Bernard, James

, professor of philosophy and mathematics, and minister of the Walloon church at Leyden, was born Sept. 1, 1658, at Nions in Dauphine. He received the rudiments of his education in a protestant academy, at Die in Dauphine, and went afterwards to Geneva, where he studied philosophy, and acquired a critical knowledge of the Hebrew language under the professor Michael Turretin. He returned to France in 1679, and was chosen minister of Venterol, a village in Dauphine. Some time after he was removed to the church of Vinsobres in the same province but the persecutions raised agaiitst the protestants in France having obliged him to leave his native country, he retired to Geneva in 1683, and as he did not think himself sufficiently secure there, he went to Lausanne, where he remained until the revocation of the edict of Nantes. He then proceeded to Holland, where he was appointed one of the pensionary ministers of Ganda, and taught philosophy but having married after he came to Holland, and the city of Ganda not being very populous, he had not a sufficient number of scholars to maintain his family; and therefore obtained leave to reside at the Hague, but went to Ganda to preach in his turn, which was about four times a year. About the same time Le Clerc, who was his relation, procured him a small supply from the town of Tergow, as preacher; and at the Hague he farther improved his circumstances by teaching philosophy, belles-lettres, and mathematics. Before he went to live at the Hague, he had published a kind of political state of Europe, entitled “Histoire abregee de l'Europe,” &c, The work was begun in July 1686, and continued monthly till December 1688; making five volumes in 12mo. In 1692, he began his “Lettres Historiques,” containing an account of the most important transactions in Europe, with reflections, which was also published monthly, till 1698: it was afterwards continued by other hands, and contains a great many volumes. Mr. Le Clerc having left off his “Bibliotheque Universelle,” in 1691, Mr. Bernard wrote the greatest part of the 20th volume, and by himself carried on the five following, to the year 1693; but as the French critics think, not with equal ability and spirit. In 1699, he collected and published “Actes et negotiations de la Paix de Ryswic,” four vols. 12mo a new edition of this collection was published in 1707, five vols. 12mo. He did not put his name to any | of these works, nor to the general collection of the treaties of peace, which he publ.shed in 1700; and which consists of the treaties, contracts, acts of guaranty, &c. betwixt the powers of F.urope, four vols. fol. The first contains the preface, and the treaties made since the year 536 to 1.500. The second consists of Mr. Amelot‘de la Houssay’s historical and political reflections, and the treaties from. 150’-) to 1600. The third includes the treaties from 1601 to 1661 and the fourth, those from 1661 to 1700, with a general alphabetical index to the whole. He prefixed his name, however, to his continuation of Bayle’s “Nouvelles de la llepublique des Lettres,” which was begun in 1698, and continued till December 1710. This undertaking engaged him in some disputes, particularly with one Mr. de Vallone, a monk, who having embraced the reformed religion, wrote some metaphysical books concerning predestination. Mr. Bernard having given an account of one of these books, the author was so displeased with it, that he printed a libel against Mr. Bernard, and gave it about privately amongst his friends. He was also engaged in a long dispute with Mr. Bayle upon the two following questions 1. Whether the general agreement of all nations in. favour of a deity, be a good proof of the existence of a deity? 2. Whether atheism be worse than idolatry?

Mr. Bernard having acquired great reputation by his works, as well as by his sermons at Ganda and the Hague, the congregation of the Walloon church at Leyden were desirous to have him for one of their ministers but they could not accomplish their desire whilst king William lived, who refused twice to confirm the election of Mr. Bernard, as being a republican in his principles, and having delivered his sentiments too freely in a sermon before this prince yet these appear to have been the same sentiments which justified the revolution to which that sovereign owed the crown of these kingdoms. After king William’s death, however, he was unanimotisly chosen in 1705; and about the same time appointed professor of philosophy and mathematics at Leyden the university presenting him with the degrees of doctor of philosophy, and master of arts. In 1716, he published “A Supplement to Moreri’s dictionary,” in two vols. folio. The same year he resumed his “Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres,” and continued it till his death, which happened the 27th of April 1718, in the 60th year of his age. | Mr. Bernard was well skilled in polite literature, and a perfect master of the Hebrew tongue. He studied the scriptures with great attention and though he was not reckoned of the first class of mathematicians, yet he could explain the principles of that science in a very clear and able manner. As to philosophy, he had applied himself to that of Des Cartes yet alter he came into Holland, having learned the EngLsh tongue, he used to read the best books from England, and had acquired some taste for the Newtonian philosophy. Besides the works above mentioned, he published, 1. “Le Theatre des etats du due de Savoie, traduit du Latin de Bleau,Hague, 1700, 2 vols. fol. a beautiful book, with elegant engravings. 2. “Traite de la repentance tardive,” Amst. 1712, 12mo. 3. “De I’excellence de la religion Chretienne,” ibid. 1714, 2 vols. 8vo a translation of which was published by his grandson, Mr. Bernard, of Doncaster, Load. 1793, 8vo, with the life of the author, and notes. 1

1 Gen. Dict. from Le Clerc in Nouvelles de la Rep. des Lettres, 1618, May and June. —Dict. Hist.Moreri. Biog. Uuiverselle. Life prefixed to his “Excellence of the Christian Religion.