He is indeed far below $ossuet, whose robust and sublime genius had no rival in that age; he does not equal Bourdaloue in earnestness of thought and vigour of expression; nor can he rival the philosophical depth or the insinuating and impressive eloquence of Massillon.
LOUIS BOURDALOUE (1632-1704), French Jesuit and preacher, was born at Bourges on the 10th of August 1632.
Bourdaloue may be with justice regarded as one of the greatest French orators, and many of his sermons have been adopted as text-books in schools.
Among critical works are: Anatole Feugere, Bourdaloue, sa predication et son temps (Paris, 1874); Adrien Lezat, Bourdaloue, theologien et orateur (Paris, 1874); P. M.
Lauras, Bourdaloue, sa vie et ses oeuvres (2 vols., Paris, 1881); Abbe Blampignon, Etude sur Bourdaloue (Paris, 1886); Henri Cherot, Bourdaloue inconnu (Paris, 1898), and Bourdaloue, sa correspondance et ses correspondans (Paris, 1898-1904); L.
Pauthe, Bourdaloue (les maitres de la chaire au X VIIe siecle) (Paris, 1900); E.
Griselle, Bourdaloue, histoire critique de sa predication (2 vols., Paris, 1901), Sermons inedits; bibliographie, &c. (Paris, 1901), Deux sermons inedits sur le royaume de Dieu (Lille and Paris, 1904); Ferdinand Castets, Bourdaloue, la vie et la predication d'un religieux au X Vil e siecle, and La Revue Bourdaloue (Paris, 1902-1904); C. H.
Brooke, Great French Preachers (sermons of Bourdaloue and Bossuet, London, 1904); F.
Brunetiere, "L'Eloquence de Bourdaloue," in Revue des deux mondes (August 1904), a general inquiry into the authenticity of the sermons and their general characteristics.
Father Claude de Lingendes (1591-1660) has been looked upon as the father of the classic French sermon, although his own conciones were invariably written in Latin, but his methods were adopted in French, by the school of Bourdaloue and Bossuet.
Around that of Bossuet were collected other noble names: Louis Bourdaloue (1632-1704), whom his contemporaries preferred to Bossuet himself; Esprit Flechier (1632-1710), the politest preacher who ever occupied a Parisian pulpit; and Jules Mascaron (1634-1703), in whom all forms of eloquence were united.
The names of Bossuet, Flechier, Bourdaloue, Fenelon and Massillon, all supreme preachers, despite a certain artificial pompousness, belong here, and on the reformed side are Jean Claude (d.
Massillon enjoyed in the 18th century a reputation equal to that of Bossuet and of Bourdaloue, and has been much praised by Voltaire, D'Alembert and kindred spirits among the Encyclopaedists.
He has usually been contrasted with his predecessor Bourdaloue, the latter having the credit of vigorous denunciation, Massillon that of gentle persuasiveness.