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thor takes occasion from this event to give an ample account of the religious opinions and worship of this people, before their converfion; and his account is philosophical as well as historical. The result is, that the Sclavonians adored one God, the creator of the universe, but attributed the phenomena and operations of nature to a multitude of invisible beings, of an inferior order, some of them good, and others malevolent. They also looked upon the elements, stars, meteors, seas, lakes, &c. as subaltern deities, and gave them accordingly a place in their religious worship.
In a climate fo inclement and rigorous as that of the Sclavonians, it was natural, says our Author, that they should regard fire as the principal symbol, or representative, of the deity. They had also, like the most polished and enlightened nations of antiquity, their sea and river gods, their tutelary deities for their houses, flocks, sports, forests, and all the various productions of the earth. They had their gods of war and peace ; and Lada, their Cupid, or god of love, had (who will believe it?) rich temples erected to his honour at Kiof. All these deities had their priests, who pretended to foretel future events, and who drew omens from the Aight of birds, the approach of certain animals, their different cries, the undulations of flame, and other circumstances of that kind. We shall not follow our Author in his enumeration of all the rites and institutions that formed the fuperftitious worship of this rude uncivilized people, before their conversion to Christianity. It thews us that natural religion, that is, the religion conformable to reason and the nature of God and man, is always disfigured, when man has no other guide to the knowledge of it, but unaffifted nature alone. While we were reading it, we thought ourselves at Athens or Rome, in the æra of their glory. For favage tribes and polished states seem to stand upon the same footing, with respect to religious knowledge, where a divine revelation has not been vouchsafed,
When the Sclavonians embraced Christianity, they adopted the rites and doctrines of the Greek church, in consequence of their connexions with the Greeks of Constantinople. These rites are described by our Author at great length. It is well known that the Russians follow the rites and liturgy of the same church; but it is not perhaps so well known, nor is it easy to be conceived, to what a degree ignorance and superstition reign among the common people in that country. Their images are numerous, and they pray before them, and illumipate them with lighted tapers at festivals, as in the Romish church. But is it possible that it lhould be a tenet even among the lowest of the people, that St. Nicholas refused to be God, but, after the reign of God the Father was ended, designed to
affume his place? This and other doctrines, little less abfurd, are laid to their charge in the work before us ; and the details into which our Author enters concerning this subject are really curious.
Wolodomir, or Uladimir, who changed the Paganism of the Ruffians into the profession of a sort of Christianity, was the fifth sovereign of that people. He extended his conqueft confiderably, and added several provinces to his dominions, which at his death he divided among his children. He was, tor bis age, a great prince, and made some zealous and comniendable attempts to introduce agriculture, and useful arts among his fubje&s. His successor Suitapolk was a monster of barbarity, and, indeed, if we except the reign of Jarofaf, the history of Ruffia, during two centuries, from the death of Wolodomir, exhibits little more than a fatiguing and uniform series of perfidious and bloody quarrels between rival princes. M LE CLERC has ingeniously relieved the reader, in his paffage through these barren sands of history, by interspersing here and there judicious reflexions on the virtues and vices of fovereigns, and by parallels between the princes whose history he writes, and those of other countries and periods which are better known. These parallels he proposes to continue, and they will be come, no doubt, ftill more interesting the further he advances towards modern times.
M. LE CLERC bas given us a literal translation of the laws enacted in the year 1054, by Jarofiaf, a prince, who appeared as a beneficent luminary, in a period of barbar im and darkness. This was the first regular code of Ruffian laws, and they are preserved in the annals of Novogorod, which commenc" with the death of Igor, and are carried down to the fourteenth century. These laws are few in number; and iheir fimplicity, precision, and penalties, discover a spirit or legilarion much superior to what we find in the laws of more poliibed ftares at this period of time.
It is a remarkable obferuation of our Author, that from the time of Rurik to the reign of Jarolaf, ambition did not lose a moment in Rulla' In every interval of peace, plans of war were formed; every day new enemies either appeared in reality, or were imagined, in ordr to occupy the restless fpirit of the peopl", and employ them abroad, when their inquietude and viojence became dangerous at home. ' And besides — to plun• der and divide the lpoil, were expeditions of coniequence to the Rullians, wno had little commerce, and were ignorant of the uletud arts, which produce the necessaries and comtorts of life : accordingly they were always at war, either from principles of policy, or the desire of piliage. Under Jaroslaf they were quite weary of peace; as they had no enemies abroad,
they quarrelled among themselves at home; and among other acts of barbarity, they treated their slaves with peculiar harth. ness and severity. These internal disorders rendered the code of Jarolaf necessary.
This volume brings down the ancient history of Russia to the year 1236, when the Megul Tartars made chemielves masters of the empire, and kepi the Ruthians unuer a grievous and tyrranical yoke for above two centuries. It is terminated by an inquiry into the origin and causes of this grear revolution. A spirit of ambitious frenzy, producing paired, vengeance, and the hoftile pallions, that degrade human nature and civil society, had seized upon almost all the Russian princes. The tovereigns of Kiot considered their subjects as their slaves : (and is it much other wise in better times ?) The other princes were all aipiring after the supreme authority. nobles and magiftrates, following he example of their superiors, exercised cyrannical opprellion in their spheres. Hince internal difunion and disorder, which ever produce weaknuis, and expose a nation to fail hetore the first :owerful invaver! The firf volume of the Modern History thall be reviewed in a future Article.
AR TV Physique du Monde, i. e A colmological Si'em of Natural Philofo
phy; or. A Phyfical System of the Unive: se By the Baron De
M RIVETZ, and M. VOUSSIER. vo. Il 4to. Paris. 1782. N the preceding volume of this ingenious work *, the Authors
attempted to prove, that none of the lystems of Colinogony hitherto exhibited, furnish a true and philosophical aciount of the origin and coniticu'ion of our terrestrial globe. The moțions of the celottial bodies remain equally unaccounted for ; and the molt eminent astronomers of the present age have unanimously considered the revolutions of the panets, the velocity with which they move in their osoits, their varying distances from the sun, and their rotation on their own axes, as phoelomena, deducible from no mechanical causes, known to us. They go stiil farther, and allege, that these unknown causes are not connected with the general system of the universe t. Our Authors do not relith this doctrine : the causes
* For an account of the first volume, see Review for Masih 1793, page 2.0.
† Hi motus (says the father of modern phil inphy) originem non ha. bent ex cauls mechanicis. The celebrated M Dionis du Seju!
id M. de la Lande, hold the same language, the former in nis Eljag concerning Comers, and the Prelim. Discourse, p. 20. and p 3zu. ; and the latter in his Astronomy, Vol. III. p. 385.
unknown; unknown; but how, say they, can a general system be conceive ed, in which the most important and general phenomena, those which give rise to all others, are supposed to be independent on that system? Our Authors consider the world as a great machine ; and as there cannot be in any machine a single movement that does not result from mechanical laws, they boldly bring forth the doctrine of one simple, primitive, general power or force, from which is derived all action; while action, in all its forms and modifications, obeys the laws originally prescribed to matter and motion.
With this philosophical key, our Authors proceed, in the second volume, now before us, to open the celestial mansions, and give us some nearer views of what is going on there, than have been presented by former peepers into the starry region. It is certain that our Authors peep sublimely, and, to use Pope's famous fimilitude, we do not doubt but that celestial beings behold the apes with a smile of complacence. The first part of this volume contains (what our Author calls) the Philosophy of the Heavens, in which he confiders successively space, or the ethereal medium-the sun-the planets, with their satele lites--the distinctive characters, place, light, and appearances of the comets, together with the observations that have been made on them, and the history of the opinions of the learned concerning them-the starry heavens—the nebulous and double ftars--the phenomena observed in the fixed stars--the light of the stars—the milky way-density and gravitation—the law by which the celestial bodies are governed, and the organization (as our Author calls it) of the vortex of our globe.
To give our Readers, in as small a compass as is possible, a general notion of our Author's theory of the celestial bodies, we must set out by observing, that he denies the existence of a vacuum, or void, in the universe ; and labours, with great learn. ing and fagacity, to establish the doctrine, not of the dense medium of Des Cartes, but of an eminently elastic Auid, filling the immense capacity of infinite space. In this Auid the Creator disseminated, by an act of his will, innumerable spheres of different magnitudes. The greater, designed to rule the motions of the leffer, were made to occupy centres, and were commanded by the MOST HIGH to revolve about their own axes; then they imprinted their motion on the surrounding fluid ; and the smaller spheres plunged in this Auid, and hitherto at rest, were carried by its motion around the central sphere (respectively), by which their revolutions were to be directed; the central sphere, by its movement of rotation, rubbing with rapidity the infinitely elastic molecules of the Auid, excit. ed in it vibrations : these vibrations, propagated through space among the contiguous molecules, ftruck all the globes suspenda
ed in it, only on the parts of their surface that were turned towards the central sphere, from which they derived their motion ; these folid surfaces fent back, by repercussion, the vibrating molecules, and from this shock arose a general splendour.Thus the central moving globes became suns; and then Matter received its motion, Time its measure, Light appeared, and Nature arose into birth. Then the eternal series of whatever was to exist, received the Law that was to regulate all the moments, changes, and events, of their duration,
The whole, then, of our Author's system, as he observes himself, may be comprehended in the nine following Propofitions, which we shall here give in his own words :
I. The Sun turns around his own Axis in a Fluid eminently Elastic.
11. The Sun cannot turn on his own Axis, in this Fluid, with out communicating to it his Motion, and without making it turn round him.--III. The general Fluid, in turning round the Sun, carries along with it the Planets, of which the Sun becomes the Director. Here we see the reason why all the planets turn in the same direction with the sun.-IV. 'The Velocities of the Orbs of this Fluid are not equal, at unequal distances from the Sun. Hence the planets move in their orbits with a velocity, which diminishes in proportion to their distance from the sun.-V. The Motion, imprinted on the Fluid by the Equator, is more rapid than that which is imprinted on the same Fluid by any other of the Solar Circles, taken between his Equator and his Poles : this greater Velocity of the impelling Fluid, in the Plane of the Sun's Equator, determines the Planets to move towards that Plane. This is the reason why the planets all turn in a band, or zone, exceedingly narrow, and in almost the fame plane, which differs little from that of the solar equator.-VI. The Planets do not follow the line of the greatest Velocity of the Fluid, because they receive lateral Impressions ; these Impressions result from the Vibrations of the Æther towards the production of Light; vibrations which the Planets communicate by Repercussion, one to another. This is the reason of the obliquity of their orbits to the sun's equator, and allo of the elliprical form of these orbits. This elliptical form is a necessary consequence of the successive passage of the planets through the different solar orbs, or vortexes, which have different velocities.–VII. The Planets carried along with the general Vortex, and intersecting obliquely, and twice in each of their Revolutions, the Plane of the Sun's Equator, muft confequently describe Ellipses about the Sun, and therefore pass at different Dij. tances. Of these Distances, the least of all is called the Perihelium, and the greatest the Aphelium. The Planets, in their Perihelium, being plunged in Orbs less distant from the Sun, must receive from theje Orbs a greater Velocity. This is the reason wby the mo