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the middle ages. It is impossible not
to feel that the writers see no broad
distinction between the history of the
nations and times of which they are
writing and that of the ancient people
of Grod. And hence in their annals
we have far more of the philosophy of
history, in the true sense of the word,
than was possible to any ancient au-
thor. For with all their ignorance of
physical causes, which led them into
many mistakes, their main principles
were both true and vitally important,
and were wholly unknown to Thucydi-
des and Tacitus. But the circum-
stances of their times made it impos-
Bible that they should survey the
extensive range of facts which lies be-



fore a modem historian. In many
instances, also, they were led by the
imperfect state of physical science to
attribute to a supernatural interference
of God in th^ world things which we
are now able to refer to natural
causes. That God has before now
interfered with the course of nature
which he has established in the world,
and may whenever he pleases so in-
terfere again, these were to them first
principles. And so far they reasoned
truly and justly, although their imper-
fect acquaintance with other branches
of human knowledge sometimes led
them to apply amiss their true princi-
ple. Their minds were so much ac-
customed to dwell upon the thought of
Grod, and upon hi8 acts in the world,
tliat they were always prepared to see
and hear him everywhere, and in
every event. When they heard of
any event supposed to be supernatural,
they might be awestruck and impress-
ed, but could not be said to be surpris-
ed ; and hence, no doubt, they some-
times accepted as supernatural events
which, if examined by a shrewd man
who starts with the first principle that
nothing supernatural can really have
taken place, could have been other-
wise explained. Beside, their com-
parative unacquaintance with physical
science led them into errors in ac-
counting for and even in observing
those which they themselves did noi
imagine to be supernatural. But
their first principles were true. And
the modem who assumes, whether ex-
plicitly or implicitly, that the course
of the world is modified and governed
only by the passions and deeds of
many is in his first principles funda-
mentally wrong. They fell into acci-
dental error ; he cannot be more than
accidentally right.

Our author says :

'< In the middle ages, and notably in
the thirteenth century, there were
minds which have lefl us imperishable
memorials of themselves, and which
would have taken the largest and most
philosophical view of history had the
materials existed ready to their hand-



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I%e Formation of Okrutendam*



Conoeiye, for instance^ a history from
the luminous mind of St. Thomas with
the stores of modern knowledge at his
conmiand. But the invention of print-
ing, one of the turning points of the
human race, was first to take place,
and then on that soil of the middle ages,
so long prepared and fertilized bj so
patient a toil, a mightj harvest was to
spring up. Among the first-fruits of
labors so often depreciated bj those
who have profited by them, and in
the land of children who despise their
sires, we find the proper alliance of
philosd[)hy with history. Then at
length the province of the historian is
seen to consist, not merely in the just,
accurate, and lively narrative of ^ts,
but in the exhibition of cause and ef-
fect * What do we now expect in his-
tory ?' says M. de Barante ; and he re-
plies, ^ Solid instruction and complete
knowledge of things ; moral lessons, .
political counsels ; comparison witii
the present, and the general .know-
ledge of facts.' Even in the age of
Tacitus, the most philosophic of an-
cient historians, no individual ability
could secure all such powers" (p.
12).

Thus philosophical history is one of
the results of Christianity. Professor
Max MtiUer makes a similar remark
with regard to his own favorite study
of ethnology. Before the day of Pen-
tecost, he says, no man, not even the
greatest minds, ever thought of tracing
the genealogy of nations by their lan-
guages, because they did not know
Sie unity of the human race. The
unity of mankind is naturally con-
nected in the order of ideas with the
unity of Grod. Those who worshipped
many gods, and believed that each
race and nation had its own tutelary
divinity, not unnaturally regarded each
nation as a separate race. So far was
this feeling carried by the most civil-
ized races of the old world, that they
thought it a profanation that the wor-
ship of the gods of one race should be
offered by a priest not sprung from
that race. The *mo8t moderate and
popular of the Roman patricians re-



jected the demand of the pM$ to be
admitted to the highest o&ces of the
state, not as politically dangerous, but
as profane. The Soman consul, in
virtue of his office, was the priest of
the Capitoline Jove, to whom, on cer-
tain solemn occasions, he had to offer
sacrifice. It would be a pollution that
a plebeian, not sprung from any of the
tribes of Romulus, should presume to
offer that sacrifice. In fact, the con-
sulship would hardly have been thrown
(^en to itteplebs until the long contin-
ued habit of intermarriage had welded
the two portions of the Roman people
so completely into one that the ple-
beian began, at last, to be regarded as
of the same blood with the Furii, the
Comelii, and the Julii. The first
measure by which the tribunes com-
menced their attack upon the exclu-
sive privilege of the great houses waa
wisely chosen; it was the Canuleian
law, by which marriages between the
two orders were made legal and valid.
Before that, patricians and plebeians
were two nations living in one city,
and, according to the universal opin-
ion of the ancient world, this implied
that they had different gods, different
priests, a different ritual, and different
temples. But the day of Pentecost
blended all nations into a new unity —
the unity of the body of Christ; and
its first effect was, that the preachers
of the new law proclaimed every-
where, that ^God had made of one
blood all nations of men, to dwell upon
the fiuse of the whole earth." The
professor points out what curiously
completes the analogy between the
two cases, that while Christianity, by
collecting into one church all the na-
tions of the world, and by teaching
their original unity, naturally suggestr
ed the idea that all their different lan-
guages had some common origin, any
satisfactory investigation of the sub-
ject was long delayed by the unfound-
ed notion that the Hebrew must needs
be the root from which they aU
sprang. Thus, in both cases, the
geim of studies, whose development
was delayed for ages by the impsrfeo-



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I^ FomuUion of C^ristendanu



361



tkm of haman knowledge, appears to,
have been contained in the revelation
of the gospel of Christ.

It is important to bring these consid-
erations into prominence, because the
knowledge which would never have
existed without Christianitj, is, in
many cases, retained bj men who for^
get or deny the &ith to which they are
indebted for it Our author draws
oomparison between Tacitus and Gib-
bon (page 14):

" The worid of thought in which we
live is, afler all, formed by Christian-
ity. Modem Europe is a relic of
Christendom, the virtue of which is
not gone out of it Gregory VII. and
Innocent III. have ruled over genera-
tions which have ignored them ; have
given breadth to minds which con-
demned their benefactors as guilty of
narrow priesteraft, and derided the
work of those benefactors as an ex-
ploded theory. Let us take an ex-
ample in what is, morally, perhaps the
worst and most shocking period of the
last three centuries — ^the thirty years
preceding the great French revolution.
We shall see that at this time even
minds which had rejected, with all the
firmness of a reprobate will, the re-
generating influence of Christianity,
could not emancipate themselves from
the virtue of the atmosphere which
they had breathed. They are im-
measurably greater than diey would
^ve been in pagan times, by die force
of that faith which they misrepresent-
ed and repudiated. To prove the truth
of my words, compare for a moment
the great artist who drew Tiberius and
Domitian and the Roman empire in
the first century with him who wrote
of its decline and fall in the second and
succeeding centuries. How far wider
a grasp of thought^ how far more man-
ifold an experience, combined with
philosophic purposes, in Gibbon than
in Tacitus. He has a standard with-
in bim by which he can measure the
nations as they come in long proces-
sion before him. In that vast and
wondrous drama of the Antonines and
Constaiituiey Athanasias and Leo^ Jus-



tinian and Chariemagne, Mahomet,
Zenghis Khan, and Timour, Jerusalem
and Mecca, Rome and Constantinople,
what stores of thought are laid up—
what a train of philosophic induction
exhibited ! How much larger is this
world become than that which trem-
bled at Caesar! The very apostate
profits by the light which has shone on
Thabor, and the blood which has
flowed on Calvary. He is a greater
historian than his heathen predecessor
because he lives in a society to which
the God whom he has abandoned
has disclosed the depth of its being,
the laws of its course, the import-
ance of its present, the price of its
futurity.'*

A very little thought will show that,
constituted as man's nature is, this
could not have been otherwise. Man
differs from the inferior animals in
that he is richly endowed with facul-
ties which, until they have been de-
veloped by education, he can never
use, and appreciates and embraces
truths, when they have been set be-
fore him, which he could never have
discovered unassisted. This is the most
obvious distinction between reason
and instinct The caterpillar, hatched
from an egg dropped by a parent
whom it never saw, knows at once
what food and what habits are neces-
sary for its new life. Weeks pads
away, and its first skin begins to die ;
but (as if it had been fully instructed
in what has to be done) it draws its
body out of it as from a glove, and
comes forth in a new one. A few weeks
later it forsakes the food which has
hitherto been necessary for its life, and
buries itself in the earth, which up to
that very day would have been cer-
tain death. There a mysterious
change passes upon it, and it lies as
if dead till the time for another
change approaches. It then gradually
works its way to the surface, and
comes out a butterfly or a moth. It
is now indifferent to the plants which
in its former state were necessary to
its existence, but yet it chooses those
plants on which to deposit its e^s*



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The Formation of OhrUtendom,



We are bo apt to delude ourselves
with the notion that we understand
everything to which we give a name,
that ninety-nine people out of a hun-
dred seem to think they account for
this marvelous power of the inferior
animals to act exactly right under
circumstances so strangely changed,
by calling it " instinct." But, in truth,
why or how the creature does what it
does, we no more know when we
have called it " instinct" than we did
before. All we can suppose is that
as the Creator has left none of his
creatures destitute of the kind and de-
gree of knowledge necessary to ena-
ble it to discharge its appointed office
in creation, the appetices and desires
of the insect are modified from time
to time in the different stages of its
existence so that they impel it exactly
to the course necessary for it to take,
with much gre^iter certainty than if
it understood what the result was to
be. How different is the cose of man.
Not only is he a free agent, and there-
fore to be guided by reason, not by
mere propensity, but neither reason
nor speech, nor indeed life itself,
could be preserved or made of any
use except by means of training and
education received from others. A
man left to shift for himself like the
animal whose changes we have been
tracing, would die at each state of his
existence for want of some one to
teach him what must be done for his
preservation. This same training is
equally necessary for Ids physical, in-
tellectual, moral, and spiritual life. But
he is so constituted that the different
things needful for him to know for
eacli of these purposes approve them-
selves to him as soon as they are pre-
sented to his mind from widiout, and
the things which thus approve them-
selves, although he could never have
discovered them, we truly call natural
to man, because no external teaching
would have made him capable of
learning them unless the faculty had
been as much a part of his original
constitution as the unreasoning desires
which we call instinct are part of the.



constitution of brutes. And therefore,
when once developed by education,
they remain a part of the man, even
when he casts away from him those
teachers by whom they were develop-
ed. Nero would never have learnt
the use of speech if he had not caught
it from his mother ; yet when he used
it to order her murder he did not lose
what she had taught him, because it
was a part of his nature. And so of
higher powers, the result of a superior
training. Principles which men would
never have known without Christian
training are retained when Chris-
tianity itself is rejected, because they
are a part of the spiritual endowment
given to man by his Creator, although
without training he would never have
been able to develop them. His rejec-
tion of Christianity results from an evil
will. The parts of Christian teaching
against which that will does not rebel
he calls and believes to be the lessons
of his natural reason, although the
experience of the greatest and wisest
heathen shows that his unassisted
natural faculties never would have
discovered them.

Nor is this true only of individuals.
Nations trained for many generations
in Christian faith have before now
fallen away from Christianity. But
it does not seem that they are able to
reduce themselves to the level of
heathen nations in their moral stand-
ard, their perception and appreciation
of good and evil, justice and wrong,
or of the nature and destinies of the
human race. In some respects they
are morally much worse than heathen.
But it does not appear that in these
points thay can sink so low, because
their nature, fallen though it be, ap-
proves and accepts some of the truths
taught it by Christianity. Hence, in
order to judge what man can or can-
not do without the revelation of God
in Jesus Christ, we must examine him
in nations to which the faith has never
been given, rather than in those which
have rejected it Unhappily, there
are at this moment parts of Europe
in which the belief in the eupema-



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I%e' Farmaiian of Ohristendom,



363



tural seems wanting. An intelligent
correspondent of the Times a year
ago described such a state of things
as existing in parts of northern Grer-
manj and Scandinavia. The popula-
tion believes nothing, and practises no
religion. Public worship is deserted,
not because the people have dcTtsed
anj new heresy of their own as to
the m»iner in which man should ap-
proach God, but because they have
ceased to trouble themselves about the
matter at all. Lutheranism is dead and
gone ; but nothing has been substitut-
ed for it. The intelligent Protestant
writer was surprised to find a popula-
tion thus wholly without religion or-
derly and well-behaved, hard-working,
and by no means forgetful of social
duties. The phenomenon is, no doubt,
remarkable ; but it is by no means
without example. Many parishes
(we fear considerable districts) in
France are substantially in the same
state. The peasantry are sober, in-
dustrious, and orderly to a degrea un-

• known in England. They reap the

* temporal fruits of these good qual-
ities in a general prosperity equally
unknown here. They are saving to
a degree almost incredible, so that it
is a matter of ordinary experience
that a peasant who began life with
nothing except his bodily strength,
leaves behind him several hundreds,
not unfrequently some thousands, of
pounds sterling. But in this same
district whole villages are so absolute-
ly without religion, that, although
there is not one person for many miles
who calls himself a Protestant, the
churches are almost absolutely de-
serted, and the cures (generally good
and zealous men) are reduced almost
to inactivity by absolute despair.
Some give Uiemselves up to prayer,
seeing nothing else that they can do ;
some will say that they are not wholly
without encouragement, because, after
fifteen or twenty years of labor, they
have succeeded in bringing four or
^Ye persons to seek the benefit of the
sacraments out of a jtopulation of as
many hundreds, among whom when



they came there was not one such per-
son to be found.*

Appalling as is this state of things,
the natural virtues (such as they are)
of populations which have thus lost
faith are themselves the remains of
Christianity. History gives us no
trace of any people in such ^ state
except those who have once been
Christians. For instance, in aU others,
however civilized, slavery has been
established both by law and practice ;
no one of them has been without di-
vorce; infanticide has been allowed
and practised. Nowhere has the uni-
ty of man's nature been acknowledg-
ed, and, what follows from that, the
duties owing to him as man, not mere-
ly as fellow countryman. And hence,
nowhere has there existed what we
call the law of nations, a rule which
limits the conduct of men, not only
toward those of other nations, but,
what is much more, toward those with
whom they are in a state of war, or
whom they have conquered. In the
most civilized times of ancient Greece
and Rome no rights were recognized
in such foreigners. All these things
are the legitimate progeny of Chris-
tianity, and of Christianity alone,
although they are now accepted as
natural principles by nations by
whom, but for the gospel of Christ,
they would never have been heard of.

We have enlarged upon this point
because, not only in what he says of



• It Bhoitld be observed that the moraltty said
to exist In those parte of Franco which have so
nearly lost the faith is not Catholic morality: in
fact, the population in those districts is decreas-
ing, and that (it is universally admitted) from
Immorality. It should alsq be remcrabored that
there is a most marked contrast between these
districts and those Lutheran distrlcis of which
the Times spolce : In the latter, Lutheranism has
died out of itself. In the worst districts of
France, the Catholic rclio^ion has not died out.
bat has been displaced by a systematic infldel
education Inflicted on the people bv a godless
government. Lastlv, evea where things are the
worst, there are a few in each generation who,
in the midst of a godless popnlntiuu, turn out
saints, really worthy of that name. It is seldom
that a mission is preached in an v village without
some sQch being rescued Arom tne corrupt mass
around them. Nothinc, in fact, can more strong-
ly marlc the contrast Dctwoon the Catholic re-
ligion and Lutheranism. The snbiect Is far too
large to be discussed here, but we nave sug^st-
ed these considerations to avoid mlsconceptioni
of our moaning.



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364



The Formation of Vkristendom,



Gibbon, but in manj parts of his sub-
sequent chapters, Mr. Allies attrib-
utes to the influence of Christianitj
thii^B which a saperficial observer
maj attribute rather to some general
progress in the world toward a higher
civilization. We shall see instances
of this as we proceed. We are sat^
isfied that the objection is utterly un-
founded. We see no reason to be-
licTe that without Christianity any
higher or better civilization thfui that
of Rome under Augustus and Athens
under Pericles would ever have been
attained. That those who lived under
that state, so far from expecting any
** progress," believed that the world
was getting worse and worse, and
that there remained no hope of im-
provement, nor any principles from
which it could possibly arise, is most
certain. Nor do we believe that tliose
who thus judged of the natural ten-
dency of the world were mistaken,
although by a stupendous interference
of the Creator with the course of na-
ture an improvement actually took
place.

The philosophy of history then
sifls and arranges the facts which it
records, and judges of them by fixed
and eternal principles of right and
wrong; drawing from the past lessons
of wisdom and virtue for the future.
It will approach nearer and nearer to
perfection as the range of facts in-
vestigated becomes wider, and as the
principles by which they are judged
are more absolutely true, and applied
more correctly, more practically, and
more universally. Hence, it would
never have existed without Chris-
tianity, and although in Christian na-
tions it is found in men partially or
wholly unworthy of the Christian
name, but who retain many ideas and
principles derived from Christianity
alone, yet even in them it is exercised
imperfectly in proportion as they are
less and less Christian.

Mr. Allies thus compares Tacitus
and St. Augustine :

'^The atmosphere of Tacitus and
the lurid glare of his Rome compared



with St. Augustine's worid are like
the shades in which Achilles deplored
the loss of life contrasted with a land-
scape bathed in the morning light of a
southern sun. Yet how much more
of material misery was there in the
time of St Augustine than in the time
of Tacitus I In spite of the excesses
in which the emperors might indulge
within the walls of their palace or of
Rome, the fair fabric of civilization
filled the whole Roman world, the
great empire was in peace, and its
multitude of nations were brethren.
Countries which now form great king-
doms of themselves, were then tran-
quil members of one body politic
Men could travel the coasts of Italy,
Gaul, Spain, Africa, Syria, Asia
Minor, and Greece, round to Italy
again, and find a rich smiling land
covered by prosperous cities, enjoying
the same laws and institutions, and
possessed in peace by its children. In
St. Augustine's time all had been
changed ; on many of these coasts a
ruthless, uncivilized, unbelieving, or
misbelieving enemy had descended.
Through the whole empire there was
a feeling of insecurity, a cry of help-
lessness, and a trembhng at what was
to come. Yet in-tfae pages of the two
writers the contrast is in the inverse
ratia In the pagan, everything
seenis borne on by an iron fate, which
tramples upon the free will of man,
and overwhelms the virtuous before
the wicked. In the Cliristian, order
shines in the midst of destruction, and
mercy dispenses the severest humilia-
tions. It was the symbol of the com-
ing age. And so that great pictore of
the doctor, saint, and philosopher
laid hold of the minds of men during
those centuries of violence whidi fol-
lowed, and in which peace and justice,
so far from embracing each other,
seemed to have deserted the earth.
And in modem times a great genius
has seized upon it, and developed it
in the discourse on universal history.
Bossuet is worthy to receive the torch
from St Augustine. Scarcely could a
more majestic voice, or a mem) philo-



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77ie Formation of Cknttwdom.



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aopSc spirity set forth the double suc-
cession of empire and of religion, or
exhibit the tissue wrought by Divine
Providence, human free will, and the
permitted power of evil."

After this estimate of St. Augustine,
he speaks of

" A living author— at once states-
man, orator, philosopher, and historian
of the behest rank — ^who has given us,
on a less extensive scale, a philosophy
of history in its most finished and
amiable form. The very attempt on
the part of M. Guizot to draw out a
pictnre of dvilization during fourteen
hundred years, and to depict, amongst
that immense and ever-changing
period, the course of society in so
many countries, indicates no ordinary
power; and the partial fulfilment of
the design may be said to have elevat-
ed the philosophy of history into a
science. In this work may be found
the moat important rules of the science
aecurately stated ; but the work itself
18 the best example of philosophic
method and artistic^ execution, united
to illustrate a complex subject A



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