Verger De Haurane, John Du

, abbot of St. Cyran, famous in the seventeenth century as a controversial writer, was born in 1581, at Bayonne, of a good family. He pursued his studies at Lou vain, and formed a strict friendship with the celebrated Jansenius, his fellow student. In 1610 he was made abbot of St. Cyran, on the resignation ( of Henry Lewis Chateignier de la Roche-Posai, bishop of Poitiers. The new abbot read the fathers and the councils with Jansenius, and took great pains to impress him with his sentiments and opinions, as well as a number of divines with whom he corresponded; nor did he leave any means untried to inspire M. le Maitre, M. Arnauld, M. d’Andilly, and several more disciples whom he had gained, with the same opinions. This conduct making much noise, cardinal Richelieu, who was besides piqued that the abbot of St. Cyran refused to declare himself for the nullity of the marriage between Gaston, duke of Orleans, the brother of Louis the thirteenth, and Margaret of Lorraine, confined him at Vincennes, May 11, 1638. After this minister’s death, the abbot regained his liberty, but did not enjoy it long, for he died at Paris, October 18, 1643, aged sixtytwo, and was buried at St. Jacques du Haut-Pas, where his epitaph may be seen on one side of the high altar. His works are, 1. “Lettres Spirituelles,” 2 vols. 4to, or 8vo, reprinted at Lyons, 1679, 3 vols. 12mo, to which a fourth has been added, containing several small tracts written by M. de St. Cyran, and printed separately. 2. “Question Royale,” in which he examines in what extremity a subject might be obliged to save the life of his prince at the expence of his own, 1609, 12mo. This last was much talked of, and his enemies drew inferences and consequences from it, which neither he nor his disciples by any means approved 3. “L‘Aumône Chrétienne, ou Tradition de l’Eglise touchant la charité envers les Pauvres,” 2 vols. 12mo. The second part of this work is entitled “L’Aumône ecclesiastique.” M. Anthony le Maitre had a greater share in the last-mentioned book than the abbot of St. Cyran. He published some other works of a similar cast, but his last appears to deserve most notice. It is entitled “Petrus Aurelius,” -and is a defence of the ecclesiastical hierarchy against the Jesuits. He was assisted in this book by his nephew, the abbé de Baicos, and it seems to have done him the most honour of all his works, though it must be acknowledged, says the abbé L’Avocat, that if all the | abuse of the Jesuits, and the invectives against their order, were taken from this great volume, very little would remain. L’Avocat is also of opinion that M. Hallier’s small tract on the same subject, occasioned by the censure of the clergy in 1635, is more solid, much deeper, and contains better arguments, than any that are to be found in the great volume of “Petrus Aurelius.” The first edition of this book is the collection of different parts, printed between 1632 and 1635, for which the printer Morel was paid by the clergy, though it was done without their order. The assembly held in 1641 caused an edition to be published in 1642, which the Jesuits seized; but it was nevertheless dispersed on the remonstrances of the clergy. This edition contains two pieces, “Confutatio collections locorum quos Jesuits compilarunt, &c.” that are not in the third edition, which was also published at the clergy’s expence in 1646. But to this third edition is prefixed the eulogy, written by M. Godeau on the author, by order of the clergy, and the verbal process which orders it; whence it appears that their sentiments respecting him, differed widely from those of the Jesuits and their adherents. The abbot de St. Cyran was a man of much simplicity in his manners and practice: he told his beads; he exorcised heretical books before he read them: this simplicity, however, concealed a great fund of learning, and great talents for persuasion, without which he could never have gained so many illustrious and distinguished disciples, as Mess. Arnauld, le Maltre de Sacy, Arnauld d’Andilly, and the other literati of Port Royal, who all had the highest veneration for him, and placed the most unbounded confidence in him. But whatever talents he might have for speaking, persuading, and directing, he certainly had none for writing; nor are his books answerable to his high reputation. 1