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From the casual frailties, however, and from the intrigues of the salon, the warfare of party and the reverses of fortune—from all that is unworthy and mutable in this remarkable life, what is pure and effective in genius seems to rise and separate itself to the imagination, and we behold the true spirit of the man embodied and embalmed in the disinterested results of his thought and the spontaneous utterance of his sentiment; and therefore it is as a poet of the old régime that we finally regard Chateaubriand.
It has been acutely said that external life is an appendix to the heart, and these Memoirs d'outre Tombe signally evidence the truth. Dated, as they are, at long intervals of time and in many different places, the immediate circumstances under which they are written are often brought into view simultaneously with a vivid retrospect, to which they form a singular contrast; and this gives an air of reality to the whole such as is afforded by oral communication-we frequently seem to listen instead of reading. Chateaubriand first thought of composing the work where Gibbon conceived the idea of his great enterprise : in that haunt of eternal memories—Rome. It was commenced in his rural seclusion at La Vallée aux Loups, near Aulnay, in the autumn of 1811, and finally revised at Paris in 1841. The intermediate period is strictly chronicled, and interspersed with details of the antecedent and the passing moment, together with countless portraits, criticisms and scenes, both analytical and descriptive; but the deep vein of sentiment which prompts the author's movements and arrays his experience and thoughts, continually remind us that the life depicted is but the appendix to the heart that inspires. Thus his intimacy with Malesherbes, whose granddaughter his elder brother married, fostered that passion for exploration which made him a traveller ; his repugnance to priestly shackles induced him to enrol his name in the regiment of Navarre ; his ad. herence to his party made him a translator and master of languages in England; his fraternal love redeemed his boyhood from misanthropic despair, and his religious and poetic sentiment impelled him to the East. This oriental tendency--if we may so call it--is evident, as he suggests, in the whole race of modern genius, and seems to spring both from delicate organization, giving a peculiar charm to the atmosphere and life of that region, and from historical associations that win the imagination and the sympathies—romantically evident in Byron, and religiously in Chateaubriand and Lamartine. The former, despite the battles, conclaves and literary affairs that make up the substance of his memoirs, never loses his identity with sentiment, whether luxuriating in the scenery of the Grand Charteuse, invoking the departed at Holyrood or Venice, setting out the trees of every land he has visited on his domain ; breaking away from his English home with the exclamation, "Je suis mari !" or recording his last interview with his sister Lucille and her obscure burial; claiming his chair at Corinne's fireside, or discovering auguries in the fierce tempest that broke over St. Malo the night he was born. The most utilitarian reader must confess, as he connects the practical efficiency and noble traits of Chateaubriand with his generous emotions, that sentiment is a grand conservative and productive element in human life, and to its inciting and elevated influence justly ascribe the usefulness, the renown, and the singular interest that attaches to the man he may have seen a few years since threading the Boulevards of Paris with “irreproachable cravat and ebony cane;" recognising in his gentle yet vigorous expression, in his broad forehead and projecting temples, the thick white hair around his bald crown, the inclination of the head, the long face and observant yet noble air, the outward indications of his varied experience, rare gifts, and unique character.
Art. VIII.-ON THE RELATION OF INTELLIGENCE TO THE
PIETY AND EFFICIENCY OF THE CHURCH.
Jesus gave, not to the twelve alone, as they went forth on their first commission, but to the Church in every age, that expressive warning: “Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” It foretold that, to the perfection of her character and the full success of her mission, the Church would require not only the purity of the one, but the wisdom of the other; that neither piety nor intelligence is separately sufficient, and only when combined in their highest excellence are they equal to the task. By intelligence we mean, not a proficiency in any one branch of science, but that general cultivation of intellect which results in wide knowledge and comprehensive views. We know that “the world by wisdom knew not God;" but it was a world without God, a reason without revelation, a demonstration without axioms spiritually discerned. When God imparts the element required, and the world becomes his Church, her wisdom is not foolishness. Sometimes, indeed, it has seemed as though piety alone was power, and wisdom was utter weakness; but we consider that intellectual excellence is often seen apart from moral purity, and piety is never alone, for the common experience of life gives every man a measure of mental training and practical wisdom. There is an analogy in the arrangement of the compound blow-pipe. The pure hydrogen of piety may draw, from an ordinary atmosphere, support for a flame of high intensity; but only when fully penetrated by the oxygen of a sound intelligence, is its power perfected and irresistible.
The relation of intelligence to the spirituality of the Church, is a subject entirely distinct from its relation to her efficiency in aggressive movements. It is of itself a question which should not be undetermined in any mind, whether mental culture can affect religious experience, either for good or for evil. A priori, indeed, it would seem strange if, in the crowning work of creation, there was no observance of that law by which the perfection of each part requires the perfection of the whole, and if the cultivation of the mental and of the moral faculties should prove incompatible in the image of Bim in whom the same attributes coëxist and cooperate in infinite perfection. If beyond the grave we hope for the completeness of wisdom as of love, how natural that, even now, these faculties should strengthen in each other's strength. Every voice of prophecy, and all signs of the times, foretoken that, in the millennial age, “knowledge shall be increased,” and those favoured generations be at once the most spiritual and the most intellectual the world has ever seen. And especially, the well-known quickening of the mental powers attendant on spiritual renovation seems like an electric summons from the awakened soul to the faculties whose activity is essential to its life. Yet against all this presumptive evidence, we meet the wide impression that intelligence is either negative, or injurious in its influence on personal piety.
This impression may have arisen in part from the fact that formerly, even more than at present, the costliness of education confined the privileges of mental culture to the very class whose position and wealth involved all those seductions which make it hard to enter into the kingdom of heaven. That a larger proportion of the poor
of this world than of its affluent have become rich in faith, we all may see; but that this has resulted not from intelligence, but from the position, appears in the more gross and absorbing worldliness of the uncultivated family of wealth, compared with those in which intelligence exerts its elevating and moralizing power. In any given rank of society, a larger proportion of the intelligent will be found to have embraced the gospel than of the uneducated, and their piety will prove, on the average, more uniform. It is this false alliance of wealth with intelligence which has brought upon the latter the suspicion which the Saviour attached to the former alone; yet in the modified social life of our own country, and in proportion as the ancient folly and expense cease to be exclusive forms into which a life of affluence is compelled to flow, instances of deep piety in connexion with wealth, as well as intelligence, are becoming more common.
It is important also to observe that the mass of the Church-membership, being of the poorer classes, have always been prone to judge the wealthy by a false standard. The danger of all outward indulgences is, that they foster a pride of possession, and absorb and materialize the soul. Yet, it is difficult to form a general rule of judgment upon others which shall be secure. The toiling poor, in whom a very slight attempt towards the elegancies of life may betray a departure from sober frugality or a false ambition, and whose uncultivated minds feel no congeniality in the refinements which stand out barely as the insignia of wealth and rank, cannot appreciate the feelings of those to whom the beauties of art have been as familiar from childhood as the wild-flower to the cottager, and with whom the elegancies of life are the unlaboured expression of a natural refinement. The ruder classes deem all an evidence of sin which would betray it in themselves, and equipage and forms and accomplishments are but the etiquette of pride. They either bluntly deny the existence of piety in such connexions, or receive in confusion the occasional evidences of true spirituality which beam out irresistibly. Moreover, there is another ground of misconstruction in the difference of expression in the two extremes of society. The character of the masses is peculiarly emotional, and the expression strong and rough. The whole influence of culture and of polite life, is to bring the sensibilities into check by the intellect, to condense emotion into principle, and either to repress its utterance, or to find in accuracy and copiousness of language a full conveyance for that gush of soul which, in the uncultivated, seeks expression in energy of tone, and manner, and illustration. The collected thought, the guarded sentence, the delicate reserve, seem tame and heartless to a Christian struggling with unutterable emotion.
If, then, from precisely this class of society, a Church should take its rise, and if the majority of all evangelical Churches have thus arisen, how natural is it that this individual feeling should have become the collective sentiment of the Church at large, that a false criticism on the manifestations of piety should still seek to bring everything down to its own standard, and that, even while the Church is becoming a personal refutation of the error, she should still confound form with substance, and wealth with intelligence.
If any argument were to be drawn from the numerical proportion of the Church to the world in the ranks of the learned, we should not fear the comparison. We should observe first, however, that the Church has of necessity withdrawn the largest proportion of her genius and erudition from direct secular learning, into the offices and studies of the ministry, and consequently the comparison must not be made from the list of the laity alone. For centuries, indeed, almost the entire learning of Christendom was concentrated in the reg. ular or the secular clergy, and to them is due our gratitude for its preservation and transmission to modern times. If the force of this fact is to be neutralized by the superstition and formality of the middle ages, we may yet maintain that the Protestant Reformation, as being anything more than a political and formal revolution, was due to the labours of "doctors incomparable” and innumerable on the continent and in Britain, while the excuses and perversions which most disgraced it were the result of a fanatical ignorance. What beautiful examples of the power of allied learning and piety are the works of the long line of English bishops and non-conformist divines, the body of whose writings is, it is true, a vast and solid structure of theology, but from fact and illustration, and metaphor and allusion, as from battlement and pinnacle and spire of some massive cathedral, is reflected the light of every orb of science in antiquity or in their own times. Yet time would fail us to speak of all the illustrious sons of science who gloried most of all that they might“ know Him and the power of His resurrection." Ile whose transcendent mind laid the deep foundations of international law, was no arrogant defier of the King of kings.* He who was the pioneer of modern mental philosophy, was also the strong asserter of the reasonableness of Christianity against the oppositions of science, falsely so called. The soul of him who disclosed to all admiring ages the laws which bind all globes and systems, i was no wandering orb, reckless of a Sun of righteousness and the gravitation of holy love. And he & whose seraphic muse, seeking inspiration from the Eternal Spirit alone, could soar
“ Above the Olympian hill,
Above the flight of Pegasean wing" stands he not now on high, “ unblinded by the excess of light ?" If, in the rapid progress of physical science and archæology, scholars have questioned the truth of revelation, scholars have not been wanting to defend them. On the broad heavens, and upon tablets buried, strata upon strata, deep in the chambers of the earth, God has gra. ven the history of the past and the destinies of the future. God's hand has traced the sacred record in his own hieroglyphics. The " royal priesthood” alone, with the key of an inspired volume, can • Grotius. † Locke. | Newton.