« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
The Englishman, naturally serious, ‘There is no opera, no comedy, no meditative, and sad, did not regard life concert on a Sunday in London; cards as a game or a pleasure ; his eyes were even are expressly forbidden, so that habitually turned, not outward to smil- only persons of quality, and those who ing nature, but inward to the life of are called respectable people, play or. the soul ; he examines himself, ever de that day.” He amuses himself at the scends within himself, confines himself expense of the Anglicans,
so scrupu: to the moral world, and at last sees no lous in collecting their tithes;” the other beauty but that which shines there; Presbyterians, "who look as if they he enthrones justice as the sole and were angry, and preach with a strong absolute queen of humanity, and con- nasal accent;" the Quakers, “who go ceives the plan of disposing all his ac- to church and wait for inspiration with tions according to a rigid code. He has their hats on their heads.” But is no lack of force in this; for his pride there nothing to be observed but these comes to assist his conscience. Having externals ? And do we suppose that chosen himself and by himself the route, we are acquainted with a religion behe would blush to quit it; he rejects cause we know the details of formulary temptations as his enemies ; he feels and vestment? There is a common that he is fighting and conquering, * faith beneath all these sectarian differthat he is doing a difficult thing, that he ences : whatever be the form of Prois worthy of admiration, that he is a man. testantism, its object and result are the Moreover, he rescues himself from his culture of the moral sense; that is why capital foe, tedium, and satisfies his crav. it is popular in England: principles ing for action; understanding his duties, and dogmas all make it suitable to the he employs his faculties and he has a instincts of the nation. The sentiment purpose in life, and this gives rise to which in the Protestant is the source of associations, endowments, preachings; every thing, is qualms of conscience ; and finding more steadfast souls, and he pictures perfect justice, and feels nerves more tightly strung, it sends them that his uprightness, however great, forth without causing them too much cannot stand before that. He thinks suffering, too long strife, through ridic of the Day of Judgment, and tells him. cule and danger. The reflective charac- self that he will be damned. He is ter of the man has given a moral rule; troubled, and prostrates himself; he the militant character now gives moral prays God to pardon his sins and reforce. The mind, thus directed, is more new his heart. He sees that neither apt than any otber to comprehend luty ; by his desires, nor his deeds, nor by any the will, thus arnied, is more capable ceremony, or institution, nor by himthan any other of performing its duty: self, nor by any creature, can he de. This is the fundamental faculty which serve the one or obtain the other. He is found in all parts of public life, con- betakes himself to Christ, the ore cealed but present, like one of those Mediator; he prays to him, he feels deep primeval rocks, which, lying far his presence, he finds himself justified ir.land, give to all undulations of the by his grace, elect, healed, transformed, Boil a basis and a support.
predestinated. Thus understood, relig. ion is a moral revolution ; thus simpli
fied, religion is only a moral revolution.
Before this deep emotion, metaphysics This faculty & ves first a basis and a and theology, ceremonies and discisupport to Protestantism, and it is pline, all is blotted out or subordinate. from this structure of mind that the and Christianity is simply the purificaEnglishman is religious. Let us find our
way through the knotty and unin. tion of the heart. Look now at these viting bark. Voltaire laughs at it, and ing through the nose on Sundays, in
men, dressed in sombre colors, speak. iests about the ranting of the preach- box of dark wood, whilst a man in ers and the austerity of the faithful. bands, with the air of a Cato," reads . "The consciousness of silent endurance, so
a psalm. Is there nothing in their dear to every Englishman, of standing out against something and not giving in." -Tom
heart but theological “trash Brimon's School Dievs
chanical phrases > There is a deep
sentiment-veneration. This bare Dis- things depends, enligliten them with senters' meeting. house, this simple unexpected flashes. The physical world service and church of the Anglicans, and its laws seem to them but a phanleave them open to the impression of tom and a figure; they see nothing what they read and hear. For they more real than justice; it is the sum of do hear, and they do read; prayer in humanity, as of nature. This is the the vulgar tongue, psalns translated deep sentiment which on Sunday closes into the vulgar tongue, can penetrate the theatre, discourages pleasures, fills through their senses to their souls. the churches; this it is which pierces They do penetrate ; and this is why the breastplate of the positive spirit they have such a collected mien. For and of corporeal dulness. This shopthe race is by its very nature capable keeper, who all the week has been of deep emotions, disposed by the ve- counting his bales or drawing up col. hemence of its imagination to compre- umns of figures; this cattle-breeding hend the grand and tragic; and the squire, who can only bawl, drink, jump Bible, which is to them the very word a fence; these yeomen, these cottagers, of eternal God, provides it. I know who in order to amuse themselves draw that to Voltaire it is only emphatic, blood whilst boxing, or vie with each unconnected, ridiculous ; the senti- other in grinning through a horse-col. ments with which it is filled are out of lar,-all these uncultivated souls, im. harmony with French sentiments. In mersed in material life, receive thus England the hearers are on the level from their religion a moral life. They of its energy and harshness. The cries love it ; we hear it in the yells of a of anguish or admiration of the solitary mob, rising like a thunderstorm, when Hebrew, the transports, the sudden a rash hand touches or seems to touch outbursts of sublime passion, the de- the Church. We see it in the sale of sire for justice, the growling of the Protestant devotional books; the Pil. thunder and the judgments of God, grim's Progress and The Whole Dut; shake, across thirty centuries, these Of Man are alone able to force their biblical souls. Their other books as- way to the window-ledge of the yeoman sist it. The Prayer Book, which is and squire, where four volumes, their handed down as an heirloom with the whole library, rest amid the fishingold family Bible, speaks to all, to the tackle. We can only move the men dullest peasant, or the miner, the sol. of this race by moral reflections and emn accent of true prayer. The new. religious emotions. The cooled Puri. born poetry, the reviving religion of tan spirit still broods underground, the sixteenth century, have impressed and is drawn in the only direction their magnificent gravity upon it; and where fuel, air, fire, and action are to we feel in it, as in Milton himself, the be found. pulse of the twofold inspiration which We obtain a glimpse of it when we then lifted a man out of himself and look at the sects. În France Jansen. raised him to heaven. Their knees ists and Jesuits seem to be puppets bend when they listen to it. That of another century, fighting for the Confession of Faith, these collects for amusement
Here Qua the sick, for the dying, in case of pub- kers, Independents, Baptists exist, seri lic misfortune or private grief, these ous, honored, recognized by the State, lofty sentences of impassioned and sus. distinguished by their able writers tained eloquence, transport a man to their deep scholars, their men of worth, some unknown and august world. Let their founders of nations. * Their the fine gentlemen yawn, mock, and picty causes their disputes ; it is be. succeed in not understanding: I am cause they will believe, that they dif sure that, of the others, many are fer in belief: the only men without moved. The idea of dark death and religion are those who do not care for of the limitless ocean, to which the religion. A motionless faith is soon a poor weak soul must descend, the dead faith; and when a man becomes thought of this invisible justice, every- a sectarian, it is because he is fervent where present, ever foreseeing, on This Christianity lives because it is de which the changing show of visible /
• William Penn.
veloped; we see :he sap, always flow. I he has a million. The qua 15 of con ing from the Pro:estant inquiry and science, which forced him in this direc. faith, re-enter the old dogmas, dried tion, compelled others to follow in hig up for fifteen hundi ed years. Voltaire, footsteps. Nothing is more striking when he came to England, was sur- than the confessions of his Teachers, prised to find Arians, and amongst mostly low-born and laymen, George them the first thinkers in England - Story had the spleen, dreamed and Clarke, Newton himself. Not only mused gloomily; took to slandering dogma, but feeling, is renewed; be himself and the occupations of men. yond the speculative Arians were the Mark Bond thought himself damned, practical Methodists; behind Newton because when a boy he had once at and Clarke came Whitefield and Westered a blasphemy; he read and prayed ley.
unceasingly and in vain, and at last in No history more deeply illustrates despair he enlisted, with the hope uf the English character than that of being killed. John Haime had visions, these two men. In spite of Hume and howled, and thought he saw the devil. Voltaire, they founded a monastical Another, a baker, hac scruples because and convulsionary sect, and triumph his master continued to bake on Sunthrough austerity, and exaggeration, day, wasted away with anxiety, and which would have ruined them in soon was nothing but a skeleton. Prance. Wesley was a scholar, an Such are the timorous and impas. Oxford student, and he believed in the sioned souls which become religious devil; he attributes to him sickness, and enthusiastic. They are numerous nightmare, storms, earthquakes. His in this land, and on them doctrine took family heard supernatural noises ; his hold. Wesley declares that “ A string father had been thrice pushed by a of opinions is no more Christian faith ghost; he himself saw the hand of God than a string of beads is Christian in the commonest events of life. One holiness. It is not an assent to any day at Birmingham, overtaken by a opinion, or any number of opinions." hailstorm, he felt that he received this "This justifying faith implies not only warning, because at table he had not the personal revelation, the inward sufficiently exhorted the people who evidence of Christianity, but likewise a dined with him; when he had to de- sure and firm confidence in the indi. termine on any thing, he opened the vidual believer that Christ, died for his Bible at random for a text, in order to sin, loved him, and gave his life for decide. At Oxford he fasted and him." * “By a Christian, I mean one wearied himself until he spat blood, who so believes in Christ, as that sin and almost died; at sea, when he de hath no more dominion over him.” | parted for America, he only ate bread, The faithful feels in himself the touch and slept on deck; he lived the life of of a superior hand, and the birth of an an apostle, giving away all that he unknown being. The old man has dis. earned, travelling and preaching all appeared, the new man has taken hiz the year, and every year, till the age of place, pardoned, purified, transfigured, eighty-eight; it has been reckoned steeped in joy and confidence, inclined that he gave away thirty thousand to good as strongly as he was once pourds, travelled about a hundred drawn to evil. A miracle has been thousand miles, and preached forty wrought, and it can be wrought at any thousand sermons. What could such moment, suddenly, under any circuma man have done in France in the stances, without warning. Some sin eighteenth century ? Here he was ner, the oldest and most hardened, withlistened to and followed, at his death out wishing it, without having dreamed he had eighty thousand disciples ; now of it, falls dov'n weeping, his heart
* On one tour he slept three weeks on the melted by grace The hidden thoughts, pare boards. One day, at three in the morn- which fermented long in these gloom ing, he said to Nelson, his companion: imaginations, break out suddenly inte “ Brother Nelson, let us be of good cheer, have one whole side yet; for the skin is off but storms, and the dull brutal mood is on one side."-Southey's Life of Wesley, a * Southey's Life art W sley, ii. 176. volo, 1820, ii. ch. XV. 54.
i Ibid. i. 251.
shaken by nervous fits which it had not methodic discipline, built chapels, choso known before. Wesley, Whitefield, preachers, founded scho. 6, organized and their preachers went all over Eng- enthusiasm. To this day his disciples land preaching to the poor, the peas- spend very large sums every year in ants, the workmen in the open air, missions to all parts of the world, and sometimes to a congregation of twenty on the banks of the Mississippi anc thousand people. * The fire is kindled the Ohio their shoutings repeat the in the country
There was sobbing violent enthusiasm and the conversions and crying.
At Kingswood, White- of primitive inspiration. The saine in. field, having collected the miners, a stinct is still revealed by the same savage race, “saw the white gutters signs; the doctrine of grace survives made by the tears which plentifully fell in uninterrupted energy, and the race, down frem their black cheeks, black as in the sixteenth century, puts its po as they came out from their coal-pits.”* etry into the exaltation of the moral Some trembled and fell ; others had sense. transports of joy, ecstasies. Southey writes thus of Thomas Olivers : “ His
V. heart was broken, nor could he express the strong desires which he felt for and hides this glowing hearth which
A sort of theological smoke covers righteousness. He describes his feelings during a Te Deum at the ca. this time, had visited the country,
burns in silence. A stranger who, at thedral, as if he had done with earth, and was praising God before His would see in this religion only a chok throne.” † The god and the brute, which ing vapor of arguments, controversies,
and sermons. All those celebrated dieach man carries in himself, were let loose; the physical machine was upset i South, Stillingfleet, Sherlock, Burnet,
vines and preachers, Barrow, Tillotson, emotion was turned into madness, and the madness became contagious. An Baxter, Barclay, preached, says Addieye-witness says:
son, like automatons, monotonously, without moving their arms.
For a “At Everton some were shrieking, some Frenchman, for Voltaire, who did read roaring aloud. . The most general was a loud breathing, like that of people half strangled them, as he read every thing, what a and gasping for life; and, indeed, almost all strange reading! Here is Tillotson the cries were like those of human creatures first, the most authoritative of all, a dying in bitter anguish. Great numbers wept kind of father of the church, so much without any noise; others fell down, as dead. admired that Dryden tells us that he
I stood upon the pew-seat, as did a young man in the opposite pew, an able-bodied, fresh, learned from him the art of writing well, he seemed to think of nothing. else, down he which he left his widow, were bought healthy, countryman, but in a moment, when and that his sermons, the only property dropt, with a violence inconceivable. . . . heard the stamping of his feet, ready to break by a publisher for two thousand five the boards, as he lay in strong convulsions at hundred guineas. This work has, in the bottom of the pew. : I saw a sturdy fact, some weight; there are three folio boy, about eight years old, who roared above
volumes, each of seven hundred pages. his fellows; ... his face was red as scarlet ; and almost all on whom God laid his hand, To open them, a man must be a critic turned either very red or almost black.” * by profession, or be possessed by an
absolute desire to be saved. And now Elsewhere, a woman, disgusted with
“ The Wisdom of his madness, wished to leave, but had
let us open them. only gone a few steps when she fell being Religious,”—such is his first ser. into as violent fits as others. Conver- mon, much celebrated in his time, and
the foundation of his success : sions followed these transports; the converted paid their debts, forswore “These words consist of two propositions, drunkenness, read the Bible, prayed, and which are not distinct in sense; went about exhorting others. Wesley they differ only as cause and effect, which by a
metonymy, used in all sorts of authors, are frecollected them into societies, formed quently put one for another." ** " classes " for mutual examination and
This opening makes us uneasy. Is this edification, submitted spiritual life to a
great orator a teacher of grammar? * Southey's Life of Wesley, i. ch. vi. 236. Ibid. i. ch. xvii. 111. 1 Ibid. xiv. 320.
• Tillotsop's Sermons, 10 vols., 1960, i. 1.
“Having thus explained the words, I come nothing to attract them. For he does now to consider the proposition contained in not address men of the world, but them, which is this:
"That religion is the best knowledge and Christians; his hearers neither need wisdom.
nor desire to be goaded or amused; “This I shall endeavour to make good these they do not ask for analytical refine. three ways: “ ist. By a direct proof of it;
ments, novelties in matters of feeling: 2d. By shewing on the contrary the folly They come to have Scripture explained and ignorance of irreligion and wickedness ; to them, and morality demonstrated
" 3d. By vindicating religion from those com- The force of their zeal is only mani mon imputations which seem to charge it with fested by the gravity of their attention gnorance or imprudence. I begin with the Let others have a text as a mere pro direct proof of this.' Thereupon he gives his divisions. text; as for them, they cling to it: it What a heavy demonstrator ! We are
is the very word of God, they cannot tempted to turn over the leaves only, dwell on it too much. They must have and not to read them. Let us examine the sense of every word hunted out, the his forty-second sermon : · Against passage interpreted phrase by phrase, Evil-speaking: "
in itself, by the context, by parallel pas. “ Firstly: I shall consider the nature of sages, by the whole doctrine. They are this vice, and wherein it consists.
willing to have the different readings, Secondly: I shall consider the due extent translations, interpretations expoundof this prohibition, To speak evil of no man. ed; they like to see the orator become a
“ Thirdly: I shall show the evil of this practice, both in the causes and effects of it.
grammarian, a Hellenist, a scholiast. Fourthly: I shall add some further con. They are not repelled by all this dust siderations to dissuade men from it.
of scholarship, which rises from the "Fifthly : I shall give some rules and direc- folios to settle upon their countenance tions for the prevention and cure of it.” 1
And the precept being laid down, they What a style ! and it is the same demanded an enumeration of all the throughout. There is nothing lifelike; reasons which support it; they wish to it is a skeleton, with all its joints coarse. be convinced, carry away in their heads ly displayed. All the ideas are ticketed a provision of good approved motives and numbered. The schoolmen were to last the week. They came there not worse. Neither rapture nor vehe- seriously, as to their counting-house or mence ; no wit, no imagination, no their field, not to amuse themselves original and brilliant idea, no philoso but to do some work, to toil and di phy; nothing but quotations of mere conscientiously in theology and logic scholarship, and enumerations from a to amend and better themselves. They handbook. The dull argumentive rea- would be angry at being dazzled. Their son comes with its pigeon-holed classi- great sense, their ordinary common fications upon a great truth of the sense, is much better pleased with cold heart or an impassioned word from the discussions; they want inquiries and Bible, examines it“ positively and nega methodical reports of morality, as if it tively," draws thence "a lesson and an was a subject of export and import duencouragement,” arranges each part ties, and treat conscience as port wine under its heading, patiently, indefatio or herrings. gably, so that sometimes three whole In this Tillotson is admirable. Doubt sermons are needed to complete the less he is pedantic, as Voltaire called division and the proof, and each of him; he has all “the bad manners them contains in its exordium the learned at the university;" he has not methodical abstract of all the points been “polished by association with treated and the arguments supplied. women; " he is not like the French Just so were the discussions of the Sor- preachers, academicians, elegant disbonne carried on. At the court of coursers, who by w. urtly air, a wellLouis XIV. Tillotson would have been delivered Advent sermon, the refine taken for a man who had run away from ments of a purified style, earn the first a seminary; Voltaire would have called vacant bishopric and the favor of good him a village curé. He has all that is society. But he writes like a perfectly necessary to shock men of the world, honest man; we can see that he is noi
• Tillotson's Sermons, i. s Ibid. iii, 2. aiming in any way at the glory of an