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political power. Yet in their nature and in their aim these two were one; the religious sanctity was political, and the political power was religious.
Now this was precisely the thought which Mediævalism appropriated. The idea of Mediæval government, so far from being detached from the culture of the past, was essentially based on past culture. That government in a slightly modified form revived the conception of Roman Imperialism. Here, as in the older civilisation, Church and State were again one. Here, again, the civil power comprehended two functions—the one political, the other ecclesiastical. The difference lay in the fact that in Mediævalism the two functions no longer belonged to the same person. A nominal division was made between the province of the secular and the province of the sacred, and each was assigned to its own representative; the former was symbolised in the emperor, the latter was incarnated in the pope. We 'say a nominal division, for the most superficial study makes it evident that the recognition of two heads instead of one made no real separation between the secular and the sacred. The emperor was nominally the ruler of the State, but he claimed, by inheritance from his Roman ancestors, a headship over the Church as well; the State was to him identical with the Church. The pope was nominally ruler of the Church, but, in virtue of that very fact, he claimed a headship over the State also; the Church was to him identical with the State. The whole fabric was, in short, the reproduction of an older culture. Mediavalism constructed her government upon no ideal or utopian model. She did not build her structure out of fancy, but reared it out of past experience. The Renaissance which came at the close of Mediævalism has been called a revival of Pagan civilisation, but in truth it only intensified the effort at which Mediævalism aimed. The aim of that civilisation had all along been regressive, and the Renaissance only put the finishing touch to the process by which the Europe of the Middle Ages strove to reunite itself to the secularism of the first Christian century.
We have taken these three specimens not as marking abnormal aspects of culture but as representative of the course which we believe all culture to have followed in every age. It would have been as easy to have produced fifty specimens as three; indeed we are acquainted with no past civilisation which would not yield the same result. In our selection of these particular specimens we have been guided by the fact that each of them exhibits a distinct form of culture. The transition from Brahmanism to Buddhism, the transition from Judaism to Christianity, and the transition from Paganism to Mediævalism, are each separate instances exhibiting few analogies in their conditions and circumstances. Yet in each of these instances the result has been the same. The new form of culture, coming under the guise of revolution, has really erected itself on the basis of the old, and has effected its conquest over the minds of men not by obliterating but by transmuting the labours of its predecessor.
Now what is the relevancy of such a study to V the subject we have in hand ? It clearly lies in the fact that the considerations here advanced are fitted to remove a preliminary prejudice to the investigation of that subject. It is a very popular notion that every attempt to reconcile the culture of our age with the faith of past ages is in its very nature a recoil from the spirit of the age. If it be so, we can only come to one conclusionthat there must be an essential difference between the spirit of the nineteenth century and the spirit of every other century and epoch that the world has known. In all previous periods of human history, the first aim of the spirit of every age was to unite itself to the culture of the past; and the compliance with that tendency, so far from being a sign of recoil, was an indication of sympathy with contemporaneous movements. Is there anything in the circumstances of the nineteenth century which should reverse our judgment on this matter? Is there any cause which in the nature
of things should render the culture of our age more revolutionary than the culture of its predecessors? If there be such a cause, it is only fair that it should be stated and examined. The mere fact that other periods have followed a different law, will of itself give no warrant for holding that the nineteenth century is bound to be reconciliatory to the faith of other centuries. But, on the other hand, it must be shown that there is ground for such a difference. It must be shown that the nineteenth century has more right to be revolutionary than preceding epochs. There is only one ground on which such a right could be established. If it could be proved that our age has arrived at any new discovery which is fitted to revolutionise the beliefs of past ages, our modern life would then legitimately occupy a quite exceptional position in the history of culture. It would have a right to consider itself in the light of a new departure. It would have a claim to regard itself as standing on the boundary line between two worlds. It would be entitled to present to each of these worlds a different front. To the world of the future it would rightly offer the hand of alliance, for it would see in itself the pioneer and prophet of the coming age. To the world of the past, on the other hand, it would with equal propriety present the front of antagonism, for it would see in that world the accumulated result of ages
of error which the advent of its own light would be commissioned to dispel.
All this, we say, would be the legitimate conclusion from the fact that the nineteenth century had made any discovery in the field of nature which was fitted to exert a modifying tendency on old beliefs. Now it is precisely on this ground that the present age has been tempted to assume an antagonistic attitude towards the result of past ages. It believes itself to be in possession of a view of nature which past ages had not. It looks upon itself as the repository of a secret which was hid from its predecessors—a secret whose divulgence is calculated to render nugatory all that these predecessors have thought. It would be a great mistake to imagine that the belief of our age in the possession of this secret is to it uniformly a source of joy. It is not too much to say that in the large majority of cases it is fraught with the deepest pain. With all the optimism that prevails in the minds of some scientists, there is no reason to question the fact that the radical revolt from the faith of the past is at best contemplated only as a painful necessity. There are probably few men of those who believe themselves to be in possession of a revolutionary secret, who do not at times cast back a wistful glance towards that far country from which their secret has severed them ; probably few who would not in their hearts