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the attention of his countrymen to the Bible; but, by an error of judgement very common in such cases, he seems to have deemed it necessary to cringe to existing prejudices, and to confine himself scrupulously within the limits of certain phrases, licenced in good company. He would piously trick his reader into an acceptance of the Book, by closely wrapping it in an envelope of philosophic generalities. Nor dares he to place openly in front of the lumiéres du siécle, any one of the ' dogmas' it contains ;-unless, indeed, it be such of them as are countenanced by natural religion. Thus, when le christianisme is the theme of discourse, it is allowable to talk of l'immortalité de l'ame, or la pureté des mœurs; and, further than this, it may be safe to mention-la constance, dans les souffrances, des prémiers Chrétiens, or la sainte simplicité des· Apôtres; and even perhaps, if no circumlocution will serve instead, to introduce the initials N. S.J. C. But neither M. Coquerel nor, we suppose, any writer who hopes to gain a moment's attention among readers bien instruits, would presume to found a bold appeal to the conscience upon a doctrine the authority of which is derived exclusively from the Bible. No such writer would now dare employ, as his own, the explicit language addressed by the preachers of the age of Louis XIV. to that licentious prince; much less can it be attempted, in the plain language of the Scriptures, to urge upon the enlightened people of France,' repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.


The Author before us, we do not doubt, sincerely believes that the Bible is what it claims to be. But is he so simple, or so ill informed, as not to know, that the far-famed writers whose works ushered in the Revolution, devoted their strength to the accomplishment of a deliberate conspiracy against revealed religion? Or, knowing this, how can he speak ofod them as he does? It might well be allowed him to admire the 12 genius of these men; and, as a Frenchman, an extravagant admiration of their genius may be permitted to him. But lanot guage such as the following, we can account for in no other way, than by attributing it to a very ill-judged endeavour to conciliate and to flatter that fatal prejudice in favour of the Encyclopedists, which still holds almost the entire male popula ion of France in the chains of atheism. What will avail the Au thor's timid endeavours to confute the errors of these writers, when he thus concludes his account of their systems?

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• Such were some of the errors of the French philosophers of the eighteenth century-they were all derived from the spirit of the I times. But who shall attempt to appreciate the amount of good

which these writers produced? Can the most fertile imagination form to itself a just representation of the sum of happiness,-of intelligence, of liberty,-of morality, which their theories have realized in. the world, and the immense advantages which they still promise for the future? Never did these men neglect an occasion for defending the claims of toleration, of equality, of reason. Never let us pronounce their names without respect. It is no wonder that their works are reprinted every day. Their principles belong to all times. These philosophers were what they ought to have been. They performed admirably the part that was assigned to them. Their manner, brilliant with wit and grace, gave the fatal blow to inveterate abuses; and overthrew long standing evils, of which the fall might have been retarded by a more serious mode of attack. The light which they shed abroad, still shines upon the field that is every where strewed with the wrecks of the institutions that fell under their influence. after there is left us molish: we have only to clear away the rubbish; and all that remains for us to do, is, to labour without ceasing, to substitute in the place of their incomplete philosophy, principles more certain, because they will be derived from the true nature of the human mind, and more useful, because they will give an immoveable basis to morals.?

Addressing the youth of France in his concluding chapter, M. Coquerel says:

Let us beware lest we forget those to whom we owe all our present advantages. Let a holy gratitude consecrate the memory of the men who have cleared for us the way,-of those philosophers whose manly genius scattered the darkness of their age,of those sages who made truth to be heard, even within the courts of kings,of those benefactors of the human race whose lessons were misunderstood by their contemporaries. The day which they announced, has arisen upon us;-for, to us it is permitted to think as they thought, and to speak what we think.'...

If it were allowable to imagine a recompense worthy of the labours of these great men, we might venture to suppose that it is granted to their immortal spirits, to contemplate the fruit of their exertions to see their memory on earth becoming every day more fondly cherished, and their example held in higher veneration.

This is French rhetoric; and, alas! it is French feeling. It would be idle to remonstrate seriously against it: our sole object in bringing these passages before our readers, is, to illustrate that state of opinion among even the better portion of the French people, which is too plainly indicated by them. While he rendered to the philosophers of the Revolution the tribute of praise due to their genius, and while he allowed to them the merit of having laboured sincerely and successfully in demolishing the ancient order of things, with its evils, it was incumbent upon a writer professedly a friend of Christianity, to

reprobate in the strongest terms their atheism, their profligacy, and their malignancy; and to throw back upon them the reproach of having utterly rooted out, not only the principle of religious belief, but almost every sentiment of morality from the soil of France.

We shall quote one passage more, which sets in a stillstronger light the irreligious condition of the mass of the people, and the hopeless distance they have travelled beyond the reach of the recalling voice of Revealed Religion. The Author is suggesting the propriety of accompanying the distribution of the Scriptures in France with some brief preliminary apology; without which, he confidently predicts, that the Bible will never be opened by his countrymen, or will be opened only to be spurned!

I am here constrained to dissent, on an important point, from the opinions of those who have framed the fundamental regulations of Bible Societies. Far from admiring the precaution to which they attach so much importance, of never accompanying the Sacred text with note or comment of any kind, I am persuaded that, in many countries, but especially in France, the labours of our Bible Societies are rendered fruitless by this very condition. In the first place, it is an incontestable fact that ought never to be lost sight of, that, in the bosom of our country, the state of opinion relative to the Christian Scriptures wears an appearance altogether different from that which it assumes in Germany, or in England. Among these people, the sacred writings are studied with unwearied assiduity. They are quoted with a respect that naturally results from their having been, from remote times, without any interruption, the object of religious regard. In France, there is nothing of this. The Bible does not present itself to our people, surrounded with recollections favourable to its serious and attentive perusal :—it is absolutely a new book. It is necessary to familiarise the people with the truths it contains,-to induce the volatile mind to commence a study which demands a degree of attention,-to persuade them to undertake the perusal, and to inspire them with a motive that shall give them patience to accomplish it. And in these respects, every thing is yet to be done. Generally speaking, the Scriptures are almost entirely unknown in France. Nearly all that is known of the Gospels by the people, is comprised in a few quotations, perfidiously rendered, and some passages, maliciously commented upon. There exists, moreover, a strong prejudice against the sacred volume, the deplorable consequence of the ridicule which has been heaped upon it. No writings can less invite ridicule; but ridicule, which injures whatever it assails, is fatal to the influence of things sacred. Nor are there to be found among us any just notions of the nature and the merits of the poetry of the Bible; which, in truth, is such as should assign it an elevated rank among works of imagination, if reasons of a higher kind did not give it a yet stronger claim to respect. It is necessary, therefore, tobegin


by attempting to destroy all these unfavourable impressions, which inevitably neutralize, in great measure, any good effect that might be produced by a perusal of the Bible. So long as these prejudices remain, the Scriptures may indeed have, in the eyes of the people of France, a certain merit on the ground of the morality they inculcate, but will never possess those features of antiquity and of dignity, which serve so much to attach and to charm pious minds. No doubt, it is painful to be obliged to acknowledge that obstacles of this sort exist; but experience presents them before us at every step: they are the difficulties of the course upon which we have entered. Let us now inquire in what way they may be surmounted.'

Although what follows is foreign to our immediate purpose, we shall, on another account, continue our quotation.

The plan to be pursued, is plainly indicated to us by the nature of the case. The Sacred Scriptures ought never to be presented to the public, unaccompanied with a concise and clear summary of the historical evidence upon which their authenticity rests. At the com mencement of each book, there should be placed a table of the testimonies by which its antiquity is proved, and an account of the circumstances under which it was written. It should be explained in what way it has been handed down to our times, unimpaired; and proofs should be given of its having escaped unhurt the ravages of time, the negligence of transcribers, and the restless spirit of fanaticism. There should be set forth, the powerful motives which produced the wide diffusion of Christianity at its first publication, and which, in so many instances, subdued even its enemies. All this might be done in a manner the most simple, perspicuous, and convincing. The great matter for the people of France, ardent as they are, and disposed to pursue to its utmost extent, every idea they lay hold of,is to have the means of learning, by a series of contemporary testimonies, carried up to the earliest times of the Church, that, in the whole compass of ancient literature or history, no book can be named, the authenticity of which can be so triumphantly established, as that of the Bible. This is the point of supreme importance; and until it be duly provided for, we must not expect any great success in our Bible Societies. The second point is, to shew on what grounds so many nations adopted with eagerness, the religion of the Bible fifteen hundred years ago; and on what grounds they ought, with equal eagerness, to receive it now. Without these easy and indispensable introductions, the Sacred Writings will be, to the French, only like other books; except that they will be read in a spirit of levity that must entirely destroy their proper influence. Let it not be objected to the plan here proposed, that the different bodies of Protestants who have exhibited so striking an example of concord in uniting their efforts for the diffusion of the Scriptures, could never be brought to join in the execution of a plan so much in accordance with the spirit of the Reformation. Have they then forgotten the principles to which they owe their existence as religious bodies? The matter in question is nothing more than to prepare a digest of histori

cal proofs. Are they, indeed, so far divided in opinion, that they cannot agree relative to the most obvious facts? I can readily conceive that they must refuse to prefix to the Bible any systematic summary of the doctrines which are derived from its pages. This precaution is most wise: it would be highly dangerous to depart from it. It must be left to every man to ascertain for himself the doctrines of religion. Christians must raise with their own hands the edifice of their faith, in order that the foundations of it may remain unshaken. For nothing can remove men from a religion which themselves, in the sincerity of their hearts, have demonstrated to be supported by the authority of Revelation. But we are clearly engaged in an incomplete and fruitless labour, if we obstinately persist in refusing to accompany the Scriptures with some such abridged historic testimony of their authenticity. No, assuredly, the disciples of the Reformation are not so widely divided in views and intention, that they cannot meet in the design to prepare a summary of facts; or even to explain the motives which influenced the Reformers to break the yoke of a Church that was not evangelical.'

The above suggestions we leave to be considered by those whom the business concerns: certainly, they are worthy of being very seriously considered. To return to the state of religion in France. Such observation as we have had opportunity to make, inclines us to believe, that Mad. de Stael, concentrating by her genius a variety of influences belonging to the times, formed, and has left behind her, a numerous sect in France, now constituting the soundest and the best informed portion of the educated class.

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The opinions of this sect, but we would not shock them by talking of their opinions, car ils n'ont point de dogmes,-well, then, their sentiments are founded upon the two or three following articles l'immortalité de l'ame; respect pour l'Evangile (of which, however, they do not think it necessary, in the present enlightened age, often to unhook the clasps ;) an absolute neglect de tous les dogmes speculatifs; and the principle that, while religious observances are quite superfluous pour les hommes éclairés,the gens du peuple must be provided with un culte, des prêtres, and des spectacles. These well intentioned but illinoy structed persons lend their willing aid to every liberal and benevolent design; and so bland is their philosophy, such is the vagueness of their own opinions, and such their ignorance of the specific grounds of existing religious opinions, that they might be drawn into almost any course by an influence that should be congenial with their temper. This easiness offers, as we fear, too strong a temptation to the polite and compro mising spirit which just now prevails among us; for nothing is needed to secure the friendship and aid of this liberal party, but an extension of the policy with which we have become fa



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