Page images

that idea of authority, which deferred to opinions' on the same rule as it deferred to testimony, -exhibited in the coarsest brevity, and with the affectation of outbidding the boldest precedents,-grew up that form of casuistry which is exhibited in the Escobars and Baunys; which professing to be the indispensable aid to common sense, envelopes it in a very Charybdis of discordant opinions; amid whose grotesque suppositions, and whimsical distinctions, and vague yet peremptory rules, bandied about between metaphysics and real life, the mind sinks into a hopeless confusion of moral ideas, and loses every clue to simple and straightforward action.

A modern reader is more disposed to see in it mere stupid pedantry than mischief. Able and serious men of the time, on the other hand, were revolted in seeing stupid pedantry pretending to be the guide of human conduct, and showing itself off as the latest invention of modern wisdom. Doubtless both views may be exaggerated. The system may have done good in its earlier and healthier state; possibly it may also have been too antiquated and worn out to do evil in its subsequent formal overgrowth. If it is said to have been too absurd to be important, we can understand if we do not accept the view. But it is asking a hard thing to beg us to believe, as M. Maynard does, both that these decisions were harmless, and that, with a few exceptions, they were very wise; both that they had a practical use and effect, and yet were not mischievous. If it can be made out that they are only matter for laughing, we are quite as much inclined to laugh as to be indignant; but if we are to be serious about them, there is only one way of being so.

One point more remains to be noticed. An old writer tells us that cæcitatis due species facile concurrunt, ut qui non vident quæ sunt, videre videantur quæ non sunt.' The remark is singularly borne out here. So convinced is M. Maynard of the evil of the Jansenist doctrine and system of direction, in exacting so much and such strict preparation for absolution and communion, and insisting so strongly on their uselessness and danger without a real change of life, that in one way only can he account for it.'

1. Une opinion probable est celle qui a un fondement considérable. Or l'autorité d'un homme savant et pieux n'est pas de petite considération, mais platot de grande considération. Car si le témoignage d'un tel homme est de grand poids pour nous assurer qu'une chose se soit passée, par exemple à Rome, pourquoi ne le sera-t-il pas de même dans un doute de morale.:-Sanchez, quoted in Prov. V., vol. i. p. 240.

For instance, he quotes from S. Cyran,-'Pour recevoir le sacrement de l’Eucharistie, il faut être en état de grâce, avoir fait pénitence de ses péchés, et n'être pas attaché, ni par volonté ni par négligence, à aucune chose qui puisse déplaire à Dieu.' 'Ceux qui demeurent volontairement dans les moindres fautes et imper. fections sont indignes du sacrement de l’Eucharistie ;' with passages recommending the newly converted, or those guilty of some special sin, to abstain for a time from communion. On this M. Maynard can only put the construction, 'Traduction libre mais exacte de tous ces passages; "ne communiez jamais, car vous en êtes et on serez toujours indignes." - Vol. ii. pp. 219, 220.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

It is impossible, it appears to him, that men could state the claims of religion so rigorously, except for one object, to drive men to refuse them altogether. Accordingly, he comes to the conclusion, that Jansenius, S. Cyran, and Arnauld were disguised infidels; and labours to show, from a story of the time, coupled with their otherwise inexplicable severity, that Port-Royal was a deistical plot, as a Jesuit of the day expressed it, to ruin the mystery of the Incarnation, to make the Gospel pass for an apocryphal story, to exterminate the Christian religion, and to 'raise up Deism on the ruins of Christianity.'

Such is the only way in which M. Maynard can explain the appearance in the seventeenth century, in his own communion, of the austere language of the Fathers of the Church. And this is not a passing insinuation. As P. Brisacier assured the Jansenists that he called them ' gates of hell and pontiffs of the devil,' not par forme d'injure, mais par la force de la vérité;' so M. Maynard maintains, in a special essay' of sixteen closely printed pages, the high historical probability of the Jansenist plot of Bourg-Fontaine, for the annihilation of Christianity. “Si l'axiome de logique,' he says, ' ab actu ad posse valet illatio, peut trouver ici son application, au doit conclure qu'il est au moins fort possible que le dessein de détruire le Christianisme ait été pris à Bourg-Fontaine, car les différents points qui • l'auraient composé ont été essayés par S. Cyran et ses disciples; * voilà qui est incontestable.' .. . Pour conclure en un mot; des preuves indirectes et rétroactives semblent établir la réalité du projet de Bourg-Fontaine ; des preuves péremptoires dé* montrent que la foi de Port-Royal sur les Sacrements, sur • l’Eucharistie, sur l'Eglise, et sur l'essence même du Chris• tianisme, étaient au moins suspectes. Quand même ils se • seraient trompés sur quelques points, les Jésuites n'étaient ni • téméraires ni calomniateurs dans leurs accusations.'?

croyez-vous vous-mêmes, misérables que vous êtes ? was Pascal's indignant challenge to his opponents then, and it is the only one worth giving at any time. This reminds

us that we have spent more time than enough on M. Maynard. Some of that famous order of which he has made himself the champion, might afford him precedents in deliberately arguing for moral paradoxes. P. Hardouin comprised Pascal in his list of Atheists. P. Raynauld proved a


Introd. à la 16me Provinc. vol. ii. pp. 215-231. ? Vol. ii. pp. 218, 231.

heresy in every article of the Apostles' Creed. But, one of them, at least, probably both, did it in joke. M. Maynard has forgotten Scaliger's wise saying, Ars est etiam maledicendi. The most determined enemy of S. Cyran or Arnauld, who at this day affected to doubt their Tridentine faith about Penance and the Eucharist, would peril his character for candour; but the man who gravely pretends to maintain, and asks us to believe, that they were deliberate infidels, is far past criticism. He might as well prove that they had horns and tails.

Here we take our leave of him. Yet he has laid us under an obligation. He has realized to us—no longer, indeed, in an unsuspicious and communicative, but in an irritated mood—the Jesuit father of the Provincial Letters, a well-meaning man, and as far as possible from purposing any harm, but dulled into a positive incapacity for perceiving that there is any harm in what is wrong, if his friends say it.

But, after all, this man is but a blind and injudicious repeater, - seduced into print by that cheap gift which Frenchmen have, a plausible and flimsy rhetoric,--of the views and assertions of De Maistre, -of that fashionable theory concerning the Roman Church, which itself does what is its heaviest and justest charge against opponents of that Church-prefer to call good evil, rather than submit to be checked and controlled by facts. He but follows the stream, and talks, as he can, the fearless sophistry which he hears admired. But we cannot congratulate the French Church, if he is an average specimen of the men who are promoted to her titular dignities, set over the education of her dioceses,' and encouraged to publish by the favour

able opinion of the highest ecclesiastical authority existing in · France.'


IV. De Maistre, de l'Eglise Gallicane; the parallel between Hobbes and Jansenius.

2 ' Appelé à travailler auprès de vous à la grande æuvre de l'éducation.'— Dedi. cation to the Bishop of A gen.




• It says,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A PRETTY edition of • Wilson's Sacra Privata,' (Cleaver,) with ritual notes, has been published as a companion to · Wilson on the Lord's Supper,' illustrated on a similar plan. The notes in either work are replete with learning and curious research; occasionally they give exaggerated importance to circumstances of a local and temporary character; but within the same compass it would be difficult to find more information on the order and ceremonial practice of the Church of England.

English Alice,' by A. J. Evelyn, Esq. (Pickering,) is A Poem, in Five Cantos. Mr. Evelyn assures us that in Seville of the present day the Inquisition is in full force, and hands off young English ladies to dungeons, where their joints are wrenched and racked just as in Foxe's Martyrs. We give a specimen of the poetry: Scene, the dungeons of the Inquisition : 'It'- viz. ‘the judge's cold and hissing tone'

“Clerk, once more ask the prisoner this,-"
For a young secretary had his seat
Below the judge, sleek, slim, and grimly neat,-

“Will she confess the details of the flight,” ' &c. The intervention at the heroine's critical moment is in a high style of art, just as English Alice is about to be • hurled’ into the torture-chamber:

A lacquey enters in disorder'd haste-
“ How now?” exclaims the judge; "whence this ill-placed
Intrusion ?” “Sir, the English Consul stands
Without, and instant liberty demands
Of entrance."--" Then we'll go to him-remove

The prisoner.”—“Nay, most courteous judge,” ' &c. • The English Consul' is not to be taken in—he quotes Cromwell-all hearts tremble—the Inquisition collapses, and it is a satisfaction to know that

• Alice is free! and walks secure from harm,

Beneath the ægis of her country's arm.' • Gilbert Arnold' (Bentley) is a smart little book in green and gold. It appears to be an exaggerated advertisement of the Sermons preached in S. Paul's, Covent Garden.

• The Divine Master,' (Masters) is somewhat more ambitious in language than suits our own taste; but it is a work which will doubtless attract. The sustained dialogue between the Soul and the · Divine Master' is not, we think, the happiest, or indeed the safest, mode of conveying devotional instruction: it leads to an occasional lowering of the subject; and in the way of composition, a prolonged metaphor becomes cold. But there can be no question of the good intentions of this writer: while we may reasonably differ on the minor qualifications of style and expression.




[ocr errors]

Professor Rymer Jones has published the second volume of his delightful . Natural History of Animals,' (Van Voorst.) The scientific merits of this work-we may say the same of the Series with which it is connected are undoubtedly great: but what we most admire is the kind, loving, sympathising relation towards God's lower creatures which they encourage and display. Natural History so treated becomes almost a domestic history—a set of family and biographical memoirs.

From the same publisher we have received the first seven parts of a new series of the Instrumenta Ecclesiastica,' published under the auspices of the Ecclesiological Society. We are not sure that in practical utility this collection does not surpass its well-known predecessors. We especially select Parts IV. and V. for Colonial use: a copy of these drawings of a Wooden Church would save a Colonial diocese hundreds of pounds, and a greater consumption of failure and disappointment. The series is executed with great delicacy; and not only with a firm grasp of the ancient spirit of design, but with as clear a view of the necessity of adapting old forms and feeling to modern requirements. If · Ecclesiology' were once, and, perhaps, not altogether unjustly, charged with pedantry, it is a satisfaction to find its later developments so eminently practical. Indeed, the mere archæological merits of this series are among their least important recommendations.

While we are chronicling second volumes and continuations, we desire to record “The Conquerors of the New World and their Bondsmen,' (Pickering,) of which we spoke favourably on the appearance of the first volume. We repeat this commendation to its successor.

We do not go to the extent of acquiescing in all Mr. Charles Smith's • Inquiry into the Catholic Truths hidden under certain Articles of the Creed of the Church of Rome,' (J. W. Parker,) of which the third part has just appeared, on the Mass and Transubstantiation.' But we must say that the

. series is full of thought, and embodies a deep and full appreciation of the mysteries of the Christian kingdom. Mr. Smith seems to represent, or to recal, the school of H. More and his Cambridge followers. We cannot think the study of the subject complete without reference to these able and original publications.

Mr. Dowell's Catechism on the Services of the Church of England,' (Rivingtons,) is full, and laborious, and sound.

Mr. Murray's cheap series, 'Railway Reading,'has received many pleasant instalments. Lady Eastlake's · Music and Dress;' pleasant at the close of the London season. • The Honey Bee;' quite a summer book, and to be read with summer accompaniments. The Flower Garden ;' equally seasonable.

Oliphant's Journey to Nepaul;' one of the very best of the series, and one which will serve to show holiday travellers what in the great unexplored East still awaits them. To commend again what everybody commends, is tedious, if necessary.

• The Jubilee Year of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,' (Bell,) bas, and very successfully, reached its second edition, enriched with the contributors' names. It is a graceful memorial of a memorable occasion.

• Outlines of Ecclesiastical History,' (J. W. Parker,) by Mr. W. H. Hoare. In small manuals of this kind, verbal and minute accuracy is everything.





« PreviousContinue »