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Lectures on European Civilisation.

By M. Guizot, late Minister for
Public Instruction. 1837, pp. 469.

J. Macrone, St. James's-square. We refer to these lectures in order to bring before our readers some of the observations, on the arrangements of the professing Church, of a keensighted observer of events. M. Guizot, in these lectures, which appear to have excited intense interest at Paris, “successively brought under observation the principal elements of modern society; the feudal aristocracy, the church, the communes, and royalty.” Our attention will be solely occupied by his remarks on “ the church ;" that is to say, the Catholic Church, in its relations to society. We read in the Word of God, that “ the children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light :” a truth to which ecclesiastical history bears ample testimony, and of which the following preliminary observations are, perhaps, an additional illustration :

are suffered to follow their natural laws, when force does not interfere, power falls into the hands of the most able, the most worthy ; those who are most capable of carrying out the principles on which the society was founded. Is a warlike expedition in agitation ? The bravest take the command. Is the object of the association learned research, or a scientific undertaking ? The best informed will be the leader. In all circumstances, when the world is left to its natural course, the natural inequality between men is openly displayed, and every one assumes the place he is capable of occupying. In religious affairs the same inequality of talents, of faculties, and of gifts, is apparent. One man may be more fitted than another to expound religious doctrines, and to cause them to be generally received. Another possesses more authority in compelling the observance of religious precepts ; another may excel in exciting and cherishing religious emotions and expectations in the soul. The inequality of faculties and influence, which is the foundation of power in civil life, has the same effect in a religious society. ... Therefore, religion has no sooner arisen in the human mind than a religious society appears, and immediately a religious society is formed it produces its government. .......... Compulsion, the employment of force, is not then the essential principle of government; that principle chiefly consists in a system of measures, and powers, conceived for the purpose of ascertaining what ought to be done on every occasion ; of discovering the truth which ought to govern the society, in order to introduce it into the popular mind, and cause it to be voluntarily, and freely accepted. It is not, therefore, difficult to imagine that a government may be necessary, and may exist, although compulsion

P. 149.—"No society can endure a week; nay, more, no society can endure a single hour without a government. The moment a society is formed, indeed, by the very fact of its formation, it calls forth a government-a government which shall proclaim the common truth which is the bond of the society, and promulgate and maintain the precepts that this truth ought to produce. The necessity of a superior power, of a form of government, is involved in the fact of the existence of a religious, as it is in that of any other, society; and not only is a government necessary, but it naturally forms itself. Time does not permit me to explain at length in what manner governments generally arise, and become established; I shall content myself by observing, that when events

is not admitted-although it should even be absolutely interdicted.

« Such, gentlemen, is the government of a religious society. Without doubt, it ought never to employ compulsion ; without doubt, its province being the human conscience, the employment of force is illegitimate under whatsoever pretext. But a government still exists. ...... It ought to promulgate and maintain the precepts which correspond with its doctrines; it ought to teach and inculcate them, in order that if the society deviates from them, they may be recalled to its remembrance. Here is no compulsion, but inquiry, instruction, and the promulgation of religious truths; and, if necessary, admonition and censure. This is the office of a religious government; this is its duty. .......

“ The conditions of legitimacy are the same in the government of a religious as in that of any other society. They may be reduced to two. The first is, that power should be possessed and constantly held, at least as far as the imperfection of human affairs permits, by the most excellent, the most able individuals ; that those who are most competent to direct society (les supériorités légitimes), and who are dispersed amidst it, should be sought for, brought forward, and invited to discover the social law, and to exercise authority. The second is, that power, when legitimately constituted, respects the legitimate liberties of those whom it governs.”

Happy, indeed, would it have been for Christian societies had these principles been respected. Our author proceeds with a sketch of the progress of the Church from the earliest ages, and its effects on civilisation :

P. 159_" How was it possible for the Church, which admitted all men to power, to ascertain their right to it? How did she discover in the bosom of society, how did she separate from it, the legitimate superiori. ties (supériorités légitimes) who ought to take part in her government ?

“ Two principles prevailed in the church. First, The election of the inferior by the superior-choice or nomination ; Secondly, The election of the superior by the subordinate, --or, what is properly called election, such as we now conceive it to be.

“ The ordination of priests, for example, the faculty of constituting any man a priest, was the privilege of the superior—the superior elected the inferior. .......... In other cases, the principle of true election prevailed. The bishops were for a long time, and, at the epoch we are considering they were still frequently, elected by the clergy: the faithful, or general body of Christians, occasionally had a voice in their election. In the monasteries, the abbot was elected by the monks ; at Rome, the popes were elected by the college of cardinals; and, in the earlier ages, all the Roman clergy assisted. You therefore perceive, that these two principles, the choice of the inferior by the superior, and the election of the superior by the subordi. nates, were recognised and employed by the church, especially at the period we are studying: it was either by one or the other of these means that she nominated those destined to exercise any part of the ecclesiastical power.

“ Not only were these two principles coexistent, but, being essentially different, they were continually in opposition. After many ages, after numerous vicissitudes, the nomination of the inferior by the superior became the practice of the Christian church. But in general, from the fifth to the twelfth century, the other principle, that of the choice of the superior by the subordinate, still prevailed. Let us not be surprised, that two such opposite principles should have existed together. If we consider society in general, if we observe the natural course of the world, the mode in which power is transmitted, we shall perceive that this transmission is effected, sometimes in accordance with one of these modes, sometimes with the other. The church did not invent them; she

found them in the laws of Provi. cause sprung the greatest proportion dence for the regulation of human of those abuses which, even at that affairs, and she adopted them from epoch, and afterward, to a much that source. There is truth and utility greater extent, were fatal to the in both : their combination would fre- church.” quently be the best means of disco- P. 180—“ We have seen that very vering those who should legitimately early, the idea arose and prevailed, possess power. It is, in my opinion, that theology, the questions and affairs most unfortunate that one of these of religion, were the peculiar and principles—the nomination of the in- privileged domain of the clergy; that ferior by the superior-should have the clergy possessed not only the right obtained the ascendancy in the church: to decide, but even to occupy themthe other, nevertheless, was not com- selves concerning those questions, and pletely annihilated, and, under various that the laity ought, in no manner, to names, and more or less successfully interfere. *** became frequently reproduced, with, at “ This effect is, nevertheless, more least, sufficient force to protest against, pernicious in a religious, than in any and frequently interrupt the prescrip other society. What is the question, tion."

as concerns the governed ? Their

reason, their conscience, their future We regret that our limits will not destiny ; in fact, every thing that is allow more than a transient glance at most secret, most personal, and most the remainder of M. Guizot's able free. We can, in some measure, concomments on the different states of ceive, that a man may abandon the the church, from the eighth to the direction of his material interests, his twelfth century, “ as an imperial temporal affairs, to an outward authochurch, as a barbarian church, as a rity, although most injurious consefeudal church, and as a theocratic quences may thereby be produced. We church.” But we must find room for can understand the philosopher who, an extract on the point which he when he was informed that his house deems “the radical vice" in the was on fire, replied, “Go and tell my church, “the separation of the Chris wife, I do not meddle with household tian clergy from the people.”

affairs. But when conscience, mind,

and intellectual existence are conP. 178—“ This evil was intro- cerned, to abdicate self-government, duced at a very early period into the to abandon oneself to an extrinsic Christian Church. The separation of power, is a moral suicide, a servitude the clergy from the Christian people, infinitely more galling than personal had not been entirely consummated at slavery, than , the condition of the the epoch we were considering ; the serf.” people had still, on certain occasionssometimes, for example, in the elec- We must now take our leave of M. tion of bishops—a direct interference Guizot, trusting that these lectures, in the ecclesiastical government. But which have produced some considerthis interference became continually able effect on the public mind in less frequent, less powerful, and even, France, may be productive of good, in the second century of our era, it though we rely very little on any exhad rapidly and visibly begun to de- tension of knowledge in reference to cline. Even from its cradle, a ten- what ought to be the arrangements of dency to isolation, and the indepen. Christian societies, unless accompadency of the clergy, forms, to a great nied by a clear exhibition of that extent, the history of the church. “truth” which alone can “make free"

“ We cannot deny, that from this the bond-slaves of sin and Satan.





Puseyism: _"1. The Church of
Christ is planted in Scotland. 2.
There are not two branches of the

Protestant Church. 3. It is implied In the year 1836, the General Assem- that there are two branches of the bly of the Scotch Church passed a Church in Scotland, these being the resolution of friendly sentiments in Papal and the Protestant Episcofavour of the Established Church of palian. 4. The other professedly England; it was a declaration of sym- Christian body, popularly known as pathy in the alarming visitation of the the Church of Scotland, is no part of voluntary system, which was at that the Church of Christ” !!! Here is time threatening both the Presby- the voice of the Vatican in all its terian and the Episcopalian Establish- thunders; here is an excision of all ments. The expediency of making a the Christians of Scotland, except the common cause was felt and acknow- few Papists and the few Episcopalians ledged by the reasonable men north of the Anglican Church north of the and south of the Tweed; and Dr. Tweed, and that by a decision of a Chalmers has, by his lectures in Lon- committee of a society “established don, endeavoured to cement the union for the promotion of Christian knowbetween the two ancient antagonists. ledge." They acknowledge the Papists No such union, however, can possibly as brothers in Christ, because they take place ; the English bishops and believe in diocesan bishops; which, priests, and other partisans, animated indeed, is a disinterested show of affecwith the Popish spirit-intoxicated tion on their part, as the Papists, with with secular power, and holding to one voice, deny that the Episcopalians the apostolical succession as the very of England are part of the Church of life of their system, cannot endure Christ, or are indeed any thing but any approach of the Presbyterians, heretics. In the mean time, the except in the attitude of suppliant he- Scotch Presbyterians, feeling the inretics, humbly seeking salvation within sults continually offered to them by the pale of the prelacy, within which the Episcopalians, and remembering alone do they acknowledge that there well the old controversy which was is any hope of salvation. If the Pres- not settled without bloodshed, are not byterian Church of Scotland be ac- backward on their part to speak out knowledged to be a church at all, it their sentiments of contempt, aversion, follows inevitably that the Episco- and defiance, against the advocates of palian Church is not a sine quà non ;

that church which their ancestors con: that in fact it is a matter of indif- quered, and drove out of Scotland. ference whether the Presbyterian or

The 56

centenary commemoration" of Episcopalian system be upheld, and the celebrated Assembly of the Church that the divine right of diocesan pre- of Scotland, which assembled in 1638, lacy is a delusion. Animated with and overturned the Episcopacy of these feelings, the Committee of the James and Charles, has lately furChristian Knowledge Society, January nished an occasion for a display of 15, 1838, passed the following reso- the true sentiments of the Presbylutions, which were proposed by Mr. terians. This commemoration took Dodsworth, a well-known leader of place on the 20th of December last.




because many

The Rev. Mr. Lorimer thus uttered

ful province of Ireland ? and what is his feelings against Episcopacy, in a by far the most eminent and influenspeech at the public dinner :- .“ I tial Church of the United States of cannot shut my eyes to the fact,” said America---a Church which has rehe, “that as a matter of history, the centy vindicated her discipline, by Church of Scotland was reformed, not cutting off fifteen unsound congregaas some ignorant advocates of Epis- tional Presbyteries at a strike ? They copacy imagine, from the Church of

are both Presbyterian. Nay, more, England, but came forth directly from Sir, who were the men to whom the Church of Rome; and that there, England, and her religion and liberfore the thrusting of Episcopacy upon ties, were in the seventeenth century her, by James and his unhappy son, so deeply indebted ? They were the was an act of the grossest usurpation, Presbyterian Nonconformists - the and which was moreover carried into Church Establishment

the effect by the most base, jesuitical, and despised Puritans of England. The violent means. I cannot forget that truth is, the Church of England the bishops were deposed by our stands almost alone in her Episcopacy. noble-minded ancestors of 1638, be- I say it without any disrespect; she is cause their office had no authority in an anomaly among the daughters of Scripture; because they had been the the Reformation ; and high as some greatest instruments in the hands of of her modern advocates may talk of the king in oppressing the people, and their peculiar and exclusive privileges,

of them were also no- the Reformers of the Church-the torious for unsound doctrine, Popish moral heroes of the age of Edward learning, and immoral life. Yes, my VI., with whom the Newmans, and Lord Provost, they and their Church the Kebles, and the Puseys of the were not indigenous, the nature, the present times are not to be namedcherished growth of the Scottish soil. would have been ashamed of their No; they were like a miserable party modern descendants, and would have of foreigners, without any hold on, or disowned them as apostates. Never sympathy in the country; put forth did they dream of unchurching the as mere puppets, convenient tools, to Protestant Church of Scotland. No ; serve the purposes of a domineering they were glad to learn from her ; crown.”—“It would be well for such they envied her high reformation ; persons to remember that Episcopacy they embraced her with the affection embraces but a small number of the of a sister; they would almost have churches of the Protestant Reforma- died for her principles." —Dr. Patertion. Who were the Waldenses, those son, D.D. said, The people knew noble men who throughout the dark the natural history of the Beast, and reign of Popery kept alive the flames they could recognise him crouching of pure religion, and thus fulfilled the on his muffled paw as well as in his Master's promise, of perpetual pre- rampant mode, vexing, tearing, and sence in his Church? They were tormenting. They were not to be Presbyterians. What was the Pro- taken by his gentle look; and the only testant Church of France ?

safety was to see him out of the land; strictly Presbyterian. What were the and to see out also a corrupted EpisProtestant Churches of Holland, Swit

copacy, which had sheltered and diszerland, Germany—so remarkable for guised him.”—The Rev. J. C. Bown the eminent learning of many of their said, “ It was monstrous to contend ministers—a learning which Episcopal that the civil rulers should be the England is not ashamed to borrow? head of the Church. Why, the suThey were, they are, Presbyterian, preme civil powers might be in the What is the Church of the only peace- hands of a female, and were they to

She was

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