Page images

views which might enlighten the manners; that we put the gentle. world. Fair criticism they would man, in our esteem, above the faithwelcome ; but observation if not ex- ful advocate of truth. We believe perience has taught them, that their that it is better to oflend than 10 be views will not be met with a court. false ; and that if offense is taken at eous and simply argumentative re- the truth, not at the manner of preview, refuting what is erroneous, senting it, the fault is that of the and confirming what is true ; a re- offended party, not of the offender. view in the justice of which they We believe there is a way of assertmust themselves acquiesce even if ing truth in the fullest, clearest, it should be unfavorable ; but they strongest terms; and of defending have been taught to expect, that it against all perversion ; without the they must defend their opinions, if least taint of bitterness, without un. they dare utter them, not against fairness, without offensive personal. misapprehension only, but against ities, without incivility to the other misrepresentation, obloquy and defa. party. The character of a gentlemation ; that they must suffer for man need not be laid aside by the the bare act of presuming to differ Christian controvertist, but must nefrom the received opinions. They cessarily be maintained by him as therefore prudently lock up their a part of his panoply, if he would thoughts, to be published, if ever, do his work well. after they have found the repose of It would be equally a mistake if the grave, leaving 10 posterity the any should suppose that we disapbenefit of what should have blessed prove of all severity. Nothing is their own age. This is to be regret- more severe 10 errorists than the ted not solely because the truth is truth. There is a strong line of dis. suppressed, but because error is tinction between holding an oppo. thereby driven into concealment, nent up to ridicule with malice prewhere it can not be easily met and pense, and showing by the clear vanquished. Darkness is the natu- light of argument that his opinions ral element of error. It makes its are absurd and ridiculous. Our obway by stealth. It can not bear the ject should be to show the falsity of light of discussion. Truth always his opinions, not to expose him to triumphs in the open field. A man contempt; and then if with the evi. can hardly recover himself from er dence of their falsity comes out their rors which he cherishes in secret. ridiculousness, it should be no gratHe should be encouraged to declare ification to us, that it is pain to him. them openly, that they may be re- With Paul, we should rejoice, not futed; not merely banished from bis that he was made sorrowful, but, if own mind, but from others, and de- it should be so, that he sorrowed to prived of all chance of spreading in repentance. In one word, in going the world. Whether, therefore, we into controversy, we should carry regard the effect of intimidation on with us the Christian spirit; giving the lover of truth who has ideas of ourselves to prayer, remembering great value concealed in his breast, or how much the very nature of the on the errorist who clings the more work exposes us 10 irritation of tem. hopelessly to his delusions, it is plain per; studying to understand the that a great wrong is done to the cause whole matter at issue ; to divest our. of truth by this manner of controver: selves of prejudice and party spirit; sy; or rather, as we should say, by to impress our opponent and all obthis suppression of free inquiry. servers with a conviction of our hon

It would do us injustice if any esty, candor and love of truth ; en. should infer from our remarks, that deavoring prayerfully to maintain we would sacrifice the truth to good toward him a spirit of love, in spite of every provocation. No one whom In no previous age has the lenwe think to be unworthy of such dency to unanimity on all great consideration should be accepted by questions been so strong.

We now us as an antagonist.

have the promise after ages of dis. It would be a stranger misappre- sent and discord, of something like hension still, if any one should sup- harmony in regard to political sci. pose that we are blind to our own ence, in regard 10 ethics, and even sins in controversy. The New Eng. in regard to theology. The rapid lander has aimed to be true to the diffusion of thought from mind to principles here asserted. We have mind, from continent 10 continent, in a few instances been provoked is beginning to yield ils fruit in the by insults and puerilities, arrogance production of a common faith. Still and weakness, not into any bitter. much remains to be done to comness of spirit, but into the infiction plete the harmony of all good men. of condign punishment on the of. The spirit of the old controversies fender, which, instead of bringing still lives in the sects. They are him to repentance, awakened com- too jealous of each other, to discuss passion for him in the community. any question at issue between them We think our ill success in these with gentleness, patience and meek. transgressions of the outward law of ness. A new spirit, the spirit of controversy, should not only effect Christian love, which never wantona reformation in us, but impress ly offends; a guileless spirit which others with a love of the better way. never perverts the truth, needs to be

With these few exceptions, we, breathed into the church universal. as critics, have always maintained This will inspire mutual confidence a courteous bearing toward those by deserving it, and harmonize opio. whose opinions we have felt it to be ions by disarming prejudice. our duty to oppose. This we are But we deceive ourselves if we happy to believe is the estimation in suppose that the questions which which we are held by all our read- have hitherto divided the Christian ers, without as well as within the world, being settled, will be rested pale of our own communion. We in as the end of controversy. Many recollect but one instance in which of these questions we predict, will a contrary testimony has been given be lost sight of, as too trifling to oc. (see Church Review, Vol. I, p. 83); cupy the cares of the church amid and that is from an author who had the differences of the future. We been irritated by a heavy blow upon have fallen upon the times foretold the reputation of his favorite work, in the Bible, when many shall" run and who we suspect has read those to and fro”—when iruih as well as articles only in the New Englander, error shall be questioned and subwhich were particularly severe be. jected to every possible test—shakcause particularly just, against the ing all things that the things which errors of a party in his own com. can not be shaken may remain. In munion. Whoever thinks unfavor. this conflict the hearts of many will ably of our course, we hope will faint within them. Sustained by no consent to an oblivion of past of- strong reliance on the power of fenses, if we should succeed in re- truth and the faithfulness of God, deeming the pledge virtually given they will see with consternation the in this article.

demolition of old party lines, and We have brought this subject be. cry out in terror, “if the founda. fore our readers, in full view of the tions be destroyed, what shall the demand yet to be made for the ex- righteous do ?" The foundations ercise of a spirit of allegiance to the will not be destroyed. They are Christian law of controversy.

they that will remain because they

can not be shaken. It is a calm its own denial on its face, will be assurance of this security which we refuted by argument, and not blown hope may possess the breasts of all into importance by the persecution parties to the theological controver- of its advocates. The friends of sies of the future. This calm as- truth, being calm in the conviction surance will allay all painful excite of their strength, will no longer be ment of the public mind, at the an- tempted to defend their positions nouncement of novel opinions. It against the errorist by unlawful will insure to those opinions a fair weapons. How desirable this asdiscussion, and to the cause of truth surance is for the peace of the a conclusive determination of them. churches in the coming conflicts, we Every error which does not carry need not say.


Lord Bacon deserves the epi. masses ; the concurrent rise of the thet, “ many-sided,” among phi. lower classes, forcing the common losophers, as Shakespeare does wants of man upon the attention of among poets. Not that he advances the learned, and infinitely increasing at one ne, an opinion of Epicurus, the practical power of the race; the then another of Plato, and again a discovery of America, and of the third of Zeno; but that the partisans passage to India, opening a boundless of each sect in philosophy claim the field of labor for these new powers ; same statements, and assert that the directing immense energies to comspirit of his philosophy is derived merce ; forming new connections ; from their own. Nor is he simply and modifying the manners, indusa philosopher, as the term has been try, and government of the worldcommonly defined ; a cosmopolite, necessitated a change in the spirit of an original, a man of business; one the age, from speculation to action. finds it hard to decide whether he The immense interests thus originahas all the “idols,” or none. No ted, claimed for their management system of philosophical criticism the highest exertion of a high order ranks him high enough to justify at of intellect; the necessary effect of all the impression, which every stu. this application of intellect to prac. dent of him has of his greatness. tical affairs, was to produce rules We shall have to make a new one,

for the conduct of such affairs, and on purpose for him, as the lovers of a continual improvement of these Shakespeare have for the “myriad. rules; while the invention of printminded” poet. Meanwhile some ing, recording every thing, and pubthing may be said from the lawyer's lishing everything, would induce side, or corner. And first, as to the the writing and systematizing of influence of the study of jurispru. them, and so necessarily lead to a dence, in producing that "spirit of philosophy of action and of progress. the age," of which the Baconian The study of jurisprudence was philosophy was the expression. among the causes, which contributed

The Protestant Reformation—that most to urge the advance, and shape first turbulent assertion of the inde. the course, of all these events. The pendence of reason, and the worth Roman law is a science nearly corof man; the gift of soul to the responding to the Baconian model. A few political principles lie at the quered Romans, were now coales. foundation of it ; the application of cing into new bodies, and the spirit these principles to particular cases, of these laws was the life that was according to the laws of justice and breathed into most of the masses, morality, constitutes the civil code. shaping them into organic wholes, Io digesting this code, the lawyers making them states. must have proceeded upon the theory Thousands flocked to the princi. of our common law, where, as in the pal cities of Italy to study them. All natural sciences, new rules are not ihe clergy were learned in them. originated and promulgated by ab. The enthusiasm was universal. Al. solute authority ; but it is taken for bertus Magnus makes the blessed granted, that there is a legal right, virgin herself a civilian and a canor body of unwritten laws existing, onist. “ The excellency of an ad. prior to their delivery and formal vocate,” he says, “ lies in three adoption in the courts; and a de. things, to gain a desperate cause, cision determines, not what the law from a just judge, against a wily adshall be, but what it is. Using the versary; but the blessed virgin language of science, the judges may gained a favorable judgment, Apud be said to discover, in the case of judicem sapientissimum ; dominum new precedents, what the law is, just contra adversarium callidisimum, as, in investigating natural phe- diabolum, in nostra causa despenomena, the naturalist discovers nat. rata.'” ural laws; and the method of dis. This was the only practical learn. covery is the same, except that asing of the dark ages. The subtle men are not so sure to act accord. intellects, which would weigh the ing to law, as planets are, and the down from the plumage of an anattention of the judges is directed gel's pinions, maintained their rela. chiefly to perturbations, it is neces. tions to this world by the study and sary to place more comparative re. practice of the law; and these same liance upon principles before estab- intellects, which we sneer at, as we lished. The truth of each supposed see them dancing, with their thou. discovery, is carefully tested by ap- sand spirits, upon a needle's point, plying it to continual causes ; and, should acquire a portentous imporif it is found not to answer the ends tance in the eyes of a money.loving of justice, it is decided to be no law. age, as they glide through the stai

The law, then, is a progressive utes of mortmain, with the wealth of science ; having, for its end, the half a kingdom upon their backs. benefit of man; for its means, the With the advance of the race in protection of his rights of personal practical power, the study of jurissecurity, liberty, and private prop- prudence became more extensive, erty; for its method, the continual and more intelligent; while the establishing of new principles, by an other learning was engrossed in the examination and comparison of facts ology and dialectics, in law alone and principles already established; was found a tolerable substitute for for its test of truth, the application moral and political science. The of its principles to business. lawyers led the way in commerce,

It will at once be seen, that the education, and government; and extensive and diligent study of such finally, in the person of Lord Bacon, a science must have had a most of philosophy. beneficial effect. As early as the Upon the 16th of June, 1573, was eleventh century, it became very entered at Trinity College, Camcommon, and, finally, almost univer. bridge, Francis Bacon, aged 13, sal throughout Europe. The con- fifth son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, quering barbarians, and the con. Lord Keeper, a diligent and success.


fullawyer and statesman; and Anne, we the taller of the two, by adding his second wife, daughter of Sir An- their height to our own." It was ihony Cook, eminent for her attain from these, then, already made fa. menis as a linguist and theologian; miliar to him by his father and his one of the most learned and delec. uncle at home, that Bacon was imtable ladies of the age.

bued, thus early, with the progressMaster Frank was an excellent ive spirit. scholar; but, though he learned his It was from the same source, that tasks, he laughed at his teachers. he derived his sentiment of toleraColleges, always conservative, were tion. Indifference seems, then in a dotage, mumbling the wise times, to have done more to estabwords of by.gone centuries; con- lish truth, than the love of truth it. serving the spirit of the dark ages. self; as Rousseau says, the atheists The whole mind of that young of the French Revolution, laid down scholar was alive with the spirit of the purest and highest morality the the living present; his heart had al. world had known, because they conready swelled with ambition at sweet sidered it a mere matter of speculawords of compliment from Eliza. tion, in which they had no personal beth ; tales of navigators to new and concern.

It has been eminently so brave worlds, at the setting and the with this matter of toleration. Parising sun, had doubtless kindled his pists and Protestants were then alimagination; the unspeakable aspi- ternately murdering each other; rations and hopes of young genius, schools in philosophy were wrang. pregnant with noble conceptions and ling with the bitterness of death. vast designs, were stirring vigor. The shrewd old lawyers at the head ously within him; gorgeous visions, of the English government, who, to as of a new Atlantis, rolled before say truth, cared little about religion his mind like the moving mass of or philosophy, taught and acted upocean, and a voice was in his soul, on the principles of toleration, as crying, onward; as if the billows far as their own safety would perspoke, as they marched on, and the mit. From these, Bacon obtained, winds sung it, as they swept on- we think, that spirit which had alonward ! ever onward! He took ready, before he left college, in his up the word, and it was the life of a sixteenth year, led him to project a new philosophy. Theologians were reform in philosophy, which should still preaching the intellectual de make it progressive and comprehenpravity, and perpetual deterioration sive; the spirit of progress and tolof the race; philosophers were eration. teaching a corresponding lesson ; By this time, Bacon had probably they looked back to Aristotle and arrived at a conception, more or less Plato, and saw themselves to be but distinct, of that end of philosophy, faint reflections of those great lights which he so eloquently set forth in of science. The pigmy present de. his later life; the use and comfort spaired before the giant past, or of man. strutted behind it, non passibus The distinction between his and æquis,” in humble imitation. the former philosophies, will be most

The learned professors of law distinctly seen by speaking of the alone had already vindicated the dig- end and means together. The an. nity of the present, and expressed a cients had proposed various ends for most assured foresight of the coming man, as pleasure, contentment, acprogress of the race.

“ Neither," tion—but so far as they proposed to says one of them, “ were the an. do any thing for these ends, it was cients giants, nor are we dwarfs, but by direct education. The Epicurean all men of the same standard ; and made men happy, by teaching them Vol. VI.


« PreviousContinue »