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him before Lewis XV. whose Confessor lie was by the appointment of the duke of Orleans the regent; having been before preceptor to the duke of Burgundy, the father of the young king. Thus God glorified him successively in the sight of three kings.”
On his death several of the academicians signalized themselves by eulogiums to his memory: a few extracts from which will shew in what estimation he was held by that learned body. Mr. Adam, who was chosen to succeed him in the academy, speaks of him in the following terms in his inaugural discourse, delivered before that august assembly, Dec. 2, 1723.
" Where shall we find so many inestimable qualities united in one person? An excellent understanding, cultivated with intense labour; profound knowledge; a heart full of uprightness : not only innocent in his manners, but leading a simple, laborious and edifying life, always accompanied with sincere modesty; an admirable disinterestedness, an unfailing regularity of conduct, and perfect fidelity in the performance of his duty; in a word, an assemblage of all those talents and virtues which constitute the scholar, the honest man, and the Christian."
The Abbé de Roquelle, following Mr. Adam, spoke of this great man in the same high strain of justly merited panegyric. “We shall,” says be," always deplore the loss of our late pious, learned, and illustrious associate. Nothing can obliterate the strong impression which his virtues have made on our minds. Candour, uprightness, affability, meekness, and strict probity, seemed to constitute the very essence of his soul. Nature had lavished her choicest talents on his mind; anů study had put him into possession of knowledge. In him a solid judgment was combined with profound penetration. An exquisite taste in every department of literature, with a vast and retentive memory: and a fertile genius, with an indefatigable ardour for application. To these gifts of na. ture, let us add those of grace : a sincere and intelligent
piety; an ardent and insatiable thirst after truth ; an unbounded love to mankind, and the most scrupulous fidelity in the discharge of every duty imposed by religion ; a contempt of honour, and detachment from perishing riches; the love of solitude even in the midst of the pomps of a court; and, to sum up the whole, a pure, exemplary, and irreproachable life.” Such, truly, was the Abbé Fleury, in the estimation of his learned associates ; and such the serious reader will perceive him to be in every page of the following inestimable work.
Besides the “Manners of the Israelites," and the “ Manners of the primitive Christianis," the Abbé Fleury published many other works, the principal of which is his Ecclesiastical History, 20 vols. 12mo. or 13, 4to. the first volume of which was published in 1691, and the last in 1722: it takes in the history of the church from the birth of our Lord to the year 1414. The author designed to have brought it down to his own times; but was prevented by his death, which took place the following year. It was long well received by the public, and is in general a truly excellent work : but it is now become almost obsolete, the public having decided in favour of similar works, perhaps a little more accurate in some dates and facts, but much less spiritual, and consequently better adapted to the depraved reigning taste of the times.
His Historical Catechism, published first in 1689, 12mo, is also a very valuable work : it has gone through various editions, and has been translated into several languages. All his smaller works, which contain about forty different treatises, have been collected into 5 vols. Svo. and published at Nismes, 1780, under the title Opuscules de M. L'Abbé Fleury, Prieur d'Argenteuil, et Confesseur du Roi Louis XV. This edition was printed to accompany a new edition of the Ecclesiastical History, published at the same place in 25 vols. 8vo.
Great, pious, and useful as the Abbé Fleury was in his life, his name would have long since been extinct, had he
left no writings behind him : by these his memory has been embalmed, and his fame is become imperishable. Every new edition is, so to speak, a resurrection of this learned man; and by the diffusion of his works he, who was during his lifetime necessarily confined in courts among the great, becomes introduced to every department of society, teaching piety to God and benevolence to men, by his most excellent precepts and amiable spirit.
It is to be lamented that no account has been given to the public of the religious experience of this eminent man, nor of his last moments. As his life was holy and useful, his end must have been peace: thus far we may safely conjecture. The testimonies of his contemporaries speak much for him; and his unspotted life confirms all that his warmest friends have said of his sincere and unaffected piety. His religion was such as to emit a steady and brilliant light in the midst of a court which at that time had attained the acme of worldly glory. Yet even there, the man of God was distinguished; and all were obliged to own, that the glory of that kingdom which is not of this world infinitely exceeds all the splendors which can possibly adorn the most illustrious kingdoms of the universe.
Reader, give God the glory due to His name for the light which, in His eternal mercy, He has caused to shine in a dark place, as a testimony to His power and goodness: and let this example encourage thee to confess thy LORD amidst a crooked and perverse generation, aniong whom, if thou be not wanting to thyself, thou mayest shine as a light in the world.
MANNERS OF THE ISRAELITES.
The Design of this Treatise. The people, whom God chose to preserve the true religion till the promulgation of the Gospel, are an excellent model of that way of living, which is most conformable to nature. We see in their customs the most rational method of subsisting, employing one's self, and living in society; and from thence may learn not only lessons of morality, but rules for our conduct both in public and in private life.
Yet these customs are so different from our own, that at first sight they offend us. We do not see, among the Israelites, those titles of nobility, that multitude of employments, or diversity of conditions, which are to be found among us. They are only husbandmen and shepherds, all working with their own hands; all married, and
looking upon a great number of children as the most valuable blessing. The distinction of meats, of clean and unclean animals, with their frequent purifications, seem to us as so many troublesome ceremonies; and their bloody sacrifices quite disgust us. We observe, moreover, that this people were prone to idolatry; and, for that reason, are often reproached in Scripture for their perverseness and hardness of heart, and by the fathers of the church for being stupid and carnally minded. All this, joined to a general prejudice, that what is most antient is always most imperfect, easily influences us to believe, that these men were brutish and ignorant, and that their customs are more worthy of contempt than admiration.
And this is one reason why the Holy Scriptures, especially those of the Old Testament, are so much neglected, or read to so little purpose. Several well-meaning people, who have not quite got over such prejudices, are discouraged by the outward appearance of these strange customs ; and either impute the whole, without distinction, to the
• It would not be difficult to prove that the major part, if not the whole, of the animals, the eating of whose flesh was forbidden under the Mosaic Law, are unfit for the purposes of nutrition. Blood, which is so often and so solemnly forbidden, affords a most gross and innutritive aliment. The laws relative to lepers and other infected persons, and those which forbad contact with dead or putrid carcases, were wisely ordered to prevent the reception and diffusion of contagion. Their frequent washings and bathings also had the most direct tendency to promote health, and insure a long and comfortable life.