In the preface to a German translation of Bonnet's essay on Christian Evidences, Lavater publicly challenged Mendelssohn to refute Bonnet or if he could not then to "do what wisdom, the love of truth and honesty must bid him, what a Socrates would have done if he had read the book and found it unanswerable."
The two parts of Bonnet's hypothesis, namely, the doctrine that all living things proceed from pre-existing germs, and that these contain, one enclosed within the other, the germs of all future living things, which is the hypothesis of " emboitement," and the doctrine that every germ contains in miniature all the organs of the adult, which is the hypothesis of evolution or development, in the primary senses of these words, must be carefully distinguished.
Supported by the great authority of Haller, the doctrine of evolution, or development, prevailed throughout the whole of the 18th century, and Cuvier appears to have substantially adopted Bonnet's later views, though probably he would not have gone all lengths in the direction of " emboitement."
Bonnet's eminent contemporary, Buffon, held nearly the same views with respect to the nature of the germ, and expresses them even more confidently.
The " moule interieur " of Buffon is the aggregate of elementary parts which constitute the individual, and is thus the equivalent of Bonnet's germ, as defined in the passage cited above.
Jean Baptiste Rene Robinet' followed out much the same line of thought as De Maillet, but less soberly; and Bonnet's speculations in the Palingenesie, which appeared in 1769, have already been mentioned.
Apokryphen, in loc. The best texts are given in Bonnet's Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, 1898, II.