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above a hundred fortresses, bafled the coali- the other. Very often too his argution of eight mighty empires, and caused ments, with a little different colouring, the sovereigns of the sea io tremble behind might be turned against the cause he all the deserts of Asia ?".
defends. For instance, where he endea. In answer to this pompous detail it vours to shew how favourable the camay be observed en passant, that the tholic religion is to the happiness of the French are very much belied by the rest female sex in their relations of wife, moof Europe, if the greater part of them ther, &c. would it not be easy to reverse were not atheists; but, however this his picture, and to say, See that unhappy may be, at any rate religion cannot be victim of a cruel superstition, that counnecessary for scenes of blood and devas: teracts all the best feelings of her natation ; in fact, it had little to do with ture; taught that her perfection consists it: the French owe to the spirit of liberty in a barren and joyless celibacy, she is their brave defence of their country, and afraid to trust the instincts which the to the spirit of ambition their subsequent Divine Being has implanted in her, and conquests. In serious truth, it is im- her whole life is a perpetual struggle possible to crowd more absurdities toge- against the destination marked out for ther than this author does in his defence her by Providence ; or if she enters into of religion. In the first place, embrac- a state that she was so plainly intended ing as lie does the narrow and bigotted for, she is afraid to indulge her affection system of popery, he ought to know, for her husband, lest God should be jeathat, according to his belief, every other lous of his creature: lier confessor, and mode of religion is an abomination to not her husband, is the confident of the the Divine Being ; and that all the brave secret thoughts of her heart. She looks and virtuous heathens, as well as all the upon her innocent offspring with horror, pious Protestants, are under the wrath as being covered with sin, and objects of God, and will be miserable to all of the wrath of the Omnipotent; and eternity: this is a tenet which it is well should any one of them happen to die known' the Ronan Catholics do not de- without the ceremony of sprinkling upon part from, even with regard to their him a little water, she is delivered over most intimate friends; yet, provided to irremediable sorrow; days and years there be a religion, it seems almost ir.- may pass over her head, but no balm different to him what religion it is. In can be found for her affliction, for she recon:mending the principle of faith, he believes that she has given birth to a takes equal advantage of the names of being destined to misery through eternal Bossuet and Fenelon, Locke and New. ages. The joys and duties of life are ton, Numa and Alexander; he even neglected for visionary hopes and fears, gives it as an instance of the piety of the and every hour claims some minute oblatter, that he calied himself the Son of servance, some unprofitable ceremony. Jupiter : this is entirely to abandon the Is this a religion that allies itself with basis of truth, and to establish a politi- the real interests of man? cal basis, to recommend a national reli The second volume more particularly gion. Again he seems to think that treats of the poetry of Christianity; and to every thing is good, provided a little this the work should properly have been religion is mixed with it; a crusade, a confined. The taste of the author, for preux chevalier fighting for the honour of he certainly has taste, has pointed out, his mistress's beduty, an expedition for in a striking manner, the advantages plunder, all are sancțified by having a which may be drawn from the various religion along with them: but we have rites and tenets (be says all along of been accustomed to think that religion Christianity, we beg leave to say of Pois only good as it is the basis of nora- pery) in works addressed to the imagi. lity, and that a bad action is still more nation ; for this purpose he gives a curatrocious by being comniitted under the sory view of the chief epic poems, ansanction of orthodox creeds and rpmcient and modern. It is a defect here pous ceremonies. He also, by a misre. that he has taken such slight notice of presentation cf an opposite nature, com- Dante, whose poem, being, entirely mon to him with many (wher writers, founded on the supernatural of the confounds his invectives against unbe- Christian mythology, afforded a betlief with those against immorality; but ter test of his assertion even than the one does by no means always imply Milton. He next compares particular
characters antient and modern, as he The guide the guardian of their lovely sports, finds them delineated either in the dra. Majestic Truth. ma or the epic. His pendants are for She, we fear, would cause most of his conjugal love, Ulysses and Penelope, phantoms to vanish into air. opposed to Adam and Eve; for the cha
The third volume is dedicated to racter of fraternity, Priam and Lusignan; shewing the influence of Christianity on of filial duty, Iphigenia and Zaire-he the fine arts, on philosophy, history, and compares the Sybil of Virgil and the eloquence, and on the harmony of the Joad of Racine; Dido with the Phædra Christian religion with the scenes of naof Racine. Phædra, the reader will pro- ture and the passions of the human heart. bably object, was nothing less than a In all this there is a good deal of agreeChristian heroine; true, but Mr. Cha- able reading, and often just criticism. teaubriand says Racine, who draws her We cannot but observe that Voltaire is character, is a Christian, and her pas- treated more gently by our author than sion, in passing through his hands, is re
one should have supposed, from his defined from its grossness. This, indeed, cided opposition to Christianity. We is true; but unfortunately in the English suspect we have found the reason in a Phædra, though equally the work of a quotation he makes from him, where Christian, the grossness appears again. he says he hates the canaille; Voltaire was To the Cyclops and Galatea of Theo- no democrat. The protestant reader critus, be opposes, oddly enough, the will here see a very curious chapter on Paul and Virginie of St. Pierre. Every popular devotions, many of which will where it is his aim to shew that the spi- doubtless be new to him. rit of Christianity has given dignity to
“ Who does not know, he says, · Notre sentiment, purity to morals, grace to the Dame des Beis!' The young girls who have lost poet, delicacy to the lover, and enthu- their betrothed lovers, have often, by moonsiasm to the hero. But he considers its light, seen the souls of these young men in greatest force as displayed where reli- this solitary place, and heard iheir voices in gion itself becomes a passion; and he the murmur of the fountain. The populace instances the Polyeucte of Corneille as a
is much wiser than philosophers; every character superior to any that could fountain, crery cross in a highway, has a have been drawn by a weaker poet. prodigy belonging to it. For the believer, Many of his criticisms are ingenious and he prays to his fittle image and is relieved.
nature is a constant wonder: Is he in pain, just; yet, though we do not mean to deny Does he want to see a relation, a friend; he the influence of Christianity, well un- makes a vow, takes the stick and wallet of a derstood, in refining the passions, much pilgrim, passes the Alps or the Pyrennes, of what he points out may more fairly visits our Lady of Loretto or St. James of be attributed to the influence of modern . Compostella, prays to the saint for the safety refinement, and the natural
sailor his son, a pregnant wife, a mental cultivation. Having shewn the sick father; his licart is lightened, he sets off effects of Christianity on the passions, the country comes out to meet him, every
to return to his cottage laden with shells; he proceeds to exhibit its resources in
one asks for a relique, every slip of his coat the marvellous; and here, indeed, Mr. works a miracle How many disorders are Chateaubriand triumphs. He ranges cured by a consecrated ribband? The piigrin his circles of seraphims and cherubims, approaches his home; the first person who and the whole hierarchy of angels, as comes to meet hiin is his wife, recovered pompously as if they were mcant for one from her lying-in, his son restored to him, of the painted ceilings of Mignard; he his old father grown young again." musters his armies of saints, male and All this is mighty well; but suppose female, pastoral or warlike; he forgets while the pilgrim was rambling from not the witches cauldron; he triumphs his home, his wife and infant had pein the tortures of the Christian hell, and rished for want of his assistance, that his he allows us particularly to plume our son had taken to bad courses, and that selves upon the invention of purgatory. he was wanted to close the eyes of his To all this we have nothing to say; we old father; suppose nothing was left to are now upon poetic ground, and let the manure his land but the cockle-shells he poets make the best of it: yet one of our has picked up-all which is full as likebest poets, after addressing the powers · ly, what becomes then of the eulogium of imagination, the genii and the muses, on la bella devotiona? In a different style invokes as supreme,
is the comparison, which we think an
excellent one, between the sterility and to society by the institutions of Christicoldness of atheistical principles, so un- anity; for though his partiality for the favourable to genius of every kind, and marvellous and the romantic is every the glow of heart and energy of senti- where apparent; this part of his work ment inspired by the grand truths of re-, has much in it that is just and interestligion.
ing. The following remark is much to The fourth volume contains an eulo- his purpose: gium on the rites, worship, and different observances of the Romish church. great service to the religious of both sexes,
“ People pretended that it was doing a Among other remarks we find the fol- o oblige them to quit their retreats; what lowing on the cross, that it is found in has been the result? The nuns who were various parts of nature, that there is a fortunate enough to find an asylum in fofamily of cruciform flowers, and that reign monasteries, eagerly took refuge there ; all these flowers show a decided inclina- others united together to live a monastic life, tion for solitude. In the chapter on of grief; and those monks of La Trappe, so
in the middle of the world; oihers have died bells alone, he has exhausted as much much pitied, instead of enjoying the charms eloquence as would have served an ordi- of liberty, and the pleasures of life, are connary writer for a volume. The vest. timuing their maccrations on the heaths of ments of the priests, the funeral ceremo- England, or the deserts of Russia." nies, the fête Dieu, the rogations, the ceremonies of the holy week, and all the
The monks, he justly observed, suc.. other festivals, are equally subjects of ceeded the ancient philosophers; they admiration, and described in the most wore their dress, and imitated their manpompous manner. With regard to have ners; some even had chosen the manual ing the service performed in an un
of Epictetus for their only rule. He known tongue, it is a remarkable thing:
adds, he observes that Latin services are al “ The greater part of the laws of these reways attended to by the crowd with pe. ligious societies shew a profound knowledge culiar devotion; and with his usual love in the art of governing men. Plato imagined of the mysterious, he adds,
republics without being able to establish any,
buit Saint Augustine, Basil, and Benedict, " Is not this a natural effect of our fond- have been real legislators, and the patriarchs ness for any thing which is secret? In the of many great communities.” tumult of his thoughts and the fund of mi
The services of the missionaries are sery of which his life is composed, man, in pronouncing words not familiar to him, or justly appreciated, as well as the benefit even unknown, seems to ask all the blessings derived to society from the various hoswhich he wants, or even which he is igno- pitals. rant of; the indistinctness of his prayer is It is unnecessary to follow the author its very charm, and his restless soul, scarce- in his picturesque description of the Maly knowing what it desires, loves to form pe- ronite monks, the hermits of Thebais, titions as mysterious as are its wants." the monks of Saint Bernard, so well
This is very ingenious, and we do not known for their assiduity in saving the doubt but the people, while reciting their travellers lost in the snow; of the seveLatin prayers, form each for himself a rities of La Trappe, and the awful silence variety of petitions which would never of the Chartreux; even the bold and begbe found in any collect; but does not the ging Capuchin is elevated into a figure church lose by this the great advantage of wonderful dignity, travelling about, of directing their minds to the proper we are told, and
demanding hospitality, objects of prayer? But it is little neces. like Thales or Anacharsis. After the sary for a Protestant to follow Mr. Cha- monks come the missionaries, whose teaubriand through all the ceremonies zeal and labours, though no doubt conof a Romish masss, nor in his descrip- siderably exaggerated by the glowing tion of tombs, antient and modern, to pencil of our author, are justly worthy which he has given a whole book; we of admiration; he shews that we owe to. attend him with more pleasure in his them much of our knowledge of foreign history of the life of Christ, his account countries; and he adds, with a little of the clergy secular and regular, the stroke of satire upon a late expedition of eulogium and defence of monastic insti. ours, tutions, the account of the missions, and “ When powerful nations, at a prodigią the enumeration of the services rendered ous espence, lave sent out poinpous embray
man, had he
sies, have they informed us of any thing more services done to society by the religious than Duhalde and Le Compte had already orders, he insists upon their skill in agritold us; or have they in any thing shaken the culture; they were the best farmers, the credit of those writers ?"
best landlords, and the first to practise The observation which follows is very many useful arts; the sciences of law just:
and policy were equally obliged to them. “ A missionary must of necessity be an
He concludes triumphantly with a picexcellent traveller, obliged to speak the lan- ture of the depraved morals of the Ro. guage of the people to whom he preaches the mans, and conjectures of the state which gospel, to conform himself to their customs, the world might have fallen into, if it to live for a length of time with all classes of had not been rescued by the influences socicty; he seeks to penetrate equally into of a new and purer religion. The fifth the cottage and the palace; and even is nature should have denied him genius, he can
volume is taken up by notes and autho,
rities. not fail of treasuring up many important facts. On the other hand, a man who
If, after going through this singular
passes rapidly through a country with his interpre- publication, we ask ourselves what has ter, who has neither time nor inclination in The author done? what has he proved? expose himself to a thousand dangers, in or
it may be answered, he has proved that der to learn the secret of their manners, this the Roman Catholic religion, with all its
pomps and ceremonies, is wonderfully acquire but a very superficial knowledge of a adapted to amuse the imagination, but people which have only glided before his he has scarcely aimed at establishing the eyes and disappeared."
truth of its doctrines. On the contrary, He says in another place,
by shiewing the same įredilection for " Never will a company of philosophers the most obsolete and trivial superstivisiting foreign countries, with all the justru- tions of the vulgar, which he expresses ments and the plans of an academy; perform for the doctrines and rites niost essential what a poor monk, travelling on foot from his convent, has executed with only his chap- ceives the whole rather as a matter of
to it, he makes us suspect that he re. let and his breviary."
taste than of belief. He has shown that We must observe, however, that this religious enthusiasm is favourable to the poor monk was generally supported by higher kinds of poetry, but it remains to a very rich and powerful body. The be shewn liow far it is friendly to the next object of eulogium is the orders of happiness of life. He has done too chivalry; and here the author's love of much, or too little. For a religious the romantic has full play; Don Quix. work there is too much of the profane; otte himself could not have expressed a the nymphs and the graces, and the hegreater reverence for the preux cheva roes and heroines of elysium are introlier, and every thing belonging to him; duced, as it were, hand in hand with the we seem to be reading one of the old ro. Virgin Mary and the saints; and we mances; love and war, and religion, think it impossible that a serious Catho. plumes and crosses, and vigils and feasts, lic should not be scandalized by many and tournaments, and Clorinda and Ri- of his images. On the other hand, if it naldo, and Bradamant, and the knights is a work of criticism, and he is only exaof the round table, and the troubadours, mining whether Virgil or Dante poswhose verses, by the way, were very dif. sessed a mythology the most favourable ferent from pious hymns, and the pages to poetry, he goes out of his way to de. and their amours, all are enumerated, all fend the doctrinal part. In fact, the are commended. The author finds a bet- strength of the work is in its descripter subject in the following chapters, on tions. Mr. Chateaubriand is a very the services rendered to the world by weak divine, a tolerable critic, an indif. Christianity, in the establishment of hos. ferent naturalist, no philosopher, but a pitals, schools, universities, and various very good painter; his style is rich, but foundations, literary or charitable. The often blemished with hyperbolical images, subject is a very pleasing one, and we and exaggerated expressions. Two no. should quote with great satisfaction vels are inserted into the body of the some of the truly edifying instances of work, Attala and René; the fornier was zeal and beneficence which embellish separately published previous to, and as this article, if our account were not al. a kind of forerunner of his great work, ready too far extended. Among the of which it was announced as a part; it
is written after the manner of Paul and harm according as it is directed. As to Virginie; that is to say, it joins a pathetic the rest, the scenery is beautiful, and the story to the description of natural ob- feelings of passion strongly described. Atjects, and though it is not equal to the tala has been extremely popular in Paris. beautiful and simple production of M. de* René, which is also inserted in this work, St. Pierre, it has a great deal of merit, is more uniformly gloomy than Attala, but it is of a gloomy cast, and its ten- and its design is less obvious, for what dency is rather unfavourable to the doc. has the love of René's sister for him to trines it is meant to recommend. The do with Christianity ? It is introduced by scene is in North America. Attala is a a chapter on what he calls le vague des young Christian Indian, whose mother, passions, by which he seems to mean a a Christian also, by a vow made when state in which the mind feels an indisher life was in danger, had devoted her tinct tendency to passionate emotion to perpetual virginity, in honour of the without any specific object. This void Virgin Mary. She falls in love with a of the heart he thinks should be filled up youth, whom she saves from the tor- by the pission of religion; a very ready ments to which, as a prisoner, he w way to make gloomy fanatics, to make a devoted, and escapes with him into the Count de Comminges, or perhaps a Ra. woods. She there wanders with him vaillac; but active employment, mingled through the vast solitudes of those ur- with the innocent pleasures of life, we peopled regions, and has the strength of presume to think, would make better citimind to resist the feelings of her own zens and happier men. On the whole, heart, and the pleading of her lover, this work can only be read by an Enthough consumed by the most ardent pas- glishman and a Protestant, as a work of sion. At length, no longer able to bear fancy, in which here and there are some the struggle between inclination and ap- touching moral paintings; a sober Caprehended duty, she destroys herself by tholic will certainly not defend it; 2 perpoison. This catastrophe is not calcu- son who professes to believe every thing, lated, one should suppose, to make us to defend every thing, is very near bethink well of a religion in which vows lieving nothing ; for how can the faith are recommended so contrary to the of that man be built on a firm foundatendencies of our nature. It is true tion, who seems as loth to part with the Attala meets, when it is too late, with a lowest popular superstition, with a prohumane priest, who tells her that her mo. cession, or a relick, as with the most ther's vow was rash, and that she might essential doctrines of his faith; besides, have been pardoned, if she had broken M.Chateaubriand is not aware that when it; but it is evident, that had she never once these mummeries have lost their cre. met with a Romish priest, and had her dit, they are flat and uninteresting even to mother and herself never heard of Chris. the common people, all attempt to retianity, her misfortune would not have vive them is vain; the pret may make happened. The novel of Attala does, use of them for some time after the di. indeed, show the force of religious prin- vine has done with them; but even with ciple, in bridling the strongest passions him, after a little while, St. Genevieve of our nature; it shows, therefore, a and Notre Dame des Bois, become as insipid great power, which may do good or as the Floras and Venuses of antiquity: