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istent in the condit: But an in produces
us no example of this. An intelligent despot is possiblea Frederick the Great or a Joseph II. : Europe produces one once, perhaps, in a term of centuries. But an intelligent despotism is a contradiction; the conditions that make for despotism are inconsistent in the long run with intelligence either in the ruler or the ruled. So with religion. Quand
on lit de Maistre on a toujours l'idée d'un catholique qui ' n'est pas chrétien."* The paradox strikes M. Faguet, as it struck Scherer and Sainte-Beuve.
Figurez-vous un patricien romain du ve siècle qui n'a rien compris à Jésus, mais que les circonstances ont fait chrétien, sans changer le fond de sa nature ni le tour de ses idées, qui apprend que l'empire est détruit, qu'il n'y a plus dans le monde que des souverainetés partielles et locales, qui dans le trouble où le jette un tel désordre s'écrie: "Il reste l'évêque de Rome pour représenter et pour refaire l'unité du monde ! ” et aux yeux de qui le christianisme n'est pas autre chose; vous ne serez pas très éloigné d'avoir une idée assez nette de la pensée de Joseph de Maistre; et c'est son originalité infiniment curieuse d'avoir l'esprit ainsi fait au commencement du xixe siècle. Il est quelque chose comme un prétorien du Vatican.' (Politiques et Moralistes, i. 61.) He touches only the outside, the element in religion which is not religious. It is not surprising that he should bave been rated so high by Comte. Both were political philosophers; both emphasised organisation, the latter borrowing that of Catholicism for his Religion of Humanity; both in their zeal for society overlooked the ends for which society exists. The kingdom of God is within you: the words rise up in judgement against a merely external conception either of Church or State. The outward exists for the sake of the inward, matter for spirit, the society for the man. To reverse this order is the besetting sin of strong governments. That De Maistre is the founder of modern Ultramontanism is not unconnected with the fact that Ultramontanism has become rather a political than a religious party, sectarian in its temper and secular in its aims.
The stream of individualism let loose by the breaking down of the barriers that had hitherto restrained it parted into two divergent currents—that of liberty and that of democracy. Liberty gives free play to each man's powers, and so gives rise to superiority and privilege: the strong become stronger and the rich richer; the inequalities which had been so galling are restored. And this in an aggravated form. The impersonal capitalist is a harder master
* Politiques et Moralistes, i. 249.
anism is note rather a podular in its aim Breaking angults. And, inchecked is leur excès, 'The Libe
than the territorial landlord or small employer of labour. A joint stock company has neither heart nor conscience; the system works mechanically, crushing whatever stands in its way. The gigantic Trusts are an example of this. Mr. Norris, in the Octopus,' has shown them to 13 in operation. In the remarkable study Que sera le
XX® Siècle ?' M. Faguet discusses the tendencies of modern industrialism which they represent. Free competition was a reform, and here are the results of the reform:
Il est étonnant-non, ce n'est pas étonnant-il est re'marquable à quel point les plus belles réformes de
l'humanité aboutissent à mettre une injustice à la place d'une autre.'* Democracy, on the other hand, is above all things jealous of privilege. One man is as good as another. It levels, or tends to level, capacities, efforts, results. And, as liberty unchecked is fatal to democracy, so democracy unchecked is fatal to liberty : "à l'aboutisse'ment de leur marche et à leur excès, l'un briserait l'Etat, * l'autre établirait le pur despotisme.'* The Liberals of the first half of the century-men of the type of Royer-Collard and Guizot-made use of liberty as a weapon against democracy, the danger of which was fresh in the memory of their generation. The so-called Manchester school in this country worked, unconsciously, on the same lines. Production meant more to it than producers, markets than men. A fair field and no favour was the formula with Faich it thought to solve social and economic problems—an inadequate formula, because, men being unequal, the field is never fair. Except in England the success of this Liberalism was small. Liberty, in the sense in which it conceived liberty, appealed to few; only the strong could use it. Equality and the sense of political power appealed to many: the current of democracy gained on that of liberalism and bid fair to absorb it. There was something, indeed, at once hard and narrow in the gospel of competition: when an open market was put forward as an ideal, men felt that they had asked for bread and been given a stone. Hence the more or less fantastic schemes for calling a new spiritual power into existence associated with the names of Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Comte. The conception of a manufactured spiritual power is self-contradictory: religions are not made, they grow. The modern religious founder is met by the same difficulty which stands in the
* Questions Politiques, p. 322.
way of the American millionaire who desires to reproduce an Oxford lawn in the grounds of his Chicago palace: both have overlooked a vital factor-time. Positivism as a philosophy is significant; Positivism as a religion ranks with Spiritualism or Christian Science-a folly for which life is at once too serious and too short. One institution was left standing from the ruin of the old world which had before now proved a source of new moral life and energythe Roman Church; and to her the eyes of many turned. Of the distinguished men who looked for help in this direction Lamennais was the most eminent, nor does his subsequent change of standpoint detract from his significance. The provincialism of the Gallican Church of the Restoration repelled him: he looked beyond the Alps and saw, or thought he saw, a larger theology, a more ambitious policy, a stronger life. When he came to closer quarters with the Curia he was disillusioned. It is these unfortunate politics • that are everywhere destroying religion,' he wrote from Rome. "Imagine to yourselves an aged Pope . . . sur
rounded by men to whom religion is as indifferent as it is 'to the Cabinets of Europeavaricious, blind, and infatuated as the eunuchs of the Lower Einpire: such are the men who have everything in their hands. This was, perhaps, a rhetorical way of expressing the fact that the standpoint of these dignitaries was not his. He was a genius, they were officials; he anticipated the facts of to-morrow, they had not yet woke to those of to-day.
Avec une clairvoyance assez remarquable il avait très bien vu ce que beaucoup ne voyaient point, à savoir que les catholiques en France devenaient une minorité. ... Quand on devient minorité on a besoin de la liberté. Cela est si instinctif que toutes les oppositions sont libérales, et toutes les majorités autoritaires. Les catholiques seront forcés de se réclamer de la liberté, seront forcés d'être libéraux dans dix ans. Qu'ils le soient-et c'est ici le trait de génie de Lamennais-qu'ils le soient tout de suite, alors qu'ils ont encore l'air d'être la majorité, alors que leur libéralisme aura un caractère de dignité, de noblesse et de générosité, et ne paraîtra pas être un expedient de la défaite.' (Politiques et Moralistes, ii. 110.) The idea of liberty is not only Christian but distinctive of Christianity. The religions of the ancient world were political and local; the common element in them, on which philosophy attempted to build a working system of belief and conduct, appealed only to philosophers : Christianity first dealt with men as individuals, with individual relations, rights, and responsibilities, to be asserted against all comers and at all costs. M. Faguet restricts this liberty to the Christian, as a member of the Christian community.* This is to begin Church history in the third century, instead of the first. The Christian community of the first days was not a Church but a brotherhood, loosely organised, undogmatic, governed not by fixed laws but by the Spirit speaking through spiritual men. A hierarchy, an elaborate ritual, fixed creeds, and in general all that falls under the head of ecclesiasticism, mark a comparatively late stage of its developement: 'freedom from symbols and articles is abstract
edly the highest stage of Christian communion and the peculiar privilege of the primitive Church. ... Technicality and formalism are, in their degree, inevitable results of public confessions of faith.'t This state of things, however, lay sixteen centuries back: Catholicism had become stereotyped; the policy of Lamennais was diametrically opposed not indeed to any dogma, but—what was, perhaps, even more important-to the spirit of the Church. The long possession of material power, the practical necessities of government, the consciousness of forming part of the established order of things had reduced the Christian idea, originally fluid and in solution, to a state of solidity: its freedom and elasticity were gone. Authoritative herself, the Church had acquired the habit of identifying herself with authority; she had become a centre to which authoritative temperaments rallied, a starting-point from which they worked. This is as true to-day as it was in 1830; the significance of the recent movement towards Catholicism on the part of not a few eminent French writers lies in the fact that it seems to have been brought about by neither religious nor moral motives, but by fear of certain disintegrating social forces. It rests not on love, but on hatred ; and its fruits are not those of the Spirit: it appeals to and elicits the worst side of human nature. The Liberal Catholicism of Lamennais was not strong enough to make head against this stream of tendency: it was shattered against the Mirari vos of Gregory XVI., as the historical school of Döllinger was shattered against the Vatican Definition of 1870. But ideas remain, though their representatives disappear.
With the proclamation of the dogma of infallibility,' says a Protestant historian, Catholicism reached the highest point of its developement. The principle of authority can go no further. Once this
* Politiques et Moralistes, ii. 97.
extreme height has been attained a reaction must necessarily follow; and the force which will bring about this movement is just this undue extension of the principle of authority. We have seen the waters of Ultramontanism rise in the course of this century. They have not been from all eternity ; they are but of yesterday. In the fifties they first grew greater and greater. As they came so will they go. (Sohm, ‘Kirchengeschichte im Grundriss,' p. 239.)
The thinkers of the last half of the nineteenth century aimed lower than their predecessors : their outlook over the future was more confused, their self-confidence smaller, their sense of limitation greater. The temper of this Journal, for example, in its early days was the reverse of Laodicean; its trumpet gave no uncertain sound. There were definite reforms to be carried out, and definite grievances to be remedied: the Whigs of 1802 knew what they wanted, and fought with entire conviction for their ends. Step by step they were attained, but the causes of discontent were moved rather than uprooted; the old problem of the One as opposed to the Many, and the Many as opposed to the One, was with us still. The Middle Liberalism, therefore, was less sure of itself than the Early: as the vastness of the field of knowledge became apparent, specialising was seen to be a necessity; the age of systems, of bird's-eye views of the universe, had been left behind. A disposition to distrust abstract thought showed itself: the temper of the time was critical rather than creative, historical rather than metaphysical; it accumulated materials for reconstruction rather than reconstructed; hence a seeming ineffectualness, an absence of positive results. The effect was, perhaps, a certain remoteness from actual life. A wide field of vision is good, and this involves haze on the horizon. But life is not all horizon: the foreground, the stage on which the action of the piece takes place, must be clear. The temper of the new century is at once more definite and more bent on action; and in these tendencies, perhaps, lies its danger. It is well to be definite if you know, but mischievous if you do not know : certainty is better than suspense of judgement, but only provided that sufficient motives for certainty are at hand. “Incidit in • Scyllam qui vult vitare Charybdim :' every generation reacts against the preceding, and this reaction is apt to go too far. There is among us a certain impatience of doubt, a disposition to rush to conclusions, to try experiments in difficult and delicate subject-matter, to act for the sake of acting rather than of acting prudently and well. But