« PreviousContinue »
stand my fault, and having afforded me an oppor: tunity of repairing it, I embraced it with joy, fervency, and tears; and, that father of mercies, who knows how to produce light out of darkness, made use of my infirmities, thereby to give me that strength and stedfastness which I have since had. This gives me reason to hope that he will continue his favour to me unto the end; and that he will always proportion his gifts and graces to the trials to which it shall please him to expose me in this world."
The preceding trials not succeeding, new offers were made to him, which affected him less than the former, and therefore he rejected them all without deliberation; at which, they were so enraged, that the next day, they put him into the dungeon; where he lay thirteen days before his condemnation.
He informs us, that being in the conciergery, at Paris, one of his friends, tutor to the children of the king, and to Madame Montespan, came, with his majesty's permission, to see him; and proposed, that he should go immediately to the bishop of Meaux, to get himself instructed. Mr. Marolles returned him thanks, and assured him, it was not in the power of time to change his light and knowledge, and that he was persuaded, the bishop of Meaux, could not give him greater satisfaction, than the other bishops with whom he had already conversed.
After languishing two months in a dungeon, he
was brought before the court, on the eleventh of May, 1686, and, on the seventeenth, he wrote thus, to his sister-in-law.
“ I have been two full months, with seven miserable wretches, condemned either to the gallies, or to be hanged, or broken alive upon the wheel, in a dungeon so dark, that I could not well discern their faces. They have all been troubled with rheums and fluxes, which God has preserved me from; although I am old, and they are, all of them, young. The eleventh of this month, I was taken out of the dungeon, contrary to my expectation, (for I thought they would let me rot there) and brought to the criminal court to be judged. The president of the house, who was at the head of my judges, ordered me to sit down on the prisoner's stool, and took my oath to speak the truth. I answered to all he desired to know of my affairs; after which, he made me an exhortation, and bid. me think seriously with myself, that it was not they that should judge me, but that the declaration of the KING, had expressly mentioned my condemnation. I returned him thanks for the goodness, which he had expressed towards me, and told him, that I was in no great trouble to deliberate; that my resolution was fixed long ago; that I resigned myself to the court, and was ready to suffer the penalties to which they should think fit to condemn me; that however great and severe they might be, they would be less uneasy to ine, than to act againt the lights of my consci
ence, and to live like an hypocrite. They then ordered me to withdraw; and I was conveyed back to my dungeon. I now expected to be conducted in the afternoon to la Tournelle, but they deferred my judgment to the fourteenth of May; and three or four hours after this examination, they put manacles on my hands, and took me, in a coach, to la Tournelle:” where the sentence of the presidial court of Chalons was confirmed.
Let us now attend to the following part of his letter to his sister-in-law. “The governor of Tournelle, knowing who I was, and being informed of my crime, caused me to be treated with as much gentleness as could be expected in that place. They were contented with only putting a fetter on one foot. But, the next morning, the governor informed me, he had just received orders that very much afflicted him, which was, that the KING'had commanded, that the chain should be put upon my neck. I thanked him for his goodness which he had expressed towards me, and told him that I was ready to pay a respectful obedience to the orders of his MAJESTY. I laid aside my hat; they took the chain from my foot, and put me on another about my neck; which does not, I believe, weigh less than thirty pounds. Thus you see, my dear sister, the state and condition which the wise providence of God, hath chosen and allotted for me, out of a thousand others, in which God might have placed me. I expect from his mercy, strength and constancy to suffer all for
his glory, and my own salvation. Do not afflict yourself at my condition, my dear sister; it is more happy than you conceive. Weep not for me; keep your tears for so many miserable wretches who live not so contentedly as I do. Grant me the assistance of your prayers; I assure you, that I do not forget you in mine."
In another letter, dated the sixteenth of May; the day when the chain was put round his neck; after much the same description of his condition, he adds, “ Thus, Sir, you have an abridgment of my misery; or, to speak more truly, of my glory; for, I continually, give thanks to God, for the honour which he doth me, in not thinking me unworthy to suffer for his name's sake. Let your prayers accompany mine to obtain from the mercy of God, his succour and assistance, as long as it shall please him to continue my sufferings and afflictions.” This letter is supposed to have been written to the celebrated Mr. Jurieu.
On the twenty-fourth of May, the procurator general came to visit those who were condemned to the galleys. Mr. Marolles, speaking of this visit, says, “ He addressed himself to me, and seeing the chain upon my neek, told me, that
it was with grief he saw me in so miserable a · situation, and that he greatly desired to deliver me
out of it; that I was so much the more worthy of compassion, because it was my prejudices only, which had plunged both myself and family
into misery. I answered, that I should be very much to blame if it were so; but, that it was my opinion, in cases which concern our salvation, we must despise and neglect whatsoever relates only to this life; and, that it was this thought and consideration, which induced me to bear my evils with patience. He replied, he was persuaded that I was right as to my intentions, and that I had a sincere zeal for the glory of God, and my own salvation, but wanted knowledge; he added, that he would come again to see me, and talk with me soon; and that there was nothing which he would not either do, or give, to deliver me out of my misery. I replied, that I did, with much thankfulness and respect, receive the token of his goodness, which he was pleased to shew me; after which he departed.”
Three days after this visit, he received another, which is thus mentioned by Mr. Marolles. “Monday, May the twenty-seventh, between seven and eight o'clock in the evening, a counsellor belonging to the court of la Tournelle, who sat next to, and on the right hand of the president of the house, when I was brought into the court before my trial, came to visit the prisoners. After he was gone out Mr. le Roi, our head keeper, took me out of the place where we are, and brought me into a chamber, which is called the council chamber, where the counsellor waited for me. I had my chain about my neck. He told me, with all the ingenuity and candor in the world, all our as