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ing down this proposition-that, whatever be can only be secured for right uses by applying the body which in any community is employed to them a religion." to protect the persons and property of men, that body ought also, in its corporate capacity, Here are propositions of vast and indefinite to profess a religion, to employ its power for extent, conveyed in language which has a cer the propagation of that religion, and to require tain obscure dignity and sanctity,-attractive, conformity to that religion, as an indispensable we doubt not, to many minds. But the moqualification for all civil office. He distinctly ment that we examine these propositions declares that he does not in this proposition closely, the moment that we bring them to confine his view to orthodox governments, or the test by running over but a very few of the even to Christian governments. The circum- particulars which are included in them, we stance that a religion is false does not, he tells find them to be false and extravagant. This us, diminish the obligation of governors, as doctrine which "must surely command unisuch, to uphold it. If they neglect to do so, versal assent" is, that every association of "we cannot," he says, "but regard the fact as human beings, which exercises any power aggravating the case of the holders of such whatever, that is to say, every association creed." "I do not scruple to affirm," he adds, of human beings,-is bound, as such associa"that if a Mohammedan conscientiously be- tion, to profess a religion. Imagine the effect lieves his religion to come from God, and to which would follow if this principle were teach divine truth, he must believe that truth to really in force during four-and-twenty hours. be beneficial, and beneficial beyond all other Take one instance out of a million:-A stagethings to the soul of man; and he must, there- coach company has power over its horses. fore, and ought to desire its extension, and to This power is the property of God. It is used use for its extension all proper and legitimate according to the will of God when it is used means; and that, if such Mohammedan be a with mercy. But the principle of mercy can prince, he ought to count among those means never be truly or permanently entertained in the application of whatever influence or funds the human breast without continual reference he may lawfully have at his disposal for such to God. The powers, therefore, that dwell in purposes." individuals acting as a stage-coach company, can only be secured for right uses by applying to them a religion. Every stage-coach company ought, therefore, in its collective capacity, to profess some one faith-to have its articles, and its public worship, and its tests. That this conclusion, and an infinite number of conclu. sions equally strange, follow of necessity from Mr. Gladstone's principle, is as certain as it is that two and two make four. And if the legiti mate conclusions be so absurd, there must be something unsound in the principle. We will quote another passage of the same sort:
Surely this is a hard saying. Before we admit that the Emperor Julian, in employing his power for the extinction of Christianity, was doing no more than his duty-before we admit that the Arian, Theodoric, would have committed a crime if he had suffered a single believer in the divinity of Christ to hold any civil employment in Italy-before we admit that the Dutch government is bound to exclude from office all members of the Church of England; the King of Bavaria to exclude from office all Protestants; the Great Turk to exclude from office all Christians; the King of Ava to exclude from office all who hold the unity of God-we think ourselves entitled to demand very full and accurate demonstration. When the consequences of a doctrine are so startling, we may well require that its foundations shall be very solid.
The following paragraph is a specimen of the arguments by which Mr. Gladstone has, as he conceives, established his great fundamental proposition:
"Why, then, we now come to ask, should the governing body in a state profess a religion? First, because it is composed of individual men; and they, being appointed to act in a defi nite moral capacity, must sanctify their acts done in that capacity by the offices of religion; inasmuch as the acts cannot otherwise be acceptable to God, or any thing but sinful and punishable in themselves. And whenever we turn our face away from God in our conduct, "We may state the same proposition in a we are living atheistically. . . . . . . In fulfilmore general form, in which it surely must ment, then, of his obligations as an individual, command universal assent. Wherever there the statesman must be a worshipping man. is power in the universe, that power is the But his acts are public-the powers and inproperty of God, the King of that universe-struments with which he works are publichis property of right, however for a time with- acting under and by the authority of the law, holden or abused. Now this property is, as it he moves at his word ten thousand subject were, realized, is used according to the will of arms; and because such energies are thus esthe owner, when it is used for the purposes he sentially public, and wholly out of the range has ordained, and in the temper of mercy, jus- of mere individual agency, they must be sanc tice, truth, and faith, which he has taught us. tified not only by the private personal prayers But those principles never can be truly, never and piety of those who fill public situations, can be permanently, entertained in the human but also by public acts of the men composing breast, except by a continual reference to their the public body. They must offer prayer and source, and the supply of the divine grace. praise in their public and collective character The powers, therefore, that dwell in individu--in that character wherein they constitute the als acting as a government, as well as those organ of the nation, and wield its collected that dwell in individuals acting for themselves, force. Whenever there is a reasoning agency
there is a moral duty and responsibility in- | recognition of the doctrine of national personvolved in it. The governors are reasoning agents for the nation, in their conjoint acts as such. And therefore there must be attached to this agency, as that without which none of our responsibilities can be met, a religion. And this religion must be that of the conscience of the governor, or none."
ality can justify. National honour and good
Here again we find propositions of immense extent, and of sound so orthodox and solemn, that many good people, we doubt not, have been greatly edified by it. But let us examine the words closely, and it will immediately become plain, that if these principles be once admitted, there is an end of all society. No combination can be formed for any purpose of mutual help,-for trade, for public works, for the relief of the sick or the poor, for the promotion of art or science, unless the members of the combination agree in their theological opinions. Take any such combination at random-the London and Birmingham Railway Company, for example-and observe to what consequences Mr. Gladstone's arguments inevitably lead. "Why should the Directors of the Railway Company, in their collective capacity, profess a religion? First, because the A new ground, certainly, but whether very direction is composed of individual men ap- imperative may be doubted. Is it not perfectly pointed to act in a definite moral capacity clear, that this argument applies with exactly bound to look carefully to the property, the as much force to every combination of human limbs, and the lives of their fellow creatures- beings for a common purpose, as to govern bound to act diligently for their constituents-ments? Is there any such combination in the bound to govern their servants with humanity world, whether technically a corporation or not, and justice--bound to fulfil with fidelity many which has not this collective personality from important contracts. They must, therefore, which Mr. Gladstone deduces such extraordisanctify their acts by the offices of religion, or these acts will be sinful and punishable inary consequences? Look at banks, insurance themselves. In fulfilment, then, of his obliga-gas companies, hospitals, dispensaries, assooffices, dock companies, canal companies, tions as an individual, the Director of the Lon-Ciations for the relief of the poor, associations don and Birmingham Railway Company must for apprehending malefactors, associations of be a worshipping man. But his acts are public. medical pupils for procuring subjects, associaHe acts for a body. He moves at his word tentions of country gentlemen for keeping foxthousand subject arms. And because these energies are out of the range of his mere individual agency, they must be sanctified by public acts of devotion. The Railway Directors must offer prayer and praise in their public and collective character, in that character wherewith they constitute the organ of the Company, and wield its collected power. Wherever there is reasoning agency, there is moral responsibility. The Directors are reasoning agents for the Company. And therefore there must be attached to this agency, as that without which none of our responsibilities can be met--a religion. And this religion
must be that of the conscience of the Director himself, or none. There must be public worship and a test. No Jew, no Socinian, no Presbyterian, no Catholic, no Quaker, must be permitted to be the organ of the Company, and to wield its collected force." Would Mr. Gladstone really defend this proposition? We are sure that he would not; but we are sure that to this proposition, and to innumerable similar propositions, his reasoning inevitably leads.
"National will and agency are indisputably one, binding either a dissentient minority of the subject body, in a manner that nothing but the
hounds, book societies, benefit societies, clubs of all ranks, from those which have lined PallMall and St. James's Street with their palaces, down to the "Free-and-easy" which meets in the shabby parlour of a village inn. Is there a single one of these combinations to which Mr. Gladstone's argument will not apply as well as to the State? In all these combinations-in the Bank of England, for example, or in the Athenæum Club-the will and agency of the society are one, and bind the dissentient minority. The Bank and the Athenæum have a good faith and a justice different from the good faith and justice of the individual members. The Bank is a person to those who deposit bullion with it. The Athenæum is a person to the butcher and the wine-merchant. If the Athenæum keeps money at the Bank, the two societies are as much persons to each other as England and France. Either society may increase in prosperity; either may fall into difficulties. If, then, they have this unity of will; if they are capable of doing and suffering good and evil, can we, to use Mr. Giladstone's words, "deny their responsibility, or their need of a religion to meet that responsi bility ?". Joint-stock banks, therefore, and clubs, "having a personality, lie under the no
cessity of sanctifying that personality, by the offices of religion;" and thus we have "a new and imperative ground" for requiring all the directors and clerks of joint-stock banks, and all the officers of clubs, to qualify by taking the sacrament.
It will hardly be denied that the security of the persons and property of men is a good object, and that the best way, indeed the only way, of promoting that object is to combine men together in certain great corporations—which are called states. These corporations are very variously, and, for the most part, very imperfecily organized. Many of theri abound with frightful abuses. But it seems reasonable to believe that the worst that ever existed was, on the whole, preferable to complete anarchy.
The truth is, that Mr. Gladstone has fallen into an error very common among men of less talents than his own. It is not unusual for a person who is eager to prove a particular proposition, to assume a major of huge extent, which includes that particular proposition, without ever reflecting that it includes a great deal more. The fatal facility with which Mr. Gladstone multiplies expressions stately and sonorous, but of indeterminate meaning, emi-in nently qualifies him to practise this sleight on himself and on his readers. He lays down broad general doctrines about power, when the only power of which he is thinking is the power of governments,-about conjoint action, when the only conjoint action of which he is thinking is the conjoint action of citizens in a state. He first resolves on his conclusion. He then makes a major of most comprehensive dimensions; and, having satisfied himself that it contains his conclusion, never troubles himself about what else it may contain. And as soon as we examine it, we find that it contains an infinite number of conclusions, every one of which is a monstrous absurdity.
Now, reasoning from analogy, we should say that these great corporations would, like all other associations, be likely to attain their end most perfectly if that end were kept singly view; and that to refuse the services of those who are admirably qualified to promote that end, because they are not also qualified to promote some other end, however excellent, seems at first sight as unreasonable as it would be to provide, that nobody who was not a fellow of the Antiquarian Society should be a governor of the Eye Infirmary; or that nobody who was not a member of the Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews should be a trustee of the Theatrical Fund.
It is impossible to name any collection of human beings to which Mr. Gladstone's reasonings would apply more strongly than to an army. Where shall we find more complete unity of action than in an army? Where else do so many human beings implicitly obey one ruling mind? What other mass is there which moves so much like one man? Where is such tremendous power intrusted to those who command? Where is so awful a responsibility laid upon them? If Mr. Gladstone has made out, as he conceives, an imperative necessity for a state religion, much more has he made it out to be imperatively necessary that every army should, in its collective capacity, profess a religion. Is he prepared to adopt this consequence?
It is perfectly true, that it would be a very good thing if all the members of all the associations in the world were men of sound religious views. We have no doubt that a good Christian will be under the guidance of Christian principles, in his conduct as director of a canal company or steward of a charity dinner. If he were to recur to a case which we before put-a member of a stage-coach company, he would, in that capacity, remember that "a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast." But it does not follow that every association of men must, therefore, as such association, profess a re- On the morning of the 13th of August, in ligion. It is evident that many great and useful the year 1704, two great captains, equal in auobjects can be attained in this world only by thority, united by close private and public ties, co-operation. It is equally evident that there but of different creeds, prepared for a battle, cannot be efficient co-operation, if men proceed on the event of which were staked the liberties on the principle that they must not co-operate of Europe. Marlborough had passed a part for one object unless they agree about other ob- of the night in prayer, and before daybreak jects. Nothing seems to us more beautiful or received the sacrament according to the rites admirable in our social system, than the faci- of the Church of England. He then Laslity with which thousands of people, who per- tened to join Eugene, who had probably just haps agree only on a single point, combine confessed himself to a Popish priest. The their energies for the purpose of carrying that generals consulted together, formed their plan single point. We see daily instances of this. in concert, and repaired each to his own post. Two men, one of them obstinately prejudiced Marlborough gave orders for public prayers. against missions, the other president of a mis- The English chaplains read the service at sionary society, sit together at the board of an the head of the English regiments. The hospital, and heartily concur in measures for Calvinistic chaplains of the Dutch army, the health and comfort of the patients. Two with heads on which hand of bishop had men, one of whom is a zealous supporter and never been laid, poured forth their supplicathe other a zealous opponent of the system pur- tions in front of their countrymen. In the sued in Lancaster's schools, meet at the Men-mean time the Danes would listen to their Ludicity Society, and act together with the utmost theran ministers; and Capuchins might encordiality. The general rule we take to be un-courage the Austrian squadrons, and pray to doubtedly this, that it is lawful and expedient the Virgin for a blessing on the arms of the for men to unite in an association for the promotion of a good object, though they may differ with respect to other objects of a still higuer importance.
Holy Roman Empire. The battle commences, and these men of various religions all act like members of one body. The Catholic and the Protestant generals exert themselves to assis
and to surpass each other. Before sunset the Empire is saved. France has lost in a day the fruits of eighty years of intrigue and of victory. And the allies, after conquering together, return thanks to God separately, each after his own form of worship. Now, is this practica atheism? Would any man in his senses say, that, because the allied army had unity of action and a common interest, and because a heavy responsibility lay on its chiefs, it was therefore imperatively necessary that the army should, as an army, have one established religion-that Eugene should be deprived of his command for being a Catholic -that all the Dutch and Austrian colonels should be broken for not subscribing the Thirty-nine Articles? Certainly not-the most ignorant grenadier on the field of battle would have seen the absurdity of such a proposition. "I know," he would have said, "that the Prince of Savoy goes to mass, and that our Corporal John cannot abide it; but what has the mass to do with taking the village of Blenheim? The prince wants to beat the French, and so does Corporal John. If we stand by each other, we shall most likely beat them. If we send all the Papists and Dutch away, Tallard will have every man of us." Mr. Gladstone himself, we imagine, would admit that our honest grenadier had the best of the argument; and if so, what follows? Even this: that all Mr. Gladstone's general principles about power, and responsibility, and personality, and conjoint action, must be given up; and that, if his theory is to stand at all, it must stand on some other foundation.
We have now, we conceive, shown that it may be proper to form men into combinations for important purposes, which combinations shall have unity and common interests, and shall be under the direction of rulers intrusted with great power and lying under solemn responsibility; and yet that it may be highly improper that these combinations should, as such, profess any one system of religious belief, or perform any joint act of religious worship. How, then, is it proved that this may not be the case with some of those great combinations which we call States? We firmly believe that it is the case with some states. We firmly believe that there are communities in which it would be as absurd to mix up theology with government, as it would have been in the right wing of the allied army at Blenheim to commence a controversy with the left wing, in the middle of the battle, about purgatory and the worship of images.
It is the duty, Mr. Gladstone tells us, of the persons, be they who they may, who hold supreme power in the state, to employ that power in order to promote whatever they may deem to be theological truth. Now, surely, before he can call on us to admit this proposition, he is bound to prove that these persons are likely to do more good than harm by so employing their power. The first question is, whether a government, proposing to itself the propagation of religious truth, as one of its principal ends, is more likely to lead the people right than to lead them wrong? Mr. Glad
stone evades this question, and perhaps it was his wisest course to do so.
it have its natural duties and powers at its "If," says he, "the government be good, let command; but, if not good, let it be made so
We follow, therefore, the true course in looking first for the true 2, or abstract conception of a government, of course with allow ance for the evil and frailty that are in man, and then in examining whether there be comprised in that dx a capacity and consequent duty on the part of a government to lay down any laws, or devote any means for the pur poses of religion,-in short, to exercise a choice upon religion."
Of course, Mr. Gladstone has a perfect right to argue any abstract question; provided that he will constantly bear in mind that it is only an abstract question that he is arguing. Whe ther a perfect government would or would not be a good machinery for the propagation of religious truth, is certainly a harmless, and may, for aught we know, be an edifying subject of inquiry. But it is very important that we should remember, that there is not, and never has been, any such government in the world. There is no harm at all in inquiring what course a stone thrown into the air would take, if the law of gravitation did not operate. But the consequences would be unpleasant, if the inquirer, as soon as he had finished his calculation, were to begin to throw stones about in all directions, without considering that his conclusion rests on a false hypothesis; and that his projectiles, instead of flying away through infinite space, will speedily return in parabolas, and break the windows and heads of his neighbours.
It is very easy to say that governments are good, or, if not good, ought to be made so. But what is meant by good government? And how are all the bad governments in the world to be made good? And of what value is a theory which is true only on a supposition in the highest degree extravagant?
We do not admit that, if a government were, for all its temporal ends, as perfect as human frailty allows, such government would, therefore, be necessarily qualified to propagate true religion. For we see that the fitness of governments to propagate true religion is by no means proportioned to their fitness for the temporal ends of their institution. Looking at indivi duals, we see that the princes under whose rule nations have been most ably protected from foreign and domestic disturbance, and have made the most rapid advances in civilization, have been by no means good teachers of divinity. Take, for example, the best French sovereign,-Henry the Fourth, a king who re stored order, terminated a terrible civil war brought the finances into an excellent condi tion, made his country respected throughout Europe, and endeared himself to the great body of the people whom he ruled. Yet this man was twice a Huguenot, and twice a Papist He was, as Davila hints, strongly suspected of having no religion at all in theory; and was certainly not much under religious restraints
in his practice. Take the Czar Peter,-the | tions. We see that, for the temporal ends of Empress Catharine,-Frederick the Great. It government, some of these constitutions are will surely not be disputed that these sove- very skilfully constructed, and that the very reigns, with all their faults, were, if we con- worst of them is preferable to anarchy. But sider them with reference merely to the tempo- it passes our understanding to comprehend ral ends of government, far above the average what connection any one of them has with of merit. Considered as theological guides, theological truth. Mr. Gladstone would probably put them below And how stands the fact? Have not almost the most abject drivellers of the Spanish all the governments in the world always been branch of the house of Bourbon. Again, when in the wrong on religious subjects? Mr. Gladwe pass from individuals to systems, we by no stone, we imagine, would say, that, except in means find that the aptitude of governments for the time of Constantine, of Jovian, and of a propagating religious truth is proportioned to very few of their successors, and occasionally their aptitude for secular functions. Without in England since the Reformation, no governbeing blind admirers either of the French or ment has ever been sincerely friendly to the of American institutions, we think it clear that pure and apostolical Church of Christ. If, the persons and property of citizens are better therefore, it be true that every ruler is bound protected in France and in New England, than in conscience to use his power for the propain almost any society that now exists, or that gation of his own religion, it will follow, that has ever existed,-very much better, certainly, for one ruler who has been bound in conscience than under the orthodox rule of Constantine or to use his power for the propagation of truth, Theodosius. But neither the government of a thousand have been bound in conscience to France nor that of New England is so organized use their power for the propagation of falseas to be fit for the propagation of theological hood. Surely this is a conclusion from which doctrines. Nor do we think it improbable, common sense recoils. Surely, if experience that the most serious religious errors might shows that a certain machine, when used to prevail in a state, which, considered merely produce a certain effect, does not produce that with reference to temporal objects, might ap-effect once in a thousand times, but produces, proach far nearer than any that has ever been known to the dia of what a state should be.
in the vast majority of cases, an effect directly contrary, we cannot be wrong in saying, that it is not a machine of which the principal end is to be so used.
we should see little reason to apprehend that his interference in favour of error would be seriously prejudicial to the interests of truth. Nor do we, as will hereafter be seen, object to his taking this course, when it is compatible with the efficient discharge of his more espe cial duties. But this will not satisfy Mr. Gladstone. He would have the magistrate resort to means which have great tendency to make malcontents, to make hypocrites, to make careless nominal conformists, but no tendency whatever to produce honest and rational conviction. It seems to us quite clear that an inquirer who has no wish, except to know the truth, is more likely to arrive at the truth than
But we shall leave this abstract question, and look at the world as we find it. Does, then, the way in which governments generally If, indeed, the magistrate would content himobtain their power, make it at all probable that self with laying his opinions and reasons before they will be more favourable to orthodoxy than the people, and would leave the people, uncorto heterodoxy? A nation of barbarians poursrupted by hope or fear, to judge for themselves, down on a rich and unwarlike empire, enslaves the people, portions out the land, and blends the institutions which it finds in the cities with those which it has brought from the woods. A handful of daring adventurers from a civilized nation, wander to some savage country, and reduce the aboriginal race to bondage. A successful general turns his arms against the state which he serves. A society made brutal by oppression, rises madly on its masters, sweeps away all old laws and usages, and, when its first paroxysm of rage is over, sinks down passively under any form of polity which may spring out of the chaos. A chief of a party, as at Florence, becomes imperceptibly a sovereign and the founder of a dynasty. Aan inquirer who knows that, if he decides one captain of mercenaries, as at Milan, seizes on a city, and by the sword makes himself its ruler. An elective senate, as at Venice, usurps permanent and hereditary power. It is in events such as these that governments have generally originated; and we can see nothing in such events to warrant us in believing that the governments thus called into existence will be peculiarly well fitted to distinguish between religious truth and heresy.
When, again, we look at the constitutions of governments which have become settled, we find no great security for the orthodoxy of rulers. One magistrate holds power because his name was drawn out of a purse; another, because his father held it before him. There are representative systems of all sorts,-large constituent bodies, small constituent bodies, universal suffrage, high pecuniary qualificaVOL. III.-49
way, he shall be rewarded, and that, if he decides the other way, he shall be punished. Now, Mr. Gladstone would have governments propagate their opinions by excluding all dissenters from all civil offices. That is to say, he would have governments propagate their opinions by a process which has no reference whatever to the truth or falsehood of those opinions, by arbitrarily uniting certain worldly advantages with one set of doctrines, and certain worldly inconveniences with another set. It is of the very nature of argument to serve the interest of truth; but if rewards and pu nishments serve the interest of truth, it is by mere accident. It is very much easier to find arguments for the Divine authority of the Gospel than for the Divine authority of the Korap. But it is just as easy to bribe or rack a Jew into Mohammedanism as into Christianity.