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A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I by De Morgan

72 Thus Morhof says of the De Monade


worlds, that souls migrate,

that Moses was a magician, that the Scriptures are a dream, that only the Hebrews descended from Adam and Eve, that the devils would be saved, that Christ was a magician and deservedly put to death, etc. In fact, says he, Bruno has advanced all that was ever brought forward by all heathen philosophers, and by all heretics, ancient and modern. A time for retractation was given, both before sentence and after, which should be noted, as well for the wretched palliation which it may afford, as for the additional proof it gives that opinions, and opinions only, brought him to the stake. In this medley of charges the Scriptures are a dream, while Adam, Eve, devils, and salvation are truths, and the Saviour a deceiver. We have examined no work of Bruno except the _De Monade_, etc., mentioned in the text. A strong though strange _theism_ runs through the whole, and Moses, Christ, the Fathers, etc., are cited in a manner which excites no remark either way. Among the versions of the cause of Bruno's death is _atheism_: but this word was very often used to denote rejection of revelation, not merely in the common course of dispute, but by such writers, for instance, as Brucker[71] and Morhof.[72] Thus Morhof says of the _De Monade, etc._, that it exhibits no manifest signs of atheism. What he means by the word is clear enough, when he thus speaks of a work which acknowledges God in hundreds of places, and rejects opinions as blasphemous in several. The work of Bruno in which his astronomical
opinions are contained is _De Monade, etc._ (Frankfort, 1591, 8vo). He is the most thorough-going Copernican possible, and throws out almost every opinion, true or false, which has ever been discussed by astronomers, from the theory of innumerable inhabited worlds and systems to that {62} of the planetary nature of comets. Libri (vol. iv)[73] has reprinted the most striking part of his expressions of Copernican opinion."

THIS LEADS TO THE CHURCH QUESTION.

The Satanic doctrine that a church may employ force in aid of its dogma is supposed to be obsolete in England, except as an individual paradox; but this is difficult to settle. Opinions are much divided as to what the Roman Church would do in England, if she could: any one who doubts that she claims the right does not deserve an answer. When the hopes of the Tractarian section of the High Church were in bloom, before the most conspicuous intellects among them had _transgressed_ their ministry, that they might go to their own place, I had the curiosity to see how far it could be ascertained whether they held the only doctrine which makes me the personal enemy of a sect. I found in one of their tracts the assumption of a right to persecute, modified by an asserted conviction that force was not efficient. I cannot now say that this tract was one of the celebrated ninety; and on looking at the collection I find it so poorly furnished with contents, etc., that nothing but searching through three thick volumes would decide. In these volumes I find, augmenting as we go on, declarations about the character and power of "the Church" which have a suspicious appearance. The suspicion is increased by that curious piece of sophistry, No. 87, on religious reserve. The queer paradoxes of that tract leave us in doubt as to everything but this, that the church(man) is not bound to give his whole counsel in all things, and not bound to say what the things are in which he does not give it. It is likely enough that some of the "rights and liberties" are but scantily described. There is now no fear; but the time was when, if not fear, there might be a looking for of fear to come; nobody could then be so {63} sure as we now are that the lion was only asleep. There was every appearance of a harder fight at hand than was really found needful.

Among other exquisite quirks of interpretation in the No. 87 above mentioned is the following. God himself employs reserve; he is said to be decked with light as with a garment (the old or prayer-book version of Psalm civ. 2). To an ordinary apprehension this would be a strong image of display, manifestation, revelation; but there is something more. "Does not a garment veil in some measure that which it clothes? Is not that very light concealment?"


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