« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
practice of the papal autocracy; and they fearlessly appealed to the whole body of records of which the apostolic writings formed a part. In their eyes, as in those of the Teutonic reformers of a later day, the whole presented one uniform appearance, and exhibited the most complete, unbroken, indubitable harmony. Beneath this weapon the doctrine of papal supremacy, of absolute sacerdotalism, fell prostrate. With it Teutonic Christianity proceeded to liberate the human mind from the shackles which had cramped its energies and stunted its growth. It was not wonderful that they were unconscious of handling a two-edged sword; it was not wonderful that, when Teutonic nations were divided against themselves, the doctrine of submission to regal encroachments and arbitrary despotism was upheld on the authority of those scriptures from which its adversaries, as saints of God, derived the license to bind kings in chains and nobles with links of iron.
Latin Christianity had arisen on Augustine's doctrine of individual inspiration; it had proceeded to overlay that doctrine by a sacerdotal system, which virtually crushed it. To this same foundation Teutonic Christendom had reverted; but while it asserted strongly the independent operation of the Divine Spirit on each single soul, it asserted yet more strongly the existence of an authority external to the soul as stringent as the extremest developments of hierarchical supremacy. Still its position admitted a wider range of intellectual freedom; it was moreover one which at all times has been more successfully evaded in silence than assaulted with controversial violence. Under its sanction and by its influence the wonderful, if not wholly harmonious, fabric of Teutonic society has been raised; a new world of thought and literature has sprung up. The ideas of law and order have been invested with greater majesty, perhaps first been fully comprehended, and something more of the quickening and softening power of Christianity been revealed than under the palmiest times of Latin sacerdotalism. It has laid the foundations of civil as of spiritual liberty, it has defined more clearly the sources of national wealth and prosperity, has called into being many empires, has enfeebled and extinguished none. Amidst these and its countless other works and triumphs, partiality itself could scarcely deny that it has, by espousing some principles and repudiating others, raised barriers in the way of its own more rapid and more perfect development and acceptance. It has almost rejected by a rude negative the alliance of religion with art; it has scarcely attempted to solve a far more intricate and infinitely more momentous problem, the relation of Christianity to philosophy.
By the former course it has rendered the cause of the Reformation permanently unpopular in Southern Europe. By the latter, it has converted into antagonists men from whose intellectual and moral strength it might have acquired no slight accession of force and power.
Here too the author has given us his thoughts and conclusions with great copiousness and perspicuity; but they are questions on which (although perhaps we might be disposed to take exception to some of his assertions), we can do no more than bestow a passing glance. They carry us back to the Pelagian and Iconoclastic controversies, and forward into the future of Teutonic Christianity; and as modern civilisation grows older, these questions must assuredly be invested with a more absorbing interest. The great religious movement which broke up the middle ages has already led, and must still further lead, to consequences not confined within the single province of theological belief. Art must continue to expand its inexhaustible resources, science develope new powers, philosophy explore with greater carefulness and earnestness the nature and object of human existence; nor will any appeal to traditional dogmas, or to prohibitions professing the sanction of Scripture, avail to arrest the inevitable course of modern thought. Christianity, art, moral philosophy, have gone on side by side, sometimes in alliance, sometimes in suppressed opposition, sometimes in open enmity. Side by side they will probably go on for no short period still.
It is our belief that, as time goes on, philosophy will more and more uphold the immediate operation of the Divine on the human spirit, will more and more enable men to imbibe, with its serene and tranquil wisdom, that zeal which has hitherto been too much associated with the maintenance of a controversial theology. The day is already past when men could divorce this zeal even from the field of natural science. When Bonaventure insisted both on the improbability and the folly of any one dying in support of geometrical truth, he never supposed that his words would be falsified in Galileo. (vi. 465.) It cannot be strange if ethical science should assume, over the heart as well as the mind, a yet more constraining power. But Christianity, and especially Teutonic Christianity, will less and less call for such martyrdoms. With whatever reluctance the admission may have been made, however vigorously it may, by some, be resisted still, Teutonic Christianity is based absolutely upon toleration (vi. 631.); and it is this fact which impels us to augur most hopefully for its future, which leads us to anticipate that it will not only less and less hold aloof from art, and from
physical or moral science, but will more peculiarly make them its own; that it will put down all incentives to superstition, not by rejecting art, but by cultivating its purest and highest ideas; that while it defines the province of human thought, it will not uphold that which contradicts universal moral principles; that it will find room for what is true, whether in Greek systems or in mediæval scholasticism, in the philosophy of Aristotle or of Butler. And in this its measured progress, it will embrace certain intellects and dispositions which hitherto it has chilled or repelled. By uniting the aesthetical with the moral development of man, it will bridge over the gulf which has severed the Italian mind from all sympathy with Teutonic Christendom. By showing itself fearless of scientific truth, it will attract many to whom Christian truth is as little, or as nothing. Some things on its outward surface it may have to put off, some of its positions it may have to reconsider; but that which has imparted to it life, that which sustains its strength,
the pure and living force of the teaching of Christ himself, -will be brought out into a clearer and more brilliant light, will be invested with a more sublime and heavenly majesty. Finally, it will show how human life may be conformed to that standard of the Christian Gospel, which is now virtually regarded as impractical and unattainable; how men in their international as in their individual and political relations, may be brought to bow beneath its yoke. In the words of the author's magnificent conclusion: Teutonic Christianity (and this seems to be its mission and its privilege), however nearly in its more perfect 'form it may already have approximated, may approximate still more closely to the absolute and perfect faith of Christ; it may 'discover and establish the sublime unison of religion and reason, 'keep in tune the triple-chorded harmony of faith, holiness, and 'charity; assert its own full freedom, respect the freedom of ' others. Christianity may yet have to exercise a far wider, even if more silent and untraceable influence, through its primary, all-penetrating, all-pervading principles, on the civilisa'tion of mankind.'
ART. III.-1. An Appeal to the Scottish People, on the Improvement of their Scholastic and Academical Institutions. By JOHN STUART BLACKIE, Professor of the Latin Language and Literature in Marischal College, Aberdeen. 1846.
2. On the Advancement of Learning in Scotland: a Letter to the Right Honourable the Lord Provost and Town Council of Edinburgh, Patrons of the University. By JOHN STUART BLACKIE, Professor of Greek.
3. Report of the Committee of the Faculty of Advocates on University Instruction in Law. 1855.
4. Inaugural Discourse delivered to the Graduates of King's College, Aberdeen, on his installation as Lord Rector. By JOHN INGLIS, LL.D., Dean of the Faculty of Advocates. 1857.
5. Mittheilungen über das Unterrichtswesen Englands und Schottlands. Von Dr. J. A. VOIGT. Halle: 1857.
6. The historically received Conception of the University, considered with especial reference to Oxford. By EDWARD KIRKPATRICK, M.A. Oxon: 1857.
HE feeling of dissatisfaction with the higher educational institutions of their country which now apparently pervades every class of Scotchmen, is of recent origin. Till within the last half dozen years, at the utmost, the adequacy of her five universities to supply the wants of Scotland, and their eminence, whether measured by an English or a continental standard, was rarely called in question by strangers, and would certainly have been maintained with characteristic fervour by almost every inhabitant of this part of our island.
Two Commissions of Visitation, it is true, had been issued, the first dated as early as 1826; and the fact of this mode of inquiry being again resorted to after a lapse of more than a hundred years, may in itself, perhaps, be regarded as a proof that, even in the earlier part of the century, all was not believed to be right. Still that something should be wrong was but human, and certainly did not show that the Scottish universities were an exception to the other institutions of this country.
In 1831 the Commissioners reported. They pointed out many and grave defects, and suggested numerous improvements
which commended themselves to the judgment of the very few persons of discernment who occupied themselves with the subject in Scotland and elsewhere. But their proposals were backed by no appreciable amount of public zeal, and in every case in which they had for their object anything beyond an increase of salary to the existing professors, were rather opposed. than seconded by the professorial body. Over that body several illustrious names still shed a glory which was communicated to the universities themselves, and tended to dazzle the eyes both of Scotchmen and strangers, and to divert them from a calm and dispassionate scrutiny of the case submitted to them by the Commissioners. Whilst the youth of Scotland enjoyed the benefits which the presence and activity of such individuals conferred, grumbling on their part or on that of their guardians seemed like a species of national impiety; and all that was tangible in the matter resolved itself into a claim on the public for greater liberality towards certain of its servants, a claim which was every year advanced with equal justice and more importunate clamour by almost every other body of officials, civil, military, and ecclesiastical. There was not an attaché to an embassy, paid or unpaid, a lieutenant in the navy, or a curate in England, who could not have submitted a more piteous case than that to which certain Professors in the University of Edinburgh'entreated' the attention of Her Majesty's Government. Their claim was neither recommended by an enlightened and generous solicitude for the interests of learning, nor was it supported by a strong and widespread feeling that, as individuals, they had been the victims of public injustice; and the consequence was that over their entreaties' and their sorrows, which latter in truth were not altogether imaginary, the waves of a busy and heedless world were permitted to pass.
Thus the question rested for twenty years, till towards the commencement of the present decade it was again resumed by different individuals, with different motives, and from another point of view. The proposals for improving the Scottish universities, in which the present movement had its beginnings, proceeded, it seems, from a few individuals who had completed their studies either in England or in Germany. Their suggestions were derived not from the Report of the Scottish Com
* Memorial to the Earl of Aberdeen, &c., by a Committee appointed by the Senatus Academicus of the University of Edinburgh to entreat the attention of Her Majesty's advisers to the present 'state of the endowments in that University.'