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Of his love of virtue, and his devotion to truth, no one who has made a thorough study of his life will ever doubt. That withering invective against Vatinius in which abuse is shorn of its grossness by taking the form of ridicule; that satire, more dreaded than personal insult, which made even Lentulus and Cethegus quail; that bold vindication of Milo, when the ground was slippery under his feet with the blood of thirty years of proscription, and the swords of Pompey gleamed in his eyes; the sturdy defence of Ligarius, which made even Cæsar's countenance change, as he presided at the trial, and his limbs tremble, and the papers drop from his hands, while Cicero's vivid picture of the horrors of Pharsalia recalled to the dictator's mind the scene of one of his bloodiest triumphs, -could have sprung only from the intense convictions of a righteous soul. It was this earnestness, not bought with a price, but spontaneous and genuine, which acquitted Muræna, though impeached by the greatest lawyer of the time, and in the oration for Archias pleaded the cause of letters with a grace that was itself the most convincing argument; making every one feel, from that day to this, how the triumphs of the mind are more glorious than those of arms, in that the former make the memory of the latter eternal, in that the life of the past is in the remembrance of the living. And, though in his outbursts against Catiline and Antony he lowered his notions of senatorial dignity to a level with his rage, we can never forget the patriotism so ardent and so persistent that pleads in excuse for all his vacillation, and, disarming malevolence, mingles reverence for intellect with sympathy with virtue.
In his philosophical writings there is observable also the same honesty and the same unwearied zeal to lift his countrymen from their material pursuits to purer contemplations. He grasps the practical maxims of the Epicureans and Peripatetics and Stoics with the same sagacity that fathomed the devices of Catiline. It was the aim of much of the Greek thought to take man out of the world; it was Cicero's to regulate his life in it. Caring nothing for systems, which
were ephemeral, he made no attempt to adjust the operations
of nature to his own theories of its origin. He was assiduous, indeed, to traverse the whole field of philosophy; but it was in the true Roman spirit of tolerating all sects and belonging to none.
It was a sage remark of Plato, which Cicero must have pondered, that he who can overtake wisdom and attain a right sense of things, though extreme old age should overtake him first, is a happy man. Late in life, when reason as well as experience had in a measure failed, he seems to have abandoned the liberal principles of the Old Academy, which taught the certainty of knowledge, for the sceptical tenets of the New, which taught its absolute uncertainty; but, though he saw in general the futility of dogmas; that, if the problem of nature were not inexplicable, so many centuries of toil must have contributed something to its solution, still there were obvious deductions of experience and reason in which no scepticism ever shook his faith. The being of God, and the immortality of the soul,-its separate existence after death in a state of happiness or misery, were quite as present verities to him, when, at his Cuman villa overlooking the harbor of Misenum and the shores of Baiæ, he speculated upon the nature of good and evil, as when, in the last sad hours of his eventful life, betrayed and hunted down by a wretch whose life he had saved, he stretched out his neck on the strand at Formiæ to the assassins of Antony. The three great sects of Greece, whence all philosophy came, represented to him the irresistible conclusions of the human mind, however much encompassed with error, rather than any distinct or logical systems; but, driven from dogmatism and scepticism alike by the mutability and the permanence of nature and experience, he was constrained to take refuge in probability, which, if it did no more, at least did away all presumption derived from nature against the existence of God and if Christianity, as has been maintained, is but a sanction of the results to which the experience of man in virtue will lead him, assuredly we may claim for Cicero a place among the purest and best of men.
ART. V. - THE IDEAL CHURCH.
AMONG all current objects of attack and defence, none perhaps awaken more strenuous antagonisms than those points of religious administration which are comparatively static in their character and operation. The fixity of doctrine and the perseverance of institutions provoke at once the zeal of those to whom change means progress, and of those to whom it implies deterioration. The Church is upheld here, denounced there, equally with a religious intention. To one, it is the symbol of superstition; to another, of enlightenment. To this man, it means slavery and tyranny; to that man, it intends protection and deliverance. It is now a refuge, now a prison. But where opposite parties, with equal piety and sincerity of purpose, attack and defend the same thing, we may be sure that there must be a misunderstanding on one side, if not on both. Proximate objects may not only seem, but be, good for one person, and hurtful for another. But the ideal objects of the race represent what must seem good to all, in proportion to their powers of discernment. When these, therefore, are sincerely decried, it is reasonable for us to believe that they are sincerely misunderstood.
When the man of progress affirms that the Church is a nuisance, he merely considers it as an unchristian and irreligious institution. The Romanist, the Episcopalian, shut up the Church within their own limits. The Dissenting sects, perhaps, do the same. But liberal thought and religion are bound to do better than this. These, in the little that is accomplished, must take account of the great things attempted. From the poverty and partiality of the Church actual, they must rise to the consideration of the Church ideal, which is the true complement and explanation of the real. It is with a view to such consideration that the sug gestions following are offered.
First, the mediating or reconciling function of the Church. The complexities of thought in all departments increase
so rapidly with the extension of culture, and the adoption of every point recognized as sound suggests so many possible directions into which opinion and effort may run, that statements have to be examined, reviewed, and recast, and all the ideal fabrics of science and of society need continual repair and occasional remodelling. For, while we have but one foundation and one material for these ideal structures, the progress of minds already active, and the conversion of inert into energetic natures consequent upon the spread of education and its onward movement, continually enlarge at once the resources and the requisitions of the human mind, and require continual adjustments of the one to the other. The inconstancy of human expression and opinion does not intrinsically affect the cardinal points upon which the persuasions of the race rest. Opinion is but the changing form of this persuasion, whose spirit does not change. But the war of opinions does react upon the energy and moral inspiration of the individuals professing and defending them. Endless question brings doubt and disturbance. It therefore becomes necessary that points of reconcilement should be established, and that the separations of unavoidable difference and dissent should be finally included in the classification of a supreme and victorious harmony. The separations and differences of men, their errors, passions, and illusions, are too valuable in the dynamic economy of history to admit of other than partial and temporary meetings and adjustments. The actual segregation of human minds, pursuits, and occupations, is indispensable to the co-operation and efficiency of the race. Equally indispensable is a final unity of interest and accountability. The administration of this unity is the office of the Church.
That we must regard the authority and the direction of morals as a unity will be clear to all who have given the subject thought. And this unity of emanation causes, in its efficiency, a corresponding unity of reception. The Church receptive represents this second or resultant unity. The Church preceptive represents the primal unity. The Church, in its totality, lies within and without the region of interest
and opinion, in which no two men, active or passive, have absolutely the same attitude and object. The Church preceptive lies within it; her mission, doctrine, and object being a single one. The Church receptive lies beyond in its action, whose results are all capable of harmonization. But its faith lies or reaches within the region of dispute. The mystical bond of charity, which is the true spiritual sense of that which is beyond bodily sense, gives man this perception of the one divine from which results the ultimate oneness of the human. So much for the status, or habitual and necessary position, of the Church.
An intelligent recognition of the two great correlative aspects of truth gives us the exceptional souls dedicated to the culture of wisdom and piety. From the first-named of these classes the outer circle, or Church receptive, is continually recruited. From the last-named, the Church preceptive draws her saints and apostles. Between the two, the heathen or alien region of personal object and activity is subject to continual diminution; and a slow process of Christianization goes on, which gradually reclaims the extra-moral region of mankind, giving to activity a new sanction, and to delight a serene and eternal steadfastness. So the world all lies between the centre and circumference of the Church; and the change from an unconscious and inert, to a voluntary and energetic membership, constitutes the whole truth of a religious, as distinguished from an irreligious, experience.
Into this Church we are all born; some of us in one way, some in another. To create it forms no part of our office or duty on earth. Its laws are eternal; its necessities are inevitable. The greatest human intellect cannot modify either the one or the other. But we can appreciate its laws, and justify its necessities; and, as far as we do so, we have an intellectual part in the government of the world, and a sympathetic part in its experience. But to these are our offices limited. We can change no law, annul no result. Bodies of men come together to create a Church, to make a creed, a discipline of duty for themselves. There is no need of this, and no room for it. Church, creed, and duty already