« PreviousContinue »
aliens of Athens, in her best days, were an important body of men, who in considerable numbers found their way into the register of citizens. Yet, in the historical times, not the least step could have been taken by the wisest Greek statesmen, it
vould seem, (so dense was the prejudice of the people,) to admit the neighbour states to a right of intermarriage. Had this been done, with the simple regulation that children should be citizens of their father's city, a basis for conciliation and political union would soon have arisen, from the strong tendency of the rich, where language is the same, to form affinities with their own order in other cities rather than their own. As it is, we know of but one important league of this nature—that of Olynthus, which was chiefly between Ionian cities; and the result of permitting intermarriage was soon so striking, that the Lacedæmonians took alarm at the growing power of the league, and, under pretence of religion, sent an army which succeeded in enforcing its dissolution. This fact goes strongly to confirm what we are otherwise disposed to believe, that Greek religion was the canker at the basis of Greek civilization; not only because it kept up systematic immorality, but because it was essentially local and partial, and enforced the isolation of communities--practically regarding the Apollo Patröus of Athens as a different god from Apollo Carnëus of Sparta, so that intermarriage between the votaries of the two was a profanation. . On these deep-seated ideas ultimately depends the weal or woe of nations. "Greece acted, and fell, and has left us the lesson of both; but until purged of her gross faith, higher excellence or more permanent prosperity was perhaps impossible.
The inherent defect of almost all these constitutions may perhaps be traced to the smallness of the scale on which they were built. Few of them were duly mixed; and yet on this, more than on any other single point, the excellence of a constitution depends. As individuals, we need rights, and equal rights, against the executive government, because it is as individuals that we are liable to oppression from it: but by the legislative power we cannot be harmed as individuals. Laws touch us only as members of classes; hence it is classes, not persons, which need to be defended from legislatorial oppression, and classes therefore that ought to be represented (to use a modern term) in the legislative assembly. In such assemblies, no order scruples to sacrifice the interests of another order to its own, if it can do this safely. Inevitably, therefore, if either a nobility or a commonalty has unchecked authority, one part of the state will be injured and become disaffected. Of all the Grecian communities, Rhodes bears the most honourable name for a mixed and well-balanced constitution, and for high political
integrity; but we know too little of the details to judge how far the sound morality of her people and the goodness of her polity were mutually cause or effect. Acarnania also, a province seldom heard of in history, enjoyed for several centuries a happy tranquillity, broken only by events which set off the moderation and good faith for which she was celebrated. But here, as elsewhere, peaceful unambitiousness, full as it is of reward to those who enjoy it, yet by the obscurity cast around, it transmits no definite lesson to posterity. In the more active states of Greece, and all whose history is well known, we see that the different orders of the same state could not bear collision on so small a theatre, without intense exasperation. Each side saw its adversaries so near, and, an opportunity so within reach, as to conceive the idea of absolutely extirpating them. Wholesale banishment and confiscation was the anticipated effect of revolution; and every civil commotion was too apt to terminate in the despotic rule of one or other order. By such convulsions (that nothing might be purely evil) the slaves alone gained. Herein is the enormous advantage of the massive weight of European states. To abuse the rights of victory to so awful an extent as was customary in Greece, would now be, if not physically impossible, yet morally impossible, except after irritation that has lasted for ages. In the chief states of Europe, it is to be hoped that every class of the community will be more and more protected from evil legislation, perpetrated on it by other classes; and all citizens have long since been theoretically equal in presence of the executive and judicial power. A slave population, happily, we have not, such as ever kept Sparta in tremor; and, whatever may be the actual oppression of some classes, the fact is condemned and hated, the instant it becomes notorious. Even in democracies, as those of America, mere extent of territory gives a prodigious advantage. As long as the United States remain together on their present scale, they are too strong to fear their rich men, and will never ostracize them from jealousy. The great thing to be hoped and desired for all such communities is, that an organization should grow up strong enough to hold them together in time of discontent, and that whenever a real • aristocracy' arises, it should be freely vested with the executive government.
The work at the head of this article, while bearing the modest name of a Manual, is the fruit of great research ; and presents, we think, a more trustworthy statement on the subject to which it relates than will be found in any other single volume. It is one of the series of works for the translation of which we are indebted to the enterprise of the late Mr. Talboys, of Oxford.
Art. V. (1.) The University, the Church, and the New Test, &c.
A Letter to the Lord Bishop of Chichester. By the Rev. J. GÁRBETT, Prebendary of Chichester, and Professor of Poetry in the
University of Oxford. Hatchard and Son. 1845. 8vo, pp. 84. (2.) An Address to the Convocation. By the Rev. W.G. WARD. M.A.
Fellow of Balliol College. James Tovey, London. 8vo, pp. 56. (3.) A Letter to the Rev. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of
Oxford, on the Measures intended to be proposed to Convocation on the 13th of February. By A. C. Tait, D.C.L., Head Master of Rugby School, and late Fellow of Balliol College. Blackwood
and Sons, Edinburgh and London. 8vo, pp. 22. (4.) Reasons for Voting upon the Third Question to be proposed in
the Convocation. By ROBERT HUSSEY, B.D. Regius Professor of
Ecclesiastical History. Oxford. 8vo, pp. 11. (5.) Oxford: Tract 90 : and Ward's Ideal of a Christian Church.
A Practical Suggestion respectfully submitted to Members of Convocation. With an Appendix containing the Testimonies of twenty-five prelates of the English Church, &c. &c. By the Rev. W. Simcox BRICKNELL, M.A. Oxford, Fifth Edition. 8vo,
(6.) A Defence of Voting against the Propositions to be submitted to
Convocation on February 13th. By W. F. Donkin, M.A., Civi
lian Professor of Astronomy. Oxford. 8vo, pp. 7. (7.) Heads of Consideration on the Case of Mr. Ward. By the Rev.
John KEBLE, M.A., late Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. 8vo,
(8.) Revise the Liturgy. By a PEER. 8vo.
The religion inculcated in Holy Writ is not the growth of one church. The spiritualism of Pascal is that of all devout men. Romanist and protestant, prelatist and puritan, may be separated from each other by many points of speculation and practice, and may be as one in respect to this feeling, and the truth from which it springs. There is a Christianity to which they all do homage, and to the generous heart that Christianity is,-what Elis was to the ancient Greek—the ground on which feud is forgotten, and where the gathering is that of a band of brothers. In these times, when all our watchwords seem to breathe the elements of strife, it is not easy to extrude the discordant, and to dwell on a picture of the imagination so peaceful and unreal. But the thing is possible, and to us it is pleasant. Nor can we doubt that such pictures will become realities. We are still believing men. We bate not a jot of heart or hope on account
of existing controversies, so far as regards the cause of a truly catholic piety. Our sole care is to acquit ourselves in relation to it and to its enemies in the manner becoming us as its real disciples. In the history of providence there is a relation, partaking of the constancy of law, between the strong developments of error and the stronger developments of truth. Wakefulness begets wakefulness. It is while men sleep that the tares are
We feel, accordingly, that to fear belongs not to our vocation, but at all times to labour and wait, and especially during such times as are now passing over us.
The condition of the Church of England about a century since in relation to the kind of piety of which we have spoken was deplorable. The increase of an earnest Christian feeling within its pale since that time is the great fact in its recent history, So far as state enactment, and even state influence are concerned, it has not undergone any material change; but the effect of the natural progress of society on its intelligence, and feeling, and course of action, is everywhere conspicuous. Still the question of the state of religion in our established church a century since, and at the present time, is one on which our judgment should not be lightly formed. In speaking of its condition in regard to piety a hundred years ago as deplorable, we would not be understood as meaning to say that we account all churchmen in those times who were not to be numbered among the disciples of Hervey or Romaine as being destitute of spiritual religion. We know enough of the force of prejudice to be prevented from seeing our way at once to such a conclusion. The undue worship of forms
may consist with a real worship of something greatly above them. Men may possess much evangelical feeling, and still hold defective, and even mistaken notions, in regard to parts of the evangelical system. There may be real piety, and not all the liberty and joyousness which belong to its higher influence. On this subject it behoves us to guard against substituting a formalism of our own, in the place of the formalism we condemn. All parties have their shibboleths, which, if true in the main, are not always charitably applied. Nevertheless, when charity has made her largest allowance in this view, the conclusion to which we are shut up is sufficiently humiliating. In the Church of England during the greater part of the last century, we see an establishment, eminent in its wealth, in its intellectual resources, and in its social influence—and a people sunk to the level of paganism, if not below it, as regards ignorance, sensuality, and irreligion.
But from the time we have mentioned, good men in our national church, both ministers and laymen, began to be observant of this state of things, and to lament it. Methodism was the
offspring of this feeling. It separated from the establishment, but it should not be forgotten that it originated there. Its spirit was much too buoyant and impetuous to bow to the restraints of the Anglican discipline. Yet, while many separated, others of kindred temper remained conformists, and for a long time the two parties laboured as parallel forces rather than as antagonists.
It was a beneficent arrangement of Providence that the calling forth of this new religious feeling among the middle and lower classes of the people in England should precede the era of the French Revolution. Before the age of Robespierre and Paine, the body of Evangelical Christians in this country, conformist and nonconformist, had become sufficiently powerful to originate most of those religious institutions which have since grown to such maturity. In the history of those attempts to diffuse Christian intelligence, and a more religious feeling, there was no doubt much that savoured of extravagant expectation, and the eloquence wherewith such projects were commended was not always of the wisest or purest description. But the zeal thus evinced was that of warm-hearted pious men. It was allied, moreover, with much enlightened charity. Multitudes of men and women, presenting every variety of capacity and culture, were found capable of subordinating their lesser points of difference to their greater points of agreement--and choosing their common ground of action, took possession of it with much generosity of purpose. It was thought, that in those seemly confederacies some approach had been made towards a sound catholic unity. The hope of a oneness of judgment in all things, seemed to be in good part relinquished, that a oneness of feeling in some things, and those the best things, might be realized. It was a healthy, manly, Christianlike course that affairs were then taking—we are sorry it has been impeded.
But to whom is the fault of this hindrance to be imputed ? This is a large, and a somewhat vexed question-our words upon it shall be few. So long as Evangelical churchmen were feeble in respect to numbers and resources, it was natural that they should avail themselves of sympathy from almost any, quarter whence it might be obtained. From the hands of the great majority within the pale of their own church they received hard treatment. They were spoken of as visionaries and fanatics. They were described at one moment as in league to undermine the principles of moral obligation, and the next as being righteous over-much; and nothing was more common than to hear them denounced as being no churchmen—as enemies within the camp. Nonconformists, on the other hand, never failed to appreciate their religious earnestness, to rejoice in their labours, and to