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need be taken of such foolish misrepresentations, if it was not that the study of the great French preachers would be, as we think, most useful to the sermon-writers of the present day, and of our own Church. M. Bungener, the French Protestant, and Dr. Potts, the American Presbyterian, both no doubt appreciate their value as models of style and fertile storehouses of original thought, and on this very account desire to direct attention to them; but if we are also to study them, it is well to clear their memory of any misrepresentations which it may serve the purpose of these sectarians to connect with them. Bourdaloue, these men would say, was eloquent, was a man to be esteemed and venerated, was a keen searcher into the motives of the human heart, was an accuser of the religious faults of his day, was charitable in his way of speaking, and therefore must have been somewhat lax in his convictions with respect to church government and discipline. He was indeed a severe witness against many tendencies and practices which are still associated with Romanism; but he had little in common with the Protestants of his day, or with American Presbyterians. He denounced formalism; but he so abounds in the exposition of sound doctrine, that, except on particular subjects, where we essentially differ from the Romish Church, we listen to his words, ever with an increasing confidence in their truth, and with an increasing conviction that the Reformed Church of all lands will find that she has a common ground with him, which sectarians will in vain seek for. But this book has not even the openness to say, why the writer admires Bourdaloue. He wishes to profit by his eloquence, and at the same time cavils at him for one particular fault, which he knows is the very reverse from the common tone of his sermons. The great charge against him is, that he flattered the King in his perorations; but no mention is at the same time made of passages in the body of the sermon, acceptable no doubt for their plain speaking on some tendencies in members of his own Church, but calculated by their severity and the closeness of their appeals, to make a flattering peroration a mere empty form, little able to erase the moral axioms which had preceded it. We are not defending this practice of ending a sermon with a laudation of the King, but it was one of those court fashions, which were part of the age, for which it is difficult indeed to find a reason consistent with a Christian preacher's duty, but which cannot be laid to the account of the individual preacher. We can hardly enter into the state of things which required it, but we can understand the force of custom, and the imperative calls of court etiquette. It is also clear, that the more obvious the necessity of flattering the King was felt to


be, the less real would the words used become. They stood apart from the sermon; all that had been preached was unbiassed by their tone, and, moreover, they occupied so short a space, that the importance given to this peroration of our romantic history is obviously unnatural. The writer in fact works the subject with exactly the same feeling that prompts an English Nonconformist to cavil at certain expressions in our Liturgy, as that of ' our most religious and gracious Queen.' Moreover, the extent of the flattery is exaggerated, by construing all the expressions as referring to the individual, and not to the kingly office. Some of Bourdaloue's perorations are in fact a description of what a king ought to be, and only imply as a matter of course, as if to avoid the discourtesy of a personal lecture, that the picture is fulfilled in the actual king before him. The misrepresentations of character in the story before us are so great, that we can hardly quote the sentiments therein contained with the respect which some of them would call for.

The general subject of preaching is meant by the author to be the substance of his work, and we propose to follow him on this ground, and like him bring forward Bourdaloue and the French preachers as magnificent instances of Christian oratory. But first we shall endeavour to freshen up the recollection of our readers, as to the history of the French preachers, by appealing to actual facts, as set forth in their lives, and not in romantic fiction.

Every art and science has had its Augustan age, and the seventeenth century was undoubtedly the age of preaching. In England we had divines in that century whose memory will long continue as bright examples of the Christian ministry; but England was sadly tossed about by internal commotions, and the Church enjoyed but little peace. In France, at this period, things were however far different,-all was peace and prosperity. The regal dignity of Louis XIV. calmed the very atmosphere of France, and allowed the arts of civilized life to flourish with an unusual exuberance. It is not our present purpose to mark how that exuberance outstepped the bounds of moderation, and produced a sinful and oppressive luxury, which undermined the whole balance of social relationships. But we only now survey France under Louis XIV., as the country which took the lead, by no small distance, in all the elegance and the refinements of life. There was much vice; yet it is but fair to the Court of France at that period to say, that it was not then so rampant and unchecked as it subsequently became. Religion was respected, and if not obeyed by all, (for when is it?) yet was allowed its place and its influence. The Court had its divines, who occupied a position very much to the

public credit, and many things-even that formal love of brilliant scenes, which was in everything apparent, conduced to an appreciation of eloquence, and made the Church's preaching a valued occupation of the passing hour.

But to foster, nay, to command, this taste, there arose certain great masters of the art, whose names have long survived their own time, and who justly merit a place by the side of the many others, who, in one branch or other of human powers, have done great works, have originated new schools of art, or developed fresh tastes in the public.

There was much to favour preaching in the Court of France during the reign of Louis XIV., and to give to its professors a favourable hearing. There was but little field for eloquence in the political assemblies of so arbitrary a government as that of Louis XIV., while the dissipations of the Court did not encourage that quiet appreciation of eloquence which solitary reading may afford. Again, there was a love of witnessing personal display, which, without accusing the preachers of the day of yielding to the motives of vanity, yet materially aided the attention of those who were the listeners. Our author thus pictures the audience which assembled on the Good Friday about which he writes:

'The royal chapel of Versailles presented, in fact, a brilliant spectacle, particularly on the days of religious solemnities. The majesty of the cathedrals was not to be looked for there: the locality did not admit of that; in 1675, the present chapel was not yet built, and the former one was rather a vast saloon than a church. But the most curious and the most dazzling object, that which scarcely allowed a stranger time to bend his attention upon the magnificence of the decorations and the service, was the crowd assembled within these walls; the most fabulous assemblage of all the great names, all the great fortunes, and all that was most illustrious in France. Among all these people, mingled and crowded in the king's chapel, like the bourgeois of Paris in their parish churches,-there were very few who did not also possess their chapel, their chaplain, and their chateau; few who could not have enthroned themselves somewhere, if they had chosen, like kings; few who were not or could not have been the heroes of the solemn praises of some village Bourdaloue. But they willingly renounced all these parish church triumphs. They did not regret to exchange for some narrow and obscure lodging at the top of the palace, the vast saloons of the habitations of their fathers; and their lordly velvet in a provincial church, did not appear to them of half the value of the untapestried end of a bench in the chapel of Versailles.'-The Preacher and the King, pp. 285, 286.

With audiences such as these, and with a national love of dramatic scenery to gratify, we may perhaps picture to ourselves a preacher full of affectations, straining after oratorical effect, and adopting the vulgar arts which belong to popular preaching in our own day. The case, however, was far otherwise. Bossuet, Bourdaloue, and Massillon, were genuine and real preachers of Christian truth; they were above all low and secondary arts,

which are wont to supply the place of real genius. They captivated, not by following the powers and tastes of their listeners, but by leading them. They founded a combined school of preaching, which was the same kind of addition to Christian oratory, that the works of Titian, Rafaelle and Correggio, were to painting. Indeed, their individual characters and style of writing have been illustrated by personal comparisons with these masters of Italian art. Titian represents the singular originality and richness of the courtier Bossuet. Rafaelle is analogous to the fully-developed intellect, the marked professional character, the steady adherence to his work, and, in short, to the giant pre-eminence of Bourdaloue as a preacher; while Correggio, excelling from a certain inborn delicacy of mind, and an exquisite refinement of taste, represents on his part the eloquent Massillon. Bourdaloue again has been imagined to stand in the same position to Massillon, that the bold genius of Eschylus stood to the poetic finish of Sophocles. It is remarkable in the lives of these three men, how much the mention of one of them always brings in with it the others also; yet there was no rivalry. The most interesting parts of their respective memoirs are comparisons the one with the other. The glory of one is not diminished by the others, but rather set off to greater advantage. Voltaire, indeed, maliciously accused Bossuet of retiring before the fame of the rising Bourdaloue, preferring to rest on his fame already acquired, rather than challenge competition. It is, however, proved in the memoir of Bossuet, which precedes the selection of his works now before us, that the imputation is altogether erroneous. Bossuet was only five years senior to Bourdaloue, but was known at Court much younger, and so ran his course as preacher, was appointed Bishop of Condom, and then preceptor to the Dauphin, before Bourdaloue commenced. These duties on the part of Bossuet, made it necessary that he should relinquish the occupation of Court preacher, and he had already retired to his diocese, before Bourdaloue was known. When occasions however called him out, he proved to France that his powers were not diminished, and that he was not ashamed to exercise them by fear of comparison with any one else. What must strike the reader of their lives, is indeed just the reverse to the presumption of any jealousy. Each one seems to have occupied his own place, and adopted his own line, solely according to his natural taste and disposition. There was about each of them the true independence of genius and power, which is alike above either jealousy or imitation. Bossuet was a preacher and orator; but his mind being after the mould of a finished and acute scholar, and being also a profound logician,

he took the controversial line as peculiarly his own. Bourdaloue dived into Holy Writ and the learning of the Fathers from his early youth, made them all his own, and then with the earnestness of a mind devoted to one object, he undertook the difficult task of applying this great store of truth to the wants, the dispositions, and general circumstances of each individual Christian. Thus he was an overwhelming preacher, by the very same power which made him the great casuist of his day-the adviser and confessor of all around him, rich and poor, for more than thirty years. Massillon coming after the others, and always connected with their fame, yet has distinctive marks of genius that preserve to the full the independence of his intellect. Neither of the others is equal to him in a certain touching and graphic simplicity of style. But let us consult the writers of their respective memoirs; not indeed for the purpose of aiming at any general biographical notices; but in the endeavour to illustrate that school of preaching, which we connect with their names.

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Bossuet was a native of Dijon, and was educated in a Jesuit College. He was early known for his talents, and in the year 1659, being then 32 years of age, he preached his first Lent sermons in Paris. From that time he preached at Court, till he was nominated to the Bishopric of Condom in 1669. After that he was but little in the pulpits of Paris, as would appear from passages in those few sermons which he did preach on certain great occasions. At the profession of Madame de la Vallière in 1675, he states that in order to celebrate those holy ceremonies, he breaks a silence of some years, and causes 'a voice to be heard that those pulpits had ceased to know.' Again, six years later, when specially called upon by Louis XIV. to complete a course of Lent sermons, which had been interrupted by the illness of the preacher, he says, in his exhortation, I again take up the word after many years' continued silence.' Bossuet resigned the Bishopric of Condom, after a very brief tenure of two years, on his appointment to the preceptorship of the Dauphin, an office which, being incompatible with the care of a diocese, also prevented his frequent appearance in the pulpit. But the same office, which saved him from being often called upon, also gave him splendid opportunities for the rarer exercise of his oratory. Coming fresh and unexhausted by weekly sermon writing to his own province of oratory, what a field for his powers must those great occasions have been, when he preached the funeral orations of Madame Henriette, Duchess of Orleans, in 1670, of Marie Theresa, in 1683, of the Princess Palatine, in 1684, of the Chancellor le Tellier, in 1685. and of the great Condé, in 1687! Yet Bossuet was no mere elegant declaimer

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