Philosophical Dictionary, by Voltaire

POPERY.

Papist.

— His highness has within his principality Lutherans, Calvinists, Quakers, Anabaptists, and even Jews; and you wish that he would admit Unitarians?

Treasurer.

— Certainly, if these Unitarians bring with them wealth and industry. You will only be the better paid your wages.

Papist.

— I must confess that a diminution of my wages would be more disagreeable to me than the admission of these persons; but, then, they do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Treasurer.

— What does that signify to you, provided that you are permitted to believe it, and are well lodged, well clothed, and well fed? The Jews are far from believing that He is the Son of God, and yet you are very easy with the Jews, with whom you deposit your money at six per cent. St. Paul himself has never spoken of the divinity of Jesus Christ, who is undisguisedly called a man. “Death,” says he, “entered into the world by the sin of one man . . . . and by one man, Jesus Christ, the gift of grace hath abounded unto many,” etc. All the early fathers of the Church thought like Paul. It is evident that, for three hundred years, Jesus was content with His humanity; imagine yourself a Christian of one of the first three centuries.

Papist.

— Yes, sir; but neither do they believe in eternal punishments.

Treasurer.

— Nor I either; be you damned eternally if you please; for my own part, I do not look for that advantage.

Papist.

— Ah, sir! it is very hard not to be able to damn at pleasure all the heretics in the world; but the rage which the Unitarian displays for rendering everybody finally happy is not my only complaint. Know, that these monsters believe the resurrection of the body no more than the Sadducees. They say, that we are all anthropophagi, and that the particles which compose our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, having been necessarily dispersed in the atmosphere, become carrots and asparagus, and that it is possible we may have devoured a portion of our ancestors.

Treasurer.

— Be it so; our children will do as much by us; it is but repayment, and Papists will be as much benefited as others. This is no reason for driving you from the states of his highness; and why any more so for ejecting the Unitarians? Rise again, if you are able; it matters little whether the Unitarians rise again or no, provided they are useful during their lives.

Papist.

— And what, sir, do you say to original sin, which they boldly deny? Are you not scandalized by their assertion, that the Pentateuch says not a word about it, that the bishop of Hippo, St. Augustine, is the first who decidedly taught this dogma, although it is evidently indicated by St. Paul?

Treasurer.

— Truly, if the Pentateuch does not mention it, that is not my fault. Why not add a text or two about original sin to the Old Testament, as it is said you have added on other subjects? I know nothing of these subtleties; it is my business only to pay you your stipend, when I have the money to do so.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 18:25