e-book Oraison funèbre de Henriette-Anne dAngleterre, duchesse dOrléans (French Edition)

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Bossuet's worship of authority by no means killed his confidence in reason; what it did was make him doubt the honesty of those who reasoned otherwise than himself. The whole chain of argument seemed to him so clear and simple.


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Philosophy proves that God exists and that He shapes and governs the course of human affairs. History shows that this governance is, for the most part, indirect, exercised through certain venerable corporations, as well civil and ecclesiastical, all of which demand implicit obedience as the immediate representatives of God. Thus all revolt, whether civil or religious, is a direct defiance of the Almighty. Oliver Cromwell becomes a moral monster, and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes was the greatest achievement of the second Constantine.

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The France of his youth had known the misery of divided counsels and civil war; the France of his manhood, brought together under an absolute sovereign, had suddenly shot up into a splendour only comparable with ancient Rome. Why not, then, strain every nerve to hold innovation at bay and prolong that splendour for all time? Bossuet's own Discours sur l'histoire universelle might have furnished an answer, for there the fall of many empires is detailed; but then the Discours was composed under a single preoccupation.

To Bossuet, the establishment of Christianity was the one point of real importance in the whole history of the world. He totally ignores the history of Islam and Asia ; on Greece and Rome , he only touched insofar as they formed part of the Praeparatio Evangelica. Yet his Discours is far more than a theological pamphlet.

While Pascal might refer the rise and fall of empires to Providence or chance or a little grain of sand in the English lord protectors' veins, Bossuet held fast to his principle that God works through secondary causes. It is His will that every great change should have its roots in the ages that went before it. Bossuet, accordingly, made a heroic attempt to grapple with origins and causes, and in this way, his book deserves its place as one of the very first of philosophic histories.

Bossuet therefore attempted to steer a middle course. In , before the general Assembly of the French Clergy , he preached a great sermon on the unity of the Church and made it a magnificent plea for compromise. As Louis XIV insisted on his clergy making an anti-papal declaration , Bossuet got leave to draw it up and made it as moderate as he could, and when the Pope declared it null and void, he set to work on a gigantic Defensio Cleri Gallicani , only published after his death. Throughout this controversy, unlike the court bishops, Bossuet constantly resided in his diocese and took an active interest in its administration.

The Gallican storm a little abated, he turned back to a project very near his heart.

Oraison funèbre d'Henriette d'Angleterre, duchesse d'Orléans

Ever since the early days at Metz , he had been busy with schemes for uniting the Huguenots to the Catholic Church. In , he converted Turenne ; in , he published an Exposition de la foi catholique "Exposition of the Catholic Faith" , so moderate in tone that adversaries were driven to accuse him of having fraudulently watered down the Catholic dogmas to suit Protestant taste. Few writers could have made the Justification controversy interesting or even intelligible. His argument is simple enough. Without rules, an organized society cannot hold together, and rules require an authorized interpreter.

The Protestant churches had thrown over this interpreter; and Bossuet had small trouble in showing that, the longer they lived, the more they varied on increasingly important points. For the moment, the Protestants were pulverized; but before long, they began to ask whether variation was necessarily so great an evil.

Oraison Funebre D'henriette Anne D'angleterre Duchesse D'orleans - AbeBooks

Between and , Bossuet corresponded with Leibniz with a view to reunion, but negotiations broke down precisely at this point. Leibniz thought his countrymen might accept individual Roman doctrines, but he flatly refused to guarantee that they would necessarily believe tomorrow what they believe today. We prefer, he said, a church eternally variable and for ever moving forwards. Next, Protestant writers began to accumulate some alleged proofs of Rome's own variations; and here, they were backed up by Richard Simon , a priest of the Paris Oratory and the father of biblical criticism in France.

He accused St Augustine , Bossuet's own special master, of having corrupted the primitive doctrine of grace. Bossuet set to work on a Defense de la tradition , but Simon calmly went on to raise issues graver still. Under a veil of politely ironic circumlocutions, such as did not deceive the Bishop of Meaux, he claimed his right to interpret the Bible like any other book. Bossuet denounced him again and again; Simon told his friends he would wait until the old fellow was no more. Another Oratorian proved more dangerous still. Simon had endangered miracles by applying to them lay rules of evidence, but Malebranche abrogated miracles altogether.

It was blasphemous, he argued, to suppose that the Author of nature would violate the law He had Himself established. These repeated checks soured Bossuet's temper. In his earlier controversies, he had borne himself with great magnanimity , and the Huguenot ministers he refuted had found him a kindly advocate at court. His approval of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes stopped far short of approving dragonnades within his Diocese of Meaux, but now his patience was waning.

The controversy concerned their different reactions to the opinions of Jeanne Guyon : her ideas were similar to the Quietism of Molinos , which was condemned by Pope Innocent XI in When Mme de Maintenon began questioning the orthodoxy of Mme Guyon's opinions, an ecclesiastical commission of three members, including Bossuet, was appointed to report on the matter.

The commission issued 34 articles known as the Articles d' Issy , which condemned Mme Guyon's ideas very briefly and provided a short treatise on the orthodox, Catholic conception of prayer. He explained his view that the goal of human life should be to have love of God as its perfect object, with neither fear of punishment nor desire for the reward of eternal life having anything to do with this pure love of God.

King Louis XIV reproached Bossuet for failing to warn him that his grandsons' tutor had such unorthodox opinions and instructed Bossuet and other bishops to respond to the Maximes des Saints. Pope Innocent XII selected 23 specific passages for condemnation. Until he was over 70 years, Bossuet enjoyed good health, but in he developed chronic kidney stones. Two years later he was a hopeless invalid, and on 12 April he died quietly. His funeral oration was given by Charles de la Rue , SJ. He was buried at Meaux Cathedral.


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Bossuet is widely considered to be one of the most influential homiliticians of all time. He focused on ethical rather than doctrinal messages, often drawing from the lives of saints or saintly contemporaries as examples. He preached, for example, on St. Bossuet's funeral orations in particular had lasting importance and were translated early into many languages, including English. His complete works were edited by Lachat in 31 vols.

Paris, — When Bossuet was chosen to be the tutor of the Dauphin, oldest child of Louis XIV, he wrote several works for the edification of his pupil, one of which was Politics Derived from the Words of Holy Scripture , a discourse on the principles of royal absolutism. The work was published posthumously in The work consists of several books which are divided into articles and propositions which lay out the nature, characteristics, duties, and resources of royalty.

To justify his propositions, Bossuet quotes liberally from the Bible and various psalms. Throughout his essay, Bossuet emphasizes the fact that royal authority comes directly from God and that the person of the king is sacred. In the third book, Bossuet asserts that "God establishes kings as his ministers, and reigns through them over the people. In books six and seven, Bossuet describes the duties of the subjects to the prince and the special duties of royalty.

For Bossuet, the prince was synonymous with the state, which is why, according to him, the subjects of the prince owe the prince the same duties that they owe their country. He also states that "only public enemies make a separation between the interest of the prince and the interest of the state. Bossuet describes three ways that this can be achieved: by maintaining a good constitution, making good use of the state's resources, and protecting the state from the dangers and difficulties that threaten it.

In books nine and ten, Bossuet outlines the various resources of royalty arms, wealth, and counsel and how they should be used. In regards to arms, Bossuet explains that there are just and unjust grounds for war. Unjust causes include ambitious conquest, pillage, and jealousy. As far as wealth is concerned, he then lays out the types of expenditures that a king has and the various sources of wealth for the kingdom. He emphasizes that the true wealth of a kingdom is its men and says that it is important to improve the people's lot and that there would be no more poor.

The Catholic Encyclopedia calls Bossuet the greatest pulpit orator of all time, ranking him even ahead of Augustine and Chrysostom. The exterior of Harvard 's Sanders Theater includes busts of the eight greatest orators of all time - they include a bust of Bossuet alongside such giants of oratory as Demosthenes , Cicero , and Chrysostom. Bossuet was one of several co-editors on the Delphin Classics collection. Bossuet was the uncle of Louis Bossuet. Etienne's Cathedral in Metz , where Bossuet was made a canon at age 13 in Bossuet served as his tutor Bishop Bossuet.

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