Monday Meslier: 148 – How Fatal It Is To Persuade Kings They Only Have God To Fear If They Injure The People

Negligent, ambitious, and perverse princes are the real causes of public adversities, of useless and unjust wars continually

Jean Meslier Portrait

Jean Meslier

depopulating the earth, of greedy and despotic governments, destroying the benefactions of nature for men. The rapacity of the courts discourages agriculture, blots out industry, causes famine, contagion, misery; Heaven is neither cruel nor favorable to the wishes of the people; it is their haughty chiefs, who always have a heart of brass.

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Monday Meslier: 63 – All Religion Inspires But A Cowardly And Inordinate Fear Of The Divinity

Many people make a subtle distinction between true religion and superstition; they tell us that the latter is but a cowardly  and inordinate fear of  Divinity, that the truly  religious man has confidence in  his God,

Jean Meslier Portrait

Jean Meslier Portrait

and loves  Him sincerely; while the superstitious man sees in Him but an enemy, has no confidence in Him, and represents Him as a suspicious and cruel tyrant, avaricious of His benefactions and prodigal of His chastisements. But does not all religion in reality give us these same ideas of God? While we are told that God is infinitely good, is it not constantly repeated to us that He is very easily offended, that He bestows His favors but upon a few, that He chastises with fury those to whom He has not been pleased to grant them?

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Monday Meslier: 98 – An Oriental Legend

At a short distance from Bagdad a dervish, celebrated for his holiness, passed his days tranquilly in agreeable solitude. The surrounding inhabitants, in order to have an interest

Jean Meslier Portrait

Jean Meslier Portrait

in his prayers, eagerly brought to him every day provisions and

presents. The holy man thanked God incessantly for the blessings Providence heaped upon him. “O Allah,” said he, “how  ineffable is Thy tenderness toward Thy servants.

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The Monday Meslier

What is the Monday Meslier?

Every so often, on mondays, I’m going to select and examine a chunk of the 1729 Testament of Jean Meslier (wikipedia).

I first stumbled on Meslier when I was looking on Project Gutenberg for any works by Voltaire, and the search engine returned a pointer to Meslier’s Testament because it had been published with a forward by Voltaire. I still get

Jean Meslier Portrait

goose-bumps at the idea of being an author, and having a forward for one’s book written by Voltaire. That, as they say, is “big time.” It’s also a bit dangerous – Voltaire had his own ideas and his own agenda and, while he was a rationalist par excellence and one of the sparks of the enlightenment, he was not an atheist. Meslier was.

Meslier’s historical significance is interesting. His Testament was one of the first explicitly atheistic tracts of its sort, and he resorted to the clever dodge of posting it posthumously. “HAHA! You can’t kill me because I’m already dead!”

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