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Their curse has descended to their successors-who have in
herited their leprosy, but not their mantle. Nor can the rapid dilapidation of their own fame, which once overshadowed Europe with the gloom of death, fail to excite a sensation of awe and reverence in every christian mind. Voltaire was the prince of the unhallowed confederacy, and upon him the vengeance of God seems to have visibly fallen; the costly architecture of those temples which he consecrated to vice has long ago begun to moulder and to decay. He built shrines to Satan, and laboured to train up a priesthood for the service of Sin. The names of Condorcet, Diderot, and many more, are written in the same characters of fear. But they are already beginning, even in a temporal and a literary sense, to experience the doom of Babylon and Gomorrah. Who does not trace in their growing unpopularity, among all the classes of learning and of genius, the retributive justice of an offended Ruler! Like that Eastern Prince, who dazzled the eyes of the multitude with the glitter of his white raiment and the splendour of his ornaments, they appeared upon their silver thrones amid the exulting shouts of their frenzied worshippers, arrayed in sumptuous apparel, and intoxicated with adulation and pride; and, like him, the Destroying Angel has struck them with a pestilence that makes them the horror and the scorn of mankind.
Barante notices, in the later productions of Voltaire, the occasional presence of a purer and better spirit. In the midst of all the hateful frivolity, the perpetual mobility of thought which hurried him along, he sometimes utters reflections full of wisdom and truth. By these momentary flashes of light, the rent condition of society seems to attract his attention; but the moral blindness soon returns upon him, and he resumes his place in the literary Pandemonium, and marches forward in triumph, the Coryphæus of Infidelity. A modern critic has inquired, whether any spectacle can be more affecting than that of an old man insulting the Deity at the moment when his soul is about to return to Him who gave it? It is not easy to believe that, behind the curtain which impeded the public observation, no throes of agony disturbed the graceful attitude of expiring Philosophy; that over those shadows, which Death sends before its terrible approach, no torches of remorse shed their melancholy flame; or that the murderer of the soul was not haunted by fiercer Eumenides than ever hung upon the steps of the Grecian matricide. Every tribute of praise to such a man is an insult to Christianity. To applaud his genius for its brilliancy and its power, is to worship Moloch for the magnificence of his rites. In the last case the death was temporal, in the first it was spiritual. The very sweetness of the note ought to
induce us, as we pass within sight of the enchanted country, to lash ourselves to the mast with a stronger chain. For the intemperance of youth there is pardon; for the repentance of manhood there is hope; for the sigh of trembling age there may be mercy. Few lives are wholly and completely wicked; the most impetuous gusts of passion occasionally open a few patches of azure sky, and some faint glimpses of sunshine colour the vapours into the bow of peace. But Voltaire was a villain upon principle. With him scepticism was a system : he laid down the rules for vice, and composed, so to speak, a grammar of blasphemy. To his page every lisping atheist turns for instruction. To praise him, we repeat, is to outrage virtue. Let him, if you will, be exalted for public observation-but it should be in the pillory. Let him, if you will, be conducted out of the commonwealth with shouts of triumph-but it should be to execution! Nor will it be deemed among the least crimes of this legion of darkness, that they left so glittering an inheritance of sin behind them; or that the deadly company of revolutionists who, in the words of Robert Hall, advanced with sobriety to the ruin of their country, were the intellectual children of Voltaire and his friends. Well might a benighted spirit of our own day exclaim :
"Lausanne and Ferney! ye have been the abodes
Childe Harold, Canto III.
Glorious exploit of Christian criticism! if it can warn the rising generation by the misery and crimes of the past; if it can disperse the magical delusions with which Circe endeavours to blind and embrute the children of literature; if it can embody to the sight, in all their hideousness and horror, the vices and the desolation of a scornful unbelief; if it can shew, however gorgeous the shrine which folly rears to the impiety of genius, that, nevertheless, the scourge of serpents is at the doorUltricesque sedent in limine Diræ.
Voltaire's obligations extended beyond the works of Massillon. He was not ashamed to borrow from Tillotson. That admirable Prelate had said, with great aptness, "If God were not a necessary Being, he might almost seem to be made for the use and benefit of men." Voltaire melted the thought into the following line :
"Se Dieu n'existait, il faudroit l'inventer."
Sir James Mackintosh, who first noticed the plagiarism, has suggested the probable origin of the sentiment, in a mis-recollection of a passage in the second chapter of the treatise De
natura Deorum: “Multaque quo dicentur in eis libris, colligunt, quæ talia sunt, ut ea ipsa Dei immortales ad usum hominum fabricati videantur." The surprise of Mackintosh, that Voltaire should have taken anything from Tillotson, is not particularly well founded; for Tillotson was the only English preacher who had obtained a name among the scholars and theologians of France. At a later period, Blair rose into still higher reputation, and Maury spoke of him as "le Prédicateur le plus vanté de Grande Bretagne." But Voltaire sometimes pounced upon prey in much more distant regions, and strayed into the works of the Fathers, where Milton, with a very different temper, had walked before him. In the ninth Canto of the Henriade, he mentions a person who lived in the court of Henry, without being corrupted by its vices. Mr. Boyd has shewn the exact counterpart of the simile, in Gregory's oration on Basil; the preacher, after alluding to the residence of himself and his friend at Athens, and saying that they had not been defiled by its manners, employs this illustration-the hero of Voltaire is Mornay-
“ Και ειτις εστιν η πιστευεται ποταμος δι, αλμης ρεων γλυκυς, ηζωον εν πυρι σκαιρον ῳτα παντα αλισκεται τουτο ημεν ημεις ενπασι τοις “ηλιξι.”
VOLTAIRE. "Belle Arethuse ainsi, ton orde fortunée [élonnée, Roule au sein furieux d'Amphitrite Un crystal toujours pur, et des flots toujours clairs, [des mers." Que jamais ne corrompt l'amertume In like manner Balzac, as Melmoth has remarked, transplants an ingenious thought of Pliny's in a letter to Macrinus, where he represents the Anio invited and detained by the beautiful villas on its banks: "Cette belle eau aime tellement ce pais, qu'elle se devise en mille branches, et fait une infinité d'isles et de tours, afin de s'y amuser d'avantage."
But it was not in melo-dramatic starts of passion, or in vivid fragments of eloquence, that the power of Massillon principally resided. It dwelt rather in the whole; and for ourselves, at least, his gentler and humbler manner possesses a deeper interest. His remarks upon the Beatitudes are exquisite in their touching simplicity and homeliness. We cannot refrain from offering an extract of some length, in the confident belief that it will be perfectly new to a large number of our readers :
"Bienheureux ceux qui pleurent, parce qu'ils seront consolés."
Matt. v. 5.
"Sire,-Si le monde parloit ici à la place de Jesus Christ, sans doute il ne tiendroit pas à votre Majesté le même language.
"Blessed are they that weep, for they shall be comforted."
Matt. v. 5. "Sire,-Were the world here to address you, instead of Jesus Christ, it would doubtless adopt a different language to your Majesty.
"Heureux le prince, vous diròit-il, qui n'a jamais combattu que pour vaincre; qui n'a tant de puissances armées contre lui, que pour leur donner une paix glorieuse; et qui a toujours été plus grand ou que le peril on que la victoire.
"Heureux le prince, qui durant le cours d'un regne long et flourissant, jouit à loisir des fruits de sa gloire, de l'amour de ses peuples, de l'estime de ses ennemis, de l'admiration de l'univers, de l'avantage de ses conquetes, de la magnificence de ses ouvrages, de la sagesse de ses lois, de l'esperance auguste d'une nombreuse posterité; et qui n'a plus rien à desirer, que de conserver long temps ce quil possède.
Ainsi parleroit le monde; mais, Sire, Jesus Christ ne parle pas comme le monde.
"Heureux, vous dit-il, non celui qui fait l'admiration de son siècle, mais celui qui fait sa principale occupation du siècle à venir, et qui vit dans le mépris de soi-même et de tout ce qui passe; parce-que le royaume du ciel est à lui. 'Beati pauperes spiritu, quoniam ipsorum est regnum cœlorum.'-(Matt. v.3.)
Heureux, non celui dont l'histoire va immortaliser le règne et les actions dans le souvenir des hommes, mais celui dont les larmes auront effacé l'historie de ses péchés du souvenir de Dieu même ; parce qu'il sera éternellement consolé. 'Beati qui lugent, quoniam ipsi consolabuntur.'-(Matt. v. 5.)
"Heureux, non celui qui aura étendu par de nouvelles conquetes les lornes de son Empire, mais celui qui aura su renfermer ses desirs et ses passions dans les bornes de la loi de Dieu; parcequ'il possédera une terre plus durable que l'empire de l'univers. Beati mites, quoniam ipsi possidebunt terram.'-(Matt. v. 4.)
"Heureux, non celui qui élevé par le voix des peuple au dessus de tous les princes, qui l'ont précédé, ouit à loisir de sa grandeur et de sa gloire, mais celui qui, ne trouvant
"Happy, it would say, is the Prince who has never fought but to conquer, who has seen numerous powers armed against him, only that he might confer upon them a more honourable peace; and who has always been superior both to danger and to victory.
'Happy the prince, who, during a long and prosperous reign, enjoys, at his leisure, the fruits of his glory, the love of his people, the esteem of his enemies, the admiration of the world, the benefit of his conquests, the splendour of his works, the wisdom of his laws, and the pleasing hope of a numerous posterity; and who has nothing left to desire, but the long enjoyment of what he possesses.
"Thus would the world address you; but, Sire, Jesus Christ does not speak the language of the world.
Jesus says, happy is he-not who is the admiration of his agebut he who makes the world to come his chief concern; who lives in the contempt of himself and of every thing transitory, because the kingdom of God is his. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven.'
Happy is he-not whose reign and actions will be immortalized by history in the remembrance of men
but he whose tears have effaced his transgressions from the remembrance of God, because he will be eternally consoled. Blessed are they that weep, for they shall be comforted.'
Happy is he not who has extended the limits of his empire by new conquests-but he who has confined his desires and his passions within the limits of the law of God, because he will possess a land more durable than the empire of the universe. 'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.'
Happy is he-not who is exalted by the voice of the people above all the princes who have preceded him-but he, who finding nothing in a throne worthy of affection, ceases
rien, sur le frône même digné de son cœur, ne cherche de parfait bonheur ici bas que dans la vertu et dans la justice; parcequ'il sera rassasié. Beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam quoniam ipsi saturabuntur.'(Matt. v. 6.)
"Heureux, non celui à qui les hommes out donnè les titres glorieux de grand et d' invincible, mais celui à qui les mal heureux donneront devant Jésus Christ le titre de père et de misericordieux, parcequ'il sera traité avec miséricorde. 'Beati misericordes, quoniam ipsi misericordiam consequentur !'-(Matt. v. 7.) "Heureux, enfin, non celui quí, toujours arbitre de la destinée de ses ennemis, a donné plus d'une fois la paix à la terre, mais celui qui a pu se la donner à soi même, et bantir de son cœur les vices et les affections déréglées qui en troublen la tranquillité; parce qu'il sera appelé enfant de Dieu. Beati pacifici, quoniam filii Dei vocabuntur.'-(Matt. v. 9.)
In 1704, when Massillon concluded a course of sermons before Louis XIV., that monarch addressed him publicly in these terms:-" J'ai entendu dans ma chapelle plusieurs predicateurs dont j'ai été tres satisfait; mais en vous écoutant j'ai été mecontent de moi-meme. Je veux vous entendre desormais tous les deux ans." Jealousy and intrigue are said to have frustrated the design of Louis; and during the remaining years of his reign the voice of Massillon was not heard within the walls of Versailles. He was to re-appear at Paris under circumstances of peculiar interest. Louis XIV. terminated his career of glory and shame, and was succeeded by a child. Before this boy-monarch Massillon was appointed to deliver a course of lectures in 1717. This was the origin of the Petit Carêmea work by which his name has been promulgated to foreign nations, and hallowed with perpetual respect. In the same year he was elected into the French Academy; and Fleury, in his address of reception, by a metaphor sufficiently presumptuous, compares his awakening appeals, to the life which the Hebrew prophet breathed into the dead child of the Shunamite. But the Petit Carême, notwithstanding the applause of Voltaire, and the fame that united it to the discourse of Bossuet, and the