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spiritual force and violence, but which was far more fully exercised by being behind the throne rather than above itwhat sacrifice could be too great ? Christian morality went first: had not Pascal, with his fearless irony, forbade the divorce, it would have been complete. Monarchy, which ceased to rule, fell into contempt. The whole mind of Roman Catholic Europe, which by an education, cold, minute, laborious, Jesuitism strove to engross and keep down to a dead level of mediocrity, woke up suddenly, opened its wondering eyes, and mistook the brilliant meteor of the Voltairian philosophy for the sunlight of truth. Religion itself, without the poetry of the older Catholicism, or the more severely reasoning faith of Protestantism, which this order had been inculcating from the cradle to the grave, on the peasant, on the sovereign-to which they had been endeavouring to enslave literature, arts, philosophy-was suddenly found dead.
With all the rising generation—as it would have seemed—at their disposition, they had not a man of talent or vigour to stand in the breach : it was as if their triumph had smitten the whole Church with barrenness. While this vast spiritual police seemed omnipotent as omnipresent — while by every kind of intrigue, by correspondence throughout and far beyond the civilized nations, by a freemasonry which communicated with the rapidity and the secresy of the electric telegraph, it appeared to rule the world, it was put down, as it were, by acclamation. The suppression of this wonderful Society-for wonderful it was in its rise—in its progress to almost universal dominion -in the extraordinary characters of its first founders--in its reconquest of half Germany from Protestantism, in its foreign missions, which, after astonishing Christendom with their boasted success, were disclaimed by more than one Pope, as compromising the truth and the purity of religion ;—their suppression is the evidence of their utter weakness in what appeared their hour of strength: they were still directors of half the consciences in a large part of Europe, when they were at once and contemptuously discharged. The Pope was
compelled to abandon them; and the only protectors they found were the English (with whom they had entered into some questionable commercial relations in America), that pious Christian Frederick of Prussia, and the virtuous Empress Catherine ! 3
We return to the relation of the clergy to the people. Of all the manifold blessings we owe to the Reformation, the greatest was that which restored the minister of Christ to his position as a citizen and as a man; the abrogation of the celibacy of the clergy; the return from that monastic Christianity, which from the fourth century had held out a false model of perfection, to genuine primitive Christianity.
Believing, as we implicitly do, the whole monastic system to have come originally not from the shores of the Jordan, but from those of the Ganges-not from the foot of Carmel or Lebanon, but of the Himalaya; believing it to be founded on a false philosophy—the malignity of matter, and in consequence the sinfulness of everything corporeal; believing it to be a dastardly desertion of one-half of our duty under the pretence of exclusive devotion to the other—the utter abnegation of one of the great commandments of the Law, the love of man; believing it to be directly opposite to the doctrine of our Lord, who seems designedly to reject the example of John the Baptist as applicable to his disciples ; believing that the one or two passages in the New Testament which can be thought to tend that way relate merely to the dangerous and afflicting times of the primitive Christians; believing that the perfection of Christianity is the active performance of duty, the devotion, the dedication of every faculty of body and of mind with which we were endowed by God to the identical cause of God and human happiness; believing it to be inconsistent with any pure and lofty conception of the Godhead, and of the true dignity and destination of man; believing it to be low and selfish in its object-superstitious
3 See the curious recent volume of M. St. Priest.
and degrading in its practices—at best but a dreamy and indolent concentration of the individual upon himself under the fond supposition that he is in communion with God-or the degradation of our better faculties to coarse employments, which there are and must be coarse natures enough to fulfil ;yet, with all this, we hesitate not to do justice, and ample justice, to individual monks, to monasteries, and to monasticism itself. In their time they have doubtless wrought incalculable good-good which could not have been wrought without them. The monk, because he has been a monk-at least, because he has not been encumbered with earthly tieshas been able to rise to the utmost height of religious selfsacrifice, of Christian heroism in the cause of God and of man. The monastery, at least in the West, has been the holy refuge of much human wretchedness, driven from the face of a hostile and inhospitable world of much sin, which required profound and solitary penance of much remorse, which has been soothed and softened. They have taught industrial habits to rude and warlike tribes, and fertilized deserts; they have been the asyla of learning and the arts, the schools from which issued the most powerful intellects throughout the middle ages. Of their inestimable services, especially of the Benedictines, to letters, what lover of letters would not be afraid lest he should speak with less liberal gratitude than justice would demand ?
So, too, the celibacy of the secular clergy-imperfectly as it was enforced and perseveringly resisted or eluded, and therefore constantly producing the evil of practice inconsistent with theory, of life at war with the established laws-nevertheless, in its time, produced much collateral and adventitious good. It was not merely that the missionary priest, as well as the missionary monk, was better qualified for the great work to which he had devoted himself, by being unincumbered with amiable weaknesses and with sympathies which might have distracted the energies of his heart and soul; but there was a more profound policy than at first appears in the stern measures
of Gregory VII. to seclude the clergy from mankind. Not only was an unmarried clergy a more powerful instrument for the advancement of the Papal sway, and an aristocracy necessary to maintain the great spiritual sovereignty, which he aimed to set up above the temporal thrones of Europe; but in the strong hereditary tendencies of the feudal times, a married clergy would have become an hereditary caste, and finally sunk back, bearing with it the gradually alienated endowments of the Church into the mass of each nation. But this view requires far more than a passing sentence, and more indeed than all which hereafter we shall be able to bestow upon it.
However it may appear to some of our readers, this whole question of the monastic Christianity and the celibacy of the clergy is by no means idle and irrelevant at the present hour. Our Ecclesiidolaters are not content with the cathedral—they are looking back with fond and undisguised regret to the monastery; they disdain the discomfited surplice, and yearn after the cowl and the scapulary. When we have men not merely of recluse and studious temperament, with the disposition and habits of the founder of a religious order, revelling in subtleties of the intellect like an old schoolman, with a conscious and well-tried power of captivating young minds by the boldness and ingenuity of religious paradox; but those too who have known the sanctifying blessings and the sanctifying sorrows of domestic life, not as yet indeed condemning the marriage of the clergy, but holding up monastic celibacy as a rare gift, an especial privilege of God's designated saints, assuming the lofty indignation of insulted spirituality against those who utterly deny the first principles of this doctrine-it may be time to show even hastily and imperfectly the grounds on which the English Church has deliberately repudiated the whole system.
Among other startling publications of the day, Mr. Albany Christie (still, we believe, a professing Anglican) has lately given us a tract on Holy Virginity, adapted from St. Ambrose, for modern use-a mystic rhapsody in the worst style of that most
unequal of the ancient fathers, strangely and, we must take the freedom to say, comically, mingled up by the translator with allusions to modern manners. The boldness with which the authority of Scripture is dealt with in this little work is by no means the least curious point about it, considering that it is unscrupulously, no doubt from reverence, as proceeding from a holy father of the church, reproduced at this time. "Consider, we read, that they were virgins who, in preference to the Apostles, first saw the resurrection of the Lord.” Now we read in St. Luke that it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the Apostles (xxiv. 10). As all biblical critics know, there is some difficulty in harmonizing the accounts of the Evangelists as to the coming of the women to the sepulchre; but without entering into the question about Mary Magdalene, besides the maternity of the other Mary, we read of Joanna that she was the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward; and Salome (who is named in St. Mark, xv. 40) was probably the mother of Zebedee's children! But the Song of Solomon furnishes the great persuasives to Holy Virginity,–
My locks,' saith he, are filled with the drops of night' (Cant. v. 2). Upon his head the razor came not, he is the Prince of Peace, and steel is the sign and implement of war, therefore are his locks unshorn ; and they are filled with the drops of the night, the meaning of which we have already seen, even the dew of the Holy Spirit, which refreshes the parched and weary soul, watering the dry and sun-baked soil, that it may bear fruits of holiness. But we must not haste too fast : his locks are, as of a holy Nazarite, unshorn, the razor bath not touched his head : yet how unlike the ringlets of the wanton daughters of fashion, dressed with crisping pins, curled and plaited with a hireling's art, divided hither and thither with minutest care, redolent with luxurious perfumes and scented oils; these are not ornaments but criminal devices ; not the modest headgear of the virtuous maiden, but impure allurements to unchaste thoughts and enticements of a soul, if not a body, the victim of prostitution. These haughty daughters of England, who walk with outstretched necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, despise the degraded and wretched woman whom deceit has lured, or
• Tract on Holy Virginity, derived from St. Aml rose, p. 7.