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Title: Theological Essays and Other Papers — Volume 1
Author: De Quincey, Thomas, 1785-1859
Language: English
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THEOLOGICAL ESSAYS AND OTHER PAPERS.

BY THOMAS DE QUINCEY

AUTHOR OF

'CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER,' ETC. ETC.


IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.


ON CHRISTIANITY AS AN ORGAN OF POLITICAL MOVEMENT

PROTESTANTISM

ON THE SUPPOSED SCRIPTURAL EXPRESSION FOR ETERNITY

JUDAS ISCARIOT

ON HUME'S ARGUMENT AGAINST MIRACLES

CASUISTRY

GREECE UNDER THE ROMANS



ON CHRISTIANITY, AS AN ORGAN OF POLITICAL MOVEMENT.

[1846.]

FORCES, which are illimitable in their compass of effect, are often,
for the same reason, obscure and untraceable in the steps of their
movement. Growth, for instance, animal or vegetable, what eye can
arrest its eternal increments? The hour-hand of a watch, who can
detect the separate fluxions of its advance? Judging by the past,
and the change which is registered between that and the present, we
know that it must be awake; judging by the immediate appearances,
we should say that it was always asleep. Gravitation, again, that
works without holiday for ever, and searches every corner of the
universe, what intellect can follow it to its fountains? And yet,
shyer than gravitation, less to be counted than the fluxions of
sun-dials, stealthier than the growth of a forest, are the footsteps
of Christianity amongst the political workings of man. Nothing,
that the heart of man values, is so secret; nothing is so potent.

It is _because_ Christianity works so secretly, that it works
so potently; it is _because_ Christianity burrows and hides
itself, that it towers above the clouds; and hence partly it is
that its working comes to be misapprehended, or even lost out of
sight. It is dark to eyes touched with the films of human frailty:
but it is 'dark with excessive bright.'[Footnote:  'Dark with
excessive bright.' _Paradise Lost_. Book III.] Hence it has
happened sometimes that minds of the highest order have entered
into enmity with the Christian faith, have arraigned it as a curse
to man, and have fought against it even upon Christian impulses,
(impulses of benignity that could not have had a birth except in
Christianity.) All comes from the labyrinthine intricacy in which
the _social_ action of Christianity involves itself to the
eye of a contemporary. Simplicity the most absolute is reconcilable
with intricacy the most elaborate. The weather--how simple would
appear the laws of its oscillations, if we stood at their centre!
and yet, because we do _not_, to this hour the weather is a
mystery.  Human health--how transparent is its economy under ordinary
circumstances! abstinence and cleanliness, labor and rest, these
simple laws, observed in just proportions, laws that may be engrossed
upon a finger nail, are sufficient, on the whole, to maintain the
equilibrium of pleasurable existence. Yet, if once that equilibrium
is disturbed, where is the science oftentimes deep enough to rectify
the unfathomable watch-work? Even the simplicities of planetary
motions do not escape distortion: nor is it easy to be convinced
that the distortion is in the eye which beholds, not in the object
beheld. Let a planet be wheeling with heavenly science, upon arches
of divine geometry: suddenly, to us, it shall appear unaccountably
retrograde; flying when none pursues; and unweaving its own work.
Let this planet in its utmost elongations travel out of sight, and
for _us_ its course will become incoherent: because _our_
sight is feeble, the beautiful curve of the planet shall be dislocated
into segments, by a parenthesis of darkness; because our earth is
in no true centre, the disorder of parallax shall trouble the laws
of light; and, because we ourselves are wandering, the heavens
shall seem fickle.

Exactly in the predicament of such a planet is Christianity: its
motions are intermingled with other motions; crossed and thwarted,
eclipsed and disguised, by counter-motions in man himself, and by
disturbances that man cannot overrule. Upon lines that are direct,
upon curves that are circuitous, Christianity is advancing for ever;
but from our imperfect vision, or from our imperfect opportunities
for applying even such a vision, we cannot trace it continuously. We
lose it, we regain it; we see it doubtfully, we see it interruptedly;
we see it in collision, we see it in combination; in collision
with darkness that confounds, in combination with cross lights
that perplex. And this in part is irremediable; so that no finite
intellect will ever retrace the total curve upon which Christianity
has moved, any more than eyes that are incarnate will ever see God.

But part of this difficulty in unweaving the maze, has its source
in a misconception of the original machinery by which Christianity
moved, and of the initial principle which constituted its differential
power.  In books, at least, I have observed one capital blunder
upon the relations which Christianity bears to Paganism: and out
of that one mistake, grows a liability to others, upon the possible
relations of Christianity to the total drama of this world. I will
endeavor to explain my views. And the reader, who takes any interest
in the subject, will not need to fear that the explanation should
prove tedious; for the mere want of space, will put me under a
coercion to move rapidly over the ground; I cannot be diffuse; and,
as regards quality, he will find in this paper little of what is
scattered over the surface of books.

I begin with this question:--What do people mean in a Christian
land by the word _'religion?'_ My purpose is not to propound
any metaphysical problem; I wish only, in the plainest possible
sense, to ask, and to have an answer, upon this one point--how
much is understood by that obscure term,* _'religion,'_ when
used by a Christian? Only I am punctilious upon one demand, viz.,
that the answer shall be comprehensive. We are apt in such cases
to answer elliptically, omitting, because silently presuming as
understood between us, whatever _seems_ obvious. To prevent
_that_, we will suppose the question to be proposed by an
emissary from some remote planet,--who, knowing as yet absolutely
nothing of us and our intellectual differences, must insist (as
_I_ insist) upon absolute precision, so that nothing essential
shall be wanting, and nothing shall be redundant.

*[Footnote: '_That obscure term;_'--i. e. not obscure as
regards the use of the term, or its present value, but as regards
its original _genesis_, or what in civil law is called the
_deductio_. Under what angle, under what aspect, or relation,
to the field which it concerns did the term _religion_ originally
come forward? The general field, overlooked by religion, is the
ground which lies between the spirit of man and the supernatural
world. At present, under the humblest conception of religion, the
human spirit is supposed to be interested in such a field by the
conscience and the nobler affections, But I suspect that originally
these great faculties were absolutely excluded from the point of
view. Probably the relation between spiritual _terrors_ and
man's power of propitiation, was the problem to which the word
_religion_ formed the answer. Religion meant apparently, in
the infancies of the various idolatries, that _latreia_, or
service of sycophantic fear, by which, as the most approved method
of approach, man was able to conciliate the favor, or to buy off
the malice of supernatural powers. In all Pagan nations, it is
probable that religion would, an the whole, be a degrading influence;
although I see, even for such nations, two cases, at the least,
where the uses of a religion would be indispensable; viz. for the
sanction of _oaths_, and as a channel for gratitude not pointing
to a human object. If so, the answer is easy: religion _was_
degrading: but heavier degradations would have arisen from irreligion.
The noblest of all idolatrous peoples, viz. the Romans, have left
deeply scored in their very use of their word _religlo_, their
testimony to the degradation wrought by any religion that Paganism
could yield. Rarely indeed is this word employed, by a Latin author,
in speaking of an individual, without more or less of sneer. Reading
that word, in a Latin book, we all try it and ring it, as a petty
shopkeeper rings a half-crown, before we venture to receive it as
offered in good faith and loyalty. Even the Greeks are nearly in
the same άπορια, when they wish to speak of religiosity in
a spirit of serious praise. Some circuitous form, commending the
correctness of a man, περι τα θεια, _in respect of
divine things_, becomes requisite; for all the direct terms,
expressing the religious temper, are preoccupied by a taint of
scorn. The word όσιος, means _pious_,--not as regards
the gods, but as regards the dead; and even είσεβης, though
not used sneeringly, is a world short of our word 'religious.' This
condition of language we need not wonder at: the language of life
must naturally receive, as in a mirror, the realities of life.
Difficult it is to maintain a just equipoise in any moral habits,
but in none so much as in habits of religious demeanor under a Pagan
[that is, a degrading] religion. To be a coward, is base: to be a
sycophant, is base: but to be a sycophant in the service of cowardice,
is the perfection of baseness: and yet this was the brief analysis
of a devotee amongst the ancient Romans. Now, considering that
the word _religion_ is originally Roman, [probably from the
Etruscan,] it seems probable that it presented the idea of religion
under some one of its bad aspects. Coleridge must quite have forgotten
this Paganism of the word, when he suggested as a plausible idea,
that originally it had presented religion under the aspect of
a coercion or restraint. Morality having been viewed as the prime
restraint or obligation resting upon man, then Coleridge thought that
religion might have been viewed as a _religatio_, a reiterated
restraint, or secondary obligation. This is ingenious, but it
will not do. It is cracked in the ring. Perhaps as many as three
objections might be mustered to such a derivation: but the last of
the three is conclusive. The ancients never _did_ view morality
as a mode of obligation: I affirm this peremptorily; and with the
more emphasis, because there are great consequences suspended upon
that question.]

What, then, is religion? Decomposed into its elements, as they are
found in Christianity, how many _powers_ for acting on the
heart of man, does, by possibility, this great agency include?
According to my own view, four.[Footnote: there are _six_,
in one sense, of religion: viz. 5_thly_, corresponding moral
affections; 6_thly_, a suitable life. But this applies to
religion as _subjectively possessed_ by a man, not to religion
as _objectively contemplated_. ] I will state them, and number
them.

1st. A form of worship, a _cultus_.

2dly. An idea of God; and (pointing the analysis to Christianity
in particular) an idea not purified merely from ancient pollutions,
but recast and absolutely born again.

3dly. An idea of the relation which man occupies to God: and of
this idea also, when Christianity is the religion concerned, it
must be said, that it is so entirely remodelled, as in no respect
to resemble any element in any other religion. Thus far we are
reminded of the poet's expression, 'Pure religion _breathing_
household laws;' that is, not _teaching_ such laws, not formally
_prescribing_ a new economy of life, so much as _inspiring_
it indirectly through a new atmosphere surrounding all objects with
new attributes. But there is also in Christianity,

4thly. A _doctrinal_ part, a part directly and explicitly occupied
with _teaching_; and this divides into two great sections, α,
A system of ethics so absolutely new as to be untranslatable[Footnote:
This is not generally perceived. On the contrary, people are ready
to say, 'Why, so far from it, the very earliest language in which
the Gospels appeared, excepting only St. Matthew's, was the Greek.'
Yes, reader; but _what_ Greek? Had not the Greeks been, for
a long time, colonizing Syria under princes of Grecian blood,--had
not the Greek language (as a _lingua Hellenistica_) become
steeped in Hebrew ideas,--no door of communication could have been
opened between the new world of Christian feeling, and the old
world so deaf to its music. Here, therefore, we may observe two
preparations made secretly by Providence for receiving Christianity
and clearing the road before it; first, the diffusion of the Greek
language through the whole civilized world (ή οίχονμεγη)
some time before Christ, by which means the Evangelists found
wings, as it were, for flying abroad through the kingdoms of the
earth; secondly, the Hebraizing of this language, by which means
the Evangelists found a new material made plastic and obedient to
these new ideas, which they had to build with, and which they had
to build upon.] into either of the classical languages; and, β, A
system of mysteries; as, for instance, the mystery of the Trinity,
of the Divine Incarnation, of the Atonement, of the Resurrection,
and others.

Here are great elements; and now let me ask, how many of these
are found in the Heathen religion of Greece and Rome? This is an
important question; it being my object to show that no religion
but the Christian, and precisely through some one or two of its
_differential_ elements, could have been an organ of political
movement.

Most divines who anywhere glance at this question, are here found
in, what seems to me, the deepest of errors. Great theologians are
they, and eminent philosophers, who have presumed that (as a matter
of course) all religions, however false, are introductory to some
scheme of morality, however imperfect. They grant you that the
morality is oftentimes unsound; but still, they think that some
morality there must have been, or else for what purpose was the
religion? This I pronounce error.

All the moral theories of antiquity were utterly disjoined from
religion. But this fallacy of a dogmatic or doctrinal part in Paganism
is born out of Anachronism.  It is the anachronism of unconsciously
reflecting back upon the ancient religions of darkness, and as if
essential to _all_ religions, features that never were suspected
as possible, until they had been revealed in Christianity.[Footnote: Once
for all, to save the trouble of continual repetitions, understand
Judaism to be commemorated jointly with Christianity; the dark root
together with the golden fruitage; whenever the nature of the case
does not presume a contradistinction of the one to the other.]
Religion, in the eye of a Pagan, had no more relation to morals,
than it had to ship-building or trigonometry. But, then, why was
religion honored amongst Pagans? How did it ever arise? What was
its object? Object! it _had_ no object; if by this you mean
ulterior object. Pagan religion arose in no motive, but in an
impulse. Pagan religion aimed at no distant prize ahead: it fled
from a danger immediately behind. The gods of the Pagans were wicked
natures; but they were natures to be feared, and to be propitiated;
for they were fierce, and they were moody, and (as regarded man
who had no wings) they were powerful. Once accredited as facts,
the Pagan gods could not be regarded as other than terrific facts;
and thus it was, that in terror, blind terror, as against power
in the hands of divine wickedness, arose the ancient religions of
Paganism. Because the gods were wicked, man was religious; because
Olympus was cruel, earth trembled; because the divine beings were
the most lawless of Thugs, the human being became the most abject
of sycophants.

Had the religions of Paganism arisen teleologically; that is, with a
view to certain purposes, to certain final causes ahead; had they
grown out of _forward_-looking views, contemplating, for
instance, the furthering of civilization, or contemplating some
interests in a world beyond the present, there would probably have
arisen, concurrently, a section in all such religions, dedicated
to positive instruction. There would have been a _doctrinal_
part. There might have been interwoven with the ritual or worship,
a system of economics, or a code of civil prudence, or a code
of health, or a theory of morals, or even a secret revelation of
mysterious relations between man and the Deity: all which existed
in Judaism. But, as the case stood, this was impossible. The gods
were mere odious facts, like scorpions or rattlesnakes, having no
moral aspects whatever; public nuisances; and bearing no relation
to man but that of capricious tyrants. First arising upon a basis
of terror, these gods never subsequently enlarged that basis;
nor sought to enlarge it. All antiquity contains no hint of a
possibility that _love_ could arise, as by any ray mingling
with the sentiments in a human creature towards a Divine one; not
even sycophants ever pretended to _love_ the gods.

Under this original peculiarity of Paganism, there arose two
consequences, which I will mark by the Greek letters α and β.
The latter I will notice in its order, first calling the reader's
attention to the consequence marked α, which is this:--In the
full and profoundest sense of the word _believe_, the pagans
could not be said to believe in _any_ gods: but, in the
ordinary sense, they did, and do, and must believe, in _all_
gods. As this proposition will startle some readers, and is yet
closely involved in the main truth which I am now pressing, viz.
the meaning and effect of a simple _cultus_, as distinguished
from a high doctrinal religion, let us seek an illustration from
our Indian empire. The Christian missionaries from home, when first
opening their views to Hindoos, describe themselves as laboring
to prove that Christianity is a true religion, and as either
asserting, or leaving it to be inferred, that, on that assumption,
the Hindoo religion is a false one. But the poor Hindoo never
dreamed of doubting that the Christian was a true religion; nor
will he at all infer, from your religion being true, that his own
must be false. Both are true, he thinks: all religions are true;
all gods are true gods; and all are _equally_ true. Neither can
he understand what you mean by a false religion, or how a religion
_could_ be false; and he is perfectly right. Wherever religions
consist only of a worship, as the Hindoo religion does, there can
be no competition amongst them as to truth. _That_ would be
an absurdity, not less nor other than it would be for a Prussian
to denounce the Austrian emperor, or an Austrian to denounce the
Prussian king, as a false sovereign. False! _How_ false? In
what sense false? Surely not as non-existing. But at least, (the
reader will reply,) if the religions contradict each other, one
of them _must_ be false. Yes; but _that_ is impossible.
Two religions cannot contradict each other, where both contain only
a _cultus_: they could come into collision only by means of a
doctrinal, or directly affirmative part, like those of Christianity
and Mahometanism. But this part is what no idolatrous religion
ever had, or will have. The reader must not understand me to mean
that, merely as a compromise of courtesy, two professors of different
idolatries would agree to recognise each other. Not at all. The
truth of one does not imply the falsehood of the other.  Both are
true as _facts:_ neither can be false, in any higher sense,
because neither makes any pretence to truth doctrinal.

This distinction between a religion having merely a worship, and a
religion having also a body of doctrinal truth, is familiar to the
Mahometans; and they convey the distinction by a very appropriate
expression. Those majestic religions, (as they esteem them,) which
rise above the mere pomps and tympanies of ceremonial worship, they
denominate '_religions of the book_.' There are, of such
religions, three, viz., Judaism, Christianity, and Islamism. The
first builds upon the Law and the Prophets; or, perhaps, sufficiently
upon the Pentateuch; the second upon the Gospel; the last upon the
Koran. No other religion can be said to rest upon a book; or to
need a book; or even to admit of a book. For we must not be duped
by the case where a lawgiver attempts to connect his own human
institutes with the venerable sanctions of a national religion, or
the case where a learned antiquary unfolds historically the record
of a vast mythology. Heaps of such cases, (both law and mythological
records,) survive in the Sanscrit, and in other pagan languages. But
these are books which build upon the religion, not books upon which
the religion is built. If a religion consists only of a ceremonial
worship, in that case there can be no opening for a book; because
the forms and details publish themselves daily, in the celebration
of the worship, and are traditionally preserved, from age to age,
without dependence on a book. But, if a religion has a doctrine,
this implies a revelation or message from Heaven, which cannot, in
any other way, secure the transmission of this message to future
generations, than by causing it to be registered in a book. A book,
therefore, will be convertible with a doctrinal religion:--no book,
no doctrine; and, again, no doctrine, no book.

Upon these principles, we may understand that second consequence
(marked β) which has perplexed many men, viz., why it is that the
Hindoos, in our own times; but, equally, why it is that the Greek
and Roman idolaters of antiquity, never proselytized; no, nor could
have viewed such an attempt as rational. Naturally, if a religion
is doctrinal, any truth which it possesses, as a secret deposit
consigned to its keeping by a revelation, must be equally valid
for one man as for another, without regard to race or nation. For
a _doctrinal_ religion, therefore, to proselytize, is no more
than a duty of consistent humanity. You, the professors of that
religion, possess the medicinal fountains. You will not diminish
your own share by imparting to others. What churlishness, if you
should grudge to others a health which does not interfere with
your own! Christians, therefore, Mahometans, and Jews originally,
in proportion as they were sincere and conscientious, have always
invited, or even forced, the unbelieving to their own faith: nothing
but accidents of situation, local or political, have disturbed'this
effort. But, on the other hand, for a mere '_cultus_' to
attempt conversions, is nonsense. An ancient Roman could have had
no motive for bringing you over to the worship of Jupiter Capitolinus;
nor you any motive for going. 'Surely, poor man,' he would have
said, 'you have, some god of your own, who will be quite as good
for _your_ countrymen as Jupiter for mine. But, if you have
_not_, really I am sorry for your case; and a very odd case it
is: but I don't see how it could be improved by talking nonsense.
You cannot beneficially, you cannot rationally, worship a tutelary
Roman deity, unless in the character of a Roman; and a Roman you may
become, legally and politically. Being such, you will participate
in all advantages, if any there _are_, or our national religion;
and, without needing a process of conversion, either in substance
or in form. _Ipso facto_, and without any separate choice of
your own, on becoming a Roman citizen, you become a party to the
Roman worship.' For an idolatrous religion to proselytize, would,
therefore, be not only useless but unintelligible.

Now, having explained _that_ point, which is a great step
towards the final object of my paper, viz., the investigation of
the reason why Christianity _is_, which no pagan religion ever
_has_ been, an organ of political movement, I will go on to
review rapidly those four constituents of a religion, as they are
realized in Christianity, for the purpose of contrasting them with
the false shadows, or even blank negations, of these constituents
in pagan idolatries.

First, then, as to the CULTUS, or form of the national worship:--In
our Christian ritual I recognise these separate acts; viz. A, an
act of Praise; B, an act of Thanksgiving; C, an act of Confession;
D, an act of Prayer. In A, we commemorate with adoration the
_general_ perfections of the Deity. There, all of us have an
equal interest. In B, we commemorate with thankfulness those special
qualities of the Deity, or those special manifestations of them,
by which we, the individual worshippers, have recently benefited.
In C, by upright confession, we deprecate. In D, we pray, or ask
for the things which we need. Now, in the _cultus_ of the
ancient pagans, B and C (the second act and the third) were wanting
altogether. No thanksgiving ever ascended, on his own account,
from the lips of an individual; and the state thanksgiving for a
triumph of the national armies, was but a mode of ostentatiously
publishing the news. As to C, it is scarcely necessary to say
that this was wanting, when I mention that penitential feelings
were unknown amongst the ancients, and had no name; for
_pœnitentia_[Footnote: In Greek, there is a word for
repentance, but not until it had been rebaptized into a Christian
use. _Metanoia_, however, is not that word: it is grossly
to defeat the profound meaning of the New Testament, if John the
Baptist is translated as though summoning the world to _repentance_;
it was not _that_ to which he summoned them.] means _regret_,
not _penitence_; and _me pœnitet hujus facti_, means, 'I
rue this act in its consequences,' not 'I repent of this act for
its moral nature.' A and D, the first act and the last, _appear_
to be present; but are so most imperfectly. When 'God is praised
aright,' praised by means of such deeds or such attributes as express
a divine nature, we recognise one great function of a national
worship,--not otherwise.  This, however, we must overlook and pardon,
as being a fault essential to the religion: the poor creatures
did the best they could to praise their god, lying under the curse
of gods so thoroughly depraved. But in D, the case is different.
Strictly speaking, the ancients never prayed; and it may be doubted
whether D approaches so near to what _we_ mean by prayer,
as even by a mockery. You read of _preces_, of αραι, &c.
and you are desirous to believe that pagan supplications were not
_always_ corrupt. It is too shocking to suppose, in thinking
of nations idolatrous yet noble, that never _any_ pure act
of approach to the heavens took place on the part of man; that
_always_ the intercourse was corrupt; _always_ doubly corrupt;
that eternally the god was bought, and the votary was sold.
Oh, weariness of man's spirit before that unresting mercenariness
in high places, which neither, when his race clamored for justice,
nor when it languished for pity, would listen without hire! How
gladly would man turn away from his false rapacious divinities to
the godlike human heart, that so often would yield pardon _before_
it was asked, and for the thousandth time that would give without
a bribe! In strict propriety, as my reader knows, the classical
Latin word for a prayer is _votum_; it was a case of contract;
of mercantile contract; of that contract which the Roman law
expressed by the formula--_Do ut des_. Vainly you came before
the altars with empty hands. "But _my_ hands are pure." Pure,
indeed! would reply the scoffing god, let me see what they contain.
It was exactly what you daily read in morning papers, viz.:--that,
in order to appear effectually before that Olympus in London, which
rains rarities upon us poor abject creatures in the provinces,
you must enclose 'an order on the Post-Office or a reference.' It
is true that a man did not always register his _votum_, (the
particular offering which he vowed on the condition of receiving
what he asked,) at the moment of asking. Ajax, for instance, prays
for light in the 'Iliad,' and he does not then and there give either
an order or a reference. But you are much mistaken, if you fancy
that even light was to be had _gratis_. It would be 'carried
to account.' Ajax would be 'debited' with that 'advance.'

Yet, when it occurs to a man that, in this _Do ut des_, the
general _Do_ was either a temple or a sacrifice, naturally it
occurs to ask what _was_ a sacrifice? I am afraid that the dark
murderous nature of the pagan gods is here made apparent. Modern
readers, who have had no particular reason for reflecting on the
nature and management of a sacrifice, totally misconceive it. They
have a vague notion that the slaughtered animal was roasted, served
up on the altars as a banquet to the gods; that these gods by some
representative ceremony 'made believe' to eat it; and that finally,
(as dishes that had now become hallowed to divine use,) the several
joints were disposed of in some mysterious manner: burned, suppose,
or buried under the altars, or committed to the secret keeping
of rivers.  Nothing of the sort: when a man made a sacrifice, the
meaning was, that he gave a dinner. And not only was every sacrifice
a dinner party, but every dinner party was a sacrifice. This was
strictly so in the good old ferocious times of paganism, as may be
seen in the Iliad: it was not said, 'Agamemnon has a dinner party
to-day,' but 'Agamemnon sacrifices to Apollo.' Even in Rome, to
the last days of paganism, it is probable that some slight memorial
continued to connect the dinner party [_cœna_] with a divine
sacrifice; and thence partly arose the sanctity of the hospitable
board; but to the east of the Mediterranean the full ritual of a
sacrifice must have been preserved in all banquets, long after it
had faded to a form in the less superstitious West. This we may
learn from that point of casuistry treated by St. Paul,--whether
a Christian might lawfully eat of things offered to idols.  The
question was most urgent; because a Christian could not accept an
invitation to dine with a Grecian fellow-citizen who still adhered
to paganism, _without_ eating things offered to idols;--the
whole banquet was dedicated to an idol. If he would not take
_that_, he must continue _impransus_. Consequently, the
question virtually amounted to this: Were the Christians to separate
themselves altogether from those whose interests were in so many
ways entangled with their own, on the single consideration that these
persons were heathens? To refuse their hospitalities, _was_
to separate, and with a hostile expression of feeling.  That would
be to throw hindrances in the way of Christianity: the religion could
not spread rapidly under such repulsive prejudices; and dangers,
that it became un-Christian to provoke, would thus multiply against
the infant faith. This being so, and as the gods were really the
only parties invited who got nothing at all of the banquet, it
becomes a question of some interest,--what _did_ they get?
They were merely mocked, if they had no compensatory interest in
the dinner! For surely it was an inconceivable mode of honoring
Jupiter, that you and I should eat a piece of roast beef, leaving
to the god's share only the mockery of a _Barmecide_ invitation,
assigning him a chair which every body knew that he would never
fill, and a plate which might as well have been filled with warm
water? Jupiter got _something_, be assured; and what _was_
it? This it was,--the luxury of inhaling the groans, the fleeting
breath, the palpitations, the agonies, of the dying victim. This
was the dark interest which the wretches of Olympus had in human
invitations to dinner: and it is too certain, upon comparing facts
and dates, that, when left to their own choice, the gods had a
preference for _man_ as the victim. All things concur to show,
that precisely as you ascend above civilization, which continually
increased the limitations upon the gods of Olympus, precisely as
you go back to that gloomy state in which their true propensities
had power to reveal themselves, was man the genuine victim for
_them_, and the dying anguish of man the best 'nidor' that
ascended from earthly banquets to _their_ nostrils. Their
stern eyes smiled darkly upon the throbbings of tortured flesh, as
in Moloch's ears dwelt like music the sound of infants' wailings.
Secondly, as to the birth of a new idea respecting the nature
of God:--It may not have occurred to every reader, but none will
perhaps object to it, when once suggested to his consideration,
that--as is the god of any nation, such will be that nation. God,
however falsely conceived of by man, even though splintered into
fragments by Polytheism, or disfigured by the darkest mythologies,
is still the greatest of all objects offered to human contemplation.
Man, when thrown upon his own delusions, may have raised himself,
or may have adopted from others, the very falsest of ideals, as
the true image and reflection of what he calls god. In his lowest
condition of darkness, terror may be the moulding principle for
spiritual conceptions; power, the engrossing attribute which he
ascribes to his deity; and this power may be hideously capricious,
or associated with vindictive cruelty. It may even happen, that
his standard of what is highest in the divinity should be capable
of falling greatly below what an enlightened mind would figure to
itself as lowest in man. A more shocking monument, indeed, there
cannot be than this, of the infinity by which man may descend
below his own capacities of grandeur: the gods, in some systems of
religion, have been such and so monstrous by excesses of wickedness,
as to insure, if annually one hour of periodical eclipse should
have left them at the mercy of man, a general rush from their own
worshippers for strangling them as mad dogs. Hypocrisy, the cringing
of sycophants, and the credulities of fear, united to conceal this
misotheism; but we may be sure that it was widely diffused through
the sincerities of the human heart.  An intense desire for kicking
Jupiter, or for hanging him, if found convenient, must have lurked
in the honorable Koman heart, before the sincerity of human nature
could have extorted upon the Roman stage a public declaration,--that
their supreme gods were capable of enormities which a poor,
unpretending human creature [homuncio] would have disdained.  Many
times the ideal of the divine nature, as adopted by pagan races,
fell under the contempt, not only of men superior to the national
superstition, but of men partaking in that superstition. Yet, with
all those drawbacks, an ideal _was_ an ideal. The being set
up for adoration as god, _was_ such upon the whole to the
worshipper; since, if there had been any higher mode of excellence
conceivable for _him_, that higher mode would have virtually
become his deity. It cannot be doubted, therefore, that the nature
of the national divinities indicated the qualities which ranked
highest in the national estimation; and that being contemplated
continually in the spirit of veneration, these qualities must have
worked an extensive conformity to their own standard. The mythology
sanctioned by the ritual of public worship, the features of moral
nature in the gods distributed through that mythology, and sometimes
commemorated by gleams in that ritual, domineered over the popular
heart, even in those cases where the religion had been a derivative
religion, and not originally moulded by impulses breathing from
the native disposition. So that, upon the whole, such as were the
gods of a nation, such was the nation: given the particular idolatry,
it became possible to decipher the character of the idolaters. Where
Moloch was worshipped, the people would naturally be found cruel;
where the Paphian Venus, it could not be expected that they should
escape the taint of a voluptuous effeminacy.

Against this principle, there could have been no room for demur,
were it not through that inveterate prejudice besieging the modern
mind,--as though all religion, however false, implied some scheme
of morals connected with it. However imperfectly discharged,
one function even of the pagan priest (it is supposed) must have
been--to guide, to counsel, to exhort, as a teacher of morals. And,
had _that_ been so, the practical precepts, and the moral
commentary coming after even the grossest forms of worship, or
the most revolting mythological legends, might have operated to
neutralize their horrors, or even to allegorize them into better
meanings. Lord Bacon, as a trial of skill, has attempted something of
that sort in his 'Wisdom of the Ancients.' But all this is modern
refinement, either in the spirit of playful ingenuity or of ignorance.
I have said sufficiently that there was no _doctrinal_ part in
the religion of the pagans. There was a _cultus_, or ceremonial
worship: _that_ constituted the sum total of religion, in the
idea of a pagan. There was a necessity, for the sake of guarding
its traditional usages, and upholding and supporting its pomp, that
official persons should preside in this _cultus_: _that_
constituted the duty of the priest. Beyond this ritual of public
worship, there was nothing at all; nothing to believe, nothing
to understand. A set of legendary tales undoubtedly there was,
connected with the mythologic history of each separate deity. But
in what sense you understood these, or whether you were at all
acquainted with them, was a matter of indifference to the priests;
since many of these legends were variously related, and some had
apparently been propagated in ridicule of the gods, rather than in
their honor.

With Christianity a new scene was opened. In this religion the
_cultus_, or form of worship, was not even the primary business,
far less was it the exclusive business. The worship flowed as a
direct consequence from the new idea exposed of the divine nature,
and from the new idea of man's relations to this nature.  Here were
suddenly unmasked great doctrines, truths positive and directly
avowed: whereas, in Pagan forms of religion, any notices which then
were, or seemed to be, of circumstances surrounding the gods, related
only to matters of fact or accident, such as that a particular
god was the son or the nephew of some other god; a truth, if it
_were_ a truth, wholly impertinent to any interest of man.

As there are some important truths, dimly perceived or not at all,
lurking in the idea of God,--an idea too vast to be navigable as
yet by the human understanding, yet here and there to be coasted,--I
wish at this point to direct the reader's attention upon a passage
which he may happen to remember in Sir Isaac Newton: the passage
occurs at the end of the 'Optics;' and the exact expressions I do
not remember; but the sense is what I am going to state: Sir Isaac
is speaking of God; and he takes occasion to say, that God is not
good, but goodness; is not holy, but holiness; is not infinite,
but infinity. This, I apprehend, will have struck many readers as
merely a rhetorical _bravura_; sublime, perhaps, and fitted
to exalt the feeling of awe connected with so unapproachable a
mystery, but otherwise not throwing any new light upon the darkness
of the idea as a problem before the intellect. Yet indirectly
perhaps it _does_, when brought out into its latent sense by
placing it in juxtaposition with paganism. If a philosophic theist,
who is also a Christian, or who (_not_ being a Christian,)
has yet by his birth and breeding become saturated with Christian
ideas and feelings,[Footnote: this case is far from uncommon; and
undoubtedly, from having too much escaped observation, it has been
the cause of much error. Poets I could mention, if it were not
invidious to do so, who, whilst composing in a spirit of burning
enmity to the Christian faith, yet rested for the very sting of
their pathos upon ideas that but for Christianity could never have
existed. Translators there have been, English, French, German, of
Mahometan books, who have so colored the whole vein of thinking with
sentiments peculiar to Christianity, as to draw from a reflecting
reader the exclamation, 'If this can be indeed the product
of Islamism, wherefore should Christianity exist?' If thoughts so
divine can, indeed, belong to a false religion, what more could
we gain from a true one?] attempts to realize the idea of supreme
Deity, he becomes aware of a double and contradictory movement in
his own mind whilst striving towards that result. He demands, in
the first place, something in the highest degree generic; and yet
again in the opposite direction, something in the highest degree
individual; he demands on the one path, a vast ideality, and yet
on the other, in union with a determinate personality. He must not
surrender himself to the first impulse, else he is betrayed into a
mere _anima mundi_; he must not surrender himself to the second,
else he is betrayed into something merely human. This difficult
antagonism, of what is most and what is least generic, must be
maintained, otherwise the idea, the possible idea, of that august
unveiling which takes place in the Judaico-Christian God, is
absolutely in clouds. Now, this antagonism utterly collapses in
paganism. And to a philosophic apprehension, this peculiarity of
the heathen gods is more shocking and fearful than what at first
sight had seemed most so. When a man pauses for the purpose of
attentively reviewing the Pantheon of Greece and Rome, what strikes
him at the first with most depth of impression and with most horror
is, the _wickedness_ of this Pantheon. And he observes with
surprise, that this wickedness, which is at a furnace-heat in the
superior gods, becomes fainter and paler as you descend. Amongst
the semi-deities, such as the Oreads or Dryads, the Nereids or
Naiads, he feels not at all offended. The odor of corruption, the
_saeva mephitis_, has by this time exhaled. The uproar of
eternal outrage has ceased. And these gentle divinities, if too
human and too beset with infirmities, are not impure, and not vexed
with ugly appetites, nor instinct of quarrel: they are tranquil
as are the hills and the forests; passionless as are the seas and
the fountains which they tenant. But, when he ascends to the _dii
majorum gentium_, to those twelve gods of the supreme house,
who may be called in respect of rank, the Paladins of the classical
Pantheon, secret horror comes over him at the thought that demons,
reflecting the worst aspects of brutal races, ever _could_
have levied worship from his own. It is true they do so no longer
as regards _our_ planet. But what _has_ been apparently
_may_ be. God made the Greeks and Romans of one blood with
himself; he cannot deny that _intellectually_ the Greeks--he
cannot deny that _morally_ the Romans--were amongst the foremost
of human races; and he trembles in thinking that abominations, whose
smoke ascended through so many ages to the _supreme_ heavens,
may, or might, so far as human resistance is concerned, again
become the law for the noblest of his species. A deep feeling, it
is true, exists latently in human beings of something perishable
in evil. Whatsoever is founded in wickedness, according to a deep
misgiving dispersed amongst men, must be tainted with corruption.
_There_ might seem consolation; but a man who reflects is
not quite so sure of _that_. As a commonplace resounding in
schools, it may be justly current amongst us, that what is evil
by nature or by origin must be transient.  But _that_ may be
because evil in all human things is partial, is heterogeneous; evil
mixed with good; and the two natures, by their mutual enmity, must
enter into a collision, which may possibly guarantee the final
destruction of the whole compound. Such a result may not threaten
a nature that is purely and totally evil, that is _homogeneously_
evil. Dark natures there may be, whose _essence_ is evil, that
may have an abiding root in the system of the universe not less
awfully exempt from change than the mysterious foundations of God.

This is dreadful. Wickedness that is immeasurable, in connection
with power that is superhuman, appals the imagination. Yet this is
a combination that might easily have been conceived; and a wicked
god still commands a mode of reverence. But that feature of the
pagan pantheon, which I am contrasting with this, viz., that no
pagan deity is an _abstraction_ but a vile _concrete_, impresses
myself with a subtler sense of horror; because it blends the
hateful with a mode of the ludicrous. For the sake of explaining
myself to the non-philosophic reader, I beg him to consider what
is the sort of feeling with which he regards an ancient river-god,
or the presiding nymph of a fountain. The impression which he
receives is pretty much like that from the monumental figure of some
allegoric being, such as Faith or Hope, Fame or Truth. He hardly
believes that the most superstitious Grecian seriously believed
in such a being as a distinct personality. He feels convinced that
the sort of personal existence ascribed to such an abstraction,
as well as the human shape, are merely modes of representing and
drawing into unity a variety of phenomena and agencies that seem
_one_, by means of their unintermitting continuity, and because
they tend to one common purpose. Now, from such a symbolic god as
this, let him pass to Jupiter or Mercury, and instantly he becomes
aware of a revolting individuality. He sees before him the opposite
pole of deity. The river-god had too little of a concrete character.
Jupiter has nothing else. In Jupiter you read no incarnation of
any abstract quality whatever: he represents nothing whatever in
the metaphysics of the universe. Except for the accident of his
power, he is merely a man. He has a _character_, that is,
a tendency or determination to this quality or that, in excess;
whereas a nature truly divine must be _in equilibrio_ as to all
qualities, and comprehend them all, in the way that a _genus_
comprehends the subordinate _species_. He has even a personal
history: he has passed through certain adventures, faced certain
dangers, and survived hostilities that, at one time, were doubtful
in their issue. No trace, in short, appears, in any Grecian god, of
the generic. Whereas we, in our Christian ideas of God, unconsciously,
and without thinking of Sir Isaac Newton, realize Sir Isaac's
conceptions. We think of him as having a sort of allegoric generality,
liberated from the bonds of the individual; and yet, also, as the
most awful among natures, having a conscious personality. He is
diffused through all things, present everywhere, and yet not the
less present locally. He is at a distance unapproachable by finite
creatures; and yet, without any contradiction, (as the profound St.
Paul observes,) 'not very far' from every one of us. And I will
venture to say, that many a poor old woman has, by virtue of her
Christian inoculation, Sir Isaac's great idea lurking in her mind;
as for instance, in relation to any of God's attributes; suppose
holiness or happiness, she feels, (though analytically she could
not explain,) that God is not holy or is not happy by way of
participation, after the manner of other beings: that is, he does
not draw happiness from a fountain separate and external to himself,
and common to other creatures, he drawing more and they drawing
less; but that he, himself _is_ the fountain; that no other
being can have the least proportion of either one or the other but
by drawing from that fountain; that as to all other good gifts, that
as to life itself, they are, in man, not on any separate tenure,
not primarily, but derivatively, and only in so far as God enters
into the nature of man; that 'we live and move' only so far and so
long as the incomprehensible union takes place between the human
spirit and the fontal abyss of the divine. In short, here, and here
only, is found the outermost expansion, the centrifugal, of the
TO catholic, united with the innermost centripetal of the personal
consciousness. Had, therefore, the pagan gods been less detestable,
neither impure nor malignant, they could not have won a salutary
veneration--being so merely concrete individuals.

Next, it must have degraded the gods, (and have made them instruments
of degradation for man,) that they were, one and all, incarnations;
not, as even the Christian God is, for a transitory moment and for
an eternal purpose; but essentially and by overruling necessity.  The
Greeks could not conceive of spirituality.  Neither can _we_,
metaphysically, assign the conditions of the spiritual; but,
practically, we all feel and represent to our own minds the agencies
of God, as liberated from bonds of space and time, of flesh and of
resistance.  This the Greeks could _not_ feel, could _not_
represent.  And the only advantage which the gods enjoyed over the
worm and the grub was, that they, (or at least the Paladins amongst
them--the twelve supreme gods,) could pass, fluently, from one
incarnation to another.

Thirdly. Out of that essential bondage to flesh arose a dreadful
suspicion of something worse: in what relation did the pagan gods
stand to the abominable phenomenon of death? It is not by uttering
pompous flatteries of ever-living and _ambrotos aei_, &c., that
a poet could intercept the searching jealousies of human penetration.
These are merely oriental forms of compliment.  And here, by the
way, as elsewhere, we find Plato vehemently confuted: for it was
the undue exaltation of the gods, and not their degradation, which
must be ascribed to the frauds of poets. Tradition, and no poetic
tradition, absolutely pointed to the grave of more gods than one.
But waiving all _that_ as liable to dispute, one thing we
know, from the ancients themselves, as open to no question, that
all the gods were _born_; were born infants; passed through
the stages of helplessness and growth; from all which the inference
was but too fatally obvious. Besides, there were grandfathers,
and even great-grandfathers in the Pantheon: some of these were
confessedly superannuated; nay, some had disappeared. Even men,
who knew but little of Olympian records, knew this, at least,
for certain, that more than one dynasty of gods had passed over
the golden stage of Olympus, had made their _exit_, and were
hurrying onward to oblivion. It was matter of notoriety, also,
that all these gods were and had been liable to the taint of sorrow
for the death of their earthly children, (as the Homeric Jupiter
for Sarpedon, Thetis for Achilles, Calliope, in Euripides, for
her blooming Rhesus;) all were liable to fear; all to physical
pain; all to anxiety; all to the indefinite menaces of a danger
not measurable.[Footnote: it must not be forgotten that all the
superior gods passed through an infancy (as Jove, &c.) or even an
adolescence, (as Bacchus,) or even a maturity, (as the majority of
Olympus during the insurrection of the Titans,) surrounded by perils
that required not strength only, but artifice, and even abject
self-concealment to evade.] Looking backwards or looking forwards,
the gods beheld enemies that attacked their existence, or modes of
decay, (known and unknown,) which gnawed at their roots. All this
I take the trouble to insist upon: not as though it could be worth
any man's trouble, at this day, to expose (on its own account) the
frailty of the Pantheon, but with a view to the closer estimate of
the Divine idea amongst men; and by way of contrast to the power
of that idea under Christianity: since I contend that, such as is
the God of every people, such, in the corresponding features of
character, will be that people. If the god (like Moloch) is fierce,
the people will be cruel; if (like Typhon) a destroying energy,
the people will be gloomy; if (like the Paphian Venus) libidinous,
the people will be voluptuously effeminate. When the gods are
perishable, man cannot have the grandeurs of his nature developed:
when the shadow of death sits upon the highest of what man represents
to himself as celestial, essential blight will sit for ever upon
human aspirations. One thing only remains to be added on this
subject: Why were not the ancients more profoundly afflicted by
the treacherous gleams of mortality in their gods? How was it that
they could forget, for a moment, a revelation so full of misery?
Since not only the character of man partly depended upon the quality
of his god, but also and _a fortiori_, his destiny upon the
destiny of his god. But the reason of his indifference to the divine
mortality was--because, at any rate, the pagan man's connection
with the gods terminated at his own death. Even selfish men would
reconcile themselves to an earthquake, which should swallow up all
the world; and the most unreasonable man has professed his readiness,
at all times, to die with a dying universe--_mundo secum pereunte,
mori_.

But, _thirdly_, the gods being such, in what relation to them
did man stand? It is a fact hidden from the mass of the ancients
themselves, but sufficiently attested, that there was an ancient
and secret enmity between the whole family of the gods and the
human race. This is confessed by Herodotus as a persuasion spread
through some of the nations amongst which he travelled: there was
a sort of truce, indeed, between the parties; temples, with their
religious services, and their votive offerings, recorded this truce.
But below all these appearances lay deadly enmity, to be explained
only by one who should know the mysterious history of both parties
from the eldest times. It is extraordinary, however, that Herodotus
should rely, for this account, upon the belief of distant nations, when
the same belief was so deeply recorded amongst his own countrymen
in the sublime story of Prometheus.  Much[Footnote: not all: for part
was due to the obstinate concealment from Jupiter, by Prometheus,
of the danger which threatened his throne in a coming generation.]
of the sufferings endured by Prometheus was on account of man,
whom he had befriended; and, _by_ befriending, had defeated
the malignity of Jove.  According to some, man was even created by
Prometheus: but no accounts, until lying Platonic philophers arose,
in far later times, represented man as created by Jupiter.

Now let us turn to Christianity; pursuing it through the functions
which it exercises in common with Paganism, and also through those
which it exercises separately and incommunicably.

I. As to the _Idea of God_,--how great was the chasm dividing
the Hebrew God from all gods of idolatrous birth, and with what
starry grandeur this revelation of _Supreme_ deity must have
wheeled upwards into the field of human contemplation, when first
surmounting the steams of earth-born heathenism, I need not impress
upon any Christian audience. To their _knowledge_ little
could be added. Yet to _know_ is not always to _feel:_ and
without a correspondent depth of feeling, there is in moral
cases no effectual knowledge. Not the understanding is sufficient
upon such ground, but that which the Scriptures in their profound
philosophy entitle the 'understanding heart.' And perhaps few readers
will have adequately appreciated the prodigious change effected in
the theatre of the human spirit, by the transition, sudden as the
explosion of light, in the Hebrew cosmogony, when, from the caprice
of a fleshly god, in one hour man mounted to a justice that knew
no shadow of change; from cruelty, mounted to a love which was
inexhaustible; from gleams of _essential_ evil, to a holiness
that could not be fathomed; from a power and a knowledge, under
limitations so merely and obviously human,[Footnote: It is a natural
thought, to any person who has not explored these recesses of human
degradation, that surely the Pagans must have had it in their power
to invest their gods with all conceivable perfections, quite as
much as we that are _not_ Pagans. The thing wanting to the
Pagans, he will think, was the _right_: otherwise as regarded
the _power_.] to the same agencies lying underneath creation,
as a root below a plant. Not less awful in power was the transition
from the limitations of space and time to ubiquity and eternity,
from the familiar to the mysterious, from the incarnate to the
spiritual.  These enormous transitions were fitted to work changes
of answering magnitude in the human spirit. The reader can hardly
make any mistake as to this. He _must_ concede the changes.
What he will be likely to misconceive, unless he has reflected,
is--the immensity of these changes. And another mistake, which he
is even more likely to make, is this: he will imagine that a new
idea, even though the idea of an object so vast as God, cannot
become the ground of any revolution more than intellectual--cannot
revolutionize the moral and active principles in man, consequently
cannot lay the ground of any political movement. We shall see. But
next, that is,--

II. Secondly, as to the idea of man's relation to God, this, were
it capable of disjunction, would be even more of a revolutionary
idea than the idea of God. But the one idea is enlinked with the
other. In Paganism, as I have said, the higher you ascend towards
the original fountains of the religion, the more you leave behind
the frauds, forgeries, and treacheries of philosophy; so much the
more clearly you descry the odious truth--that man stood in the
relation of a superior to his gods, as respected all moral qualities
of any value, but in the relation of an inferior as respected
physical power.  This was a position of the two parties fatal, by
itself, to all grandeur of moral aspirations. Whatever was good
or corrigibly bad, man saw associated with weakness; and power was
sealed and guaranteed to absolute wickedness.  The evil disposition
in man to worship success, was strengthened by this mode of superiority
in the gods. Merit was disjoined from prosperity. Even merit of a
lower class, merit in things morally indifferent, was not so decidedly
on the side of the gods as to reconcile man to the reasonableness
of their yoke.  They were compelled to acquiesce in a government
which they did not regard as just. The gods were stronger, but not
much; they had the unfair advantage of standing over the heads of
men, and of wings for flight or for manoeuvring. Yet even so, it
was clearly the opinion of Homer's age, that, in a fair fight, the
gods might have been found liable to defeat. The gods again were
generally beautiful: but not more so than the _elite_ of
mankind; else why did these gods, both male and female, continually
persecute our race with their odious love? which love, be it
observed, uniformly brought ruin upon its objects. Intellectually
the gods were undoubtedly below men. They pretended to no great
works in philosophy, in legislation, or in the fine arts, except
only that, as to one of these arts, viz. poetry, a single god
vaunted himself greatly in simple ages. But he attempted neither a
tragedy nor an epic poem. Even in what he did attempt, it is worth
while to follow his career. His literary fate was what might have
been expected. After the Persian war, the reputation of his verses
rapidly decayed.  Wits arose in Athens, who laughed so furiously
at his style and his metre, in the Delphic oracles, that at length
some echoes of their scoffing began to reach Delphi; upon which
the god and his inspired ministers became sulky, and finally took
refuge in prose, as the only shelter they could think of from the
caustic venom of Athenian malice.

These were the miserable relations of man to the Pagan gods. Every
thing, which it is worth doing at all, man could do better. Now it
is some feature of alleviation in a servile condition, if the lord
appears by natural endowments superior to his slave; or at least
it embitters the degradation of slavery, if he does _not_.
Greatly, therefore, must human interests have suffered, had this
jealous approximation of the two parties been the sole feature
noticeable in the relations between them. But there was a worse.
There was an original enmity between man and the Pantheon; not the
sort of enmity which we Christians ascribe to our God; _that_
is but a figure of speech: and even there is a derivative enmity;
an enmity founded on something in man _subsequent_ to his
creation, and having a ransom annexed to it. But the enmity of the
heathen gods was original--that is, to the very nature of man, and
as though man had in some stage of his career been their rival;
which indeed he was, if we adopt Milton's hypothesis of the gods
as ruined angels, and of man as created to supply the vacancy thus
arising in heaven.

Now, from this dreadful scheme of relations, between the human and
divine, under Paganism, turn to the relations under Christianity.
It is remarkable that even here, according to a doctrine current
amongst many of the elder divines, man was naturally superior to
the race of beings immediately ranking above him. Jeremy Taylor
notices the obscure tradition, that the angelic order was, by
original constitution, inferior to man; but this original precedency
had been reversed for the present, by the fact that man, in his
higher nature, was morally ruined, whereas the angelic race had not
forfeited the perfection of _their_ nature, though otherwise
an inferior nature. Waiving a question so inscrutable as this, we
know, at least, that no allegiance or homage is required from man
towards this doubtfully superior race. And when man first finds
himself called upon to pay tributes of this nature as to a being
inimitably his superior, he is at the same moment taught by a
revelation that this awful superior is the same who created him,
and that in a sense more than figurative, he himself is the child
of God. There stand the two relations, as declared in Paganism and
in Christianity,--both probably true. In the former, man is the
essential enemy of the gods, though sheltered by some conventional
arrangement; in the latter, he is the son of God.  In his own image
God made him; and the very central principle of his religion is,
that God for a great purpose assumed his own human nature; a mode
of incarnation which could not be conceivable, unless through
some divine principle common to the two natures, and forming the
_nexus_ between them.

With these materials it is, and others resembling these, that
Christianity has carried forward the work of human progression. The
ethics of Christianity it was,--new ethics and unintelligible, in
a degree as yet but little understood, to the old pagan nations,--which
furnished the rudder, or guidance, for a human revolution; but the
mysteries of Christianity it was,--new Eleusinian shows, presenting
God under a new form and aspect, presenting man under a new relation
to God,--which furnished the oars and sails, the moving forces,
for the advance of this revolution.

It was my intention to have shown how this great idea of man's
relation to God, connected with the previous idea of God, had first
caused the state of _slavery_ to be regarded as an evil. Next,
I proposed to show how _charitable institutions_, not one of
which existed in pagan ages, hospitals, and asylums of all classes,
had arisen under the same idea brooding over man from age to
age. Thirdly, I should have attempted to show, that from the same
mighty influence had grown up a _social_ influence of woman,
which did not exist in pagan ages, and will hereafter be applied to
greater purposes.  But, for want of room, I confine myself to saying
a few words on war, and the mode in which it will be extinguished
by Christianity.

WAR.--This is amongst the foremost of questions that concern
human progress, and it is one which, of all great questions, (the
question of slavery not excepted, nor even the question of the
slave-_trade_,) has travelled forward the most rapidly into
public favor.  Thirty years ago, there was hardly a breath stirring
against war, as the sole natural resource of national anger or
national competition. Hardly did a wish rise, at intervals, in that
direction, or even a protesting sigh, over the calamities of war.
And if here and there a contemplative author uttered such a sigh,
it was in the spirit of mere hopeless sorrow, that mourned over
an evil apparently as inalienable from man as hunger, as death, as
the frailty of human expectations. Cowper, about sixty years ago,
had said,


'War is a game which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at.'


But Cowper would not have said this, had he not been nearly related
to the Whig house of Panshanger.  Every Whig thought it a duty
occasionally to look fiercely at kings, saying--'D--, who's afraid?'
pretty much as a regular John Bull, in the lower classes, expresses
his independence by defying the peerage,--'A lord! do you say?
what care I for a lord? I value a lord no more than a button top;'
whilst, in fact, he secretly reveres a lord as being usually amongst
the most ancient of landed proprietors, and, secondly, amongst
the richest. The scourge of kingship was what Cowper glanced at,
rather than the scourge of war; and in any case the condition which
he annexed to his suggestion of relief, is too remote to furnish
much consolation for cynics like myself, or the reader. If war is
to cease only when subjects become wise, we need not contract the
scale of our cannon-founderies until the millennium. Sixty years
ago, therefore, the abolition of war looked as unprosperous a
speculation as Dr. Darwin's scheme for improving our British climate
by hauling out all the icebergs from the polar basin in seasons when
the wind sate fair for the tropics; by which means these wretched
annoyers of our peace would soon find themselves in quarters too
hot to hold them, and would disappear as rapidly as sugar-candy in
children's mouths. Others, however, inclined rather to the Ancient
Mariner's scheme, by shooting an albatross:--


'Twas right, said they, such birds to shoot,
That bring the frost and snow.'


Scarcely more hopeless than these crusades against frost, were any
of the serious plans which had then been proposed for the extirpation
of war. St. Pierre contributed '_son petite possible_' to
this desirable end, in the shape of an essay towards the idea of a
perpetual peace; Kant, the great professor of Koenigsberg, subscribed
to the same benevolent scheme _his_ little essay under the same
title; and others in England subscribed a guinea each to the fund
for the suppression of war.  These efforts, one and all, spent their
fire as vainly as Darwin spent his wrath against the icebergs: the
icebergs are as big and as cold as ever; and war is still, like a
basking snake, ready to rear his horrid crest on the least rustling
in the forests.

But in quarters more powerful than either purses of gold or
scholastic reveries, there has, since the days of Kant and Cowper,
begun to gather a menacing thundercloud against war. The nations,
or at least the great leading nations, are beginning to set their
faces against it. War, it is felt, comes under the denunciation of
Christianity, by the havoc which it causes amongst those who bear
God's image; of political economy, by its destruction of property
and human labor; of rational logic, by the frequent absurdity
of its pretexts. The wrong, which is put forth as the ostensible
ground of the particular war, is oftentimes not of a nature to be
redressed by war, or is even forgotten in the course of the war;
and, secondly, the war prevents another course which _might_
have redressed the wrong: viz., temperate negotiation, or neutral
arbitration. These things were always true, and, indeed, heretofore
more flagrantly true: but the difference, in favor of our own times,
is, that they are now felt to be true. Formerly, the truths were
seen, but not felt: they were inoperative truths, lifeless, and
unvalued. Now, on the other hand, in England, America, France,
societies are rising for making war upon war; and it is a striking
proof of the progress made by such societies, that, some two years
ago, a deputation from one of them being presented to King Louis
Philippe, received from him--not the sort of vague answer which
might have been expected, but a sincere one, expressed in very
encouraging words.[Footnote: and rather presumptuous words, if the
newspapers reported them correctly: for they went the length of
promising, that he separately, as King of the French, would coerce
Europe into peace. But, from the known good sense of the king, it
is more probable that he promised his _negative_ aid,--the
aid of not personally concurring to any war which might otherwise
be attractive to the French government. ] Ominous to himself this
might have been thought by the superstitious, who should happen to
recollect the sequel to a French king, of the very earliest movement
in this direction: the great (but to this hour mysterious) design
of Henry IV. in 1610, was supposed by many to be a plan of this very
nature, for enforcing a general and permanent peace on Christendom,
by means of an armed intervention; and no sooner had it partially
transpired through traitorous evidence, or through angry suspicion,
than his own assassination followed.

Shall I offend the reader by doubting, after all, whether war is
not an evil still destined to survive through several centuries?
Great progress has already been made. In the two leading nations of
the earth, war can no longer be made with the levity which provoked
Cowper's words two generations back. France is too ready to fight
for mere bubbles of what she calls glory. But neither in France
nor England could a war now be undertaken without a warrant from
the _popular_ voice. This is a great step in advance; but the
final step for its extinction will be taken by a new and Christian
code of international law. This cannot be consummated until Christian
philosophy shall have traversed the earth, and reorganized the
structure of society.

But, finally, and (as regards extent, though not as regards intensity
of effect) far beyond all other political powers of Christianity,
is the power, the _demiurgic_ power of this religion over
the kingdoms of human opinion. Did it ever strike the reader, that
the Greeks and Romans, although so frantically republican, and, in
_some_ of their institutions, so democratic, yet, on the other
hand, never developed the idea of _representative_ government,
either as applied to legislation or to administration?  The elective
principle was widely used amongst them. Nay, the nicer casuistries
of this principle had been latterly discussed. The separate advantages
of open or of secret voting, had been the subject of keen dispute
in the political circles of Rome; and the art was well understood
of disturbing the natural course of the public suffrage, by varying
the modes of combining the voters under the different forms of the
Comitia. Public authority and jurisdiction were created and modified
by the elective principle; but never was this principle applied to
the creation or direction of public opinion. The senate of Rome,
for instance, like our own sovereign, represented the national
majesty, and, to a certain degree, continued to do so for centuries
after this majesty had received a more immediate representative
in the person of the reigning Caesar. The senate, like our own
sovereign, represented the grandeur of the nation, the hospitality
of the nation to illustrious strangers, and the gratitude of the
nation in the distribution of honors. For the senate continued to
be the fountain of honors, even to Caesar himself: the titles of
Germanicus, Britannicus, Dalmaticus, &c. (which may be viewed as
peerages,) the privilege of precedency, the privilege of wearing
a laurel diadem, &c. (which may be viewed as the Garter, Bath,
Thistle,) all were honors conferred by the senate. But the senate,
no more than our own sovereign ever represented, by any one act or
function, the public opinion. How was this? Strange, indeed, that
so mighty a secret as that of delegating public opinions to the
custody of elect representatives, a secret which has changed the
face of the world, should have been missed by nations applying so
vast an energy to the whole theory of public administration. But
the truth, however paradoxical, is, that in Greece and Rome no body
of public opinions existed that could have furnished a standing ground
for adverse parties, or that consequently could have required to be
represented.  In all the dissensions of Rome, from the secessions
of the Plebs to the factions of the Gracchi, of Marius and Sylla,
of Caesar and Pompey; in all the ςασεις of the Grecian
republics,--the contest could no more be described as a contest of
opinion, than could the feuds of our buccaneers in the seventeenth
century, when parting company, or fighting for opposite principles
of dividing the general booty. One faction has, another sought
to have, a preponderant share of power: but these struggles never
took the shape, even in pretence, of differences that moved through
the conflict of principles.  The case was always the simple one of
power matched against power, faction against faction, usage against
innovation. It was not that the patricians deluded themselves by
any speculative views into the refusal of intermarriages with the
plebeians: it was not as upon any opinion that they maintained the
contest, (such as at this day divides ourselves from the French upon
the question of opinion with regard to the social rank of literary
men) but simply as upon a fact: they appealed to evidences not to
speculations; to usage, not to argument. They were in possession,
and fought against change, not as inconsistent with a theory, but
as hostility to an interest. In the contest of Caesar with the
oligarchic knavery of Cicero, Cato, and Pompey, no possible exercise
of representative functions (had the people possessed them) could
have been applied beneficially to the settlement of the question at
issue. Law, and the abuses of law, good statutes and evil customs,
had equally thrown the public power into a settlement fatal to the
public welfare. Not any decay of public virtue, but increase of
poverty amongst the inferior citizens, had thrown the suffrages,
and consequently the honors and powers of the state, into the hands
of some forty or fifty houses, rich enough to bribe, and bribing
systematically. Caesar, undertaking to correct a state of disease
which would else have convulsed the republic every third year
by civil war, knew that no arguments could be available against a
competition of mere interests. The remedy lay, not through opposition
speeches in the senate, or from the rostra,--not through pamphlets
or journals,--but through a course of intense cudgelling.
This he happily accomplished; and by that means restored Rome for
centuries,--not to the aspiring condition which she once held,
but to an immunity from annual carnage, and in other respects to
a condition of prosperity which, if less than during her popular
state, was greater than any else attainable after that popular state
had become impossible, from changes in the composition of society.

Here, and in all other critical periods of ancient republics,
we shall find that opinions did not exist as the grounds of feud,
nor could by any dexterity have been applied to the settlement of
feuds. Whereas, on the other hand, with ourselves for centuries,
and latterly with the French, no public contest has arisen, or does
now exist, without fighting its way through every stage of advance
by appeals to public opinion. If, for instance, an improved tone of
public feeling calls for a gradual mitigation of army punishments,
the quarrel becomes instantly an intellectual one: and much information
is brought forward, which throws light upon human nature generally.
But in Rome, such a discussion would have been stopped summarily,
as interfering with the discretional power of the Praetorium. To
take the _vitis_, or cane, from the hands of the centurion,
was a perilous change; but, perilous or not, must be committed to
the judgment of the particular imperator, or of his legatus. The
executive business of the Roman exchequer, again, could not have
been made the subject of public discussion; not only because no
sufficient material for judgment could, under the want of a public
press, have been gathered, except from the parties interested in
all its abuses, but also because these parties (a faction amongst
the equestrian order) could have effectually overthrown any
counter-faction formed amongst parties not personally _affected_
by the question.  The Roman institution of _clientela_--which
had outlived its early uses--does any body imagine that this was
open to investigation? The influence of murderous riots would easily
have been brought to bear upon it, but not the light of public
opinion. Even if public opinion could have been evoked in those
days, or trained to combined action, insuperable difficulties would
have arisen in adjusting its force to the necessities of the Roman
provinces and allies. Any arrangement that was practicable, would
have obtained an influence for these parties, either dangerous
to the supreme section of the empire, or else nugatory for each
of themselves. It is a separate consideration, that through total
defect of cheap instruments for communication, whether personally
or in the way of thought, public opinion must always have moved in
the dark: what I chiefly assert is, that the feuds bearing at all
upon public interests, never _did_ turn, or could have turned,
upon any collution of opinions. And two things must strengthen the
reader's conviction upon this point, viz. first, that no public
meetings (such as with us carry on the weight of public business
throughout the empire) were ever called in Rome; secondly, that
in the regular and 'official' meetings of the people, no social
interest was ever discussed, but only some political interest.

Now, on the other hand, amongst ourselves, every question, that is
large enough to engage public interest, though it should begin as
a mere comparison of strength with strength, almost immediately
travels forward into a comparison of right with rights, or of duty
with duty.  A mere fiscal question of restraint upon importation
from this or that particular quarter, passes into a question of
colonial rights. Arrangements of convenience for the management
of the pauper, or the debtor, or the criminal, or the war-captive,
become the occasions of profound investigations into the rights
of persons occupying those relations. Sanatory ordinances for the
protection of public health; such as quarantine, fever hospitals,
draining, vaccination, &c., connect themselves, in the earliest
stages of their discussion, with the general consideration of the
duties which the state owes to its subjects. If education is to
be promoted by public counsels, every step of the inquiry applies
itself to the consideration of the knowledge to be communicated,
and of the limits within which any section of religious partisanship
can be safely authorized to interfere. If coercion, beyond the
warrant of the ordinary law, is to be applied as a remedy for local
outrages, a tumult of opinions arises instantly, as to the original
causes of the evil, as to the sufficiency of the subsisting laws
to meet its pressure, and as to the modes of connecting enlarged
powers in the magistrate with the _minimum_ of offence to the
general rights of the subject.

Everywhere, in short, some question of duty and responsibility
arises to face us in any the smallest public interest that _can_
become the subject of public opinion.  Questions, in fact, that fall
short of this dignity; questions that concern public convenience
only, and do not wear any moral aspect, such as the bullion question,
never _do_ become subjects of public opinion. It cannot be
said in which direction lies the bias of public opinion.  In the
very possibility of interesting the public judgment, is involved
the certainty of wearing some relation to moral principles. Hence
the ardor of our public disputes; for no man views, without concern,
a great moral principle darkened by party motives, or placed in risk
by accident: hence the dignity and benefit of our public disputes;
hence, also, their ultimate relation to the Christian faith. We
do not, indeed, in these days, as did our homely ancestors in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, cite texts of Scripture as
themes for senatorial commentary or _exegesis_; but the virtual
reference to scriptural principles is now a thousand times more
frequent. The great principles of Christian morality are now so
interwoven with our habits of thinking, that we appeal to them no
longer as scriptural authorities, but as the natural suggestions
of a sound judgment. For instance, in the case of any wrong offered
to the Hindoo races, now so entirely dependent upon our wisdom
and justice, we British [Footnote: It may be thought that, in the
prosecution of Verres, the people of Rome acknowledged something
of the same high responsibility. Not at all. The case came before
Rome, not as a case of injury to a colonial child, whom the general
mother was bound to protect and avenge; but as an appeal, by way of
special petition, from Sicilian clients. It was no grand political
movement, but simply judicial. Verres was an ill-used man and the
victim of private intrigues. Or, whatever _he_ might be, Rome
certainly sate upon the cause, not in any character of maternal
protectress, taking up voluntarily the support of the weak, but
as a sheriff assessing damages in a case forced upon his court by
the plaintiff.] immediately, by our solemnity of investigation,
testify our sense of the deep responsibility to India with which
our Indian supremacy has invested us. We make no mention of the
Christian oracles. Yet where, then, have we learned this doctrine
of far-stretching responsibility?  In all pagan systems of morality,
there is the vaguest and slightest appreciation of such relations
as connect us with our colonies. But, from the profound philosophy
of Scripture, we have learned that no relations whatever, not even
those of property, can connect us with even a brute animal, but
that we contract concurrent obligations of justice and mercy.

In this age, then, public interests move and prosper through conflicts
of opinion. Secondly, as I have endeavored to show, public opinion
cannot settle, powerfully, upon any question that is _not_
essentially a moral question. And, thirdly, in all moral questions,
we, of Christian nations, are compelled, by habit and training, as
well as other causes, to derive our first principles, consciously
or not, from the Scriptures. It is, therefore, through the
_doctrinality_ of our religion that we derive arms for all
moral questions; and it is as moral questions that any political
disputes much affect us, The daily conduct, therefore, of all
great political interests, throws us unconsciously upon the first
principles which we all derive from Christianity. And, in this
respect, we are more advantageously placed, by a very noticeable
distinction, than the professors of the two other doctrinal religions.
The Koran having pirated many sentiments from the Jewish and the
Christian systems, could not but offer some rudiments of moral
judgment; yet, because so much of these rudiments is stolen, the
whole is incoherent, and does not form a _system_ of ethics.
In Judaism, again, the special and insulated situation of the Jews
has unavoidably impressed an exclusive bias upon its principles. In
both codes the rules are often of restricted and narrow application.
But, in the Christian Scriptures, the rules are so comprehensive and
large as uniformly to furnish the major proposition of a syllogism;
whilst the particular act under discussion, wearing, perhaps, some
modern name, naturally is not directly mentioned: and to bring
this, in the minor proposition, under the principle contained
in the major, is a task left to the judgment of the inquirer in
each particular case. Something is here intrusted to individual
understanding; whereas in the Koran, from the circumstantiality
of the rule, you are obliged mechanically to rest in the letter of
the precept. The Christian Scriptures, therefore, not only teach,
but train the mind to habits of _self_-teaching in all moral
questions, by enforcing more or less of activity in applying
the rule; that is, in subsuming the given case proposed under the
scriptural principle.

Hence it is certain, and has been repeatedly illustrated, that whilst
the Christian faith, in collision with others, would inevitably
rouse to the most active fermentation of minds, the Mahometan (as
also doctrinal but unsystematical) would have the same effect, in
kind, but far feebler in degree; and an idolatrous religion would
have no such effect at all. Agreeably to this scale, some years ago,
a sect of reforming or fanatical Mahometans, in Bengal,[Footnote:
At Baraset, if I remember rightly.] commenced a persecution of the
surrounding Hindoos. At length, a reaction took place on the part
of the idolaters, but in what temper? Bitter enough, and so far
alarming as to call down a government interference with troops and
artillery, but yet with no signs of _religious_ retaliation.
That was a principle of movement which the Hindoos could not
understand: their retaliation was simply to the personal violence
they had suffered.  Such is the inertia of a mere _cultus_.
And, in the other extreme, if we Christians, in our intercourse
with both Hindoos and Mahometans, were not sternly reined up by the
vigilance of the local governments, no long time would pass before
all India would be incurably convulsed by disorganizing feuds.



PROTESTANTISM. [Footnote: A Vindication of Protestant Principles.
By Phileleutheros Anglicanus. London: Parker. 1847.]

[1847.]


The work whose substance and theme are thus briefly abstracted
is, at this moment, making a noise in the world. It is ascribed by
report to two bishops--not jointly, but alternatively--in the sense
that, if one did _not_ write the book, the other _did_.
The Bishops of Oxford and St. David's, Wilberforce and Thirlwall,
are the two pointed at by the popular finger; and, in some quarters,
a third is suggested, viz., Stanley, Bishop of Norwich. The betting,
however, is altogether in favor of Oxford. So runs the current of
_public_ gossip. But the public is a bad guesser, 'stiff in
opinion' it is, and almost 'always in the wrong.' Now let _me_
guess.  When I had read for ten minutes, I offered a bet of seven
to one (no takers) that the author's name began with H. Not out of
any love for that amphibious letter; on the contrary, being myself
what Professor Wilson calls a _hedonist_, or philosophical
voluptuary, and murmuring, with good reason, if a rose leaf lies
doubled below me, naturally I murmur at a letter that puts one to
the expense of an aspiration, forcing into the lungs an extra charge
of raw air on frosty mornings.  But truth is truth, in spite of
frosty air. And yet, upon further reading, doubts gathered upon
my mind. The H. that I mean is an Englishman; now it happens that
here and there a word, or some peculiarity in using a word, indicates,
in this author, a Scotchman; for instance, the expletive 'just,'
which so much infests Scotch phraseology, written or spoken, at
page 1; elsewhere the word '_short-comings_,' which, being
horridly tabernacular, and such that no gentleman could allow himself
to touch it without gloves, it is to be wished that our Scottish
brethren would resign, together with '_backslidings_,' to the
use of field preachers.  But worse, by a great deal, and not even
intelligible in England, is the word _thereafter_, used as an
adverb of time, _i.e._, as the correlative of _hereafter_.
_Thereafter_, in pure vernacular English, bears a totally
different sense. In 'Paradise Lost,' for instance, having heard
the character of a particular angel, you are told that he spoke
_thereafter_, _i.e._, spoke agreeably to that character.
'How a score of sheep, Master Shallow?' The answer is, '_Thereafter_
as they be.' Again, 'Thereafter as a man sows shall he reap.' The
objections are overwhelming to the Scottish use of the word; first,
because already in Scotland it is a barbarism transplanted from
the filthy vocabulary of attorneys, locally called _writers_;
secondly, because in England it is not even intelligible, and,
what is worse still, sure to be _mis_-intelligible. And yet,
after all, these exotic forms may be a mere blind. The writer is,
perhaps, purposely leading us astray with his '_thereafters_,'
and his horrid '_short-comings_.' Or, because London newspapers,
and Acts of Parliament, are beginning to be more and more polluted
with these barbarisms, he may even have caught them unconsciously.

And, on looking again at one case of '_thereafter_,' viz.  at
page 79, it seems impossible to determine whether he uses it in the
classical English sense, or in the sense of leguleian barbarism.
This question of authorship, meantime, may seem to the reader
of little moment. Far from it! The weightier part of the interest
depends upon that very point. If the author really _is_
a bishop, or supposing the public rumor so far correct as that he
is a man of distinction in the English church, then, and by that
simple fact, this book, or this pamphlet, interesting at any rate
for itself, becomes separately interesting through its authorship,
so as to be the most remarkable phenomenon of the day; and why?
Because the most remarkable expression of a movement, accomplished
and proceeding in a quarter that, if any on this earth, might be
thought sacred from change. Oh, fearful are the motions of time,
when suddenly lighted up to a retrospect of thirty years! Pathetic
are the ruins of time in its slowest advance! Solemn are the
prospects, so new and so incredible, which time unfolds at every
turn of its wheeling flight! Is it come to this? Could any man, one
generation back, have anticipated that an English dignitary, and
speaking on a very delicate religious question, should deliberately
appeal to a writer confessedly infidel, and proud of being an
infidel, as a 'triumphant' settler of Christian scruples?  But if
the infidel is right, a point which I do not here discuss--but if
the infidel is a man of genius, a point which I do not deny--was
it not open to cite him, even though the citer were a bishop? Why,
yes--uneasily one answers, _yes_; but still the case records
a strange alteration, and still one could have wished to hear such
a doctrine, which ascribes human infirmity (nay, human criminality)
to _every_ book of the Bible, uttered by anybody rather than
by a father of the Church, and guaranteed by anybody rather than
by an infidel, in triumph. A boy may fire his pistol unnoticed;
but a sentinel, mounting guard in the dark, must remember the
trepidation that will follow any shot from _him_, and the
certainty that it will cause all the stations within hearing to get
under arms immediately. Yet why, if this bold opinion _does_
come from a prelate, he being but one man, should it carry so alarming
a sound? Is the whole bench of bishops bound and compromised by
the audacity of any one amongst its members? Certainly not. But
yet such an act, though it should be that of a rash precursor,
marks the universal change of position; there is ever some sympathy
between the van and the rear of the same body at the same time;
and the boldest could not have dared to go ahead so rashly, if the
rearmost was not known to be pressing forward to his support, far
more closely than thirty years ago he could have done. There have
been, it is true, heterodox professors of divinity and free-thinking
bishops before now. England can show a considerable list of such
people--even Rome has a smaller list. Rome, that weeds all libraries,
and is continually burning books, in effigy, by means of her vast
_Index Expurgatorius_,[Footnote: A question of some interest
arises upon the casuistical construction of this Index. We, that
are not by name included, may we consider ourselves indirectly
licensed? Silence, I should think, gives consent. And if it wasn't
that the present Pope, being a horrid Radical, would be sure to
blackball _me_ as an honest Tory, I would send him a copy of
my _Opera Omnia_, requesting his Holiness to say, by return of
post, whether I ranked amongst the chaff winnowed by St.  Peter's
flail, or had his gracious permission to hold myself amongst the pure
wheat gathered into the Vatican garner.] which index, continually,
she is enlarging by successive supplements, needs also an _Index
Expurgatorius_ for the catalogue of her prelates.  Weeds there
are in the very flower-garden and conservatory of the church. Fathers
of the church are no more to be relied on, as safe authorities,
than we rascally lay authors, that notoriously will say anything.
And it is a striking proof of this amongst our English bishops,
that the very man who, in the last generation, most of all won the
public esteem as the champion of the Bible against Tom Paine, was
privately known amongst us connoisseurs in heresy (that are always
prying into ugly secrets) to be the least orthodox thinker, one or
other, amongst the whole brigade of fifteen thousand contemporary
clerks who had subscribed the Thirty-nine Articles. Saving your
presence, reader, his lordship was no better than a bigoted Socinian,
which, in a petty diocese that he never visited, and amongst South
Welshmen, that are all incorrigible Methodists, mattered little,
but would have been awkward had he come to be Archbishop of York;
and that he did _not_, turned upon the accident of a few weeks
too soon, by which the Fates cut short the thread of the Whig
ministry in 1807. Certainly, for a Romish or an English bishop
to be a Socinian is _un peu fort_.  But I contend that it is
quite possible to be far less heretical, and yet dangerously bold;
yes, upon the free and spacious latitudes, purposely left open by the
English Thirty-nine Articles (ay, or by any Protestant Confession),
to plant novelties not less startling to religious ears than
Socinianism itself. Besides (which adds to the shock), the dignitary
now before us, whether bishop or no bishop, does not write in the
tone of a conscious heretic; or, like Archdeacon Blackburne[Footnote:
He was the author of _The Confessional,_ which at one time
made a memorable ferment amongst all those who loved as sons, or
who hated as nonconformists, the English Establishment. This was
his most popular work, but he wrote many others in the same temper,
that fill six or seven octavos.] of old, in a spirit of hostility
to his own fellow-churchmen; but, on the contrary, in the tone
of one relying upon support from his clerical brethren, he stands
forward as expositor and champion of views now prevailing amongst
the _elite_ of the English Church.  So construed, the book
is, indeed, a most extraordinary one, and exposes a history that
almost shocks one of the strides made in religious speculation.
Opinions change slowly and stealthily. The steps of the changes are
generally continuous; but sometimes it happens that the notice of
such steps, the publication of such changes, is not continuous,
that it comes upon us _per saltum_, and, consequently, with
the stunning effect of an apparent treachery. Every thoughtful man
raises his hands with an involuntary gesture of awe at the revolutions
of so revolutionary an age, when thus summoned to the spectacle
of an English prelate serving a piece of artillery against what
once were fancied to be main outworks of religion, and at a station
sometimes considerably in advance of any occupied by Voltaire.[Footnote:
Let not the reader misunderstand me; I do not mean that the clerical
writer now before us (bishop or not bishop) is more hostile to
religion than Voltaire, or is hostile at all. On the contrary, he
is, perhaps, profoundly religious, and he writes with neither levity
nor insincerity. But this conscientious spirit, and this piety, do
but the more call into relief the audacity of his free-thinking--do
but the more forcibly illustrate the prodigious changes wrought by
time, and by the contagion from secular revolutions, in the spirit
of religious philosophy.]

It is this audacity of speculation, I apprehend, this _etalage_
of bold results, rather than any success in their development, which
has fixed the public attention.  Development, indeed, applied to
philosophic problems, or research applied to questions of erudition,
was hardly possible within so small a compass as one hundred and
seventeen pages, for _that_ is the extent of the work, except
as regards the notes, which amount to seventy-four pages more. Such
brevity, on such a subject, is unseasonable, and almost culpable.
On such a subject as the Philosophy of Protestantism--'_satius
erat silere, quam parcius, dicere_.' Better were absolute silence,
more respectful as regards the theme, less tantalizing as regards
the reader, than a style of discussion so fragmentary and so rapid.

But, before we go farther, what are we to call this bold man? One
must have some name for a man that one is reviewing; and, as he
comes abroad _incognito_, it is difficult to see what name
_could_ have any propriety. Let me consider: there are three
bishops in the field, Mr. H., and the Scotchman--that makes five.
But every one of these, you say, is represented equally by the
name in the title--_Phileleutheros Anglicanus_.  True, but
_that's_ as long as a team of horses.  If it had but _Esquire_
at the end, it would measure against a Latin Hendecasyllable verse.
I'm afraid that we must come at last to _Phil_. I've been
seeking to avoid it, for it's painful to say 'Jack' or 'Dick'
either _to_ or _of_ an ecclesiastical great gun. But if
such big wigs _will_ come abroad in disguise, and with names
as long as Fielding's Hononchrononthononthologus, they must submit
to be hustled by pickpockets and critics, and to have _their_
names docked as well as profane authors.

_Phil,_ then, be it--that's settled. Now, let us inquire what
it is that _Phil._ has been saying, to cause such a sensation
amongst the Gnostics. And, to begin at the beginning, what
is _Phil.'s_ capital object? _Phil._ shall state it himself--these
are his opening words:--


'In the following pages we propose to vindicate the fundamental
and inherent _principles_ of Protestantism.'


Good; but what _are_ the fundamental principles of Protestantism?
'They are,' says _Phil._, 'the sole sufficiency of Scripture,'[Footnote:
This is much too elliptical a way of expressing the Protestant
meaning. Sufficiency for what? 'Sufficiency for salvation' is the
phrase of many, and I think elsewhere of _Phil_. But _that_ is
objectionable on more grounds than one; it is redundant, and it is
aberrant from the true point contemplated. _Sufficiency for itself,
without alien helps_, is the thing contemplated. The Greek
_autarkeia_, self-sufficiency, or, because that phrase, in English,
has received a deflexion towards a bad meaning, the word _self-
ufficingness_ might answer; sufficiency for the exposition of its
own most secret meaning, out of fountains within itself; needing,
therefore, neither the supplementary aids of tradition, on the one
hand, nor the complementary aids on the other, (in the event of
unprovided cases, or of dilemmas arising,) from the infallibility
of a _living_ expounder.] the right of private judgment in its
interpretation, and the authority of individual conscience in
matters of religion.' Errors of logic show themselves more often
in a man's terminology, and his antithesis, and his subdivisions,
than anywhere else.  _Phil._ goes on to make this distinction,
which brings out his imperfect conception. 'We,' says he (and, by
the way, if _Phil._ is _we_, then it must he my duty to call him
_they_), 'we do not propose to defend the varieties of _doctrine_
held by the different communities of Protestants.' Why, no; that
would be a sad task for the most skilful of funambulists or
theological tumblers, seeing that many of these varieties stand
related to each other as categorical affirmative and categorical
negative: it's heavy work to make _yes_ and _no_ pull together in
the same proposition. But this, fortunately for himself, _Phil._
declines. You are to understand that he will not undertake the
defence of Protestantism in its _doctrines_, but only in its
_principles_. That won't do; that antithesis is as hollow as a
drum; and, if the objection were verbal only, I would not make it.
But the contradistinction fails to convey the real meaning.  It is
not that he has falsely expressed his meaning, but that he has
falsely developed that meaning to his own consciousness. Not the
word only is wrong; but the wrong word is put forward for the
sake of hiding the imperfect idea. What he calls _principles_
might almost as well be called _doctrines_; and what he calls
_doctrines_ as well be called _principles_. Out of these terms,
apart from the rectifications suggested by the context, no man
could collect his drift, which is simply this. Protestantism, we
must recollect, is not an absolute and self-dependent idea; it
stands in relation to something antecedent, against which it
protests, viz., Papal Rome. And under what phasis does it protest
against Rome? Not against the Christianity of Rome, because every
Protestant Church, though disapproving a great deal of _that_,
disaproves also a great deal in its own sister churches of the
protesting household; and because every Protestant Church holds
a great deal of Christian truth, in common with Rome. But what
furnishes the matter of protest is--the _deduction of the title_
upon which Rome plants the right to be church at all. This deduction
is so managed by Rome as to make herself, not merely a true church
(which many Protestants grant), but the exclusive church. Now, what
_Phil._ in effect undertakes to defend is not principles by
preference to doctrines (for they are pretty nearly the same thing),
but the question of title to teach at all, in preference to the
question of what is the thing taught. _There_ is the distinction,
as I apprehend it. All these terms--'principle,' 'doctrine,' 'system,'
'theory,' 'hypothesis'--are used nearly always most licentiously, and
as arbitrarily as a Newmarket jockey selects the colors for his
riding-dress.  It is true that one shadow of justification offers
itself for _Phil.'s_ distinction. All principles are doctrines,
but all doctrines are not principles; which, then, in particular?
Why, those properly are principles which contain the _principia_,
the beginnings, or starting-points of evolution, out of which
any system of truth is evolved. Now, it may seem that the very
starting-point of our Protestant pretensions is, first of all, to
argue our _title_ or right to be a church _sui juris_; apparently
we must begin by making good our _locus standi_, before we can be
heard upon our doctrines.  And upon this mode of approach, the
pleadings about the _title_, or right to teach at all, taking
precedency of the pleadings about the particular things taught,
would be the _principia_, or beginning of the whole process, and
so far would be entitled by preference to the name of _principles_.
But such a mode of approach is merely an accident, and contingent
upon our being engaged in a polemical discussion of Protestantism
in relation to Popery. _That_, however, is a pure matter of choice;
Protestantism may be discussed, 'as though Rome were not, in relation
to its own absolute merits; and this treatment is the logical
treatment, applying itself to what is permanent in the _nature_
of the object; whereas the other treatment applies itself to what
is casual and vanishing in the _history_ (or the origin) of Protestantism.
For, after all, it would be no great triumph to Protestantism that she
should prove her birthright to revolve as a primary planet in the solar
system; that she had the same original right as Rome to wheel about the
great central orb, undegraded to the rank of satellite or secondary
projection--if, in the meantime, telescopes should reveal the fact
that she was pretty nearly a sandy desert. _What_ a church
teaches is true or not true, without reference to her independent
right of teaching; and eventually, when the irritations of earthly
feuds and political schisms shall be soothed by time, the philosophy
of this whole question will take an inverse order. The credentials of
a church will not be put in first, and the quality of her doctrine
discussed as a secondary question. On the contrary, her credentials
will be sought _in_ her doctrine. The Protesting Church will
say, I have the _right_ to stand separate, because I stand;
and from my holy teaching I deduce my title to teach. _Jus est ibi
summum docendi, ubi est fons purissimus doctrinae_. That inversion
of the Protestant plea with Rome is even now valid with many; and,
when it becomes universally current, then the _principles_,
or great beginnings of the controversy, will be transplanted from
the _locus_, or centre, where _Phil._ places them, to the very
_locus_ which he neglects.

There is another expression of _Phil.'s_ (I am afraid
_Phil._ is getting angry by this time) to which I object.  He
describes the doctrines held by all the separate Protestant churches
as doctrines of Protestantism. I would not delay either _Phil._
or myself for the sake of a trifle; but an impossibility is _not_
a trifle. If from orthodox Turkey you pass to heretic Persia, if
from the rigor of the _Sonnees to the laxity of the _Sheeahs_,
you could not, in explaining those schisms, go on to say, 'And
these are the doctrines _of Islamism;' for they destroy each
other. Both are supported by earthly powers; but one only could
be supported by central Islamism. So of Calvinism and Arminianism;
you cannot call them doctrines _of_ Protestantism, as if growing
out of some reconciling Protestant principles; one of the two,
though not manifested to human eyes in its falsehood, must secretly
be false; and a falsehood cannot be a doctrine of Protestantism.
It is more accurate to say that the separate creeds of Turkey and
Persia are _within Mahommedanism; such, viz., as that neither
excludes a man from the name of Mussulman; and, again, that Calvinism
and Arminianism are doctrines _within_ the Protestant Church--as
a church of general toleration for all religious doctrines not
de-monstrably hostile to any cardinal truth of Christianity.

_Phil.,_ then, we all understand, is not going to traverse the
vast field of Protestant opinions as they are distributed through
our many sects; _that_ would be endless; and he illustrates
the mazy character of the wilderness over which these sects are
wandering,


  --'ubi passim
  Palantes error recto de tramite pellit,'


by the four cases of--1, the Calvinist; 2, the Newmanite; 3, the
Romanist;[Footnote: What, amongst Protestant sects? Ay, even so.
It's _Phil.'s_ mistake, not mine. He will endeavor to doctor
the case, by pleading that he was speaking universally of Christian
error; but the position of the clause forbids this plea.  Not
only in relation to what immediately precedes, the passage must be
supposed to contemplate _Protestant_ error; but the immediate
inference from it, viz., that 'the world may well be excused for
doubting whether there is, after all, so much to be gained by that
liberty of private judgment, which is the essential characteristic
of Protestantism; whether it be not, after all, merely a liberty to
fall into error,' nails _Phil_. to that construction--argues
too strongly that it is an oversight of indolence. _Phil._
was sleeping for the moment, which is excusable enough towards the
end of a book, but hardly in section I. P.S.--I have since observed
(which _not_ to have observed is excused, perhaps, by the too
complex machinery of hooks and eyes between the text and the notes
involving a double reference--first, to the section; second, to the
particular clause of the section) that _Phil._ has not here
committed an inadvertency; or, if he _has,_ is determined
to fight himself through his inadvertency, rather than break up
his quaternion of cases. 'In speaking of Romanism as arising from
a misapplication of Protestant principles; we refer, not to those
who were born, but to those who have become members of the Church
of Rome.' What is the name of those people? And where do they live? I
have heard of many who think (and there _are_ cases in which
most of us, that meddle with philosophy, are apt to think) occasional
principles of Protestantism available for the defence of certain
Roman Catholic mysteries too indiscriminately assaulted by the
Protestant zealot; but, with this exception, I am not aware of any
parties professing to derive their Popish learnings _from_
Protestantism; it is _in spite of_ Protestantism, as seeming
to _them_ not strong enough, or through principles omitted
by Protestantism, which therefore seems to _them_ not careful
enough or not impartial enough, that Protestants have lapsed to
Popery. Protestants have certainly been known to become Papists, not
through Popish arguments, but simply through their own Protestant
books; yet never, that I heard of, through an _affirmative_
process, as though any Protestant argument involved the rudiments
of Popery, but by a _negative_ process, as fancying the
Protestant reasons, though lying in the right direction, not going
far enough; or, again, though right partially, yet defective as a
whole. _Phil._ therefore, seems to me absolutely caught in a
sort of _Furcae Caudinae_, unless he has a dodge in reserve to
puzzle us all. In a different point, I, that hold myself a _doctor
seraphicus_, and also _inexpugnabilis_ upon quillets of
logic, justify _Phil._, whilst also I blame him. He defends
himself rightly for distinguishing between the Romanist and Newmanite
on the one hand, between the Calvinist and the Evangelican man on
the other, though perhaps a young gentleman, commencing his studies
on the _Organon_, will fancy that here he has _Phil._ in a trap,
for these distinctions, he will say, do not entirely exclude to
each other as they ought to do. The class calling itself
Evangelical, for instance, may also be Calvinistic; the Newmanite
is not, _therefore_, anti-Romanish. True, says _Phil_.;
I am quite aware of it. But to be aware of an objection is not
to answer it. The fact seems to be, that the actual combinations
of life, not conforming to the truth of abstractions, compel
us to seeming breaches of logic. It would be right practically
to distinguish the Radical from the Whig; and yet it might shock
_Duns_ or _Lombardus_, the _magister sententiarum_, when he came
to understand that partially the principles of Radicals and Whigs
coincide. But, for all that, the logic which distinguishes
them is right; and the apparent error must be sought in the fact,
that all cases (political or religious) being cases of life, are
_concretes_, which never conform to the exquisite truth of
abstractions. Practically, the Radical _is_ opposed to the
Whig, though casually the two are in conjunction continually; for,
as _acting_ partisans, they work _from_ different centres,
and finally, _for_ different results.] 4, the Evangelical
enthusiast--as holding systems of doctrine, 'no one of which is
capable of recommending itself to the favorable opinion of an impartial
judge.' Impartial! but what Christian _can_ be impartial? To
be free from all bias, and to begin his review of sects in that
temper, he must begin by being an infidel. Vainly a man endeavors
to reserve in a state of neutrality any preconceptions that he
may have formed for himself, or prepossessions that he may have
inherited from 'mamma;' he cannot do it any more than he can dismiss
his own shadow. And it is strange to contemplate the weakness of
strong minds in fancying that they can.  Calvin, whilst amiably
engaged in hunting Servetus to death, and writing daily letters
to his friends, in which he expresses his hope that the executive
power would not think of burning the poor man, since really justice
would be quite satisfied by cutting his head off, meets with some
correspondents who conceive (idiots that they were!) even that little
amputation not indispensable.  But Calvin soon settles _their_
scruples. You don't perceive, he tells them, what this man has been
about. When a writer attacks Popery, it's very wrong in the Papists
to cut his head off; and why? Because he has only been attacking
error. But here lies the difference in this case; Servetus had
been attacking the TRUTH. Do you see the distinction, my friends?
Consider it, and I am sure you will be sensible that this quite
alters the case. It is shocking, it is perfectly ridiculous,
that the Bishop of Rome should touch a hair of any man's head for
contradicting _him;_ and why? Because, do you see? _he_
is wrong. On the other hand, it is evidently agreeable to philosophy,
that I, John Calvin, should shave off the hair, and, indeed, the
head itself (as I heartily hope[Footnote: The reader may imagine
that, in thus abstracting Calvin's epistolary sentiments, I am a
little improving them. Certainly they would bear improvement, but
that is not my business.  What the reader sees here is but the
result of bringing scattered passages into closer juxtaposition;
whilst, as to the strongest (viz., the most sanguinary) sentiments
here ascribed to him, it will be a sufficient evidence of my fidelity
to the literal truth, if I cite three separate sentences. Writing
to Farrel, he says, '_Spero_ capitale saltern fore judicium.'
Sentence of the court, he _hopes_, will, at any rate, reach
the life of Servetus. Die he must, and die he shall. But why should
he die a cruel death? "Paenoe vero atrocitatem remitti cupio."
To the same purpose, when writing to Sultzer, he expresses his
satisfaction in being able to assure him that a principal civic
officer of Geneva was, in this case, entirely upright, and animated
by the most virtuous sentiments.  Indeed! what an interesting
character! and in what way now might this good man show thia
beautiful tenderness of conscience? Why; by a fixed resolve that
Servetus should not in any case escape the catastrophe which I, John
Calvin, am longing for, ('ut saltem exitum, _quem optamus_,
noa fugiat.') Finally, writing to the same Sultzer, he remarks
that--when we see the Papists such avenging champions of their own
superstitious fables as not to falter in shedding innocent blood,
'pudeat Christianos magistratus [as if the Roman Catholic magistrates
were not Christians] in tuenda _certa_ veritate nihil prorsus
habere animi'--'Christian magistrates ought to be ashamed of
themselves for manifesting no energy at all in the vindication of
truth undeniable;' yet really since these magistrates had at that
time the full design, which design not many days after they executed,
of maintaining truth by fire and faggot, one does not see the call
upon them for blushes so very deep as Calvin requires. Hands so
crimson with blood might compensate the absence of crimson cheeks.]
will be done in this present case) of any man presumptuous enough
to contradict _me;_ but then, why? For a reason that makes all
the difference in the world, and which, one would think, idiocy
itself could not overlook, viz., that I, John Calvin, am right--right,
through three degrees of comparison--right, righter, or more right,
rightest, or most right. Calvin fancied that he could demonstrate
his own impartiality.

The self-sufficingness of the Bible, and the right of private
judgment--here, then, are the two great charters in which Protestantism
commences; these are the bulwarks behind which it intrenches itself
against Rome. And it is remarkable that these two great preliminary
laws, which soon diverge into fields so different, at the first are
virtually one and the same law. The refusal of an oracle alien to
the Bible, extrinsic to the Bible, and claiming the sole interpretation
of the Bible; the refusal of an oracle that reduced the Bible to
a hollow masque, underneath which fraudulently introducing itself
any earthly voice could mimic a heavenly voice, was in effect to
refuse the coercion of this false oracle over each man's conscientious
judgment; to make the Bible independent of the Pope, was to make man
independent of all religious controllers. The _self-sufficingness
of Scripture_, its independency of any external interpreter,
passed in one moment into the other great Protestant doctrine of
_Toleration_. It was but the same triumphal monument under a
new angle of sight, the golden and silver faces of the same heraldic
shield. The very same act which denies the right of interpretation
to a mysterious Papal phoenix, renewed from generation to generation,
having the antiquity and the incomprehensible omniscience of the
Simorg in Southey, transferred this right of mere necessity to the
individuals of the whole human race. For where else could it have
been lodged? Any attempt in any other direction was but to restore
the Papal power in a new impersonation.  Every man, therefore,
suddenly obtained the right of interpreting the Bible for himself.
But the word '_right_' obtained a new sense. Every man has the
right, under the Queen's Bench, of publishing an unlimited number
of metaphysical systems; and, under favor of the same indulgent
Bench, we all enjoy the unlimited right of laughing at him. But not
the whole race of man has a right to _coerce_, in the exercise
of his intellectual rights, the humblest of individuals. The rights
of men are thus unspeakably elevated; for, being now freed from all
anxiety, being sacred as merely _legal_ rights, they suddenly
rise into a new mode of responsibility as _intellectual_
rights. As a Protestant, every mature man has the same dignified
right over his own opinions and profession of faith that he has
over his own hearth.  But his hearth can rarely be abused; whereas
his religious system, being a vast kingdom, opening by immeasurable
gates upon worlds of light and worlds of darkness, now brings him
within a new amenability--called upon to answer new impeachments,
and to seek for new assistances. Formerly another was answerable
for his belief; if that were wrong, it was no fault of his. Now he
has new rights, but these have burthened him with new obligations.
Now he is crowned with the glory and the palms of an intellectual
creature, but he is alarmed by the certainty of corresponding
struggles. Protestantism it is that has created him into this child
and heir of liberty; Protestantism it is that has invested him with
these unbounded privileges of private judgment, giving him in one
moment the sublime powers of a Pope within his own conscience; but
Protestantism it is that has introduced him to the most dreadful
of responsibilities.

I repeat that the twin maxims, the columns of Hercules through
which Protestantism entered the great sea of human activities, were
originally but two aspects of one law: to deny the Papal control
over men's conscience being to affirm man's self-control, was,
therefore, to affirm man's universal right to toleration, which
again implied a corresponding _duty_ of toleration. Under
this bi-fronted law, generated by Protestantism, but in its turn
regulating Protestantism, _Phil._ undertakes to develope all
the principles that belong to a Protestant church. The _seasonableness_
of such an investigation--its critical application to an evil now
spreading like a fever through Europe--he perceives fully, and in
the following terms he expresses this perception:--


'That we stand on the brink of a great theological crisis, that
the problem must soon be solved, how far orthodox Christianity
is possible for those who are not behind their age in scholarship
and science; this is a solemn fact, which may be ignored by the
partisans of short-sighted bigotry, but which is felt by all, and
confessed by most of those who are capable of appreciating its reality
and importance. The deep Sibylline vaticinations of Coleridge's
philosophical mind, the practical working of Arnold's religious
sentimentalism, and the open acknowledgment of many divines who are
living examples of the spirit of the age, have all, in different
ways, foretold the advent of a Church of the Future.'


This is from the preface, p. ix., where the phrase, _Church of the
Future_, points to the Prussian minister's (Bunsen's) _Kirche
der Zukunft;_ but in the body of the work, and not far from its
close, (p. 114,) he recurs to this crisis, and more circumstantially.

_Phil._ embarrasses himself and his readers in this development
of Protestant principles. His own view of the task before him
requires that he should separate himself from the consideration of
any particular church, and lay aside all partisanship--plausible
or not plausible.  It is his own overture that warrants us in
expecting this. And yet, before we have travelled three measured
inches, he is found entangling himself with Church of Englandism.
Let me not be misunderstood, as though, borrowing a Bentham word,
I were therefore a Jerry Benthamite: I, that may describe myself
generally as _Philo-Phil._, am not less a son of the 'Reformed
Anglican Church' than _Phil._ Consequently, it is not likely
that, in any vindication of that church, simply _as_ such,
and separately for itself, I should be the man to find grounds of
exception. Loving most of what _Phil._ loves, loving _Phil._
himself, and hating (I grieve to say), with a theological hatred,
whatever _Phil._ hates, why should I demur at this particular
point to a course of argument that travels in the line of my own
partialities? And yet I _do_ demur.  Having been promised
a philosophic defence of the principles concerned in the great
European schism of the sixteenth century, suddenly we find ourselves
collapsing from that altitude of speculation into a defence of
one individual church. Nobody would complain of _Phil._ if,
_after_ having deduced philosophically the principles upon
which all Protestant separation from Rome should revolve, he had
gone forward to show, that in some one of the Protestant churches,
more than in others, these principles had been asserted with
peculiar strength, or carried through with special consistency,
or associated pre-eminently with the other graces of a Christian
church, such as a ritual more impressive to the heart of man, or
a polity more symmetrical with the structure of English society.
Once having unfolded from philosophic grounds the primary conditions
of a pure scriptural church, _Phil._ might then, without blame,
have turned sharp round upon us, saying, such being the conditions
under which the great idea of a true Christian church must be
_constructed_, I now go on to show that the Church of England
has conformed to those conditions more faithfully than any other.
But to entangle the pure outlines of the idealizing mind with the
practical forms of any militant church, embarrassed (as we know
all churches to have been) by preoccupations of judgment, derived
from feuds too local and interests too political, moving too (as
we know all churches to have moved) in a spirit of compromise,
occasionally from mere necessities of position; this is in the
result to injure the object of the writer doubly: first, as leaving
an impression of partisanship the reader is mistrustful from
the first, as against a judge that, in reality, is an advocate;
second, without reference to the effect upon the reader, directly
to _Phil._ it is injurious, by fettering the freedom of his
speculations, or, if leaving their freedom undisturbed, by narrowing
their compass.

And, if _Phil._, as to the general movement of his Protestant
pleadings, modulates too little in the transcendental key, sometimes
he does so too much. For instance, at p. 69, sec. 35, we find him
half calling upon Protestantism to account for her belief in God;
how then? Is this belief special to Protestants? Are Roman Catholics,
are those of the Greek, the Armenian, and other Christian churches,
atheistically given?  We used to be told that there is no royal
road to geometry.  I don't know whether there is or not; but I am
sure there is no Protestant by-road, no Reformation short-cut, to
the demonstration of Deity. It is true that _Phil._ exonerates
his philosophic scholar, when throwing himself in Protestant freedom
upon pure intellectual aids, from the vain labor of such an effort.
He consigns him, however philosophic, to the evidence of 'inevitable
assumptions, upon axiomatic postulates, which the reflecting mind
is compelled to accept, and which no more admit of doubt and cavil
than of establishment by formal proof.' I am not sure whether I
understand _Phil._ in this section. Apparently he is glancing
at Kant. Kant was the first person, and perhaps the last, that ever
undertook formally to demonstrate the indemonstrability of God.
He showed that the three great arguments for the existence of the
Deity were virtually one, inasmuch as the two weaker borrowed their
value and _vis apodeictica_ from the more rigorous metaphysical
argument. The physico-theological argument he forced to back, as it
were, into the cosmological, and _that_ into the ontological.
After this reluctant _regressus_ of the three into one, shutting
up like a spying-glass, which (with the iron hand of Hercules forcing
Cerberus up to daylight) the stern man of Koenigsberg resolutely
dragged to the front of the arena, nothing remained, now that
he had this pet scholastic argument driven up into a corner, than
to break its neck--which he did. Kant took the conceit out of all
the three arguments; but, if this is what _Phil._ alludes to,
he should have added, that these three, after all, were only the
arguments of speculating or _theoretic_ reason. To this faculty
Kant peremptorily denied the power of demonstrating the Deity; but
then that same _apodeixis_, which he had thus inexorably torn
from reason under one manifestation, Kant himself restored to the
reason in another (the _praktische vernunft_.) God he asserts
to be a postulate of the human reason, as speaking through the
conscience and will, not proved _ostensively_, but indirectly
proved as being _wanted_ indispensably, and presupposed
in other necessities of our human nature. This, probably, is what
_Phil._ means by his short-hand expression of 'axiomatic
postulates.' But then it should not have been said that the case
does not 'admit of formal proof,' since the proof is as 'formal'
and rigorous by this new method of Kant as by the old obsolete
methods of Sam. Clarke and the schoolmen.[Footnote: The method of
Des Cartes was altogether separate and peculiar to himself; it is
a mere conjuror's juggle; and yet, what is strange, like some other
audacious sophisms, it is capable of being so stated as most of
all to baffle the subtle dialectician; and Kant himself, though not
cheated, was never so much perplexed in his life as in the effort
to make its hollowness apparent.]

But it is not the too high or the too low--the two much or the too
little--of what one might call by analogy the _transcendental_
course, which I charge upon _Phil._ It is, that he is too
desultory--too eclectic.  And the secret purpose, which seems to
me predominant throughout his work, is, not so much the defence of
Protestantism, or even of the Anglican Church, as a report of the
latest novelties that have found a roosting-place in the English
Church, amongst the most temperate of those churchmen who keep
pace with modern philosophy; in short, it is a selection from
the classical doctrines of religion, exhibited under their newest
revision; or, generally, it is an attempt to show, from what is
going on amongst the most moving orders in the English Church, how
far it is possible that strict orthodoxy should bend, on the one
side, to new impulses, derived from an advancing philosophy, and
yet, on the other side, should reconcile itself, both verbally and
in spirit, with ancient standards. But if _Phil._ is eclectic,
then _I_ will be eclectic; if _Phil._ has a right to be
desultory, then _I_ have a right. _Phil._ is my leader.
I can't, in reason, be expected to be better than _he_ is.
If I'm wrong, _Phil._ ought to set me a better example.  And
here, before this honorable audience of the public, I charge all my
errors (whatever they may be, past or coming) upon _Phil.'s_
misconduct.

Having thus established my patent of vagrancy, and my license for
picking and choosing, I choose out these three articles to toy
with:--first, Bibliolatry; second, Development applied to the Bible
and Christianity; third, Philology, as the particular resource
against false philosophy, relied on by _Phil._

_Bibliolatry._--We Protestants charge upon the Ponteficii, as
the more learned of our fathers always called the Roman Catholics,
_Mariolatry_; they pay undue honors, say we, to the Virgin.
They in return charge upon us, _Bibliolatry_, or a superstitious
allegiance--an idolatrous homage--to the words, syllables,
and punctuation of the Bible. They, according to _us_, deify
a woman; and we, according to _them_, deify an arrangement
of printer's types. As to _their_ error, we need not mind _that:_
let us attend to our own. And to this extent it is evident at a
glance that Bibliolatrists _must_ be wrong, viz., because, as a
pun vanishes on being translated into another language, even so
would, and must melt away, like ice in a hot-house, a large majority
of those conceits which every Christian nation is apt to ground upon
the verbal text of the Scriptures in its own separate vernacular
version. But once aware that much of their Bibliolatry depends upon
ignorance of Hebrew and Greek, and often upon peculiarity of idiom
or structures in their mother dialect, cautious people begin to
suspect the whole. Here arises a very interesting, startling, and
perplexing situation for all who venerate the Bible; one which must
always have existed for prying, inquisitive people, but which has
been incalculably sharpened for the apprehension of these days by
the extraordinary advances made and making in Oriental and Greek
philology. It is a situation of public scandal even to the deep
reverencers of the Bible; but a situation of much more than scandal,
of real grief, to the profound and sincere amongst religious people.
On the one hand, viewing the Bible as the word of God, and not
merely so in the sense of its containing most salutary counsels,
but, in the highest sense, of its containing a revelation of the
most awful secrets, they cannot for a moment listen to the pretence
that the Bible has benefited by God's inspiration only as other good
books may be said to have done. They are confident that, in a much
higher sense, and in a sense incommunicable to other books, it is
inspired. Yet, on the other hand, as they will not tell lies, or
countenance lies, even in what seems the service of religion, they
cannot hide from themselves that the materials of this imperishable
book are perishable, frail, liable to crumble, and actually _have_
crumbled to some extent, in various instances. There is, therefore,
lying broadly before us, something like what Kant called an
antinomy--a case where two laws equally binding on the mind are,
or seem to be, in collision. Such cases occur in morals--cases
which are carried out of the general rule, and the jurisdiction
of that rule, by peculiar deflexions; and from the word _case_ we
derive the word _casuistry_, as a general science dealing with such
anomalous cases. There is a casuistry, also, for the speculative
understanding, as well as for the moral (which is the _practical_)
understanding. And this question, as to the inspiration of the Bible,
with its apparent conflict of forces, repelling it and yet affirming
it, is one of its most perplexing and most momentous problems.

My own solution of the problem would reconcile all that is urged
against an inspiration with all that the internal necessity of the
case would plead in behalf of an inspiration. So would _Phil.'s_.
His distinction, like mine, would substantially come down to
this--that the grandeur and extent of religious truth is not of a
nature to be affected by verbal changes such as _can_ be made
by time, or accident, or without treacherous design. It is like
lightning, which could not be mutilated, or truncated, or polluted.
But it may be well to rehearse a little more in detail, both
_Phil.'s_ view and my own.  Let my principal go first; make
way, I desire, for my leader: let _Phil._ have precedency,
as, in all reason, it is my duty to see that he has.

Whilst rejecting altogether any inspiration as attaching to the
separate words and phrases of the Scriptures, _Phil._ insists
(sect. 25, p. 49) upon such an inspiration as attaching to the
spiritual truths and doctrines delivered in these Scriptures. And
he places this theory in a striking light, equally for what it
affirms and for what it denies, by these two arguments--first (in
affirmation of the real spiritual inspiration), that a series of
more than thirty writers, speaking in succession along a vast line
of time, and absolutely without means of concert, yet all combine
unconsciously to one end--lock like parts of a great machine into
one system--conspire to the unity of a very elaborate scheme, without
being at all aware of what was to come after. Here, for instance,
is one, living nearly one thousand six hundred years before the
last in the series, who lays a foundation (in reference to man's
ruin, to God's promises and plan for human restoration), which
is built upon and carried forward by all, without exception, that
follow.  Here come a multitude that prepare each for his successor--that
unconsciously integrate each other--that, finally, when reviewed,
make up a total drama, of which each writer's separate share would
have been utterly imperfect without corresponding parts that he could
not have foreseen. At length all is finished. A profound piece of
music, a vast oratorio, perfect and of elaborate unity, has resulted
from a long succession of strains, each for itself fragmentary. On
such a final creation resulting from such a distraction of parts,
it is indispensable to suppose an overruling inspiration, in order
at all to account for the final result of a most elaborate harmony.
Besides, which would argue some inconceivable magic, if we did not
assume a providential inspiration watching over the coherencies,
tendencies, and intertessellations (to use a learned word) of the
whole,--it happens that, in many instances, typical things are
recorded--things ceremonial, that could have no meaning to the person
recording--prospective words, that were reported and transmitted
in a spirit of confiding faith, but that could have little meaning
to the reporting parties for many hundreds of years. Briefly, a
great mysterious _word_ is spelt as it were by the whole sum
of the scriptural books--every separate book forming a letter or
syllable in that secret and that unfinished word, as it was for
so many ages. This cooperation of ages, not able to communicate
or concert arrangements with each other, is neither more nor less
an argument of an overruling inspiration, than if the separation
of the contributing parties were by space, and not by time. As
if, for example, every island at the same moment were to send its
contribution, without previous concert, to a sentence or chapter of
a book; in which case the result, if full of meaning, much more
if full of awful and profound meaning, could not be explained
rationally without the assumption of a supernatural overruling of
these unconscious co-operators to a common result. So far on behalf
of inspiration.  Yet, on the other hand, as an argument in denial
of any blind mechanic inspiration cleaving to words and syllables,
_Phil._ notices this consequence as resulting from such
an assumption, viz., that if you adopt any one gospel, St. John's
suppose, or any one narrative of a particular transaction, as
inspired in this minute and pedantic sense, then for every other
report, which, adhering to the spiritual _value_ of the
circumstances, and virtually the same, should differ in the least
of the details, there would instantly arise a solemn degradation.
All parts of Scripture, in fact, would thus be made active and
operative in degrading each other.

Such is _Phil._'s way of explaining ξεοπνευστια[Footnote:
I must point out to _Phil_. an oversight of his as to this word
at p. 45; he there describes the doctrine of _theopneustia_ as
being that of 'plenary and _verbal_ inspiration,' But this he
cannot mean, for obviously this word _theopneustia_ comprehends
equally the verbal inspiration which he is denouncing, and the
inspiration of power or spiritual virtue which he is substituting.
Neither _Phil_., nor any one of his school, is to be understood
as rejecting _theopneustia_, but as rejecting that particular
mode of _theopneustia_ which appeals to the eye by mouldering
symbols, in favor of that other mode which appeals to the heart by
incorruptible radiations of inner truth.] (_theopneustia_),
or divine prompting, so as to reconcile the doctrine affirming a
_virtual_ inspiration, an inspiration as to the truths revealed,
with a peremptory denial of any inspiration at all, as to the mere
verbal vehicle of those revelations. He is evidently as sincere
in regard to the inspiration which he upholds as in regard to that
which he denies. _Phil._ is honest, and _Phil._ is able.
Now comes _my_ turn. I rise to support my leader, and shall
attempt to wrench this notion of a verbal inspiration from the
hands of its champions by a _reductio ad absurdum_, viz., by
showing the monstrous consequences to which it leads--which form of
logic _Phil._ also has employed briefly in the last paragraph
of last month's paper; but mine is different and more elaborate.
Yet, first of all, let me frankly confess to the reader, that some
people allege a point-blank assertion by Scripture itself of its
own verbal inspiration; which assertion, if it really _had_ any
existence, would summarily put down all cavils of human dialectics.
_That_ makes it necessary to review this assertion. This famous
passage of Scripture, this _locus classicus_, or prerogative
text, pleaded for the _verbatim et literatim_ inspiration of
the Bible, is the following; and I will so exhibit its very words as
that the reader, even if no Grecian, may understand the point in
litigation. The passage is this: Πασα γραφη ξεοπιενστος
χαί ώφελιμος, &c., taken from St. Paul, (2 Tim.
iii. 16.) Let us construe it literally, expressing the Greek by
Latin characters: _Pasa graphe_, all written lore (or every
writing)--_theopneustos_, God-breathed, or, God-prompted--_kai_,
and (or, also)--_ophelimos_, serviceable--_pros_, towards,
_didaskalian_, doctrinal truth. Now this sentence, when thus
rendered into English according to the rigor of the Grecian letter,
wants something to complete its sense--it wants an _is_. There
is a subject, as the logicians say, and there is a predicate (or,
something affirmed of that subject), but there is no _copula_
to connect them--we miss the _is_. This omission is common
in Greek, but cannot be allowed in English. The _is_ must be
supplied; but _where_ must it be supplied? That's the very
question, for there is a choice between two places; and, according
to the choice, will the word _theopneustos_ become part of
the subject, or part of the predicate; which will make a world of
difference. Let us try it both ways:--

1. All writing inspired by God (_i.e._ being inspired by God,
supposing it inspired, which makes _theopneustos_ part of the
subject) _is_ also profitable for teaching, &c.

2. All writing _is_ inspired by God, and profitable, &c. (which
makes _theopneustos_ part of the predicate.)

Now, in this last way of construing the text, which is the way
adopted by our authorized version, one objection strikes everybody
at a glance, viz., that St. Paul could not possibly mean to say of
all writing, indiscriminately, that it was divinely inspired, this
being so revoltingly opposed to the truth. It follows, therefore,
that, on this way of interpolating the _is_, we must understand
the Apostle to use the word _graphe_, writing, in a restricted
sense, not for writing generally, but for sacred writing, or
(as our English phrase runs) '_Holy Writ;_' upon which will
arise three separate demurs--_first_, one already stated
by _Phil._, viz., that, when _graphe_ is used in this sense, it is
accompanied by the article; the phrase is either ήγραφη,
'the writing,' or else (as in St. Luke) άι γραφαι,
'the writings,' just as in English it is said, 'the Scripture,'
or 'the Scriptures.' _Secondly_, that, according to the Greek
usage, this would not be the natural place for introducing the
_is_.  _Thirdly_--which disarms the whole objection from
this text, _howsoever_ construed--that, after all, it leaves
the dispute with the bibliolaters wholly untouched. We also, the
anti-bibliolaters, say that all Scripture is inspired, though we
may not therefore suppose the Apostle to be here insisting on that
doctrine. But no matter whether he is or not, in relation to this
dispute. Both parties are contending for the inspiration--so far
they are agreed; the question between them arises upon quite another
point, viz., as to the _mode_ of that inspiration, whether
incarnating its golden light in the corruptibilities of perishing
syllables, or in the sanctities of indefeasible, word-transcending
ideas. Now, upon that question, the apostolic words, torture them
how you please, say nothing at all.

There is, then, no such dogma (or, to speak _Germanice_, no
such _macht-spruch_) in behalf of verbal inspiration as has
been ascribed to St. Paul, and I pass to my own argument against it.
This argument turns upon the self-confounding tendency of the common
form ascribed to ξεοπνευστια, or divine inspiration.  When
translated from its true and lofty sense of an inspiration--brooding,
with outstretched wings, over the mighty abyss of _secret_
truth--to the vulgar sense of an inspiration, burrowing, like a
rabbit or a worm, in grammatical quillets and syllables, mark how
it comes down to nothing at all; mark how a stream, pretending to
derive itself from a heavenly fountain, is finally lost and confounded
in a morass of human perplexities.

First of all, at starting, we have the inspiration (No.  1) to the
original composers of the sacred books. _That_ I grant, though
distinguishing as to its nature.

Next, we want another inspiration (No. 2) for the countless
_translators_ of the Bible. Of what use is it to a German, to
a Swiss, or to a Scotsman, that, three thousand years before the
Reformation, the author of the Pentateuch was kept from erring
by a divine restraint over his words, if the authors of this
Reformation--Luther, suppose, Zwingle, John Knox--either making
translations themselves, or relying upon translations made by
others under no such verbal restraint, have been left free to bias
his mind, pretty nearly as much as if the original Hebrew writer
had been resigned to his own human discretion?

Thirdly, even if we adopt the inspiration No. 2, _that_ will
not avail us; because many _different_ translators exist. Does
the very earliest translation of the Law and the Prophets, viz.,
the Greek translation of the Septuagint, always agree verbally with
the Hebrew?  Or the Samaritan Pentateuch always with the Hebrew?
Or do the earliest Latin versions of the entire Bible agree
_verbally_ with modern Latin versions? Jerome's Latin version,
for instance, memorable as being that adopted by the Romish Church,
and known under the name of the _Vulgate_, does it agree
verbally with the Latin versions of the Bible or parts of the Bible
made since the Reformation? In the English, again, if we begin with
the translation still sleeping in MS., made five centuries ago, and
passing from that to the first _printed_ translation (which
was, I think, Coverdale's, in 1535), if we thence travel down to
our own day, so as to include all that have confined themselves to
separate versions of some one book, or even of some one cardinal
text, the versions that differ--and to the idolater of words all
differences are important--may be described as countless. Here,
then, on that doctrine of inspiration which ascribes so much to the
power of _verbal_ accuracy, we shall want a fourth inspiration,
No. 4, for the guidance of each separate Christian applying himself
to the Scriptures in his mother tongue; he will have to select
not one (where is the one that has been uniformly correct?) but
a multitude; else the same error will again rush in by torrents
through the license of interpretation assumed by these many adverse
translators.

Fourthly, as these differences of version arise often tinder the
_same_ reading of the original text; but as, in the meantime,
there are many _different_ readings, here a fifth source of
possible error calls for a fifth inspiration overruling us to the
proper choice amongst various readings. What may be called a 'textual'
inspiration for _selecting_ the right reading is requisite
for the very same reason, neither more nor less, which supposes any
verbal inspiration originally requisite for _constituting_ a
right reading. It matters not in which stage of the Bible's progress
the error commences; first stage and last stage are all alike in
the sight of God. There was, reader, as perhaps you know, about
six score years ago, another _Phil._, not the same as this
_Phil._ now before us (who would be quite vexed if you fancied
him as old as all _that_ comes to--oh dear, no! he's not near
as old)--well, that earlier _Phil._ was Bentley, who wrote
(under the name of _Phileleutheros Lipsiansis_) a pamphlet
connected with this very subject, partly against an English infidel
of that day. In that pamphlet, _Phil._ the first pauses to
consider and value this very objection from textual variation to the
validity of Scripture: for the infidel (as is usual with infidels)
being no great scholar, had argued as though it were impossible to
urge anything whatever for the word of God, since so vast a variety
in the readings rendered it impossible to know what _was_ the
word of God. Bentley, though rather rough, from having too often
to deal with shallow coxcombs, was really and unaffectedly a pious
man. He was shocked at this argument, and set himself seriously to
consider it. Now, as all the various readings were Greek, and as
Bentley happened to be the first of Grecians, his deliberate review
of this argument is entitled to great attention. There were, at
that moment when Bentley spoke, something more (as I recollect) than
ten thousand varieties of reading in the text of the New Testament;
so many had been collected in the early part of Queen Anne's reign
by Wetstein, the Dutchman, who was then at the head of the collators.
Mill, the Englishman, was at that very time making further collations.
How many he added, I cannot tell without consulting books--a thing
which I very seldom do. But since that day, and long after Bentley
and Mill were in their graves, Griesbach, the German, has risen
to the top of the tree, by towering above them all in the accuracy
of his collations. Yet, as the harvest comes before the gleanings,
we may be sure that Wetstein's barn housed the very wealth of all
this variety.  Of this it was, then, that Bentley spoke. And what
_was_ it that he spoke? Why, he, the great scholar, pronounced,
as with the authority of a Chancery decree, that the vast majority
of various readings made no difference at all in the sense. In the
_sense_, observe; but many things _might_ make a difference
in the sense which would still leave the doctrine undisturbed. For
instance, in the passage about a camel going through the eye of a
needle, it will make a difference in the sense, whether you read in
the Greek word for _camel_ the oriental animal of that name,
or a ship's cable; but no difference at all arises in the spiritual
doctrine. Or, illustrating the case out of Shakspeare, it makes no
difference as to the result, whether you read in Hamlet 'to take
arms against a _sea_ of troubles,' or (as has been suggested),
'against a _siege_ of troubles;' but it makes a difference
as to the integrity of the image.[Footnote: _'Integrity of the
metaphor_.'--One of the best notes ever written by Warburton
was in justification of the old reading, _sea_. It was true,
that against a _sea_ it would be idle to take _arms_. We,
that have lived since Warburton's day, have learned by the solemn
example of Mrs. Partington, (which, it is to be hoped, none of us will
ever forget,) how useless, how vain it is to take up a mop against
the Atlantic Ocean. Great is the mop, great is Mrs. Partington, but
greater is the Atlantic. Yet, though all arms must be idle against
the sea considered literally, and χατα την φαντασιαν
under that image, Warburton contended justly that all images, much
employed, _evanesce_ into the ideas which they represent.
A _sea_ of troubles comes to mean only a _multitude_ of troubles.
No image of the _sea_ is suggested; and arms, incongruous in relation
to the literal sea, is not so in relation to a multitude; besides,
that the image _arms_ itself, evanesces for the same reason into
_resistance_. For this one note, which I cite from boyish remembrance,
I have always admired the subtlety of Warburton.] What has a sea to do
with arms? What has a camel,[Footnote: Meantime, though using this case
as an illustration, I believe that _camel_ is, after all, the true
translation; first, on account of the undoubted proverb in the East about
the _elephant_ going through the needle's eye; the relation
is that of _contrast_ as to magnitude; and the same relation
holds as to the camel and the needle's eye; secondly, because the
proper word for a cable, it has been alleged, is not 'cam_e_lus,'
but 'cam_i_lus.'] the quadruped, to do with a needle? A
prodigious minority, therefore, there is of such various readings
as slightly affect the _sense;_ but this minority becomes next
to nothing, when we inquire for such as affect any _doctrine_.
This was Bentley's opinion upon the possible disturbance offered
to the Christian by various readings in the New Testament. You
thought that the carelessness, or, at times, even the treachery of
men, through so many centuries, must have ended in corrupting the
original truth; yet, after all, you see the light burns as brightly
and steadily as ever. We, now, that are not bibliolatrists, no more
believe that, from the disturbance of a few words here or there,
any evangelical truth can have suffered a wound or mutilation, than
we believe that the burning of a wood, or even of a forest, which
happens in our vast American possessions, sometimes from natural
causes (lightning, or spontaneous combustion), sometimes from an
Indian's carelessness, can seriously have injured botany. But for
_him_, who conceives an inviolable sanctity to have settled upon
each word and particle of the original record, there _should_
have been strictly required an inspiration (No. 5) to prevent the
possibility of various readings arising. It is too late, however,
to pray for _that_; the various readings _have_ arisen;
here they are; and what's to be done now? The only resource for the
bibliolatrist is--to invoke a new inspiration (No.4) for helping him
out of his difficulty, by guiding his choice. We, anti-bibliolaters,
are not so foolish as to believe that God having once sent a deep
message of truth to man, would suffer it to lie at the mercy of a
careless or a wicked copyist. Treasures so vast would not be left
at the mercy of accidents so vile. Very little more than two hundred
years ago, a London compositor, not wicked at all, but simply drunk,
in printing Deuteronomy, left out the most critical of words; the
seventh commandment he exhibited thus-'Thou _shalt_ commit
adultery;' in which form the sheet was struck off. And though in
those days no practical mischief could arise from this singular
_erratum,_ which English Griesbachs will hardly enter upon
the roll of various readings, yet, harmless as it was, it met with
punishment.  'Scandalous!' said Laud, 'shocking! to tell men in
the seventeenth century, as a biblical rule, that they positively
must commit adultery!' The brother compositors of this drunken
biblical reviser, being too honorable to betray the individual
delinquent, the Star Chamber fined the whole 'chapel.' Now, the
copyists of MSS. were as certain to be sometimes drunk as this
compositor--famous by his act--utterly forgotten in his person--whose
crime is remembered--the record of whose name has perished. We
therefore hold, that it never was in the power, or placed within
the discretion, of any copyist, whether writer or printer, to injure
the sacred oracles. But the bibliolatrist cannot say _that_;
because, if he does, then he is formally unsaying the very principle
which is meant by bibliolatry. He therefore must require another
supplementary inspiration, viz., No. 4, to direct him in his
choice of the true reading amongst so many as continually offer
themselves.[Footnote: [Footnote: I recollect no variation in the
test of Scripture which makes any startling change, even to the
amount of an eddy in its own circumjacent waters, except that famous
passage about the three witnesses--'_There are three that bare
record in heaven_,' &c.  This has been denounced with perfect
fury as an interpolation; and it is impossible to sum up the quart
bottles of ink, black and blue, that have been shed in the dreadful
skirmish. Person even, the all-accomplished Grecian, in his letters
to Archdeacon Travis, took a conspicuous part in the controversy;
his wish was, that men should think of him as a second Bentley
tilting against Phalaris; and he stung like a hornet. To be a
Cambridge man in those days was to be a hater of all Establishments
in England; things and persons were hated alike. I hope the same
thing may not be true at present. It may chance that on this subject
Master Porson will get stung through his coffin, before he is many
years deader. However, if this particular variation troubles the
waters just around itself (for it would desolate a Popish village
to withdraw its local saint), yet carrying one's eye from this
Epistle to the whole domains of the New Testament--yet, looking
away from that defrauded village to universal Christendom, we must
exclaim--What does one miss? Surely Christendom is not disturbed
because a village suffers wrong; the sea is not roused because an
eddy in a corner is boiling; the doctrine of the Trinity is not in
danger because Mr. Porson is in a passion.]

Fifthly, as all words cover ideas, and many a word covers a choice
of ideas, and very many ideas split into a variety of modifications,
we shall, even after a fourth inspiration has qualified us
for selecting the true reading, still be at a loss how, upon this
right reading, to fix the right acceptation. So _there,_ at
that fifth stage, in rushes the total deluge of human theological
controversies. One church, or one sect, insists upon one sense;
another, and another, 'to the end of time,' insists upon a different
sense. Babel is upon us; and, to get rid of Babel, we shall need
a fifth inspiration.  No. 5 is clamorously called for.[Footnote:
One does not wish to be tedious; or, if one _has_ a gift in
that way, naturally one does not wish to bestow it _all_ upon
a perfect stranger, as 'the reader' usually is, but to reserve a
part for the fireside, and the use of one's most beloved friends;
else I could torment the reader by a longer succession of numbers,
and perhaps drive him to despair. But one more of the series,
viz., No. 6, as a parting _gage d' amitie_, he must positively
permit me to drop into his pocket. Supposing, then, that No. 5
were surmounted, and that, supernaturally, you knew the value to
a hair's breadth, of every separate word (or, perhaps, composite
phrase made up from a constellation of words)--ah, poor traveller
in trackless forests, still you are lost again--for, oftentimes,
and especially in St. Paul, the words may be known, their sense
may be known, but their _logical relation_ is still doubtful.
The word X and the word Y are separately clear; but has Y the
dependency of a consequence upon X, or no dependency at all? Is the
clause which stands eleventh in the series a direct prolongation
of that which stands tenth? or is the tenth wholly independent and
insulated? or does it occupy the place of a parenthesis, so as to
modify the ninth clause? People that have pracised composition as
much, and with as vigilant an eye as myself, know also, by thousands
of cases, how infinite is the disturbance caused in the logic of
a thought by the mere position of a word as despicable as the word
_even_. A mote, that is itself invisible, shall darken the
august faculty of sight in a human eye--the heavens shall be hidden
by a wretched atom that dares not show itself--and the station
of a syllable shall cloud the judgment of a council. Nay, even an
ambiguous emphasis falling to the right-hand word, or the left-hand
word, shall confound a system.] But we all know, each knows by his
own experience, that No. 5 is not forthcoming; and, in the absence
of _that,_ what avail for _us_ the others? 'Man overboard!'
is the cry upon deck; but what avails it for the poor drowning
creature that a rope being thrown to him is thoroughly secured at
one end to the ship, if the other end floats wide of his grasp? We
are in prison: we descend from our prison-roof, that seems high as
the clouds, by knotting together all the prison bed-clothes, and
all the aids from friends outside. But all is too short: after
swarming down the line, in middle air, we find ourselves hanging:
sixty feet of line are still wanting. To reascend--_that_ is
impossible: to drop boldly--alas! _that_ is to die.

Meantime, what need of this eternal machinery, that eternally
is breaking like ropes of sand? Or of this earth resting on an
elephant, that rests on a tortoise, that, when all is done, must
still consent to rest on the common atmosphere of God? These chains
of inspiration are needless. The great ideas of the Bible protect
themselves. The heavenly truths, by their own imperishableness,
defeat the mortality of languages with which for a moment they
are associated. Is the lightning enfeebled or dimmed, because for
thousands of years it has blended with the tarnish of earth and the
steams of earthly graves? Or light, which so long has travelled in
the chambers of our sickly air, and searched the haunts of impurity--is
that less pure than it was in the first chapter of Genesis? Or
that more holy light of truth--the truth, suppose, written from
his creation upon the tablets of man's heart--which truth never was
imprisoned in any Hebrew or Greek, but has ranged for ever through
courts and camps, deserts and cities, the original lesson of justice
to man and piety to God--has that become tainted by intercourse with
flesh?  or has it become hard to decipher, because the very heart,
that human heart where it is inscribed, is so often blotted with
falsehoods? You are aware, perhaps, reader, that in the Mediterranean
Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor (and, indeed, elsewhere), through
the very middle of the salt-sea billows, rise up, in shining columns,
fountains of fresh water.[Footnote: See Mr. Yates's 'Annotations
upon Fellowes's Researches in Anatolia,' as _one_ authority
for this singular phenomenon.] In the desert of the sea are found
Arabian fountains of Ishmael and Isaac!  Are these fountains poisoned
for the poor victim of fever, because they have to travel through
a contagion of waters not potable? Oh, no! They bound upwards like
arrows, cleaving the seas above with as much projectile force as
the glittering water-works of Versailles cleave the air, and rising
as sweet to the lip as ever mountain torrent that comforted the
hunted deer.

It is impossible to suppose that any truth, launched by God upon
the agitations of things so unsettled as languages, _can_
perish. The very frailty of languages is the strongest proof of
this; because it is impossible to suppose that anything so great
can have been committed to the fidelity of anything so treacherous.
There is laughter in heaven when it is told of man, that he fancies
his earthly jargons, which, to heavenly ears, must sound like the
chucklings of poultry, equal to the task of hiding or distorting
any light of revelation.  Had _words_ possessed any authority
or restraint over scriptural truth, a much worse danger would have
threatened it than any malice in the human will, suborning false
copyists, or surreptitiously favoring depraved copies. Even a
general conspiracy of the human race for such a purpose would avail
against the Bible only as a general conspiracy to commit suicide
might avail against the drama of God's providence.  Either conspiracy
would first become dangerous when first either became possible.
But a real danger seems to lie in the insensible corruption going
on for ever within all languages, by means of which they are eternally
dying away from their own vital powers; and that is a danger which
is travelling fast after all the wisdom and the wit, the eloquence
and the poetry of this earth, like a mountainous wave, and will
finally overtake them--their very vehicles being lost and confounded
to human sensibilities. But such a wave will break harmlessly
against scriptural truth; and not merely because that truth will
for ever evade such a shock by its eternal transfer from language
to language--from languages dying out to languages in vernal
bloom--but also because, if it could _not_ evade the shock,
supreme truth would surmount it for a profounder reason. A danger
analogous to this once existed in a different form. The languages
into which the New Testament was first translated offered an
apparent obstacle to the translation that seemed insurmountable.
The Latin, for instance, did not present the spiritual words which
such a translation demanded; and how _should_ it, when the
corresponding ideas had no existence amongst the Romans? Yet, if
not spiritual, the language of Rome was intellectual; it was the
language of a cultivated and noble race. But what shall be done if
the New Testament wishes to drive a tunnel through a rude forest
race, having an undeveloped language, and understanding nothing
but war? Four centuries after Christ, the Gothic Bishop Ulphilas
set about translating the Gospels for his countrymen. He had no
words for expressing spiritual relations or spiritual operations.
The new nomenclature of moral graces, humility, resignation, the
spirit of forgiveness, &c., hitherto unrecognised for such amongst
men, having first of all been shown in blossom, and distinguished
from weeds, by Christian gardening, had to be reproduced in the
Gothic language, with apparently no means whatever of effecting it.
In this earliest of what we may call ancestral translations, (for
the Goths were of our own blood,) and, therefore, by many degrees,
this most interesting of translations, may be seen to this day,
after fourteen centuries and upwards have passed, _how_ the
good bishop succeeded, to what extent he succeeded, and by what
means. I shall take a separate opportunity for investigating that
problem; but at present I will content myself with noticing a
remarkable principle which applies to the case, and illustrating it
by a remarkable anecdote. The principle is this--that in the grander
parts of knowledge, which do not deal much with petty details,
nearly all the _building_ or constructive ideas (those ideas
which build up the system of that particular knowledge) lie involved
within each other; so that any one of the series, being awakened
in the mind, is sufficient (given a multitude of minds) to lead
backwards or forwards, analytically or synthetically, into many of
the rest. That is the principle;[Footnote: I am afraid, on reviewing
this passage, that the reader may still say, '_What_ is the
principle?' I will add, therefore, the shortest explanation of my
meaning.  If into any Pagan language you had occasion to translate
the word _love_, or _purity_, or _penitence_, &c., you could not do
it.  The Greek language itself, perhaps the finest (all things
weighed and valued) that man has employed, could not do it. The
_scale_ was not so pitched as to make the transfer possible. It
was to execute organ music on a guitar. And, hereafter, I will
endeavor to show how scandalous an error has been committed on
this subject, not by scholars only, but by religious philosophers.
The relation of Christian ethics (which word ethics, however, is
itself most insufficient) to natural or universal ethics is a field
yet uncultured by a rational thought. The first word of sense has
yet to be spoken. There lies the difficulty; and the principle
which meets it is this, that what any one idea could never effect
for itself (insulated, it must remain an unknown quality for ever),
the total system of the ideas developed from its centre would
effect for each separately. To know the part, you must first know
the whole, or know it, at least, by some outline. The idea of
_purity_, for instance, in its Christian altitude, would be
utterly incomprehensible, and, besides, could not sustain itself
for a moment if by any glimpse it were approached. But when
a _ruin_ was unfolded that had affected the human race, and
many things heretofore unobserved, _because uncombined_, were
gathered into a unity of evidence to that ruin, spread through
innumerable channels, the great altitude would begin dimly to
reveal itself by means of the mighty depth in correspondence. One
deep calleth to another. One after one the powers lodged in the
awful succession of uncoverings would react upon each other; and
thus the feeblest language would be as capable of receiving and
reflecting the system of truths (because the system is an arch
that supports itself) as the richest and noblest; and for the same
reason that makes geometry careless of language. The vilest jargon
that ever was used by a shivering savage of Terra del Fuego is as
capable of dealing with the sublime and eternal affections of space
and quantity, with up and down, with more and less, with circle and
radius, angle and tangent, as is the golden language of Athens.] and
the story which illustrates it is this:--A great work of Apollonius,
the sublime geometer, was supposed in part to have perished: seven
of the eight books remained in the original Greek; but the eighth
was missing. The Greek, after much search, was not recovered; but
at length there was found (in the Bodleian, I think,) an Arabic
translation of it. An English mathematician, Halley, knowing not
one word of Arabic, determined (without waiting for that Arabic
key) to pick the lock of this MS. And he did so. Through strength
of preconception, derived equally from his knowledge of the general
subject, and from his knowledge of this particular work in its
earlier sections, using also to some extent the subtle art of the
decipherer, [Footnote: An art which, in the preceding century, had
been greatly improved by Wallis, Savilian professor of geometry at
Oxford, the improver of analytic mathematics, and the great historian
of algebra. Algebra it was that suggested to him his exquisite
deciphering skill, and the parliamentary war it was that furnished
him with a sufficient field of practice. The King's private cabinet
of papers, all written in cipher, and captured in the royal coach on
the decisive day of Naseby (June, 1645), was (I believe) deciphered
by Wallis, _proprio marte_.] now become so powerful an instrument
of analysis, he translated the whole Arabic MS. He printed it--he
published it. He tore--he extorted the truth from the darkness of
an unknown language--he would not suffer the Arabic to benefit by
its own obscurity to the injury of mathematics. And the book remains
a monument to this day, that a system of ideas, having internal
coherency and interdependency, is vainly hidden under an unknown
tongue; that it may be illuminated and restored chiefly through
their own reciprocal involutions. The same principle applies, and
_a fortiori_ applies, to religious truth, as one which lies
far deeper than geometry in the spirit of man, one to which the
inner attestation is profounder, and to which the key-notes of
Scripture (once awakened on the great organ of the heart) are sure
to call up corresponding echoes. It is not in the power of language
to arrest or to defeat this mode of truth; because, when once the
fundamental base is furnished by revelation, the human heart itself
is able to co-operate in developing the great harmonies of the system,
without aid from language, and in defiance of language--without
aid from human learning, and in defiance of human learning.

Finally, there is another security against the suppression or
distortion of any great biblical truth by false readings, which I
will state in the briefest terms. The reader is aware of the boyish
sport sometimes called 'drake-stone;' a flattish stone is thrown
by a little dexterity so as to graze the surface of a river, but
so, also, as in grazing it to dip below the surface, to rise again
from this dip, again to dip, again to ascend, and so on alternately,
_a plusieurs reprises_. In the same way, with the same effect
of alternate resurrections, all scriptural truths reverberate and
diffuse themselves along the pages of the Bible; none is confined
to one text, or to one mode of enunciation; all parts of the scheme
are eternally chasing each other, like the parts of a fugue; they
hide themselves in one chapter, only to restore themselves in
another; they diverge, only to recombine; and under such a vast
variety of expressions, that even in that way, supposing language
to have powers over religious truth--which it never had, or can
have--any abuse of such a power would be thoroughly neutralized.
The case resembles the diffusion of vegetable seeds through the
air and through the waters; draw a _cordon sanitaire_ against
dandelion or thistledown, and see if the armies of earth would
suffice to interrupt this process of radiation, which yet is but
the distribution of weeds. Suppose, for instance, the text about
the _three heavenly witnesses_ to have been eliminated finally
as an interpolation. The first thought is--_there_ goes to wreck
a great doctrine! Not at all.  That text occupied but a corner of
the garden. The truth, and the secret implications of the truth,
have escaped at a thousand points in vast arches above our heads,
rising high above the garden wall, and have sown the earth with
memorials of the mystery which they envelope.

The final inference is this--that scriptural truth is endowed with
a self-conservative and a self-restorative virtue; it needs no long
successions of verbal protection by inspiration; it is self-protected;
first, internally, by the complex power which belongs to the
Christian _system_ of involving its own integrations, in the
same way as a musical chord involves its own successions of sound,
and its own resolutions; secondly, in an external and obvious
way, it is protected by its prodigious iteration, and secret
_presupposed_ in all varieties of form.  Consequently, as the
peril connected with language is thus effectually barred, the call
for any verbal inspiration (which, on separate grounds, is shown
to be self-confounding) shows itself now, in a _second_ form,
to be a gratuitous delusion, since, in effect, it is a call for
protection against a danger which cannot have any existence.

There is another variety of bibliolatry arising in a different
way--not upon errors of language incident to human infirmity, but
upon deliberate errors indispensable to divine purposes. The case
is one which has been considered with far too little attention,
else it could never have been thought strange that Christ should
comply in things indifferent with popular errors.  A few Words will
put the reader in possession of my view. Speaking of the Bible,
_Phil._ says, 'We admit that its separate parts are the work
of frail and fallible human beings. We do not seek to build upon it
systems of cosmogony, chronology, astronomy, and natural history.
We know no reason of internal or external probability which should
induce us to believe that such matters could ever have been the
subjects of direct revelation.' Is _that_ all? There is no
reason, certainly, for expectations so foolish; but is there no
adamantine reason against them? It is no business of the Bible,
we are told, to teach science. Certainly not; but that is far too
little. It is an obligation resting upon the Bible, if it is to
be consistent with itself, that it should _refuse_ to teach
science; and, if the Bible ever _had_ taught any one art,
science, or process of life, capital doubts would have clouded our
confidence in the authority of the book. By what caprice, it would
have been asked, is a divine mission abandoned suddenly for a human
mission?  By what caprice is this one science taught, and others
not? Or these two, suppose, and not all? But an objection, even
deadlier, would have followed. It is clear as is the purpose of
daylight, that the whole body of the arts and sciences composes
one vast machinery for the irritation and development of the
human intellect. For this end they exist. To see God, therefore,
descending into the arena of science, and contending, as it were,
for his own prizes, by teaching science in the Bible, would be to
see him intercepting from their self-evident destination, (viz.,
man's intellectual benefit,) his own problems by solving them
himself.  No spectacle could more dishonor the divine idea. _The
Bible must not teach anything that man can teach himself._ Does
the doctrine require a revelation?--then nobody but God _can_
teach it. Does it require none?--then in whatever case God
has qualified man to do a thing for himself, he has in that very
qualification silently laid an injunction upon man to do it, by
giving the power. But it is fancied that a divine teacher, without
descending to the unworthy office of teaching science, might yet
have kept his own language free from all collusion with human error.
Hence, for instance, it was argued at one time, that any language
in the Bible implying the earth to be stationary, and central to
our system, could not not have been a compliance with the popular
errors of the time, but must be taken to express the absolute truth.
And so grew the anti-Galilean fanatics. Out of similar notions have
risen the absurdities of a polemic Bible chronology, &c. [Footnote:
The Bible cosmology stands upon another footing. _That_
is not gathered from a casual expression, shaped to meet popular
comprehension, but is delivered directly, formally, and elaborately,
as a natural preface to the history of man and his habitation.
Here, accordingly, there is no instance of accommodation to vulgar
ignorance; and the persuasion gains ground continually that the
order of succession in the phenomena of creation will be eventually
confirmed by scientific geology, so far as this science may ever
succeed in unlinking the steps of the process. Nothing, in fact,
disturbs the grandeur and solemnity of the Mosaical cosmogony,
except (as usual) the ruggedness of the bibliolater. He, finding
the English word _day_ employed in the measurement of the
intervals, takes it for granted that this must mean a _nychthemeron_
of twenty-four hours; imports, therefore, into the biblical text
this conceit; fights for his own opinion, as for a revelation from
heaven; and thus disfigures the great inaugural chapter of human
history with this single feature of a fairy-tale, where everything
else is told with the most majestic simplicity. But this word, which
so ignorantly he presumes to be an ordinary human day, bears that
meaning only in common historical transactions between man and man;
but never once in the great prophetic writings, where God comes
forward as himself the principal agent. It then means always a
vast and mysterious duration--undetermined, even to this hour, in
Daniel. The _heptameron_ is not a week, but a shadowy adumbration
of a week.] Meantime, if a man sets himself steadily to contemplate
the consequences which must inevitably have followed any deviation
from the usual erroneous phraseology, he will see the utter
impossibility that a teacher (pleading a heavenly mission) could
allow himself to deviate by one hair's breadth (and why should
he wish to deviate?) from the ordinary language of the times.  To
have uttered one syllable for instance, that implied motion in the
earth, would have issued into the following ruins:--_First_,
it would have tainted the teacher with the suspicion of lunacy;
and, _secondly_, would have placed him in this inextricable
dilemma. On the one hand, to answer the questions prompted by his
own perplexing language, would have opened upon him, as a necessity,
one stage after another of scientific cross-examination, until
his spiritual mission would have been forcibly swallowed up in the
mission of natural philosopher; but, on the other hand, to pause
resolutely at any one stage of this public examination, and to
refuse all further advance, would be, in the popular opinion, to
retreat as a baffled disputant from insane paradoxes which he had
not been able to support. One step taken in that direction was
fatal, whether the great envoy retreated from his own words to leave
behind the impression that he was defeated as a rash speculator,
or stood to these words, and thus fatally entangled himself in the
inexhaustible succession of explanations and justifications. In
either event the spiritual mission was at an end: it would have
perished in shouts of derision, from which there could have been no
retreat, and no retrieval of character. The greatest of astronomers,
rather than seem ostentatious or unseasonably learned, will stoop
to the popular phrase of the sun's rising, or the sun's motion in
the ecliptic. But God, for a purpose commensurate with man's eternal
welfare, is by these critics supposed incapable of the same petty
abstinence.

The same line of argument applies to all the compliances of Christ
with the Jewish prejudices (partly imported from the Euphrates)
as to demonology, witchcraft, &c. By the way, in this last word,
'witchcraft,' and the too memorable histories connected with it,
lies a perfect mine of bibliolatrous madness. As it illustrates the
folly and the wickedness of the biliolaters, let us pause upon it.

The word _witch_, these bibliolaters take it for granted, must
mean exactly what the original Hebrew means, or the Greek word
chosen by the LXX.; so much, and neither more nor less. That is,
from total ignorance of the machinery by which language moves,
they fancy that every idea and word which exists, or has existed,
for any nation, ancient or modern, must have a direct interchangeable
equivalent in all other languages; and that, if the dictionaries
do not show it, _that_ must be because the dictionaries are
bad. Will these worthy people have the goodness, then, to translate
_coquette_ into Hebrew, and _post-office_ into Greek? The
fact is, that all languages, and in the ratio of their development,
offer ideas absolutely separate and exclusive to themselves. In
the highly cultured languages of England, France, and Germany, are
words, by thousands, which are strictly untranslatable. They may
be approached, but cannot be reflected as from a mirror.  To take
an image from the language of eclipses, the correspondence between
the disk of the original word and its translated representative
is, in thousands of instances, not _annular;_ the centres do
not coincide; the words overlap; and this arises from the varying
modes in which different nations _combine_ ideas. The French
word shall combine the elements, _l, m, n, o_--the nearest
English word, perhaps, _m, n, o, p_. For instance, in all
words applied to the _nuances_ of manners, and generally to
_social_ differences, how prodigious is the wealth of the French
language! How merely untranslatable for all Europe! I suppose, my
bibliolater, you have not yet finished your Hebrew or Samaritan
translation of _coquette_. Well, you shall be excused from _that_,
if you will only translate it into English. You cannot: you are
obliged to keep the French word; and yet you take for granted,
without inquiry, that in the word 'witchcraft,' and in the word
'witch,' applied to the sorceress of Endor, our authorized
English Bible of King James's day must be correct.  And your
wicked bibliolatrous ancestors proceeded on that idea throughout
Christendom to murder harmless, friendless, and oftentimes crazy
old women.  Meantime the witch of Endor in no respect resembled our
modern domestic witch.[Footnote: _'The domestic witch.'_--It
is the common notion that the superstition of the _evil eye_,
so widely diffused in the Southern lands, and in some, not a slumbering,
but a fiercely operative superstition, is unknown in England and
other Northern latitudes. On the contrary, to my thinking, the regular
old vulgar witch of England and Scotland was but an impersonatrix
of the very same superstition. Virgil expresses this mode of sorcery
to the letter, when his shepherd says--


  'Nescio quis teneros _oculus_ mihi fascinat agnos?'


Precisely in that way it was that the British witch operated.
She, _by her eye_, blighted the natural powers of growth
and fertility. By the way, I ought to mention, as a case parallel
to that of the Bible's recognising witchcraft, and of enlightened
nations continuing to punish it, that St. Paul himself, in an equal
degree, recognises the _evil eye;_ that is, he uses the idea,
(though certainly not meaning to accredit such an idea,) as one
that briefly and energetically conveyed his meaning to those whom
he was addressing. 'Oh, foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?'
That is, literally, who has fascinated your senses by the evil
eye? For the Greek is, _tis umas ebaskanen?_ Now the word
_ebaskanen_ is a past tense of the verb _baskaino_, which
was the technical term for the action of the evil eye. Without
having written a treatise on the Æolic digamma, probably the
reader is aware that F is V, and that, in many languages, B and
V are interchangeable letters through thousands of words, as the
Italian _tavola_, from the Latin _tabula_. Under that little process
it was that the Greek _baskaino_ transmigrated into the Latin
_fascino_; so that St. Paul's word, in speaking to the Galatians,
is the very game word as Virgil's, in speaking of the shepherd's
flock as charmed by the evil eye.] There was as much difference as
between a Roman Proconsul, surrounded with eagle-bearers, and a
commercial Consul's clerk with a pen behind his ear. Apparently
she was not so much a Medea as an Erichtho. (See the _Pharsalia_.)
She was an _Evocatrix_, or female necromancer, evoking phantoms
that stood in some unknown relation to dead men; and then by some
artifice (it has been supposed) of ventriloquism,[Footnote: I am
not referring to German infidels. Very pious commentators have
connected her with the _engastrimuthoi_ (εγγαστριμυθοι)
or ventriloquists.] causing these phantoms to deliver oracular
answers upon great political questions. Oh, that one had lived in
the times of those New-England wretches that desolated whole
districts and terrified vast provinces by their judicial murders
of witches, under plea of a bibliolatrous warrant; until at last
the fiery furnace, which they had heated for women and children,
shot forth flames that, like those of Nebuchadnezzar's furnace,
seizing upon his very agents, began to reach some of the murderous
judges and denouncers!

Yet, after all, are there not express directions in Scripture to
exterminate witches from the land? Certainly; but _that_ does
not argue any scriptural recognition of witchcraft as a possible
offence. An imaginary crime may imply a criminal intention that is
_not_ imaginary; but also, which much more directly concerns
the interests of a state, a criminal purpose, that rests upon a
pure delusion, may work by means that are felonious for ends that
are fatal. At this moment, we English and the Spaniards have laws,
and severe ones, against witchcraft, viz., in the West Indies, and
indispensable it is that we should. The Obeah man from Africa can
do no mischief to one of us. The proud and enlightened white man
despises his arts; and for _him_, therefore, these arts have
no existence, for they work only through strong preconceptions of
their reality, and through trembling faith in their efficacy.  But
by that very agency they are all-sufficient for the ruin of the
poor credulous negro; he is mastered by original faith, and has
perished thousands of times under the knowledge that _Obi_
had been set for him.  Justly, therefore, do our colonial courts
punish the Obeah sorcerer, who (though an impostor) is not the
less a murderer. Now the Hebrew witchcraft was probably even worse;
equally resting on delusions, nevertheless, equally it worked for
unlawful ends, and (which chiefly made it an object of divine wrath)
it worked _through_ idolatrous agencies. It must, therefore,
have kept up that connection with idolatry which it was the
unceasing effort of the Hebrew polity to exterminate from the land.
Consequently, the Hebrew commonwealth might, as consistently as
our own, denounce and punish witchcraft without liability to the
inference that it therefore recognised the pretensions of witches
as real, in the sense of working their bad ends by the means which
they alleged. Their magic was causatively of no virtue at all, but,
being believed in, through this belief it became the occasional
means of exciting the imagination of its victims; after which the
consequences were the same as if the magic had acted physically
according to its pretences. [Footnote: Does that argument not cover
'the New England wretches' so unreservedly denounced in a preceding
paragraph?--ED.]

II. _Development_, as applicable to Christianity, is a doctrine
of the very days that are passing over our heads, and due to Mr.
Newman, originally the ablest son of Puseyism, but now a powerful
architect of religious philosophy on his own account. I should have
described him more briefly as a 'master-builder,' had my ear been
able to endure a sentence ending with two consecutive trochees,
and each of those trochees ending with the same syllable _er_.
Ah, reader! I would the gods had made thee rhythmical, that thou
mightest comprehend the thousandth part of my labors in the evasion
of cacophon. _Phil_. has a general dislike to the Puseyites,
though he is too learned to be ignorant, (as are often the Low-Church,
or Evangelical, party in England,) that, in many of their supposed
innovations, the Puseyites were really only restoring what the
torpor of the eighteenth century had suffered to go into disuse. They
were _reforming_ the Church in the sense sometimes belonging
to the particle _re_, viz., _retroforming_ it, moulding
it back into compliance with its original form and model. It is
true that this effort for quickening the Church, and for adorning
her exterior service, moved under the impulse of too undisguised
a sympathy with Papal Rome. But there is no great reason to mind
_that_ in our age and our country. Protestant zealotry may
be safely relied on in this island as a match for Popish bigotry.
There will be no love lost between them--be assured of _that_--and
justice will be done to both, though neither should do it to her
rival; for philosophy, which has so long sought only amusement
in either, is in these latter days of growing profundity applying
herself steadily to the profound truths which dimly are descried
lurking in both. It is these which Mr. Newman is likely to illuminate,
and not the faded forms of an obsolete ceremonial that cannot now
be restored effectually, were it even important that they should.
Strange it is, however, that he should open his career by offering
to Rome, as a mode of homage, this doctrine of development, which
is the direct inversion of her own. Rome founds herself upon the
idea, that to _her_, by tradition and exclusive privilege,
was communicated, once for all, the whole truth from the beginning.
Mr. Newman lays his corner-stone in the very opposite idea of a
gradual development given to Christianity by the motion of time,
by experience, by expanding occasions, and by the progress of
civilization.  Is Newmanism likely to prosper? Let me tell a little
anecdote. Twenty years ago, roaming one day (as I had so often the
honor to do) with our immortal Wordsworth, 1 took the liberty of
telling him, at a point of our walk, where nobody could possibly
overhear me, unless it were old Father Helvellyn, that I feared
his theological principles were not quite so sound as his friends
would wish. They wanted repairing a little. But, what was worse,
I did not see how they _could_ be repaired in the particular
case which prompted my remark, for in that place, to repair, or
in any respect to alter, was to destroy. It was a passage in the
'Excursion,' where the Solitary had described the baptismal rite
as washing away the taint of original sin, and, in fact, working
the effect which is called technically _regeneration_. In
the 'Excursion' this view was advanced, not as the poet's separate
opinion, but as the avowed doctrine of the English Church, to which
Church Wordsworth and myself yielded gladly a filial reverence. But
_was_ this the doctrine of the English Church? _That_ I
doubted--not that I pretended to any sufficient means of valuing
the preponderant opinion between two opinions in the Church; a
process far more difficult than is imagined by historians, always
so ready to tell us fluently what 'the nation' or 'the people'
thought upon a particular question, (whilst, in fact, a whole life
might be often spent vainly in collecting the popular opinion); but,
judging by my own casual experience, I fancied that a considerable
majority in the Church gave an interpretation to this Sacrament
differing by much from that in the 'Excursion.' Wordsworth was startled
and disturbed at hearing it whispered even before Helvellyn, who is
old enough to keep a secret, that his divinity might possibly limp
a little.  I, on _my_ part, was not sure that it _did_,
but I feared so; and, as there was no chance that I should be
murdered for speaking freely, (though the place was lonely, and the
evening getting dusky,) I stood to my disagreeable communication
with the courage of a martyr. The question between us being one
of mere fact, (not what _ought_ to be the doctrine, but what
_was_ the doctrine of our Church at that time,) there was no
opening for any discussion; and, on Wordsworth's suggestion, it was
agreed to refer the point to his learned brother, Dr.  Christopher
Wordsworth, just then meditating a visit to his native lakes. That
visit in a short time 'came off,' and then, without delay, our
dispute 'came on' for judgment. I had no bets upon the issue--one
can't bet with Wordsworth--and I don't know that I should have
ventured to back myself in a case of that nature.  However, I felt
a slight anxiety on the subject, which was very soon and kindly
removed by Dr. Wordsworth's deciding, 'sans phrase,' that I, the
original mover of the strife, was wrong, wrong as wrong could be.
To this decision I bowed at once, on a principle of courtesy. One
ought always to presume a man right within his own _profession_
even if privately one should think him wrong. But I could not think
_that_ of Dr. Wordsworth. He was a D.D.; he was head of Trinity
College, which has _my_ entire permission to hold its head up
amongst twenty and more colleges, as the leading one in Cambridge,
(provided it can obtain St. John's permission), 'and which,' says
_Phil_., 'has done more than any other foundation in Europe for
the enlightenment of the world, and for the overthrow of literary,
philosophical, and religious superstitions,' I quarrel not with
this bold assertion, remembering reverentially that Isaac Barrow,
that Isaac Newton, that Richard Bentley belonged to Trinity, but
I wish to understand it. The total pretensions of the College can
be known only to its members; and therefore, _Phil_. should have
explained himself more fully.  He _can_ do so, for _Phil_.
is certainly a Trinity man. If the police are in search of him,
they'll certainly hear of him at Trinity. Suddenly it strikes me
as a dream, that Lord Bacon belonged to this College. Don't laugh
at me, _Phil_., if I'm wrong, and still less (because then
you'll laugh even more ferociously) if I happen to be right. Can
one remember everything? Ah! the worlds of distracted facts that
one ought to remember.  Would to heaven that I remembered nothing
at all, and had nothing to remember! This thing, however, I certainly
_do_ remember, that Milton was _not_ of Trinity, nor Jeremy
Taylor; so don't think to hoax me there, my parent! Dr. Wordsworth
was, or had been, an examining chaplain to the Archbishop of
Canterbury.  If Lambeth could be at fault on such a question, then
it's of no use going to Newcastle for coals. Delphi, we all know,
and Jupiter Ammon had vanished. What other court of appeal was
known to man? So I submitted as cheerfully as if the learned Doctor,
instead of kicking me out of court, had been handing me in.  Yet,
for all that, as I returned musing past Rydal Water, I could not
help muttering to myself--Ay, now, what rebellious thought was
it that I muttered? You fancy, reader, that perhaps I said, 'But
yet, Doctor, in spite of your wig, I am in the right.' No; you're
quite wrong; I said nothing of the sort. What I _did_ mutter
was this--'The prevailing doctrine of the Church must be what Dr.
Wordsworth says, viz., that baptism _is_ regeneration--he
cannot be mistaken as to _that_--and I have been misled by
the unfair proportion of Evangelical people, bishops, and others,
whom accident has thrown in my way at Barley Wood (Hannah More's).
These, doubtless, form a minority in the Church; and yet, from the
strength of their opinions, from their being a moving party, as
also from their being a growing party, I prophesy this issue, that
many years will not pass before this very question, now slumbering,
will rouse a feud within the English Church.  There is a quarrel
brewing. Such feuds, long after they are ripe for explosion, sometimes
slumber on, until accident kindles them into flame.' That accident
was furnished by the tracts of the Puseyites, and since then,
according to the word which I spoke on Rydal Water, there has been
open war raging upon this very point.

At present, with even more certainty, I prophesy that mere necessity,
a necessity arising out of continual collisions with sceptical
philosophy, will, in a few years, carry all churches enjoying a
learned priesthood into the disputes connected with this doctrine
of development.  _Phil_., meantime, is no friend to that Newmanian
doctrine; and in sect.31, p.66, he thus describes it:--'According
to these writers' (viz., the writers 'who advocate the theory of
development'), 'the progressive and gradual development of religious
truth, which appears to _us_' (_us_, meaning, I suppose,
the _Old_-mannians,) 'to have been terminated by the final
revelation of the Gospel, has been going on ever since the foundation
of the Church, is going on still, and must continue to advance.
This theory presumes that the Bible does not contain a full and
final exposition of a complete system of religion; that the Church
has developed from the Scriptures true doctrines not explicitly
contained therein,' &c. &c.

But, without meaning to undertake a defence of Mr.  Newman (whose
book I am as yet too slenderly acquainted with), may I be allowed,
at this point, to intercept a fallacious view of that doctrine, as
though essentially it proclaimed some imperfection in Christianity.
The imperfection is in us, the Christians, not in Christianity.
The impression given by _Phil._ to the hasty reader is, that,
according to Newmanism, the Scriptures make a good beginning to which
we ourselves are continually adding--a solid foundation, on which
we ourselves build the superstructure. Not so. In the course of a
day or a year, the sun passes through a vast variety of positions,
aspects, and corresponding powers, in relation to ourselves. Daily
and annually he is _developed_ to us--he runs a cycle of
development.  Yet, after all, this practical result does not argue
any change or imperfection, growth or decay, in the sun.  This great
orb is stationary as regards his place, and unchanging as regards
his power. It is the subjective change in ourselves that projects
itself into this endless succession of phantom changes in the
object. Not otherwise on the scheme of development; the Christian
theory and system are perfect from the beginning.  In itself,
Christianity changes not, neither waxing nor waning; but the
motions of time and the evolutions of experience continually uncover
new parts of its stationary disk. The orb _grows_, so far as
practically we are speaking of our own benefit; but absolutely,
as regards itself, the orb, eternally the same, has simply more
or fewer of its digits exposed. Christianity, perfect from the
beginning, had a curtain over much of its disk, which Time and
Social Progress are continually withdrawing.  This I say not as any
deliberate judgment on development, but merely as a suspending, or
_ad interim_ idea, by way of barring too summary an interdict
against the doctrine at this premature stage. _Phil_., however,
hardens his face against Newman and all his works.  Him and them
he defies; and would consign, perhaps secretly, to the care of a
well-known (not new, but) old gentleman, if only he had any faith
in that old gentleman's existence. On that point, he is a fixed
infidel, and quotes with applause the answer of Robinson, the once
celebrated Baptist clergyman, who being asked if he believed in
the devil, replied, 'Oh, no; I, for my part, believe in God--don't
_you_?'

_Phil_., therefore, as we have seen, in effect, condemns
development. But, at p. 33, when as yet he is not thinking of Mr.
Newman, he says,' If knowledge is progressive, the development
of Christian doctrine must be progressive likewise.' I do not see
the _must_; but I see the Newmanian cloven foot. As to the
_must_, knowledge is certainly progressive; but the development
of the multiplication table is not therefore progressive, nor
of anything else that is finished from the beginning. My reason,
however, for quoting the sentence is, because here we suddenly
detect _Phil_. in laying down the doctrine which in Mr. Newman
he had regarded as heterodox. _Phil_. is taken red-hand, as the
English law expresses it, crimson with, the blood of his offence;
assuming, in fact, an original imperfection _quoad_ the
_scire_, though not _quoad_ the _esse;_ as to the
'_exposition_ of the system,' though not as to the '_system_'
of Christianity. Mr. Newman, after all, asserts (I believe) only
one mode of development as applicable to Christianity. _Phil_.
having broke the ice, may now be willing to allow of two developments;
whilst I, that am always for going to extremes, should be disposed
to assert three, viz:--

_First._ The _Philological_ development. And this is a
point on which I, _Philo-Phil_. (or, as for brevity you may
call me, _Phil-Phil_.) shall, without wishing to do so, vex
_Phil_. It's shocking that one should vex the author of one's
existence, which _Phil_. certainly is in relation to me,
when considered as _Phil-Phil_. Still it is past all denial,
that, to a certain extent, the Scriptures must benefit, like any
other book, by an increasing accuracy and compass of learning in
the _exegesis_ applied to them. But if all the world denied
this, _Phil_., my parent, is the man that cannot; since he it
is that relies upon philological knowledge as the one resource of
Christian philosophy in all circumstances of difficulty for any
of its interests, positive or negative.  Philology, according to
_Phil_, is the sheet-anchor of Christianity. Already it is
the author of a Christianity more in harmony with philosophy; and,
as regards the future, _Phil_., it is that charges Philology
with the whole service of divinity. Wherever anything, being right,
needs to be defended--wherever anything, being amiss, needs to be
improved--oh! what a life he will lead this poor Philology! Philology,
with _Phil_., is the great benefactress for the past, and
the sole trustee for the future. Here, therefore, _Phil_., is
caught in a fix, _habemus confitentem_. He denounces development
when dealing with the Newmanites; he relies on it when vaunting the
functions of Philology; and the only evasion for _him_ would
be to distinguish about the modes of development, were it not that,
by insinuation, he has apparently denied all modes.

_Secondly_. There is the _Philosophic_ development, from
the reaction upon the Bible of advancing knowledge.  This is a
mode of development continually going on, and reversing the steps
of past human follies.  In every age, man has imported his own
crazes into the Bible, fancied that he saw them there, and then
drawn sanctions to his wickedness or absurdity from what were nothing
else than fictions of his own. Thus did the Papists draw a plenary
justification of intolerance, or even of atrocious persecution,
from the evangelical '_Compel them to come in!_' The right of
unlimited coercion was read in those words. People, again, that were
democratically given, or had a fancy for treason, heard a trumpet
of insurrection in the words '_To your tents, oh Israel!_' But
far beyond these in multitude were those that drew from the Bible
the most extravagant claims for kings and rulers.  'Rebellion was
as the sin of witchcraft.' This was a jewel of a text; it killed
two birds with one stone.  Broomsticks were proved out of it most
clearly, and also the atrocity of representative government. What
a little text to contain so much! Look into Algernon Sidney, or into
Locke's controversy with Sir Eobert Filmer's 'Patriarcha,'[Footnote:
I mention the _book_ as the antagonist, and not the man,
because (according to my impression) Sir Robert was dead when Locke
was answering him.] or into any books of those days on political
principles, and it will be found that Scripture was so used as to
form an absolute bar against human progress. All public benefits
were, in the strictest sense of the word, _precarious_, as
depending upon prayers and entreaties to those who had an interest
in refusing them. All improvements were elcemosynary; for the
initial step in all cases belonged to the Crown. 'The right divine
of kings to govern wrong' was in those days what many a man would
have died for--what many a man _did_ die for; and all in pure
simplicity of heart--faithful to the Bible, but to the Bible of
misinterpretation. They obeyed (often to their own ruin) an order
which they had misread.  Their sincerity, the disinterestedness of
their folly, is evident; and in that degree is evident the opening
for Scripture development. Nobody could better obey Scripture as
_they_ had understood it. Change in the obedience, there could
be none for the better; it demanded only that there should be a
change in the interpretation, and that change would be what is meant
by a development of Scripture. Two centuries of enormous progress
in the relations between subjects and rulers have altered the whole
reading. '_How readest thou?_' was the question of Christ
himself; that is, in what meaning dost thou read the particular
Scripture that applies to this case? All the texts and all the
cases remain at this hour just as they were for our ancestors; and
our reverence for these texts is as absolute as theirs; but we,
applying lights of experience which _they_ had not, construe
these texts by a different logic. _There_ now is development
applied to the Bible in one of its many _strata_--that _stratum_
which connects itself most with civil polity. Again, what a
development have we made of Christian truth; how differently do
we now read our Bibles in relation to the poor tenants of dungeons
that once were thought, even by Christian nations, to have no
rights at all!--in relation to 'all prisoners and captives;' and in
relation to slaves! The New Testament had said nothing _directly_
upon the question of slavery; nay, by the misreader it was rather
supposed _indirectly_ to countenance that institution.  But
mark--it is Mohammedanism, having little faith in its own laws,
that dares not confide in its children for developing anything, but
must tie them up for every contingency by the _letter_ of a
rule. Christianity--how differently does _she_ proceed! She
throws herself broadly upon the pervading spirit which burns within
her morals. 'Let them alone,' she says of nations; 'leave them to
themselves. I have put a new law into their hearts; and if it is
really there, and really cherished, that law will tell them--will
develop for them--what it is that they ought to do in every case as
it arises, when once its consequences are comprehended.' No need,
therefore, for the New Testament _explicitly_ to forbid slavery;
silently and _implicitly_ it is forbidden in many passages of
the New Testament, and it is at war with the spirit of all. Besides,
the religion which trusts to formal and literal rules breaks down
the very moment that a new case arises not described in the rules.
Such a case is virtually unprovided for, if it does not answer to
a circumstantial textual description; whereas _every_ case
is provided for, as soon as its tendencies and its moral relations
are made known, by a religion that speaks through a spiritual organ
to a spiritual apprehension in man. Accordingly, we find that,
whenever a new mode of intoxication is introduced, not depending
upon grapes, the most devout Mussulmans hold themselves absolved
from the restraints of the Koran. And so it would have been with
Christians, if the New Testament had laid down _literal_
prohibitions of slavery, or of the slave traffic.  Thousands of
variations would have been developed by time which no _letter_
of Scripture could have been comprehensive enough to reach. Were
the domestic servants of Greece, the ξητες (_thetes_),
within the description? Were the _serfs_ and the _ascripti
glebae_ of feudal Europe to be accounted slaves? Or those amongst
our own brothers and sisters, that within so short a period were
born subterraneously,[Footnote: See, for some very interesting
sketches of this Pariah population, the work (title I forget) of
Mr. Bald, a Scottish engineer, well known and esteemed in Edinburgh
and Glasgow. He may be relied on. What he tells against Scotland
is violently against his own will, for he is intensely national, of
which I will give the reader one instance that may make him smile.
Much of the rich, unctuous coal, from Northumberland and Durham,
gives a deep ruddy light, verging to a blood-red, and certainly is
rather sullen, on a winter evening, to the eye. On the other hand,
the Scottish coal or most of it, being far poorer as to heat, throws
out a very beautiful and animated scarlet blaze; upon which hint,
Mr.  Bald, when patriotically distressed at not being able to deny
the double power of the eastern English coal, suddenly revivifies
his Scottish heart that had been chilled, perhaps, by the Scottish
coals in his fire-grate, upon recurring to this picturesque difference
in the two blazes--'Ah!' he says gratefully, 'that Newcastle blaze
is well enough for a "gloomy" Englishman, but it wouldn't do at
all for cheerful Scotland.'] in Scottish mines, or in the English
collieries of Cumberland, and were supposed to be _ascripti
metallo_, sold by nature to the mine, and indorsed upon its
machinery for the whole term of their lives; in whom, therefore,
it was a treason to see the light of upper day--would _they_,
would these poor Scotch and English Pariahs, have stood within any
scriptural privilege if the New Testament had legislated by name
and letter for this class of _douloi_ (slaves)?  No attorney
would have found them entitled to plead the benefit of the
Bible statute. Endless are the variations of the conditions that
new combinations of society would bring forward; endless would be
the virtual restorations of slavery that would take place under a
Mahometan literality; endless would be the defeats that such restorations
must sustain under a Christianity relying on no _letter_, but
on the _spirit_ of God's commandments, and that will understand
no equivocations with the secret admonitions of the heart. Meantime,
this sort of development, it may be objected, is not a light that
Scripture throws out upon human life so much as a light that human
life and its development throw back upon Scripture. True; but then
how was it possible that life and the human intellect should be
carried forward to such developments? Solely through the training
which both had received under the discipline of Christian truth.
Christianity utters some truth widely applicable to society. This
truth is caught up by some influential organ of social life--is
expanded prodigiously by human experience, and, when travelling
back as an illustrated or improved text to the Bible, is found to
be made up, in all its details, of many human developments.  Does
that argue anything disparaging to Christianity, as though _she_
contributed little and man contributed much? On the contrary, man
would have contributed nothing at all but for that _nucleus_
by which Christianity started and moulded the principle. To give
one instance--Public charity, when did it commence?--who first
thought of it? Who first noticed hunger and cold as awful realities
afflicting poor women and innocent children? Who first made
a public provision to meet these evils?--Constantine it was, the
first Christian that sat upon a throne. Had, then, rich Pagans before
his time no charity--no pity?--no money available for hopeless
poverty? Not much--very little, I conceive; about so much as
Shakspeare insinuates that there is of milk in a male tiger. Think,
for instance, of that black-hearted reprobate, Cicero, the moralist.
This moral knave, who wrote such beautiful Ethics, and _was_
so wicked--who spoke so charmingly and acted so horribly--mentions,
with a petrifying coolness, that he knew of desolate old women in
Rome who passed three days in succession without tasting food. Did
not the wretch, when thinking of this, leap up, and tumble down
stairs in his anxiety to rush abroad and call a public meeting
for considering so dreadful a case? Not he; the man continued to
strut about his library, in a huge toga as big as the _Times_
newspaper, singing out, '_Oh! fortunatam natam me Consule
Romam!_' and he mentioned the fact at all only for the sake of
Natural Philosophers or of the curious in old women. Charity, even
in that sense, had little existence--nay, as a duty, it had no
place or rubric in human conceptions before Christianity, Thence
came the first rudiments of all public relief to starving men and
women; but the idea, the principle, was all that the Bible furnished,
needed to furnish, or could furnish. The practical arrangements,
the endless details for carrying out this Christian idea--these
were furnished by man; and why not? This case illustrates only one
amongst innumerable modes of development applicable to the Bible;
and this power of development, in general, proves also one other
thing of the last importance to prove, viz. the power of Christianity
to work in co-operation with time and social progress; to work
variably according to the endless variations of time and place; and
_that_ is the exact _shibboleth_ of a true and spiritual
religion--for, on reviewing the history of false religions, and
inquiring what it was that ruined them, rarely is it found that any
of them perished by external violence. Even the dreadful fury of
the early Mahometan Sultans in India, before the house of Timour,
failed to crush the monstrous idolatries of the Hindoos. All
false religions have perished by their own hollowness, under that
searching trial applied by social life and its changes, which awaits
every mode of religion. One after another they have sunk away, as
by palsy, from new aspects of society and new necessities of man
which they were not able to face. Commencing in one condition of
society, in one set of feelings, and in one system of ideas, they
sank uniformly under any great change in these elements, to which
they had no natural power of accommodation. A false religion
furnished a key to one subordinate lock; but a religion that is true
will prove a master-key for all locks alike. This transcendental
principle, by which Christianity transfers herself so readily from
climate to climate,[Footnote: Sagacious Mahometans have been often
scandalized and troubled by the secret misgiving that, after all,
their Prophet must have been an ignorant fellow. It is clear that
the case of a cold climate had never occurred to him; and even a
hot one had been conceived most narrowly. Many of the Bedouin Arabs
complain of ablutions not adapted to their waterless condition.
These evidences of oversight would have been fatal to Islamism, had
Islamism produced a high civilization.] from century to century,
from the simplicity of shepherds to the utmost refinement of
philosophers, carries with it a necessity, corresponding to such
infinite flexibility of endless development.



ON THE SUPPOSED SCRIPTURAL EXPRESSION FOR ETERNITY.

[1852.]


Forty years ago (or, in all probability, a good deal more, for we
have already completed thirty-seven years from Waterloo, and my
remembrances upon this subject go back to a period lying much behind
that great era), I used to be annoyed and irritated by the false
interpretation given to the Greek word _aion_, and given
necessarily, therefore, to the adjective _aionios_ as its
immediate derivative. It was not so much the falsehood of this
interpretation, as the narrowness of that falsehood, which disturbed
me. There was a glimmer of truth in it; and precisely that glimmer
it was which led the way to a general and obstinate misconception
of the meaning. The word is remarkably situated. It is a scriptural
word, and it is also a Greek word; from which the inevitable inference
is, that we must look for it only in the _New_ Testament.  Upon
any question arising of deep, aboriginal, doctrinal truth, we have
nothing to do with translations.  Those are but secondary questions,
archaeological and critical, upon which we have a right to consult
the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures known by the name
of the Septuagint.

Suffer me to pause at this point for the sake of premising an
explanation needful to the unlearned reader.  As the _reading_
public and the _thinking_ public is every year outgrowing more
and more notoriously the mere _learned_ public, it becomes
every year more and more the right of the former public to give the
law preferably to the latter public, upon all points which concern
its own separate interests. In past generations, no pains were taken
to make explanations that were not called for by the _learned_
public. All other readers were ignored. They formed a mob, for whom
no provision was made. And that many difficulties should be left
entirely unexplained for _them_, was superciliously assumed
to be no fault at all. And yet any sensible man, let him be as
supercilious as he may, must on consideration allow that amongst
the crowd of unlearned or half-learned readers, who have had neither
time nor opportunities for what is called 'erudition' or learned
studies, there must always lurk a proportion of men that, by
constitution of mind, and by the bounty of nature, are much better
fitted for thinking, originally more philosophic, and are more
capaciously endowed, than those who are, by accident of position,
more learned. Such a natural superiority certainly takes precedency
of a merely artificial superiority; and, therefore, it entitles
those who possess it to a special consideration. Let there be an
audience gathered about any book of ten thousand one hundred readers:
it might be fair in these days to assume that ten thousand would be
in a partial sense illiterate, and the remaining one hundred what
would be rigorously classed as 'learned.' Now, on such a distribution
of the readers, it would be a matter of certainty that the most
powerful intellects would lie amongst the illiterate ten thousand,
counting, probably, to fifteen to one as against those in the
learned minority. The inference, therefore, would be, that, in all
equity, the interest of the unlearned section claimed a priority
of attention, not merely as the more numerous section, but also
as, by a high probability, the more philosophic. And in proportion
as this unlearned section widens and expands, which every year it
does, in that proportion the obligation and cogency of this equity
strengthens. An attention to the unlearned part of an audience, which
fifteen years ago might have rested upon pure courtesy, _now_
rests upon a basis of absolute justice. I make this preliminary
explanation, in order to take away the appearance of caprice from
such occasional pauses as I may make for the purpose of clearing
up obscurities or difficulties. Formerly, in a case of that nature,
the learned reader would have told me that I was not entitled to
delay _him_ by elucidations that in _his_ case must be supposed to
be superfluous: and in such a remonstrance there would once have
been some equity. The illiterate section of the readers might
then be fairly assumed as present only by accident; as no abiding
part of the audience; but, like the general public in the gallery
of the House of Commons, as present only by sufferance; and
officially in any records of the house whatever, utterly ignored
as existences. At present, half way on our pilgrimage through the
nineteenth century, I reply to such a learned remonstrant--that it
gives me pain to annoy him by superfluous explanations, but that,
unhappily, this infliction of tedium upon _him_ is inseparable
from what has now become a duty to others. This being said, I now
go on to inform the illiterate reader, that the earliest translation
of the Hebrew Scriptures ever made was into Greek. It was undertaken
on the encouragement of a learned prince, Ptolemy Philadelphus, by
an association of Jewish emigrants in Alexandria. It was, as the
event has shown in very many instances, an advantage of a rank rising
to providential, that such a cosmopolitan version of the Hebrew
sacred writings should have been made at a moment when a rare
concurrence of circumstances happened to make it possible; such
as, for example, a king both learned in his tastes and liberal in
his principles of religious toleration; a language, viz., the Greek,
which had already become, what for many centuries it continued to
be, a common language of communication for the learned of the whole
οικδμενη (_i.e._, in effect of the civilized world,
viz., Greece, the shores of the Euxine, the whole of Asia Minor,
Syria, Egypt, Carthage, and all the dependencies of Carthage,
finally, and above all, Rome, then beginning to loom upon the
western horizon), together with all the dependencies of Rome, and,
briefly, every state and city that adorned the imperial islands of
the Mediterranean, or that glittered like gems in that vast belt
of land, roundly speaking, one thousand miles in average breadth,
and in circuit running up to five thousand miles. One thousand
multiplied into five times one thousand, or, otherwise expressed,
a thousand thousand five times repeated, or otherwise a million
five times repeated, briefly a territory measuring five millions
of square miles, or forty-five times the surface of our two British
islands--such was the boundless domain which this extraordinary
act of Ptolemy suddenly threw open to the literature and spiritual
revelation of a little obscure race, nestling in a little angle of
Asia, scarcely visible as a fraction of Syria, buried in the broad
shadows thrown out on one side by the great and ancient settlements
on the Nile, and on the other by the vast empire that for thousands
of years occupied the Tigris and the Euphrates. In the twinkling
of an eye, at a sudden summons, as it were from the sounding of
a trumpet, or the oriental call by a clapping of hands, gates are
thrown open, which have an effect corresponding in grandeur to the
effect that would arise from the opening of a ship canal across
the Isthmus of Darien, viz., the introduction to each other--face
to face--of two separate infinities.  Such a canal would suddenly
lay open to each other the two great oceans of our planet, the
Atlantic and the Pacific; whilst the act of translating _into_
Greek and _from_ Hebrew, that is, transferring out of a
mysterious cipher as little accessible as Sanscrit, and which never
_would_ be more accessible through any worldly attractions of
alliance with power and civic grandeur or commerce, _out of_
this darkness _into_ the golden light of a language the most
beautiful, the most honored amongst men, and the most widely diffused
through a thousand years to come, had the immeasurable effect of
throwing into the great crucible of human speculation, even then
beginning to ferment, to boil, to overthrow--that mightiest of all
elements for exalting the chemistry of philosophy--grand and, for
the first time, adequate conceptions of the Deity.  For, although
it is true that, until Elias should come--that is, until Christianity
should have applied its final revelation to the completion of this
great idea-we could not possess it in its total effulgence, it is,
however, certain that an immense advance was made, a prodigious
usurpation across the realms of chaos, by the grand illuminations
of the Hebrew discoveries.  Too terrifically austere we must presume
the Hebrew idea to have been: too undeniably it had not withdrawn
the veil entirely which still rested upon the Divine countenance;
so much is involved in the subsequent revelations of Christianity.
But still the advance made in reading aright the divine lineaments
had been enormous.  God was now a holy spirit that could not tolerate
impurity. He was the fountain of justice, and no longer disfigured
by any mode of sympathy with human caprice or infirmity. And, if
a frown too awful still rested upon his face, making the approach
to him too fearful for harmonizing with that perfect freedom and
that childlike love which God seeks in his worshippers, it was yet
made evident that no step for conciliating his favor did or could
lie through any but _moral_ graces.

Three centuries after this great epoch of the _publication_
(for such it was) secured so providentially to the Hebrew theology,
two learned Jews--viz., Josephus and Philo Judaeus--had occasion
to seek a cosmopolitan utterance for that burden of truth (or what
they regarded as truth) which oppressed the spirit within them.
Once again they found a deliverance from the very same freezing
imprisonment in an unknown language, through the very same magical
key, viz., the all-pervading language of Greece, which carried
their communications to the four winds of heaven, and carried
them precisely amongst the class of men, viz.--the enlightened and
educated class--which pre-eminently, if not exclusively, their wish
was to reach. About one generation _after_ Christ it was, when
the utter prostration, and, politically speaking, the destruction
of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation, threw these two learned Jews
upon this recourse to the Greek language as their final resource,
in a condition otherwise of absolute hopelessness. Pretty nearly
three centuries _before_ Christ it was (two hundred and
eighty-four years, according to the common reckoning), when the first
act of communication took place between the sealed-up literature
of Palestine and the Greek catholic interpretation. Altogether,
we may say that three hundred and twenty years, or somewhere
about ten generations of men, divided these two memorable acts
of intercommunication. Such a space of time allows a large range
of influence and of silent, unconscious operation to the vast and
potent ideas that brooded over this awful Hebrew literature.  Too
little weight has been allowed to the probable contagiousness, and
to the preternatural shock, of such a new and strange philosophy,
acting upon the jaded and exhausted intellect of the Grecian race.
We must remember, that precisely this particular range of time was
that in which the Greek systems of philosophy, having thoroughly
completed their evolution, had suffered something of a collapse;
and, having exhausted their creative energies, began to gratify
the cravings for novelty by re modellings of old forms. It is
remarkable, indeed, that this very city of Alexandria founded and
matured this new principle of remodelling applied to poetry not less
than to philosophy and criticism.  And, considering the activity
of this great commercial city and port, which was meant to act,
and _did_ act, as a centre of communication between the East
and the West, it is probable that a far greater effect was produced
by the Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures, in the way of
preparing the mind of nations for the apprehension of Christianity,
than has ever been distinctly recognised. The silent destruction
of books in those centuries has robbed us of all means for tracing
innumerable revolutions, that nevertheless, by the evidence of
results, must have existed. Taken, however, with or without this
additional result, the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures in
their most important portions must be ranked amongst what are called
`providential' events. Such a king--a king whose father had been
a personal friend of Alexander, the mighty civilizing conqueror,
and had shared in the liberalization connected with his vast
revolutionary projects for extending a higher civilization over
the globe, such a king, conversing with such a language, having
advantages so absolutely unrivalled, and again this king and this
language concurring with a treasure so supernatural of spiritual
wisdom as the subject of their ministrations, and all three
concurring with political events so auspicious--the founding of
a new and mighty metropolis in Egypt, and the silent advance to
supreme power amongst men of a new empire, martial beyond all precedent
as regarded _means_, but not as regarded _ends_--working
in all things towards the unity of civilization and the unity of
law, so that any new impulse, as, for instance, impulse of a new
religion, was destined to find new facilities for its own propagation,
resembling electric conductors, under the unity of government and
of law--concurrences like these, so many and so strange, justly
impress upon this translation, the most memorable, because the most
influential of all that have ever been accomplished, a character
of grandeur that place it on the same level of interest as the
building of the first or second temple at Jerusalem.

There is a Greek legend which openly ascribes to this translation
all the characters of a miracle. But, as usually happens, this
vulgarizing form of the miraculous is far less impressive than the
plain history itself, unfolding its stages with the most unpretending
historical fidelity. Even the Greek language, on which, as the
natural language of the new Greek dynasty in Egypt, the duty of
the translation devolved, enjoyed a double advantage: 1st, as being
the only language then spoken upon earth that could diffuse a book
over _every_ part of the civilized earth; 2dly, as being a language
of unparalleled power and compass for expressing and reproducing
effectually all ideas, however alien and novel. Even the city,
again, in which this translation was accomplished, had a double
dowery of advantages towards such a labor, not only as enjoying a
large literary society, and, in particular, a large Jewish society,
together with unusual provision in the shape of libraries, on
a scale probably at that time unprecedented, but also as having
the most extensive machinery then known to human experience for
_publishing_, that is, for transmitting to foreign capitals
all books in the readiest and the cheapest fashion, by means of
its prodigious shipping.

Having thus indicated to the _unlearned_ reader the particular
nature of that interest which invests this earliest translation
of the Hebrew Scriptures, viz., that in fact this translation was
the earliest _publication_ to the human race of a revelation
which had previously been locked up in a language destined, as
surely as the Welsh language or the Gaelic, to eternal obscurity
amongst men, I go on to mention that the learned Jews selected for
this weighty labor happened to be in number seventy-two; but, as
the Jews systematically reject fractions in such cases (whence it
is that always, in order to express the period of six weeks, they
say _forty days_, and not, as strictly they should, _forty-two
days_), popularly, the translators were called 'the seventy,'
for which the Latin word is _septuaginta_.  And thus in after
ages the translators were usually indicated as 'The LXX,' or, if the
work and not the workmen should be noticed, it was cited as _The
Septuagint_.  In fact, this earliest of Scriptural versions,
viz., into Greek, is by much the most famous; or, if any other
approaches it in notoriety, it is the Latin translation by St. Jerome,
which, in this one point, enjoys even a superior importance, that
in the Church of Rome it is the authorized translation. Evidently,
in every church, it must be a matter of primary importance to assign
the particular version to which that church appeals, and by which,
in any controversy arising, that church consents to be governed.
Now, the Jerome version fulfils this function for the Romish Church;
and accordingly, in the sense of being published (_vulgata_),
or publicly authorized by that church, it is commonly called _The
Vulgate_.

But, in a large polemic question, unless, like the Romish church,
we uphold a secondary inspiration as having secured a special
privileged translation from the possibility of error, we cannot
refuse an appeal to the Hebrew text for the Old Testament, or to the
Greek text for the New. The word _aeonios_ (αιωηιος),
as purely Grecian, could not connect itself with the Old Testament,
unless it were through the Septuagint translation into Greek.
Now, with that version, in any case of controversy, none of us,
Protestants alike or Roman Catholics, have anything whatever to do.
Controversially, we _can_ be concerned only with the original
language of the Scriptures, with its actual verbal expressions
textually produced. To be liable, therefore, to such a textual
citation, any Greek word must belong to the _New_ Testament.
Because, though the word might happen to occur in the Septuagint,
yet, since _that_ is merely a translation, for any of us
who occupy a controversial place, that is, who are bound by the
responsibilities, or who claim the strict privileges of controversy,
the Septuagint has no virtual existence. We should not be at
liberty to allege the Septuagint as any authority, if it happened
to countenance our own views; and, consequently, we could not be
called on to recognise the Septuagint in any case where it should
happen to be against us. I make this preliminary _caveat_, as
not caring whether the word _aeonios_ does or does not occur
in the Septuagint.  Either way, the reader understands that I disown
the authority of that version as in any degree affecting myself.
The word which, forty years ago, moved my disgust by its servile
misinterpretation, was a word proper to the _New_ Testament;
and any sense which it may have received from an Alexandrian Jew
in the third century before Christ, is no more relevant to any
criticism that I am now going to suggest, than is the classical
use of the word _aeon_ (αιων) familiar to the learned in
Sophocles or Euripides.

The reason which gives to this word _aeonian_ what I do not
scruple to call a _dreadful_ importance, is the same reason, and
no other, which prompted the dishonesty concerned in the ordinary
interpretation of this word. The word happened to connect itself--but
_that_ was no practical concern of mine; me it had not biassed
in the one direction, nor should it have biassed any just critic
in the counter, direction--happened, I say, to connect itself with
the ancient dispute upon the _duration_ of future punishments.
What was meant by the _aeonian_ punishments in the next world?
Was the proper sense of the word _eternal_, or was it not?
I, for my part, meddled not, nor upon any consideration could have
been tempted to meddle, with a speculation repellent alike by the
horror and by the hopeless mystery which invest it. Secrets of the
prison-house, so afflicting to contemplate steadily, and so hopeless
of solution, there could be no proper motive for investigating,
unless the investigation promised a great deal more than it could
ever accomplish; and my own feeling as to all such problems is,
that they vulgarize what, left to itself, would take its natural
station amongst the freezing horrors that Shakspeare dismisses with
so potent an expression of awe, in a well-known scene of 'Measure
for Measure.' I reiterate my protest against being in any way
decoyed into the controversy. Perhaps I may have a strong opinion
upon the subject. But, anticipating the coarse discussions into
which the slightest entertainment of such a question would be
every moment approaching, once for all, out of reverential regard
for the dignity of human nature, I beg permission to decline the
controversy altogether.

But does this declinature involve any countenance to a certain
argument which I began by rejecting as abominable? Most certainly
not. That argument runs thus--that the ordinary construction of the
term _aeonian_, as equivalent to _everlasting_, could not
possibly be given up when associated with penal misery, because in
that case, and by the very same act, the idea of eternity must be
abandoned as applicable to the counter-bliss of Paradise. Torment
and blessedness, it was argued, punishment and beatification, stood
upon the same level; the same word it was, the word _aeonian_,
which qualified the duration of either; and, if eternity in the most
rigorous acceptation fell away from the one idea, it must equally
fall away from the other. Well; be it so. But that would not settle
the question. It might be very painful to renounce a long-cherished
anticipation; but the necessity of doing so could not be received
as a sufficient reason for adhering to the old unconditional use of
the word _aeonian_. The argument is--that we must retain the
old sense of _eternal_, because else we lose upon one scale what
we had gained upon the other. But what then? would be the reasonable
man's retort. We are not to accept or to reject a new construction
(if otherwise the more colorable) of the word _aeonian_,
simply because the consequences might seem such as upon the whole
to displease us. We may gain nothing; for by the new interpretation
our loss may balance our gain; and we may prefer the old arrangement.
But how monstrous is all this! We are not summoned as to a choice
of two different arrangements that may suit different tastes, but
to a grave question as to what _is_ the sense and operation
of the word _aeonian_. Let the limitation of the word disturb
our previous estimate of Paradise, grant that it so disturbs that
estimate, not the less all such consequences leave the dispute
exactly where it was; and if a balance of reason can be found for
limiting the extent of the word _aeonian_, it will not be the
less true because it may happen to disturb a crotchet of our own.

Meantime, all this speculation, first and last, is pure nonsense.
_Aeonian_ does not mean _eternal_; neither does it mean
of limited duration; nor would the unsettling of _aeonian_ in
its old use, as applied to punishment, to torment, to misery, &c.,
carry with it any necessary unsettling of the idea in its application
to the beatitudes of Paradise. Pause, reader; and thou, my favored
and privileged reader, that boastest thyself to be unlearned, pause
doubly whilst I communicate my views as to this remarkable word.

What is an _aeon_? In the use and acceptation of the Apocalypse,
it is evidently this, viz., the duration or cycle of existence which
belongs to any object, not individually for itself, but universally
in right of its genus. Kant, for instance, in a little paper which
I once translated, proposed and debated the question as to the age
of our planet the Earth. What did he mean? Was he to be understood
as asking whether the Earth were half a million, two millions, or
three millions of years old? Not at all. The probabilities certainly
lean, one and all, to the assignment of an antiquity greater by
many thousands of times than that which we have most idly supposed
ourselves to extract from Scripture, which assuredly never meant to
approach a question so profoundly irrelevant to the great purposes
of Scripture as any geological speculation whatsoever. But this
was not within the field of Kant's inquiry. What he wished to know
was simply the exact stage in the whole course of her development
which the Earth at present occupies. Is she still in her infancy,
for example, or in a stage corresponding to middle age, or in a
stage approaching to superannuation?  The idea of Kant presupposed
a certain average duration as belonging to a planet of our particular
system; and supposing this known, or discoverable, and that a certain
assignable development belonged to a planet so circumstanced as
ours, then in what particular stage of that development may we, the
tenants of this respectable little planet _Tellus_, reasonably
be conceived to stand?

Man, again, has a certain _aeonian_ life; possibly ranging
somewhere about the period of seventy years assigned in the Psalms.
That is, in a state as highly improved as human infirmity and the
errors of the earth herself, together with the diseases incident to
our atmosphere, &c., could be supposed to allow, possibly the human
race might average seventy years for each individual. This period
would in that case represent the '_aeon_' of the _individual_
Tellurian; but the '_aeon_' of the Tellurian RACE would
probably amount to many millions of our earthly years; and it would
remain an unfathomable mystery, deriving no light at all from the
septuagenarian '_aeon_' of the individual; though between the
two _aeons_ I have no doubt that some secret link of connection
does and must subsist, however undiscoverable by human sagacity.

The crow, the deer, the eagle, &c., are all supposed to be long-lived.
Some people have fancied that in their normal state they tended
to a period of two[Footnote: I have heard the same normal duration
ascribed to the tortoise, and one case became imperfectly known
to myself personally.  Somewhere I may have mentioned the case in
print.  These, at any rate, are the facts of the case: A lady (by
birth a Cowper, of the whig family, and cousin to the poet Cowper;
and, equally with him, related to Dr. Madan, bishop of Peterborough),
in the early part of this century, mentioned to me that, in the palace
at Peterborough, she had for years known as a pet of the household
a venerable tortoise, who bore some inscription on his shell
indicating that, from 1638 to 1643, he had belonged to Archbishop
Laud, who (if I am not mistaken) held the bishopric of Peterborough
before he was translated to London, and finally to Canterbury.]
centuries. I myself know nothing certain for or against this
belief; but, supposing the case to be as it is represented, then
this would be the _aeonian_ period of these animals, considered
as individuals. Among trees, in like manner, the oak, the cedar, the
yew, are notoriously of very slow growth, and their _aeonian_
period is unusually long as regards the individual.  What may be
the _aeon_ of the whole species is utterly unknown. Amongst
birds, one species at least has become extinct in our own generation:
its _aeon_ was accomplished. So of all the fossil species
in zoology, which Palaeontology has revealed. Nothing, in short,
throughout universal nature, can for a moment be conceived to have
been resigned to accident for its normal _aeon_. All periods
and dates of this order belong to the certainties of nature, but
also, at the same time, to the mysteries of Providence. Throughout
the Prophets, we are uniformly taught that nothing is more below
the grandeur of Heaven than to assign earthly dates in fixing either
the revolutions or the duration of great events such as prophecy
would condescend to notice. A day has a prophetic meaning, but
what sort of day? A mysterious expression for a time which has no
resemblance to a natural day--sometimes comprehending long successions
of centuries, and altering its meaning according to the object
concerned. 'A time,' and 'times,' or 'half a time'--'aeon_,'
or '_aeons_ of _aeons_'--and other variations of this prophetic
language (so full of dreadful meaning, but also of doubt
and perplexity), are all significant. The peculiar grandeur of such
expressions lies partly in the dimness of the approximation to any
attempt at settling their limits, and still more in this, that the
conventional character, and consequent meanness of ordinary human
dates, are abandoned in the celestial chronologies.  Hours and days,
or lunations and months, have no true or philosophic relation to
the origin, or duration, or periods of return belonging to great
events, or revolutionary agencies, or vast national crimes; but the
normal period and duration of all acts whatever, the time of their
emergence, of their agency, or their reagency, fall into harmony
with the secret proportions of a heavenly scale, when they belong
by mere necessity of their own internal constitution to the vital
though hidden motions that are at work in their own life and
manifestation. Under the old and ordinary view of the apocalyptic
_aeon_, which supposed it always to mean the same period
of time--mysterious, indeed, and uncertain, as regards _our_
knowledge, but fixed and rigorously certain in the secret counsels
of God--it was presumed that this period, if it lost its character
of infinity when applied to evil, to criminality, or to punishment,
must lose it by a corresponding necessity equally when applied
to happiness and the golden aspects of hope. But, on the contrary,
every object whatsoever, every mode of existence, has its own
separate and independent _aeon_. The most thoughtless person
must be satisfied, on reflection, even apart from the express commentary
upon this idea furnished by the Apocalypse, that every life and
mode of being must have hidden within itself the secret _why_
of its duration. It is impossible to believe of _any_ duration
whatever that it is determined capriciously. Always it rests upon
some ground, ancient as light and darkness, though undiscoverable
by man. This only is discoverable, as a general tendency, that
the _aeon_, or generic period of evil, is constantly towards
a fugitive duration. The _aeon_, it is alleged, must always
express the same idea, whatever _that_ may be; if it is less
than eternity for the evil cases, then it must be less for the good
ones. Doubtless the idea of an _aeon_ is in one sense always
uniform, always the same, viz., as a tenth or a twelfth is always
the same. Arithmetic could not exist if any caprice or variation
affected these ideas--a tenth is always hiore than an eleventh,
always less than a ninth. But this uniformity of ratio and proportion
does not hinder but that a tenth may now represent a guinea, and
next moment represent a thousand guineas. The exact amount of the
duration expressed by an _aeon_ depends altogether upon the
particular subject which yields the _aeon_. It is, as I have
said, a radix; and, like an algebraic square-root or cube-root,
though governed by the most rigorous laws of limitation, it must
vary in obedience to the nature of the particular subject whose
radix it forms.

Reader, I take my leave. I have been too loitering.  I know it, and
will make such efforts in future to cultivate the sternest brevity
as nervous distress will allow.  Meantime, as the upshot of my
speculation, accept these three propositions:--

A. That man (which is in effect _every_ man hitherto,)
who allows himself to infer the eternity of evil from the counter
eternity of good, builds upon the mistake of assigning a stationary
and mechanic value to the idea of an _aeon;_ whereas the very
purpose of Scripture in using this word was to evade such a value.
The word is always varying, for the very purpose of keeping it
faithful to a spiritual identity. The period or duration of every
object _would_ be an essentially variable quantity, were it
not mysteriously commensurate to the inner nature of that object as
laid open to the eyes of God. And thus it happens, that everything
in this world, possibly without a solitary exception has its own
separate _aeon_: how many entities, so many _aeons_.

B. But if it be an excess of blindness which can overlook the
_aeonian_ differences amongst even neutral entities, much
deeper is that blindness which overlooks the separate tendencies
of things evil and things good.  Naturally, all evil is fugitive
and allied to death.

C. I separately, speaking for myself only, profoundly believe that
the Scriptures ascribe absolute and metaphysical eternity to one
sole Being, viz., to God; and derivatively to all others according to
the interest which they can plead in God's favor. Having anchorage
in God, innumerable entities may possibly be admitted to a participation
in divine _aeon_. But what interest in the favor of God can
belong to falsehood, to malignity, to impurity? To invest _them_
with _aeonian_ privileges, is in effect, and by its results,
to distrust and to insult the Deity. Evil would _not_ be evil,
if it had that power of self-subsistence which is imputed to it in
supposing its _aeonian_ life to be co-eternal with that which
crowns and glorifies the good.



JUDAS ISCARIOT.

[1852.]


Everything connected with our ordinary conceptions of this man, of
his real purposes, and of his ultimate fate, apparently is erroneous.
That neither any motive of his, nor any ruling impulse, was tainted
with the vulgar treachery imputed to him, appears probable from the
strength of his remorse. And this view of his case comes recommended
by so much of internal plausibility, that in Germany it has long
since shaped itself into the following well-known hypothesis:--Judas
Iscariot, it is alleged, participated in the common delusion of
the apostles as to that earthly kingdom which, under the sanction
and auspices of Christ, they supposed to be waiting and ripening
for the Jewish people.  So far there was nothing in Judas to warrant
any special wonder or any special blame. If _he_ erred, so did
the other apostles. But in one point Judas went further than his
brethren, viz., in speculating upon the _reasons_ of Christ
for delaying the inauguration of this kingdom.  All things were
apparently ripe for it; all things pointed to it; the expectation
and languishing desires of many Hebrew saints; the warning from
signs; the prophetic alarms and kindling signals raised aloft by
heralds like the Baptist; the fermentation of revolutionary doctrines
all over Judea; the passionate impatience of the Roman yoke; the
continual openings of new convulsions and new opportunities at the
great centre of Rome; the insurrectionary temper of Jewish society,
as indicated by the continual rise of robber leaders, that drew
off multitudes into the neighboring deserts; and, universally, the
unsettled mind of the Jewish nation. These explosive materials had
long been accumulated; they needed only a kindling spark. Heavenly
citations to war had long been felt in the insults and aggressions
of paganism; there wanted only a leader. And such a leader, if he
would but consent to assume that office, stood ready in the founder
of Christianity. The supreme qualifications for leadership, as
revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, were evident to all parties
in the Jewish community, and not merely to the religious body of
his own immediate followers. These qualifications were published
and expounded to the world in the facility with which everywhere
he drew crowds about himself,[Footnote: As connected with these
crowds, I have elsewhere noticed, many years ago, the secret reason
which probably governed our Saviour in cultivating the character
and functions of a _hakim_, or physician. Throughout the whole
world of civilization at that era [ή οίχουμειη], whatever
might be otherwise the varieties of the government, there was
amongst the ruling authorities a great jealousy of mobs and popular
gatherings. To a grand revolutionary teacher, no obstacle so fatal
as this initial prejudice could have offered itself.  Already, in
the first place, a new and mysterious body of truth, having vast
and illimitable relations to human duties and prospects, presented
a field of indefinite alarm. That this truth should in the second
place publish itself, not through books and written discourses,
but orally, by word of mouth, and by personal communication between
vast mobs and the divine teacher--already _that_, as furnishing
a handle of influence to a mob-leader, justified a preliminary
alarm. But then, thirdly, as furnishing a plea for bringing crowds
together, such a mode of teaching must have crowned the suspicious
presumptions against itself. One peril there was at any rate to begin
with--the peril of a mob: _that_ was certain. And, secondly,
there was the doctrine taught: which doctrine was mysterious and
uncertain; and in that uncertainty lay another peril. So that, equally
through what was fixed and what was doubtful, there arose that
'fear of change' which by authentic warrant 'perplexes monarchs.']
in the extraordinary depth of impression which attended his teaching,
and in the fear as well as hatred which possessed the Jewish rulers
against him.  Indeed, had it not been for the predominance of the
Roman element in the government of Judea, it is pretty certain that
Christ would have been crushed in an earlier stage in his career.

Believing, therefore, as Judas did, that Christ contemplated the
establishment of a temporal kingdom--the restoration, in fact, of
David's throne; believing, also, that all the conditions towards
the realization of such a scheme met and centred in the person
of Christ, when viewed in relation to the circumstances of the
times; what was it that, upon any solution intelligible to Judas,
neutralized so grand a scene of promise?  Simply and obviously,
to a man with the views of Judas, it was the character of Christ
himself, sublimely over-gifted for purposes of speculation, but,
like Shakspeare's great creation of Prince Hamlet, not commensurately
endowed for the business of action and the sudden emergencies of
life. Indecision and doubt (such was the interpretation of Judas)
crept over the faculties of the Divine Man as often as he was
summoned away from his own natural Sabbath of heavenly contemplation
to the gross necessities of action. It became important, therefore,
according to the views adopted by Judas, that his master should be
_precipitated_ into action by a force from without, and thrown
into the centre of some popular movement, such as, once beginning
to revolve, could not afterwards be suspended or checked.  It is
by no means improbable that this may have been the theory of Judas.
Nor is it at all necessary to seek for the justification of such
a theory, considered as a matter of prudential policy, in Jewish
fanaticism. The Jews of thai day were distracted by internal schisms.
Else, and with any benefit from national unity, the headlong rapture
of Jewish zeal, when combined in vindication of their insulted
temple and temple-worship, would have been equal to the effort of
dislodging the Roman legionary force for the moment from the military
possession of Palestine. After which, although the restoration of
the Roman supremacy could not ultimately have been evaded, it is
not at all certain that a compromise might not have been welcome at
Rome, such as had, in fact, existed under Herod the Great and his
father.[Footnote: It was a tradition which circulated at Rome down
to the days of the Flavian family, that the indulgence conceded to
Judea by the imperial policy from Augustus downwards, arose out of
the following little diplomatic secret:--On the rise of the Parthian
power, ambassadors had been sent to Antipater, the father of Herod,
offering the Parthian alliance and support. At the same moment
there happened to be at Jerusalem a Roman agent, having a mission
from the Roman Government with exactly the same objects. The question
was most solemnly debated, for it was obvious, that ultimately this
question touched the salvation of the kindgom, since to accept an
alliance with either empire, would be to _insure_ the bitter
hostility of the other.  With that knowledge fully before his mind,
Antipater made his definitive election for Rome. The case transpired
at Rome--the debate, and the issue of the debate--and eventually
proved worth a throne to the Herodian family; for the honor of Rome
seemed to be concerned in supporting the man who, in this sort of
judgment of Paris, had solemnly awarded the prize of superiority
to the remoter potentate.] The radical power, in fact, would have
been lodged in Rome; but with such external concessions to Jewish
nationality as might have consulted the real interests of both
parties. Administered under Jewish names, the land might have
yielded a larger revenue than, as a refractory nest of insurgents,
it ever _did_ yield to the Roman exchequer; and, on the
other hand, a ferocious bigotry, which was really sublime in its
indomitable obstinacy, might have been humored without prejudice
to the grandeur of the _imperial_ claims. Even little Palmyra
in later times was indulged to a greater extent without serious
injury in any quarter, had it not been for the feminine arrogance
that misinterpreted and abused that indulgence.

The miscalculation, in fact, of Judas Iscariot--supposing him really
to have entertained the views ascribed to him--did not hinge at all
upon political oversights, but upon a total spiritual blindness; in
which blindness, however, he went no farther than at the time did
probably most of his brethren. Upon _them_, quite as little
as upon _him_, had as yet dawned the true grandeur of the
Christian scheme. In this only he outran his brethren--that, sharing
in their blindness, he greatly exceeded them in presumption. All
alike had imputed to their Master views utterly irreconcilable with
the grandeur of his new and heavenly religion. It was no religion
at all which they as yet supposed to be the object of Christ's
teaching, but a simple preparation for a pitiably vulgar scheme of
earthly aggrandizement.  But, whilst the other apostles had simply
failed to comprehend their master, Judas had presumptuously assumed
that he comprehended the purposes of Christ more fully than Christ
himself. His object was audacious in a high degree, but (according
to the theory which I am explaining) for that very reason not
treacherous at all. The more that he was liable to the reproach
of audacity, the less can he be suspected of perfidy. He supposed
himself executing the very innermost purposes of Christ, but with
an energy which it was the characteristic infirmity of Christ to
want.  His hope was, that, when at length actually arrested by the
Jewish authorities, Christ would no longer vacillate; he would be
forced into giving the signal to the populace of Jerusalem, who
would then have risen unanimously, for the double purpose of placing
Christ at the head of an insurrectionary movement, and of throwing
off the Roman yoke. As regards the worldly prospects of this scheme,
it is by no means improbable that Iscariot was right. It seems,
indeed, altogether impossible that he, who (as the treasurer of
the apostolic fraternity) had in all likelihood the most of worldly
wisdom, and was best acquainted with the temper of the times, could
have made any gross blunder as to the wishes and secret designs
of the populace in Jerusalem.[Footnote: Judas, not less than the
other apostles, had doubtless been originally chosen, upon the
apparent ground of superior simplicity and unworldliness, or else
of superior zeal in testifying his obedience to the wishes of his
Master.  But the other eleven were probably exposed to no special
temptation:  Judas, as the purse-bearer, _was_.  His official
duty must have brought him every day into minute and circumstantial
communication with an important order of men, viz., petty shop-keepers.
In all countries alike, these men fulfil a great political function.
Beyond all others, they are brought into the most extensive
connection with the largest _stratum_ by far in the composition
of society.  They receive, and with dreadful fidelity they give back,
all jacobinical impulses.  They know thoroughly in what channels,
under any call arising for action, these impulses are at any time
moving.  They are always kept up _au courant_ of the interior
councils and ultimate objects of the most national, and, in one
sense, the most powerful body in the whole community. Consciousness,
which such men always have, of deep incorruptible fidelity to their
mother-land, and to her interests, however ill understood, ennobles
their politics, even when otherwise base. They are corrupters in
a service that never can be utterly corrupt. They have therefore a
power to win attention from virtuous men; and, being known to speak
a representative language, they would easily, in a land so agitated
and unreconciled, so wild, stormy, and ignorant as Judea, kindle
in stirring minds the most worldly contagions as to principle and
purpose: on the one hand, kept through these men in vital sympathy
with the restless politics of the insurrectionist populace--on the
other, hearing a sublime philosophy that rested for its key-note
upon the advent of vast revolutions among men--what wonder that
Judas should connect his daily experience by an imaginary synthesis?]
This populace, however, not being backed by any strong section of
the aristocracy, having no confidence again in any of the learned
bodies connected with the great service of their national temple,
and having no leaders, were apparently dejected, and without unity.
The probability, meantime, is, that some popular demonstration would
have been made on behalf of Christ, had he himself offered it any
encouragement.  But we, who know the incompatibility of any such
encouragement with the primary purpose of Christ's mission upon
earth, know of necessity that Judas, and the populace on which
he relied, must equally and simultaneously have found themselves
undeceived for ever. In an instant of time one grand decisive word
and gesture of Christ must have put an end peremptorily to all
hopes of that kind. In that brief instant, enough was made known
to Judas for final despair.  Whether he had ever drunk profoundly
enough from the cup of spiritual religion to understand the
full meaning of Christ's refusal; whether he still adhered to his
worldly interpretation of Christ's mission, and simply translated
the refusal into a confession that all was lost, whilst in very
fact all was on the brink of absolute and triumphant consummation,
it is impossible for us, without documents or hints, to conjecture.
Enough is apparent to show that, in reference to any hopes that
could be consolatory for _him_, all was indeed lost. The
kingdom of this world had melted away in a moment like a cloud;
and it mattered little to him that a spiritual kingdom survived,
and that intellectually he might suddenly become aware of it,
if in his heart there were no spiritual organ by which he could
appropriate the new and stunning revelation. Equally he might be
swallowed up by despair in the case of retaining his old worldly
delusions, and finding the ground of his old anticipations suddenly
giving way below his feet, or again in the opposite case of suddenly
correcting his own false constructions of Christ's mission, and
apprehending a far higher purpose; but which purpose, in the very
moment of becoming intelligible, rose into a region far beyond his
own frail fleshly sympathies.  He might read more truly--far more
truly; but what of that, if the new truth were nothing to _him_?
The despondency of Judas might be of two different qualities, more
or less selfish; indeed, I would go so far as to say, selfish or
altogether unselfish. And it is with a view to this question, and
under a persuasion of a wrong done to Judas by gross mistranslation
disturbing the Greek text, that I entered at all upon this little
memorandum. Else what I have hitherto been attempting to explain
(excepting only the part relating to the _hakim_, which is
entirely my own suggestion) belongs to German writers. The whole
construction of Iscariot's conduct, as arising, not out of perfidy,
but out of his sincere belief that some quickening impulse was
called for by a morbid feature in Christ's temperament--all this I
believe was originally due to the Germans; and it is an important
correction, for it must always be important to recall within the
fold of Christian forgiveness any one who has long been sequestered
from human charity, and has tenanted a Pariah grave. In the greatest
and most memorable of earthly tragedies, Judas is a prominent
figure. So long as the earth revolves, he cannot be forgotten. If,
therefore, there is a doubt affecting his case, he is entitled to
the benefit of that doubt; and if he has suffered to any extent--if
simply to the extent of losing a palliation, or the shadow of
a palliation--by means of a false translation from the Greek, we
ought not to revise or mitigate his sentence merely, but to dismiss
him from the bar. The Germans make it a question--in what spirit
Iscariot lived? _My_ question is--how he died? If he were a
traitor at last, in that case he was virtually a traitor always.
If he perpetrated treason in the last hours of his connection,
with Christ, and even a mercenary treason, then he must have been
dallying with the purpose of treason during all the hours of his
apostleship. If, in reality, when selling his master for money,
he meant to betray him, and regarded the money as the commensurate
motive for betraying him, then his case will assume a very different
aspect from that impressed upon it by the German construction of
the circumstances.

The _life_ of Judas, and the _death_ of Judas, taken
apart, or taken jointly, each separately upon independent grounds,
or both together upon common grounds, are open to doubts and
perplexities. And possibly the double perplexities, if fully before
us, might turn out to be self-neutralized. Taking them jointly, we
might ask--Were they, this life and this death, to be regarded as
a common movement on behalf of a deep and heart-fretting Hebrew
patriotism, which was not the less sincere, because it ran headlong
into the unamiable form of rancorous rationality and inhuman bigotry?
Were they a wild degeneration from a principle originally noble?
Or, on the contrary, this life and this death, were they alike the
expression of a base mercenary selfishness, caught and baffled in
the meshes of its own chicanery? The life, if it could be appreciated
in its secret principles, might go far to illustrate the probable
character of the death. The death, if its circumstances were
recoverable, and could be liberated from the self-contradictory
details in the received report, might do something to indicate
retrospectively the character and tenor of that life. The life of
Judas, under a German construction of it, as a spasmodic effort
of vindictive patriotism and of rebellious ambition, noble by
possibility, though erring and worldly-minded, when measured by a
standard so exalted as that of Christianity, would infer (as its
natural sequel) a death of fierce despair. Read under the ordinary
construction as a life exposed to temptations that were petty,
and frauds that were always mercenary, it could not reasonably be
supposed to furnish any occasion for passions upon so great a scale
as those which seem to have been concerned in the tragical end of
Judas, whether the passions were those of remorse and penitential
anguish, or of personal disappointment. Leaving, however, to the
Germans, the task of conjecturally restering its faded lineaments
to this mysterious record of a crime that never came before any
human tribunal, my own purpose is narrower. I seek to recall and
to recombine the elements, not of the Iscariot's life, nor of his
particular offence, but simply of his death.

The reader is probably aware, that there has always been an obscurity,
or even a perplexity, connected with the death of Iscariot. Two
only out of the entire five documents, which record the rise and
early history of Christianity, have circumstantially noticed this
event.  Mark, Luke, and John, leave it undescribed. St. Matthew
and the Acts of the Apostles have bequeathed to us a picturesque
account of it, which, to my own belief, has been thoroughly
misunderstood; and, once _being_ misunderstood, naturally
enough has been interpreted as something fearfully preternatural.
The crime, though great, of Iscariot has probably been much
exaggerated. It was the crime of signal and earthly presumption,
seeking not to thwart the purposes of Christ, or to betray them,
but to promote them by means utterly at war with their central
spirit. As far as can be judged, it was an attempt to forward the
counsels of God by weapons borrowed from the armory of darkness.
The crime being once misapprehended as a crime, without a name or
a precedent, it was inevitable that the punishment, so far as it
was expounded by the death of the criminal, should, in obedience
to this first erroneous preconception, be translated into something
preternatural. To a mode of guilt which seemed to have no parallel,
it was reasonable enough that there should be apportioned a death
which allowed of no medical explanation.[Footnote: In neutral
points, having no relation to morals or religious philosophy, it
is not concealed by the scriptural records themselves, that even
inspired persons made grave mistakes. All the apostles, it is
probable, or with the single exception of St. John, shared in the
mistake about the second coming of Christ, as an event immediately
to be looked for. With respect to diseases, again, it is evident that
the apostles, in common with all Jews, were habitually disposed to
read in them distinct manifestations of heavenly wrath. In blindness,
for instance, or, again, in death from the fall of a tower, they
read, as a matter of course, a plain expression of the divine
displeasure pointed at an individual. That they should even pause
so far as to make a doubt whether the individual or his parents
were the object of this displeasure, arose only from the absolute
coercion to so much reserve as this which was continually obtruding
itself in the cases where innocent infants were the sufferers. This,
in fact, was a prejudice inalienable from their Jewish training;
and as it would unavoidably lead oftentimes to judgments not only
false but also uncharitable, it received, on more occasions than
one, a stern rebuke from Christ himself. In the same spirit, it is
probable that the symptoms attending death were sometimes erroneously
reported as preternatural, when, in fact, such as every hospital
could match.  The death of the first Herod was regarded by the
early Christians universally as a judicial expression of God's wrath
to the author of the massacre at Bethlehem, though in reality the
symptoms were such as often occur in obstinate derangements of
the nervous system. Indeed, as to many features, the malady of the
French king, Charles IX., whose nervous system had been shattered
by the horrors of the St. Bartholomew massacre, very nearly resembled
it; with such differences as might be looked for between an old,
ruined constitution, such as Herod's, and one so youthful as that
of Charles. In the Acts of the Apostles, again, the grandson of Herod
(Herod Agrippa) is evidently supposed to have died by a judicial
and preternatural death, whereas apparently one part of his malady
was the _morbus pedicularis_--cases of which I have myself
circumstantially known in persons of all ranks; one, for instance,
being that of a countess enormously rich, and the latest a female
servant.]

This demur, moreover, of obscurity was not the only one raised
against the death of Judas: there was a separate objection--that
it was inconsistent with itself. He was represented, in the ordinary
modern versions, as dying by a double death--viz., 1st, by a
suicidal death: '_he went and hanged himself_'--this is the
brief account of his death given by St. Matthew; but, 2d, by a death
_not_ suicidal: in the Acts of the Apostles, we have a very
different account of his death, not suggesting suicide at all, and
otherwise describing it as mysteriously complex; that is, presenting
us with various circumstances of the case, none of which, in the
common vernacular versions (English and Continental), is at all
intelligible. The elements in the case are three: that he 'fell
down headlong;' that he 'burst asunder in the middle;' and that 'his
bowels gushed out'--the first of these elements being unintelligible
in the English expression of it, and the two others being purely
and blankly impossible.  These objections to the particular mode
of that catastrophe which closed the career of Judas, had been felt
pretty generally in the Christian church, and probably from the
earliest times; and the more so on account of that deep obscurity
which rested upon the nature of his offence. That a man, who had
been solemnly elected into the small band of the apostles, should
so far wander from his duty as to incur forfeiture of his great
office--this was in itself sufficiently dreadful, and a shocking
revival to the human imagination of that eldest amongst all
traditions--a tradition descending to us from what date we know not,
nor through what channel of original communication--the possibility
that even into the heaven of heavens, and amongst the angelic hosts,
rebellion against God, long before man and human frailty existed,
should have crept by some way metaphysically inconceivable. What
search could be sufficient, where even the eye of Christ had failed
to detect any germ of evil? Still, though the crime of Judas had
doubtless been profound,[Footnote: In measuring which, however,
the reader must not allow himself to be too much biassed by the
_English_ phrase, 'son of _perdition._' This, and the phrase which
we translate 'damnation,' have been alike colored unavoidably by
the particular intensity of the feeling associated with our
English use of the words. Now, one great difficulty in translating
is to find words that even as to mere logical elements correspond
to the original text. Even _that_ is often a trying problem. But
to find also such words as shall graduate and adjust their depth
of feeling to the scale of another language, and that language
a dead language, is many times beyind all reach of human skill.]
and evidently to me it had been the intention of the early
church to throw a deep pall of mystery over its extent--charity,
that unique charity which belongs to Christianity, as being the sole
charity ever preached to men, which 'hopeth all things,' inclined
through every age the hearts of musing readers to suspend their
verdict where the Scriptures had themselves practised some reserve,
and (were it only by the extreme perplexity of its final and revised
expressions) had left an opening, if not almost an invitation, to
doubt. The doubt was left by the primitive church where Scripture
had left it. There was not any absolute necessity that this should
ever be cleared up to man. But it was felt from the very first that
some call was made upon the church to explain and to harmonize the
apparently contradictory expressions used in what may be viewed as
the _official_ report of the one memorable domestic tragedy in
the infant stage of the Christian history. _Official_ I call
it, as being in a manner countersigned by the whole confederate
church, when proceeding to their first common act in filling up
the vacancy consequent upon the transgression of Judas, whereas
the account of St.  Matthew pleaded no authority but his own. And
_domestic_ I call the tragedy, in prosecution of that beautiful
image under which a father of our English church has called the twelve
apostles, when celebrating the paschal feast, 'the _family_ of
Christ.'[Footnote: for the reader must not forget that the original
meaning of the Latin word _familia_ was the sum total of the
_famuli_. Hence, whenever it is said in an ancient classic
that such or such a man had a large family, or that he was kind to
his family, or was loved by his family, always we are to understand
not at all his wife and children, but the train and retinue of his
domestic slaves. Now, the relation of the Apostles to their Master,
and the awfulness of their dependency upon him, which represented
a golden chain suspending the whole race of man to the heavens
above, justified, in the first place, that form of expression which
should indicate the humility and loyalty that is owned by servants
to a lord; whilst, on the other hand, the tenderness involved in
the relations expressed by the English word _family_, redressed
what would else have been too austere in the idea, and recomposed
the equilibrium between the two forces of reverential awe and of
childlike love which are equally indispensable to the orbicular
perfection of Christian duty.]

This early essay of the church to harmonize the difficult expressions
employed in the Acts of the Apostles--an essay which, therefore,
recognises at once the fact that these expressions really _were_
likely to perplex the simple-hearted, and not merely such readers
as systematically raised cavils--was brought forward in the earliest
era of the church, and under the sanction of the very highest
authority, viz., by one who sat at the feet of the beloved apostle;
by one, therefore, who, if he had not seen Christ, had seen
familiarly him in whom Christ most confided.  But I will report the
case in the words of that _golden-mouthed_ rhetorician, that
_Chrysostom_ of the English Church, from whose lips all truth
came mended, and who, in spite of Shakespeare himself, found it
possible


  'To gild refined gold, to paint the lily.
  And add another perfume to the violet.'


The following is the account given by Jeremy Taylor of the whole
history, in so far as it affects the Scripture report of what Judas
did, and what finally he suffered:--'Two days before the passover,
the Scribes and Pharisees called a council to contrive crafty ways
[Footnote: Otherwise, it must naturally occur to every reader--What
powers could Judas furnish towards the arrest of Jesus beyond what
the authorities in Jerusalem already possessed?  But the bishop
suggests that the dilemma was this:--By day it was unsafe to seize
him, such was the veneration of the populace for his person. If
done at all, it must be done during the darkness. But, precisely
during those hours, Christ withdrew into solitudes known only to
his disciples. So that to corrupt one of these was the preliminary
step to the discovery of that secret.] of destroying Jesus, they
not daring to do it by open violence. Of which meeting, when Judas
Iscariot had notice (for those assemblies were public and notorious)
he ran from Bethany, and offered himself to betray his Master to
them, if they would give him a considerable reward. They agreed for
thirty pieces of silver.' In a case so memorable as this, nothing
is or can be trivial; and even that curiosity is not unhallowed which
has descended to inquire what sum, at that era of Jewish history,
this expression might indicate. The bishop replies thus:--'Of what
value each piece was, is uncertain; but their own nation hath given
a rule, that, when a piece of silver is named in the Pentateuch,
it signifies a _sicle_; if it be named in the Prophets,
it signifies a _pound_; if in the other writings of the Old
Testament, it signifies a _talent_.' For this, besides other
less familiar authority, there is cited the well-known Arius Montanus,
in the Syro-Chaldaic dictionary. It is, however, self-evident that
any service open to Judas would have been preposterously overpaid
by thirty talents, a sum which exceeded five thousand pounds
sterling. And since this particular sum had originally rested on the
authority of a prophet, cited by one of the evangelists,[Footnote:
Viz., St. Matthew. Upon which the bishop notices the error which
had crept into the prevailing text of Jeremias instead of Zecharias.
But in the fourth century, some copies had already corrected this
reading; which, besides, had a traditional excuse in the proverbial
saying that the spirit of Jeremiah had settled and found a
resting-place in Zecharias.] 'it is probable,' proceeds the bishop,
'that the price at which Judas sold his lord was thirty pounds
weight of silver [that is, about ninety guineas sterling in English
money]--a goodly price for the Saviour of the world to be prized
at by his undiscerning and unworthy countrymen.' Where, however,
the learned writer makes a slight oversight in logic, since it was
not precisely Christ that was so valued--this prisoner as against
the certain loss of this prisoner--but simply this particular mode
of contending with the difficulty attached to his apprehension, so
that, in the worst case, this opportunity lost might be replaced by
other opportunities; and the price, therefore, was not calculated
as it would have been under one solitary chance.

The bishop then proceeds with the rehearsal of all the circumstances
connected with the pretended trial of Christ; and coming in the
process of his narrative to the conduct of Judas on learning the
dreadful turn which things were taking (conduct which surely argues
that he had anticipated a most opposite catastrophe), he winds
up the case of the Iscariot in the following passage--'When Judas
heard that they had passed the final and decretory sentence of
death upon his Lord, he, who thought not it would have gone so far,
repented him to have been an instrument of so damnable a machination,
and came and brought the silver which they gave him for hire,
threw it in amongst them, and said, 'I have sinned in betraying the
innocent blood.' But they, incurious of those hell-torments Judas
felt within him, because their own fires burned not yet, dismissed
him.' I pause for a moment to observe that, in the expression,
'repented him to have been an instrument,' the context shows the
bishop intending to represent Judas as recoiling from the issue of
his own acts, and from so damnable a machination, not because his
better feelings were evoked, as the prospect of ruin to his Master
drew near, and that he shrank from that same thing when taking a
definite shape of fulfilment, which he had faced cheerfully when
at a distance--not at all: the bishop's meaning is--that Judas
recoiled from his own acts at the very instant when he began to
understand their real consequences now solemnly opening upon his
horror-stricken understanding. He had hoped, probably, much from
the Roman interference; and the history itself shows that in this
he had not been at all too sanguine.  Justice has never yet been
done to the conduct of Pilate. That man has little comprehended
the style and manner of the New Testament who does not perceive the
demoniac earnestness of Pilate to effect the liberation of Christ,
or who fails to read the anxiety of the several evangelists to put
on record his profound sympathy with the prisoner. The falsest word
that ever yet was uttered upon any part of the New Testament, is
that sneer of Lord Bacon's at '_jesting_ Pilate.' Pilate was
in deadly earnest from first to last, and retired from his frantic
effort on behalf of Christ, only when his own safety began to
be seriously compromised.  Do the thoughtless accusers of Pilate
fancy that he was a Christian? If not, why, or on what principle,
was he to ruin himself at Rome, in order to favor one he could not
save at Jerusalem? How reasonably Judas had relied upon the Roman
interference, is evident from what actually took place.  Judas
relied, secondly, upon the populace, and that this reliance also
was well warranted, appears from repeated instances of the fear
with which the Jewish rulers contemplated Christ. Why did they fear
him at all? Simply, as he was backed by the people: had it not been
for _their_ support, Christ was no more an object of terror to
them than his herald, the Baptist.  But what I here insist on is
(which else from some expressions the reader might fail to understand),
that Jeremy Taylor nowhere makes the mistake of supposing Judas
to have originally designed the ruin of his Master, and nowhere
understands by his 'repentance' that he felt remorse on coming near
to consequences which from a distance he had welcomed. He admits
clearly that Judas was a traitor only in the sense of seeking
his Master's aggrandizement by methods which placed him in revolt
against that Master, methods which not only involved express and
formal disobedience to that Master, but which ran into headlong
hostility against the spirit of all that he came on earth to effect.
It was the revolt, not of perfidious malignity, but of arrogant
and carnal blindness. In respect to the gloomy termination of the
Iscariot's career, and to the perplexing account of it given in
the Acts of the Apostles, the bishop closes his account thus:--'And
Judas went and hanged himself; and the judgment was made more
notorious and eminent by an unusual accident at such deaths; for
he so swelled, that he burst, and his bowels gushed out. But the
Greek scholiast and some others report out of Papias, St. John's
scholar, that Judas fell from the fig-tree, on which he hanged,
before he was quite dead, and survived his attempt somewhile; being
so sad a spectacle of deformity and pain, and a prodigious tumor,
that his plague was deplorable and highly miserable; till at last
he burst in the very substance of his trunk, as being extended
beyond the possibilities [Footnote: Quaere, whether the true reading
is not more probably 'p_a_ssibilities,' i.e., liabilities to
suffering.] and capacities of nature.'

In this corrected version of Papias, we certainly gain an
intelligible account of what otherwise is far from intelligible,
viz., the _falling headlong_. But all the rest is a dismal heap
of irrationalities; and the single ray of light which is obtained,
viz., the suggestion of the fig-tree as an elevation, which explains
the possibility of a headlong fall, is of itself an argument that
some great disturbance must have happened to the text at this point,
else how could so material a circumstance have silently dropped
out of the narrative? There are passages in every separate book
of the canon, into which accident, or the somnolence of copyists,
has introduced errors seriously disturbing the sense and the
coherence. Many of these have been rectified in the happiest manner
by ingenious suggestions; and a considerable proportion of these
suggestions has been since verified and approved by the discovery
of new manuscripts, or the more accurate collation of old ones.
In the present case, a much slighter change than might be supposed
will suffice to elicit a new and perfect sense from the general
outline of that text which still survives.  First, as to the phrase
'_fell headlong_,' I do not understand it of any fall from
a fig-tree, or from any tree whatever. This fig-tree I regard as
a purely fanciful resource; and evidently an innovation to this
extent ranks amongst those conjectural audacities which shock the
discreet reader, as most unsatisfactory and licentious, because purely
gratuitous, when they rest upon no traces that can be indicated as
still lurking in the present text. _Fell headlong_ may stand
as at present: it needs no change, for it discloses a very good
and sufficient sense, if we understand it figuratively as meaning
that he came to utter and unmitigated ruin, that his wreck was total,
for that, instead of dedicating himself to a life of penitential
sorrow, such as would assuredly have conciliated the divine forgiveness,
the unhappy criminal had rushed out of life by suicide. So far, at
least, all is sound and coherent, and under no further obligations
to change small or great, beyond the reading _that_, in
a metaphorical sense, which, if read (as hitherto) in a literal
sense, would require the very serious interpolation of an imaginary
fig-tree.

What remains is equally simple: the change required involves as
little violence, and the result from this change will appear equally
natural. But a brief preliminary explanation is requisite, in order
to place It advantageously before the reader. The ancients use
the term _bowels_ with a latitude unknown generally to modern
literature, but especially to English literature.  In the midst
of the far profounder passion which distinguishes the English from
all literatures on the modern European continent, it is singular
that a fastidious decorum never sleeps for a moment. It might be
imagined that this fastidiousness would be in the inverse ratio of
the passion: but it is not so. In particular the French, certainly
the literature which ranges at the lowest elevation upon the scale
of passion, nevertheless is often homely, and even gross, in its
recurrences to frank elementary nature. For a lady to describe
herself as laughing _a gorge deployee_, a grossness which with
us, equally on the stage or in real life, would be regarded with
horror, amongst the French attracts no particular attention. Again,
amidst the supposed refinements of French tragedy, and not observe
the coarser tragedy of Corneille, but amidst the more feminine and
polished tragedy of Racine, there is no recoil at all from saying
of such or such a sentiment, '_Il me perce les entrailles'_--it
penetrates my bowels. The Greeks and Romans still more extensively
use the several varieties of expression for _the intestines_,
as a symbolic phraseology for the domestic and social affections.
We English even, fastidious as we are, employ the term bowels as a
natural symbolization for the affections of pity, mercy, or parental
and brotherly affection. At least we do so in recurring to the
simplicities of the scriptural style. But, amongst the Romans, the
word _viscera_ is so naturally representative of the household
affections, that at length it becomes necessary to recall an English
reader to the true meaning of this word.  Through some physiological
prejudice, it is true that the bowels have always been regarded
as the seat of the more tender and sorrowing sympathies. But
the _viscera_ comprehended _all_ the intestines, or (as
the French term them) _les entrailles_. The heart even is a
_viscus_; perhaps in a very large acceptation the brain might
be regarded as a co-viscus with the heart. There is very slight
ground for holding the brain to be the organ of thinking, or the
heart of moral sensibilities, more than the stomach, or the bowels,
or the intestines generally. But waive all this: the Romans
designated the seat of the larger and nobler (_i.e._, the moral)
sensibilities indifferently by these three terms: the _pectus_,
_the prœcordia_, and the _viscera_; as to the _cor_, it
seems to me that it denoted the heart in its grosser and more
animal capacities: 'Molle meum levibus _cor_ est violabile relis;'
it was the seat of sexual passion; but nobler and more reflective
sensibilities inhabited the _pectus_ or _prœcordia_; and
naturally out of these physiologic preconceptions arose corresponding
expressions for wounded or ruined sensibilities. We English,
for instance, insist on the disease of _broken heart_, which
Sterne, in a well-known passage, postulates as a malady not at all
less definite than phthisis, or podagra, though (as he says) not
formally recognised in the bills of mortality.  But it is evident
that a theory which should represent the _viscera_ as occupied
by those functions of the moral sensibilities which _we_
place in the central _viscus_ of the heart, must, in following
out that hypothesis, figure the case of these sensibilities when
utterly ruined under corresponding images. Our 'broken heart' will
therefore to them become ruptured _viscera_, or _prœcordia_
that have burst. To burst in the middle, is simply to be shattered
and ruined in the _central_ organ of our sensibilities, which
is the heart; and in saying that the _viscera_ of Iscariot, or
his middle, had burst and gushed out, the original reporter meant
simply that his heart had broke. That was precisely his case.
Out of pure anguish that the scheme which he meant for the sudden
glorification of his Master, had recoiled (according to all worldly
interpretation) in his utter ruin; that the sudden revolution, through
a democratic movement, which was to raise himself and his brother
apostles into Hebrew princes, had scattered them like sheep without
a shepherd; and that superadded to this common burden of ruin he
personally had to bear a separate load of conscious disobedience
to God and insupportable responsibility; naturally enough out of
all this he fell into fierce despair; his heart broke; and under
that storm of affliction he hanged himself. Here, again, all clears
itself up by the simple substitution of a figurative interpretation
for one grossly physical. All contradiction disappears; not three
deaths assault him, viz., suicide, and also a rupture of the
intestines, and also an unintelligible effusion of the viscera;
but simply suicide, and suicide as the result of that despondency
which was figured under the natural idea of a broken heart. The
incoherences are gone; the contradictions have vanished; and the
gross physical absurdities, which under mistranslation had perplexed
the reverential student, no longer disfigure the Scriptures.

Looking back to the foot-note on the oriental idea of the _hakim_,
as a mask politically assumed by Christ and the evangelists, under
the conviction of its indispensableness to the free propagation of
Christian philosophy, I am induced, for the sake of detaining the
reader's eye a little longer upon a matter so important in the
history of Christianity, if only it may be regarded as true, to
subjoin an extract from a little paper written by myself heretofore,
but not published. I may add these two remarks, viz., first, that
the attribution to St. Luke of this medical character, probably had
its origin in the simple fact, that an assumption made by _all_
the evangelists, and perhaps by all the apostles, had happened
to attract more attention in _him_ from merely local causes.
One or two of the other apostles having pursued their labors of
Propagandism under the _avowed_ character of _hakims_, many others
in the same region would escape special notice in that character,
simply because, as men notoriously ready to plead it, they had not
been challenged to do so by the authorities; whilst others, in
regions where the government had not become familiar with
the readiness to plead such a privilege as part of the apostolic
policy, would be driven into the necessity of actually advancing
the plea, and would thus (like St. Luke) obtain a traditionary claim
to the medical title which in a latent sense had belonged to all,
though all had not been reduced to the necessity of pleading it.
Secondly, I would venture to suggest, that the _Therapeutae_,
or healers, technically so called, who came forward in Egypt during
the generation immediately succeeding to that of Christ, were neither
more nor less than disguised apostles to Christianity, preaching
the same doctrines essentially as Christ, and under the very same
protecting character of _hakims_, but putting forward this
character perhaps more prominently, or even retreating into it
altogether, according to the increasing danger which everywhere
awaited them from the hostile bigotry of expatriated Jews, as they
gradually came to understand the true and anti-national views of
those who called themselves Christians, or Nazarenes, or Galileans.

In short, abstracting altogether from the _hatred_ to Christ,
founded on eternal principles of the enmity between the worldly
and the spiritual, and looking only to the political uneasiness
amongst magistrates which accompanied the early footsteps of
Christianity, one may illustrate it by the parallel feelings which
in our own generation, amongst the Portuguese, for instance, have
dogged the movements of free-masonry. We in England view this panic
as irrational: and amongst ourselves it would be so; for British
free-masonry conceals nothing worse than it professes. But, on the
Continent, it became a mask for shrouding any or every system of
anti-social doctrine, or, again, for playing into the hands of treason
and conspiracy. There was always in the first place a reasonable
fear of secret and perilous doctrines--Communism, for instance,
under some modification, or rancorous Jacobinism. And secondly,
suppose that for the present, or in the existing stage of the secret
society, there really were no esoteric and mischievous doctrine
propagated, there was at any rate the custom established of meeting
together in secret, of corresponding by an alphabet of conventional
signals, and of acting by an impenetrable organization, always
applicable to evil purposes, even where it might not originally
have been so applied.  The machinery which binds together any secret
society, as being always available for evil ends, must inevitably
justify some uneasiness in all political authorities. And, under
those circumstances, the public jealousy must have operated against
the free movement of early Christianity: nothing could have disarmed
it, except some counter-principle so managed, as to insure that
freedom of public meetings which opened the _sine qua non_ channel
for the free propagation of religious truth.  Such a counter-force
was brought into play by Christ on that day when first he offered
himself to Judea as a _hakim_, or popular physician. Under
the shelter of that benign character, at one blow he overthrew an
obstacle that would else infallibly have frozen the very element
in which only any system of novel teaching could attempt to move.
Most diseases were by the Jews invested with more or less of a
supernatural character; and in no department of knowledge was the
immediate illumination from above more signally presumed than in
the treatment of diseases. A physician who was thus divinely guided
in the practice of his art was a _debtor_ to God and to his
fellow-men for the adequate application of so heavenly a gift. And,
if _he_ could not honorably withdraw from the mission with
which God had charged him, far less could politicians and magistrates
under any allegation of public inconveniences presume to obstruct
or to make of none effect the sublime mysteries of art and sagacity
with which the providence of God had endowed an individual for the
relief of suffering humanity; the _hakim_ was a debtor to the
whole body of his afflicted countrymen: but for that very reason he
was also a creditor; a creditor entitled to draw upon the amplest
funds of indulgence; and privileged to congregate his countrymen
wherever he moved. Here opened suddenly a broad avenue to social
intercourse, without which all communication for purposes of religious
teaching would have been sealed against Christ. As a _hakim_,
Christ obtained that unlimited freedom of intercourse with the populace,
which, as a religious proselytizer, he never could have obtained.
Here, therefore, and perhaps by the very earliest exemplification
of the serpent's wisdom and foresight engrafting itself upon the
holy purposes of dovelike benignity, Christ kept open for himself
(and for his disciples in times to come) the freedom of public
communication, and the license of public meetings.  Once announcing
himself, and attesting his own mission as a _hakim_, he
could not be rejected or thwarted as a public oracle of truth and
practical counsel to human weakness. This explains, what else would
have been very obscure, the undue emphasis which Christ allowed
men to place upon his _sanatory_ miracles. His very name in
Greek, viz., Ιησδς, presented him to men under the idea of
the _healer_; but then, to all who comprehended his secret
and ultimate functions, as a healer of unutterable and spiritual
wounds. That usurpation, by which a very trivial function of
Christ's public ministrations was allowed to disturb and sometimes
to eclipse far grander pretensions, carried with it so far an
erroneous impression. But then, on the other hand, seventy-fold
it redeemed that error, by securing (which nothing else could have
secured) the benefit of a perpetual passport to the _religious_
missionary: since, once admitted as a medical counsellor, the
missionary, the _hakim_, obtained an _unlimited_ right of
intercourse.  If medical advice, why not religious advice? And
subsequently, by the continuance of the same _medical_ gifts
to the apostles and their successors, all exercised the same powers,
and benefited by the same privileges as _hakims_.



ON HUME'S ARGUMENT AGAINST MIRACLES.

[1839.]



Hume's argument against miracles is simply this:--Every possible
event, however various in its degree of credibility, must, of
necessity, be more credible when it rests upon a sufficient cause
lying within the field of what is called _nature_, than when
it does not: more credible when it obeys some mechanical cause,
than when it transcends such a cause, and is miraculous.

Therefore, assume the resistance to credibility, in any preternatural
occurrence, as equal to x, and the very ideal or possible value
of human testimony as no more than x, in that case, under the most
favorable circumstances conceivable, the argument for and against
a miracle will be equal; or, expressing the human testimony by x,
affected with the affirmative sign [+x]; and expressing the resistance
to credibility on the other side of the equation, by x, affected
with the negative sign [-x], the two values will, in algebraical
language, destroy each other, and the result will be = 0.

But, inasmuch as this expresses the value of human testimony in its
highest or ideal form, a form which is never realized in experience,
the true result will be different,--there will always be a negative
result= [-y]; much or little according to the circumstances, but
always enough to turn the balance _against_ believing a miracle.

'Or in other words,' said Hume, popularizing his argument, 'it will
always be more credible that the reporter of a miracle should tell
a falsehood, or should himself have been the dupe of appearances,
than that a miracle should have actually occurred--that is, an
infraction of those natural laws (any or all) which compose what we
call experience. For, assume the utmost disinterestedness, veracity,
and sound judgment in the witness, with the utmost advantage in
the circumstances for giving full play to those qualities; even
in such a case the value of affirmative testimony could, at the
very utmost, be equal to the negative value on the other side the
equation: and the result would be, to keep my faith suspended _in
equilibrio_. But in any real case, ever likely to come before
us, the result will be worse; for the affirmative testimony will
be sure to fall in many ways below its ideal maximum; leaving,
therefore, for the final result a considerable excess to the negative
side of the equation.



SECTION II.

OF THE ARGUMENT AS AFFECTED BY THE COVERT LIMITATIONS UNDER WHICH
IT IS PRESENTED.


Such is the Argument: and, as the first step towards investigating
its sanity and its degree--its kind of force, and its quantity of
force, we must direct our attention to the following fact, viz.,
that amongst three separate conditions under which a miracle (or
any event whatever) might become known to us, Hume's argument is
applied only to one. Assuming a miracle to happen (for the possibility
of a miracle is of course left open throughout the discussion,
since any argument against _that_ would at once foreclose
every question about its communicability),--then it might happen
under three several sets of circumstances, in relation to our
consciousness. 1st, It might happen in the presence of a single
witness--that witness not being ourselves. This case let us call Alpha.
2dly, It might happen in the presence of many witnesses,--witnesses
to a vast amount, but still (as before) ourselves not being amongst
that multitude. This case let us call _Beta._ And 3dly, It
might happen in our own presence, and fall within the direct light
of our own consciousness. This case let us call _Gamma._

Now these distinctions are important to the whole extent of the
question. For the 2d case, which is the actual case of many miracles
recorded in the New Testament, at once cuts away a large body of
sources in which either error or deceit could lurk. Hume's argument
supposes the reporter of the miracle to be a dupe, or the maker of
dupes--himself deluded, or wishing to delude others. But, in the
case of the thousands fed from a few loaves and small fishes, the
chances of error, wilful or not wilful, are diminished in proportion
to the number of observers; [Footnote: 'In proportion to the number
of observers.'--Perhaps, however, on the part of Hume, some critical
apologist will say--'Doubtless he was aware of that; but still the
reporters of the miracle were few. No matter how many were present,
the witnesses for us are but the Evangelists.' Yes, certainly,
the Evangelists; and let us add, all those contemporaries to whom
the Evangelists silently appealed. These make up the 'multitude'
contemplated in the second case.]  and Hume's inference as to the
declension of the affirmative _x_, in relation to the negative
_x_, no longer applies, or, if at all, with vastly diminished
force. With respect to the 3d case, it cuts away the whole
argument at once in its very radix. For Hume's argument applies to
the _communication_ of a miracle, and therefore to a case of
testimony. But, wherever the miracle falls within direct personal
cognizance, there it follows that no question can arise about the
value of human testimony.  The affirmative _x_, expressing
the value of testimony, disappears altogether; and that side of
the equation is possessed by a new quantity (viz., ourselves--our
own consciousness) not at all concerned in Hume's argument.

Hence it results, that of three possible conditions under which a
miracle may be supposed to offer itself to our knowledge, two are
excluded from the view of Hume's argument.



SECTION III.

WHETHER THE SECOND OF THESE CONDITIONS IS NOT EXPRESSLY NOTICED BY
HUME.


It may seem so. But in fact it is not. And (what is more to the
purpose) we are not at liberty to consider it any accident that
it is not. Hume had his reasons. Let us take all in proper order:
1st, that it seems so; 2dly, that in fact it is not so; and 3dly,
that is no accident, but intentional.

1st. Hume seems to contemplate such a case, the case of a miracle
witnessed and attested by a multitude of persons, in the following
imaginary miracle which he proposes as a basis for reasoning. Queen
Elizabeth, as every body will remember who has happened to read
Lord Monmouth's Memoirs, died on the night between the last day
of 1602 and the first day of 1603: this could not be forgotten by
the reader, because, in fact, Lord M., who was one of Her Majesty's
nearest relatives (being a younger son of her first cousin Lord
Hunsdon), obtained his title and subsequent preferment as a reward
for the furious ride he performed to Edinburgh (at that time at
least 440 miles distant from London), without taking off his boots,
in order to lay the earliest tidings of the great event at the feet
of her successor. In reality, never did any death cause so much
posting day and night over the high roads of Europe. And the same
causes which made it so interesting has caused it to be the best
dated event in modern history; that one which could least be shaken
by any discordant evidence yet discoverable. Now, says Hume, imagine
the case, that, in spite of all this chronological precision--this
precision, and this notoriety of precision--Her Majesty's
court physicians should have chosen to propagate a story of her
resurrection.  Imagine that these learned gentlemen should have
issued a _bulletin_, declaring that Queen Elizabeth had been
met in Greenwich Park, or at Nonsuch, on May-day of 1603, or in
Westminster, two years after, by the Lord Chamberlain when detecting
Guy Faux--let them even swear it before twenty justices of the
peace; I for one, says Hume, am free to confess that I would not
believe them. No, nor, to say the truth, would we; nor would we
advise our readers to believe them.

2dly. Here, therefore, it would seem as if Hume were boldly pressing
his principles to the very uttermost--that is, were challenging a
miracle as untenable, though attested by a multitude. But, in fact,
he is not. He only seems to do so; for, if no number of witnesses
could avail anything in proof of a miracle, why does he timidly
confine himself to the hypothesis of the queen's physicians only
coming forward? Why not call in the whole Privy Council?--or the Lord
Mayor and Common Council of London--the Sheriffs of Middlesex--and
the Twelve Judges? As to the court physicians, though three or
four nominally, virtually they are but one man. They have a common
interest, and in two separate ways they are liable to a suspicion
of collusion: first, because the same motives which act upon
one probably act upon the rest. In this respect, they are under a
_common_ influence; secondly, because, if not the motives, at
any rate the physicians themselves, act upon each other. In this
respect, they are under a _reciprocal_ influence. They are to
be reasoned about as one individual.

3dly. As Hume could not possibly fail to see all this, we may
be sure that his choice of witnesses was not accidental. In fact,
his apparent carelessness is very discreet management. His object
was, under the fiction of an independent multitude, to smuggle in
a virtual unity; for his court physicians are no plural body in
effect and virtue, but a mere pleonasm and a tautology.

And in good earnest, Hume had reason enough for his caution. How
much or how little testimony would avail to establish a resurrection
in any neutral [Footnote: By a neutral case is meant, 1st, one in
which there is no previous reason from a great doctrine requiring
such an event for its support, to expect a resurrection; 2dly, a
case belonging to a period of time in which it is fully believed
that miraculous agency has ceased.] case few people would be willing
to pronounce off-hand, and, above all, on a fictitious case. Prudent
men, in such circumstances, would act as the judges in our English
courts, who are always displeased if it is attempted to elicit their
opinions upon a point of law by a proposed fiction. And very reasonably;
for in these fictitious cases all the little circumstances of reality
are wanting, and the oblique relations to such circumstances, out
of which it is that any sound opinion can be formed. We all know
very well what Hume is after in this problem of a resurrection.
And his case of Queen Elizabeth's resurrection being a perfectly
fictitious case, we are at liberty to do any one of three different
things:--either simply to refuse an answer; or, 2dly, to give such
an answer as he looks for, viz., to agree with him in his disbelief
under the supposed contingency; without, therefore, offering the
slightest prejudice to any scriptural case of resurrection: i.
e., we might go along with him in his premises, and yet balk him
of his purpose; or, 3dly, we might even join issue with him, and
peremptorily challenge his verdict upon his own fiction. For it
is singular enough, that a modern mathematician of eminence (Mr.
Babbage) has expressly considered this very imaginary question of
a resurrection, and he pronounces the testimony of _seven_
witnesses, competent and veracious, and presumed to have no bias,
as sufficient to establish such a miracle.  Strip Hume's case of
the ambiguities already pointed out--suppose the physicians really
separate and independent witnesses--not a corporation speaking by
one organ--it will then become a mere question of degree between
the philosopher and the mathematician--seven witnesses? or fifty?
or a hundred? For though none of us (not Mr. Babbage, we may be sure)
seriously believes in the possibility of a resurrection occurring
in these days, as little can any of us believe in the possibility
that seven witnesses, of honor and sagacity (but say seven hundred)
could be found to attest such an event when not occurring.

But the useful result from all this is, that Mr. Hume is evidently
aware of the case _Beta_, (of last Sect.) as a distinct case
from _Alpha_ or from _Gamma_, though he affects blindness:
he is aware that a multitude of competent witnesses, no matter
whether seven or seven hundred, is able to establish that which a
single witness could not; in fact, that increasing the number of
witnesses is able to compensate increasing incredibility in the
subject of doubt; that even supposing this subject a resurrection from
the dead, there may be assigned a quantity of evidence (_x_)
greater than the resistance to the credibility. And he betrays
the fact, that he has one eye open to his own Jesuitism by palming
upon us an apparent multitude for a real one, thus drawing all the
credit he can from the name of a multitude, and yet evading the
force which he strictly knew to be lodged in the thing; seeking the
reputation of the case _Beta_, but shrinking from its hostile
force.



SECTION IV.

OF THE ARGUMENT AS AFFECTED BY A CLASSIFICATION OF MIRACLES.


Let us now inquire whether Hume's argument would be affected by
the differences in miracles upon the most general distribution of
their kinds.

Miracles may be classed generally as inner or outer.

I. The inner, or those which may be called miracles for the
individual, are such as go on, or may go on, within the separate
personal consciousness of each separate man. And it shows how
forgetful people are of the very doctrines which they themselves
profess as Christians, when we consider, on the one hand, that
miracles, in this sense, are essential to Christianity, and yet,
on the other hand, consider how often it is said that the age of
miracles is past. Doubtless, in the sense of external miracles, all
such agencies are past.  But in the other sense, there are distinct
classes of the supernatural agency, which we are now considering;
and these three are held by many Christians; two by most Christians;
and the third by all. They are

a.--_Special Providences:_ which class it is that many
philosophic Christians doubt or deny.

b.--_Grace:_ both predisposing [by old theologians called
_prevenient_] and effectual.

c.--_Prayer considered as efficacious._

Of these three we repeat, that the two last are held by most
Christians: and yet it is evident that both presume a supernatural
agency. But this agency exists only where it is sought. And even where
it _does_ exist, from its very nature (as an _interior_
experience for each separate consciousness) it is incommunicable.
But that does not defeat its purpose. It is of its essence to
be incommunicable. And, therefore, with relation to Hume's great
argument, which was designed to point out a vast _hiatus_ or
inconsistency in the divine economy--'Here is a miraculous agency,
perhaps, but it is incommunicable: it may exist, but it cannot
manifest itself; which defect neutralizes it, and defeats the very
purpose of its existence'--the answer is, that as respects these
interior miracles, there is no such inconsistency. They are meant
for the private forum of each man's consciousness: nor would it
have met any human necessity to have made them communicable. The
language of Scripture is, that he who wishes experimentally to know
the changes that may be accomplished by prayer, must pray. In that
way only, and not by communication of knowledge from another, could
he understand it as a practical effect. And to understand it not
practically, but only in a speculative way, could not meet any
religious wish, but merely an irreligious curiosity.

As respects one great division of miraculous agency, it is clear,
therefore, that Hume's argument does not apply. The arrow glances
past: not so much missing its aim as taking a false one. The
_hiatus_ which it supposes, the insulation and incommunicability
which it charges upon the miraculous as a capital oversight, was
part of the design: such mysterious agencies were _meant_ to be
incommunicable, and for the same reason which shuts up each man's
consciousness into a silent world of its own--separate and inaccessible
to all other consciousnesses. If a communication is thrown open
by such agencies between the separate spirit of each man and the
supreme Spirit of the universe, then the end is accomplished: and
it is part of that end to close this communication against all
other cognizance.  So far Hume is baffled. The supernatural agency
is incommunicable: it ought to be so. That is its perfection.


II. But now, as respects the other great order of miracles--viz.,
the _external_, first of all, we may remark a very important
subdivision: miracles, in this sense, subdivide into two most
different orders--1st, _Evidential_ miracles, which simply
prove Christianity.  2d, _Constituent_ miracles, which, in a
partial sense, _are_ Christianity. And, perhaps, it may turn
out that Hume's objection, if applicable at all, is here applicable
in a separate way and with a varying force.

The first class, the evidential miracles, are all those which
were performed merely as evidences (whether simply as indications,
or as absolute demonstrations) of the divine power which upheld
Christianity. The second class, the constituent miracles, are those
which constitute a part of Christianity. Two of these are absolutely
indispensable to Christianity, and cannot be separated from it
even in thought, viz., the miraculous birth of our Saviour, and
his miraculous resurrection.  The first is essential upon this
ground--that unless Christ had united the two natures (divine and
human) he could not have made the satisfaction required: not being
human, then, indeed, he might have had power to go through the
mysterious sufferings of the satisfaction: but how would that have
applied to man? It would have been perfect, but how would it have
been relevant? Not being divine, then indeed any satisfaction he
could make would be relevant: but how would it have been perfect?
The mysterious and supernatural birth, therefore, was essential,
as a capacitation for the work to be performed; and, on the other
hand, the mysterious death and consequences were essential, as the
very work itself.

Now, therefore, having made this distinction, we may observe, that
the first class of miracles was occasional and polemic: it was
meant to meet a special hostility incident to the birth-struggles
of a new religion, and a religion which, for the very reason that
it was true, stood opposed to the spirit of the world; of a religion
which, in its first stage, had to fight against a civil power in
absolute possession of the civilized earth, and backed by seventy
legions. This being settled, it follows, that if Hume's argument
were applicable in its whole strength to the evidential miracles,
no result of any importance could follow. It is clear that a
Christianized earth never can want polemic miracles again; polemic
miracles were wanted for a transitional state, but such a state
cannot return. Polemic miracles were wanted for a state of conflict
with a dominant idolatry, It was Christianity militant, and militant
with childlike arms, against Paganism triumphant. But Christianity,
in league with civilization, and resting on the powers of this
earth allied with her own, never again can speak to idolatrous
man except from a station of infinite superiority. If, therefore,
these evidential miracles are incommunicable as respects their
proofs to after generations, neither are they wanted.

Still it will be urged--Were not the miracles meant for purposes
ulterior to the transitional state? Were they not meant equally
for the polemic purpose of confuting hostility at the moment, and
of propping the faith of Christians in all after ages? The growing
opinion amongst reflecting Christians is, that they were not: that
the evidential miracles accomplished their whole purpose in their
own age. Something of supernatural agency, visibly displayed,
was wanted for the first establishment of a new faith. But, once
established, it was a false faith only that could need this external
support. Christianity could not unroot itself now, though every
trace of evidential miracle should have vanished. Being a true
religion, once rooted in man's knowledge and man's heart, it is
self-sustained; it never could be eradicated.

But, waiving that argument, it is evident, that whatever becomes of
the evidential miracles, Christianity never can dispense with those
transcendent miracles which we have called _constituent_,--those
which do not so much demonstrate Christianity as _are_ Christianity
in a large integral section. Now as to the way in which Hume's
argument could apply to these, we shall reserve what we have to
say until a subsequent section.  Meantime, with respect to the
other class, the simply evidential miracles, it is plain, that
if ever they should be called for again, then, as to _them_,
Hume's argument will be evaded, or not, according to their purpose.
If their function regards an individual, it will be no just objection
to them that they are incommunicable. If it regards a multitude or
a nation, then the same power which utters the miracle can avail
for its manifestation before a multitude, as happened in the days
of the New Testament, _and then is realized the case_ Beta
_of Sect. II_, And if it is still objected, that even in that
case there could be no sufficient way of propagating the miracle,
with its evidence, to other times or places, the answer must be,--

1st. That supposing the purpose merely polemic, that purpose is
answered without such a propagation.

2dly. That, supposing the purpose, by possibility, an ulterior
purpose, stretching into distant ages, even then our modern arts
of civilization, printing, &c., give us advantages which place a
remote age on a level with the present as to the force of evidence;
and that even the defect of _autopsy_ may be compensated by
sufficient testimony of a multitude, it is evident that Hume himself
felt, by his evasion in the case of the imaginary Elizabethan
miracle proposed by himself.

RECAPITULATION.

Now let us recapitulate the steps we have made before going on to
the rest.


We have drawn into notice [Sect. II.] the case _Beta_,--overlooked
by Hume in his argument, but apparently not overlooked in his
consciousness,--the case where a multitude of witnesses overrules
the incommunicability attaching to a single witness.

2dly. We have drawn into notice the class of internal miracles,--miracles
going on in the inner economy of every Christian's heart; for it
is essential to a Christian to allow of prayer. He cannot _be_
a Christian if he should condemn prayer; and prayer cannot hope to
produce its object without a miracle. And to such miracles Hume's
argument, the argument of incommunicability, is inapplicable. They
do not seek to transplant themselves; every man's personal experience
in this respect is meant for himself alone.

3dly. Even amongst miracles _not_ internal, we have shown--that
if one class (the merely evidential and polemic) are incommunicable,
_i.e._ not capable of propagation to a remote age or place,
they have sufficiently fulfilled their immediate purpose by their
immediate effect. But such miracles are alien and accidental to
Christianity. Christ himself reproved severely those who sought
such signs, as a wicked, unbelieving generation; and afterwards
he reproved, with a most pathetic reproach, that one of his own
disciples who demanded such a sign. But besides these evidential
miracles, we noticed also,

4thly. The constituent miracles of Christianity; upon which,
as regarded Hume's argument, we reserved ourselves to the latter
section: and to these we now address ourselves.

But first we premise this

_Lemma:_--That an _á priori_ (or, as we shall show, an
_a posteriori_) reason for believing a miracle, or for expecting
a miracle, will greatly disturb the valuation of _x_ (that
is, the abstract resistance to credibility), as assumed in Hume's
argument. This is the centre in which we are satisfied, lurks that
πρωτον ψευδος which Hume himself suspected: and we add,
that as a vast number of witnesses (according to a remark made in
Sect. II.) will virtually operate as a reduction of the value allowed
to _x_, until _x_ may be made to vanish altogether,--so
in the reverse order, any material reduction of value in _x_
will virtually operate exactly as the multiplication of witnesses;
and the case _Alpha_ will be raised to the case _Beta._

This _Lemma_ being stated as a point of appeal in what follows,
we proceed to



SECTION V.

ON HUME'S ARGUMENT, AS AFFECTED BY THE PURPOSE.


This topic is so impressive, and indeed awful, in its relation to
Christianity, that we shall not violate its majesty by doing more
than simply stating the case. All the known or imagined miracles
that ever were recorded as flowing from any Pagan origin,
were miracles--1, of ostentation; 2, of ambition and rivalship;
3, expressions of power; or, 4, were blind accidents. Not even
in pretence were any of them more than that.  First and last came
the Christian miracles, on behalf of a _moral_ purpose. The
purpose was to change man's idea of his own nature; and to change
his idea of God's nature. Many other purposes might be stated; but
all were moral. Now to any other wielder of supernatural power,
real or imaginary, it never had occurred by way of pretence even,
that in working miracles he had a moral object. And here, indeed,
comes in the argument of Christ with tremendous effect--that, whilst
all other miracles might be liable to the suspicion of having been
effected by alliance with darker agencies, his only (as sublime
moral agencies for working the only revolution that ever was worked
in man's nature) could not be liable to such a suspicion; since,
if an evil spirit would lend himself to the propagation of good in
its most transcendent form, in that case the kingdom of darkness
would be 'divided against itself.'

Here, then, is an _a posteriori_ reason, derived from the whole
subsequent life and death of the miracle-worker, for diminishing
the value of _x_ according to the _Lemma_.



SECTION VI.

ON THE ARGUMENT OF HUME AS AFFECTED BY MATTERS OF FACT.

It is a very important axiom of the schoolmen in this case--that,
_a posse ad esse non valet consequentia_, you can draw no
inference from the possibility of a thing to its reality, but that,
in the reverse order, _ab esse ad posse_, the inference is
inevitable: if it is, or if it ever has been--then of necessity
it can be.  Hume himself would have admitted, that the proof of
any one miracle, beyond all possibility of doubt, at once lowered
the--_x_ of his argument (_i.e._ the value of the resistance
to our faith) so as to affect the whole force of that argument, as
applying to all other miracles whatever having a rational and an
adequate purpose. Now it happens that we have two cases of miracles
which can be urged in this view: one _a posteriori_, derived
from our historical experience, and the other _a priori_. We
will take them separately.

1. The _a priori_ miracle we call such--not (as the unphilosophic
may suppose) because it occurred previously to our own period,
or from any consideration of time whatever, but in the logical
meaning, as having been derived from our reason in opposition to
our experience.  This order of miracle it is manifest that Hume
overlooked altogether, because he says expressly that we have
nothing to appeal to in this dispute except our human experience.
But it happens that we have; and precisely where the possibilities
of experience desert us. We know nothing through experience
(whether physical or historical) of what preceded or accompanied
the first introduction of man upon this earth. But in the absence
of all experience, our reason informs us--that he must have been
introduced by a supernatural agency. Thus far we are sure.  For
the sole alternative is one which would be equally mysterious, and
besides, contradictory to the marks of change--of transition--and
of perishableness in our planet itself,--viz. the hypothesis of
an eternal unoriginated race: and that is more confounding to the
human intellect than any miracle whatever: so that, even tried
merely as one probability against another, the miracle would have
the advantage. The miracle supposes a supersensual and transcendent
cause. The opposite hypothesis supposes effects without any cause.
In short, upon any hypothesis, we are driven to suppose--and
compelled to suppose--a miraculous state as introductory to the
earliest state of nature. The planet, indeed, might form itself
by mechanical laws of motion, repulsion, attraction, and central
forces.  But man could not. Life could not. Organization, even
animal organization, might perhaps be explained out of mechanical
causes. But life could not. Life is itself a great miracle. Suppose the
nostrils formed by mechanic agency; still the breath of life could
not enter them without a supernatural force. And _a fortiori_,
man, with his intellectual and moral capacities, could not arise
upon this planet without a higher agency than any lodged in that
nature which is the object of our present experience. This kind of
miracle, as deduced by our reason, and not witnessed experimentally,
or drawn from any past records, we call an _a priori miracle.

2. But there is another kind of miracle, which Hume ought not to
have overlooked, but which he has, however, overlooked: he himself
observes, very justly, that PROPHECY is a distinct species of the
miraculous; and, no doubt, he neglected the Scriptural Prophecies,
as supposing them all of doubtful interpretation, or believing with
Porphyry, that such as are not doubtful, must have been posterior
to the event which they point to. It happens, however, that there
are some prophecies which cannot be evaded or 'refused,' some to
which neither objection will apply.  One, we will here cite, by
way of example:--The prophecy of Isaiah, describing the desolation
of Babylon, was delivered about seven centuries before Christ. A
century or so _after_ Christ, comes Porphyry, and insinuates,
that all the prophecies alike might be comparatively recent forgeries!
Well, for a moment suppose it: but, at least, they existed in the
days of Porphyry.  Now, it happens, that more than two centuries
after Porphyry, we have good evidence, as to Babylon, that it had
not yet reached the stage of utter desolation predicted by Isaiah.
Four centuries after Christ, we learn from a Father of the Christian
Church, who had good personal information as to its condition, that
it was then become a solitude, but a solitude in good preservation
as a royal park. The vast city had disppeared, and the murmur
of myriads: but as yet there were no signs whatever of ruin or
desolation. Not until our own nineteenth century was the picture
of Isaiah seen in full realization--then lay the lion basking at
noonday--then crawled the serpents from their holes; and at night
the whole region echoed with the wild cries peculiar to arid
wildernesses. The transformations, therefore, of Babylon, have been
going on slowly through a vast number of centuries until the perfect
accomplishment of Isaiah's picture. Perhaps they have travelled
through a course of much more than two thousand years: and from
the glimpses we gain of Babylon at intervals, we know for certain
that Isaiah had been dead for many centuries before his vision
could have even _begun_ to realize itself. But then, says an
objector, the final ruins of great empires and cities may be safely
assumed on general grounds of observation. Hardly, however, if they
happen to be seated in a region so fertile as Mesopotamia, and on
a great river like the Euphrates. But allow this possibility--allow
the natural disappearance of Babylon in a long course of centuries.
In other cases the disappearance is gradual, and at length perfect.
No traces can now be found of Carthage; none of Memphis; or, if you
suppose something peculiar to Mesopotamia, no traces can be found
of Nineveh, or on the other side of that region: none of other great
cities--Roman, Parthian, Persian, Median, in that same region or
adjacent regions. Babylon only is circumstantially described by
Jewish prophecy as long surviving itself in a state of visible and
audible desolation: and to Babylon only such a description applies.
Other prophecies might be cited with the same result. But this is
enough. And here is an _a posteriori_ miracle.

Now, observe: these two orders of miracle, by their very nature,
absolutely evade the argument of Hume.  The incommunicability
disappears altogether. The value of--_x_ absolutely vanishes
and becomes = 0.  The human reason being immutable, suggests to
every age, renews and regenerates for ever, the necessary inference
of a miraculous state antecedent to the natural state. And, for
the miracles of prophecy, these require no evidence and depend upon
none: they carry their own evidence along with them; they utter
their own testimonies, and they are continually reinforcing them;
for, probably, every successive period of time reproduces fresh
cases of prophecy completed.  But even one, like that of Babylon,
realizes the case of Beta (Sect. II.) in its most perfect form.
History, which attests it, is the voice of every generation, checked
and countersigned in effect by all the men who compose it.



SECTION VII.

OF THE ARGUMENT AS AFFECTED BY THE PARTICULAR WORKER OF THE MIRACLES.


This is the last 'moment,' to use the language of Mechanics, which
we shall notice in this discussion.  And here there is a remarkable
_petitio principii_ in Hume's management of his argument.
He says, roundly, that it makes no difference at all if God were
connected with the question as the author of the supposed miracles.
And why? Because, says he, we know God only by experience--meaning
as involved in nature--and, therefore, that in so far as miracles
transcend our experience of nature, they transcend by implication
our experience of God. But the very question under discussion
is--whether God did, or did not, manifest himself to human experience
in the miracles of the New Testament. But at all events, the idea
of God in itself already includes the notion of a _power_ to
work miracles, whether that power were over exercised or not; and
as Sir Isaac Newton thought that space might be the sensorium of
God, so may we (and with much more philosophical propriety) affirm
that the miraculous and the transcendent is the very nature of God.
God being assumed, it is as easy to believe in a miracle issuing
from him as in any operation according to the laws of nature (which,
after all, is possibly in many points only the nature of our planet):
it is as easy, because either mode of action is indifferent to
him. Doubtless this argument, when addressed to an Atheist, loses
its force; because he refuses to assume a God. But then, on the
other hand, it must be remembered that Hume's argument itself does
not stand on the footing of Atheism. He supposes it binding on a
Theist. Now a Theist, in starting from the idea of God, grants, of
necessity, the plenary power of miracles as greater and more awful
than man could even comprehend. All he wants is a sufficient motive
for such transcendent agencies; but this is supplied in excess
(as regards what we have called the _constituent_ miracles of
Christianity) by the case of a religion that was to revolutionize
the moral nature of man. The moral nature--the kingdom of the
will--is esentially opposed to the kingdom of nature even by the
confession of irreligious philosophers; and, therefore, being itself
a supersensual field, it seems more reasonably adapted to agencies
supernatural than such as are natural.

GENERAL RECAPITULATION.

In Hume's argument,--_x_, which expresses the resistance to
credibility in a miracle, is valued as of necessity equal to the
veiy maximum or ideal of human testimony; which, under the very
best circumstances, might be equal to +_x,_ in no case more,
and in all known cases less. We, on the other hand, have endeavored
to show--

1. That, because Hume contemplates only the case of a single
witness, it will happen that the case _Beta_ [of Sect. II.]
where a multitude of witnesses exist, may greatly exceed +_x;_
and with a sufficient multitude must exceed _x_.

2. That in the case of internal miracles--operations of divine agency
within the mind and conscience of the individual--Hume's argument
is necessarily set aside: the evidence, the +_x_, is perfect
for the individual, and the miraculous agency is meant for him
only.

3. That, in the case of one primary miracle, viz.  the first
organization of man on this planet, the evidence greatly transcends
_x:_ because here it is an evidence not derived from experience
at all, but from the reflecting reason: and the miracle has the
same advantage over facts of experience, that a mathematical truth
has over the truths which rest on induction.  It is the difference
between _must be_ and _is_--between the inevitable and the merely
actual.

4. That, in the case of another order of miracles, viz. prophecies,
Hume's argument is again overruled; because the +_x_ in this
case, the affirmative evidence, is not derived froms human testimony.
Some prophecies are obscure; they may be fulfilled possibly without
men's being aware of the fulfilment. But others, as that about
the fate of Babylon--about the fate of the Arabs (the children of
Ishmael)--about the fate of the Jews--are not of a nature to be
misunderstood; and the evidence which attends them is not alien,
but is intrinsic, and developed by themselves in successive stages
from age to age.

5. That, because the primary miracle in No. 3, argues at least a
_power_ competent to the working of a miracle, for any after
miracle we have only to seek a sufficient _motive_. Now, the
objects of the Christian revelation were equal at the least to those
of the original creation. In fact, Christianity may be considered
as a second creation; and the justifying cause for the _constituent_
miracles of Christianity is even to us as apparent as any which
could have operated at the primary creation. The _epigenesis_
was, at least, as grand an occasion as the _genesis_. Indeed,
it is evident, for example, that Christianity itself could not
have existed without the constituent miracle of the Resurrection;
because without that there would have been no conquest over death.
And here, as in No. 3, +_x_ is derived--not from any experience,
and therefore cannot be controlled by that sort of hostile experience
which Hume's argument relies on; but is derived from the reason
which transcends all experience.



CASUISTRY.

[1839.]



PART I.


It is remarkable, in the sense of being noticeable and interesting,
but not in the sense of being surprising, that Casuistry has fallen
into disrepute throughout all Protestant lands. This disrepute is
a result partly due to the upright morality which usually follows
in the train of the Protestant faith. So far it is honorable, and
an evidence of superior illumination. But, in the excess to which
it has been pushed, we may trace also a blind and somewhat bigoted
reaction of the horror inspired by the abuses of the Popish
Confessional.  Unfortunately for the interests of scientific ethics,
the first cultivators of casuistry had been those who kept in view
the professional service of auricular confession.  Their purpose
was--to assist the reverend confessor in appraising the quality of
doubtful actions, in order that he might properly adjust his scale
of counsel, of warning, of reproof, and of penance.  Some, therefore,
in pure simplicity and conscientious discharge of the duty they had
assumed, but others, from lubricity of morals or the irritations
of curiosity, pushed their investigations into unhallowed paths of
speculation. They held aloft a torch for exploring guilty recesses-of
human life, which it is far better for us all to leave in their
original darkness. Crimes that were often all but imaginary,
extravagances of erring passion that would never have been known
as possibilities to the young and the innocent, were thus published
in their most odious details. At first, it is true, the decent
draperies of a dead language were suspended before these abominations:
but sooner or later some knave was found, on mercenary motives,
to tear away this partial veil; and thus the vernacular literature
of most nations in Southern Europe, was gradually polluted with
revelations that had been originally made in the avowed service of
religion. Indeed, there was one aspect of such books which proved
even more extensively disgusting. Speculations pointed to monstrous
offences, bore upon their very face and frontispiece the intimation
that they related to cases rare and anomalous. But sometimes casuistry
pressed into the most hallowed recesses of common domestic life.
The delicacy of youthful wives, for example, was often not less
grievously shocked than the manliness of husbands, by refinements
of monkish subtlety applied to cases never meant for religious
cognisance--but far better left to the decision of good feeling,
of nature, and of pure household morality. Even this revolting use
of casuistry, however, did less to injure its name and pretensions
than a persuasion, pretty generally diffused, that the main purpose
and drift of this science was a sort of hair-splitting process, by
which doubts might be applied to the plainest duties of life, or
questions raised on the extent of their obligations, for the single
benefit of those who sought to evade them. A casuist was viewed,
in short, as a kind of lawyer or special pleader in morals, such
as those who, in London, are known as Old Bailey practitioners,
called in to manage desperate cases--to suggest all available
advantages--to raise doubts or distinctions where simple morality
saw no room for either--and generally to teach the art, in nautical
phrase, of sailing as near the wind as possible, without fear of
absolutely foundering.

Meantime it is certain that casuistry, when soberly applied, is not
only a beneficial as well as a very interesting study; but that, by
whatever title, it is absolutely indispensable to the _practical_
treatment of morals.  We may reject the name; the thing we cannot
reject.  And accordingly the custom has been, in all English
treatises on ethics, to introduce a good deal of casuistry under
the idea of special illustration, but without any reference to
casuistry as a formal branch of research. Indeed, as society grows
complex, the uses of casuistry become more urgent. Even Cicero
could not pursue his theme through such barren generalizations as
entirely to evade all notice of special cases: and Paley has given
the chief interest to his very loose investigations of morality,
by scattering a selection of such cases over the whole field of
his discussion.

The necessity of casuistry might, in fact, be deduced from the
very origin, and genesis of the word.  First came the general law
or rule of action. This was like the major proposition of a syllogism.
But next came a special instance or _case_, so stated as to
indicate whether it did or did not fall under the general rule.
This, again, was exactly the minor proposition in a syllogism. For
example, in logic we say, as the major proposition in a syllogism,
_Man is mortal_. This is the rule. And then 'subsuming' (such
is the technical phrase--_subsuming_) Socrates under the
rule by a minor proposition--viz. Socrates is a man--we are able
mediately to connect him with the predicate of that rule, viz,
_ergo_, Socrates is mortal.[Footnote: The ludicrous blunder
of Reid (as first published by Lord Kames in his _Sketches_),
and of countless others, through the last seventy or eighty years,
in their critiques on the logic of Aristotle, has been to imagine
that such illustrations of syllogism as these were meant for specimens
of what syllogism could perform. What an elaborate machinery, it
was said, for bringing out the merest self-evident truisms! But
just as reasonably it might have been objected, when a mathematician
illustrated the process of addition by saying 3+4=7, Behold what pompous
nothings! These Aristotelian illustrations were _purposely_
drawn from cases not open to dispute, and simply as exemplifications
of the meaning: they were intentionally self-evident.] Precisely upon
this model arose casuistry. A general rule, or major proposition,
was laid down--suppose that he who killed any human being, except
under the palliations X, Y, Z, was a murderer. Then in a minor
proposition, the special case of the suicide was considered.  It
was affirmed, or it was denied, that his case fell under some one
of the palliations assigned. And then, finally, accordingly to
the negative or affirmative shape of this minor proposition, it
was argued, in the conclusion, that the suicide was or was not, a
murderer.  Out of these _cases_, i.e. oblique deflexions from
the universal rule (which is also the grammarian's sense of the
word _case_) arose _casuistry_.

After morality has done its very utmost in clearing up the grounds
upon which it rests its decisions--after it has multiplied its
rules to any possible point of circumstantiality--there will always
continue to arise cases without end, in the shifting combinations
of human action, about which a question will remain whether they
do or do not fall under any of these rules. And the best way for
seeing this truth illustrated on a broad scale, the shortest way
and the most decisive is--to point our attention to one striking
fact, viz. that all law, as it exists in every civilized land, is
nothing but casuistry. Simply because new cases are for ever arising
to raise new doubts whether they do or do not fall under the rule
of law, therefore it is that law is so inexhaustible. The law
terminates a dispute for the present by a decision of a court,
(which constitutes our '_common law_,') or by an express act
of the legislature, (which constitutes our '_statute law_.')
For a month or two matters flow on smoothly. But then comes a new
case, not contemplated or not verbally provided for in the previous
rule. It is varied by some feature of difference. The feature, it
is suspected, makes no _essential_ difference: substantially
it may be the old case. Ay--but that is the very point to be
decided. And so arises a fresh suit at law, and a fresh decision.
For example, after many a decision and many a statute, (all arising
out of cases supervening upon cases,) suppose that great subdivision
of jurisprudence called the Bankrupt Laws to have been gradually
matured. It has been settled, suppose, that he who exercises a
trade, and no other whatsoever, shall be entitled to the benefit
of the bankrupt laws. So far is fixed: and people vainly imagine
that at length a station of rest is reached, and that in this
direction at least, the onward march of law is barred. Not at all.
Suddenly a schoolmaster becomes insolvent, and attempts to avail
himself of privileges as a technical bankrupt. But then arises a
resistance on the part of those who are interested in resisting:
and the question is raised--Whether the calling of a schoolmaster
can be legally considered a trade? This also is settled: it is
solemnly determined that a schoolmaster is a tradesman.  But next
arises a case, in which, from peculiar variation of the circumstances,
it is doubtful whether the teacher can technically be considered
a schoolmaster. Suppose that case settled: a schoolmaster,
sub-distinguished as an X Y schoolmaster, is adjudged to come within
the meaning of the law. But scarcely is this sub-variety disposed
of, than up rises some decomplex case, which is a sub-variety of
this sub-variety: and so on for ever.

Hence, therefore, we may see the shortsightedness of Paley in
quoting with approbation, and as if it implied a reproach, that
the Mussulman religious code contains 'not less than seventy-five
thousand traditional precepts.' True: but if this statement shows
an excess of circumstantiality in the moral systems of Mussulmans,
that result expresses a fact which Paley overlooks--viz. that their
moral code is in reality their legal code. It is by aggregation
of _cases_, by the everlasting depullulation of fresh sprouts
and shoots from old boughs, that this enormous accumulation takes
place; and, therefore, the apparent anomaly is exactly paralleled
in our unmanageable superstructure of law, and in the French
supplements to their code, which have already far overbuilt the
code itself. If names were disregarded, we and the Mahometans are
in the very same circumstances.

Casuistry, therefore, is the science of cases, or of those special
varieties which are forever changing the face of actions as
contemplated in general rules. The tendency of such variations is,
in all states of complex civilization, to absolute infinity.[Footnote:
We have noticed our own vast pile of law, and that of the French.
But neither of us has yet reached the alarming amount of the Roman
law, under which the very powers of social movement threatened to
break down. Courts could not decide, advocates could not counsel,
so interminable was becoming the task of investigation. This led
to the great digest of Justinian. But, had Roman society advanced
in wealth, extent, and social development, instead of retrograding,
the same result would have returned in a worse shape. The same
result now menaces England, and will soon menace her much more.]
It is our present purpose to state a few of such cases, in order to
fix attention upon the interest and the importance which surround
them. No modern book of ethics can be worth notice, unless in
so far as it selects and argues the more prominent of such cases,
as they offer themselves in the economy of daily life. For we
repeat--that the name, the word casuistry, may be evaded, but the
thing cannot; nor _is_ it evaded in our daily conversations.

I. _The Case of the Jaffa Massacre,_--No case in the whole
compass of casuistry has been so much argued to and fro--none has
been argued with so little profit; for, in fact, the main elements
of the moral decision have been left out of view. Let us state the
circumstances:--On the 11th of February, 1799, Napoleon, then and
for seven months before in military possession of Egypt, began
his march towards Syria. His object was to break the force of any
Turkish invasion, by taking it in fractions. It had become notorious
to every person in Egypt, that the Porte rejected the French pretence
of having come for the purpose of quelling Mameluke rebellion--the
absurdity of which, apart from its ludicrous Quixotism, was evident
in the most practical way, viz. by the fact, that the whole revenues
of Egypt were more than swallowed up by the pay and maintenance of
the French army. What could the Mamelukes have done worse?  Hence
it had become certain that the Turks would send an expedition to
Egypt; and Napoleon viewing the garrisons in Syria as the advanced
guard of such an expedition, saw the best chance for general victory
in meeting these troops beforehand, and destroying them in detail.
About nineteen days brought him within view of the Syrian fields.
On the last day of February he slept at the Arimathea of the Gospel.
In a day or two after his army was before Jaffa, (the Joppa of the
Crusaders,)--a weak place, but of some military interest,[Footnote:
It is singular that some peculiar interest has always settled upon
Jaffa, no matter who was the military leader of the time, or what
the object of the struggle.  From Julius Caesar, Joppa enjoyed
some special privileges and immunities--about a century after, in
the latter years of Nero, a most tragical catastrophe happened at
Joppa to the Syrian pirates, by which the very same number perished
as in the Napoleon massacre, viz. something about 4000. In the 200
years of the Crusades, Joppa revived again into military verdure.
The fact is, that the shore of Syria is pre-eminently deficient
in natural harbors, or facilities for harbors--those which exist
have been formed by art and severe contest with the opposition of
nature. Hence their extreme paucity, and hence their disproportionate
importance in every possible war.] from the accident of being the
very first fortified town to those entering Palestine from the side
of Egypt. On the 4th of March this place was invested; on the 6th,
barely forty-eight hours after, it was taken by storm. This fact
is in itself important; because it puts an end to the pretence so
often brought forward, that the French army had been irritated by
a long resistance. Yet, supposing the fact to have been so, how
often in the history of war must every reader have met with cases
where honorable terms were granted to an enemy merely on account of
his obstinate resistance? But then here, it is said, the resistance
was wilfully pushed to the arbitration of a storm.  Even that might
be otherwise stated; but, suppose it true, a storm in military law
confers some rights upon the assailants which else they would not
have had--rights, however, which cease with the day of storming.
Nobody denies that the French army might have massacred all whom
they me't in arms at the time and during the agony of storming. But
the question is, Whether a resistance of forty-eight hours could
create the right, or in the least degree palliate the atrocity,
of putting prisoners to death in cold blood? Four days after the
storming, when all things had settled back into the quiet routine
of ordinary life, men going about their affairs as usual, confidence
restored, and, above all things, after the faith of a Christian
army had been pledged to these prisoners that not a hair of their
heads should be touched, the imagination is appalled by this
wholesale butchery--even the apologists of Napoleon are shocked by
the amount of murder, though justifying its principle. They admit
that there were two divisions of the prisoners--one of fifteen
hundred, the other of two thousand five hundred.  Their combined
amount is equal to a little army; in fact, just about that army
with which we fought and won the battle of Maida in Calabria. They
composed a force equal to about six English regiments of infantry
on the common establishment. Every man of these four thousand
soldiers, chiefly brave Albanians--every man of this little army
was basely, brutally, in the very spirit of abject poltroonery,
murdered--murdered as foully as the infants of Bethlehem; resistance
being quite hopeless, not only because they had surrendered their
arms, but also because, in reliance on Christian honor, they had
quietly submitted to have their hands confined with ropes behind
their backs. If this blood did not lie heavy on Napoleon's heart in
his dying hours, it must have been because a conscience originally
callous had been seared by the very number of his atrocities.

Now, having stated the case, let us review the casuistical apologies
put forward. What was to be done with these prisoners? There lay
the difficulty. Could they be retained according to the common
usage with regard to prisoners? No; for there was a scarcity of
provisions, barely sufficient for the French army itself.  Could they
be transported to Egypt by sea? No; for two English line-of-battle
ships, the Theseus and the Tiger, were cruising in the offing, and
watching the interjacent seas of Egypt and Syria. Could they be
transported to Egypt by land? No; for it was not possible to spare
a sufficient escort; besides, this plan would have included the
separate difficulty as to food.  Finally, then, as the sole resource
left, could they be turned adrift? No; for this was but another
mode of saying, 'Let us fight the matter over again; reinstate
yourselves as our enemies; let us leave Jaffa _re infectâ_,
and let all begin again _de novo_'--since, assuredly, say the
French apologists, in a fortnight from that date, the prisoners
would have been found swelling the ranks of those Turkish forces
whom Napoleon had reason to expect in front.

Before we take one step in replying to these arguments, let
us cite two parallel cases from history: they are interesting for
themselves, and they show how other armies, not Christian, have
treated the self-same difficulty in practice. The first shall be
a leaf taken from the great book of Pagan experience; the second
from Mahometan: and both were cases in which the parties called on
to cut the knot had been irritated to madness by the parties lying
at their disposal.

1. The Pagan Decision.--In that Jewish war of more than three
years' duration, which terminated in the destruction of Jerusalem,
two cities on the lake of Gennesaret were besieged by Vespasian. One
of these was Tiberias: the other Tarichæ. Both had been defended
with desperation; and from their peculiar situation upon water,
and amongst profound precipices, the Roman battering apparatus had
not been found applicable to their walls. Consequently the resistance
and the loss to the Romans had been unexampled.  At the latter
siege Vespasian was present in person. Six thousand five hundred
had perished of the enemy. A number of prisoners remained, amounting
to about forty thousand. What was to be done with them? A great
council was held, at which the commander-in-chief presided, assisted
(as Napoleon) by his whole staff. Many of the officers were strongly
for having the whole put to death: they used the very arguments of
the French--'that, being people now destitute of habitations, they
would infallibly urge any cities which received them into a war:'
fighting, in fact, henceforward upon a double impulse--viz. the
original one of insurrection, and a new one of revenge.  Vespasian
was sensible of all this; and he himself remarked, that, if they
had any indulgence of flight conceded, they would assuredly use
it against the authors of that indulgence. But still, as an answer
to all objections, he insisted on the solitary fact, that he had
pledged the Roman faith for the security of their lives; 'and to
offer violence, after he had given them his right hand, was what he
could not bear to think of.' Such are the simple words of Josephus.
In the end, overpowered by his council, Vespasian made a sort of
compromise. Twelve hundred, as persons who could not have faced
the hardships of captivity and travel, he gave up to the sword.
Six thousand select young men were transported as laborers into
Greece, with a view to Nero's scheme, then in agitation, for cutting
through the isthmus of Corinth; the main body, amounting to thirty
thousand, were sold for slaves; and all the rest, who happened to
be subjects of Agrippa, as a mark of courtesy to that prince, were
placed at his disposal.  Now, in this case, it will be alleged that
perhaps the main feature of Napoleon's case was not realized, viz.
the want of provisions. Every Roman soldier carried on his shoulders
a load of seventeen days' provisions, expressly in preparation for
such dilemmas; and Palestine was then rank with population gathered
into towns. This objection will be noticed immediately: but, meantime,
let it be remembered that the prisoners personally appeared before
their conquerors in far worse circumstances than the garrison of
Jaffa, except as to the one circumstance (in which both parties
stood on equal ground) of having had their lives guaranteed.  For
the prisoners of Gennesaret were chiefly aliens and fugitives from
justice, who had no national or local interest in the cities which
they had tempted or forced into insurrection; they were clothed with
no military character whatever; in short, they were pure vagrant
incendiaries. And the populous condition of Palestine availed little
towards the execution of Vespasian's sentence: nobody in that land
would have bought such prisoners; nor, if they would, were there
any means available, in the agitated state of the Jewish people,
for maintaining their purchase. It would, therefore, be necessary
to escort them to Caesarea, as the nearest Roman port for shipping
them: thence perhaps to Alexandria, in order to benefit by the corn
vessels: and from Alexandria the voyage to remoter places would
be pursued at great cost and labor--all so many objections exactly
corresponding to those of Napoleon, and yet all overruled by the
single consideration of a Roman (viz. a Pagan) right hand pledged
to the fulfilment of a promise. As to the twelve hundred old and
helpless people massacred in cold blood, as regarded themselves it
was a merciful doom, and one which many of the Jerusalem captives
afterwards eagerly courted. But still it was a shocking case. It
was felt to be so by many Romans themselves: Vespasian was overruled
in that instance: and the horror which settled upon the mind of
Titus, his eldest son, from that very case amongst others, made
_him_ tender of human life, and anxiously merciful, through
the great tragedies which were now beginning to unrol themselves.

2. _The Mahometan Decision_.--The Emperor Charles V., at
different periods, twice invaded the piratical states in the north
of Africa. The last of these invasions, directed against Algiers,
failed miserably, covering the Emperor with shame, and strewing both
land and sea with the wrecks of his great armament.  But six years
before, he had conducted a most splendid and successful expedition
against Tunis, then occupied by Heyradin Barbarossa, a valiant
corsair and a prosperous usurper. Barbarossa had an irregular
force of fifty thousand men; the Emperor had a veteran army, but
not acclimatized, and not much above one half as numerous. Things
tended, therefore, strongly to an equilibrium. Such were the
circumstances--such was the position on each side: Barbarossa, with
his usual adventurous courage, was drawing out of Tunis in order to
fight the invader: precisely at that moment occurred the question
of what should be done with the Christian slaves. A stronger case
cannot be imagined: they were ten thousand fighting men; and the
more horrible it seemed to murder so many defenceless people, the
more dreadfully did the danger strike upon the imagination. It was
their number which appalled the conscience of those who speculated
on their murder; but precisely that it was, when pressed upon the
recollection, which appalled the prudence of their Moorish masters.
Barbarossa himself, familiar with bloody actions, never hesitated
about the proper course: 'massacre without mercy' was _his_
proposal. But his officers thought otherwise: they were brave men;
'and,' says Robertson, 'they all approved warmly of his intention
to fight. But, inured as they were to scenes of bloodshed, the
barbarity of his proposal filled them with horror; and Barbarossa,
from the dread of irritating them, consented to spare the lives of
the slaves.' Now, in this case, the penalty attached to mercy, in
case it should turn out unhappily for those who so nobly determined
to stand the risk, cannot be more tragically expressed, than by
saying that it _did_ turn out unhappily. We need not doubt
that the merciful officers were otherwise rewarded; but for this
world and the successes of this world the ruin was total.  Barbarossa
was defeated in the battle which ensued; flying pell-mell to Tunis
with the wrecks of his army, he found these very ten thousand
Christians in possession of the fort and town: they turned his
own artillery upon himself: and his overthrow was sealed by that
one act of mercy--so unwelcome from the very first to his own
Napoleonish temper.

Thus we see how this very case of Jaffa had been Settled by Pagan
and Mahometan casuists, where courage and generosity happened to
be habitually prevalent.  Now, turning back ta the pseudo-Christian
army, let us very briefly review the arguments for _them_.
First, there were no provisions. But how happened that? or how is
it proved? Feeding the prisoners from the 6th to the 10th inclusively
of March, proves that there was no instant want. And how was it,
then, that Napoleon had run his calculations so narrowly!  The
prisoners were just 33 per cent, on the total French army, as
originally detached from Cairo. Some had already perished of that
army: and in a few weeks more, one half of that army had perished,
or six thousand men, whose rations were hourly becoming disposable
for the prisoners. Secondly, a most important point, resources must
have been found in Jaffa.

But thirdly, if not, if Jaffa were so ill-provisioned, how had it
ever dreamed of standing a siege? And knowing its condition, as
Napoleon must have done from deserters and otherwise, how came he
to adopt so needless a measure as that of storming the place?  Three
days must have compelled it to surrender upon any terms, if it could
be really true that, after losing vast numbers of its population
in the assault (for it was the bloodshed of the assault which
originally suggested the interference of the aides-de-camp,) Jaffa
was not able to allow half-rations even to a _part_ of its
garrison for a few weeks. What was it meant that the whole should
have done, had Napoleon simply blockaded it?  Through all these
contradictions we see the truth looming as from behind a mist:
it was not because provisions failed that Napoleon butchered four
thousand young men in cold blood; it was because he wished to
signalize his entrance into Palestine by a sanguinary act, such
as might strike terror far and wide, resound through Syria as well
as Egypt, and paralyze the nerves of his enemies. Fourthly, it is
urged that, if he had turned the prisoners loose, they would have
faced him again in his next battle. How so? Prisoners without arms?
But then, perhaps, they could have retreated upon Acre, where it
is known that Djezzar, the Turkish pacha, had a great magazine of
arms.  That might have been dangerous, if any such retreat had been
open. But surely the French army, itself under orders for Acre,
could at least have intercepted the Acre route from the prisoners.
No other remained but that through the defiles of Naplous. In this
direction, however, there was no want of men. Beyond the mountains
cavalry only were in use: and the prisoners had no horses, nor
habits of acting as cavalry.  In the defiles it was riflemen who
were wanted, and the prisoners had no rifles; besides that, the
line of the French operations never came near to that route. Then,
again, if provisions were so scarce, how were the unarmed prisoners
to obtain them on the simple allegation that they had fought
unsuccessfully against the French!

But, finally, one conclusive argument there is against this damnable
atrocity of Napoleon's, which, in all future Lives of Napoleon,
one may expect to see-noticed, viz., that if the circumstances of
Palestine were such as to forbid the ordinary usages of war, if (which
we are far from believing) want of provisions made it indispensable
to murder prisoners in cold blood--in that case a _Syrian war_
became impossible to a man of honor; and the guilt commences from
a higher point than Jaffa. Already at Cairo, and in the elder stages
of the expedition, planned in face of such afflicting necessities,
we read the counsels of a murderer; of one rightly carrying such a
style of warfare towards the ancient country of the assassins; of
one not an apostate merely from Christian humanity, but from the
lowest standard of soldierly honor. He and his friends abuse Sir
Hudson Lowe as a jailer. But far better to be a jailer, and faithful
to one's trust, than to be the cut-throat of unarmed men.

One consideration remains, which we reserve to the end; because
it has been universally overlooked, and because it is conclusive
against Napoleon, even on his own hypothesis of an absolute necessity.
In Vespasian's case it does not appear that he had gained anything
for himself, or for his army, by his promise of safety to the enemy:
he had simply gratified his own feelings by holding out prospects
of final escape. But Napoleon had absolutely seduced the four
thousand men from a situation of power, from vantage-ground, by his
treacherous promise. And when the French apologists plead--'If we
had dismissed the prisoners we should soon have had to fight the
battle over again'--they totally forget the state of the facts:
they had not fought the battle at all: they had evaded the battle
as to these prisoners: as many enemies as could have faced them
_de novo_, so many had they bought off from fighting.  Forty
centuries of armed men, brave and despairing, and firing from windows,
must have made prodigious havoc: and this havoc the French evaded
by a trick, by a perfidy, perhaps unexampled in the annals of
military men.

II. _Piracy._-It is interesting to trace the revolutions of
moral feeling. In the early stages of history we find piracy in
high esteem. Thucydides tells us that ληστεια, or robbery,
when conducted _at sea_, (_i. e._ robbery on non-Grecian
people,) was held in the greatest honor by his countrymen in elder
ages. And this, in fact, is the true station, this point of feeling
for primitive man, from which we ought to view the robberies and
larcenies of savages. Captain Cook, though a good and often a wise
man, erred in this point. He took a plain Old Bailey view of the
case; and very sincerely believed, (as all sea-captains ever have
done,) that a savage must be a bad man, who would purloin anything
that was not his. Yet it is evident that the poor child of uncultured
nature, who saw strangers descending, as it were from the moon,
upon his aboriginal forests and lawns, must have viewed them under
the same angle as the Greeks of old. They were no part of any system
to which he belonged; and why should he not plunder them? By force
if he could: but, where that was out of the question, why should he
not take the same credit for an undetected theft that the Spartan
gloried in taking? To be detected was both shame and loss; but he
was certainly entitled to any glory which might seem to settle upon
success, not at all less than the more pretending citizen of Sparta.
Besides all which, amongst us civilized men the rule obtains
universally--that the state and duties of peace are to be presumed
until war is proclaimed. Whereas, amongst rude nations, war is
understood to be the rule--war, open or covert, until suspended by
express contract.  _Bellum inter omnes_ is the natural state
of things for all, except those who view themselves as brothers
by natural affinity, by local neighborhood, by common descent, or
who make themselves brothers by artificial contracts. Captain Cook,
who overlooked all this, should have begun by arranging a solemn
treaty with the savages amongst whom he meant to reside for any
length of time. This would have prevented many an angry broil then,
and since then: it would also have prevented his own tragical fate.
Meantime the savage is calumniated and misrepresented, for want of
being understood.

There is, however, amongst civilized nations a mode of piracy still
tolerated, or which _was_ tolerated in the last war, but is
now ripe for extinction. It is that war of private men upon private
men, which goes on under the name of privateering. Great changes
have taken place in our modes of thinking within the last twenty-five
years; and the greatest change of all lies in the thoughtful spirit
which we now bring to the investigation of all public questions.
We have no doubt at all that, when next a war arises at sea, the
whole system of privateering will be condemned by the public voice.
And the next step after that will be, to explode all war whatsoever,
public or private, upon commerce. War will be conducted _by_
belligerents and _upon_ belligerents exclusively. To imagine
the extinction of war itself, in the present stage of human advance,
is, we fear, idle. Higher modes of civilization--an earth more
universally colonized--the _homo sapiens_ of Linnaeus more
humanized, and other improvements must pave the way for _that_:
but amongst the earliest of those improvements, will be the abolition
of war carried into quarters where the spirit of war never ought
to penetrate.  Privateering will be abolished. War, on a national
scale, is often ennobling, and one great instrument of pioneering
for civilization; but war of private citizen upon his fellow, in
another land, is always demoralizing.

III. _Usury._--This ancient subject of casuistry we place next
to _piracy_, for a significant reason: the two practices have
both changed their public reputation as civilization has advanced,
but inversely--they have interchanged characters. Piracy, beginning
in honor, has ended in infamy: and at this moment it happens to be
the sole offence against society in which _all_ the accomplices,
without pity or intercession, let them be ever so numerous, are
punished capitally. Elsewhere, we decimate, or even centesimate:
here, we are all children of Rhadamanthus. Usury, on the other hand,
beginning in utter infamy, has travelled upwards into considerable
esteem; and Mr. '10 _per shent_' stands a very fair chance of
being pricked for sheriff next year; and, in one generation more,
of passing for a great patriot. Charles Lamb complained that, by
gradual changes, not on his part, but in the spirit of refinement,
he found himself growing insensibly into 'an indecent character.'
The same changes which carry some downwards, carry others up; and
Shylock himself will soon be viewed as an eminent martyr or confessor
for the truth as it is in the Alley. Seriously, however, there is
nothing more remarkable in the history of casuistical ethics, than
the utter revolution in human estimates of usury. In this one point
the Hebrew legislator agreed with the Roman--Deuteronomy with the
Twelve Tables. Cicero mentions that the elder Cato being questioned
on various actions, and how he ranked them in his esteem, was
at length asked, _Quid fœnerari?_--how did he rank usury?
His indignant answer was, by a retorted question--_Quid hominem
occidere?_--what do I think of murder? In this particular case,
as in some others, we must allow that our worthy ancestors and
forerunners upon this terraqueous planet were enormous blockheads.
And their 'exquisite reason' for this opinion on usury, was quite
worthy of Sir Andrew Aguecheek:--'money,' they argued, 'could not
breed money: one guinea was neither father nor mother to another
guinea: and where could be the justice of making a man pay for the
use of a thing which that thing could never produce?' But, venerable
blockheads, that argument applies to the case of him who locks up
his borrowed guinea. Suppose him _not_ to lock it up, but to
buy a hen, and the hen to lay a dozen eggs; one of those eggs will
be so much per cent.; and the thing borrowed has then produced
its own _foenus_. A still greater inconsistency was this: Our
ancestors would have rejoined--that many people did not borrow in
order to produce, _i. e._ to use the money as capital, but in
order to spend, _i. e._ to use it as income. In that case, at
least, the borrowers must derive the _foenus_ from some other
fund than the thing borrowed: for, by the supposition, the thing
borrowed has been spent. True; but on the same principle these
ancestors ought to have forbidden every man to sell any article
whatsoever to him who paid for it out of other funds than those
produced by the article sold.  Mere logical consistency required
this: it happens, indeed, to be impossible: but that only argues
their entire non-comprehension of their own doctrines.

The whole history of usury teems with instruction: 1st, comes the
monstrous absurdity in which the proscription of usury anchored;
2d, the absolute compulsion and pressure of realities in forcing
men into a timid abandonment of their own doctrines; 3d, the
unconquerable power of sympathy, which humbled all minds to one
level, and forced the strongest no less than the feeblest intellects
into the same infatuation of stupidity. The casuistry of ancient
moralists on this question, especially of the scholastic moralists,
such as Suarrez, &c.--the oscillations by which they ultimately
relaxed and tied up the law, just as their erring conscience, or
the necessities of social life prevailed, would compose one of the
interesting chapters in this science. But the Jewish relaxation
is the most amusing: it coincides altogether with the theory of
savages as to property, which we have already noticed under the
head of Piracy. All men on earth, except Jews, were held to be
fair subjects for usury; not as though usury were a just or humane
thing: no--it was a belligerent act: but then all foreigners in the
Jewish eye were enemies for the same reason that the elder Romans
had a common term for an enemy and a stranger. And it is probable that
many Jews at this day, in exercising usury, conceive themselves to
be seriously making war, in a privateering fashion, upon Christendom,
and practising reprisals on the Gentiles for ruined Jerusalem.

IV. _Bishop Gibson's Chronicon Preciosum_.--Many people are
aware that this book is a record of prices, as far as they were
recoverable, pursued through six centuries of English History. But
they are not aware that this whole inquiry is simply the machinery
for determining a casuistical question. The question was this:--An
English College, but we cannot say in which of our universities,
had been founded in the reign of Henry VI., and between 1440 and
1460--probably it might be King's College, Cambridge. Now, the
statutes of this college make it imperative upon every candidate
for a fellowship to swear that he does not possess an estate in
land of inheritance, nor a perpetual pension amounting to _five
pounds per annum_, It is certain, however, that the founder did
not mean superstitiously so much gold or silver as made _nominally_
the sum of five pounds, but so much as virtually represented the
five pounds of Henry VI.'s time--so much as would buy the same
quantity of ordinary comfort.  Upon this, therefore, arose two
questions for the casuist: (1.) What sum did substantially represent,
in 1706, (the year of publishing the _Chron. Preciosum_,) that
nominal £5 of 1440? (2.) Supposing this ascertained, might a man
with safe conscience retain his fellowship by swearing that he had
not £5 a-year, when perhaps he had £20, provided that £20 were
proved to be less in efficacy than the £5 of the elder period?
Verbally this was perjury: was it such in reality and to the
conscience?

The _Chronicle_ is not, as by its title the reader might
suppose, a large folio: on the contrary, it is a small octavo of
less than 200 pages. But it is exceedingly interesting, very ably
reasoned, and as circumstantial in its illustrations as the good
bishop's opportunities allowed him to make it. In one thing he
was more liberal than Sir William Petty, Dr. Davenant, &c., or any
elder economists of the preceding century; he would have statistics
treated as a classical or scholar-like study; and he shows a most
laudable curiosity in all the questions arising out of his main
one. His answer to _that_ is as follows: 1st, that £5 in
Henry VI.'s time contained forty ounces of silver, whereas in Queen
Anne's it contained only nineteen ounces and one-third; so that, in
reality, the £5 of 1440, was, even as to weight of silver, rather
more than £10 of 1706. 2d, as to the efficacy of £10 in Henry
VI.'s reign: upon reviewing the main items of common household
(and therefore of common academic) expenditure, and pursuing this
review through bad years and good years, the bishop decides that it
is about equal to £25 or £30 of Queen Anne's reign. Sir George
Shuckburgh has since treated this casuistical problem more elaborately:
but Bishop Gibson it was, who, in his _Chronicon Preciosum_,
first broke the ice.

After this, he adds an ingenious question upon the apparently
parallel case of a freeholder swearing himself worth 40s. per annum
as a qualification for an electoral vote: ought not he to hold
himself perjured in voting upon an estate often so much below the
original 40s. contemplated by Parliament, for the very same reason
that a collegian is _not_ perjured in holding a fellowship,
whilst, in fact, he may have four or five times the nominal
sum privileged by the founder?  The bishop says _no_; and
he distinguishes the case thus: the college £5 must always mean
a virtual £5--a £5 in efficacy, and not merely in name. But
the freeholder's 40s. is not so restricted; and for the following
reason--that this sum is constantly coming under the review of
Parliament.  It is clear, therefore, from the fact of not having
altered it, that Parliament is satisfied with a merely nominal
40s., and sees no reason to alter it. True, it was a rule enacted
by the Parliament of 1430; at which time 40s. was even in weight of
silver equal to 80s. of 1706; and in virtue or power of purchasing
equal to £12 at the least.  The qualification of a freeholder is,
therefore, much lower in Queen Anne's days than in those of Henry
VI. But what of that? Parliament, it must be presumed, sees good
reason why it _should_ be lower. And at all events, till the
law operates amiss, there can be no reason to alter it.

A case of the same kind with those argued by Bishop Gibson arose
often in trials for larceny--we mean as to that enactment which
fixed the minimum for a capital offence. This case is noticed by
the bishop, and juries of late years often took the casuistry into
their own hands. They were generally thought to act with no more
than a proper humanity to the prisoner; but still people thought
such juries incorrect. Whereas, if Bishop Gibson is right, who
allows a man to swear positively that he has not £5 a-year, when
nominally he has much more, such juries were even technically right.
However, this point is now altered by Sir Robert Peel's reforms.
But there are other cases, and especially those which arise not
between different times but between different places, which will
often require the same kind of casuistry as that which is so ably
applied by the good and learned bishop.

V. _Suicide_.--It seems passing strange that the main argument
upon which Pagan moralists relied in their unconditional condemnation
of suicide, viz. the supposed analogy of our situation in life to
that of a sentinel mounting guard, who cannot, without a capital
offence, quit his station until called off by his commanding
officer, is dismissed with contempt by a Christian moralist, viz.
Paley. But a stranger thing still is--that the only man who ever
wrote a book in palliation of suicide, should have been not only
a Christian--not only an official minister and dignitary of a
metropolitan Christian church--but also a scrupulously pious man.
We allude, as the reader will suppose, to Dr. Donne, Dean of St.
Paul's. His opinion is worthy of consideration. Not that we would
willingly diminish, by one hair's weight, the reasons against suicide;
but it is never well to rely upon ignorance or inconsideration
for the defence of any principle whatever. Donne's notion was, (a
notion, however, adopted in his earlier years,) that as we do not
instantly pronounce a man a murderer upon hearing that he has killed
a fellow-creature, but, according to the circumstances of the case,
pronounce his act either murder, or manslaughter, or justifiable
homicide; so by parity of reason, suicide is open to distinctions
of the same or corresponding kinds; that there may be such a thing
as self-homicide not less than self-murder--culpable self-homicide
--justifiable self-homicide. Donne called his Essay by the Greek
name _Biathanatos,_[Footnote: This word, however, which occurs
nowhere that we remember, except in Lampridius, one of the Augustan
historians, is here applied to Heliogabalus; and means, not the
act of suicide, but a suicidal person. And possibly Donne, who was
a good scholar, may so mean it to be understood in his title-page.
Heliogabalus, says Lampridius, had been told by the Syrian priests
that he should be _Biathanatos_, _i. e._ should commit suicide. He
provided, therefore, ropes of purple and of gold intertwisted, that
he might hang himself imperatorially. He provided golden swords,
that he might run himself through as became Caesar. He had poisons
inclosed in jewels, that he might drink his farewell heeltaps, if
drink he must, in a princely style. Other modes of august death he
had prepared. Unfortunately all were unavailing, for he was murdered
and dragged through the common sewers by ropes, without either
purple or gold in their base composition. The poor fellow has been
sadly abused in history; but, after all, he was a mere boy, and as
mad as a March hare.] meaning _violent death._ But a thing equally
strange and a blasphemy almost unaccountable, is the fancy of a
Prussian or Saxon baron, who wrote a book to prove that Christ
committed suicide, for which he had no other argument than that,
in fact, he had surrendered himself unresistingly into the hands
of his enemies, and had in a manner caused his own death.
This, however, describes the case of every martyr that ever was
or can be. It is the very merit and grandeur of the martyr, that
he proclaims the truth with his eyes open to the consequences of
proclaiming it. Those consequences are connected with the truth, but
not by a natural link: the connection is by means of false views,
which it is the very business of the martyr to destroy. And, if a
man founds my death upon an act which my conscience enjoys, even
though I am aware and fully warned that he will found my death upon
it, I am not, therefore, guilty of suicide. For, by the supposition,
I was obliged to the act in question by the highest of all obligations,
viz. moral obligation, which far transcends all physical obligation;
so that, whatever excuse attaches to a physical necessity, attaches,
_a fortiori_, to the moral necessity. The case is, therefore,
precisely the same as if he had said,--'I will put you to death if
the frost benumbs your feet.' The answer is--'I cannot help this
effect of frost.' Far less can I help revealing a celestial truth.
I have no power, no liberty, to forbear. And, in killing me, he
punishes me for a mere necessity of my situation and my knowledge.

It is urged that brutes never commit suicide--except, indeed, the
salamander, who has been suspected of loose principles in this
point; and we ourselves know a man who constantly affirmed that a
horse of his had committed suicide, by violently throwing himself
from the summit of a precipice. 'But why,'--as we still asked him--'why
should the horse have committed felony on himself? Were oats rising
in the market?--or was he in love?--or vexed by politics?--or could
a horse, and a young one rising four, be supposed to suffer from
_taedium vitae_?' Meantime, as respects the general question
of brute suicides, two points must be regarded,--1st, That brutes
are cut off from the vast world of moral and imaginative sufferings
entailed upon man; 2dly, That this very immunity presupposes another
immunity--


'A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain,'


in the far coarser and less irritable animal organization which
must be the basis of an insulated physical sensibility.  Brutes
can neither suffer from intellectual passions, nor, probably, from
very complex derangements of the animal system; so that in them the
motives to suicide, the temptations to suicide, are prodigiously
diminished. Nor are they ever alive to 'the sublime attractions
of the grave.' It is, however, a humiliating reflection, that, if
any brutes can feel such aspirations, it must be those which are
under the care of man. Doubtless the happiness of brutes is sometimes
extended by man; but also, too palpably, their misery.

Why suicide is not noticed in the _New Testament_ is a problem
yet open to the profound investigator.

VI. _Duelling_.--No one case, in the vast volume of casuistry,
is so difficult to treat with justice and reasonable adaptation to
the spirit of modern times, as this of duelling. For, as to those
who reason all upon one side, and never hearken in good faith to
objections or difficulties, such people convince nobody but those
who were already convinced before they began. At present, (1839,)
society has for some years been taking a lurch to one side
_against_ duelling: but inevitably a reaction will succeed;
for, after all, be it as much opposed as it may to Christianity,
duelling performs such important functions in society as now
constituted--we mean by the sense of instant personal accountability
which it diffuses universally amongst gentlemen, and all who have
much sensibility to the point of honor--that, for one life which
it takes away as an occasional sacrifice, it saves myriads from
outrage and affronts--millions from the anxiety attached to inferior
bodily strength. However, it is no part of our present purpose
to plead the cause of duelling, though pleaded it must be, more
fairly than it ever has been, before any progress will be made in
suppressing it.

But the point which we wish to notice at present, is the universal
blunder about the Romans and Greeks.  They, it is alleged, fought
no duels; and occasion is thence taken to make very disadvantageous
reflections upon us, the men of this Christian era, who, in defiance
of our greater light, _do_ fight duels. Lord Bacon himself is
duped by this enormous blunder, and founds upon it a long speech
in the Star-Chamber.

Now, in the first place, who does not see that, if the Pagans really
_were_ enabled by their religion to master their movements of
personal anger and hatred, the inevitable inference will be to the
disadvantage of Christianity.  It would be a clear case. Christianity
and Paganism have been separately tried as means of self-control;
Christianity has flagrantly failed; Paganism succeeded universally;
not having been found unequal to the task in any one known instance.

But this is not so. A profounder error never existed. No religious
influence whatever restrained the Greek or the Roman from fighting
a duel. It was purely a civic influence, and it was sustained
by this remarkable usage--in itself a standing opprobrium to both
Greek and Roman--viz. the unlimited license of tongue allowed to
anger in the ancient assemblies and senates. This liberty of foul
language operated in two ways: 1st, Being universal, it took away
all ground for feeling the words of an antagonist as any personal
insult; so he had rarely a motive for a duel. 2dly, the anger was
thus less acute; yet, if it _were_ acute, then this Billingsgate
resource furnished an instantaneous vehicle for expectorating the
wrath. Look, for example, at Cicero's orations against Mark Antony,
or Catiline, or against Piso. This last person was a senator of
the very highest rank, family, connections; yet, in the course of a
few pages, does Cicero, a man of letters, polished to the extreme
standard of Rome, address him by the elegant appellations of 'filth,'
'mud,' 'carrion,' (_projectum cadaver_.) How could Piso have
complained? It would have been said-'Oh, there's an end of republican
simplicity, if plain speaking is to be put down.' And then it would
have been added invidiously--'Better men than ever stood in your
shoes have borne worse language. Will you complain of what was
tolerated by Africanus, by Paulus Aemilius, by Marius, by Sylla?'
Who could reply to that?  And why should Piso have even wished to
_call out_ his foul-mouthed antagonist? On the contrary, a far
more genial revenge awaited him than any sword could have furnished.
Pass but an hour, and you will hear Piso speaking--it will then be
his turn--every dog has his day; and, though not quite so eloquent
as his brilliant enemy, he is yet eloquent enough for the purposes
of revenge--he is eloquent enough to call Cicero 'filth,' 'mud,'
carrion.'

No: the reason of our modern duelling lies deeper than is supposed:
it lies in the principle of _honor_--a direct product of
chivalry--as that was in part a product of Christianity. The sense
of honor did not exist in Pagan times. Natural equity, and the
equity of civil laws--those were the two moral forces under which
men acted. Honor applies to cases where both those forces are
silent. And precisely because they had no such sense, and because
their revenge emptied itself by the basest of all channels, viz.
foul speaking and license of tongue, was it that the Greeks and
Romans had no duelling. It was no glory to them that they had not,
but the foulest blot on their moral grandeur.

How it was that Christianity was able, mediately, to generate the
principle of honor, is a separate problem.  But this is the true
solution of that common casuistical question about duelling.



PART II.

--'Celebrare domestlca facta.'--HOR.


In a former notice of Casuistry, we touched on such cases only
as were of public bearings, or such as (if private) were of rare
occurrence and of a tragical standard. But ordinary life, in its
most domestic paths, teems with cases of difficult decision; or if
not always difficult in the decision of the abstract question at
issue, difficult in the accommodation of that decision to immediate
practice. A few of these more homely cases, intermixed with more
public ones, we shall here select and review; for, according to a
remark in our first paper, as social economy grows more elaborate,
the demand grows more intense for such circumstantial morality. As
man advances, casuistry advances.  Principles are the same: but the
abstraction of principles from accidents and circumstances becomes
a work of more effort. Aristotle, in his _Nicomachean Ethics_,
has not one case; Cicero, three hundred years after, has a few;
Paley, eighteen hundred years after Cicero, has many.

There is also something in place as well as in time--in the people
as well as the century--which determines the amount of interest
in casuistry. We once heard an eminent person delivering it as an
opinion, derived from a good deal of personal experience--_that
of all European nations, the British was that which suffered most
from remorse_; and that, if internal struggles during temptation,
or sufferings of mind after yielding to temptation, were of a nature
to be measured upon a scale, or could express themselves sensibly
to human knowledge, the annual report from Great Britain, its annual
balance-sheet, by comparison with those from continental Europe,
would show a large excess. At the time of hearing this remarkable
opinion, we, the hearers, were young; and we had little other ground
for assent or dissent, than such general impressions of national
differences as we might happen to have gathered from the several
literatures of Christian nations. These were of a nature to confirm
the stranger's verdict; and it will not be denied that much of
national character comes forward in literature: but these were not
sufficient. Since then, we have had occasion to think closely on
that question. We have had occasion to review the public records
of Christendom; and beyond all doubt the public conscience, the
international conscience, of a people, is the reverberation of its
private conscience. History is but the converging into a focus of
what is moving in the domestic life below; a set of great circles
expressing and summing up, on the dial-plate, the motions of many
little circles in the machinery within. Now History, what may be
called the Comparative History of Modern Europe, countersigns the
traveller's opinion.

'So, then,' says a foreigner, or an Englishman with foreign sympathies,
'the upshot and amount of this doctrine is, that England is more
moral than other nations.' 'Well,' we answer, 'and what of that?'
Observe, however, that the doctrine went no farther than as to
conscientiousness; the principle out of which comes sorrow for all
violation of duty; out of which comes a high standard of duty.
Meantime both the 'sorrow' and the 'high standard' are very compatible
with a lax performance. But suppose we _had_ gone as far as
the objector supposes, and had ascribed a moral superiority every
way to England, what is there in _that_ to shock probability?
Whether the general probability from analogy, or the special
probability from the circumstances of this particular case? We
all know that there is no general improbability in supposing one
nation, or one race, to outrun another. The modern Italians have
excelled all nations in musical sensibility, and in genius for
painting. They have produced far better music than all the rest of
the world put together. And four of their great painters have not
been approached hitherto by the painters of _any_ nation. That
facial structure, again, which is called the Caucasian, and which,
through the ancient Greeks, has travelled westward to the nations
of Christendom, and from them (chiefly ourselves) has become the
Transatlantic face, is, past all disputing, the finest type of the
human countenance divine on this planet. And most other nations,
Asiatic or African, have hitherto put up with this insult; except,
indeed, the Kalmuck Tartars, who are highly indignant at our European
vanity in this matter; and some of them, says Bergmann, the German
traveller, absolutely howl with rage, whilst others only laugh
hysterically, at any man's having the insanity to prefer the Grecian
features to the Kalmuck.  Again, amongst the old pagan nations,
the Romans seem to have had 'the call' for going ahead; and they
fulfilled their destiny in spite of all that the rest of the world
could do to prevent them. So that, far from it being an improbable
or unreasonable assumption, superiority (of one kind or other) has
been the indefeasible inheritance of this and that nation, at all
periods of history.

Still less is the notion tenable of any special improbability
applying to this particular pretension. For centuries has England
enjoyed--1st, civil liberty; 2d, the Protestant faith. Now in those
two advantages are laid the grounds, the very necessities, _a
priori_, of a superior morality. But watch the inconsistency
of men: ask one of these men who dispute this English pretension
_mordicus_; ask him, or bid an Austrian serf ask him, what are
the benefits of Protestantism, and what the benefits of liberty,
that he should risk anything to obtain either. Hear how eloquently
he insists upon their beneficial results, severally and jointly;
and notice that he places foremost among those results a pure
morality. Is he wrong? No: the man speaks bare truth. But what brute
oblivion he manifests of his own doctrine, in taxing with arrogance
any people for claiming one of those results _in esse_, which
he himself could see so clearly _in posse!_ Talk no more of
freedom, or of a pure religion, as fountains of a moral pre-eminence,
if those who have possessed them in combination for the longest
space of time may not, without arrogance, claim the vanward place
amongst the nations of Europe.

So far as to the presumptions, general or special; so far as to the
probabilities, analogous or direct, in countenance of this British
claim. Finally, when we come to the proofs, from fact and historical
experience, we might appeal to a singular case in the records of
our Exchequer; viz., that for much more than a century back, our
_Gazette_ and other public advertisers, have acknowledged
a series of anonymous remittances from those who, at some time
or other, had appropriated public money. We understand that no
corresponding fact can be cited from foreign records. Now, this is
a direct instance of that compunction which our travelled friend
insisted on. But we choose rather to throw ourselves upon the general
history of Great Britain, upon the spirit of her policy, domestic
or foreign, and upon the universal principles of her public morality.
Take the case of public debts, and the fulfilment of contracts to
those who could not have compelled the fulfilment; we first set
this precedent.  All nations have now learned that honesty in such
cases is eventually the best policy; but this they learned from our
experience, and not till nearly all of them had tried the other
policy. We it was, who, under the most trying circumstances of war,
maintained the sanctity from taxation of all foreign investments in
our funds. Our conduct with regard to slaves, whether in the case
of slavery or of the slave-trade--how prudent it may always have
been, we need not inquire; as to its moral principles, they went so
far ahead of European standards, that we were neither comprehended
nor believed. The perfection of romance was ascribed to us by all
who did not reproach us with the perfection of Jesuitical knavery;
by many our motto was supposed to be no longer the old one
of '_divide et impera_,' but '_annihila et appropria_.'
Finally, looking back to our dreadful conflicts with the three
conquering despots of modern history, Philip II. of Spain, Louis
XIV., and Napoleon, we may incontestably boast of having been
single in maintaining the general equities of Europe by war upon
a colossal scale, and by our councils in the general congresses of
Christendom.

Such a review would amply justify the traveller's remarkable _dictum_
upon the principle of remorse, and therefore of conscientiousness,
as existing in greater strength amongst the people of Great Britain.
In the same proportion we may assume, in such a people, a keener
sensibility to moral distinctions; more attention to shades of
difference in the modes of action; more anxiety as to the grounds
of action. In the same proportion we may assume a growing and more
direct regard to casuistry; which is precisely the part of ethics
that will be continually expanding, and continually throwing up
fresh doubts. Not as though a moral principle could ever be doubtful.
But that the growing complexity of the circumstances will make it
more and more difficult in judgment to detach the principle from
the case; or, in practice, to determine the application of the
principle to the facts. It will happen, therefore, as Mr. Coleridge
used to say happened in all cases of importance, that extremes
meet: for casuistical ethics will be most consulted by two classes
the most opposite to each other--by those who seek excuses for
evading their duties, and by those who seek a special fulness of
light for fulfilling them.



CASE I.

HEALTH.


Strange it is, that moral treatises, when professing to lay open the
great edifice of human duties, and to expose its very foundations,
should not have begun with, nay, should not have noticed at all,
those duties which a man owes to himself, and, foremost amongst
them, the duty of cultivating his own health. For it is evident,
that, from mere neglect of that one personal duty, with the very
best intentions possible, all other duties whatever may become
impossible; for good intentions exist in all stages of efficiency,
from the fugitive impulse to the realizing self-determination.  In
this life, the elementary blessing is health. What!  do we presume
to place it before peace of mind?  Far from it; but we speak of the
_genesis_; of the succession in which all blessings descend;
not as to time, but the order of dependency. All morality implies
free agency: it presumes beyond all other conditions an agent who
is in perfect possession of his own volitions.  Now, it is certain
that a man without health is not uniformly master of his own
purposes. Often he cannot be said either to be _in_ the path
of duty or _out_ of it; so incoherent are the actions of a
man forced back continually from the objects of his intellect and
choice upon some alien objects dictated by internal wretchedness.
It is true that, by possibility, some derangements of the human
system are not incompatible with happiness: and a celebrated German
author of the last century, Von Hardenberg--better known by his
assumed name of Novalis--maintained, that certain modes of ill
health, or valetudinarianism, were pre-requisites towards certain
modes of intellectual development. But the ill health to which he
pointed could not have gone beyond a luxurious indisposition; nor
the corresponding intellectual purposes have been other than narrow,
fleeting, and anomalous.  Inflammatory action, in its earlier
stages, is sometimes connected with voluptuous sensations: so is
the preternatural stimulation of the liver. But these states, as
pleasurable states, are transitory. All fixed derangements of the
health are doubly hostile to the moral energies: first, through
the intellect, which they debilitate unconsciously in many ways;
and next, both consciously and semi-consciously, through the will.
The judgment is, perhaps, too clouded to fix upon a right purpose:
the will too enfeebled to pursue it.

Two general remarks may be applied to all, interferences of
the physical with the moral sanity; 1st, That it is not so much
by absolute deductions of time that ill health operates upon the
serviceableness of a man, as by its lingering effects upon his
temper and his animal spirits. Many a man has not lost one hour
of his life from illness, whose faculties of usefulness have been
most seriously impaired through gloom, or untuned feelings; 3d,
That it is not the direct and known risks to our health which act
with the most fatal effects, but the semi-conscious condition, the
atmosphere of circumstances, with which artificial life surrounds
us. The great cities of Europe, perhaps London beyond all others,
under the modern modes of life and business, create a vortex of
preternatural tumult, a rush and frenzy of excitement, which is fatal
to far more than are heard of as express victims to that system.

The late Lord Londonderry's nervous seizure was no solitary or rare
case. So much we happen to know.  We are well assured by medical
men of great London practice, that the case is one of growing
frequency. In Lord Londonderry it attracted notice for reasons of
obvious personal interest, as well as its tragical catastrophe.
But the complaint, though one of modern growth, is well known, and
comes forward under a most determinate type as to symptoms, among
the mercantile class. The original predisposition to it, lies
permanently in the condition of London life, especially as it exists
for public men. But the immediate existing cause, which fires the
train always ready for explosion, is invariably some combination of
perplexities, such as are continually gathering into dark clouds
over the heads of great merchants; sometimes only teasing and
molesting, sometimes menacing and alarming. These perplexities are
generally moving in counteracting paths: some progressive, some
retrograde. There lies a man's safety. But at times it will happen
that all comes at once; and then comes a shock such as no brain
already predisposed by a London life, is strong enough (but more
truly let us say--coarse enough) to support.

Lord Londonderry's case was precisely of that order: he had been
worried by a long session of Parliament, which adds the crowning
irritation in the interruption of sleep. The nervous system,
ploughed up by intense wear and tear, is denied the last resource
of natural relief. In this crisis, already perilous, a new tempest
was called in--of all the most terrific--the tempest of anxiety:
and from what source? Anxiety from fear, is bad: from hope delayed,
is bad: but worst of all is anxiety from responsibility, in cases
where disease or weakness makes a man feel that he is unequal to the
burden. The diplomatic interests of the country had been repeatedly
confided to Lord Londonderry: he had justified that confidence:
he had received affecting testimonies of the honor which belonged
to such a situation. But a short time before his fatal seizure, in
passing through Birmingham at a moment when all the gentlemen of
the place were assembled, he had witnessed the whole assembly--no
mob, but the collective good sense of the place--by one impulse
standing bareheaded in his presence,--a tribute of disinterested
homage which affected him powerfully, and which was well understood
as offered to his foreign diplomacy. Under these circumstances could
he bear to transfer or delegate the business of future negotiation?
Could he suffer to lapse into other hands, as a derelict, the
consummation of that task which thus far he had so prosperously
conducted?  Was it in human nature to do so? He felt the same
hectic of human passion which Lord Nelson felt in the very gates
of death, when some act of command was thoughtlessly suggested as
belonging to his successor--'Not whilst I live, Hardy; not whilst
I live.' Yet, in Lord Londonderry's case, it was necessary, if
he would not transfer the trust, that he should rally his enegies
instantly: for a new Congress was even then assembling.  There
was no delay open to him by the nature of the case: the call was
--_now, now,_ just as you are, my lord, with those shattered
nerves and that agitated brain, take charge of interests the
most complex in Christendom: to say the truth, of interests which
_are_ those of Christendom.

This struggle, between a nervous systm too grievously shaken, and the
instant demand for energy seven times intensified, was too much for
any generous nature. A ceremonial embassy might have been fulfilled
by shattered nerves; but not this embassy. Anxiety supervening upon
nervous derangement was bad; anxiety through responsibility was
worse; but through a responsibility created by grateful confidence,
it was an appeal through the very pangs of martyrdom. No brain could
stand such a siege. Lord Londonderry's gave way; and he fell with
the tears of the generous, even where they might happen to differ
from him in politics.

Meantime, this case, belonging to a class generated by a London
life, was in some quarters well understood even then; _now_,
it is well known that, had different remedies been applied, or
had the sufferer been able to stand up under his torture until the
cycle of the symptoms had begun to come round, he might have been
saved. The treatment is now well understood; but even then it was
understood by some physicians; amongst others by that Dr. Willis
who had attended George III. In several similar cases overpowering
doses had been given of opium, or of brandy; and usually a day or
two had carried off the oppression of the brain by a tremendous
reaction.

In Birmingham and other towns, where the body of people called
Quakers are accumulated, different forms of nervous derangement
are developed; the secret principle of which turns not, as in these
London cases, upon feelings too much called out by preternatural
stimulation, but upon feelings too much repelled and driven in.
Morbid suppression of deep sensibilities must lead to states of
disease equally terrific and perhaps even less tractable; not so
sudden and critical perhaps, but more settled and gloomy. We speak
not of any physical sensibilities, but of those which are purely
moral--sensibilities to poetic emotions, to ambition, to social
gaiety. Accordingly it is amongst the young men and women of this
body that the most afflicting cases under this type occur. Even
for children, however, the systematic repression of all ebullient
feeling, under the Quaker discipline, must be sometimes perilous;
and would be more so, were it not for that marvellous flexibility
with which nature adapts herself to all changes--whether imposed by
climate or by situation--by inflictions of Providence or by human
spirit of system.

These cases we point to as formidable mementos, _monumenta
sacra,_ of those sudden catastrophes which either ignorance of
what concerns the health, or neglect in midst of knowledge, may
produce. Any mode of life in London, or not in London, which trains
the nerves to a state of permanent irritation, prepares a _nidus_
for disease; and unhappily not for chronic disease only, but for
disease of that kind which finishes the struggle almost before it
is begun. In such a state of habitual training for morbid action,
it may happen--and often has happened--that one and the same week
sees the victim apparently well and in his grave.

These, indeed, are extreme cases: though still such as threaten
many more than they actually strike; for, though uncommon, they grow
out of very common habits. But even the ordinary cases of unhealthy
action in the system, are sufficient to account for perhaps
three-fourths of all the disquiet and bad temper which disfigure
daily life. Not one man in every ten is perfectly clear of some
disorder, more or less, in the digestive system--not one man in fifty
enjoys the absolutely normal state of that organ; and upon that
depends the daily cheerfulness, in the first place, and through that
(as well as by more direct actions) the sanity of the judgment. To
speak strictly, not one man in a hundred is perfectly sane even as
to his mind. For, though the greater disturbances of the mind do
not take place in more than one man of each thousand,[Footnote: in
several nations that has been found to be the average proportion
of the insane. But this calculation has never been made to include
all the slighter cases.  It is not impossible that at some periods
the whole human race may have been partially insane.] the slighter
shades that settle on the judgment, which daily bring up thoughts
such as a man would gladly banish, which force him into moods
of feeling irritating at the moment, and wearing to the animal
spirits,--these derangements are universal.

From the greater alike and the lesser, no man can free himself but
in the proportion of his available knowledge applied to his own
animal system, and of the surrounding circumstances, as constantly
acting on that system. Would we, then, desire that every man should
interrupt his proper studies or pursuits for the sake of studying
medicine? Not at all: nor is that requisite. The laws of health are
as simple as the elements of arithmetic or geometry. It is required
only that a man should open his eyes to perceive the three great
forces which support health.

They are these: 1. The _blood_ requires exercise: 2. The great
central organ of the _stomach_ requires adaptation of diet:
3. The _nervous system_ requires regularity of sleep. In those
three functions of sleep, diet, exercise, is contained the whole
economy of health. All three of course act and react upon each
other: and all three are wofully deranged by a London life--above
all, by a parliamentary life. As to the first point, it is probable
that any torpor, or even _lentor_ in the blood, such as
scarcely expresses itself sensibly through the pulse, renders that
fluid less able to resist the first actions of disease. As to the
second, a more complex subject, luckily we benefit not by our own
brief experience exclusively; every man benefits practically by
the traditional experience of ages, which constitutes the culinary
experience in every land and every household. The inheritance of
knowledge, which every generation receives, as to the salubrity of
this or that article of diet, operates continually in preventing
dishes from being brought to table. Each man's separate experience
does something to arm him against the temptation when it is offered;
and again, the traditional experience far oftener intercepts the
temptation. As to the third head, _sleep_, this of all is the
most immediately fitted by nature to the relief of the brain and
its exquisite machinery of nerves:--it is the function of health
most attended to in our navy; and of all it is the one most painfully
ravaged by a London life.

Thus it would appear, that the three great laws of health, viz.,
_motion_, _rest_, and _temperance_, (by a more adequate expression,
_adaptation to the organ_,) are, in a certain gross way, taught to
every man by his personal experience. The difficulty is--as in so
many other cases--not for the understanding, but for the will--not
to know, but to execute.

Now here steps in Casuistry with two tremendous suggestions, sufficient
to alarm any thoughtful man, and rouse him more effectually to the
performance of his duty.

First, that under the same law (whatever that law may be) which
makes suicide a crime, must the neglect of health be a crime? For
thus stand the two accounts:--By suicide you have cut off a _portion
unknown_ from your life: years it may be, but possibly only
days. By neglect of health you have cut off a _portion unknown_
from your life: days it may be, but also by possibility years. So
the practical result may be the same in either case; or, possibly,
the least is suicide. 'Yes,' you reply, 'the _practical_
results--but not the purpose--not the intention--_ergo_, not
the crime.' Certainly not: in the one case the result arises from
absolute predetermination, with the whole energies of the will;
in the other it arises _in spite_ of your will, (meaning your
choice)--it arises out of human infirmity. But still the difference
is as between choosing a crime for its own sake, and falling into
it from strong temptation.

Secondly, that in every case of duty unfulfilled, or duty imperfectly
fulfilled, in consequence of illness, languor, decaying spirits,
&c., there is a high probability (under the age of sixty-five almost
a certainty) that a part of the obstacle is due to self-neglect.
No man that lives but loses some of his time from ill health,
or at least from the incipient forms of ill health--bad spirits,
or indisposition to exertion. Now, taking men even as they are,
statistical societies have ascertained that, from the ages of
twenty to sixty-five, ill health, such as to interrupt daily labor,
averages from seven days to about fourteen per annum. In the best
circumstances of climate, occupation, &c., one fifty-second part
of the time perishes to the species--in the least favorable, two
such parts. Consequently, in the forty-five years from twenty to
sixty-five, not very far from a year perishes on an average to every
man--to some as much more. A considerable part even of this loss
is due to neglect or mismanagement of health.  But this estimate
records only the loss of time in a pecuniary sense; which loss,
being powerfully restrained by self-interest, will be the least
possible under the circumstances.  The loss of energy, as applied
to duties not connected with any self-interest, will be far more.
In so far as that loss emanates from defect of spirits, or other
modes of vital torpor, such as neglect of health has either caused
or promoted, and care might have prevented, in so far the omission is
charged to our own responsibility. Many men fancy that the slight
injuries done by each single act of intemperance, are like the
glomeration of moonbeams upon moonbeams--myriads will not amount to
a positive value. Perhaps they are wrong; possibly every act--nay,
every separate pulse or throb of intemperate sensation--is numbered
in our own after actions; reproduces itself in some future perplexity;
comes back in some reversionary shape that injures the freedom of
action for all men, and makes good men afflicted. At all events,
it is an undeniable fact, that many a case of difficulty, which in
apology for ourselves we very truly plead to be insurmountable by
our existing energies, has borrowed its sting from previous acts or
omissions of our own; it might _not_ have been insurmountable,
had we better cherished our physical resources. For instance, of
such a man it is said--he did not assist in repelling an injury
from his friend or his native land. 'True,' says his apologist, 'but
you would not require him to do so when he labors under paralysis?'
'No, certainly; but, perhaps, he might _not_ have labored under
paralysis had he uniformly taken care of his health.'[Footnote:
With respect to the management of health, although it is undoubtedly
true that like the 'primal charities,' in the language of Wordsworth,
in proportion to its importance it shines alike for all, and is
diffused universally--yet not the less, in every age, some very
obstinate prejudices have prevailed to darken the truth. Thus
Dryden authorizes the conceit, that medicine can never be useful
or requisite, because--


  'God never made his work for man to mend.'


To mend! No, glorious John, neither physician nor patient has any
such presumptuous fancy; we take medicine to mend the injuries
produced by our own folly. What the medicine mends is not God's
work, but our own. The medicine is a _plus_ certainly; but it
is a _plus_ applied to a _minus_ of our own introducing.
Even in these days of practical knowledge, errors prevail on the
subject of health which are neither trivial nor of narrow operation.
Universally, the true theory of digestion, as partially unfolded
in Dr. Wilson Philip's experiments on rabbits, is so far mistaken,
and even inverted--that Lord Byron, when seeking a diet of easy
digestion, instead of resorting to animal food broiled and underdone,
which all medical men know to be the most digestible food, took
to a vegetable diet, which requires a stomach of extra power. The
same error is seen in the common notion about the breakfast of
ladies in Elizabeth's days, as if fit only for ploughmen; whereas
it is _our_ breakfasts of slops which require the powerful
organs of digestion. The same error, again, is current in the notion
that a weak watery diet is fit for a weak person. Such a person
peculiarly requires solid food.  It is also a common mistake to
suppose that, because no absolute illness is caused by daily errors
of diet, these errors are practically cancelled. Cowper the poet
delivers the very just opinion--that all disorders of a _function_
(as, suppose, the secretion of bile,) sooner or later, if not
corrected, cease to be functional disorders, and become organic.]

Let not the reader suspect us of the Popish doctrine, that men
are to enter hereafter into a separate reckoning for each separate
act, or to stand at all upon their own merits. That reckoning, we
Protestants believe, no man could stand; and that some other resource
must be had than any personal merits of the individual.  But still
we should recollect that this doctrine, though providing a refuge
for past offences, provides none for such offences as are committed
deliberately, with a prospective view to the benefits of such
a refuge.  Offend we may, and we must: but then our offences must
come out of mere infirmity--not because we calculate upon a large
allowance being made to us, and say to ourselves, '_Let us take
out our allowance._'

Casuistry, therefore, justly, and without infringing any truth of
Christianity, urges the care of health as the basis of all moral
action, because, in fact, of all _perfectly voluntary_ action.
Every impulse of bad health jars or untunes some string in the fine
harp of human volition; and because a man cannot be a moral being
but in the proportion of his free action, therefore it is clear that
no man can be in a high sense moral, except in so far as through
health he commands his bodily powers, and is not commanded by them.



CASE II.

LAWS OF HOSPITALITY IN COLLISION WITH CIVIC DUTIES.


Suppose the case, that taking shelter from a shower of rain in a
stranger's house, you discover proofs of a connection with smugglers.
Take this for one pole of such case, the trivial extreme; then
for the other pole, the greater extreme, suppose the case, that,
being hospitably entertained, and happening to pass the night in a
stranger's house, you are so unfortunate as to detect unquestionable
proofs of some dreadful crime, say murder, perpetrated in past times
by one of the family.  The principle at issue is the same in both
cases: viz., the command resting upon the conscience to forget
private consideration and personal feelings in the presence of any
solemn duty; yet merely the difference of degree, and not any at
all in the kind of duty, would lead pretty generally to a separate
practical decision for the several cases. In the last of the two,
whatever might be the pain to a person's feelings, he would feel
himself to have no discretion or choice left. Reveal he must; not
only, if otherwise revealed, he must come forward as a witness, but,
if not revealed, he must denounce--he must lodge an information,
and that instantly, else even in law, without question of morality,
he makes himself a party to the crime--an accomplice after the act.
That single consideration would with most men at once cut short all
deliberation. And yet even in such a situation, there is a possible
variety of the case that might alter its complexion. If the crime
had been committed many years before, and under circumstances which
precluded all fear that the same temptation or the same provocation
should arise again, most reflecting people would think it the
better course to leave the criminal to his conscience. Often in
such denunciations it is certain that human impertinence, and the
spirit which sustains the habit of gossip, and mere incontinence
of secrets, and vulgar craving for being the author of a sensation,
have far more often led to the publication of the offence, than
any concern for the interests of morality.

On the other hand, with respect to the slighter extreme--viz. in
a case where the offence is entirely created by the law, with no
natural turpitude about it and besides (which is a strong argument
in the case) enjoying no special facilities of escaping justice--no
man in the circumstances supposed would have a reason for hesitating.
The laws of hospitality are of everlasting obligation; they are
equally binding on the host and on the guest. Coming under a man's
roof for one moment, in the clear character of guest, creates an
absolute sanctity in the consequent relations which connect the
parties. That is the popular feeling.  The king in the old ballads is
always represented as feeling that it would be damnable to make a
legal offence out of his own venison which he had eaten as a guest.
There is a cleaving pollution, like that of the Syrian leprosy,
in the act of abusing your privileges as a guest, or in any way
profiting by your opportunities as a guest to the injury of your
confiding host. Henry VII. though a prince, was no gentleman; and
in the famous case of his dining with Lord Oxford, and saying at his
departure, with reference to an infraction of his recent statute,
'My Lord, I thank you for my good cheer, but my attorney must speak
with you;' Lord Oxford might have justly retorted, 'If he does,
then posterity will speak pretty plainly with your Majesty;' for
it was in the character of Lord Oxford's guest that he had learned
the infraction of his law.  Meantime, the general rule, and the
_rationale_ of the rule, in such cases, appears to be this:
Whenever there is, or can be imagined, a sanctity in the obligations
on one side, and only a benefit of expediency in the obligations
upon the other, the latter must give way. For the detection of
smuggling, (the particular offence supposed in the case stated,)
society has an express and separate machinery maintained. If their
activity droops, that is the business of government. In such a
case, government is entitled to no aid from private citizens; on the
express understanding that no aid must be expected, has so expensive
an establishment been submitted to. Each individual refuses to
participate in exposure of such offences, for the same reason that
he refuses to keep the street clean even before his own door--he
has already paid for having such work discharged by proxy.



CASE III.

GIVING CHARACTERS TO SERVANTS WHO HAVE MISCONDUCTED THEMSELVES.


No case so constantly arises to perplex the conscience in private
life as this--which, in principle, is almost beyond solution.
Sometimes, indeed, the coarse realities of law step in to cut
that Gordian knot which no man can untie; for it is an actionable
offence to give a character wilfully false. That little fact at
once exorcises all aerial phantoms of the conscience.  True: but
this coarse machinery applies only to those cases in which the
servant has been guilty in a way amenable to law. In any case short
of _that_, no plaintiff would choose to face the risks of an
action; nor could he sustain it; the defendant would always have
a sufficient resource in the vagueness and large latitude allowed
to opinion when estimating the qualities of a servant. Almost universally,
therefore, the case comes back to the forum of conscience. Now in
that forum how stands the pleading? Too certainly, we will suppose,
that the servant has not satisfied your reasonable expectations.
This truth you would have no difficulty in declaring; here, as much
as anywhere else, you would feel it unworthy of your own integrity
to equivocate--you open your writing-desk, and sit down to tell
the mere truth in as few words as possible.  But then steps in the
consideration, that to do this without disguise or mitigation, is
oftentimes to sign a warrant for the ruin of a fellow-creature--and
that fellow-creature possibly penitent, in any case thrown upon
your mercy. Who can stand this? In lower walks of life, it is true
that mistresses often take servants without any certificate of
character; but in higher grades this is notoriously uncommon, and
in great cities dangerous. Besides, the candidate may happen to
be a delicate girl, incapable of the hard labor incident to such
a lower establishment. Here, then, is a case where conscience says
into your left ear--_Fiat justitia, ruat caelum_--'Do your
duty without looking to consequences.' Meantime, into the right
ear conscience says, 'But mark, in that case possibly you consign
this poor girl to prostitution.' Lord Nelson, as is well known,
was once placed in a dilemma equally trying;[Footnote: On the first
expedition against Copenhagen, (in 1801.) He was unfortunately
second in command; his principal, a brave man in person, wanted
moral courage--he could not face responsibility in a trying shape.
And had he not been blessed with a disobedient second in command,
he must have returned home _re infecta_.] on one side, an
iron tongue sang out from the commander-in-chief--_retreat_;
on the other, his own oracular heart sang to him--_advance_.
How he decided is well known; and the words in which he proclaimed
his decision ought to be emblazoned for ever as the noblest of all
recorded repartees.  Waiving his hand towards the Admiral's ship,
he said to his own officers, who reported the signal of recall--'You
may see it; I cannot; you know I am blind on that side.' Oh,
venerable blindness! immortal blindness! None so deaf as those who
will not hear; none so gloriously blind as those who will not see
any danger or difficulty--who have a dark eye on that side, whilst
they reserve another blazing like a meteor for honor and their
country's interest. Most of us, we presume, in the case stated
about the servant, hear but the whispering voice of conscience as
regards the truth, and her thundering voice as regards the poor girl's
interest. In doing this, however, we (and doubtless others) usually
attempt to compromise the opposite suggestions of conscience by
some such jesuitical device as this. We dwell pointedly upon those
good qualities which the servant really possesses, and evade speaking
of any others. But how, if minute, searching and circumstantial
inquiries are made by way of letter? In that case, we affect to
have noticed only such as we can answer with success, passing the
dangerous ones as so many rocks, _sub silentio_. All this
is not quite right, you think, reader. Why, no; so think we; but
what alternative is allowed? 'Say, ye severest, what would ye have
done?' In very truth, this is a dilemma for which Casuistry is not
a match; unless, indeed, Casuistry as armed and equipped in the
school of Ignatius Loyola. But that is with us reputed a piratical
Casuistry. The whole estate of a servant lies in his capacity of
serving; and often if you tell the truth, by one word you ruin this
estate for ever. Meantime, a case very much of the same quality,
and of even greater difficulty, is



CASE IV.

CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF FRAUDULENT SERVANTS.


Any reader, who is not deeply read in the economy of English life,
will have a most inadequate notion of the vast extent to which this
case occurs. We are well assured, (for our information comes from
quarters _judicially_ conversant with the question,) that in
no other channel of human life does there flow one-hundredth part
of the forbearance and the lenity which are called into action by
the relation between injured masters and their servants. We are
informed that, were every third charge pursued effectually, half
the courts in Europe would not suffice for the cases of criminality
which emerge in London alone under this head. All England would, in
the course of five revolving years, have passed under the torture
of _subpoena_, as witnesses for the prosecution or the defence.
This multiplication of cases arises from the coincidence of hourly
opportunity with hourly temptation, both carried to the extreme
verge of possibility, and generally falling in with youth in the
offenders.  These aggravations of the danger are three several
palliations of the crime, and they have weight allowed to them by
the indulgent feelings of masters in a corresponding degree; not
one case out of six score that are discovered (while, perhaps,
another six score go undiscovered) being ever prosecuted with rigor
and effect.

In this universal laxity of temper lies an injury too serious to
public morals; and the crime reproduces itself abundantly under an
indulgence so Christian in its motive, but unfortunately operating
with the full effect of genial culture. Masters, who have
made themselves notorious by indiscriminate forgiveness, might be
represented symbolically as gardeners watering and tending luxuriant
crops of crime in hot-beds or forcing-houses. In London, many are
the tradesmen, who, being reflective as well as benevolent, perceive
that something is amiss in the whole system.  In part the law has
been to blame, stimulating false mercy by punishment disproportioned
to the offence.  But many a judicious master has seen cause to
suspect his own lenity as more mischievously operative even than
the law's hardness, and as an effeminate surrender to luxurious
sensibilities. Those have not been the severest masters whose names
are attached to fatal prosecutions: on the contrary, three out of
four have been persons who looked forward to general consequences--having,
therefore, been more than usually thoughtful, were, for that reason,
likely to be more than usually humane. They did not suffer the less
acutely, because their feelings ran counter to the course of what
they believed to be their duty. Prosecutors often sleep with less
tranquillity during the progress of a judicial proceeding than the
objects of the prosecution. An English judge of the last century,
celebrated for his uprightness, used to balance against that
pity so much vaunted for the criminal, the duty of 'a pity to the
country.' But private prosecutors of their own servants, often feel
both modes of pity at the same moment.

For this difficulty a book of Casuistry might suggest a variety
of resources, not so much adapted to a case of that nature already
existing, as to the prevention of future cases. Every mode of trust
or delegated duty would suggest its own separate improvements;
but all improvements must fall under two genuine heads--first, the
diminution of temptation, either by abridging the amount of trust
reposed; or, where that is difficult, by shortening its duration,
and multiplying the counterchecks: secondly, by the moderation
of the punishment in the event of detection, as the sole means of
reconciling the public conscience to the law, and diminishing the
chances of impunity. There is a memorable proof of the rash extent
to which the London tradesmen, at one time, carried their confidence
in servants. So many clerks, or apprentices, were allowed to hold
large balances of money in their hands through the intervals of their
periodical settlings, that during the Parliamentary war multitudes
were tempted, by that single cause, into absconding.  They had
always a refuge in the camps. And the loss sustained in this way
was so heavy, when all payments were made in gold, that to this
one evil suddenly assuming a shape of excess, is ascribed, by some
writers, the first establishment of goldsmiths as bankers.[Footnote:
Goldsmiths certainly acted in that capacity from an earlier period.
But from this era, until the formation of the Bank of England in
1696, they entered more fully upon the functions of bankers, issuing
notes which passed current in London.]

Two other weighty considerations attach to this head--1. The known
fact that large breaches of trust, and embezzlements, are greatly
on the increase, and have been since the memorable case of Mr.
Fauntleroy. America is, and will be for ages, a city of refuge for
this form of guilt. 2. That the great training of the conscience
in all which regards pecuniary justice and fidelity to engagements,
lies through the discipline and _tyrocinium_ of the humbler
ministerial offices--those of clerks, book-keepers, apprentices.
The law acts through these offices, for the unconfirmed conscience,
as leading-strings to an infant in its earliest efforts at walking.
It forces to go right, until the choice may be supposed trained and
fully developed.  That is the great function of the law; a function
which it will perform with more or less success, as it is more or
less fitted to win the cordial support of masters.



CASE V.

VERACITY.


Here is a special 'title,' (to speak with the civil lawyers,)
under that general claim put in for England with respect to a moral
pre-eminence amongst the nations. Many are they who, in regions
widely apart, have noticed with honor the English superiority
in the article of veneration for truth. Not many years ago, two
Englishmen, on their road overland to India, fell in with a royal
_cortege_, and soon after with the prime minister and the crown
prince of Persia. The prince honored them with an interview; both
parties being on horseback, and the conversation therefore reduced
to the points of nearest interest. Amongst these was the English
character. Upon this the prince's remark was--that what had most
impressed him with respect for England and her institutions was,
the remarkable spirit of truth-speaking which distinguished her
sons; as supposing her institutions to grow out of her sons, and
her sons out of her institutions. And indeed well he might have
this feeling by comparison with his own countrymen: Persians have
no _principles_ apparently on this point--all is impulse and
accident of feeling.  Thus the journal of the two Persian princes
in London, as lately reported in the newspapers, is one tissue of
falsehoods: not, most undoubtedly, from any purpose of deceiving,
but from the overmastering habit (cherished by their whole training
and experience) of repeating everything in a spirit of amplification,
with a view to the _wonder_ only of the hearer. The Persians
are notoriously the Frenchmen of the East; the same gaiety, the same
levity, the same want of depth both as to feeling and principle.
The Turks are much nearer to the English: the same gravity
of temperament, the same meditativeness, the same sternness of
principle. Of all European nations, the French is that which least
regards truth. The whole spirit of their private memoirs and their
anecdotes illustrates this. To point an anecdote or a repartee, there
is no extravagance of falsehood that the French will not endure. What
nation but the French would have tolerated that monstrous fiction
about La Fontaine, by way of illustrating his supposed absence of
mind--viz. that, on meeting his own son in a friend's house, he
expressed his admiration of the young man, and begged to know his
name. The fact probably may have been that La Fontaine was not
liable to any absence at all: apparently this 'distraction' was
assumed as a means of making a poor sort of sport for his friends.
Like many another man in such circumstances, he saw and entered
into the fun which his own imaginary forgetfulness produced. But
were it otherwise, who can believe so outrageous a self-forgetfulness
as that which would darken his eyes to the very pictures of his
own hearth? Were such a thing possible, were it even real, it would
still be liable to the just objection of the critics--that, being
marvelous in appearance, even as a fact it ought not to be brought
forward for any purpose of wit, but only as a truth of physiology,
or as a fact in the records of a surgeon.  The _'incredulus odi'_
is too strong in such cases, and it adheres to three out of every
four French anecdotes.  The French taste is, indeed, anything but
good in all that department of wit and humor. And the ground lies in
their national want of veracity. To return to England--and having
cited an Oriental witness to the English character on this point, let
us now cite a most observing one in the West. Kant, in Konigsberg,
was surrounded by Englishmen and by foreigners of all nations--foreign
and English students, foreign and English merchants; and he pronounced
the main characteristic feature of the English as a nation to lie
in their severe reverence for truth. This from him was no slight
praise; for such was the stress he laid upon veracity, that upon
this one quality he planted the whole edifice of moral excellence.
General integrity could not exist, he held, without veracity as its
basis; nor that basis exist without superinducing general integrity.

This opinion, perhaps, many beside Kant will see cause to approve.
For ourselves we can truly say--never did we know a human being,
boy or girl, who began life as an habitual undervaluer of truth,
that did not afterwards exhibit a character conformable to that
beginning--such a character as, however superficially correct
under the steadying hand of self-interest, was not in a lower key
of moral feeling as well as of principle.

But out of this honorable regard to veracity in Immanuel Kant,
branched out a principle in Casuistry which most people will
pronounce monstrous. It has occasioned much disputing backwards
and forwards.  But as a practical principle of conduct, (for which
Kant meant it,) inevitably it must be rejected--if for no other
reason because it is at open war with the laws and jurisprudence of
all Christian Europe. Kant's doctrine was this; and the illustrative
case in which it is involved, let it be remembered, is his own:--So
sacred a thing, said he, is truth--that if a murderer, pursuing
another with an avowed purpose of killing him, were to ask of a
third person by what road the fleeing party had fled, that person
is bound to give him true information. And you are at liberty
to suppose this third person a wife, a daughter, or under any
conceivable obligations of love and duty to the fugitive.  Now this
is monstrous: and Kant himself, with all his parental fondness for
the doctrine, would certainly have been recalled to sounder thoughts
by these two considerations--

1_st_. That by all the codes of law received throughout Europe,
he who acted upon Kant's principle would be held a _particeps
criminis_--an accomplice before the fact.

2_d_. That, in reality, a just principle is lurking under
Kant's error; but a principle translated from its proper ground.
Not truth, individual or personal--not truth of mere facts, but
truth doctrinal--the truth which teaches, the truth which changes
men and nations--this is the truth concerned in Kant's meaning,
had he explained his own meaning to himself more distinctly.
With respect to that truth, wheresoever it lies, Kant's doctrine
applies--that all men have a right to it; that perhaps you have no
right to suppose of any race or nation that it is not prepared to
receive it; and, at any rate, that no circumstances of expedience
can justify you in keeping it back.



CASE VI.

THE CASE OF CHARLES I.


Many cases arise from the life and political difficulties of
Charles I. But there is one so peculiarly pertinent to an essay
which entertains the general question of Casuistry--its legitimacy,
its value--that with this, although not properly a domestic case,
or only such in a mixed sense, we shall conclude.

No person has been so much attacked for his scruples of conscience
as this prince; and what seems odd enough, no person has been so much
attacked for resorting to books of Casuistry, and for encouraging
literary men to write books of Casuistry. Under his suggestion and
sanction, Saunderson wrote his book on the obligation of an oath,
(for which there was surely reason enough in days when the democratic
tribunals were forcing men to swear to an _et caetera_;) and,
by an impulse originally derived from him, Jeremy Taylor wrote
afterwards his _Ductor Dubitantium_, Bishop Barlow wrote his
_Cases of Conscience_, &c. &c.

For this dedication of his studies, Charles has been plentifully
blamed in after times. He was seeking evasions for plain duties,
say his enemies. He was arming himself for intrigue in the school
of Machiavel. But now turn to his history, and ask in what way any
man could have extricated himself from that labyrinth which invested
his path _but_ by Casuistry. Cases the most difficult are
offered for his decision: peace for a distracted nation in 1647,
on terms which seemed fatal to the monarchy; peace for the same
nation under the prospect of war rising up again during the Isle
of Wight treaty in 1648, but also under the certainty of destroying
the Church of England. On the one side, by refusing, he seemed to
disown his duties as the father of his people.  On the other side,
by yielding, he seemed to forget his coronation oath, and the ultimate
interests of his people--to merge the future and the reversionary
in the present and the fugitive. It was not within the possibilities
that he could so act as not to offend one half of the nation.  His
dire calamity it was, that he must be hated, act how he would, and
must be condemned by posterity.  Did his enemies allow for the
misery of this internal conflict? Milton, who never appears to
more disadvantage than when he comes forward against his sovereign,
is indignant that Charles should have a conscience, or plead a
conscience, in a public matter.  Henderson, the celebrated Scotch
theologian, came post from Edinburgh to London (whence he went to
Newcastle) expressly to combat the king's scruples.  And he also
(in his private letters) seems equally enraged as Milton, that
Charles should pretend to any private conscience in a state question.

Now let us ask--what was it that originally drove Charles to books
of Casuistry? It was the deep shock which he received, both in his
affections and his conscience, from the death of Lord Strafford.
Every body had then told him, even those who felt how much the law
must be outraged to obtain a conviction of Lord Strafford, how many
principles of justice must be shaken, and how sadly the royal word
must suffer in its sanctity,--yet all had told him that it was
expedient to sacrifice that nobleman. One man ought not to stand
between the king and his alienated people. It was good for the common
welfare that Lord Strafford should die.  Charles was unconvinced.
He was sure of the injustice; and perhaps he doubted even of the
expedience.  But his very virtues were armed against his peace. In
all parts of his life self-distrust and diffidence had marked his
character. What was he, a single person, to resist so many wise
counsellors, and what in a representative sense was the nation ranged
on the other side? He yielded: and it is not too much to say that
he never had a happy day afterwards. The stirring period of his
life succeeded--the period of war, camps, treaties. Much time was
not allowed him for meditation. But there is abundant proof that
such time as he had, always pointed his thoughts backwards to the
afflicting case of Lord Stratford. This he often spoke of as the
great blot--the ineffaceable transgression of his life. For this
he mourned in penitential words yet on record. To this he traced
back the calamity of his latter life. Lord Stratford's memorable
words--'Put not your trust in princes, nor in the sons of princes,'--rang
for ever in his ear. Lord Stafford's blood lay like a curse upon
his throne.

Now, by what a pointed answer, drawn from this one case, might
Charles have replied to the enemies we have noticed--to those,
like so many historians since his day, who taxed him with studying
Casuistry for the purposes of intrigue--to those, like Milton and
Henderson, who taxed him with exercising his private conscience on
public questions.

'I had studied no books of Casuistry,' he might have replied, 'when
I made the sole capital blunder in a case of conscience, which the
review of my life can show.

'I did not insist on my private conscience; woe is me that I did
not: I yielded to what was called the public conscience in that
one case which has proved the affliction of my life, and which,
perhaps, it was that wrecked the national peace.'

A more plenary answer there cannot be to those who suppose that
Casuistry is evaded by evading books of Casuistry. That dread forum
of conscience will for ever exist as a tribunal of difficulty. The
discussion must proceed on some principle or other, good or bad;
and the only way for obtaining light is by clearing up the grounds
of action, and applying the principles of moral judgment to such
facts or circumstances as most frequently arise to perplex the
understanding, or the affections, or the conscience.



GREECE UNDER THE ROMANS.[Footnote: By George Finlae]

[1844.]



What is called _Philosophical History_ we believe to be yet
in its infancy. It is the profound remark of Mr. Finlay--profound
as we ourselves understand it, _i. e.,_ in relation to this
philosophical treatment, 'That history will ever remain inexhaustible.'
How inexhaustible?  Are the _facts_ of history inexhaustible?
In regard to the _ancient_ division of history with which he
is there dealing, this would be in no sense true; and in any case
it would be a lifeless truth. So entirely have the mere facts of
Pagan history been disinterred, ransacked, sifted, that except by
means of some chance medal that may be unearthed in the illiterate
East (as of late towards Bokhara), or by means of some mysterious
inscription, such as those which still mock the learned traveller
in Persia, northwards near Hamadan (Ecbatana), and southwards at
Persepolis, or those which distract him amongst the shadowy ruins
of Yucatan (Uxmal, suppose, and Palenque),--once for all, barring
these pure godsends, it is hardly 'in the dice' that any downright
novelty of fact should remain in reversion for this nineteenth
century. The merest possibility exists, that in Armenia, or in a
Graeco-Russian monastery on Mount Athos, or in Pompeii, &c., some
authors hitherto αιεχδοτοι may yet be concealed; and by
a channel in that degree improbable, it is possible that certain
new facts of history may still reach us. But else, and failing these
cryptical or subterraneous currents of communication, for us the
record is closed. History in that sense has come to an end, and
sealed up as by the angel in the Apocalypse. What then? The facts
_so_ understood are but the dry bones of the mighty past. And
the question arises here also, not less than in that sublimest of
prophetic visions, 'Can these dry bones live?'.  Not only can they
live, but by an infinite variety of life. The same historic facts,
viewed in different lights, or brought into connection with other
facts, according to endless diversities of permutation and combination,
furnish grounds for such eternal successions of new speculations
as make the facts themselves virtually new. The same Hebrew words
are read by different sets of vowel points, and the same hieroglyphics
are deciphered by keys everlastingly varied.

To us we repeat that oftentimes it seems as though the _science_
of history were yet scarcely founded.  There will be such a science,
if at present there is not; and in one feature of its capacities
it will resemble chemistry. What is so familiar to the perceptions
of man as the common chemical agents of water, air, and the soil
on which we tread? Yet each one of these elements is a mystery to
this day; handled, used, tried, searched experimentally, in ten
thousand ways--it is still unknown; fathomed by recent science down
to a certain depth, it is still probably by its destiny unfathomable.
Even to the end of days, it is pretty certain that the minutest
particle of earth--that a dew-drop scarcely distinguishable as
a separate object--that the slenderest filament of a plant will
include within itself secrets inaccessible to man. And yet, compared
with the mystery of man himself, these physical worlds of mystery
are but as a radix of infinity.  Chemistry is in this view mysterious
and spinosistically sublime--that it is the science of the latent
in all things, of all things as lurking in all. Within the lifeless
flint, within the silent pyrites, slumbers an agony of potential
combustion. Iron is imprisoned in blood. With cold water (as
every child is now-a-days aware) you may lash a fluid into angry
ebullitions of heat; with hot water, as with the rod of Amram's
son, you may freeze a fluid down to the temperature of the Sarsar
wind, provided only that you regulate the pressure of the air. The
sultry and dissolving fluid shall bake into a solid, the petrific
fluid shall melt into a liquid. Heat shall freeze, frost shall thaw;
and wherefore? Simply because old things are brought together in
new modes of combination. And in endless instances beside we see the
same Panlike latency of forms and powers, which gives to the external
world a capacity of self-transformation, and of _polymorphosis_
absolutely inexhaustible.

But the same capacity belongs to the facts of history.  And we
do not mean merely that, from subjective differences in the minds
reviewing them, such facts assume endless varieties of interpretation
and estimate, but that objectively, from lights still increasing
in the science of government and of social philosophy, all the
primary facts of history become liable continually to new theories,
to new combinations, and to new valuations of their moral relations.
We have seen some kinds of marble, where the veinings happened to
be unusually multiplied, in which human faces, figures, processions,
or fragments of natural scenery seemed absolutely illimitable,
under the endless variations or inversions of the order, according
to which they might be combined and grouped. Something analogous
takes effect in reviewing the remote parts of history. Rome, for
instance, has been the object of historic pens for twenty centuries
(dating from Polybius); and yet hardly so much as twenty years have
elapsed since Niebuhr opened upon us almost a new revelation, by
re-combining the same eternal facts, according to a different set
of principles. The same thing may be said, though not with the
same degree of emphasis, upon the Grecian researches of the late
Ottfried Mueller. Egyptian history again, even at this moment,
is seen stealing upon us through the dusky twilight in its first
distinct lineaments. Before Young, Champollion, and the others
who have followed on their traces in this field of history, all
was outer darkness; and whatsoever we _do_ know or _shall_
know of Egyptian Thebes will now be recovered as if from the
unswathing of a mummy. Not until a flight of three thousand years
has left Thebes the Hekatompylos a dusky speck in the far distance,
have we even _begun_ to read her annals, or to understand her
revolutions.

Another instance we have now before us of this new historic faculty
for resuscitating the buried, and for calling back the breath to
the frozen features of death, in Mr. Finlay's work upon the Greeks
as related to the Roman empire. He presents us with old facts, but
under the purpose of clothing them with a new life. He rehearses
ancient stories, not with the humble ambition of better adorning
them, of more perspicuously narrating, or even of more forcibly
pointing their moral, but of extracting from them some new meaning,
and thus forcing them to arrange themselves, under some latent
connection, with other phenomena now first detected, as illustrations
of some great principle or agency now first revealing its importance.
Mr. Finlay's style of intellect is appropriate to such a task; for
it is subtle and Machiavellian. But there is this difficulty in
doing justice to the novelty, and at times we may say with truth
to the profundity of his views, that they are by necessity thrown
out in continued successions of details, are insulated, and, in
one word, _sporadic_. This follows from the very nature of his
work; for it is a perpetual commentary on the incidents of Grecian
history, from the era of the Roman conquest to the commencement of
what Mr.  Finlay, in a peculiar sense, calls the Byzantine empire.
These incidents have nowhere been systematically or continuously
recorded; they come forward by casual flashes in the annals, perhaps,
of some church historian, as they happen to connect themselves with
his momentary theme; or they betray themselves in the embarrassments
of the central government, whether at Rome or at Constantinople,
when arguing at one time a pestilence, at another an insurrection,
or an inroad of barbarians. It is not the fault of Mr. Finlay, but
his great disadvantage, that the affairs of Greece have been thus
discontinuously exhibited, and that its internal changes of condition
have been never treated except obliquely, and by men _aliud
agentibus_. The Grecian _race_ had a primary importance on
our planet; but the Grecian name, represented by Greece considered
as a territory, or as the original seat of the Hellenic people,
ceased to have much importance, in the eyes of historians, from
the time when it became a conquered province; and it declined
into absolute insignificance after the conquest of so many other
provinces had degraded Hellas into an arithmetical unit, standing
amongst a total amount of figures, so vast and so much more
dazzling to the ordinary mind.  Hence it was that in ancient times
no complete history of Greece, through all her phases and stages,
was ever attempted. The greatness of her later revolutions, simply
as changes, would have attracted the historian; but, as changes
associated with calamity and loss of power, they repelled his
curiosity, and alienated his interest. It is the very necessity,
therefore, of Mr. Finlay's position, when coming into such an
inheritance, that he must splinter his philosophy into separate
individual notices; for the records of history furnish no grounds
for more. _Spartam, quam nactus est, ornavit_. But this does
not remedy the difficulty for ourselves, in attempting to give a
representative view of his philosophy. General abstractions he had
no opportunity for presenting; consequently we have no opportunity
for valuing; and, on the other hand, single cases selected from a
succession of hundreds would not justify any _representative_
criticism, more than the single brick, in the anecdote of Hierocles,
would serve representatively to describe or to appraise the house.

Under this difficulty as to the possible for ourselves, and the
just for Mr. Finlay, we shall adopt the following course. So far as
the Greek people collected themselves in any splendid manner with
the Roman empire, they did so with the eastern horn of that empire,
and in point of time from the foundation of Constantinople as an
eastern Rome, in the fourth century, to a period not fully agreed
on; but for the moment we will say with Mr. Finlay, up to the early
part of the eighth century. A reason given by Mr.  Finlay for this
latter date is--that about that time the Grecian blood, so widely
diffused in Asia, and even in Africa, became finally detached by
the progress of Mahometanism and Mahometan systems of power from
all further concurrence or coalition with the views of the Byzantine
Caesar. Constantinople was from that date thrown back more upon its
own peculiar heritage and jurisdiction, of which the main resources
for war and peace lay in Europe and (speaking by the narrowest
terms) in Thrace. Henceforth, therefore, for the city and throne
of Constantine, resuming its old Grecian name of Byzantium, there
succeeded a theatre less diffusive, a population more concentrated,
a character of action more determinate and jealous, a style of
courtly ceremonial more elaborate as well as more haughtily repulsive,
and universally a system of interests, as much more definite and
selfish, as might naturally be looked for in a nation now everywhere
surrounded by new thrones gloomy with malice, and swelling with the
consciousness of youthful power.  This new and final state of the
eastern Rome Mr.  Finlay denominates the Byzantine empire. Possibly
this use of the term may be capable of justification: but more
questions would arise in the discussion than Mr. Finlay has thought
it of importance to notice.  And for the present we shall take the
word _Byzantine_ in its most ordinary acceptation, as denoting
the local empire founded by Constantine in Byzantium early in the
fourth century, under the idea of a translation from the old western
Rome, and overthrown by the Ottoman Turks in the year 1453. In
the fortunes and main stages of this empire, what are the chief
arresting phenomena, aspects, or relations, to the greatest of
modern interests? We select by preference these:

I. _First_, this was the earliest among the kingdoms of our
planet _which connected itself with Christianity_.  In Armenia,
there had been a previous _state_ recognition of Christianity.
But _that_ was neither splendid nor distinct. Whereas the
Byzantine Rome built avowedly upon Christianity as its own basis,
and consecrated its own nativity by the sublime act of founding the
first provision ever attempted for the poor, considered simply as
poor (_i.e._ as objects of pity, not as instruments of ambition).

II. _Secondly, as the great aegis of western Christendom_,
nay, the barrier which made it possible that any Christendom should
ever exist, this Byzantine empire is entitled to a very different
station in the enlightened gratitude of us Western Europeans from
any which it has yet held. We do not scruple to say--that, by
comparison with the services of the Byzantine people to Europe, no
nation on record has ever stood in the same relation to any other
single nation, much less to a whole family of nations, whether as
regards the opportunity and means of conferring benefits, or as
regards the astonishing perseverance in supporting the succession
of these benefits, or as regards the ultimate event of these
benefits. A great wrong has been done for ages; for we have all been
accustomed to speak of the Byzantine empire with scorn, [Footnote:
_'With scorn.'_--This has arisen from two causes: one is the
habit of regarding the whole Roman empire as in its 'decline' from
so early a period as that of Commodus; agreeably to which conceit,
it would naturally follow that, during its latter stages, the
Eastern empire must have been absolutely in its dotage. If already
declining in the second century, then, from the tenth to the
fifteenth, it must have been paralytic and bed-ridden  The other
cause may be found in the accidental but reasonable hostility
of the Byzantine court to the first Crusaders, as also in the
disadvantageous comparison with respect to manly virtues between the
simplicity of these western children, and the refined dissimulation
of the Byzantines.] as chiefly known by its effeminacy; and the
greater is the call for a fervent palinode.

III. _Thirdly._ In a reflex way, as the one great danger
which overshadowed Europe for generations, and against which the
Byzantine empire proved the capital bulwark, Mahometanism may rank
as one of the Byzantine aspects or counterforces. And if there is
any popular error applying to the history of that great convulsion,
as a political effort for revolutionizing the world, some notice
of it will find a natural place in connection with these present
trains of speculation.

Let us, therefore, have permission to throw together a few remarks
on these three subjects--1st, on the remarkable distinction by
which the eldest of Christian rulers proclaimed and inaugurated
the Christian basis of his empire; 2dly, on the true but forgotten
relation of this great empire to our modern Christendom, under
which idea we comprehend Europe and the whole continent of America;
3dly, on the false pretensions of Mahometanism, whether advanced
by itself or by inconsiderate Christian speculators on its behalf.
We shall thus obtain this advantage, that some sort of unity will
be given to our own glances at Mr. Finlay's theme; and, at the same
time, by gathering under these general heads any dispersed comments
of Mr.  Finlay, whether for confirmation of our own views, or for
any purpose of objection to his, we shall give to those comments
also that kind of unity, by means of a reference to a common purpose,
which we could not have given them by citing each independently
for itself.

I. First, then, as to that memorable act by which Constantinople
(_i. e._ the Eastern empire) connected herself for ever with
Christianity; viz. the recognition of pauperism as an element in the
state entitled to the maternal guardianship of the state. In this
new principle, introduced by Christianity, we behold a far-seeing
or proleptic wisdom, making provision for evils before they had
arisen; for it is certain that great expansions of pauperism did
not exist in the ancient world. A pauper population is a disease
peculiar to the modern or Christian world. Various causes latent
in the social systems of the ancients prevented such developments
of surplus people. But does not this argue a superiority in the social
arrangements of these ancients? Not at all; they were atrociously
worse.  They evaded this one morbid affection by means of others
far more injurious to the moral advance of man.  The case was then
everywhere as at this day it is in Persia. A Persian ambassador
to London or Paris might boast that, in his native Iran, no such
spectacles existed of hunger-bitten myriads as may be seen everywhere
during seasons of distress in the crowded cities of Christian
Europe. 'No,' would be the answer, 'most certainly not; but why?
The reason is, that your accursed form of society and government
_intercepts_ such surplus people, does not suffer them to
be born.  What is the result? You ought, in Persia, to have three
hundred millions of people; your vast territory is easily capacious
of that number. You _have_--how many have you? Something
less than eight millions.' Think of this, startled reader. But, if
_that_ be a good state of things, then any barbarous soldier
who makes a wilderness, is entitled to call himself a great philosopher
and public benefactor. This is to cure the headache by amputating
the head. Now, the same principle of limitation to population
_a parte ante_, though not in the same savage excess as in
Mahometan Persia, operated upon Greece and Rome. The whole Pagan
world escaped the evils of redundant population by vicious repressions
of it beforehand. But under Christianity a new state of things
was destined to take effect. Many protections and excitements to
population were laid in the framework of this new religion, which,
by its new code of rules and impulses, in so many ways extended the
free-agency of human beings.  Manufacturing industry was destined
first to arise on any great scale under Christianity. Except in Tyre
and Alexandria (see the Emperor Hadrian's account of this last),
there was no town or district in the ancient world where the
populace could be said properly to work. The rural laborers worked
a little--not much;--and sailors worked a little;--nobody else worked
at all. Even slaves had little more work distributed amongst each
ten than now settles upon one.  And in many other ways, by protecting
the principle of life, as a mysterious sanctity, Christianity has
favored the development of an excessive population.  There it is
that Christianity, being answerable for the mischief, is answerable
for its redress. Therefore it is that, breeding the disease,
Christianity breeds the cure. Extending the vast lines of poverty,
Christianity it was that first laid down the principle of a relief
for poverty. Constantine, the first Christian potentate, laid the
first stone of the mighty overshadowing institution since reared
in Christian lands to poverty, disease, orphanage, and mutilation.
Christian instincts, moving and speaking through that Caesar,
first carried out that great idea of Christianity. Six years was
Christianity in building Constantinople, and in the seventh she
rested from her labors, saying, 'Henceforward let the poor man
have a haven of rest for ever; a rest from his work for one day
in seven; a rest from his anxieties by a legal and fixed relief.'
Being legal, it could not be open to disturbances of caprice in the
giver; being fixed, it was not open to disturbances of miscalculation
in the receiver. Now, first, when first Christianity was installed
as a public organ of government (and first owned a distinct political
responsibility), did it become the duty of a religion which assumed,
as it were, the _official_ tutelage of poverty, to proclaim
and consecrate that function by some great memorial precedent. And,
accordingly, in testimony of that obligation, the first Christian
Caesar, on behalf of Christianity, founded the first system of
relief for pauperism.  It is true, that largesses from the public
treasury, gratuitous coin, or corn sold at diminished rates, not
to mention the _sportulae_ or stated doles of private Roman
nobles, had been distributed amongst the indigent citizens of Western
Rome for centuries before Constantine; but all these had been the
selfish bounties of factious ambition or intrigue.

To Christianity was reserved the inaugural act of public charity
in the spirit of charity. We must remember that no charitable
or beneficent institutions of any kind, grounded on disinterested
kindness, existed amongst the Pagan Romans, and still less amongst
the Pagan Greeks. Mr. Coleridge, in one of his lay sermons, advanced
the novel doctrine--that in the Scripture is contained all genuine
and profound statesmanship.  Of course he must be understood to
mean--in its capital principles; for, as to subordinate and executive
rules for applying such principles, these, doubtless, are in part
suggested by the local circumstances in each separate case. Now,
amongst the political theories of the Bible is this--that pauperism
is not an accident in the constitution of states, but an indefeasible
necessity; or, in the scriptural words, that 'the poor shall
never cease out of the land.' This theory or great canon of social
philosophy, during many centuries, drew no especial attention from
philosophers. It passed for a truism, bearing no particular emphasis
or meaning beyond some general purpose of sanction to the impulses
of charity. But there is good reason to believe, that it slumbered,
and was meant to slumber, until Christianity arising and moving
forwards should call it into a new life, as a principle suited to
a new order of things. Accordingly, we have seen of late that this
scriptural dictum--'The poor shall never cease out of the land'--has
terminated its career as a truism (that is, as a truth, either obvious
on one hand, or inert on the other), and has wakened into a polemic
or controversial life. People arose who took upon them utterly to
deny this scriptural doctrine.  Peremptorily they challenged the
assertion that poverty must always exist. The Bible said that it
was an affection of human society which could not be exterminated;
the economist of 1800 said that it was a foul disease, which must
and should be exterminated.  The scriptural philosophy said, that
pauperism was inalienable from man's social condition in the same
way that decay was inalienable from his flesh. 'I shall soon see
_that_,' said the economist of 1800, 'for as sure as my name
is M----, I will have this poverty put down by law within one
generation, if there's a law to be had in the courts of Westminster.'
The Scriptures have left word--that, if any man should come to the
national banquet declaring himself unable to pay his contribution,
that man should be accounted the guest of Christianity, and should
be privileged to sit at the table in thankful remembrance of what
Christianity had done for man. But Mr. M---- left word with all
the servants, that, if any man should present himself under those
circumstances, he was to be told, 'the table is full'--(_his_
words, not ours); 'go away, good man.' Go away! Mr, M----? Where
was he to go to? Whither? In what direction?--'Why, if you come to
_that_,' said the man of 1800, 'to any ditch that he prefers:
surely there's good choice of ditches for the most fastidious taste.'
During twenty years, viz. from 1800 to 1820, this new philosophy,
which substituted a ditch for a dinner, and a paving-stone for a
loaf, prevailed and prospered. At one time it seemed likely enough
to prove a snare to our own aristocracy--the noblest of all ages.
But that peril was averted, and the further history of the case
was this: By the year 1820, much discussion having passed to and
fro, serious doubts had arisen in many quarters; scepticism had
begun to arm itself against the sceptic; the economist of 1800 was
no longer quite sure of his ground. He was now suspected of being
fallible; and what seemed of worse augury, he was beginning himself
to suspect as much. To one capital blunder he was obliged publicly
to plead guilty.  What it was, we shall have occasion to mention
immediately.  Meantime it was justly thought that, in a dispute
loaded with such prodigious practical consequences, good sense
and prudence demanded a more extended inquiry than had yet been
instituted. Whether poverty would ever cease from the land, might
be doubted by those who balanced their faith in Scripture against
their faith in the man of 1800. But this at least could not be
doubted--that as yet poverty _had_ not ceased, nor indeed had
made any sensible preparations for ceasing from any land in Europe. It
was a clear case, therefore, that, howsoever Europe might please
to dream upon the matter when pauperism should have reached
that glorious euthanasy predicted by the alchemist of old and the
economist of 1800, for the present she must deal actively with her
own pauperism on some avowed plan and principle, good or evil--gentle
or harsh. Accordingly, in the train of years between 1820 and
1830, inquiries were made of every separate state in Europe, what
_were_ those plans and principles. For it was justly said--'As
one step towards judging rightly of our own system, now that it
has been so clamorously challenged for a bad system, let us learn
what it is that other nations think upon the subject, but above all
what it is that they _do_.' The answers to our many inquiries
varied considerably; and some amongst the most enlightened nations
appear to have adopted the good old plan of _laissez faire_,
giving nothing from any public fund to the pauper, but authorizing
him to levy contributions on that gracious allegoric lady, Private
Charity, wherever he could meet her taking the air with her babes.
This reference appeared to be the main one in reply to any application
of the pauper; and for all the rest they referred him generally to
the 'ditch,' or to his own unlimited choice of ditches, according
to the approved method of public benevolence published in 4to and
in 8vo by the man of 1800. But there were other and humbler states
in Europe, whose very pettiness has brought more fully within their
vision the whole machinery and watchwork of pauperism, as it acted
and reacted on the industrious poverty of the land, and on other
interests, by means of the system adopted in relieving it. From
these states came many interesting reports, all tending to some
good purpose. But at last, and before the year 1830, amongst other
results of more or less value, three capital points were established,
not more decisive for the justification of the English system of
administering national relief to paupers, and of all systems that
reverenced the authority of Scripture, than they were for the
overthrow of Mr. M----, the man of 1800. These three points are
worthy of being used as buoys in mapping out the true channels, or
indicating the breakers on this difficult line of navigation; and
we now rehearse them. They may seem plain almost to obviousness;
but it is enough that they involve all the disputed questions of
the case.

_First_. That, in spite of the assurances from economists, no
progress whatever had been made by England or by any state which
lent any sanction to the hope of ever eradicating poverty from
society.

_Secondly_. That, in absolute contradiction of the whole
hypothesis relied on by M--- and his brethren, in its most fundamental
doctrine, a legal provision for poverty did not act as a bounty on
marriage. The experience of England, where the trial had been made
on the largest scale, was decisive on this point; and the opposite
experience of Ireland, under the opposite circumstances, was equally
decisive. And this result had made itself so clear by 1820, that
even M--- (as we have already noticed by anticipation) was compelled
to publish a recantation as to this particular error, which in
effect was a recantation of his entire theory.

_Thirdly_. That, according to the concurring experience of
all the most enlightened states of Christendom, the public suffered
least (not merely in molestation but in money), pauperism benefited
most, and the growth of pauperism was retarded most, precisely as
the provision for the poor had been legalized as to its obligation,
and fixed as to its amount. Left to individual discretion, the
burden was found to press most unequally; and, on the other hand,
the evil itself of pauperism, whilst much less effectually relieved,
nevertheless through the irregular action of this relief was much
more powerfully stimulated.

Such is the abstract of our latest public warfare on this great
question through a period of nearly fifty years. And the issue is
this--starting from the contemptuous defiance of the scriptural
doctrine upon the necessity of making provision for poverty as an
indispensable element in civil communities, the economy of the age
has lowered its tone by graduated descents, in each one successively
of the four last _decennia_. The philosophy of the day as to
this point at least is at length in coincidence with Scripture. And
thus the very extensive researches of this nineteenth century, as
to pauperism, have re-acted with the effect of a full justification
upon Constantine's attempt to connect the foundation of his empire
with that new theory of Christianity upon the imperishableness of
poverty, and upon the duties corresponding to it.

Meantime, Mr. Finlay denies that Christianity had been raised by
Constantine into the religion of the state; and others have denied
that, in the extensive money privileges conceded to Constantinople,
he contemplated any but political principles. As to the first point,
we apprehend that Constantine will be found not so much to have
shrunk back from fear of installing Christianity in the seat of
supremacy, as to have diverged in policy from our modern _methods_
of such an installation. Our belief is, that according to _his_
notion of a state religion, he supposed himself to have conferred
that distinction upon Christianity. With respect to the endowments
and privileges of Constantinople, they were various; some lay
in positive donations, others in immunities and exemptions; some
again were designed to attract strangers, others to attract nobles
from old Rome. But, with fuller opportunities for pursuing that
discussion, we think it would be easy to show, that in more than
one of his institutions and his decrees he had contemplated the
special advantage of the poor as such; and that, next after the
august distinction of having founded the first Christian throne, he
had meant to challenge and fix the gaze of future ages upon this
glorious pretension--that he first had executed the scriptural
injunction to make a provision for the poor, as an order of society
that by laws immutable should 'never cease out of the land.'

II. Let us advert to the value and functions of Constantinople as
the tutelary genius of western or dawning Christianity.

The history of Constantinople, or more generally of the Eastern Roman
empire, wears a peculiar interest to the children of Christendom;
and for two separate reasons--_first_, as being the narrow
isthmus or bridge which connects the two continents of ancient
and modern history, and _that_ is a philosophic interest; but
_secondly_, which in the very highest degree is a practical
interest, as the record of our earthly salvation from Mahometanism.
On two horns was Europe assaulted by the Moslems; first, last, and
through the largest tract of time, on the horn of Constantinople;
there the contest raged for more than eight hundred years, and
by the time that the mighty bulwark fell (1453), Vienna and other
cities upon or near the Danube had found leisure for growing up;
so that, if one range of Alps had slowly been surmounted, another
had now slowly reared and embattled itself against the westward
progress of the Crescent. On the western horn, _in_ France,
but _by_ Germans, once for all Charles Martel had arrested
the progress of the fanatical Moslem almost in a single battle;
certainly a single generation saw the whole danger dispersed,
inasmuch as within that space the Saracens were effectually forced
back into their original Spanish lair. This demonstrates pretty
forcibly the difference of the Mahometan resources as applied to
the western and the eastern struggle. To throw the whole weight
of that difference, a difference in the result as between eight
centuries and thirty years, upon the mere difference of energy in
German and Byzantine forces, as though the first did, by a rapturous
fervor, in a few revolutions of summer what the other had protracted
through nearly a millennium, is a representation which defeats itself
by its own extravagance. To prove too much is more dangerous than
to prove too little. The fact is, that vast armies and mighty
nations were continually disposable for the war upon the city of
Constantine; nations had time to arise in juvenile vigor, to grow
old and superannuated, to melt away, and totally to disappear,
in that long struggle on the Hellespont and Propontis.  It was a
struggle which might often intermit and slumber; armistices there
might be, truces, or unproclaimed suspensions of war out of mutual
exhaustion, but peace there could _not_ be, because any resting
from the duty of hatred towards those who reciprocally seemed to
lay the foundations of their creed in a dishonoring of God, was
impossible to aspiring human nature.  Malice and mutual hatred,
we repeat, became a duty in those circumstances. Why had they
_begun_ to fight?  Personal feuds there had been none between
the parties.  For the early caliphs did not conquer Syria and other
vast provinces of the Roman empire, because they had a quarrel with
the Caesars who represented Christendom; but, on the contrary, they
had a quarrel with the Caesars because they had conquered Syria,
or, at the most, the conquest and the feud (if not always lying
in that exact succession as cause and effect) were joint effects
from a common cause, which cause was imperishable as death, or the
ocean, and as deep as are the fountains of animal life. Could the
ocean be altered by a sea-fight? Or the atmosphere be tainted for
ever by an earthquake? As little could any single reign or its
events affect the feud of the Moslem and the Christian; a feud which
could not cease unless God could change, or unless man (becoming
careless of spiritual things) should sink to the level of a brute.

These are considerations of great importance in weighing the value
of the Eastern Empire. If the cause and interest of Islamism, as
against Christianity, were undying--then we may be assured that the
Moorish infidels of Spain did not reiterate their trans-Pyrenean
expeditions after one generation--simply because they _could_
not. But we know that on the south-eastern horn of Europe they
_could_, upon the plain argument that for many centuries they
_did._ Over and above this, we are of opinion that the Saracens
were unequal to the sort of hardships bred by cold climates; and
there lay another repulsion for Saracens from France, &c., and not
merely the Carlovingian sword. We children of Christendom show our
innate superiority to the children of the Orient upon this scale
or tariff of acclimatizing powers. We travel as wheat travels
through all reasonable ranges of temperature; they, like rice, can
migrate only to warm latitudes. They cannot support our cold, but
we _can_ support the countervailing hardships of their heat.
This cause alone would have weatherbound the Mussulmans for ever
within the Pyrenean cloisters.  Mussulmans in cold latitudes look
as blue and as absurd as sailors on horseback. Apart from which
cause, we see that the fine old Visigothic races in Spain found
them full employment up to the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella,
which reign first created a kingdom of Spain; in that reign the
whole fabric of their power thawed away, and was confounded with
forgotten things. Columbus, according to a local tradition, was
personally present at some of the latter campaigns in Grenada: he
saw the last of them. So that the discovery of America may be used
as a convertible date with that of extinction for the Saracen power
in western Europe. True that the overthrow of Constantinople had
forerun this event by nearly half a century.  But then we insist
upon the different proportions of the struggle. Whilst in Spain
a province had fought against a province, all Asia militant had
fought against the eastern Roman empire. Amongst the many races
whom dimly we decry in those shadowy hosts, tilting for ages in the
vast plains of Angora, are seen latterly pressing on to the van,
two mighty powers, the children of Persia and the Ottoman family
of the Turks.  Upon these nations, both now rapidly decaying, the
faith of Mahomet has ever leaned as upon her eldest sons; and these
powers the Byzantine Cæsars had to face in every phasis of their
energy, as it revolved from perfect barbarism, through semi-barbarism,
to that crude form of civilization which Mahometans can support. And
through all these transmigrations of their power we must remember
that they were under a martial training and discipline, never
suffered to become effeminate. One set of warriors after another
_did_, it is true, become effeminate in Persia: but upon that
advantage opening, always another set stepped in from Torkistan or
from the Imaus. The nation, the individuals melted away; the Moslem
armies were immortal.

Here, therefore, it is, and standing at this point of our review,
that we complain of Mr. Finlay's too facile compliance with historians
far beneath himself. He has a fine understanding: oftentimes his
commentaries on the past are ebullient with subtlety; and his fault
strikes us as lying even in the excess of his sagacity applying itself
too often to a basis of facts, quite insufficient for supporting
the superincumbent weight of his speculations. But in this instance
he surrenders himself too readily to the ordinary current of history.
How would _he_ like it, if he happened to be a Turk himself,
finding his nation thus implicitly undervalued? For clearly, in
undervaluing the Byzantine resistance, he _does_ undervalue
the Mahometan assault. Advantages of local situation cannot
_eternally_ make good the deficiencies of man. If the Byzantines
(being as weak as historians would represent them) yet for ages
resisted the whole impetus of Mahometan Asia, then it follows,
either that the Crescent was correspondingly weak, or that, not being
weak, she must have found the Cross pretty strong. The _facit_
of history does not here correspond with the numerical items.

Nothing has ever surprised us more, we will frankly own, than this
coincidence of authors in treating the Byzantine empire as feeble
and crazy. On the contrary, to us it is clear that some secret
and preternatural strength it must have had, lurking where the eye
of man did not in those days penetrate, or by what miracle did it
undertake our universal Christian cause, fight for us all, keep
the waters open from freezing us up, and through nine centuries
prevent the ice of Mahometanism from closing over our heads for ever?
Yet does Mr. Finlay (p. 424) describe this empire as laboring, in
A. D. 623, equally with Persia, under 'internal weakness,' and as
'equally incapable of offering any popular or national resistance
to an active or enterprising enemy.' In this Mr. Finlay does but agree
with other able writers; but he and they should have recollected,
that hardly had that very year 623 departed, even yet the knell
of its last hour was sounding upon the winds, when this effeminate
empire had occasion to show that she could clothe herself with
consuming terrors, as a belligerent both defensive and aggressive.
In the absence of her great emperor, and of the main imperial
forces, the golden capital herself, by her own resources, routed
and persecuted into wrecks a Persian army that had come down upon
her by stealth and a fraudulent circuit. Even at that same period,
she advanced into Persia more than a thousand miles from her
own metropolis in Europe, under the blazing ensigns of the cross,
kicked the crown of Persia to and fro like a tennis-ball, upset
the throne of Artaxerxes, countersigned haughtily the elevation of
a new _Basileus_ more friendly to herself, and then recrossed
the Tigris homewards, after having torn forcibly out of the heart
and palpitating entrails of Persia, whatever trophies that idolatrous
empire had formerly wrested from herself. These were not the acts
of an effeminate kingdom. In the language of Wordsworth we may
say--


  'All power was giv'n her in the dreadful trance;
  Infidel kings she wither'd like a flame.'


Indeed, no image that we remember can do justice to the first of
these acts, except that Spanish legend of the Cid, which assures
us that, long after the death of the mighty cavalier, when the
children of those Moors who had fled from his face whilst living,
were insulting the marble statue above his grave, suddenly the statue
raised its right arm, stretched out its marble lance, and drifted
the heathen dogs like snow. The mere sanctity of the Christian
champion's sepulchre was its own protection; and so we must suppose,
that, when the Persian hosts came by surprise upon Constantinople--her
natural protector being absent by three months' march--simply the
golden statues of the mighty Caesars, half rising on their thrones,
must have caused that sudden panic which dissipated the danger.
Hardly fifty years later, Mr. Finlay well knows that Constantinople
again stood an assault--not from a Persian hourrah, or tempestuous
surprise, but from a vast expedition, armaments by land and sea,
fitted out elaborately in the early noontide of Mahometan vigor--and
that assault, also, in the presence of the caliph and the crescent,
was gloriously discomfited. Now if, in the moment of triumph, some
voice in the innumerable crowd had cried out, 'How long shall this
great Christian breakwater, against which are shattered into surge
and foam all the mountainous billows of idolators and misbelievers,
stand up on behalf of infant Christendom?' and if from the clouds
some trumpet of prophecy had replied, 'Even yet for eight hundred
years!' could any man have persuaded himself that such a fortress
against such antogonists--such a monument against a millennium
of fury--was to be classed amongst the weak things of this earth?
This oriental Rome, it is true, equally with Persia, was liable to
sudden inroads and incursions. But the difference was this--Persia
was strongly protected in all ages by the wilderness on her main
western frontier; if this were passed, and a hand-to-hand conflict
succeeded, where light cavalry or fugitive archers could be of little
value, the essential weakness of the Persian empire then betrayed
itself. Her sovereign was assassinated, and peace was obtained from
the condescension of the invader. But the enemies of Constantinople,
Goths, Avars, Bulgarians, or even Persians, were strong only
by their weakness. Being contemptible, they were neglected; being
chased, they made no stand; and _thus_ only they escaped. They
entered like thieves by means of darkness, and escaped like sheep
by means of dispersion. But, if caught, they were annihilated.
No; we resume our thesis; we close this head by reiterating our
correction of history; we re-affirm our position--that in Eastern
Rome lay the salvation of Western and Central Europe; in Constantinople
and the Propontis lay the _sine qua non_ condition of any future
Christendom. Emperor and people _must_ have done their duty;
the result, the vast extent of generations surmounted, furnish the
triumphant argument. Finally, indeed, they fell, king and people,
shepherd and flock; but by that time their mission was fulfilled.
And doubtless, as the noble Palaeologus lay on heaps of carnage,
with his noble people, as life was ebbing away, a voice from heaven
sounded in his ears the great words of the Hebrew prophet, 'Behold!
YOUR WORK IS DONE; your warfare is accomplished.'

III. Such, then, being the unmerited disparagement of the Byzantine
government, and so great the ingratitude of later Christendom to
that sheltering power under which themselves enjoyed the leisure of
a thousand years for knitting and expanding into strong nations; on
the other hand, what is to be thought of the Saracen revolutionists?
Everywhere it has passed for a lawful postulate, that the Saracen
conquests prevailed, half by the feebleness of the Roman government
at Constantinople, and half by the preternatural energy infused
into the Arabs by their false prophet and legislator. In either of
its faces, this theory is falsified by a steady review of facts.
With regard to the Saracens, Mr. Finlay thinks as we do, and
argues that they prevailed through the _local_, or sometimes
the _casual_, weakness of their immediate enemies, and rarely
through any strength of their own. We must remember one fatal
weakness of the Imperial administration in those days, not due to
men or to principles, but entirely to nature and the slow growth
of scientific improvements--viz.: the difficulties of locomotion.
As respected Syria, Egypt, Cyrenaica, and so on to the most western
provinces of Africa, the Saracens had advantages for moving rapidly
which the Caesar had not. But is not a water movement speedier than
a land movement, which for an army never has much exceeded fourteen
miles a-day? Certainly it is; but in this case there were two desperate
defects in the imperial control over that water service. To use a
fleet, you must have a fleet; but their whole naval interest had
been starved by the intolerable costs of the Persian war. Immense
had been the expenses of Heraclius, and annually decaying had been
his Asiatic revenues. Secondly, the original position of the Arabs
had been better than that of the emperor, in every stage of the
warfare which so suddenly arose. In Arabia they stood nearest to
Syria, in Syria nearest to Egypt, in Egypt nearest to Cyrenaica.
What reason had there been for expecting a martial legislator at that
moment in Arabia, who should fuse and sternly combine her distracted
tribes? What blame, therefore, to Heraclius, that Syria--the first
object of assault, being also by much the weakest part of the
empire, and immediately after the close of a desolating war--should
in four campaigns be found indefensible?  We must remember the
unexampled abruptness of the Arabian revolution. The year sixteen
hundred and twenty-two, by its very name of Hegira, does not record a
triumph but a humiliation. In that year, therefore, and at the very
moment when Heraclius was entering upon his long Persian struggle,
Mahomet was yet prostrate, and his destiny was doubtful.  Eleven
years after, viz. in six hundred and thirty-three, the prophet was
dead and gone; but his first successor was already in Syria as a
conqueror. Such had been the velocity of events. The Persian war
had then been finished by three years, but the exhaustion of the
empire had perhaps, at that moment, reached its maximum.  We are
satisfied, that ten years' repose from this extreme state of collapse
would have shown us another result. Even as it was, and caught at
this enormous disadvantage, Heraclius taught the robbers to tremble,
and would have exterminated them, if not baffled by two irremediable
calamities, neither of them due to any act or neglect of his own.
The first lay in the treason of his lieutenants. The governors of
Damascus, of Aleppo, of Emesa, of Bostra, of Kinnisrin, all proved
traitors. The root of this evil lay, probably, in the disorders
following the Persian invasion, which had made it the perilous
interest of the emperor to appoint great officers from amongst
those who had a local influence. Such persons it might have been
ruinous too suddenly to set aside, as, in the event, it proved
ruinous to employ them. A dilemma of this kind, offering but
a choice of evils, belonged to the nature of any Persian war; and
that particular war was bequeathed to Heraclius by the management
of his predecesors. But the second calamity was even more fatal; it
lay in the composition of the Syrian population, and its original
want of vital cohesion. For no purpose could this population be
united: they formed a rope of sand. There was the distraction of
religion (Jacobites, Nestorians, &c.); there was the distraction
of races--slaves and masters, conquered and conquerors, modern
intruders mixed, but not blended with, aboriginal mountaineers.
Property became the one principle of choice between the two governments.
Where was protection to be had for _that_?  Barbarous as were
the Arabs, they saw their present advantage. Often it would happen
from the position of the armies, that they could, whilst the emperor
could not, guarantee the instant security of land or of personal
treasures; the Arabs could also promise, sometimes, a total immunity
from taxes, very often a diminished scale of taxation, always a
remission of arrears; none of which demands could be listened to
by the emperor, partly on account of the public necessities, partly
from jealousy of establishing operative precedents.  For religion,
again, protection was more easily obtained in that day from the
Arab, who made war on Christianity, than from the Byzantine emperor,
who was its champion. What were the different sects and subdivisions
of Christianity to the barbarian? Monophysite, Monothelite, Eutychian,
or Jacobite, all were to him as the scholastic disputes of noble
and intellectual Europe to the camps of gypsies. The Arab felt
himself to be the depository of one sublime truth, the unity of
God. His mission, therefore, was principally against idolaters. Yet
even to _them_ his policy was to sell toleration for tribute.
Clearly, as Mr. Finlay hints, this was merely a provisional moderation,
meant to be laid aside when sufficient power was obtained; and it
_was_ laid aside, in after ages, by many a wretch like Timor
or Nadir Shah. Religion, therefore, and property once secured, what
more had the Syrians to seek?  And if to these advantages for the
Saracens we add the fact, that a considerable Arab population was
dispersed through Syria, who became so many emissaries, spies, and
decoys for their countrymen, it does great honor to the emperor,
that through so many campaigns he should at all have maintained
his ground, which at last he resigned only under the despondency
caused by almost universal treachery.

The Saracens, therefore, had no great merit even in their earliest
exploits; and the _impetus_ of their movement forwards, that
principle of proselytism which carried them so strongly 'ahead'
through a few generations, was very soon brought to a stop.
Mr. Finlay, in our mind, does right to class these barbarians as
'socially and politically little better than the Gothic, Hunnish,
and Avar monarchies.' But, on consideration, the Gothic monarchy
embosomed the germs of a noble civilization; whereas the Saracens
have never propagated great principles of any kind, nor attained
even a momentary grandeur in their institutions, except where
coalescing with a higher or more ancient civilization.

Meantime, ascending from the earliest Mahometans to their prophet,
what are we to think of _him_? Was Mahomet a great man? We
think not. The case was thus: the Arabian tribes had long stood
ready, like dogs held in a leash, for a start after distant game.
It was not Mahomet who gave them that impulse.  But next, what
was it that had hindered the Arab tribes from obeying the impulse?
Simply this, that they were always in feud with each other; so
that their expeditions, beginning in. harmony, were sure to break
up in anger on the road. What they needed was, some one grand
compressing and unifying principle, such as the Roman found in the
destinies of his city.  True; but this, you say, they found in the
sublime principle that God was one, and had appointed them to be
the scourges of all who denied it. Their mission was to cleanse
the earth from Polytheism; and, as ambassadors from God, to tell
the nations--'Ye shall have no other Gods but me.' That was grand;
and _that_ surely they had _from_ Mahomet? Perhaps so; but where
did he get it? He stole it from the Jewish Scriptures, and from the
Scriptures no less than from the traditions of the Christians.
Assuredly, then, the first projecting impetus was not impressed
upon Islamism by Mahomet. This lay in a revealed truth; and by
Mahomet it was furtively translated to his own use from those
oracles which held it in keeping. But possibly, if not the
_principle_ of motion, yet at least the steady conservation
of this motion was secured to Islamism by Mahomet. Granting (you
will say) that the launch of this religion might be due to an alien
inspiration, yet still the steady movement onwards of this religion
through some centuries, might be due exclusively to the code of laws
bequeathed by Mahomet in the Koran. And this has been the opinion
of many European scholars. They fancy that Mahomet, however worldly
and sensual as the founder of a pretended revelation, was wise in
the wisdom of this world; and that, if ridiculous as a prophet,
he was worthy of veneration as a statesman. He legislated well and
presciently, they imagine, for the interests of a remote posterity.
Now, upon that question let us hear Mr. Finlay. He, when commenting
upon the steady resistance offered to the Saracens by the African
Christians of the seventh and eighth centuries--a resistance which
terminated disastrously for both sides--the poor Christians being
exterminated, and the Moslem invaders being robbed of an indigenous
working population, naturally inquires what it was that led to so
tragical a result. The Christian natives of these provinces were,
in a political condition, little favorable to belligerent efforts;
and there cannot be much doubt, that, with any wisdom or any
forbearance on the part of the intruders, both parties might soon
have settled down into a pacific compromise of their feuds. Instead of
this, the cimeter was invoked and worshipped as the sole possible
arbitrator; and truce there was none until the silence of
desolation brooded over those once fertile fields. How savage was
the fanaticism, and how blind the worldly wisdom, which could have
co-operated to such a result! The cause must have lain in the
unaccommodating nature of the Mahometan institutions, in the bigotry
of the Mahometan leaders, and in the defect of expansive views on
the part of their legislator. He had not provided even for other
elimates than that of his own sweltering sty in the Hedjas, or
for manners more polished, or for institutions more philosophic,
than those of his own sunbaked Ishmaelites. 'The construction of
the political government of the Saracen empire'--says Mr. Finlay
(p. 462-3)--'was imperfect, and shows that Mahomet had neither
contemplated extensive foreign conquests, nor devoted the energies
of his powerful mind to the consideration of the questions
of administration which would arise out of the difficult task of
ruling a numerous and wealthy population, possessed of property,
but deprived of equal rights.' He then shows how the whole power of
the state settled into the hands of a chief priest--systematically
irresponsible.  When, therefore, that momentary state of
responsibility had passed away, which was created (like the state
of martial law) 'by national feelings, military companionship, and
exalted enthusiasm,' the administration of the caliphs became 'far
more oppressive than that of the Roman empire.' It is in fact an
insult to the majestic Romans, if we should place them seriously
in the balance with savages like the Saracens. The Romans were
essentially the leaders of civilization, according to the possibilities
then existing; for their earliest usages and social forms involved
a high civilization, whilst promising a higher: whereas all Moslem
nations have described a petty arch of national civility--soon
reaching its apex, and rapidly barbarizing backwards. This fatal
gravitation towards decay and decomposition in Mahometan institutions,
which, at this day, exhibits to the gaze of mankind one uniform
spectacle of Mahometan ruins, all the great Moslem nations being
already in a _Strulbrug_ state, and held erect only by the colossal
support of Christian powers, could not, as a _reversionary_
evil, have been healed by the Arabian prophet. His own religious
principles would have prevented _that_, for they offer a permanent
bounty on sensuality; so that every man who serves a Mahometan
state faithfully and brilliantly at twenty-five, is incapacitated
at thirty-five for any further service, by the very nature of the
rewards which he receives from the state. Within a very few years,
every public servant is usually emasculated by that unlimited
voluptuousness which equally the Moslem princes and the common
Prophet of all Moslems countenance as the proper object of
human pursuit.  Here is the mortal ulcer of Islamism, which can
never cleanse itself from death and the odor of death. A political
ulcer would or might have found restoration for itself; but this
ulcer is higher and deeper:--it lies in the religion, which is
incapable of reform: it is an ulcer reaching as high as the paradise
which Islamism promises, and deep as the hell which it creates.
We repeat, that Mahomet could not effectually have neutralized
a poison which he himself had introduced into the circulation and
life-blood of his Moslem economy. The false prophet was forced to
reap as he had sown. But an evil which is certain, may be retarded;
and ravages which tend finally to confusion, may be limited for
many generations. Now, in the case of the African provincials which
we have noticed, we see an original incapacity of Islamism, even
in its palmy condition, for amalgamating with any _superior_
culture. And the specific action of Mahometan ism in the African
case, as contrasted with the Roman economy which it supplanted,
is thus exhibited by Mr.  Finlay in a most instructive passage,
where every negation on the Mahometan side is made to suggest
the countervailing usage positively on the side of the Romans.  O
children of Romulus! how noble do you appear when thus fiercely
contrasted with the wild boars who desolated your vineyards! 'No
local magistrates elected by the people, and no parish priests
connected by their feelings and interests both with their superiors
and inferiors, bound society together by common ties; and no system
of legal administration, independent of the military and financial
authorities, preserved the property of the people from the rapacity
of the government.'

Such, we are to understand, was not the Mahometan system; such had
been the system of Rome. 'Socially and politically,' proceeds the
passage, 'the Saracen empire was little better than the Gothic,
Hunnish, and Avar monarchies; and that it proved more durable,
with almost equal oppression, is to be attributed to the powerful
enthusiasm of Mahomet's religion, which tempered for some time its
avarice and tyranny.' The same sentiment is repeated still more
emphatically at p. 468--' The political policy of the Saracens was
of itself utterly barbarous; and it only caught a passing gleam of
justice from the religious feeling of their prophet's doctrines.'

Thus far, therefore, it appears that Mahometanism is not much
indebted to its too famous founder; it owes to him a principle,
viz. the unity of God, which, merely through a capital blunder,
it fancies peculiar to itself. Nothing but the grossest ignorance
in Mahomet, nothing but the grossest non-acquaintance with Greek
authors on the part of the Arabs, could have created or sustained
the delusion current amongst that illiterate people--that it was
themselves only who rejected Polytheism. Had but one amongst the
personal enemies of Mahomet been acquainted with Greek, _there_
was an end of the new religion in the first moon of its existence.
Once open the eyes of the Arabs to the fact, that Christians
had anticipated them in this great truth of the divine unity, and
Mahometanism could only have ranked as a subdivision of Christianity.
Mahomet would have ranked only as a Christian heresiarch or
schismatic; such as Nestorius or Marcian at one time, such as Arius
or Pelagius at another. In his character of _theologian_,
therefore, Mahomet was simply the most memorable of blunderers,
supported in his blunders by the most unlettered of nations. In
his other character of _legislator_, we have seen that already
the earliest stages of Mahometan experience exposed decisively his
ruinous imbecility.  Where a rude tribe offered no resistance to
his system, for the simple reason that their barbarism suggested
no motive for resistance, it could be no honor to prevail.  And
where, on the other hand, a higher civilization had furnished
strong points of repulsion to his system, it appears plainly that
this pretended apostle of social improvements had devised or hinted
no readier mode of conciliation than by putting to the sword all
dissentients.  He starts as a theological reformer, with a fancied
defiance to the world which was no defiance at all, being exactly
what Christians had believed for six centuries, and Jews for
six-and-twenty. He starts as a political reformer, with a fancied
conciliation to the world, which was no conciliation at all, but
was sure to provoke imperishable hostility wheresoever it had any
effect at all.

We have thus reviewed some of the more splendid aspects connected
with Mr. Finlay's theme; but that theme, in its entire compass,
is worthy of a far more extended investigation than our own limits
will allow, or than the historical curiosity of the world (misdirected
here as in so many other cases) has hitherto demanded. The Greek
race, suffering a long occultation under the blaze of the Roman
empire, into which for a time it had been absorbed, but again
emerging from this blaze, and reassuming a distinct Greek agency and
influence, offers a subject great by its own inherent attractions,
and separately interesting by the unaccountable neglect which it
has suffered. To have overlooked this subject, is one amongst the
capital oversights of Gibbon. To have rescued it from utter oblivion,
and to have traced an outline for its better illumination, is the
peculiar merit of Mr. Finlay. His greatest fault is--to have been
careless or slovenly in the niceties of classical and philological
precision. His greatest praise, and a very great one indeed, is--to
have thrown the light of an original philosophic sagacity upon a
neglected province of history, indispensable to the arrondissement
of Pagan archaeology.





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this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
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