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and again in 1611. The author was a learned Lutheran divine, who published also a History of the Confession of Augsburg, and other works. He was born in the year 1530, and studied at Tübingen, and then under Melancthon at Wittemberg; though he appears afterwards to have attached himself to a different party from that of the mild reformer. He held a professorship at Rostoch; and died in the year 1600.
Of Thuanus, I regretted that I had not a sufficient apology for giving an account in my former preface: that apology is now furnished, in the further use made of his great work in this volume; and I shall avail myself of it, as I have been much interested with his personal history, and believe that in briefly sketching it I am directing the attention of my readers to a member of the true church of Christ, though he lived and died in communion with Rome.-James Augustus Thuanus, or de Thou, was a president of the parliament of Paris-as his father had been before him. He was born in 1553, and died in 1617. He was employed in public affairs during the reigns of Henry II, Francis II, Charles IX, Henry III, and Henry IV, of France: but he is immortalized by the history of his own Time, from 1546 to 1607, which he composed in one hundred and thirty-eight books, in an elegant and easy Latin style. This great man was in his childhood extremely weakly, so that the hope of preserving his life was abandoned: and his crib was removed from his father's antechamber that he might not die there; and a female relation, who anxiously watched over him, was desired not to risk her own health by tending a hopeless charge. Hence of necessity the regular course of his education was interrupted, and he was left in a great degree to
pursue his own plans: yet how distinguished his attainments were may be in some degree judged from what has been already recorded. His house was the resort of men of learning and genius, with whom he passed his time in the most agreeable and improving manner-each pursuing his own studies, and all communicating the result of their respective inquiries for the common information. He collected one of the finest private libraries in Europe; which he anxiously, but in vain, endeavoured to have kept together for the benefit of posterity. It is remarkable, that from twenty years of age he formed the design of writing the history of his own times, as a main work of his life; and from that period he made regular collections for the purpose. He was distinguished for simplicity and integrity. Though he continued to the last a Roman catholic, yet he has treated the protestants, and the proceedings of the French government against them, (including the great massacre and the civil wars,) in such a manner as caused him to be styled at Rome a heretic, and his History to be placed in the list of prohibited books. The fault of his great work is its being so minute, and consequently so prolix, that it can scarcely be expected to find readers except among those who consult it in furtherance of works of their own. Incomparably the best edition of it was printed in England, under the patronage of Dr. Mead and the editorial care of our historian Carte; and it extends to seven folio volumes!'-His Preface, or Dedication of his History to Henry IV, is one of the three most admired compositions of that kind-the other two being Calvin's dedication of his Institutes to Francis I, and Casaubon's
1 Printed for Buckley, London, 1733.
of his edition of Polybius, likewise to Henry IV. The design of Thuanus's Preface is to recommend toleration, or religious liberty, as the only remedy for the evils which had so long afflicted Christendom, and France in particular: and this theme he pursues in a strain that I have not found in any other writer of that period. He says, "Experience has taught us, that fire and sword, exile and proscription, rather irritate than heal the distemper which has its seat in the mind. These only affect the body; but judicious and edifying doctrine, gently instilled, descends into the heart." "Religion is not subject to command, but is infused into well-prepared minds by a conviction of the truth, with the concurrence of divine grace. Tortures have no influence over her: in fact, they rather tend to make men obstinate, than to subdue or persuade them. . . . Confiding in the support of God's grace, the religious man is content to suffer; and the ills, to which mortality is liable, he takes to himself without complaint. . Let the executioner stand before him; let him prepare tortures, whet the knife, and kindle the pile; he will still persevere: and his mind will dwell, not upon what he is to endure, but upon the part which it behoves him to act. His happiness is within his own bosom, and whatever assails him outwardly is trivial, and only grazes the surface of the body. . . . Consider the conduct of one of those who perished by torture for their religious opinions. When bound to the stake he began with bended knees to sign a hymn, regardless of the smoke and flames: and, when the executioner would have set fire to the pile behind him, 'Come hither,' said he, and kindle it before my face: if I could have felt dread, I should have avoided coming to this place.' Tortures therefore by no
means repress the ardour of innovators in religion: but their minds are rather hardened by them, to suffer and attempt more. . . . France has now witnessed this visitation for forty years, and the Netherlands nearly as long. Mild persuasion and amicable conference may still conciliate those, whom force cannot subdue.
Thuanus thus writes concerning himself, in the third person, in a memoir which he has left of his life: 66 Besides the daily prayers, which every Christian ought to offer at his rising, he has told me that he made one applicable to his work, and never sat down to composition without first begging God to enlighten him with a knowledge of the truth, and to enable him to follow its dictates without flattery or detraction."-How does such a contrast reproach the irreligion of our Humes and our Gibbons, not to say also the coldness of our clerical historian Robertson !-His description of the style of writing which he had cultivated is admirable. Lastly, I have aimed to acquire a plain and simple style, the image of a mind averse to vain and ostentatious ornament, equally free from asperity and adulation." "I was induced," he says, "to begin to write in camps, in the midst of sieges, and the noise of arms: and my work has been continued and completed in Your Majesty's court, amongst the oppressive labours of the law, foreign journies, and other avocations."
The exordium of his will is a beautiful specimen of those avowals of their faith and piety towards God, as well as affection towards their families, which our forefathers frequently introduced in such a connexion; and in which it is perhaps no proof of our improved taste, any more than of our increased virtue, that we have so entirely ceased to imitate them. It is as follows: "In the name
of the sacred and undivided Trinity. Since it has pleased God that my beloved wife, Gaspara de la Chastre, who I always wished and hoped might survive me, has, contrary to the order of nature, departed before me, I, James Augustus de Thou, the chief and most miserable of sinners, am admonished by her lamented death to think seriously of my own, and to make this declaration of my last will and testament.-First of all, I render all possible thanks to Almighty God, that he caused me to be born of faithful parents, regenerated me in his church by the sacred laver, made me partaker of his sacraments, and impressed on my mind a living, and not a dead faith, having conjoined with it the hope of eternal life; which consists in this, that we believe in God, and in Him whom he hath sent, even his beloved Son, the eternal Word, begotten before all ages, Jesus Christ, who was conceived, &c. &c. In this faith I profess that I live; and with the most earnest prayers and tears I plead with God that I may persevere in it, constantly and without wavering, to my last breath: and I implore that, of his unbounded mercy, he would purge me, who was conceived and born in sin, from the pollutions of human infirmity; and, unworthy as I am, make me worthy to be his habitation, and apply to me the merit of the passion of his most dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, for the expiation of my sins; that, when the last hour of my life, not unprepared for, shall arrive, I may be carried by his angels to Abraham's bosom, there with his holy and elect people to enjoy eternal felicity.This premised, I nominate and appoint for guardians of my children-borne to me by my loving wife, whose loss I must inconsolably deplore, except as my grief is relieved by the hope of the