the designs of heaven, render yourself worthy to accomplish its oracles; begin by delivering Persia before you think of extending your conquests; let the nations see the effects of your courage, and admire your moderation in the midst of your triumphs, that they may not hereafter fear your victories. Cyrus encouraged by the magnanimous sentiments of Cam∣byses, and aided by the counsels of Harpagus and Hystaspes, two generals of equal experience, formed an army of thirty thousand men, composed of com∣manders with whose fidelity he was well acquainted, and veteran troops of known bravery. As soon as all preparations were made, they began by sacrifices and other religious rites. Cyrus after this drew up his troops in a spacious plain near the capital, assem∣bled the senate and the satrapes, and with a sweet and majestic air thus harangued the officers of his ar∣my.

War is unlawful when it is not necessary: that which we at present undertake is not to satisfy am∣bition or the desire of domination, but to defend our liberties: it is true our enemies understand military discipline, and they surpass us in number; but they are softened by luxury and a long peace; your souls are full of that ardor which makes men despise death when they are to fight for liberty; your severe life has accustomed you to fatigue; nothing is impossible to those whom no sufferings nor difficult enterprizes can dishearten: as for me, I will distinguish myself Page  231 from you in nothing but in leading the way through labors and dangers; all our prosperities and all our misfortunes shall hereafter be common. He then turned to the senators, and with a fierce and severe countenance said, Cambyses is not ignorant of the in∣trigues at the court of Ecbatan, to sow jealousy and distrust in your minds; he knows that you hesitate about giving him subsides, but having foreseen the war he has taken his precautions, one battle will de∣cide the fate of Persia, he does not want your assist∣ance: however, remember that the liberty of your country is at present in question; is not this liberty more secure in the hands of my father your lawful prince, than in those of the Emperor of the Medes, who holds all the neighboring Kings in a tributary dependance? If Cambyses should be vanquished, your privileges are lost for ever; if he proves victori∣ous, they will be preserved to you, unless you force the justice of a Prince, whom you have incensed by your secret cabals, to deprive you of them. The Prince by this discourse intimidated some, confirmed others in their duty, and united all in one design of contributing to the preservation of their country.—Soranes appeared more zealous than any, and ear∣nestly requested to have some command in the army: but as Cyrus had not concealed from Cambyses his just suspicions of that minister, the King did not suf∣fer himself to be imposed upon by appearances: un∣der pretext of providing for the security of the capi∣tal, he kept him near his person, but gave orders to watch his conduct: so that Soranes was a prisoner without perceiving it.

Cyrus having learned that Astyages had marched his troops through the deserts of Isatis in order to enter Persia, prevented him by a most surprising dili∣gence: he crossed over craggy mountains, the passes of which he secured, and gained the plains of Passa∣garda by such routs as would have been impractica∣ble Page  232 to any other than an army accustomed to fatigue, and conducted by so active and vigilant a general. Cyrus seized the most advantageous posts, and en∣camped near a ridge of mountains which defended him on one side, fortifying himself on the other by a double entrenchment. Astyages quickly appeared and encamped in the same plain near a lake, and the two armies continued in the sight of each other for several days. Cyrus could not without great concern look forward to the consequences of a war against his grandfather, and therefore employed this time in sending to Astyages's camp a Satrape, named Artaba∣sus, who spoke to the Emperor in the following man∣ner: Cyrus, your grandson, had an abhorrence of the war which he has been forced to undertake a∣gainst you; he has neglected nothing to prevent it nor will refuse any means to put an end to it; he it not deaf to the voice of nature, but he cannot sacri∣fice the liberty of the Persians; he would willingly reconcile by an honorable treaty, the love of his coun∣try with filial affection; he is in a condition to make war, but at the same time is not ashamed to ask peace. The Emperor, still irritated by Cyaxares, persisted in his first resolution, and Artabasus returned without succeeding in his negotiation.

Cyrus seeing himself reduced to the necessity of hazarding a battle, and knowing of what importance it is, in affairs of war, to deliberate with many, to decide with few, and to execute with speed, assem∣bled his principal officers and heard all their opinions; he then took his resolution, which he communicated only to Hystaspes and Harpagus. The day following he caused a rumour to be spread in the army of the enemy, that he intended to retire, not daring to en∣gage with unequal forces. Before he left the camp he ordered the usual sacrifices to be offered; he made libations of wine, and all the chief officers did the same: he gave for the word, MYTHRAS THE CON∣DUCTOR Page  233 AND SAVIOUR, and then mounting his horse commanded every man to his post. The soldiers' cuirasses were composed of plates of iron of divers co∣lours, and like the scales of fish; their casques were of brass, adorned with a great white feather; over their shields, made of willow twigs interwoven, hung their quivers; the darts were short, their bows long, their arrows made of canes, and their scymitars hung upon their right thighs. The royal standard was a golden eagle with its wings expanded; the Kings of Persia have ever since had the same.

Cyrus decamped by night, and advanced in the plains of Pasagarda; Astyages, imagining that the Prince fled before him, made haste to come up with him by sun-rising; Cyrus on a sudden drew up his army in order of battle, and only twelve deep, that the javelins and darts of the last rank might reach the enemy, and that all the parts might support and assist each other without confusion: he chose out of each battalion a select company, of which he formed a trianguler Phalanx after the manner of the Greeks; he placed this body of reserve behind his army, com∣manding it not to stir till he himself should give ex∣press orders. The plain was covered with dust and sand, and the North-wind blew hard. Cyrus by wheeling a little, posted his army so advantageously that the rising dust was driven full in the faces of the Medes, and favored his stratagem; Harpagus com∣manded the right wing, Hystaspes the left, Araspes the centre, and Cyrus was present every where. The army of the Medes was composed of several square battalions thirty deep, all standing close to be the more impenetrable; in the front were the chari∣ots, with great scythes fastened to the axle-trees.

Cyrus ordered Harpagus and Hystaspes to extend the two wings by degrees, in order to enclose the Medes. While he was speaking he heard a clap of Page  234 thunder: We follow thee, great Oromazes, cried he and in the same instant began the hymn of battle, to which all the troops answered with loud shouts, in∣voking the God Mythras. Cyrus's army presented its front in a strait line to deceive Astyages; but the centre marching slower, and the wings faster, 〈◊〉 whole was soon formed into a crescent. The Medes broke through the first ranks of the centre, and ad∣vanced to the last; they began already to cry, Vic∣tory! but then Cyrus advanced with his body of re∣serve, while Harpagus and Hystaspes surrouned the enemy on all sides, and the battle was renewed. The triangular Phalanx of the Persians pierced the bat∣talions of the Medes, and turned aside their chariots: Cyrus, mounted on a foaming steed, flew from rank to rank; the fire of his eyes animated the soldiers, and the serenity of his countenance banished all fear; in the heat of battle he was active, calm and present to himself; he spoke to some, encouraged others by signs, and kept every one in his post. The Modes being surrounded on all sides were attacked in front, in rear and in flank; the Persians closed in upon them and cut them in pieces; nothing was heard but the clashing of arms and the groans of the dying; streams of blood covered the plain; despair, rage and cruelty spread slaughter and death every where: Cyrus alone felt a generous pity; Astyages and Cy∣axares being taken prisoners, he gave orders to sound a retreat and put an end to the battle.

Cyaxares inflamed with rage and with all the pass∣ions that take hold of a proud mind when fallen from its hopes, would not see Cyrus: he pretended to be wounded, and sent to ask permission to return to Ec∣batan, to which Cyrus consented. Astyages was conducted with pomp to the capital of Persia, not like a conquered Prince, but like a victorious one: being no longer importuned by the evil counsels of his son, he made a peace, and Persia was declared a Page  235〈◊〉 kingdom for ever; this was the first service that Cyrus did his country. The success of this war, so contrary to the expectation of Soranes, opened his eyes. Had the event been answerable to his desires, he would still have continued in his perfidiousness; but finding that his projects were disconcerted, and that it was impossible to conceal them any longer, he trunk with horror to behold the dreadful condition into which he had brought himself, the crimes he had committed, and the certain disgrace which would fol∣low: not able to endure this prospect, he fell into despair, killed himself, and left a sad example to pos∣terity of the excesses to which boundless ambition may carry the greatest geniuses, even when their hearts are not entirely corrupted. After his death Cyrus was informed of all the particulars of his trea∣chery. The Prince, without applauding himself for having early seen into the character of this minister, beheld with concern, and lamented the unhappy con∣dition of man, who often loses all the fruits of his ta∣lents, and sometimes precipitates himself into the greatest crimes, by giving way to an unruly imagina∣tion and a blind passion.

As soon as the peace was concluded Astyages re∣turned into his own dominions. After his departure Cyrus assembled the senators, satrapes and all the heads of the people, and said to them in the name of the King: My father's arms have set Persia free from all foreign dependance; he might now, with a victorious army at his devotion, destroy your privi∣leges, and govern with absolute authority; but he abhors such maxims: it is only under the empire of Arimanius that force alone presides; Princes are the images of the great Oromazes, and ought to imitate his conduct; his sovereign reason is the rule of his will; how wise and just soever Princes may be, they are still but men, and consequently have prejudices and passions; may were they exempt from these they Page  236 cannot see and hear every thing; they have need of faithful counsellors to inform and assist them. 'Tis thus that Cambyses resolves to govern; he will re∣serve no more power than is necessary to do good, and chooses to have such restraints as may hinder him from doing ill: senators, banish your fears; lay aside your distrusts; recognize your King: he preserves all your rights to you: assist him in making the Per∣sians happy; he desires to reign over free children, and not over slaves. At these words joy was diffu∣sed through the whole assembly. Some cried out, Is not this the God Mythras himself come down from the empyreum to renew the reign of Oromazes? O∣thers dissolved in tears, were unable to speak: the old men looked on him as their son, the young men called him father; all Persia seemed but one family. It was thus that Cyrus avoided all the snares of So∣ranes, triumphed over the plots of Cyaxares, and re∣stored liberty to the Persians: he never had recourse to cowardly artifice, or mean dissimulation unworthy of great souls.

Astyages died soon after his return to Ecbatan, and left the empire to Cyaxares. Cambyses foresee∣ing that the turbulet and jealous spirit of that Prince would soon excite new disturbances, resolved to seek an alliance with the Assyrians. The Emperor of Media and the King of Babylon had been for an hundred years past the two rival powers of the East; they were continually endeavoring to weaken each other in order to become masters of Asia. Camby∣ses, who knew his son's abilities, proposed to him that he should go in person to the court of Nabuchodono∣sor, to treat with Amytis, the wife of that Prince and sister of Mandana; she governed the kingdom during the King's madness. Cyrus had been hindered from going thither some years before by his mother's sick∣ness: he was exceedingly pleased with a journey to Babylon, not only that he might serve his country, Page  237 but that he might likewise have an opportunity of conversing with the Hebrews, whose oracles (as he had learned from Zoroaster) contained predictions of his future greatness; and he had no less desire to see the miserable condition of King Nabuchodonosor, the report of which was spread over all the East. Ha∣ving filled the council and senate with men of appro∣ved loyalty and capacity, he left Persia, crossed Sufi∣ana, and soon arrived at Babylon.

EIGHTH BOOK.

BABYLON, the seat of the Assyrian monarch, had been founded by Semiramis, but Nabuchodono∣sor had given it its principal beauties. This con∣queror after long and difficult wars, finding himself in perfect tranquility; applied his thoughts to make his capital one of the wonders of the world. It was situated in a vast plain, watered by the Euphrates; the canals cut from this river made the fruitfulness of the soil so great, that it yielded the King as much as the half of his empire*. The walls of the city were built of large brick, cemented together with bi∣tumen, Page  238 or a slime arising out of the earth, which in time became harder than marble; they were fifty cubits thick, two hundred high, and formed a perfect square twenty leagues in compass; an hundred and fifty towers raised at certain distances upon these in∣accessible walls, commanded all the country round a∣bout; an hundred gates of brass regularly disposed opened to an innumerable multitude of people of all nations; fifty great streets traversed the city from side to side, and by crossing each other formed above six hundred large divisions, in which were stately pa∣laces, delightful gardens and magnificent squares. The Euphrates flowed through the middle of Baby∣lon, and over that river was a bridge built with sur∣prising art; at its two extremities were two palaces, the old one to the East, the new one to the West; near the old palace was the temple of Belus, from the centre of this building rose a pyramid six hund∣red foot high, and composed of eight towers one a∣bove another; from the top of this pyramid use Ba∣bylonians observed the motions of the stars, which was their favorite study, and by which they made themselves famous in other nations. At the other end of the bridge stood the new palace, which was eight miles in circuit; its famous hanging gardens, which were so many large terrasses one above ano∣ther, rose like an amphitheatre to the height of the city walls; the whole mass was supported by divers arches built upon other arches, all covered with broad stones strongly cemented, and over them was first a layer of reed mixed with bitumen, then two rows of bricks, and over these thick sheets of lead, which made the whole impenetrable to rain or any other moisture; the mould which covered all was of that depth as to have room enough for the greatest trees to take root in it: in these gardens were long walks, which ran as far as the eye could reach; bow∣ers, green plots and flowers of all kinds; canals, ba∣lons Page  239 and aqueducts to water and adorn this place of delights; a most surprising collection of all the beau∣ties of nature and art.

The author, or rather the creator of so many pro∣digies, equal to Hercules in bravery, and superior to the greatest men by his genius, was, after incredible successes, fallen into a kind of madness; he imagined himself transformed into a beast, and had all the fierce∣ness of one. As soon as Cyrus was arrived at Baby∣lon, he went to see Queen Amytis: this Princess had for near seven years been plunged into a deep sadness; but she was beginning to moderate her grief, because the Hebrews, who were then captives in the city had promised her that the King should be cured in a few days. The Queen was waiting that happy moment with great impatience; the wonders she had seen per∣formed by Daniel made her confide in what he said. Cyrus from a respectful consideration of the affliction of Amytis, avoided speaking to her concerning the princ•••• design of his journey; he was sensible that it was not a favorable conjuncture to treat of politi∣cal a 〈◊〉 and waited for the King's cure, though with little hopes: in the mean while he endeavoured to satisfy his curiosity touching the religion and man∣ners of the Israelites. Daniel was not then at Baby∣lon, but was gone to visit and and console the He∣brews dispersed throughout Assyria. Amytis made Cyrus acquainted with an illustrious Hebrew named Eleazar: the Prince being informed that the people of God did not look upon the King's frenzy as a na∣tural distemper, but as a punishment from heaven, de∣sired the Hebrew philosopher to tell him the reason of it.

Nabuchodonosor, said the Hebrew sage, being led away by impious men who were about him, came at length to such an excess of irreligion, that he blas∣phemed against THE MOST HIGH; and to crown his impiety, he erected a golden statue of an enorm∣ous Page  240 size in the plain of Dura, and commanded that it should be adored by all the nations he had subdued. He was admonished by divine dreams, that he should be punished for his idolatry and pride, in this life: a Hebrew named Daniel, a man famous for science, virtue and his knowledge of futurity, explained to him those dreams, and denounced God's judgments which were ready to fall upon him. The words of the prophet made at first some impression upon the King's mind; but being surrounded by profane men who despised the heavenly powers, he neglected the divine admonition, and gave himself up anew to his impiety. At the end of the year, while he was walk∣ing in his gardens, admiring the beauty of his own works, the splendor of his glory, and the greatness of his empire, he exalted himself above humanity, and became an idolater of his own proud imaginati∣ons. He heard a voice from heaven, saying, O King Nabuchodonosor, to thee it is spoken, The kingdom is departed from thee, and they shall drive 〈◊〉 from men, and thou shalt ea grass as the beas•• of the field till seven years are passed, and until 〈◊〉 know that THE MOST HIGH ruleth over all the kingdoms of the universe, and giveth them to whomsoever he will. In the same hour was the thing fulfilled and his reason was taken from him; he was seized with a frenzy and with fits of raging madness; in vain they attempted to hold him by chains; he broke all his irons and ran away into the mountains and plains, roaring like a lion; no one can approach him with∣out running the hazard of being torn in pieces. He has no repose or intervals of reason except one day in the week, which is the Sabbath*; he then holds discourses which should strike the impious with ter∣ror. Page  241 It is now almost seven years that he has been in this condition, and we are expecting his total reco∣very in a few days, according to the divine predic∣tion.

Here Cyrus sighed, and could not forbear saying, In all the countries through which I pass, I see no∣thing but sad examples of the weakness and misfor∣tunes of princes: in Egypt, Apries suffers himself to be made a sacrifice by his blind friendship for a persi∣dious favourite; at Sparta two young Kings were go∣ing to ruin the state, if not prevented by the wisdom of Chilo; the deplorable fate of Periander and his whole family at Corinth, will be a dreadful example to pos∣terity of the miseries which tyrants and usurpers draw upon themselves; at Athens Pisistratus is twice de∣throned; Polycrates King of Samos suffers himself to be imposed upon so far as to persecute innocence; in Crete the successors of Minos have destroyed the most perfect of all governments; here Nabuchodo∣nosor draws upon himself the wrath of Heaven by his impiety: great Oromazes! was it only in your anger then that you gave Kings to mortals? Are grandeur and virtue incompatible?

The morning of the Sabbath, Cyrus accompanied Eleazar, went to the place which the King of Baby∣lon frequented; they beheld the unfortunate Prince come out of the Euphrates, and lye down under some willows which were upon the banks of the ri∣ver. They approached him in silence; he was stretched upon the grass with his eyes turned to∣wards heaven; from time to time he sent forth deep sighs, accompanied with bitter tears; in the midst of his misfortunes there was still upon his face an air of greatness which shewed that THE MOST HIGH in pu∣nishing had not entirely forsaken him; they forbore out of respect to speak to him, or to interrupt the profound grief in which he seemed to be plunged. Page  242 Cyrus deeply struck with the sad situation of this great Prince stood immoveable, and on his counte∣nance appeared all the tokens of a soul seized with terror and compassion: the King of Babylon observed it, and without knowing who he was said to him: Heaven suffers me to have intervals of reason, to make me sensible that I do not possess it as a proper∣ty; that it comes from another; that a superior Be∣ing takes it from me and restores it when he pleases; and that he who gives it me is a sovereign intelli∣gence, who holds all nature in his hand, and can dis∣pose it in order or overturn it according to his plea∣sure. Heretofore being blinded by pride and cor∣rupted by prosperity. I said within myself, and to all the false friends who were about me: We are born as if it were by chance, and after death we shall be as if we had never been; the soul is a spark of fire which goes out when the body is re∣duced to ashes; come, let us enjoy the present good, let us make haste to exhaust all pleasures; let us drink the most delicious wines, and perfume ourselves with odoriferous oils; let us crown ourselves with roses before they wither; let strength be our only law, and pleasure the rule of our duty; let us make the just fall into our snares, because he dishonors us by his virtue; let us examine him with affronts and torments, that we may see whither he be sincere. Thus it was that I blasphemed against Heaven, and this is the source of my miseries; alas! I have but too much deserved them. Scarce had he pronoun∣ced these words, when he started up, ran away, and hid himself in the neighboring forest.

The words of Nabuchodonosor augmented the young Prince's respect for the Deity, and redoubled his desire of being fully instructed in the religion of the Hebrews; he frequently saw Eleazer, and by de∣grees contracted a close friendship with him. The Eternal being watchful over Cyrus, whom he had Page  243 chosen to bring about the deliverance of his people, thought fit to prepare him by his conversation with the Hebrew Sage, to receive soon after the instructi∣ons of the Phrophet Daniel. Ever since the capti∣vity of the Israelites, the Hebrew Doctors who were dispersed in the several nations, had appplied them∣selves to the study of the profane sciences, and endea∣vored to reconcile religion with philosophy: in order thereto they embraced or forsook the literal sense of the sacred books, according as it is suited with their motions, or was repugnant to them; they taught that the Hebrew traditions were often folded up in allegories, according to the Eastern custom, but they pretended to explain them; and this was what gave rise afterwards to that famous sect among the He∣brews called the Allegorists. Eleazar was of the number of those Philosophers, and was with reason esteemed one of the greatest geniuses of his age; he was versed in all the sciences of the Chaldeans and Egyptians, and had held several disputes with the Eastern Magi, to prove that the religion of the He∣brews was not only the most ancient, but the most conformable to reason. Cyrus having divers times discoursed with Eleazar upon all he had learned in Persia, Egypt and Greece, concerning the great re∣volutions which had happened in the universe, desir∣ed him one day to explain to him the doctrine of the Hebrew Philosophers, concerning the three states of the world.

* We adore, answered Eleazar, but one only God, infinite, eternal, immense: he has defined himself, HE WHO IS, to denote, that he exists of himself, and that all other beings exist only by him: being rich by the riches of his own nature, and happy by his own supreme felicity, he had no need to produce o∣ther substances to augment his glory; nevertheless, Page  244 by a noble and free effort of his beneficent will, he has created divers orders of intelligences to make them happy. Man first forms the plan of his work before he executes it; but THE ETERNAL conceives, produces and disposes every thing in order, by the same act, without labor or succession: he thinks, and immediately all the possible ways of representing him∣self outwardly appear before him; a world of ideas presents itself to the divine intellect. He wills, and instantly real beings resembling those ideas exist in his immensity; the whole universe and the vast ex∣panse of nature, distinct from the divine Essence; is produced. The Creator has represented himself two ways, by simple pictures, and by living images. Hence there are two sorts of creatures essentially dif∣ferent, material nature and intelligent nature; the one represents only some perfections of its original, the other knows and enjoys it; there are an infinite number of spheres full of such intelligent beings. Sometimes these spirits plunge themselves into the unfathomable depths of the divine nature to adors its beauties, which are ever new; at other times they admire the perfections of the Creator in his works; this is their two-fold happiness: they cannot incessantly contemplate the splendor of the divine Es∣sence; their week and finite nature requires that they should sometimes vail their eyes; this is the reason why the material world was created, the re∣freshment of the intellectual.

Two sorts of spirits lost this happiness by their dis∣loyalty; the one called Cherubim, were of a superi∣or order, and are now infernal spirits; the other cal∣led Ischim, were of a less perfect nature; these are the souls which actually inhabit mortal bodies. The chief of the Cherubim approached nearer the throne than the other spirits: he was crowned with the most excellent gifts of THE MOST HIGH, but lost his wisdom by a vain complacency in himself: being Page  245 enamoured with his own beauty, he beheld and con∣sidered himself, and was dazzled with the lustre of his own light; he grew proud, rebelled, and drew into his rebellion the greater part of the genii of his order. The Ischim became too much attached to material objects, and in the enjoyment of created pleasures, forgot the supreme beatitude of spirits; the first were too much elated with pride, the second debased themselves by sensuality. Upon this there happened a great revolution in the heavens; the sphere of the Cherubim became a dark chaos, where those unhappy intelligences deplore, without consola∣tion, their lost felicity. The Ischim being less guil∣ty, because they had finned through weakness, were 〈◊〉 severely punished: that they might forget their ••rmer state, God suffered them to fall into a kind of ••thargy or fatal insensibility, from which they awake only to enter successively into mortal bodies: the or∣ganic moulds of all human bodies were shut up in 〈◊〉 of Adam, and the order of generation was esta∣blished; each soul awakens in such a body, and in ••ch time, place and circumstances as suit best with the decrees of eternal Wisdom: the earth changed its form, it was no longer a garden of delights, but a place of banishment and misery, where the continual war of the elements subjected them to diseases and death. This is the hidden meaning of the great He∣brew lawgiver, when he speaks of the terrestrial para∣dise, and of the fall of our first parents. Adam does not represent one single man, but all mankind.* E∣very nation has its allegories, and we have ours: those who do not comprehend them, look upon our history of the forbidden fruit and of the speaking ser∣pent, as fables more absurd than the Mythology of the Persians, Egyptians and Greeks concerning the fall of Arimanius, the rebellion of Typhon, and the Page  246 golden apples in the garden of Hesperides: all these allegories are founded upon the same tradition more or less disguised. The weak and ignorant in every religion stick to the letter which kills, and the impi∣ous scoff at it; but neither the one nor the other un∣derstand the spirit which gives life.

Souls being once disunited from their origin, had no longer any fixed principle of union; the order of generation, mutual wants and self-love became here below the only bounds of transient society, and took the place of justice, friendship and the love of order, which unite the heavenly spirits. Divers other changes happened in this mortal abode, suitable to the state of souls who suffer, and deserve to suffer, and are to be cured by their sufferings. In the end the great prophet, whom we call the MESSIAH, will come and restore order in the universe: it is he who is the Head, and the Conductor of all intelligent na∣tures; he is the first born of all creatures; the Dei∣ty united himself to him in an intimate manner from the beginning of time, and he has united himself to a portion of matter which serves him for a tabernacle; from this luminous centre incessantly stream rays that enlighten all the regions of immensity; this glorious body is the sun of the heavenly Jerusalem; the ema∣nations of this adorable SHECHINAH are the life and light of all bodies, as those of his Divinity are the reason and happiness of all intelligences: it was this Messiah who conversed with our fathers under a hu∣man form; it was he who appeared to our lawgiver, upon the holy mount; it was he who spoke to the prophets under a visible appearance; it is he who will at last come in triumph upon the clouds, to re∣store the universe to its primitive splendor and felici∣ty. How august a thing is religion, how worthy of God, how sublime in its simplicity when the vail which hides it from profane eyes is removed!

Cyrus transported with these sublime ideas would Page  247 by no means interrupt the philosopher; but seeing that he had done speaking he said: I find that your Theology is perfectly conformable to the doctrine of the Persians, Egyptians and Greeks, concerning the three states of the world. Zoroaster being versed in the sciences of the Gymnosophists, spoke to me of the empire of Oromazes before the rebellion of Arima∣nius, as of a state in which all spirits were happy and perfect: in Egypt the religion of Hermes represents the reign of Ofiris, before the monster Typhon broke through the mundane egg, as a state exempt from miseries and passions: Orpheus has sung the golden age as a state of simplicity and innocence. Each na∣tion has formed an idea of this primitive world ac∣cording to its genius; the Magi, who are all astrono∣mers, have placed it in the stars; the Egyptians, who are all philosophers, have fancied it a republic of sa∣ges; the Greeks, who delight in rural scenes, have described it as a country of shepherds. I farther ob∣serve that the traditions of all nations foretel the co∣ming of a hero, who is to descend from heaven to bring back Astraea to the earth: the Persians call him Mythras, the Egyptians Orus, the Tyrians Ado∣nis, the Greeks Apollo, Hercules, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter the Conductor and Saviour. It is true they differ in their description, but all agree in the same truths; they are all sensible that man is not now what he was, and believe that he will one day as∣sume a more perfect form; God cannot suffer an e∣ternal blemish in his work; evil had a beginning and it will have an end; then will be the triumph of light over darkness; that is the time fixed by destiny for the total destruction of Typhon, Arimanius and Pluto, the prescribed period in all religions for re-e∣stablishing the reign of Oromazes, Ofiris, Belus and Saturn. Nevertheless there arises one great difficul∣ty, which no philosopher has yet been able to solve me. I do not conceive how evil could happen under Page  248 the government of a God who is good, wise and powerful; if he be wise, he might have foreseen it; and if he be good, he would have prevented it: shew me which way to justify the eternal Wisdom: why has God created free beings, intelligences capable of evil? Why has he bestowed on them so fatal a gift.

Liberty, answered Eleazar, is a necessary conse∣quence of our reasonable nature. To be free is to be able to choose; to choose is to prefer: every be∣ing capable of reasoning and comparing can prefer, and consequently choose. It is true, in every choice we necessarily choose what appears to us the best, but we can suspend our choice, till we have examined whether the good that presents itself be real good or only an apparent one: the soul is not free to see or not to see the objects she looks upon, to discern or not discern their differences when she sees them, or to choose without a reason for choosing; but she is free to look or not look, to consider objects on one side only or on several, to choose them for a good or bad reason; we are never invincibly captivated by any finite good, because we are able to think of a great∣er good, and so may discover a superior charm which will carry us away from the less attractive object; and it is on this activity natural to all rational beings, that liberty depends; spirits only are active and ca∣pable of self motion: God gives them activity as well as being; an activity different from his, as well as a substance dictinct from his. One of the essen∣tial differences between bodies and souls is this, the one are necessarily transported where ever the moving power carries them, the other suffer them∣selves to be moved only by the reason that enlightens them. God could not give us intelligence without giving us liberty.

But could he not, replied Cyrus, have hindered us from abusing our liberty, by shewing us truth with so clear an evidence, that it would have been impos∣sible Page  249 to mistake? When the sovereign beauty displays his infinitely attractive charms, they seize and engross the whole will, and make all inferior amiableness va∣nish, as the rising sun dispels the shades of night.—The purest light, answered Eleazar, does not illumi∣nite those who will not see; now every finite intel∣ligence may turn away his eyes from the truth. I have already told you that spirits cannot incessantly contemplate the splendors of the divine essence; they are obliged from time to time to cover their faces; it is then that self-love may seduce them, and make them take an apparent good for a real one; this false good 〈◊〉 dazzle them and draw them away from the true 〈◊〉. Self-love is inseparable from our nature.—God in loving himself essentially loves order, because 〈◊〉 IS ORDER; but the creature may love itself with∣out loving order; to what degree of perfection soe∣ver we suppose it raised, it is still finite, and conse∣quently capable of pursuing, contrary to the will of the Creator, a good which it has not in its possession; hence every created spirit is necessarily and essentially falible; to ask why God had made falible intelligenc∣es, is to ask why he has made them finite; or why he has not created gods as perfect as himself: a thing impossible.

Cannot God, continued Cyrus, employ his almigh∣ty power, to force free intelligences to see and relish truth? Under the empire of God himself, answered Eleazar, despotic rule and liberty are incompatible. God does every thing he pleases in heaven and upon earth; but he will not employ his absolute power to destroy the free nature of intelligent beings; if he did, they would act no longer from choice but neces∣sity; they would obey, but they would not love: now love is what God demands, and it is the only worship worthy of him; he does not require it for a∣ny advantage to himself, but for the good of his crea∣tures; he will have them happy and contribute to Page  250 their own happiness; happy by love, and by a love of pure choice: it is thus that their merit augments their felicity.

But could not the Deity, said Cyrus, have employ∣ed infallible means to secure the happiness of intelli∣gent beings, without violating their liberty; Has he not a sovereign dominion over spirits as well as bo∣dies? Can he not change the most rebellious and stubborn wills, and make them pliable and submissive to his orders? In a word, could he not have found expedients in the inexhaustible treasures of his power, wisdom and goodness, to subject free agents as well as necessary ones to his eternal purposes? Doubtless, answered Eleazar, we cannot form too high an idea of the perfections of the infinitely perfect Being; he wills the happiness of all intelligences, knows all the means requisite to accomplish his will, and sooner or later will render those means absolutely and infallibly efficacious without violating the liberty of spirits. The permission of sin, expiatory pains, and all the fa∣tal consequence of our rebellion, are a part of those means and of the plan of his adorable providence. God first exerted all the efforts of his power, he ex∣hausted, so to speak, all the treasures of his wisdom, he displayed all the charms of his goodness, he neg∣lected nothing to prevent the fall of spirits. Seeing at last that he could not keep them in the love of or∣der, without violating their liberty, he left them for a moment to the fatal consequences of their wander∣ings, because he knew not how to make all end in the accomplishment of his decrees. He who calls being out of nothing can draw an infinite good from a tran∣sient evil, order from confusion, the universal beauty of his work from a slight blemish which he suffers in it, and the permanent happiness of all spirits from the momentaneous pains which a small number of intelli∣gences suffer by their own fault. All the heavenly host are spectators of what passes here below, and are Page  251 confirmed forever in the love of order, by seeing the errible effects and natural consequences of our un∣faithfulness. This is the reason why God suffers evil for a moment; our example is an eternal lesson so all spirits. The conduct of God offends us only because we are finite and mortal: we see not the whole plan of it, we judge of it only by small pieces. Let us raise our thoughts above the place of banish∣ment, let us run over all the celestial regions, we shall see disorder and evil no where but in this cor∣ner of the universe. The earth is but an atom in comparison of immensity; the whole extent of time is but a moment in respect of eternity: these two in∣finitely small points will one day disappear; yet a little moment and evil will be no more; but our li∣mited minds and our self-love magnify objects, and make us look upon that point which divides the two eternities as something great.

Could not the infinite goodness of God, said Cyrus, have brought back his offending creatures to order without making them suffer? A good father will ne∣ver make use of punishments when he can gain his children by mildness.

I have already told you, answered Eleazar, that we are capable of a twofold happiness: should God, after our rebellion, continue to us the full enjoyment of created pleasure, we should never aspire to an u∣nion with the Creator; we should content ourselves with an inferior happiness, without any endeavors to attain to the supreme beatitude of our nature. The only means to hinder free beings from relapsing into disorder, is to make them feel for a time the fatal consequences of their error. God owes it to his ju∣stice to punish the guilty, that he may not counte∣nance crimes; and his goodness likewise requires it, in order to correct and reform the criminal. Natu∣ral evil is necessary to cure moral evil; suffering is the only remedy for sin. All will suffer more or less Page  252 in proportion as they are more or less gone astray: those who have never departed from their duty, will forever excel the rest in knowledge and happiness; those who delay their return to it, will be always in∣ferior to the other in perfection and felicity.

The return of spirits to their first principle, resem∣bles the motion of bodies towards their centre; the nearer they approach to it, the more their velocity augments, and consequently those who begin sooner to return to their infinite centre will for ever outstrip the rest in their course. This is the order established by eternal Wisdom, the immutable law of distributive justice, from which God cannot deviate, without be∣ing essentially wanting to himself, countenancing re∣bellion, and exposing all finite and fallible beings to the danger of disturbing universal harmony. You see in all this the conduct of a God, of a Creator who drew spirits out of nothing to make them happy, he punishes them that they may return into order, he suspends the exercise of his absolute power, that by the secret springs of an immutable wisdom, goodness and justice, he may make them accomplish freely his eternal purposes.

I comprehend you, said Cyrus; God could not de∣prive us of liberty without depriving us of intelli∣gence; nor hinder us from being fallible without ma∣king us infinite, nor prevent our wandering without destroying our liberty, nor 〈◊〉 us from expiatory pains, without violating his 〈◊〉 and goodness: ex∣empt from all passions, he has neither anger nor re∣venge, he chastises only to amend, he punishes only to cure, he permits sin only that he may not violate our liberty, he is tender of that liberty only that he makes us merit, he exacts that merit only to augment our happiness, he does not employ his almighty pow∣er to force us to be happy, because he will give us the eternal pleasure of contributing to our own hap∣piness by love, and by a love of pure choice; he does Page  253 good for the love of good, without having any need of our services, without gaining any thing our vir∣tues, or losing any thing by our crimes. Such is the Glory of the God of the Hebrews, of HIM WHO IS, of the independent and self sufficient Being. No phi∣losopher ever presented me before with a chain of principles and consequences, thoughts and sentiments so conformable to reason.

This, continued Eleazar, is what even the under∣standing of man can suggest to render the ways of God intelligible; it is thus that we confound reason by reason itself; it is by these principles that our doctors silence the philosophers of the Gentiles, who blaspheme against the sovereign Wisdom, because of the evils and crimes which happen here below. But yet our religion does not cons••t of these speculations; it is not so much a philosophical system as a superna∣tural establishment; Daniel will instruct you in it; he is at this time the prophet of THE MOST HIGH: The eternal often shews him futurity as present, and lends him his power to work prodigies; he is soon to return to Babylon, he will shew you the oracles con∣tained in our sacred books, and teach you what are the purposes for which God inends you. It was in this manner that the Hebre philosopher instructed Cyrus, vainly striving to athom the unsearchable depths of divine wisdom: what was defective in his opinions, was set right by the more simple and sub∣lime instructions of Danie, who came back to Baby∣lon a few days after.

It was the time fixed by the prophets for the re∣covery of Nabuchodonosor, his frenzy ceased and his reason was restored to him. Before he returned to his capital, he resolved to pay a public homage to the God of Israel in the same place where he had given the notorious instance of his impiety. He ordered Daniel to assemble the Princes, magistrates and go∣vernors Page  254 of provinces, and all the nobles of Babylon, and to conduct them to the plains of Dura, where 〈◊〉 had some years before erected the famous golden sta∣tue. Clothed with his imperial robe, he mounted upon an eminence, from whence he might be seen by all the people; he had no longer any thing fierce or savage in his look; notwithstanding the dreadful con∣dition to which his sufferings had reduced him, 〈◊〉 countenance had a srene and majestic air: he turned towards the East, took of his diadem, prostrated him∣self with his face to the earth, and pronounced 〈◊〉 times the tremendous name of JEHOVAH! having ••∣dored the ETERNAL for some time in a profound ••∣lence, he rose up and said: People of all nations as∣sembled together, it was here that you formerly be∣held the extravagant marks of my impious and ab∣minable pride; it was here that I usurped the rights of the Divinity, and would force you to worship the work of mens' hand: THE MOST HIGH to punish this excess of irreligion, condemned me to eat grass with the beasts for seven whole years; the times 〈◊〉 accomplished; I have lifted up my eyes to heaven and acknowledged the power of the God of Israel; my reason and understanding are restored me. Your God, (continued he, turning towards Daniel) is in truth the GOD OF GODS and KING OF KINGS. All the inhabitants of the earth are before him as no∣thing, and he does according to his will both in hea∣ven and in earth; his wisdom is equal to his power, and all his ways are full of justice: those that walk in pride he is able to abase, and he raises again those whom he had humbled: O Princes and people learn to render homage to his greatness! At these words the assembly sent up shouts of joy and filled the air with acclamations in honor of the God of Israel—Nabuchodonosor was conducted back with pomp to his capital and resumed the government of his king∣dom: he raised Daniel to the highest dignities, and Page  255•• Hebrews were honoured with the first posts throughout all the provinces of his empire.

Some days after, Amytis presented Cyrus to Na∣bchodonosor, who received the young Prince in a most friendly manner, and gave him a favorable au∣••ence: however, the nobles of Babylon, who sat in 〈◊〉 King's council, represented in very strong terms, 〈◊〉 it might be dangerous to provoke the Median urt at the present juncture, when the forces of the kingdom were much lessened and its treasures ex∣••sted by the late troubles during the King's illness; 〈◊〉 that it would be better policy to foment the di∣•••ions between the Medes and Persians, in order to ake them mutually weaken each other, and so give the King of Babylon a fair occasion of extending his conquests. But Nabuchodonozor, who by the mis∣fortunes he had suffered, was cured of all such false maxims, did not go into these ambitious projects of 〈◊〉 ministers; and Cyrus observing his good disposi∣tion, took that opportunity to lay before him the ad∣vantages he might find by an alliance with Camby∣••; he made the King sensible that the Medes were he only rivals of his power in the East; that it could not be for his interest to let them grow consi∣derable, by subjecting and oppressing the Persians: but that he should rather make the latter his friends who might serve as a barrier to his empire against the enterprizes of the Median Prince; and lastly that Persia lay very convenient for the Babylonian troops to march through it into Media, in case Cyaxares should resolve upon a rupture. The Prince of Per∣sia spoke both in public and private assemblies with so much eloquence and strength of reason, he shewed during the course of his negotiation, which lasted some months, so much candour and truth, he mana∣ged the nobles with so much prudence and delicacy, that in the end he brought them all over: an alli∣ance Page  256 was sworn in a solemn manner, and Nabucho∣donosor continued faithful to it the rest of his life.

Cyrus, impatient to see the sacred books of the Hebrews, which contained oracles relating to his fu∣ture greatness, conversed every day with Daniel; and the prophet gladly embraced the opportunity to instruct him in the Hebrew religion. He at length opened the books of Isaian, who had prophesied of Cyrus by name an hundred and fifty years before his birth, and the Prince read there words:

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus whose right hand I have hold•• to subdue nations before him, and put Kings to flight; and I will open be∣fore him the two leaved gates, and the gates shall not be shut. I will go before thee, I will humble the great ones of the earth, I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of i∣ron, and I will reveal to thee the hidden treasures, and the secret of secrets*, that thou may'st know that I the Lord who have called thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name, I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me.—I form the light and create darkness.—I have made the earth and created man upon it; I, even my hands have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. I have raised him up in right∣eousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, faith the Lord of hosts.

Cyrus was struck with awe and reverence as well as astonishment, to see so clear and circumstantial a prediction, a thing unknown in other nations; for there the oracles were always obscure and ambigu∣ous. Page  257 Eleazar (said he to the Prophet) has already shewn me, that the great principles of your Theolo∣gy concerning the three states of the world agree with those of other nations. He has removed all my difficulties about the origin of evil, by proving the freedom of intelligent natures; he shuts the mouth of impiety by his sublime ideas concerning the pre-ex-••ence of souls, their voluntary fall, and their total restoration: but he has said nothing to me of the su∣per-natural establishment of your law. I conjure you, by the God whom you adore, to answer my questions: Has your tradition the same source with that of other nations? Has it been transmitted to you by a purer channel? Was your lawgiver a mere Philosopher, or a divine person?

I know, answered Daniel, the endeavours which our doctors use, to accommodate religion to the taste of the Philosophers; but they are all bewildered and lost in a croud of uncertain opinions: Who can find out the ways of God, or penetrate into his secret purposes? Our thoughts are weak, and our conjec∣tures vain; the body, this earthly tabernacle, de∣presses the soul, and will not suffer it to reach those heights to which it fondly aspires. It is certain that God has permitted evil only that he might draw from it an infinite good; but how he will accomplish his purpose is a secret hidden from the eyes of mortals. All the systems that can be imagined are either dan∣gerous or defective. The curiosity of seeing into e∣very thing, explaining every thing, and adjusting it to our imperfect notions, is the most fatal disease of the human mind. The most sublime act of our fee∣ble reason is to keep itself silent before the sovereign reason; let us leave to God the care of justifying one day the incomprehensible ways of his providence. Our pride and our impatience will not suffer us to wait for the unraveling; we would go before the Page  258 light, and by so doing we lose the use of it.*

We unto him that striveth with his Maker, unto him who is but clay and a potsherd of the earth.
For∣get therefore all the refined speculations of the Phi∣losophers. I shall speak to you a more sure and sim∣ple language; I shall propose nothing to you but such truths as are supported by the universal tradition of all nations, or else palpable facts, of which the eyes, ears and all the senses of men are judges.

The ETERNAL created our first parents in a state of innocence, happiness and immortality, but the am∣bitious desire of encreasing their knowledge, and of being as Gods, carried them to disobey the orders of THE MOST HIGH: they were driven from their ha∣bitation of delights, and their whole race was involv∣ed in their punishment, as it had been in their crime; thus we were degraded in our origin, and blasted in our source. When mankind discontinued to be just, they ceased to be immortal; sufferings followed close upon crimes and men were condemned to a state of pain and misery, in order to make them aspire perpe∣tually after a better life. For the first ages after the fall, religion was not written; the mortal part of it was found in reason itself, and the mysteries of it were transmitted by tradition from the ancients. As men lived then several ages, it was easy to preserve that tradition in its purity. But the sublime know∣ledge of the first men having served only to make them the more criminal, the whole race of mankind, except the family of Noah, was destroyed, in order to stop the course of impiety and the increase of vice: the fountains of the great abyss were broken up, and the waters covered the earth with an universal de∣luge, of which there yet are some traces in the tradi∣tions of all nations, and of which we see every day convincing proofs, when we dig into the bowels of Page  259 the earth. The constitution of the world, which had suffered by the fall, was impaired anew*; the juices of the earth were impoverished and spoilt by this inundation; the herbs and fruits had no longer the same virtue; the air loaded with an excessive moisture strengthened the principles of corruption, and the life of man was shortened. The descendants of Noah, who spread themselves over the face of the whole earth, quickly forgot this terrible effects of the divine indignation; they corrupt their ways, and gave themselves up to all wickedness. It was then that the ETERNAL resolved to choose a peculiar peo∣ple to be the depositary of religion, morality and all divine truths that they might not be debased and entirely obscured by the imagination, passions and vain reasonings of, men. The sovereign Wisdom chose the most stupid and untractable people to be the guardian of his oracles: the Assyrians, Chaldeans and Egyptians, who were eminent for subtility of under∣standing and a superior skill in all the sciences, might have been suspected of having mixed their own noti∣ons and reasonings with the divine revelations; but the Hebrews, among whom you have found the sub∣limest ideas of the Divinity and of morality, have no∣thing in their natural genius which can make them suspected of having invented these truths. Abraham, by his faith and obedience, was found worthy to be the head and the father of this happy people. THE MOST HIGH promised him, that his posterity should be multiplied as the stars of heaven, that they should one day possess the land of Canan, and that of his seed should come the DESIRE OF NATIONS in the full∣ness of time. The rising family of this Patriarch, feeble in its beginnings, went down to Egypt, where they became very numerous, awakened the jealously of the Egyptians, and were reduced to a state of sla∣very; Page  260 but having been tried and purified by all sorts of afflictions for the space of four hundred years. God raised up Moses to deliver them.

THE MOST HIGH, having first inspired our deli∣verer with the purest wisdom, lent him his almighty power to prove his divine mission by the most signed wonders; these wonders were nothing less than a frequent and instantaneous changing of the order and course of nature. The haughty King of Egypt re∣fused to obey the orders of the ALMIGHTY. Moses terrified his court with repeated signs of the ven∣geance of heaven: he stretched out his arm, and the whole kingdom felt its dreadful power; rivers were turned into blood: swarms of venemous insects spread every where diseases and death; prodigious lighten∣ings with storms of hail destroyed men, beasts and plants; a thick darkness hid for three days all the luminaries of heaven; and an exterminating angel destroyed all the first-born of Egypt. At length the people of God left the land of their captivity, and Pharaoh pursued them with a formidable army. A pillar of fire was their guide by night, and a thick cloud by day concealed their march from the pursu∣ers. Moses spake, the sea divided, the Israelites went through it on dry ground, and were no sooner passed than the returned to its strength, and its impetuous waves swallowed up the infidel nation. Our fathers wandered in the desert, where they suf∣fered hunger, thirst and the inclemency of the sea∣sons: they murmured against God: Moses spake a∣gain, a miraculous flood descended from heaven; dry rocks became fountains of living waters; the earth opened and swallowed up those who refused to be∣lieve the promises, unless they might see their accom∣plishment. It was in this desert that God himself published his holy law, and dictated all the rites and statutes of our religion. He called up our conductor to the top of mount Sinai; the mountain trembled, Page  261 and the voice of the ETERNAL was heard in thunders and lightenings: he displayed his dreadful power to 〈◊〉 an impression upon hearts more disposed to be affected by fear than love. But the GOD appeared to less in the wonders of his goodness, than in those of his power. The high and lofty one, who inhabits eternity, and whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, condescended to dwell in a visible manner amongst the children of Israel, and to direct them in 〈◊〉 their ways. A moveable sanctuary, with the ark of the covenant, was formed and erected by his or∣der, and the altar was sanctified by the presence of the glory of THE MOST HIGH. The rays of a hea∣venly light encompassed the tabernacle; and God sit∣ting between the Cherubims from thence declared his will. Moses by the command of God himself com∣mitted to writing our law and our history, the ever∣lasting proofs of his supreme goodness, and of our in∣gratitude; a little before his death he put this book into the hands of all the people; it was necessary at every instant to consult it, in order to know not only the religious but civil laws; each Hebrew is obliged to read it over once a year, and to transcribe the whole at least once in his life. It was impossible to alter or corrupt these sacred annals, without the im∣posture's being discovered and punished as high trea∣son against God, and an attempt against the civil au∣thority.

Moses died; our fathers left the desert; nature was obedient to the voice of Joshua, their new con∣ductor; rivers ran back to their fountain head; the fun stood still; the walls of a strong city fell down at the approach of the ark: and the most courageous and warlike nations fled before the triumphant armies of Israel, who at length took possession of the promi∣sed land. Miracles however do not change the heart, even when they convince the understanding. The strongest conviction is too weak to controul the Page  262 violence of the passions. Scarce was this ungrateful and inconstant people settled in that land of delights, but they grew weary of being under the immediate government of JEHOVAH, and were desirous of ha∣ving a King to go before them like other nations. God gave them a King in his anger, and the Hebrew government became monarchial. Solomon, the wi∣sest and most pacific of our Princes, erected a magni∣ficent temple at Jerusalem. The God of peace fixed his habitation upon mount Sion; the miracle of the ark was perpetuated, the glory of the divine Majesty filled the sanctuary, oracles were given from the most holy place as often as the High Priest went thither to enquire of the Lord. In order to perpetuate the memory of so many miracles, and to demonstrate the truth of them to all future ages, Moses, Joshua, our Judges and our Kings established solemn festivals and august ceremonies: a numerous nation incredulous and rebellious, their Kings, their Priests, their tribes which were often divided among themselves, concur∣red loudly, universally and successively to give testi∣mony to those miracles by lasting monuments perpe∣tuated from generation to generation. While the Israelites persevered in their obedience, THE LORD OF HOSTS was their protector, and rendered them invincible as he had promised; but as soon as they departed from the law of their God he gave them up a prey to their fierce enemies; nevertheless he cha∣stised them like a father, and did not utterly forsake them. In every age he raised up prophets to threat∣en, instruct and reform them. These sages being separated from all terrestrial pleasures united them∣selves to the sovereign truth; the eyes of the soul, which have been shut since the origin of evil, were opened in these divine men to look into the counsels providence, and to know its secrets. The heavy judgments of God fell often upon the stubborn and untractable Hebrews, and as often this chosen people Page  263 was brought back by the prophets to own and adore the God of their fathers. At length they were wholly carried away by that wretched inclination in all mor∣als to corporalize the Deity, and to form to them∣selves a God with passions like their own. The God of Abraham, faithful in his threatenings as in his promises, has humbled us for many years under the sake of Nabuchodonosor; Jerusalem is become deso∣lite, and the holy temple an heap of stones; vaga∣bonds and captives in a strange land, we wander up∣on the banks of Euphrates and silently mourn when we remember Sion. But God having first raised up he proud conqueror to accomplish his eternal purpo∣ses, then abased him in his anger. You have been witness both of his punishment and of his deliver∣ance; nevertheless the measure of the divine Judg∣ments upon the race of Abraham is not filled up; it is you, O Cyrus, who are ordained by THE MOST HIGH to be their deliverer; Jerusalem will be re∣peopled, the house of the Lord rebuilt, and the glory of the latter temple, which will one day be honored with the presence of the Messiah, shall be greater than the glory of the former.

But what, said Cyrus, is the design of this law, dictated by God himself with so much pomp, preserv∣ed by your fore-fathers with so much care, renewed and confirmed by your prophets with so many mira∣cles? In what does it differ from the religion of o∣ther nations? The design of the law and the pro∣phets, replied Daniel, is to shew, that all creatures were pure in their original; that all men are at pre∣sent born distempered, corrupt and ignorant even to the degree of not knowing their disease, and that human nature will one day be restored to its perfec∣tion. The miracles and prodigies, of which I have made you a recital, are, so to speak, but the play of wisdom to lead men into themselves, and make them attend to those three truths which hey will find Page  264 written in their own hearts, upon all nature, and in the whole plan of Providence. The law of Moses is but an unfolding of the law of Nature; all its moral precepts are but means more or less remote, to carry us to what may strength divine love in us, or to preserve us from what may weaken it. The burnt∣offerings, the purifications, the abstinences, all the ceremonies of our worship are but symbols to repre∣sent the sarcifice of the passions, and to shadow out the virtues necessary to re-establish us in our primi∣tive purity; those who stop at the letter find express∣ions in our sacred books that seem to humanize the Deity, promises that do not appear to have any rela∣tion to immortality, and ceremonies which they think unworthy of the sovereign Reason: but the true sage penetrates into their hidden meaning, and discovers mysteries in them of the highest wisdom. The found∣ation of the whole law, and of all the prophecies, is the doctrine of a nature pure in its original, corrupt∣ed by sin, and to be one day restored. These three fundamental truths are represented in our history under various images. The bondage of the Israel∣ites in Egypt, their journey through the desert and their arrival in the promised land, represent to us the fall of souls, their sufferings in this mortal life, and their return to their heavenly country. The hidden meaning does not destroy the literal sense, nor does the letter of the law exclude allegory; it is equally profane to deny the one, or to despise the other. These three principles, the traces of which are to be found in all religions, have been transmitted from age to age from the deluge to our time; Noah taught them to his children, whose posterity spread them af∣terwards over all the earth; but in passing from mouth to mouth they have been altered and obscured by the imagination of the poets, the superstition of the priests, and the different genius of each nation. We find more remarkable footsteps of them among Page  265 the Orientals and Egyptians than any where else; because Abraham*, our first patriarch, who was fa∣mous in Asia, renewed them here, and because the people of God were a long time in captivity on the banks of the Nile; but these antient truths have been no where preserved in their perfect purity, ex∣cept in the oracles written by our lawgiver, our hi∣storians and our prophets.

But this is not all; there is a mystery which is no where unfolded but in our religion, and of which I would not speak to you. O Cyrus, if you were not the anointed of THE MOST HIGH, and his servant chosen for the deliverance of his people. The pro∣phecies mention two advents of the Messiah, one in suffering, the other in glory. The GREAT EMANUEL will many ages before his triumphant appearance in the clouds, live here upon earth in a state of humilia∣tion: he will expiate sin by the sacrifice of himself be∣fore he restores the universe to its primitive splendor. The antient tradition from Noah concerning this grand sacrifice, was what suggested to all nations the first thought of offering victims to THE MOST HIGH as types of that perfect holocaust: your priests hav∣ing lost these primitive ideas foolishly imagined that the friendship of the immortals was to be gained by shedding the blood of beasts; but what relation is there between the divine goodness and cruel immo∣lation of harmless animals? Without our traditions about the great Emanuel, the original of your sacri∣fices is a perfect aenigma.

Here Cyrus interrupted Daniel and said: who is this great Emanuel of whom you speak; is he the same with him whom the Persians call Mythras, the Egyptians Orus, the Tyrians Adonis, the Greeks Ju∣piter Page  266 the Conductor, Apollo and Hercules? The GREAT EMANUEL, answered the prophet, is he who is called the DESIRE OF NATIONS; he has been known to them by an antient tradition, the source of which they are ignorant of, and which they have de∣graded by their fabulous names and impure images. The great Emanuel is not, as some of your philoso∣phers say, a subordinate God, but equal in glory to the great Jehovah: he is not a Demi-God, but pos∣sesses in himself all the fulness of the God-head: he is not a free production of the power of THE MOST HIGH, but a necessary emanation from his substance. All other beings, how exalted soever, whether An∣gels or Archangels, Seraphim or Cherubim were drawn out of nothing and may return to nothing a∣gain; but He is a pure stream flowing from the Glo∣ry of the Almighty, the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the majesty of God, and the express image of his goodness: he is of the same essence, he has the same attributes, but who can declare his generation? Let us not rashly pry into those impenetrable secrets; it is sufficient to know, that THE DESIRE OF NATIONS will appear upon the earth to bear our griefs, that he will be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.

But what necessity is there, cried out Cyrus, for this great sacrifice? Has God any need of a bloody victim to appease his wrath? Can the infinite Good∣ness require such a cruel holocaust? Beware of fall∣ing into the same error by which you reproach our priests. God has no need, replied Daniel, of an in∣human sacrifice to pacify his vengeance, but he would countenance the rebellion of spirits, and contradict himself should he pardon the criminal without shew∣ing his abhorrence of the crime, and display the whole extent of his goodness without asserting the prerogatives of his holiness. The divine Emanuel will leave the bosom of his Father, and remain long Page  267 upon earth exiled from his presence; the living image of the majesty of God will take on him the form of a servant; the eternal WORD will become a mute babe, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; the brightness of the uncreated light will suffer an e∣••pse that will terrify the Seraphim and Cherubim; be will shew by his annihilation the homage that is due to the ETERNAL; by his humiliation the injustice of our pride; by his sufferings the necessity of our expiatory pains; and lastly, by his agony and the in∣expressible anguish which our iniquities will cause him, the infinite aversion of THE MOST HIGH to the violation of order. 'Tis by this means that he will reconcile the justice of God with his mercy, repair she wrong done to his law, and be at the same time both a sacrifice for sin and a model of all virtue.—The history of his conflicts and triumphs will be for∣ever recorded in the registers of heaven, and give e∣ternal testimony of the divine Wisdom, Goodness and Justice. I see from afar that day which will be the consolation of the just and the joy of angels: all the heavenly powers will be present at this mystery, and adore its depth; mortals will see nothing but the shall and the outside. Those Hebrews who expect only a triumphant Messiah will not comprehend this first advent; the pretenders to wisdom in all nations, who judge only by appearances, will blaspheme a∣gainst what they understand not: nay, the most just among men will in this life see only as in a mystery, the beauty, extent, and necessity of that great sacrifice.

The Prince of Persia was struck by this discourse and wavered in his thoughts; he perceived that all the discoveries made by Zoroaster, Hermes, Orpheus and Pythagoras were but imperfect traces and chance rays of the tradition from Noah: in Persia, Egypt, Greece and in all other nations he had sound only obscure, uncertain and loose opinions; but with the Page  268 Hebrews, he had found books, prophecies and mira∣cles, the authority of which was incontestible. Ne∣vertheless, he saw the truth only as through a cloud, his heart was not yet touched; he waited for the accomplishment of Isaiah's prediction. Daniel was not ignorant of the fluctuation of his mind, and said to him: O Cyrus, religion is not a system of philoso∣phical opinions, nor yet a history of miracles, or su∣pernatural events, but a science that dilates the heart and fills it with godlike sentiments, a science which God reveals only to pure minds; to know the secrets of religion, to feel its energy, a superior power to man must descend into you, become absolute master of you, and ravish you from yourself: your heart will then feel those truths which your understanding has now but a small glimpse of. The time for this is not yet come, but it approaches*; until that hap∣py moment, be content with knowing that the God of Israel loves you, will go before you, and will ac∣complish his will by you; this accomplishment will be an invincible proof of the truth of all I have said to you. Make haste to verify his oracles, and return with speed into Persia, where your presence is ne∣cessary.

The young hero soon after left Babylon; the year following Nabuchodonosor died, and his successors broke the alliance sworn between the Assyrians and Persians. Cyrus spent twenty whole years in war with the Assyrians and their allies: the several nati∣ons of the East observing his moderation in the mid of triumphs, willingly submitted to his empire, and the conquests made by his humanity were more nu∣merous than those of his sword. Being ever as ge∣nerous as invincible, he made no other use of vic∣tory than to render the vanquished happy, and em∣ployed his power only to make justice flourish and to Page  269 establish and maintain the most excellent laws. The taking of Babylon made him master of all the East from the river Indus of Greece, and from the Caspi∣an sea to the extremities of Egypt. Seeing then the entire accomplishment of Isaiah's prediction, his heart became affected with the truths he had learned from Daniel; the mist before his eyes was totally dis∣pelled, he openly avowed the God of Israel, and re∣leased the Hebrews from their captivity by this so∣lemn edict, which was published through the whole extent of his vast dominions. THUS SAITH CYRUS, KING OF PERSIA. THE LORD GOD OF HEAVEN HATH GIVEN ME ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE EARTH, AND HE HATH CHARGED ME TO BUILD HIM A HOUSE AT JERUSALEM WHICH IS IN JUDAH. WHOEVER AMONG YOU IS OF HIS PEOPLE, HIS GOD BE WITH HIM: AND LET HIM GO UP TO JERUSALEM AND BUILD THE HOUSE OF THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, HE IS THE GOD.

Page  [unnumbered]

A DISCOURSE UPON THE THEOLOGY AND MYTHOLOGY OF THE PAGANS.

MY first design was to insert some critical notes in the margin of the foregoing book; but as the attending to such remarks would have diverted the reader's mind too much from the principal subject, I thought it better to digest them into the form of a discourse, which I divide into two parts. In the first I shall shew, that the most celebrated Philosophers of all ages and all countries have had the notion of a supreme Deity, who produced the world by his Pow∣er, and governs it by his Wisdom. From the second it will appear, that there are traces of the principal doctrines of revealed religion, with regard to the three states of the world, to be found in the Mytho∣logy of all nations.

Page  272

PART I. Of the THEOLOGY of the PAGANS.

TO begin with the Magi or Persian Philoso∣phers; according to the testimony of Herodo∣tus*, the ancient Persians had neither statues, nor temples, nor altars:

They think it ridiculous (says this author) to fancy like the Greeks, that the Gods have an human shape, or derive their original from men. They choose the highest mountains for the place of their sacrifice: they use neither li∣bations, nor music, nor hallowed bread; but when any one has a mind to sacrifice, he leads the victim into a clean place, and wearing a wreath of myrtle about his Tiara, invokes the God to whom he in∣tends to offer it. The priest is not allowed to pray for his own private good, but for that of the nati∣on in general; each particular member finding his benefit in the prosperity of the whole.

Strabo gives the same account of the ancient Persians.

They neither erected statues nor altars, says this historian; they sacrificed in a clean place and upon an eminence, where they offered up a vic∣tim crowned. When the priest had cut it into small pieces, every one took his share. They left no portion of it for the Deities, saying, that Gods desire nothing but the souls of victims.
The Ori∣entals, full of the notion of transmigration imagined, that the victim was animated by a criminal soul, whose expiatory pains were completed by the sacri∣fice.

The Persians indeed, as well as other Pagans, Page  273 worshipped the fire, the sun, and the stars: but we shall see that they considered them only as visible i∣mages and symbols of a supreme God, whom they be∣lieved to be the sovereign Lord of nature. Plutarch has left us, in his treatise of Isis and Osiris, a frag∣ment of the Theology of the Magi. This philosophi∣cal historian assures us, that they called the great God, Oromazes, or the Principle of light, that pro∣duced every thing, and worketh all in all*. They admitted however another God, but of an inferior nature and order, whom they called Mythras or the Middle God. They speak of him sometimes as a Be∣ing co-eternal with the supreme Divinity, and at o∣ther times as the first production of his power.

The finest definition we have of the Deity among all the writings of the ancients, is that of Zoroaster. It has been transmitted down to us by Eusebius in his Praeparatio Evangelica; an author so far from being over favorable to the Pagans, that he makes it his business continually to expose and degrade their philosophy. And yet he says, that he had read these express words in a book of Zoroaster that was extant in his time, and known by the title of, The sacred collection of Persian monuments.

God is the first of all incorruptible Beings, e∣ternal and unbegotten: he is not compounded of parts: there is nothing equal to him, or like him. He is the author of all good, and entirely disinter∣ested; the most excellent of all excellent beings, and the wisest of all intelligent natures; the father of equity, the parent of good laws, self-instructed, self-sufficient, and the first former of nature.

The modern writers among the Arabians and Persians, who have preserved to us what remains of Page  274 the ancient doctrine of Zoroaster among the 〈◊〉 or worshippers of fire, maintain, that the first 〈◊〉 admitted only one eternal Principle of 〈◊〉 thing Abulfed, cited by the famous Dr. 〈…〉 according to the primitive doctrine of the Persians

God was prior to both light and darkness, and had existed from all eternity in an adorable soli∣tude, without any companion or rival.
Saristh••, quoted by Dr. Hyde, says,
That the first Magi did not look upon the good and evil principles as co-eternal; they thought that light was indeed e∣ternal, but that darkness was produced in time by the disloyalty of Ahriman, chief of the Genii.

M. Bayle affirms in his dictionary, that the antient Persians were all Manicheans; but however he came to entertain this notion, he must certainly have given it up, if he had consulted the original authors: a method which that famous critic did not always take. He had a genius capable of going to the bottom of any subject whatever; but he wrote sometimes in a hurry, and treated superficially the gravest and most important subjects. Besides, there is no clearing him from the charge of loving too much the dismal obscu∣rity of scepticism; he is ever upon his guard against all satisfactory ideas in religion; he shews with are and subtlety all the dark sides of a question, but he very rarely represents it in that point of light which shines with evidence. What encomiums would he not have merited, had he employed, his admirable ta∣lents more for the benefit of mankind?

Such was the Theology of the ancient Persians, which in the foregoing work I have put in the mouth of Zoroaster; and the Egyptians had much the same principles. There is nothing more absurd than the*Page  275otion generally given us of their Theology; nor is 〈◊〉 thing more improbable than the allegorical sense which certain authors fancy they have discovered in 〈◊〉 hieroglyphics. On one hand, it is hard to be∣lieve that human nature could ever sink so low as to adore insects, reptiles and plants (which they see pro∣duced, growing and dying every day) without ascri∣bing certain divine virtues to them, or considering them as symbols of some invisible power. 〈◊〉 the most barbarous countries we still find some knowledge of a superior Bring, which is the object of the hope and fear of the most stupid savages. But though we would suppose there are some nations in the world sunk into so gross an ignorance as to have no notion of a Deity, yet it is certain that Egypt cannot be charged with such a degree of stupidity. All histo∣rians, as well sacred as profane, agree in speaking of this people as the wisest of all nations; and one of the encomiums that the holy Spirit gives to Moses, is, that he was learned in all the wisdom of the E∣gyptians. Would the Holy Ghost ever have spoken in such a manner of a nation so senseless as to wor∣ship onions, crocodiles and the most despicable rep∣tiles? On the other hand, there are certain modern writers who exalt the Theology of the Egyptians too high, and fancy that they find in their hieroglyphics all the mysteries of the Christian religion. After the deluge, Noah doubtless would not leave his children ignorant of the great principles of religion, with re∣gard to the three states of mankind; and that tradition might have been spread from generation to generati∣on over all the nations of the world: but we should not infer from thence, that the Heathens had as clear notions of the divine Nature and the Messias, as the Jews had themselves. Such a supposition, far from doing honor to Holy Writ, would only derogate from its dignity. I shell endeavor to keep the just medium between these two extremes.

Page  276 Plutarch, in his treatise of Isis and Osiris, tells us* that the Theology of the Egyptians had two mean∣ings; the one holy and symbolical, the other vulgar and literal; and consequently that the figures of ani∣mals which they had in their temples, and which they seemed to adore, were only so many hieroglyphics to represent the divine attributes. Pursuant to this distinction, he says, that Osiris signifies the active Principle, or the most holy Being; Isis the Wisdom or Rule of his operation; Orus the first production of his Power, the model or plan by which he produ∣ced every thing, or the archetype of the world. We shall see hereafter whether it be reasonable to think, that the Pagans had ever any knowledge of a trinity of distinct persons in the indivisible unity of the divine Nature. Thus much at least is plain, that the Chal∣deans and Egyptians believed all the attributes of the Deity might be reduced to three, Power, Under∣standing and Love. In reality, whenever we disen∣gage ourselves from matter, impose silence on the senses and imagination, and raise our thoughts to the contemplation of the infinitely infinite Being, we find that the eternal Essence presents itself to our mind under the three forms of Power, Wisdom and Good∣ness. These three attributes comprehend the totali∣ty of his nature, and whatever we can conceive of him. Not to speak therefore of the primitive tradi∣tions, which might possibly be the source of these three ideas concerning the divine Nature, it is no∣thing extraordinary, if the Egyptians and Orientals, who had very refining metaphysical heads should of themselves have discovered them. The Greeks and Romans were fonder of the sciences which depend of sense and imagination; and for this reason we find their Mythology seldom turns upon any thing Page  277 but the external operations of the Deity in the pro∣ductions of nature, whereas that of the former chiefly regards his internal operations and attributes.

By the help of these principles the Theology of the Pagans may be reduced to three principal Divi∣nities, without doing violence to original authors, and without racking one's brain to digest their ideas, which are often very confused, into an intelligible system. They universally acknowledged one su∣preme God, whom they considered as the source of the Divinity, and the author of all beings; a God∣dess his wife, daughter or sister, whom they repre∣sented sometimes as the principle of the divine fecun∣dity, at other times as an emanation from his wisdom, and often as the companion and subject of his opera∣tions; and lastly, a subordinate God, the son and vice∣roy of the Supreme. And thus we find among the Persians the great Oromazes, the Goddess Mythra, and the God Mythras; among the Egyptians Osiris, Isis and Orus; among the Greeks Jupiter, Minerva and Apollo.

In proportion as men departed from their primitive simplicity, and as imagination took the place of rea∣son, the poets multiplied the names and images of these Gods, and the three superior Divinities were lost in a croud of inferior Deities. It is nevertheless certain, that the* Philosophers always preserved those three capital ideas. Socrates, Plato, Pythago∣ras, Porphyry, Jambliehus, Plutarch, Macrobius and all the philosophical writers whose works have been transmitted to us, and who speak of the Gods of Egypt and Greece, assure us that Ptha, Amoun, Osi∣ris, Apis, Serapis and Anubis are the same; that Page  278 Mars, Mercury, Apollo, Hercules and Jupiter the Conductor are also the same; that Cybele, Venue, Urania, Juno, Minerva, Phebe and Proserpine are in like manner one and the same; whence we may fairly conclude, without falling into chimerical con∣jectures, that Oromazes, Osiris, Coelus, Saturn and Jupiter Olympius are different names to express the one supreme God; that Mythra, Isis, Cybele, Ura∣nia, Juno and Minerva denote the different attributes of the same Goddess; and lastly, that Mythras, Orus, Mercury, Apollo, Hercules and Jupiter the Conduc∣tor are the several titles of the middle God, univer∣sally acknowledged by the Pagans.

I know that the modern Materialists have endea∣vored to reduce all the Pagan Divinities to one God and one Goddess, which according to them, express only the two principles of nature, whereof one is ac∣tive or the infinite force, the cause of all the motions we behold in the universe; the other passive or the eternal matter, which is the subject of all the forms produced by that moving force: this idea is by far posterior to that of the Orientals, Egyptians and first Greeks, concerning the three forms of the Divinity. It was neither received nor known, in the sense of the Materialists, but by the disciples of Epicurus, as we shall see hereafter.

This distinction of the Gods into three classes, and that of the world into three states, may be of great service to clear up the confusion of the ancient My∣thologies. I will venture to say, that neither Scali∣ger, nor Bochart, nor Graevius, nor Gronovius, nor M. Huet, could succeed in this enterprize, because they were men of more learning than philosophy. Grammarians, Critics and those persons of strong me∣mories, who employ themselves wholly in the study of words and facts, are rarely remarkable for a nice examination of principles, and are not always capable of entering into the sense of the philosophers, or dis∣tinguishing Page  279 the subtilty of their ideas. I confess in∣deed, that it is dangerous to be too much attached to systems, but yet without a systematical genius it is impossible to carry the sciences to any great perfec∣tion.

To return to Plutarch. He concludes his treatise of Isis and Osiris in this manner*;

As he who reads the works of Plato, may be said to read Plato, and he who acts the comedy of Menander may be said to act Menander; so the ancients gave the name of Gods to the various productions of the Deity.
Plutarch had said a little before,
That care should be taken not to transform, dissolve and scatter the divine Nature into rivers, winds, vege∣tables, or bodily forms and motions. This would be as ridiculous as to imagine, that the salts, the cables, the rigging and the anchor are the pilot; or that the thread, the woof, and shuttle are the weaver. Such senseless notions are an indignity to the heavenly powers, whom they blaspheme whilst they give the name of Gods to beings of an insensible, inanimate and corruptible nature.
No∣thing, as he goes on, that is without a soul, nothing that is material and to be perceived by our senses, can be God. Nor yet must we imagine that there are different Gods, according to the different coun∣tries of Greeks and Barbarians, Northern and Southern people. As the sun is common to all the world, though called by different names in differ∣ent places; so there is but one sole supreme Mind or Reason, and one and the same Providence that governs the world, though he is worshipped under different names, and has appointed some inferior powers for his ministers.
Such, according to Plu∣tarch, was the doctrine of the first Egyptians with regard to the divine Nature.

Page  280 Origen, who was contemporary with Plutar•• follows the same principles in his book against Celsus a Pagan philosopher, who pretended to understand Christianity, because he understood some ceremonies of that religion, though he had never entered into the spirit of it. Now Origen expresses himself in this manner:

* The Egyptian philosophers have sublime motions with regard to the divine Nature, which they keep secret, and never discover to the people but under a vail of fables and allegories. Celsus is like a man who has travelled into that country; and though he has conversed with none but the ignorant vulgar, yet takes it into his head, that he understands the Egyptian religion. All the Eastern nations, the Persians, the Indians, the Syrians conceal secret mysteries under their religi∣ous fables. The wise men of all those religions see into the sense and true meaning of them, whilst the vulgar go no farther than the exterior symbol, and see only the bark that covers them.

Let us next hear the testimony of Jamblichus, who had studied the religion of the Egyptians, and un∣derstood it thoroughly. He lived in the beginning of the third century, and was a disciple of the famous Porphyry. As both St. Clement and St. Cyril of Alexandria assure us, there were at that time a great many Egyptian books extant, which have been since lost: several of these were highly respected for their antiquity, and ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus, or one of his first disciples. Jamblichus had read these books, which had been translated by the Greeks; and this is the account that he gives of the Theology which they taught.

According to the Egyptians, Eicton, or the first God, existed in his Page  281 solitary unity before all Beings*. He is the foun∣tain and original of every thing that either has un∣derstanding or is to be understood. He is the first principle of all things, self-sufficient, incomprehen∣sible, and the father of all essences.
Hermes says likewise,
That this supreme God has constituted a∣nother God, called Emeph, to be head over all spi∣rits whether ethereal, empyrean or celestial; and that this second God, whom he stiles the guide, is a wisdom that transforms and converts into itself all spiritual beings. He makes nothing superior to this God-Guide, but only the first Intelligent, and first Intelligible, who ought to be adored in silence.
He adds,
That the Spirit which produceth all things has different names, according to his different pro∣perties and operations; that he is called in the E∣gyptian language Amoun, as he is wise; Ptha, as he is the life of all things; and Osiris, as he is the author of all good.
Thus, according to Jambli∣chus, it is evident that the Egyptians admitted only one principle, and a middle God, like the Mythras of the Persians.

The notion of a spirit constituted by the supreme God, to be the head and guide of all spirits, is very ancient. The Hebrew Doctors believed that the soul of the Messias was created from the beginning of the world, and appointed to preside over all the orders of intelligences. This opinion was founded on a notion that finite natures cannot incessantly con∣template the brightness and glories of the divine Es∣sence; and must necessarily sometimes turn off their view, and adore the Creator in his work; that at such times there must be an Head to lead spirits Page  282 through all the regions of immensity, and shew them all its beauties and wonders.

To have a more perfect knowledge of the Theo∣logy of the Orientals and Egyptians, it may not be improper to examine that of the Greeks and Romans, which is derived originally from it. The philoso∣phers of Greece went to study wisdom in Asia and Egypt—Thales, Pythagoras, Plato, drew the best of their knowledge from thence. The traces of O∣riental tradition are now indeed in a manner worn out: but as there are several monuments of the Theology of the Greeks still preserved, we may judge of the masters by their disciples.

We must however distinguish between the Gods of the poets and those of the philosophers. Poetry de∣ifies all the various parts of nature, and gives spirit to bodies as well as body to spirits; it expresses the operations and properties of matter by the actions and passions of such invisible powers, as the Pagans supposed to be directors of all the motions and events that we see in the universe. The poets pass in a mo∣ment from allegory to the literal sense, and from the literal sense to allegory; from real Gods to fabulous Deities; and this occasions that jumble of their ima∣ges, that absurdity in their fictions, and that indeco∣rum in their expressions, which are so justly condem∣ned by the philosophers. Notwithstanding this mul∣tiplication of inferior Deities, these poets however acknowledged, that there was but one only supreme God. This will appear from the very ancient tradi∣tions which we still have of the philosophy of Orphe∣us. I am far from thinking that Orpheus was the author of those works which go under his name: I believe with the famous Grotius, that those books were wrote by the Pythagoreans, who professed themselves disciples of Orpheus: but whoever were the authors of these writings, it is certain that they are older than Herodotus and Plato, and were in Page  283 great esteem among the Heathens; so that by the fragments of them still preserved, we may form a judgment of the ancient Theology of the Greeks. I shall begin with the abridgement which Timotheus the Cosmographer gives us of the doctrine of Orphe∣us. This abridgement is preserved in Suidas*, Ce∣drenus and Eusebius.

There is one unknown Being exalted above and prior to all beings, the author of all things, even of the aether, and of every thing that is below the aether; this exalted Being is Life, Light and Wis∣dom; which three names express only one and the same Power, which drew all beings, visible and in∣visible, out of nothing.
It appears by this passage, that the doctrine of the creation, (or the production of substances) and that of the three forms of the di∣vinity were not unknown to the heathen Philoso∣phers: we shall soon find them in Plato.

Proclus has transmitted down to us this extraordi∣nary passage of the Theology of Orpheus.

The universe was produced by Jupiter, the empyreum, the deep Tartarus, the earth, and the ocean, the immortal Gods and Goddesses; all that is, all that that has been, and all that shall be, was contained originally in the fruitful bosom of Jupiter. Jupiter is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. All beings derive their origin from him. He is the primitive Father and the immortal Virgin. He is the Life, the Cause, and the Energy of all things. There is but one only Power, one only God, and one sole universal King of all.
This passage seems to insinuate, that the universe is a sub∣stantial emanation from the divine Essence, and not a mere effect of his power; however this gross error Page  284 is no proof of Atheism in him who maintains it, as we shall see hereafter.

I shall conclude the Theology of Orpheus with a famous passage of the author of the Argonautica, who is looked upon to be a disciple of his*.

We will sing first an hymn upon the ancient chaos; how the heavens, the sea, and the earth were form∣ed out of it. We will sing likewise that eternal, wise and self-perfect love, which reduced this chaos into order.
It is clear enough from the doctrine of the theogony or birth of the Gods, that the anci∣ent poets ascribed all to a first Being, who disintan∣gled the chaos. And it is for this reason that Ovid thus expresses himself in the first book of his Meta∣morphoses
Before there was a sea and an earth, before there was any heaven to cover the world, universal nature was but one indigested sluggish mass, called a chaos. The seeds of all things jum∣bled together were in a perpetual discord, till a be∣neficent Deity put an end to the difference.
Words which shew plainly that the Latin poet, who followed the Greek tradition, makes a distinction be∣tween the chaos, and God, who by his Wisdom brought it out of confusion into order. I ought however in this place to observe, that the Greek and Roman Mythology, in relation to the chaos, is much more imperfect than that of the Orientals and Egypt∣ians, who tell us that there was an happy and perfect state of the world prior to the chaos; that the good Principle could never produce any thing evil; that his first work could not be confusion and disorder; and in a word, that Physical evil is nothing else but a consequence of moral evil. It was the imagination of the Greek poets that first brought forth the mon∣strous Manichean doctrine of two co-eternal princi∣ples; Page  285 a supreme Intelligence and a blind matter; light and darkness; an indigested chaos, and a Deity to reduce it into order.

Let any one read Homer and Virgil with a proper attention, and he will see, that notwithstanding the wild flights of their imagination, and the indecent al∣legories by which they sometimes dishonor the Divine Nature, the marvelous which runs through their fa∣ble is founded upon these three principles. 1. That there is one supreme God, whom they every where call the Father, and the sovereign Lord of Gods and men, the Architect of the world, the Prince and Go∣vernor of the universe, the first God, and the great God. 2, That universal Nature is full of subordi∣nate spirits, who are the ministers of that supreme God. 3. That good and evil, virtue and vice, knowledge and error, arise from the different influ∣ence and inspiration of the good and evil Genii, who dwell in the air, the sea, the earth, and the heavens.

The tragic and lyric Poets express themselves after the same manner as the epic Poets. Euripides ex∣pressly acknowledges the dependence of all beings upon one sole Principle.

O Father, and King of Gods and men! says he, why do we miserable mortals fancy that we know any thing, or can do any thing? Our fate depends upon thy will*.

Sophocles represents the Deity to us as a sovereign Intelligence, which is truth, wisdom, and the eternal law of all spirits. 'Tis not, says he, to any mortal nature that laws owe their origin; they come from above; they come down from heaven itself; Jupiter Olympius is alone the father of them.

Plautus introduceth an inferior Deity speaking in this manner

I am a citizen of the celestial city, of which Jupiter, the Father of Gods and men, is Page  286 the head. He commands the nations, and sends us over all kingdoms, to take an account of the con∣duct and actions, the piety and virtue of men. In vain do mortals endeavor to bribe him with their oblations and sacrifices—They lose their pains, for he abhors the worship of the impious.

O Muse, says Horace, pursuant to the custom of our ancestors, celebrate first the great Jove, who rules over Gods and men, the earth, the seas, and the whole universe: there is nothing greater than he, nothing that is like, nothing that is equal to him*!

I shall conclude my quotations out of the poets with a surprising passage of Lucan. When Cato, af∣ter crossing the deserts of Lybia, arrives at the temple of Jupiter Ammon, Labienus is for pursuading him to consult the Oracle. Upon which occasion the po∣et puts this answer in the mouth of that philosophical hero,

Why do you, Labienus propose to me to ask the Oracle whether we should choose to die in a state of freedom with our swords in our hands, rather than see tyranny enslave our country? Whether this mortal life be only a remora to a more lasting one? Whether violence can hurt a good man? Whether virtue does not make us su∣perior to misfortunes? And whether true glory de∣pends upon success? We know these things alrea∣dy, and the Oracle cannot give us clearer answers than what God makes us feel every moment in the bottom of our heart. We are all united to the Deity. He has no need of words to convey his meaning to us; and he told us at our birth every thing that we have occasion to know. He hath not chosen the parched sands of Lybia to bury truth in those desarts, that it might be understood only by a small number. He makes himself known Page  287 to all the world, he fills all places, the earth, the sea, the air, the heavens; he makes his particular abode in the soul of the just: why then should we seek him elsewhere?
In the foregoing passage I have omitted this expression, Jupiter est quodcunque vides; not only because in some manuscripts we read Jupiter est cocunque vides, but also because the poet by the word quodcunque confounds the visible world with the etherial matter, which the Stoicks and Ori∣entals considered as the body of the Divinity: how∣ever he represents Cato as acknowledging a sovereign Intelligence, which is all that I would prove.

Let us pass from the poets to the philosophers, and begin with Thales the Milesian, chief of the Ionic school*, who lived about six hundred years before the birth of Christ. We have none of his works now left; but we have some of his maxims, which have been transmitted down to us by the most venerable writers of antiquity.

God is the most ancient of all Beings; he is the author of the universe, which is full of wonders; he is the Mind which brought the chaos out of confusion into order; he is with∣out beginning and without ending, and nothing is hid from him§; nothing can resist the force of Fate; but this Fate is nothing but the immutable reason and eternal power of Providence.
What is still more surprising in Thales, is his definition of the soul: he calls it
a self-moving principle
, thereby to distinguish it from matter.

Pythagoras* is the second great philosopher after Thales, and chief of the Italic school. Every body Page  288 knows the abstinence, silence, retirement and great purity of morals which he required of his disciples. He was very sensible that human understanding alone could never attain to the knowledge of divine things, unless the heart was purged of its passions. Now these are the notions which he has left us of the Dei∣ty.

* God is neither the object of sense, nor sub∣ject to passion; but invisible, purely intelligible, and supremely intelligent. In his body 〈◊〉 is like the light, and in his soul he resembles truth. He is the universal Spirit that pervades and diffuseth itself over all nature. All beings receive their life from him. There is but one only God, who is not, as some are apt to imagine, seated above the world, beyond the orb of the universe; but being all in himself, he sees all the beings that inhabit his Immensity. He is the sole Principle, the Light of heaven, the Father of all; he produces every thing, he orders and disposes every thing; he is the reason, the life, and the motion of all beings§.

He taught that besides the first Principle, there were three sorts of intelligent beings, Cods, Heroes and Souls. He considered the first as the unalter∣able images of the sovereign Mind, human souls as the least perfect of reasonable substances, and heroes as a sort of middle beings placed between the two o∣thers, in order to raise up souls to the divine union. Thus he represents to us the divine Immensity as containing innumerable worlds inhabited by spirits of different orders. And this is the true sense of that famous expression ascribed to the Pythagoreans, that unity was the principle of all things, and that from Page  289 this infinite Unity there sprung an infinite duality. We are not by this duality to understand the two principles of the Manichees; but, as some think, the second and third forms of the Orphean Trinity and triform Deity, or, rather, a world of intelligent and corporeal substances, which is the effect whereof uni∣ty is the cause*. This is the sentiment of Porphyry, and it ought to be preferred before that of Plutarch, who is for ascribing the Manichean system to Pytha∣goras, without producing for it any proof.

Pythagoras agreed with Thales in defining the Soul to be a self-moving Principle. He maintained farther,

That when it quits the body, it is re-united to the soul of the world; that it is not a god, but the work of an eternal God§; and that it is immortal on account of its principle.
This phi∣losopher was of opinion that man was composed of three parts, a pure spirit, an ethereal matter, (which he called the subtile vehicle of the soul) and a mortal or gross body. The old Greek poets had dressed up this opinion in a different guise; they called the ethe∣real body, the representation, the image, or the sha∣dow; because they fancied that this subtile body, when it came down from heaven to animate the ter∣restrial body, assumed its form just as melted metal takes that of the mould in which it is cast. They said, that after death the spirit, still clothed with this subtile vehicle, flew up to the regions of the moon, where they placed the Elysian fields. And there, as they imagined, a sort of second death ensued by the separation of the pure spirit from its vehicles: the one was united to the Gods, the other staid in the a∣bode of the shades. This is the reason why Ulysses Page  290 says in the Odysseis,
That he saw in the Elysian fields the divine Hercules, i.e. his image; for as for him, he is with the immortal Gods, and assists at their banquets*.
Pythagoras did not adopt the poetic fiction of a second death. He held, that the pure spirit, and its subtile vehicle being born to∣gether, were inseparable, and returned after death to the star from whence they descended. The Pla∣tonists and almost all the ancient philosophers had the same notion. St. Paul, speaking of the resurrecti∣on, seems to favor this distinction of the celestial and the terrestrial body;
but some will say, how are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not that body which shall be, but bare grain.—So also is the resurrection of the dead, it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weak∣ness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural bo∣dy, it is raised a spiritual body.—Now this I say, brethren, because that flesh and blood cannot inhe∣rit the kingdom of God.
Hence it is, that some of the ancient fathers, as well as our modern divines§have concluded, that the mortal and terrestrial body, which is ever changing, and does not continue one moment the same is something merely accidental to our substance, and does not originally belong to it: a thick crust, a coarse covering cast over the celestial, spiritual, active and glorious body, which being un∣vailed and enlarged at the resurrection, will appear in all its beauty; that this immortal seed, this incor∣ruptible Page  291 body, this hidden principle, which is perhaps at present the seat of the soul, will, for reasons known to God only, remain buried after death in the com∣mon mass of matter till the last manifestation of the divine Power; and that then the face of the earth will be renewed by purifying flames, which will purge our globe of all that dark and earthly dross which it has contracted. And this notion renders the doctrine of the resurrection intelligible and philo∣sophical.

I shall conclude the article of Pythagoras with a summary of his doctrine as it is given us by St. Cyril.

We see plainly, says this Father, that Pythagoras maintained, that there was but one God, the origi∣nal and cause of all things, who enlightens every thing, animates every thing, and from whom every thing proceeds, who has given being to all things, and is the source of all motion*.

After Pythagoras comes Anaxagoras of the Ionic sect, born at Clazomene, and master to Pericles the Athenian hero. This philosopher was the first after Thales in the Ionic school who perceived the necessi∣ty of introducing a supreme Intelligence for the form∣ation of the universe. He rejected with contempt, and with great strength of reason refuted the doc∣trine of those who held thata blind necessity and the casual motions of matter had produced the world. He endeavored to prove that a pure and uncom∣pounded Spirit presides over the universe.

According to Aristotle's account, the reasoning of Anaxagoras was founded upon these two principles: 1.

That the idea of matter not including that of active force, motion could not be one of its proper∣ties. We must therefore, said he, seek somewhere else to find out the cause of its activity. Now this Page  292 active principle, as it was the cause of motion, he called the soul, because it animates the universe*. 2. He distinguished between this universal principle of motion, and the thinking principle, which last he called the understanding. He saw nothing in matter that had any resemblance to this property; and from thence he inferred, that there was in na∣ture another substance besides matter. But he ad∣ded, that the soul and spirit were one and the same substance distinguished by us only in regard of its different operations; and that of all essences it was the most simple, the most pure, and the most ex∣empt from all mixture and composition. This phi∣losopher passed at Athens for an Atheist, because he denied that the stars and planets were Gods.
He maintained, that the first were suns, and the lat∣ter habitable worlds; so very ancient is the system of a plurality of worlds, which has been generally thought to be modern.

Plato§ condemns Anaxagoras for having explain∣ed all the phaenomena of nature by matter and mo∣tion. Descartes has only revived this opinion. I cannot but think it very unjust to accuse the philoso∣pher of Clazomene, or his follower, of Atheism, on this account, since they both lay it down for a princi∣ple, that motion is not a property of matter, and con∣sequently, that the moving force is altogether spirit∣ual. It must nevertheless be allowed, that the French Philosopher is blameable in supposing that the visible world is the necessary and unavoidable effect of a mere impulsion given to an indefinite matter. Hence 〈◊〉 would follow, 1. That the laws of motion are not arbitrary and dependant on a sovereign Intelligence who acts with wisdom and design; which totally de∣stroys Page  293 the idea of final causes. 2. That the world, such as we see it, with all its irregularities, defects and disorders, is precisely in the same state wherein it was at first produced by the Creator: these two principles were the fatal source of Spinoza's Atheism: believing with Descartes, that matter and extension are the same thing, and that all the different phaeno∣mena of nature are the effect of the necessary laws of motion, he presently inferred that immense extension and infinite force might be properties of the same e∣ternal substance, which acts by the immutable laws of a blind necessity.

The most sublime genius of our age, being sensible of these monstrous abuses of Cartesianism, resolved to undermine the foundations of that philosophy. He demonstrated that the primary laws of motion are purely arbitrary, and established with knowledge and design by an intelligent Architect, in order to the preservation of his work, and the accomplishment of such ends as are worthy of his wisdom. It is with great injustice that this Philosopher has been accused with throwing us back into the occult qualities of the Peripatetics. I confess indeed that the obscure and confused ideas which abound in the writings of some of his disciples, have given too much occasion to certain foreigners to reject the philosophy of Sir Isaac. Newton, at the same time that they admire his geo∣metry; but it is clear from his* first writings, that he never considered attraction as a cause, but only as an effect, and that he always supposed that this effect might be produced by impulsion. Provided we re∣ject Page  294 the absolute plenum of the Cartesians, their ro∣mantic elements, and their celestial vortices which are by no means geometrical, this incomparable philoso∣pher* admits that there may be a subtile spirit, or ethereal matter diffused through all the immense spa∣ces, to be the universal cause and spring of all the motions of the celestial and terrestrial bodies; of elas∣ticity, electricity, cohesion, fluidity, vegetation and sensation; of the emission, refraction and reflection of light, and even of attraction itself, which he looks upon as the immediate cause of the most part of na∣tural effects; he would not however pretend to ex∣plain the laws of this ethereal fluid, for want of a suf∣ficient number of experiments to prove them. It was an essential principle with him, that natural phi∣losophy should be founded upon experiments, and that these should afterwards be applied to geometry, in order to gather from thence something more to be depended upon than ingenious conjectures. His wri∣tings discover a wonderful sagacity, penetration and depth, and all the marks of a solid understanding, which allows nothing to imagination in matters of reason; and though Descartes must be granted to have surpassed him in perspicuity and method, he was unquestionably neither so profound nor so geometri∣cal a genius, and gave a greater loose to imagination.

Socrates follows close after Anaxagoras. The common notion is, that he was a martyr for the Uni∣ty of the Godhead, in having refused to pay his ho∣mage to the Gods of Greece; but it is a mistake. In the apology that Plato makes for this Philosopher, Socrates acknowledgeth certain subordinate deities, and teaches, that the sun and the stars are animated by intelligences who ought to be worshipped with di∣vine honors. The same Plato in his dialogue upon Page  295 holiness* tells us, that Socrates was not punished for denying that there were inferior gods, but for de∣claiming openly against the poets who ascribed human passions and enormous crimes to those deities.

Socrates, however, whilst he supposed several infe∣rior gods, admitted all the while but only one eternal Principle. Xenophon has lest us an excellent abridg∣ment of the Theology of that Philosopher. 'Tis perhaps the most important piece we have of anti∣quity. It contains the conversation of Socrates with Aristodemus, who doubted of the existence of God. Socrates makes him at first take notice of all the cha∣racters of design, of art, of the wisdom that appears all over the universe, and particularly in the human body.

Do you believe, says he then to Aristode∣mus, can you believe that you are the only intelli∣gent being? you know that you possess but a little particle of that matter which composes the world, a small part of that water which moistens it, a spark of that flame which animates it. Is understanding peculiar to you alone? Have you so engrossed and confined it to yourself, that it is to be found no where else? Does blind chance work every thing, and is there no such thing as wisdom besides what you have?
Aristodemus having replied, that he did not see that wife Architect of the universe; So∣crates answers him,
Neither do you see the soul which governs your own body, and regulates all its motions. You might as well conclude, that you do nothing yourself with design and reason, as main∣tain that every thing is done by blind chance in the universe.
Aristodemus at length acknowledging a supreme Being, is still in doubt as to Providence; not being able to comprehend how the Deity can see every thing at once. Socrates replies,
If the spirit Page  296 that resides in your body moves and disposes it at its pleasure, why should not that sovereign Wisdom which presides over the universe, be able likewise to regulate and order every thing as it pleases? if your eye can see objects at the distance of several furlongs; why should not the eye of God be able to see every thing at once? If your soul can think at the same time upon what is at Athens, in Egypt, and in Sicily; why should not the divine Mind be able to take care of every thing, being every where present to his work?
Socrates perceiving at last that the infidelity of Aristodemus did not arise so much from his reason as from his heart, concludes with these words;
O Aristodemus, apply yourself sincerely to worship God; he will enlighten you, and all your doubts will soon be removed!

Plato, a disciple of Socrates, follows the same prin∣ciples. He lived about the hundredth Olympiad, at a time when the doctrine of Democritus had made a great progress at Athens. The design of all his Theology is to give us noble sentiments of the Deity. to shew us that souls were condemned to animate mortal bodies, only in order to expiate faults they had committed in a pre-existent state; and in fine, to teach that religion is the only way to restore us to our first glory and perfection, he despises all the ten∣ets of the Athenian superstition, and endeavors to purge religion of them. The chief object of this phi∣losopher is man in his immortal capacity: he speaks of him in his politic one, only to shew that the short∣est way to immortality is to discharge all the duties of civil and social life for the pure love of virtue.

Plato in the beginning of his Timaeus distinguishes between being which is eternally, and being which has been made. And in another of his dialogues he defines God the efficient cause which makes things exist that had no being before*: a definition which Page  297ews that he had an idea of the creation. Nor is it at all surprising that he should have this idea, since it implies no contradiction. In reality, when God cre∣ates he does not draw a being out of nothing, as out of a subject upon which he works; but he makes something exist that did not exist before. The idea of infinite power necessarily supposes that of being a∣ble to produce new substances as well as new forms. To make a substance exist which did not exist before, has nothing in it more inconceivable than the making form exist which was not before; for in both cases there is a new reality produced; and whatever diffi∣culties there are in conceiving the passage from no∣thing to being, they are as puzzling in the one as in the other. As therefore it cannot be denied but that there is a moving power, though we do not conceive low it acts; so neither must we deny that there is a creating power, because we have not a clear idea of it.

To return to Plato. He first considers the Deity in his eternal solitude before the production of finite beings. He says frequently like the Egyptians,

That this first source of Deity is surrounded with thick darkness, which no mortal can penetrate, and that this inaccessible God is to be adored only by silence.
'Tis this first Principle which he calls in several places the Being, the Unity, and the supreme Good*; the same in the intelligent world, that the sun is in the visible world. He afterwards represents to us this first Being as sallying out of his Unity to consider all the various manners by which he might represent himself exteriorly; and thus the ideal world, comprehending the ideas of all things, and the truths which result thence, was formed in the di∣vine Understanding. Plato always distinguishes be∣tween the supreme Good, and that Wisdom which is Page  298 only an emanation from him.
That which presents truth to the mind, says he, and that which gives us reason is the supreme Good. He is the cause and source of truth*, He hath begotten it like him∣self. As the light is not the sun, but an emanation from it; so truth is not the first Principle, but his emanation.
And this is what he calls the Wis∣dom, or the Logos. And lastly, he considers the first Mover displaying his power to form real beings, re∣sembling those archetypal ideas. He stiles him
The Energy, or sovereign Architect who created the universe and the gods, and who does whatsoe∣ver he pleases in heaven, on the earth, and in the shades below.
He calls him likewise,
Psyche, or the soul which presides over the world, rather than the soul of the world;
to denote that this soul does not make a part of the universe, but ani∣mates it, and gives it all its forms and movements. Sometimes he considers the three divine attributes as three causes, at other times as three beings, and often as three Gods: but he affirms that they are all but one sole Divinity; that there is no essential difference between them; that the second is the image of the first, and the third of the second; that they are not three suns, but one: and that they differ only as the light, its rays, and the reflection of those rays.

In other places, and especially in the Timaeus Lo∣crus§, Plato speaks of three other Principles, by the first he understands the archetypal ideas contained in the divine Intellect: by the second, a primary mat∣ter, incorruptible, eternal, uniform, without figure or division, but capable of receiving all forms and motions: by the third, the visible universe, bounded, Page  299 corruptible, consisting of various parts; and this he stiles the sun, the effect and the work of the idea as the primitive father, and of the 〈◊〉 as the universal mother of whatever exists. We ought never to con∣found these three Principles of nature with the three forms of the Divinity, which he calls Agathos, Logos and Psyche; the sovereign Good, which is the Prin∣ciple of Deity, the Intellect which drew the plan of the world, and the Energy which executed it.

Though we should suppose that Plato considered the Logos and the Psyche, the Intellect and the E∣nergy, not only as two attributes, but as two hypos∣tases, or emanations from the divine Substance, it would not follow that the Christians took their doc∣trine of the Trinity from him. He might owe this idea to the ancient traditions transmitted from the infant world, whence the Orientals, Chaldeans, E∣gyptians and Greeks originally drew their soundest notions in Divinity. The philosophers of all nations seem to have had some ideas, more or less confused of a certain Triplicity in the supreme Unity*.—Christianity has only unfolded this ancient doctrine. It teaches us that in the divine Essence there is a tri∣ple distinction of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; that the actions of the one are not the actions of the o∣ther; that the Father exists of himself, independent∣ly, as the primitive source of Deity; that the Son comes forth from the Father by an incomprehensible generation; and the Holy Spirit from both by an inconceivable procession; and lastly, that these two emanations from the Divinity are necessary, co-eter∣nal, consubstantial, infinite, and in all things equal to the Father, his independance only excepted. The church has been pleased to express this distinction by the word Persons; to denote that this Trinity is not Page  300 a mere division of attributes, as the Sabellians held; nor yet three different substances, as the Tritheifts maintain. We have not a sufficiently clear idea of the eternal Nature to be able to deny, but it may admit of such a distinction. As to finite beings, in∣deed, the only distinction we know in them, is that of modes and substances; but is this a reason to deny the possibility of another in the infinite Essence? Ig∣norance may be a reason for doubting, but never for denying.

In order to silence the incredulous, and make this mystery intelligible to them, a famous* Doctor of the church of England, and as I am assured, the greatest philosopher of modern times, believed that it would do no prejudice to the faith to consider the three Persons of the Trinity as three individual A∣gents, or three distinct Beings, though of the same substance. This opinion is as far above Arianism as Arianism is above Socinianism. Pausto-Socini main∣tained, that the Son had never any existence before the incarnation. Arius held, that he was created or produced out of nothing like finite beings, but yet from all eternity, that is, before all time. The learn∣ed Dr. Clarke maintains every where, that the Word is not a creature, but an emanation from the Father, co-eternal and consubstantial; that this emanation is as essential to the Deity as his veracity; that it is not possible for the Father to be without the Son, in any other sense than it is possible for God to lie; and consequently that the Word is not a precarious being which God may annihilate.

I will not pretend to justify any inconsiderate ex∣pressions which may have dropt from the Doctor; we find such in the Fathers themselves: but charity, which thinks no evil, believes all things, hopes all Page  301 things, endures all things, will never insist upon the literal import of unguarded words, which are disa∣vowed. It must nevertheless be granted that this doctrine, which is ascribed originally to sir Isaac Newton, explains nothing, and only plunges us in new difficulties greater than the first. There may easily be many distinct beings, of the same divisible and finite substance; but it is impossible to conceive three distinct beings of the infinite and indivisible sub∣stance, without destroying his nature, and discerping the living and true God. Is it not better contented∣ly to join with all Christian antiquity, in saying, that there is a triple distinction, real but incomprehensible in the Divinity, than to disturb the peace of the Church with defining the metaphysical nature of this distinction, by such ideas as lead to Tritheism, contra∣ry to the invention of those who advance them? How easily are the most extensive geniuses led astray, when they shake off the yoke of authority to give themselves up to their speculations? But to proceed: Aristotle, Plato's disciple, and Prince of the Peri∣patetic Philosophers, calls God*

The eternal and living Being, the most noble of all beings, a sub∣stance entirely distinct from matter, without enten∣sion, without division, without parts, and without succession; who understands every thing by one single act, and continuing himself immoveable, gives motion to all things, and enjoys in himself a perfect happiness, as knowing and contemplating himself with infinite pleasure.
In his metaphysics he lays it down for a principle,
That God is a supreme Intelligence which acts with order, proportion and design; and is the source of all that is good, excel∣lent and just.
In his treatise of the soul, he says, Page  302
That the supreme Mind* is by its nature prior to all beings, that he has a sovereign dominion over all.
And in other places he says,
That the first principle is neither the fire nor the earth nor the water, nor any thing that is the object of sense; but that a spiritual substance is the cause of the universe, and the source of all the order and all the beauties, as well as of all the motions and all the forms which we so much admire in it.
—These passages shew that though Aristotle held mat∣ter to be eternal, he nevertheless considered it as a production of the divine intellect, and posterior in na∣ture to it. He supposed the eternity of this produc∣tion, because he could not conceive how the divine Mind, being all act, and all energy, could ever be in a state of inactivity. Besides this first and eternal Substance, he acknowledges several other intelligent beings that preside over the motions of the celestial spheres.
There is, says he, but one only Mover, and several inferior deities. All that is added about the human shape of these deities, is nothing else but fiction, invented 〈◊〉 purpose to instruct the common people, and engage them to an observ∣ance of good laws. All must be reduced to one only primitive Substance, and to several inferior substances, which govern in subordination to the first. This is the genuine doctrine of the ancients, which has happily escaped from the wreck of truth, amidst the rocks of vulgar errors and poetic fables.

Cicero lived in an age when corruption of man∣ners and scepticism were at their height. The sect of Epicurus had got the ascendant at Rome over that of Pythagoras; and some of the greatest men, when they were reasoning about the divine Nature, thought Page  303 It to suspend their judgment, and waver between the two opinions of a supreme Intelligence and a Wind matter. Cicero, in his treatise of the nature of the Gods, pleads the cause of the academic Philo∣sophers who doubted of every thing. It is however, to be observed, that he refutes Epicurus with great force of reason in his first book, and that the objecti∣ons which he makes in his third, as an academic, are much weaker than the proofs which he draws from the wonders that appear in nature, which he insists so in his second book, to demonstrate the existence of a supreme Intelligence.

In his other works, and particularly in his book of laws, he describes the universe to us*

as a repub∣lic of which Jupiter is the Prince and common fa∣ther. The great law imprinted in the hearts of all men is to love the public good, and the members of the common society as themselves. This love of order is supreme justice, and this justice is amiable for its own sake. To love it only for the advan∣tages it produces us, may be politic, but there is lit∣tle of goodness in it. 'Tis the highest injustice to love justice only for the sake of recompense. In a word, the universal, immutable and eternal law of all intelligent beings, is to promote the happiness of one another like children of the same father.
He next represents God to us as a sovereign Wisdom, from whose authority it is still more impracticable for intelligent natures to withdraw themselves than it is for corporeal ones
According to the opinion of the wisest and greatest men, says this philosopher, the law is not an invention of human understand∣ing 〈◊〉 the arbitrary constitution of men, but flows from the eternal Reason that governs the universe. The rape which Tarquin committed upon Lucretia, Page  304 continues he, was not less criminal in its nature, be∣cause there was not at that time any written law at Rome against such sort of violence. The tyrant was guilty of a breach of the eternal law, the obli∣gation whereof did not commence from the time it was written, but from the moment it was made. Now its origin is as ancient as the divine intellect for the true, the primitive, and the supreme law is nothing else but the sovereign reason of the great Jove. This law, says he in another place* is universal, eternal, immutable. It does not vary according to times and places. It is not different now from what it was formerly. The same im∣mortal law is a rule to all nations, because it has no author but the one only God who brought it forth and promulged it.
Such were the reasonings of Cicero when he consulted natural light, and was not carried away by a fondness of shewing his wit in de∣fending the doctrine of the Sceptics.

To come at last to Seneca the Stoic. He was Ne∣ro's tutor, and lived in an age when Christianity was not in credit enough to engage the heathens to bor∣row any philosophical principles from thence.

'Tis of very little consequence, say he, by what name you call the first Nature, and the divine Reason that presides over the universe, and fills all the parts of it. He is still the same God. He is called Ju∣piter Stator, not as historians say, because he stop∣ped the Roman armies as they were flying, but be∣cause he is the constant support of all beings. They may call him Fate, because he is the first cause on which all others depend. We Stoics call him sometimes Father Bacchus, because he is the uni∣versal Page  305 life that animates nature: Hercules, because his power is invincible: Mercury, because he is the eternal Reason, Order and Wisdom. You may give him as many names as you please provided you allow but one sole Principle every where present.

Agreeable to Plato's notions, he considers the di∣vine Understanding as comprehending in itself the model of all things, which he styles the immutable and almighty ideas*,

Every workman, says he, hath a model by which he forms his work. It sig∣nifies nothing whether this model exist outwardly and before his eyes, or be formed within him by the strength of his own genius; so God produces within himself that perfect model, which is the proportion, the order and the beauty of all beings.. The ancients, says he in another place, did not think Jove such a being as we represent him in the capitol, and in our other buildings. But by Jove they meant the guardian and the governor of the universe, the understanding and the mind, the Ma∣ster and the Architect of this great machine. All names belong to him. You are not in the wrong if you call him Fate, for he is the cause of causes, and every thing depends on him. Would you call him Providence; you fall into no mistake, it is by his wisdom that this world is governed. Would you call him Nature; you will not offend in doing so, it is from him all beings derive their origin, it is by him that they live and breathe.

There is no reading the works of Epictetus, of A∣rian his disciple, and of Marcus Antoninus without admiration. We find in them rules of morality wor∣thy of christianity; and yet these disciples of Zeno believed like their matter, that there was but one sub∣stance; that the supreme intelligent Being was mate∣rial, Page  306 and that his Essence was a pure aether which filled all by local diffusion; that whatever was not extended was nothing; and in short, that infinite ex∣tension was the same with the divine Immensity.—

* The Platonists represented to them, that it was a gross imagination to suppose that every thing, which is, exists by local diffusion; that were it so, the divine Essence would not be equally present every where; that there would be more of it in a great space than in a little one; that it is absurd to conceive that which is nothing but power, wisdom and goodness, under the form of length, breadth and thickness; that all other beings exist in God, but that he exists only in himself; that immense space is not the divine Immensity, as time everlasting is not the divine Eter∣nity; that the Immensity of God is the manner of his existing in himself, without extension of parts, as his Eternity is the manner of his existing in himself without succession of thoughts; that space is but the manner wherein bodies exist in him, as time is but the manner in which finite beings exist with him, that the one measures the bounds of the parts, and the o∣ther the variation of the modes; that we should have no idea of local extension; if there were no bodies, as we should have no idea of successive duration if there were no changes; and lastly, that indefinite unbounded extension is not immense in all senses; as it is not infinite in all respects: but that God is im∣mense in all senses, as he is in all respects infinite.

It was thus that the Pagan philosophers talked of the divine Immensity before the rise of scholastic the∣ology. The obscurity of our reasonings on this mat∣ter proceeds from our want of a clear idea of substan∣ces: we neither know nor distinguish them but by their properties: otherwise we should see that the Page  307 supreme Unity may exist every where with••• exten∣sion of parts, as he exists for ever without succession of thoughts; that he is all in all places, as he beholds all beings with one glance. The reason of our not having a clear idea of the divine Immensity, is our not having an adequate idea of infinity; we ascribe to him certain properties, because we see that they are contained in the idea we have of him; but we are obliged at the same time, in order to avoid ab∣surdities, to give him other attributes which we do not comprehend. Thus in geometry we admit the infinite divisibility of matter, and the doctrine of a∣symptotes which follows from it, without having a clear idea of either of them.

But after all, the materialism of the Stoics does not evince that they were Atheists; a false notion a∣bout the Deity being far from proving that they be∣lieved none at all. What constitutes an Atheist, is not the maintaining with the Orientals, that matter is an expansion of the divine substance nor with the Stoics, that the infinite Essence is a pure aether; nor with the Platonists, that the universe is an eternal production of the Deity; but real Atheism consists in denying that there is a supreme Intelligence, who made the world by his power, and governs it by his wisdom.

For our suller satisfaction, with regard to the the∣ology of the Heathens, let us see what the fathers of the church thought of it. They had sufficient op∣portunities of knowing it thoroughly, by the frequent disputes which they held with them. As this is a matter of a very nice nature, it may be dangerous to indulge any thing to one's own conjectures: let us have recourse to wise antiquity. Arnobius* intro∣duces the heathens complaining of the injustice of the Christians.

'Tis a mere calumny, say those heath∣ens, Page  308 to charge us with such a crime, as the denying of a supreme God. We call him Jove, the su∣premely great and sovereignly good, we dedicate our most magnificent structures and our capitols to him, to shew that we exalt him above all other de∣ities.* St. Peter in his preaching at Athens, says St. Clement of Alexandria insinuates that the Greeks had a knowledge of the Deity. He suppo∣ses that those people adore the same God as we do, though not in the same manner. He does not for∣bid us to adore the same God as the Greeks, but he forbids us to adore him after the same way. He orders us to change the manner, and not the object of our worship.
The heathens, says Lac∣tantius, who admit several gods, say nevertheless that those subordinate deities, though they preside over all the various parts of the universe, do it in such a manner, as that there is still but one sole Ruler and supreme Governor. From whence it follows, that all other invisible powers are not pro∣perly Gods, but ministers or deputies of the one great and almighty God, who appointed them exe∣cutors of his will and pleasure.
Eusebius of Cesa∣rea goes farther.
§ The heathens own that there is but one only God, who fills, pervades and pre∣sides, over universal nature; but they maintain, that as he is present to his work only in an incor∣poreal and invisible manner, they are therefore in the right to worship him in his visible and corporeal effects.
I shall conclude with a famous passage of St. Austin, who reduces the Polytheism of the heath∣ens to the unity of one sole Principle.
Jupiter, says Page  309 this father, is according to the philosophers, the soul of the world, who take different names according to the different effects which he produces. In the e∣thereal spaces he is called Jupiter, in the air Juno, in the sea Neptune, in the earth Pluto, in hell Pro∣serpine, in the element of fire Vulcan, in the sun Phoebus, in divination Apollo, in war Mars, in the vintage Bacchus, in the harvest Ceres, in the fo∣rests Diana, and in the sciences Minerva. All that crowd of gods and goddesses are only the same Ju∣piter, whose different powers and attributes are ex∣pressed by different names.
It is therefore evident by the testimony of profane poets, heathen philoso∣phers, and fathers of the church, that the Pagans acknowledged one sole supreme Deity. The Orien∣tals, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, and all nations agreed universally in teaching this truth.

About the fiftieth Olympiad, six hundred years be∣fore the Christian aera, the Greeks having lost the traditional knowledge of the Orientals, began to lay aside the doctrine of the ancients, and to reason a∣bout the divine Nature from prejudices, which their senses and imagination suggested. 1. Anaximander lived at that time, and was the first who set himself to destroy the belief of a supreme Intelligence, in or∣der to account for every thing by the action of blind matter, which by necessity assumes all sorts of forms. He was followed by Leucippus, Democritus, Epicu∣rus, Strato, Lucretius, and all the school of the ato∣mical philosophers. 2. Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, So∣crates, Plato, Aristotle, and all the great men of Greece opposed this impious doctrine, and endeavor∣ed to re-establish the ancient Theology of the Orien∣tals. These philosophers of a superior genius observ∣ing in nature motion, thought and design, and the idea of matter including none of these three proper∣ties; they inferred from thence, that there was in nature another substance besides matter. Greece be∣ing Page  310 thus divided into two sects, they disputed for a long time, without either party being convinced. 3. At length about the 120th Olympiad, Pyrrho formed a third sect, whose great principle was to doubt of e∣very thing, and determine nothing. All the atomists, who had labored in vain to find out a demonstration of their false principles, presently struck in with the Pyrrhonian sect. They ran wildly into an universal doubting, and carried it almost to such an excess of frenzy, that they doubted of the clearest and most palpable truths. They maintained without any alle∣gory, that every thing we see is only an illusion, and that the whole series of life is but a perpetual dream, of which those in the night are only so many images. 4. At last Zeno set up a fourth school about the 130th Olympiad. This philosopher endeavored to reconcile the disciples of Democritus with those of Plato, by maintaining that the first Principle was in∣deed an infinite Wisdom, but that his essence was on∣ly a pure aether, or a subtile light, which diffused it∣self every where, to give life, motion and reason to all beings.

It is plain then that there were four sorts of philoso∣phers among the ancients; the Atheists or Atomists, the Spiritualists or Theists, the Materialists or Stoics, the Py••honians or Academics. In these last ages, the modern Free thinkers have only revived the an∣cient errors, disguising them under new terms.

1. Jordano Bruno, Vannini, and Spinoza have vamped up the monstrous system of Anaximander; and have added only some artful distinctions to im∣pose upon weak minds. Spinoza perceiving clearly that thought could not be an effect of matter, endea∣voured to prevent all objections against the Materi∣alists, by maintaining, that* extention and thought are properties of the same substance; that the ideas Page  311 of objects are really nothing different from the objects themselves; that extention and matter are the same; that infinite space is the immensity of God, as infinite time is his eternity§; and consequently that all essences are but different forms of the same substance. It must nevertheless be granted, that his atheism does not consist in these errors, since they have all been maintained by philosophers who had a sincere abhorrence of impiety. Spinoza's Atheism lies wholly in this, that he makes the one only Sub∣stance, for which he contends, to act without know∣ledge or design. 2. Descartes, Malebranche, Poret, Leibnitz, Sir Isaac Newton, Dr. Bentley, Dr. Clarke, Dr. Cheyne, and several philosophers of a genius equally subtile and profound, have endeavor∣ed to refute these errors, and brought arguments to support the ancient theology. Besides the proofs which are drawn from the effects, they have insisted on others drawn from the idea of the first cause. They shew plainly, that the reasons for believing are infinitely stronger than those for doubting; and that it is absurd to deny what we see clearly, because we do not see farther. 3. Mr. Hobbes, and some phi∣losophers of more faith, Behemen, and several caba∣listical writers, have revived the errors of the Stoics, and pretend that extension is the basis of all substan∣ces; that the soul differs from the body only as being more subtilized; that a spirit is but a rarified body, and a body a condensed spirit; and lastly that the in∣finite Being, though indivisible, is extended by local diffusion. 4. To conclude, there are some superficial minds, who not being able to look upon truth with a steady view, nor to weigh the degrees of evidence, Page  312 nor to compare the force of proofs with that of ob∣jections, persuade themselves that the mind of man is not formed for the knowledge of truth, run headlong into an universal doubting, and fall at length into a senseless kind of Pyrrhonism, called Egomism, where every one fancies himself to be the only being that exists. The history of former times is like that of our own: human understanding takes almost the same forms in different ages, and loses its way in the same labyrinths; there are periodical diseases of the mind as well as of the body.

PART II. Of the MYTHOLOGY of the PAGANS.

MEN, left to the light of their reason alone, have always looked upon moral and physical evil as a shocking phaenomenon in the work of a Being infi∣nitely wise, good and powerful. To account for it, the philosophers have had recourse to several hypo∣thesis. Reason told them all, that what is supremely good could never produce any thing that was wicked or miserable. From hence they concluded, that souls are not now what they were at first; that they are degraded for some fault committed by them in a for∣mer state; that this life is a state of exile and expia∣tion; and in a word, that all beings are to be restor∣ed to their proper order. Tradition struck in with reason, and this tradition had spread over all nations, certain opinions which they held in common, with Page  313 regard to the three states of the world, as I shall shew in this second part, which will be a sort of a∣bridgment of the traditional doctrine of the ancients.

I begin with the Mythology of the Greeks and Romans. All the Poets, speaking of the golden age, or reign of Saturn, describe it to us as an happy state, in which there were neither calamities, nor crimes, nor labor, nor pains, nor diseases, nor death*. They represent, on the contrary, the iron age, as the time when physical and moral evil first appeared; then it was that vices, sufferings, and all manner of e∣vils came forth of Pandora's box, and overflowed the face of the earth. They speak to us of the golden age renewed, as of a time when Astraea was to return upon earth; when justice, peace and innocence were to flourish again with their original lustre; and when every thing was to be restored to its primitive per∣fection. In a word, they sing on all occasions the exploits of a son of Jupiter, who was to quit his hea∣venly abode and live among men. They give him different names, according to his different functions; sometimes he is Apollo fighting against Python and the Titans; sometimes he is Hercules, destroying monsters and giants, and purging the earth of their enormities and crimes; one while he is Mercury, or the messenger of Jove, flying about every where to execute his decrees; and another while he is Perseus, delivering Andromeda or human nature, from the monster that rose out of the great deep to devour her. He is always some son of Jupiter, giving bat∣tles, and gaining victories. I will not insist upon Page  314 these poetical descriptions, because they may perhaps be looked upon as mere fictions, and a machinery in∣troduced to embellish a poem, and amuse the mind. Allegorical explications are liable to uncertainty and mistake; so that I shall go on directly to represent the doctrine of the philosophers, particularly that of Plato, which is the source from whence Plotinus, Proclus, and the Platonists of the third century drew their principle notions.

To begin with the dialogue of Phaedo, or of im∣mortality, and give a short analysis of it: Phaedo gives his friend an account of the condition in which he saw Socrates at the time of his death.

He quit∣ted life, says he, with a serene joy, and a noble in∣tripidity.
His friends asking him the reason of it,
I hope, says Socrates in his answer, to be re-united to the good and perfect Gods, and to be associated with better men than those I leave upon earth*.
When Cebes objects to him that the soul vanishes af∣ter death like a smoke, and is entirely annihilated, Socrates sets himself to refute that opinion, and en∣deavours to prove that the soul had a real existence in an happy state, before it informed a human body.—This doctrine he ascribes to Orpheus
The dis∣ciples of Orpheus, says he, called the body a prison, because the soul is here in a state of punishment till it has expiated the faults that it committed in heaven. Souls, continued Plato, that are too much given to bodily pleasures, and are in a manner besotted, wander upon the earth, and are put into new bo∣dies§; for all sensuality and passion cause the soul to have a stronger attachment to the body, make her fancy that she is of the same nature, and render her in a manner corporeal; so that she contracts an incapacity of flying away into another life. Being Page  315 oppressed with the weight of her impurity and cor∣ruption, she sinks again into matter, and becomes thereby disabled to remount towards the regions of purity, and attain to a re-union with her Principle.

Upon this foundation is built the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, which Plato represents in the second Timaeus as an allegory, and at other times as a thing real, where souls that have made themselves unworthy of the supreme Beatitude, s•••urn and suf∣fer successively in the bodies of different animals, till at last they are purged of their crimes, by the pains they undego. This hath made some philosophers be∣lieve that the souls of beasts are degraded spirits. A very ancient doctrine, and common to all the Asiatics, from whom Pythagoras and Plato derived it; but the poets had much debased it by their fictions—They supposed that there was an universal and eter∣nal metempsychosis; that all spirits were subject to it, without ever arriving at any fixed state. The phi∣losophers, on the contrary, believed that none but depraved souls were destined to such a transmigrati∣on, and that it would one day be at an end, when they were purified from their crimes*.

The Pythagoreans and Platonists not being able to persuade themselves that the brutes were absolutely insensible of pleasure and pain, or that matter was capable of sensation and consciousness, or that the Divine Justice could inflict sufferings on intelligences that had never offended, thought the doctrine of transmigration less absurd than that of mere ma∣chines, material souls, or pure intelligences formed only to animate the bodies of beasts.

The first of these opinions is altogether contrary to experience; and though we may by general and ingenious hypotheses throw a mist before our eyes, yet whenever we examine nicely into all appearances Page  316 of sensation discernible in beasts, we can never seri∣ously doubt of it. I do not say the appearances of reflection, but of sensation; I am not unaware that in our own bodies we have frequent motions of which we are not conscious, and which nevertheless seem to be the effect of the most exact and geometrical reasonings. I speak therefore of the marks of plea∣sure and pain which we observe in the brutes; and I think that we can have no pretence to reject such e∣vidence, unless it be that we do not feel what hap∣pens to them; but then, for the same reason, we might believe, that all other men are machines. The second opinion, which is that of material souls, held by the Peripatetics, tends to destroy all the proofs of the immateriality of our spirits. If matter be capable of sensation, it may likewise be capable of reflecting upon its own sensations, and the Materialists will gain their point. The third opinion destroys all our soundest notions of the Deity, by supposing that God can create beings which shall be immediately unhap∣py, without any previous demerit on their part, de∣grade pure intelligences without any reason, and when they for a while have acted in mortal bodies a part much below the dignity of their nature, reduce them again to nothing.

I will venture to say, that the doctrine of trans∣migration is less repugnant not only to reason and experience, but likewise to religion, than either of the other three. We see in the* sacred Oracles that impure spirits may desire sometimes to enter into the bodies of the viles animals. After all, a true philosopher will be prudently sceptical, with regard to all uncertain conjectures. The only use which I would make of what has been above advanced, is to shew the incredulous that they say nothing to the purpose against us, when they maintain that our Page  317 souls die like those of the brutes; and farther, that the fictions of the ancients, how absurd soever they at first appear, are often more defensible than the syst∣ems of the moderns, which are so much admired for a depth of penetration.

To return to Plato

Pure souls, adds he in his Phaedo, that have exerted themselves here below to get the better of all corruption, and free them∣selves from the impurities of their terrestrial prison, retire after death into an invisible place, unknown to us, where the pure unites with the pure, the good cleaves to its like, and our immortal essence is united to the divine.
He calls this place the first earth, where souls made their abode before their de∣gradation,
The earth says he, is immense; we know and we inhabit only a small corner of it*. That ethereal earth, the ancient abode of souls, is placed in the pure regions of heaven, where the stars are seated. We that live in this low abyss are apt e∣nough to fancy that we are in an high place, and we call the air the heavens; just like a man that from the bottom of the sea should view the sun and stars through the water, and fancy the ocean to be the firmanent itself. But if we had wings to mount on high, we should see that THERE is the true heaven, the true light, and the true earth. As in the sea every thing is altered, and disfigured by the salts that abound in it; so in our present earth every thing is deformed, corrupted, and in a ruinous condition, if compared with the primitive earth.
Plato gives afterwards a pompous descrip∣tion of that ethereal earth, of which ours is only a broken crust. He says
that every thing there was beautiful, harmonious and transparent; fruits of an exquisite taste grew there naturally; and it was watered with rivers of nectar. They there Page  318 breathed the light, as we here breathe the air, and they drank waters which were purer than air itself.
This notion of Plato agrees in a great measure with that of Descartes, about the nature of the planets; this modern Philosopher was of opinion that they were at first suns, which contracted afterwards a thick and opaque crust.

This same doctrine of Plato is likewise clearly ex∣plained in his Timaeus*. There he tells us how So∣lon in his travels discoursed with an Egyptian priest about the antiquity of the world, its origin, and the revolutions which had happened in it according to the Mythology of the Greeks. Upon which the E∣gyptian priest says to him,

O Solon, you Greeks are always children, and you never come to an age of maturity; your understanding is young, and has no true knowledge of antiquity. There have been upon earth several deluges and conflagrations, caused by changes in the motion of the heavenly bodies. Your history of Phaeton, whatever air it has of a fable, is nevertheless not without a real foundation. We Egyptians have preserved the memory of these facts in our monuments and tem∣ples; whereas it is but a very little while that the Greeks have had any knowledge of letters, of the muses, and of the sciences.
This discourse puts Timaeus upon explaining to Socrates the origin of things, and the primitive state of the world.
Whatever has been produced, says he, has been produced by some cause. 'Tis no easy matter to know the nature of this Maker, and Father of the universe; and though you should discover it, it would be impossible for you to make the vulgar comprehend it. This Architect of the world, con∣tinues he, had a model by which he produced every thing, and this model is himself. As he is good, Page  319 and what is good has not the least tincture of envy, he made all things as far as was possible like himself. He made the world perfect in the whole of its con∣stitution, perfect too in all the various parts that compose it, which were subject neither to diseases, nor to decay of age. The Father of all things, beholding this beautiful image of himself, took a complacency in his work, and this complacency rais∣ed in him a desire of improving it to a nearer like∣ness to its Model.

In the dialogue which bears the title of Politicus, Plato mentioning this primitive state of the world, calls it the reign of Saturn, and describes it in this manner*.

God was then the Prince and common Father of all; he governed the world by himself, as he governs it now by inferior deities: rage and cruelty did not then prevail upon earth; war and sedition were not so much as known. God him∣self took care of the sustenance of mankind, and was their guardian and shepherd; there were no ma∣gistrates, nor civil polity as there are now. In those happy days men sprung out of the bosom of the earth, which produced them of itself, like flow∣ers and trees. The fertile fields yielded fruits and corn without the labor of tillage. Mankind stood in no need of raiment to cover their bodies, being troubled with no inclemency of the seasons; and they took their rest upon beds of turf of a perpetual verdure. Under the reign of Jupiter, Saturn, the master of the universe, having quitted as it were the reins of his empire, hid himself in an inaccessi∣ble retreat. The inferior gods who governed un∣der him retired likewise; the very foundations of the world were shaken by motions contrary to its principle and its end, and it lost its beauty and its lustre. Then it was that good and evil were Page  320 blended together. But in the end, lest the world should be plunged in an eternal abyss of confusion, God, the author of the primitive order, will appear again and resume the reins of empire. Then he will change, amend, embellish and restore the whole frame of nature, and put an end to decay of age, to diseases and death.

In the dialogue under the title of Phaedrus, Plato more distinctly unfolds the secret causes of moral evil, which brought in physical evil.

* There are in every one of us, says he, two principal springs of action, the desire of pleasure, and the love of vir∣tue, which are the wings of the soul. When these wings are parted, when the love of pleasure and the love of virtue carry us contrary ways, then souls fall down into mortals bodies.
Let us see here his notion of the pleasures which spirits taste in heaven, and of the manner how souls fell from the happy state which they enjoyed there.
The great Jupiter, says he, animating his winged chari∣ot, marches first, followed by all the inferior Gods and Genii, thus they traverse the heavens, admi∣ring the infinite wonders thereof. But when they go to the great banquet, they raised themselves to the top of heaven, and mount above the spheres. None of our poets ever yet sung, or can sing that super-celestial place. It is there that souls contem∣plate with the eyes of the understanding, the truly existing Essence, which has neither colour, nor fi∣gure, nor is the object of any sense, but is purely 〈◊〉. There they see virtue, truth and ju∣stice not as they are here below, but as they exist in him who is Being itself. There they satiate themselves with that light till they are no longer able to bear the glory of it, and then they return back to heaven, where they seed again on nectar Page  321 and ambrosia—Such is the life of the Gods. Now continues Plato*, every soul which followeth God faithfully into that super-celestial place, preserves itself pure and without blemish; but if it takes up with nectar and ambrosia, and does not attend on Jupiter's chariot to go and contemplate truth, it grows heavy and sluggish, it breaks its wings, it falls upon the earth, and enters into a human body more or less vile, according as it has been more or less elevated. Souls less degraded than others dwell in the bodies of philosophers. The most despicable of all animate the bodies of tyrants and evil Prin∣ces. Their condition alters after death, and be∣comes more or less happy, according as they have loved virtue or vice in their life time. After ten thousand years souls will be re-united to their ori∣gin.—During that space of time their wings grow again and are renewed.

Such was the doctrine which Plato opposed to the profane sect of Democritus and Epicurus, who denied an eternal Providence on account of the physical and moral evil which they saw in the world. This Phi∣losopher gives us a fine description of the universe: he considers it as an immensity filled with free spirits, which inhabit and inform innumerable worlds. These spirits are qualified to enjoy a double felicity; the one consisting in the contemplation of the divine Es∣sence, the other in admiring his works. When souls no longer make their felicity consist in the knowledge of truth, and when lower pleasures turn them off from the love of the supreme Essence, they are thrown down into some planet, there to undergo expiatory punishments till they are cured by their sufferings.— Page  322 These planets are consequently, according to Plato's notion, like hospitals, or places instituted for the cure of distempered intelligences. Such is the inviolable law established for the preservation of order in the celestial spheres. This double employment of the heavenly spirits is one of the sublimest notions of Pla∣to, and shews the wonderful depth of his genius. It was the system adopted by the heathen philosophers, whenever they attempted to explain to us the origin of evil; and thus they reason:—If souls could with∣out intermission contemplate the divine Essence by a direct view, they would be impeccable, the sight of the supreme Good necessarily engaging all the love of the will. To explain therefore the fall of spirits, they are forced to suppose an interval, when the soul withdraws from the divine presence, and quits the super-celestial abode, in order to admire the beauties of nature, and entertain herself with ambrosia, as a food less delicate, and more suitable to a finite being. It is in these intervals that she becomes false to her duty.

Pythagoras had learned the same doctrine among the Egyptians; we have still a very valuable monu∣ment of it left in the commentary of Hierocles upon the golden verses ascribed to that philosopher*.

As our alienation from God, says this author, and the loss of the wings which used to raise us up to hea∣venly things, hath thrown us down into this region of death, which is overrun with all manner of e∣vils; so the stripping ourselves of earthly affecti∣ons, and the revival of virtues in us make our wings grow again, and raise us up to the mansions of life, where true good is to be found without any mixture of evil. The essence of man being in the middle between beings that contemplate God with∣out Page  323 ceasing, and such as are not able to contem∣plate him at all, he has it in his power to raise him∣self up towards the one, or sink down towards the other*. The wicked man, says Hierocles in ano∣ther place, does not care that the soul should be immortal, for fear he should live after death only to suffer punishment. But the judges of the shades below, as they form their judgment upon the rules of truth, do not decree, that the soul should exist no longer, but that it should be no longer vicious. Their business is to correct and cure it, by prescri∣bing punishments for the health of nature, just as phy∣sicians heal the most inveterate ulcers by incisions. These judges punish the crime in order to extirpate vice. They do not annihilate the essence of the soul, but bring it back to its true and genuine exist∣ence, purifying it from all the passions that corrupt it. And therefore when we have sinned, we should be glad to embrace the punishment as the only remedy for vice.

It is therefore evidently the doctrine of the most famous Greek philosophers, 1. That souls had a pre∣existence in heaven. 2. That the Jupiter who marched at the head of souls before the loss of their wings, is distinct from the supreme Essence, and is very like the Mythras of the Persians, and the Orus of the Egyptians. 3. That souls lost their wings, and were thrust down into mortal bodies, because that instead of following Jupiter's chariot, they gave themselves too much up to the enjoyment of lower pleasures. 4. That at the end of a certain period of time, the wings of the soul shall grow again, and Sa∣turn shall resume the reins of his empire in order to restore the universe to its original splendor.

Let us now examine the Egyptian Mythology, the Page  324 source from whence that of the Greeks was derived. I shall not offer to maintain the mystical explications that Kircher gives of the famous table of Isis, and of the obelisks that are to be seen at Rome: I confine myself to Plutarch, who has preserved to us an ad∣mirable monument of that Mythology. To repre∣sent it in its real beauties, it will be proper to give a short and clear analysis of his treatise of Isis and Osi∣ris, which is a letter written to Clea, priestess of Isis.

*The Egyptian Mythology, says Plutarch, has two senses, the one sacred and sublime, the other sensible and palpable. 'Tis for that reason that the Egyptians put Sphinxes before the door of their temples; designing thereby to signify to us that their theology contains the secrets of wisdom under enigmatical words. This is also the sense of the inscription upon a statue of Pallas or Isis, at Sais, I AM ALL THAT IS, HAS BEEN, AND SHALL BE, AND NO MORTAL HAS EVER YET REMOVED THE VAIL THAT COVERS ME.
He afterwards relates the Egyptian fable of Isis and Osiris.
They were both born of Rhea and the Sun; whilst they were still in their mother's womb, they jointly ingender∣ed the God Orus the living image of their sub∣stance. Typhon was not born, but burst violently through the ribs of Rhea. He afterwards revolted against Osiris, filled the universe with his rage and violence, tore the body of his brother in pieces, mangled his limbs, and scattered them about. E∣ver since that time, Isis goes wandering about the earth to gather up the scattered limbs of her bro∣ther and husband. The eternal and immortal soul of Osiris led his son Orus to the shades below, where he gave him instructions how to fight, and vanquish Typhon. Orus returned upon earth, sought and defeated Typhon, but did not kill him; Page  325 he only bound him, and took away his power of doing mischief. The wicked one made his escape afterwards, and was going to throw all again into disorder: but Orus fought him in two bloody bat∣tles, and destroyed him entirely.
Plutarch goes on thus;*
Whoever applieth these allegories to the divine Nature, ever blessed and immortal, de∣serves to be treated with contempt, We must not however believe that they are mere fables without any meaning, like those of the poets. They repre∣sent to us things that really happened. It would be likewise a dangerous error, and manifest impiety to interpret what is said of the Gods, as Evemerus the Messenian did, and apply it to the ancient Kings and great generals. This would in the end serve to destroy religion, and estrange men from the Deity. There are others, adds he, much juster in their notions, who have wrote, that what∣ever is related of Typhon, Osiris, Isis, and Orus must be understood of genn and demons. This was the opinion of Pythagoras, Plato, xenocrates and Chrysippus, who followed the ancient Theolo∣gists in this notion. All those great men maintain∣ed that these genii were very powerful, and far su∣perior to mortals; chat they did not however par∣take of the Deity in a pure and simple manner, but were composed of a spiritual and a corporeal na∣ture, and were consequently capable of pleasures and pains, passions and changes; for there are vir∣tues and vices among the genii as well as among men. Hence come the fables of the Greeks con∣cerning the Titans and Giants, the engagements of Python against Apollo, and the furies and extrava∣gancies of Bacchus, with several other fictions like those of Osiris and Typhon. Hence it is likewise that Homer speaks of good and evil demons. Plato Page  326 calls the first tutelary deities, because they are me∣diators between the Deity and men, carry up the prayers of mortals to heaven, and bring us from thence the knowledge and revelation of secrets and future things.
Empedocles, continues he, says that the evil demons are punished for the faults they have committed. First the sun precipitates them into the air; the air casts them into the deep sea; the sea vomits them up upon the land, and from the earth they are raised at last to heaven.—thus are they transported from one place to ano∣ther, till being in the end punished and purified, they return to the place adapted to their nature.
Plutarch, after having thus given a theological ex∣planation of the Egyptian allegories, gives likewise the physical explications of them; but he rejects them all, and returns to his first doctrine.
* Osiris is nei∣ther the sun, nor the water, nor the earth, nor the heaven; but whatever there is in nature well dis∣posed, well regulated, good and perfect, all that is the image of Osiris. Typhon is neither aridity, nor the fire, nor the sea; but whatever is hurtful, in∣constant and irregular.
We must observe that in this Egyptian allegory, Osiris does not signify, as in other places, the first principle of Deity, the Agathos of Plato, but the son of Ammon, the Apollo of the Greeks, Jupiter the Conductor, a god inferior to the supreme Deity. It was an ancient opinion among the Pagans and Hebrews, that the Divinity had uni∣ted himself to the first and most perfect production of his power.

Plutarch goes farther in another treatise, and ex∣plains to us the origin of evil: his reasoning 〈◊〉 occasion is equally solid and subtile, and is as follows:

The maker of the world, being perfectly good, Page  327 formed all things at first, as far as was possible like himself. The world at its birth received from him who made it, all sorts of good things; whatever it has at present of unhappy and wicked, is an indis∣position foreign to its nature. God cannot be the cause of evil, because he is sovereignly good: mat∣ter cannot be the cause of evil, because it has no active force; but evil comes from a third principle, neither so perfect as God, nor so imperfect as mat∣ter. This third being is intelligent nature, which hath within itself a source, a principle, and cause of motion.

I have already shewn that the schools of Pythago∣ras and Plato asserted liberty of will. The former expresses it by that faculty of the soul, whereby it can either raise or debase itself; the other by the wings of the soul, that is the love of virtue and the love of pleasure, which may move different ways. Plutarch follows the same principles, and makes liberty consist in the activity of the soul, by which it is the source of its own determinations.

This opinion therefore ought not to be looked up∣on as modern; it is at once both natural and philo∣sophical. The soul can always separate and re-unite, recal and compare her ideas, and on this activity de∣pends her liberty. We can always think upon other goods than those we are actually thinking of. It must be owned that the passions, by strong sensations they excite in us, sometimes take up all the capacity of the soul, and hinder it from reflecting; they dark∣en its discerning faculty, and hurry it on to an assent, they transform objects, and place them in a wrong light; but strong as they are, they are never invin∣cible; it is difficult indeed, but not impossible, to sur∣mount them; it is always in our power gradually to diminish their force, and prevent their excess. This is the warfare of man on earth, and this is the tri∣umph of virtue. The heathens feeling this tyranny Page  328 of the passions, were convinced by the light of nature alone of the necessity of a celestial power to subdue them: they always represent virtue to us a•• divine energy descending from heaven: they are continual∣ly bringing into their poems guardian deities, who inspire, enlighten and strengthen us; to shew that heroic virtues can only proceed from the gods. These were the principle upon which the wise ancients went, in their arguments against those notions of fa∣tality, which are alike destructive of religion, morali∣ty and society.

To return to the Egyptians. Their doctrine, ac∣cording to Plutarch, supposes, 1. That the world was created without any physical or moral evil, by a being infinitely good. 2. That several genii abusing their liberty, fell into crimes, and thereby into mise∣ry. 3. That these genii must suffer expiatory pu∣nishments till they are purified and restored to their first state. 4. That the God Orus, the son of Isis and Osiris, and who fights with the evil principle, is a subordinate deity, like Jupiter the Conductor the son of Saturn.

Let us consult next the Mythology of the Orien∣tals: the nearer we approach the first origin of nati∣on the more pure shall we find their theology.*

Zoroaster says Plutarch, taught that there are two gods contrary to each other in their operations; the one the anthor of all the good, the other of all the evil in nature. The good Principal he calls Oromazes, the other the demon Arimanius. He says that the one resembles light and truth, the o∣ther darkness and ignorance. There is likewise a middle God between these two, named Mythras whom the Persians call the intercessor or Mediator. The Magi add, that Oromazes is born of the pur∣est light, and Arimanius of darkness; that they Page  329 make continually war with one another, and that Oromuzes made six genii, goodness, truth, justice, wisdom, plenty and joy; and Arimanius made six others to oppose them, malice, falshood, injustice, folly, want and sadness. Oromazes having with∣drawn himself to as great a distance from the sphere of Arimanius, as the sun is from the earth, beauti∣fied the heavens with stars and constellations. He created afterwards four and twenty other genii, and put them into an egg (by which the ancients mean the earth; but Arimanius and his genii broke through this shining egg, and immediately evil was blended and confounded with good. But there will come a time appointed by fate, when Arimani∣us will be entirely destroyed and extirpated; the earth will change its form, and become plain and e∣ven; and happy men will have only one and the same life, language and government.
Theopom∣pus writes also,
that according to the doctrine of the Magi, these gods must make war for nine thou∣sand years, the one destroying the other's work, till at last hell shall be no more; then men shall be happy, and their bodies become transparent. The God who made all things keeps himself concealed that time; an interval not two long for a God, but rather like a moment of sleep.

We have lost the ancient books of the first Persi∣ans; so that in order to judge of their Mythology, we must have recourse to the oriental philosophers of our own time, and see if there be still left among the disciples of Zoroaster, any traces of the ancient doc∣trine of their master. The famous Dr. Hyde, a di∣vine of the Church of England, who had travelled into the East, and perfectly understood the language of the country, has translated the following passages out of Sharisthani, an Arabian Philosopher of the fif∣teenth Page  330 century*

The first Magi did not look upon the two Principles as coeternal, but believed that light was eternal, and that darkness was pro∣duced in time: and the origin of this evil principle they account for in this manner: light can produce nothing but light, and can never be the origin of evil; how then was evil produced? Light say they, produced several beings, all of them spiritual, luminous and powerful; but their chief, whose name was Ahriman or Arimanius, had an evil though contrary to the light: he doubted, and by that doubting he became dark. From hence pro∣ceeded all evils; dissention, malice, and every thing else of a contrary nature to the light. These two principles made war upon one another, till at last peace was concluded upon condition that the lower world should be in subjection to Arimanius, for se∣ven thousand years: after this space of time he is to surrender back the world to the light.
Here we see the four notions that I speak of in the fore∣going work: 1. A state before good and evil were blended and confounded together. 2. A state after they were so blended and confounded. 3. A state when evil shall be entirely destroyed. 4. A middle God between the good and the evil Principle.

As the doctrine of the Persian Magi is a sequal of the doctrine of the Indian Brachmans, we must con∣sult the one to put the other in a clear light. We have but few traces left of the ancient theology of the Gymnosophists, yet those which Strabo has pre∣served, suppose the two states of the world, that of nature in its purity, and that of nature corrupted.—When this historian has described the life and man∣ners of the Brachmans, he adds,

Those philoso∣phers Page  331 look upon the state of men in this life to be like that of children in their mothers womb; death according to their notion, being a birth to a true and happy life. They believe, that whatever hap∣pens to mortals here does not deserve the name ei∣ther of good or evil. They have many notions in common with the Greeks; and like them believe that the world had a beginning, and will have an end: and that God who made it, and governs it, is every where present to his work.
The same author goes on in this manner;
Onesecritus being sent by Alexander the Great to inform himself of the life, manners and doctrine of those philoso∣phers, found a Brachman named Calanus, who taught him the following principles. Formerly, plenty reigned over all nature; milk, wine, honey and oil flowed from fountains, but men having made an ill use of this felicity, Jupiter deprived them of it, and condemned them to labor for the sustenance of their lives.

In order to form a better judgment of the doctrine of the ancient Gymnosophists, I have consulted what has been translated of the Vedam, which is the sa∣cred book of the modern Bramins; though its anti∣quity be not perhaps so great as it is affirmed to be, yet there is no denying but it contains the ancient traditions of those people, and of their philosophers. 'Tis plain by this book,

* That the Bramins ac∣knowledge one sole and supreme God, whom they call Vistnou; that his first and most ancient pro∣duction was a secondary god, named Brama, whom the supreme God formed out of a flower that float∣ed upon the surface of the great deep before the formation of the world; and that Vistnou after∣wards, on account of Brama's virtue, gratitude and Page  332 fidelity, gave him power to form the universe.
They believe moreover.
That souls are eternal emanations from the divine Essence, or at least that they were produced long before the formation of the world; that they were originally in a state of purity, but having sinned, were thrown down into the bodies of men, or of beasts according to their respective demerits; so that the body, where the soul resides, is a sort of dungeon or prison. Lastly, they hold, that after a certain number of transmi∣grations, all souls shall be re-united to their origin, re-admitted into the company of the Gods, and de∣ified.

I should hardly have thought these traditions au∣thentic, or have brought myself to trust to the trans∣lators of the Vedam, if this doctrine had not been perfectly agreeable to that of Pythagoras, which I gave an account of a little before: this philosopher taught the Greeks nothing but what he had learned form the Gymnosophists.

The discovery of these uniform and agreeing sen∣timents in Greece, Egypt, Persia, and the Indies, made me desirous to advance farther into the East, and to carry my researches as far as China. I appli∣ed myself accordingly to such as understood the lan∣guage of that country, had spent several years in it, and were well versed in the original books of that nation. And in this point particularly I have made great use of the informations I have received from a gentleman of a superior genius, who does not care to be mentioned till he has published a large work upon these matters, which will be of service to religion, and do honor to human understanding. In the mean time he has allowed me to publish the following pas∣sages, which he translated himself out of some ancient Page  333 Chinese books that have been brought into Europe; and which may be both seen at Paris and at Rome; so that all who understand the language may judge of the faithfulness of the translation. The ancient commentaries on the book Yking, i.e. the book of Changes, continually speak of a double heaven, a pri∣mitive and a posterior. The first heaven is there de∣scribed in the following manner:

All things were then in a happy state, every thing was beautiful, every thing was good, all beings were perfect in their kind. In this happy age hea∣ven and earth employed their virtues jointly to em∣bellish nature. There was no jarring in the ele∣ments, no inclemency in the air, all things grew without labor, an universal fertility reigned every where. The active and passive virtues conspired together without any effort or opposition, to pro∣duce and perfect the universe.
In the books which the Chinese call King or Sacred, we read the fol∣lowing passage:
Whilst the first state of heaven lasted, a pure pleasure and a perfect tranquility reigned over all nature. There were neither la∣bor, nor pains, nor sorrow, nor crimes—Nothing made opposition to the will of man.
The philoso∣phers who stuck to these ancient traditions, and par∣ticularly Tchouangse, say,
that in the state of the first heaven, man was united inwardly to the su∣perme Reason, and that outwardly he practised all the works of justice: The heart rejoiced in truth, and there was no mixture of falshood; then the four seasons of the year succeeded each other regu∣larly without confusion: there were no impetuous winds nor excessive rains; the sun and the moon, without ever being clouded, furnished a light purer and brighter than at present. The five planets kept on their course without any inequality. There was nothing which did harm to man, or which suf∣fered Page  334 any hurt from him—An universal amity and harmony reigned over all nature.

On the other hand, the philosopher Hoainantse speaking of the latter heaven, says,

The pillars of heaven were broken; the earth was shaken to its very foundations; the heavens sunk lower towards the north; the sun, the moon and the stars chang∣ed their motions; the earth fell to pieces; the wa∣ters enclosed within its bosom, burst forth with vi∣olence and overflowed it. Man rebelling against heaven, the system of the universe was quite disor∣dered; the sun was eclipsed, the planets altered their course, and the universal harmony was disturb∣ed.
The philosophers Wentse and Lietse, who liv∣ed long before Hoainantse, express themselves almost in the same terms.
The universal fertility of na∣ture, say these ancient authors, degenerated into an ugly barrenness, the plants faded, the trees wi∣thered away, disconsolate nature refused to distri∣bute her usual bounty. All creatures declared war against one another; miseries and crimes overflow∣ed the face of the earth.
All these evils arose, says the book Liki, from man's despising the su∣preme Monarch of the universe. He would needs dispute about truth and falshood, and these disputes banished the eternal Reason. He then fixed his looks on terrestrial objects, and loved them to excess; hence arose the passions; he became gradually transformed into the objects he loved, and the ce∣lestial reason entirely abandoned him. Such was the original source of all crimes, which drew after them all manner of miseries sent by heaven for the punishment thereof.

The same books speak of a time when every thing is to be restored to its first splendor, by the coming of a hero called Kiun-Tse, which signifies Shepherd and Prince, to whom they give likewise the names of, the most Holy, the universal Teacher, and the supreme Page  335 Truth. He answers exactly to the Mythras of the Persians, the Orus, or second Osiris of the Egyptians, the Apollo or Mercury of the Greeks, and the Bra∣ma of the Indians.

The Chinese books speak likewise of the sufferings and conflicts of Kiun-Tse, just as the Persians do of the combats of Mythras, the Egyptians of the mur∣der of Osiris, the Tyrians of the death of Adonis, and the Greeks of the labors and painful exploits of a son of Jupiter, who came down upon earth to extermi∣nate monsters. It looks as if the source of all these allegories was an ancient tradition common to all na∣tions, that the middle God was not to expiate and put an end to crimes but by his own great sufferings. In speaking of the death of Adonis in the foregoing work, I have made advantage of this tradition to pave the way for what Daniel says afterward to Cy∣rus concerning the the suffering Messiah. I shall here give the reader an account of what I find in the religion of the Tyrians, and in the doctrine of the ancients, to authorize the new allegory which is ad∣ded in the present edition. 1. The Tyrians acknow∣ledged one supreme God, named Bel, who is the same with the Jehovah of the Hebrews*. 2. They held likewise a subordinate God, whom they called Tham∣muz, Adon, Adonis, which signifies the Lord. 3. A∣donis, Osiris, Apollo and Hercules, are the same. 4. The death of Adonis, killed by a boar, is the same with the murder of Osiris slain by Typhon, or the e∣vil principle. 5. Solemn days were instituted by the Phoenicians to bewail the death of Adonis, and to sing praises to him as risen from the dead§. 6. Page  336 Some ancient and venerable writers among the Chri∣stians believed, that the fable of Adonis was a corrup∣tion of an old tradition concerning the suffering Mes∣siah, and apply all the Tyrian ceremonies to our my∣steries*. 7. Adonis loved Venus, espoused her, and she became the mother of the Gods. 8. Urania, Astarte, Venus and Proserpine are the same God∣dess. 9. Some think that Astarte is the morning star, Lucifer, or a fallen star§. 10. According to the doctrine of the ancients, as well Pagan as He∣brew, spirits fell not at once, but by degrees, that is to say, from the fixed stars into the region of the pla∣nets, from the planets to the earth, and from the earth to the infernal regions: for which reason I have represented these three different falls of spirits by the three names of Astarte, venus and Proser∣pine. These are the foundations on which I have built the allegory of Adonis and Urania, which Ame∣nophis rehearses to Cyrus in the seventh book. The only liberty I have taken is to make Urania represent, not the divine Wisdom, but fallen intelligences; as Psyche in Apuleius does not represent the soul of the world, but souls unfaithful to love: these kinds of metonymy are frequent in the allegorical and mytho∣logical writers.

We see then that the doctrines of the primitive perfection of nature, its fall, and its restoration by a divine Hero, are equally manifest in the Mythologies of the Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Indians and Chi∣nese.

Let us now look into the Hebrew Mythology. By this I mean Rabbinism, or the philosophy of the Jew∣ifh Page  337 doctors, and particularly of the Essenes. These philosophers asserted, according to the testimony of Josephus*,

that the literal sense of the sacred text was only an image of hidden truths. They chan∣ged, says Philo, the words, and precepts of wis∣dom into allegories, after the custom of their ances∣tors, who had left them several books for their in∣struction in this science.
'Twas the universal taste of the Orientals to make use of corporeal images to represent the properties and operations of spirits.

This symbolical style seems in a great measure au∣thorized by the sacred writers. The prophet Da∣niel represents God to us under the image of the AN∣TIENT OF DAYS. The Hebrew Mythologists and Cabalists, who were a succession of the schools of the Essenes, took occasion from thence to express the di∣vine attributes by the members of the body of the ANTIENT OF DAYS. We see this allegory carried to an extravagance in the books of the Rabbins. They speak there of the dew that distilled from the brain of the ANTIENT OF DAYS, from his skull, his hair, his forehead, his eyes, and especially from his wonderful beard. These comparisons are undoubt∣edly absurd, and unbecoming the majesty of God but the cabalistical philosophers pretend to authorise them by some metaphysical notions.

The creation, according to them, is a picture of the divine perfections: all created beings are conse∣quently images more or less perfect of the supreme Being, in proportion as they have more or less con∣formity with their original. Hence it follows that all creatures are in some respect like one another, and that man or the microcosm has a resemblance of the great world or macrocosm; the material world, of the intelligible world; and the intelligible world, of Page  338 the Archetype, which is God. Such are the princi∣ples upon which the allegorical expressions of the Ca∣balists are founded. If we strip their Mythology of this mysterious language, we shall find in it sublime notions very like those we have before admired in the heathen philosophers. I shall mention four, which are clearly enough expressed in the works of the Rabbin Irira, Moschech and Jitzack, which Rit∣tangelius has translated in his Cabala denudata.

1.

All spiritual substances, angels, human souls, and even the soul of the Messiah*, were created from the beginning of the world: and consequently our first parent, of whom Moses speaks, represents not an individual person, but all mankind governed by one sole Head. In that primitive state every thing was glorious and perfect: there was no∣thing in the universe that suffered, because there was no such thing as crime. Nature was a real and a spotless image of the divine perfections.
This answers to the reign of Ammon, Oromazes and Saturn. 2.
The soul of the Messiah, by his per∣severance in the divine love, came to a strict union with the pure Godhead, and was deservedly ad∣vanced to be the King, the Head, and the Guide of all spirits.
This notion has some resemblance of those which the Persians had of Mythras, the Egyp∣tians of Osiris and Orus, and the Greeks of Jupiter the Guide, who led souls into the super-celestial a∣bode. 3.§
The virtue, perfection and beatitude of spirits or Zephirots, consisted in continually Page  339 receiving and rendering back the rays which flow∣ed from the infinite centre, that so there might be an eternal circulation of light and happiness in all spirits. Two sorts of Zephirots failed in the ob∣servance of this eternal law. The Cherubim, who were of a superior order, did not render back this light, but kept it within themselves, swelled, and became like vessels that are too full; at last they burst in pieces, and their sphere was changed into a gloomy chaos. The Ischim, who were of an in∣ferior order, shut their eyes against this light, turn∣ing themselves towards sensible objects; they forgat the supreme beatitude of their nature, and took up with the enjoyment of created pleasures. They fell thereby into mortal bodies. 4. Souls pass through several revolutions before they return to their primitive state; but after the coming of the Messiah, all spirits will be restored to order, and to the happiness which they enjoyed before the sin of our first parent.
I shall now leave the read∣er to judge whether these four notions have not a great resemblance of those which we have found in China, Persia, Egypt and Greece, and whether I had not sufficient authority to give the four mythological pictures which are in the foregoing work.

In all these systems we see that the ancient philo∣sophers, in order to refute the objections of the impi∣ous concerning the origin and duration of evil, adopt∣ed the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls, and their final restoration. Several Fathers of the Church maintained the first opinion, as the only philosophical way of explaining original sin; and Origen made use of the latter, to oppose the libertines of his time. It is far from my intention to defend these two opini∣ons; all the use I would make of them is to shew, Page  340 that reason alone furnishes arguments sufficient to confound such philosophers as refuse to believe unless they can comprehend.

It is for this reason that I make Daniel speak a dif∣ferent language from Eleazer. The prophet advises Cyrus to lay aside all refined speculations, and to leave to God the care of justifying the incomprehensible steps of his providence; he plunges him again in an obscurity, more wholesome and more suitable to hu∣man weakness, than all the conjectures of philoso∣phers; he reduces what we are to believe on this subject to these four principal truths.

1. God being infinitely good, cannot produce wick∣ed and miserable beings; and therefore the moral and physical evil, which we see in the universe, must come from the abuse that men make of their liberty. 2. Human nature is fallen from the first purity in which it was created; and this mortal life is a state of trial, in which souls are cured of their corruption, and merit a happy immortality by their virtue. 3. God united himself to human nature in order to expi∣ate moral evil by his sacrifice: the Messiah will come at last in his glory to destroy physical evil, and renew the face of the earth. 4. These truths have been transmitted to us from age to age, from the time of the deluge till now, by an universal tradition; other nations have obscured and altered this tradition by their fables; it has been preserved in its purity no where but in the Holy Scriptures, the authority of which cannot be disputed with any shadow of reason.

It is a common notion that all the footsteps of na∣tural and revealed religion which we see in the hea∣then poets and philosophers, are originally owing to their having read the books of Moses; but it is im∣possible to answer the objections which are made a∣gainst this opinion. The Jews and their books were too long concealed in a corner of the earth, to be rea∣sonably thought the primitive light of the Gentiles; Page  341 we must go farther back, even to the deluge. It is surprising that those, who are convinced of the autho∣rity of the sacred books, have not made advantage of this system to prove the truth of the Mosaic history concerning the origin of the world, the universal de∣luge, and the re-peopling of the earth by Noah. It is hard to account for that uniformity of sentiments which we find in the religions of all nations, other∣wise than by the doctrine which I have put in the mouth of Daniel.

As the four great principles, which I have menti∣oned, are the foundation of our religion, my design was to do homage to it, by endeavoring to defend them against the vain cavils of audacious critics, and the superstitious prejudices of weak minds. One of the chief sources of modern incredulity is the false no∣tion which impious men have entertained of Christia∣nity. Nor indeed can we think it strange, if, while the Christian mysteries are represented in a wrong light, the principles of religion confounded with the abuses of those principles, and scholastic expositions with doctrines of faith, the miracles should pass for imposture, and the facts for fables. If we would en∣gage those, who in simplicity of heart seek after truth, to listen to the proofs of revealed religion, we must begin by shewing them that its doctrines are worthy of God; and this has been my aim throughout the foregoing work. Whether I have succeeded or not, my intention was upright; and I shall not repine at the imperfection of this attempt, if I may have given occasion to any person of more learning and depth to recommend that philosophy, which teaches never to employ the imagination but as the servant of reason, to direct all improvements of the understanding to the purification of the heart, and avoiding all ostentati∣ons parade of the sciences, to make use of them only to discover the beauties of eternal truth to those who are capable of being enamoured with them.

Page  [unnumbered]

A LETTER FROM M. FRERET (MEMBER OF THE ACADEMY OF INSCRIPTIONS AT PARIS) TO THE AUTHOR, CONCERNING THE CHRONOLOGY OF HIS WORK.

SIR,

THERE have, perhaps, been more different systems formed, to settle the history of Cyrus, and the chronology of the Kings of Babylon, than for any other part of ancient story. But these hypothesis are all so defective, and so ill connected with contemporary e∣vents, that we are stopped almost at every step, by the contradictions and inconsistencies we meet with in them. This every man's experience shews him to be true, who reads the writings of Scaliger, Petau, Usher, Marsham, the bishop of Meaux and Prideaux.

But in your work you have wisely avoided these difficulties, and have hit upon the best method of re∣conciling the contradictory accounts which Herodotus, Ctesias, Xenophon, and other ancient writers, give us of Cyrus. You have preserved this Prince's war with his grandfather Astyages; a war which the an∣cients allow to be certain, and which Xenophon him∣self acknowledges in his retreat of the ten thousand; he suppressed this fact in his Cyropaedia, only to a∣void throwing a blemish on Cyrus's character, by a war which he thought contrary to natural duty: Prideaux has likewise thought fit to suppress it.— Page  343 Marsham has invented a mere romance, and suppo∣ses that there were two different kingdoms of the Medes, which were at the same time governed by two Astyages', one the grandfather and the other the enemy of Cyrus. The method you have taken is more simple, and more agreeable to ancient story; you have paved the way for this war, and conducted it in such a manner, that it does in no wise stain the character of your hero.

The omission of so considerable an event led Xeno∣phon into two anachronisms in order to find employ∣ment for Cyrus in his younger years: this author an∣tedates the taking of Sardis 25 years, and that of Babylon 28. As this historian had nothing in view but military virtues and qualities of a true patriot, whereby to form his hero, his scheme did not furnish him with the same materials to fill up Cyrus's youth as yours does. He had no thoughts of instilling into his mind, such principles as would most effectually se∣cure him from the dangers which beset the virtue of Princes, or of guarding him before hand against the corruption of false politics and false philosophy, which are, in their consequences, equally fatal to society. Xenophon, having been educated in Greece, was ac∣quainted only with the kingdoms of Sparta and Ma∣cedon, whose Kings were, properly speaking, nothing more than the chief persons in their state; and the magistrates were rather their colleagues than their ministers. He had no notion of the abuses of despotic powe, and therefore could have no thoughts of pre∣venting them. Whereas your design being to form a King, rather than a conqueror, a Prince better qualified to make his people happy under his govern∣ment, than to force them to submit to his laws; you are thereby enabled to give Cyrus full employment in his youth by making him travel, and that very consistent with true chronology.

Cyrus died the 218th year of Nabonassar, and 530 Page  344 years before the Christian Aera, which I shall not lose time in proving, because acknowledged by all chronologers. This Prince was then 70 years of age, according to Dinon, the author of a celebrated history of Persia*. He was therefore born in the 148th year of Nabonassar, 600, or 599 years before Christ. He had reigned, according to the astronomi∣cal canon, nine years at Babylon. This city was therefore taken in the 61st year of his age, the 209th of Nabonassar, and the 539th before Christ.

Sardis was taken, according to Sosicrates in Dio∣genes Laertius, and according to Solinus, in the fourth year of the 58th Olympiad.; but according to Eusebius, in the first year of that Olympiad; and consequently either in the 545th or 548th year be∣fore Christ, and the 52d or 55th year of Cyrus's life. He reigned 30 years over the Medes and Persians, according to Herodotus and Ctesias, and he was 40 years old according to Dinon, when he mounted the throne; which fixes the beginning of his reign to the 188th year of Nabonassar, the first year of the 55th Olympiad, and the 560th year before Christ.§ Esebius tells us, that all chronologists agreed in placing the beginning of Cyrus's reign over the Medes and Persians in this year of the 55th Olympi∣ad. But historians have neither told us how many years Cyrus's war with the Medes lasted, nor any particulars of what happened in the first forty years of his life: you are therefore at full liberty to fill up this space with whatever you judge most proper to your design; and your chronology is not only agree∣able to that of the Greeks and Persians, but likewise to that of the Babylonians.

Xenophon indeed has changed all this chronology: Page  345 According to him Cyrus went to the court of Media at 12 years, stayed there 4 years, returned in his 16th year; entered into the class of the Young men in his 17th, and continued in it 10 years. To which he adds, that Astyages died in this interval, but this is not true; for that Prince reigned till he was con∣quered by Cyrus in the year 560, and did not die till some years after: you have therefore done well in not following Xenophon. According to him, Cyrus entered Media at the head of 30000 men when he was 28 year of age; subdued the Armenians at 29; marched against the Lydians, and took Sardis at 30; and made himself master of Babylon at 33, about the year 567. This is the 179th year of Nabonassar, and the 36th of Nabuchodonosor, who reigned 7 years after it; these 7 years added to the 21 years of the four Kings who reigned in Babylon after him, make the 28 years of the anachronism above-mentioned. The rest of Xenophon's chronology is of no impor∣tance to your work. He does not determine the time of the death either of Mandana or Cambyses, and therefore you are entirely at liberty to place these events as will best suit with your plan.

The city of Tyre was not taken till the 19th year of Nabuchodonosor, after a thirteen years siege, which began the seventh of that Prince's reign, ac∣cording to the Phoenician annals which Josephus had read. In the year Jerusalem was taken, which was the 18th year of Nabuchodonosor, the phrophet Eze∣kial threatens Tyre with approaching ruin; it there∣fore was not taken at that time; Cyrus was then 15 years of age: now, as his travels are all placed be∣tween the 28th and 32d year of his age, and as he does not go to Tyre till after his travels in Greece, you are guilty of no anachronism in this particular; moreover, what you relate of the history of this city sufficiently fills up the 15 or 16 years from the time of its being conquered by the Babylonians.

Page  346 We have no where any express passage whereby to fix the time of Nabuchodonosor's madness; that he was mad is certain from Daniel, and it is very proba∣ble it happened towards the end of his life; my rea∣sons for it are these. Jehoiachin was carried into capativity in the 8th year of Nabuchodonosor's reign over Judea, and the 4th of his reign in Babylon; that is, the 148th year of Nabonassar, 600 years be∣fore Christ, and the year Cyrus was born. We are told in Jeremiah*, and in the second book of Kings that in the 37th year of Jehoiachin's captivity, Evil∣merodach ascended the throne of Babylon, took Je∣hoiachin out of prison, admitted him to his own table, and heaped many honors upon him; this was the 184th year of Nabonassar, the 564th before Christ, and the 37th 〈◊〉 Cyrus's age; at which time Nabu∣chodonosor was yet alive, since he did not die till the 186th of Nabonassar, 562 years before Christ, and the 39th of Cyrus; Evilmerodach therefore did not only mount the throne in his father's life-time, but he governed without consulting him, and with so little dependance upon him, as not to fear provoking him by taking quite different measures from his, and heaping honors on a Prince, whom his father had all along kept in fetters. Berosus makes the Prince, whom he calls Evilmerodach, to have reigned 10 years, the astronomical canon allows him but two, and calls him Hovardam; the Scripture places him upon the throne three years before the death of his father.

All these difficulties will vanish, if we suppose that Nabuchodonosor's madness began eight years before his death, and that his son Evilmerodach was from that time looked upon as King, placed himself at the head of affairs, and governed the empire with his fa∣ther's ministers; these eight years, joined with the Page  347 two he reigned alone after his father's death, make up the ten years of Berosus; the holy scriptures be∣gin his reign later, doubtless from the time that he removed the ministers who made him uneasy, which did not happen till the third year before the death of Nabuchodonosor. This Prince's madness continued but seven years; after that time he recovered his senses, re-assumed the government, and published an edict in favor of the Jews, which is related in Daniel; his name had all along been made use of in the public acts, and for this reason the astronomical canon makes his son Ilovarodam to have reigned but two years; this canon was drawn up from the public acts. Nabuchodonosor's madness must have produced great revolutions in the court of Babylon, and we may form an idea of them from what passed in the court of France during that of Charles VI. when the ma∣nagement of affairs was one while lodged in the hands of the Queen, sometimes in those of his chil∣dren and at other times in those of the great Lords and Princes of the blood. Upon this supposition which is both easy and necessary, Nabuchodonosor's madness will have happened in the 179th year of Nabonassar, the 569th before Christ, and the 32d of Cyrus's age; this Prince must have been informed of that event, for it was of great importance to him to know it; it is not to be doubted but it had its influ∣ence in the war of the Medes and the Persians. The kings of Babylon were allied to those of the Medes: Nabuchodonosor had married a daughter of Astya∣ges; the Babylonians would have taken some part in this war, had it not been for the weakness of their government, occasioned by the King's madness, and for the divisions which prevailed at court among the different parties that contended for the direction of affairs. Nay, it is probable that Queen Amytis en∣deavored to reconcile the Medes and Persians; be∣cause, independently of the ties of blood, it was a∣gainst Page  348 her interest to have either of those nations sub∣due the other. The sight of so great a conqueror reduced to so deplorable a condition, must have been a very proper spectacle for the instruction of Cyrus, and you had great reason not to neglect it. He re∣turned from his travels, according to your chronolo∣gy, about the 32d year of his age, after Nabuchodo∣nosor's madness had already seized him: Cyrus spent near seven years in Pesia, governing under his fa∣ther; during which time all the intrigues between Cyaxares and Soranes were carried on, Cambyses made war with the Medes and Astyages died; after which Cyrus went to Babylon, to negotiate affairs with Amytis a little before Nabuchodonosor's mad∣ness left him; this time was judiciously chosen to make the sight more affecting and instructive.

Your chronology, with regard to political affairs, and the revolutions which happened in Cyrus's time, is therefore perfectly agreeable to that of the Greeks, Babylonians and Hebrews; let us now enquire, whe∣ther the great men whom you make Cyrus to have seen in his travels were his contemporaries; you may indeed be allowed a greater liberty in this case than in the former. You know how the ancients contra∣dict one another with regard to the time when Zo∣roaster lived; which doubtless proceeds from hence, that the name of Zoroaster was given to all those, who at different times, reformed the religion of the Magi. The last of these was the most famous, and is the only one who is known by that name, or by the name of Zardouseht in the East. Prideaux makes him contemporary with Cambyses and Darius the son of Hystaspes, but it is very probable he lived some time before them. The Orientals as may be seen in Dr. Hyde's works, make him to have lived under Gustaspes or Hystespes, the father of Darab, who is the first Darius according to the Greeks. This Gus∣taspes was older than Cyrus, and may have been the Page  349 same person whom you make his governor. Whence it necessarily follows, that the reformation of the re∣ligion of the Magi must have been made during his reign, and that Zoroaster lived at that time. The reformation made by Darius supposes that the Magi had assumed to themselves very great authority, which he toook away from them. He likewise corrupted the purity of Zoroaster's religion, by a mixture of foreign idolatry. In his reign the worship of Anaitis was first brought into Persia, contrary to the hypo∣thesis of Dr. Prideaux. Your scheme is more agreeable to the course of the history, and to those facts which are common to the Greek, Persian and Arabian writers.

Cyrus may have married Cassandana at 18 years of age, and have lived with her nine or ten years; so that he may have travelled into Egypt about the 29th year of his age. Your chronology agrees ex∣actly with the age of Amasis. All chronologists con∣cur in fixing the end of his reign to the year before Cambyses's expedition, that is, about the 525th year before Christ, and the 63d Olympiad. Herodotus makes his reign to have lasted 44 years; and conse∣quently places the beginning of it in the 569th year before Christ, and the 52d Olympiad, and about the 30th year of Cyrus. Diodorus indeed, who makes Amasis to have reigned 55 years, supposes that he as∣cended the throne in the 579th or 580th year before Christ, and the 20th year of Cyrus's age: but these two opinions are easily reconciled. Herodotus begins Amasis's reign at the end of the revolution which placed him on the throne, and Diodorus at the be∣ginning of his revolt.

Apries must have lived but a little time after the taking of Jerusalem, since the prophet Jeremiah* foretells his death under the name of Pharaoh-Ho∣phra, as what was soon to happen. Jerusalem was taken in the year 589 before Christ, and the 63d be∣fore Page  350 Amasis's death, which shew that the troubles in Egypt were already begun. According to your sy∣stem Amasis governed all Egypt in tranquility when Cyrus went thither and Apries had already been dead several years; which is agreeable both to pro∣fane and sacred history, Cyrus being between 28 and 30 years of age when he travelled.

The Greek chronology indeed will not be so easily reconciled to yours, but the anachronism will not ex∣ceed 12 or 14 years. Chilo was, according to Her∣mippus, as quoted by Diogenes Laertius, advanced in age at the time of the 52d Olympiad. This Olym∣piad began in the 573d year before Christ, and ended in the 570th, which was the 30th of Cyrus. This was before his Ephorate, which Pamphyla places in the 56th Olympiad, but this passage is manifestly cor∣rupted. The anonymous author of the chronology of the Olympiads, fixes the time of the magistracy of Chilo to that of the archonship of Euthydemes at A∣thens, that is, to the 81st year before Xerxes's pas∣sage into Asia, according to the chronology§ of the Arundelian marbles. This was the 561st year be∣fore Christ, and the 38th of Cyrus, which agrees per∣fectly well with your chronology; for Cyrus might have seen Chilo eight years before, as he went to Sparta, and when he was thirty years of age.

Periander died, according to Sosicrates, at the end of the 48th Olympiad, the 585th year before Christ, and the 16th of Cyrus. The ancients tell us he had reigned 40 years, and began to flourish about the 38th Olympiad. You postpone his death 12 or 14 years; but as you do this only to make Cyrus a witness of his desperate death, the anachronism is a beauty, and is otherwise of little importance.

Page  351 Pisistratus's reign over the Athenians did not begin till 560 years before Christ, 71 before the battle of Marathon, according to Thucydides*, and 100 be∣fore the tyranny of the 400 at Athens. Cyrus was then 40 years old, so that your anachronism here is only of 9 or 10 years. And with regard to Solon, you are guilty of no anachronism at all. His Archon∣ship, and his reformation of the government of Athens were in the year 597 before Christ, and the 3d year of the 46th Olympiad He spent a considerable time in travelling, and did not return to Athens till he was advanced in years, which would not suffer him to be concerned in public affairs any more. He died at the age of 80 years, in the second year of Pisistra∣tus's reign, according to Phanias of Eresa, and in the 41st year of Cyrus; who might therefore have con∣versed with him nine or ten years before.

You ought likewise to give yourself as little con∣cern about the bringing Pythagoras and Cyrus toge∣ther. Dionysius Halicarnassus tells us, that the former went into Italy about the 50th Olympiad, that is about the 577th year before Christ. He makes use of the word PATA (about), which shew that this date need not be strictly taken. And indeed Diogenes Laertius shews us, that he flourished about the 60th Olympiad, that is, about 40 years after: which if we understand of the time of his death, which was at the age of 80, he will then have been 50 years old when he went into Italy, and he will appear to have been born about the 520th year before Christ. If Pytha∣goras the philosopher be the same with him who of∣fered to fight at the Olympic games among the chil∣dren, and upon being rejected desired to be received among the men, and gained the prize in the 48th O∣lympiad; he was 16 or 17 in the year 585 before Christ, and was scarce older than Cyrus. This is the Page  352 opinion of Dr. Bentley, who is able to defend himsef against all the objections which have been made to him. But without entering into this dispute, it is sufficient for your vindication, that Pythagoras was returned from his travels, and capable of conferring with Cyrus when this Prince went into Greece, in the year 565 before Christ; which cannot be denied in any of the different systems which the learned have formed concerning the time of Pythagoras's life.

You have likewise sufficient foundation for bring∣ing him into a dispute with Anaximander. This phi∣losopher must have seen Pythagoras though he was older than he, being, according to Apossodorus in Diogenes Laertius, 64 years of age in the 2d year of the 48th Olympiad, that is, in the year 585 before Christ. And it is likewise a beauty in your work to see the young Pythagoras triumphing over the so∣phistry of the Materialist. It is not to be doubted but the Milesian philosopher was the first inventor of the doctrine of the Atomists; as Aristotle, Cicero, Plutarch and Simplicius 〈◊〉. The TOU ABIRON of Anaximander was an infinite matter: his doctrine is the same with that of Spinoza.

You see, Sir, that complaisance had no part in my approbation of the chronology of your book; you were not obliged to adhere so scrupulously to truth, you might have contented yourself with probability: the nature of your work did not require more; ne∣vertheless this exactness will, I am persuaded give it new beauties in the opinion of those who are versed in ancient history. Exactness is not incompatable with a fine imagination; and 〈…〉 into dryness only when a writer 〈…〉 cold and heavy genius.

I am, &c.FRERET.

FINIS.