Superstition in All Ages; Baron d'Holbach


from: Superstition in All Ages, A Dying Confession by [Holbach 1723 - 1789 (see below)] Jean Meslier [1664 - 1729], A Roman Catholic Priest, who at his death left as his "Last Will and Testament" this now famous manuscript as contained herein, entitled [See: #3, 70 (Meslier)]

Common Sense

He was "A Rigid Partisan of Justice." A famous Catholic Priest who, after serving one score and ten years, as a Curate of Etrepigny in Champagne, France, renounced repudiated and completely abjured Catholicism, Romanism, Theology, Religious Dogmas, the errors, the superstitions, the abuses, the follies, and the spurious teachings of the Christian Church, left this famous manuscript as his "Last Will and Testament," requesting while dying that it be published after his death, given to the world and his parishioners.

Translated from the French original by Miss Anna Knoop, Arranged for publication in its present form and manner with new title page and preface by Dr. L. W. de Laurence. Same to now serve as "text-book" number five, for "The Congress of Ancient, Divine, Mental and Christian Masters", Published by de Laurence Scott & Co., Chicago, Ill., U.S.A., 1910 (1772). [title page].

[reprint (edition?): Kessinger: 406/756-0167; e-mail:].


Excursus: from: Baron D'Holbach A Prelude to the French Revolution,

W.H. Wickwar, George Allen & Unwin, 1935.


"1772 [Holbach]: Le Bon-sens, ou Idées naturelles opposées aux idées surnaturelles, par l'auteur du Système de la nature.


At least two editions, 1772.

Reprints, 1773 1774; subsequently attributed to curé Jacques Meslier, and often reprinted with his Testament, 1791, 1792, 1802, 1822, 1830, 1831, 1833, 1834 (twice), 1865 (Geneva), 1905 (Garnier).

American translations into English, 1833, Common Sense; 1878, Superstition in all Ages, 1890, 1910; and into German, 1857, 1859 (both at Baltimore).

Russian translation, 1924 (Moscow)." [245]. End of Excursus.



Excursus: from: D'Holbach's Moral Philosophy, its background and development, Virgil W. Topazio, Institut et Musee Voltaire, Les Delices, Geneve, 1956.


'the resemblance between the ideas of the two men [Meslier and d'Holbach] was so great that even up to the twentieth century, the Bonsens [Superstition in all Ages; etc.] of d'Holbach was mistakenly attributed to Meslier. This was a logical mistake, for Meslier, whom Voltaire characterized as a rigid partisan of justice who sometimes pushed his partisanship too far12, attacked, like d'Holbach, all religions in general and Christianity in particular, and in much the same repetitious and dull style13.' [50].


[Amusing! "partisanship"! "repetitious and dull style"! deistic complaints?].

End of Excursus.


Preface by Dr. L. W. de Laurence
Preface of the Editor of the French Edition
Life of Jean Meslier, by Voltaire [1694 - 1778]
Inscription on the Envelope containing the last Will of Jean Meslier
Decree of the National Convention upon the proposition to erect a Statue to the Curate Jean Meslier [1664 - 1729]
Common Sense, by the Curate Meslier. Preface of the Author

["Abstract of Testament of John Meslier, by Voltaire." (285 - 339 (end))].

[v; xx]. [Chapter titles: v-xx].

"Preface of the Author."

"Some, says Montaigne [Michel Eyquem de Montaigne 1533 - 1592], make the world believe that which they do not themselves believe, a greater number of others make themselves believe, not comprehending what is to believe. IN A WORD, whoever will consult common sense upon religious opinions, and will carry into the examination the attention given to objects of ordinary interest, will easily perceive that the opinions have no solid foundation; that ALL RELIGION IS BUT A CASTLE IN THE AIR; THAT THEOLOGY IS BUT IGNORANCE OF NATURAL CAUSES REDUCED TO A SYSTEM...." [49-50].


'II.—What is Theology?

          There is a science which has for its object only incomprehensible things. Unlike all others, it occupies itself but with things unseen. Hobbes [Thomas Hobbes 1588 - 1679] calls it "the kingdom of darkness." In this land all obey laws opposed to those which men acknowledge in the world they inhabit. In this marvelous region light is but darkness, evidence becomes doubtful or false, the impossible becomes credible, reason is an unfaithful guide, and common sense changes into delirium. This science is named Theology, and this Theology is a continual insult to human reason.' [59].


          The first legislators of nations had for their object to dominate. The easiest means of succeeding was to frighten the people and to prevent them from reasoning; they led them by tortuous paths in order that they should not perceive the designs of their guides; they compelled them to look into the air, for fear they should look to their feet; they amused them upon the road by stories; in a word, they treated them in the way of nurses, who employ songs and menaces to put the children to sleep, or to force them to be quiet." [64].

'XIX.—The Existence of God is not Proved.

          All human intelligences are more or less enlightened and cultivated. By what fatality is it that the science of God has never been explained? The most civilized nations and the most profound thinkers are of the same opinion in regard to the matter as the most barbarous nations and the most ignorant and rustic people. As we examine the subject more closely, we will find that the science of divinity by means of reveries and subtleties has but obscured it more and more. Thus far, all religion has been founded on what is called in logic, a "begging of the question;" it supposes freely, and then proves, finally, by the suppositions it has made.' [66].



          Since it was necessary for men to have a God, why did they not have the sun, the visible God, adored by so many nations? What being had more right to the homage of mortals than the star of the day, which gives light and heat; which invigorates all beings; whose presence reanimates and rejuvenates nature; whose absence seems to plunge her into sadness and languor? If some being bestowed upon men power, activity, benevolence, strength, it was no doubt the sun, which should be recognized as the father of nature, as the soul of the world, as Divinity. At least one could not without folly dispute his existence, or refuse to recognize his influence and his benefits." [68]. [See: Article #13, 267 (Julian)].



of the

Testament of John Meslier [1664 - 1729],

By Voltaire [1694 - 1778];


Sentiments of the Curate of

Etrepigny and of But,

Addressed to His Parishioners.

I.—Of Religions.

          As there is no one religious denomination which does not pretend to be truly founded upon the authority of God, and entirely exempt from all the errors and impositions which are found in the others, it is for those who purpose to establish the truth of the faith of their sect, to show, by clear and convincing proofs, that it is of Divine origin; as this is lacking, we must conclude that it is but OF HUMAN INVENTION, and full of errors and deceptions; for it is incredible that an Omnipotent and Infinitely good God would have desired to give laws and ordinances to men, and not have wished them to bear better authenticated marks of truth, than those of the numerous impostors. Moreover, there is not one of our Christ-worshippers, of whatever sect he may be, who can make us see, by convincing proofs, that his religion is exclusively of Divine origin; and for want of such proof they have been for many centuries contesting this subject among themselves, even to persecuting each other by fire and sword to maintain their opinions...." [285-286].

"VII.—Errors of Doctrine and of Morality."

          "What are these boasted resources of the Christ worshipers? Their morality? It is the same as in all religions, but their cruel dogmas produced and taught persecution and trouble. Their miracles? But what people has not its own, and what wise men do not disdain these fables? Their prophecies? Have we not shown their falsity? Their morals? Are they not often infamous? The establishment of their religion? but did not fanaticism begin, and has not intrigue visibly sustained this edifice? The doctrine? but is it not the height of absurdity?

                     End of the Abstract by Voltaire." [339]. [End of book].