Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

From The Press. of ascendency, is a fate which of all men a THE CHURCH OF ROME, HER PRINCIPLE, Roman Catholic priest is least able to diAND MODERN EUROPE.

gest. No wonder, therefore, that the Romish The Catholic priesthood is now bestirring priesthood takes to opposition in Hungary, itself with unwonted activity. In Poland and, with its wonted skill in making use of their energy is so great that the best authori- any instrument which may be at hand, stimties concur in assigning the adhesion of the ulates the revolution to prevent the estabCatholic priests to the revolutionary move- lishment of parliamentary government in ment as the reason which induced the Rus- Austria. We know in England only too sian Government to declare a state of siege. well how manifold, how varied in form and Count Montalembert intimates that the pop- direction, the opposition of Catholics to ish clergy are pledged by principle to take equal rights and constitutional rule can be ; a part in asserting what is regarded as the and it can afford little pleasure to any En. right of their country; and that a certain glishman who seeks the triumph of a moderspiritual character has been impressed there- ate responsibility to public opinion throughby on the National party which is lifting up out the world to be told that Catholio its head against the Russians. It has long clergymen are busy in fomenting resistance been known to the world that in Austria the in Hungary. Romanist clergy have wielded a vast politi- France tells the same tale. The Catholio cal influence over the administration of that priesthood were among the most resolute nation. The Concordat was their work, and opponents of Louis Philippe's Government, it would be a miserably narrow view to take and the most efficient causes of its downfall. of that great contract to suppose that it The priesthood was overthrown indeed in merely regulated spiritual relations between the ruin which it had done much to produce ; the priestly army distributed over the empire but its vitality was far from spent ; and the and their chief at Rome. All the political Government of the second of December was festivals and demonstrations among the pre-eminently its child. But for the Romish Tchecks manifestly attest the existence of a clergy Louis Napoleon would probably have clerical element; the same holds good of never occupied the throne of his uncle ; Galicia and Croatia, and to some extent also certainly he could not have maintained himof Hungary. The rise of constitutional self on it. But he who consents to be freedom in Austria can be anything but a served by Rome must do the behests of welcome occurrence to the Romish clergy: Rome. Generous war for ideas, irrespecfor, though the Church of Rome has exhib- tively of results, is assuredly a principle ited the most wonderful power of accommo- which has never acquired credit with the dating itself to any outward circumstances Vatican. The irresistible course of human -being aristocratic among aristocracies, and events has set the Government of the Secin Australia and America democratic among cond Empire in array against the interests democracies—its essential principle is too of Rome; the stream of political life has plainly despotical to make itself feel com- taken a bend; it has started from the civil pletely at home except in a purely organized bank and made a deep indenture in the ecdespotism. A nation governed by a court, clesiastical. The consequences immediately and Catholic influence supreme in that court, declared themselves ; and a compact phais the true type of political government lanx of Catholic priests, headed by bishops which Rome would, if she were able, bestow of admirable intrepidity, have taken the on every section of the human race. The field in open rebellion against a despot whose recent decrees of the Emperor of Austria will knows no limits. The Spanish clergy have inflicted terrible blows on the domina- have felt the wave; and, stimulated by a tion of the Catholic clergy in his empire: peculiar grievance of their own, are rising their pre-eminence is gone, all creeds enjoy to the same tide-level with their Gallican equal rights, and a toleration is established and Austrian brethren. The Church still which Lucke himself would admit completely retain large territorial possessions in Spain, rcalized his idea. To have been so all- which the tendencies of the nineteenth cenpowerful so few years ago, and to be com- tury are prompting the constitutional Gov. pelled now to accept equality in the place lernment of Madrid to invade; the opposi. tion of the priesthood is becoming equally to the Temps, is exhibiting some of the spirit decided, and Carlist pretenders feel their which characterized his day. Whilst neolhopes to revive.

ogy has wellnigh spent itself out in Germany, It is scarcely necessary to say that in and in England doctrinal discussions have Italy the Catholic clergy are drawn up in almost ceased amongst even the clergy, in masses on the field of the battle; the cita- France a very marked disposition has arisen del of their mighty association is menaced ; to examine religious questions, and to pass they have the colors, the centre, the life its leading dogmas under review. Religious itself of their host to guard. Rome reduced questiors are forcing themselves into every to a spiritual power, shorn of every right of branch of literature, and to no small extent sovereignty, dwelling under the shelter of into journalism; and at this moment there civil rule, and a stipendiary with a precarious is no question so interesting to the public as salary, whatever she may be for her members the inquiry whether M. Guizot is a Catholic in foreign lands, is doubtless a ruined, par- or a Protestant. Jansenism is not forgotten alyzed, stripped, and decaying wreck for the amongst French descendants from the sevonce proud priests of Italy. That they enteenth century. Gallican liberties are should struggle to avert such a doom, may talked of, and even an appeal to a general be lamentable, but is natural; no body of Council has already begun to be whispered. men with such an interest at stake could do The Tuileries are driven by the course of otherwise than resist to the death. Italians events to break with Rome ; and there is fighting for the Papacy fairly merit a sym- sagacity enough in the Nephew to avoid the pathy very different from the feeling with rock on which, more probably than on any which Romish priests in other lands combat other, the fortunes of the Uncle were shipagainst the rights and liberties of their fel-wrecked, and to sustain a contest with the low-countrymen. They would have been Church of Rome on some other than princistronger in public opinion, had they been ples of pure military despotism and self-will. able to understand the distinction between The Church of Rome seems to have overcivil and ecclesiastical rule ; had they re- stood its day in its relations to the French served absolute doctrines for the Church Empire ; yet what other course but resistalone, and in temporal matters recognized ance was really practicable? What do these that responsibility to the public welfare stirring movements of the Catholic priesthood which cannot be neglected with impunity in in every State of Europe indicate ? What the nineteenth century.

feeling do they spring from? What events The Papacy, too, begins to experience do they portend? These are very solemn some of the contingencies of war. For many questions for the future welfare of the world. years the unity of the Catholic clergy has To us these agitations reveal another of those deserved the admiration even of foes ; they periodical convulsions, those dying struggles have stood man to man in close union in de- we almost venture to say, which have befalfence of the Pope. But as the contest ad- len the Church of Rome since she came into vances differences disclose themselves ; pa- collision with the fundamental principles of triotism and the voice of reason will make the modern life of the world. The revival themselves heard in some consciences; and of letters, still more the advances of physical the Pope has to find that a Passaglia may science, have attacked the essence of the become one of the most annoying and dam- Romish system at its very heart; they are aging of antagonists. He has been sorely drawing its life-blood, and, to our mind, hisruffled by the untoward event; the last Al- tory exhibits a death-bed of four centuries. locution bewails in terms of acute anguish The cardinal principle of authority is in dithe defection of some of his own sons, in rect and hopeless contradiction with the funtheir perversion by the devilish spirit of god- damental elements of the human mind, and lessness and rebellion. A split among the their development in recent times. It is imclergy would complete the ruin of the Holy possible that any creed, any system of opinSee, and it is an occurrence which has often ions, can permanently exist on the condition disclosed itself in history. The symptoms, that men are not to think. The canker atmoreover, in other lands are extremely un- tacked the root of that principle at the Refpleasant. The country of Bossuet, according ormation, and the tree has been steadily

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

decaying ever since. There are rights of tional prejudices, ancient customs, obstinate authority to which the highest and the most beliefs: it takes a very long space of time questioning intellects will ever readily sub- before the light of advancing knowledge and mit. The man who knows most about any- intelligence can penetrate into every dark thing—the astronomer on the motions of the recess. The growth of modern life is most stars, the sailor on a navy, the physician on unequal in its several parts. But the prinmedicine, and, we willingly add, the learned ciples of the Romish Church are attacked by divine on theology-must ever carry greater an enemy little thought of, a foe possessed weight than he who is ignorant; his asser- of a force as unrelenting as it is mighty, a tions will be received with deference by those power which no art or cunning can resist. whose knowledge stands far below his own. The railway is attacking Rome, and Rome Equally so, the most soaring intelligence is dying of the railway. No force known to among men will bow willingly to the decla- man can compete with the railway in powers ration of revealed religion, if he believes that of penetration : the strongest Armstrong there is such a thing as revelation : he will gun possesses the range of a baby in comaccept information which flows from a knowl-parison with it. The great civilizer which edge which transcends his own. But in these George Stephenson created stands front to cases there is no claim set up for that pecul- front with Rome, and is dealing out blows iar kind of authority demanded by the Church which will ultimately destroy its rival. For of Rome, and too often covertly insinuated the railway makes man like to man everyby some of our clergy. In all, there is a where: it searches out every dark corner, distinctly implied admission, that it is to opens up every sheltered retreat, invades superior knowledge alone that reverence is every clerical manor, strikes at every expaid; and that the humblest of the sons of ploded idea, refutes with unanswerable logic men may at

any time challenge the excellence erery superstitious belief by the juxtaposiof that knowledge, and, if successful, may tion of light and knowledge, dissipates erery destroy its claim to superiority altogether. cherished apprehension, sheds the rays of Even a Newton may be proved erroneous; improvement on every antiquated district, and the most scientific mind of our day may and makes the glorious light of truth, knowlreceive endless refutation in the next. The edge, and heavenly hope known to every Papal Churchman and the infidel both com- mind and heart of man. Here is the secret bine in suppressing all notice of this vital of the energetic action of the Romish priestdistinction ; the one, because he seeks to hood : their flocks are departing, because obtain for the assertion of one man or set of an attractive force of immeasurably higher men an accuracy of thought and speech which power is incessantly acting on their underwe find differs from that accorded to all other standings. mortas ; the other, because he

anxious to

We do not say that the victory will be bring on revelation that discredit with which gained all at once : the hold which the past

ever has on human affection is far too strong the false principle of authority is regarded for that. The expiring flame may often amongst men of philosophical and intellect- flicker in the lamp; the receding tide may ual ability.

ever and anon send back some rolling wave The principle, then, of the Church of Rome, of gigantic violence, that seems to threaten we say, is in direct collision with the essence the whole shore. But the triumph must be of modern civilization ; and the ultimate is in the long run, must win the day. Not li

at last with the permanent force-Reason, sue is certain. There is no possibility of centious, extravagant, hasty, and presumpgoing back to absolute dogmatism in any tuous intelligence; but the truth of things, department of human thought : Rome may the reason which sees and knows, the intelbe swallowed up in civilization, but civiliza- lect which obeys to superior insight wheretion cannot be swallowed up by Rome. The ever found, which submits with free will, laws of the mind of man are indestructible ever ready to challenge, but equally ready and irresistible: all that opposition can do is to reverence the voice of superior labor and

information, like the sunflower ever turnto retard their discovery and their rule. The

ing its countenance to the illumination of mass of men who compose Europe has been God's light, and equally consenting to be for ages divided into every variety of devel. warmed and vivified by an influence which opment,-of information, local habits, na- is not her own.

From The Saturday Review. those who live in the world consists in habitual CONVERSATION.

readiness to talk or to be talked to on any TALKING is not a sufficient occupation for rational subject. A lively intellect, coma life, but it is the best of all recreations or bined with a sociable disposition, may attain subsidiary employments, and a master of the a similar exemption from awkward narrowart possesses the most useful and enjoyable ness, but the native inhabitants of the upper of accomplishments. Even for his own spe- world were free-born. cial purposes, the professed talker ought to Good talkers may be found in all educated cultivate independent pursuits and interests. classes, and the benefits which they confer A mere idler in society loses the earnestness on their fellow-creatures can scarcely be which forms the unseen basis of good conver- overrated. Many a happy husband and fasation, and he is certain to fall into some of ther, with his affectionate wife and thriving the innumerable mannerisms which beset the children around him, suspects, though he pertinacious votary of a single study. Sir scarcely ventures to utter the heresy, that Walter Scott said, after a course of London domestic life is a bore. It is pleasant enough dinners, that the bishops talked better than to combine amusement with instruction in the wits, and the lawyers better than the daily intercourse with the boys and girls, bishops. He was probably prejudiced in fa- and a judicious wife may keep, for the most vor of his own profession, or the lawyers of part, in decent obscurity the petty vexations the present time have degenerated ; yet the of the servants' hall and the nursery. The comparison may have been so far just that man, however, who depends on children for the wits talked for the sake of talking, while society feels a void like that of a dairy-farm the Law and the Church had something to deprived of its due supply of super-phostalk about, and made conversation their phate. The process of giving everything out pleasure instead of their business. In tact, and taking nothing in can only end in exin ease, in versatility, and in all other ex- haustion. The faithful partner of his affecternal conditions of agreeable intercourse, tions may perhaps not be qualified to supply the class which calls itself society has an un- his intellectual craving, and if opportunity disputed pre-eminence over the more labo- favors, a prudent regard for domestic happirious and active sections of the community. ness will at last drive him from home. The The occasional frivolity or dulness of Bel- stupidity engendered by seclusion weighs gravia and Mayfair may, in some degree, be upon the spirits and irritates the temper. It attributed to the abundant leisure which is is better even to indulge moderately in neighmost commonly found in the higher ranks. borly scandal than to brood over family It is, however, happily not the fashion for grievances ; but real conversation is infinitely the favorites of fortune to live in utter or os- preferable to personal gossip, and those who tensible idleness; and political life furnishes propagate among their friends the habit and some of îhe leaders of society with a serious faculty of social thought are true missionand worthy employment. Where a states- aries of wisdom and of civilization. The best man happens, like Mr. Canning or Lord talkers, like the highest adepts in every art, Melbourne, to be also remarkable for intel- are born with peculiar gifts ; but their aptilect and wit, he probably carries the art of tudes may be cultivated by reflection, by obconversation as far as its nature permits. servation, and especially by varied practice. The mere diner-out, even if his anecdotes Young men seldom talk well, but it is fortuand humorous turns are in themselves equally nate that they are not conscious of defects meritorious, trifles and banters, and dis- which might oppress them with unseasonacusses and narrates, with less authority and ble diffidence. They are generally positive, effect. In general, however, the best talkers and if they are well-informed they are almost of the best society are imported from its out- always pedantic. Their humor is convenskirts. They bring with them the original- tional and lumbering, their philosophy disity and vigor which are not always nursed plays itself in its processes instead of its rein the purple, and they find in the unpreju- sults, and they have not yet mastered the diced and polished circles which receive resources of colloquial language. Yet those them an incomparable audience. One of the who are afterwards destined to excel in conchief elements of superiority possessed by versation possess the essential qualities of

a

gayety, of intellectua. openness, and of orig-centricities of persons, but in the long run inality, which must be genuine although it they will be found far less tedious. may be shallow. As their company is ac- The faculty of telling stories is popular ceptable to one another, and still more agree- and tempting; but it is rarely connected able to young women, the impatience with with the highest powers of conversation. which masters regard the bungling of ap- Sir Walter Scott, who had an inexhaustible. prentices is not provoked by constant colli- store of excellent anecdotes, was not considsions.

ered a successful talker. Clever narratives, The aspirant to social success ought to however, are generally acceptable at ordiavoid or postpone the choice of any special nary dining-tables, where anxious hostesses and limited department of conversation. A are sometimes contented if they can hear the talker of the highest order ought not to en- sustained sound of the human voice. If stocourage the expectation of squibs and crack-ries must be told, it is a universal and infalers as often as he opens his mouth. It lible rule that they cannot be too short. The should rather be his object to wait for occa- preliminary introduction or caption may alsions, to consult the tastes of his compan- most always be spared, for it is not material ions, and to deal willingly and readily with that the heroine of the story was the histoany topic which may command a temporary rian's grandmother, or that the unfortunate or accidental interest. A gentle firmness of butt was an acquaintance of his wife's uncle. manner, an unaffected simplicity of charac- It is better to say that an old woman or a ter, and, above all, a genial and eager en- country squire experienced the adventures, joyment of social intercourse, predispose all which derive no additional interest from the hearers to appreciate humor and concentrated deduction of a pedigree. Anecdotes interthought. It is by no means necessary to spersed with general remarks are more efpossess profound or extensive knowledge, fective than when they are strung together though the most recondite and out-of-the- in unintermitted series. The human mind way attainments may, in skilful hands, be- tires of sameness, even when all the compocome available for purposes of conversation. nent items in the catalogue are amusing. In A quick and intelligent mind seizes the sali- narration, as in discussion, it is important to ent points in all subjects of discussion or al- remember that monotony is most objectionalusion, and to careless observers a good talker ble in the minor details of conversation. will often appear thoroughly familiar with Long sentences are even worse than long some unknown branch of learning, while he stories; and a professed bore

may be

recoghas himself never consciously attempted to nized by the prolix subdivisions of a speech conceal his total ignorance. It is indispen- which might in itself have been almost ensable to good conversation that every word durable. A strain on the attention is alshould have a meaning, and yet, that all ways unwelcome in seasons of recreation; beariness and obscurity should be avoided. and when the conclusion of a sentence is anStudents of the art, even when they have at- ticipated some seconds before it is reached, tained the requisite lightness and quickness, the hearer too often feels as if he were lisought to be on their guard against tricks tening to a sermon, without feeling himself and repetitions. Paradoxes and broad exag- called upon to practise the corresponding gerations are legitimate forms of humor, but duty of patience. they become tiresome when they are too con- Command of appropriate language is as stantly introduced. Personal satire ought indispensable to a colloquial speaker as to to be sparingly employed, on the ground an orator or an author. It is, fortunately, that, when it is too largely cultivated, it al- impossible to use fine phrases and rhetorical most always degenerates into perceptible ill- circumlocutions in good society. The gennature. Many able men, in narrow circles, eral dialect of conversation is simple, pure, who began with an intellectual and amusing and idiomatic; but, except under skilful perception of the faults of their neighbors, treatment, it is often incorrect and rarely febecome, by degrees, mere inventors or re- licitous. A good talker finds the right word tailers of commonplace scandal. The oddi- by an unconscious instinct, as a clever horse ties of things are less popular than the ec- on a rough road always puts his foot in the

« ElőzőTovább »