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you have those scruples at present; you cannot banish them; you cannot silence them between now and Saturday, unless you submit, and submit fully and humbly to the conditions which God dictates to you. Without that, warned as you now are, you will be sacrilegious. My heart is oppressed at the thought, that in my struggles to save you, I should only have succeeded in making you more criminal!
"Courage then, Sire, courage! Here is an opportunity for a more glorious victory than any of those for which the world has applauded you; and be assured that on your death-bed you would not give that for all the others."
When Bossuet read over this letter, he was alarmed at it; no one had ever yet talked in this strain to Louis XIV. At first he resolved to soften the expressions a little, without changing any of the thoughts; but he had scarcely re-copied a few lines before he tore them. After several new attempts, he finished by folding the original, and sending it just as it was.
In the meantime, he walked to and fro, he could not remain still. Joy at having acted aright;-fear of having it ill-received, the pious desire of saving the king, and the worldly fear of wounding him; all these mingled feelings agitated him, and whirled through his mind. He calculated the steps which his messenger had to take.* Sometimes he wished for his letter again in order to change it; sometimes he was rejoiced that this
nounced,- —or it is conditional. If it be valid ipse facto, it must be ad mitted, that the greatest villain in the world, absolved by a priest, is free from all sin; if it be conditional, the priest is but an adviser; he gives you directions in regard to the means of being absolved, but he does not actually absolve you.
Absurd, or null—one of the two must of necessity be this pretended right of loosing and binding.
* Bossuet, as the preceptor of the Dauphin, had his residence in the chateau.
was no longer in his power. According as one phrase or another recurred to him, he passed from discouragement to hope, from confidence to fear.
Suddenly, he paused. His countenance cleared up, and after a few seconds of reflection, he ordered his chair.
BOSSUET VISITS BOURDALOUE.-CLAUDE'S LETTER.-BOSSUET COMMUNICATES THE STATE OF THINGS IN THE CHATEAU TO BOURDALOUE. THE LATTER AGREES TO ALTER HIS SERMON FOR THE FOLLOWING DAY.-BEGINS TO READ IT TO BOSSUET.
Ir was about eight o'clock, and the last rays of twilight had just abandoned the streets of Versailles. In a dwelling, close beside the parish-church, (at the present time cathedral,) of St. Louis, the shadow of a tall man, slightly stooping, could be seen passing to and fro behind the curtains of a window. With sharp eyes, and a little attention, it might have been perceived, from the movement of his lips, that he was speaking quite rapidly; but he did not appear to be addressing any one. He was making no gesticulations; but from time to time one of his hands was raised as high as his breast; this hand appeared to hold a manuscript, upon which he cast his eyes. Otherwise, nothing could be more regular than his movements to and fro,— they might have been compared to those of a pendulum.
It was there that Bossuet was to stop. As he approached the house, he perceived the shadow, and smiled; which smile probably signified: "I do not find it necessary to run about my room so much."
“Father Bourdaloue," he said to the footman who opened the door.
"He is gone out, my lord-"
"Yes? well, his shadow, then,-for one can see that at twenty paces from here."
"My lord," said the footman, half-confused, half-inclined to laugh," he expects some one, it is himself who desired me" "To lie? I much doubt it. Why not say at once how it is? He is learning his sermon.-You say that he is expecting soine one; is it so?"
"Yes, my lord."
"Never mind; I must see him."
The footman took a light and went on before him. Arrived at the first story, he knocked at one of the doors on the landingplace. It was opened.
"Welcome, monsieur Claude," said Bourdaloue.-"Eh! butit is Monsieur de Condom-"
"Monsieur Claude !" said Bossuet, in the greatest astonishment, and fixing his eyes on the Jesuit with a sort of distrust ;"what Claude is it?"
"Claude of Charenton ?"
Bossuet could not recover from his surprise. name of Claude sounded disagreeably to his ear. The minister of Charenton was of all the Protestants of France, and even of Europe, the best match for the bishop of Condom. The latter had had famous specimens of this, in their celebrated conference; and although his party had proclaimed the victory his, he knew better than any one, that if he had not been positively beaten, neither had Claude any more than himself.*
* It is known, that each afterwards published his account of this conference. But neither of these two accounts, made long after, present the characteristics of truth. They have, in common, a most singular deficiency in yhilosophy. The smallness of the circle within which two champions
"In fact,” resumed Bourdaloue, "you know him better than I do, for I have never seen him."
"And you expect him?"
"He has requested an interview."
"Through whom did he request it?"
"He wrote to me; here is his letter-would you like me to read it to you?"
"Let me have it."
"Sir and much respected brother” "Brother!" murmured Bossuet. "Why not?" asked Bourdaloue. word in speaking to the Protestants."
This was true; but even in bestowing on the Protestants the name of brothers, Bossuet always appeared slightly displeased when they returned him the same appellation. It was somewhat as if a great lord should call you my friend, to whom it would be improper for you to apply the same term.
He did not answer.
"You have often used this
"Sir and much respected brother,
"Finding myself at Versailles for some days, it would be gratifying to me not to leave without having seen, at least once, a man whose reputation"-I pass over some sentences; here is the close;" do not mistake, I beg of you, as to the object of my request. There is no question of a discussion;-we will talk of anything you like, of preaching, if it suits you, for my name is perhaps well enough known to you, for you not to be ignorant that I am one of the trade; and if either of us should happen
of their size could combat for so long a time, is astonishing. All Bossuet's arguments rest on the authority of the church; on the very thing which requires proof more than all the rest; and Claude, too faithful to the dialectics of the age, does not seem to perceive that he would find strength in a frank and serious appeal to common sense, history, and the Bible.