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the influence of the system he advocated, and the system he opposed, on practical morality, he would have said that the principal difference was not that the former dispensed with it, but that it appealed mainly to totally different principles of our nature for its production; to the cheerful impulses of gratitude and hope, rather than to the 'spirit of bondage' and the depressing influence of fear. And both philosophy and fact may convince us that they are certainly not the least powerful impulses of the two.
adoxes,' as almost any declarations of Luther could be.
Such a candid construction of Luther's real views, seems to us the more necessary, precisely because, as Mr. Hallam justly says, he is so 'full of unlimited propositions.' It is ever the characteristic of oratorical genius to express the truths it feels with an energy which borders on paradox. Anxious to penetrate and exclusively occupy the minds of others with their own views and sentiments, such as But whatever Luther's early paradoxes possess it are not solicitous to state proposion this subject-of which we are by no tions with the due limitations. It may be means the apologists, and regret that there further remarked, that Luther's abhorrence should have been so much cause for censure of prevailing errors naturally increased this -his later writings afford ample proof that tendency; action and re-action, as usual, he had corrected them. When Agricola were equal; the liberated pendulum passed, had adopted and justified them in their un- as was to be expected, to the centre of its limited form, and pushed them to their arc of oscillation. This we believe to be theoretic results, with a recklessness which one principal reason of the many really obperhaps first roused Luther to take alarm jectionable statements of Luther on this at their danger, the Reformer instantly subject. Our veneration for the great Reassailed, refuted, and condemned him, and former, and the influence which even the succeeded in compelling the rash theolo- errors of such a writer as Mr. Hallam is apt gian to retract. Several deeply interesting to exercise, must be our apology for the freedocuments on this subject occur in the Cor-dom of the preceding strictures. The work respondence, which fully show that the faith which Luther made the basis of his theology was that of which the only appropriate evidence is goodness, and which necessarily creates it.
containing the observations upon which we have felt ourselves constrained thus to remark, is one for which all intelligent inquirers must always be largely its author's debtors, both for instruction and rational delight.
On the whole, few names have such claims on the gratitude of mankind as that of Luther. Even Rome owes him thanks; for whatever ameliorations have taken place in her system have been owing far more to him than to herself. If there are any two facts which history establishes, it is the desperate condition of the Church at the time Luther appeared, and the vanity of all hopes of a self-sought and voluntary reformation. On the former we need not dwell
Mr. Hallam admits that passages inconsistent with the extreme views he attributes to the Reformer may be adduced from his writings; but affirms, that in treating of an author so full of unlimited propositions, no positive proof as to his tenets can be refuted by the production of inconsistent pas sages.' But the question is, whether these inconsistent passages ought not to modify those which establish the supposed positive proof?' If we are to pause at the unqualified reception of the one class of propositions we may well pause also before for none now deny it; it appears not onthe like reception of the other. If two statements in a writer much given to unlimited propositions,' appear inconsistent, we should endeavor to make the one limit the other; and even if they are absolutely irreconcilable, we are hardly justified in taking either as the exclusive exponent of the writer's views, without the adjustment arising from a collation of passages. There are propositions of Scripture itself which may be and which have been, as much wrested to the support of Antinomian par
* Vol. v.
ly on every page of contemporary history, but in all the forms-especially the more popular-of medieval literature. Never was a remark more just than that of Mr. Hallam, that the greater part of the literature of the middle ages may be considered as artillery leveled against the clergy.
Of the second great fact-the hopelessness of any effective internal reform-history leaves us in as little doubt. The heart itself was the chief seat of disease; reformation must have commenced where corruption was most inveterate: nor, until certain great principles should be reclaimed,
and the Bible and its truths restored-a re- finite disgust by the severity of his mansult necessarily fatal to a system which was ners, and his sincere desire to see some sort founded on their perversion, and which was of reformation; and his long catalogue of safe only in their suppression-could any abuses which he wished to be corrected, reformation be either radical or permanent. delivered in at the diet of Nuremburg, It would be as nugatory as that which was (and inconsistently accompanied with loud sometimes directed against subordinate calls for the violent suppression of the Reparts of the system--Monachism for in- formation,) was never forgiven by his own stance. Again and again did reformation adherents. The Church,' said he, 'stands strive to purify that institute, and as often, in need of a reformation, but we must take after running through the same cycle of one step at a time.' Luther sarcastically precisely similar changes, did it fall into remarked-The Pope advises that a few the same corruptions. Each new Order centuries should be permitted to intervene commenced with the profession, often with between the first and second step.' the reality, of voluntary poverty and superi- Hence we may see the comparative fuor austerity, and ended, as supposed sancti- tility of the small time-serving expedients ty brought wealth and power, in all the con- of Erasmus. His satire, bitter as it was, catenated vices of the system. The reason was not directed against the heart of the is obvious; its principles were vicious, and system-he waged war only with the Frihence the rapidity and uniformity of the de- ars. Not that we undervalue his labor: as cline-one of the most remarkable and in- a pioneer he was invaluable. Nor, if we structive phenomena of ecclesiastical his- except Luther, Melancthon, and Zwingle, tory. That which is crooked cannot be do we know any man who really effected made straight;' and if man will attempt so much for the cause of the Reformation. even a style of supposed virtue for which The labors of Luther and himself terminatGod never constituted him, he will meet ed in one result; the streams, however difwith the same recompense as attends every ferent, flowed at last in one channelother violation of the divine laws.
Ubi Rhodanus ingens amne præropido fluit
character, labors, and triumphs of Luther.
For similar reasons, nothing but the recovery of principles fatal to the Papal System could be expected to effect the Reformation; and these the champions of that system could not be expected to busy themselves about. An usurper will hardly abdicate his own throne-however wrongfully gained. Any reform which had merely touched externals, and left the essence of the system what it was, would have been useless; the Church would soon have fallen back, like the purified forms of monasticism, into its ancient corruptions. Nor was it amongst the least proofs of the sagacity of Luther, that he so early perceived, and so systematically contended, that a reformation of doctrine-the restoration of evangelic truth-was essential to every other reform.-But in fact, even the most moderate reforms, owing to the corruption of Rome itself, and its interest in their maintenance, were all but hopeless. Often did the Papal Court admit its own delinquencies, and as often evade their correction. The Papal concessions on this point, were a perpetual source of triumph to Luther and the Reformers. Even when a Pope really sought some amendments, he found it impossible to resist the influ* Some of the Oxford men,' says Dr. Arnold, ences around him. Adrian, the successor now commonly revile Luther as a bold bad man; how surely they would have reviled Paul, of the refined and luxurious Leo, gave in--Life and Correspondence. Vol. ii. p. 250,
DEPOT OF GERMAN PUBLICATIONS.-Among the subjects of deliberation at the recent congress of German booksellers at Leipsic, was the realization of that project which we some time since announced to our readers, for the establishment, in one of the large transatlantic cities, of a great works should be published simultaneously in central depôt; by means of which their native Germany and America, and the American pirates defeated. This plan, a good practical anticipation of treaties, it has peen determined to carry into pointed to proceed to that city and take steps for effect at New York; and a delegate has been apfounding the establishment.—Athenæum
LORD BROUGHAM'S LIVES OF MEN OF the personal features of the heroes, there
From the London Quarterly Review.
Lives of Men of Letters and Science who
LORD BROUGHAM has now given us three goodly volumes upon statesmen and lawyers during the time of George III.; and this is the first volume of what we hope will prove at least as large a series devoted to the literary and scientific ornaments of the same period.
are several articles throughout which one hardly ever loses the agreeable feeling that what his Lordship supplies is the fruit of ripe thought and reflection, not merely a very clever man's hasty deductions from materials collected for the nonce. are sorry to say, however, that such is not the case with all of them; and that the most signal exception occurs, according to our judgment, in the life of by much the most brilliant and influential personage included in the book-Voltaire. As to Voltaire's works, considered merely in a literary point of view-in reference to their intellectual and artistical merits-we have little complaint to make. We may differ from Lord Brougham's opinion as to this or that It is well known that no man has gone particular piece, or even as to some whole beyond Lord Brougham in the patient fin- classes of his prose or verse; but no one ish of particular passages of his speeches; can doubt that here we have genuine critihe has himself recorded that the ultimate cism, the result of long familiarity-critiperoration on Queen Caroline's case was cism conveyed and above all condensed in written ten times over before he thought it a style which no cramming, no reading up, worthy of the occasion; and we have heard will ever enable a Voltaire himself to rival. from his lips within these last few years But it appears to us that Lord Brougham's several outpourings on the Whigs, which study of the man has been comparatively no doubt had been concocted with equal superficial; that in drawing the character and more delightful elaboration. But with he has overlooked even well-known facts, rare exceptions we cannot believe that he and neglected frequently to apply serious spends much time on the detail of any of thought to the facts which he mentions. his productions; nor do we suppose that This is the more strange, because he his oral eloquence would be more effective sets out with a severe censure of the suthan it is, if he took more pains in immedi-perficiality of all preceding lives of Volate preparation:-the preparation of life-taire. He says most truly that not one of long study is a far better and here a quite the French biographers appears even to sufficient thing. But it is somewhat differ- have thought of examining thoroughly the ent in the case of compositions avowedly twenty volumes of his own correspondence. and exclusively for the press. In these, We expected copious evidence of Lord we think, the public might reasonably ex- Brougham's having done what his predepect more of care and deliberation than can cessors thus neglected; and it was equally usually be recognized in the authorship of natural to suppose that he must have sifted Lord Brougham. Nothing like imbecility the numerous memoirs and epistolary colneed be feared-but when there is such lections connected with the names of Volobvious strength, it is a pity that there should often be as obvious rashness. Docs he, after all, write in general, or content himself with dictating?
The present volume contains Lives of Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, Robertson, Black, Priestly, Cavendish, Watt, Simson, Davy; and it is impossible not to admire the sagacity and range of information displayed in describing so many extraordinary men, whose characters and fortunes, gifts, attainments, pursuits, and performances offer such variety. The biographer seems to feel equally at home with poetry, history, mathematics, chemistry; and as respects
taire's associates or opponents, which have issued from the press since Voltaire's own letters were first included in a general edition of his works. In the essay before us we find slender proof of this sort of preparation. We believe it gives only one circumstance of the slightest moment as to Voltaire's personal history, which was not given in Condorcet's meagre life of the Patriarch.' Very many incidents and transactions, brought to light and clearly established and explained by works published since that date, and which are of the first importance to a right understanding of Voltaire's career and character, seem whol
ly to have escaped the new biographer's mankind generally understand by an Athecognizance. There is not a single line from ist :which it need be inferred that Lord Brougham ever read even Grimm. If ever he
'Il a paru constamment persuadé de l'existforce des objections qu'on oppose à cette opinence d'un Etre suprême, sans se dissimuler la ion. Il croyait voir dans la Nature un ordre régulier; mais sans s'aveugler sur des irrégu
read Madame de Grafigny, he had utterly forgotten her book before he thought of writing his own. The reference to it in his Appendix seems indeed to imply this larités frappantes qu'il ne pouvait expliquer. II very distinctly. However his Lordship était persuadé, quoiqu'il fût encore éloigné may be justified in despising the character de cette certitude devant laquelle se taisent of Longchamps, even that evidence ought titude presque absolue sur la spiritualité-et toutes les difficultés. Il resta dans une incernot to have been passed over as if it had no même sur la permanence de l'ame après le existence. No dispassionate person can corps; mais comme il croyait cette dernière believe it to be a mere tissue of malicious opinion utile, de même que celle de l'existence inventions. In many important particu- de Dieu, il s'est permis rarement de montrer lars it is very far indeed from standing ses doutes.'-Vie de Voltaire, p. 179. alone.
It will be anticipated, of course, that as It would, we apprehend, be very easy to Lord Brougham has chiefly relied on Con- bring together very many passages in which dorcet, his life also is an apology for Vol--even taking Lord Brougham's notion of taire. It is so; but we are very far from blasphemy as the rule-Voltaire blasinsinuating that Lord Brougham indicates phemes; but we should be sorry to fill any sympathy with the anti-Christian opinions projected in every page by his shallow and coxcombical predecessor. Lord Brougham in this as in all his writings, avows himself a Christian: he deplores what Condorcet makes the chief theme of his eulogy-but, condemning infidelity, he suggests some strange enough apologies for the arch-infidel.
even a page in such a manner for any purpose whatever. His Lordship proceeds to say that, dismissing the blackest charge, Voltaire's hostility to Christianity itself must fully expose him to our condemnation, unless we believe that he had taken due and fair pains to examine into the evidences before he formed his creed.
He first of all says that an unfair preju- 'No man,' says Lord Brougham (and this dice has been raised by the charge of blas-is no new doctrine with him), 'is accountable phemy constantly brought against Voltaire. for the opinion he may form, the conclusion Blasphemy,' says his Lordship, implies taken due pains to inform his mind and fix his at which he may arrive, provided that he has belief.' Voltaire believed in the Deity of jndgment: but for the conduct of his undernatural religion, and of that Deity he never standing, he certainly is responsible. He does wrote irreverently. Not believing in any more than err if he negligently proceeds in revealed religion, he is unjustly reproached the inquiry; he does more than err if he alwith blasphemy for having devoted his tal-lows any motive to sway his mind save the ents to overthrow the whole system of Christianity, which was in his eyes no more than the most recent and triumphant of a long series of fraudulent fictions-all alike devised by priestly impostors for tyrannical purposes to profess belief in any one of which ever has been and ever will be clear proof of either imbecility or hypocrisy. Such is the substance of his Lordship's ex-taire; and it is impossible to deny that he 'Now by these plain rules we must try Volordium.
constant and single desire of finding the truth; he does more than err if he suffers the least influence of temper or of weak feeling to warp his judgment; he does more than err it' he listens rather to ridicule than reason-unless it be that ridicule which springs from the contemplation of gross and manifest absurdity, and which is in truth argument and not ribaldry.
possessed such sufficient information, and apWe doubt very much if there ever was plied his mind with such sufficient anxiety to an Atheist-in the broadest sense of that the discovery of the truth, as gave him a right term-a rational being, who seriously and to say that he had formed his opinions, how fixedly believed the universe to be the re- erroneous soever they might be, after inquisult of chance; but we may content our-ring, and not lightly. The story which is reselves with quoting a couple of sentences from Condorcet's summary, and asking whether Voltaire was not, by his prime eulogist's showing, as near as possible whit
Louis le Grand, where he was educated, havlated of the master in the Jesuits' seminary of ing foretold that he would be the Corypheus of deists, if true, only proves that he had very early begun to think for himself.'-p. 5.
Now Voltaire was a mere boy when he outset to the influences here pointed outleft this Jesuits' college. It will hardly be without doubt, of all popish educations, bad maintained that he had at that period taken at best, the worst for him must have been the due pains,' and possessed himself of that of a Jesuit college; but the biograthe sufficient information,' that Lord pher, in our opinion, exaggerates his point. Brougham insists upon but whether the It appears to us that in Voltaire's revolt story of the superior's prophecy be or be against the system of his college the grand not true, it is certain that in the earliest of motive was precisely what every reconsidVoltaire's productions we find his infidelity eration of his story has more and more imexactly the same, in kind and in degree, pressed on us as the grand motive of all his that it appears in the latest of his works. subsequent doings and writings-namely, The epistle to Uranie (Madame Ruhelmon- the gratification of a vanity such as never de), which is among the very first, is point- before or since was connected with an ined out by Condorcet for our special admi- tellect of the like grasp. In our opinion ration, as containing in its few stanzas, the that wonderfully precocious creature rebellsum and substance of the doctrine of Fer-ed against the religion of his tutors, not in ney! We have no wish to dwell on a word, the main because it involved the errors of but surely Lord Brougham employs his popery, but because it was taught by those words with less than sufficient anxiety.' placed in authority over him. It would He does not believe any more than our- probably have been much the same, whethselves that any man, especially a man of un-er he had been subjected to the discipline surpassed acuteness, can inquire diligently of Salamanca, or Cairo, or Benares-of 'with the single desire of finding the truth,' Geneva, of Wittemberg, or of Oxford. and yet, in the upshot, fix his judgment' that the evidences of Christianity are a heap of fables and delusions, which he may spend his life in deriding, without exposing himself to any minor modification even of the charge of blasphemy.
In this particular direction, however, of his beardless presumption, as well as in others, he had supporters, whose interference (though scarcely alluded to by Lord Brougham) deserves some thought. When a mere child he first got by heart the gems of With the inconsistency of an advocate the Moisade, and then indited irreverent who feels that he has a bad case in hand, rhymes of his own, for the express purLord Brougham turns to a better argument. pose of annoying his elder brother, who was He pleads that Christianity was placed be- a youth of pious disposition, and afterwards fore the young mind of his client as inextri- declared himself an adherent of the Jansecably interwoven with the lying legends, nists. The father, a decent old notary, the corrupt doctrine, the scandalous history sided with the elder son; but the younger of papal Rome; assent to the fundamental found countenance-probably in his mothtruths and to the super-imposed fictions be-er-certainly in his god-father, one of those ing claimed as upon the same authority; many priests who figured in the gay society and we are admonished to endeavor to of Paris as avowed freethinkers and freelivplace ourselves in Voltaire's situation before ers-the clever and profligate Abbé de we denounce him as without excuse. Did it Châteauneuf, the worthy confessor of not occur to Lord Brougham that these were Ninon de l'Enclos. This reverend joker as nearly as possible the circumstances un- of jokes may very probably have done for der which Christianity was presented to his godson's boyish blasphemies what the those who were enabled to sift the wheat godson did in the sequel for those of the from the chaff" (as he himself expresses it) King of Prussia-at all events he carried in the sixteenth century-to those minds, the boy (Ann. Ætat. 13) and the ballads to all educated under the full influence of the Ninon, who was enchanted with both; and Romish system, when that system was far thenceforth the young prodigy's holidays more powerful than in the days of Voltaire, were spent not so often at home as in the in whose case the result was emancipation brilliant boudoirs where a company of Nifrom Rome, but no confounding of the nons predominated over a hierarchy of Christian revelation with her super-addi- Châteauneufs. Voltaire thus, at the very tions? We are very far from denying opening, had the opportunity of forming a weight to Lord Brougham's extenuating set of acquaintance totally unlike what his suggestion-without doubt it was most unfortunate that a mind and a temper such as Voltaire's should have been exposed at the
birth entitled him to ; he became the chosen companion, by and by, of some of the most prominent among the young nobility. The