Obrazy na stronie

remembers, that he had paused for a whole week to refit his moral powers; and the period appears to have been accurately adjusted to the degree of impurity which it was judged expedient to remove. But the influence of the principle obtained by this process' was limited by the walls of La Fleche. The aspirant returned to the world; and the world returned to him.

by this preceptor's perverse silence. As Falstaff had a kind of alacrity in sinking, Huet has a kind of alacrity in reducing interesting topics to incurable insipidity; and more frequently in omitting them altogether. He is a true Baratarian physician; for as soon as the table is covered with delicacies, in comes the bishop, touches every dish, tureen, and goblet; and in a twinkling, they all disappear! The guests,

It can scarcely be necessary to remind the reader of the fanciful at the full feast are famished,] character of the piety which Huet And wonder why.— mistook for practical godliness: "In- Studies connected with his elaborate timate and charming conferenceswith defence of Christianity once more the Supreme Being*!" In no human awakened his conscience, and stimuwritings, excepting perhaps the dra-lated a long-formed desire to go into mas of Kotzebue and the novels of Miss Owenson, can easily be detected such strange phraseology. The bishop must be supposed to mean the exercise of religious affections. Through out the whole narrative, he seldom speaks of sacred things in the language of Scripture. Every subject

is secularised.

In 1670, he was appointed subpreceptor to the Dauphin (father of Fenelon's Duke of Burgundy), and filled that situation for ten years. About this period he compiled his great work, the Demonstratio Evangelica; and superintended the Del phin edition of the classics, originally projected by the Duke of Montausier. Whosoever expects to find any anecdotes of the French court, or any detail of the mode of education adopted by Huet, will be sadly disappointed

We give the translator credit for a faithful version. But in looking through these volumes, we frequently wished to have consulted the original, to which we had no access. Fidelity alone can account for some of the odd expressions, belonging, we should have thought, to no language whatever. The annotations are a specimen of the prevailing literature of times when we are all expected to know all persons and all things superficially, and nothing profoundly.

Dr. Aikin selected the work as affording a good basis for the literary history of the age in which Huet flourished;-the best apology for having turned into English so dry a book.

orders. Bossuet was consulted how this desire might be realized. The most serious view of the project seems to have presented itself in the difficulty which attended the transition from a court dress to the

costume of an ecclesiastic. Bossuet

advised the transition to be rapid; but the subject of the experiment thought differently; and by an inhimself from a perfect rana to the verted process, gradually reduced unfinished figure of the tadpole. But hear him:- "I was of opinion that I should not suddenly change my habit, but by degrees; daily Shortening my hair, and bringing the rest of my dress to a more sober form. This was at length approved by Bossuet; and the matter was so I had hitherto appeared in a garb dexterously managed, that although

suited to a court life, and rather in the military mode, the alteration was scarcely perceived." (Vol. ii. p.178.) An achievement thus splendid drew after it long streamers of glory. He had already received the clerical tonsure; he was initiated into the inferior orders of the church; and in his forty-sixth year became a perfect ecclesiastic. "He appears," observes the translator, "to have taken ordination like a nauseous dose; that is, swallowed it down as quickly as possible, in order to get rid of the taste." He was soon after appointed abbot

of Aulnai, where he wrote Latin verses, observed eclipses, weighed air, and examined the Cartesian phi losophy.

In 1692 he was consecrated bishop of Avranches, a city in lower Normandy; but the situation, he says, disagreed with him; and in seven years he abdicated the see, on the plea of ill health. The annotator tells a different story. According to him, Huet was too fond of books to be fit for an active station. When persons came to him on business, they were constantly told, that the bishop was at his books, and could not be disturbed; upon which one of them said, "Why did not the king give us a bishop who had finished his studies?" Huet now retired to the abbacy of Fontenai, conferred upon him on resignation of the bishopric. Here was to be his heaven. But no sooner was he comfortably settled, than there seemed to be a general insurrection against his peace. His successor at Avranches, and the representatives of his predecessor at Fontenai raked him fore and aft. Father La Chaise, appointed arbitrator in his disputes, behaved with downright severity. The very tenants of the abbatial farms were only to be subdued by parliamentary interference.-Huet died at Paris on the 20th of January, 1721; having almost completed his ninetyfirst year.

Every attentive reader of this book, will readily perceive, that by far the greatest part of it might much better have been written by the bishop's secretary. If a person profess to write his own life, the public has a fair right to know a little of the author's interior; for all the rest is known and read of all men." He imposes upon himself moral obligation to tell what none else can tell; but if he virtually disowns the obligation, the public will express their sense of injury and disappointment by suspecting the offender to have disclosed all that could be exhibited with credit. Consequently, he is regarded not as a


good and true historian, but as an apologist; or as one who will be heard first, that he may prejudice the jury before they call for the witnesses. There is indeed a method by which some self-biographers have passed themselves for confessors; but they have had the sagacity to make their confessions of sin set off what they assume to be their virtues; the lustre of the latter being heightened by contrast. They will consent to allow one part to be evil, on condition that you will own the other nine, or forty-nine, or ninetynine, (the quantities vary), to be substantially good. The dishonesty of self.biographers offends the moral feelings, by depriving the thoughtful reader of that peculiar instruction which is imparted, by comparing the moral operations of another mind with his own. Anxiety for himself as a probationer for eternity will create what may be called a sanctified curiosity to be informed by what process of spiritual degrada tion aman brings himself deliberately to present the world with a false account of his own motives of action, and, while he professes to let them into a secret, is, in reality, laughing at their credulity. There is an elaborate hypocrisy in this case, which may alarm such persons as recollect our common origin.-The intellectual reader will be galled, by feeling himself swindled out of the opporunity which self-biography affords, of observing the subtle operations of the will, when conscience struggles with passion, and pride with sensuality, and when the occult causes of actions, unaccountable to all but the actor, are developed by the only person who could indulge him with the disclosure. Not that the actor can, as such, give the truest account always; but a quick-sighted judge of human nature will find some instructive amusement in watching another's efforts to tell what he thinks about himself; when, like Cowper's sheep at the lime-kiln, he knows not what to think.

A most unreasonable quantity of

Huet's memoirs is engrossed by a catalogue raisonnée of his literary associates. They seem to have sat for their pictures, that the bishop might hang his gallery to repletion; and then walk up and down this temple of fame, communicating and receiving greatness. To be sure, if vanity were justifiable, no lover of sound learning would quarrel with him for exulting in an intimacy with such men as Bochart; but the bishop, like numbers of our fellow mortals, makes his familiars stepping stones to importance.

He appears to have been credu lous. One reason for this infirmity may perhaps be found in his want of a practical knowledge of the world, which he chiefly knew from books; and he was not free from what was once a vulgar prejudice, that whatever is in print must be true; that is, in his case, of course, if supported by a great name. His Swedish journey subjected him to one or two palpable hoares. And there is a story about his having been half gulled by an alchemist, (Vol. ii. p. 26.)

The character of this prelate is a striking and an affecting illustration of the difference-we adopt the language of a living philosopher-between being the dignified advocate of Christianity, and its humble disciple. He published a work abound. ing with deep erudition and sound reasoning; which the learned of all nations have combined to admire. Men of letters, to-day, have written commentaries on a voluptuous classic; and to-morrow, on an apostolic epistle. In each case, they frequently write as though there were no difference between sacred and profane literature. The salvation of the soul is as an accident to the substance. The truth of the Gospel is demonstrated; and its doctrine practically denied. The infidel is confuted by the unbeliever. Huet expresses no personal interest in the Gospel. "He dies, and makes no sign!" His references to "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," are little

superior to what a theist might make to a metaphysical deity, unrevealed and inaccessible, the unknown God of the Pagan world. The extremus labor of a Christian bishop might have been excused, even by the bigots of infidelity; had it contained the dying thoughts of a sound believer in Christ Jesus. As it is, the enemy may perhaps exclaim,"Are these thy triumphs, Chris tianity?" We answer, "No: we refer you to something more substantial. Look at the examples of practical religion which repeat the apology of the early Christians: Non magna eloquimur sed vivimus."

Some persons may acquit Huet on the score of old age; a season when men have a prescriptive right to be garrulous. The question, however, is not, whether their talk may be redundant; but whether their talk ought not to discover that serious subjects are wrought into the texture of their minds, and cause them, sometimes at least, to be redundant on religion. The last years of holy persons may indeed betray infirmities connected both with their spiritual and secular habits; yet the divine principle, even though oppressed by much intellectual debility, manifests its existence and efficacy too. From them the Christian paradox receives useful illustration: "As dying, and, behold, we live; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as having nothing, and possessing all things."


Our report of the work under review has been undertaken with reluctance; both on account of the innate disagreeableness of the book itself, and because it was but barely just to the Bishop of Avranches to refrain from visiting him while the recollection of the noctes cœnæque deum spent at Cambray, made us impatient of all other society. Certainly, the nights and suppers at Avranches are purely buman.

Fenelon-oh the freshening influence of that name!-differs from *Christian Observer for November, 1819, pp. 687-702,

Huet, as the beams of a vernal Neither the purity of Fenelon, nor

morning from the night exhalations of a morass. In the first, Christianity did indeed display her triumphs; from the other, she extorted the heartless compliments of ceremony and office. Could any mortal homage have increased her native dignity, she would have been indebted to Fenelon for a boon unconsciously bestowed; while Huet would have offered an unaccepted sacrifice, though assumed by himself to be costly and meritorious. The two characters stand opposed to each other, as a sublime degree of spirituality is contrasted to the worldliness of a man who considers Christianity as a material out of which he may erect vast structures of intellectual fame. The contemplation of these is a compensation for his having agreed to be a believer. With a contractor of this kind, the question is, "What shall I be profited, if I lose the world, and save my own soul?" The reply is ready; "I have no occasion to lose the world; for I will contrive to make it all my own by causing religion to be the prime source of my reputation; and thus opposites shall for once he reconciled." Fatal sophistry! but so we deceive, and are deceived.

We feel a very strong desire that Fenelon also had written his own life. As to poor Huet, he has done the deed; and, with Shakspeare's Thane, we can truly say, "This is a sorry sight!" The portraits of both prelates hang side by side in our cabinet; and when to our fancy, the Gallican Church presents her matron form, we think of Hamlet's filial remonstsance,

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the delinquency of Huet, can be attributed to their church. In that communion, as in other divisions of the Christian world, the personal sanctity of eminent saints seems to indicate the inefficacy of all human modifications of the Gospel; that is, as distinguished from the immediate teaching of the Holy Ghost, who chooses, as it were, to be sometimes equally independent of the best and worst instruments. Not that the circumstance here supposed, should be so abused as to make creeds a matter of indifference; for the force of a principle must be measured by its known operation on the mass, and not by its assumed influence on individuals. Whoever refuses to concede this, may be referred to the undisguised profligacy of manners prevailing among the higher and middle ranks in Popish countries. Compare this with the general decorousness of the same classes in this island, or in any portion of the world, where Christianity has been suffered to diffuse her own doctrines without molestation. The scale of morals will be found to correspond to purity of faith; and, if amidst the corruptions of Rome, some, have walked with undefiled garments, we do not forget that this degenerate communion has never formally renounced the elementary doctrines of the Gospel. They are indeed found in combination with baser matter; but expert analysts have succeeded in decomposing the mass; and, after examination, have chosen the good part. In all religious communities there will be a profanum vulgus, which will take its faith upon trust; that is to say, will have no faith at all, although offensively impatient with any party but its own. This is not Popery, nor Protestantism, but human nature in religious masquerade; sometimes in a black, then in a purple colour and costume which can be domino; and in fact, in every invented. Fenelon never assumed a character. His own supported

itself. Huet was driven to personate one to which he was unable to impart spirit and nature. He wore the mitre with such counterfeit dignity, and waved the crosier with so clumsy a grace, that many who watched his feats at the masquerade, wondered he should have chosen the very character which he was irresistibly fated to spoil.

Christian Liberty; a Sermon preached at St. Mary's, before His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, (Chancellor of the University), and the University of Cambridge, at the Installation, June 30, 1811. By Samuel Butler, D.D. late Fellow of St. John's College, and Head Master of Shrewsbury School. Shrewsbury, Eddowes; London, Longman. 12mo. pp. 129. 1811.

In the month of June, 1811, as the public well know, the Duke of Gloucester was installed Chancellor of the University of Cambridge; a distinction which he justly merited, both on account of his public conduct and his private virtues. Our readers will also remember, that on the occasion of his installation a prodigious concourse of people of both sexes, and of all ranks, assembled within the precincts of the Alma Mater. Amidst other points of assemblage, a great part of this multitude came together at the University church, to hear Dr. Butler address them in his ministerial character. Prepared for the nature and extent of his audience; expecting to address thousands of the young, the fashionable, the dissipated; selected by the University as a sort of organ of their embodied opinions; carrying, as it were, their reputation, for a day, in his hands; he thought proper to deliver the present discourse. It might have been expect ed, that a preacher, raised to such a vantage ground, would have eagerly embraced the opportunity of fighting the battle of Religion; that he would have defended her cause, where she CHRIST. OUSERY. No. 121.

was most rudely assaulted; that he would have fortified some weak point in our own camp, or seized some advanced post of the enemy. We too fondly hoped, that, suiting the topic to the audience, the preacher would teach the worldly, the dissipated, the thoughtless, the perils of worldliness, of dissipation, and of neutrality. But whether it was that the elevation of some pulpits, like a station on the Alps, gives a clearer and more commanding view of the valley below; or whether the magicians of that astrological university conjured up some phantom before the eyes of the preacher, we know not. Certain it is, he did not see his audience with our eyes, or contend with an enemy who appears to us to have any real existence. But these are points rather to be proved than asserted; and although it will be at the expense of carrying our readers over ground they have often trod, they will, we trust, forgive, and, as far as they can, accompany us, while we review the work before us. If the hydra has seven heads, it must be beheaded seven times.

The text of the sermon is from Gal. v. 1: "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free;" and the sermon is, as the text promises, a defence of Christian liberty-employing the term, however, as will be seen, in a very peculiar sense. It opens with declaring, p. 9, that even in infancy the germ of this passion (for liberty) is developed among the earliest operations of the human will." The author proceeds to shew, in a well written passage, that St. Paul did not, in his submission as a Christian, forget his rights as a citizen. He then states his intention to inquire "whether the restraints and austerities which some teachers (whom he does not name) would engraft upon religion are consistent with the doctrines or practice of Christ and his apostles." He states also, that he shall pursue this inquiry, not by examining " particular and detached texts," but by regarding the


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