Nicole, Pierre

Nicole, Pierre a celebrated Jansenist, and distinguished inmate of Port-Royal (q.v.), was born at Chartres, France, Oct. 19, 1625. At the age of fourteen, when he is said to have had a complete command of:Greek and Latin, his father sent him to Paris to study philosophy and theology. Here he became acquainted with the recluses of Port-Royal, who, desirous of attaching to themselves a man of such promise, induced him to join their order. Nicole began then to devote part of his time to the instruction of the youth brought up in that institution. After studying theology for three years he applied for a license; but the principles he had imbibed were not approved, either by the theological faculty or Paris, or that of any other Roman Catholic university, and he had to remain content with the degree of B.A., which he took in 1649. The leisure now forced upon him by want of employment by the state he devoted to the interests of the community of Port Royal, where he resided a while, and helped Dr. Arnaud, SEE ARNAUD in writing several works in defense of Jansenius, and of his doctrine. In 1664 Nicole went with Arnaud to Chatillon, near Paris, where he wrote against the Calvinists and the relaxed Casuists, for the avowed purpose, according to Jervis, of giving public proof of his zeal for the true faith. In 1676 Nicole was induced to seek again for holy orders. He was refused the necessary consent by the bishop of Chartres, who disapproved of Nicole's Jansenistic opinions. Nicole was, however, evidently rather rejoiced than annoyed at thus being afforded an excuse for remaining in a position where he was not too near the van in the battle of controversy. Yet in his own province, as a clerical and polemical logician, he was bold and uncompromising; and it was not from the defense of his principles, but from their too conspicuous championship, that he shrunk. In consequence of a letter he had addressed to pope Innocent XI for the bishops of St. Pons and Arras, and of the death of the duchess of Longueville, the most zealous protector of the Jansenists, he was obliged to leave France in 1679, and retired to Belgium. He came back, however, in 1683, and took a great part in two celebrated quarrels of the time — that of the studies suited to monastic institutions, where he joined Mabillon in defending devotion to science and learning in place of pure asceticism; and that concerning quietism, in which he opposed the devotees of that mental epidemic. He was a man of simple habits and candid mind, and some ludicrous incidents have been told arising out of his absence of mind. He died Nov. 11, 1695. His works are many and voluminous. He was the principal author of La Logique, ou 'Art de Penser (1668), known as the Port-Royal Logic. Of the first three volumes of La Perpetuite de la Foi de l'Eglise Cwaholipue touchani l'Eucharistie, which is generally associated with the name of Arnaud, Nicole is known to have been the principal writer (see Jervis, 2:14,15). Hume admired the logical clearness with which Nicole in this work showed the impossibility of one mind sufficiently examining all subjects connected with religion to form a creed for itself on the principle of private judgment; and stated that the difficulty so ingeniously set forth suggested to him the skeptical argument in his 'Dialogues on Natural Religion." Nicole's principal works are, 'es imaginaires et les visionnaires, ou lettres sur 'hersie imaginaire [Anon.] (h Mons, 1693, 2 vols. 12mo): — Pensees (Paris, 1806, 18mo): — Traite de la grace genrale (1715, 2 vols. 12mo): — Epigrammatum delectus (1659, 12mo): — Essais de Morale, contenus en divers traites sur plusieurs devoirs importants (Paris, 1733, etc. 25 vols. in 26, 12mo), which is an able exposition of the subject from the Cartesian' stand-point. See Goujet, Hist. de la vie et des ouvrages de Nicole (1733, 12mo); Besoigne, Vie de Nicole (Hist. du Port-Royal, vol. iv); Saverien, Vies des Philosophes Modernes (vol. i); Niceron,. Memoires, 29:285-333; Nouv. Dict. Hist. etc. s.v.; English Cyclop. s.v.; Jervis,: Hist. Ch. of France (Lond. 1872, 2 vols. 8vo), 2:14 sq.; Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, vol. ii,

§ 228, p. 324; and the literature appended to the article PORT-ROYAL SEE PORT-ROYAL . (J. N. P.)

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