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and even intellectually, the individual man without necessarily varying his external condition. But this change did not come at once; and under the later Empire the world retrograded in its intellectual stage while in possession of Christian ideas. For "advanced ideas," it has been truly said,1 "when once established, act upon society and aid its further advance. Yet the establishment of such ideas depends on the previous fitness of society for receiving them." There must be a thorough correspondence of external and internal relations. The Civilization must
religion of our present so-called civilization, if it be be a* wide only or mainly an evolution of intellect, ignoring whole the claims of conscience, can but exhibit a one-sided, man. imperfect progress ;2 it does not fulfil the idea, and must fail, as it has failed of old. Such, however, is not the character of the religion of Christ, which is, therefore, "established on better promises" of permanence and progress. But on what grounds Religion a is it asserted that all human advance is intellectual, of prothus necessitating the conclusion that Christianity ereSS' is itself an effect and not a cause of progress? Because,3 it is answered, without external interference people will never discover their existing
1 Mr. Herbert S|>encer, Classification of Sciences, p. 37.
8 See Dr. J. H. Newman, Qramm. of Assent, p. 391; also Essay on Deuel., I. § 3; and particularly Dean. Church, Univ. Sermons on the relation of Christianity to civilization. "It corrects the narrowing of man's horizon; which civilization cannot do, perhaps fosters." "Christianity affords the only means of cherishing purity," &c,
3 Buckle, Hist. Civ., I. 254.
religion to be a bad one; and this implies some previous improvement in reason and knowledge. But has religion, it may fairly be replied, only an
Reason of intellectual side? Is it not so, as Pascal has said,1 that " the heart also has its reasons, which reason cannot apprehend " ?" It is necessary to imbue our faith with feeling, otherwise it will be for ever vacillating." Has the work of conversion been always among races so far advanced in knowledge and mental resources as to be adequate critics, from the intellectual stand-point, of the merits of a new faith? It is conceivable that the belief of barbarous times or tribes may be in some respects simpler and truer2 than that of periods of culture, just as the moral qualities of savage races sometimes suffer at the first impact of civilization.
change of Again, is it, as a matter of fact,3 by intellectual
religion . . . .
not due to convictions chiefly or solely that religions have lectuai made their way in different regions of the world?
solely or Perhaps the simplest mode has been the acceptance
chiefly. . r
of the faith of the conquering race by the subject peoples. Between different forms of polytheism such an interchange could not have been difficult.4 "Civilization," it has been aptly said, " is a plant much oftener propagated than developed."6 This
1 Pensees, II. 176, I. 155, cd. Faugere.
2 See Newman, Oramm. of Assent, p. 391.
8 See au example in Mr. Tylor, Hist. Prim. Cult., I. 27.
4 See Comte, Phil. Pos., V. 180. Hume, Nat. H. of Religion, § 9.
• Tylor, Hist. Pr. C, I. 48.
has resulted either from direct compulsion, as by the scimitar of Islamism, or from au instinct of inferiority naturally, and not without reason,1 accompanying defeat. Where a new language can be imposed, no doubt through "the spiritual relationship" of races, religion may pass also. Yet this is not always so; as, for instance, in the Mahometan and British subjugations of Hindostan. Nor is it so generally, where a strong sacerdotal caste exists among the conquered race.2 But neither, if it were, could it be traced to any law of rational superiority alone in the religion of the conqueror. For then the progress of religious truth, it is to be supposed, would have been simple and continuous; a result which is not borne out by the history of mankind. Other circumstances, Historical therefore, must be taken into account. The this fact, guidance, or at any rate the sequence, of events introduces particular religions into the world and into distinct localities. Once received, from whatever causes, they flourish and endure according to the amount of truth which they contain, combined with the fitness of their doctrines for the special circumstances of region and race, including, it is true, as one condition, a certain stage of intellectual
1 Com p. Arist., Pol., I. vi.: rponov riva aptri] rvyxavovo-a ^opifyias r'^ai^c<rO.11 dvfarat [taKiora, Kai etrnv aft To Kparovv tv vTrcpoxjj dyaOov Twos worf toKelv prj avtv dp(ri)s eivat Tt)v fiiav.
2 Compare the remarks of Comtc, Phil. Pos., V. 241, and Sir John Lubbock, Orig. of Civilization.
Generalization of the sequence of religious conceptions.
Thus, Christianity an agent in civilization,
whence an argument arises for its permanence.
To be shown in detail.
advance. Thus fetishism may be found to precede polytheism, polytheism the belief in one God.1 And thus even a large admixture of error is long able to maintain its ground by appealing to some of all the religious instincts of mankind, until, by the will of G-od, the hour arrives for its supersession by a higher and purer faith.
§ 13. Were it unquestionable that the benefits attributed to the Religion of Christ are the results of social laws alone, or of some foregoing intellectual stage of civilization, or again, that Religion, apart from moral teaching, has no proper and special field of action, it would be plainly futile to argue from the effects of Christianity to its permanence and truth as a religious system. It is thus made answerable for all its defects in operation, for those evils, mischiefs, and shortcomings which a narrow philosophy has always too readily set down to its account, while it is allowed no share in the amelioration of man's estate, no force in the influences which have determined the advancement of the race. I shall therefore attempt to show that the progress of civilization has been in successive ages largely promoted by the character and distinc
1 As held by Hume, Essays, Nat. Hist of Rel. Comte, Phil. Pos., V. 40, 46; Grote, Hist, of Greece, I. 462, V. 22; Buckle, I. 251; and, Mr. Tylor, with some modifications. Mr. Mill, Examination, p. 307, remarks profoundly that the psychological rationale of this vast generalization is the historical development of the subjective notion of power. Augustine, Civ. 7)., IV. xi.( strives to represent polytheism as a thinly disguised monotheism.
tive tenets of the Gospel, and these not of an intel- Preiimi
1 nary consi
lectual cast. The philosophy of history points de- derations, finitely to an improvement in human affairs, an improvement with which Christianity is in accord, and of which it has formed a part. In the next The
. . relation of
Lecture, however, i n order to answer certain objec- religion to tions still met with against the originality and moral sys
importance of the Faith of Christ, it will be neces- Lecture
... . . IV)
sary to determine within fixed limits the connection and interdependence of Religion with merely moral systems, and to deduce the fair scope of the former as a distinct agent in the formation of human conduct. One further preliminary consideration affecting the conditions of progressive civilization will then remain. Is there any such2- The.
inherent internecine antagonism between Science Ydl\yof ,
and Eevelation, the advance of knowledge and the progress
, . . . with the
spread of Christianity, as on this ground alone to penna
. nence and
necessitate or foreshadow the collapse of religious advance . of chris
behef? Are we indeed entered upon an era of tianity.
scientific attainments in which theological faith, turev.) already in some quarters subordinated to metaphysical abstractions, is to be trodden under foot by a positive philosophy, that is, by a belief in concrete laws? Is there to be an endless war between our intellectual faculties and our religious obligations? Are we entitled to predict the decline and extinction of all theologies, as a gradual but inevitable consequence of the course of human