Can we then be astonished, that a preacher should be ill at ease in confronting a man who had opposed himself to the Pope!

as follows to the Abbé de Chanterac, his agent at Rome: "You have accomplished a hundred times more than I had dared to hope. God has permitted an unjust success.” A man who says to you, God has permitted my condemnation, is certainly not very strong in his convictions of the infallibility of the tribunal



THE Conclusion to be drawn from all that we have said, is not that a preacher was excusable for eulogizing the king upon all occasions; it is, that we would be unjust if we claimed to be judges of all this, from the middle of the nineteenth century; and also, to return to our story, that Claude would perhaps have done better to take the circumstances a little into consideration. But he was no courtier; he called things by their right names. Here is his letter:

"VERSAILLES, March 15, 1673.


"Do not seek to guess who I am. You do not know me by sight, and perhaps not by name; and it is scarcely two hours since I saw you for the first time. But God sees us both; that is enough. It is in his sight that I am writing, and it is in his sight that you will read.

"In the eyes of the world, you have just added a new gem to your orator's crown; in the eyes of religion, I much fear that you have but added a new scandal to those which are presented to view at court.

"Yes, Monsieur, you have profaned the pulpit; and if I were not convinced that you had yielded to a miserable impulse, if I did not know how much in reality you respect both your minis

try and the word of God, I should not hope to make you feel how you have just been degrading and prostituting them both.

"In vain would you defend yourself by citing the exaggeration of the praises of all kinds, by which the king is overwhelmed. I know that it would not be difficult for you to quote flatteries an hundred times stronger than yours; but one word from the pulpit means more than twenty in the mouth of a poet or an orator of the Academy, and you may be certain that you have done more harm to the king in half an hour, than his professed flatterers do in a whole month.

"And what is this king, of whom, in the face of religion, you have dared to make a hero, a saint, a demi-god? You represented Europe to him, as full of admiration of his having consented to cease his conquests,* yet you know, with all Europe, how unjust and cruel these conquests have been. It would be necessary to go back to the invasions of the barbarians to find any thing to be

* One of the most artful, and unfortunately one of the easiest tricks to which flattery resorts, is to persuade conquerors that they make war against their will; for no man is so fond of shedding blood, that he is not enchanted at hearing himself called gentle and humane. This unlucky idea is found in almost all the sermons preached before Louis XIV., and nevertheless, in his reign war had become, as it were, the natural state of things. It was so customary to see a new one undertaken every year, that it was spoken of beforehand, as one would speak of a tax to be paid, or of the return of a season. A father would say, "My son will make his first campaign in such and such a year." Against whom? Nobody knew, perhaps the king himself had not yet decided; but he was to be relied upon for it. And yet this did not prevent the constant presentation to him of touching pictures of the rending of his paternal heart upon seeing himself forced to command fresh bloodshed. The name of pacific, was even added to that of great; witness these words of Cardinal de Rohan, grand almoner of France, on presenting the body of Louis XIV. to the Chanoine of St. Denis in 1715 :-" The prince whom we lament has left magnificent titles behind him, and the remotest generations will admire as we do, Louis the great, the just, the pacific." This word is frequent in the inscriptions and medals of his reign.

compared with the frightful war of the past year,* whose motive is still a mystery, and whose sole object seems to have been to occupy the leisure time of an army of a hundred thousand men, at the expense of an inoffensive nation. And even if this war had been as just as it was the opposite, would that be any reason for cherishing in the aggressor's mind the idea that he had been glorious in his successes in arms? This famous passage of the Rhine,† I have heard people who were present, say that it was mere absurdity to make such a commotion about an engagement without difficulty, and almost without danger. These forty cities captured in a month; it is well known that many of them were but paltry towns, and that the best fortified of them had scarcely any one to defend them. Crushed, but not conquered, Holland is ready to revolt; the politicians say, that by the end of this year the French will not have an inch of ground left there ;‡ all this glory will one day in the eyes of history be as false as it now is in the eyes of religion, and as it ought to be to yours. Forced, however, to remember that the glory of heaven is preferable to that of earth, you told the king so, but in what terms? Do you think it a good way to induce him to look higher, to repeat over and over to him that there is nothing under the sun to be compared to him? In order to tell him in a few words that the day will come when he will no longer be anything, you exhaust your eloquence in showing him that he is now every

*The war in Holland, 1672.

t "If the king had only thrown himself, mounted, into the river, as he might have done almost without danger, Alexander and his Granicus might have hid their diminished heads." Memoirs of CHOISY. Choisy appeared convinced, however, that Louis XIV. possessed much natural courage; "but," he says, "he could not take a step forwards, that twenty courtiers did not hasten to form themselves into a rampart around him, conjuring him not to endanger himself."

This was really the case.

thing. You do not exactly conceal from him that his glory will pass away; but you speak to him of this glory as the most brilliant and the most legitimate that any man has ever possessed. As for its brilliancy, perhaps you are right; but it is not in the pulpit that you need speak of it; as for its legitimacy, I know that all his enterprises have not been campaigns of Holland, yet this is not the only one from which it would be well to obliterate much.


"After the hero comes the saint.* Here, allow me to quote. "The subject was perseverance; you had described and inculcated it. But who will persevere ?' you asked; 'where are these faithful and steady souls? Thou alone, oh God, thou alone knowest them. I have reason also, however, to console myself; I know, and the whole universe knows with me, that there is one heart here, formed by thy hand, a heart opposed to all fickleness, consistent in its conduct, steadily attached to the laws which it takes to guide it; who having formed mighty designs, has performed prodigies of valor in their execution; in order to do this, has sacrificed not only its repose and pleasures, but even its advantage and interests. How far may not the perfection of thy law carry this firm and fearless heart, oh God! And in this sense who ever has been fitter than it is for the kingdom of heaven ?'t

"This, Monsieur, is more than flattery; it is blasphemy. And among those things which posterity will scarce credit,—again to employ one of your expressions,-these your words are not what will be found least strange, least incredible.

"That which you really do know, and which all the universe

* Would it be very difficult to find saints in the Calendar who were not even so good as Louis XIV. The Church has sometimes bestowed this title with a liberality most embarrassing to those of its defenders who know something of history. + Literal.

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