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Scottish Metaphysicians ; early years of Brown, 216; of the “Times;" public opinion of Europe, 248;
student life; reviews, Darwin's " Zoonomia," 217; moral aversion of the northern states to the slave
, extracts from, 96.
race, 234-235; Great Britain and America,
Art. I.-Bacon's Essays, with Annotations. mainly devoted himself, and partly by the
By RICHARD WHATELY, D.D., Archbishop manner in which he has executed his task. of Dublin. London, 1856. 8vo, pp. 517. Neither his material nor his workmanship
is such as critics like to meddle with. Theo AFTER the novelists, and after Mr. Macaulay, logy, morals, and metaphysics, are the tritest Archbishop Whately is, perhaps, the Eng- portions of human knowledge. During thoulish writer of the nineteenth century who sands of years, the attributes of the Deity, has been most read. Between his first and the affections of the human heart, and the his last publication forty-six years have faculties of the human mind, were the fapassed, during few of which, perhaps during vourite subjects of philosophical inquiry. none, has his pen been unemployed. The They engrossed the attention of the acutest mere catalogue of his works fills six pages. and the most diligent thinkers. Reason was Several of them have reached a tenth edi- enlightened by Revelation; and, for more tion-one a fourteenth; many are text-books than 1800 years, the Revelation itself has in our universities and schools, and, from been commented on by the whole civilthe elementary nature of their subjects—ized world. To be original in such matfrom their containing the rudiments of most ters--to discover inferences and analogies of of the mental sciences and of the mental any value, which shall have escaped undearts—they have exercised, and continue to tected by so long and so careful an examina exercise, more influence over the opinions tion—is an attempt from which the most sanand over the moral and intellectual habits guine may well recoil. The bulk of our of those who are now actively engaged in writers prefer gleaning from fields which public and in professional life, than can be have been less carefully reaped. They turn attributed to the labours of any other living to political economy, to legislation, to critiauthor.
cism, to history, to biography, to physical And yet, when we attempted, in 1844, al- science, -in short, to studies which are so remost at the commencement of our career, tocent, that their most accessible treasures are give a general view of his works, we had to still unexhausted, or which, depending rather remark, that a writer so widely popular had on observation than on consciousness, rather been almost ignored by the periodical cri- on testimony than on inference, are practically tics. “He has been scarcely mentioned,” inexhaustible. Working on such materials, we then said, “ by any of the prouder and they may expect to inform or to amuse. more august arbiters of destiny, and jour- As expounders of Archbishop Whately's nalists of humbler pretensions have been reasonings, all that they can hope is to inslow to notice his publications."*
struct—to lead the reader to admit proposiWith one or two remarkable exceptions, tions which, though unperceived, had been this is still generally true. It may be ac- implied in his previous knowledge. counted for, partly by the nature of the This, without doubt, can be done. Trite studies to which Archbishop Whately has as are his subjects, the Archbishop's works
are eminently original. They are full of * North British Review, vol. i., p. 489. new analogies, of subtle discriminations, and
of inferences, of which the reader recognises and simplicity of diction, seldom found in both the truth and the novelty, feels that the writings of those who have the fear of they had never struck him before, but that critics before their eyes, and an exuberance they follow necessarily from premises with of classical quotation, which was natural which he is familiar.
when the bulk of our literature was Roman But a critic is not satisfied by acting the or Greek. But, though Bacon's essays repart of a mere expounder. He wishes not quire little explanation, they are susceptible, to follow, or even to accompany, but to as this volume shows, of great development. precede, his author; to clear up his con- They were intended, as the Archbishop refusion; to expose his fallacies; and to show marks, and as the word essay in its original that even when he is right, he is right im- acceptation expresses, to be tentamina, not perfectly—that he has seen the truth, but finished treatises, but sketches, to be filled not the whole truth, and has left it to his up by the reader-hints, to be pursuedreviewer to draw from his premises their full thoughts, thrown out irregularly, to suggest conclusions.
further inquiries and reflections. It is true We have all studied Bacon's advice—“In that his sketches and hints are worth far seconding another, yet to add somewhat of more than the most elaborate performances one's own; as, if you will grant his opinion, of other men, but they never have been let it be with some distinction; if you will turned to better account than when they follow his motion, let it be with condition ; if have been expanded and illustrated by you allow his counsel, let it be with alleging Archbishop Whately. further reason."*
In reviewing & work without unity, or The victim whom we delight to immolate even continuity, it is difficult to find a prinis a puzzle-headed, ingenious rhetorician, ciple to follow in the selection of topics. whose absurdities and inconsistencies may We will begin by the essay on Unity in serve as pegs for our own theories, and as Religion, partly on account of the peculiar foils to them. But against this treatment importance of its subject, and partly beArchbishop Whately's works are proof. cause, in his annotations to that essay, the They have been carefully elaborated in a Archbishop has noticed some speculations capacious and patient intellect, animated by for which the author of this article is rea love of truth, and a hatred of disguise, sponsible, and has subjected them to stricamounting almost to passion. They con- tures so serious, that he feels bound either tain few premises thrown out rashly, none to admit that they are well-founded, and, in assumed insincerely, and no inferences which that case, to retract, or to show that they the author does not believe to be legitimate; are undeserved. and small indeed are the chances of finding Bacon had the misfortune to live in a bia flaw in the logic.
goted and a persecuting age-in an age The work, of which we have prefixed the which believed that, in religious matters, title, is not peculiarly fit for criticism. Its error, though merely speculative, though to fragmentary nature makes it impossible to tally incapable of influencing human congive any general view of it. But, though duct, though relating to things far beyond it has already reached a third edition, it is the reach of the human faculties, is not only the newest of the Archbishop's works; sin, but sin for which men without doubt and though, without doubt, already widely shall perish everlastingly;" and, still furknown, it is probably less so than anything ther, believed it to be the duty of the civil that he has published since 1844. We shall governor, in the words of the English Litincur less danger of encumbering our pages urgy, "to execute justice, and to maintain with quotations with which the reader is al. truth;" that is to say, to maintain truth by ready familiar, and of pronouncing judg. the execution of justice. From bigotry, howments which he has himself anticipated. ever, he appears to have been free. In his
advertisement on Church Controversies,* he. The essays of Bacon do not require an reprobates the "curious questions and the annotator for the purpose of explaining strang anatomies of the natures and person obscurities ; for, as is the case with almost of Christ,” which divided the Christian all clear thinkers, he is an eminently perspi- churches in the first centuries, when ingencuous writer. Nor is there much that is iosa res fuit esse Christianum ; and still obsolete in his language. Like Shakspeare, more those "about ceremonies, and things he seems to have anticipated many modern indifferent, and the external policy and gov. refinements. Whole pages occur in which ernment of the Church."
He suggests a nothing betrays antiquity except a naïveté doubt-a doubt which, in those days, must
* Essay on Ceremonies and Respects.
* Works, vol. ii., p. 501.
have shocked the majority of his readers-churches, they be left at large. And therewhether, " in the general demolition of the fore it is good we return unto the ancient Church of Rome, there were not, as men's bounds of unity in the Church of God, which actions are imperfect, some good purged was, 'One faith, one baptism,' and not, One with the bad;" and he ends his “considera- hierarchy, one discipline;' and that we obtions on the pacification of the Church”'* by serve the league of Christians, as it is penned a passage which we quote below, and which by our Saviour, which is, in substance of well deserves to be pondered by our modern doctrine, this-He that is not with us, is ecclesiastical factions. But he cannot be as against us ;' but, in things indifferent, and fully exonerated from the charge of having but of circumstance, this--'He that is not been, to some degree, intolerant. He disap- against us, is with us;' as it is excellently proved, indeed, of the propagation of re. alluded to by that father that noted, that ligion by wars, or by sanguinary persecu-Christ's garment was without seam, and yet tions, to force consciences;” but he adds, was of divers colours; and thereupon setthat there be two swords among Christians, teth down for a rule, In veste varietas sil, the spiritual and the temporal, and both scissura non sit.' have their due office in the maintenance of re- “Heresies and schisms are of all others ligion ;” and “that the temporal sword is to the greatest scandals, yea, more than corbe drawn with great circumspection in cases ruption of manners; for as, in the natural of religion." He objected, therefore, not to body, a wound or solution of continuity is the use, but merely to the abuse of perse- worse than a corrupt humour, so in the spicution. He did not perceive that any em- ritual ; so that nothing doth so much keep ployment whatever of the temporal sword men out of the Church, and drive men in cases of religion, whether rashly or with out of the Church, as breach of unity; circumspection, is opposed not merely to the and, therefore, whensoever it cometh to that spirit, but to the express precepts, of Chris- pass, that one saith, ' Ecce in deserto,' antianity--to the formal renunciation by our other saith, 'Ecce in penetralibus; '—that is, Lord of all temporal dominion, and of all when some men seek Christ in the convencoercive influence.
ticles of heretics, and others in an outward IIis desire for unity, indeed, in “points face of a church, that voice had need contifundamental, and of substance in religion,” nually to sound in men's ears, Nolite exire.' was very earnest. “For the point," he The Doctor of the Gentiles (the propriety says, "that there should be put one form of whose vocation drew him to have a speof discipline in all churches, and that im- cial care of those without) saith, “If a heaposed by necessity of a commandment and then come in, and hear you speak with se. prescript out of the word of God, is a matter veral tongues, will he not say that you are volumes have been compiled of, and there-mad ?' and, certainly, it is little better, fore cannot receive a brief redargution. I, When atheists and profane persons do hear for my part, do confess that, in revolving of so many discordant and contrary opinions the Scriptures, I could never find any such in religion, it doth avert them from the thing; but that God had left the like liberty Church, and maketh them to sit down in to the Church government as Ile had done the chair of the scorners.' It is but a light to the civil government—to be varied ac- thing to be vouched in so serious a matter; cording to time, and place, and accidents : but yet it expresseth well the deformity. which, nevertheless, His high and Divine There is a master of scoffing that, in his cataprovidence doth order and dispose. For logue of books of a feigned library, sets all civil governments are restrained from down this title of a book, · The Morris God unto the general grounds of justice and Dance of Heretics ;' for, indeed, every sect manners; but the policies and forms of of them hath a diverse posture, or cringe, them are left free; so that monarchies and by themselves, which cannot bụt move deri. kingdoms, senates and seignories, popular sion in worldlings and depraved politics, states and communalties, are lawful, and, who are apt to contemn holy things. where they are planted, ought to be main
To this passage the Archbishop has aptained in violate.
pended the following note :*So likewise in Church matters, the sub
“ There occurs, in a late number of a stance of doctrine is immutable, and so are leading periodical, a remark, which one may the general rules of government; but for find also in the mouths of many, and in the rites and ceremonies, and for the particular minds of very many more, that the great dihierarchies, policies, and disciplines of versity of religious opinions prevailing in the
world, and the absence of all superhuman pro* Ibid, p. 529. | Essay on Unity in Religion, p. 19.
* P. 31.
vision against them, is a proof that it is the universal application-one to which a Mowill of the Almighty that such should be the hammedan or a Pagan must yield, as well case--that men were designed to hold all as a Roman Catholic or a Protestant. It diversities of religious belief. Now, the in- consists in the impossibility, in almost all ference which will naturally be drawn, on cases, of demonstrating that what is persefurther reflection, from this is, that it is no cuted is really error. We have already rematter whether we hold truth or falsehood; marked, that most of the disputes which and next, that there is no truth at all in any separate Christian sects relate, not to pracreligion,
tical morality, but either to questions re“But this is not all. The same reasoning specting Church discipline and government, would go to prove that, since there is no in- which may receive different answers among fallible and universally accessible guide in different nations, and at different times; or morals, and men greatly differ in their judg- to questions as to the nature and attributes ments of what is morally right and wrong, of the Deity, and as to His dealings with hence we are to infer that God did not de- mankind, which depend on the interpretasign men to agree on this point neither, and tion given to certain portions of Scripture, that it matters not whether we act on right as to which men have been differing for or wrong principles; and, in short, that eighteen centuries, with a tendency rather to there is no such thing as right and wrong, further divergence than to agreement.” but only what each man thinks. The two “The Trinitarians think that the eternal opposite errors (as we think them), from the co-existence of God the Father and God the same source, are—'If God wills all men to Son is the Scriptural doctrine: the Arians believe, and to act rightly, He must have think that the Begetter must have existed given us an infallible and accessible guide before the Begotten. The Latin Church befor belief and practice. (1.) But He does lieves that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the so will; therefore, there is such a guide; and Father and the Son: the Greek Church be(2.) He has not given us any such guide; lieves that the Holy Spirit proceeds only therefore He does not will all men to believe from the Father. Each of these opinions and act rightly.'
has been supported by hundreds of learned, “Now, this is to confound the two senses conscientious, and diligent inquirers ; each of' will,' as distiguished in the concluding has been adopted by millions of enthusiastic paragraph of the 17th article of the Church votaries ; each has been propagated by of England. In a certain sense, the most violence, and resisted by endurance; each absurd errors, and the most heinous crimes, has had its doctors, its persecutors, and its may be said to be according to the Divine will martyrs." since God does not interpose His omnipotence “It is possible that many of the opinions to prevent them. But,' in our doings,' says for which we persecute one another, relate that article, that will of God is to be fol. to matters which our faculties are unable to lowed which we have expressly declared in comprehend. It is possible that, if our conHoly Writ.'»
troversies could be submitted to the deciThe passage thus referred to is to be sion of beings of higher. knowledge and infound in an article in the Edinburgh Review, telligence than those of man, they would tell on Sir George Lewis's Essay " on the Influ- us that, for the most part, we are disputing ence of Authority in Matters of Opinion," about words which signify no realities, and contained in the number for April 1850: — debating propositions which, being unmean
“If,” says the author of that article, “re- ing, possess neither truth nor falsehood. ligious faith be favourable, and religious er. One thing at least seems clear -- that, if the ror unfavourable, to the welfare of a people; Being who inspired the texts on which differif it be in the power of the State, by means ent sects found their arguments, had intended of persecution, to diffuse the former, and to us to agree in one interpretation of them, He extirpate, or at least to discourage, the lat- would not have left them susceptible of many." ter; and if it be the duty of the State to do “ The fact, then, on which the expediency all that it can do to promote the welfare of of persecution depends—the falsehood of its subjects, on what ground ought it to ab- the persecuted doctrine-being, in general, stain from persecution ?"
incapable of demonstration, it follows, as a The able author of the “ Letters on the general rule, that persecution is not expeChurch,” admits “ that he can find no argu- dient. We say, in general; for there are ments against persecution which ought to some religious opinions so obviously misconvince a Mohammedan or a Pagan ruler." chievous, that the magistrate may be bound We believe “that the duty of abstaining to put them down. Such are the doctrines from the forcible propagation of religious once attributed to the Church of Rome truth may be maintained by an argument of that faith is not to be kept with heretics;