"But a voice from heaven was heard, which determined all disputes; he shall not be removed out of the hands of mortals, because happy are the breasts that shall give him suck, the hands that shall hold him, and the bed on which he shall rest! after so many striking evidences, my dear Joshua, the heart of man must be steeled not to believe his holy law."

— Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (1689-1755)


Date
1721, 1722
Metaphor
"But a voice from heaven was heard, which determined all disputes; he shall not be removed out of the hands of mortals, because happy are the breasts that shall give him suck, the hands that shall hold him, and the bed on which he shall rest! after so many striking evidences, my dear Joshua, the heart of man must be steeled not to believe his holy law."
Metaphor in Context
[...] From above the angels, indignant, cried out, what will there remain for us to do? But a voice from heaven was heard, which determined all disputes; he shall not be removed out of the hands of mortals, because happy are the breasts that shall give him suck, the hands that shall hold him, and the bed on which he shall rest! after so many striking evidences, my dear Joshua, the heart of man must be steeled not to believe his holy law. What could heaven do more to authorize his divine mission, unless nature itself had been overturned, and all mankind had been destroyed whose conviction it designed?

[Là-dessus les anges indignés s'écrioient: Que nous restera-t-il donc à faire? Mais une voix du ciel fut entendue, qui termina toutes les disputes: Il ne sera point ôté d'entre les mains des mortels, parce que heureuses les mamelles qui l'allaiteront, et les mains qui le toucheront, et la maison qu'il habitera, et le lit où il reposera.

Après tant de témoignages si éclatants, mon cher Josué, il faut avoir un cœur de fer pour ne pas croire sa sainte loi. Que pouvoit faire davantage le ciel pour autoriser sa mission divine, à moins de renverser la nature, et de faire périr les hommes mêmes qu'il vouloit convaincre?]
(Letter XXXIX, Hagi Ibbi to the Jew Ben-Joshua, a Mahometan Proselyte, at Smyrna.)
Categories
Provenance
Searching at OLL
Citation
The earliest English-language issue is Persian Letters, trans. John Ozell, 2 vols. (London: Printed for J. Tonson, 1722). <Link to ECCO>

12 entries in the ESTC for this title (1722, 1730, 1731, 1736, 1751, 1759, 1760, 1762, 1767, 1773, 1775). Searching The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu, 4 vols. (London: T. Evans, 1777) at Online Library of Liberty <Link to OLL>. French text from Project Gutenberg.

Date of Entry
08/09/2013

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.