網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

see;

free citizen ? By no means. Such imprudence might have awaked the patient; and it is an axiom of the Roman Hippocrates, the judicious Galen, that Qui bene dormit non peccat; or, Cat that naps does n't scratch. But, with all the delicacy that is hereditary in an old duchess of Quality Row, when she extracts a pinch of Maccoboy from her gold snuff-box, I drew forth my two pills, and, warming them in the hollow of my hand, applied them with this medico-cabalistic formula: By the virtue of my salve, may the encephalic bite of the black serpent make thee the brother of Balaam; for curses mayest thou give blessings, and instead of destroying, mayest thou build !'

“Scarcely was the operation over, when the patient awoke, sneezed twice, rubbed both eyes, and stammered out: 'I believe I no, - yes,

ah! I understand. Doctor, Doctor, now I see it,' said he to me, smiling pleasantly; you have been carrying on Indian warfare ; your devilish salve is a real trap. I was fully confident, that, with my objections, I could envelope you in the meshes of incredulity, or, at least, that I could amuse the public by giving you and all believers a regular dressing. And I must confess I felt no little pride in performing for the Catholics the honorable functions of a Russian corporal who administers the knout to refractory soldiers.' Then, burying his face in his hands, he was silent a moment; then broke out again like a stock-jobber who has burnt his fingers in a speculation : Where the devil were my wits? Why could n't I see what is now plain as day, that I was cutting a stick for my own back, and for the whole tribe of philosophers ? Why, the thing is evident; the more striking the objections against Christianity are made, the more inexplicable the faith of the universe will appear; the more clearly we demonstrate that it is a superhuman task to plant it in the human heart and mind, the more solidly we establish the necessity, splendor, power, and number of those miracles which have produced such convictions.'

“The patient scratched behind his ear again, - just what I expected, Gentlemen and Ladies, and, with a tone somewhere between the serious and comic, continued: “The most singular of the whole affair, Doctor, is, that, in reasoning as I have done, I find myself, as every other philosopher must in the end, stuck fast between the two sharp horns of this dilemma; you wish to explain the faith of the universe; do you admit a miracle or not? Choose whichever side you please. If I say, " Miracle," I 'ın gone; for, unless I am prepared to commit the ugliest of all mortal sins, the sin which Hippocrates has so sagaciously named the aneurism of fools and the dropsy of poltroons, I must come out, whether or no, as Catholic as the Pope. If I say, “No miracle," I'm gone again worse than ever; for straight the stubborn miracles rise up in myriads, tall as giants; they beset my passage, throttle me, and either strangle rea

1

sou, or make me cry out twenty times louder than all Christendom together, “ Miracle! miracle ! "

“Yes, Doctor, your salve is a lure, a real trap. Any old woman that has it in her possession can face fearlessly an army of infidels, and is an apologist as formidable as Tertullian himself. She has only to stick to her spinning-wheel and say amen to all their objections; and in a short time she will see the beasts tearing their sides and gnawing their own tails off. Every new objection raises still higher the pedestal of her faith.

Doctor, you ’ve played me a pretty trick. By Jove, if ever again, - but no matter; I can forgive you, and I know how to look for revenge.'

“Then, pressing my hand affectionately, he whispered in my ear, • To-morrow I'll set the same snare at the door of my office, and the philosophical badgers of the neighbourhood had better look out. The bitten ones that I know of shall get their foot in it. This evening I had to pay the scot; to-morrow will be their turn.

“• Doctor,' he continued, raising his voice to the pitch of a militia officer, 'one hundred boxes of pills, and your bill.

My bill ?' said I'my bill ? Gentlemen and Ladies, only look at the children of the nineteenth century! They imagine that all the devotedness of the age is reducible to bank-notes. It is a libel upon our times. I appeal to the spotless incorruptibility of our office-holders, public and private; to the sterling good faith of our merchants, high and low; to the proverbial charity of our manufacturers armed with patents and premium medals; to the conscientious modesty of our authors; to the records of our courts ; — it is a libel on our times. Restat adhuc mortalibus usquam intemerata fides. And were this appeal, by an impossibility, as false as it is true, still my whole life demands an honorable exception in my favor: Etiam si omnes, ego non. I have had already the honor of telling you, Gentlemen and Ladies, and I now prove it to you: the Doctor Evariste de Gypendole labors gratuitously for the relief of suffering humanity. There is no bill from me, Sir: my reward, as the poet says, is in my own heart: manet alta mente repostum.'

“ I delivered immediately one hundred boxes of my salve to the illustrious lawyer. And for how much do you think, Gentlemen and Ladies ? Learn to admire my disinterestedness. For how much? For two cents a box! Yes, Gentlemen and Ladies, two cents a box! The exact price of the Badajos powders; one half the price of the Venetian theriac; and the precise value, plus seven mills, of all the homeopathico-allopathico-eclectico-humanitico-protocolic dregs of all the Esculapiuses that are driving so furiously at the moral cure of the human race."

In the following chapter, the excellent Doctor Evariste ceeds to describe the treatment and cure of a patient who had

pro

been bitten in the heart. We should be glad to follow him, but our limits do not permit us ; and besides, the chapter, to a very considerable extent, is absolutely untranslatable. What we have given will enable our readers to form a tolerable notion of the wit, humor, and, withal, sound logic of the book. We defy all the infidels past, present, and to come, of all grades, shades, and sizes, by whatever name called, or in whatever disguise appearing, to reply to the argument the Doctor urges with such incomparable wit and humor. It is conclusive, and Mrs. Jones' gossip has nothing to do, but stick to her distaff, and say amen to all the objections to her Catholic faith all the infidels in the world can bring. The more objectionable you make Christianity, the more repugnant you make it to human nature, the more inexplicable becomes the fact that for eighteen hundred years the most enlightened portion of the world have believed it, and continue to believe it. Here is the fact, which must be explained some way, and which can in no way be explained without a miracle.

We commend the extracts we have made to the serious attention of our Transcendentalists, who appear to be bitten both in heart and head. We beg them to apply faithfully the salve, according to Dr. Evariste's directions; and if so, our word for it, they will be cured, radically, and without pain.

Art. III. -1. The Relation of Jesus to his Age and the

Ages. A Sermon preached at the Thursday Lecture in Boston, December 26, 1844. By Theodore Parker, Minister of the Second Church in Roxbury. Boston: C. C.

Little and James Brown. 1845. 8vo. pp. 18. 2. The Excellence of Goodness. A Sermon preached in the

Church of the Disciples in Boston, January 26, 1845. By the same.

Boston : Benjamin H. Greene. 1845. Svo.

pp. 16.

Rev. THEODORE PARKER is, nominally, a Unitarian minister, and is the pastor of the Unitarian congregation in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. He is a man of some pretensions to scholarship, has undoubtedly looked over a great variety of books, and is a very effective rhetorician.

At the present moment, he is, perhaps, one of the most conspicuous figures in our Boston community, and is causing no little excitement and trouble in the bosom of the Unitarian denomination, in consequence of professing to be a Christian teacher, and claiming to be treated as such, while he sneers at what all the world has hitherto deemed sacred, and labors, with untiring zeal and perseverance, to destroy whatever has hitherto been considered essential to the Christian faith and worship.

The trouble and excitement grow out of the fact, that such are the avowed principles of the Unitarian body, that they cannot withdraw or withhold from him their fellowship without condemning themselves. In an evil hour they discarded all doctrinal tests, and laid down the broad principle, that every man professing to be a Christian, if he exhibit what they call the Christian life and character, shall be received and treated as a Christian, whatever the peculiarities of his belief. Mr. Parker, presuming on his life and character, plants himself on this principle, and demands, all infidel as he is, to be treated as an accredited Christian teacher. I am a Christian," he says, “and I prove it by my life and character ; on what grounds, then, do you pretend to withdraw from me that fellowship you once gave me as a Christian minister ?"

“On the ground that you deny Christianity, and, under the name of Christianity, teach rank infidelity and foul impiety.”

" Who has constituted you judges ? It is a principle of the Unitarian denomination, that each member, whether private person or public teacher, has the right, unlicensed and unquestioned, to interpret Christianity for himself. Admit that my interpretations differ from yours, yet by what right do you denounce them as infidel and impious ? "

“ We denounce them, because they deny Christianity itself, in any and every sense in which the world has hitherto understood it."

“ If you say that, you condemn yourselves as well as me ; for the appeal to prescription will no more sustain your interpretations than mine."

“ Christianity is evidently distinguished from infidelity, and there must be some line of demarkation between it and infidelity.”

“ And you have drawn it in discarding doctrinal tests, and making one's Christianity to consist in his moral character, saying, with Pope,

"For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
His can't be wrong, whose life is in the right.?”

[ocr errors]

" But no man, whatever his moral character, can be a Christian, unless he believes in Jesus, that is, the Divine mission of Jesus.”

“ Then you eat your own words, deny the sufficiency of character, which you have heretofore asserted, and, contrary to your fundamental principle, introduce a doctrinal test. But I do not deny the Divine mission of Jesus Christ; I admit it.”

“Yes, as you do the Divine mission of Plato, or of Theodore Parker."

“I admit it in my sense, and you only admit it in yours; and have not I the same right to interpret Christianity for myself, that you have for yourselves ?

“ To interpret Christianity, but not to deny it. We complain of you, not for misinterpreting Christianity, but for denying it, and leaving no Christianity to interpret, or even to misinterpret."

But, before it can be determined whether one does or does not deny Christianity, it must be determined what is Christianity. I have the right to determine for myself what it is. Therefore, unless I deny what I determine it to be, you cannot, on your principles, accuse me of denying it."

6 Words have a fixed and determinate sense. If you deny whatever is understood by the word Christian, in its authorized sense, you deny Christianity.”

" Authorized! by whom or by what? The Catholic Church? Then you are condemned ; for you are as far as I am from using the word Christian in the Catholic sense. By general usage, that is, tradition ? Then, also, are you condemned ; for you, as well as I, reject Christianity in its traditionary sense.

And how long is it since Unitarians admitted the authority of tradition or general usage in theological matters? Admit this authority, and you must abandon all you have contended for, and make your peace with Holy Church as soon as possible.”

1. We admit this authority, not in settling theological matters, but simply in settling the proper use of theological

" A distinction without a difference. If you accept this authority in settling the meaning of the word Christian, you accept it in settling all that you are to understand by Christianity; for all included in the word Christianity must be covered by the word Christian. To appeal to tradition or general

terms.

« 上一頁繼續 »