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Probably he dreaded anarchy and the dissolution of social order, for that would have released lis creditors and confiscated his valuable estates. But Cæsar's usurpation was not an anarchy; it was a monarchy, a sole rule ; and Brutus, who was ambitious, could not endure that. It may be said that if the political views of Brutus were narrow, he was only like most of his countrymen. But why then is he exalted, and why is his naine invoked? What single title had he to distinction, except what Cæsar gave him ? A man of unknown family, the son of a woman whom Cæsar debauched, pardoned after fighting against his mother's lover, raised by him to the prætorship, and honoured with Cæsar's friendship—he has owed his distinction to nothing else than murdering the man whose genius he could not appreciate, but whose favours he had enjoyed.
His spurious philosophy has helped to save him from the detestation which is his due ; but the false garb should be stripped off. A stoic, an ascetic, and nothing more, is a mere negation. The active virtues of Brutus are not recorded. If he sometimes did an act of public justice (chap. 35), it was not more than many other Romans have done. To reduce this philosopher to his true level, we ask, what did he say or do that showed a sympathy with all mankind ? Where is the evidence that he had the feeling of justice which alone can regenerate a nation? But it may be said, why seek in a Roman of his age what we cannot expect to find ? Why then elevate him above the rest of his age and consecrate his name? Why make a hero of him who murdered his benefactor, and then ran away from the city which ho was to save—from we know not what? And why make a virtuous man of him who was only austere, and who did not believe in the virtue that he professed ? As to statesmanship, nobody has claimed that for him yet.
The deputy of Arras [Robespierre), poor, and despised even by his own party, won the confidence of the people by their belief in his probity ; and he deserved it. Fanatical and narrow-minded, he was still a man of principles. Uutiring industry, unshaken faith, and poverty, the guarantee of his probity, raised him slowly to distinction, and enabled him to destroy all who stood between him and the realization of an unbending theory. Though he had sacrificed the lives of others, he soorned to save his own by doing what would have contradicted his principles : he respected the form of legality, when its substance no longer existed, and refused to sanction force when it would have been used for his own protection (Lamartine, Histoire des Girondins, livr. lxi. 9). A great and memorable example of crime, of fanaticism, and of virtue ; of a career commenced in the cause of justice, in truth, faith, and sincerity ; of a man who did believe in virtue, and yet spoiled the cause in which he embarked, and left behind him a name for universal execration.
Treachery at home, enmity abroad, and misconduct in its own leaders, made the French revolution result in anarchy, and then in a tyranny. The Civil Wars of Rome resulted in a monarchy, and there was nothing else in which they could end. The Roman monarchy or the Empire was a natural birth. The French Empire was an abortion. The Roman Empire was the proper growth of the ages that had preceded it: they could produce nothing better. "In a few years after the battle of Philippi, Cæsar Octavianus got rid of his partner Antonius; and, under the administration of Augustus, the world enjoyed comparative peace, and the Roman Empiro was established and consolidated. The genius of Augustus, often ill appreciated, is demonstrated by the results of his policy. He restored order to a distracted state, and transmitted his power to his successors. The huge fabric of Roman greatness, resting on its ancient foundations, only crumbled beneath the assaults that time and new circumstances make against all political institutions.
241.-ON THE ATHENIAN ORATORS. [The following is an extract from an article which appeared in ‘Knight's Quarterly Magazine' some quarter of a century ago. We trace in it the same antithetical style, and the same aflluence of illustration, which distinguish most of the productions of one of the most brilliant writers of our age.]
It may be doubted whether any compositions which have ever been produced in the world are equally perfect in their kind with the great Athenian orations. Genius is subject to the same laws which regulate the production of corn and molasses. The supply adjusts itself to the demand. The quantity may be diminished by restrictions, and multiplied by bounties. The singular excellence to which eloquence attained at Athens is to be mainly attributed to the influence which it exerted there. In turbulent times, under a constitution purely democratic, among a people educated exactly to that point at which men are most susceptible of strong and sudden impressions, acute, but not sound reasoners, warm in their feelings, unfised in their principles, and passionate admirers of fine composition, oratory received such cncouragement as it has never since obtained.
The taste and knowledge of the Athenian people was a favourite object of the contemptuous derision of Samuel Johnson; a man who knew nothing of Greek literature beyond the common school-books, and who seems to have brought to what he had read, scarcely more than the discernment of a common schoolboy. He used to assert with that arrogant absurdity which, in spite of his great abilities and virtutes, renders him, perhaps, the most ridiculous character in literary history, that Demosthenes spoke to a people of brutes;-to a barbarous people ;-that there could have been no civilization before the invention of printing. Johnson was a keen, but a very narrow-minded, observer of mankind. He perpetually confounded their general nature with their particular circumstances. He knew London intimately. The sagacity of his remarks on its society is perfectly astonishing. But Fleet Street was the world to him. He saw that Londoners, who did not read, were profoundly ignorant; and he inferred that a Greek, who had few or no books, must have been as uninformed as one of Mr. Thrale's draymen,
There seems to be, on the contrary, every reason to believe that, in general intelligence, the Athenian populace far supassed the lower orders of any community that has ever existed. It must be considered, that to be a citizen was to be a legislator-a soldier-a judge—one upon whose voice might depend the fate of the wealthiest tributary state, of the most eminent public man. The lowest offices, both of agriculture and of trade, were, in common, performed by slaves. The commonwealth supplied its meanest members with the support of life, the opportunity of leisure, and the means of amusement. Books were indeed few, but they were excellent, and they were accurately know,n. It is not by turning over libraries, but by repeatedly perusing and intently contemplating a few great models, that the mind is best disciplined. A man of letters must now read inuch that he soon forgets, and much from which he learns nothing worthy to be remembered. The best works employ, in general, but a small portion of his time. Demosthenes is said to have transcribed, six times, the History of Thucydides. If he had been a young politician of the present age, he might, in the same space of time, have skimmed innumerable newspapers and pamphlets. I do not condemn that desuitory mode of study which the state of things, in our day, renders a matter of necessity. But I may be allowed to doubt whether the changes, on which the admirers of modern institutions delight to dwell, have improved our condition so much in reality as in appearance. Rumford, it is said, proposed to the Elector of Bavaria a scheme for feeding his soldiers at a much cheaper rate than formerly. His plan was simply to
bursts forth all at once. The lightning may dart out of a black cloud: but the day sends his bright heralds before him, to prepare the world for his coming. So should we endeavour to render our lives here on earth as it were the dawn of heaven's eternal day: we should endeavour to walk as children of light. Our thoughts and feelings should all be akin to light, and have something of the nature of light in them : and our actions should be like the action of light itself, and like the actions of all those powers and of all those beings which pertain to light, and may be said to form the family of light; while we should carefully abstain and shrink from all such works as pertain to darkness, and are wrought by those who may be called the brood of darkness.
Thus the children of light will walk as having the light of knowledge, stedfastly, firmly, right onward to the end that is set before them. When men are walking in the dark, through an unknown and roadless country, they walk insecurely, doubtingly, timidly. For they cannot see where they are treading ; they are fearful of stumbling against a stone, or falling into a pit; they cannot even keep on for many steps certain of the course they are taking. But by day we perceive what is under us and about us, we have the end of our journey, or at least the quarter where it lies, full in view, and we are able to make for it by the safest and speediest way. The very same advantage have those who are light in the Lord, the children of spiritual light, over the children of spiritual darkness. They know whither they are going ; to heaven. They know how they are to get there: by Him who has de clared Himself to be the Way ; by keeping His words, by walking in His paths, by trusting in His atonement. If you then are children of light, if you know all this, walk according to your knowledge, without stumbling or slipping, without swerving or straying, without loitering or dallying by the way, onward and ever onward beneath the light of the Sun of Righteousness, on the road which leads to heaven.
In the next place the children of light are upright, and honest, and straightforward, and open, and frank, in all their dealings. There is nothing like lurking or concealment about them, nothing like dissimulation, nothing like fraud or deceit. These are the ministers and the spawn of darkness. It is darkness that hides its face, lest any should be appalled by so dismal a sight: light is the revealer and manifester of all things. It lifts up its brow on high, that all may behold it, for it is conscious that it has nothing to dread, that the breath of shame cannot soil it. Whereas the wicked lie in wait, and roam through the dark, and screen themselves therein from the sight of the sun ; as though the sun were the only eye wherewith God can behold their doings. It is under the cover of night that the reveller commits his foulest acts of intemperance and debauchery. It is under the cover of night that the thief and the murderer prowls about to bereave his brother of his substance or of his life. These children of darkness seek the shades of darkness to hide themselves thereby from the eyes of their fellow-creatures, from the eyes of Heaven, nay, even from their own eyes, from the eye of conscience, which at such a season they find it easier to hoodwink and blind. They, on the other hand, who walk abroad and ply their tasks during the day, are those by whose labour their brethren are benefited and supported; those who make the earth yield her increase, or who convert her produce into food and clothing, or who minister to such wants as spring up in countless varieties beneath the march of civilized society. Nor is this confined to men; the brute animals seem to be under a similar instinct. The beasts of prey lie in their lair during the day time, and wait for sunset ere they sally out on their destructive wanderings; while the beneficent and household animals, those which are most useful and friendly to man, are like him in a certain sense children of light, and come forth and go to rest with the sun. They who are conscious of no evil wish or purpose, do not shun or shrink from the eyes of others; though never forward in courting notice, they bid it welcome when it chooses to visit them. Our Saviour himself tells us, that the condemnation of the world lies in this, that although light is come into the world, yet men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. Nothing but their having utterly depraved their nature could seduce them into loving what is so contrary and repugnant to it. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, nor cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. To the same effect He commands His disciples to let their light 80 shine before men, that they may see their good works, not, however, for any vain ostentatious selfish purpose—this would have been directly against the whole spirit of his teaching—but in order that men may be moved thereby to glorify God.
For the children of light are also meek and lowly. Even the sun, although he stands up on high, and drives his chariot across the heavens, rather averts observation from himself than attracts it. His joy is to glorify his Maker, to display the beauty, and magnificence, and harmony, and order, of all the works of God. So far, however, as it is possible for him, he withdraws himself from the eyes of mankind; not indeed in darkness, wherein the wicked hide their shame, but in excess of light, wherein God himself veils His glory. And if we look at the other children of light, that host of white-robed pilgrims that travel across the vault of the nightly sky, the imagination is unable to conceive any thing quieter, and calmer, and more unassuming. They are the exquisite and perfect emblems of meek loveliness and humility in high station. It is only the spurious lights of the fires whereby the earth would mimic the lights of heaven, that glare and flare and challenge attention for themselves; while, instead of illumining the darkness beyond their immediate neighbourhood, they merely make it thicker and more palpable ; as these lights alone vomit smoke, as these alone ravage and consume.
Again; the children of light are diligent, and orderly, and unweariable in the fulfilment of their duties. Here, also, they take a lesson from the sun, who pursues the path that God has marked out for him, and pours daylight on whatever is beneath him from his everlasting inexhaustible fountains, and causes the wheel of the seasons to turn round, and summer and winter to perform their annual revolutions, and has never been behindhand in his task, and never slackens, nor faints, nor pauses; por ever will pause, until the same hand which launched him on his way, shall again stretch itself forth to arrest his course, All the children of light are careful to follow their Master's example, and to work his works while it is day; for they know that the night of the grave cometh, when no man can work, and that, unless they are working the works of light, when that night overtakes them, darkness must be their portion for ever.
The children of light are likewise pure. For light is not only the purest of all sensuous things, so pure that nothing can defile it, but whatever else is defiled, is brought to the light, and the light purifies it. And the children of light know that, although whatever darkness may cover them will be no darkness to God, it may and will be darkness to themselves. They know that, although no impurity in which they can bury their souls will be able to hide them from the sight of God, yet it will utterly hide God from their sight. They know that it is only by striving to purify their own hearts, even as God is pure, that they can at all fit themselves for the beatific vision which Christ has promised to the pure of heart,
Cheerfulness, too, is a never-failing characteristic of those who are truly children of light. For is not light at once the most joyous of all things, and the enlivener and gladdener of all nature, animate and inanimate, the dispeller of sickly cares, the calmer of restless disquietudes? Is it not as a bridegroom, that the sun comes forth from his chamber ?—and does he not rejoice as a giant to run his course? Does not all nature grow bright the moment he looks upon her, and welcome him with smiles? Do not all the birds greet him with their merriest notes ? Do not even the sad tearful clouds deck themselves out in the glowing hues of the rainbow, when he vouchsafes to shine upon them? And shall not man smile with rapture beneath the light of the Sun of Righteousness ? Shall ho not hail His rising with hymns of praise and psalms of thanksgiving ? Shall he not be cheered amid his deepest affliction, when the rays of that Sun fall upon him, and paint the arch of promise on his soul ? It cannot be otherwise. Only while we are hemmed in with darkness are we harrassed by terrors and misgivings. When we sce clearly on every side, we feel bold and assured ; nothing can then daunt, nothing can dismay us. Even that sorrow, which with all others is the most utterly without hope, the sorrow for sin, is to the children of light the pledge of their future bliss. For with them it is the sorrow which worketh repentance unto salvation ; and having the Son of God for their Saviour, what can they fear? Or, rather, when they know and feel in their hearts that God has given His only begotten Son to suffer death for their sakes, how shall they not trust that He, who has given them His Son, will also give them whatsoever is for their real everlasting good.
Finally, the children of light will also be children of love. Indeed, it is only another name for the same thing. For light is the most immediate outward agent and minister of God's love, the most powerful and rapid diffuser of His blessings through the whole universe of His creation. It blesses the earth, and makes her bring forth herbs and plants. It blesses the herbs and plants, and makes them bring forth their grain and their fruit. It blesses every living creature, and enables all to support and enjoy their existence. Above all, it blesses man, in his goings out and his comings in, in his body and in his soul, in his senses and in his injagination, and in his affections ; in his social intercourse with his brother, and in his solitary communion with his Maker. Merely blot out light from the earth, and joy will pass away from it; and health will pass away from it ; and life will pass away from it; and it will sink back into a confused turmoiling chaos. In no way cau the children of light so well prove that this is indeed their parentage, as by becoming the instruments of God in shedding His blessings around them. Light illumines every thing, the lowly valley as well as the lofty mountain ; it fructifies every thing, the humblest herb as well as the lordliest tree ; and there is nothing hid from its heat. Nor does Christ the Original, of whom light is the image, make any distinction between the high and the low, between the humble and the lordly. He comes to all, unless they drive him from their doors. He calls to all, unless they obstinately close their cars against Him. He blesses all, unless they cast away His blessing. Nay, although they cast it away, He still perseveres in blessing them, even unto seven times, even unto seventy times seven. Ye, then, who desire to be children of light, ye who would gladly enjoy the full glory and blessedness of that heavenly name, take heed to yourselves, that ye walk as children of light in this respect more especially. No part of your duty is easier ; you may find daily and hourly opportunity of practising it. No part of your duty is more delightful; the joy you kindle in the heart of another cannot fail of shedding back its brightness on your own. No part of your duty is more godlike. They who attempted to become like God in knowledge, fell in the garden of Eden. They who strove to become like God in power, were confounded on the plain of Shinar. They who endeavour to become like God in love, will feel His approving smile and His helping arm ; every effort they make will bring them nearer to His presence; and they will find His renewed image grow more and more vivid within them, until the time comes, when they too shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,