to that has been very i African citi belongs to Hunthat, of that of the Prod

of the same Emperor, is in little bronze, and, though a part of one of its legends be effaced, it is easy to perceive by the legible part, that it resembles the larger one : on its reverse, is the head of Drusus, the son of Tiberius, with the legend DrusUS CÆSAR. HIPPONE LIBERA.-The researches of the Abbé Le Blond seem to prove, with sufficient evidence, that the medals of the city of Hippone, published by Vaillant, do not belong to that city,—that medal of Seguin, which really belongs to Hippone, has been very ill explained both by him and by F. Hardouin,-that, of the two African cities which bear the name of Hippone, it is that of the Proconsular Province, or of Africa, properly so called, which struck the medals, now under consideration,- that it was probably under the reign of Tiberius that Hippone received its freedom-that Pliny the .! younger, and Strabo, seem to have been mistaken, the former, when he says, that the city in question was a colony, and the latter, when he affirms, that the two Hippones were royal cities, and that the typical figure, on the medal of large bronze, is that of Livia, represented under the image of a goddess, or of the priestess of Augustus. A Dissertation on the Rise and Progress of the Temporal Jurisdiction of Churches, from the Establishment of the (French) Monarchy, to the Commencement of the Fourteenth Century. By M, DE POUILLI. In Two Memoirs.

This dissertation contains a lively portraiture of the usurpations of power and property, made by the means of ignorance and superstition, and erected into laws. It is all fact, but not new, to protestant readers, at least; but in Roman catholic countries, these usurpations have been either concealed, or much shaded in the records of history. A Supplement to the Historical Treatise concerning the Religion of

the ancient Persians. By the Abbé FOUCHER. This ample memoir does as much honour to the Author's candour as to his erudition. The publication of the ZendAvesta, by M. Anquetil, has opened new sources of knowledge with respect to the ancient religion of the Persians, and thus obliged the Abbé FOUCHER to acknowledge the errors and imperfections, that abound in his Memoirs on that subject, on account of his finding no access to the original laws, and theological tenets, of that people, and the confidence he was thereby forced to place in writers of other nations. Among other things, he fairly confesses, that, though the perusal of the Zends, confirmed him in the notions he had entertained and published with respect to the principal tenets of the religion of Zoroafter, and also to the polytheism and dualism of the Persians, yet it Thewed him, at the fame time, that he had inaccurate ideas of APP. Rev. Vol. Ixi, Mm


niew, to

these uluds of history To

several of their particular doctrines." The authority,” says he, “ of our learned men, led me into some mistakes : I had even given too favourable an account of the Persian religion ; and though I did not disguise its essential defects, I nevertheless represented it under such a philosophical point of view, as could not but give a very high idea of its founder. The books Zends opened my eyes ; and I can almost say, that I no longer perceive any thing in that vaunted Persian theology, that raises it above, the other religious systems of Paganism.” . This memoir is therefore to be considered as a revisal of the subject, and a corredive to the series of memoirs concerning the religion of the ancient Persians, which this learned Abbé presented to the academy, at different times. It is divided into ten Articles, containing the discussion of so many subjects, each of which he treats, in consequence of the new lights he has received from the Zends : The first Article relates to Zoroafter,-the fecond, to his Writings—the third to Zarouam, or the First Principle-the fourth, to Orfmud; who, in the Zend, is the Principle and End of all Things—and the fifth, to the Amschafpands, the Ized'sand the Ferouers, Three Classes of Divinities, of whom we find no vestige among the Greeks and Latins (the first of these, were the First-born, and the First Ministers of Ormuli, the fecond, inferior local Gods, and the third, Divine Genii, which became human Souls) - The fixth Article contains a Theological Account of the Sun, Moon, Stars, and Four Elements-the seventh, important Corrections, that are to be made in our Academician's Memoirs concerning the Religion of Greece, which we have mentioned on a former occasion of this kind the eighth, an Account of Ahrimanias, or the Evil Principiethe ninth, a Sketch of the Religion of Zoroaster according to the Zenis--and an Examination of what this Sketch contains, relative to the Unity of God-the Tradition of the Creation and First Ages of the World, the Rebellion of the Apoftate Angels-the Corruption of Human Nature by the Sin of an Original Parent-the Immortality of the Soul-Hell and Purgatory--the last Judgment, and the Resurrection of the Budy. The tenth Article contains an Account of the Moral Doćirine and Precepts of the Zends, which our Author investigates with too much feverity, because it is founded on, or accompanied with, the doctrine of Neceflity, and because, he thinks, that there can be no sound morality, nay, no morality at all, in a religion which proscribes Human Liberty: -- All we can do, at present, is to send our Academician to Dr. PRIESTLEY.

- ART. A RʻT. X. Histoire Naturelle, Generale et Particuliere, contenant les Epoches de la

Nature.-i, e. A Natural History, General and Particular; containing the Epochas of Nature. By the Count de Buffon, &c. Supplement, Vol. V. 4to. Paris. 1778. IT is well known, that this bold genius, who is certainly

1 more adventurous than prudent in his philosophical Alights, sent forth, many years ago, an hypothetical comet, to dash out of the sun, as many portions of his fuid fiery substance, as compose, at this day, the revolving planets in the solar system, -It is also known, that he has lately ventured to follow these planets from their pretended original state of fluidity or lique. faction, through their decreasing degrees of heat; and thus to measure the time elapsed in their respective approach to, or arrival at, a state of consistence, and a capacity of producing and supporting animal beings. The calculations and fancies he has exhibited on this subject, muft (if we are not much mistaken) have made him smile inwardly at the liberty, which he sees, that a spoilt child of fame may take with the public.

In the work before us, the ingenious Author comes nearer home for the principles of his investigation. As the historian examines scattered fragments of records, and unriddles ancient and half-decayed inscriptions and medals, in order to ascertain the epochas of civil revolutions, and fix the dates of moral actions, and political events, so does our Naturalist rummage in the archives of the physical world, and draw from the bowels of the earth, and the bottom of the ocean, proofs and indications of thofe physical changes and revolutions, that lead to a knowledge of the different ages, or epochas of nature. This vast andertaking aims at nothing less than an historical tablature of what nature has been in those remote and ancient times, when there were no fpectators to record her operations, and what she will be in those diftant periods of a dark futurity, when (according to the comfortable philosophy of our Author) there will be no witnesses of her dreary state, and dismal existence. A goodly undertaking for a being, placed on a point of infinite space, and in a moment of endless duration!-However, let us hear him. Our readers will judge by a brief, but just sketch, of his method of proceeding and deciding, whether his fame be owing to the folidity of his investigations and discoveries, or to those fublime Aights, and that magic power, energy, and grace of style, that have astonished and bewitched a considerable part of Europe.

• The history of nature, says he, is that of all substances, places, and ages; and though it seems, at first sight, that her ftupendous works undergo no alteration, and that, even in her M m 2


in a maders will judem deciding

methoceadership of endless plac

most frail and transitory productions, the remains always the same, because, every moment, her primitive models are constantly re-exhibited to our view, under new representations ; yet, on a more attentive confideration of things, we shall find, that her course is not so uniform, that it admits of striking variations, and successive changes, and, that besides the modifications it has received from the labours of man, it yields, of itself, to new combinations, to various alterations, both of matter and form ; and that its parts are as changeable, as the whole appears fixed, uniform, and conftant. These changes our Author calls the Epochas of Nature. · The earth then, according to his hypothesis, is, at present, different from what it was in the beginning, and also, from what it has been in succeeding periods of time. To form an idea of its ancient state, we must contemplate nature in those regions that have been newly discovered, and have been always uninhabited ; and even this ancient state may be considered (we speak here, and throughout, the language of our Author) as modern, when compared with that, in which the earth was, when its continents were covered with water, when the finny race inhabited our plains, and our mountains were the shoals of the ocean. .

In order to ascertain the epochas of nature, M. DE BUFFON deduces the knowledge of its past and successive afpects, from the materials that are furnished by its present state: his fources of information and evidence on this subject, are facts, monuments, or remains, and traditions, connected by analogies.

The facts he builds upon are the following: First, The earth is raised at the equator, and Aatted towards the poles, in a proportion conformable to the laws of gravity, and of the centrifugal force.--Secondly, The earth has an internal heat, which is peculiar to it, and independent on that which it receives from the rays of the fun.-Thirdly, The heat, which the earth derive's from the sun, is but small, when compared with its own inherent warmth; and the heat, communicated by the sun, would not be sufficient, alone, to support the principle of life in animal nature.--Fourthly, The substances, which enter into the composition of the terrestrial globe are, in general, of a glassy nature, and are all susceptible of vitrification. This fact is highly difputable, if not palpably false.-Fifthly, we find over the whole lurface of the earth, and even upon mountains, at the height of 1502 fathoms, an immense quantity of shells, and other frage mients of marine productions.

The first of these facts, is sufficiently proved by the theory of gravitation, and the experiments made with the pendulum ; and as this form of the earth is such, as a Auid globe would affume, by turning upon its axis, with a degree of velocity equal te


rder to mawledge of its paby its present are falts,

that of the earth's motion, our Author concludes, from hence, that the matter, of which our earth is composed, was in a fluid itate, the moment it received its form, and that this was the moment in which it began to turn upon its axis. He .concludes also, that the Auidity of the earth was a liquefaction occasioned by fire, from this consideration, that the greatest part of the solid substances that compose our globe, are not diffolveable by water. This conclusion, according to our Author, derives a farther degree of probability from the second fact. The internal heat of the globe, which still subsists, proves, that the primitive fire, that produced its Auidity, is not yet entirely diffipated or extinguished. Undoubted and repeated experiments prove, that the surface of our globe is much cooler than its internal parts. The comparison of our winters with our summers, demonstrates this internal heal, which, moreover, becomes palpable, when we descend into the earth, is perceivable in all parts of the globe, and seems to increase in proportion as we descend beneath its surface. This internal heat is farther proved, by our Author; by the effects of electricity, and by the temperature of the water of the sea, which, at the same depth, is nearly equal to that of the interior parts of the earth. M. BUFFON goes still farther: he pretends, that the limpidness of the water of the ocean cannot be owing to the influence of the sun, since it is demonstrated by experience, that the solar rays pass no farther thah 600 feet through the clearest water, and that of consequence, the heat of the fun does not extend to the fourth part of that mass, that is, to 150 feet: so that the whole body of water, below that depth, would be entirely frozen, without the internal heat of the earth, which alone can maintain their fluidity. -Our Author adds several other observations to confirm the third fact ;-it seems, indeed, to be ascertained by experi. ence; for this proves, that the heat of the solar rays does not go deeper into the earth than 15 or 20 feet, since ice is preserved, at that depth, in the warmest summers. Hence he concludes, that the temperature of the earth, and the Auidity of the ocean, are both produced by an internal heat peculiar to the earth, and entirely independent on the rays of the sun. .

M. DE BUFFON refers us to his theory of the earth, for the arguments that prove all the substances, which compose our globe, to be of a glassy nature, and susceptible of vitrification ; even those, which the chymists look upon as refractory, and infusible, because they resist the action of the fire in their crucibles and furnaces. And thus he thinks the primitive liquefaction and Auidity of the earth amply proved. -- But though this philosopher is of opinion, that all the ingredients of our globe were originally glassy, and are still capable of vitrification, he, nevertheless, diftinguishes them in a

M m 3


en M. De chat prolally natin's look of the

« VorigeDoorgaan »