« AnteriorContinuar »
-the only one left by the woodman's axe on --professing to rely on the stock that he an aged elm before my window-broken from seems to spring from ; clinging to him rather the trunk, and hanging suspended by a merely than to that stock; and, by the weight of external connexion, which could convey no their worthless fellowship, hastening the fall nourishment to it. During the day, I watched, that may prove as fatal to themselves. I with regretful looks, the evident fading of marked how the grasp of those climbers conthose leaves that had formed so graceful a tinually tore down the leaves, which lay screen to the window of my study: while, heaped beneath, until a very rude, short gust tossing more wildly in every fresh gust of of wind swept them off in a moment, amid wind, the broken branch seemed hastening clouds of dust. Here was the positive reality to its final fall.
of the prophet's touching image, “We all do Towards evening, a party of idle boys con- fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the gregated on the open space; and, after trying wind, have carried us away.” various pastimes, took it into their heads to I turned from the window at length, overenjoy a swing, as they said, on, or rather with powered by the thought-how awful is the the drooping branch. By turns they seized | responsibility of a branch, a recognised memit, springing from the ground, or climbing by ber of the visible Church! Either it is good, the trunk; and, struggling as high as they pleasant, profitable, doing honour to the stem could, they set the bough in motion by their that bears it; or a blemish, a disgrace to that weight, waving to and fro, in desperate glee, | stem, and to those who behold it a snare. at such a distance from the ground, that had And oh, how mysterious is the union, which, the slender strip of rind given way, the con- abiding, gives life, strength, beauty, and fersequences must have been dreadful. Em- tility ; but which may be destroyed without boldened by impunity, each foolish lad en immediately breaking the outward tie. May deavoured to surpass his predecessor in this not such a branch, under the power of selfwanton exposure of life and limb ; until, deception, conceive that still it lives, though alarmed at the scene, I privately sent to a palpably withering in its place? It is an imperson sufficiently authorised, who, placing a pressive call for deep searching of heart, ladder against the trunk, mounted, and with when, for aught we know, the axe may be one blow of an axe rendered the separation | sharpening that is to lay us in the dust. As complete. The withering branch, thus cut these ideas occupied me, I happened to glance off, fell, and was borne away to be cast into on a favourite greenhouse plant, the principal the fire and burned.
part of which had once, by a fall, been apPerhaps few seasons are more friendly to parently broken as hopelessly as the elmsolemn thought than the closing eve of a sum bough; but my anxiety to save it had mer's day, clouded over and ruffled by the | prompted so many expedients, that, by dint stormy wind. Here was a text, that would of propping, binding, and other careful helps, require very little skill to spin it out to a the injury was repaired, and my plant stood long discourse : a similitude clear to the as vigorously blooming as ever. Sweet lesdullest apprehension, and fraught with hum- son! I mentally said, may it be mine to bebling considerations. Likening my elm to | come a healer wherever I see a weak branch " the True Vine,” how could I fail to follow in danger of separating from the tree. Many up the comparison ? A fair professor, with a wounded spirit is utterly broken by the inmuch to invite the good opinion of men, un judicious harshness, or unbelieving hopelessable to withstand the trial of trouble and per ness, of those who might bind it up, if they secution arising because of the word, and would heartily set themselves to the work. virtually broken off through unbelief; yet Surely this, one of the blessed offices of the maintaining that outward hold, which includes Saviour, well becomes his followers. To no spiritual participation in the root and fat- crush a weak brother is an easy, and, to our ness of the tree ; hanging on, with weak corrupt nature, congenial task ; but to raise though vaunting tenacity, and pointing down- | the falling, to support the wavering, to dress ward, while every living branch bears its head the wound, and, by dressing, to hide it from toward the sky; the very abundance of his unfeeling eyes—this is an acting of the new leafy professions only rendering more con nature, which God the Spirit alone can create spicuous his progress towards utter corrup and sustain. tion, and holding out a perilous temptation to thoughtless souls. They, perhaps, not
Biography. stopping to investigate the reality of his union with the tree, and delighted to find him
FENELON, ARCHBISHOP OF CAMBRAY. tending to their own earthly region, from FRANCIS DE LA SALIGNAC DE LA MOTTE FENELON, which his fellows labour more and more to archbishop and duke of Cambray, was born at the rise, catch at him as a sort of connecting link castle of Fenelon, in the province of Perigord, August 6, 1651. He was of an illustrious family. His father soon afterwards the archbishopric of Cambray. When was Pous de Salignac, marquis of Fenelon, and his this latter dignity was offered him, Fenelon refused to Brother Louisa de la Cropte, sister of the Marquis de accept of it, from the most conscientious motives. He St. Abre. He was educated at home until the age of felt that it was utterly incompatible with his office as twelve, when he was sent to the university of Cahors. preceptor of the princes; and it was not but at the king's But it was under the care of his uncle, Anthony, mar command, and by an arrangement that allowed him quis of Fenelon, a man of the noblest genius and to remain at Cambray nine months in the year, that highest character, who took Francis into his own house he accepted the archbishopric, and resigned the abbey at Paris, that he made such rapid advancement in his of St. Vallery. studies, publicly preaching at Paris, and with the | This disinterested conduct on the part of Fenelon, greatest effect, when only nineteen. By the persua -- for he might have retained all his preferments sion of his uncle, however, who exhorted him for some and singular perhaps as it was disinterested, while it Feats to imitate the silence of Jesus Christ, he retired raised him higher if possible in the estimation of his from his public ministry, and devoted himself to the friends, was unquestionably one chief source of the acquisition of more extensive knowledge.
rancorous hostility so soon testified towards him. This At the age of twenty-four he was fully admitted into conduct was a strong rebuke to those who were grasporders, and obtained preferments from the archbishop ing at every thing, and tenaciously keeping all that of Paris, being appointed superior of a community of they could grasp. It condemned the courtly flatterers, women, who had lately embraced the Roman Catholic who left no stone unturned to promote their own adfaith. Soon after, he was appointed by Louis XIV. | vancement, or the advancement of their friends. “You chief of the missionaries who were sent along the are going to ruin us !" said the archbishop of Rheims, coast of Saintonge, and the Pays d'Aunis, for the pur when he heard of the determination; an exclamation pose of bringing the Protestants into subjection to the which throws no small light on the grounds of the papal see. For this object military force had been hostility to Fenelon, who, consequently, very speedily hitherto employed, and the most revolting barbarities became the object of aversion to those who were inpractised on those who were branded as heretics; bar capable of testifying the same generosity of spirit. barities which have, in too many instances, stained Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, was not the least ranthe annals of the Romish Church, and testify how little corous. This prelate, unquestionably a man of great she is inspired with the tende compassion of the holy talent and acquirements, was anxious to obtain the Jesus. This persecution of those who had embraced situation of chief almoner to the duchess of Burthe Protestant faith-the progress of which was marked gundy ; but fearing, from the circumstance of Peneby the rrrocation of the famous edict of Nantes, which lon's having been preceptor to her husband, the aphad been promulgated in 1698 by IIenry IV., whereby pointment would be conferred upon him, Bossuet and the free exercise of their religion was secured to the his friends brought the charge of heresy against the French Protestants, and which was understood to be archbishop, and tried every effort, and not without perpetual-throws the greatest disgrace on the reign effect, to bring him into suspicion both with the court of Louis XIV. The cruelties to which the Protestants and the people at large. Fere exposed, both before and after the revocation, At this period, Madame de la Mothe Guion, the for they were hunted like wild beasts upon the moun- founder, or rather reviver of the mystics, began to tains, and many of them were put to death,) are sad excite no ordinary attention.* evidences of the fury of his misguided zeal.
It is evident, from ecclesiastical history, that the The gentle spirit of Fenelon, however, revolted at mystics existed so early as in the third and fourth the thought of seeking to bring men to the confession centuries, and that the habits of profound contemplae supposed truth by the sword and the faggot. He tion and retirement from the world, in which they intesolutely refused the appointment, until he received dulged, led to the monastic seclusion, of which St. the express assurance that no military force whatever Anthony was the most eminent example. The preshould be employed; an assurance which was not tended Dionysius the Areopagite is, however, genegranted without considerable hesitation.
rally considered to be the founder of this sect, in the This mission being finished, Fenelon returned to fourth century. Macarius and Hilarion are also inParis ; but though presented to the king, he neither cluded among its supporters. Thomas à Kempis, in courted preferment, nor sought to ingratiate himself the fifteenth century, adopted a kind of purified mysfurther in the royal favour. His time was wholly ticism. Michael de Molinos, a Spanish priest, though occupied in the duties of his profession : and it was resident at Rome, still further extended these views the singular zeal and ability that he testified, not only
The eventful circumstances in the life of Madame Guion in his discourses, but in his writings,---for at this time
cannot fail to be peculiarly interesting to the Christian. On he published “ The Functions of the Pastors of the account of the avowal of her opinions, she was sent to the castle Church,"_which led to his appointment of preceptor of Vincennes, as if she had been a prisoner of state. There she to the young dukes of Burgundy and Anjou, on the
employed her lonely hours, for the space of ten years, in pouring
out the effusions of her heart in hymns expressive of her love fecommendation of their governor, the Duke of Beau
to God and of the fervour of her devotion; and after her long Filliers. He entered upon this office in 1689; the imprisonment, she lived a retired life for more than seven years duties of which he sedulously performed for six years. at Blois, where she died, June 9, 1717, in the seventieth year of During this period, he was elected member of the her age. Some of her poems were translated by Cowper, speci
mens of which are contained in this Number. The reader will Prench Academy, with the highest expressions of re
find a most interesting account of this lady, and of the doctrines speet; and in 1695, the king gave him the abbey of
of the mystics, in the eighth volume of “Grimshawe's Life of 1. Vallery, resigned in his favour by his uncle, and Cowper."
by publishing, in 1681, the “ Spiritual Guide," which ten in number, were not all of the same opinion. Five caused great alarm to the doctors of the Chureh. Mo- | were for censuring it, and five maintained that it conlinos was in consequence cast into prison, where he tained sound doctrine. A famous doctor of the Sordied at an adyanced age, in 1696. At length Madame bonne, and a great friend of the bishop of Meaux, Guion embodied these views in their present form, declared, when he read it in manuscript before publiwhich is known in France under the name of Quietism, cation, that it was all gold. The archbishop of Chietti, from the calm repose and indifference to external ob- one of the examiners, openly declared, that they must jects which is characteristic of these principles. either burn all the books of St. Francis de Sales, or
The mystics professed to elevate the soul above all admit that of the archbishop of Cambray. And a sensible and terrestrial objects, and to unite it to the Roman Catholic writer of his life remarks, that he Deity in an ineffable manner; to inculcate a pure and had advanced nothing but upon the credit of the most absolutely disinterested love of God for his own sake, approved mystical theologists; yet his enemies would and on account of his admirable perfections ; to main not let him and the others take their fate together tain a close and intimate communion with him, by (though he was much more moderate than they were), mortifying all the senses, by a profound submission but resolved that his doctrine should stand good in to his will, even under the consciousness of perdition, those authors' writings, though it must be condemned and by an internal sanctity of heart, strengthened by a in his. holy and sublime contemplation.
Fenelon now constantly resided at Cambray.. His Numerous proselytes embraced the views of Madame time was actively employed in superintending the Guion, which Fenelon was supposed to favour. He affairs of his diocese, and performing the duties of his had heard her, with the utmost admiration, descant situation with the utmost assiduity. He paid the on the pure and disinterested love of God, at the Hôtel greatest attention to those who were to be admitted de Beauvilliers. On the publieation of his book, en- into holy orders, and constantly preached in the varititled “ An Explanation of the Maxims of the Saints ous churches. His sermons were warm, powerful, and concerning the Interior Life," he was solemnly charged energetic, and made a deep, and in many instances a with heresy. Opposition beset him from every quarter. lasting impression upon his hearers. He was of a The people were exasperated against him. His name remarkably forgiving disposition. He prayed conwas vilified in the writings of the bishop of Meaux, stantly for those whose envy and ambition had rewho obviously acted more from his own ambitious moved him from public life. He testified the power views, than from any sincere love of truth. Every of the Gospel in its sanctifying, enlightening, and means were attempted to promote Fenelon's ruin; saving efficacy. A member of a corrupt Church, he and at length, through the continued misrepresenta had not imbibed her prejudices. His spirit was far tion of his enemies, he was banished from the court different from her spirit of persecution. His views, into his own diocese ; more, it is believed, on account indeed, were not those of the Protestant Churches of of his political than religious views. Into the latter the Reformation; but he is supposed to have had an the king probably did not very diligently inquire ; but increasing bias to embrace those views. He always the former certainly were not very likely to be re treated the Protestant pastors with the greatest garded with favour. Telemachus, his great work, was kindness. His heart seemed to overflow with affection not indeed then published, but its spirit had been in for the whole race of man; and long was his memory culcated into his pupils. A brief, after a lapse of time, cherished with affection by those among whom he which shewed the pope's feeling on the subject, was laboured. obtained for condemning his book, which was declared | At the very commencement of 1715 he was seized to be unsound in general, and to contain twenty-three with a dangerous illness. He lingered for a few days, most heretical positions. He ascended the pulpit at and expired on the 8th of January. Cambray with the decree in one hand, and the Maxims | After his death his religious works were collected in the other, and read aloud his own condemnation, and published at Rotterdam in two volumes folio. amid the tears and admiration of his congregation. Among these, not the least important is the “ De“ This step," says Mosheim, " was differently inter- monstration of the Being of God, grounded on the preted by different persons, according to their notions | knowledge of nature, and suited to the meanest capaof this great man, or their respective ways of thinking. city," and which is generally allowed to be one of the Some considered it as an instance of true magnani best-written books on the subject in the French lanmity, as the mark of a meek and gentle spirit, that guage. It was published by himself in 1713. In preferred the peace of the Church to every private early youth he composed “Dialogues upon Eloquence view of interest or glory. Others, less charitable, in general, and particularly that of the Pulpit," a looked upon this submissive conduct as ignoble and useful work, but which was not printed until after his pusillanimous, as denoting manifestly a want of integ death ; for he was extremely unwilling to bring his rity, inasmuch as it supposed, that the prelate in works under the notice of the public. His “ Fables" question condemned with his lips what in his heart and “ Dialogues of the Dead," written for the imhe believed to be true. One thing indeed seems gene provement of his royal pupils, testify his qualifications rally agreed on, and that is, that Fenelon persisted for being the preceptor of a prince. to the end of his days in the sentiments which, in
The life of Fenelon was written by the Chevalier obedience to the order of the pope, he retracted and Ramsay, a native of Ayr in Scotland, who, after emcondemned in a public manner."
bracing in succession the tenets of the various sects The book had been brought before the consultators of Protestants, at length wholly renounced his b of the Inquisition to be examined. The examiners, in Christianity as a revelation from God, altho
according to his own statement, " he could not shake them, our Saviour must be regarded as a of his respect for the Christian religion, the morality mourner, and one who was "touched with of which is so sublime." In this state he was intro- a feeling of our infirmities :" while, with reduced to the archbishop of Cambray, who received gard to the salvation of sinners, and the him with that fatherly affection which immediately l effects, which would result to men, from his gains the heart. He had studied for some time at death and sufferings, he must be considered Leyden, where he had imbibed, to a certain extent,
as “rejoicing in spirit," and cheered with the mystical views. For the space of six months, religion
prospect of their future happiness. was the subject of earnest inquiry and the most minute
On the present occasion our Lord is deinvestigation; and at length, by the instrumentality
scribed as healing a deaf and dumb person; of Fenelon, the chevalier was brought to embrace
and in working this extraordinary cure, we the truth of the Gospel as a revelation from God.
are told that, looking up to heaven, in prayer From this period a warm friendship existed between them; and “the Life of the Archbishop' is a lively
to his Father, and in thankfulness that he was and grateful tribute to the memory of one to whom
heard, “he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephthe chevalier was, under Divine grace, indebted for
phatha, that is, be opened." Let us consider opening his eyes to the folly and the guilt of those
the circumstances of the miracle itself. who will not receive Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of
Our Saviour had lately been induced by the Highest, God over all, blessed for evermore.
her faith and importunity to cast out an unclean spirit from the daughter of a Grecian
woman. He did this on his entrance into the CHRIST SIGHING OVER MEN'S OBDURACY
coasts of Tyre and Sidon: but he was ever OF HEART :
going about doing good, and his fame was A Sermon,
such, that, at his departure, an opportunity
was again afforded him of shewing his mercy BY THE Rev. RICHARD HARVEY, M.A. and loving-kindness. Jesus,“ departing Rector of St. Mary's, Hornsey.
from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, came
unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of St. Mark, vii. 34.
the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring * And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto unto him one that was deaf, and had an imhim, Ephphatha, that is, be opened.”
pediment in his speech; and they beseech The prophet Isaiah foretold of the Saviour him to put his hand upon him." On former of the world, that he should be “a man of occasions he had spoken the word with DiSorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He vine authority, and at his bidding “the blind predicted this in reference, not so much to received their sight, the lame walked, the the bodily sufferings, which might be his por- lepers were cleansed :” in this instance he tion, as to the mental agony, which he would was pleased to change his method of prohave to endure in making atonement for sin, ceeding. His power had been questioned by and contemplating the guilt of those who many: it had been alleged that he performed rejected him. As submitting, therefore, to his miracles by the aid of Satan, and he prostripes for the healing of the nations, and at bably was anxious to convince all that the the same time knowing, that of the “many" virtue was in himself. He did not, therewho " are called," “ few are chosen," we are fore, heal the applicant at once, but took the authorised confidently to inquire, was there deaf man "aside from the multitude, and put "ever sorrow like unto his sorrow ?”
his fingers into his ears, and spit, and touched The apostle Paul, however, speaks of him his tongue.” These means could not assist as "for the joy that was set before him endur- | the cure: they alone could not effect any ing the cross, despising the shame.” The sor- thing to restore speech to the dumb, and row, therefore, which he experienced from sur- hearing to the deaf. They were but signs of veying a world at enmity with God, and the the exertion of that power which Christ poslarger portion of mankind obstinately bent sessed in himself; and, as such, might tend on continuing so, may be regarded as more to awaken the poor man's faith, and encourage than countervailed by the delight which he those who brought him. And to shew that felt at bringing them nigh, who were before he acted by a Divine power, in union with afar off; and reconciling aliens to their of the Father, and had compassion for the man's tended Father. His soul was troubled at affliction, and felt for the calamities to which men's guilt and hard-heartedness : but when, we are exposed by sin, “ looking up to as Isaiah also described him, he should “ see heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephof the travail of his soul," he would “be phatha, that is, be opened.” To the great satisfied;" because he would see the hand astonishment of the people, an immediate writing against his people blotted out and cure ensued. The words of the prophet nailed to his cross. As respected the sins of were fulfilled (Is. xxxv. 5): “ The eyes of men, and the means employed to atone for the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped." "Straightway | the throne of his glory. Imagine him casthis ears were opened, and the string of hising his eyes upon the members of this contongue was loosed, and he spake plain." gregation, for whom he gave his life, and say.
Our Lord, as his custom was, commanded ing to our hearts, “Ephphatha, be opened.” the bystanders not to publish to others what Would he not have reason to sigh with had been done. He did not wish to excite respect to the manner in which many would the envy of the Pharisees, or to raise a tumult | respond to his appeal ? A few among us, among the people ; least of all did he desire perhaps, who had hitherto been deaf to all to obtain praise and applause from men. his entreaties, who had paid no heed to his But the more he strove to conceal the won-loud remonstrances, and had not been moved derful work which he had done, the more I by the gentler accents of his love -- a few did they take occasion to speak of it. “He might answer with Samuel, " Speak, Lord, charged them that they should tell no man: for thy servants hear.” A few might be perbut the more he charged them, so much the suaded to be in earnest-might be awakened more a great deal they published it, and were to better things-might be roused to a sense beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath of the all-importance of religion -- might be done all things well : he maketh both the led to see that they ought to act in accorddeaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.” Suchance with their prayers, and that more is are the circumstances of this miracle, and meant by “seeking first the kingdom of God such the effect produced at the time upon and his righteousness," than an attention to those who witnessed its performance. As- outward propriety, and an observance of our suredly it was a work of mercy upon the external duties. man, who was thus graciously healed; and But when Christ says to the hearts of it was designed to be a blessing in a spiritual all, “be opened"-when he addresses each sense not only to him, but to those who be- and all of us, “ look unto me, and be held it, and to us who read of it. And yet | saved"--when he calls upon every one of we are told, that although it was a labour of us, “ take up your cross, and follow me"love, Christ sighed when he performed it. / and when he speaks thus, not to heathens, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled; who never heard of him--not to Israelites, yea, he wept at the raising of his beloved who profess to reject him-but to Christians, Lazarus. He shed tears over Jerusalem, to members of his Church, and of his familywhich was dear to him, as the apple of his to baptised followers, outwardly in covenant eye. Alas! he knew too well that many with him--his professed soldiers and serwould remain faithless and unconverted, / vants --may he not well sigh that so many even though "one rose from the dead.” He should turn a deaf ear to his entreaties and saw that the city, where God had hitherto remonstrances? Can it fail to occur to him chosen to place his name, would be left deso- that when he came to bring back all who late, and not see the things that belong to were wandering, to rescue all who were her peace before they were hidden from her perishing, to save lost sinners, the flock was eyes for ever. Well, therefore, might his comparatively small, who would own him for spirit be heavy, and his heart sad, when he their shepherd, and accept his great salvacontemplated the misery of the poor sufferer tion ? Must not the joy, which was set bebefore him, the calamities to which men are fore him in the great work which he was exposed by sin, and the spiritual deafness of accomplishing, have been sensibly damped most of his hearers. Well might he sigh, by the assurance that the Gospel, which was when the opening of the deaf ear recalled to “ the savour of life unto life" to them that his mind the number of those who had ears, believe, would be made “the savour of death but would not hear, who closed their eyesunto death” by them that perish? Oh! can that they might not see, and hardened their we wonder that Christ should sigh, when he hearts that they might not be converted, opened the ears of the deaf man, and knew who, in short, would “not come unto him, that so many ears, which were open to all that they might have life.” “ Looking up that was bad, would be deaf only to him? to heaven, he sighed, and saith to the man, Can we feel surprise at his groaning in spirit Ephphatha, that is, be opened."
at the raising of Lazarus, when he saw that I know not, men and brethren, how I can many would be exasperated against the lead you to a more profitable consideration of worker, instead of convinced by the work ? this passage, or impress upon you more fully Is it astonishing that he should weep over the reasons which led our Saviour to sigh in his beloved Jerusalem, when he found the the midst of the good work, which he was inhabitants shutting their eyes, that they performing, than by asking you to bethink might not see the things which belonged to yourselves what the Redeemer would now their peace? What could we have expected, feel, if he were to look down upon us from but that the Saviour would be a man of sor