Obrazy na stronie

the Austrian government, being deemed too liberal, he was displaced, enjoying, however, for life one third of the salary, which perhaps might amount to about £25 per annum. Scantily provided with this world's goods, but unambitious, he retired io cultivate a small vineyard and farm on the delightful Euganean hills above Padua, celebrated in Ugo Foscolo's “ Lettere di Jacopo “ Ortis.” He employed himself in writing a volume of poems on the Seasons, and several satires, and in a more exact study of the Scriptures. Although a priest, and nearly fifty years of age, he had never yet preached, but was prevailed on to do so in the year 1826, at Padua, when his merit was soon discerned; and this circumstance led to his being applied to, to preach at Florence in 1928, but not in one of the principal churches of the city, nor was any thing very extraordinary anticipated from him. One, however, described to another the pleasure enjoyed in hearing him, until nearly every person of consequence, including many who had through disgust wholly discontinued their attendance at the sermons of the Italian clergy, had been anjongst the number of his hearers. One of the other preachers (for it should be remembered that during Lent there is a daily sermon in every Catholic parish church), finding no one present to hear him, went himself to the church of Sa. Felicita, where he found his old hearers. On the three last days, the fame of the new preacher having reached the Grand Duke, he took his Dutchess incog. to hear him, forsaking his own daily preacher in the private chapel of the court. Louis Bonaparte, ex-king of Holland, a professed free-thinker, the celebrated advocate and fort-esprit Collini, and many others of the same class, who had never perhaps voluntarily heard a sermon before, were amongst his constant hearers and warmest admirers. But the greatest triumph of Barbieri's eloquence was yet to come. On the last day of Lent, the Archbishop of Florence himself, finding his curiosity too great for the decorum of his high station, forsook liis throne in the cathedral, and came in a private manner, without pomp, to listen to the parting exhortations of a humble, and hitherto unknown priest. The presence of the Grand Duke and the Archbishop of the diocese, together with all that is enlightened and cultivated in a city, which, in proportion to its population (about 120,000), certainly contains more men of taste and refinement than any other in Europe, was too much for the feelings of the Abate, who is a poet, and a man of genuine sensibility. When he came to take leave of the Florentines, by giving them bis benediction, according to Catholic custom, by waving a large crucifix over their heads, the big tears chased each other down his already furrowed cheeks, and, unconscious of what he did, he gave himself a severe blow on the forehead with the crucifix. All our countrymen then residing in Florence, partook of the general enthusiasm. * In calmly reviewing our emotions at the distance of nearly three years, we are of opinion that we felt no more than any one not destitute of sensibility must have felt, yet we despair of conveying to our readers by any extract, the delight and admiration we experienced in hearing bim; first, because they have not probably, like ourselves, waded to the pellucid springs of Barbieri's eloquence through the foul and turbid streams of modern Italian preaching, and especially had not previously listened to the trumpery of the parroco of the same church of Sa. Felicita; and secondly, because in addition to his appeals to the best feelings by which the human breast is capable of being alarmed, tranquillized, or melted, there is an indescribable charm in the barmonious and almost musical cadence of his periods, of which in the most eminent degree none but the divine language of Italy is susceptible, and to which vocal utterance, and by a native, is necessary to give it its full effect. So sensible to this charm were his Florentine hearers, that unlike an English audience in church, who rightly judge that they have nothing to do but to listen, they expressed aloud their admiration of some of his most harmonious periods, exclaiming “ Bella, * bella, bella, è una musica.” Charming, charming, 't is a

piece of music.

We are happy to learn from the pen of the elegant Campagnoni, in a preface of his to a translation of Sterne's Sermons into Italian, published at Milan a few months ago, that Barbieri, having preached in that city during Lent of the year 1831, has excited several of the preachers to study, and with some success, to imitate him. May he be the founder of a new era in the history of the Italian pulpit, more brilliant than any of its predecessors, and chasing away the Egyptian darkness in which it is at present involved!

ON BENEFICENCE. “ Amongst the infinite perfections of Him who is all-perfect, those which reflect the greatest light on our regards are these three, Power, Wisdom, and Goodness. Power displays its triumph in the lofty, the profound, and the vast of earth, seas, and skies. It deafens in the thunder, rives in the lightning, crashes in the tempest; in the earthquake shakes the pillars of nature,- in the

* As a testimony of the gratitude of Florence to its eloquent preacher, a valuable gold snuff-box was presented to him, with the insignia of Florence, and the motto,

“Resplende Nello Intelletto tuo l'eterna Luce.” Dante, Parad. 5.

whirlwind' rolls onward insatiable destruction. Power displays its triumphs in the impenetrable recesses of the aged forest, - in the fathomless whirlpools of the abyss, – in the peerless summits of the mountains, - in the eagle wliich pierces the clouds, — in the lion which stalks majestically over the desert, — in the leviathan who lashes in sunder the waves of the deep. Wisdom shines in the infinite number and infinitely diversified nature of created things, - in their counteracting properties of force and resistance to force, movement and repose, combining to one effect, like the innumerable threads of a skilful storied tapestry, or like the notes of music, from which, with their apparent discord of varied sounds, striking one upon another, yet all conspiring to the same end, results the charm of harınony.

But whether it be power that awes, or wisdom that dazzles us, Love is conspicuous in them both; for it is love which causes all that is vast and varied and beautiful in the creation to be adapted to the capacity of our senses, and to be placed within the reach of our faculties, so as not, either by defect or redundance, to become useless or injurious to us. And how easily miglit this happen by the slightest change of their order and proportions. So that the light, for instance, should blind us with its radiance, or the shade leave us in utter and hopeless darkness ; or cold strike us dead, or heat consume; the air fail altogether, or suffocate us; the aliment of life be insufficient, or overwhelin us with its abundance; the earth itself which supports us totter under our feet, and go to ruin ! Ineffable Goodness, which, with an infinite love for our welfare, frail and wretched as we are, contrives that His works, in all their grandeur and variety, should but the more effectually minister to the necessities, the comforts, the delights of our being. Wherefore, thus sings the poet of God,· What is man that Thou art mindful of him, O Lord, or the

son of a woman, that Thou deignest even to visit him? Thou hast placed under him all the works of thy hands. Thou hast

subjected to him all created things. Ah, yes! We see the love of God everywhere, we feel it on all sides. We see it in the sun, where it placed its pavilion, and whence it pours down upon us light and heat, and life and power. We see it in the moon, which is its footstool, and whence it illumines our darkness, and keeps watch over our repose. We see it in the eternal circle of the seasons, - in the provident influence of the meteors, - in every drop of rain, - in every globe of dew,- in all that nourishes, comforts, beautifies our existence. Of this the birds of the wood sing to one another in the returning cadences of their responding melodies. Of this speaks the lily of the valley in its mute language, which, without labor of its own, is clothed in a more splendid garb than Solomon on his royal throne. Of this the ocean speaks to us in the hoarse murmur of its waves, when it vainly lashes itself against those shores which eternal love has prescribed to it, impassable. Of this the forests and the deserts speak to us with the mysterious eloquence of their silence itself. What shall I say more? We feel


it within ourselves, in the inmost recesses of our nature, in the very hidden and secret movements of the heart, — in the quick beatings of pity, — in the tears of tenderness; whenever we stretch our arms to relieve, or bend them in affectionate embrace, -whenever we see or hear of a noble and generous action.

“Oh, who can tell, who can worthily describe the excellencies of this queen of the virtues ? Seest thou that plain on which the burning rays of the solstitial sun are reflected ? Every green herb burnt up, - every plant languishing, - every living creature gasping for breath? Stifled with thirst, consumed with drought, all nature seems in mourning. When, behold! the benignant Eurus unexpectedly springs up; heaven veils its face in clouds; the thunder rolls, the rains descend, and on a sudden the drooping leaves and flowers lift themselves up, - the mountain and the plain grow green again, — the flocks and herds run to slake their thirst in the swollen river, and sport joyfully in its recovered waves, - nature returns to life, and sends forth a thousand echoes of joy and gladness. And is not this a faithful image of what beneficence can do for the wretched ? For too true it is that human bosoms are liable to be scathed and burnt up by long and cruel droughts. Look again at the distant part of the picture: Ocean roars, the waves blacken, the breakers ride aloft, the maddened winds drive along in furious blasts, and already the wretched sailors are lifted up to the heavens, and are plunged into the abyss. Their soul sinks and dies within them in the conflict. Tossed to and fro, they stagger like drunken men.

All their art is the sport and scorn of the ruthless tempest. But what do I see? The storm is changed into a gentle breeze, the waves are mute, the sea is a plain, the navigators, assured and tranquil, ply their oars, and reach in safety the haven of their desires. And is not this, in like manner, a lively image of that beneficence which carries with it serenity and calm into the disturbed and afflicted soul? For alas ! human bosoms are liable to fierce and terrible tempests. O beautiful and amiable virtue of beneficence! What other imparts so great satisfaction to our minds in its exercise ? What so elevates and ennobles our being ? See then, 0 ye rich, what a harvest of merits and of consolations is given you to gather! It is certain that without

your intermediacy He could and would have provided for the wants of those who bear His august image stamped on their foreheads. But He has rather chosen to associate you in the merit of His munificence, and to veil His love in part from the eyes of your poorer brethren, by placing you as clouds in the midst, that you might pour down on them the dews and fertilizing rains which you have received.”

The discourse from which this extract is made was delivered on the anniversary of a pious foundation. The custom of appealing to the public beneficence through the medium of the pulpit on

• Barbieri, Opere Scelle, Milano, 1827, pp. 313, &c.

such occasions is gaining ground in Italy, and will probably be the means of improving the style of preaching, by leading the orator to forsake the low grounds of tradition, miracle-mongering, and scholastic common-places, for the elevated fields of Christian philanthropy and moral philosophy, the universal nature of man, and the unadulterated precepts of the Redeemer.

In conclusion, it is obvious to remark how powerful an instrument in the elevation of the national character the Italian pulpit is calculated to become, and how little it has hitherto effected. Amongst the natives of this interesting country, the majority feel an indifference to its success or failure, which there is too much in its past history to excuse. Hope beats high in the bosoms of the few.

[From " The Quarterly Review," No. 94.]

[We have for some time seen nothing of more interest in “ The Quarterly Review than the following article. No good account of Diderot, such as is furnished by it, has, as far as we recollect, previously appeared in our language. He was an individual conspicuous in his day, and one whose history must occupy a considerable space in that of French literature during a period when it waged an unprincipled and indiscriminate warsare with established opinions, with errors ihe most injurious, and with truths the most essential to human happiness. His character, though certainly not his works, may be worth our study. In the original article the extracts are given in French, so that many readers may be deterred from its perusal. We have laid it open to a great part of the public by furnishing a translation of them. Edd.]

Art. II. — Mémoires, Correspondance, et Ouvrages inédits de

DIDEROT. Tomes 4. Paris. 1830, 1831. Memoirs, Correspondence, and unpublished Works of DIDEROT.

The voluminous correspondence, which passes under the name of Grimm, with the episodical volumes of the fair votaries, the Espinasses and D’Épinays, who encouraged with their smiles, and rewarded with unscrupulous prodigality the labors of the French philosophers in enlightening mankind, long ago introduced us to an intimate acquaintance with the social state of Paris during the latter half of the eighteenth century. The noctes cænæque,

- we must not add Deum; the ease, the pleasantry, the cleverness, the genuine wit, the conversational eloquence; the coarseness and indelicacy, the petty jealousy and intrigue; the cool heartlessness, (not, indeed, that kind and even generous feelings were altogether wanting, or that some of them would not have

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