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and purgatorial fires.' It is true that the Cartesian doctrine was soon in a measure eclipsed, but it at least destroyed for ever the old notion of an inner body.'
From the time of Descartes, the doctrine of a material fire may indeed be said to have steadily declined.' The sceptics of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries treated it with great contempt, and in England, at least, the last great controversy on the subject in the Church seems to have taken place during the first half of the eighteenth century. Swinden, Whiston, Horberry, Dodwell, and in America Jonathan Edwards, discussed it from different points of view,' and at
. The sharp line Descartes tried to draw between the body and the soul explains his doctrine of animals, which has often been grossly misunderstood. Thonght, he contended, is the essence of the soul, and all that is not thought (as life and sensibility) is of the body. In denying that brutes had souls, he denied them the power of thought, but left them all besides. This distinction in its full rigidity would now be maintained by very few; and Stahl gave psychology an impulse in quite another direction by his doctrine (which seems to have been that of Aristotle), that the soul includes the vital principle-all that separates living from dead bodies. He thus founded the psychology of animals, and in a great measure fused psychology and medicine. There is a clear statement on this point in Maine de Birau, Nouveaux Rapports Physiques et Morales. There is at present a remarkable revival of the doctrine of Stahl in France in the writings of Tissot, Boullier, Charles, and Lemoine.
? A doctrine, bowever, something like that of the old Fathers, but applied to the bodies of the blessed, has been lately advocated in two very ingenious American books Hitchcock's Religion of Geology, and Lectures on the Sea80N8. The author bas availed himself of Reichenbach's theories of 'odic light,' &c.
3 Descartes himself gives us the opinion of his contemporaries on the subject : Bien que la commune opinion des théologiens soit que les damnés sont tourmentés par le feu des enfers, néanmoins leur sentiment n'est pas pour cela qu'ils sont deçus par une fausse idée que Dieu leur a imprimée, d'un feu qui les consume, mais plutôt qu'ils sont véritablement tourmentés par le feu; parceque “comme l'esprit d'un homme vivant, bien qu'il ne soit pas corporel, est néanmoins détenu dans le corps, ainsi Dieu par sa toute-puissance peut aisé. ment faire qu'il souffre les atteintes du feu corporel après la mort.”' (Réponses aux Sixième Objections.)
* This was, as far as I know, the last of the great controversies concerning tested the rapid progress of the scepticism. Towards the close of the century the doctrine had passed away, for though there was no formal recantation or change of dogmas, it was virtually excluded from the popular teaching, though it even now lingers among the least educated Dissenters, and in the Roman Catholic manuals for the poor. : I have dwelt at length upon this very revolting doctrine, because it exercised, I believe, an extremely important influence on the modes of thought and types of character of the past. I have endeavoured to show how its necessary effect was to chill and deaden the sympathies, to predispose men to inflict suffering, and seriously to retard the march of civilisation. It has now virtually passed away, and with it the type of character that it did so much to form. Instead of the old stern Inquisitor, so unflinching in his asceticism, so heroic in his enterprises, so remorseless in his persecution—instead of the men who multiplied and elaborated the most hideous tortures, who wrote long cold treatises on their application, who stimulated and embittered the most ferocious wars, and who watered every land with the blood of the innocent-instead of this ecclesiastical type of character, we meet with an almost feminine sensibility, and an almost morbid indisposition to inflict punishment. The preëminent characteristic of modern Christianity is the boundless philanthropy it displays. Philanthropy is to our age what asceticisin was to the middle ages, and what polemical discussion was to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The emotional part of humanity, the humanity of impulse, was never so developed, and its development, in Protestantism at least, where the movement has been most strikingly evinced, has always been guided and represented by the clergy. Indeed, this fact is recognised quite as much by their opponents as by their admirers. A certain weak and effeminate sentimentality, both intellectual and moral, is the quality which every satirist of the clergy dwells upon as the most prominent feature of their character. Whether this quality, when duly analysed, is as despicable as is sometimes supposed, may be questioned; at all events, no one would think of ascribing it to the ecclesiastics of the school of Torquemada, of Calvin, or of Knox.
the locality of hell—a question which had once excited great attention. The common opinion, which St. Thomas had sanctioned, was that it was in the centre of the earth. Whiston, however, who denied the eternity of punishment, contended that it was the tail of a comet; while Swinden (whose book seems to have made a considerable sensation, and was translated into French) strenuously contended that it was the sun. According to Plancy (Dict. Infernal, art. Enfer), some early theologians not only held this, but explained the spots in the sun by the multitude of the souls.
The changes that take place from age to age in the types of character in different professions, though they are often very evident, and though they form one of the most suggestive branches of history, are of course not susceptible of direct logical proof. A writer can only lay the general impressions he has derived from the study of the two periods before the judgments of those whose studies have resembled his own. It is more, therefore, as an illustration than as a proof, that I may notice in conclusion the striking contrast which the history of punishments exhibits in the two periods of theological development. We have seen that the popular estimate of the adequacy of the penalties that are affixed to different crimes must in a great measure vary with the popular realisations of guilt. We have seen, too, that the abolition of torture was a movement almost entirely due to the opponents of the Church, and that it was effected much less by any process of reasoning than by the influence of certain modes of feeling which civilisation produced. Soon, however, we find that the impulse which was communicated by Voltaire, Beccaria, and the Revolution, passed on to the orthodox, and it was only then it acquired its full intensity. The doctrine of a literal fire having almost ceased to be a realised conception, a growing sense of the undue severity of punishments was everywhere manifested; and in most countries, but more especially in England, there was no single subject on which more earnestness was shown. The first step was taken by Howard. Nowhere perhaps in the annals of philanthropy do we meet a picture of more unsullied and fruitful beneficence than is presented by the life of that noble Quaker, who, having travelled over more than 40,000 miles in works of mercy, at last died on a foreign soil a martyr to his cause. Not only in England, but over the whole of Europe, his exertions directed public opinion to the condition of prisons, and effected a revolution the results of which can never be estimated. Soon after followed the mitigation of the penal code. In England the severity of that code had long been unexampled; and as crimes of violence were especially numerous, the number of executions was probably quite unparalleled in Europe. Indeed, Fortescue, who was chief justice under Henry VI., notices the fact with curious complacency, as a plain proof of the superiority of his countrymen. “More men,' he tells us, “are hanged in Englonde in one year than in Fraunce in seven, because the English have better hartes. The Scotchmenne, likewise, never dare rob, but only commit larcenies.'' In the reign of Henry VIII., when an attempt was made to convert the greater part of England into pasture land,' and when the suppression
* Barrington, On the Statutes (London, 1769), p. 461.
? Sir Thomas More, in his Utopia (book i.), gives a frightful description of the misery and the crimes resulting from the ejectments necessitated by this change. He speaks of twenty men hung on one gibbet.
of the monasteries had destroyed the main source of charity and had cast multitudes helplessly upon the world, Holinshed estimates the executions at the amazing number of 72,000, or 2,000 a year.' The poor law of Elizabeth to a certain extent mitigated the evil, yet at the end of her reign the annual executions were still about 400.” In the middle of the eighteenth century, however, though the population had greatly increased, they had fallen to less than one hundred. A little before this time Bishop Berkeley, following in the steps that had been traced by More in his “Utopia,' and by Cromwell in one of his speeches, raised his voice in favour of substituting other punishments for death. But all through the reign of George III, the code was aggravated, and its severity was carried to such a point, that when Romilly began his career, the number of capital offences was no less than 230. It was only at the close of the last and in the beginning of the present century, that this state of things was changed. The reform in England, as over the rest of Europe, may be ultimately traced to that Voltairian school of which Beccaria was the representative, for the impulse created by the treatise On Crimes and Punishments' was universal, and it was the first great effort to infuse a spirit of philanthropy into the penal code, making it a main object of legislation to inflict the smallest possible amount of suffering. Beccaria is especially identified with that great cause of the abolition of capital punishment, which is slowly but steadily advancing
* Barrington, pp. 461, 462. .
2 Ibid. 3 Barrington says this was the case when he wrote, which was in 1766.
* He asks whether we may not, as well as other nations, contrive employment for our criminals; and whether servitude, chains, and hard labour for a term of years, would not be a more discouraging as well as a more adequate punishment for felons than eren death itself.' (Querist, No. 54.)
See Komilly's Life for many statistics on the subject.