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by urging the objections we ourselves brought, but without noticing our answers! This may be a refutation in the Protestant sense, but, thank God! it is not in the Catholic sense. The conduct of the Observer, in this respect, we shall not trust ourselves to characterize as it deserves, nor shall we suffer it to surprise us. Deprived, as the writer is, by the simple fact that he is a Protestant, of the ordinary means of divine grace, nothing better was to be expected of him. He has a cause to maintain, which does not admit of candor and truthfulness, honesty and fair dealing, and we should be more surprised to find him exercising such virtues than we are by finding him sinning against them.
It is worthy of note that this Episcopal writer has passed over the articles in our Review against his own church, and, churchman as he professes to be, has entered the lists only against an article the main design of which was to defend the Church against No-Church. It is also worthy of note, that the objections he has brought against us were nearly all brought previously in the Christian Register and Christian World, the two weekly organs of the No-Church Unitarians. What does this indicate? Are Unitarians and Episcopalians acting in concert or are we to infer that a common dread of Catholicity is combining all the various Protestant sects against the Catholic Church? This last seems to us not improbable. The signs of the times seem to indicate that the several tribes of Goths, Vandals, Huns, and other barbarians, are forming a league for a new invasion of Rome. Well, be it so. that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them, and the Lord shall deride them." The Episcopalians may read their destiny in that of the old Donatists, whom, in many respects, they resemble; and all the Protestant sects combined are not so formidable to the Church as were, at one period, the old Arians. The Church triumphed over the Arians; she will triumph over the Protestants. A union whose principle is hatred will not long subsist, but will soon break asunder. Protestantism is doomed. The Devil may be very active and full of wrath, and utter great, swelling words, for a season, because he knows that his time is short; but Protestantism must go the way of all the earth. The Lord will remember mercy, and will not much longer afflict the nations, but will recall them to the bosom of his Church.
ART. V. The Esthetic Letters, Essays, and the Philosophical Letters of Schiller; translated, with an Introduction, by J. WEISS. Boston Little & Brown. 1845. 16mo. pp. 379.
THE position of the conductor of a Catholic literary journal, in a country where the great mass of the literature which must pass under his notice emanates from Protestant sources, is by no means a pleasant one. As a Catholic, he holds his religion paramount to every thing else, and must necessarily condemn every literary work he reviews, which contains any thing repugnant to the spirit and teachings of his Church. Whatever is repugnant to his holy religion he must regard as repugnant to truth and goodness, and therefore to the true interests of his fellow-men, both for this world and for that which is to come; and he cannot fail to censure it and warn his readers against it, without sinning against his conscience, his God, and his neighbour.
Protestant life and culture are essentially anti-Catholic, and no Protestant writes a history, no matter of what people or tribe, in what part or age of the world, a work on philosophy, morals, the fine arts, or on any subject, unless it be mathematics, or one or two of the physical sciences, into which his Protestantism does not enter in a manner offensive to Catholic faith, morals, or worship. The Catholic critic sees and feels this, even when it escapes the design and the notice of the Protestant, and, as a conscientious man, he is obliged to withhold his approbation, and caution his readers against the poison of the work, whatever may be, in other respects, its literary merits.
In this country, the great mass of publications are Protestant, and we are obliged, as a reviewer, to be almost always dealing in censures, and can rarely find an occasion to exercise our good-nature in commending, unless it be when we have under review a work from a Catholic author; we must, necessarily, therefore, to the great body of our Protestant readers, appear ill-natured, harsh, and censorious, narrow-minded and bigoted, incapable of perceiving excellence out of our own Church, and entirely wanting in literary taste and discrimination, with no other standard of criticism but the fact that the work to be criticized is or is not written by a Catholic. This is unavoidable. It is more agreeable to approve than to
condemn, and we always aim to discriminate where we can. But such is the character of Protestant literature, that we cannot discriminate. We may admit its ability, its genius, and often its excellence as to mere form; but its matter is always more or less objectionable. And this objectionable matter is not in a few detached passages, in a few details easily pointed out and expressly excepted to; but it is all-pervading, inherent, the groundwork, the life and soul of the whole.
Protestantism and Catholicity are two separate worlds, and Catholic and Protestant literatures belong to two distinct and separate orders. Literature is nothing but the exponent of the life of a people, the expression of its sentiments, convictions, aims, and ideals. Such your people, such your literature. Catholic literature expresses the life of the Catholic people, Protestant literature of the Protestant people; and as the life of the one is essentially different from the life of the other, so must be the literature of the one from the literature of the other. Catholic literature may have its faults, be exceptionable in detail; but it is, in general, in its generic character, Christian, — pervaded by a Christian thought, and imbued with the Christian spirit. It may, or it may not, borrow the forms of ancient classical literature; but whether it do or do not, its matter is always Christian. Protestant literature is essentially heathen, a reproduction, under varied forms, of the literature of pagan antiquity. Its form is sometimes Christian, and so are some of its details and embellishments; but its groundwork, its main substance, is heathen. This is the radical difference between the two literatures. The Catholic often accommodates the Christian thought to the classical form; the Protestant, sometimes, the heathen thought to the Christian form. Thus the Catholic theologian borrows the logic of the ancients, because logic is formal, applicable equally to all subjects on which we can reason, and is necessarily the same, whatever the doctrines to be demonstrated or refuted; the Protestant theologian generally despises the logic, but borrows the doctrines of the ancients.
Here is the real difference between Protestantism and Catholicity. Protestantism is substantially heathenism, and, at best, Christian only in some of its forms and details. It was born in the epoch termed the Revival of Letters, an epoch in which the literature of pagan Greece and Rome was not, perhaps, much more widely studied than it had been in the preceding ages, but in which the systems of the ancients began to
be revived and believed anew; when the classics began to supply not merely the form, but the substance, of the new literature. And, at the present moment, we may find proofs not a few of the fact, that, at best, only the form of Protestant life and thought is Christian. Read our Protestant poets, and, if you know any thing of the ancient classics, you will feel the Protestant but echoes the heathen. There is the same worship of external nature, the same gloom over life, the same vanity of human pursuits, the same weariness of existence, the same uncertainty as to man's destiny, the same darkness brooding over the tomb. The lips may laugh, the eyes may sparkle with rosy wine, and from beneath the ivy-crowned brow; but there is no joy of the heart, no gladness of the spirit, no buoyancy of the soul, no cheerful hope. Read Faust, Childe Harold, Cain, Heaven and Earth, and persuade yourself that you are not back in heathendom, if you can.
Now, this being the character of Protestantism, it is easy to understand why its literature must, notwithstanding the ability and genius which we are far from denying it, be generally objectionable to the devout Catholic. We do not object to the study of the classics, in their place; for in them the heathenism, both as to matter and form, is expected, and the reader is on his guard. He is forewarned, and therefore forearmed. But when we come to a literature professing to be Christian, using to a considerable extent the Christian terminology, and which in some of its details really is Christian, the heathenism is offensive, because out of place, because it is unavowed, because there is an attempt to conceal it, and because the simple and but partially instructed, not expecting it, are poisoned by it before becoming aware of its presence. For these reasons, there is and must be the same hostility between Catholic and Protestant literatures as between the Catholic and Protestant religions. We cannot conceal this fact, if we would; and we would not, if we could. We are familiar with the chefs-d'œuvre of Protestant literature; we are not insensible to Protestant genius and talent; we trust we can admire excellence, whereever we can discover it; but we are certain never to find excellence in a Protestant not coupled with something which must offend us as a Catholic.
One Protestant sect may approve and read with pleasure the literary productions of another; for all Protestant sects belong to the same family, and differ from one another only in a few details, in the shade of the hair, the hue of the eyes,
the shape of the nose or the mouth, the size of the bust, or of the hands and feet; but between Catholics and Protestants, there is a generic difference, no family relation or likeness; and, consequently, in Protestant literature the Catholic can at best admire only individual traits, only a few details, while he does and must condemn it as a whole. This is no loss to the Catholic, for he has no need of Protestant literature. It can give him nothing that is true or beautiful which he has not already, and what is neither true nor beautiful he does not want. He may, therefore, leave to Protestants their own literature, and content himself with the richer, broader, truer, and more beautiful literature of his own. He may be accused of being narrow-minded, bigoted, exclusive; but he has for his consolation the fact, that he knows, without resorting to his Protestant neighbours, all they have that is worth knowing, while he has in his own literature, belonging to ages which he is but too ready to forget, vast treasures of which the Protestant has no suspicion.
We have been led into this train of remark, in part, by the work before us, the work of a man who enjoys a high reputation as one of the most distinguished chiefs of modern German literature, and which has been admirably translated by a most worthy young man, whom we are happy to reckon among our personal friends. We would like to entertain for Schiller that respect which his countrymen and a great many of our own entertain for him, and, above all, should we like to commend any literary labor of our young friend, the translator; but we have no high admiration of Schiller; we do not like the spirit of his works; we do not like their doctrines or their tendency. Mr. Weiss has labored conscientiously on the work before us, and performed his duty of translator more than well. We have seen no translations from the German better, if so well, executed. The Letters and Essays do not read as translations at all; but have the clearness, distinctness, freshness, gracefulness, and ease of original compositions, -the highest praise to which a translator can aspire. Thus far we can commend the work, and wish the translator the success he has richly merited by his skill, his industry, and his pains; but further than this we cannot go. We acknowledge the high literary merits of the volume, we acknowledge the good intention and the philosophical ability of the author; but we regard the work as false in its leading doctrines, and unwholesome in its general tendency.