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climax. Are such men constitutional advocates of a people's rights ? are they even a healthy part of the body politic of England ? No! they are indolent and indurated tumours, equally dangerous by their stay or their removal, but which it is the interest both of the King and People to soften or disperse as much as possible by their united skill and energy. They are the powerful obstacle in the way of all reform, yet dare to retain a name which throws shame and inconsistency on all their actions and all their sentiments. Let me except one eminent character " who bears no token of these sable streams,” though sometimes ingulfed in their general vortex. For Lord Holland it is impossible not to feel the deepest respect: his open disposition and honest feelings remind one every moment of his great relative; while his fine good sense, enlarged and liberalized into philosophy, shows that if his talents are not so prodigious as those of his uncle, they are at least of the same sterling nature.' pp. 25, 26,
Mr. Horner is highly and yet perhaps inadequately appreciated; but the Author puts forth all his strength on the character which is reserved for the concluding portrait, Mr. Whitbread. Since the Author's sketch was written, that truly independent and faithful representative of the people, has fallen a victim to his own overwrought energies; and his encomium has been most emphatically pronounced by fellow senators, to whom in his parliamentary career, he was a sincere and formidable opponent. The loss which the nation has suffered in his death, we do not pretend to estimate.
Art. IV. The French Preacher; or Sermons translated from the most
eminent French Divines, Catholic and Protestant; with Biographical Notices of the Authors, and a concise Account of other distinguished Orators of the French Pulpit. To which is prefixed, an Historical View of the Reformed Church of France, from its Origin to the Present Time. By Ingram Cobbin. 8vo.
pp. 1. 562. Price 14s. Black, 1816. WITHIN the last five and twenty years, the French lan
guage, from a mere superficial accomplishment, has in this country become a real and a favourite study; and among those who have thus explored its treasures, a very large proportion have made themselves familiar with what is commonly, though somewhat affectedly, termed the Eloquence of the French Pulpit. Repeated attempts have been made to naturalize among us the sermons of the French Divines; but they have, in general, been decided failures, and it is no compliment to Mr. Cobbin to say, that with the exception of Robinsou's Saurin, his is by far the best; for in truth we are not acquainted with any other to which even the faint and languid praise of respectable execution can be justly awarded. Though we may have occasion to differ from Mr. C. in some points, and in others to indicate such corrections as his work may appear to us to
need, we shall not hesitate to express our opinion that he has produced an interesting volume.
The very nature of his undertaking presented to Mr. Cobbin an obstacle, which, since it seems to us nearly insurmountable, it cannot be injurious to him to say that he has not in our opinion surmounted. In order to give an adequate representation of the powers and peculiarities of the masters of pulpitoratory in France, it is necessary to make their style and manner the subjects of close and continued investigation, and to confine the attention to one or two instead of diverting it to a considerable number. Mr. C.'s plan was different, and indeed considering the universal diffusion of the French language, it was scarcely worth his while to restrict himself; but hence has arisen an unavoidable defect in the sameness of style which pervades the compositions of men originally as different in their modes of expression, as in their names.
A question of some importance might in this place be advantageously discussed, but it would tempt us beyond our limits, and we must content ourselves with barely stating it. Are the Pulpit divines of France proper models for English preachers ? We feel no hesitation whatever in giving this question our decided negative; they are too artificial, and artifice in the pulpit is a cardinal vice; even their richest beauties are, excepting in the instance of perhaps not more than one individual, of so rhetorical a nature, as to make them dangerous though captivating models. Our best English divines are safer and higher objects of imitation; their cast of thought is more sound; their eloquence is equally impressive, and at the same time more simple, vigorous, and true. But we shall pass at once to Mr. C.'s Introduction, and his brief commentary on the preachers of France.
Mr. Cobbin's Introduction is interesting, and his observations are generally just; but we must take leave to differ from him when he joins in the opinion which ascribes to Bourdaloue 'the
glory of reforming the French Pulpit.' It has happened in this case, as in most other cases, that the praise which really belongs to men of an inferior class, has been unjustly assigned to the man who, though by no means the first to reform the pulpit, yet unquestionably went far beyond the first reformers. The earlier and ruder of the French Preachers, mingled in their strange harangues the most incongruous images and expressions; they were frequently indecent, and always on the hunt after a jest; but in the midst of their coarseness and vulgarity, we may sometimes find passages of great brilliancy and power. Menot, Barlet, Meyssier, Raulin, Mailliard, 'Ferrier, Clerée, with others of the same cast, were the favourites of the people: their eloquence was rustic, too often unintelligible and absurd; but at the same time it was suited to their dearers, and at least on them it produced a strong impression. It would be easy to select from a great number of extracts now lying before us, specimens of the grossest buffoonery, and the most incredible absurdity; but we prefer laying before our French readers, a passage from a funeral oration, delivered in 1615, at the obsequies of the celebrated Crillon, by the Jesuit Bening: The composition is of a most whimsical kind, a mixture of seriousness and burlesque; but there are in it passages of great beauty and vigour.
• Il ne pouvoit se tenir sous le toit d'une maison, à l'abri d'une tente, sous l'ombre d'une courtine; aux champs, à la campagne, au jour, à l'erte, au soleil, au hâle, au serein ; mon Crillon, le pied toujours en l'air, ou sur l'etrier, la tête sous le ciel qui étoit son pavillon et son dais. La volupté ne l'a jamais collé à la terre, les délices ne l'ont jamais colleté. Cet Annibal ne s'est point arrêté à Capoue; ce Samson n'a point perdu sa force au giron de Dalila; cet Achille ne changea jamais le pourpoint en une veste feminine, cet Hercule ne quitta jamais son epée pour prendre une quenouille. Telle étoit la hautesse de son coeur, qu'il étoit supérieur à toutes les difficultés & encombres qui l'accueilloient.
* A quoi en venons nous, Messieurs ? Pour Dieu eveillons nous, et pensons à ceci; Crillon est mort, & il nous faut mourir. Il n'y a homme si haut monté, que la mort ne desarçonne; si haut perché, qu'elle ne culbute en bas; si bien armé à blanc et à cou, qu'elle ne perce; si bien retranché et barricadé, qu'elle ne renverse. La mort est cette Até d'Homère, qui se promene et danse sur la tête des hommes ; la mort est le glaive de Damocles, qui, lorsque nous banquettons et passons nos jours en plaisirs et en quelque joyeux deduit, nous pend sur la tête.'
To this race succeeded a class of men inferior in genius and vigour, and of colder feelings, but of far purer taste. The representatives of this class are Senault and De Lingendes. With the former we have no acquaintance, but we possess tlie Latin sermons of the latter, who was always accustomed to write them in that language though he delivered them in French. Two octavo volumes in the modern garb also lie before us, but they are nothing more than indifferent translations of some of the Latin originals. Senault is, we believe, in higher estima. tion than De Lingendes, but his works, though sufficiently common, have not fallen in our way. We shall now in illustration of our preceding observations, insert an untranslated extract from the original Latin of the last named divine ; it forms part of the exordium of his second sermon on the Transfiguration.
" Sentio Christiani animus intus mibi tenerescere, & quo6 dammodo rapi, occursu prodigiorum quæ hodie intueor. In“ tima quadam lætitia me abripit, corque meum, sancta quadam 56 oblectatione affectu conticescere non potest. Videtur mihi
~ cælum amplius quam pro more illuminatum, ac nescio an vel " Sol in terras descenderit, vel hodiernus dies pepererit geminos “ Soles : Thabor & Hermon in nomine tuo exultabunt. “ Delectatio ita universalis est ut ipsi etiam montes similes " sunt agniculis qui exultant et saltitant in campo. Hermon “ quidem in Christi Baptismo, in illa Patris voce, Hic est
filius meus dilectus, quæ primùm audiri cæpit. Nunc autem “ exultat et lætitia perfunditur Thabor, divinus & sanctus ille
mons, non minus gloria, ac splendoris natione, quem ingenti “ altitudine sublimis : de gratia enim cum cælo certat: Thabor
quippe, ut ait St. Hieron. in Oseam; idem est quod lumen 66 veniens. At enim nonne mutatus est omnino in Paradisum ? " Ejus claritas superat cæli claritatem ; illius incolæ, non mi
nores sunt; gloria est major; si statuantur in illo Taber" nacula quæ š. Petrus optabat, terra plusquam valebit quam “ cælum; illic Filius Dei accipit testimonium suæ divinitatis ; " Ejus corpus experimentum facit vestitus gloriæ; Moyses recipit “ effectum postulationis suæ; Elias zeli sui premium; Petrus « fidei; Jacobus animatur ad morjandum ante ceteros omnes “ Apostolos pro confessione divinitalis Magistri sui, cujus red“ ditur testis; Joannes videt ac audit, quod aliquando tonabit
potius quam prædicabit cum admiratione universarum.
We have not made any particular selection of this passage, and whatever be its defects, it may serve to shew that a revolution had taken place in the public mind, and that a new style of preaching had been introduced before the rise of Bourdaloue. Indeed, we are disposed to think that the merit of this last mentioned and celebrated man, has been somewhat overrated. It is admitted even by his most decided partisans, that he is deficient in unction. To us he seems exceedingly dry; and his reasoning powers do not appear to deserve half of what has been said in their praise. But we are anticipating, and must return to our Author's introduction.
Mr. C. furnishes us with several extracts from the sermons of be Jeune, in illustration of the poverty and absurdity of the style of preaching which was popular in the earlier times; but though the passages quoted are sufficiently ridiculous, he should have added that in other parts of his discourses, le Jeune shews himself capable of better things, and that he is by no means to be confounded with the Andrés and Honorés of the day. Mr. C. proceeds to make some general and judicious observations on the great orators of the French Pulpit. We wish, however, that he had not called Massillon energetic.' If the word be used in its original, but very unusual sense, we admit that he is, to a certain extent, correct in its application ; but if he apply it in its common and conventional meaning, it appears to us unhappily chosen. Massillon is VOL. VI. N. S.
decidedly deficient in what is usually understood by energy; he is too much incumbered by his richness, and his redundancy impedes the freeness of his movements. We should call Junius energetic; but what can be more at variance than the style of Junius and that of Massillon ? Voltaire is quoted by Mr. Cobbin in explanation of what is usually termed the style refugié.
• The defects of the language of the Calvinistical Pastors," he remarks, originated in their copying the incorrect phrases of the first Reformers. Moreover, almost every one of them having been brought up at Saumur, in Poitou, Dauphiné, or Languedoc, they retained the vicious modes of speaking peculiar to each province.'
It might have been added to this, that there is about many of those who were expatriated, a sort of constraint and stiffness, an air of translation, which strongly reminds us of a man speaking in a tongue not strictly vernacular. Saurin, for instance, is little, if at all, liable to the objections here made by Voltaire against the style nf the Protestant divines. He had resided in France but for a short time; he had frequented the best company, he was no doubt conversant with the purest writers of French literature, and yet any one may discern a considerable difference to his disadvantage between his style and that of Massillon. How is this to be accounted for? Not certainly upon the grounds assigned by Voltaire ; for in his sense, Saurin could scarcely be deemed provincial. But as it appears to us, from the fact that he had not in his exile the proper opportunities of cultivating by perpetual practice, the true, ready, idiomatic, easy, conversation style which is best suited to every species of eloquence.
In a note to a subsequent page, we have a just and pointed reprehension of the contemptible misrepresentations in Lempriere's Universal Biography. The character of Romaine is very powerfully vindicated, and very beautifully touched by Mr. Cobbin; indeed, he excels in this species of writing, and though it has not much to do either with his introduction, or with our review of it, we cannot help quoting from another note his description of the late Rev. Samuel Lavington, of Bideford.
(He) always read his sermons, yet no preacher was ever more useful, nor did ever any preacher more powerfully fix the attention of his auditory. This was the more singular, as he cultivated none of the alluring charms of oratory. He had a fine figure, but it always remained immoveable; a commanding countenance, but he never gave it expression; a deep voice, but he never varied its tones. The composition of his sermons was perfectly simple, the matter contained neither profound ratiocination, nor the soaring