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[ki] I have already spoke of the famous Henry de Mesmes, one of the most illustrious magistrates of his time. The king, (Henry II. if I am not mistaken) having offered him the place of advocate-general, he took the liberty to represent to his majesty, that the place was not vacant. It is, answered the king, because I am dissatisfied with the person that fills it. Ercuse me, Sir, answered Henry de Mesmes, after having modestly spoken in defence of the person accused, I had rather tear up the ground with my nails, than enter into that post through such a gate. The king gave ear to his remonstrance, and continued the advocate-general in his place; who coming the next day to thank hiin for the services he had done him, Henry de Mesmes would scarce accept of his acknowledgments for doing what he said was an indispensible duty, and which he could not have omitted without disgracing himself for ever.

A president à Mortier [?] had thoughts of quitting his post, in hopes of procuring it for his son. Lewis XIV. who had promised M. Peletier, then comptroller-general, to give him the first that fel!, offered him this. M. Peletier, after making his most humble acknowledgments, added, that the president who had quitted, had a son, and his majesty had ever been well satisfied with the family. “I am not used to “ be answered thus,” replies the king, in surprise at his conduct and generosity; “well, you shall have the “ next then.” Nor did he wait long for it; for within two years after, M. le president le Coignieux dying without a son, so noble a disinterestedness was rewarded.

And here I must ask, when we read of such actions, can we possibly resist the impression they make upon our hearts. It is this voice and [m] tesiiinony

[ of an upright, staunch, and pure nature, not yet cor

[k] Memoires Manuscrits, quoted vitatibus detorta uniuscujusque na. already in the first volume.

tura, toto statim pectore arriperet [!] Cl. Peleterii Vita.

artes honestas. Dialog. de Orato. [m] Quæ disciplina eò pertinebat, ribus, cap. 28. ut sincera & integra, & nullis pra

rupted rupted by ill examples and bad principles, which should be the rule of our judgments, and is in a manner the basis of this Taste for solid Glory and real Greatness I am now speaking of. And it is our business to attend solely to this voice, consult it in all things, and conform to its dictates.

I know very well that something else is requisite, besides precepts and examples, to make a man thus superior to the strongest passions, and that God alone can inspire him with these sentiments of nobleness and grandeur, as the heathens themselves inform us. [n] Bonus vir sine Deo nemo est. An potest aliquis supra fortunam, nisi ab illo adjutus, erurgere? Ille dat consilia magnifica f erecta. [o] But we cannot too much inculcate these principles into youth ; and it were to be wished they could never hear any other discourse, and that these precepts were continually sounded in their ears. [p] The principal fruit of history is to preserve and invigorate those sentiments of probity and integrity we bring into the world'with us; or, if we have swerved from them, to draw us back by degrees, and re-kindle in us those precious sparks, by frequent examples of virtue. [9] A master well skilled in directing the genius, which is the principal province, will omit no opportunity of instilling into his scholars the principles of honour and equity, and of exciting in thein a sincere love of virtue, and abhorrence of vice. [1] As they are of an age as yet tender and tractable, and corruption has not taken


[n] Senec. Ep. 41.

[9] Civitatis rectorem decet... [O] Conducere arbitror talibus verbis, & his mollioribus, curare aures tuas vocibus undique circum- ingenia,ut facienda suadeat, cupidi. sonare, nec eas, si fieri posset, quid. tatemque honesti & æqui conciliet, quam aliud audire. Cic. lib. 3. animis, faciatque vitiorum odium, Offic. n. 5.

pretium virtutum. Sen. lib. 1. de [p] Omnium honestarum rerum Ira, cap. s. semina animi gerunt, quæ admoni- (r] Facillimè tenera conciliantur tione excitantur :- non aliter quàm ingenia ad honesti rectique, amo. scintilla flatu levi adjuta ignem l'em. Adhuc docilibus, leviterque suum explicat. Senec. Ep. 94. corruptis, injicit manum veritas, si Hæc est sapientia, in naturam

advccatum idoneum nacta est. Se, converti, & eò restitui, unde public nec. Ep. 108. cus error expulerit. Ibid.

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deep deep root in them, the truth more easily finds entrance into their minds, and fixes itself there without difficulty, if ever so little assisted by the master's wise reflections, and seasonable counsels.

When, upon every point of history read to them, or at least upon the brightest and most important, they are asked what they think, what seems beautiful, great, and commendable, and on the contrary, what blamable and contemptible, it seldom happens but youth answer justly and rationally, and pass a sound and equitable judgment upon whatever is proposed to them. It is this answer, this judgment, which,

. as I have already said, is in them the voice of nature and right reason, and cannot be suspected because not suggested, that becoines in them the rule of a good taste with respect to solid Glory and true Greatness. When we see a Regulus exposing himself to the most cruel torments, rather than break his word; a Cyrus and Scipio making a public profession of continence and wisdom ; all the ancient Romans, so illustrious, and so generally esteemed, leading a poor, frugal, and sober life ; and on the other hand, see actions of treachery, debauchery, dissoluteness, low and sordid avarice, in great and considerable persons, they hesitate not a moment to pronounce in favour of the side they ought.

[s] Seneca, speaking of one of his masters, says, that when he heard him discourse of the advantages of poverty, chastity, sobriety, and a conscience pure and unblamable, he went away from his lectures, enamoured of virtue, and filled with horror for vice, And this is the effect history must produce, when

well taught.

[!] Ego certè, cùin Attalum tates nostras traducere, laudare cas. audirem, in vitia, in errores, in tum corpus, sobriam mensam, pui. mala vitæ perorantem, sæpe miser- ram mentem, non tantum ab illitus sum generis humani. . . Cùm citis voluptatibus, sed etiam superverò commendare paupertatem ce

vacuis, libebat circumscribere guperat. . . . sæpe exire è scholâ pau- lam & vendrem. Senec. Ep. 108. peri libuit. Cùm cæperat volup


We must therefore be careful to make youth attentive to the excellent lessons even Paganism affords, [t] which sets no value upon whatever is external and adventitious, such as wealth, honours and magnificence; [u] and even in man esteems and admires only the qualities of the heart, that is to say, probity and virtue ; [x] which are of so glorious a nature, that they honour, dignify, and exalt whatever approaches, or surrounds them, even poverty, misery, exile, imprisonment, and torture. It is virtue alone which fixes the price of every thing, and is the sole source of solid Glory and real Greatness. According to the principles of Paganism, [y] a prince is only so far great, as he is beneficent and liberal ; nor should he think of his power, but with a view to do good, and in imitation of the gods, to place the title of best before that of greatest ; JUPITER OPTIMUS MAXIMUS. He should prefer the tender name of [:] father of his country to all the pompous titles of

2 the invincible, the triumpher, the thunderbolt of war, the conqueror, titles generally so fatal to mankind, and call to mind that he is the protector and father of his subjects, and that his most solid Glory, as well as his most essential duty, is to do his utmost to make thein happy.

One would think, nothing could be added to these noble ideas, which the Pagans give us of human power and greatness, or to the examples of virtue, which I have quoted above in such great abundance.

[1] Quicquid est hoc quod circa [y] Proximum diis locum tenet, nos ex adventitio fulget, honores, qui se ex deorum naturâ gerit, beopus, ampla arria . . . alieni com- neficus, ac largus, & in melius pomodatique apparatus sunt. Senec. tens. Hæc affectare, hæc imitari Consol. ad Marc. c. 10.

decet : maximum ita haberi, ut op[u] Nec quicquam suum, nisi se, timus simul habeare. Senec. l. I. putet esse, eà quoque parte quâ me

de Clem. c. 19. lior est. Senec. de Const. Sap. c. 6. [z] Cætera cognomina honori

[*] Quicquid attigit virtus, in data sunt... Patrem quidein pasimilitudinein sui adulucit & tingit: triæ appellamus, ut sciret dalam actiones, amicitias, interdum domos sibi potestatem patrian, quæ est totas, quas intravit disposuitque, temperatissima, liberis consulens, condecorat : quicquid tractavit, id suaque post illos reponens. Senec. amabile, conspicuum, mirabile fa. do side Clem. c. 14. cit. Id. Ep. 60.


But let us hear what a wise man says, who was brought up, not in the school of Plato or Socrates, but of Jesus Christ, I mean St. Augustine, who, after having drawn the character of a great prince, teaches us, by one circumstance that he adds to the descriptions of the ancients, wherein solid Glory consists, and how far Christianity surmounts the Pagan virtues, of which pride and vanity were the soul and principle.

“ We do not call Christian princes great and hap

py,” [a] says this father, speaking of the emperors, “ for having reigned long, or for dying in peace,

, “and leaving their children behind them on the “throne; for having conquered the enemies of the

state, or suppressed sedition, advantages which are common to them with such princes as are worshippers

of devils. But we call them great and happy, “ when they make justice to flourish, and amidst the

praises that are given them, and the homage paid them, do not grow proud, but remember they are men; when they submit their power to the sovereign power of the King of kings, and make it subservient only to the advancement of true religion ; when they fear God, love him and worship him; when they value not their kingdom in

comparison of him, with whom they have no rivals “ nor enemies to apprehend ; when they are slow to

punish, and swift to pardon; when they punish

only for the good of the state, and not the grati“fication of their personal revenge, and pardon only “ from the hope of amendment, and not to grant “impunity to crimes; when, being obliged to use severity, they temper it with some action of mild

ness and clemency; when they are the more re"served in their pleasures, from being the more at

liberty to indulge themselves in them; when they rather chise to command their passions, than to govern all the nations of the world; AND WHEN [a] S Aug. de Cirit. Dei, 1. 5. 6. 24.


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