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The astonishing revolution in thought and guide than it would have been if no new elepractice which is taking place amongst the ment had intervened, and therefore so much intelligent Japanese, the throwing away of a less interesting for us. As an example of the traditional system of living in order to estab- inapplicability of past experience, I may menlish in its stead a system which, for an Asi- tion an argument against Republics which atic people, is nothing more than a vast ex- has been much used of late by the partisans periment, has its counterpart in many an in- of monarchy in France. They have fredividual life in Europe. We are like travel- quently told us that Republics had only suclers crossing an isthmus between two seas, ceeded in very small States, and this is true who have left one ship behind them, who of ancient democracies; but it is not less true have not yet seen the vessel that waits on the that railways, and telegraphs, and the newsdistant shore, and who experience to the full paper press have made great countries like all the discomforts and inconveniences of the France and the United States just as capable passage from one sea to the other. There is a of feeling and acting simultaneously as the break between the existence of our forefathers smallest Republics of antiquity. The parties and that of our posterity, and it is we who which rely on what are called the lessons of have the misfortune to be situated exactly history are continually exposed to great dewhere the break occurs. We are leaving be- ceptions. In France, what may be called the hind us the security, I do not say the safety, historical party would not believe in the posbut the feeling of tranquillity which belonged sibility of a united Germany, because fifty to the ages of tradition; we are entering upon years ago, with the imperfect means of comages whose spirit we foresee but dimly, whose munication which then existed, Germany institutions are the subject of guesses and was not and could not be united. The same conjectures. And yet this future, of which historical party refused to believe that the we know so little, attracts us more by the Italian kingdom could ever hold together. very vastness of its enigma than the rich his-In England, the historical party predicted tory of the past, so full of various incident, of the dismemberment of the United States, and powerful personages, of grandeur, and suffer- in some other countries it has been a favorite ing, and sorrow. Joubert already noticed article of faith that England could not keep this forward-looking of the modern mind. her possessions. But theories of this kind are ** The ancients," he observed, “ said, “Our an- always of very doubtful applicability to the cestors;' we say, 'Posterity.' We do not present, and their applicability to the future love as they did la patrie, the country and is even moro doubtful still. Steam and eleclaws of our forefathers; we love rather the tricity have made great modern States praclaws and the country of our children. It is tically like so many great cities, so that Manthe magic of the future, and not that of the chester is like a suburb of London, and past, which seduces us." Commenting on Havre the Piræus of Paris, whilst the most this thought of Joubert's, Saint-Marc Girardin trifling occasions bring the Sovereign of Italy said that we loved the future because we to any or the Italian capitals. loved ourselves, and fashioned the future in In tine intellectual sphere the experience of our own image; and he added, with partial but the past is at least equally unreliable. If the not complete injustice, that our ignorance of power of the Catholic Church had been sudthe past was a cause of this tendency in our denly removed from the Europe of the fourminds, since it is shorter to despise the past teenth century, the consequence would have than to study it. These critics and accusers been a moral anarchy difficult to conceive; of the modern spirit are not, however, alto- but in our own day the real regulator of morgether fair to it. If the modern spirit looks ality is not the Church, but public opinion, so much to the future, it is because the prob- in the formation of which the Church has a lems of the past are solved problems, whilst share, but only a share. It would therefore those of the future have the interest of a be unsafe to conclude that the weakening of game that is only just begun. We know ecclesiastical authority must of necessity, in what became of feudalism, we know the the future, be followed by moral anarchy, work that it accomplished and the services since it is possible, and even probable, that that it rendered, but we do not yet know the other great influences upon public opinwhat will be the effects of modern democracy ion may gain strength as this declines. And and of the scientific and industrial spirit. It in point of fact we have already lived long is the novelty of this element, the scientific enough to witness a remarkable decline of ecspirit and the industrial development which clesiastical authority, which is proved by the is a part (but only a part) of its results, that avowed independence of scientific writers and makes the past so much less reliable as a thinkers, and by the open opposition of almost all the European Governments. The or scorn of its predecessors. We have been secular power resists the ecclesiastical in Ger- told that we scorn our forefathers because old many and Spain. In France it establishes a buildings are removed to suit modern conform of government which the Church de- veniences, because the walls of old York have tests. In Ireland it disestablishes and disen- been pierced for the railway, and a tower of dows a hierarchy. In Switzerland it resists Conway Castle has been undermined that the the whole power of the Papacy. In Italy it Holyhead mail may pass. But the truth is, seizes the sacred territory and plants itself that whilst we care a little for our predeceswithin the very walls of Rome. And yet the sors, they cared still less for theirs. The time which has witnessed this unprecedented mediæval builders not only used as quarries self-assertion of the laity has witnessed a any Roman remains that happened to come positive increase in the morality of public in their way, but they spoiled the work of sentiment, especially in the love of justice their own fathers and grandfathers by inand the willingness to hear truth, even when truding their new fashions on buildings origitruth is not altogether agreeable to the listen- nally designed in a different style of art. er, and in the respect paid by opponents to When an architect in the present day has to able and sincere men, merely for their ability restore some venerable church, he endeavors and sincerity. This love of justice, this pa- to do so in harmony with the design of the tient and tolerant hearing of new truth, in first builder; but such humility as this was which our age immeasurably exceeds all the utterly foreign to the mediæval mind, which ages that have preceded it, are the direct re- often destroyed the most lovely and necessults of the scientific spirit, and are not only sary details to replace them with erections in in themselves eminently moral, but condu- the fashion of the day, but artistically uncive to moral health generally. And this ad- suitable. vancement may be observed in countries. The same disdain for the labors of other which were least supposed to be capable of ages has prevailed until within the memit. Even the French, of whose immorality ory of living men, and our age is really we have heard so much, have a public opin- the first that has made any attempt to conion which is gradually gaining a salutary form itself, in these things, to the intentions strength, an increasing dislike for barbarity of the dead. I may also observe, that aland injustice, and a more earnest desire that though history is less relied upon as a guide no citizen, except by his own fault, should be to the future than it was formerly, it is more excluded from the benefits of civilization. carefully and thoroughly investigated from The throne which has lately fallen was under- an intellectual interest in itself. mined by the currents of this public opinion To conclude. It seems to me that tradition before it sank in military disaster. “Aussi has much less influence of an authoritative me contenterai-je,” says Littré, “d'appeler kind than it had formerly, and that the au l'attention sur la guerre, dont l'opinion pub- thority which it still possesses is everywher lique ne tolère plus les antiques barbaries; steadily declining; that as a guide to the fu sur la magistrature, qui répudie avec hor- ture of the world it is more likely to mislear reur les tortures et la question; sur la tolér-than to enlighten us, and still that all intel ance, qui a banni les persécutions religieuses; lectual and educated people must always tak sur l'équite, qui soumet tout le monde aux a great interest in tradition, and have a certail charges communes; sur le sentiment de soli- sentiment of respect for it. Consider wha darité qui du sort des classes pauvres fait le our feelings are towards the Church of Rome plus pressant et le plus noble problème du the living embodiment of tradition. No well temps présent. Pour moi, je ne sais carac- informed person can forget the immense sery tériser ce spectacle si hautement moral qu'en ices that in former ages she has rendered t disant que l'humanité, améliorée, accepte de European civilization, and yet at the sam plus en plus le devoir et la tâche d'étendre le time such a person would scarcely wish t domaine de la justice et de la bonté.”
place modern thought under her direction Yet this partial and comparative satisfac- nor would he consult the Pope about the tei tion that we find in the present, and our dencies of the modern world. When in 182 larger hopes for the future, are quite com- the city of Warsaw erected a monument 1 patible with gratitude to all who in the past Copernicus, a scientific society there waite have rendered such improvement possible for in the Church of the Holy Cross for a servic us, and the higher improvement that we hope that was to have added solemnity to the for possible to those who will come after us. commemoration. They waited vainly. No I cannot think that the present age may be a single priest appeared. The clergy did ni accused with justice of exceptional ignorance feel authorized to countenance a scientific di covery which, in a former age, had been con-1
LETTER III. demned by the authority of the Church. This incident is delicately and accurately typ- TO A LADY WHO LAMENTED THAT HER SON HAD ical of the relation between the modern and INTELLECTUAL DOUBTS CONCERNING THE DOGthe traditional spirit. The modern spirit is MAS OF THE CHURCH. not hostile to tradition, and would not object The
The situation of mother and son a very common one-Painful to receive any consecration which tradition only when the parties are in earnest-The knowledge of might be able to confer, but there are dif the difference evidence of a deeper unity-Value of hon
esty-Evil of a splendid official religion not believed by ficulties in bringing the two elements to
men of culture-Diversity of belief an evidence of religgether.
ious vitality-Criticism not to be ignored-Desire for the We need not, however, go so far as War-| highest attainable truth-Letter from Lady Westmorland
about her son, Julian Fane. saw, or back to the year 1829, for examples of an unwillingness on the part of the modern The difference which you describe as havmind to break entirely with the traditional ling arisen between your son and you on the spirit. Our own country is remarkable both | most grave and important subject which can for the steadiness of its advance towards a loccupy the thoughts of men, gives the outline future widely different from the past, and for lof a situation painful to both the parties conan affectionate respect for the ideas and in-Icerned, and which lays on each of them new stitutions that it gradually abandons, as it is and delicate obligations. You do not know forced out of them by new conditions of exist- how common this situation is, and how sadly ence, I may mention, as one example out of lit interferes with the happiness of the very very many, our feeling about the reconstruc-| best and most pure-minded souls alive. For tion of the navy Here is a matter in which such a situation produces pain only where science has compelled us to break with tradi- | both parties are earnes
a tradi- both parties are earnest and sincere; and the tion absolutely and irrevocably; we have done more earnest both are, the more painful does so, but we have done so with the greatest re- the situation become. If you and your son gret.
thought of religion merely from the convenThe ships of the line that our hearts and tional point of view, as the world does only imaginations love are the ships of Nelson | too easily, you would meet on a common and Collingwood and Cochrane. We think of
ground, and might pass through life without the British fleets that bore down upon the lever becoming aware of any gulf of separaenemy with the breeze in their white sails; I tion, even though the hollowness of your seywe think of the fine qualities of seamanshipleral professions were of widely different that were fostered in our Agamemnons, and kinds. But as it happens, unfortunately for Victories, and Téméraires. Will the navies your peace (vet would you have it otherof the future ever so clothe their dreadful
wise?), that you are both in earnest, both powers with beauty, as did the ordered col-lanxious to believe what is true and do what umns of Nelson, when they came with a fair |
air you believe to be right, you are likely to wind and all sails set, at eleven o'clock in the
the cause each other much suffering of a kind morning into Tratadgar bay! we see the altogether unknown to less honorable and desmoke of their broadsides rising up to their voted natures. There are certain forms of sails like mists to the snowy Alps, and high suffering which affect only the tenderest and above. against heaven's blue, the unconquered truest hearts: they have so many privileges, nag of England! Nor do we perceive now for that this pain has been imposed upon them the first time that there was poetry in those as the shadow of their sunshine. fleets of old; our forefathers felt it then, and
Let me suggest, as some ground of consolaexpressed it in a thousand songs.*
tion and of hope, that your very knowledge
of the difference which pains you is in itself *I had desired to say something about the uses of tradition the evidence of a deeper unity. If your son in the industrial arts and in the fine arts, but the subject is a no very large one, and I have not time or space to treat it prop
has told you the full truth about the changes erly here. I may observe, however, briefly, that the genuine in his belief, it is probably because you yourspirit of tradition has almost entirely disappeared from Eng- self have educated him in the habit of truthlish industry and art, where it has been replaced by a spirit | fulness which is as much a law of religion as of scientific investigation and experiment. The true traditional spirit was still in full vigor in Japan a few years ago, it is of honor. Do you wish this part of his and it kept the industry and art of that country up to a re education to be enfeebled or obliterated? markably high standard. The traditional spirit is most fa
Could the Church herself reasonably or conTorable to professional skill, because, under its influence, the apprentice learns thoroughly, whereas under other influences sistently blame him for practising the one be often learns very imperfectly. The inferiority of English virtue which, in a peaceful and luxurious sopainting to French (considered technically) has been due to the prevalence of a traditional spirit in the French school
ciety, demands a certain exercise of courage? which was almost entirely absent from our own,
Our beliefs are independent of our will, but
our honesty is not; and he who keeps his lot; those who went before them had passed honesty keeps one of the most precious over very rough ground at the Reformation. possessions of all true Christians and gen- For us, in our turn, comes the recurrent resttlemen.
lessness, though not in the same place. What state of society can be more repug- What we are going to, who can tell? What nant to high religious feeling than a state of we suffer just now, you and many others smooth external unanimity combined with know too accurately. There are gulfs of septhe indifference of the heart, a state in which aration in homes of the most perfect love. some splendid official religion performs its Our only hope of preserving what is best in daily ceremonies as the costliest functionary that purest of earthly felicities lies in the of the Governinent, whilst the men of culture practice of an immense charity, a wide tolertake a share in them out of conformity to the ance, a sincere respect for opinions that are customs of society, without either the assent not ours, and a deep trust that the loyal purof the intellect or the emotion of the soul?suit of truth cannot but be in perfect accordAll periods of great religious vitality have ance with the intentions of the Creator, who been marked by great and open diversity of endowed the noblest races of mankind with belief; and to this day those countries where the indefatigable curiosity of science. Not religion is most alive are the farthest removed to inquire was possible for our fore-fathers, from unanimity in the details of religious but it is not possible for us. With our indoctrine. If your son thinks these things of tellectual growth has come an irrepressible such importance to his conscience that he anxiety to possess the highest truth attainfeels compelled to inflict upon you the slight- able by us. This desire is not sinful, not est pain on their account, you may rest as- presumptuous, but really one of the best and sured that his religious fibre is still full of vi- purest of our instincts, being nothing else tality. If it were deadened, he would argue than the sterling honesty of the intellect, very much as follows. He would say: seeking the harmony of concordant truth, “ These old doctrines of the Church are not and utterly disinterested. of sufficient consequence for me to disturb ' I may quote, as an illustration of the tenmy mother about them. What is the use of dencies prevalent amongst the noblest and alluding to them ever?" And then you most cultivated young men, a letter from would have no anxiety; and he himself Lady Westmorland to Mr. Robert Lytton would have the feeling of settled peace which about her accomplished son, the now celecomes over a battle-field when the dead are brated Julian Fane. “We had," she said. buried out of sight.
| "several conversations, during his last illIt is the peculiarity-some would say the ness, upon religious subjects, about which he evil, but I cannot think it an evil-of an had his own peculiar views. The disputes age of great intellectual activity to produce and animosities between High and Low an amount of critical inquiry into religious Church, and all the feuds of religious sectaridoctrine which is entirely unknown to times anism, caused him the deepest disgust. I of simple tradition. And in these days think, indeed, that he carried this feeling too the critical tendency has received a novel far. He had a horror of cant, which I also stimulus from the successive suggestions think was exaggerated; for it gave him a reof scientific discovery. No one who, like pulsion for all outward show of religious obyour son, fully shares in the intellectual servances. He often told me that he never life of the times in which he lives, can missed the practice of prayer, at morning and live as if this criticism did not exist. If evening, and at other times. But his prayers he affected to ignore it, as an objection were his own: his own thoughts in his own already answered, there would be disingenu- words. He said that he could not pray in the ousness in the affectation. Fifty years ago, set words of another; nor unless he was alone. even twenty or thirty years ago, a highly in- As to joining in family prayers, or praying tellectual young man might have hardened at church, he found it impossible. He con into the fixed convictions of middle age with stantly read the New Testament. He depreout any external disturbance, except such as cated the indiscriminate reading of the Bible. might have been easily avoided. The criti. He firmly believed in the efficacy of sincere cism existed then, in certain circles; but it prayer; and was always pleased when I told was not in the air, as it is now. The life of him I had prayed for him." mankind resembles that of a brook which To this it may be added, that many recent has its times of tranquillity, but farther on its conversions to the Church of Rome, though times of trouble and unrest. Our immediate apparently of an exactly opposite character, forefathers had the peaceful time for their have in reality also been brought about by the scientific inquiries of the age. The relig. culty of so many intellectual men in these ious sentiment,' alarmed at the prospect of a days, is to know where the intellectual quespossible taking away of that which it feeds tions end and the purely religious ones can be upon, has sought in many instances to pre- considered to begin. If you could once ascerserve it permanently under the guardianship tain that, in a manner definitely satisfactory, of the strongest ecclesiastical authority. In you would take your religious questions to a an age of less intellectual disturbance this clergyman and your intellectual ones to a anxiety would scarcely have been felt; and man of science, and so get each solved indethe degree of authority claimed by one of the pendently. reformed Churches would have been accepted Without presuming to offer a solution of so as sufficient. Here again the agitations of the complex a difficulty as this, I may suggest to modern intellect have caused division in fam- you that it is of some importance to your inilies; and as you are lamenting the hetero-tellectual life to ascertain what religion is. A doxy of your son, so other parents regret the book was published many years ago by a very Roman orthodoxy of theirs.
learned author, in which he endeavored to show that what is vulgarly called scepticism may be intellectual religion. Now, although
nothing can be more distasteful to persons of LETTER IV.
culture than the bigotry which refuses the TO THE SON OF THE LADY TO WHOM THE PRE
name of religion to other people's opinions,
merely because they are other people's opinCEDING LETTER WAS ADDRESSED.
ions, I suspect that the popular instinct is Difficulty of detaching intellectual from religious questions right in denying the name of religion to the -The sacerdotal system-Necessary to ascertain what
| inferences of the intellect. The description religion is-Intellectual religion really nothing but philosophy-The popular instinct-The test of belief-Public which the author just alluded to gave of what worship-The intellect moral, but not religious-Intellect- he called intellectual religion was in fact 11a) activity sometimes in contradiction to dogma--Differ
ter simply a description of philosophy, and of ences between the intellectual and religious lives.
that discipline which the best philosophy imYOUR request is not so simple as it appears. poses upon the heart and the passions. On You ask me for a frank opinion as to the the other hand, Dr. Arnold, when he says course your mind is taking in reference to very that by religion he always understands Chrisimportant subjects; but you desire only intel- tianity, narrows the word as much as he lectual, and not religious guidance. The dif- would have narrowed the word “patriotism” ficulty is to effect any clear demarcation be- had he defined it to mean a devotion to the tween the two. Certainly I should never take interests of England. I think the popular inupon myself to offer religious advice to any stinct, though of course quite unable to conone; it is difficult for those who have not qual-struct a definition of religion, is in its vague ified themselves for the priestly office to do way very well aware of the peculiar nature of that with force and effect. The manner in religious thought and feeling. The popular which a priest leads and manages a inind that instinct would certainly never confound relighas from the first been moulded in the beliefs ion with philosophy on the one hand, nor, on and observances of his Church, cannot be im- the other, unless excited to opposition, would itated by a layman. A priest starts always it be likely to refuse the name of religion to from authority; his method, which has been another worship, such as Mahometanism, for in use from the earliest ages, consists first in instance. claiming your unquestioning assent to certain According to the popular instinct, then, doctrines, from which he immediately pro- which on a subject of this kind appears the ceeds to deduce the inferences that may affect safest of all guides, a religion involves first a your conduct or regulate your thoughts. It belief and next a public practice. The nature is a method perfectly adapted to its own ends. of the belief is in these days wholly peculiar It can deal with all humanity, and produce to religion; in other times it was not so, bethe most immediate practical results. So long cause then people believed other things much as the assent to the doctrines is sincere, the in the same way. But in these days the test sacerdotal system may contend successfully of religious belief is that it should make men against some of the strongest forms of evil; accept as certain truth what they would disbut when the assent to the doctrines has believe on any other authority. For example, ceased to be complete, when some of them are a true Roman Catholic believes that the conhalf-believed and others not believed at all, the secrated host is the body of Christ, and so system loses much of its primitive efficiency. long as he lives in the purely religious spirit It seems likely that your difficulty, the diffi- he continues to believe this, but so soon as