Excerpt from The Princeton Review, Vol. 24: October, 1852
Bossuet lived when the French language had reached a degree of maturity, and was advancing towards perfection. He first appeared in Paris in 1659; was soon invited to be one of the preachers of the court; for ten years passed through a most brilliant career; and then was promoted to the bishopric of Condom, and afterwards to that of Meaux.
He has been termed the French and well does he deserve the title; for he, of all his contemporaries, bears the greatest resemblance to the Athenian orator. He was regarded as the former, in Europe, of the eloquence of the pulpit; and his works were directed to be studied as classic works, as men repair to Rome to improve their taste by the master pieces of Raphael and Michael Angelo. Time, that great destroyer of ill-founded reputation, instead of impairing, has from age to age added fresh lustre to his glory.
He was devoted to the study of the Fathers, particularly of Chrysostom and Austin, from whom he drew profound maxims and convincing arguments; and to the frequent reading of Demosthenes and Homer, to imbibe the vehemence of the one, and the imagination of the other. But he was specially sedu lous in the study of the Holy Scriptures. From that divine book he drew forth the richest treasures; in this inexhaustible mine he found the sublimest thoughts, the strongest expres sions, the most eloquent descriptions, the most pathetic images. There he found history, laws, moral precepts, oratory, and poetry.
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