網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

and ecclesiasticism cannot be favorable to the latter. In fact, alienation from the Romish Church, more or less pronounced, has spread through no inconsiderable portion of the higher ranks. Half of the men, we are told, do not go to mass, and in some of the cities nine tenths of them keep clear of the confessional. Even the Pope allows that the faith is endangered, though of course he charges the guilty responsibility upon the secular power. Professor Mariano speaks of the vein of religious ideality in the minds of the people as being dried up, and declares that the cultured classes rest generally upon a foundation of indifferentism and scepticism, however great may be the number of individuals in the list of honorable exceptions. He finds the cause, however, not merely in the dissidence between State and Church, but also in the excess of perverse mechanism in the Romish religion, or its extensive adulteration with the elements of a magical and idolatrous naturalism.3

The Pope, it was noticed, enumerates the secularization of education among the sins of the Italian government. He could scarcely have been oblivious, however, of the fact that this sin is a somewhat besetting one for modern governments. The policy of secularization has obtained in France. A beginning was made under the ministry of Jules Ferry, in 1880, toward limiting the ecclesiastical control of education. By the laws passed under the ministry of Paul Bert, in 1886, instruction in the public schools was made exclusively secular. In Belgium a like plan was inaugurated in 1879, but the strength of clericalism in that country was so great as largely to neutralize its effect in practice. A system of rival schools was at once patronized, and parents under pain of forfeiting absolution were required to withhold their children from the government institutions. The expedient of independent or self-supporting schools has also conserved a large share of school training in France to ecclesiastical direction.

1 Roma e l'Italia e la Realità delle Cose, Pensieri di un Prelato Italiano; Toscanelli, Religione e Patria Osteggiate dal Papa.

2 Sembra incredibile, ma è pur vero : siam giunti a tanto da dover temere per questa nostra Italia la perdita della fede. (Encyclical, Oct. 15, 1890.)

8 Il Pensiero Religioso in Italia, Discorso tenuto allo IX. Conferenza Internazionale dell' Aleanza Evangelica, Firenze, 1891.

Amid the hostilities awakened by the Syllabus and the Vatican decrees, not a few have hoped that an occasion

a for a better feeling toward the papacy would be supplied by the socialistic agitation of the times. The perils involved in the more radical type of socialism ought, as they have argued, to open the eyes of civil rulers to the value of an oracle which can utter sound principles with an authoritative voice. And in fact the conservative views known to be entertained by the Pope and the hierarchy upon the subject of property, and which have been given expression in the encyclical of Leo XIII. (May 15, 1891), tend to foster a certain appreciation for the practical service which may be rendered by ecclesiastical authority. Still, all men who know the modern world know that problems of social science cannot truly be settled by fiat, any more than astronomical problems could be settled by that method in the days of Galileo. Where the Pope reasons well his words will find a response, as will those of any other prominent personage under the like condition. Many, indeed, may not inquire narrowly into the merits of his deliverances ; but the company that will accept his teaching on sheer authority, whether it be larger or smaller, is not the company upon which in the long run the march of events principally depends. Governments cannot be expected to ignore this fact. Moreover, they are instinctively jealous of an infallible vicegerent, who logically, as being confronted only by inferiors, must seek to make his will dominant over all. One and another ruler may venture to use the agency of the Pope in bridging over a temporary exigency; but antipathy to theocratic sovereignty, and the impossibility of sharing the field with it on anything like equal terms, must erelong react against such an alliance. However gratifying, therefore, the socialist agitation may have been to the advocates of high papal claims, it is not likely to afford them the means of any large or durable triumph."

1 Socialism of a radical cast may be regarded as historically connected with the French Revolution. At any rate, it sounds like an echo of the faith – characteristic of the leading actors of that crisis — in the possibility of ushering in a golden age by management. The banishing of human ills by social appliances is the great article of its creed. Saint Simon (1760–1825) began the succession of French socialists in the present century. The industrial state directed by men of science was in his view the proper means of realizing the perfectibility of the race. In the end he came to value the function of religion, and admitted so much of Christianity as he conceived to be in harmony with modern science, thus setting an example to Comte, though not pushing his views here into any such caricature as is given in the detailed system of the Positivist philosopher. On the basis of Saint Simon, Bazard and Enfantin went forward to gather a school or socialistic sect. The latter was an intemperate zealot, who carried socialistic doctrine into an unclean regime, wherein the

flesh was placed on an eqnality with the spirit, and marriage was stripped of its sanctity. This was too much for Bazard, who had no wish to sacri. fice morality. In the plan of Fourier (1772-1837), which would divide up society into communistic associations, a kind of regulated license took the place of marriage. This phase, however, was largely discarded by his disciples, their attention being centred upon the economic features of the scheme. In Proudhon (1809–1865), with his definition of property as “ robbery,” and of God as “the evil,” socialism of a fanatical and dema. gogical type found an exponent.

CHAPTER III.

GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

1.

GENERAL SURVEY OF THE RELIGIOUS FIELD IN

ENGLAND.

IN

the early part of the nineteenth century we find

tokens of a different spirit in England from that which confronted us at the beginning of the preceding century. A larger current of vital piety is apparent. Sermons no longer fall mainly under the category of moral essays; doctrine and experience are emphasized. The Evangelical School holds a prominent place in the Established Church, and a large proportion of Dissenters still harbor the tendencies begotten by the Great Revival. Various bodies follow the example which Carey and the Baptists supplied in 1792, and the work of foreign missions expands rapidly. In philosophic thought the empiricism of Locke retains but a disputed place; the claims of intuition begin to be asserted. Poetry also breathes a new inspiration. A cold perfection no longer satisfies; warmth and sentiment are desired; and instead of the school of Pope we have Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and others of the group which adorned the first quarter of the century.

One factor contributing to the rise of the new type of poetry was the influence of Germany then beginning to make itself felt in England. To this factor is also to be

« 上一頁繼續 »