Quoted from the "Publisher's Notice."
"THESE Letters, by M. de Voltaire, give a condensed and critical synopsis of the arguments advanced by the most eminent writers who had, previous to his time, been accused of attacking the Christian Religion.
Among the most talented of these writers, he mentions Monsieur Freret, who taught "the Adoration of one only God, without the Mediation of Jesus Christ," and whose judicial and appalling arraignment of Christianity, (from pages 62 and 63,) is as follows:"
"If God" says Freret, "had deigned to make himself a man and a Jew, and to die in Palestine by an infamous punishment, to expiate the crimes of mankind and to banish sin from the earth, there ought, no longer to have been any sin or crime on the face of it; whereas," he continues, "the Christians have been more abominable monsters than all the sectaries of the other religions put together."
"Freret brings, for an evident proof of this, "the massacres, the wheels, the gibbets, and the burnings at the stake, in Cevennes, and near a hundred thousand human creatures that
perished under our eyes in that Province; --- the massacres in the valleys of Piedmont; — the massacres of the Valteline, in the time of Charles Borromeo; — the massacres of the Anabaptists, massacred and massacrers; — the massacres of the Lutherans and Papists, from the Rhine to the extremities of the North; — the massacres in Ireland, England and Scotland, in the time of Charles I., who was himself massacred; — the massacres ordered by Mary, and by her father Henry VIII; the massacres on St . Bartholomew's, in France, and forty years more of other massacres between Francis II. and the entry of Henry IV. into Paris; — the massacres by the Inquisition; — massacres, perhaps, yet more execrable, as being judicially committed; — in short, the massacre of twelve millions of the inhabitants of the new world, executed crucifix in hand; — and this without reckoning all the massacres previously committed in the name of Jesus Christ, — without reckoning above twenty schisms, and twenty wars of Popes against Popes, and Bishops against Bishops; — without reckoning the poisons, the assassinations, the rapines of the Popes, John XI, John XII, John XVIII, John XXII, of a Gregory VIII, of a Boniface VIII, of an Alexander VI, and of so many other Popes who exceeded in wickedness a Nero or a Caligula."
Freret also claims "that this horrid and almost uninterrupted chain of religious wars, for fourteen centuries, never subsisted but among Christians, — and that no people, but themselves, ever spilt a drop of human blood for theological disputes."
"We are obliged to grant to Freret," says Voltaire, "that all this is true; but, without claiming to comprehend these mysteries, let us rest content with adoring them."