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is a clear duty for a man of letters to refrain, as far as possible, from dealing with topics of the kind we have just indicated, unless his faculties are in order. It is, of course, a mere truism to say that industry is better than idleness-that idleness which John Sterling, driven to it by illness, called a "heavy cross to bear;" but, as a rule, work of a certain order should never be attempted, unless the whole man is "in good form." In fact, no writing man who has Harriet Martineau's sense of the vocation of literature, will endanger his work by attempting it. As we have already said, the hours when good writing is not possible are very often the most productive for purposes not absolutely immediate; and forcing the finer faculties is the most ruinous of all work. As for the wooden and the perfunctory pages in certain books to which we have alluded, there is not one of them which any respectable magazine or newspaper would print.
Incidentally we may mention here the case of one of the most active and able journalists of our time; a man of real genius, who died not very long ago of overwork. Being unable, in a fit of illness, to do anything else, he got by heart dozens of pages of statistical figures,-returns of exports and imports, and matters of that sort. This he did partly to lighten the heavy curse of idleness, and save his mind from gnawing itself to madness, and partly with an eye to future
At the foot of the preface to the Gentleman's Magazine for 1760, Mr. Urban printed this doggefel:
"A DIALOGUE between Mr. URBAN and his Boy.
Those were surely happy times, when a difficulty could be turned aside in so easy a fashion. But the only way to make a clean sweep of all troubles of the sort, and to be absolutely independent of some of the harassing incidents of editorial and other literary work, is to have moral courage after the pattern of the American editor, who did not scruple to issue to the subscribers to his newspaper a sheet which contained, besides advertisements, only these words:-"The wife of our esteemed editor having, since our last issue, presented him with three boys at a birth, his emotions have prevented his supplying the usual leaders and other literary matter. He has caved. The prayers of subscribers are earnestly desired. NO CARDS."
ROMAN CATHOLIC IDEALS.
| VERY sensitive reader of the able and very instructive article on Social
Methods of Roman Catholicism in England” must have felt himself in an
atmosphere of thought altogether foreign to that which he is compelled to breathe in daily life, even if he is a Catholic. Whether the writer of the article would adopt Dr. Newman's language or not, one feels at once that such an atmosphere as here strikes strangely upon the senses is the native air of that “ hatred of Liberalism” which the great English Catholic so heartily avowed in his “Apologia.” In truth the ideals of modern Liberalism, orthodox Protestant, neo-Protestant, or Pantheistic, will not live in the same house with the ideals which we discern, while we read that article, to be as much cherished by the Church of the author as they ever were or could be. This is nothing new; far otherwise ; it has been and must continue to be, a subject of anxious thought for Liberals : especially those who see in the later growths of the democratic ideal only bad auguries for the immediate future of ideals of another kind. There are signs of the times which might lead one to say, in the rough, that Roman Catholicism was playing, and going on to play, the card of democracy. Let us see how such ideals of hers as would then come prominently forward compare with those of Modern Liberalism or Virtuous Respectability. For this purpose we will be indebted to the writings of Dr. Newman, who certainly speaks with great plainness upon these matters. Indeed, there is a passage in which he puts the case that the faithful may rebuke him for letting so much out of the bag. But he boldly justifies himself by pleading that “the world” knows well enough already the difference between her standards and those of “the Church,” and knows that the Church knows she knows-so that only harm can be done by pretending to ignore the truth.
Our extracts will be rather long, but their length will, we believe, be fully excused by their characteristic force, and their great value as topics of instruction.
Under the rule of the Modern Protestant ideals, there is, Dr. Newman thinks, no such thing as Humility. The place of that “grace" is filled by “Modesty:”.
“Pride under such training, instead of running to waste in the education of the mind, is turned to account; it gets a new name; it is called self-respect, and ceases to be the disagreeable, uncompanionable quality which it is in itself. Though it be the motive principle of the soul, it seldom comes to view; and when it shows itself, then delicacy and gentleness are its attire, and good sense and sense of honour direct its motions. It is no longer a restless agent without definite aim ; it has a large field of exertion assigned to it, and it subserves those social interests which it would naturally trouble. It is directed into the channel of industry, frugality, honesty, and obedience; and it becomes the very staple of the religion and morality held in honour in a day like our own. It becomes the safeguard of chastity, the guarantee of veracity, in high and low; it is the very household god of society, as at present constituted, inspiring neatness and decency in the servant-girl, propriety of carriage and refined manners in her mistress, uprightness, manliness, and generosity in the head of the family. It diffuses a light over town and country; it covers the soil with handsome edifices and smiling gardens; it tills the field, it stocks and embellishes the shop. It is the stimulating principle of providence, on the one hand, and of free expenditure on the other; of an honourable ambition, and of elegant enjoyment. It breathes upon the face of the community, and the hollow sepulchre is forth with beautiful to look upon.”
So far Dr. Newman is writing in a spirit and in terms which any Evangelical preacher or author might ex animo adopt in his own sermons or books; indeed, those who have been nurtured in any of the old-fashioned Evangelical schools of thought will at once recognize a note which is perfectly familiar to them. No one, indeed, of any orthodox Christian school can pretend that religion and morality such as are here indicated can by any stretch of construction be called by the Christian name. They may be called quasi-Stoical, or modern Liberal, or highly-respectable : but what have they to do within the temple in which the Sermon on the Mount, the Epistle of James, and the Penitential Psalms, are read in order to furnish essential, not to say dominant, elements of devotion ? Clearly nothing. The two things are altogether different.
This, however, the Evangelical Protestant Christian would admit, even out of church, if close pressed; the “Plymouth Brother” avows it everywhere.
How does it happen, then, that Protestant Christianity, considered as a whole, as (say) a social institute, presents itself to the unprejudiced observer as having made a compromise, a working compromise, so to say, with this non-Christian, if not antiChristian ideal ? That is the question which is implied in the passages we are now quoting with more or less abbreviation.
Dr. Newman's description of the types of virtue produced under "the cold shade" of the modern ideals may fitly follow the above outlines :
“We find these men possessed of many virtues, but proud, bashful, fastidious, and reserved. Why is this? It is because they think and act as if there were really nothing objective in their religion; it is because conscience to them is not the word of a lawgiver, as it ought to be, but the dictate of their own minds, and nothing more. They are engrossed in notions of what is due to themselves, to their own dignity, and their own consistency.
Their conscience has become a mere selfrespect. Instead of doing one thing and then another, as each is called for, in faith and obedience, careless of what may be called the keeping of deed with deed, and leaving Him who gives the command to blend the portions of their conduct into a whole, their one object, however unconscious to themselves, is to paint a smooth and perfect surface, and be able to say to themselves that they have done their duty.”
Here, indeed, we more decidedly lose sight of any and every distinctive feature of Christianity. Protestant Christianity, like “ Catholic” Christianity, certainly presents the law of conscience as the word of a lawgiver. But we must take notiee that Dr. Newman is avowedly describing a type of character which is unconsciously formed. And he is at the same time drawing his lines closer and closer, with a view of including all right Christian conduct within the fold of “objective” authority, as he reads it, and excluding as non-Christian whatever will not enter at the gate of that fold. The word supernatural,” which we shall alight upon presently, is, we will not say vague in Dr. Newman's mouth, for he is never vague, but susceptible of vague readings in Protestant eyes. But to complete our representative extracts, and lastly, we will once more drag from her unsavoury hiding-place that familiar" beggar-woman to whom the great Doctor is so partial:
“Such being the extreme difference between the Church and the world, both as to the measure and the scale of moral good and evil, we may be prepared for those vast differences in matters of detail, which I hardly like to mention, lest they should be out of keeping with the gravity of the subject, as contemplated in its broad principle.
Take a mere beggar-woman, lazy, ragged, and filthy, and not over scrupulous of truth-(I do not say she had arrived at perfection) but if she is chaste, and sober, and cheerful, and goes to her religious duties (and I am supposing not at all an impossible case), she will, in the eyes of the Church, have a prospect of heaven, which is quite closed and refused to the State's pattern-man, the just, the upright, the generous, the honourable, the conscientious, if he be all this, not from a supernatural power-(I do not determine whether this is likely to be the fact, but I am contrasting views and principles)—not from a supernatural power, but from mere natural virtue.
Again, excess in drinking is one of the world's most disgraceful offences; odious it ever is in the eyes of the Church, but if it does not proceed to the loss of reason, she thinks it a far less sin than one deliberate act of detraction, though the matter of it be truth. And again, not unfrequently does a priest hear confession of thefts, which he knows would sentence the penitent to transportation if brought into a court of justice, but which he knows too, in the judgment of the Church, might be pardoned on the man's private contrition without any confession at all. Once more, the State has the guardianship of property, as the Church is the guardian of the faith :-in the middle ages, as is often objected, the Church put to death for heresy; well but, on the other hand, even in our own times, the State has put to death for forgery, nay, I suppose for sheep-stealing. How distinct must be the measure of crime in Church and State, when so heterogeneous is the rule of punishment in the one and in the other !”
One thing, at least, is entirely satisfactory about this—its frankness. “Why do you blame the Church if she burns a man to death for Sabellianism, when you yourself hang a man for sheep-stealing ?” But the question brings the dispute to a sharp issue. We will waive the question of hanging for theft, says the Protestant politician, and, if you please, that of burning for heresy ; but we will tell you at once why we would punish for theft and would not punish for heresy. The things are not in eodem genere. No citizen can certainly establish, as against another citizen, that a given opinion is heresy; if it were otherwise, we have no certain warrant for dealing with heresy by force ; but theft is an act of force, directed by one man to the depriving another man of a certain right, which he has been warned by law not to attack. Now it would be idle to attempt to follow up this question here, upon the answer of the Catholic. Of course, he falls back at once upon his “objective authority;" and we soon discover, to our cost, what his “supernatural” means. Though the question, thrashed out to the last straw as it is, could not profitably be dealt with again in this hasty manner, we cannot but be helped by coming face to face, again and again, with these ultimate, irreconcilable differences ; and we may perhaps pass over far too lightly the implied charge that Protestant Christianity, under cover of various forms of accommodation, secures her modus vivendi with unchristian ideals by a process of compromise.
Compromise, we may abundantly discern, is far as ever from the thoughts of Rome. We do not believe in the gradual mouldering or lapsing of what is strong in her scheme. She, at all events, will hear of no modus vivendi as a final thing. It will some day be war again. The modern scientific ideal, and of course the Protestant ideal so far as it is committed to the other, is not that of an objective authority" endowed with never-lapsing supernatural powers, to deal with an evercorrupt and ever-miserable world. It is that of a vague, but gradually-extending dominion over all evils alike-poverty no less than sin, illness quite as much as ignorance. The underlying idea is that of the indefinite perfectibility of the human race. Is the Protestant ideal the true Christian ideal ? The Catholic says, “No; it is a subterfuge; your Kingdom of Heaven will, under pressure of your compromises with the scientific spirit and the commercial spirit, break up into anarchy. The path by which a crisis will probably arrive is that of the pressure of the State upon the poorer multitude. But, in the meanwhile, certain democratic impulses will be ready to the hands of those who know how to use them. Protestantism does not. The reins are well-nigh ready to slip from her fingers. On the other hand, our Church has the knowledge, and will use it. Our opportunity seems sure, and once we win that, not less certain is our success."
This claim well deserves further consideration.
NTEMPERANCE is a wide word, but when it stands by itself, especially in truth of it. Add to this what everybody with eyes and ears can easily learn for himself of the misery and wrong-doing which is caused by drink, but which does not come before the magistrate in the usual way, or at all events not directly,—the ruined homes, the broken hearts, the neglected and ill-used wives and children the illness, the degradation, the waste,-take the mere, wretched commonplaces, in faet, of this most awful subject, just as they arise, without help from judge, doctor, city missionary, or student of social phenomena—and you can hardly help a sense, at first, of utter prostration and helplessness in the presence of such a mass of misery.
public discussion, it always carries one meaning, and that one meaning full of
the most dreary suggestion Judges and other experts are always telling us that the greater párt of the crime which they have to deal with is connected with drink; and, confining the statement to crimes of violence, we cannot doubt the
It is nothing wonderful if the question what should be done receives a large number of answers, some of them, perhaps, wild ones. In the February No. of this REVIEW, Dr. Bucknill boldly and decidedly disputed the reasonableness of one of these answers; that, namely, which tells us that it is one of the duties of the State to provide for the cure of drunkards as if they were sick persons, pure and simple. When people get drunk persistently and miserably, so as to come under the classification of confirmed inebriates, they are, Dr. Bucknill maintains, neither madmen in the eye of the law, nor victims of uncontrollable disease in the eye of the law, but vicious persons, who have no more claim upon society in general to be reformed at the cost of others, than the subjects of any other vice. If, under the influence of drink, they commit crimes, punish them just as you would any one else. As for those in whom the practice of getting drunk simply amounts to a vice, let them take their chance, like the subjects of other vices. Fortunately for mankind at large, drunkards are not very successful in what is, at Oneida Creek, known as stirpiculture. The family tree does not flourish for long.
This is one view of the subject, and it shows as much, and as little, of any way out as the other views. If drunkenness does really exist upon the appalling scale of which we are for ever reading, it is a serious matter for the sober, industrious, and already over-taxed portion of mankind to take upon itself the task of providing them with special doctors and special reformatory treatment in appropriate asylums. Where is this to end? How does the vice of drunkenness form an exception to vice in general ? Why should this wretched story be so persistently repeated in the present day—the good and harmless burthened by force of law (for that is the stress of the difficulty) with the care of the bad and the mis. chievous ? Science, as we need not point out, turns its eyes coldly away from such matters :—“Let the vicious perish, if they will; the sooner the better; all our chances of really bettering the world turn upon our leaving natural—and just-selection to its work. By what right do we burthen the far better stock with the task of helping to keep alive the diseased stock, which, do what we please, is doomed ?”
Now, we are not about to press the scientific view of this question, except, at least, from the political point of view. We may simply remark, in passing, that if the right of the Government to capture (for that is what it must come to) and discipline the subjects of this particular vice be once admitted, it will be in vain to pretend that there is any final reason for denying the right of the Government to capture and discipline the subjects of certain other vices. All we care to maintain, in passing, is that no political speculation of this order weakens by one film the binding duty of all lovers of God and man to do, in their private capacity, their utmost to advise, help, and reclaim the vicious, whatever be their particular vice. A coarse and irreverent book, called “The Barton Experiment,” has recently reached this country from America. In spite, however, of coarseness and irreverence,-in spite of the fact that it is written not only in the American language, but in the worst dialect of that vilo tongue,—the book contains two chapters of sincere pathos, some effective humour, and some suggestions which are far from idle. The author does not see the entire scope of his own doctrine; if he did he would see also that it was unworkable,-but thanks are due to any one who can bring home to common minds the truth that no public temperance “move.