Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

mour at all, after the first publication in Pilate, and even of Judas Iscariot. With1823. He never did anything which ap- out going to such lengths as this, it is only proached in merit the contents of that ad- fair to call attention to the very ambiguous mirable volume during the eleven years and unsatisfactory position of a man whose from 1823 to 1834.

name really does not seem to deserve to All his periodical writings, all his plays, have become a byword of reproach. It is a and all his poems are necessary, however, to little strange, in this age of civil and relia complete edition of his works; for our gious liberty, that nobody should have a good own part, we should be satisfied with word for Gallio. His hard lot bas been to “ Elia,” “ Rosamund Grey," " John Wood- be taken as a type of carelessness and of vil,” the “ Farewell to Tobacco," and the scepticism, and to be thundered at from all "Letters." We must have the last

, not as the pulpits of the Christian world. If we Talfourd has given them to us, but as Lamb inquire carefully into what is recorded about wrote them — ipsissimis verbis. Talfourd has him, it turns out that he is a strangely unhelped us to bits of them—those bits which derrated man. His whole crime appears to he thought nicest and prettiest ; but, if we consist in his having refused to listen to the could have the true text, we should be bet- accusations against the Apostle Paul, and ter pleased on the whole. Upon a moderate having looked on with profound indifference calculation, the collection found by Tal- at a bastinado inflicted upon the chief ruler fourd does not represent a moiety of the of the synagogue. It is possible that a modtotal. Where, let us ask, is the correspond- ern magistrate would have felt it his duty to ence with Hone, with the Holcrofts, with interfere to prevent any and every breach Cottle, with Hunt, with Collier, and with of the peace ; but a beating is not a serious Novello?

A contemporary of Lamb's matter among Oriental communities, and was lately, and may be yet, living, who when inflicted upon a Jew it would be possesses a series of letters, not one of deemed a bagatelle ; and at all events, as which has seen the light.

far as the Apostle was concerned, Gallio can claim the posthumous credit of having released him from his captors without even waiting to call on him for bis defence. The

sole political principle which we hear of his From the Saturday Review,

enunciating on the occasion was, according

to modern political ideas, a sound one. It GALLIOS.

was nothing more or less than the non-inter

ference of the State in matters of purely A good deal of ingenuity has been spent religious discipline and controversy

Libupon the whitewashing of various historical era chiesa in stato libero. “If it were a matcharacters who are thought to have been ter of wrong or wicked lewdness," said Galtreated by posterity with unnecessary injus- lio to St. Paul's accusers,

reason would tice. Some of tbem, by means of the per- that I should bear with you; but if it be a tinacious efforts of their apologists, have al- question of words and names and of your most been set upon their legs again; while law, look ye to it, for I will be no judge of others, like Mary Queen of Scots and Henry such.” And so saying, Gallio drave them VIII., still furnish an inexhaustible subject from the judgment seat; or, in other words, of literary controversy. There is, however, dismissed the prosecution, and ordered the a considerable opening for any diligent the Court to be cleared. Such being his decisologian who will make it his duty to repair ion, it became wholly unnecessary for him and varnish some of those whom we may to hear the prisoner at all. We do not even perhaps, without irreverence, be permitted know that the Apostle wished to be heard, to call the black sheep of Scripture. We but in any case Gallio did nothing beyond do not for a moment allude to anybody of what the strictest and most orthodox Bow whose wickedness we are authoritatively Street magistrate of the nineteenth century assured by sacred writers. But outside the would have done. The text usually flung category of these there are a number of per- at the head of the much-abused deputy of sons on whose moral or religious merits the Achaia has no reference at all to his treatBible does not pronounce, but who, from ment of the religious ideas of Paul The some cause or another, have nevertheless “ thing” for which he is said not to have come to be regarded as good for nothing and cared was the beating of Sosthenes. The sinful creatures. Every educated person is Church has not since attached to it much aware of the arguments that have been more importance than Gallio did ; and so urged in favour of the sincerity of Pontius long as the whole circumstances of the chasSosthenes are not before us, jus- | Christian Church became a State danger. us to impute Gallio's indiffer- As its acknowledged aim was the extirpa

bus levity. The sole fact which tion of all other creeds, it was not strange 108 against his character seems to be that it should be thought a standing menace that he does not appear to have been con- to them or to State tranquillity. The tone verted to Christianity before the Apostle adopted towards it by the Emperor Julian opened his mouth to convert him. This, shows what was thought by a rational adberafter all, is not very much ; and, at any ent to old systems of belief. As time went rate, it is a fault which he must share in on, a battle à outrance began between the common with others. The opportunities of old and the new. It was war to the knife religious investigation which he enjoyed between them, and, if we are to believe hiswere not extensive ; and, provided that he tory, some acute observers had seen this discharged with propriety the only secular from the first. But the distinction drawn duty he was called on to perform, he does by Gallio between matters of opinion and not merit the opprobrium of being a care- matters of State cognizance was not a visless thinker, any more than that of being an ionary one. Such was the view of Rome. unjust judge.

The departure from it in the case of ChrisThe charge of indifference to religious tian persecutions was a matter not of sectatruth, so far as Gallio is concerned, must rian bitterness so much as of State policy. accordingly be considered as not proven. Indeed Gallio's theory, good or bad in the Apart from this, it is a charge which is sin- abstract as it may be, was one which, at that gularly inconsistent in the mouths of those particular moment, the early Christians had who prefer it against him. It is illogical in every reason to approve. If Gallio had choecclesiastical commentators to upbraid the sen to investigate Paul's orthodoxy, he Executive of the Roman Empire at one would have had to investigate it not merely time for interfering, and at another for not from a Jewish point of view. It would have interfering, in the early controversy between been his business to examine whether the Christianity and its assailants. One of two Apostle's opinions were consistent or inconthings is obvious - either that the Imperial sistent with allegiance to the Roman EmpeGovernment was lax or not lax upon sub ror.

His abstinence from unnecessary injects of Pagan orthodoxy ; but it is idle to quisitiveness was therefore rather a politiaccuse its agents simultaneously of scepti- cal virtue than a theological vice. That it cism and of tyranny. The truth is that the was conformable to the maxims of the Emline drawn by Gallio between what was and pire is evident from the subsequent history what was not a matter for State inquiry was of St. Paul. It was the spontaneous appeal conformable to the principles of Imperial of the Apostle to “ Cæsar” which led him Rome. One of the accidental merits of ed- into captivity at Rome, not any interference ucated Paganism was that it generally was by Imperial agents with private liberties tolerant, just as Alexander the Great was and rights. After hearing his exposition of tolerant, and as all who attempt to establish Christian doctrine, Agrippa and Festus a world-wide empire must be tolerant. agreed between them that “this man might Rome could not afford, with her enormous have been set at liberty if he had not apfrontier and her system of outlying provin- pealed unto Cæsar." ces, to be anything else. The subsequent The same inconsistency which is observpersecutions of Jews and Christians were able in the reproaches freely poured upon political rather than religious in their incep- Gallio is also to be seen in the censures lav. tion. Polytheism is usually anything but an ished on those in our day who are supposed exclusive system. The worship of the gods to be like him, and who are usually dubbed of the hills is not essentially incompatible by his name. In the proper sense of the with a toleration of the worship of the gods appellation, a modern Gallio is, as we have of the valleys. But, unfortunately for the said, a gentleman who disbelieves in a State lives and liberties of its early followers, Inquisition. If so, most people are Gallios. Christianity could not co-exist with any other No section of the Church at the present day form of religious creed. Neither Jew nor is anxious to have matters of theology subChristian could consent to admit the statue jected unnecessarily to the careful cogniof the Emperor to stand on the altar of the 'zance of State authority -- least of all those one true God; and both Judaism and Chris- sections of the Church which might be extianity were thus driven into direct conflict pected to inveigh most earnestly against with the political requirements of the Ro- Gallios. Again. if it be suggested that man Empire. Still later on, when it had Gallio was indifferent to the welfare of his grown to more substantial proportions, the soul, there is not the vestige of proof that he was anything of the kind. We come, lastly, on the whole to abstain from controversial to the real derivative sense attached by pul. discussion. Their answer to such abuse is a pit orators to the term. Gallio is put for- simple and a conclusive one. They do not ward as the type of people who, on the whole, profess to deal with those topics any more are sceptical about the advantage of enter- than Gallio the Roman lawyer did. They ing upon the discussion of religious contro- are secular, not religious, crities, just as he versy. It is somewhat significant that this was a secular, and not a religious, judge. should form part of the burden of the indict- The line they draw is precisely his line. ment against Pilate, who is thought to have When it comes to be a matter of wrong or displayed an improper incredulity as to the of' wicked lewdness they interfere, but not possibility of arriving at abstract “truth." till then. It is their duty in the interest of Gallio and Pilate, as far as one can judge, the public to expose ignorance, charlatanwere both of them sceptics in the metaphysi. ism, or immorality, but from subjects of thecal sense of the word, though the former ology pure and simple they keep aloof. seems to have been exempt from the crimi- Nobody in his senses can maintain that such nal weakness which has rendered the latter a view is wicked. It is simply common an object of infamy to all time. Before con- sense. And Gallio-baters may perhaps feel demning, in Gallio's person at all events, the the cogency of the argument when they spirit of philosophical scepticism, preachers reflect on the nature of the other alternawill do well to consider what philosophical tive that must be accepted if abstention scepticism is, and how far it interferes with from theological controversy is to be conor seems contrary to the principles of ortho- demned. The alternative is that every dox religion.

newspaper in England shall be a religious It is worth remarking that the one nation partisan, free to adopt its own theories in Europe which is most conservative in about religion, and to enter on a religious matters of theology is the most sceptical propaganda for the sake of persuading the about metaphysics. The nation in question public of their truth. Probably a régime of is ourselves. Nor is this a pure coincidence. literary Gallios would be far more acceptaThe two things stand to each other very ble, even to theologians. much in the relation of cause and effect. The position of Gallios in private life is The reason that Englishmen believe in re- not a bit less tenable than that of Gallios in ligious truth so firmly is that they do not journalism. It is not a crime, as some peobelieve in the attainment of philosophical ple think, to feel no interest in theological truth at all. The ordinary theologian of the controversy. There is a point, indeed, at day makes metaphysical uncertainty, or the which such controversy usually becomes inimpossibility of discovering truth by think- teresting. If problems are mooted affecting ing about it, the basis of his system. It is the future destinies of the Church, and the true that the edifice is not a logical result of character of the future religious teaching of the foundation on which it is built, and that the country, people seldom fail to form a a man may doubt everything besides reli- view of their own about them. In this region without ceasing to doubt about reli- spect few of us are Gallios, and least of all gion itself. But practically, and among a those who are oftenest suspected of the large mass of English men and women, dis- crime. But apart from such cases a Gallio belief in the powers of the human mind, and point of view is not only very natural, but belief in the doctrines taught to them, do go certainly by no means the reverse of praisetogether. There are, however, more ration- worthy." What would become of the world al methods of reconciling Gallios and reli- if every professional man and every educagion than this. And, in the first place, it is ted layman were to strip for the controverclear that, in declining to discuss theology, sial arena, and to desend into the pit in the Gallios have the sanct.on of a large number costume of a theological gladiator, armed of authorities of the Christian Church. with net and dagger for the fray ? Such a Every modern Gallio has a right to say that state of things would be the death of most theology is not his vocation. There are easy-going country parsons. There was a those whose business it is to study it and to Turkish Pasha in the Crimean war who investigate its subtleties; but a layman is expired out of sheer dismay at the fuss no more bound to be a theologian, unless he made at Balaclava by the Consuls of the likes, than he is bound to be acquainted Western Powers. A like melancholy end with the mysteries of contingent remain- would befall a good many English clergyders. Newspapers, for example, are con- men if all the laymen in the parish insisted tinually set down as Gallios, or Sadducees, on sifting and controverting all the doctrines or both, simply because they feel it best up- laid down, or taken for granted, in the Sunday sermon. Does the parson who preaches country. All along the sides of the main lines against Gallios wish for a congregation of of road through the plains, a Polygonum (avicuGallios or not? If he does, he is a very rash lare), called 'cow-grass,' grows most luxuriantly, man. He desires to pass from a calm at the roots sometimes two feet in depth, and the mosphere of quiet into a troubled atmos- plants spreading over an area from four to five phere of thesis and antithesis, of disputation,

feet in diameter. The dock (Rumex obtusifolius

or R. crispus) is to be found in every river-bed, mutiny, and rebellion. If he appreciates extending into the valleys of the mountain rivthe utility of Gallios in particular, he ought ers, until these become mere torrents. The not in common fairness to preach against sow thistle is spread all over the country, growGallios in general. This is especially true ing luxuriantly nearly up to 6,000 feet. The in times like the present, when religious ten- watercress increases in our still rivers to such ets are held by most educated people rather an extent as to threaten to choke them altoas a matter of moral conviction and practi- gether; in fact, in the Avon, a still deep stream, cal use than of mathematical certainty. If running through Christ Church, the annual Gallios are to be put down, their place will cost of keeping the river free for boat navigabe filled by far more inconvenient and un- I have measured stems twelve feet long and

tion and for purposes of drainage exceeds 3001. comfortable disputants. Theologians ought three quarters of an inch in diameter. In some to be satisfied with the latitude conceded to of the mountain districts, where the soil is the theologians of Corinth. They have full loose, the white clover is completely displacing liberty to inflict any spiritual penalties they the native grasses, forming a close sward.” like on a rival Sosthenes, but it is a fatal mistake on their part to object to the ortho

and later in his article he tells us the dox neutrality of Gallio.

most remarkable fact of all, that,

" The little white clover, and other herbs, are actually strangling and killing outright the New Zealand fax (Phormium tenax), a plant

of the coarsest, hardest, and toughest descripFrom the Spectator. tion, that forms huge matted patches of woody

rhizomes, which send up tufts of sword-like MR. DARWIN AT THE ANTIPODES. leaves, six to ten feet high, and inconceivably

strong in texture and fibre. I know of no Eng. The native [Maori) saying is, ' As the lish plant to which the New Zealand flax can white man's rat has driven away the native be likened, so as to give any idea of its rat, as the European fly drives away our

robust constitution and habit, to those who do own, as the clover kills our fern, so will tussocks of Carex paniculata approach it. It is

not know it; in some respects the great matted the Maoris disappear before the white man difficult enough to imagine the possibility of himself.” Thus quotes Dr. Hooker, the white clover invading our bogs, and smothering eminent naturalist of our Kew Gardens, in the tussocks of this Carex, but this would be a remarkable article in the new number of child's play in comparison with the resistance the Popular Science Review “ The the Phormium would seem to offer." Struggle for Existence amongst Plants.” " The European house-fly," says Dr.

It is an illustration of the same process Hooker, “ seems to drive out before it the that the European borse so increases in native blue-bottle of New Zealand, so that South America as to gain rapidly upon the settlers, knowing its value, carry it in native animals of these plains, and that in boxes and bottles to their inland sta- New Zealand the English pig runs wild tions." So, too, in the vegetable world and multiplies at a rate which is a serious the vegetable emigration from Europe danger to the sheep farmers, whose flocks seems to drive before it the native pro- of lambs the wild hog decimates. That a ducts of the New Zealand soil. “ The little and apparently feeble plant like clover noisy train of English migration is not should be able to win a complete victory more surely doing its work than the stealthy over the formidable sworded fax of New tide of English weeds, which are creeping Zealand, and that the English fly should over the waste, cultivated, and virgin soil, drive out the blue-bottle which is such a in annually increasing numbers of genera, nuisance to the settlers, are striking illusspecies, and individuals." Dr. Hooker trations of the apparent power which hu. quotes a New Zealand correspondent to the man civilization seems to lend to even the same effect:

animals and plants that have thoroughly

adapted themselves to its conditions, “ You would be surprised at the rapid spread illustrations which inevitably suggest the of European and other foreign plants in this superstitious view of the subject conveyed

on

in the Maori presage with which we com- | weaker plants all the more languid and menced this article. It seems as if the feeble elements of its physiology, while the mere local connection with civilized beings New Zealand perennial, living undisturbed which is implied in buzzing in civilized in a milder climate and much richer soil, windows and growing on ploughed fields, has been left comparatively without any were a physical tonic to the constitution of process of competitive selection, till, like animals and plants which enables them, the luxurious man who has had all his comwhen put in competition with the native forts and necessaries at his elbow, when insects, animals, or plants of barbarous competing for existence against the trained countries, to win as easy a victory as civili- hunter who has lived by his knife and gun, zation wins over barbarism. Does not the it is worsted at every turn by the hardier English fly contract a cunning from its resi- rival. It would be easy, of course, to sugdence in English larders, which makes it gest a similar account of the success of the more than the match of the big Maori blue. European fly and European rat in combottle ? Have not the clover and water- peting against the native blue-bottle and cress imbibed, by the process of selection, the native rat. In neither case, probably, structural habits of economizing the juices is it due to greater strength or ferocity, of the comparatively poor English soil, greater aptitude for war, but to instincts which gives them an advantage over the trained through successive generations unplants that have grown up for ages in a soil der more difficult circumstances. Those tio rich to need any such provisions for European flies and rats which have not assimilating all the most nutritious elements been able to adapt themselves to their conof growth? It is quite conceivable that in dition in a country where the most nouran old and much tilled country only the ishing food is usually jealously guarded, and more hardy species, those which have the where all wild animals have less and less most powerful attraction for the juices in chance every year, have died out, and only the soil on which they live, will succeed in those remained which by hardier constituyielding good crops, while in a very rich tion, greater caution, less offensive habits, country, — especially when combined with and more subtle instincts, have been able, a milder climate, this process of contest while supporting themselves, sufficiently to between the more and less vigorous species avoid the enmity of man to prevent any will go on much more tranquilly and slowly, war of externination being waged against so that the race between one plant and them. And these trained instincts of course another for nutrition may not have elabo- tell greatly in their favour when they come rated anything like such special powers of to be pitted against races which have not competition for sap. Dr. Hooker tells us hitherto needed them for their protection. that seedlings of the cedar and the maple Such is the apparently most natural infercome up even with us in the early spring ence from Dr. Hooker's strange array of by thousands in the grass-ground where they facts to prove that while the plants and are planted, but then, as soon as the grass animals of the antipodes show no increased begins to grow again, the grass draws away fertility when transplanted to Europe, no all their supplies of nourishment, and they tendency to run our native plants hard in die away. This seems to show that peren- the struggle for existence, our plants and nial grasses have a much stronger relative animals show as much colonizing capacity attraction for the nutritious elements of as man himself when they emigrate with the earth than seedling trees; but in New him to New Zealand. We take the case of Zealand it would seem, from Dr. Hooker's New Zealand rather than that of any other account that even annuals from Europe virgin soil, like South America, because often beat New Zealand perennials in the though many of the same phenomena are race. . That is, it may be, the seeds of the true of South America also, the conditions European plants obtain in a few months as of climate are there generally so different strong a hold of the ground as the native that the experiment is disturbed by many perennials have gained in many years, and other considerations. In New Zealand, on ihen by virtue of their naturally selected" the contrary, though the climate is rather species, assimilate with more rapidity and milder, owing to the greater extent of sea, effect than their perennial neighbours the climatic conditions are exceedingly like the juices of the soil, and so starve the those of England. plants in their vicinity. The vegetable We have striven purposely to suggest an which in England has gone through centu- interpretation of these very curious and as ries of competition for existence with other yet unexplained facts which is entirely in vegetables, has lost by the death of the the spirit of Mr. Darwin's great work,

« ElőzőTovább »