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having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would be able to teach us both, to allure us to the good, and to guard us against the evil, with the wise method of the Sacred Scriptures, which would be, no doubt, very different from the vain and uncertain way of our common preceptors, and would be fit to withdraw us from the ignorance in which it is daily manifest that we are, concerning that great philosophical science; you should feel that it would be desirable for you that your soul should be freed from the prejudices of this chaos or preparatory world, which by their falsehoods would surely be in opposition to the instructions of the first regenerate Man, and strong obstacles to your being guided easily by him through all the degrees and the whole process of the regeneration that is revealed in the Holy Writ; if you would then work at the purification of your soul, and succeeding in it as far as the implored Grace of God will allow in your present condition, you should find yourself in consequence much happier than you were before, more pious, more humble in the opinion of yourself, more comfortable in your mind from its being relieved from many errors, more easy about whatever may happen in these eventful and threatening times, more trusting to the Will of the Good God, the God of love, the Father of all, more in the disposition of heart and in the way that can lead you to the truth, and to belief in the Redeemer, the Divinelyanointed Spirit, image of the invisible God; may it be given to me to rejoice most sincerely with you at the fortunate change that will have taken place in your mental state; to unite with you in solemn thanks to the Most High who will have made you experience His Mercy; and to pray Him with you that you may

improve so much in your amendment, that when He will send the Man and the Woman whom He has chosen to do us good, to enlighten us, to show us a gentle way of reconciliation unto Him by learning, receiving, and keeping His commandments, you may be quite ready to bow to them, as to your superiors, as to the first parents of your soul in the truth and in a correct knowledge of the Word of God; ready to respect them, to listen to them, and to accept the milk of their instructions and consolations; exulting at your being favoured with so highly-gifted masters; and giving up cheerfully, as doubtful, whatever you might have learned before, whether from your own studies and meditations; whether from communications of any person of this world, all such being fallible! And as I firmly believe from the Sacred History that the Eternal Almighty, the Supreme Being, will put, in our new Preceptors, of His Holy Spirit, of Himself, the same as in the Son of Man, that they may fulfil their religious mission, I scruple not to tell thee, as thy friend, prepare thy soul to meet her God .... thy God....

O Theophila !

The Almighty bless you, and pity


Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

P.S. Since the time that I began writing the argument, which I have submitted to your examination, against the way that the Bible is generally understood, I have met with "Bossuet's Discourse on the Universal History," in which I have remarked the following passage:

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"L'Egypte d'où il faut sortir, le désert où il faut passer, la Babylone dont il faut rompre les prisons,

pour entrer ou pour retourner dans notre patrie, c'est "le monde avec ses plaisirs et ses vanités: c'est là que "nous sommes vraiment captifs et errants, séduits par "le péché et ses convoitises; il nous faut secouer ce "joug pour trouver dans Jerusalem, et dans la Cité de "notre Dieu, la liberté véritable, et un Sanctuaire non "fait de la main d'homme, où la Gloire du Dieu d'Israel "nous apparoisse."

"The Egypt it is needful to come out of, the wilder"ness which must be gone through, the Babylon the


prisons of which it is indispensable to break open, "to enter or to return into our country, it is the world "with its pleasures and vanities: it is therein that "we are indeed captive and wandering, seduced by "sin and its irregular desires; we must shake off that "yoke to find in Jerusalem, and in the City of our "God, the true freedom, and a Sanctuary not made

by any man's hand, wherein the Glory of the God of "Israel appear to us."

From that article it seems to me that the celebrated Bishop of Meaux had penetrated into the spirit of the Holy Scriptures, much deeper than most of the members of the Church he belonged to, and that he had of them, particularly of the world they speak of, very superior

ideas to the common ones. Had he fully explained the hint which he has given of his way of understanding them, I believe, so able a writer as he has been esteemed, that it would have been easy for him to demonstrate that it was not correct to take in a literal sense, anywhere, the Egypt, the Wilderness, the Babylon, and the Jerusalem, that are mentioned in the Bible; easy for him to shake to their very foundation the systems of the Jews and of the Roman Catholics, and to show that both had understood quite wrong the truths of that matchless Book. But he may have thought that it would be unbecoming in him, a Dignitary of the Gallican Church, to do it; and it is possible that he did not consider Europe, in his time, as sufficiently prepared to receive a great change in her religious opinions. Is she now in a more favourable condition for it? One might suppose her to be more ready than she appeared in the seventeenth century, on account of the late, still going on, spreading of the Holy Writings, of their being more generally studied than hitherto, and of other circumstances peculiar to the present times; and a zealous person might feel inclined to try to bring it about for the good of all. For my part, in the uncertainty whether the moment is arrived anywhere, or not, I should almost hesitate even in those countries where the free circulation of all opinions that are not irreligious and antichristian, is allowed by the laws; and in those where it is not, I should think that any attempt at a revolution in the religious ideas and sentiments, belongs exclusively to the respective Governments; and I should leave to their wisdom to decide whether their subjects ought to be instructed in the Sacred History, otherwise

than they have been till now; and whether they are in such an improved state that they can be, without danger, presented with, and educated in, a new system, suited by their rulers to their present condition: which, being founded on a better intelligence of the Scriptures than the literal ones of the ancient Jews and early converts, might with the blessing of the Supreme Providence, unite any where the Sovereign and his people in a religion more consonant with the spirit of the Bible, more simple, more clear, and more likely to promote sound morality in his dominions, than those obscure, inconsistent, incomprehensible, notions that have crept into, and laid hold of, the doctrines of the dark ages; that, under the unexamined impression that they had been preached by the Apostles, have maintained their ground till this day which new religious system, I say, by approaching nearer to the truth than the existing persuasions, might better prepare every one to the foretold and heavenly religion which I take for the house of God, the house in which there are many mansions or degrees of perfections, the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth, and for the Lamb's wife and his soul's inseparable companion.

Theophila, it was my intention to conclude the argument that I have submitted to your serious consideration, by explaining to you the way that I understand the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, in consequence of some instructions that I have received respecting the three symbols or forms under which the Eternal God is willing to put Himself for the consolation of men; but my opinion differs so considerably from those that have long obtained, and continue to prevail,

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