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Man's Prefumption, who now thought himself fufficiently qualified to fet up a School of his own. For this Purpose he chose an advantageous Place, which was the Town of Melun, ten Leagues from Paris, where the French Court refided at that Time. Champeaux did all that he could to hinder the erecting of this School; but fome of the great Courtiers being his Enemies, the Oppofition he made to it only promoted the Defign of his Rival.
The Reputation of this new Profeffor made a marvellous Progrefs, and eclipfed that of Champeaux. Thefe Succeffes fwelled Abelard fo much, that he removed his School to Corbeil, in order to engage his Enemy the clofer in more frequent Difputations. But his exceffive Application to Study brought upon him a long and dangerous Sickness, which constrained him to return to his Native Air.
After he had spent two Years in his own Country, he made a fecond Adventure to Paris, where he found that his old Antagonist Champeaux had refigned his Chair to another, and was retired into a Convent of Canons Regular, among whom he continued his Lectures. Abelard attacked him with fuch Fury, that he quickly forced him to renounce his Tenets. Whereupon the poor Monk became fo despicable, and his Antagonist in such great Efteem, that no Body went to the Lectures of Champeaux, and the very Man who fucceeded
him in his Profefforship, lifted under Abelard, and became his Scholar.
He was fcarce fixed in his Chair, before he found himself expofed more than ever to the Strokes of the moft cruel Envy. Endeavours were ufed to do him ill Offices by all those who were any ways difaffected to him; another Profeffor was put into his Place who had thought it his Duty to fubmit to Abelard; in fhort, fo many Enemies were raised against him, that he was forced to retreat from Paris to Melun, and there revive his Logick Lectures. But this held not long; for hearing that Champeaux with all his Infantry was retired into a Country Village, he came and posted himself on Mount St. Genevieve, where he erected a new School, like a kind of Battery against him whom Champeaux had left to teach in Paris.
Champeaux understanding that his Substitute was thus befieged in his School, brought the Regular Canons back again to their Monaftery. But this, instead of relieving his Friend, caufed all his Scholars to defert him. At which the poor Philofopher was fo mortified, that he followed the Example of his Patron Champeaux, and turned Monk too.
The Dispute now lay wholly between Abelard and Chumpeaux, who renewed it with great Warmth on both Sides: but the Senior had not the best on't. While it was depending, Abelard
was obliged to vifit his Father and Mother, who according to the Fashion of thofe Times, had refolved to forfake the World, and retire into Convents, in order to devote themfelves more feriously to the Care of their Salvation.
Having affifted at the Admiffion of his Parents into their respective Monafteries, and received their Bleffing, he returned to Paris, where during his Abfence, his Rival had been promoted to the Bishoprick of Chalons. And now being in a Condition to quit his School without any Sufpicion of flying from his Enemy, he refolved to apply himself wholly to Divinity.
To this End he removed to Laon, where one Anfelm read Divinity-Lectures with good Reputation. But Abelard was fo little fatisfied with the old Man's Abilities, who, as he fays, had a very mean Genius, and a great Fluency of Words without Senfe, that he took a Refolution for the future, to hear no other Mafter than the Holy Scriptures. A good Refolution! If a Man take the Spirit of God for his Guide, and be more concerned to diftinguifh Truth from Falfhood, than to confirm himself in those Principles into which his own Fancy or Complexion, or the Prejudices of his Birth and Education have infenfibly led him.
Abelard, together with the Holy Scriptures, read the ancient Fathers and Doctors of the Church; in which he spent whole Days and
Nights, and profited fo well, that inftead of returning to Anfelm's Lectures, he took up the fame Employment, and began to expound the Prophet Ezekiel to fome of his Fellow-Pupils; He performed this Part fo agreeably, and in so easy a method, that he foon got a Crowd of Auditors.
The jealous Anfelm could not bear this; he quickly found means to get the new Lecturer filenced. Upon this Abelard removed to Paris once more, where he proceeded with his publick Expofition on Ezekiel, and soon acquired the fame Reputation for his Divinity, he had before gained for his Philofophy. His Eloquence and Learning procured him an incredible Number of Scholars from all Parts; so that if he had minded saving of Money, he might have grown rich with Eafe in a fhort time. And happy had it been for him if, among all the Enemies his Learning expofed him to, he had guarded his Heart against the Charms of Love. But alas! the greatest Doctors are not always the wifeft Men; as appears from Examples in every Age; but from none more remark, able than that of this Learned Man, whofe Story I am now going to tell you.
Abelard, befides his uncommon Merit as a Scholar, had all the Accomplishments of a Gentleman. He had a Greatness of Soul which nothing could fhock, his Paffions were Delicate, his Judgment Solid, and his Tafte Exquifite. He was of a graceful Perfon, and carried himself with the Air
of a Man of Quality. His Converfation was Sweet, Complaifant, Eafy, and Gentleman-like. It seemed as tho' Nature had defigned him for a more elevated Employment than that of teaching the Sciences. He looked upon Riches and Grandeur with Contempt, and had no higher Ambition than to make his Name famous among Learned Men, and to be reputed the greatest Doctor of his Age: but he had human Frailty, and all his Philofophy could not guard him from the Attacks of Love. For fome Time indeed he had defended himself against this Paffion pretty well, when the Temptation was but flight; but upon a more intimate Familiarity with agreeable Objects, he found his Reason fail him: Yet, in respect to his Wifdom, he thought of Compounding the Matter, and refolved at firft, that Love and Philofophy fhould dwell together in the fame Breast. He intended only to let out his Heart to the former, and that but for a little while; never confidering that Love is a great Ruiner of Projects; and that when it has once got a fhare in a Heart, it is easy to poffefs itself of the whole.
He was now in the Seven or Eight and Twentieth Year of his Age, when he thought himself compleatly happy in all Respects, excepting that he wanted a Miftrefs. He confidered therefore of making a Choice, but fuch an one as might be moft fuitable to his Notions, and the Defign he had of paffing agreeably thofe Hours he did not employ