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Telemachus of Fenelon, has not gone through the ordeal of criticism without injury. Maury regards it as the feeblest of Massillon's productions-some, with the exception of his Eloges and Panegyriques. The author himself appears, notwithstanding the labour devoted to its composition, never to have anticipated that enthusiasm of praise which welcomed the Petit Carême. He prefixed "un avis au Lecteur," in which he styles the series of discourses "Entretiens particuliers," for the instruction of the young King and his court, who constituted the audience in the Chapel of the Chateau of the Tuilleries. The autograph manuscript is now preserved in the Royal Library of Paris, as we are told by Quérard, in the fifth
volume of his France Litteraire.
The Petit Carême is a manual for kings, if not the most powerful, certainly the most graceful, ever offered to them. The nature of their duties, the temptations of their rank, the punishment of their crimes, are treated with a melody of language whose very fault resides in its softness. Massillon was not insensible to the stumbling-blocks that lay in the path of the Christian orator. He has alluded to them in his thoughts "des Predicateurs." They entertain, he says, too great a respect for customs consecrated by time and by fashion; they hesitate to denounce a particular vice, lest their censure should appear to be aimed at a particular individual. They satisfy themselves with offering a distant glimpse of sins, which they ought to hold up before the eyes of the congregation. The eulogist usurps the seat of the remonstrant, and the appeal of indignation melts into the music of praise. Where the Gospel demands an anathema, flattery gives an eloge. suredly Massillon was not often guilty of this error. ascended the pulpit, not arrayed in the haughty dignity of Bossuet; he did not proclaim the absolute power of kings, or the resistless domination of the priesthood: he neither bound his audience to the chariot wheels of the monarchy, nor of the Church-he associated the government of the prince with the liberty of the people. While he acknowledged the nobility of rank, the dignity of fortune, and the splendour of genius, he declared that God would lay upon the head of licentious wealth the crimes of poverty; that the greatest warrior was the man who vanquished himself; and that the brightest talents became only splendid vices, unless employed to promote the welfare of the community. "On a vu," is his own exclamation, "plus d'une fois les pierres même les plus brillantes du sanctuare s'avilir et se trainer indignement, &c." He would have been one of the most unfortunate of men, if he had thus fallen under the thunderbolt which he hurled with so fearless a hand. His
life discountenanced the calumny; he seems to have been uninjured by the intoxication of flattery, and to have retired to the seclusion of his diocese with a single and pious heart. When a friend congratulated him upon the success of his preaching, he answered "The devil has already told me so with a tongue more eloquent than yours."
Flechier has been called the Racine of the Pulpit. But we think that Massillon has an equal claim to the appellation. His purity of language is not inferior, and the charm of his manner is even more graceful. In both writers we behold the exquisite fitness of diction; they lived when the language had reached its full maturity of blossom and fruit. The fine writers under Louis XIV., is the observation of Bishop Hurd, were every day advancing the French language such as it is (simple, clear, exact, that is, fit for business and conversation) towards its last stage of perfection. The purity of the ancient manner, he continues, became well understood, and it was the pride of their best critics to expose every instance of false taste in the modern writers. The genius of French literature appeared under its most alluring form upon the stage; and that rhythmical harmony which delights the ear in the theatre, was sought for, nor was it sought in vain, even within the consecrated precincts of the Church.
Even the Petit Carême may be honoured by being associated with the most delightful of French drama. The merit of retaining the unbroken sympathy of the reader during five acts, with the interest of a priest and a child, belongs to the author of Athalie. The drama is recommended by none of the common and seductive machinery of the stage. But the style never sinks into feebleness; the versification, like an elaborate composition, played by some great master, never jars in a single note. A constant warmth of sensibility pervades the remotest members. These were the qualities that induced Boileau to pronounce it the best work of the author, and Voltaire to break into a rapture of applause at the recitation of Le Kain. But Athalie teaches another lesson to the poet, and a lesson of wisdom and consolation. This tragedy, so full of beauty, so alive with pathos, so touching in its tone, was almost hooted out of the literature of France; one of the pleasantest punishments, inflicted in the fashionable circles of Paris, was the perusal of a given number of lines from Athalie. Even Arnauld, the gifted friend of Racine, considered it inferior to Esther. It has long since taken its appropriate place in the treasury of beautiful productions, of which Fame keeps the key-in the memory of the world. It is mentioned with the noblest and most lasting creations of the human intellect, and will continue to live
with Euripides, with Shakespeare, and with Ford. Nor is it a slight gratification to the Christian heart to remember that this flame of reputation was lighted at the altar of Virtue; that the odour of fancy and delight arose from sacred incense.
In the continuity of his thoughts and the harmonious unity of his images, Massillon has been surpassed only by our own truly venerable and apostolic Leighton. How admirable is the metaphorical description of prophecy-how musical, how unbroken. "This sweet stream of their doctrine did, as the rivers, make its own banks fertile and pleasant as it ran by, and flowed still forward to after ages, and by the confluence of more such prophecies grew greater as it went, till it fell in with the main current of the Gospel in the New Testament; both acted and preached by the great Prophet himself, whom they foretold to come, and recorded by his Apostles and Evangelists, and thus united into one river, clear as crystal. This doctrine of salvation in the Scriptures hath still refreshed the city of God, his Church under the Gospel; and still shall do so until it empty itself into the ocean of eternity." Upon this metaphor Coleridge observes that in the entire course of his studies he never remembered to have read so beautiful an allegory; so various in detail and yet so just in sentiment, and so natural in imagery. It may not be inexpedient to offer another specimen of unbroken metaphor from the same inimitable writer. It is founded upon a comparison equally familiar. "As in religion," he says, "so in the course and practise of men's lives, the stream of sin runs from one age to another, and every age makes it greater, adding somewhat to what it receives, as rivers grow in their course by the accession of brooks that fall into them; and every man, when he is born, falls like a drop into the main current of corruption, and so is carried down it, and this by reason of its strength and his own nature, which willingly dissolves into it and runs along with it." It was with perfect truth that the same critic affirmed of this passage, that it presents the union of religion, philosophy, and poetry; and that Plato seems to be glorified by St. Paul.
Of these three illustrious preachers whom shall we prefer: to which is the crown of eloquence to be awarded? We are not of course referring to their doctrine, for there doubt ceases to have any place: and the elaborate jesuitism of Bourdaloue, and the harmonious sophistry of Massillon, are almost extinguished by the clear and illuminating faith of Barrow. They looked upon Christianity through a glass which the cunning finger of tradition had painted, and every object assumed, in a greater or less degree, the deception of those colours. The tints, indeed, are often beautiful, even when they are most de
lusive. But when we contemplate these eminent persons only on the side of eloquence, the eye is instantly drawn and detained by the commanding stature and serene physiognomy of Barrow. Never has the sepulchre of Christ been guarded by a more majestic centinel; never has a brighter or a keener sword repelled the foot of the apostate from the garden of sacred truth; never has a richer or a mightier voice cheered the fainting spirit of the Christian soldier. The sermons of Barrow are the glory of our Church. Taylor had more imagination-Hall had more fancy-but Barrow had most vigour. His flexible argument, woven of links of adamant, not only encircles but crushes an antagonist. It has vitality in every fold. Yet, tremendous as are its powers, nothing can be easier than its movements. His most surprising exhibitions of strength cost him no effort. He can balance himself upon the most perilous edges of metaphysical disquisition, and look down with an eye that never quails into the blackest depths of human nature. Of all our writers his logic is the most clear, the most vivacious. When we call Barrow a logical writer, it is desirable to explain what we understand by the term. Now the word logic, as Dugald Stewart has shewn, is employed by modern writers in two very different senses. By some it is used to express the scholastic art of syllogising, and by others to explain "that branch of the philosophy of the human mind which has for its object to guard us against the various errors to which we are liable in the exercise of our reasoning powers, and to assist and direct the inventive faculty in the investigation of truth." The aim and intention of both descriptions of logic are the same; but the justness of their principles differs widely. Logic is, then, simply and emphatically the art of reasoning, or the deduction of certain conclusions from given or assumed premises. The logic of Barrow, however, is not the technical logic of the schools; it is a scheme of argument constructed by that most skilful of mechanicians-common sense. In his volume we always see common sense governing by a definite system of laws.
We have admitted Barrow to be inferior to Taylor in imagination, and to Hall in fancy. Those softer rays of invention, those glistenings of thought, which constitute the charm of poetry he certainly did not possess. If he borrowed anything from Ovid, it was only conceits. But if he had less imagination, we do not say that he had none. He had much; and imagination, moreover, of an order related to the Epic grandeur of Milton, or the sterner delineations of Dante. Among English authors Donne seems to offer many analogies. That sublime writer of prose might have startled his congregation at St. Dun
stan's with this passage upon the sufferings of the Redeemer: "The sight of God's indignation, so dreadfully flaming out against sin, might well astonish and terrify him; to stand, as it were, before the mouth of hell, belching out fire and brimstone in his face; to lie down in the hottest furnace of divine vengeance; to quench with his own heart-blood the wrath of heaven, and the infernal fire (as he did in regard to those who will not rekindle them to themselves), might well, in the heart of a man, beget unconceivable and unexpressible pressures of affliction." This may be considered only as an example of his striking and vivid representations of thought; but his claim to sway the mind of the reader is never, we think, so perfectly asserted and maintained, as in those more usual trains of condensed arguments and metaphor which may be considered to form his natural style. Let us turn, only for a single minute, to his remarks upon the Apostolical testimony to the truth of our Lord's resurrection. "It had no power to sustain it, so it used no sleight to convey itself into the persuasions of men; it did not creep in dark corners; it did not grow by clandestine whispers; it craved no blind faith of men; but with a bare-faced confidence it openly proclaimed itself, appealing to the common sense of men, and provoking the world to examine it; daring all adversaries here to confront it, defying all the powers beneath to withstand it, claiming only the patronage of heaven to maintain it." How vividly do we feel, while reading these nervous and simple sentences, the truth of the line in Horace-that a familiar acquaintance with the subject will ensure the required expressions
"cui lecta potenter erit res,
Nec facundia deseret hunc, nec lucidus ordo."
Such a writer sinks and rises with his theme: now clear and persuasive, now eager and imperative, now vehement and passionate. It is only the Nero of eloquence who gilds the statues of Lysippus. We find in the sermons of Barrow fewer unserviceable epithets-mere expletives-than in any other writer of his time. He has no complements, if we may employ the phrase, to make up his figures. He remembered, doubtlessly, the saying of the great master of eloquence, “ Apud oratorem vero nisi aliquid efficitur, redundat ;" and who immediately furnished us with the means of discovering this redundancy: "tum autem efficitur si sine illo quod dicitur, minus est." Let it not be thought that, in these observations, we are attempting to depress the reputation of Taylor or of Hall. No language can adequately realize our love, our veneration for them both. Time will be no more, when Fame