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Christ whom they pierced, and to show forth the Lord's resurrection to the end of time."
In this plan also he was disappointed. It was not the design of Providence to employ him either in Greece or America. There was work for him in France.
It was a part of the system of Louis XIV., to establish throughout his dominions an uniformity of religion: and he had the sagacity to see, that, in carrying out this difficult plan, ho needed the aid of distinguished men. As a preliminary step to his ultimate purposes, Louis had revoked the edict of Nantes. This edict, promulgated in 1598 by Henry IV., embodied principles of toleration, which furnished for many years a considerable degree of protection to the French Protestants. Intoxicated with power, and ignorant of that sacred regard which man owes to the religious rights and principles of his fellow-man, he had commenced, previously to its revocation, a series of hostile acts, entirely inconsistent with the laws and principles of the edict of Henry. The sword was drawn in aid of the church; blood had already been shed in some places; and it is stated, that, soon after the revocation of the protecting edict, no less than fifty thousand families, holding their religion more precious to them than worldly prosperity, left France.
So desirous was the French monarch of making the Roman Catholic religion the exclusive religion of his kingdom, that he united together different and discordant systems of proselytism, and added the milder methods of persuasion to the argument of the sword. There were men among the Protestants who could never be terrified, but might possibly be convinced. And knowing the tenacity of their opinions, if not the actual strength of their theological positions, he was desirous of sending religious teachers among them, who were distinguished for their ability, mildness, and prudence. It was under these circumstances and with these views that he cast his eyes upon the Abbe De Fenelon.
The young Abbe waited upon the king. He received from the monarch's lips the commission which indicated the field and the nature of his labours. The labour assigned him was the difficult one of showing to the Protestants, whose property had been pillaged, whose families had been scattered, and whose blood had been shed like water, the truth aDd excellencies of the religion of their persecutors. Fenelon, who understood the imperious disposition of Louis, and at the same time felt an instinctive aversion to the violent course he was pursuing, saw the difficulty of his position. He consented, however to undertake this trying and almost hopeless embassy, on one condition only; a condition which shows the benevolence of his character, and the soundness of his judgment at this early period of his life :—namely, that the armed force should be removed from the province to which he slwvld be sent as a missionary, and that millitary coercion should cease.
At an early period Fenelon had devoted himself to the ministry of Jesus Christ. After he was appointed Archbishop of Cambray, he had but one object, that of benefiting his people. This was particularly the case after he was compelled to relinquish the instruction of the grandchildren of the king, and was confined by the royal order to his own diocese. We do not mean to imply, that he had a more benevolent disposition then, but he had a better opportunity to excercise it. With a heart filled with the love of God, which can never be separated from the love of God's creatures, it was his delight to do good, and especially in the religious sense of the term.
In his preaching he was affectionate and eloquent, but still very plain and intelligible. Excluding from his sermons superfluous ornaments as well as obscure and difficult reasonings, he might be said to preach from the heart rather than from the head. He generally preached without notes, but not without premeditation and prayer. It was his custom before he preached, to spend some time in the retirement of his closet;
that ho might be sure that his own heart was filled from the Divine fountain, before he poured it forth upon the people. One great topic of his preaohing was the doctrine so dear to him, and for which he had suffered so much, of Pure Love.
He was very temperate in his habits, eating and sleeping but little. He rose early; and his first hours were devoted to prayer and meditation. His chief amusement, when he found it necessary to relax a little from his arduous toils was that of walking and riding. He loved rural scenes, and it was a great pleasure to him to go out in the midst of them. "The country" he says, in one of his letters, " delights me. In the midst of it, I find God's holy peace." Every thing seemed to him to be full of infinite goodness; and his heart glowed with the purest happiness, as he escaped from the business and cares which necessarily occupied so much of his time, into the air and the fields, into the flowers and the sunshine of the great Creator.
But in a world like this, where it is a first principle of christianity that we should forget ourselves and our own happiness in order that we may do good to others, he felt it a duty to make even this sublime pleasure subservient to the claims of benevolence.
In these occasional excursions, he could hardly fail to meet with some of the poor peasants in his diocese; and he carefully improved these opportunities to form a personal acquaintance with them and their families, and to counsel and console them. Sometimes when he met them, he would sit down with them upon the grass; and inquiring familiarly about the state of their affairs, he gave them kind and suitable advice ;—but above all things, he affectionately recommended to them to seek an interest in the Saviour, and to lead a religious life.
He went into their cottages to speak to them of God, and to comfort and relieve them under the hardships they suffered. If these poor people when he thus visited them, presented him any refreshments in their unpretending and unpolished manner, The Poor Christian's Death-bud. 127
he pleased them much by seating himself at their simple table, and partaking cheerfully and thankfully of what was set before him. He showod no false delicacy because they were poor, and because their habitations, in consequence of their poverty, exhibited but little of the conveniences and comforts of those who were more wealthy. In the fullness of his benevolent spirit, which was filled with the love of Christ and of all for whom Christ died, ho became in a manner one of them as a brother, or as a father among his children."
T. C. Uphaji.
Tread softly—bow the head—
No passing bell doth toll,—
Yet an immortal soul,
Stranger! however great,
With lowly reverence bow:
Beneath that beggar's roof,
Lo! Death doth keep his state:
That pavement damp and cold
No smiling courtiers tread:
A dying head.
No mingling voices sound—
An infant wail alone:
The parting groan.
Oh! change—oh! wondrous change-
This moment—there, so low,
So agonised—and now—
Oh! change—stupendous change!
There lies the soulless clod:
Wakes with his God! C. L. Sottthet.
Oh waste thou not the smallest thing,
Created by Divinity,
And atomies, infinity!
Waste thou not then the smallest time,
'Tis imbecile infirmity—
That seconds form Eternity!