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very much resembles a carriage broken down in the centre of a crowded thoroughfare; making no progress itself, and as far as possible preventing all progress on the part of others. The prolonged existence of such an institution cannot be other than intensely pernicious to the spiritual interests of the nation.

It is matter of deep regret that for what of seeming strength she has been able to gather into herself since the Disruption, she is mainly indebted to the mistakes of the Free Church. Had that church, on the threshold of its otherwise brilliant career, seen its real position and discovered its true policy, even the very slender hold the creature of the Court of Sessions yet retains of the people of Scotland, would now have been altogether gone. The unseemly and ostentatious repudiation of voluntaryism with which Dr. Chalmers inaugurated its first General Assembly, gave a kind of galvanic life to the only embodiment of the antagonistic principle Scotland possessed. Mankind are not logicians, and the excellencies and superiorities ascribed to the abstract principle of an establishment were naturally enough transferred to its concrete form. In this

way

it came to pass, that what the leader of the Disruption meant only as a middle wall of partition hastily thrown up between the Free Church and Scottish Dissent, became a buttress of the residuary and Erastian Church.

We do not attribute voluntary principles to Freechurchmen, because we do not believe any great number of them have even yet adopted those principles. But without going that length, it will be conceded pretty generally that at least a more common sense view of matters is beginning to be entertained. The Free Church is gradually discovering that an establishment after its model is a hope not to be realized; and coincident with this conviction on the one side, voluntary churches have discovered that the principle of which they are so enamoured, is not the alpha and the omega of Christianity. In this somewhat modified attitude of both the great sections of Scottish Dissent towards each other, is folded up the germ of a future union. Should the movement for that object, already so auspiciously inaugurated, go steadily onward to its consummation, we may anticipate some very important political changes in the position of ecclesiastical parties. Ireland has permitted the church of a minority to become the Church of Ireland. But we greatly mistake the temper of our countrymen, if Scotchmen would continue any longer to tolerate an establishment so vastly outnumbered by a single dissenting communion, as in the event of such a fusion the Church of Scotland would inevitably become. The zeal with which certain eminent statesinen have flung themselves into the movement for the union of the Free and the United Presbyterian churches, foreshadows the hour when the present Erastian institution will be disestablished, her revenues secularized for educational purposes, religion liberated from all state-control, and Scotland enjoying an educational system surpassing the most ardent dreams of the most sanguine educational reformers.

CHAPTER XV.

HERO-WORSHIP.

“The worship of great men is now the only possible religion," is the oracular utterance of one of the leading lights of our day. Multitudes not yet perhaps prepared to subscribe his formula, hold substantially his faith. There is a something about the creed that synchronizes with “the spirit of the age.” It has nothing of the dogmatic narrowness that belonged to what in other times "

was most surely believed among us.” With the hero-worshipper, devotion to a principle as such is bigotry. Men of the most opposite convictions, and the most conflicting practices, receive from him the same meed of approbation. The mission of Mahomet and the mission of Moses are looked upon with equal favour. Moral excellence is forgotten in mere energy of character, That an ethical theory so bald and so palpably unsound should ever have gathered around it any disciples worthy of the name, is not a little surprising. With its votaries, sincerity is the primordial and crowning virtue of man.

Like most other errors, the now fashionable faith has seized a fragment of the truth, and it is that fragment which floats it. Sincerity as a basis of all true nobility of character is unquestionably indispensable. In every age of the world's history, hollow-heartedness has been held in nearly equal abhorrence. The hero-worshipper has not therefore discovered any latent excellence in this virtue not formerly perceived by man.

All he has done has been simply to exaggerate it into an importance '

not its own, making its shadow fall upon every other grace and every other virtue of the soul. In acting thus it has forgotten, that sincerity, to be really worthy of our homage, must be guided by another power than its own, and in itself considered, is blind. Men of the most diverse sentiments and the most antagonistic practices, may be equally sincere. This creed, therefore, requires qualification, limitation. It is only the man whose earnestness is under the guidance of just principles, whom we can truly venerate. Earnestness is a noble quality when nobly directed; directed otherwise, it may be terrible, but noble it cannot be. John Graham of Claverhouse, and John Brown of Priesthill, were both earnest men, but whether do the accents of heavenly resignation which fall from the lips of the doomed Covenanter, or the fiendish execrations of the brutal cavalier, sound sweetest in the ear; or shall we admire both, simply because both were equally sincere?

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