Imágenes de páginas

unlikely that Temple, who seldom went below | he seems to us to have been excessively self the surface of any question, may have been ish, but very sober, wary, and far-sighted in infected with the prevailing skepticism. All his selfishness;-to have known better than that we can say on the subject is, that there is most people know what he really wanted in no trace of impiety in his works; and that the life; and to have pursued what he wanted with ease with which he carried his election for a much more than ordinary steadiness and sauniversity, where the majority of the voters gacity;-never suffering himself to be drawn were clergymen, though it proves nothing as aside either by bad or by good feelings. It to his opinions, must, we think, be considered was his constitution to dread failure more than as proving that he was not, as Burnet seems he desired success,--to prefer security, com to insinuate, in the habit of talking atheism to fort, repose, leisure, to the turmoil and anxiety all who came near him. which are inseparable from greatness ;--and Temple, however, will scarcely carry with this natural languor of mind, when contrasted him any great accession of authority to the with the malignant energy of the keen and side either of religion or of infidelity. He restless spirits among whom his lot was cast, was no profound thinker. He was merely a sometimes appears to resemble the moderation man of lively parts and quick observation, of virtue. But we must own, that he seems -a man of the world amongst men of let-to us to sink into littleness and meanness when ters, a man of letters amongst men of the we compare him-we do not say with any high world. Mere scholars were dazzled by the ideal standard of morality,--but with many of ambassador and cabinet councillor; mere po- those frail men who, aiming at noble ends, but liticians by the essayist and historian. But often drawn from the right path by strong pas neither as a writer nor as a statesman can we sions and strong temptations, have left to pos allot to him any very high place. As a man, terity a doubtful and checkered fame

[merged small][ocr errors]



THE author of this volume is a young man | it less the second time, and still less the third of unblemished character and of distinguished time; and now it seems to me to be no defence parliamentary talents, the rising hope of those at all." "My good friend," said Lysias, “you stern and unbending Tories, who follow, re- quite forget that the judges are to hear it only luctantly and mutinously, a leader, whose ex- once." The case is the same in the English perience and eloquence are indispensable to Parliament. It would be as idle in an orator them, but whose cautious temper and moderate to waste deep meditation and long research on opinions they abhor. It would not be at all his speeches, as it would be in the manager of strange if Mr. Gladstone were one of the most a theatre to adorn all the crowd of courtiers unpopular men in England. But we believe and ladies who cross over the stage in a prothat we do him no more than justice when we cession with real pearls and diamonds. It is say, that his abilities and his demeanour have not by accuracy or profundity that men become obtained for him the respect and good-will of the masters of great assemblies. And why be all parties. His first appearance in the cha- at the charge of providing logic of the best racter of an author is therefore an interesting quality, when a very inferior article will be event; and it is natural that the gentle wishes equally acceptable? Why go as deep into a of the public should go with him to his trial. question as Burke, only in order to be, like Burke, coughed down, or left speaking to green benches and red boxes? This has long appeared to us to be the most serious of the evils which are to be set off against the many blessings of popular government. It is a fine and true saying of Bacon, that reading makes a full man, talking a ready man, and writing an exact man. The tendency of institutions like those of England is to encourage readiness in public men, at the expense both of fulness and of exactness. The keenest and most vigorous minds of every generation, minds often admirably fitted for the investigation of truth, are habitually employed in producing arguments, such as no man of sense would ever put into a treatise intended for publication,-arguments which are just good enough to be used once, when aided by fluent delivery and pointed language. The habit of discussing questions in this way necessarily reacts on the intelligence of our ablest men, particularly of those who are introduced into Parliament at a very early age, before their minds have expanded to full maturity. The talent for debate is developed in such men to a degree which, to the multitude, seems as marvellous as the performances of an Italian improvisatore. But they are fortunate, indeed, if they retain unimpaired the faculties which are required for close reasoning or for enlarged speculation. Indeed, we should sooner expect a great original work on political science--such a work, for example, as the "Wealth of Nations"-from an apothecary in a country town, or from a minister in the Hebrides, than from a statesman who, ever since he was one-and-twenty, had been a distinguished debater in the House of Commons.

We are much pleased, without any reference to the soundness or unsoundness of Mr. Gladstone's theories, to see a grave and elaborate treatise on an important part of the philosophy of government proceed from the pen of a young man who is rising to eminence in the House of Commons. There is little danger that people engaged in the conflicts of active life will be too much addicted to general speculation. The opposite vice is that which most easily besets them. The times and tides of business and debate tarry for no man. A politician must often talk and act before he has thought and read. He may be very ill-informed respecting a question; all his notions about it may be vague and inaccurate; but speak he must; and if he is a man of talents, of tact, and of intrepidity, ne soon finds that, even under such circumstances, it is possible to speak successfully. He finds that there is a great difference between the effect of written words, which are perused and reperused in the stillness of the closet, and the effect of spoken words, which, set off by the graces of utterance and gesture, vibrate for a single moment on the ear. He finds that he may blunder without much chance of being detected, that he may reason sophistically, and escape unrefuted. He finds that, even on knotty questions of trade and legislation, he can, without reading ten pages, or thinking ten minutes, draw forth loud plaudits, and sit down with the credit of having made an excellent speech. Lysias, says Plutarch, wrote a defence for a man who was to be tried before one of the Athenian tribunals. Long before the defendant had learned the speech by heart, he became so much dissatisfied with it, that he went in great distress to the author. "I was delighted with your speech the first time I read it; but I liked


We therefore hail with pleasure, though assuredly not with unmixed pleasure, the appearance of this work. That a young politician should, in the intervals afforded by his parlia mentary avocations, have constructed and propounded, with much study and mental toil, an original theory on a great problem in politics,

The State in its relations with the Church. By W. E. GLADSTONE, Esq., Student of Christchurch, and M. P. ewark 8vo. Second Edition. London. 1839.


signs of much patient thought. It is written throughout with excellent taste and excellent temper; nor is it, so far as we have observed, disfigured by one expression unworthy of a gentleman, a scholar, or a Christian. But the doctrines which are put forth in it appear to us, after full and calm consideration, to be false; to be in the highest degree pernicious; to be such as, if followed out in practice to their legitimate consequences, would inevitably produce the dissolution of society; and for this opinion we shall proceed to give our reasons with that freedom which the importance of the subject requires, and which Mr. Gladstone both by precept and by example invites us to use, but, we hope, without rudeness, and, we are sure, without malevolence.

is a circumstance which, abstracted from all consideration of the soundness or unsoundness of his opinions, must be considered as highly creditable to him. We certainly cannot wish that Mr. Gladstone's doctrines may become fashionable among public men. But we heartily wish that his laudable desire to penetrate beneath the surface of questions, and to arrive, by long and intent meditation, at the knowledge of great general laws, were much more fashionable than we at all expect it to become.

ω γη του φθεγματος, ως ιερον, και σεμνον, και τερατωδες.

Mr. Gladstone seems to us to be, in many respects, exceedingly well qualified for philosophical investigation. His mind is of large grasp; nor is he deficient in dialectical skill. But he does not give his intellect fair play. There is no want of light, but a great want of what Bacon would have called dry light. Before we enter on an examination of this Whatever Mr. Gladstone sees is refracted and theory, we wish to guard ourselves against distorted by a false medium of passions and one misconception. It is possible that some prejudices. His style bears a remarkable ana-persons who have read Mr. Gladstone's book logy to his mode of thinking, and indeed exer- carelessly, and others who have merely heard cises great influence on his mode of thinking. in conversation or seen in a newspaper that His rhetoric, though often good of its kind, the member for Newark has written in defence darkens and perplexes the logic which it should of the Church of England against the support illustrate. Half his acuteness and diligence, ers of the Voluntary System, may imagine that with a barren imagination and a scanty voca- we are writing in defence of the Voluntary Sysbulary, would have saved him from almost all tem, and that we desire the abolition of the his mistakes. He has one gift most dangerous Established Church. This is not the case. It to a speculator,--a vast command of a kind would be as unjust to accuse us of attacking of language, grave and majestic, but of vague the Church because we attack Mr. Gladstone's and uncertain import,--of a kind of language doctrines, as it would be to accuse Locke of which affects us much in the same way in wishing for anarchy because he refuted Filwhich the lofty diction of the chorus of Clouds mer's patriarchal theory of government; or to affected the simple-hearted Athenian. accuse Blackstone of recommending the condenied that the right of the rector to tithe was fiscation of ecclesiastical property because he When propositions have been established, derived from the Levitical law. It is to be and nothing remains but to amplify and deco- observed that Mr. Gladstone rests his case on rate them, this dim magnificence may be in entirely new grounds, and does not differ more place. But if it is admitted into a demonstra- widely from us than from some of those who tion, it is very much worse than absolute non-have hitherto been considered as the most sense--just as that transparent haze through illustrious champions of the Church. He is which the sailor sees capes and mountains of Lot content with the "Ecclesiastical Polity," false sizes and in false bearings, is more dan- and rejoices that the latter part of that cele gerous than utter darkness. Now, Mr. Glad- brated work "does not carry with it the weight stone is fond of employing the phraseology of of Hooker's plenary authority." He is not which we speak in those parts of his work content with Bishop Warburton's "Alliance of which require the utmost perspicuity and pre- Church and State." "The propositions of that cision of which human language is capable, work generally," he says, “are to be received and in this way he deludes first himself, and with qualification;" and he agrees with Bolingthen his readers. The foundations of his broke in thinking that Warburton's whole thetheory, which ought to be buttresses of ada- ory rests upon a fiction. He is still less satismant, are made out of the flimsy materials fied with Paley's "Defence of the Church," which are fit only for perorations. This fault which he pronounces to be "tainted by the is one which no subsequent care or industry original vice of false ethical principles," and can correct. The more strictly Mr. Gladstone "full of the seeds of evil." He conceives that reasons on his premises, the more absurd are Dr. Chalmers has taken a partial view of the the conclusions which he brings out; and subject, and "put forth much questionable matwhen at last his good sense and good nature ter." In truth, on almost every point on which recoil from the horrible practical inferences to we are opposed to Mr. Gladstone, we have on which his theory leads, he is reduced some our side the authority of some divine, eminent times to take refuge in arguments inconsistent as a defender of existing establishments. with his fundamental doctrines; and sometimes to escape from the legitimate consequences of his false principles under cover of equally false history.

Mr. Gladstone's whole theory rests on this great fundamental proposition-that the Propagation of Religious Truth is one of the prin cipal ends of government, as government. 1 Mr. Gladstone has not proved this proposition, his system vanishes at once.

It would be unjust not to say that this book, though not a good book, shows more talent than many good books. It contains some eloquent and ingenious passages. It bears the

We are desirous, before we enter on the dis cussion of this important question, to point out

clearly a distinction which, though very obvious, seems to be overlooked by many excellent people. In their opinion, to say that the ends of government are temporal and not spiritual, is tantamount to saying that the temporal welfare of man is of more importance than his spiritual welfare. But this is an entire mistake. The question is not whether spiritual interests be or be not superior in importance to temporal interests, but whether the machinery which happens at any moment to be employed for the purpose of protecting certain temporal interests of a society, be necessarily such a machinery as is fitted to promote the spiritual interests of that society. It is certain that without a division of duties the world could not go on. It is of very much more importance that men should have food than that they should have pianofortes. Yet it by no means follows that every pianoforte-maker ought to add the business of a baker to his own; for if he did so, we should have both much worse music and much worse bread. It is of much more importance that the knowledge of religious truth should be widely diffused Now here are two great objects :-One is the than that the art of sculpture should flourish protection of the persons and estates of citiamong us. Yet it by no means follows that zens from injury; the other is the propagation the Royal Academy ought to unite with its pre- of religious truth. No two objects more ensent functions those of the Society for promot- tirely distinct can well be imagined. The ing Christian Knowledge, to distribute theolo- former belongs wholly to the visible and tangigical tracts, to send forth missionaries, to turn ble world in which we live; the latter belongs out Nollekens for being a Catholic, Bacon for to that higher world which is beyond the reach being a Methodist, and Flaxman for being a of our senses. The former belongs to this Swedenborgian. For the effect of such folly life; the latter to that which is to come. Men would be that we should have the worst possi- who are perfectly agreed as to the importance ble Academy of Arts, and the worst possible of the former object, and as to the way of at Society for the Promotion of Christian Know-taining it, differ as widely as possible respect ledge. The community, it is plain, would be ing the latter object. We must therefore pause thrown into universal confusion, if it were before we admit that the persons, be they who supposed to be the duty of every association they may, who are intrusted with power for which is formed for one good object to pro- the promotion of the former object, ought al mote every other good object. ways to use that power for the promotion of the latter object.

limited to this short life and to this visible world. He finds himself surrounded by the signs of a power and wisdom higher than his own; and, in all ages and nations, men of all orders of intellect, from Bacon and Newton down to the rudest tribes of cannibals, have believed in the existence of some superior mind. Thus far the voice of mankind is almost unanimous. But whether there be one God or many-what may be his natural and what his moral attributes-in what relation his creatures stand to him-whether he have ever disclosed himself to us by any other revelation than that which is written in all the parts of the glorious and well-ordered world which he has made-whether his revelation be contained in any permanent record--how that record should be interpreted, and whether it have pleased him to appoint any unerring interpreter on earth-these are questions respecting which there exists the widest diver sity of opinion, and respecting which the great majority of our race has, ever since the dawn of regular history, been deplorabiy in error.


As to some of the ends of civil government, all people are agreed. That it is designed to protect our persons and our property, that it is designed to compel us to satisfy our wants, not by rapine, but by industry,-that it is designed to compel us to decide our differences, not by the strong hand, but by arbitration, that it is designed to direct our whole force, as that of one man, against any other society which may offer us injury, these are propositions which will hardly be disputed.

Mr. Gladstone conceives that the duties of governments are paternal;-a doctrine which we will not believe till he can show us some government which loves its subjects as a father loves a child, and which is as superior in intelligence to its subjects as a father is superior to a child. He tells us, in lofty, though somewhat indistinct language, that "Government occupies in moral the place of TV in physical science." If government be indeed


Now these are matters in which man, with-re out any reference to any higher being or to any future state, is very deeply interested. Every man, be he idolater, Mohammedan, Jew, Papist, Socinian, Deist, or Atheist, naturally loves life, shrinks from pain, desires those comforts which can be cnjoyed only in communities where property is secure. To be murdered, to be tortured, to be robbed, to be sold into slavery, to be exposed to the outrages-why should not they choose our wives, limit of gangs of foreign banditti calling themselves our expenses, and stint us to a certain number patriots-these are evidently evils from which of dishes, of glasses of wine, and of cups of men of every religion and men of no religion tea? Plato, whose hardihood in speculation wish to be protected; and therefore it will was perhaps more wonderful than any otner hardly be disputed that men of every religion | peculiarity of his extraordinary mind, and who and of no religion have thus far a common shrank from nothing to which his principles interest in being well governed. led, went this whole length. Mr. Gladstone is not so intrepid. He contents himself with lay.

av in moral science, we do not understand why rulers should not assume all the functions which Plato assigned to them. Why should they not take away the child from the mother, select the nurse, regulate the school, overlook the play-ground, fix the hours of labour and of recreation, prescribe what ballads shall be sung, what tunes shall be played, what books shall be read, what physic shall be swallowed!

But the hopes and fears of man are not

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, to profess a religion, to employ its power for the propagation of that religion, and to require conformity to that religion, as an indispensable qualification for all civil office. He distinctly declares that he does not in this proposition confine his view to orthodox governments, or even to Christian governments. The circumstance that a religion is false does not, he tells us, diminish the obligation of governors, as such, to uphold it. If they neglect to do so, "we cannot," he says, "but regard the fact as aggravating the case of the holders of such creed." "I do not scruple to affirm," he adds, "that if a Mohammedan conscientiously believes his religion to come from God, and to teach divine truth, he must believe that truth to be beneficial, and beneficial beyond all other things to the soul of man; and he must, therefore, and ought to desire its extension, and to use for its extension all proper and legitimate means; and that, if such Mohammedan be a prince, he ought to count among those means the application of whatever influence or funds he may lawfully have at his disposal for such purposes."

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:

Here are propositions of vast and indefinite extent, conveyed in language which has a cer tain obscure dignity and sanctity,-attractive, we doubt not, to many minds. But the moment that we examine these propositions closely,-the moment that we bring them to the test by running over but a very few of the particulars which are included in them, we find them to be false and extravagant. This doctrine which "must surely command universal assent" is, that every association of human beings, which exercises any power whatever, that is to say, every association of human beings,-is bound, as such associa tion, to profess a religion. Imagine the effect which would follow if this principle were really in force during four-and-twenty hours. Take one instance out of a million:-A stagecoach company has power over its horses. This power is the property of God. It is used according to the will of God when it is used with mercy. But the principle of mercy can never be truly or permanently entertained in the human breast without continual reference to God. The powers, therefore, that dwell in 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 conclusions 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:

"Why, then, we now come to ask, should the governing body in a state profess a religion? First, because 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 sanctice, 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 scurce, 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

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »