Arnauld, Anthony

, doctor of the Sorbonne, and brother of the preceding, was born at Paris the 6th of February 1612. He studied philosophy in the college of Calvi, on the ruins of which the Sorbonne was built, and began to study the law; but, at the persuasion of his mother and the abbot of St. Cyran, he resolved to apply himself to divinity. He accordingly studied in the college of the Sorbonne, under Mr. l‘Escot. This professor gave lectures concerning grace; but Arnauld, not approving of his sentiments upon this subject, read St. Augustin, whose system of grace he greatly preferred to that of Mr. l’Escot: and publicly testified his opinion in his thesis, when he was examined in 1636, for his bachelor’s degree. After he had spent two years more in study, which, according | to the laws of the faculty of Paris, must be between the first examination and the license, he began the acts of his license at Easter 1638, and continued them to Lent, 1640. He maintained the act of vespers the 18th of December 1641, and the following day put on the doctor’s cap. He had begun his license without being entered in form at the Sorbonne, and was thereby rendered incapable of being admitted, according to the ordinary rules. The society, however, on account of his extraordinary merit, requested of cardinal Richelieu, their provisor, that he might be admitted, though contrary to form; which was refused by that cardinal, but, the year after his death, he obtained this honour. In 1643, he published his treatise on Frequent Communion, which highly displeased the Jesuits. They refuted it both from the pulpit and the press, representing it as containing a most pernicious doctrine: and the disputes upon grace, which broke out at this time in the university of Paris, helped to increase the animosity between the Jesuits and Mr. Arnauld, who took part with the Jansenists, and supported their tenets with great zeal. But nothing raised so great a clamour against him, as the two letters which he wrote upon absolution having been refused by a priest to the duke of Liancour, a great friend of the Port Royal. This duke educated his grand-daughter at Port Royal, and kept in his house the abbé de Bourzays. It happened in 1655, that the duke offered himself for confession to a priest of St. Sulpice, who refused to give him absolution, unless he would take his daughter from Port Royal, and break off all commerce with that society, and discard the abbé. Mr. Arnauld therefore was prevailed upon to write a letter in defence of Liancour. A great number of pamphlets were written against this letter, and Mr. Arnauld thought himself obliged to confute the falsities and calumnies with which they were filled, by printing a second letter, which contains an answer to nine of those pieces. But in this second letter the faculty of divinity found two propositions which theycondemned, and Mr. Arnauld was excluded from that society. Upon this he retired, and it was during this retreat, which lasted near 25 years, that he composed that variety of works which are extant of his, on grammar, geometry, logic, metaphysics, and theology. He continued in this retired life till the controversy of the Jansenists was eaded; in 1668. Arnauld now came forth from, | his retreat, and was presented to the king, kindly received by the pope’s nuncio, and by the public esteemed a father of the church. From this time he resolved to enter the lists only against the Calvinists, and he published his book entitled “La perpetuite de la Foi,” in which he was assisted by M. Nicole: and which gave rise to that grand controversy between them and Claude the minister.

In 1679, Mr. Arnauld withdrew from France, being informed that his enemies did him ill offices at court, and had rendered him suspected to the king. From this time he lived in obscurity in the Netherlands, still continuing to write against the Jesuits with great acrimony. He wrote also several pieces against the Protestants, but he was checked in his attacks upon them by an anonymous piece, entitled “L' Esprit de M. Arnauld.” The principal books which he wrote after his departure from France were, a piece concerning Malbranche’s System of Nature and Grace, one on the Morals of the Jesuits, and a treatise relating to some propositions of Mr. Steyaert. In this last performance he attacks father Simon, concerning the inspiration of the scriptures, and the translating of the Bible into the vulgar tongue. A catalogue of all his works may be seen in Moreri, and a complete collection of them was printed at Lausanne 1777 1783, in 45 volumes 4to. They may be divided into five classes, 1. Belles lettres and philosophy. 2. On the controversy respecting Grace. 3. Writings against the Calvinists. 4. Writings against the Jesuits: and 5. Theological works. The re-publication of all these in so voluminous a form, may surely be ranked among the most extraordinary speculations of modern bookselling.

He died on the 9th of August 1694, of a short illness, aged 82 years and six months. He had a remarkable strength of genius, memory, and command of his pen, nor did these decay even to the last year of his life. Mr. Bayle says, he had been told by persons who had been admitted into his familiar conversation, that he was a man very simple in his manners; and that, unless any one proposed some question to him, or desired some information, he said nothing that was beyond common conversation, or that might indicate the man of great abilities; but when he set himself to give an answer to such as proposed a point of learning, he then spoke with great perspicuity and learning, and had a particular talent at making himself | intelligible to persons of not the greatest penetration. His heart, at his own request, was sent to be deposited in the Port Royal.

The Jesuits have been much censured for carrying their resentment so far as to get the sheet suppressed, which Mr. Perrault had written concerning Mr. Arnauld, in his collection of the portraits and panegyrics of the illustrious men of the French nation. The book was printed, and the portraits engraved, when the Jesuits procured an order to be sent to the author and bookseller, to strike out Mr. Arnauld and Mr. Pascal, and to suppress their eulogiums. But although we have transcribed this instance of Jesuitical bigotry, we apprehend there must be some mistake in it. The Jesuits might have endeavoured to exclude Arnauld from Perrault’s work, but it is certain that he appears there. 1


Gen. Dict. Life prefixed to the Lausanne edition of his works. Perrault. Biog. Gallica. Biog. Universelle. Mosheim.