« PreviousContinue »
ANTITHETA ON WIFE AND CHILDREN.
* Charitas reipublicas incipit a familia. 'Qui nxorem duxit, et liberos suscepit,
'The love of country has its rise in obsides fortuna) dcdit.
family affection' 'He that has a wife and children
has given hostages to fortune.' 'Uxor et liberi disciplina qusedam hu
manitatis; at caelibes tetrici et seven. 'Brntornm eternitas soboles; virorum'A wife and children are a sort of fama, merita, et instituta. training in courtesy ami kindliness; 'The perpetuation of brutes is offwhile single men, on the other hand, are spring; but that of man is their glory, hard and severe' their deserts,and their institutions'
'Caelibatus et orbitas ad nil aliud '(Economics) rationes publicas ple
conferunt, quam ad fugam. runque evertunt.
'Celibacy and absence of kindred are 'Family considerations often over
a qualification only for flight.' throw public ones.'
It is remarkable that Bacon does not at all advert to the notion of the superior holiness of a single life, or to the enforced celibacy of the Roman-Catholic clergy.
It is hardly necessary to remark—much less to prove—that, even supposing there were some spiritual advantage in celibacy, it ought to be completely voluntary from day to day, and not to be enforced by a life-long vow or rule. For in this case, even though a person should not repent of such a vow, no one can be sure that there is not such repentance. Supposing that even a large majority of priests, and monks, and nuns, have no desire to marry, every one of them may not unreasonably be suspected of such a desire, and no one of them, consequently, can be secure against the most odious suspicions. It has been alleged, in reply to this, that the like reasoning would apply to the case of the marriage contract, since no one can be sure that a married couple may not repent of their union. To the most rightminded persons, the answer would at once occur, that there is a wide difference between any merely human institution, and one that has an express divine sanction: 'what God hath joined together, let not Man put asunder.' This distinction, however, would not be recognised by those who put the decrees of a (supposed) infallible Church on a level with Scripture. But even these may perceive that the permanence of the marriage-tie is necessary for the due care of offspring—for the comfort of married life itself—and for the morality and welfare of society. And that there is no such necessity for the enforced celibacy of the clergy, is proved, not only by the experience of all Churches except that of Rome, but by the admission of that very Church itself; since it dispenses with the rule in favour of the clergy of the Eastern Churches.
No doubt there are many Roman-Catholic clergymen (as there are Protestant) who sincerely prefer celibacy. But, in the one case we have a ground of assurance of this, which is wanting in the other. No one can be sure, because no proof can be given, that a vow of perpetual celibacy may not some time or other be a matter of regret. But he who continues to live single while continuing to have a free choice, gives a fair evidence of a continued preference for that life.1
Accordingly, many of the most intelligent of the RomanCatholic laity are very desirous of having the law of celibacy removed. It is not reckoned an article of the faith, but merely a matter of discipline. And accordingly, those of the Greek and Armenian Churches who have consented to acknowledge Romish supremacy, have been allowed to retain their own practice as to thismatter; the Armenian Church allowing the marriage of their priests, and the Greek Church requiring the parish priests to be married.
When this was urged by an intelligent Roman-Catholic layman, to the late Archbishop Murray, he replied that but few Armenian priests do avail themselves of their privilege. This, answered the other, is a strong reason on my side; for the advantage which you think there is in an unmarried priesthood is secured in a great majority of instances, with the very great additional advantage that their celibacy is there understood to be completely voluntary.
1 It is worth observing, by the way, that if any one should maintain that enforced celibacy of the clergy is essential to such an unrestricted intercourse as is, on religions grounds, desirable between the pastor and the females of his flock, and should allege that a clergyman to whom marriage is permitted could not have any confidential communication with them, for fear of exciting rumours of some matrimonial designs—if any one should maintain this, he would hardly be thought serious. He would be answered—if, indeed, he were considered worth an answer—that the reasonable inference is the very opposite. Any groundless rumours of a tender attachment between parties who werc_/ree to marry, would be put an end to by their not marrying. But if their marriage were prohibited by law, it would be necessary to avoid any such intimacy as might possibly lead to the existence, or to the suspicion, of that sort of attachment which would naturally lead to matrimony. But it is remarkable that many persons to whom all this is quite clear, yet use, in a precisely parallel case, the very same kind of reasoning which, in this case, they would deride.—See Remains of Bishop Copleslon, p. 42.
But doubtless the Romish hierarchy have been much influenced by the consideration which Bacon mentions, that 'single men are the best servants.' It was wished to keep the clergy, who are the employed servants of the Roman Church, as distinct as possible from the Body of the people.
In the Greek Church, though every parish priest must be a married man, the bishops never are, being always taken from among the monks. The result of this is (i.) that the parish priests, since they cannot rise any higher, are regarded as an inferior order of men; and, according to the testimony of all travellers, are a very low set. And (2.) the bishop who has to govern, through the medium of the priests, all the parishes of his diocese, is necessarily a person destitute of all experience. It is as if the command of a fleet were given (as is sometimes done by the Russians) to a military officer.
A parish priest in the Greek Church, if his wife dies, is permanently suspended. For none can officiate who is not married; and he is not allowed to marry again. It is thus they interpret, as some Protestant divines also have done (besides Doctor Primrose), the rule that he is to be 'the husband of one wife. '
The rule is manifestly and confessedly of doubtful interpretation; some understanding it of a prohibition merely of polygamy; and others, as relating merely to conjugal fidelity. This last has more to be said in its favour than would appear from our translation, on account of the double meaning in the original Fwr) and also of Avvp in Greek, and Vir in Latin.
It has been urged against this interpretation, that such a rule would have been superfluous; but surely the same might he said against the rule that the deacon should be ' no striker,' and 'not given to much wine.'
ESSAY IX. OF ENVY.
THERE be none of the affections which have been noted to fascinate or bewitch, but love and envy; they both have vehement wishes, they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions, and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the presence of the objects, which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such thing there be. We see, likewise, the Scripture calleth envy an evil eye, and the astrologers call the evil influences of the stars evil aspects, so that still there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of envy, an ejaculation1 or irradiation of the eye; nay, some have been so curious2 as to note, that the time when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are when the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph, for that sets an edge upon envy; and, besides, at such times, the spirits of the person envied do come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the blow.
But leaving these curiosities3 (though not unworthy to be thought on in fit place), we will handle4 what persons are apt to envy others; what persons are most subject to be envied themselves; and what is the difference between public and private envy.
A man that hath no virtue in himself ever envieth virtue in others—for men's minds will either feed upon their own good, or uppn others' evil; and whos wanteth the one will prey upon the other; and whoso1 is out of hope to attain another's virtue, will seek to come at even hand, by depressing another's fortune.
1 Ejaculation. The act of throwing or darting out. 'Which brief prayers of onr Saviour (Malt. xxvi. 39) arc probably such as we call ejaculation—an elegant similitude from the shooting or throwing out a dart or arrow.'—South. 'Its active rays ejaculated thence, Irradiate all the wide circumference.'—Slackmore. * Curious. Subtle; minutely inquiring; accurate; precise. 'Both these senses embrace their objects with a more curious discrimination.'—Holden. 'Having inquired of the curiousest and most observing makers of such tools.'—Boyle.
'For curious I cannot be with you.'—Shakespere. Ingenious. 'To devise curious works.'—Exodus xxxv. 32.
3 Curiosities. Niceties. 'Equalities are so weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety.'—Shakespere. 4 Handle. To treat; to discuss.
'He left nothing fitting for the purpose
5 Who. He who. 'Who talks much, must talk in vain.'—Gay.
A man that is busy and inquisitive is commonly envious; for to know much of other men's matters cannot be because all that ado * may concern his own estate; therefore it must needs be that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure in looking upon the fortunes of others; neither can he that mindeth but his own business find much matter for envy; for envy is a gadding passion, and walketh the streets, and doth not keep home; 'Non est curiosus, quin idem sit malevolus.'3
Men of noble birth are noted to be envious towards new men when they rise: for the distance is altered; and it is like a deceit of the eye, that when others come on they think themselves go back.
Deformed persons and eunuchs, and old men and bastards, are envious; for he that cannot possibly mend his own case, will do what he can to impair another's; except these defects light upon a very brave and heroical nature, which thinketh to make his natural wants part of his honour; in that it should be said,' That an eunuch, or a lame man, did such great matters;' affecting4 the honour of a miracle: as it was in Narses the eunuch, and Agesilaus and Tamerlane, that were lame men.
The same is the case of men who rise after calamities and misfortunes; for they are as men fallen out with the times, and think other men's harms a redemption of their own sufferings.
They that desire to excel in too many matters, out of levity and vain glory, are ever envious, for they cannot want work— it being impossible but many, in some one of those things, should surpass them; which was the character of Adrian the emperor/ that mortally envied poets and painters, and artificers in works wherein he had a vein6 to excel.
Lastly, near kinsfolks and fellows in office, and those that
1 Whoso. Whoever. 'Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.'—Ps. 1. 23.
2 Ado. Bustle—really the infinitive mood of a verb equivalent to the expression 'to do.'—Used in the plural adoex in the old Scottish Acts of Parliament. —Rev. H. Cotton.
'Let's follow, to see the end of this ado.'
3 ' There is none curious that is not also malevolent.'—Cf. Plut. de Curios. 1.
4 Affecting. See page 1. 6 Spartian. Vit. Adrian. 15. 6 Vein. Humour; fancy.'Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.'——Shakespere.