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So glared he when at Agincourt in wrath he turned to bay,
The freshening breeze of eve unfurled that banner's massy fold,
street; And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din, As fast from every village round the horse came spurring in, And eastward straight from wild Blackheath, the warlike errand went, And roused in many an ancient hall the gallant squires of Kent. Southward from Surrey's pleasant hills flew those bright couriers forth; High on bleak Hampstead's swarthy moor they started for the north ; And on, and on, without a pause, untired they bounded still, All night from tower to tower they sprang—they sprang from hill to hill, Till the proud Peak unfurled the fag o'er Darwin's rocky dales Till like volcanoes flared to heaven the stormy hills of WalesTill twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's lonely height Till streamed in crimson on the wind the Wrekin's crest of light, Till broad and fierce the star came forth on Ely's stately fane, And tower and hamlet rose in arms o'er all the boundless plain ; Till Belvoir's lordly terraces the sign to Lincoln sent, And Lincoln sped the message on o'er the wide vale of Trent, Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burned on Gaunt's embattled pile, And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle.
Papers read before Young Men's Societies.
THE LOVE OF REPUTATION AS INFLUENCING THE
It must be evident to all, who have at all considered this subject, that the word reputation is always used in a comparative sense. Independent of there being two kinds of reputation-a bad and a good as the notoriety of Eratostratus, and the celebrity of Luther; it is clear that what is generally termed a good character, is susceptible of great varieties, and depends in a great measure upon extraneous circumstances; and, consequently, differs widely in different times and countries. The old Roman virtues, as those which characterised the elder and younger Brutus and the younger Cato, would hardly, in the present day, be deemed creditable to their possessors; the virtues of the Middle Ages,- for instance, the endowment of monasteries and foundation of chantries,-are open to the same remark; and yet these two classes of virtues once procured for their respective possessors an excellent reputation. So also in some parts of Ireland, at the present day, a good reputation may be acquired, amongst a certain class, by the perpetration of cold-blooded murder and wilful perjury; whilst among the North American Indians, a man covers his own head with honour in proportion as he strips the hairy covering from the skulls of his enemies. Many more examples might, but none need, be given, to show that the value of reputation must be determined, and its influence upon the moral character estimated, by the intellectual and moral character of those persons from whom it is sought to be obtained. The conclusion, we draw, therefore, from this division of the subject, is, that a man whose actions are determined by the desire of present reputation, is as likely to do ill as to do well; the nature of his actions being influenced by the character of his associates, which may or may not be conformable to Christian principles. It is very certain that the man who desires posthumous fame will not altogether resemble the lover of present reputation, but will use very different means of acquiring that which must be accorded by posterity for such very different reasons. But the acquisition of posthumous fame either requires such a degree of foresight and reflection as cannot be possessed by ordinary men, or else it is acquired by the total absence of anxiety for any fame at all, other than that which is the lot of a good man. For these reasons we cannot allow that it has any great influence upon the conduct of mankind in general, however powerful it may be in particular cases ; nor must we forget, that the man whose actions are prompted only by a desire of reputation, either present or future, may do some little good to his fellow-men, but can do none whatever to himself ; for, as we are told, that even when all our actions are dictated by the love of God we are but unprofitable servants, how much more useless must we be when they are fashioned and guided solely for the gratification of self.
But if the term reputation be comparative, and if our pursuit of it be only an attempt to acquire the approbation of our companions, by such means as are pleasing to them, and, consequently, dependent upon whatever degree of intellectual or moral culture they may have attained; so also is the term conscience equally comparative, and our obedience to it means simply our desire to propitiate a Supreme Being, according as we know more or less of his character and his laws. The word conscience means knowledge : and when we say that our conscience reproaches or praises us, we mean that we have done something which we know to be criminal or praiseworthy; 80 that in all cases the operations of our conscience must depend upon the extent of our acquaintance with the nature of good and evil. Now this truth is one of the most simple, yet most important, fundamental principles of the Christian faith, and cannot be stated too cften, or preached with too great solemnity. If the operations of conscience were the same in all ages and in all countries; if there has always been within the man himself, an unerring and unvarying guide (as some would have us believe), pointing out to him perpetually the distinction between good and evil, and urging him to seek the one and fly the other; then there can never have been any necessity for the revelations by which God, from time to time, has been pleased to make known his desires and intentions. For in such a case, and by the aid of this unerring monitor, man could have gradually reasoned himself towards the knowledge of God-his power, his wrath, and his mercy. But so far from this having been the case, we find that the small particles of truth, to be distinguished in the several Pagan systems, are only remains of the primitive revelation; and that in proportion as heathens wandered from these relics, their consciences became weaker and more limited in their operations, to such a degree, indeed, as to lose all vestiges of conscience, as soon as they had forgotten entirely the truths of revelation. If that which has been termed natural religion, had ever existed; if man could ever have discovered God for himself ; that religion would have been based upon, and that God would have been discovered by, the operations of conscience; and it may reasonably be supposed that murder would have been the first crime prohibited in the decrees of the one, or regarded as hostile to the wisdom and purity of the other. But instead of this aversion to murder, what do we find? Is it not notorious that the lex talionis was tolerated, nay enjoined, in all those countries where revelation was but partially understood, or nearly forgotten? whilst in some lands, where primitive truth has suffered a still further deterioration, it has been the custom to expose aged people and weak children to perish with cold and hunger, or from the violence of rapacious beasts. Indeed, so devoid is the Bechuana (a native of South Africa) of any compunctious feelings, that he commits these and other crimes without even knowing that he is guilty; so that, according to the proposition previously put forth, he can have no conscience whatever.
God's purpose in permitting the world to remain so long without that revelation which could alone lead them to the truth, is not the subject for our present consideration; nor, indeed, can it affect us in any way, though we may hope that He will take pity on those who erred through the grossness of their ignorance. But having ascertained that the consciences of men act according to the knowledge of good and evil which men possess, and, indeed, have no power of knowing good from evil except as they are taught by God, we shall be at no loss to determine how our consciences should act, which have the fullest, clearest instruction given to them in the decrees of reTealed religion.
After these remarks it must be clear to all that we cannot place implicit reliance upon the promptings of our conscience, unless those promptings be corroborated by the written decrees of God. As conscience only acquires its full power from those decrees, it is evident that, if the decrees be forgotten and neglected, the conscience will become dull and languid. Nevertheless, it may be fairly assumed that we are to blame whenever our conscience reproaches us, although the silence or that monitor cannot be with certainty adduced as a proof of our innocence. It need hardly be stated, that the love of reputation ought al Tays to be controlled by that fear of conscience which guides those who do not forget the decrees of the Almighty. The man who is actuated only by a desire for fame will be honest, charitable, or contiDent, only so long as the exercise of those qualities will procure him the object of his desires. But is an opportunity should arise (and in the present complicated relations of society it is of daily occurrence) for bim to be mean without incurring observation, avaricious without blame, and incontinent without scandal ; nay, if it be possible for him, as it too often is, to bring even his vices to market, and receive, in return, the coin of public approbation, what security shall we then have against the subtlety of the knave, the rapacity of the miser, the profligacy of the libertine, or the tyranny of the despot? To keep such men within due bounds, the operations of conscience are indispensably necessary; but there cannot be a greater mistake than to suppose them virtuous, merely because they tell us that their consciences do not declare them guilty. Conscience is not itself the law, but it is merely a judge, ordained to expound the statutes of a higher and more extended wisdom. But if the judge shall have forgotten the statutes, or shall attempt to fabricate fresh laws, whenever such a proceeding shall suit his purpose, his tribunal will be useless, his decisions of no avail, and all his sophistry must be rejected as a perversion of the truth, and a cause of the most deadly and pernicious error.
Literary and Scientific Institutions.
THE SURREY ATHENÆUM.
A MEETING of the inhabitants of the Borough of Southwark, has been held at the building in Blackfriars-road lately known as “ The Socialists' Hall of Science," for the purpose of considering the propriety of establishing in that locality a literary institution, to be denominated “ The Surrey Athenæum.” In the absence of Lord John Russell (who was expected
to have presided, but from whom an intimation was received of his regret at not being able to attend) the chair was taken by Benjamin Hawes Esq., M.P.
The CHAIRMAN observed, that the object which they were that evening assembled to promote was one which commanded his warmest sympathy and unqualified approval. He had for a great length of time lived not very far from that spot. He knew the neighbourhood well, and distinctly remembered that a literary institution of great value occupied the very building in which they were then seated many years ago. Within its walls were to be found, at that time, one of the best selected libraries in London, an excellent theatre for lectures, and an admirable collection of scientific apparatus. Owing to certain causes, which it was not necessary that he should further allude to, but which were very much to be deplored, the library was dispersed, and the institution itself closed. From that time to this the injury which was inflicted on the cause of literature and science, by permitting such an establishment to fall to the ground, had been visited, so to speak, on the very edifice itself in the shape of a judgment from heaven; for never had a building once dedicated to noble uses, been so completely desecrated and dishonoured as that had been. Everything that was frivolous, base, and bad, had, of late years, found its home within those walls, which, until very lately, had been occupied by men who set little value either on literature or science, and who had little indeed in common with the good and eminent men who were originally engaged in forming the Surrey Institution. But a healthier tone of feeling had sprung up. The value of literary institutions was now properly understood, the inappreciable worth of knowledge was now justly comprehended, and he was sure that the day was not distant when the inhabitants of Southwark would see the necessity of redeeming their character from the dishonour which had attached to it by allowing their literary institution to be closed. He hoped that the day was not far distant when there would be again formed, within the walls of that building, an institution calcu. lated to administer to the educational requirements of the great mass of the population. There were three essentials for success in such an enterprise as the present. The first was a deep sense of the absolute necessity for such an institution as the Surrey Athenæum ; secondly, a disposition on the part of those who would be themselves most benefited by such an establishment to come forward and contribute their subscriptions; and thirdly, a spirit of resolute, indomitable perseverance on the part of those who were more immediately engaged in the formation of the institution. If these essentials were not wanting, and he was sure they would not be so, there could be no doubt but that the effort which was now being made would be crowned with the most signal success. One of the greatest recommendations in favour of popular institutions of this kind was, that they afforded to persons of humble means facilities of having access to books of a valuable description. He solicited his hearers most earnestly, therefore, to co-operate with the utmost possible energy in an effort to lay the foundation of an extensive library. It was with a view to place education within the reach of the many, that the combination of the many was called into action, and he trusted that there would be no lassitude or reluctance