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cation, but, will confine our remarks to the subject which is more immediately before us, namely, the religious instruction of the people.
We may illustrate our view of the policy which governments ought to pursue with respect to religious instruction, by recurring to the analogy of an hospital. Religious instruction is not the main end for which an hospital is built; and to introduce into an hospital any regulations prejudicial to the health of the patients, on the plea of promoting their spiritual improvement—to send a ranting preacher to a man who has just been ordered by the physician to lie quiet and try to get a little sleep—to impose a strict observance of Lent on a convalescent who has been advised to eat heartily of nourishing food—to direct, as the bigoted Pius the Fifth actually did, that no medical assistance should be given to any person who declined spiritual attendance—would be the most extravagant folly. Yet it by no means follows that it would not be right to have a chaplain to attend the sick, and to pay such a chaplain out of the hospital funds. Whether it will be pro
--~ per to have such a chaplain at all, and of what
religious persuasion such a chaplain ought to be, o on circumstances. There may be a to in which it would be impossible to set up a good hospital without the help of people of different opinions. And religious parties may run so high that, though people of different opinions are willing to contribute for the relief of the sick, they will not concur in the choice of any one chaplain. The High Churchmen insist that, if there is a paid chaplain, "he shall be a High Churchman. The Evangelicals stickle for an Evangelical. Here it would evidently be absurd and cruel to let a useful and humane design, about which all are agreed, fall to the ground, because all cannot agree about something else. The governors must either appoint -two chaplains, and pay them both, or they must appoint none; and every one of them must, in his individual capacity, do what he can for the purpose of providing the sick with such religious instruction and consolation as will, in his opinion, be most useful to them. We should say the same of government. Government is not an institution for the propagation of religion, any more than St.George's Hospital is an "institution for the propagation of religion. And the mos: absurd and pernicious consequences would follow, if government should pursue, as its primary end, that
* which can never be more than its secondary
end; though intrinsically more important than its primary end. But a government which considers the religious instruction of the people as a secondary end, and follows out that principle faithfully, will, we think, be likely to do much good, and little harm. We will rapidly run over some of the consequences to which this principle leads, and point out how it solves some problems which, on Mr. Gladstone's hypothesis, admit of no satisfactory solution. All persecution directed against the persons tor property of men is, on our principle, obvi•usly indefensible. For the protection of the
persons and property of men being the primary end of government, and religious instruction only a secondary end, to secure the people from heresy by making their lives, their limbs, or their estates insecure, would be to sacrifice the primary end to the secondary end. It would be as absurd as it would be in the governors of an hospital to direct that the wounds of all Arian and Socinian patients should be dressed in such a way as to make them fester. Again, on our principles, all civil disabilities on account of religious opinions are indefensible. For all such disabilities make government less efficient for its main end: they limit its choice of able men for the administration and defence of the state: they alienate from it the hearts of the sufferers; they deprive it of a part of its effective strength in all contests with foreign nations. Such a course is as absurd as it would be in the governors of an hospital to reject an able surgeon because he is a Universal Restitutionist, and to send a bungler to operate because he is perfectly orthodox. Again, on our principles, no government ought to press on the people religious instruction, however sound, in such a manner as to excite among them discontents dangerous to public order. For here again government would sacrifice its primary end, to an end intrinsically indeed of the highest importance, but still only a secondary end of government, as government. This rule at once disposes of the difficulty about India—a difficulty of which Mr. Gladstone can get rid only by putting in an imaginary discharge in order to set aside an imaginary obligation. There is assuredly no country where it is more desirable that Christianity should be propagated. But there is no country in which the government is so completely disqualified for the task. By using our power in order to make proselytes, we should produce the dissolution of society, and bring utter ruin on all those interests for the protection of which government exists. Here the secondary end is, at present, inconsistent with the primary end, and must therefore be abandoned. Christian instruction given by individuals and voluntary societies may do much good. Given by the government, it would do unmixed harm. At the same time, we quite agree with Mr. Gladstone in thinking that the English authorities in India ought not to participate in any idolatrous rite; and indeed we are fully satisfied, that all such participation is not only unchristian, but also unwise and most undignified. - Supposing the circumstances of a country to be such, that the government may with propriety, on our principles, give religious instruction to a people: the next question is, what religion shall be taught? Bishop Warburton answers, the religion of the majority. And we so far agree with him, that we can scarcely conceive any circumstances in which it would be proper to establish, as the one exclusive religion of the state, the religion of the mino. rity. Such a preference could hardly be given without exciting most serious discontent, and endangering those "interests the protection of which is the first object of government. But
we never can admit that a ruler can be justified in assisting to spread a system of opinions solely because that system is pleasing to the majority. On the other hand, we cannot agree with Mr. Gladstone, who would of course answer that the only religion which a ruler ought to propagate, is the religion of his own conscience. In truth, this is an impossibility. And, as we have shown, Mr. Gladstone himself, whenever he supports a grant of money to the Church of England, is really assisting to propagate, not the precise religion of his own conscience, but some one or more, he knows not how many or which, of the innumerable religions which lie between the confines of Pelagianism and those of Antinomianism, and between the confines of Popery and those of Presbyterianism. In our opinion, that religious instruction which the ruler ought, in his public capacity, to patronise, is the instruction from which he, in his conscience, believes that the people will learn most good with the smallest mixture of evil. And thus it is not necessarily his own religion that he will select. He will, of course, believe that his own religion is unmixedly good. But the question which he has to consider is, not how much good his religion contains, but how much good the people will learn, if instruction is given them in that religion. He may prefer the doctrines and government of the Church of England to those of the Church of Scotland. But if he knows that a Scotch congregation will listen with deep attention and respect while an Erskine or a Chalmers set before them the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and that the glimpse of a cassock or a single line of a liturgy would be the signal for hooting and riot, and would probably bring stools and brick-bats about the ears of the minister; he acts wisely if he conveys religious knowledge to the Scotch rather by means of that imperfect Church, as he may think it, from which they will learn much, than by means of that perfect Church, from which they will learn nothing. . The only end of teaching is, that men may learn ; and it is idle to talk of the duty of teaching truth in ways which only cause men to cling more firmly to falsehood. On these principles we conceive that a statesman, who might be far, indeed, from regarding the Church of England with the reverence which Mr. Gladstone feels for her, might yet firmly oppose all attempts to destroy her. Such a statesman may be far too well acquainted with her origin to look upon her with superstitious awe. He may know that she sprang from a compromise huddled up between the eager zeal of reformers and the selfishness of greedy, ambitious, and time-serving politicians. He may find in every page of her annals ample cause for censure. He may feel that he could not, with ease to his conscience, subscribe to all her articles. He may regret that all the attempts which have been made to open her gates to large classes of nonconformists should have failed. Her episcopal polity he may consider as of purely human institution. He cannot defend her on the ground that she
posserses the apostolical succession; for he
does not know whether that succession may not be altogether a fable. He cannot defend her on the ground of her unity; for he knows that her frontier sects are much more remote from each other, than one frontier is from the Church of Rome, or the other from the Church of Geneva. But he may think that she teaches more truth with less alloy of error than would be taught by those who, if she were swept away, would occupy the vacant space. He may think that the effect produced by her beautiful services and by her pulpits on the national mind, is, on the whole, highly beneficial. He may think that her civilizing influence is usefully felt in remote districts. He may think that, if she were destroyed, a large portion of those who now compose her congregations would neglect all religious duties; and that a still larger part would fall under the. influence of spiritual mountebanks, hungry for gain, or drunk with fanaticism. While he would with pleasure admit that all the qualities of Christian pastors are to be found in large measure within the existing body of dissenting ministers, he would perhaps be inclined to think that the standard of intellectual and moral character among that exemplary class of men may have been raised to its present hight point and maintained there by the indirect influence of the Establishment. And he may be by no means satisfied that, if the Church were at once swept away, the place of our Sumners and Whateleys would be supplied by Doddridges and Halls. He may think that the advantages, which we have described are •btained, or might, if the existing system were slightly modified, be obtained, without any sacrifice of the paramount objects which all governments ought to have ehiefly in view. Nay, he may be of opinion that an institution, so deeply fixed in the hearts and minds of mil lions, could not be subverted without loosening and shaking all the foundations of civil society With at least equal ease he would find reason for supporting the Church of Scotland. Nor would he be under the necessity of resorting to any contract to justify the connection of two religious establishments with one government. He would think scruples on that head frivolous in any person who is 'zealous for a Church, of which both Dr. Herbert Marsh and Dr. Daniel Wilson are bishops. Indeed, he would gladly follow out his principles much further. He would have been willing to vote in 1825 for Lord Francis Egerton's resolution, that it is expedient to give a public maintenance to the Catholic clergy of Ireland; and he would deeply regret that no such measure was adopted in 1829. In this way, we conceive, a statesman might, on our principles, satisfy himself that it would be in the highest degree inexpedient to abolish the Church, either of England or of Scotland. But, if there were, in any part of the world, a national church regarded as heretical by fourfifths of the nation committed to its care-a church established and maintained by the sword—a church producing twice as mauy riots as conversions—a church which, though.
possessing great wealth and power, and though the arguments against the policy which has de long backed by persecuting laws, had, in the prived a good cause of its natural advantages. course of many generations, been found unable Those who preach to rulers the duty of emto propagate its doctrines, and barely able to ploying power to propagate truth would do maintain its ground-a church so odious, that well to remember that falsehood, though no fraud and violence, when used against its clear match for truth alone, has often been found rights of property, were generally regarded as more than a match for truth and power 10fair play-a church, whose ministers were ! gether. preaching to desolate walls, and with difficulty A statesman, judging on our principles, obtaining their lawful subsistence by the help would pronounce without hesitation, that a of bayonets-such a church, on our principles, church, such as we have last described, never could not, we must own, be defended. We ought to have been set up. Further than this should say that the state which allied itself we will not venture to speak for him. He with such a church, postponed the primary end would doubtless remember that the world is of government to the secondary ; and that the full of institutions which, though they never consequences had been such as any sagacious ought to have been set up, yet having been set observer would have predicted. Neither the up, ought not to be rudely pulled down; and primary nor the secondary end is attained. that it is often wise in practice to be content The temporal and spiritual interests of the with the mitigation of an abuse which, looking people suffer alike. The minds of men, in- at it in the abstract, we might feel impatient to stead of being drawn to the church, are alien-destroy. ated from the state. The magistrate, after we have done; and nothing remains but sacrificing order, peace, union, all the interests that we part from Mr. Gladstone with the courwhich it is his first duty to protect, for the purtesy of antagonists who bear no malice. We pose of promoting pure religion, is forced, after dissent from his opinions, but we admire his the experience of centuries, to admit that he talents; we respect his integrity and benevo. bas really been promoting error. The sounder lence; and we hope that he will not suffer the doctrines of such a church-the more ab-political avocations so entirely to engross him, surt and noxious the superstition by which as to leave him no leisure for literature and phi thuse doctrines are opposed the stronger are losophy.
RANKE’S HISTORY OF THE POPES.*
[Edinburgh Review, October, 1840.]
It is hardly necessary for us to say, that this is an excellent book excellently translated. The original work of Professor Ranke is known and esteemed wherever German literature is studied; and has been found interesting even in a most inaccurate and dishonest French version. It is, indeed, the work of a mind fitted both for minute researches and for large speculations. It is written also in an admirable spirit, equally remote from levity and bigotry; serious and earnest, yet tolerant and impartial. It is, therefore, with the greatest pleasure that we now see it take its place among the English classics. Of the translation we need only say, that it is such as might be expected from the skill, the taste, and the scrupulous integrity of the accomplished lady, who, as an interpreter between the mind of Germany and the mind of Britain, has already deserved so well of both countries.
The subject of this book has always appeared to us singularly interesting. How it was that Protestanism did so much, yet did no more—how it was that the Church of Rome, having lost a large part of Europe, not only ceased to lose, but actually regained nearly half of what she had lost—is certainly a most curious and important question; and on this question Professor Ranke has thrown far more light than any other person who has written on it.
There is not, and there never was, on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilization. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiss. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century, to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique; but full of ure and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is
still sending forth to the furthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin; and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated her for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extend over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn—countries which, a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her community are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all the other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments, and of all the ecclesiastical establishments, that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain—before the Frank had passed the Rhine—when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch—when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's. We often hear it said that the world is constantly becoming more and more enlightened, and that this enlightening must be favourable to Protestantism, and unfavourable to Catholicism. We wish that we could think so. But we see great reason to doubt whether this be a well-founded expectation. We see that during the last two hundred and fifty years, the human mind has been in the highest degree activethat it has made great advances in every branch of natural philosophy—that it has pro" duced innumerable inventions tending to promote the convenience of life—that medicine, surgery, chemistry, engineering, have been very greatly improved—that government, police, and law have been improved, though not quite to the same extent. Yet we see that, during these two hundred and fifty years, Pro testantism has made no conquests worth speak ing of Nay, we believe that, as far as there has been a change, that change has been in favour of the Church of Rome. We cannot, therefore, feel confident that the progress of knowledge will necessarily be fatal to a system which has, to say the least, stood ow 2 1, 2
ground in spite of the immense progress which knowledge has made since the days of Queen Elizabeth. Indeed, the argument which we are considering seems to us to be founded on an entire mistake. There are branches of knowledge, with respect to which the law of the human mind is progress. In mathematics, when once a proposition has been demonstrated, it is never afterwards contested. Every fresh story is as solid a basis for a new superstructure as the original foundation was." Here, therefore, there is a constant addition to the stock of truth. In the inductive sciences again, the law is progress. Every day furnishes new facts, and thus brings theory nearer and nearer to perfection. There is no chance that either in the purely demonstrative, or in the purely experimental sciences, the world will ever go back or even remain stationary. Nobody ever heard of a reaction against Taylor's theorem, or of a reaction against Harvey's doctrine of the circulation of the blood. But with theology the case is very different. As respects natural religion—revelation being for the present altogether left out of the question—it is not easy to see that a philosopher of the present day is more favourably situated than Thales or Simonides. He has before him just the same evidences of design in the structure of the universe which the early Greeks had. We say just the same; for the discoveries of modern astronomers and anatomists have really added nothing to the force of that argument which a reflecting mind finds in every beast, bird, insect, fish, leaf, flower, and shell. The reasoning by which Socrates, in Xenophon's hearing, confuted the little atheist Aristodemus, is exactly the reasoning of Paley’s “Natural Theology.” Socrates makes precisely the same use of the statues of Polycletus and the pictures of Zeuxis, which Paley makes of the watch. As to the other great question—the question, what becomes of man after death—we do not see that a highly educated European, left to his unassisted reason, is more likely to be in the right than a Blackfoot Indian. Not a single one of the many sciences in which we surpass the Blackfoot Indians, throws the smallest light on the state of the soul after the animal life is extinct. In truth, all the philosophers, ancient and modern, who have attempted, without the help of revelation to prove the immortality of man, from Plato down to Franklin, appear to us to have failed deplorably. Then, again, all the great enigmas which perplex the natural theologian are the same in all ages. . The ingenuity of a people just emerging from barbarism is quite sufficient to ropound them. The wisdom of Locke or }larke is quite unable to solve them. It is a mistake to imagine that subtle speculations touching the Divine attributes, the origin of evil, the necessity of human actions, the foundation of moral obligation, imply any high degree of intellectual culture. Such speculations, on the contrary, are in a peculiar manner the delight of intelligent children and of half-civilirod men. The number of boys is not small
who, at fourteen, have thought encugh cothese questions to be fully entitled to the praise which Voltaire gives to Zadig, “Il en savait ce qu'on én a su dans tous les àges, c'est-à-dire, fort peu de chose.” The book of Job shows, that long before letters and arts were known to Ionia, these vexing questions were debated with no common skill and eloquence, under the tents of the Idumean Emirs; nor has human reason, in the course of three thousand years, discovered any satisfactory solution of the riddles which perplexed Eliphaz and Zophar. Natural theology, then, is not a progressive science. That knowledge of our origin and of our destiny which we derive from revelation, is indeed of very different clearness, and very different importance. But neither is revealed religion of the nature of a progressive science. All Divine truth is, according to the doctrine of the Protestant churches, recorded in certain books. It is equally open to all who in any age can read those books; nor can all the discoveries of all the philosophers in the world add a single verse to any of these books. It is plain, therefore, that in divinity there cannot be a progress analogous to that which is constantly taking place in pharmacy, geology, and navigation. A Christian of the fifth century with a Bible is on a par with a Christian of the nineteenth century with a Bible, candour and natural acuteness being, of course, supposed equal. It matters not at all that the compass, printing, gunpowder, steam, gas, vaccination, and a thousand other discoveries and inventions which were unknown in the fifth century are familiar to the nineteenth. None of these discoveries and inventions have the smallest bearing on the question whether man is justified by faith alone, or whether the invocation of saints is an orthodox practice. It seems to us, therefore, that we have no security for the future against the prevalence of any theological error that has ever prevailed in time past among Christian men. We are confident that the world will never go back to the solar system of Ptolemy; nor is our confidence in the least shaken by the circumstance that even so great a man as Bacon rejected the theory of Galileo with scorn; for Bacon had not all the means of arriving at a sound conclusion which are within our reach, and which secure people, who would not have been worthy to mend his pens, from falling into his mistakes. But we are very differently affected when we reflect that Sir Thomas More was ready to die for the doctrine of transubstantiation. He was a man of eminent talents. He had all the information on the subject that we have, or that, while the world lasts, any human being will have. The text “This is my body.” was in his New Testament as it is in ours. The absurdity of the literal interpretation was as great and as obvious in the sixteenth century as it is now. No progress that science has made or will make can add to what seems to us the overwhelming force of the argument against the real presence. We are therefore unable to understand why what Sir Thomas More believed respecting transubstan