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could furnish. If the men who so clamor for reform, and so strenuously urge the amelioration of the secular order, would lay aside their hostility to religion, and consent to work with the church, under her spiritual guidance, she would soon, through them, effect all needed ameliorations, establish a true system of secular culture, effect a new civilization, which would give us tempered together in one, as Gioberti demands, the full-grown Christian and the fullgrown man, as much superior to the ancient Græco-Roman civilization as the morals of Christianity are superior to those of paganism. But the thing is not possible so long as they are able, and continue, to keep the secular order armed to the teeth against her. But as human depravity will last as long as the world stands, the schism between the two orders will probably never be entirely healed, and the glorious results for civilization, so easy to effect if men were only reasunable, or not madmen or fools, will probably remain for ever without being fully attained. All we can do is to be faithful to the spiritual order, and to labor diligently to realize them as far as possible, --not for the sake of the temporal good to be secured, but for the sake of the purposes of our present existence, and the free and unimpeded action of the church in preparing men for eternal life.
Our Unitarian friend will find, if he meditates what we have written, his article answered as far as answer it needed. We have not followed him step by step, nor was it necessary; we suppose him capable of applying principles, when
they are furnished to his hand, without our applying them · for him. He will see that we rely no more than he does on poetry and romance as evidence of the truth of religion. To some minds they may be occasions of conversion, and they were in some respects so in our own case, dry logicgrinder as many people suppose us to be, for they removed certain obstructions there were to the operation of the grace of God on our heart; but causes or grounds of conviction they never were, and never can be. Christian art has its uses, and important uses they are, too. Persons of a certain temper may be led by it to reflect on the claims of the church, or it may soften their feelings and subdue for the moinent their prejudices, and prepare them to listen to her claims. So far, it contributes, and legitimately, to conversions; but as an argument addressed to the reason, or as a motive of credibility, it is of no value, for it may well be questioned if Christian art, as pure art, has ever surpassed, or even equalled, pagan art.
We recognize no church of the middle ages; but the church in the middle ages, as in all ages, our Unitarian friend will see, we hold to be irreproachable, not, indeed, because we are a great admirer of those ages themselves, nor because we believe they were themselves irreproachable, but because what there was in them objectionable proceeded from causes independent of the church and hostile to her, which she had no power to control, and could remove only in proportion as she could induce men to become voluntarily her subjects
. There were, doubtless, things which she did then that she would not do now; for the circumstances now are different, and do not demand, might not even justify, them. She is in the world to bless it; and while her doctrines and principles remain eternally unvaried and invariable, she applies them with perfect freedom to the circumstances of time and place. She never permits herself to become the slave of routine or of stereotyped modes of exterior action. When society is in an exceptional state, she deals with it accordingly. When it throws upon her the burden of providing for the poor, she does it in the best manner existing circumstances allow. We rejoice when we read that seventeen thousand poor were fed in one day at Cluny, and we see in the fact her maternal solicitude and forethought for even the temporal subsistence of her children; but we see no evidence in it of the perfection of the secular order of the time, and no reason for wishing to perpetuate a state of society, that leaves such a number of poor daily to be fed at a single monastery. Many of the institutions which the church founded and cherished in the middle ages have passed away, or must pass away, with the social changes which are constantly taking place; but this is no cause of reproach to her, or of alarm to us. Others, better adapted to the altered circumstances of new ages, she will institute in their place, and gain the same ends by other means. And thus it is, that, while we adhere to the church in all times, and because we do so, we are free to condemn barbarism wherever we find it, and to labor with all our zeal and ability for an advanced, and, if possible, an everadvancing, civilization,
CONVERSATIONS OF AN OLD MAN AND HIS
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for 1850.)
I.-F. I HAVE been told that your views on most subjectswere not always what they now are. My father says he has known you when you boasted of being a liberalist in politics and in religion, when you professed yourself a firm believer in the progress of the race, and were really a man of the modern world, sympathizing with humanity, and foremost in the various socialist movements of the day.
B. I did not, as a young man, differ much from most young men of ardent temperaments, lively sensibilities, generous impnlses, and little practical knowledge; I said and did a great many foolish things.
c. You will hardly persuade your young friends that it is foolish to sympathize with our kind, to feel that every man is our brother, to plead for the wronged, and devote ourselves heart and soul to the progress of liberty, and the melioration of society, especially of the poorer and more numerous classes.
B. We are, till after long and sometimes bitter experience, the dupes of words and phrases. It is not difficult to disguise mischievous purposes in fine words; it is also easy, in pursuing even a laudable object, to say and do a great many foolish things. It may be very laudable to fell a tree : that cumbers the ground, or hides our prospect, but not very wise to attempt to do it by climbing up and beginning at the top. It is rather foolish to cut off the branch on which we must stand. We may fall and break our necks, and not accomplish our purpose after all.
G. By which you would admonish us that our ends are not necessarily good because we express them in fine phrases, and that even good ends are wisely sought only by appropriate and adequate means ?
B. Precisely, my young friend. Schiller's Marquis of Posa bids us remember when we are old, the dreams of our youth. Some follow his direction, and remain ignorant in spite of experience. Others do not. It is not, as you youngsters suppose, that we harden with age, grow cold and selfish, and cease to interest ourselves in the welfare of others; it is that we profit by experience, and that a wider survey of men and things, a deeper insight into the springs of human action, individual and social, enable us to see what we proposed in the ardor of youth is seldom desirable, and when desirable, seldom practicable. Youth deals mostly in generals, and rarely descends to particulars. The evils which afflict the individual and society spring chiefly from moral causes, from inordinate desires, and unrestrained passions. The methods of amelioration which our young enthusiasm proposes appeal exclusively to these for their
support, and can only strengthen them, and aggravate the evils we seek to remove.
0. Pardon me, but I am a little impatient at the outcry which even you do not disdain to echo against human nature. I have never been able to see any truth or justice in this perpetual admonition to restrain our feelings and subdue our passions. The moralist seems to me to make himself the accomplice of the despot.
C. All our native instincts, unperverted feelings, and generous sentiments are for liberty. They lead us to resist the tyrant, and where they have free scope, tyranny can never gain a permanent establisħment. The tyrant would repress them, annihilate them, so that we may have no spirit or disposition to rebel against him. It is the fox preaching to the geese, the wolf to the lamb.
B. All very spiritedly said, my young friends; but it is nothing very novel. I have in the course of my life said as much and a great deal more. All authority appears to us in youth very hateful. We see not its reason or necessity, and we fancy that it only creates the crime that it punishes. I thought my mother was exceedingly tyrannical, when she gave me, then a boy some four or five years old, a severe whipping for telling a lie. I have lived long enough to thank her for that whipping over and over again; for it impressed indelibly upon my memory this important lesson,- If you speak at all
, speak the truth. Indeed, all authority that restrains us, or hinders us from doing whatever we wish, seems to us tyrannical. Tyranny is always odious, and so we conclude that we ought to be freed from all restraint and at liberty to follow our inclinations. Since our inclinations, instincts, feelings, passions, resist whatever resists them, we conclude that they are intrinsically opposed to tyranny, and that whoever would restrain them is a tyrant, deserving of universal execration. God, indeed, gives us no faculties that it is unlawful to exercise—in a lawful manner, and he requires the physical destruction of no element of that nature which he has created. All the several elements of our nature may be exercised, but they are to be exercised in the order the Creator intended, in due subordination, the lower to the higher; or, in other words, order and harmony are to be maintained in the bosom of the individual, and between individual and individual, and you will need very little experience of practical life to learn that this is impossible without authority and self-denial. We see not this at first, but gradually it dawns on our minds, and by and by becomes clear to us, and from hot-headed radicals, clamoring for liberty, seeking the elevation of mankind and social progress by removing all restraints, and giving loose reins to appetite and passion, we become sober conservatives, insisting upon submission to authority, obedience to law, as the first lesson to be taught, and the first to be learned.
F. I do not object to all authority; for one needs not to have lived long to be aware that order is desirable, and that it is not possible, without authority of some sort, to maintain it. But I want order with liberty, not order without liberty.
0. The authority should be reasonable, and govern by appeals to reason, not by a resort to physical force, as if man were a brute.
B. I am not learned in such matters, but I have heard it stated, that man combines in his animal nature the distinctive traits of every species of animal with which we are acquainted. Certain it is, that he has an animal nature distinct from his rational nature, and that he is often beastly in his habits, and brutish in his conduct. It is not seldom that it is necessary to treat him as a wild colt or an unruly ox. Physical force is frequently the only force that can restrain him, and corporal chastisement the only argument he is able to appreciate. The fine sentimentalisms now so common are very becoming in the young men and maidens who delight in them. One is rarely pleased to see an old head upon young shoulders. I am always afraid of a very wise yonth. It is unnatural, almost monstrous. I am never displeased to hear the young and inexperienced protest against the use of the rod, and, in their sprightly way, maintain that parents and magistrates should always govern by moral