Imagens das páginas

evil: good, inasmuch as the contemplation of the highest artistic excellence has a tendency to refine the mind, whilst the shrewd sense, the manly thought, and the deep knowledge of the world displayed in these writings, tend to strengthen the character; good, in as far as the descriptions of nature and the recognition of higher principles, and higher agencies, and a Higher Power, naturally exalt the soul; good, inasmuch as friendship is developed, brutality discouraged, patriotism applauded, and literature recommended. But the evils which, on the other hand, have accrued from the study of this author, and from the way in which he has been studied, have been of the most serious nature and extensive influence. The mind has been tainted, the boundary between right and wrong destroyed, the horror against vice softened down, the standard of virtue lowered, self-love substituted for duty, discretion for excellence, pleasure enthroned as a sovereign, and the world worshipped as a God,-through the influence of this poet's writings on the youth of each succeeding generation, aided by the blind and criminal adulation of his infatuated devotees. They who, having been taught the truth, have held up the writings of this impure teacher, as the model which the old should reverence and the young emulate, have incurred a debt of guilt which it is painful to contemplate.

Would we then discourage the study of Horace? Far from it; but whilst teaching the young to seek in this rich mine the precious ore really to be found there, we would not assert the presence of that which is absent; whilst pointing out the gems, we would indicate the counterfeits; whilst culling the bright flowers and salutary herbs, we would warn the inexperienced of the poisonous plants and deadly fruits, which abound in the fair garden through which he is wandering. In short, we would carefully distinguish

Quid sit pulchrum, quid turpe, quid utile, quid non.

We must however bring this article to a close, lest the impatient shade of his patron' should be tempted to revisit earth, and address us in behalf of his client with the well-known adjuration,

Surge tandem carnufex.

1 "One day, when Octavius was sitting in judgment as Triumvir, and condemning a multitude of persons to death, Mecenas handed up to him a tablet, inscribed with those significant words."

ART. III.-Essay on the Union of Church and State. By BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL. ἀληθεύοντες ἐν ἀγάπῃ, Eph. iv. 15. James Nisbet & Co., 21, Berners-street. 1849. In dealing with an adversary or repelling an attack, a gentleman must consider the character of his opponents and the weapons wherewith he has been assailed. We feel some of the difficulties which must be encountered under these circumstances, when we read the attacks now made upon the Church of England. When a dissenter calls the marriage service indecent, the baptismal service blasphemous, and the Church Catechism a lie, we pass him by as quietly as possible, leaving him, as a gentleman would a sweep, to the undisturbed enjoyment of his own soot, congratulating him on the impunity which he enjoys, and merely reminding him that the police are within call, and that if he were worth prosecuting he might possibly be convicted of a libel. When, on the other hand, a distinguished member of the Church of England denounces her authority, opposes her formularies, and gives his reasons in a large volume for withdrawing from her ministry, we feel it a duty not to be silent, or to allow unfounded charges to be considered unanswerable. Mr. Noel is a gentleman, he therefore avoids personal abuse; he is a man of a Christian spirit, he therefore begs pardon for offending; he has some talents as a popular preacher, and we could have hoped that he would have lived and died an efficient minister of the Gospel; but he has taken a dislike to the union of Church and State; into this all his arguments run and all his thoughts seem to tend. We pity the perversion rather than blame the man, and feel inclined to exclaim, as we read his many fallacies,

-Ah miser
Quantâ laboras in Charybdi
Digne puer meliore flammâ !

This crotchet, however, is only a symptom, there is a moral disease more deeply seated. Like most incurables, Mr. Noel probably does not know his own complaint; but it is not the less dangerous or infectious on that account. He does not see that he is hurried on by the force of a vortex which is rapidly overwhelming many of our best institutions. The vortex is Radicalism.

Mr. Noel is a thorough-going Radical in the strongest sense of the word.

[ocr errors]

When Dr. Johnson said that "The first Whig was the Devil," he intended that opposition to constituted authority, or the feeling which leads man to endeavour to subvert what others value, is a sinful propensity of our fallen nature. Now the organ of destructiveness must be prominent in Mr. Noel, the first Whig must have blinded his better feelings, for, from the title-page to the parting address, we read, "Down with every thing: Church and State must fall, and the sooner they fall the better.' The Book is by Baptist Wriothesley Noel, A.M. The son of a peeress is "the Honourable ;" an ordained minister even among dissenters is addressed as “the Reverend:" but Mr. Noel cannot bear to have his name connected either with Church or State, he drops the titles which identify him with both. This may appear to many to be mere weakness, but it is consistent with the rest of his book. It is a symptom of the disease we have mentioned, and is countenanced by the example of Philip Egalité at the beginning of the French Revolution. As great fault is found with the Universities, we only wonder that the academic title is retained. Mr. Noel all through his work has assumed that the piety of every body of men is in the inverse ratio of their dignity; and because religion is badly administered, Mr. Noel would make it worse. He would take the power from the bishops and lodge it in the people; he would supersede the House of Commons in order to place the supreme spiritual authority in the electors. His remedies are all destructive. If he were an architect, he would pull off the roof of the house to allow a vent for a draft from a broken window; if he were a surgeon, he would cut off his patient's head as a cure for the toothache and lately, when he opposed the grant to Maynooth, he simply suggested, as a preferable alternative, or rather a sort of gentle remedy, that all the Irish clergy should abandon their property and sacrifice the support of themselves and their families, because the government, which upholds them, was convicted of a mistake. (See his Letter to the Bishop of Cashel on the subject of Maynooth.)

As Mr. Noel deals in indiscriminate attack he stands on a ground of great advantage. From the manifest imperfection of all human systems, and still more so from the weakness of the instruments by which they are administered, every thing is open to objection; he, therefore, who sets up for a censor of the world will always pass for a man of talent. It is our intention in this instance to follow Mr. Noel's example, and merely show the fallacy of some of his arguments: our limits do not admit of an VOL. XI.-NO. XXII.-JUNE, 1849.


elaborate defence of the Church of England; and most of Mr. Noel's objections have been answered already, as few of them are original. As, however, an enemy has raised a battery against our bulwarks, we feel that we may do the State good service by returning some of his shot; and if we have not space to answer his cannonade in regular order, we may at least weaken its force.

One chapter is devoted to the subject of the "Union considered from History." This dwells upon the faults of kings and rulers from Constantine and Queen Elizabeth to Charles the Second and Louis the Fourteenth; and as history generally records the evil deeds of ambitious men, and leaves the useful and pious to the reward of their Father who is in heaven, we fear there is too much truth in the statement,

"The evils that men do live after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones."

Mr. Noel, however, while he gives many examples to deter us from the union of Church and State, gives us one pattern for our imitation which we think worth quoting, as, while he deprecates the manner, he evidently glories in the result. It will throw some light upon the value of his testimony from history regarding the union of Church and State.

"This part of the alternative (the severance of Church and State by violence) is not so impossible as some may think. A separation of the Church from the State is the distinct tendency of the foremost nations of Europe, which must, sooner or later, govern the course of the rest. In the year 1795 the convention of the French Republic introduced into its constitution the following article: No one shall be hindered from exercising the religion (culte) which he has chosen. No one shall be forced to contribute to the maintenance of any religion. The Republic salaries none.' If a similar article is not inserted in the French constitution of 1848, this is attributable more to a temporary fear of increasing the difficulties of the Republic than to any value for the union itself."-p. 565.

Now we ask Mr. Noel (in the name of Tom Paine, Robespierre, and Dr. Guillotine), does he seriously propose France in 1795, or even in 1848, as an example to England in 1849? Did the blessing of God rest on revolutionary France? "Had Zimri peace who slew his master?”

But says Mr. Noel, Dissolve the union quietly and religiously, lest it be done hereafter with violence. We answer, that where the same mischievous result is produced, we care little as to the means of effecting it.


But France, Germany, and Prussia are taking the lead in a movement, therefore England must follow. When men like Mr. Noel think so, we are the more afraid. We hope, however, our progress may be slow. There must in a free country be an opposition: we hope it may long continue with such opponents as Mr. Noel, rather than with worse. History teaches us that when Whigs have gained their object, as by the Reform Bill, Radicals like Mr. Cobden will call for further concession. Radicals or Chartists call themselves a provisional government, and a Socialist opposition arises at once. Mr. Noel tells us, Thoughtful, just, and religious progress is the only condition of our safety:" this means, in England we are to throw off national religion because certain parties who call themselves the people choose to demand it; in France, of course, on the same principle of progress, we are to admit women professing Socialism to the legislative assembly, and to treat the obligations of marriage as an antiquated delusion.


"Thus in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threatens to devour."

We confess we much prefer disputing with a gentleman who endeavours to "speak the truth in love1" on the union between Church and State, to seeing Temple-bar thrown down to form a barricade. It is more agreeable to argue against Radicalism which possesses the happy inconsistency of being combined with the fear of God, than when associated with fierce and open infidelity; and widely as we differ from Mr. Noel, we much prefer him to M. Prudhon, who tells us plainly that "property is robbery, and Christianity has had its day."

Let us now consider the political and religious objections which Mr. Noel advances against the union of Church and State. In the first place, he boldly asserts that the union is condemned by the Mosaic law. This is certainly a strong assumption, as among the ecclesiastical arrangements of the Israelites are found all the great principles for which we contend. He tells us again, that even if Moses could furnish arguments for the union, his law has been abrogated; but that the Mosaic system of endowment is totally at variance with ours. Now we have always held that while the details of the ceremonial law are not binding on Christians, because they are burdensome or impossible, yet whenever we an discover the principle on which the law was enacted, we have a right to argue from it as coming from God.

1 His motto.

« AnteriorContinuar »