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such lessons and influences ;-all these things suppose an overruling Providence, controlling his footsteps, acquainted with his thoughts, launching the thunder-bolt and directing its flight; thus preparing for the Reformation, and shielding the head of the great, but as yet unconscious reformer, from harm.
Or take the case of Pascal.--Just at the time when his hopeless passion for the sister of his friend and patron, the duke of Roannes, had inspired him with an aversion to the world, he was driving over the bridge of Neuilly, when, as he came to that part of it which was unprotected by a parapet, his horses took fright, began to plunge violently, and sprang over the side of the bridge into the river. Had the carriage followed them, Pascal must have perished; but, happily, on the brink of the descent the traces broke, the horses were drowned, and he escaped. He now yielded to the entreaties of his sister Jacqueline, who was already an inmate of the celebrated Port Royal Academy, and devoted himself to the service of God. To this circumstance we owe the Provincial Letters, which were the first, and are still among the heaviest blows ever struck at the system of the Jesuit; and his - Thoughts," which take
their place among the most precious genis in the treasury of the church,
In further illustration of the truth which we have thus been endeavouring to establish, let us take another instance of a different kind, in which the chain of providential antecedents and sequences is much longer and more complicated. In the year 1500, the wife of Giovanni Cellini gave birth to a child. The parents had been led by various superstitious reasons to expect a daughter, whom they designed to name Reparata. It proved to be a boy. “The nurse," says Cellini, in his autobiography,“look it to my father, observing, ' Į here bring you a fine present which you little expect. My father, who was of a philosophical disposition, said, 'What God gives me I shall always receive thankfully;' and turning aside the clothes in which I was wrapped, saw with his own eyes the unexpected boy. Clasping his hands together, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, saying, • Lord, I thank thee from the very bottom of my heart for this present, which is very dear and welcome to me.' The standers-by asked him joyfully how be proposed to call the child now? He made them no other answer than, "He is Welcome.' And this name of Welcome
Benvenuto) he resolved to give me at the font; and so I was christened accordingly." Cellini
goes on to narrate that when he was three years old, as he was playing in the yard behind his father's house, a large scorpion fell out from behind a water-tank. Taking it for a crab, he seized it, but from its size and the manner in which he grasped it, its two mouths protruded beyond his little hand on one side, and its tail on the other. Running with it to his grandfather, he cried, “ See my pretty little crab!" The old man called loudly to him to throw it down, at which he began to cry, and grasped it the harder. The father, attracted by the altercation, ran up, and perceiving that if the child attempted to do so, he would be fatally wounded before he could disentangle himself from its claws, seized a pair of shears which lay near, and cut off its head and tail. His life was thus preserved, and as he grew up he was distinguished not only for great talent as an artist, but as one of the most daring swordsmen and best marksmen in Rome.
In the twenty-sixth year of his age, the famous siege of Rome by the troops under the constable De Bourbon occurred. Early on the morning of the day on which the assault on the city was
to be made, the constable was killed by a shot from the walls. The immediate and the ulterior results of his death were most important. Before the close of the day Rome would have been his-held for him by an army of forty thousand men, devoted to his person, and for the most part enlisted from the Protestant states of Germany. His civil and military genius, which made him formidable even as a solitary exile, would have enabled him to keep what he had acquired, or at the least he would have been in a position to dictate terms to his enemies in France, and secure the restoration of his title and estates. In either case, the destinies of France, Spain, and Italy would have been materially affected There can be but little question but that he would have joined his kimsmen and party, who put themselves at the head of the Huguenot movement.
With the accession of his genius, influence, and wealth, the issue of the bloody conflict must have been widely different. Even as it was, the Huguenots were all but a match for their enemies, and were only crushed by one of the most atrocious crimes recorded on the page of history. Had he lived then, and thrown his weight into their scale, the massacre of St. Bartholomew and the
revocation of the Edict of Nantes would in all likelihood have been averted. But historians are agreed that these atrocities were among the causes of the French revolution, by the murder and exile of the Protestants who formed the best part of the French population. The same causes co-operated in securing to England her manufacturing and commercial supremacy, by driving to her hospitable shores the fugitives, with their various arts and industry, which France then lost, and we gained. It is vain, however, to speculate upon what might have been. It is sufficient to say, that the struggle between the Roman Catholics and Protestants was the turning-point in the history of France, and that, nearly balanced as the parties were, the life of the constable De Bourbon must have greatly influenced the issue.
But what, it may be asked, has this to do with the young artist Cellini ? Everything ; for he declares that it was he who fired the fatal shot. If we accept his statement as a true one, what important events in the world's history hung upon that moment when as child he grasped the scorpion! Had he seized it by another part of the body, or had the reptile's sting been a few hair-breadths longer,