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below the purposes of a religion, but would have mination of an inspired teacher, is-to assault been against them. Even upon errors of a far capitally the scheme of God's discipline and trainmore important class than any errors in sience ing for man. To improve by heavenly means, if can ever be,-superstitions, for instance, that debut in one solitary science-io lighten, if but in graded the very idea of God; prejudices and false one solitary section, the condition of difficulty usages, that laid waste human happiness, (such which had been designed for the strengthening as slavery and many hundreds of other abuses and training of human faculties, is pro tanto to that might be mentioned,) the rule evidently disturb-to cancel to contradict a previous puracted upon by the Founder of Christianity was pose of God, made known by silent indications this-Given the purification of the fountain, once from the beginning of the world. Wherefore did assumed that the fountains of truth are cleansed, God give to man the powers for contending with all these derivative currents of evil will cleanse scientific difficulties? Wherefore did he lay a themselves. And the only exceptions, which I secret train of continual occasi ns, that should remember, to this rule, are two cases in which, rise, by intervals, through thousands of generafrom the personal appeal made to his decision, tions, for provoking and developig those activiChrist would have made himself a party to ties in man's intellect, if, after all, he is to send wretched delusions, if he had not condescended a messenger of his own, more than human, to to expose their folly. But, as a general rule, the intercept and strangle all these great purposes? branches of error were disregarded, and the roots When, therefore, the persecutors of Galileo alonly attacked. If, then, so lofty a station was leged that Jupiter, for instance, could not move taken with regard even to such errors as had in the way alleged, because then the Bible would moral and spiritual relations, how much more have proclaimed it,-as they thus threw back with regard to the comparative trifles, (as in the upon God the burthen of discovery, which he ultimate relations of human nature they are,) of had thrown upon Galileo, why did they not, by merely human science! But, for my part, I go following out their own logic, throw upon the further, and assert, that upon three reasons it was Bible the duty of discovering the telescope, or impossible for any messenger from God, (or offer- discovering the satellites of Jupiter? And, as ing himself in that character,) for a moment to no such discoveries were there, why did they have descended into the communication of truth not, by parity of logic, and for mere consistency, merely scientific, or economic, or worldly. And deny the telescope as a fact, deny the Jovian the reasons are these: First, Because it would planets as facts? But this it is to mistake the have degraded his mission, by lowering it to the very meaning and purpose of a revelation. A base level of a collusion with human curiosity, or revelation is not made for the purpose of showwith petty and transitory interests. Secondly, ing to idle men that which they may show to Because it would have ruined his mission; would themselves, by faculties already given to them, utterly have prostrated the free agency and the if only they will exert those faculties, but for the proper agency of that mission. He that, in those purpose of showing that which the moral darkdays, should have proclaimed the true theory of ness of man will not, without supernatural light, the Solar System and the heavenly forces, would allow him to perceive. With disdain, therefore, have been shut up at once-as a lunatic likely to must every considerate person regard the notion, become dangerous. But suppose him to have -that God could wilfully interfere with his own escaped that; still, as a divine teacher, he has plans, by accrediting ambassadors to reveal astrono liberty of caprice. He must stand to the pro-nomy, or any other science, which he has commises of his own acts. Uttering the first truth manded men to cultivate without revelation, by of a science, he is pledged to the second taking endowing them with all the natural powers for the main step, he is committed to all which fol- doing so. low. He is thrown at once upon the endless Even as regards astronomy, a science so nearly controversies which science in every stage pro-allying itself to religion by the loftiness and by vokes, and in none more than in the earliest. Or, the purity of its contemplations, Scripture is noif he retires as from a scene of contest that he where the parent of any doctrine, nor so much as had not anticipated, he retires as one confessing the silent sanctioner of any doctrine Scripture a human precipitance and a human oversight, cannot become the author of falsehood,-though weaknesses, venial in others, but fatal to the pre- it were as to a trifle, cannot become a party to tensions of a divine teacher. Starting besides falsehood. And it is made impossible for Scripfrom such pretensions, he could not (as others ture to teach falsely, by the simple fact that Scripmight) have the privilege of selecting arbitrarily ture, on such subjects, will not condescend to or partially. If upon one science, then upon all, teach at all. The Bible adopts the erroneous -if upon science, then upon art,-if upon art and language of men, (which at any rate it must do, science, then upon every branch of social econo- in order to make itself understood,) not by way my, upon every organ of civilization, bis reforma- of sanctioning a theory, but by way of using a tions and advances are equally due; due to us fact. The Bible uses (postulates) the phenomena all, if due as to any. To m ve in one direction, f day and night, of summer and winter, and exis constructively to undertake for all. Without presses them, in relation to their causes, as men power to retreat, he has thus thrown the intel-express them, men, even, that are scientific astrolectual interests of his followers into a channel nomers. But the results, which are all that conutterly alien to the purposes of a spiritual mis-cern Scripture, are equally true, whether accounted for by one hypothesis which is philosophically



Thus far he has simply failed: but next comes just, or by anotlier which is popular and erring. a worse result; an evil, not negative but positive Now, on the other hand, in geology and cosBecause, thirdly, to apply the light of a revela-mology, the case is still stronger. Here there tion for the benefit of a merely human science, is no pening for a compliance even with popuwhich is virtually done by so applying the illular language. Here, where there is no such

stream of apparent phenomena running counter
(as in astronomy) to the real phenomena, neither
is there any popular language opposed to the sci-
entific. The whole are abstruse speculations,
even as regards their objects, not dreamed of as
possibilities, either in their true aspects or their
false aspects, till modern times. The Scriptures,
therefore, now here allude to such sciences, either
under the shape of histories, applied to processes
current and in movement, or under the shape of
theories applied to processes past and accom-
plished. The Mosaic cosmogony, indeed, gives
the succession of natural births; and that succes-
sion will doubtless be more and more confirmed
and illustrated as geology advances. But as to
the time, the duration of this cosmogony, it is
the idlest of notions that the Scrip ures either
have or could have condescended to human curi-
osity upon so awful a prologue to the drama of
dulged so mean a passion with respect to the
mysterious inauguration of the world, than the
Apocalypse with respect to its mysterious close.
"Yet the six days of Moses!" Days! But is
any man so little versed in biblical language as
not to know that (except in the merely historical
parts of the Jewish records) every section of time
has a secret and separate acceptation in the Scrip-
tures? Does an aon, though a Grecian word,
bear Scripturally [either in Daniel or in Saint
John] any sense known to Grecian ears?
the seventy weeks of the prophet mean weeks in
the sense of human calendars? Already the
Psalms, (xc) already St. Peter, (2d Epist.) warn
us of a peculiar sense attached to the word day
in divine ears? And who of the innumerable
interpreters understands the twelve hundred and
odd days in Daniel, or his two thousand and odd
days, to mean, by possibility, periods of twenty-
four hours? Surely the theme of Moses was as
mystical, and as much entitled to the benefit of
mystical language, as that of the prophets.

this world. Genesis would no more have in

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From Frazer's Magazine.


FEW writers of the sixteenth century have exercised greater influence in various departments of intellectual activity than Michel de Montaigne. To say that he was the father of the modern essayists, is to say little. The ideas which he either originated or adopted, the doctrines he propounded, the errors he embraced, the truths he asserted, have all produced a numerous progeny. An attempt to affiliate these would far transcend our patience. It is now scarcely possible to open a work of speculation, ethical or metaphysical, without lighting upon thoughts which, whether the material was drawn from his own mind or not, he had impressed with his image and superscription, and contributed to put in circulation. He has to answer for many of the absurd vagaries of the eighteenth century, and some of the soundest theories of succeeding philosophers have been drawn from his inexhaustible magazine. Not to mention the obligations of French literature to this original thinker, our own swarms with indications of his influence; he has presided over many a thoughtful moment of our greatest writers, and inspired some of their happiest imaginations. That Shakspeare had profited by his Essais is asserted, though it may be doubted; Bacon's Essays are, in portions, mere abridgments of passages of Montaigne. Pope drew his whole theory of human nature, as developed in the Essay on Man, from the Apologie pour Raymond de Sebonde; but it does not seem to be generally understood that, next to Rabelais, our inimitable Lawrence Sterne owes so much to no writer as to Michel de Montaigne.

The sum of the matter is this:-God, by a Hebrew prophet, is sublimely described as the Revealer and, in variation of his own expression, the same prophet describes him as the Being "that knoweth the darkness." Under no idea can the relations of God to man be more grandly expressed. But of what is he the revealer? Not surely of those things which he has enabled man to reveal for himself, and which he has commanded him so to reveal, but of those things which, were it not through special light from heaven, must eternally remain sealed up in the inaccessible darkness. On this principle we We may, some day, without resorting to should all laugh at a revealed cookery. But the vulgar imputation of plagiarism, critiessentially the same ridicule applies to a revealed cise Tristram Shandy, with the express astronomy, or a revealed geology. As a fact purpose of tracing the connexion of some there is no such astronomy or geology: as a possibility, by the à priori argument which I have of the ideas it contains with others met with used, (viz., that a revelation on such fields, would in the Essais. Parallel passages we concontradict other machineries of providence,) there sider of no importance. They simply can be no such astronomy or geology. Consequently there can be none such in the Bible. Consequently there is none. Consequently there can be no schism or feud upon these subjects between the Bible and the philosophies outside. Geology is a field left open, with the amplest permission from above, to the widest and wildest speculations of man.

Prove that intellectual architects have occa sionally stolen a brick from a neighbor's house. Literary informers may discover that beautiful ideas have been transported wholesale from one book to another; they may marshal their witnesses in formidable array, and come before the tribunal of the country; but the author, whilst pleading

guilty, maintains that he has done no wrong. I exceptions, the Englishman has chosen that He has merely discovered that another had which was solid and sensible. expressed what he desired to say as well as Our object in this paper is to examine to he could have done, and in the same spirit, what influences Montaigne himself was suband has taken advantage of the circum-ject in his youth, what share in the formastance. Who, for example, can blame tion of his mind had the circumstances by Sterne if he traced a resemblance between which his early life was surrounded, how the positions of Yorick and Lord Verulam, much he owed to his parents, how much to and thought proper to borrow from the au- the theories of education prevalent in his thor of the Baconiana this tender sentence? time, how much to his masters, how much "When from private appetite it is re- to his boyish reading, how much to the acsolved that a creature shall be sacrificed, it cidents of college life. Without maintainis easy to pick up sticks enough from any ing exactly that "the child is father of the thicket whither it hath strayed to make a man," we think that all these things are fire to offer it with." worthy of study, inasmuch as it is imporCertainly it savors something of ingrati- tant to discover if possible in what degree tude if due acknowledgment in such cases a mind contributes to its own greatness, be withheld; but literary men are prover- and how much it borrows from its age. bially immoral, and it can serve no good Some maintain that there is a mysterious purpose to accumulate proofs. What we agency hid in the depths of our nature, should think valuable, would be a philoso- which works out our character independphical appreciation of the amount of influ- ently of surrounding circumstances; others, ence exerted by a mind like Montaigne's, that we are moulded and fashioned entirely or such a mind as Sterne's, of the share the by external objects and events. Experione had in moulding the intellect of the ence indicates that we are neither the masother, in suggesting his fancies, his characters nor the slaves of the material world; ters, his illustrations, his forms of thought that the two theories of human character in modifying, if we may so speak, the frame of his mind. To us it appears that there are occasionally in the Essais passages, the peculiar tone of which so forcibly recalls to mind the manner of Sterne-his way of viewing the things of this world-that if no other evidence existed, we should have inferred that, attracted by sympathy, the one was a constant student of the other.

"Forbear!" cries Montaigne to a lady who was indulging in an excess of grief, "for not those flaxen tresses which now you tear, nor the whiteness of that bosom which, in your agony, you so wildly beatnot these have been the cause of the disasters which have befallen your beloved brother; they winged not the shaft: expend your wrath more justly elsewhere."

It is needless to point out that this might be taken either as a model or a specimen of Sterne's method of moralizing on the events of human life.

But we must not further pursue this subject at present. It will be more in place to observe that the theories of Locke and of Rousseau on education owe much to Montaigne; many of his notions have been transported bodily into the works of these two philosophers, and it is worth while to notice that the more objectionable and fantastical parts of his system have been adopted by the Genevese; whilst, with few

which possess a kind of inverted analogy with the Pelagian and Calvinistic heresies are alike untrue, and that it is unphilosophical to endeavor to trace a complex result to any one of the simple sources from which it springs.

We have only alluded to this abstract question for the uncharitable purposes of confutation. It seems to be a theory entertained by some writers, that a man's greatness is to be measured by the amount of his isolation from his contemporaries, of his independence of the age in which he lives. These persons hold, with some show of reason, that it is a sign of weakness and servility of mind to be too obedient to outward impressions. They look with contempt on those who, as Charles Blount expresses it, follow their leader like mules, and go wrong if he goes wrong. And, accordingly, their chief sign of greatness is the contrary of this defect. M. Villemain, among others, desiring to exalt Montaigne, tells us that no man owed less to the age in which he lived. Now insanity, to say nothing of the minor modifications of enthusiasm, is sometimes nothing more than an excess of self-contemplation; it argues a mind not sufficiently susceptible of regular external impressions, prone to feed on itself, to disregard the admonitions of sense, and trust to the suggestions of the imagina

dared to sigh for real liberty, there was no hope of success.

ing that the agitation and excitement of war or business would have disturbed the translucency of his mind, by stirring up the grosser particles that usually sink to the bottom in the calm and repose of comparative solitude.

tion. Such a man as M. Villemain describes would then be an anchorite, the founder of a sect, a conqueror, or a madman. It would be wrong, however, to suppose Montaigne was none of these things. He that these considerations alone induced him was a man eminently of his age, the ex- to steer his bark out of the foaming and pression, so to speak, of the times in which turbulent stream of events, and anchor in he lived; principally, it is true, the repre- the little sheltered haven which Fortune sentation of the better part, but sharing to permitted him to choose. He certaintly, some extent in most of the vices of mind though in a less degree, perhaps, than has and manners common to his contempora- been imagined, was disposed by his natural ries. His comparatively sedentary life qual- constitution to an inactive and speculative ified him for the office of a reflector. The life; and he was, doubtless, right in thinkpleasure we derive in studying his career is not certainly excited by the rapid succession of romantic incidents, nor does his figure occupy any very prominent position in the history of the sixteenth century; but we must not, therefore, infer that "his soul was like a star, and dwelt apart." On the But Montaigne's seclusion differed very contrary, vigorous as was his mind, inde- widely from that melancholy misanthropy pendent as was his intellect, it fed almost to which Stephanus Guazzus* attributes so entirely on the ideas of his time; and so many evils, and among others the liability, far was he from occupying the position as- to hypochondriacal affections. He was of signed to him, that we would venture to as- the world, though not in it; and he would sert that his Essais could not have been occasionally sally forth and try the dangers written in any other country, or at any other and taste the pleasures of a society the most stage of civilization. Amidst the confusion brilliant and most immoral at that time exof a civil war of extraordinary duration, isting in Europe. It would be vain to aswhen every estate of the kingdom took the sert, that at any period of his life he came field to assert its own rights or encroach off unscathed from these expeditions. They upon those of others, when every landed left him restless and uneasy, and, no doubt, proprietor deemed it his interest or his duty fostered that skeptical spirit which perto fortify his mansion, arm his tenantry, verted his happiness, and from which all join in forays, incline to one party or co- his attempts at dogmatism could never comquet with the other, Montaigne, it is true, pletely rescue him. It must be observed, in general remained quiet, unnoticed, and moreover, that the decline of his years comparatively unmolested. He had no par- brought along with it cravings for pleasures ticular bias towards any party, the struggle which he had neglected when they were of his prejudices and his convictions termi- more in his power, and that before he died nating in a professed ataraxia, or philoso- the passion for retirement, instead of growphical indifference on the subject of poli- ing into a habit, had nearly spent its vigor. tics. For, in our opinion, we must not He grew young as he grew old. In spite attribute the care with which he generally of the peevishness bred of continual sufferavoided active interference in worldly af-ing, he was more alive to the realities of fairs entirely to that love of studious leisure which has caused the retirement of several philosophers and scholars. He had many of the tastes and most of the habits of a man of the world; but he possessed also a considerable share of prudence and forethought, was little susceptible of enthusiasm, and could calculate with tolerable exactitude the chances of life. He understood well that the interests of the people were in no way concerned in the success of either of the two great parties that divided the kingdom; and saw that, for the third and least influential, composed of those who

existence, more obedient to the blandishments of sense, more sensible of pleasure, even than when a youth. His taste be came delicate, even to sensitiveness, and his mind, by excessive refinement, acquired something of a feminine character.

All this, however, proves that Montaigne was, in some respects, the creature of his age, far more so than is generally acknowledged. Certainly be dived deep into the well of antiquity to fetch up many of his thoughts and illustrations, and delighted in shocking the opinions of his contempora

* De Conversatione Civili, i. 2.

ries by strong doctrines and paradoxical old family parchment, and the least among theories; but this was eminently the cha- them proving himself the scion of some racter of the age. The world was rife with outlandish king. When they were about to new theories, new ideas, new sentiments. sit down to dinner, a friend of Montaigne's, Every man undertook to examine and con- who happened to be present, instead of tafute the opinions of every other man. A king his place, began to retreat with promoral insurrection raged over the whole of found obeisances, begging all present to exEurope, and, accordingly, we discover in cuse him for having, up to that time, had the very circumstances which are thought the audacity to live with them on terms of to isolate Montaigne the proof that the de- equality, but promising that henceforth, velopment of his mind was in accordance now that he had been informed of their with a law at that time in universal opera- ancient qualities, he would respect them tion. We are almost tempted to regret that according to their deserts. At any rate, he so fine an intellect was exposed to such in- protested, he could not think of sitting by fluences. We attribute many of the defects the side of so many princes. Having playof his theories, and the deplorable wandered these pranks for some time, he suddenly ings of his imagination, to the unfortunate changed his tone, and indulged them with company in which he found himself; and a copious flood of abuse, winding up thus, so far from regarding him as an independ-" Be content, in the name of God, with ent spirit, rising superior to the vices and what contented our fathers, and with the follies of those around him, we feel it to knowledge that we are well enough if we be our duty to pity, and sometimes to despise him.

only know how to behave ourselves. Let us not disavow the fortunes and conditions of our ancestors, and away with these stupid conceits, which may always be called in to prop up the dignity of any man who has the impudence to advance them." The astonishment of the sons of kings whom he addressed may be more easily imagined than described.

In viewing the early portion of Montaigne's life, we shall discern the origin of many of his peculiarites and oddities; for he was odd-the odd son of an odd father. Many of his eccentricities came to him by inheritance. We are not disposed to exaggerate the influences of "birth and blood," but still the parentage of a person celebrated To return to our subject: Pierre Eyquen, for any great qualities is a just object of cu- seigneur de Montaigne, father of our hero, riosity. No man's fortunes are independ- was an écuyer, which signifies something ent of the auspices under which he is laid more than our esquire; and of his three in the cradle, and it is not at all unimpor- brothers, the Sieur de Cairac, was a distant whether a couch of gold, a buckler, tinguished member of the church; another, or a manger, be a child's first resting-place. the Sieur de St. Michel, was only preventIt is worth while knowing, therefore, that ed, say the biographers, by an early death, the ridiculous accusation of Scaliger-from distinguishing himself; and the third, for he contrives to make an accusation of Raymond Eyquen de Montaigne, seigneur it-that Montaigne was the son of a her- de Bassaguet, was councillor in the parringmonger, is totally without foundation. liament of Bourdeaux, and head of that He was a gentleman born and bred, as we branch of the family which now exists in shall presently proceed to show. Before Guienne.* The surname Eyquen was never doing so, however, it may be as well, both adopted by Michel, who, despite the strong as some excuse for Scaliger and as a speci-objection he had in theory to the practice men of the spirit of the age, to illustrate the perfectly Cambrian respect for pedigree at that time prevalent.

Two noblemen having quarrelled on a point of etiquette, a meeting of friends was called to adjust their differences. One of them had put forward a claim, based on his title and descent, which would have raised him above all his neighbors, whereupon they, taking alarm, sided against him, and began to assert their equality, some alleg. ing one ancestry, some another, one citing a name, a second a scutcheon, a third an

of deriving titles from estates, took that of Montaigne from his father's château and grounds. He informs us in one of his Essais, that he knew a family of Eyquens in England, where the name, as has been conjectured, was corrupted to Egham;t and further adds, that even that which he selected was not peculiar to him or his relatives. There were families in Saintange,

Essais, vii. 30; Querlon i. 135.

Hazlitt. Life of Montaigne, prefixed to his excellent edition of the English translation.

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