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the largest city or most mountainous dis- | other spheres, when the chances are counttrict in the vast continent of America. less against it--for each planet of each solar
S. S. does not think the stars are useless system stands an equally good chance of if they are "nothing more than
being the favoured spot. The earth against
the whole field of illimitable space! A safe "The poetry of heaven;
book our friend has made, according to the A beauty and a mystery, which create ordinary rules of chance. In us such love and reverence.
“ Threlkeld” is not open to the charge of We confess our inability to realize the idea casting a blot upon the character of God by of the vast realms of space being peopled limiting his power; for he does not mainwith buge material revolving bodies, for no tain, O most disingenuous S. S.! that“ of other purpose than that they might form course some worlds” are uninhabited, but food for poetry to a few imaginative beings simply that “it is probable that some worlds dwelling in another sphere. But as to the are in a brute, and inert, and chaotic state," beauty? That, of those we can see, at least, and consequently uninhabited. is
apparent to all. The mystery? That, The remainder of the paper under confor the most part, S. S. himself creates. sideration is devoted to a denial that the The love and reverence? How immensely scriptures will assist us. The inspired increased, and how much more powerfully record, says he, gives not the slightest hint would be declared to us the glory of God, if “ that there are any beings in space except we believed them to be the seat of life and angels, men, devils, and the persons of the intelligence, of love and worship! But the Godhead.” But surely our friend does not idea that
the planets and stars may be attach sufficient importance to this fact, as only the lumps which have flown from the to regard it in the light of a stumblingblock Potter's wheel,” is, we cannot but think, in our path. Surely it would be unreasonimpious. How we should laugh at the able to expect that the Bible should exfoolishness, clumsiness, and wastefulness of pressly speak of these beings, seeing that the poor potter who should dig up a waggon- the scriptures are a record given by God to load of clay, and fill his workshop with the man, to point out to him the way of his salscattered remnants of it in forming a tea- vation, and not to gratify his curiosity concup! And if the earthly potter does not cerning the Creator's dealings with those act thus extravagantly, will the heavenly boundless portions of his realms with which Potter so act, think you? If, too, these man has no possible connection. stars and systems be only “ decorations and “ Vincat Veritas" argues (p. 174), that scenery to earth,” we are at a loss to ima- if it be proved that no other worlds than our gine the possible use of Jupiter's moons or own can be inhabited by man, “it may also Saturn's rings, and can but wonder at the be taken for granted that there are no inwant of foresight which should place the habited worlds except our own,” for he does great majority of these spheres so infinitely not believe that intelligence would be put beyond the range of human vision.
into any other form than the “guise of “For aught science knows, suns and man,” “ the image of God.” We, however, systems may be seen only by our eyes and have been taught to believe that “God took telescopes!" For aught we know, the doc- upon him the form of man," and not that trine of Idealism may be but too true; S. s. man's physical frame " was made in the himself a myth; this earth an intangible image of God.” " True philosophy will imagination; and the remark that it “ may never be found to contradict scripture,” be as an Eden to other regions of the all,” rightly interpreted.
mere phantom of a brain that is not. °V. V. next endeavours “ to controvert the That it is but a phantom of S. S.'s brain,
we fallacies adduced by Philalethes,' * * * the most beartily believe.
We should much most prominent of which is the adoption as like to know his reasons for supposing that fact” of the theory of La Place. We presume the emigration from the garden has not to think our fallacies cannot be very great, already taken place; and further, how he inasmuch as the "most prominent” is no can justify himself in supposing the earth fallacy at all; for we distinctly remarked to be this Eden, in preference to all the (p. 18) that the La Placean cosmogony was
but" a beautiful theory," and spoke of the conclusion drawn by the supporters of the probability only of all the spheres having a affirmative side of this question from sciencommon origin; and on it we did not mainly tific discoveries. build our argument.
If we could consent to set aside the Our friend denies that “all the astral “reason” with which God has blessed us, bodies are of like composition,” because “ all in reading the scriptures, we might be conthe elements of the earth have not been tent to regard the stars as intended merely found in meteorites.” We need only remark, / “ to give light to the earth.” But God's to show the value of this ingenious argu- work tells us that some of the stars are so ment, that we should just as soon look to distant, that it takes millions of years for find the whole sixty-three simple elements their light to reach us; and who shall calin a handful of mother earth.
culate the infinite number of those whose V. V: makes an endeavour-vain again, light has not yet, and perhaps never may, we humbly think-to upset our position, shine upon this earth? We cannot believe that “water forms a component part of the God has failed to execute his purpose. planets,” and the consequences we deduced The objection that the scriptures do not from it, by remarking that we overlooked directly mention the inhabitants of the astral " the fact that we are without proof that worlds has already been replied to; and as there is any air on the surface of the nothing else in V. V.'s article particularly planets.” But this is entirely a mistake on requires answer, we take our leave of him his part, for the very groundwork of that and all our readers, believing that the great argument was “the fact that some of them ” majority of them, upon carefully weighing (Venus, Mars, Mercury, and the moon, for the arguments adduced on both sides, will instance) did possess an atmosphere (p. 18). think that the facts of science, and the
We deny, then, that V. V. can with truth general testimony of the scriptures, as reclaim “all the facts of seience as so many vealing to us the infinite character of the arguments in his favour.” On the contrary, Creator, favour the notion of a plurality of he has most signally failed in shaking the inhabited worlds. PHILALETHES.
HAS MONACHISM BEEN BENEFICIAL TO EUROPEAN SOCIETY?
“HISTORY," it has been well said, “is classes of each generation work out, howphilosophy teaching by examples;" and one ever unconsciously, lessons of wisdom for all skilled to decipher in the growth of lan- time, how much easier might we find the guage“ the monuments of the initiative solution of the perplexing questions premovements of our rational nature,” has sented to us by the great events—by all the claimed for it a far loftier mission, asserting battles, stratagems, discoveries, superstitions, that “ man's intellectual history, and his aye, and by the christian revelation itself
; moral history too, in part, is a development how much more readily feel our affinity with of the provisions God has made for convey- the good and wise of all ages, and appreing into our minds a perception of some ciate our interest in the universal mind of portions of his own."* Could we intelli- humanity. Then might we draw from the gently apprehend this theory, and see in the depths of this philosophy lessons of practical rise and fall of empires and institutions a wisdom; have our hopes emboldened, stage on which the representative men and philanthropy enlarged, and, looking beneath
the surface to trace the groundwork of every * "Mercurius," by the Rev. H. Le Mesurier, epoch, might behold its entire development
under the guidance of divine love, and might
rest assured that it is His good pleasure, usually addressed their opponents, and that who doeth according to his will among the some inhabitants of the earth—who is the desire of
“Misled by interest, the prevailing cheat, all nations that all things should work The sly seducer both of age and youth, together, though it might be in a manner Thought when they studied that they studied unexpected, for their good. To one who has attained this sublime confidence in the and even in the arguments of the most singeneral and ultimate beneficence of Deity, it cere and candid advocates of Protestantism, must be difficult to conceive how an insti- there was too much of the Lutheran mixtution, nearly coeval with Christianity, pre- ture,—reasoning with ridicule, and criticism dominant for ages in all the countries of with caricature. As to the general quesEurope, and still regarded in many as a tion, however, our obligations to Monachism blessing to all classes, can, consistently with might safely be concluded à priori. Divine christian faith and charity, be thought of as providence apart, it is a lie to reason to an unmixed evil, or as having been, on the suppose that an institution so general and whole, otherwise than beneficial to the coun- so vital as it proved had its origin and contries that cherished it. For if this country tinuance in anything but a deep-felt need in has ceased to need it; if our universities, men. “ The monastical associations,” says our colleges, our grammar and other schools, Guizot, “formed themselves spontaneously the pride and glory of our land, with our among equals by the impulsive movement of numerous charitable institutions, and, above soul, and without any other aim than that all, our poor laws, have rendered monasteries of satisfying it. The monks preceded the unnecessary here, yet would we but rend monastery, its edifices, its church, its enasunder the veil of prejudice and passion, dowment; they united, each of his own will, and study impartially the causes to which and on his own account, without depending Monachism owed its wonderful growth, we on any one beyond, as free as they were disshould probably find many reasons for interested."* believing that it had been, in the order of Yet although the very existence of Providence, highly beneficial to a state of Monachism through so many ages is, we society long since passed away, and there- think, on the above general principles, suffifore, however corrupted in the end, yet ulti- cient to vindicate its primary and ultimate mately contributive to the general welfare utility, it may be well to enumerate some of of Europe.
the particular blessings it conferred on EuBut if Monachism had not displayed such ropean society, which may be considered in wondrous vitality and catholicity; if it could two points of view, viz., in relation to the not assert for itself the position of a part in needs respectively of heathenism and of the scheme of Divine Providence of a link Christianity. in the chain of causes by which society has I. The subjects of Rome had long been in arrived at its present moral and civilized a state of miserable servitude to tyrants, condition—it would yet be no fair or valid from whose will there was no escape, and argument against it that this or that monk their unfavourable outward condition had a or body of monks caused some evil, or com- bad effect on their mental and moral conmitted some excesses--no more valid than dition. Very few, probably, still believed in would be the assumption that monarchy is the mythological gods of their fathers, and an evil because our King John or Henry the best disposed probably oscillated between VIII
. proved tyrants. Nor is it fair to judge superstition and atheism: in proportion as a of any institution from the period of its man quitted one extreme, he tended to the atmost corruption—to point to the decayed other; and the general scepticism of the and worn-out tree, and pronounce that it higher classes had gradaally worked its way never had borne good fruit; or to judge from downward to the lower, and, in the words of the testimony of notorious adversaries, or of Gibbon, “the decline of ancient prejudice those whose passions and party feelings were exposed a very numerous portion of buman strongly excited. We all know how the kind to the danger of a painful and comfortmost impartial advocates of either side, during the struggle of the Reformation, *“History of Civilization," vol. ii., p. 83.
less situation." From this danger Chris- | idolatry, there might still be room to questianity had, from various causes, failed to tion whether, with the evils gendered in its deliver vast multitudes at the period when corruption, it had been, on the whole, beneMonachism began to spread from the East to ficial to European society; but we find it the West—for one reason, apparently, above invested with a far more important vocation others, that the church had not sufficient in reference to the needs of Christianity. visibility; its doctrines were taught only to Scarcely had the young church been relieved, the faithful, and though there are various at the accession of Constantine, from the indications that a truly missionary spirit, severe discipline to which it had, for wise the vine-spirit of the church, was abroad purposes, been subjected-when as yet the among the secular clergy, yet they had not necessity for unity was as urgent as ever, probably sufficient external insignia, or pomp, to enable it to reform society as well as to or show of power, to attract the attention of convert the multitudes, still pagans in heart the heathens. This want the monks sup- and mind-before the seeds of disunion and plied. “Their number was as imposing as disintegration began to spring up, and show their singularity of life. The secular clergy, their dire fruits. Already were there heartthe bishop or simple priest, were common to burnings and divisions; bishop was arrayed the imagination of the barbarians, who were against bishop, and church against church; accustomed to see, maltreat, and rob them. and, a century or two later, not only had It was a much more serious affair to attack these feuds proceeded to an alarming extent, a monastery, where so many holy men were but episcopal power had overstepped its pricongregated in one holy place. The monas- mitive limits, and the clergy generally had teries, during the barbaric epoch, were an become scandalously corrupted, and neglectful asylum for the church,” &c.f In short, of their duties; and thus, while viciously amthey were to the heathen as visible witnesses bitious of place and power, were gradually against idolatry and irreligion.
loosening the only trustworthy bond which But they were calculated to act in a far such men, as a body, can have on the respect wider capacity than as the mere church-bell or affections of the people; and there seemed to the careless wanderer, inviting to thoughts a strong probability that the new religion of God and eternity. The heathen were would be self-destroyed by the strength of sunk in the most brutal selfishness and in- these boyish passions and impulses — would difference to the sufferings of others; they fall to ruin, as a house divided against itself
. needed examples of religious devotion and Now it appears unquestionable, and has self-denying love; they were slaves of the been acknowledged by the profoundest his
degrading sensuality and voluptuous- torians, that Monachism must have had & ness;they needed instances of purity and powerful consolidating and conservative inhardihood. All this the monastic life sup- Aluence. Similarity of life naturally begot plied. “The spectacle of such a life, of so similarity of views and feelings—a dispomuch rigidity and enthusiasm, of sacrifice sition to brotherly union; for the same order and of liberty, strongly excited the imagina- or rule, the Benedictine, rapidly spread all tion of the people," S and Christianity spread over the West; distant monasteries held rapidly among persons of every grade. communication with each other, and colonies
II. Yet, had Monachism only served the of monks would emigrate into unexplored or purposes which it undoubtedly did, to many heathen regions, and there establish themsecret and open votaries of the ancient selves as missionaries; and western Monach
ism, we are assured, partook largely of
western civilization, for “ it was in order to * Juvenal, Sat. i., 87–93; ii., 162; iii., 21; vi., 291 –299. And Persins and
Tacitus, passim. conversation, as well as to religious edificaAlso Mosheim,“ Inst. Historicæ Chris. Cent. 1.," tion, that the first monks met."* And not lib. i., c. 14. Neander, “ Christian Church," In. only did this communism, or unity of life troduction. + Guizot, as above, vol. i., p. 120.
and religious feeling—a species of union, by # Juvenal, Persius, and Tacitus, passim.
the way, which, in one form or another, in i Guizot, vol. ii., p. 62. The visit of the Monk the family, in the association for a particular Antony to Alexandria, in 352, caused the conversion of more persons to Christianity in a few days than during a year at other times.
* Guizot, vol. ij., pp. 65, 75.
religious or political object, or in the nation, their fellow-men, rather than pollute their is founded on the essential principles of own souls. But the less' rigid asceticism of human nature, as distinguished froin that of the West was certainly not wholly useless to the brutes, and which exists in its highest the future welfare of humanity. One form degree and perfection among the most re- of it was the transcribing of manuscripts, fined and civilized of men ;-not only did it call sometimes performed voluntarily, sometimes off the attention of the bishops from quarrels imposed as a penance. And in an age when, among themselves, but eventually had a according to an infidel historian, notorious powerful influence in curbing their over- for the jaundiced eyes with which he looked grown power. Guizot, noticing the danger at everything christian, there was a general to Christianity from their arrogance and dearth of learning and literature, and when excesses, continues :-“The church herself printing was unknown, was it not a forcontained the germ of a remedy. Side by tunate thing that there were men inspired side with the secular clergy there had been with more than ordinary zeal for the prerising up another order, influenced by other servation of the divine records ? Manuprinciples, animated with another spirit, and scripts were copied at great cost, and with which seemed destined to prevent that dis- much labour and loss of time.* The credit solution with which the church was me- of prodncing something new and original, naced ;-I speak of the monks."* Monach- which should cause the author's name to ism, in fact, was needed, not only to arm live for even a century or two, is an inducethe church against its pagan adversaries, ment to exertion which is easily understood; but to calm the tumultuous elements which but when it is considered that the copyists were at work within its bosom; not only of the Greek and Hebrew scriptures, and of was it an incentive to sobriety, purity, and the treasures of Greek and Latin literature, devotion, but it served to show the members gained no renown—were probably not known of all churches that they were brethren, beyond the walls of their convent,—the extrabound to each other by no ordinary ties, ordinary zeal they displayed in their laudcalled each one by the same divine voice, able occupation appears perfectly marvellous, exposed to the same trials and dangers in and imagination can scarcely range too far obeying it, and looking through the wilder- in speculating upon the probable evil conseness of this life to the same goal of glory at quences to European civilization had it not the end of it.
existed. Gibbon, who could not deny, has The strict asceticism and seclusion of summed up their merits in this respect in eastern monks, made, strangely enough, a few words :-“ The curiosity or zeal of some charge against Monachism, has been strongly learned solitaries has cultivated the ecclereprobated, not always with reason. At a siastical and even the profane sciences; and period when the Christian religion was posterity must gratefully acknowledge that become so fashionable that there must have the monuments of Greek and Roman litebeen many false professors, and when the rature have been preserved and multiplied most powerful temptations to vice and inn- by their indefatigable pens.” And Hallam purity were, we know, fearfully prevalent in observes :—“The monasteries were subjected Constantinople and all the cities of the East, to strict rules of discipline, and held out, at converts who felt their own weakness might the worst, more opportunities for study than surely be pardoned if they construed more the secular clergy possessed, and fewer for literally than we the command to“ flee from worldly dissipations. But their most inntemptation;" when“ persecuted,” were it but portant service was as secure repositories for by being forced to witness blasphemy or books. All our manuscripts have been preobscenity, “in the city,” to betake themselves served in this manner, and could hardly have to the desert; to “avoid the very appearance of evil;” to “cut off their right hands,” and "pluck out their right eyes," or to render • Hallam, "Europe during the Middle Ages," themselves, save as examples, useless to vol. ii., p. 337. At a time when books were ex
cessively scarce, “ un cloitre de l'Isle de Goth
land contenait, dit-on, une bibliothèque de deux • Vol. ii., p. 59.