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Intercourse of Rich and Foor.
the ignorant, but should lift up our voices against the indolence and the apathy of the rich. It were well that we should never forget that the disgrace of the prevalent immorality really attaches to the influential of all classes, but primarily and especially to that class which possesses a distinct and indestructible influence of its own. Where the “simple annals of the poor” are a sealed book to the rich, there is sure to be misery and vice, even in the fairest spots which God has created for the habitation of Christian men.
But there is this difference between the suffering and the sin which grow in our towns and in our villages, that the application of the remedy to the latter is comparatively easy, and that individual efforts may do much in the one case, whilst in the other the machinery of extensive societies is rendered, by the magnitude of the disease, a necessary evil. We have merely attempted to indicate how, in a few not unimportant particulars, these individual efforts may be brought to bear beneficially upon the condition of our village communities. To many whom we have addressed much that we have written is, we hope, practically familiar. They will not quarrel with us, we are sure, for discoursing upon matters which, however well understood by them, and admitted perhaps by many others, still loudly call for a far more extensive practical recognition than hias yet been accorded to them. It has been our endeavour to write simply of common and easy things; and we have done so under the profoundest possible conviction that no one will ever accuse us of misleading him by asserting that the things of which we have written are as pleasant as they are easy in performance. We look after happiness in the wrong direction when we turn our backs upon our lowly brethren.
We do not wish it to be inferred from these remarks, that the tendency of the present age is towards any greater neglect of those duties which especially appertain to the rich, than is fairly chargeable against antecedent generations. We believe that if the very reverse of this were asserted, there would be no departure from the literal truth. But it is necessary that we should think much more about these things, and exert ourselves much more than we did of old, for some of the practical results of the advancement of science are clearly prejudicial to the interests of our village communities. Steam-begotten centralization is doing fearful damage to our rural districts. The days when rich families were compelled not only to reside, but to spend their money in the country, have now passed away. The railway train carries men up to town, and carries things down into the country. Many who breathe the fresh country air, scornfully reject almost everything else that the country supplies. It would be sad, indeed, if there were not something to balance this ; and the something must be looked for in a growing conviction of the claims of the poor, and an increased apprehension of the duties of the rich. But this is the age of societies--of charitable institutions of every conceivable kind—and too many of us are mere givers.
What we would fain see is a larger number of doers. Subscribers to the great public charities may do good. We do not deny it. But what is mainly wanted in these days is, a something less of exclusiveness—something to break down the mighty barriers which now separate the rich and the poor. We might spare some portion of our alms if we could induce ourselves to become less chary of our personal presence among the poor, and less niggardly of kind words to them. “ The poor we have always with us.
Let us endeavour as far as in us lies, to be always with the poor.*
* A little volume, with the significant title of “ The Poor ye have always with you,” recently published by Mr. Bentley, has been laid before us whilst these sheets were under correction for the press. It is a translation from the French ; but this does not preclude us from saying that it is full of good sense and good feeling, and cannot be read without profit to the reader.
Romanism and European Civilisation.
ART. IV.- Protestantism and Catholicity Compared in their Effects
on the Civilisation of Europe. By the Rev. J. BALMEZ. Translated from the Spanish by C. J. HANDFORD and R. KERSHAW. London, J. Burns.
LAST autumn, at the Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations, a mercantile friend of ours encountered the Mayor of Bilboa, a Spanish town on the Bay of Biscay. After expressing the pleasure of so unexpected a meeting with his old Spanish correspondent, the Scotchman inquiringly remarked that the Mayor could meet few of his countrymen at the Exhibition. Few! exclaimed the Spanish mayor,---yesterday, at our hotel, I sat down to dinner with seventy Spaniards. Well done Spain, we involuntarily exclaimed, on hearing this incident. Seventy Spaniards at one time visiting heretic England, and drawn hither by industrial tastes and their mercantile spirit is not this a hopeful symptom of the reviving energies and freedom of Spanish merchants ?
France began her career of revolutions by the massacre and banishment of her priests and nobles. Spain has done better by lessening their numbers, revenues, and privileges, and preserving a clergy and nobility to countervail infidelity, socialism, and revolution, who may one day become honest and intelligent instructors and trusted leaders of the Spanish nation. Meanwhile, it is something that the Mayor of Bilboa and his friends can visit heretic England on business, at pleasure, without let or hindrance from priest or Pope.
At the head of this Article is the work of a Spanish ecclesiastic, the Abbé Balmez, who, at the period of his recent death, at the early age of thirty-eight, is said to have been the leader of a new intellectual school in Spain, and who seems to have exerted no small influence while he lived, in the internal revival and restoration of the Spanish Church, amidst recent civil revolutions. Balmez writes like a man who knows the times in which he writes; though rejecting none of the old ways of defence, when available, he now boldly challenges for his church a superiority over all churches and all human things, specially, on the sober, solid, matter of fact, and ascertainable ground of her superiority in developing European civilisation.
This work first appeared, say the translators, in a small town of Catalonia, in 1840, created a sensation in Madrid, is said to have been read by all the readers of Spain, was translated into French, to persuade the Grande Nation to seek progress only under the banners of Rome; and it is now presented, in an English dress, by two zealous members of the Anglo-Roman Church, to remove our Protestant prejudices against entrusting Rome with the guardianship and further development of our British liberties and civilisation.
The translators tell us further, that it was prepared to avert the crisis to church property, then approaching, which has since so much reduced the revenues and revived the energies of the Spanish Church. It is more interesting, however, to learn from Balmez himself what those feelings and fears were which, as a Spanish churchman, inspired his pen :
“ It is not impossible that, during one of the convulsions which disturb our unhappy country, men may arise amongst tis, blind enough to attempt to introduce the Protestant religion into Spain. We have had warnings enough to alarm us; we have not forgotten events which shewed plainly enough how far some would sometimes have gone, if the great majority of the nation had not restrained them by their disapprobation. We do not dread the outrages of the reign of Henry the Eighth; but what we do fear is, ihat advantage may be taken of a violent rupture with the Holy See, of the obstinacy and am
a bition of some ecclesiastics, of the pretext of establishing toleration in our country, or of some other pretext, to attempt to introduce amongst us, in some shape or other, the doctrines of Protestantism.”
“ We must not forget that, with respect to religion in Spain, we cannot calculate on the coldness and indifference which other nations would display on a similar occasion. With the latter, religious feelings have lost much of their force, but in Spain, they are still deep, lively, and energetic, and if they were to come into open and arowed opposition to each other, the shock would be violent and general.”
Then changing his tone
“ Will you consent to see dried up, the most abundant fountains to which we can have recourse to revive literature, to strengthen science, to regenerate legislation, to re-establish the spirit of nationality, to restore our glory, and replace this nation on the high position which her virtues merit, by restoring to her the peace and happiness which she seeks with so much toil, and which hier heart requires?”—Pp. 41, 48.
These extracts reveal, that up to 1840, among the lovers of Spanish progress, the dangerous opinion had been gaining ground, that Protestantism, with its divisions, might be more fa
* According to the article Spain in the Encyclopædia Britannica, the revenue of the Spanislı Church, before the late confiscation, was above twelve millions sterling two millions more than the entire natioual revenues. What it is now we are unable to say; we believe, from the accounts of Inglis, and a recent American traveller, very considerable, and likely to become much greater, as Spain again de. velops her agricultural and mineral wealth,
Signs of Spanish Progress.
107 vourable to Spanish progress than Romanism, with its darling unity. For a Spanish ecclesiastic, the Abbé Balmez had rare opportunities of knowing this. For some years he is said to have edited the ablest journal in Spain, “ El Pensamiento de la Nacion," and also a Spanish Review, published at Barcelona. Such engagements brought him into contact with the living, modern, and commercial world of Spain, and enabled him to know the breath of her public opinion. He had learned that his countrymen were looking practically at churches as at governments, weighing results, and applying that test, alike of common sense and divine wisdom, “ by their fruits ye shall know them;" and as to the kind of fruits, Spaniards were no longer to be satisfied with the honour of being the most Catholic of nations, but like the rest of Europe, looked to realize as part of the fruits of a good church system, “the life that now is.” Father Balmez must have often heard in certain quarters of Spanish society, the saying of the French Statesman :-“ In England the Jesuits ruined kings, in Spain the people,” and the still more pungent one of her own Bishop, " that the Jesuits found Spain a nation of heroes, and left her a nation of hens." Feeling the breath of this public opinion, and stung by such inquiries and reproaches, this Spanish churchman took up his pen, and has produced this elaborate and well-written book-a book whose appearance, whose style and arguments, like the appearance of the Mayor of Bilboa and his seventy Spaniards at last year's Exhibition, are significant in Spain
.“ Of the reign commenced Of rescued nature and reviving sense,” of the breaking forth of somewhat of that national good sense that, in the 16th century, laughed with Cervantes at the absurdities of its own darling chivalry, and is now counting its past losses and sacrifices to priests and Popes—comparing Spain with her former self, and with those European nations that have not sacrificed the Gospel to the church, nor arrested national progress to preserve ecclesiastical unity.
But the work of Balmez is more significant still of the anxiety of the Church of Rome, up at least to 1848, to put herself right with the friends of European progress. Other honest people when they fail in any duty confess their faults, and resolve to amend; but when Rome is about to change her course, she is then most anxious to persuade all men that what she desires to be she now is and always has been. Balmez quotes from Thomas Aquinas and other Doctors of the Middle Ages, generous sentiments respecting the relations of kings and their subjects, such as do honour to their individual sagacity and Christian