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enigmas and riddles of the Trinity, incar- still with his old touch of humor—"Men nation, and resurrection. I can answer speak too popularly who place it in those all the objections of Satan and my rebel- flaming mountains, which, to grosser aplious reason with that odd resolution I prehensions, represent hell. The hearts learnt of Tertullian, certum est quia impos- of men is the place the devils dwell in. I sibile est." He rejoices that he was not feel sometimes a hell within myself; Luci. an Israelite at the passage of the Red Sea, fer keeps his courts in my breast; Legion or an early Christian in the days of mir- is revived in me. There was more than acles; for then his faith, supported by his one hell in Magdalene, when there were senses, would have had less merit. He seven devils; for every devil is a hell unto loves to puzzle and confound his under himself; he holds enough of torture in his standing with the thoughts that pass the own ubi, and needs not the misery of limits of our intellectual powers : he re- circumference to afflict him ; and thus a joices in contemplating eternity, because distracted conscience here is a shadow or nobody can “speak of it without a sole- introduction into hell hereafter." cism," and to plunge his imagination into Sir Thomas's witticisms are like the the abysses of the infinite. “When I grotesque carvings in a Gothic cathedral. cannot satisfy my reason," he says, “I It is plain that in his mind they have not love to recreate my fancy." He recreates the slightest tinge of conscious irreverence. it by soaring into the regions where the They are siniply his natural mode of exmost daring metaphysical logic breaks pression ; forbid him to be humorous and down beneath us, and delights in exposing you might as well forbid him to speak at his reason to the rude test of believing all. If the severity of our modern, taste both sides of a contradiction. Here, as is shocked at an intermixture, which everywhere, the strangest freaks of fancy seemed natural enough to his contempointrude themselves into his sublime con- raries, we may find an unconscious templations. A mystic, when abasing apology in a singularly fine passage of the reason in the presence of faith, may lose Religio Medici. Justifying his love of sight of earthly objects in the splendor of church music, he says, "Even that vulthe beatific vision. But Sir Thomas, even gar and tavern music, which makes one when he enters the holiest shrine, never man merry, another mad, strikes in me a quite loses his grasp of the grotesque. deep fit of devotion, and a profound conWonder, whether produced by the sublime templation of the first composer.” That or the simply curious, has equal attraction power of extracting deep devotion from for him. His mind is distracted between “vulgar tavern music" is the great secret the loftiest mysteries of Christianity, and of Browne's eloquence. It is not wonthe strangest conceits of Talmudists or derful, perhaps, that, with our associaschoolmen. Thus, for example, whilst tions, the performance seems of questioneloquently descanting on the submissive- able taste; and that some strains of tavern ness of his reason, he informs us (obviously music mix unpleasantly in the grander claiming credit for the sacrifice of his curi. harmonies which they suggest. Few osity) that he can read of the raising of people find their religious emotions stimLazarus, and yet refrain from raising a ulated by the performance of a nigger “law case, whether his heir might lawfully melody, and they have some difficulty in detain his inheritance bequeathed unto keeping pace with a mind which springs him by his death, and he, though restored in happy unconsciousness, or rather in to life, have no plea or title unto his for- keen enjoyment, of the contrast from the mer possessions." Or we might take the queer or commonplace to the most exalted inverse transition, from the absurd to the objects of human thought. sublime, in his meditations upon hell. One other peculiarity shows itself chiefly He begins by inquiring whether the ever- in the last pages of the Religio Medici. lasting fire is the same with that of our His worthy commentators have labored to earth. “Some of our chymicks," it ap- defend Sir Thomas from the charge of pears, “ facetiously affirm that, at the last vanity. He expatiates upon his universal fire, all shall be crystallized and reverbe- charity ; upon his inability to regard even rated into glass,” but, after playing for vice as a fitting object for satire ; upon some time with this and other strange his warm affection to his friend, whom he fancies, he says in a loftier strain, though already loves better than himself, and whom, yet in a few months, he will regard his microcosm instead of the outside wonwith a love which will make his present ders. And, to say the truth, it is a good feelings seem indifference ; upon his and kindly world—a world full of the absolute want of avarice or any kind of strangest combinations, where even the meanness; and, which certainly seems a most sacred are allied with the oddest little odd in the midst of these self-lauda- objects. Yet his imagination everywhere tions, upon his freedom from the “first diffuses a solemn light such as that which and father sin, not only of man but of the falls through painted windows, and which devil, pride.” Good Dr. Watts was somehow harmonizes the whole quaint shocked at this “arrogant temerity," and assemblage of images. The sacred is Dr. Johnson appears rather to concur in made more interesting instead of being the charge. And certainly, if we are to degraded by its association with the interpret his language in a matter-of-fact quaint; and on the whole, after a stay in spirit, it must be admitted that a gentle- this microcosm, we feel better, calmer, man who openly claims for himself the more tolerant, and a good deal more virtues of charity, generosity, courage, and amused than when we entered it. modesty, might be not unfairly accused Passing from the portrait to the original, of vanity. To no one, as we have already we may recognize, or fancy that we recogremarked, is such a matter-of-fact criticism nize, the same general features. Sir less applicable. If a humorist was to be Thomas assures us that his life, up to the denied the right of saying with a serious period of the Religio Medici, was a "miraface what he does not quite think, we cle of thirty years, which to relate were should make strange work of some of the not a history, but a piece of poetry, and most charming books in the world. The would sound to common ears like a fable." Sir Thomas Browne of the Religio Medici Johnson, with his usual sense, observes is by no means to be identified with the that it is rather difficult to detect the miraevery-day flesh-and-blood physician of culous element in any part of the story Norwich. He is the ideal and glorified open to our observation. “Surely," he Sir Thomas, and represents rather what says, “a man may visit France and Italy, ought to have been than what was. We reside at Montpellier and Padua, and at all have such doubles who visit us in our last take his degree at Leyden, without day-dreams, and sometimes cheat us into anything miraculous." And although the belief that they are our real selves, but Southey endeavors to maintain that the most of us luckily hide the very existence miracle consisted in Browne's preservation of such phantoms; for few of us, indeed, from infidelity, it must be admitted that to could make them agreeable to our neigh- the ordinary mind that result seems exbors. And yet the apology is scarcely plicable by natural causes. We must be needed. Bating some few touches, Sir content with Johnson's explanation, that, Thomas seems to have claimed little that in some sense, “ all life is miraculous ;" he did not really possess. And if he was and, in short, that the strangeness consists à little vain, why should we be angry? rather in Browne's view of his own history, Vanity is only offensive when it is sullen than in any unusual phenomena. Ceror exacting. When it merely amounts to tainly, no man seems on the whole to have an unaffected pleasure in dwelling on the slipped down the stream of life more peculiarities of a man's own character, it smoothly. After his travels he settled is rather an agreeable literary ingredient. quietly at Norwich, and there passed Sir Thomas defines his point of view with forty-five years of scarcely interrupted his usual felicity. “The world that I prosperity. In the Religio Medici he inregard,” he says in the spirit of the im- dulges in some disparaging remarks upon prisoned Richard II., “is myself: it is the marriage. “The whole world,” he says, microcosm of my own frame that I cast" was made for man; but the twelfth part mine eye on; for the other, I use it but of man for woman. Man is the whole like my globe, and turn it round some world and the breath of God; woman the times for my recreation.” That whim- rib and crooked part of man." He wishes, sical inversion of the natural order is the after the fashion of Montaigne, that we key to the Religio Medici. We, for the might grow like the trees, and avoid this nonce, are to regard Sir Thomas Browne foolish and trivial ceremony; and, thereas a world, and to study the marvels of fore—for such inferences are perfectly legitimate in the history of a humorist-he be a spirit; and another at the tin mine married a lady, of whom it is said that she at Stackenwald, in the shape of a monke, was so perfect that "they seemed to come which strikes the miners, playeth on the together by a kind of natural magnetism," bagpipe, and many such tricks." They had ten children, and lived very happily correspond, however, on more legitimate ever afterwards. It is not difficult, from inquiries, and especially on the points to the fragmentary notices that have been be noticed in the son's medical lectures. left to us, to put together some picture of Sir Thomas takes a keen interest in the his personal appearance. He was a man fate of an unlucky “oestridge” which of dignified appearance, with a striking found its way to London in 1681, and was resemblance, as Southey has remarked, to doomed to illustrate some of the vulgar Charles I., "always cheerful, but never errors. The poor bird was induced to merry," given to unseasonable blushing, swallow a piece of iron weighing two and little inclined to talk, but strikingly origi- a half ounces, which, strange to say, it nal when once launched in conversation; could not digest. It soon afterwards died sedate in his dress, and obeying some queer “of a soden," whether from the severity medical crotchets as to its proper arrange- of the weather or from the peculiar nature ment; always at work in the intervals of of its diet. his "drudging practice ;” and generally a The one blot on his character is that sober and dignified physician. From some he gave evidence in the well-known trial letters which have been preserved we of the witches before Sir Matthew Hale catch a view of his social demeanor. He in 1664, and thereby contributed to one was evidently an affectionate and liberal of the latest instances of witch-murder in father, with good old orthodox views of England. All that can be said is that his the wide extent of the paternal preroga- belief was a little too sincere, and that a tive. One of his sons was a promising doctrine pardonable enough in his specunaval officer, and sends home from be- lative moods, should have startled him yond the seas accounts of such curiosities when exemplified in actual flesh and as were likely to please the insatiable blood. curiosity of his parent. In his answers, The great glory of his life was his rethe good Sir Thomas quotes Aristotle's ceiving the honor of knighthood from definition of fortitude for the benefit of his Charles II. in 1671. Dr. Johnson is elogallant lieutenant, and argues elaborately quent on the skill of his favorite monarch to dissuade him from a practice which he in discovering excellence, and his virtue believes to prevail in “the king's shipps, in rewarding it, though, as a twinge of when, in desperate cases, they blow up the conscience compels him to add, “with same." He proves by most excellent such honorary distinctions at least as cost reasons, and by the authority of Plutarch, him nothing." The good doctor died in that such self-immolation is an unnecessary 1682, in the 77th year of his age, and met strain of gallantry; yet somehow we feel his end, as we are assured, in the spirit of rather glad that Sir Thomas could not be his own writings. " There is," he says, a witness to the reception of this sensible, “but one comfort left, that, though it be but, perhaps, rather superfluous advice, in in the power of the weakest arm to take the mess-room of the Marie Rose. It is away life, it is not in the strongest to demore pleasant to observe the carefulness prive us of death." Or, to take another with which he has treasured up and repeats passage, for his meditations were often all the compliments to the lieutenant's amongst the tombs, he says, with his usual valor and wisdom which have reached him quaint and eloquent melancholy, “When from trustworthy sources. This son ap- I take a full view and circle of myself, pears to have died at a comparatively without this reasonable moderator and early age; but with the elder son, Ed. equal piece of justice, death, I do conward-who, like his father, travelled in ceive myself the miserablest person exvarious parts of Europe, and then became tant. Were there not another life that I a distinguished physician-he maintained hope for, all the vanities of this world a long correspondence, full of those curious should not entreat a moment's breath details in which his soul delighted. His from me. Could the devil work my beson, for example, writes from Prague that lief to imagine I could never die, I could "in the mines at Brunswick is reported to not outlive that very thought. I have so abject a conceit of this common way of ton; but they are the grave, quiet utterances existence, this retaining to the sun and of a meditative mind, and their form would elements, I cannot think this to be a man, be more suitable for a lecture-room than or to have according to the dignity of hu- for a pulpit or the floor of a senate, and manity. In expectation of a better, I can most suitable for a closet. He must be with patience embrace this life, yet, in my read in a corresponding spirit; one must best meditations, do often defy death.” stop often to appreciate the flavor of a
The man who wrote thus, and lived and quaint allusion, and lay down the book at died in the spirit of his words, was, by cer- intervals to follow out some sharply ditain of our matter-of-fact friends, called an verging line of thought. So read, in the atheist. Why, it seems impossible to con- quiet of a retired study, or beneath the jecture, unless toleration is considered to dusty shelves of some ancient librarybe an indication of unbelief. No man, at and books, to be thoroughly enjoyed, reany rate, has breathed a more exalted reli- quire appropriate scenery as well as approgious sentiment into his writings, and it is priate moods--no congenial student will impossible to study them without at once find fault with Sir Thomas's stately periods. smiling at him and loving him.
Rather he will admit that the form is in A few remarks on his peculiar style may admirable harmony with the matter; and be added. Johnson, though generally ap- that the sentences march to a most appro. preciative, calls him “obscure," "rugged," priate air. As a general description, it and “pedantic.” The last epithet is obvi- may perhaps be said that they are just too ously more or less deserved. He has the diffuse and too far-fetched to be aphorisms. propensity, common to the learned men of The Christian Morals, for example, conhis day, to coin amazing Latinisms. Here, sists of a series of maxims, which fail for for example, are a few taken pretty much want of a little concentration. They are at random from his posthumous work, to the genuine aphorism what a nebulous the Christian Morals:-"assuefaction,” system is to a sun. Every now and then “minorates," “exantlation," “ quodlibeti- we find some striking and genuine aphocally," "salvifically," " longevous," “ ex- rism, as this, for example, which almost uperances." He says elsewhere that "om- reminds us in language and policy of a neity informed nullity into an essence" at modern French epigram—“Natural parts the creation ; and in discussing the inter- and good judgments rule the world; esting question of the mode of Haman's states are not governed by er gotisms;" but death, defines the obscure term "hanging" as a rule, the thought has not quite enough by the circumlocution, “illaqueation or specific gravity. He wants that concenpendulous suffocation." But setting aside trated force of mind which gives immortasuch freaks, which belong nearly as much lity to Bacon's essays. to his period as to his individual taste, he But we have perhaps dwelt long enough can hardly be called an obsure, and still upon Sir Thomas's peculiar qualities of less, a “rugged" writer. There are occa- style. Whatever they may be, he must sional faults of construction, it is true, certainly be ranked amongst the great which would naturally shock an Addison- masters of our language. If some shade ian taste, and blemishes which would have of oblivion has passed over him, as we been removed by a more careful polish. have drifted further from the order of But he is generally intelligible without an thought in which he most delighted, the effort; and “ruggedness" is a decidedly result is not surprising. Immortality, or, infelicitous epithet. His sentences move, indeed, life beyond a couple of centuries, it may be, with rather too elaborate a is given to few literary artists. If we are stateliness; they are crammed with the re- disposed to complain, Sir Thomas shall mote allusions that are constantly throng- himself supply the answer, in a passage ing into his mind, and have a certain sen from the Hydriotaphia, which, though tentious and epigrammatic turn; but they described by Hallam as the best written are full of a subtle and stately melody, of his treatises, seems to be scarcely so bespeaking a fine musical ear. They have characteristic as the Religio Medici. It not the impetuous energy of a true rheto- contains, however, many eloquent pasrician ; they do not expand into the diffuse sages, and here are some of his reflections eloquence of Jeremy Taylor, nor are they on posthumous fame. The end of the animated by the indignant passion of Mil world, he says, is approaching, and . “Charles V. can never hope to live without injury to our expectations in the within two Methuselahs of Hector." advent of the last day, were a contradic“ And, therefore, useless inquietude fortion to our beliefs. We, whose generations the diuturnity of our memories with present are ordained in this setting part of time, considerations seems a vanity out of date, are providentially taken off from such and a superannuated piece of folly. We imaginations; and being necessitated to cannot hope to live as long in our names, eye the remaining particle of futurity, are as some have done in their persons. One naturally constituted into thoughts of the face of Janus holds no proportion to the next world, and cannot excusably decline other. 'Tis too late to be ambitious. the consideration of that duration, which The great mutations of the world are maketh pyramids pillars of snow, and all acted, or time may be too short for our that's past a moment." designs. To extend our memories by The argument is worthy of Dr. Cummonuments, whose death we daily pray ming; the language and the sentiment, of for, and whose duration we cannot hope Milton.
DARWINISM AND RELIGION. At last Mr. Darwin's long-promised work (p. 577) he said, “ In the distant future I on “Man” is given to the world, and see open fields for far more important rethere is no longer any question as to the searches. Psychology will be based on a views which he entertains concerning the new foundation, that of the necessary aclineal descent of our race from the lower quirement of each mental power and caanimals. To some, who have always pacity by gradation." “hoped against hope," from the previous Into these fields of speculation he enters silence maintained on this subject in suc- boldly in the present work, and arrives at cessive editions of the “Origin of Species," the conclusion that the mental powers of this may come as a startling blow: but to man, though so different in degree to those the majority it will be nothing more than of the higher animals, are yet the same in a direct statement of a conclusion which kind; while in the social instincts existing followed necessarily from the Darwinian So strongly in many animals, he finds a theory. If the evolution hypothesis is to basis for the moral sense or conscience of be received at all as regards the organic the human race. “The following propocreation, there is no possibility of stopping sition,” he says, “ seems to me in a high short when we come to man, at least so degree probable-namely, that any animal far as his bodily structure is concerned. whatever, endowed with well-marked soProfessor Huxley, as long ago as 1863, cial instincts, would inevitably acquire a pointed out that “man, in all parts of his moral sense or conscience, as soon as its organization, differs less from the higher intellectual powers had become as well apes than these do from the lower mem- developed, or nearly as well developed, as bers of the same group ;” and the mass in man." For, firstly, the social instincts of overwhelming evidence brought forward lead an animal to take pleasure in the in the present work to prove our intimate society of its fellows, to feel a certain connection with the lower animals does amount of sympathy with them, and to but strengthen a conviction, slowly and perform various services for them. But reluctantly yielded to by all who accept these feelings and services are by no any phase, whether Darwinian or other- means extended to all individuals of the wise, of the theory of evolution.
same species, only to those of the same If Mr. Darwin, therefore, had confined association. Secondly-As soon as the his speculations to the bodily structure of mental faculties had become highly deman, his new work, though strengthening veloped, images of all past actions and his previous theory by many new facts and motives would be incessantly passing arguments, would not have enunciated any through the brain of each individual, and novel or startling principle. But he had that feeling of dissatisfaction which invaalready hinted at another subject of inquiry riably results from any unsatisfied instinct when in the last edition of the “Origin” would arise as often as it was perceived