Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Three Articles from The Rambler, Vol 5, 1861: "Reason and Faith", "Expectation of the French Revolution", and "Religion and Civilization"

I love the truth: old or new!

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A GREAT authority amongst us has remarked, that " the intellectual condition of England at this moment is amply enough to alarm the least anxious, as to the divergence of sacred and secular science, and the unnatural opposition in which they appear to stand." Indeed the great duel between reason and faith has now come to this point, that the men of progress refuse to religion any other domain than that of the sentiments and feelings. Its right to guide any department of pure or practical science is denied; it is warned off the field of politics as haughtily as from the regions of astronomy; and those departments of labour which have hitherto been left to the energies of religious associations education and charity are now invaded by the politician, who declares that he can improve their organisation, develop their utility, and lop off their redundancies. It is not, however, the social, but the scientific side of the contest that we are about to consider.
The opposition to religion is in many quarters only an opposition to the men who claim to govern in the name of religion, and who have been content with their title, without seeking to qualify themselves for the duties which it implies. No one could wish to reimpose upon speculative and practical science and art the dictation from which they have emancipated themselves. It would be as preposterous to deny a scientific fact because it is inconsistent with Dr. Pye Smith's interpretation of Genesis, as it would be to deny an historical fact or to oppose a political movement because it ruined Dr. Cumming's edifice of apocalyptic tribulations. Yet this sort of thing is done frequently, and not only among the co-religionists of Dr. Gumming and Dr. Pye Smith. Not only among the unlettered, whose prejudices may be excused, but among those who have received a liberal education, and might be supposed to know the mind of the Church, there may be found men who import all kinds of exploded fancies into the circle of sciences, and who resolutely denounce all new discoveries, on the ground of the supreme authority, of Scripture and tradition. When we see the principle of authority thus intruded into the domain of experimental science, we cannot be surprised if experimentalists retaliate by intruding their inductive process into the domain of authority.
It will probably be long before authority and induction enter into a mutual concordat to respect each other's limits. Authority, four centuries ago, had its own way in all [167] branches of knowledge. It not only (as is right) grounded religious dogmas on the Church and Scriptures, but also (as is wrong) grounded scientific dogmas on the books of Aristotle and Galen, and the tradition of the schools. The authoritative method had for ages been applied equally to religion and science. When it was superseded by the inductive method for scientific purposes, the philosophers could not understand why the new method should not succeed to the prerogatives of the old in religion also.
But though the methods of investigation and proof are different for religion and the other sciences, the same intelligence is called upon to accept both, without self-contradiction, and without making that divorce between them which characterised the expiring paganism of Rome, when, as Lactantius says, " philosophy and religion were quite distinct ; for neither did the professors of religion attempt to lead men to the gods, nor did the priests think of teaching wisdom." Christianity would come in for the same reproach if Christians were to be content to acknowledge the eternal hostility of science and faith, and to allow to science the attributes of truth and utility, reserving only a kind of senti- mental attractiveness for faith.
It is true that there are two poles, as it were, of the mind, two functions of the reason ; one which is specially conversant about all those things which depend on the forms of space and time, while the other takes note of all questions that concern the spiritual forms of power, reason, and will. It has been the fashion since Kant's days to call the first the pure or speculative reason, the second the practical reason ; when the province of the pure reason was reduced to the phenomena of space and time, of course the great questions concerning the origin of the world, the destination of man, and the being of a God, were taken out of its sphere, and given to the practical reason; and men were told that no speculation could throw light on the discussion, which could only be decided by the conscience and the feelings. Thus has religion been wrongfully opposed to science, as if it belonged to a different department of the soul, to a part which does not see truth, but only feels pleasure and sentiment.
Those who think thus give too little rationality to the "practical reason," and too much to the "pure reason." The former is occupied not only with sentiments, but with all questions that concern real being and substance, soul, force, reason, liberty. The latter has to do with all things that can be reduced to measure, shape, or number, velocity, weight, or motion. Whatever transcends these transcends [168] the limits of the "pure reason" but is not therefore banished from the sphere of reason into that of the feelings. Our reason is divided into two poles, the inferior being conversant with the phenomena of time and space, and mathematical in its method of proof; the superior being conversant with the manifestations of real being, and more complicated in its processes, more subject to be influenced by the will and the feelings. But it does not follow from this that our practical reason is unreason, its conclusions sentiments, or its convictions only feelings. Allowing the distinction between the speculative reason and the practical, it does not follow that the former is to override the latter, as if it had no relation to truth, the great object of the intellect.
Though the practical is as strictly reasonable as the scientific intellect, yet the latter faculty forms, as it were, the outer envelope of our mind, and none of the thoughts of our innermost intelligence can be expressed or considered till they are painted on the outer sphere: the idea of force must be reduced to terms of space and number, and the idea of morals must be embodied in phenomena or examples before they can be reasoned upon. The world of substance is mute till it can find its expression in the world of phenomena; phenomena therefore are presented to us in a double aspect: to the speculative reason, to be numbered, tabulated, and generalized into laws; to the inner intellect, to be read as symbols and hieroglyphics, or as vehicles and envelopes of the spiritual realities which lie within them or beyond them.
Most men regard phenomena in both these aspects; but generally one view predominates. The divine thinks little of natural science, but he is obliged to go to nature for his symbols and his language; the naturalist cares nothing for divinity, but trenches on it whenever he holds forth upon the hidden forces and origins of nature. And the divine may give a wrong representation of nature, and the naturalist a wrong explanation of it, and yet each may be true and sound in his own particular walk. The theology may be true, though it builds on the phoenix and the winged dragon. The observation of nature may be accurate, though the naturalist uses them to prove atheism. For each science may be right in its own sphere, wrong only when it wanders beyond it.
Though the naturalist is under no necessity of passing beyond his own sphere of sensible phenomena, the theologian must discourse about the realities of his science in terms of phenomena; for all language is moulded on these terms: thought is only to be expressed through images, and all [169]   images are originally derived from phenomena. Hence the theologian is supposed to run through the whole series of natural sciences, and to cull from each those facts or theories which serve best to express supernatural truths, and to prove the analogy of nature with revelation. Thus all known or supposed truths of the natural order are made, as it were, steps to the temple, and come to be looked at by divines as subordinate branches of theology, the daughters and the handmaids of the mother and mistress of all sciences. Divines have supposed that because the science of nature is the quarry whence they take their stones, that therefore they have a right to control its progress, and to judge of its conclusions. "The faith" they say, "is the foundation of all sciences;" therefore all sciences must derive their first principles from the faith, and must be controlled in their course by theology.
Naturalists, on the contrary, assert that the more we know of truth in any order, the more we know of God. He, therefore, that knows most sciences is the best theologian, and may claim to control divinity. Theology, they say, is the harmony of the sciences, the blossom which crowns their stem, the boss into which their vaulting-ribs converge ; they are the base and column, theology is the ornamental capital ; they give the premises, theology is the conclusion. If this were true, then the sciences would necessarily control theology, and philosophers would be the legitimate judges of the conclusions of divines.
No truce in the contest of science and faith is possible till both parties in this dispute lay aside their exaggerated claims, and own, on one side, that the province of faith is not the world of phenomena, but the world of spirit; that the articles of faith are not conversant with subjects on which mathematical proof is forthcoming, but with subjects about which human reason can give no apodictically certain response, and which it can therefore neither prove or refute with demonstrative evidence ; and that on the other hand all phenomena, with all particulars of their place, their magnitude, their time, their succession, and their number, belong exclusively to the scientific reason, and are properly out of the province of faith, which is exclusively conversant with invisible things.
But though faith, so far as its substance is concerned, is external to the sphere of the reason and the senses, yet as the Christian faith rests upon revelation, and as all revelation must offer us some criterion or sign of its truth, and as this sign must be within the province and subject to the [170] tests of our speculative reason, it follows that accidentally revelation becomes complicated with the world of phenomena. Nevertheless the phenomena, thus interwoven with revelation, are not removed from the realm of reason and observation; on the contrary, it is through them that revelation appeals, and, if one might say so, submits to the reason and judgment of man. An asserted revelation, speaking about heavenly things, may speak truly or falsely; we have no direct means of testing its accuracy. But if it is accompanied by a sign; if the prophet divides the sea, or raises the dead, or fore- tells what shall happen tomorrow, next year, or next century; or tells something that has happened, which he could never have discovered by natural means, but which may be afterwards verified, then we have a means of putting his veracity and his supernatural mission to the proof; and the conclusion which we draw is preliminary to faith. No man is bound to have faith in the sign before it is proved. But having once on its evidence given credit to the prophet's mission, we are bound to believe his testimony concerning invisible things, even though their truth is not otherwise brought home to our understanding.
Still, the understanding is not merely passive in receiving the articles of faith. As the reason has its own innate laws in the spheres of space and time, to which phenomena must conform themselves, or be pronounced impossible, so the understanding has its own innate laws in the spheres of power, knowledge, and will, any contradiction to which ought to be fatal to the pretensions of so-called truths in the spiritual order. As no testimony, no sign, could force us to believe that a thing both is and is not at the same time and in the same sense, or that black is white, so nothing could force us to think that impurity, injustice, passion, falsehood, or impotence is the highest manifestation of power, reason, or will. The preliminary requisites to faith are therefore that in their substance its articles should not contradict, but should agree with, the fundamental principles and innate laws of our understanding; and that their signs or evidences should be found true when tested by observation and reason. These preliminaries being fulfilled, there ought to be no further struggle.
It must be, then, in these two provinces that the alleged " eternal contest and incompatibility of faith and reason" is to be looked for. In that case, either faith must be incompatible with the very structure and innate laws of our under- standing, or else its signs and evidences must have been proved to be either impositions or delusions. Outside these limits the alleged contest is a mere dream.
[171] The words faith and reason are used by disputants in a very loose way. Reason is taken to mean either (1) the mind or understanding, which distinguishes man from beast ; or (2) the intellectual principles and logical laws, which are the foundation and method of reasoning; or (3) the love of scientific pursuits, the curiosity and interest which make a man a philosopher; or (4) science itself. So faith means either (1) a peculiar faculty; or (2) the law of belief on testimony ; or (3) a habit of mind prone to absorb itself in religion, and apt to believe in the supernatural ; or (4) the credenda, or the dogmas believed. Now we say that in none of these senses is there any essential opposition between reason and faith.
I. Between reason, in the sense of mind or rational faculty, and faith, or believing faculty, there can be no opposition, because faith is no such faculty, and therefore can- not be contrasted with the faculty of reason. Faith is no independent power; it can only be a function of the reason, for the reason is our only faculty capable of believing. To believe, is to know after a certain sort. But all that can be known is known by the reason; there is no other faculty of knowledge in the human soul, nor can we form any idea of such a power. Therefore whatever we know in any sort, certainly or uncertainly, by faith, science, or opinion, we know by the reason, or not at all. Hence to oppose faith to reason as a rival faculty is only possible to a fanaticism, like early Lutheranism, which asserted faith to be a new faculty supernaturally added to the mind, a new member of the understanding, unlike any of its natural faculties, and therefore incomprehensible to the natural man, but a super-added gift, standing in the same relation to the spiritual world as the reason to the natural world. This fanatical opinion has caused many of our difficulties; for philosophers hearing Christians boast of a new faculty above reason, and incomprehensible to all who had it not, came to consider it as a mystical transcendental dreamland, the asylum of all the innocent delusions and dangerous impostures which lie beyond the sphere of reason. But even so there is no separate faculty for impostures and delusions ; the same sense both sees and dreams ; the same reason is the place of knowledge clear and confused, and of opinion true and false. Faith is no faculty, but a habit; it is an education, a use, ease, readiness, illumination, and direction of a faculty, but no new limb added to the mind. A dog or cat cannot have faith, because it has no mind to make the act of faith; but if faith were a new and independent faculty, a superfetation [172] of the brain, it might be grafted on animal instinct as easily as on human reason. Hence the faculty of reason stands in no opposition to faith, because faith is only a function of reason, one of its modes of working, and no more possible without reason than geometry or mechanics. Before reason and faith can be usefully contrasted, they must be reduced to the same denominations; there is no profit in comparing things that have no common definition.
II. Is there, then, any necessary opposition between faith, or the intellectual principle of belief and reliance on testimony, and reason, or the principles and laws of reasoning? The very terms of the question compel us to answer "No." For though faith and reason are brought nearer together, yet faith is here only a species of reason, and so incapable of being contrasted with it ; we may contrast cow and horse, but not cow and animal. Faith, as now defined, is only a subordinate species, comprehended under the more general notion of reason ; and who can deny that the principle of reliance upon testimony is one of the first laws of reason, whether practical or speculative? If testimony were rejected, science would be nowhere. Next to nothing could be scientifically known of geography, or history, or politics, or geology, or any other inductive or mixed science. The character of our intellect, as well as of our heart, depends on our education, reading, conversation, and sympathies. He who mistrusts all truth till he has tried it for himself has but a narrow field of knowledge, and has yet to show why his own senses are so much more trustworthy than other men's. The wider our field, the more we must use others' eyes, and trust their witness. But every such act is, as the early Christian apologists pointed out, an act of faith ; and whether faith is given to human or to superhuman testimony, the act is of the same genus. This is the fundamental idea of faith ; it is a wide genus of mental operations, and of this genus religious faith is one species. To treat this species as if it were a new abnormal and unnatural state of mind, is to open the gate to a prolific brood of errors. Faith, then, in this second sense, so far from being opposed to reason, is the name for a highly important habit and act of our reasoning powers.
III. Faith, in its third sense, may be contrasted with reason in the sense of the cultus of science the love of nature, and the curiosity to find out the reasons of things. Faith, in general, is belief on testimony; Christian faith is belief in virtue of the Christian testimony. In it we seem to distinguish three elements. The basis is the prejudice, pre- [173] sumption, or suspicion that God exists, that He is no Epicurean deity, but one who personally interferes to reward or punish, the good or the evil. This suspicion of the mind branches into an anxiety that questions and a good-will that is ready to receive any testimony that may answer the question which the pure reason cannot solve, "Who is this God?" And this anxiety and good-will are the foundation, the first element of faith. Next comes a purely rational act--the discussion of the credentials of the witnesses who bring us the testimony. This is the true office of reason; by itself it is incapable of solving the question about the Nature and Personality of God. An apostle is as unable to discover the answer as any other man; it would therefore be foolish to believe the apostle's testimony about it, unless he could bring proofs of having received a special communication from the being whom the understanding presages and divines, but whom the reason cannot find, or feel, or see, or describe. These proofs are the special signs of revelation, and it is in discussing these that reason has its rights and its prerogatives, even in the presence of an alleged communication from God. And this is the second, or rational element of faith. The third element is the submission of the understanding to the message after the reason has countersigned the credentials. The intellect, in submitting, admits the new doctrine into its code of laws as a new principle of thought and action, a touchstone of philosophy, a rule to distinguish good and evil, a principle of development and life, a mould for its opinions, habits, and conduct. Though after this the substance of the mind remains only what it was before, yet the new horizon which is opened to it appears to it like a new creation and a new life. The soul which believes that it has received the truth from God can scarcely help proceeding a step further, to the belief that it receives other help besides the new light. The Almighty and All-Good has more to give than a dry proposition, a definition, or an axiom. If we communicate at all with Him, the communication cannot end with mere dogma. The soul here catches a glimpse of the system of grace, which it finds impossible to confine to the supernatural functions of religion ; besides attributing its faith and its charity to God, the soul sees that what it before reckoned to be only natural acts were all performed with His concur- rence. Of ourselves, we are non-existent ; the same creative hand and force which is needed to call us into being, is needed every moment to sustain us in being. Our existence is a perpetual creation ; every pulse of life requires the free concurrence, the grace, of the Creator. To the eye of faith, [174] then, all nature is transfigured, and becomes in one sense only the continuation and complement of the creative and supernatural Providence of God.
(1.) Now faith has to be compared with reason in each of these three elements, the first of which is the presumption of the being of a God. This feeling is partly due to the under- standing, partly to the affections, for its object is one to- wards which our whole nature yearns ; and the question is, whether the presumption that there is a God, a rewarder and punisher, and whether the hopes and fears that secretly prompt our affirmation of His existence, are rational or irrational. Can reason overthrow them, or do they overthrow reason? The presumption that there is a God arises from the very structure of our understanding, to which the conceptions of power, reason, and will are at least as original and fundamental as those of space and time. If we are necessitated to affirm space and time, we are equally forced to affirm power, knowledge, and will. If we can set no limit to the former, neither can we to the latter. We are as much forced to suppose a power transcending all other powers, a reason comprehending without being composed of all other reasons, and a will supreme over all other wills, as we are to suppose a space that comprehends all parts of space, and a duration that comprehends all moments of time. These are fundamental assumptions of the mind, which are presupposed in every act of thought ; the mind has no demonstration of them, for they are before all argument, the necessary prejudices and prejudgments of reason, and therefore in perfect harmony with reason. Neither can the presumptions which spring from the misgivings of conscience, and from our hopes and fears, be said to be against reason. They do not lie in the same plane with reason, and so there can be no true comparison, and therefore no essential contradiction between them.
But there may be much fortuitous interference, if only from our inability to do more than one thing at a time. "One fire drives out one fire; one nail, one nail; Rights by rights founder, strengths by strength do fail."
Love or ambition, or any other hopes and fears, religious or irreligious, may drive out philosophy, may interfere both with our thinking and our acting. They are the internal obstacles which " give us pause," and " puzzle the will ;" through them " the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought." But science does not lose by religious hopes and fears more than by any other. The progress of science is not worked out by the million, but by [175] the tens and units. The multitude whose "talk is of bullocks," or who return weary from the field, desk, shop, or parade, or from the ball-room or billiard-table, have no wish or power to attend to scientific pursuits. The person who gives up all his time to religious exercises would not find himself in any more disadvantageous position.
Moreover, as pleasure and facility in operation are generally the test of a man's particular talent, those who take much pleasure in devotion and little in science show that they have no special capacity for the latter occupation. The faithful mind, which has true religious tenderness and facility in receiving divine impressions, is not usually found to be the best instrument for philosophical investigation. The ever-present presumption that there is a God, and that He has revealed Himself to man--the deliberate preference of the unseen to the seen--the depreciation of that which, however true, is only temporary below that which is believed to be eternal in its consequences, all these dispositions are difficulties in the way of such a total immersion in science as is generally requisite for eminence. Nevertheless, so far from religion being more detrimental to the pursuit of science than any other absorbing passion, it is the least so of all; because the act of religion is compatible with every human act; it is nothing separate; it is only the crown, the per- fume, the direction of our action. Every faculty may be directed to God's glory; every pursuit, scientific or other, may be followed in a religious spirit.
In order to realise precisely where the contrast lies be- tween science and faith, imagine two minds, one endowed with faith without science, the other with science without faith. Each of them will come to an opposite conclusion about the relative worth of the cultivation of the intellect, or of the inventive faculty on the one hand, and of the practice of religion on the other. While one holds that man's only business is to please God and save his soul, and retires into the desert to pray and meditate, the other is persuaded that knowledge is the only substantial good, the only rational object of man. These different feelings characterise two well-defined classes of men. Persons in whom the religious element prevails may possibly have a scientific genius and success in the pursuit; but they will never make science the end of their existence it will always be a mere means to further religion. But persons in whom the scientific temper prevails would postpone all interests to those of science, and sacrifice wealth, health, family, friends, and life itself to their habitual and absorbing study. They become enthusiasts [176] for their own pursuits; they are irritated with every thing that seems to interfere with them. They grow suspicious as misers, who see a thief in every stranger. They are jealous of rival branches of knowledge, and invent contradictions where none exist. They exemplify the real nature of the contradiction between science and faith, which can only spring from the narrow-mindedness of the faithful or of philosophers. All pursuits that can absorb the mind may be destructive of one another. Matrimony may interfere with mathematics, and rifle-shooting with book-keeping. So may religion interfere with science. But by this rule any possible pursuit ought to be a pretext for irreligion, and it ought to be necessary to adopt infidel views before beginning algebra or astronomy. Yet it has been found very possible for a man to say his morning and evening prayers, avoid sin, and fulfil his duties, at the same time that he was devoting twelve hours a day to history, statistics, or chemistry. There is nothing in botany to make a man deny purgatory or the power of the keys ; nor is there any reason why a good Catholic may not be as profound in science as he may be eminent in art. Columbus, Copernicus, and Pascal are no bad pendants to Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Angelo, and Raffaelle.
Religious faith is only one kind of faith; and the philosopher and discoverer must have their faith, as well as the theologian and the moralist. A cold scepticism and undue caution, a fear of venturing beyond the immediate horizon, are elements of character as fatal to scientific as to religious greatness. The scepticism that men call caution in religion they would call nonsense in other spheres of thought or action ; but religion is the only territory where impossi- bilities are found not only credible, as Tertullian says, but practicable also. Though fatalism is impossible in practice, it survives as a religious creed ; and thbugh the scepticism which refuses to own the obligation of acting till one's own arbitrary conditions of subjective certainty are fulfilled is found impossible in domestic or social life, and is banished even from philosophy, yet it has its snug corner in religion, from which no proof of its absurdity can draw it forth. Scepticism, hissed off every other stage, has found a home in the sanctuary, and sensible men are not ashamed of pro- fessing a religion with which each act of their lives is in notorious contradiction. For where there is real action there can be no scepticism. The adventurous confidence of faith is the characteristic of all great men : "'They wrought in faith,' and not 'They wrought in doubt,' Is the proud epitaph inscribed above [177] Our glorious dead...Because he did believe, Columbus sailed For that new world his inner eyes had seen. He found; so faith its new worlds yet shall find, While doubt shakes its wise head and stays behind. .... Because we have believed our knowledge comes; Belief, not doubt, will touch the secret spring." [ Faith, then, or a generous and confiding temper, is as necessary for science as it is for religion. Sceptics are bound to show how science would be possible if it was approached with that doubt, mistrust, and dislike which they recommend in matters of religion. Science and religion may be, and often are, separated, and then the mind which is intent on the one is very likely to be inattentive to the other ; but in neither can any real progress be made without that liberality of mind which ventures all in pursuit of the object. They that seek self, and go about to establish, not the laws of na- ture, but their own theories, are hypocrites both in science and in religion. The first element of faith, then, is a pre- sumption of reason, and a moral venturesomeness in risking something for the inner aspirations of the soul ; and as this is an element indispensable for all the higher processes of reason, there cannot be here any essential incompatibility be- tween reason and faith. (2.) The second element of faith follows naturally from the first. The understanding presumes that an infinite power, wisdom, and will exist ; the conscience presumes that there is a Supreme Judge, who will finally reward all merit and de- merit ; and the reason, incapable of finding a direct demon- stration of these presumptions in the world of natural phe- nomena, is naturally driven to seek an indirect one in testi- mony. It presumes that a revelation of God to man is possible ; and the man who knows that it has not been made to himself, seeks it " at second-hand" from others. Mr. F. Newman refuses all validity to this "faith at second-hand," on the grounds, first, of the impossibility of proving the revelation ; secondly, of the possible immorality of the things revealed. We are, he says, unable to know the meaning of such asser- tions as those of St. Paul, that " Christ appeared to him," or that " he had received of the Lord" certain dogmas, or that his Gospel was " given him by revelation." " If any modern made such statements to us, and on this ground de- manded our credence, it would be obligatory on us to ask what he meant by saying he had a revelation. Did he see a sight or hear a sound ? or was it an inward impression? and how does he distinguish it as divine?" The ground of our credence is not the manner in which the revelation is given to the prophet, but the reality or truth of the sign which seals his mission. Though the prophet could give no account of how the revelation came to him, yet if he could work a miracle to show that it had come, he would be credible. If a prophet suddenly came among a party of persons all unde- cided about, but anxious for, a decision on the questions of God and the soul, heaven and hell ; and if he declared that ho was commissioned to answer their doubts ; that the know- ledge which they sought had been given to him, how he knew not ; but that to prove the reality of the communication he was able to raise a dead man to life, to cure a paralytic, to utter a prophecy, every body would believe him on the ground of the sign, and accept his message as coming from. God, though he could give no account of the method of its communication. Thus this method is no part of the ground of credit, and the critical faculty is under no obligation to examine it before giving assent. But suppose the substance of the communication is im- moral. " Shall I slay my wife" (as Abraham would have slain his son) "in obedience to a voice in the air?" Certainly not, except in such a case as that of Abraham's, every great step of whose life had been in obedience to such a voice, the infallible accuracy of which he had been long ago convinced of. The isolated case of Abraham can never be made a general rule ; for a revelation, by the very force of the term, is not meant to teach what we know, but what we know not. No one is ignorant that it is immoral to murder one's wife. But before revelation we do not know what are the sanctions of the law against murder, what supernatural penalties the murderer must expect. Revelation enforces the known, clears the doubtful, and indicates the unknown means of communication between God and His creatures. A pre- tended revelation, which contradicts known facts and uni- versal principles of morals, is an imposition which refutes itself. Hence, in contrasting reason with the second element of faith, the discussion of the evidence, we may pass by, as immaterial, the method by which the mind of the prophet was illuminated, and we need only attend to the signs which prove his commission, and to the matter of his message so far as it agrees with or contradicts those principles of under- standing and conscience which are already established by the light of nature. (3.) The third element of faith is the reception of the re- Reason and Faith. 179 vealed message into the mind as a new principle of thought and action, and a touchstone of truth and goodness. This is the submission of the intellect. As soon as this act has been once performed, we have renounced, as Christian doctors teach us, all our rights of doubting about the doctrines we have thus received. And this renunciation is construed into an invincible and eternal opposition between reason and faith. Henceforth their methods, and the habits of mind which they engender, must, it is said, be quite incompatible. For science submits all its doctrines to reason, faith requires the submis- sion of the reason to the doctrine ; science proceeds by doubt- ing, faith dies by doubt. Science is ever ready to review its most positive assertions ; but an act of faith would be impos- sible if we reserved the liberty of doubting under given con- tingencies, for to make provision for future doubt is to con- fess present uncertainty. Now a system which cuts off all future inquiry, and puts a barrier to reason by making doubt a sin, is pronounced to be destructive of all philosophy and science. The question is, whether faith forbids doubt in any legi- timate subject of speculation ? Christians, as well as infidels, know that doubt is the instrument of knowledge, or rather the hungry void that strives to fill itself with learning. Dante, with the scholastics, calls doubt the sucker at the root of truth, which naturally pushes us on to the summit of knowledge. . . . . " nasce, a guisa di rampollo Apple del vero, il dubbio ; ed e natura Ch' al somino pinge noi di collo in collo." " II faut avoir ces trois qualites," says Pascal, f< Pyrrhonien, Geometre, Chretien souinis ; et elles s'accordent et se tem- perent en doutant ou il faut, en assurant ou il faut, en se soumettant ou il faut." Doubt is the great incentive to study; without " modest doubt, the beacon of the wise," there is no curiosity, no questioning, no response, no phi- losophy. Yet philosophy herself forbids doubts on certain points. The first principles and axioms of the understanding are not subjects for discussion. The grounds of any science are assumed as unquestionable by that science. He that has once determined to act, must resolutely put down all doubts that trouble him while acting, unless he would be like Hamlet, continually resolving to do, yet doing nothing but resolve. But in most of these cases the certainty is only provisional, not absolute ; whereas faith requires an absolute surrender of the right of doubt, not for a time, but for ever. But there are plenty of analogies for this. No man reserves 180 Reason and Faith. the right of doubting the axioms of mathematics, or any other universal and necessary truths. So also, in the sphere of the contingent, no man pretends to doubt about his present con- sciousness, the events of his past experience, or the evidence of his senses, and of unquestionable testimony. There are thousands of truths stored up in our minds concerning which we never can claim the right of doubting, and yet science and philosophy are safe. It may be that reason is equally uninjured by that renunciation of doubt which faith requires. Faith only requires us to renounce certain doubts. We may freely examine the signs under the sanction of which credence is demanded ; and we may compare the creed, or matter proposed to our belief, with the fundamental axioms of our understanding and conscience, not in order to see whether it agrees with our preconceptions of what it should be, but in order to convince ourselves that it is not inconsistent with those axioms. Therefore, as a great apologist writes, " though objections against the evidence of Christianity are most seri- ously to be considered, yet objections against Christianity, as distinguished from objections against its evidence, are frivolous." Still the question recurs, Does not faith, after a man has once submitted to its dogmas, with or without this previous examination, denounce all fresh inquiry, and make doubt a sin to be avoided and cast out like other sins, to be treated with no more respect or management than impure thoughts, or the desire to pick a neighbour's pocket ? And does not this course produce an unreasoning habit of mind, eminently hostile to science ? It seems that each class of doubts should be reviewed on its own merits. To classify them first by their subjective cha- racters : some doubts are mere scruples, fidgety reviews of what has already been often determined, reproductions of objections long ago sufficiently answered. Reason no more claims the right of continually reexamining these points, than of continually making fresh experiments to prove once more whether fire burns or arsenic poisons. Weak, irra- tional, scrupulous doubts need not be treated as rational, but should be exorcised in the roughest and readiest way, by an act of will, or by attending to other things. But when doubts are attended with o}1posite character- istics ; when the mind is unable to answer objections, to see its way through the labyrinth of argument, and to find the foundation of its faith, then it appears that human reason re- quires a different treatment. For if such doubts are shirked, instead of their being expelled, the throne of reason is ab- Reason and Faith. 181 dicated to them ; they do not depart, because we simply refuse to see them. The reason is not like the passions. In the warfare of the flesh, cowards are the victors ; a passion neglected dies out ; but a thought that has once importuned the mind takes root there, and ramifies by some obscure process which physiologists call " unconscious cerebration." The instincts of the flesh, being irrational, and incapable of understanding reason, must be treated as slaves of the reason, and commanded without the right of repty ; for " the slave knows not what his lord does." If the reason argues with the instincts, it "makes all things known unto them/'' as its friends and counsellors, and abandons itself to their guid- ance. But the rational doubt must be overcome rationally, not by inattention, carelessness, dissipation, or business, but by reasons. This, presumably, is the meaning of the pre- cepts, " prove all things," and "be ready to give a reason of your hope." If we were writing a moral essay, we should here enlarge upon the humility and other moral qualities with which the solution of such doubts should be accompanied. But we must mention one condition, which is almost as much intellectual as moral, namely, patience. If it is foolish to overwhelm doubts with business, it is equally foolish to overwhelm busi- ness with doubts, and to refuse to eat one's dinner, shave the beard, wash the face, or change the shirt, till the mind is set at rest. Patience of difficulties is one of the first principles of reason, and is quite distinct from the attempt to suppress difficulties by refusing to see them. Keep your eyes open to them, but at the same time remember that the course of mental enlightenment is extremely slow; its progress is counted by ages ; its single steps require years and decades. It is idle to forestall the solution of a problem which cannot be determined for the next century. But gradually, by patient suspense of judgment, and by the insensible action of an unconscious brooding of the mind over its object, many a silent change is effected within us, our difficulty assumes its right proportions, exaggerations disappear, and so at length, with altered views and enlarged experience, we clear up the obscurities which perplexed us. In this way discoveries which at first seemed subversive of Christianity ha^ve gradu- ally been found only to destroy some opinions that had accidentally been mixed up with Christian philosophy, and to be more capable of combining with it than the opinions which they displaced. The outcry with which Christendom greeted Galileo and Cuvier has died away, and their science has been found to harmonise with Christian belief. We con- 1 83 Reason and Faith. fess that these outcries have shown the believers in revelation, Catholic and Protestant alike, to be singularly deficient in the intellectual patience for which we are pleading. We have wearied ourselves with battling against opinions that were both true and harmless to Christian faith. We have cried "wolf" too often, and our cries have served " Only to show with how small pain The wounds of faith are cured again." Proudhon is not altogether without justification in saying, ''Though Christians have been beaten in all their battles, they still subsist, ready to feign a reconciliation between rea- son and faith, to accommodate their biblical texts to the data of science, to introduce a little more reserve into their morals, and a semblance of toleration into their government. Like the reed in the fable, they bend and break not. In the fight with their foolish rivals, they will last, by bend- ing, another eighteen centuries. Before philosophy, they bend and live ; before science, they bend and live ; in the pre- sence of revolution, they bend and live ; and they will live on till they are attacked in their fortress," till atheists can prove that man can live better without God than with Him. Chris- tians have been always overcome, but only because they have always fought for more than the Christian dogma ; because at any given moment they have failed to recognise that all except the central core of revealed truth is human addition, and therefore fallible, changeable, and obnoxious to decay ; and because they have defended the accidental and temporary vestment of truth with as much obstinacy as they defended the truth itself, till misfortune opened their eyes to their error, and they adopted the opinion which they had sought to repress : thus have they always " bent and lived." But if we are bound to be patient with philosophers, they must also be patient with us. They must not ask us to change the accidents and clothing of our faith with every new hypothesis. When Christian doctrines are admitted into the mind as principles of judgment and action, and tests of truth and goodness, they necessarily become incorporated with all our theories and principles. Hence it becomes our interest to maintain the stability of these theories, because while they are in continual flux the faith that is mixed up with them can scarcely remain steady. We cannot then regard them with indifference, or lightly abandon them at the first puff of doubt. But this hostility to doubt and to change is not peculiar to religion. Common to all practical systems, it shows the contrast between practice and specula- tion, not the contest between reason and faith. Speculation Reason and Faith. 183 is both dogmatic and diffident ; for while its laws are only generalisations of facts positively known, a new discovery may modify them, or a fresh hypothesis supersede them. Speculation also is quite independent of practice ; a man may change his theories daily, while he treads the same round of custom for years. Faith, on the contrary, is both a speculative view and a moral principle. Hence it makes the same demands as other practical philosophies or arts. The moment a theory becomes an art, and is put in practice, it must resign its right to continual fluctuation, and conser- vatism becomes the medium in which it breathes. We must be content with the language, the grammar, and vocabulary of our forefathers ; we must use the decimal notation, in spite of any private prejudice in favour of a duodecimal one ; watches might easily be improved but for the obstructiveness of the watch-makers ; we might easily make better standards of mensuration, but observers still stick to Fahrenheit, to feet and inches, to pints and quarts, as the buying and selling public sticks to its shillings and pence in preference to florins and mils. Physicians and agriculturists are as hostile to in- novation as Christians to new theories in science. When an opinion obtains the crown and sanction of practice, it must pay for its preferment by giving up its right to change. Faith then finds its justification in that common intellectual Toryism which attaches itself to old institutions with all their appurtenances, opposes reform for reform's sake, and hates the liberalism that would always be tinkering our con- victions as if they were intended for nothing else than to be mended. Hence follows a practical rule : that faith, once received as an operative principle in the heart, does not cease to be binding whenever an unsolved doubt or difficulty is sus- pended in the intellect. The mind must work at the solu- tion with patience and circumspection, and without pre- judice to Christian practice. Next, to classify doubts by their objects, we find two elements in our belief, the dogmas which we believe, and the evidence which makes them credible. The latter element is human, and can never be the formal object of theological faith. The dogma rests on divine authority, and is that object. This distinction shows how the rule just given is easily applicable ; though we originally come through the human to the divine, yet after having attained the divine we may hold it in security, even while the human is suffering under a temporary obscuration and uncertainty. Once at- tained, the divine element is independent of the human, and 184 Reason and Faith. does not vary with its changes. A man may still hold fast the formal object of his faith, even while he is reviewing with the most anxious misgivings the road by which he came to it, or the instrument through which he received it, as he may still enjoy his property, though a lawsuit is pending about the title. The enjoyment is somewhat marred, but the possession is real and valid till the suit is decided against him. If this is true, it follows that no Christian is debarred by his faith from the fullest examination and consideration of all that is human in Christianity its evidences, its polity, its history, its action on the world of morals, politics, arts, and sciences. He may hold fast to the faith, while all else is in a state of confusion and transition, because the dogmas of the faith are addressed to those powers of the intellect which transcend the sphere of phenomena in time and space, to which science is confined. Mere knowledge does not make up faith ; it is always something stronger than the simple logical result of the evidences. However well proved our religion may be, these proofs do not make a man a Christian. Belief is not only in " wisdom and signs." The Samaritans believed, not through the woman who bore evidence, but through Him whom they saw. There is something deeper than Christian knowledge, which we may call Christian understanding ; the knowledge is a positive faculty, that observes and classifies its observations, and deduces the laws of their succession. It is, therefore, in a constant state of flux and reflux, and is dependent on ex- ternal and internal accidents. But the understanding is an intuitive discernment, that reads the hidden reality beneath the husk of phenomenon, that refuses to be content with the phantoms of imagination or the tricks of logical wrangling, but strives to view the Deity in spiritual vision, as an actu- ally existing reality, intimately present around us and within us, independently of all thought or consciousness of His presence. Hence, as we may be logically convinced of God, and yet not fix our soul's eye upon Him, so, conversely, our soul's eye may be fixed upon Him, even while the reason is assailed with the darkest temptations and doubts. Argu- ments against His existence may be pr3sented to the mind with the most vivid force, while those for it may seem to have lost all point and power ; the Christian knowledge may have become a chaos, while the Christian understanding re- mains clear and unclouded. This truth will become clearer if we analyse the religious function of the mind. It is not merely a religious sentiment, but it is both an anxious search for an answer to the absorb- Reason and Faith. 185 ing questions about our future life and destinies, and also a demand for an unchangeable sanction of the moral law. These demands are not mere wants, vacant spaces in our na- ture passively waiting to be filled, but they are active, search- ing forces, tentacles which stretch themselves forth to meet the expected answer, to hug it close, and to digest and assi- milate it ; or they are abundant fountains springing up in the soul, violently repressed for a time, till education forms a channel for their flow, but, in default of this, ready to seize on the first channel that accident presents. Souls with these yearnings come to the Church, accept her teaching, and then direct all their streams into the channels she points out, live the Christian life, and find it able to satisfy all their spiritual needs. The faith of these souls can never be measured simply by the amount of external evidence by which the Church was first approved to them, any more than our faith in the Creator's infinity is bounded by our imperfect know- ledge of His finite creation. The internal element of faith is stronger than the external one ; the void, the aspiration, the endeavour to find a religion, convince a man that there must be a religion to find that there must be a God ; but if this God has never communicated Himself, there could be no religion. There must be such a communication, then, and the soul is ready on the slightest proof to admit it. If after I have believed and practised my belief, you tell me that I am all wrong, and 'only attempt to prove to me that God cannot have revealed Himself, I answer that I have tried, and have known ; it is too late to disturb that conviction ; it is useless to attempt to destroy my faith. Show me a better faith, and I may follow you ; tell me that none is pos- sible, and I know that you are speaking falsely. The abso- lute certainty of there being some religion arises from the very mechanism of the soul ; the kind of religion is determined by external education and evidence. If the religion thus deter- mined flows on calmly in my soul, meets with no internal opposition, but proves adequate for all my aspirations, no external reasons can compel me to reconsider it. Logical difficulties seem only argumentative puzzles ; the evidence on which religion was first received may be inadequate, but there may be other adequate evidence in existence ; whether the steps of the reasoning were true or false, the conclusion is true in fact. Such is the rational resolve of the soul, the whole torrent of whose religious nature is an internal force, only originally directed by the external evidence. Disturb this evidence as you will, the impetus remains the same, and flows on in the same bed, till you dry up the source while you are 1 88 Reason and Faith. digging a new channel. While the waters are flowing, they must find or make an outlet. Till it is made, there may be a balance of probabilities in the evidence ; but this is only the provisional stage. As soon as one scale kicks the beam, the weights therein retain no value whatever ; as soon as a nation is exterminated, its resistance is as though it had never been ; victory may have been long uncertain, but when it came it was decisive. So in the soul, the torrent could not divide, or make a compromise between two channels ; it was forced to choose one, and though the original choice was made on slight probability, even this external direction, when added to the imperious internal necessity, is sufficient to explain and to justify the obstinate certainty of faith. Bearing in mind the distinction between " knowledge" and " understanding," and the fact that science is exclusively engaged in the department of " knowledge," it is clear that the claim of the philosopher to the right of meddling with revealed dogma, or the divine part of faith, cannot be enter- tained. Any contest between science and faith on this ground must be a usurpation on the part of science. Reve- lation once accepted, no man has a right to alter that which he owns to be revealed. Yet English society, weak in the Christian element that resolutely adheres to the unchange- able tradition, is rife with philosophers who claim the power of criticising revelation as well as science, because religion, like other social and political institutions, has been reformed, and may be again renewed and improved by human agency. JSTow, to justify this claim of the right of reformation, it is necessary to hold one of two propositions : either that revela- tion is divine, and then only an enigma, left to be gradually elucidated by reason ; or that it is not divine at all. What is the idea of revelation ? Our understanding is so formed as to be able to ask some questions which it can never answer ; its curiosity reaches farther than its investi- gation. Man has glimpses of spaces, the contents of which he cannot distinguish. And yet he is most profoundly inte- rested in these questions Is there a God ? Is the world eternal, or created by God ? Have I a soul ? Is my soul deathless, or will it die with my body ? Is this my true place ? Am I to look for my highest happiness here, or in another life ? Am I in my original condition, as it was first planned ? Was man created in and for this ignorance and uncertainty, or, if not, how did he fall into it, and how may he deliver himself from it ? Revelation seems to answer these questions, but if its answer is only an enigma it does no more than seem. Nature, without revelation, gives us as Reason and Faith. 187 many enigmas as we please. To reduce the teaching of revelation to the progressive elucidation of a riddle, is to confound natural science and revelation. The distinction of their teaching is not that one instructs by things, the other by words, for revealed tradition may be perpetuated in symbols and ceremonies, but that, whereas the lesson of nature is obscure, dubious, capable of various interpretations, sugges- tive of questions that it either cannot answer or cannot with the answer afford any criterion of its truth, the lesson of revelation clears the obscurity, answers the doubt, fixes the sense, and provides the criterion. If this is denied, it will be difficult to distinguish between revelation and nature ; revelation will come to be considered a phase of nature, a natural and instinctive utterance of the understanding. When revealed truth is made to depend upon and vary with the interpretation of Scripture, and when criticism is continually modifying this interpretation, it soon comes to be understood that revelation is a rough ore, which needs to be smelted and refined, that man may render it clearer, im- prove it, and alter it. But if man can mend it, the original can hardly have been of more than human contrivance. "If Christianity," says Mr. George Combe, " was freed from many errors by the revival and spread of mere scholastic learning in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, much more may we expect that the interpretations of Scripture will be purified, corrected, and elucidated by the flood of light which the modern sciences will one day shed upon religion." What our forefathers could reform 300 years ago, we and our chil- dren may reform again and again. "What thought can think, another thought can mend/' Religion, considered as a subject for mending and patching, must always be open to reconsideration and doubt. Though the original datum, whether a revealed or a natural enigma, is not the pure issue of the brain, yet the whole interpretation is so ; and in this religion consists, just as science is the deduced law, not the natural fact. Religion, then (according to this theory), is investigation ; but wherever investigation is a duty, doubt is a duty. But to acknowledge a proposition to be revealed by God, and then to doubt of its truth, is impossible : thus a new definition of revelation is found needful it must be derived from man, not from God. Both revelation and science must be supposed to be equally human : revelation must be the happy guess of a mind guided by its fellow-feeling with nature ; science, the generalisation of the results of our ob- servation of nature. One is hypothesis, the other experiment. Revelation is the prophetic dream of what should be ; science 188 Reason and Faith. is the demonstration of what is. Revelation is the vague, terror-stricken feeling of the force of nature ; science is the clear picture of the Cosmos. Man's hopes and fears helped him to the revelation of the spiritual world ; science purifies his view, and gives a natural explanation of what appeared above nature. " Revelation/' says Miss Martineau, " only an- ticipates man's knowledge, and therefore when the knowledge is arrived at in natural course the revelation expires ; it is an instrument of temporary use, and falls to pieces when done with." Science examines the vague presentiments of revela- tion, and verifies or explodes them. Thus revealed religion becomes a " branch of philosophy," the philosophy of the hypothetical, with Mr. Combe ; or a poetical reverie, with Mr. F. Newman, " created by the inward instincts of the soul, and afterwards pruned and chastened by the sceptical under- standing ;" or, with Raymond Lully, a blind groping in the dark, soon to be superseded by the daylight of science. " Faith is the instrument of cognition for the rude and un- lettered, reason for the educated and subtle mind; faith is blind and blundering, like the touch ; reason nimble and sure, like the sight." Thus does the theory that revelation is a divine enigma gradually solved by reason, soon lead to the conclusion that it is not divine at all. "Still/' it may be said, "is there not a progress in Scrip- tural criticism ? Are not several interpretations, formerly received, now exploded ? Is there not a perpetual variation in the opinions of Christians about history, science, and phi- losophy, and a perpetual application of Scriptural language to each new view ?" This is true. But in the midst of all these inconstancies there may be, and there is, a constant ele- ment, a nucleus of unvarying dogma, which is the essence of the revelation and the true object of faith. The variations, at most, only affect the proofs and illustrations of these dogmas, not their substance. Without this invariable ele- ment revelation would be destroyed, or confounded with the variable element which each man may interpret as he sees good. The supposition that all religion may be reformed, that man may discuss on their own merits doctrines which he can only know by revelation, and that the progress of religious illumination grows out of the advance of science, confounds revelation with nature, and makes it only an im- pression or symbol of God's attributes, left to man to inter- pret as he can. If nature and revelation are to be contrasted, we must own that the truths revealed are really revealed are told plainly, and may be known infallibly. To maintain that they were imperfectly understood in former times, is to Reason and Faith. 189 imply that revelation was a deceitful oracle, pretending to answer a question that it really left unanswered ; it is to affirm that God propounded to our fathers a riddle which He left for us to solve. But is a riddle a revelation ? Kant has proved from a criticism of the reason itself, and the history of philosophy proves experimentally, that reason alone can give no secure answer to the great questions of the soul. Natural science does not pretend to answer them : it catalogues facts, makes statistical tables, and generalises the results, but at last has no more than a classified index to the book of nature, and an inventory of sensations. Not a step has been made towards a knowledge of the origin, essence, and destination of the world and man. "No power of genius," says Emerson, " has yet had the smallest effect in explaining existence ; the perfect enigma remains." " The human mind," says George Combe, "is incapable of pene- trating to a knowledge of the substance or essence of any being or thing in the universe ; all that it can discover are qualities and modes of action." But our minds are so con- stituted as to be continually and urgently asking for more than this " What am I ? what is the world ? who made me, and why ?" Science has no answer, and owns her ignorance. But scientific men often couple with the confession of their impotence the assertion that these questions are absolutely unanswerable, that phenomena are the only realities, and that whoever professes to have learnt about substance is either a fool or knave. But is it conceivable that man must ask questions to which there cannot be an answer ? If a man. comes forward to answer them ; if his answer is found by those who receive it wonderfully adapted to the wants of the soul, opening like a key the most intricate wards ; if more- over the man says, " This is no happy guess of mine it was revealed to me, no matter how ; but in proof of the fact of revelation I am commissioned to give these signs ;" if upon this he heals diseases by a word, raises the dead from the tomb, stills the winds and waves, predicts future events which duly come to pass, then is not the mind forced in spite of itself to believe ? Under these circumstances, is it not an absurd puzzle to say that though the mind can ask the ques- tions, it cannot receive the answer ? And to this answer Science can have nothing to object. She has already put herself out of court by confessing that she neither knows the essence of things, nor can discover it ; she cannot, then, object to what revelation tells us about this essence. If the answer had come from the mind that asked the question, Science might criticise the powers of the mind ; VOL. V. NEW SERIES. O 190 Expectation of the French Revolution. but when the answer comes from one who proves by signs that he is in communication with the supernatural world, Science has only to examine his credentials ; to object in limine that the communication is impossible is to beg the question. All her real rights are comprised in this office to examine whether the credentials or signs are true, and whether in the articles proposed to our faith, or in the modes by which they are made known and recommended to us, there is any thing contradictory to the principles of the under- standing, or the demonstrated truths of science. We have no space left to consider the relations between the faith in its fourth sense of the dogmas of religion, and science considered as the whole body of known natural truth. The subject is a vast one, and well deserves an attentive analysis. EXPECTATION OF THE FKENCH REVOLUTION. THERE is nothing which so favourably distinguishes modern from ancient historians as the importance which they allow to the immaterial metaphysical agents in human affairs, and their attempts to trace the progress of ideas, as well as the succession of events, and the reaction of one upon the other. Among those ideas which are at once causes and effects, which influence one series of events by reflecting another, the most important, but the most difficult to esti- mate, are the ideas which a nation entertains of its history. In its interpretation of its own experience it forms and ex- presses its notion of its own character and destiny, of its appointed part in the world and in the designs of God, and the lessons, the warnings, and the tendencies, by which it consents to be guided. These notions become a part as well as a result of its nature and of its history, and irresistibly direct its conduct. It is not, therefore, without reason that a living historian has reproduced in its legendary and poetic garb the story of early Rome, not so much in opposition to the conclusions of modern criticism, but because^ in order to understand a people's history, we must know its own idea of it, and must give a just weight to fables, not as truths, but as forces. So much truth there is in the saying that a people would be in the power of the man who should have the making of its ballads. The present derives its explanation from the past, as the past becomes intelligible from the present ; causes must be Expectation of the French Revolution. 191 examined in their effects, and effects undergtood in their causes. Neither is intelligible when considered alone. " What is the present but the shadow cast, Part by the future, partly by the past ?" There is a prophetic office in history, and our notions of the future are shaped according to our experience of the past. A people that has a consistent view of its career and of its position inevitably forms, in harmony with this view, some idea of the things that are to come. It discerns its ideal in the direction it has previously pursued, and its memories justify its anticipation. All these are part of the influences that form its character and spirit, and deeply modify its bearing. The past acts upon our conduct chiefly by the views of the future which it suggests, and the expec- tations it creates. It influences the present through the future. In their own glorious or mournful recollections nations found the hopes, the aspirations, and the fears which guide their course. Not because men act in uncon- scious conformity with their expectations, and bend their conduct according to their notions of fate, but forasmuch as history is not a result of human design, because there is something deeper than interest or conjecture in popular instinct, because patience and longanimity are attributes of the Providence which leads by long but sure preparation to great results, and conducts innumerable streams by the same current to the same goal, because intelligible warnings pre- cede great catastrophes, and nations read as it were in their consciences the signs of the times ; therefore there is a teaching in history which is equivalent to prophecy, and in which the historian recognises both a power and a token. Yet this is an element of their science which modern historians have altogether neglected. Many of the chapters of the famous history of human error have been written, and the imponderables and curiosities of history have been speci- ally cultivated ; but none have cared to trace the influence of prophecy on events, or rather of events on prophecy, and the reality of ideas of this kind has not been admitted. We have had writers who delight in portents and prodigies, and writers who believe in nothing but fixed laws ; but none have adopted into their inquiry the influence of that sort of prescience and prediction which ought to have been at- tractive to both, because it is a great instance of divine mercy, and at the same time the highest effort of human wisdom. Marvel-mongers have discouraged sober men from inquiring for reasonable instances of a faculty which degene- rates easily into the marvellous, and prophecies have been 192 Expectation of the French Revolution. noted and remembered in proportion to their unreasonable- ness and incredibility. But they are really both instructive and characteristic when they are founded on the signs of the times, and are uttered by men capable of discerning and exhibiting in the circumstances and conditions of their own age the seeds and causes of impending change. And this foresight, the privilege at first of the highest minds, gra- dually extends, as the development of things converts the speculation of the few into the instinct of the many ; that which was at first a prediction becomes a proverb and a commonplace, and the truth, which the wisest had divined, grows into a power when it is believed by the mass. No instance of this can be found which is more remark- able than the gradual rise of an almost general expectation of the Revolution, which had almost a hundred years of pre- paratory growth, and which was ripened and announced in every sphere of society and in every region of thought, in France. For it proceeded from no isolated cause, but came as the result of the whole political, social, religious, and intel- lectual progress of the age ; as a judgment on the Church and on the State, on the Court and the Parliament, on the administration of justice and on the administration of finance, on errors of philosophy and politics, ethics and literature ; and in every department in which the great convulsion was prepared, we may discover, along with the germ, the antici- pation of what was to come ; in every step of that down- ward course, at each period of that century of decline, from the time of Leibnitz to the time of Burke, as the conse- quence became more inevitable, the prospect became more distinct, and the presentiment more positive. " What must appear most strange/' says Tocqueville, " to us who have before our eyes the wrecks of so many revolu- tions, is that even the notion of a violent revolution was absent from the thoughts of our fathers. It was not dis- cussed, it was not even conceived In that French society of the eighteenth century which was about to fall into the abyss, nothing had yet given warning of decline/''* It is surprising that so great a writer should have been be- trayed into such a mistake. True it is that the blindness and ignorance of many was one of the marvels and one of the calamities of that age; but it is astonishing, not so much if we consider the danger that was really approaching, as the alarm with which it was expected. " A thousand horrid prophecies foretold it : * L'ancien Rdgirne et la Revolution, p. 219. Expectation of the French Revolution. 193 A feeble government, eluded laws, A factious populace, luxurious nobles, And all the maladies of sinking states, When public villany, too strong for justice, Shows his bold front, the harbinger of ruin." At the time of the greatest prosperity of Lewis XIV., when the French monarchy had reached the moment of its utmost splendour, the consequences of absolutism began to be foreseen. It made itself felt at the close of the seventeenth century in every way, and every where it created instruments by which retribution was to come. The Church was op- pressed, the Protestants persecuted or exiled, Jansenism con- verted by severity from a party into a sect, from an adver- sary into a disease ; the aristocracy was degraded, the people exhausted by taxes and wars, society corrupted, literature rendered unproductive by a selfish and haughty patronage. In all these things men saw omens of ruin. Racine, in 1698, lost the favour of the king by a memoir which he presented to Madame de Maintenon, on the state of the nation. "Does he think/' cried Lewis, " that he knows every thing because he knows how to make admirable verses ? and because he is a great poet, does he want to be minister?" A hundred years later, Napoleon, who was no patron of literature, de- clared that if Corneille were living, he would make him minister ; but Lewis was accustomed to see in poets only an object of patronage. Duclos relates that the Bishop of Limoges (Charpin) wrote to the king with so much power on the sufferings of the people, that Lewis was touched to such a degree that his health suffered. Soon after another appeal for the nation was made by a man who was the fore- most in another line. In 1707 Vauban published his Dime Royale, in which he describes the misery of the people, and demands a total revolution in the system of government. Ten per cent of the population lived by alms ; fifty per cent were too poor to give alms ; thirty per cent were fort mal- aisees, embarrassees de dettes et de proces ; about one per cent he reckoned fort a leur aise. Yet at that time there were no signs of communism, or even of sedition, among the poor. The revolutionary ideas had not gone down from the palace and the study to the cottage, so that it did not occur to men to question the right by which they suffered. Next to Vauban the loftiest character in the French army was a Huguenot, Marshal Catinat, and he was the first to perceive that the evils of the State were leading to a revolution. " France," he said, "is rotten from head to foot ; it must and will happen that she will be thrown upside down/' But the most earnest and prophetic protest against the 194 Expectation of the French Revolution. system of Lewis XIV. was that of Fenelon. In the war of the Spanish Succession the ambition of the king had in- volved him in an enterprise far beyond the resources of the country, and which raised to a tyrannical pitch the require- ments and the authority of the State. After nine years of unsuccessful war, the defeat of Malplaquet brought the State to the verge of ruin, and Lewis opened negotiations for peace at Gertruydenberg. He offered Alsace and Spain as the condition of a treaty ; he even agreed to pay subsidies to the allies for the purpose of expelling his grandson from his Spanish throne ; and the conferences were only broken off when his enemies insisted that he should also send his armies to fight against the cause which he had upheld for so many years. In this extremity the disgraced Archbishop of Cam- bray wrote a memoir on the state of the country, and on the means of saving it. "For my part, if I were to undertake to judge of the state of France by the traces of government which I see on this frontier, I should conclude that it exists only by a miracle ; that it is an old broken-down machine, which con- tinues by the force of the impetus it formerly received, and which will be destroyed utterly at the first shock. . . . The people no longer live the life of human beings, and their pa- tience is so hardly tried that it can no longer be relied on. ... As they have nothing to hope for, they have nothing to fear. .... The nation is falling into contempt, and is becoming the object of public scorn. There is no longer in the people, in our soldiers, or in our officers, either affection, or esteem, or confidence, or hope of recovery, or awe for authority/' The remedy which he proposed was the restoration of constitutional government by the convocation of Notables ; the remedy which was resorted to after eighty years, when it was too late. "I would have it left to the wisest and most considerable men in the nation to seek the resources necessary to save the nation itself. .... It would be neces- sary that every body should know how the funds are applied, so that all might be convinced that nothing should be em- ployed on the expenses of the Court. I admit that such a change might disturb the minds of men, and carry them suddenly from an extreme dependence to a dangerous excess of liberty. It is from fear of this drawback that I do not pro- pose that the States- General be convoked, which would other- wise be very necessary, and which it would be most important to restore/' But two years later Fenelon insisted on the absolute necessity of triennial sessions of the States-General. Taking a wider survey than that which his great con- Expectation of the French Revolution. 195 temporary confined to his own country, Leibnitz considered the preference which was already given to the natural and the exact sciences over historical studies as the commencement of a vast revolution. He is speaking of historical criticism, and goes on to say, " I believe that if this art, which was so long forgotten, has reappeared with brilliant eifect, and has been so carefully cultivated in the last two centuries, .... it is an act of Divine Providence which had chiefly in view to spread more light on the truth of the Christian religion. .... History and criticism are really necessary only to es- tablish the truth of Christianity. For I cannot doubt that if the art of criticism were ever totally to perish, the human instruments of divine faith, that is, the motives of credibility, will perish at the same time I believe that the great obstacle to Christianity in the East is that these nations are completely ignorant of universal history, and do not there- fore feel the force of those demonstrations by which the truth of our religion is established I see with regret the class of critical scholars daily diminishing, so that it may be expected to disappear altogether The disputes on re- ligion encouraged and excited this sort of study, for there is no evil that does not give birth to some good But at length, these disputes having degenerated into open war, and wise men seeing that after such long discussions and great bloodshed nothing had been gained, it happened that they began to make peace, and many persons grew disgusted with these questions, and in general with the study of former ages. Then ensued a revolution which was a new epoch in learning. Writers celebrated for splendid discoveries and successful systems turned men's minds to the study of na- ture, giving them the hope that with the help of mathematics they might succeed in knowing her. . . . Since that time an- cient learning and solid erudition have fallen into a sort 'of contempt; so that some authors affect to employ no quotations in their writings, either to hint at their genius, or to disguise their indolence. . It is in the interest of religion that sound learning should be preserved. Casaubonus gave a warning in his English writings, where he says with reason that he has great fears for piety, if the study of antiquity and classical literature is neglected for the sake of natural science/' Elsewhere he speaks of " the general revolution which men- aces Europe with the destruction of all that remains in the world of the generous sentiments of the ancients/' These opinions were amply confirmed by the events of later times. La Harpe, one of the few conspicuous infidels whom the Revolution converted, once said in his lectures at 196 Expectation of the French Revolution. the Lycee, " Atlieism is a pernicious doctrine, the enemy of social order and of all government/' He was denounced by Lalande, the great geometrician, who declared that he hoped this abomination had been uttered, not "par sceleratesse, mais par imbecillite." Condorcet says of algebra, " It in- cludes the principles of a universal instrument applicable to every combination of ideas." And in another passage he shows in a striking way the truth of what Leibnitz said con- cerning the social and political influence of mathematics and natural philosophy : " All errors in politics and morals are based on philosophic errors, which, again, are allied to phy- sical errors. There exists neither a religious system, nor a supernatural extravagance, which is not founded on ignor- ance of the laws of nature."* It was in reference to the same class of phenomena that Du Bos wrote in 1719 : "The philosophic spirit will soon do with great part of Europe what was formerly done to it by the Goths and Vandals, provided it continues to advance at the same rate as for the last seventy years/' But there were few who could distinguish at that early period the dan- gerous tendencies of a species of literature which was but just beginning, and which was still overshadowed by the reputation of the Augustan age, and many years went by before the ideas of the 18th century manifested to the world their destructive character. During the Regency other fears predominated, and the general discontent displayed itself by an address to the King of Spain, praying him to deliver France from the evils that threatened her from a despotism exercised by Dubois on behalf of the Duke of Orleans. The conspiracy, which was discovered and suppressed, aimed at the union of the French and Spanish crowns. The States-General were to be summoned ; and in their memorial to Philip V. it was intended that they should express them- selves in the following terms : " We do not vainly flatter ourselves, sire, in feeling persuaded that we shall hear from your mouth these consoling words, ' I feel for your suffer- ings ; but what remedy can I apply ?' You will see, sire, that union which is so necessary to both crowns accomplished in a manner which would render them irre- sistible. By this means you will restore tranquillity to a people who look on you as their father, and who cannot be indifferent to you. By this means you will prevent misfor- tunes which we dare not contemplate, and which you are compelled to foresee. How your majesty would reproach * Esquisse d'un Tableau historique dcs Progres de 1'Esprit humain, pp. 285, 313. Expectation of the French Revolution. 197 yourself, if that should happen which we have so much reason to apprehend !" The long and peaceful administra- tion of Fleury postponed the evil day, and the alarm sub- sided ; whilst Marshal Saxe even gave a transient lustre to the reign by the victory of Fontenoy. But while there was an apparent interruption in the decline of the State, the de- cline of religion was evident ; and from time to time the clergy drew attention to it, and pointed out the danger which would ensue to the whole fabric of society from the increase of unbelief. For fifty years before the revolution their warn- ings were incessant. In a panegyric on St. Augustine, pronounced 1736, Father Neuville said : " Let these detestable systems con- tinue to extend and to strengthen themselves, and their devouring poison will end by consuming the principles, the props, and supports which are necessary to the State Then, however nourishing the empire, it must all fall asun- der, sink down, and perish. To destroy it there will be no need of the thunders of God ; Heaven may trust to the earth for the accomplishment of its revenge. Carried away by the frenzy of the nation, the State will be plunged into an abyss of anarchy, confusion, slumber, inaction, decline and decre- pitude/' Twenty years later, Caveirac wrote : " The revo- lution of which I speak has already made great progress, and I pray the reader's attention to it The enemy is at our gates, and nobody sees him. He has confederates in the place, and all men are asleep. Bishops and magistrates, what will your astonishment be, when, at your waking, you will see the revolution accomplished \" A few years before this was published Lord Chesterfield had made the same remark. " All the symptoms which I have ever met with in history previous to great changes and revolutions in go- vernment now exist and daily increase in France/' This was in 1753. In 1763 Labat preached a sermon at Paris, in which he spoke of the decline of religion and the progress of philosophy, in consequence of the character of the govern- ment, from which, he said, " a revolution must sooner or later ensue, and it is not far distant/' On many occasions, but especially at the Conference of 1770, the clergy invoked the protection of the government against the progress of unbelief ; and they showed, with great justice, that the Church was not free while there was no restraint upon the publication of the most dangerous books. " It is this fatal liberty," they said, " which has introduced among our island neighbours that confused multitude of sects, opinions, and parties, that spirit of independence and 198 Expectation of the French Revolution. rebellion, which has so often shaken the throne or stained it with blood. Amongst ourselves it may produce still more fatal consequences ; for it would find, in the inconstancy of the nation, in its activity, its love of change, its impetuous and inconsiderate ardour, additional means for causing the most strange revolutions, and for precipitating it into all the horrors of anarchy." It was at the instance of the Bishops that Seguier, the Attorney-General, delivered his celebrated discourse to the Parliament demanding the condemnation of certain books. In several parts it resembles, almost literally, the paper we have just quoted. But he cited so many of the most powerful passages from the works he was assailing, and met them with such feeble replies, that it was supposed the whole thing was an act of perfidious irony. The fol- lowing sentences show how clearly the position was under- stood. " A sort of confederacy unites a number of writers against religion and the government With one hand they have tried to shake the throne, with the other they have sought to overturn the altar The government ought to tremble at the toleration of a sect of ardent unbe- lievers, who seem to wish to excite the people to sedition, under pretence of enlightening them Their desires will be satisfied only when they have placed the executive and the legislative power in the hands of the multitude ; when they have destroyed the necessary inequality of ranks and conditions ; when they have degraded the majesty of kings, made their authority precarious, and subordinate to the caprice of an ignorant crowd ; and when, finally, by means of these strange alterations, they have thrown the whole world into anarchy, and the evils that are inseparable from it. Perhaps, in the troubles and confusion into which they have brought the nations, these pretended philosophers and independent spirits intend to raise themselves above the common level, and to tell the people that those by whom they have been enlightened are alone fit to govern them." Seguier lived to witness the 17th July 1789, when Lewis XVI. was brought to the Hotel de Ville, and he said, " Those are his first steps towards the scaffold/' When the great school of pulpit eloquence had died out in France with Mascaron, the Abbe Poulle became the most popular preacher in the South. Preaching on the duties of civil life, he said : " Suifer patiently that decency and mo- rality shall be outraged, and you will introduce a boundless license which will destroy society. Those who boldly break the laws of God do not fear to break human laws ; and bad Christians will always bo bad citizens/' In his last sermon Expectation of the French Revolution. 199 ne said : " All is lost, religion, morality, civil society. You deemed formerly that our prophecies were the exaggerations of an excessive zeal. We ourselves did not imagine that they would be so soon fulfilled."* The Abbe de Boulogne, who became a Bishop under the Restoration, said in the Eloge du Dauphin, which he published in 1779, "He saw the fatal revolution preparing ; the invasion of the impious, more fatal than that of the barbarians; and, as a conse- quence, the national spirit spoilt and degraded/' The Bishop of Lescar published a Pastoral in the year 178.3, in which he rebuked both the clergy and the nobles, and foretold the approaching retribution. " Do you wish that, armed with the law, and led by the magistrates who are its depositaries, the poor should demand of you, rich men of the world, the portion of the inheritance of which you de- prive them ? Do you wish that they should enter into our temples, for the temple is made for man, not for God, who needs it not, and strip the sanctuary of its most precious ornaments, whilst the ministers of the altar have no right to prevent it or to complain ? Do you wish that they should pass from the house of the Lord to that of the priest and the Levite, and that, finding them plunged in'abundance and luxury, they should grow indignant at the sight, break out in reproaches, and summon them to judgment as ravishers of the goods intrusted to them for a worthier use? .... I see the reformers bear a sacrilegious hand on the ornaments of the sanctuary, load themselves eagerly with its spoils, close the doors of the house of God, or change its destination ; throw down our temples and drag from them the priests em- ployed in the sacrifice ; pursue outside its walls their impious victory ; insult our grief by their triumphs and feasting ; and desecrate by their impure libations vessels consecrated for the celebration of our most awful mysteries And will you ask for signs and portents of the revolution which the Holy Spirit desires you to fear ? Do you want more than the revolution itself, which, long prepared, advances with rapid strides, and accomplishes itself before your eyes ?" The abominations of the reign of Lewis XV. were such that men marvelled less at the general consciousness of * La Harpe quotes the following sentences with just praise (Cours de Litterature, xiv. 86, 112, 113): "La piete est si raeprisee qu'il n'y a plus d'hy- pocrites." "Nous savons que toute ignoranca volontaire et affectee, loin d'etre une excuse, est elle-meme un crime de plus." " Nos instructions ont degenere; elles se ressentent clela corruption des nioeurs qu'elles combattent; elles ont perdu de leur premiere onction en perdant de leur ancienne simpli- cite. Nous nous le reprochons en geinissant, vous nous le reprochez peut- ctre avec malignite; mais ne vous en prenez qu'a vous-memes." 200 Expectation of the French Revolution. danger than at the duration of the State. " I know not/' said Benedict XIV., " what can be the power that sustains France over the precipice into which she is ever ready to fall/' And Clement XIV. said : " Can any other proof of the existence of a Providence be required than to see France flourishing under Lewis XV. ?" There was one who did not fear to give expression before the King himself to the universal indignation and hatred. This was the Abbe de Beauvais, afterwards Bishop of Senez, who preached at Versailles during the Lent of 1774 The boldness and severity of his first sermon astonished and of- fended the court; but Lewis a declare quilfaisait son metier. He spoke, say the Me moires Secrets, which we are quoting, of the misfortunes of the State, of the ruin of the finances, and of the abuse of authority.* On Maundy Thursday his sermon terrified the king. He spoke of the troubles of the poor, of the corruption of the rich, of the love which the people had shown the king when he was in danger thirty years before ; and he told him that that love had grown cold; that the people, oppressed with imposts, could do nothing but groan under its own trials. This made a deep impression on Lewis XV. ; he spoke graciously to the preacher, and re- minded him of his engagement to preach at court in the Lent of 1770'. A few weeks later he was dead, and Beauvais had to preach at his funeral. He had obtained, by his courage at Versailles, the right to speak without disguise at St. Denis ; and he declared that the day of punishment for the nation was at hand. " There will be no more superstition, because there will be no more religion; no false heroism, because there will be no honour ; no prejudices, because there will be no principles ; no hypocrisy, because there will be no virtues ! Audacious spirits, behold the devastation caused by your systems, and tremble at your success ! B/evolution more fatal than the heresies which have changed around us the face of several states ! They have left at least a worship and morals, but our unhappy children are to have neither worship nor God." The Pastoral of the Bishop of Alais on this occasion con- tains a striking picture of the misery of France. " Let the monarch love Grod, and he will love his people ; and from the foot of his throne he will carry his beneficent view into the provinces, where the miserable inhabitants are sometimes without bread, or often wet it with their tears And we shall no longer see the kingdom divided as it were into two classes, in one of which the spoils of the provinces serve * vi. 293. Expectation of the French Revolution. 201 &s a trophy to the luxury and splendour of a few families, as contemptible by their origin as by their lives,, who never see any superfluity in their opulence ; whilst in the other thou- sands of families hardly obtain what is necessary from pain- ful toil, and seem to reproach Providence with this humi- liating iniquity/' Meantime, La Luzerne, the Bishop of Lang-res, delivered a panegyric of the dead king at Notre Dame, in which he compared the various reigns of French kings, and concluded that the people had never been so happy as under Lewis XV. In the reign of Lewis XVI. no preacher was more re- nowned than Beauregard, who seems beyond all others to have been gifted with a presentiment of definite calamities. " The axe and the hammer/' he said on one occasion, " are in the hands of the philosophers ; they await only the favour- able moment to destroy the altar and the throne." A passage in one of his sermons at Notre Dame became famous by the literal fulfilment, in the same place, a few years later, of the prophecy it contained : " Yes, Lord, Thy temples will be pillaged and destroyed, Thy festivals abolished, Thy name blasphemed, Thy worship proscribed. But what do I hear ? Great God ! what do I behold ? The holy hymns which made the sacred arches resound in Thy honour are succeeded by profane and licentious songs ! And thou, infamous di- vinity of paganism, obscene Venus, comest here to take audaciously the place of the living God, to seat thyself on the throne of the Holy of Holies, and to receive the guilty incense of thy new adorers/' On Passion Sunday 1789 he preached before the king, when, interrupting his sermon for a moment, he suddenly exclaimed, " France ! France ! thy hour is at hand ; thou shalt be convulsed and confounded !" Parallel with these vaticinations of the clergy of France, and abundantly justifying them, we find in the writings of the infidels similar expectations, and a constant desire to accomplish that which their adversaries so much dreaded. It has been much questioned whether they really desired such a revolution as ultimately ensued. Many of them be- came its victims ; and Rousseau, the master of the Jacobins, had a horror of bloodshed *. the establishment of liberty, he said, would be too dearly purchased if it cost a single hu- man life. It has been said with some truth that if Voltaire had lived to behold the effect of his writings, he would have taken a cross in his hand, and preached against him- self; yet he well knew, and rejoiced to know, that in pulling down the Church of France he was destroying the State. In 1764, April 2, he writes: "All that I see is sowing the 202 Expectation of the French Revolution. seeds of a revolution, which will inevitably ensue, and which I shall not have the happiness to behold. The French arrive slowly at every thing, but at least they do arrive. The light has been so widely spread, that there will be an explosion at the first opportunity, and then there will be a famous row." In the following year, April 5th, he writes to D'Alembert, " The world is growing less green at a furious pace. A great revolution in men's minds announces itself on every side/' And, 15th October 1766, he writes to the same correspondent, " Can you not tell me what will be the result in thirty years of the revolution going on in the minds of men from Naples to Moscow ?" Rousseau had not the same ferocity of temper ; he was animated by ideals, not by passion ; and when he wrote, " We are approaching a state of crisis, and the age of revo- lution," he did not know that it would be the fruit of his own doctrines. The Contrat Social had an immediate suc- cess in France. The entry in the Journal of Bachaumont is as follows: "3 September 1762. The Contrat Social is gradually becoming known : it is highly important that a book of this kind should not ferment in heads easily ex- cited ; it would lead to very serious disorders How- ever, he merely develops the maxims which all men have graven in their hearts." At the beginning of the same year he says, that the Gazette de France owed its popularity, not to its veracity, but to its republican tone. It is easy, there- fore, to understand the success of Rousseau's book in France. At Geneva the secular authorities condemned it, and a great disturbance ensued. The ministers of the Reformed Church declared that the government had acted from party spirit, because the Contrat Social maintains the real democratic principles in opposition to the aristocratic system, which they were seeking to introduce. We are told that the French Dauphin censured the Emile because it attacks religion, disturbs society, and the civil order ; and can only serve to make men miserable. Somebody said that the Con- trat Social had also been considered very dangerous. " That is a different thing/' said the prince ; " it attacks only the authority of sovereigns ; that is a thing that will bear dis- cussion. There is much to be said ; it is more open to con- troversy." Raynal expressed the sentiments of Rousseau, with the cynicism which was peculiar to him, in his History of the Indies : " When will that exterminating angel come who will cut down every thing that lifts its head, and will reduce all to a common level V Helvetius, disgusted at finding his Expectation of the French Revolution. 203 country so hopelessly remote from his ideal state, augurs as follows in the preface to his work De VHomme : " This de- graded nation is the scorn of Europe. No salutary crisis will restore its liberty ; it will perish by consumption ; con- quest is the only remedy of its misfortunes/' Condorcet, who may have changed his opinion before he destroyed him- self in the midst of the Revolution, whose advent had filled him with joy, was more sanguine than Helvetius : " Is not this nation destined by the very nature of things to give the first impulse to that revolution which the friends of humanity expected with so much hope and impatience ? It could not fail to begin with France."* In another place he describes the influence and position of the infidel philoso- phers in France. " Often the government rewarded them with one hand, whilst it paid their calumniators with the other ; proscribed them, and was proud that fate had put their birthplace on its territory ; punished them for their opinions, and would have been ashamed to be suspected of not sharing them/'f The Systime Social of Mustel, published in 1773, is an elaborate satire on France, and a plea for revolution : " The condition of a people that is beginning to be instructed, to desire enlightenment, to occupy itself with great and useful things, is by no means desperate. Whilst tyranny makes continual efforts to divert men's minds from reflection, its strokes lead back to it at every moment ; and this reflection, aided by circumstances, must sooner or later succeed in destroying the tyranny. It cannot long survive among a people that reasons If a people is wholly degenerate, oppression incites it to fury ; its ignorance prevents it from reasoning ; and as soon as it loses patience, it destroys with- out reasoning those whom it considers the instruments of its sorrows. Slaves without enlightenment exterminate without foresight or reflection the blind tyrants who oppress them/'J In another book, which was condemned by the Parliament in 1773, he says: " A people that undertakes to throw off the yoke of despotism risks nothing, for slavery is assuredly the last degree of misery. It has not only the right of re- fusing to receive that form of government, but the right to throw it off/' The fanatical opinions of Diderot are well known. He not only desired the destruction of Church and State, but believed that it was not far distant. Broglie seeing him in * Esquisse, p. 279. f Ibid. p. 263. J Pp. 60, 61. Reflexions philosophises sur le Systeme de la Nature. 204- Expectation of the French Revolution. mourning, asked him whether he wore it for his friends the Russians. " If I had to wear mourning for a nation/' said Diderot, " I should not go so far to find one/' D'Alembert was less of a politician, and understood only the changes that occurred in science and literature. " It is difficult," he says, " not to perceive that a remarkable change has taken place in many respects in our ideas ; a change which seems by its rapidity to promise a still greater. Time will fix the object, the nature, and the limits of this revolution, of which pos- terity will know better than we do the drawbacks and the advantages." Next to the partition of Poland, there was no event which gratified the infidel party, and prepared men for the Revolu- tion, so much as the suppression of the Jesuits. When the news came from Spain, Frederic the Great wrote to Voltaire: " Cruel revolution ! What may not the age which is to suc- ceed our own expect ? The wedge is put to the root of the tree That edifice, sapped at its base, is about to fall ; and the nations will inscribe in their annals, that Voltaire was the author of this revolution/' There was a real bond of union and amity between the despotic king and the revo- lutionary writers. The object of Voltaire and his friends was not the destruction of all monarchy, but of all autho- rity connected with divine law. They were aristocrats and courtiers, and hated the old regime because of its alliance with the Church. The democratic school of Rousseau with- stood the blandishments of Frederic, Joseph, and Catherine, and affected a republican austerity. Yet the horrors of later years were due less to the speculations of Rousseau than to the ribaldry of Voltaire. There were others of the infidel school who saw the approach of great public disasters with- out desiring it. Condillac, the only metaphysical genius among them, published in 1775 his Cours d 3 Etude pour V Instruction du Prince de Parine, in which we find passages which prove that he saw the coming storm : " Revolutions never hap- pen suddenly, because we do not change in one day our mode of thought and feeling If a people seems sud- denly to alter its habits, its genius, and its laws, be sure that this revolution has been prepared long before, by a long series of events and by a long fermentation of passions. . . . The discomfort we feel in society is a warning to inform us of our faults, and to invite us to repair them When the government falls into decay because morals have become corrupt ; when the new passions can no longer tolerate the old laws ; when the commonwealth is infected with avarice, Expectation of the French Revolution. 205 prodigality, and luxury ; when minds are occupied in seek- ing enjoyments ; when wealth is more precious than virtue and freedom, reform is impracticable/' His vision extended beyond the outburst of the Revolution, and embraced its consequences : " The troubles of a people generally excite the ambition of its neighbours, who despise it, insult it, and at last declare war, because they hope to conquer and to subdue it. If the strangers spare it, it will fall beneath a domestic enemy. The success of intriguers, who obtain offices of which they will not discharge the duties, will soon call into existence ambitious men who will openly aspire to sovereign power. There is no tyrant yet, and yet tyranny is already established. Exhausted by the movement, the agitation, the difficulties, and the disquiet that accompany an expiring liberty, men desire repose ; and in order to escape the caprice and the violence of an agitated and tumultuous oligarchy, they will give themselves a master."* What was announced by the clergy and foreseen by phi- losophers was present also to the minds of statesmen who watched the course of public affairs from the middle of the century. In the year 1757 the Archbishop of Paris issued a Pastoral on the crime of Damiens. A reply appeared to it in which the following words occur : " Let us open our eyes to the present condition of the kingdom. Do we not see in every part an unsteadiness which betrays a plan of subver- sion on the point of being executed ?"( Four years later, in 1761, an anonymous letter reached the king, and left a deep impression. " Your finances, sire, are in the greatest dis- order, and the great majority of States have perished through this cause A seditious flame has sprung up in the very bosom of your parliament ; you seek to corrupt them, and the remedy is worse than the disease All the different kinds of liberty are connected : the philosophers and the Protestants tend towards republicanism, as well as the Jansenists : the philosophers strike at the root, the others lop the branches ; and their efforts, without being concerted, will one day lay the tree low. Add to this the Economists, whose object is political liberty, as that of the others is liberty of worship, and the government may find itself in twenty or thirty years undermined in every direction, and will then fall with a crash. "J Choiseul, who for several years exercised an unlimited power in France, wrote a character of the Dauphin, in which * Vol. xvi. pp. 272, 284, 304, 305. 4- Lettre d'un Solitaire, in Recueil de Pieces sur Damiens, 1760, p. 146. J Memoires de Mme. Hausset, p. 37. VOL. V. NEW SERIES. P 203 Expectation of the French Revolution. he said : " If this prince remains what he is, it is to be feared that his imbecility, and the ridicule and the contempt which are the consequence, will naturally produce in this empire a decline which might deprive your majesty's poste- rity of the throne/'* Whon Choiseul was dismissed, the Duke of Chartres called on him, and expressed bis regret at what had occurred, declaring that the monarchy was lost. After the disgrace of Choiseul, his successor Maupeou ban- ished the Parliament of Paris, and destroyed the only rem- nant of independent authority and of freedom in France. The effect on the public mind was immense. A war of pamphlets followed, and in a few months ninety-five were published in defence of the minister. One of the arguments in favour of the coup d'etat was, that the jurists were the authors of the despotism of the French government : " Tous les jurisconsultes francais avaient erige la monarchic en despotisme." We read in one of the numerous writings on the other side, called Le Maire du Palais : " This is a bar- barous flattery, which will cost France many tears, and per- haps blood. For all men are not equally submissive to the decrees of Providence. The seditious teaching of the infidels raises up in the State serpents, who will be easily irritated by hunger, and the standard of revolt will soon be unfurled. .... Thousands have already succumbed beneath the hor- rors of famine. . . . When the people believes itself strongest, it rises in revolt ; if it is not, it murmurs and curses the tyrant. Hence so many revolutions in despotic states. "-f- This act of tyranny added to the execration which was heaped on the last years of the reign of Lewis XV. In the year in which it occurred the unpopularity of the king was so great, that when he appeared at Neuilly nobody cheered him, and a wit said, " When the king is deaf, the people are dumb." The effect of Maupeou's measure was to convert the magistracy from an instrument of despotism into an instru- ment of revolution ; for, when they were recalled in the next reign, they had become the enemies of the throne. This was understood by the Count of Provence, the most intelligent member of the royal family ; and he addressed a memoir to Lewis XVI. againt the proposed recall. "When they have recovered their places," he said, "they will be lions instead of lambs ; they will use as a pretext the interests of the State, of the people, and of our lord the king. In the act of disobedience they will declare that they do not disobey ; the * Soulavie, Memoires de Louis XVI, i. 95. f See the collection: Les Efforts de la Libertecontre le Despotisme de Itlau- peou, 1772, pp. 70, 75, 83. Expectation of the French Revolution. 207 populace will come to their assistance, and the royal autho- rity will one day fall, crushed by the weight of their resist- ance/'* The first minister of Lewis XVI. was Maurepas, who had been Secretary of State under Lewis XIV., but had been in disgrace under his successor. In the first year of his ad- ministration he received an anonymous letter on the state of the nation, in which he was told : " You know that the whole kingdom is in a flame, that the administration of justice is almost suspended every where, . . . that the minds of men are embittered beyond the possibility of reconciliation, and that civil war is in the hearts of all/' Maurepas was asked whether he or the Foreign Secretary, Vergennes, had formed the project of the American war. His answer shows how little prudence there was in the ministers of that school, and how little they endeavoured to provide against the evils they foresaw. " Neither of us," he said ; " at my age no plans are made, one is occupied only with the present, because one cannot reckon on the future. .... Vergennes and I lived from day to day, and but for Franklin's threats we should still be amusing England, and should have concluded no treaty with the United States. ... I hope to live long enough to see the independence of America recognised, and England humbled ; that is all I promised the king/'^ Turgot considered that the war would be the ruin of France. He wrote to the king in April 1776 : "We must confess that it ought to be avoided as the greatest of misfor- tunes, as it would render impossible for a long time, and perhaps for ever, a reform which is absolutely necessary for the prosperity of the State and the relief of the people/' J The dismissal of Turgot at the end of two years was con- sidered by many a great misfortune. Lacretelle says : " Le parti philosophique s'alarme, et predit une revolution ; la guerre en retarda Pexplosion." No speech of that day is more characteristic than what was written by Vergennes to the king after the American war, in 1 786 : " There is no longer a clergy, or a nobility, or a third estate in France ; the distinction is fictitious, purely representative, and with- out real consequence. The monarch speaks ; all the rest is the people, and all obey. Is not France, in this position, arbiter of her rights abroad and flourishing at home ? What can she desire more?"|| These were the ideas of government * Soulavie, ii. 208. f Moniteur, i. 45. J CEuvres de Turgot, iii. 195. Art de verifier ies Dates depuis 1770, 1821, i. 18. || Montgaillard, Histoire de France, 1827, i. 345. 208 Expectation of the French Revolution. which guided one of the most influential ministers in the last years before the fall of the monarchy. They are not a prediction of the Revolution, but an anticipation of that state of things which it was to introduce absolute sovereignty on the one hand, and on the other equality in submission. Lewis XV. had said : " It is I who name the ministers of finance, but the public sends them away/' Necker was twice raised to office by public opinion against the wishes of the king and court. When he was first proposed to Maure- pas, the minister said : " He is a republican ; il voudra nous republicaniser." The freedom of his manners, and his ig- norance of etiquette, first revealed to the queen the immi- nence of some dreadful change. At his first audience he took her hand and kissed it without asking leave. This, we learn, was deemed a more significant and alarming cir- cumstance than the attacks on the royal authority.* And the Marechale de B. made the same discovery when the ad- vocate T. took snuff in her presence, (i sans aucune politesse prealable." The recall of Necker after his first disgrace was extremely distasteful to the king. "Then/' he said, "I must surrender my throne to him." When he had yielded, he said to his family, "They have compelled me to recall Necker, which I was unwilling to do ; but it will not be long before they repent. I shall do all he tells me, and yon will see the consequences/'-f- He was still more reluctant to ap- point Brienne. At length he gave way, saying : " You are determined; but it may happen that you will be sorry for it." That frivolous minister had an uneasy foreboding of evil ludicrously inadequate to the event. At the death of the Cardinal de Luynes he obtained as much as he could of the benefices which had belonged to him. " I take my precau- tions," he said ; " for I fear that before long the clergy will pay the penalty of all that is going on, and I shall deem myself fortunate if I retain half of what I am taking."! He wrote to the Archbishop of Lyons : " I have never been a partisan of the States-General ; this resolution will be the occasion of a discussion in the three orders, and of troubles without remedy throughout the State. ... I should not be surprised if disorder and anarchy were to ensue, rather than settlement and union." His friend the Abbe de Vermond saw deeper when he wrote to him : " For the clergy the rods are preparing, and they may expect a bloody scourge. v * " Cette familiarite impertinente du Genevois fit sentir a cette princesse, plus que les infractions des droits du roi, que le trone etuit ebranle." Obser- vations sur les Miitixtres des Finances, 1812, p. 216. f Saltier, Annales Fran9aises, 1813, p. 199. J Montgaillard, i. 424. Ibid. p. 428. Expectation of the French Revolution. 209 Maleslierbes said to the king, in September 1 787 : "It is not a question of appeasing a momentary crisis, but of extinguishing a spark which may produce a great conflagra- tion."* About the same time, Lamoignon said : " The par- liament, the nobles, and the clergy have dared to resist the king ; in two years there will be neither parliament, nor nobles, nor clergy,'*-)- On the 22d December 1788, the first President of the Parliament, D'Ormesson, pronounced an address to the king, in which he spoke of the state of the nation. " Already the partisans of opposite ideas take um- brage at each other ; they seem to fear and to avoid each other, and to prepare for open discord ; they throw them- selves inconsiderately into the commencement of associations more dangerous than they imagine ; they think that they are conducting the State towards reform, and they are only leading it to its ruin. . . . What they are determined to de- stroy they can no longer respect. . . . Where can be found the obedience which your majesty has a right to expect? A fatal shock makes it totter on all sides. The consequences make themselves felt from the foundations to the summit of the State. This general commotion is increased by ideas of equality, which men endeavour to erect into a system, as if it were possible for equality really to subsist. These specu- lations, however vain they may be, sow amongst the citizens the germs of anarchy ; they are the destruction of the royal authority, and at the same time the destruction of the civil and monarchical order. It is this, sire, that alarms your Parliament/' These representations, we are told, were re- ceived with an indifference which filled the Parliament with consternation. As the plot thickened, the alarm became more general, and foresight ceased to be the dismal privilege of far-seeing men. At the assembly of the Notables, the Prince de Conti spoke in these terms to the Count of Provence : " The monarchy is attacked ; men desire its destruction, and the fatal moment is at hand. . . . Whatever happens, I shall not have to reproach myself with having left you in ignorance of the excessive evils with which we are overwhelmed, and the still greater evils with which we are threatened/' In Decem- ber 1788, he joined D'Artois, Conde, and Bourbon, in signing a memoir, in which the king was told, " Sire, the State is in danger ; your person is respected, the virtues of the mon- arch secure to him the homage of the nation ; but a revo- lution is preparing in the principles of government/' From the Travels of Arthur Young we know that the same sort of * Montgaillard, p. 373. f Sallier, p. 186. 210 Expectation of the French Revolution. language was common in French society. " One opinion pervaded the whole company, that they are on the eve of some great revolution in the government ; that every thing points to it; .... a great ferment among all ranks of men, who are eager for some change, without knowing what to look to or what to hope for."* Soon after his dismissal, Calonne wrote to his brother : " I look upon France as a body festering in almost every part, on which it is feared to operate, because too many amputations are required ; the disease increases, and the body dies while the remedy is discussed. Be sure that this will be the result of the States-General. . . . The State, without obtaining a useful change, will only be convulsed. "~f* Marmontel relates a conversation with Chamfort, some time before the meeting of the States-General, from which it is clear that what happened was not only foreseen, but pre- pared, by the popular party. " Repairs," said Chamfort, " often cause ruins : if we strike an old wall, we cannot be certain that it will not crumble beneath the hammer ; and assuredly here the edifice is so decayed that I should not wonder if it became necessary to demolish it altogether. .... And why not rebuild it on another plan, less Gothic and more regular? Would it be, for instance, so great a misfortune if there were not so many stories, and every thing were on the ground floor ? . . . The nation is a great herd, that thinks only of feeding, and which, with good dogs, the shepherds drive as they please. . . . All this is a shame and a pity in an age like our own ; and in order to trace a new plan, it is quite right to clear the place And the throne and the altar will fall together ; they are two buttresses supporting each other; and when one is broken, the other will give way There are in the clergy some virtues without talents, and some talents de- graded and dishonoured by vice The advantage on the side of the people in revolution is, that it has no moral- ity. How can you resist men to whom all means are good?"J Marmontel repeated this remarkable speech the same even- ing to Maury : " It is but too true/' he replied, " that in their speculations they are not far wrong, and that the faction has chosen its time well to meet with few obstacles. .... I am resolved to perish in the breach ; but I have at the same time the melancholy conviction that they will take the place by assault, and that it will be pillaged." The most significant saying of all is that of a Bishop to whom Maury Travels in France in 1787, p. 66. f Montgaillard, i. p. 358. \ Marmontel, Memoires, iv. p. 77 sqq. Expectation of the French Revolution. 211 communicated what he had heard : " We are not so far gone as is supposed ; and, with the sword in one hand and the crucifix in the other, the clergy will defend its rights." Marmontel himself went to the minister Montmorin, spoke of the danger, and urged him to put the king in safety in one of the fortresses. Montmorin objected that there was no money, that the State was bankrupt, and could not incur the chance of civil war. " You think/' he said, " that the danger is very pressing, to go at once to extremities?" "So pressing/' was the answer, " that in a month's time from now I would riot answer for the liberty of the king, nor for his head, nor for yours." The writer remarks very justly, that although the state of affairs and the general excitement had long threatened an approaching crisis, it is nevertheless true that it occurred only through the imprudence of those who were obstinately determined to think it impossible. Pitt wrote on the 6th September 1788: "The state of France, whatever else it may produce, seems to promise us more than ever a considerable respite from any dangerous pro- jects." Omens had cast their shadow on the unfortunate king from his birth. He was born at Versailles while the court was at Choisy, and none of the princes of the blood were present. This did not look well, in the ideas which then prevailed ; but, worse than this, the courier who was sent to carry the news to court fell from his horse and was killed on the way. The great disaster which occurred at the fes- tivities of his accession was still more ominous." " I saw/' said a contemporary, "this sinister event disturb all the imaginations of men with the notion of an awful future."* In a remarkable military work, written early in his reign, there are some very impressive reflections on the state of the country. "The discomfort and anxiety of the nations under most governments are such that they live with disgust and mechanically ; and that, if they had the power to break the * Fantin Desodoards, Histoire de France, xxiii. 224. In the same year, 1775, Delille circulated a rhyming prophecy of the good times that wtre coming. We will quote a few verses : " Des biens on fera des lots Qui rendront les gens egaux. . . . Du meme pas marcherout Noblesse et roture ; Les Frangais retourneront Au droit de nature. Adieu parlemens et lois, Dues et princes et rois ! . . . . Les Franyais auront des dieux a leur fantaisie." Expectation of the French Revolution. bonds that hold them, they would give themselves other laws and other men to administer them Suppose there were to arise in Europe a vigorous people, with genius, resources, and a government, a people combining with austere virtues and a national militia a fixed plan of aggrandisement, which should not lose sight of that system, and knowing how to make war at little cost, and how to subsist by its victories, should not be compelled to lay down its arms by calculations of finance, we should see it sub- jugate its neighbours, and overturn our feeble governments, as the north wind bends the reed. . . . France is now the country that is most rapidly declining. The government does not sustain it ; and the vices which every where else are spread only by imitation are born there, are more in- veterate, more destructive, and must destroy her first. . . . The monstrous and complicated system of our laws, our finances, and our military power, will fall to pieces/'* No writer of that age seems to have possessed greater foresight, or to have formed his opinions on a larger induc- tion than Linguet, a pamphleteer of great activity, but of no great authority while he lived. In the first volume of his Annales Politiques. published in the year 1777, he writes as follows : " It is a tendency common to all, from the princes to the lowest of their subjects, to consider success as a right, and to deem oneself innocent when one has not failed, f . . Unjust conquests had been seen before, but hitherto usurpers had been scrupulous to conceal their sword behind mani- festoes But now it is in the lifetime of the owner, in the midst of peace, without a grievance, with a pretext even in appearance, the crown of Sarmatia has been shattered to pieces by the hands of friends. The weakness of the one, the power of the others, have been the only reasons invoked or recognised. The terrible principle that force is the best argument of kings, so often put in practice, but always so sedulously disguised, has been for the first time produced, and practised openly and without concealment It cannot be but that something should filter imperceptibly from this into general habits Never perhaps, in the midst of an apparent prosperity, has Europe been so near a total subversion, the more terrible because despair will be its cause We have arrived by a directly contrary road precisely to the point where Italy stood when the servile * Guibert, Essai general de Tactique, torn, i., Discours preliminaire, pp. ix. xiii. xix. xliv. f The elder Mirabeau says, in the Ami des Hommes (iii. 33), "La loi des plus forts fait de la revolte le droit des gens." Religion and Civilisation. 213 war inundated her with blood, and carried carnage and con- flagration to the gates of the mistress of the world/'* In the importance which this able writer attributes to the partition of Poland he is supported by Burke, who called it " the very first great breach in the modern political system of Europe." It did more than any other event, except the suppression of the Jesuits, to obscure the political conscience of mankind, and to prepare men to despise the obligations of right, in obedience to the example set them by their kings. The consequences were inevitable, and they were foretold, and the Revolution was heralded and announced at each step of its approach by all the most competent observers. The feeling of its approaching end was strong in the old society, and both the party of those who were the authors of the great catastrophe, and of those who were to be its victims, agreed in those expectations which were the hopes of the first and the fears of the other. "Revolutions/' says Bonald, "have immediate material causes which strike the least at- tentive eye. These are in reality only the occasions. The real causes, the deep and efficient causes, are moral causes, which small minds and corrupt men do not understand. . . . You think that a financial deficit was the cause of the Revo- lution : seek deeper, and you will find a deficit in the very principles of the social order." One of the ablest of those who saw the Revolution mingles perhaps some vanity with much truth when he says : " I know nothing of importance that has happened in Church or State since I grew up which I did not foresee. God does not permit that men should allow a principle, and restrain that which flows naturally from it." RELIGION AND CIVILISATIONS THE problem of the connection of religion with civilisation is one that at the present day must occupy the attention of every student of social science. However he may wish to shirk the question, the movements of the day force it upon him ; even Proudhon, a man who thinks all religions, posi- tive or negative, equally bad, who opposes pantheism, or even atheism, so far as it is a dogma, almost as violently as he opposes Christianity, is carried away by the vortex of thought ; and while he would avert his eyes from religion, and never allow its name to escape his lips ; while he thinks pp. 76, 78, 80, 85. f History of Civilisation in England. By H. T. Buckle. Vol. II. Parker, Son, and Bourn. 1861. Religion and Civilisation. that the only way to treat it is to affect and feel utterly ignorant of its existence, he cannot help writing about it and about it, as if it had a serpentine fascination for him. The man who would fain think religion to be nothing writes about nothing else than the relations of religion and society. For this is the problem of the age, and the most unwilling thinker is obliged to give it some attention. There are three well-defined divisions of thought upon this subject : the first maintains the necessary union of reli- gion and civilisation, the other two deny it; but one of them does so in the interests of religion, the other in the interests, real or supposed, of civilisation. Each of these divisions con- tains many subdivisions ; the first, though it is forced to ad- mit those lukewarm persons who practically reduce religion to little more than a diffuse social benevolence, typified in a Supreme Being, is better represented by those enthusiastic religionists who consider Christianity to be the present as well as the future redemption of our race, and the great model and ideal towards which all social efforts are to be directed ; who consider religion to be the soul of civilisation, and each of its dogmas and laws to possess a civil as well as an ecclesi- astical development, to which the social action of the Church necessarily gives birth. " Civilisation is inchoate religion, religion is perfected civilisation ; civilisation is a transitory and mediate perfection, religion is the final and eternal per- fection/' This is their creed. The difficulty of adjusting this idea to commonly received views of facts, the suspicion that is attached to the names of some of its supporters, and a wholesome dislike of the ill company in which they are found, have somewhat frightened well-meaning men, and prevented them from giving due weight to the truth which it expresses. The " world" for them has no possible relations, except those of hostility, with the Church. And in this group we find men of all grades, from the common run of pious and stupid Protestants, up to those great men who, in former days, traced the beginnings of civil government to the corruption of our nature, to merely human right, to the cursed race of Cain, to the usurpations of atheists, thieves, perjurers, and murderers, or finally to the devil. Between these extremes all degrees are to be found ; amongst us one of the most common expressions of the idea is that which bids us look at the civil and social work of the Church* only as an accidental growth that crops out on her surface, overshadowing her instead of illustrating her, and making her stand in her own light, by doing more than she need do, more than belongs to her. If she has created civili- Religion and Civilisation. 15 sations, fostered sciences, and revived the arts, this we are told has been but an overflow of her gifts, not strictly in- cluded in her mission, and therefore not to be relied on as a pledge that she will ever bestow such gifts again, or that her future influence will not be quite contrary to that which she has exercised in the past. To separate civilisation from religion in the interests of the latter, is only to prompt the advocates of civilisation to do the same in the interests of their favourite, and to justify their doing so. This school of thought emerges in the policy of the Revolution, and in the philosophy of positivism. In England Mr. Buckle is its most learned advocate, and he de- fines civilisation in a mariner that is intended to shut out any acknowledgment of the additions which it might receive from moral forces. The moral condition of mankind he holds to be nearly stationary, and only to provide as it were the at- mosphere in which the real work of civilisation is carried on; the flux and reflux of religious opinions he holds to neutral- ise each other in the long-run, and to eliminate all their effects from human society, when sufficiently long periods are considered. His civilisation, or progress, is confined to mate- rial improvements, to those additions to the stock of human wealth and power over nature, which, with an unconscious perversion of St. Bernard's maxim, Non tibi sint curce res ad nihilum rediturce, he thinks alone worth having, because they alone are " essentially cumulative," and do not cease to exist with the death of their discoverer or possessor, like the control of the statesman and the presence of the saint. The accumulations must be ponderable, tangible ; they are neAv methods of discovery, like Bacon's philosophy or New- ton's fluxions ; powers of nature newly tamed and harnessed, like steam or electricity ; newly-discovered territories, metals, mines, articles of use and commerce. In things like these Mr. Buckle makes civilisation exclusively to consist ; for him the mental activity that has only mind for its object, and which does not react upon nature, and enlarge the material domain of our race, is as nugatory as the activity of a pig's tail, which, as the Chinese proverb says, is going all day, but has done nothing at night. After thus restricting the sense of civilisation, Mr. Buckle has no difficulty in establishing four leading propositions, which, according to his view, must be deemed the basis of its history. " They are : 1st. That the progress of mankind depends on the success with which the laws of phenomena are investigated, and on the extent to which a knowledge of those laws is diffused. 2d. That before such investigation can begin, a spirit of scepticism must arise, 216 Religion and Civilisation. which, at first aiding the investigation, is afterwards aided by it. 3d. That the discoveries thus made increase the influence of intel- lectual truths, and diminish relatively, not absolutely, the influence of moral truths ; moral truths being more stationary than intellectual truths, and receiving fewer additions. 4th. That the great enemy of this movement, and therefore the great enemy of civilisation, is the protective spirit ; by which I mean the notion that society cannot prosper, unless the affairs of life are watched over and protected at nearly every turn by the State and the Church ; the State teaching men what they are to do, and the Church teaching them what they are to believe." That is to say, in Mr. Buckle's view, the great enemy of civilisation is the principle of authority, which is fatal to physical science, and therefore to physical civilisation. And note that it is not only the vagaries and the despotic acts and errors of authority which he abjures, but the principle itself. Here, then, are the three schools; one whose central prin- ciple is to maintain intact the harmony and union of all truths of every order, and thus to imitate the Divine exam- ' pie ; for " in all cases where evil is not the fundamental principle, God excludes nothing, sacrifices nothing; not the most insignificant virtue to the most sublime, not the mi- nutest truth to the greatest." Its endeavour is ever, in prac- tice as in theory, to show religion to be not only compatible with, but to be the active and energetic supporter of, all that is useful, beautiful, reasonable, honourable, good, and true ; in a word, with the most perfect civilisation. Both the other schools make the exclusion and the sacri- fice which the first refuses to make ; one sacrifices all minor interests to the real or supposed interests of religion, the other sacrifices all religious considerations at the shrine of science and progress. One school is Tory, and strives to pre- serve its rights of primogeniture by throttling all its younger brothers, like the Grand Turk. The other is Radical, and strives to equalise all ranks by the destruction of all classes that have hitherto been privileged. It is only the school first described that takes the true conservative line, that preserves principles by permitting variations in their applica- tion, that is faithful to the idea by acknowledging every one of its many-sided developments. Both the Radicals and Tories of the union between civilisation and religion are violent and coercive in their tactics ; and as they are both in possession of many real truths in their different orders, each of which is sufficient to be the ground of practical conviction and of enthusiasm, no true peace seems possible between them until they compromise their differences by merging in the school Religion and Civilisation. 217 which alone possesses the truths for which both parties were fighting without sharing in the prejudices or enmities of either. The Tory party, though it is loth to confess that any past social changes have had a fatal effect upon religion, but rather is disposed to make the best of them, and even, in some sense, to accept them, is by no means inclined to accept their logi- cal consequences, to own that past changes must develop into future changes, or that any such changes can take place hereafter without the fatal effects that former changes would have had, if they had not been overruled by Providence. Whatever those men profess, they do not exhibit much prac- tical faith in the vitality of principles apart from the forms in which they happen at present to be embodied. For them the pulling down of a house is the destruction of a family, and the loss of a guarantee involves the oblivion of the thing guaranteed. Such persons wish to petrify all forms in their present condition ; and the older a form is, the greater is their wish to preserve it, and the less is their conception of the possibility of its being worn out, and of the need of the idea it typifies to house itself under another roof. Anything which has grown into the semblance of a privilege com- mands their special sympathies; they are not contented with the acknowledgment of the rights of persons over things by the law of property, and the rights of rulers over subjects by the law of authority, without the further acknowledgment of the rights of persons over persons by a divine right of des- potic power, involving the denial of any correlative rights in the subjects. For the preservation of this power they are willing to go all lengths ; esteeming it their last citadel, they are willing for its sake to give up one after another all other forms, and to violate all other principles, in the idea that they are mere outworks of the castle, and that when the siege is at last raised, they may be reoccupied and repaired. Hence such persons will sometimes risk every thing for that which appears to those who do not understand the rules of their conduct to be a position of only secondary importance, a mere form or guarantee of a principle that might be dressed up and guaranteed in several other ways without prejudice to itself, and with much advantage toother interests. Some- times this devotion to time-honoured privilege takes strange shapes. Through the very limited extension of education and of intercourse in the middle ages, and the consequent narrowness of the groove in which each person ran, the fixed- ness of his position, and his entire want of versatility and range, it had become an axiom that the study of wisdom 218 Religion and Civilisation. was confined to the philosopher, of theology to the divine, and of State to the politician. Besides the terrors of the Star- Chamber, natural reason seemed to forbid the mere lay- man to meddle in politics; and the popular ballad declaimed against tongues " that will prattle and prate against reason about that which doth not concern them, which thing is no better than treason," and concluded with the advice to all auditors, without distinction, "not to meddle with matters of State/' So, when the possession of education sufficient to read a verse of the Psalms gave u benefit of clergy," that is, gave a man the status of a clergyman in the eyes of the law, the principle that the clergy alone might meddle with theo- logical discussions was very different in its bearings upon society from the same principle, expressed in the same way, now, when the educational distinction between clergy and laity is effaced. Indeed, the effacing of that distinction, and the attempts to preserve the religious elements of edu- cation by denominational colleges and schools, logically re- sult in the admission that the persons educated there have a right to take part in religious discussions. For if education is maimed where religion is banished ; if it is not enough to teach the catechism as an appendix to knowledge, by differ- ent masters, and during intercalary hours ; if it is necessary to treat religion both as an integral part of universal know- ledge, and as a light, a warmth, a soul leavening and ani- mating the whole of it, then it will be impossible to divorce in after-life that which has been married in the period of pupillage, to insist that the grown man, who has received religion and knowledge as an integral whole, an amalgam never to be separated, should in fact separate them, and cease to take any leading part in discussions where reli- gion or its interests may be concerned. Yet there are some theological Eldons who are mediaeval enough to wish this to be done, and who therefore incur the suspicion that their enthusiasm for religious education is not so much due to their friendship for religion as to their enmity to education, and to their wish to keep the ignorant still ignorant, in order that they may be more easily led ; or, at best, that their en- thusiasm is not founded on any wish to improve education in itself, but to give it a certain twist and bias which they hope the scholar may retain in after-years, even though he may be thrown into the arms of a society educated on quite different principles. Quite beside their intentions, their sys- tem is found always to develop into a distinction of classes ; divinity is made a separate profession, like law, medicine, or navigation, in the hands of a defined body or faculty, which Religion and Civilisation. 219 tends to become a caste apart, with a separate professional education, and habits of thought entirely foreign from the intellectual progress of society, which always tends to view such monopolies with jealousy and suspicion. The next step is, either that this caste loses its influence over those whom it was meant to control, or, if it still retains that influence, it is only in the same way as the bureaucratic despotism^ of the Continent retain their political power, by keeping the people partly ignorant of, partly indiffer- ent to, the deep " questions of state/' and by preventing their bearing their part in the controversies of the day, in order that they may be willing to yield unquestioning obedience to a body of directors officially charged with the management of their minds ; by turning religion into ad- ministration, the clergy into doctrinal police, and the body of educated Christians into a mass of suspects, supposed to be always at the boiling-point of revolution, only kept within the bounds of orthodoxy and law by the terrors of the courts, and the external pressure of an organised network of function- aries; by reviving, but in an odious form, the ancient disci- plina arcani, not now against the enemies, but against the friends and partakers, of the arcanum, who are shut out from discussing it ; by the cache-cache policy of" hushing up" all disputes, as if the " decay of religious controversy was the increase of religion," and its most lively state one of " sweet sleep," as Lord North said, or, as Fox said, that "religion was best understood when least talked of;" as if brain ard tongue could live divorced for ever, and as if the repression of expression would not end in the death of thought. On the whole, then, this school separates religion from civilisa- tion, not by trying to destroy civilisation, it has far too much respect for right to attempt any such deed ; but it tries to prevent social changes, to fetter the legs and arms of society, to prevent the freedom of its movements ; it tries to preserve all that is just as it is, not considering that such preservation is really destruction, and that a living creature is killed by preventing its growth as surely as by lopping off its members, by preserving it in sugar or in spirits as by throwing it into the fire or the water. The third or Radical school proceeds somewhat as follows. It began by questioning the truth of particular dogmas, and the lawfulness of particular practices of Christians ; then, having by these means established doctrinal differences and schisms in matters of discipline, it began to argue that there was no certain science of religion, no possibility of reducing it to universally acknowledged principles, like those of ma- Religion and Civilisation. thematics and the physical sciences. Then this contrast was gradually extended to all metaphysical or mental sciences, in distinction to the inductive sciences, which deal with visible or ponderable results, and are summed up in nume- rical laws and averages. These sciences were contrasted not only in their certainty, but also in their utility and in their cumulative character. Metaphysical sciences, these people say, and religious science among them, accumulate words only, and multiply books ; the physical sciences accumulate powers and mate- rials, and continually open new domains of nature to our knowledge or to our use. Hence, they say, there can be no question of their superiority, and of the side which any sensible man should take in all contests between the two parties. And such contests cannot be avoided. At least, metaphysical and religious thought fascinates the intellect and wastes the time which ought to be devoted to the pro- gress of the species; generally, also, the advocates of meta- physical and religious ideas have been intolerant to the devotees of physical science, have in times past even gone so far as to hang them or burn them, and even yet, where society is still religious, are often inclined to make their social position intolerable, or at least uncomfortable. There cannot fail, then, to be a contest between religion and pro- gress ; and the only question for the men of progress is, what shall be their tactics in opposing religion ? that upas-tree which has killed the world's promise of progress for two thousand years, has stunted man's intellect and perverted it, has turned those whom Nature meant to be great discoverers like Newton, or Watt, or Faraday into barren speculators like Aquinas, or Scotus, or Suarez. There are only two policies to be followed ; that of persecution, and that of a ne- gative opposition, which destroys the weaker crop by sowing taller and stronger plants in the field. Opposition and per- secution involve controversy, open or implied. Those who saw our priests hanged for their religion were necessitated to inquire what the points were for which a man would con- sent to suffer death, and to deliberate with themselves upon those points ; but religious controversy just concedes the whole point against which the Radical school erects itself. When a man argues, he implies that the subject on which he is arguing is a rational one, and that reason may get to know something about it. But this is just that which the Radical school will not concede to any metaphysical or reli- gious speculations. Positive controversy, and its concrete form of penalties for opinions, are therefore by all means to Religion and Civilisation. be avoided, not only for fear of affording a verbal triumph to the versatile and practised religious disputant, but also be- cause they really concede the point in dispute in treating religion as a thing that can be usefully argued about. Ne- gative opposition, then, is the only device left, and this takes two forms : its practical form is the attempt to supplant theology by more lively and fascinating studies, to keep the student of science out of the theological lecture -room, by offering him more interesting information elsewhere, or in- formation more necessary for his future career ; and thus to keep the professors and students of theology as a class apart, cut off from all the progress of the world, and shut up in their own circle of intelligence and thought, a conclusion which, as we have seen, harmonises strikingly with the prac- tical result of the Tory discipline. And the literary form of this negative opposition is either to write books on sub- jects which require such allusions without a single passing allusion to the existence of the metaphysical world, or else, if this passes the powers of human nature, while carefully eschewing any discussion of dogmas on their own merits, as carefully to seize every opportunity of showing the baneful influence of priestcraft and religion upon intelligence, civilis- ation, and progress ; to let each chapter suggest to the reader the thought " tantum relligio potuit suadere malorum," and the consequent aspiration /eraser Vinfame, and thus to com- bine the intensest hatred to religion with the profession of the widest toleration and fairness. In his second volume Mr. Buckle has shown a more tho- rough appreciation of this system than in his first, where he committed himself to arguments partly theological, partly metaphysical, partly physical, upon necessity and free-will, and upon the origin of religion, thereby exposing himself to very cogent replies. But in this volume we have no direct discussion of any religious topic, but an impartial consign- ment of all of them to the limbo of exploded fancies and de- grading superstitions. He is not even one of those moderate men who consider that, though religion is now useless for progress, as she once aided civilisation by stemming the ir- ruptions of barbarism, she may still be tolerated as a dyke against the wild savagery of the lower strata of society ; he thinks that the good she does in this way is no equivalent to the evil which her resistance to progress does to society. He is a fanatic of Radicalism, and delights to trace all the evils of society, all the relapses, all the barbarism, not to the abuse, but to the necessary result of religion. In his sketch of Spanish history, he holds up the national decadence, VOL. V. NEW SERIES. Q 222 Religion and Civilisation. which he truly traces to the union between religion and the inquisitorial despotism of the monarchy, not as a warning to all those who would, in spite of the lessons of history, applaud anew any similar alliances which promised any present ad- vantage to the interests of the Church, but as a warning to the friends of civilisation not to have dealings with religion at all ; and h$ then turns to Scotland to show with what perfect impartiality he detests and abjures alike the " priest- craft^ of Presbyterianism. and that of Popery. If he main- tains that the despotism of the Scotch Puritan clergy was less noxious to the progress of the nation than that of the priesthood of Spain, because, while the latter was in alli- ance with the government, and was often merely its political tool, the former was always in opposition to the government, which wished to prescribe opinions as well as actions, it is not that he has any greater liking for Presbyterianism than for Popery, but that, with his dislike of all government, he considers State interference and ecclesiastical superinten- dence the twin enemies of progress, and rejoices to show how, when in alliance, they have double power to crush all civilisation out of a nation, and how, when in opposition, they tend to neutralise each other. In comparing the Radical with the Tory school of civilis- ation and progress, it will be seen that both agree in the fact, though not in the principle, of the entire separation of reli- gion from secular thought. One forces on the separation by clinging too fondly to the fragments of secular life which past ages have embodied with religion, and whose violent separation is feared, as threatening the destruction of religious also. Accordingly they are held fast, even when they have become dead shells from which the living spirit has long ago departed, and religion is still condemned to the unnatural embrace, while living society, loosened from religion, goes reeling on its way unrecognised and unconverted. The other school intends to consummate the divorce, and does it, and besides takes measures to prevent any future alliance. And in practice the advantage is all with the party that knows what it is doing, and keeps its eyes open over its blind and blundering antagonist. If Radicalism kills theology, it keeps secular science energetically alive. But the Eldon school not- only smothers secular science, but also puts theology to sleep ; it binds its votaries only to reply to each new controversy that arises with the stereotyped formula, quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, only to say that which all the world has said a hundred thousand times before ; and in consequence, like the Bourbons, who in twenty years of ad- Religion and Civilisation. 223 versity had learned nothing and forgotten nothing, it cannot stand against the movement of thought. But its discom- fiture does not prove that its antagonist must win. If the present success of the revolution on the Continent is fatal to the hopes of Tories, there are scenes being enacted across the Atlantic that ought to be as fatal to those of the Radicals ; and the two failures together ought to give fresh energy and fresh hopes of success to that school which alone can find room for the true principles of both parties, while avoiding the fatal errors of each. The Conservatives, who seek to reconcile new forms with old principles, will remark the de- pression and the misgivings under which Mr. Buckle laboured in writing his second volume, and will feel satisfaction in comparing his present humility with the contemptuous and overbearing dogmatism of his first. ' Once," he says, " when I first caught sight of the whole field of knowledge, and seemed, however dimly, to discern its various parts, and the relation they bore to each other, I was so entranced with its surpassing beauty that the judgment was beguiled, and I deemed myself able, not only to cover the surface, but also to master the de- tails. Little did I know how the horizon enlarges as well as recedes, and how vainly we grasp at the fleeting forms, which melt away and elude us in the distance. Of all that I had hoped to do, I now find but too surely how small a part I shall accomplish. In those early aspirations there was much that was fanciful ; perhaps there was much that was foolish. Perhaps too they contained a moral defect, and savoured of an arrogance which belongs to a strength that re- fuses to recognise its own weakness. Still, even now that they are defeated and brought to naught, I cannot repent having indulged in them, but, on the contrary, I would willingly recall them if I could. For such hopes belong to that joyous and sanguine period of life when alone we are really happy ; when the emotions are more active than the judgment, when experience has not yet hardened our nature, when the affections are not yet blighted and nipped to the core ; and when the bitterness of disappointment not having yet been felt, difficulties are unheeded, obstacles are unseen, ambition is a pleasure instead of a pang, and the blood coursing swiftly through the veins, the pulse beats high, while the heart throbs at the prospect of the future. Those are glorious days but they go from us, and nothing can compensate for their absence. To me they now seem more like the visions of a disordered fancy than the sober realities of things that were, and are not." To us these accents of blank despair seem quite too deep for the disappointment of not being able to write fifty out of the hundred volumes or so which he first designed ; neither are^ they in place, if they are transferred from the family affliction, indicated in the dedication to the merely literary Religion and Civilisation. disappointment. There is surely a more adequate reason for this wintry discontent. The cause cannot be owned by the author ; for it would be reason enough not only to cur- tail, but to suppress, the coming volumes. Mr. Buckle's pen is paralysed by the same misfortune which, on one subject, has stilled Mr. Bright's tongue. Buckle was the philosopher of the system of which Bright was the prophet ; one had to prove that the American civilisation, the go-ahead system, which only looks to the accumulation of material goods, without a thought for morals or religion, was the true way of human progress, while the other was to devote his extra- ordinary eloquence to persuading his countrymen to adopt it. Alas, how has the ground been cut from beneath the feet both of Philosopher and of Orator ! What a task is left ! "When the first volume appeared, there was across the Atlan- tic a tinsel civilisation gleaming in the Western sun, where, under the fostering influence of a scepticism that believed neither in virtue nor its rewards, the " laws of phenomena" were the only objects of study, and accumulation was the only ambition j where by this study intellectual truths were exalted above moral ones; where to be 'cute was better than to be virtuous; and where there was neither a State, with its omnipresent administration to teach men what they were to do, nor an inquisitorial Church to dictate to them what they were to believe. Like the Spanish Don on Blackheath, moralising on the view of London, Mr. Buckle had looked across the ocean to the young republic : " ' And here,' lie cried, ' is freedom's chosen station, Here peals the people's voice, nor can entomb it Racks, prisons, inquisitions Here laws are all inviolate ; none lay Traps for the traveller ; every highway's clear : Here' he was interrupted by a knife, With " But our readers must supply the rest of the quotation for them- selves. At any rate, the highwayman did not more ridicu- lously stultify the Spaniard's panegyric than did the secession and civil war of the American States disturb Mr. Buckle's design, as it robbed Mr. Bright of his most telling topic. Our philosopher is now driven to the conclusion that the introduction which he had projected as a solid foundation for his history of England must be greatly curtailed, and consequently shorn of its force, or there will hardly be a chance of his being able to narrate, with the amplitude and fulness of detail which they richly deserve, the deeds of that great and splendid nation with which he is best acquainted, Religion and Civilisation. and of which it is his pride to count himself a member. " It is/' he continues, " with the free, the noble, and the high- minded English people that my sympathies are most closely connected ; on them my affections naturally centre ; from their literature and from their example my best lessons have been learned ; and it is now the most cherished and the most sacred desire of my heart, that I may succeed in writing their history, and in unfolding the successive phases of their mighty career/' Not America, but England, must now be the historical ideal ; and the task of the historian will be to show how its progress has depended directly on the suc- cess with which the laws of phenomena were investigated, and on the extent to which a knowledge of those laws was diffused. He will have to show how the spirit of scepticism arose here, and furnished the atmosphere in which alone that investigation could come into being and could live, and how that spirit was strengthened and extended by the in- vestigations to which it gave birth. He must show how the discoveries in which this investigation resulted increased in England the influence of intellectual truths, and diminished relatively the influence of moral truths ; how it gradually raised the merchant above the missionary, the speculator above the statesman, the economist above the general. He "will have to show how in England civilisation overcame its great enemy the protective spirit; how it overthrew the notion that no society can prosper without the supervision of go- vernment, and the careful training of the clergy, teaching men what to believe, what to eat, drink, and avoid. He has engaged to prove how England has become great, not by the force of ideas, not by a national deference to law, not by a hierarchical organisation of society, preserved by the mutual respect of class for class, and by a natural equity and fairness which are sought in vain among the holders of power in other countries ; he has to show that England has not become great by these means, but in spite of them ; that her real greatness is due to her scepticism, religious and poli- tical, and her devotion to " the laws of phenomena/' and to material interests. He has to show that whatever religion she ever professed, and whatever religious traditions still linger in her heart, have never aided, but have always checked and retarded her progress ; and all this in spite of the flaming beacon which is blazing in America to warn us of the real results of a civilisation which is only " accumu- lative," and which takes no thought for passing acts, that, as being only moral or religious, are therefore insignificant ; which thinks only of interests, not of principles ; whose 226 Religion and Civilisation. highest law is convenience, expediency, the greatest happi- ness of the greatest number, as determined by the present impulse and determination of the omnipotent, if not infal- lible, majority; which is devoted to " phenomena," but never grasps an idea. Hence these tears. In spite of his praises of scepticism, Mr. Buckle's faith in his own theory is proof against all de- monstrations of its inanity ; but not so his hope. His hope is shaken, and though his faith remains unassailable, it has lost its wings. It has yet to learn Catullus's lesson, a lesson, indeed, which many besides Mr. Buckle should con : " Desinas ineptire Et quod vides perisse, perditum ducas !" But there are men who are proof against all refutation; who, because they have once been wrong, will be so still ; to whom consistency is more to be prized than reason ; and who, if they have once committed themselves, will persevere in putting their trust in the shadow of a bramble, and in strok- ing the prickly grievance, and in hanging its thorns with the streamers of their continual praise. There are those who never know how to cease lamenting over that which they cannot help, or to turn themselves to studying the cure for that which they lament, to whom failure is only a sign of strength, death a sign of life, and mortification a pleasant state, which it is desirable to prolong by every medical appliance. Unfortunately, the positive philosophy on which Mr. Buckle's theory is built has too many roots in man's nature to be in the least discouraged by one political failure, how- ever disgraceful : positive politicians will find relief in their doctrine of progress ; they will have better luck next time. The American catastrophe does not undermine the influence of those creative geniuses of our age who have enabled us to escape from spirit, and to use matter instead ; who have sub- stituted lines and numbers for forces and essences and qua- lities, and the intangible generalisations of metaphysical science. But if this failure will not convert those who are already committed to positivism, it may stay those who were tottering on its brink. It may lead them to think twice before they resign themselves absolutely to the democratic absolutism of the day, before they finally renounce all faith in principles and ideas, and give in their adhesion to a uti- litarian materialism. Finally, the lamentable consequences that have manifestly resulted from the separation of science from religion in the interests of science, may have a beneficial effect on the minds of those who have separated religion from science for the interests of religion, and who discourage men who profess religion from entering with any enthusiasm upon the domains of secular knowledge. To conciliate all that is good and true in inferior orders with all that is good and true in the order of religion, is the supreme problem of the present day, to conciliate religion with good government, with political progress and liberty, with scientific development, and with social activity.

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