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for he obliged the young women to perform the same exercises as the young men; to appear in public, on certain days, ftark naked, and to dance with the men, who were likewise naked. Was not this the way to make them very impudent? And are we to wonder, after this, that the Lacedæmonian young women had so bad a character? Plutarch, though in other respects very much inclined to justify Lycurgus in this article, allows, that the licentiousness in which he indulged the Lacedæmonian maidens, exposed them to the lash of poetical fatire; and he confelles, ingenuously, that the laws of Numa Pompilius were more favourable to modesty.”.
“ Marriageable maidens," says Plutarch, "according to “ the ordinances of Numa, were kept more strictly, and in
a manner more becoming the honour of the fair sex ; those “ of Lycurgus being too free and licentious, gave occasion
poets to take notice of them, and to give them ap“pellations which are not very de:ent; Ibycus calling them " Phænomerides, i.e. Bare-thighs, and Andromanes, i.e. Men“ mad; and Euripides fays allo of them,
Too wanton girls, who leave their fathers houses, To roam with boys. Gay girls, who shew their thighs, Tho' their Nie petticoats.. I know not,' continues Bayle, whether Lycurgus reafoned justly, when he asserted that these practices would prompt young persons to marry. We learn from Plutarch, that the only reason why young laffes were permitted to go naked, was, that they might get husbands; for the instant they did fo, they were not allowed to appear naked. Lycurgus, perhaps considered, that the number of handsome women is, every where, very small, in comparison of thofe who are others wile; and that it frequently happens, that those who are not very pretty, receive from nature a singular compensation, in those parts of the body that are concealed. He therefore thought it necessary to give all the lafles an opportunity of displaying the utmost force of their charms, imagining, very probably, that such as could not allure by a beautiful face, would reveal other attractions to gain the heart of some young man; and, on the other hand, that those young fellows, whole form was not very inviting, might, by the same means, strike the heart of some female spectator, and make a compl te conquest of it, without the assistance of the stars, notw.ihtanding what juvenal says:
Fatum eft et partibus illis
• In this manner a remedy was found against ugliness; and to one could escape the shafts of love, or have cause to complain of being wronged in his bargain, or purchase, by not being allowed to have a sight of the goods before-hand. But was not this introducing, into a society where virtue ought to flourish, the pretended advantages of brothels, which Horace has highly celebrated ? Was not this inspiring young girls with the impudence of the eye, which is worse than the impudence of the ear? And was it not also the way to blunt the edge of curiosity, which is exceedingly strong?
A modern author has undertaken to apologize for the nakedness of the Lacedemonian maidens, but his apology does not appear to me to be founded upon solid reasons. His words are there," It was the custom for the Spartan maidens, to dance naked in public; and few persons think, that this was a modeft fight.” I nevertheless imagine, that the Lacedæmonians had their reasons for this practice; and that, as it was so very common among them, it did not make any dangerous, or criminal, impreslions upon their minds. A familiarity is contracted between the eye and the object, which disposes the mind for intensibility, and banishes all lascivious defires from the imagination. The emotion arises only from the novelty of the fpectacle. A perpetual custom is more diftasteful than tempting to the eye: and if we do but consider the integrity of the Spartan manners, we shall be obliged to acknowlege the truth of the following saying: The Spartan maidens were not naked, public decency serving as a veil to them. I will not say, that, in general, their excuse would be one for us; howa ever, there are several countries in North America, in which the women appear always as naked as those who danced in Sparta; and yet we are affured by travellers, that not so much as the shadow of guilt arises from it. I perceive, that I should never be able to make you entertain a favourable opinion of the modesty of the Spartan women, though I should plead ten years for it. You would much sooner give credit to the sharp satires of the Athcnians, and even that of Aristotle; who, though a Macedonian, had lived so long in Athens, that he could not but contract the contagious hatred which prevailed there against the Spartans. Here follows what he says of the Lacedemonians, in the second book of his politicks. When Lycurgus endeavoured to introduce resolution and patience in Spar. ta, it is plain that he succeeded with respect to the men ; but he was more negligent with regard to the women, they leading, in general, an efferninate and dissolute life. Nn
• What we are here told, concerning this familiarity between the
eye and the object, which inclines the mind to infenfibility, is, in general, just and solid. But how solid and reasonable soever the doctrine may be, I know not whether it can be applied to the present subject, since the Lacedemonian young women did not appear naked, but on certain grand days, and at all other times wore cloaths which shewed only their thighs. This was adapted to excite concupifcence, without inclining the mind to infenfibility by a perpetual custom. Farther, there is a wide difference between the Spartans, and so many favage nations, where it is the custom to go naked. The latter appeared in that manner in all ages; but Lycurgus introduced the custom of going naked into a city, where its was not known; and at a time when all the neighbouring nations observed the rules of decercy: no apology therefore can be made for him. In fine, the virtue of the Americans, if what travellers relate concerning it be true, is of no use to justify this legislator ; for the event fnewed, that Lacedemon was not a place where such innovations could be introduced with innocence. It is to no purpose to attempt to weaken Aristotle's teftimony. Nothing can be graver and more judi. cious than the book in which that philosopher speaks to disadvantageously of the Spartan women. A spirit of partiality does not appear in this work; and therefore, instead of saying, that the calumnies of the poets made an impression on this phiJofopher’s miud; it should be said, that the authority of this philosopher justifies the reproaches of the poets.
" It were an easy matter to criticise the laws of Lycurgus in other respects; but there is one thing wherein be fe ms to de erve greater commendation than Numa, viz. his 116t allowing young women to marry till they were of a proper age, and capable of fupporting the pains of child-bearing. Numa, on the contrary, allowed them to marry at twelve years of
age, and under. Aristotle gives fome very judicious precepts on this head. He would not have young women married till eighteen years of age, nor the men till thirty-seven. He obferves, that the inhabitants of all the countries, where persons are married too young, are infirm, and little in ftature; and that inimature marriages make many women die in child-bed. He adds, that ihoie children who are not much younger than Deir parents, have little regard, or veneration for them, which occasions numberless domestic feuds and diffenfions.'
I shall now translate the Ahort article concerning the Mammillarians : it is as follows ---- The Namınillarians were a fect among the Anabaptists.' I cannot be politive as to the time when this new schism formed itself: but the city of HaerJem is reckoned the native place of this sub-division. . It owes its origin to the liberty a young man took of putting his hand in the breast of a young woman whom he loved, and intended to marry. The affair reached the ears of the church, who thereupon consulted about the puniihment which the delinquent ought to suffer. Soine were for excommunicating him, others for a more moderate punishment. The debate grew
ro hot, that the contending parties came to a total rupture. Those who appeared favourable to the young man, were called Mam. millarians.
• This, in one respect, does honour to the Anabaptists, as it is a proof, that they carry the severity of their morals farther than any other Christian society. I know, that the most moderate casuists, the Sanchez, and the Escobars, would condemn this action of the young man ; they agree, that the touching of breasts is an impurity, a branch of lewdness, and one of the seven mortal fins; but if I am not mistaken, they do not impole upon the guilty a very severe penance; and in many countries of Europe they are obliged to consider it among the Peccadilloes, which they call Quotidianæ incursionis. We are so accustomed, in these countries, to that wicked practice, and it is so common a thing, even in the public streets, that the Cafuifts have abated of their feverity, and are persuaded, that its being so common effaces half the guilt of it. It is for this rcalon that they pass slightly over this article of confeffion. I do not believe, that any Jansenilt, upon such an account, ever deferred the abfolution of his penitent, not even in those climates where this sort of toying is the least in use, and passes for one of those liberties which the fair fex ought seriously to refent. Thus the Anabaptists are the most rigid of all the Christian moralifts, fince they excommunicate a man for touching the breasts of a mistress whom he courts for his wife, and break their church communion with those who are against excommunicating such a spark.
I shall here relate a story which is told of the Sieur Labadie. All who have heard of this person know, that he recommended to the devotees of both sexes fome spiritual exercises, and trained them up to internal recollection, and mental prayer. They say that he once gave out a point of meditation to one of his female pupils, and having strongly recommended it to her to apply herself entirely, for some hours, to such an important object, he went up to her, when he believed her to be at the heighth of her recollection, and put his hand into her breast. She gave him a hally repulle, and ex
pressed a great deal of surprize at that proceeding, and was preparing to rebuke him; when he, without being in the least a sconcerted, and with a devout air, prevented her thus: “I “ see plainly, my Child, that you are still at a great distance “ from perfection. Acknowlege your weakness with an hum“ ble spirit. Ask forgiveness of God, for your having given " so little attention to the mysteries upon which you ought to for have meditated. Had you bestowed all necessary attention
upon those things, you would not have been fenfible of what “ was doing about your breaft. I wanted to try whether your
fervency in prayer had raised you above the material world, $6 and united
you with the Sovereign Being, the living fource w of immortality, and a spiritual state ; and I fee, to my great “ grief, that you have made very small progress, and that you “ only creep on the ground: may this, my Child, make you ♡ ashamed, and move you, for the future, to perform the fa* cred duties of mental prayer better than you have hitherto 46 done.”
They say, that the young Lady, who had as much good fenfe as virtue, was no less provoked at these words, than at the bold action of Labadie; and that she could never after bear the name of this holy Father. I will not vouch for the certainty of all these facts, though I think them very probable, and am inclined to believe, that most fpiritual directors abuse these pretended spiritual exercises, in order to seduce their fair disciples. This is what the Molinifts are accused of. In general, there is nothing more dangerous for the foul, than acts of devotion too myftical and refined; the body to be sure runs some risques in them, and a great many are pleased with the deceit.'
The third volume of this work contains an account of the various fystems and opinions of some of the antient philofophers, viz. Thales, Diogenes, Anaxagoras, Critias, Xenophanes, Zeno, Democritus, Pythagoras, Epicurus, Bion, &c. with several particulars concerning their lives and characters, which ręnder it both instructive and entertaining. In the article of Xenophanes, Bayle enquires, pretty largely, into the proportions of moral and physical good and evil in the world, and affirms, that the virtuous actions of mankind are not as ten to ten thousand, in comparison of their vices, A translation of what he says upon this subject, whịch is both curious and important, will not, I prefume, be unacceptable to your Readers. What he has advanced, is reduced to two heads of enquiry; the first is, whether moral good, or moral evil, preponderates in the world?