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wisest. Now, must it not be wonderfully healthy to such persons, if early in life they read the life of some being who made all obstacles bow before him—who would not waste his being on vain re. grets, but sought out his present, to shape some future-some person who had tossed all indifference with indignation away from him who had wrought up all the earnestness of his soul to prompt on a commanding passion, or a strong invoking dutywho could say, with Pompey on a memorable occasion, f It is necessary for me to go, it is not necessary for me to live.” Who would, with Cæsar, burn the ships that brought his soldiers to land, that there might be no return; or with Milton, would gladly endure the loss of sight, so that the duty was not left undone. Circumstances like these are electrifying to weak minds; and a succession of shocks, if they do not absolutely change a character, and make it heroic, yet exercise a wonderful and perceptible influence upon it.
Ah! this transfusion of character continues long after all that was mortal of the great man of the past is consigned to the tomb.
There lived in our country (France) a man who believed in the real presence in the sacrifice of the mass, in the reign and worship of the Virgin, in works of supererogation, in treasures of indulgences, and in the power of absolution; he believed in the infallibility of the Pope so thoroughly, that perhaps the only trace of affectation observable in his life, were the demonstrations of submission, publicly inade, to a Papal decision, Assuredly, according to the Protestant faith, this man was a very imperfect Christian, as respects his faith. He gave, however, examples of all the Christian virtues; he lived an eminently Christian life, opened his palace to all the wounded, friends or enemies ; condemned all violence or persecution on the pretext of religion ; he lived like an adınirable Christian, in one of those periods when it was most difficult so to do-his name was Fenelon. Does any one imagine that there are many Protestants at the present day who refuse to admit that Fenelon was eminently Christian in everything except his faith? In our own days there has lived a man in our country who believed the papacy to be a scandalous usurpation of human dominion over the kingdom of God; who believed that the bread and wine used in the Lord's Supper are merely the common product of corn and the vine; that the sacrifice of the mass is the most prodigious of errors ; that every priest who absolves, usurps the prerogative of God; that the assumption of the Virgin is a fable, and her worship a superstition;—this man, by the uninterrupted devotedness of half a century, succeeded in rescuing from misery, ignorance, immorality, and irreligion, a whole commune, lost in a wild and pathless district of the Vosages. In order to succeed, he had recourse to the secret of St. Paul; he became all things to all men; he was at once pastor and schoolmaster, judge and arbitrator, farmer, mason, road-maker, and became even a printer, in order to diffuse the holy truths of Christianity: his name was Oberlin. According to the Catholic faith, it would not have been easy to have met with a Christian more imperfect in respect of faith. Does any one imagine that many Catholics could be found at the present day who would hesitate to proclaim, that in all other respects it would have been difficult to have found a better Christian than Oberlin ?”*
These two men have not lived in vain; they have transfused their lives into Christendom; they yet electrify all who read their lives; there is diffused over the spirit a desire to be thus spiritually strong. These lives transmit a posterity down to distant times. Does not the reader know something of this? Has he not felt, whilst he has perused the lives of men long dead, that their spirit was preseut in the record. “He being dead yet speaketh."
This is the everlasting eulogium upon departed piety and worth. Nor do the dead speak alone ;
• See Coquerel's Adaptation of Christianity to the Nature of Man.
their influence is really more active, perhaps, than when they seemed more entirely to live with us. That influence has increased in its momentum, the authority of the dead over us. When that authority comes vested in the sacred robings of virtue and Christianity, it is very powerful—the shades of creed die out-the men who seemed so distant from one another while they lived. Why, look in our library, how we place them together-a type of the union of their spirits in a world far higher than the world of biographies and books.
CLASSIFICATIONS OF BIOGRAPHY.I. HISTORICAL.
Many classifications of biography may be attempted with a view to the delineation of its uses and value. There is, first, that large domain of biography, which may be called HISTORICAL BIOGRAPIY, which, indeed, merges itself in history. There are names, to remove which from the historic ebart, would be altogether to interfere with the course of the historic river. It is vain to speculate on what we might have been, or what history might have been, if this man and that had not lived. It is enough for us to know that they did break up the existing landmarks of nations and ages. They, in fact, whenever they appeared, were a new element in society.
To become this, it appears they were borntheir arm was strong-their eye was bright and