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estate to the Jesuits. But the parliament declared him innocent of the forgery, and Gondi, bishop of Paris, entirely acquitted him of the charge of heresy. He afterwards thought proper to retire to Bourges, where the Jesuits had a college, and continued there about a year and a half. Then he went to Rome, by the order of pope Gregory XIII. to superintend the publication of the “Septuagint : and after finishing his « Commentary upon the Gospels," in 1582, he died there, in the beginning of 1583.
He composed several works, which shew great parts and learning; but published nothing in his life-time. The first of his performances which came abroad after his death, was his “ Comment upon the Four Gospels;" of which father Simon says : “ Among all the commentators which we have mentioned hitherto, there are few who have so happily explained the literal sense of the Gospels as John Maldonat the Spanish Jesuit. After his death, which happened at Rome before he had reached his fiftieth year, Claudius Aquaviva, to whom he presented his “ Čomment" while he was dying, gave orders to the Jesuits of Pont à Mousson to cause it to be printed from a copy which was sent them. The Jesuits, in the preface to that work, declare that they had inserted something of their own, according to their manner; and that they had been obliged to correct the manuscript copy, which was defective in some places, because they had no access to the original, which was at Rome. Besides, as the author had neglected to mark, upon the margin of his copy, the books and places from whence he had taken a great part of his quotations, they supplied that defect. It even appeared, that Maldonat had not read at first hand all that great number of writers which he quotes; but that he had made use of the labours of former writers. Thus he is not quite so exact, as if he had put the last hand to his Com. ment. Notwithstanding these imperfections, and some others, which are easily corrected, it appears plainly, that this Jesuit had bestowed abundance of pains upon that ex. cellent work. He does not allow one difficulty to pass without examining it to the bottom. When a great num. ber of literal interpretations present themselves upon the same passage, he usually fixes upon the best, without paying too great a deference to the ancient commentators, or even to the majority, regarding nothing but truth alone, stript of all authorities but her own.” Cardinal Perron VOL. XXI.
“Angels" was priestart mind
said, that he was a very great man, and a true divine; that he had an excellent elocution as a speaker, understood the learned languages well, was deeply versed in scholas. tic divinity and theology, and that he had thoroughly read the fathers.” His character has been as high among the Protestants, for an interpreter of Scripture, as it was among the Papists. Matthew Pole, in the preface to the fourth volume of his “ Synopsis Criticorum,” calls him a writer of great parts and learning. “ He was," says Dr. Jackson, " the most judicious expositor among the Jesuits. His skill in expounding the Scriptures, save only where doting love unto their church had made him blind, none of theirs, few of our church, have surpassed.” His “Commentaries upon Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezekiel, and Daniel,” were printed at Lyons in 1609, and at Cologne in 1611. To these were added, his “ Exposition of the cixth Psalm," and “ A letter concerning a celebrated dispute which he had with above twenty Protestant ministers at Sedan.” His treatise “ De fide," was printed at Maienne in 1600; and that upon “ Angels and Demons” at Paris, in 1605. In 1677, they published at Paris some pieces which had never appeared before ; namely, his treatise “Of Grace," that upon “ Original Sin," upon “ Providence," upon “ Justice," upon “ Justification," and that upon "The Merit of Works;" besides “ Prefaces, Harangues, and Letters," one volume, folio.
We will conclude our account of this celebrated Jesuit, with mentioning an high eulogium of him, given by the impartial and excellent Thuanus; who, after observing that he "joined a singular piety and purity of manners, and an exquisite judgment, to an exact knowledge of philosophy and divinity,” adds, “that it was owing to bim alone, that the parliament of Paris, when they had the Jesuits under their consideration, did not pronounce any sentence to their disadvantage, though they were become suspected by the wisest heads, and greatly hated by the university." Nothing can set the importance of Maldonat in a stronger light, or better shew the high opinion that was had of his merit.'
MALEBRANCHE (Nicolas), a French pbilosopber, was born at Paris, Aug. 6, 1638, and was first placed under a domestic tutor, who taught him Greek and Latin. He
Gen. Dict.--Niceron, rol. XXIII.-Moreri.-Dupin. Saxii Onomasta
afterwards went through a course of philosophy at the college of la Marche, and that of divinity in the Sorbonne; and was admitted in to the congregation of the Oratory at Paris, in 1660. After he had spent some time there, he consulted father le Cointe, in what manner he should pursue bis studies; who advised him to apply himself to ecclesiastical history. Upon this he began to read Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret; but soon grew weary of this study, and next applied himself to father Simon, who recommended Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, rabbinical learning, and critical inquiries into the sense of the Scriptures. But this kind of study was not at all more suitable to his genius, than the former. At last, in 1664, he met with Des Cartes's “ Treatise upon Man," which he read over with great satisfaction, and devoted himself immediately to the study of his philosophy; of which, in a few years, he became as perfect a master as Des Cartes himself. In 1699, he was admitted an honorary member of the royal açademy of sciences. He died Oct. 13, 1715, being then seventy-seven years of age. From the time that he began to read Des Cartes, he studied only to enlighten his mind, and not to furnish his memory; so that he knew a great deal, though he read but little. He avoided every thing that was mere erudition ; an insect pleased him much more than all the Greek and Roman history. He despised likewise that kind of learning, which consists only in knowing the opinions of different philosophers; since it was his opinion that a person may, easily know the history of other men's thoughts, without ever thinking at all himself. Such was his aversion to poetry, that he could never read ten verses together without disgust., He meditated with -bis windows shut, in order to keep out the light, which he found to be a disturbance to him. His conversation turned upon the same subjects as his books, but was mixed with so much modesty and deference to the judgment of others, that it was much courted. Few foreigners, who were men of learning, neglected to visit him when they came to Paris : and it is said, that an English officer, who was taken prisoner during the war between William III. and the king of France, was content with his lot, when he was brought to Paris, because it gave him an opportunity to see Louis XIV, and father Malebranche. He wrote several works. The first and principal, as
indeed it gave rise to almost all that followed, was bis “ De la Recherche de la Verité,” or his “ Search after
Truth," printed at Paris in 1674, and afterwards augmented in several successive editions. His design in this book is to point out the errors into which we are daily led by our senses, imagination, and passions; and to prescribe a method for discovering the truth, which he does, by starting the notion of seeing all things in God. Hence he is led to think and speak meanly of human knowledge, either as it lies in written books, or in the book of nature, compared with that light which displays itself from the ideal world; and by attending to which, with pure and defecated minds, he supposes knowledge to be most easily bad. These sentiments, recommended by various beauties of style, made many admire his genius who could not understand, or agree to his principles. Locke, in bis “Examination of Malebranche's opinion of seeing all things in God," styles him an “acute and ingenious author;" and tells us, that there are “ a great many very fine thoughts, judicious reasonings, and uncompion reflections in his Recherche :" but in that piece, endeavours to refute the chief principles of his system. Brucker is of opinion that the doctrine of his “ Search after Truth,” though in many respects original, is raised upon Cartesian principles, and is, in some particulars, Platonic. The author represents, in strong colours, the causes of error, arising from the disorders of the imagination and passions, the abuse of liberty, and an implicit confidence in the senses. He explains the action of the animal spirits, the nature of memory; the connection of the brain with other parts of the body, and their influence upon the understanding and will. On the subject of intellect, he maintains, that thought alone is essential to mind, and deduces the imperfect state of science from the imperfection of the human understanding, as well as from the inconstancy of the will in inquiring after truth. Rejecting the ancient doctrine of species sent forth from material objects, and denying the power of the mind to produce ideas, he ascribes their production immediately to God; and asserts, that the human mind immediately perceives God, and sees all things in him. As he derives the imperfection of the human mind from its dependence upon the body, so be places its perfection in union with God, by means of the knowledge of truth and the love of virtue.
Singular and paradoxical, Brucker adds, as the notion of“ seeing all things in God," and some other dogmas of this writer, must have appeared, the work was written with such elegance and splendour of diction, and its tenets were supported by such ingenious reasonings, that it obtained general applause, and procured the author a distinguished name among philosophers, and a numerous train of followers. Its popularity might, perhaps, he in part owing to the appeal which the author makes to the authority of St. Augustine, from whom he professes to bave borrowed bis hypothesis concerning the origin of ideas. The immediate intercourse which this doctrive supposes, between the human and the divine mind, has led some to remark a strong resemblance between the notions of Malebranche, and those of the sect called Quakers.
Dr. Reid, on the other hand, does not allow, that either Plato or the latter Platonists, or St. Augustine, or the Mystics, thought, that we perceive the objects of sense in the divine ideas. This theory of our perceiving the objects of sense in the ideas of the Deity, he considers as the in. vention of father Malebranche himself. Although St. Augustine speaks in a very high strain of God's being the light of our minds, of our being illuminated immediately by the eternal light, and uses other similar expressions; yet he seems to apply those expressions only to our illumination in moral and divine things, and not to the perception of objects by the senses. Mr. Bayle imagines that some traces of this opinion of Malebranche are to be found in Amelius the Platonist, and even in Democritus ; but his authorities seem, as Dr. Reid conceives, to be strained. Malebranche, with a very penetrating genius, entered into a more minute examination of the powers of the human mind than any one before him; and he availed himself of the previous discoveries made by Des Cartes, without servile attachment. He lays it down as a principle admitted by all philosophers, and in itself unquestionable, that we do not perceive external objects immediately, but by means of images or ideas of them present to the mind. “The things which the soul perceives," says Malebranche,“ are of two kinds. They are either in the soul, or without the soul : those that are in the soul are its own thoughts, that is to say, all its different modifications. The soul has no need of ideas for perceiving these things. But with regard to things without the soul, we cannot perceive them bus