Puslapio vaizdai

Catholic bishop of Spanish descent, Royas de Spinola, literally devoted his life. As early as the year 1661 the Emperor Leopold entered into a project for the pacification of the troubles of religion which desolated Germany, and with all the zeal, it was said, that could be desired of a Christian prince. He commissioned Spinola with full power to treat with the princes of Germany, charging him to make all practicable efforts of conciliation. Spinola, having later been empowered, though with some secrecy, to represent Pope Innocent XI, entered into correspondence with leading Protestant theologians, and succeeded in formulating twenty-five propositions, drawn up with great moderation, setting forth the views of Protestant divines, which were gravely considered, so Leibnitz states, and received sanction at Rome. So near, and yet so far, came the two main currents of modern religious history toward meeting at that point in one broad stream.

Spinola, as we are told in the preface of an early account of these endeavors, was well fitted for this by his "character of sweetness, of piety, and of moderation seldom found among controversialists, especially in the heat of their disputes." He maintained, on his part, that the "difference between the Roman Church and the Protestants does not consist in the fundamentals of salvation, but only in matters that have been added." Unwearied in his labors, and always pursuing his ever-receding hope, Spinola spent his days in ceaseless travels from court to court; nor did he rest even when suffering excruciating pains, laying down his life at last, without receiving the blessing promised to the makers of peace, but worthy to be remembered as "a martyr of moderation." As this instructive episode of religious history drew toward its close, it lost its earlier hopefulness, and passed into a more sharply defined debate between Bossuet the orator and Leibnitz the philosopher. Leibnitz's description of his method commends itself as the method to be pursued in any discussion the object of which is not to change opinions so much as to reconcile them. "In important matters," he wrote to Mme. de Brinon, "I like reasoning to be clear and brief, with no beauty or ornament-such reasoning as accountants and surveyors use

in treating of lines and numbers." Of his correspondents on the other side he wrote: "The force and beauty of their expressions charm me so far as to rob me of my judgment; but when I come to examine the reasoning as a logician and calculator, it escapes my grasp." Yet afterward this same dispassionate thinker, when all his logic failed to reach terms of agreement, wrote to Bossuet, "I believe an overture of the heart is necessary to advance these good designs."

Bossuet's biographer, Cardinal Bausset, cannot understand why these negotiations, which had opened so hopefully and in which so much talent, learning, and goodwill had been engaged, came, as by some fatality, to no results. A later editor of the correspondence said "the union failed. through the fault of men and things." Leibnitz himself said it failed because of "reigning passions." He had entered into the effort for religious pacification because he believed it to be right and that there was nothing in the nature of things to prevent it; but, besides the theological differences which he deemed not irreconcilable, were "men and things," especially the French king, with his ambition to assume the same authority in the church that Henry VIII had in England. Moreover, the Protestant world, still filled with bitter resentments on account of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and apprehensive for the future, was in no temper for the mediation of these makers of peace. Leibnitz and those pacific theologians. could not foresee how the alliance of church and state, the union of religious and temporal powers, has rendered it impossible for the church to rise above all political fortunes and to realize its own spiritual unity, as over two centuries of inheritance of religious divisions is at length teaching the Christianity of the present age to understand it. Though the hope then entertained of the reunion of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism may still seem to be only a Christian sentiment and a philosopher's dream, at least the political causes of strife in religion are being done away with now that Italy celebrates the jubilee of Cavour's achievement of a free church in a free state and the American Catholic Church flourishes in a land of democracy.

When Leibnitz was disappointed in the

project of reunion, he wrote to one of his friends: "I, too, have worked hard to settle religious controversies, but I soon discovered that reconciling doctrines was a vain work. Then I planned a kind of truce of God, and brought in the idea of toleration." This is a thought to be laid to the heart of our common Christianity, that toleration is indeed a means to a higher unity, but that a "kind of truce of God" among the churches is not the full measure of peace and catholicity.

One other reflection of Leibnitz, as he reluctantly abandoned his futile correspondence with Bossuet, seems to anticipate by two centuries the laymen's movement, which is becoming significant and powerful in the modern church. "That the business may progress with greater justice and agreement," he said, "and be less liable to failure, I think it ought not to pass through the hands of the clergy, who have their own special views, which sometimes are more allied to their own prejudices and passions than to the good of the church. Not that this is the case from any evil intent on their part, but from a kind of necessary consequence." So he urged that "associating laymen in the enterprise might give it a character likely to insure success." The lay power to which Leibnitz appealed failed him; but now, if the theologians and ecclesiastics fail, the Christian laymen may take the matter of church unity into their own hands, and make a success of it.

In England, likewise, ever since the time of the Reformation there has been an almost unbroken succession of men of irenic spirit and largeness of view even during times of civil and ecclesiastical strife. Toward the end of this same seventeenth century in which Leibnitz and his correspondents labored and failed, a company of "Men of Latitude" were gathered at the University of Cambridge. A pamphleteer of the times describes them in this passage, well worth quoting, for it serves to characterize cleverly a partizan use of names still employed in current conversation, both political and religious:

I can come into no company of late but I find the chief discourse to be about a new sect of Latitude-men. On the one side I hear them represented as a party very dan

gerous both to the King and Church, seeking to undermine them both; on the other side I cannot hear what their particular opinions or practices are that bear such dangerous aspect. The name of Latitudemen is daily agitated amongst us both in taverns and pulpits, and very tragical representations made of them. A Latitude-man therefore (according to the best definition I can collect) is an image of Clouts, that men set up to encounter with for want of a real enemy; it is a convenient name to reproach a man with; 't is what you will, and you may fix it on whom you will.

These men so named were the Cambridge Platonists, the highest-minded and most spiritual teachers of their age, of whom Bishop Burnet in his "History of his own Time" thus speaks:

Men who studied to examine further into the nature of things than had been done formerly. They loved the constitution of the church, and the liturgy, and could well live under them; but they did not think it unlawful to live under another form. They wished that things might have been carried with more moderation. And they continued to keep a good correspondence with those. who differed from them in opinion, and allowed a great freedom both in philosophy and divinity, from whence they are called men of latitude.

Without dwelling upon their opinions, we select from a somewhat earlier group in this succession of apostolic reasonableness two men of whom in their ideals and efforts Matthew Arnold's words are true: "They kept open their communication with the future. Their battle is ours too; and that we pursue it with fairer hopes than they did, we owe to their having waged it and fallen." One of these, who is best known from Lord Clarendon's incomparable portraiture of him, was Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland. We recall him to grateful memory because he was among the foremost in an age of mutually intolerant Puritanism and Episcopalianism to see with clearer vision what the peaceable unity of the church in liberty might be; and his conception of it, which his time could not understand, was as the dawning of that ideal of the one comprehensive church which, in the beginning of this

twentieth century, has risen full before all the church of the future is to compose the the churches.

In the earlier period of his too brief life Lord Falkland was one of Ben Jonson's friends, much sought after and admired in that company of poets and wits in the "Apollo," in London, who were known "as sealed after the tribe of Ben." In 1631 he retired to a country-seat in the village of Tew, not far from Oxford, where his house, with its large library, was the resort of a choice company of scholars and "men of the most eminent parts" a "University bound in a less volume," as Clarendon describes it. There Falkland, forsaking poetry for divinity, was engaged in studies and discussions with his friends concerning the "what" and the "wherefore" of the problems of thought and life, being, we are told, of a very open and pleasant conversation. The times, however, were growing urgent, and the first alarms of the civil war called Lord Falkland away from "this happy and delightful conversation and restraint." In the Long Parliament he became the leader of the small party of conciliation. In political affairs a constitutionalist, supporting Hampden in resisting the shipmoney, yet raising his voice against vinIdictive haste in the impeachment of Strafford; in ecclesiastical matters agreeing with the Puritans in their demands for the reform of the church, yet refusing to follow the "Root and Branch" party in destroying the established order of the church; opposing what, from its severity, was called the "Thorough" policy of Archbishop Laud in dealing with dissenters, yet reluctant to consent to his impeachment; and when at last the stress of the times compelled him to make his choice, being neither a Roundhead nor a Cavalier, accepting high office, yet contradicting the king, says Clarendon, "with bluntness and sharp sentences," going to the war broken-hearted and with the word, "Peace, peace," upon his lips, yet riding forth with a cheerful countenance to meet death-Lord Falkland stands forth against the background of a tempestuous age as an example of large and hospitable open-mindedness, possessing in a rare degree that virtue of intellectual charity-the wisdom both pure and peaceable-which above all is needed in the religious statesmanship of the present, if


unhappy divisions which are its heritage. from the past.

A pathetic interest invests the last scene of Lord Falkland's life. When his friends would have snatched him from the peril of the battle-field, he answered from the trenches "that his case was different from other men's; that he was so much taken notice of for an impatient love of peace that he should likewise make it appear that it was not out of fear of the utmost hazard of war." At the head of a regiment advancing between hedges lined by the enemy's musketeers, in his thirty-fourth year he fell mortally wounded by a musket-shot.

Alike in church and state the partizan who succeeds is the hero of the hour, the champion who wins the fight is crowned; but the peacemaker who fails may wait until history shall call him blessed. His influence is not lost, though his reward lingers. Macaulay was too partizan in his history to appreciate so "severe a lover of justice and so precise a lover of truth" as Clarendon says Lord Falkland was; Carlyle dismisses him from the hall of his heroes with this single line of contempt, "Poor Lord Falkland in his clean shirt was killed here." But in 1878 a monument in his memory was erected on the spot where he fell, and Matthew Arnold restored him to his rightful place in history when he wrote, "He was the martyr of lucidity of mind and largeness of temper, in a strife of imperfect intelligences and tempers illiberal."

A few of Falkland's utterances are worth repeating, as they have some point and pertinency in relation to current religious questions. Thus, in his first speech on episcopacy in the Long Parliament, he said of the bishops, "Maister Speaker, a little search will serve to find them to have been the destruction of Unity under the pretense of Uniformity." That charge could not be answered when it was made in 1641; the only sufficient answer to it was made in 1908, when from the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster the Anglican bishops, gathered in convention from all the world, sent forth this noble message to all other communions: "We must constantly desire not compromise, but comprehension, not uniformity, but unity." But what Lord Falkland so long ago saw

clearly ought to be, still waits in this twentieth century to be made accomplished fact.

While the separated churches are now reconsidering their divisions, some other words of Falkland may be serviceable; as, for instance, this happy characterization of that type of churchmen "who seek to deduce themselves from Rome." We may also recall a simple but quite fundamental principle of good government if we repeat concerning politicians a remark which he made concerning certain ecclesiastics: "I doubt not the bishops may be good men; and give but good men good rules, and we shall have good government and good times."

Concerning the two opposing forms of church government, the episcopal and the presbyterial, he denied the claim of either to a divine right, while maintaining the established order on the ground of its antiquity and utility. "I neither consider them as necessary nor as unlawful, but as convenient and inconvenient." Again, he said, "Where it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change." So this reasonable visionary made a hopeless stand against conflicting extremes, which were hastening toward disruption, himself a prototype and herald of the church statesmanship the immediate practical task of which now is to gather together and to lead as one power the religious forces of the people.

Another attractive character in this group of men of religious reasonableness is to be known by a small book which a friend gathered up from his few extant writings, and published three years after his death under the title, “The Golden Remains of the Ever Memorable Mr. John Hales of Eton College." His life was uneventful save for the misfortune and loss which befell him in the revolutions of his times; but his quiet influence has entered into the purest and best religious thought of England. At one time Hales, like Falkland, was occasionally one of that company of wits in the "Apollo," among whom

Hales, set by himself, most gravely did smile,

To see them about nothing keep such a coil.

He had been a good listener, and a reporter in his letters, at the theological debate between the Calvinists and the Ar

minians in the Synod of Dort, where, as he wrote at one of the sessions, "I bade good night to John Calvin," although, as Principal Tullock observes, "he did not say good morning to Arminius." In his earlier life he wrote a short essay on "Schism and Schismatics," intended only for private circulation among his friends, which, however, attained much notoriety, and was called to the notice of Archbishop Laud, that "rigid surveyor," as Clarendon characterizes him, "of all things which bordered never so little upon schism." To his credit however it should be remembered that after a long interview with Hales in his garden, Laud let him go with some offer of preferment which Hales did not care to accept. This single-minded lover of truth was not so fortunate when the "Thorough" method of Laud was followed by the success of the "Root and Branch" work of the Puritan commonwealth; for the storm of the revolution which uprooted the church and swept over the universities broke up the circle of his friends, and left him dispossessed and in poverty, compelled to seek refuge in the cottage of an old servant, and to part with the library of choice books among which he had lived. It is indeed a pathetic picture, this man of "prodigious learning, excellent judgment, and unbounded charity," who in his better days had said of himself that he thought he "should never die a martyr," suffering in his old age the loss of all things, but still "gravely cheerful," as the solitary friend, who had found him in his last loneliness, has described him-the friend who buried him, as directed in his will, not in the church at Eton, to which as benefactor he might give nothing, but in the churchyard without, "in plain and simple manner, without any sermon or ringing of the bell, or calling the people together." But his thought lingers as the ringing of a sweet-toned bell, and his ideas prevail to call Christian people together.

The following sentences are taken from his "Golden Remains," and a few other writings of his which were subsequently found and printed. He saw, as few before him had seen, that differences of theological opinions are not religious, differences when he wrote: "It is not the variety of opinions, but our perverse wills, who think it meet that all should be conceited as

ourselves are, which hath so inconvenienced the church. Were we not so ready to anathematize each other, we might in heart be united, though in our tongues we were divided, and that with singular profit to both sides." It is the general recognition of this simple principle of theological charity that renders it possible now for the Episcopal Church in America to summon with ready responsiveness from all sides a world conference on questions of faith and order to consider existing differences as well as agreements as a first step toward unity. John Hales with the same just discernment placed the responsibility for schisms in many cases upon both parties to it, as he pithily said. of the first great schism-that between the Eastern and the Roman Church. "I cannot see but that all the world were schismatics," he said. If all the Christian world to-day, both Greek, Roman Catholic, and Protestant, should confess their common share in the moral iniquity, as well as the economic waste, of continued separation, the feast of reconciliation might not seem so far distant. While, on the one hand, Hales rejected any "superiority by title" of the bishops, he raised an interrogation-point against the continuance. of denominational divisions when he defined schism as "an unnecessary separation of Christians from that part of the visible church of which they were once members." There is also still need, although a vanishing one, of recalling this bit of satire concerning heresy-hunting:

Heresy and schism are two theological scarecrows, which they who uphold a party in religion use to fight away such as, making inquiry into it, are ready to oppose it if it appear either erroneous or suspicious. For as Plutarch reports of a painter who, having unskilfully painted a cock, chased away all cocks and hens, so that the imperfection of his art might not appear by comparison with nature; so men willing for ends to admit of no fancy but their own, endeavor to hinder an inquiry into it by way of comparison of somewhat with it, peradventure truer, so that the deformity of their own might not appear.

Those prelates and teachers who fear to advise men "to search into the reasons and grounds of religion lest it might breed

disquiet" he did not hesitate to compare to the "Sybarites, who for their own ease banished the smiths because their trade was full of noise." Hales struck a clear note, unheeded amid the civil strife and religious discords of the time, which is now become the key-note to which our common Christianity responds, when he said, "To carry marks and devices may well become the world which is led by fancy and show; but the church is like Amphiarus, she hath no device, no word in her shield, mark and essence with her are all one, and she hath no other note than to be." Not our sectarian devices, not our denominational names, mark the essence of the church: "mark and essence with her are all one, and she hath no other note than to be.'

From the rich anthology of these forgotten books of the past one other passage must suffice. In a sermon which Hales left on "Christ's Legacy of Peace to his Church" there is a prayer otherwise of rare liturgical feeling and beauty, in which occurs this quite unliturgical and quaint petition, an outburst of Hales's pent-up hatred of "the brawls which have grown from religion": "Look down, O Lord, upon thy church torn with discord. . . . Be with those we beseech Thee, to whom the prosecution of church controversies is committed, and like a good Lazarus drop one cooling drop into their tongues and pens, too much exasperated against each other."

[ocr errors]

These apostles of reasonableness, of whom their world was not worthy, have not failed. Once understood only by the few, the multitude now would go forth to hear them. The warfare of other days for liberty is accomplished; the once irrepressible conflict between opposing doctrines has given place to an age of church reconstruction. The welcome word among all denominations is, "Let us have peace.' The higher life of the whole country demands a united Christianity. A whole church is needed to do the work of the church throughout the world. Modern civilization cannot be saved by a Christianity divided against itself. And the sign of this coming time-is it not already to be discerned in the notable call, sounded for all the Christian world to hear, by the last General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America? In the

« AnkstesnisTęsti »