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“ Jewish writings are by no means destitute of passages in which it is distinctly asserted, that a Messiah would perish in a violent manner ; but these passages relate, not to the proper Messiah, the offspring of David, but to another, from among the posterity of Joseph and Ephraim, who was appointed to hold a subordinate position in relation to the former.”
It is from such a general view of Hebrew prophecy as we have now taken, that we can best derive a proof of the truth of Christianity. It may be hard to fix on any single prophecy of which it can be pronounced, beyond all doubt, that it was intended for Jesus of Nazareth, and received its fulfil. ment in him. But it admits of no doubt, that the Jewish nation did for ages look forward to an exalted and divinelycommissioned Leader, who should establish a universal and everlasting dominion. It admits of no doubt, that a young man, in humble circumstances, came forward and applied these prophecies to himself, in a loftier sense than they had been understood, even by those who uttered them. What was the result? The world threatened the natural reward of insane fanaticism, - utter and contemptible failure; and the world did what it could to accomplish its threat, for it crucified him. But, notwithstanding this, the prophecy of the old Jewish Church has been fulfilled. That crucified Messiah has established a dominion which has lasted eighteen hundred years, has conquered half the world, and is on its course of conquest still. Thus do the prophecy and its fulfilment match into and prove each other. Separate them, and each part appears as a delusion. If Jesus did not fulfil the Messianic prophecies, those prophecies were idle dreams. If the prophecies did not relate to Jesus, his whole ministry was founded on mistaken presumption. But if a sway extending through the world is wider than one over Palestine, and if a reign over the hearts and lives of men for centuries is as worthy the name of kingdom as the pomp of an earthly prince, then that which Jesus founded was a true sovereignty, and he is the Messiah, the Heaven-anointed King.
ART. III. – MIGNET AS AN HISTORIAN.
1. Histoire de la Révolution Française depuis 1789 jusqu'en 1814.
Par M. MIGNET, Membre de l'Académie Française, Secrétaire
12mo, pp. 391, 348. 2. Antonio Perez et Philippe II. Par M. Mignet. Troisième
edition. Paris : Charpentier. 1854. 12mo, pp. viii. and 419. 3. Histoire de Marie Stuart. Par M. MIGNET. Troisième édition.
Paris : Charpentier. 1854. 2 vols., 12mo, pp. vi. and 446, 447. 4. Charles-Quint: Son Abdication, son Séjour, et sa Mort au Monas
tère de Yuste. Par M. MIGNET. Sixième édition. Paris : .
Didier et Cie. 1863. 12mo, pp. xxiii. and 468. 5. Mémoires Historiques. Par M. MIGNET. Troisième édition.
Paris : Charpentier. 1854. 12mo, pp. 535. 6. Notices et Portraits Historiques et Littéraires. Par M. MIGNET.
Troisième édition. Paris : Charpentier. 1854. 2 vols., 12mo,
pp. iv. and 423, 488. 7. Eloges Historiques. Par M. MIGNET. Paris : Didier et Cie.
1864. 12mo, pp. iv. and 365.
HISTORY, it was remarked by M. Villemain, naturally attracts the men of our time in preference to every other study; and certainly there is no other department of literature which has been so assiduously or so successfully cultivated by his fellow-countrymen during the last half-century. If we recall to mind the Frenchmen whose literary achievements have given them a European celebrity, and whose works are on the shelves of educated men at home and abroad, not more than half a dozen will be found who have not at one time or another, in one form or another, given themselves to the discussion of historical questions, or to the narration of historical events. The cause of this special cultivation of historical literature in France is sufficiently obvious; for, apart from the interest which always attaches to the lives and characters of the individuals who have largely influenced the
course of public affairs, and to the negotiations, the battles, or the discussions in which they took part, the French have been irresistibly impelled by the dynastic, social, and governmental changes of the last eighty years, not only to bestow close study on their own annals, but also to investigate the history of every other nation. The result has been the production of a body of historical literature of singular richness and variety, exhibiting at once careful research, a comprehensive philosophy, and that felicity of expression which characterizes the best French prose. Among the writers who have acquired the largest measure of popularity at home, and whose works have been held in most esteem elsewhere, François Auguste Alexis Mignet must be placed in the foremost rank. · He was born on the 8th of May, 1796, at Aix, in Provence, the birthplace of not a few distinguished men, among whom are the moralist Vauvenargues, the painter Vanloo, and the scarcely less celebrated statesman, Comte Portalis; and his elementary studies were pursued in the college of that city. Here his rapid progress early attracted the notice of the inspectors; and, on their nomination, he was transferred to the Lycée of Avignon, where he remained until he was nineteen. He then returned to his native city, to prepare himself for admission to the bar; and, shortly afterward, he made the acquaintance of Thiers, who had come from Marseilles for the same purpose. A close intimacy at once sprang up between the young men, which was fostered by kindred pursuits and tastes, and has withstood all the vicissitudes of a half-century of public life. They were both admitted to the bar in 1818, and for a short time they devoted themselves to the uncongenial practice of the law. But their inclinations pointed steadily in a different direction, and they soon began to turn their attention to purely literary pursuits. A year and a half after leaving the law-school, Mignet gained, at Nimes, a prize for an “ Eloge de Charles VII.” At a little later period, he obtained, on a wider and more conspicuous field, the prize offered by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres for an essay on the condition of France on the accession of St. Louis, and on the changes effected by the institutions of that virtuous sovereign. This essay, which was written in less than three months, was published in the beginning of 1822, and was received with much favor, both as a pledge of future excellence, and on account of its bold generalizations and its vigorous and polished style. Daunou, one of the ablest and most influential historical writers of the period, made it the subject of special commendation in the “Journal des Savants ;” and his judgment has been confirmed by subsequent critics. The success of these first ventures in literature determined Mignet's future career ; and, like other ambitious and talented Frenchmen, he began to look to Paris as his future place of residence.
In July, 1821, he fixed his home in that city; and shortly afterward he began to write political articles for the “ Courrier Français.” His views on the various questions of the day were clear, well defined, and firmly held; and he exhibited so much ability in the presentation of them, as to elicit the flattering commendation of so astute a politician as Talleyrand. Political discussions, however, were never so attractive to Mignet as purely literary topics; and, in the same year in which he removed to Paris, his friends suggested to him that he should write a history of the French Revolution, and that he should deliver a course of historical lectures. He accordingly gave a course on the Reformation and the Sixteenth Century, and another on the English Revolution, at the Athénée, neither of which has been printed, but both of which produced a deep impression. He was then only twenty-six, and was known to the public only through his successful competition for academic honors, and by the enthusiastic praise of his friends; but the first words which he uttered from the professorial chair placed his success beyond question. Those who were not fortunate enough to hear his lecture on St. Bartholomew's Day, when it was first delivered, requested him to repeat it; and, on the second occasion, his audience was increased to double its former size. He is de- . scribed by Sainte-Beuve, who was one of his auditors, as being a graceful and pleasant-looking young man, but with an
impressive and somewhat austere manner, and a rather precise pronunciation. Whether he subsequently pursued his investigations into the history of England under the Stuarts, or whether he relinquished the field, unwilling to encroach on the labors of so admirable an historian as Guizot, does not appear; but he has never lost his interest in the history of the Reformation, and his collection of materials for its proper treatment is rich and abundant, even beyond the requirements of the subject.
The success of these lectures doubtless gave a fresh impulse to Mignet's studies; and, in the spring of 1824, when he was just twenty-eight years of age, he published his “Histoire de la Révolution Française," the first and most popular of the works on which his fame as an historian must rest. The book had a prodigious success from the outset; and even now it is read with as deep an interest as it excited more than forty years ago. It was at once in the hands of every reader in France, and was speedily translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Danish, and not long afterward into English; while in Germany no less than six different translations were published. It is no doubt true, that some portion of this success must be ascribed to the favorable circumstances under which the book appeared, and to its exactly meeting a popular want. Up to that time, no man in France had attempted to take a comprehensive view of the Revolution, or to trace the various causes of that terrible convulsion which had shaken the Continent to its centre, and uplifted the whole social fabric. There had been a plentiful harvest of memoirs, partial narratives, and contemporary publications of one kind or another; but no one had yet written a clear and compact history of the whole period. It was natural, therefore, that the generation then coming forward to active life should eagerly welcome any history which, in a small space, exhibited to them the whole momentous story. But it would be a painful weakness in a critic to stop here, and attribute the rapid sale of the History to these circumstances alone. By far the greater portion of Mignet's early popularity must be traced to other causes, — to the same causes, indeed, which