Bayle arrived at Geneva on the 2nd September 1670, and once more resumed the course of his studies. Having been deeply imbued with the Aristotelian philosophy by the Jesuits, he was in the first place led to defend it with considerable warmth. He soon however abandoned the subtleties of the Peripatetic school, for the sounder principles to which they were then rapidly giving way, and gradually adopted an art of reasoning which few meu have exercised with equal dexterity. He quickly so distinguished himself at Geneva, that M. Normandie, syndic of the republic, intrusted him with the education of his children ; and besides forming a strict intimacy with Basnage, Minutoli, and many other learned men, he soon acquired the esteem and good will of the most eminent persons of the republic. At length, by the recommendation of Basnage, he became governor to the sons of the count of Dhona, lord of Copet, which employment he retained for two years, much against his will, and then accepted the charge of the education of a merchant's son near Rouen, with which engagement he was soon equally disgusted. His great object was now to settle in Paris, where at length, in 1675, he obtained the office of tutor to the MM. de Beringher, brothers to the duchess de la Force. This proved but a poor appointment; and M. Basnage, having successfully combated certain modestly expressed doubts of his capacity, induced him to become candidate for a professorship of philosophy in the Protestant university of Sedan, and strongly interested the celebrated Jurieu, then professor of theology there, in his interest. Thus encouraged, he quitted Paris, and arriving at Sedan, contested the claim with three able rivals, natives of the town, and otherwise very strongly supported; and owing to the great superiority of his talents, was preferred to them. This event took place on the 2nd November 1675; and from the moment of his appointment, he applied himself with his characteristic ardour to the composition of a course of philosophy for

nis pupils, the completion of which cost him two years. It is printed in his works, in Latin and French, and is remarkable for the care which he shows in it to exclude futile subtlety and reasoning upon any but certain principles; at least so far as the times would admit, or public professors be allowed to follow them.

Disengaged from the composition of this important undertaking, he now gave himself up to reading, and to the composition of such works as he was led to think eligible by the course of circumstances or of inclination. In 1679 he composed in Latin an examination of a book by M. Poiret, entitled “ Cognationes rationales de Deo, Anima, et Malo," in which he first showed the depth of his philosophical research, his acumen, and great controversial ability. In 1680 the affair of the duke of Luxemburgh made a great noise. This nobleman had been accused before the Chamber of Poisons, erected in consequence of the discovery of the transactions of the infamous Madame de Brinvilliers and her associates, of impiety, sorcery, aid poisonings ; of which charges he was declared innocent, and the process against him suppressed. Bayle, who indulged no small portion of covert predilection for satire, and who had acquired many curious particulars on the subject while at Paris, diverted himself by composing a formal harangue for the marshal, whom he supposed to plead his own cause before his judges, and to vindicate himself from the charge of having made a compact with the devil for certain extraordinary purposes. The pleading was made very smart, not only upon the marshal, but upon various other persons; and a pretended critique upon it, also written by Bayle, and given to another hand, was still more severe than the original. This disposition to attack in disguise remained more or less with Bayle as long as he lived, and, as will presently be shewn, occasionally led to some very unpleasant consequences. Apparently one of those persons who could enjoy a ludicrous or important result without caring for the credit of it, he was at the same time of a disposition to love argument for its own sake, and to be fond of exhibiting his logical acuteness on all sides, and on almost any occasion.

In the month of December 1680 appeared one of the largest comets ever seen ; and as the world had not yet got rid of the ancient prejudice which deemed these bodies portentous of some dire calamity, the consternation was extreme. Bayle sought to dissipate these foolish fears by a letter supposed to be addressed to a doctor of the Sorboune by a Roman Catholic ; the only means at that time of getting its publication allowed at Paris. He adopted a theological argument on the occasion, because in the then temper of the people they would listen to no other. “If comets are presages of evil,” he observed, “God must have performed miracles to confirm idolatry in the world." It was, after all, not published at Paris, hut at Rotterdam, and is the piece afterwards entitled “Pensées diverses sur la Cométe.” Notwithstanding its theological aspect, it partakes of the philosophic spirit of the author, many delicate questions being discussed in relation to assumed miracles and presages among the Pagans, and a comparison instituted between the mischiefs arising from atheism and idolatry, which is extremely curious, interesting, and profound.

In the mean time, the situation of the Reformed in France had become truly melancholy. The merciless perfidy which, in regard to the Edict of Nantes, characterized nearly the whole of the reign of Louis XIV, was now alınost at its height ; and it was at length resolved, that the academies of the Protestants throughout France should be suppressed. Some hopes were entertained that the university of Sedan would be spared, as that principality had been a sovereign state until 1662, and Louis XIII, to whom it was surrendered by the duke of Bouillon, had agreed to leave all things in the condition he found them in; which treaty Louis XIV had confirined, and even extended in respect to the toleration of the Protestant religion. So far however from these sti. pulations forming any additional obstacle, the latter monarch, in the genuine spirit of his sort of faith, decreed that the academy of Sedan should be the first dissolved; and in July 1681 its dissolution took place accordingly.

This event formed another striking epoch in the life of Bayle, who was now entirely without employ. Happily, a young Hollander, named Van Zoelen, was at the time resident at Sedan, who had become acquainted with him, and entertained towards him a high degree of esteem and good-will. This gentleman volunteered his good offices with his relation, M. Paets, an influential magistrate of Rotterdam, who, being himself a learned man, as well as a patron of learning, was readily brought to interest himselt in the favour of a scholar like Bayle. This he did so successfully, that when the latter, doubtful of the result, was debating whether he should repair to Rotterdam or depart for England, he received a letter acquainting him that the city of Rotterdam had assigned him a salary, with a permission to teach philosophy. At the instance of Bayle, the same generous person had been induced to make similar exertions in favour of Jurieu, which very soon after succeeded. The town of Rotterdam instituted what was termed an “Illustrious School, 'in their favour, in which M. Jurieu was appointed professor of theology, and M. Bayle professor of philosophy and history, with a yearly salary of 500 gilders. On the 5th December 1681, the latter delivered his inaugural oration with universal applause, and a few days afterwards he gave his first lecture on philosophy to a crowded assembly of students.

In the commencement of 1682 his work on the comet appeared at Rotterdam, as already described. The author sought in vain to conceal himself; and the fame consequent on the discovery is thought to have given the first rise to those symptoms of jealousy in Jurieu, which afterwards led to so much rancour and to so many ill offices,

About this time also Maimbourgh published his History of Calvinism, in which be laboured with all his power to stigmatize the spirit and conduct of the Reformed throughout France, and to draw upon them the contempt and hatred of the Catholics. Bayle, indignant at the disingenuousness of this author, and still more at the sinister object of his work, wrote an answer to it in the form of letters, under the following title—“Critique Generale de l'Histoire du Calvinisme de M. Maimbourgh, par Peter Le Blanc.” In this production, composed in fifteen days, he did not think it necessary to follow his opponent step by step ; deeming it sufficient, by a series of general observations, and a poignant species of satire and raillery, to exhibit the malignity with which the history of Calvinism had been written, and the absurd and barbarous principles it was intended to inculcate. Maimbourgh of course was highly piqued at this attack, of which a great many copies found their way into France; and by carrying his complaints to the king, he obtained an order for it to be burnt by the executioner, and to forbid the sale of it on pain of death. Of this sentence no less than 3000 copies were posted in Paris, which as usual formed the finest advertisement of the work that could have been devised; and no reading Frenchman could afterwards be satisfied without a perusal of the Critique on Maimbourgh.

It was a long time before this publication was attributed to Bayle, the style of it being very diff from that of his “ Thoughts on the Comet;" but it was at length discovered by the inadvertent exposure of a letter from the author to his bookseller. M. Jurieu also answered the work of Maimbourgh, in a more formal and elaborate manner than Bayle, but altogether destitute of the easy and natural turn of the latter, who was keen without rancour, and severe without bitterness. The different estiination obtained by the two books again offended the jealous disposition of the pastor, and added force to the secret ill-will with which he had begun to regard his

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