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the sermon. They would know where to begin, and what to do. I will not deny, that if there be any among us who disbelieve the christian religion, their conviction of its truth may, by way of analogy to the use of language in the New Testament, be called a regeneration. But it should not be forgotten, that this is highly figurative language, and not strictly justified by the ose of the same language in the days of our Saviour and the apostles.
The term conversion, the meaning of which is simply a turning from, is used not only to signify the same thing as regeneration, but also in a more limited sense, as in James v. 20, to convert a sinner from the error of his ways.
SKETCHES OF THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF FENELON.
[Translated from the French.)
It must always be the glory and the pride of Perigord,* to have given birth to Fenelon, the Archbisbop of Cambray.He was the author of 55 different works, all of which, bearing marks of having flowed from a soul of elevated virtue, have immortalized his name. We see in them the indications of a mind thoroughly imbued with ancient and modern literature, and animated with a lively, gentle, and sportive imagination. His style is flowing, graceful, and harmonious. Men of great refinement of taste might wish, that his style were more rapid, more concise, more vigorous ; that it were more elaborate, more refined, and more full of thought. But it is not given to man to be perfect. No work is better suited than his Telemachus to inspire us with the love of virtue. In reading it, we learn to cling to his hero alike in his good, and in his bad fortune, to sympathize with him in the love of his father, and of his country, to follow with him the changes of fortune, and to be king, citizen, friend, and even a slave, as chance requires. Happy the nation, for which this work could once be the means of forming a Telemachus and a Mentor! Louis XIV. unjustly prejudiced agaiost the author, and thinking that he perceived a satire of his own government running through this book, caused the printing of this masterpiece to be suppressed; nor was the author permitted to go on with the work in France during the life
* (Perigord is a province of France, in which was situated the Barony of Salignac, and the castle of Fenelon, which was the birth place of this distinguished man, and the residence of his family and his ancestors.]
of this prince. So far indeed was this prejudice carried, that after the death of the duke of Burgundy,* the monarch caused all the manuscripts of his preceptor, which his grandson had preserved, to be destroyed.
One day that Louis XIV. was conversing with Fenelon upon political affairs, the prelate discovered to the king a part those principles, which he has so well developed in his Telemachus. ' The prince, who had no very favourable opinion of all those maxims, could not avoid saying to his courtiers, after parting with Fenelon, I have just been conversing with the finest genius, at the same time the most chimerical, in my kingdom.
Fenelon did not complete his Telemachus till after his banishment to his archbishopric of Cambray. In this poem, as it ought undoubtedly to be called, he has substituted a barmonious prose for the numbers and cadence of verse, and from bis ingenious fiction has drawn the most useful moral lessons. With a mind, enriched with all the stores of ancient literature, and with an imagination at once lively and tender, he had a
[The duke of Burgundy was grandson to Louis XIV. Fenelon was appointed his preceptor in 1689. This prince is represented as manifesting, in his early years, and before Fenelon had the superiotendence of his education, a disposition extremely untractable and unpropilious. • Invincible obstinacy, à revolting pride, irascible propensities, and the most violent passions, are described as its odious features; but they were joined with a great capacity for acquiring all kinds of knowledge.' The success of Fenelon in bis education was complete : and it serves to show how much may be accomplished by well directed measures, faithfully applied, with firinness, constancy, kindness and patience, in subduing the most refractory tempers, and forming the most unpromising minds to wisdom, piety, and virtue. The faithful preceptor had the satisfaction of witnessing in the elevated character of bis popil the in fluence of the lessons he had received, and the discipline to wlich be had been subjected.
But he owed also to this success, in part at least, the morelenting persecutions, which followed him, through the rest of his life. The reputation of Fenelon excited the jealousy of Bossuet, the celebrated biskop of Meaux. «The unsuccessful preceptor of the father could not hear with indifference the applause, which all France bestowed on the preceptor of the son; nor listen without envy to the accents of gratitude, which echoed from every corner of the realm, to the man, to whom the people owed the prospect of a wise and beneficent reign.'
Bossuet became his implacable foe, resolved on his ruin, and seems to have shrunk froin no means, by which he might accomplish it.
The sangnine hopes of the nation were extinguished by the early death of the duke of Burgundy in 1711. When Fenelon heard the aftlicling intelligence : “all my ties,' said he, are broken. Nothing now remains to bind ine to the earth.']
peculiar to himself, and which flowed from a copious and abundant source.
I have seen, says Voltaire, his original manuscript of the work, in the whole of which there were not ten erasures. It is said, that a copy of it was stolen from him by a servant, who got it printed. If this was the fact, the Archbishop of Cambray was indebted to this act of treachery for all the celebrity he had in Europe ; but he owed to it also his perpetual banishment from the Court. It was believed, I have already said, th at in Telemachus was seen an indirect critique of the government of Louis XIV. Sesostris, whose triumph was conducted with so much pride and pageantry, and Idomeneus, who introduced luxury into Salentum, while he neglected wholly to provide the common necessaries of life for the inhabitants, appeared to have been designed as portraits of the king. The marquis of Louvois, in the eyes of the malcontents, seemed to be represented under the name of Protesilaus, vain glorious, cruel, haughty, an enemy of the great commanders who chose to ser ve the state, rather than to gain the favour of the minister. The allies, who were united against Louis XIV. in the war of 1638, and who afterward in the war of 1701, shook his very throne, took pleasure in recognizing him in this same Idomeneus, whose pride provoked all his neighbours to rebel against him. In fine, malicious persons sought allusions in this book, and made applications, of which perhaps Fenelon had never thought. Persons of taste on the other hand, could see and admire in this moral romance, all the loftiness of Homer united with all the elegance of Virgil, and the charms of fable joined with the energy of truth. They thought that princes, wbo should meditate on its lessons of wisdom and virtue, would learn to be men, to seek the happiness of their people, and to be happy themselves.
It has been supposed that the adventures of Telemachus were first composed as exercises for the Duke of Burgondy ; in the same manner as Bossuet composed his universal history for the education of Monsieur the father of the Duke. But his nephew, the Marquis of Fenelon, who inherited the virtues of this celebrated man, assured Voltaire of the contrary. Indeed, adds the author of the age of Louis XIV. it would have ill become a priest to give the amours of Calypso and of Eucharis, ainong the first lessons to the princes of France. But Fenelon might with perfect propriety have given the principal reflections of Telemachus as exercises to the duke of Burgundy.
Some men of letters, shutting their eyes against the beauties
which this work presents, and giving their attention only to lit. tle blemishes and defects, charged the author with anachronisms, with carelessness in his language, with frequent repetitions, with drawing out his narrative to a tedious length, with minute and uninteresting details, with unconnected adventures, with descriptions of rural life too much alike; but their censures were soon forgotten, and took nothing from the merit of the work, which they criticised. They did not prevent its passing through a great number of editions. There were above thirty in English, and more than ten in Dutch. It is unquestionably one of the finest monuments of a flourishing age. It procured for its author the veneration of all Europe, and will not fail to procure for him that of all future ages. The English especially, who carried on the war in his disocese, were eager to testify their respect for bim. The duke of Marlborough took as much' care to save his grounds from depredation, as he would have done for those of his own castle of Blenheim. lo fine, Fenelon was always dear to the duke of Burgundy, of whose education he had had the superintendence; and when that prince took leave of him to go to Flanders in the course of the war, he said to him, I know what I owe to you, and you know whai ! am to you.
The duke of Orleans, who was afterwards regent of the king. dom, says the author of the age of Louis XIV., consulted the archbishop of Cambray upon those difficult points, which are interesting to all, but which so many are apt to think but little about. He asked, whether the being of God could be demonstrated : and whether it was bis will, that men should worship him. Many questions of this kind he proposed, as a pbiloso pher, who was desirous of receiving instruction, of having bis doubts resolved, and his mind enlightened. And in all cases the archbishop answered him as a philosopher and a theologian. The necessity of rendering public religious services to the Deity, following naturally from the idea of his being the Sovereign of the Universe, Fenelon established the true characters of that worship. He made the internal worship to consist in supreme love to a being infinitely lovely, and the external, in sensible signs of that love. It is not sufficient to cherish the love of God in the heart. It is necessary to give thanks to the common parent of all publicly, to celebrate his mercy, to make him known to the ignorant, and to reclaim those, who have for gotten him. The learned prelate pursues the inquiry in order to ascertain where the only true worship of God is to be found. Not in paganism, which directed its worship only to lifeless images, and commanded prayer to be made to them, only for tem. a poral prosperity. The true worship of God is discovered among
the Jews, who know God as a spirit, and are taught to love
him. But with them it is yet neither general, nor perfect. It o is only with christians that it has its entire influence over the
conduct of life. Christianity then is the only true religion ; and at nothing is more just, or better supported by sound reflection,
than what Fenelon bas established, in opposition to those who would maintain, that the worship rendered by a being of limited faculties, that is, by a finite being, is unworthy of a being of infinite perfection.
His refutation of the doctrine of Spinoza is also luminous and satisfactory; and in these different writings he appears, not as a master, who speaks with authority ; but as a brother, as a friend, who is indulgent to our weakness, and doubts with us, that he may have it in his power to remove our doubts.
It is said, that in his sermons, written for the most part while he was young, there is nothing of eloquence, except so far as the heart is engaged, and the heart of Fenelon was always engaged. But if there is much of feeling, there is but little of reasoning. One would say that his discourses were made without much preparation. There are passages in them highly pathetic ; but there are others which bear the marks of great negligence, and are very feeble. It is this inixture of beauties and defects, of force
and weakness of style, which has placed his sermons in the second rank. Fenelon had the talent of preaching without premeditation, but the facility of doing it, though it had its advantages, was an injury to his composition. He wrote as he spoke, he must accordingly write rather negligently.
Ramsay, a disciple of the archbishop of Cambray, has pubJished a life of his illustrious master. Those, who shall have the curiosity to consult it, will find it impossible to withhold from him their love and their tears. No one ever loved his country more sincerely than Fenelon; but he would perinit no one to seek her interests by violating the rights of humanity, or to exalt her by detracting from the merit of any other people. I love, said he, my own family better than myself, I love my country better than my family, but I love the human race still better than my country. A sentiment that well deserves to be the motto of every true philospher!
Fenelon's manner of living in his diocese was worthy of his station, as an archbishop, and of his character as a man of letters and a christian philosopher. He was the father of his people and an example to his clergy. The sweetess of his manners, spread over his conversation, as over his writings, caused him New Series-vol. IV.