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“Her weapons, like the sword
Nor Papist can resist their edge.” For it is idle to call her the religion of the head; Protestantism belongs equally to the heart. And where in right-minded persons are heart and head discordant? It is only in the madness of intellectual strife, and not in its truth and soberness, that the conclusions of the twain are at issue. The sanctified reason kuows its just bounds, and has none of that “ vaulting ambition that overleaps itsell.” It is then, in a general tendency to such a catholicity of sentiment as the Bible prescribes, that we confide for the world's complete and entire renovation. It is impossible for Protestants, with this reprover of evil before them, not to bow to its infallible tribunal. The crafty politician inay attempt the revival of the opposite system, but it would require a host of doctrinaires to convince us to the contrary, “ Roman Catholicisın,” says the author whose name stands at the head of our article, “bas vanished at the aspect of civilization. It is undergoing due suffering for the evil of having subjected all spirituality to its views of temporal aggrandizement. It is gone." Italy, Austria, Spain, and Ireland are its lingering refuge. It is only in La Coda dell'Universo, with this Barebones assemblage, that it holds its session. Has it contributed to modern light or progress? Has it aided or been a dead-weight on civilization ? Its very efforts at motion are they not spasmodic and unnatural ?
It cannot walk in proportion to the speed of all around it. It is dishonest also. Who is there in the present Roman Church that believes in the dictum of Gregory IX. “ There is only one name in the world—the Pope. He only can bestow the investi. ture of kings; all princes ought to kiss his feet. No one can judge him; his simple election makes him a saint; he has never erred; he never will err. He can depose kings, and absolve subjects from their allegiance.” If this is disowned, which it is by many a Romanist, why is not a council called to make it the deed of all? If not, is the Council of Constance that negatives infallibility, or the Council of Trent that asserted and denied it, to command adhesion? Or must we go with the Jansenist, who denies infallibility on matters of fact absolutely, and simply allows of it on points on which no person has any information whatever? Is this a system to stand in modern light? And again, though we see no possible objection to a head of the Church, as we have stated, yet St. François de Sales is as strongly Protestant in feeling on the subject, as any of the reformed faith.
“ The members of a religious body,” says he, “ will always be enough united when they shall be animated with the like spirit, when they shall have the same education, the same laws, and shall all keep in view one common end. The first Christians, who were of one heart and one spirit in whatever part of the world they had rested, would have been of the same sentiments. Love would have been a sufficient bond of union. Love, like their’s, needs not necessarily a chief head of union. A religious body without a single head may have its inconveniences; but those who have one sustain numerous unpleasantries also. A supreme head, if corrupt, rapidly spreads that corruption among the members; whilst the same vital effects do not follow when a bishop or inferior pastor fails, for then all do not fail with him.”
That is pretty conclusive from one of the Romanist denomination, and it is now time for us, having thus proceeded to greater length than we intended, to close by investigating a few fresh points in the great progress of ages. Has Romanism during this progress propagated science? She suffered numerous valuable discoveries to perish, and simply tended those that suited her selfsh ends. Has she raised man in the sphere of common manhood ? Have her Lives of the Saints, the Roman Catholic exemplars, done as much good as even Plutarch's ? It is with us matter of doubt. What has been her family influence ? Cold, chilling, contracted. Setting aside the holiest ties, the dearest links of connections, lending herself to every selfish scheme of the ambitious parent; destroying the love also of the child to the parent, the parent to the child; fixing affections on her Roman petrefactions, totally abstracting kindly sentiments, and appropriating to herself, with a greedy clutch, the possessions of house after house, and kingdom after kingdom; until even the statute of mortmain was drawn across her giant incursions on property and possessions. On the manners she exercised no beneficial influence. She even attempted to contract Dante into her own dwarfish dimensions; but the Nazarite burst the cords of Rome, and recorded her damning offences in characters that will never die. Look, however, at the gloom and horror which she imposed on that master mind. As to the laws, she has always been rebellious to human rule; never giving to Cæsar the things that were Cæsar's; but grasping Cæsar's possessions, and his subjugated realms.
As to human liberty, her offences are so foul with inquisitions, torture, auto-da-fès, that they need but be glanced at. Even her Michael Angelos, her Raphaels, come to us, splendid as were their works, with the terrible sense of the moral evil by which even their labours on St. Peter's were maintained, by the souldamning indulgences of Tetzel. This is a fearful summary; and the evils of Protestantism can never, from its self-corrective principle, reach to this formidable accumulation. It is at least allied to sound philosophy and pure reason, and with even these secondary guides, her steps might well be steadied from the fearful lapses of the sister community; but there is more than these, she bears within herself, “the lamp unto her feet, the light unto her paths.” Every question now becomes submitted to the great principle of revealed truth. Even were her guides to fail, the people would not; but her guides cannot fail, for the power of their system works effectually within them.
A Church that derives its power from the divine oracles, and cousults them for its course and way, that seeks to obtain of them the great truth, will never want that aid and assistance that is promised to honest endeavour and manly purpose. But a Church that derives her power from other and questionable sources, that has bound herself up in an iron bond of infallibility, that quietly permits the acts of demons to be termed her acts, must be prepared to abide the fearful demands of an enlightened age, the inquisition of the sons of knowledge. If she be found wanting in the constituents of a true Church, if she be found unequal to describe her own true power,—if she be detected assuming false elements of it, and making a totally wrong estimate of its extent,if she be arrested with a lie in her right hand, she must be prepared to meet the brunt of a shock that has been concentrating its force for many an age, and powerful indeed must she stand, if she can abide the issue, and not sink from the earth as Smyrna and Laodicea.
OF RECENT CONTINENTAL PUBLICATIONS.
Art. X.-1. F. W. Reimer, Mittheilungen ron und über Goethe, aus
mündlichen und schriftlichen Quellen. (F. W. Reimer, Communications of and concerning Goethe, from oral and written Sources.)
Berlin. 1840. 2. Johann Heinrich Merck, ein Denkmal herausgegeben von Dr. Adolf
Stahr. (Memoir of J. H. Merck. By Dr. A. Stabr.) Oldenburg. 1840.
We have classed these two books together, as the intentions of their authors in publishing them were similar : Dr. Reimer, entering the lists bighly indignant at the violent and often unjust accusations of the younger German writers against Goethe ; Dr. Stabr, to rescue from oblivion the memory of a remarkable man, supposed to be the original from whom Goetbe took many features of bis Mephistopheles. We think the latter has been more successful in his attempts, and it is not a little singular that a man like Merck, who exercised considerable influence over the illustrious men who shed such lustre upon the city of Weimar, should have remained unknown amidst such a book-writing people as the Germans. This ignorance is such, that we have sought his name in vain amongst the povelty-loving volumes of the numerous Conversations-Lexicons.
Anotber volume on Goethe, we think we hear some of our readers exclaim. Yes, gentle reader, and a goodly octavo of five bundred pages, marked moreover, Vol. I., and how many are to follow, deponent knoweth not. The author was intimately acquainted with Goethe, lived in his house for several years, and was consulted by the poet in the composition or publication of most of his works during this long period. When we add that he bears the character of an honest and truth-loving man, we bave said quite sufficient to account for the interest with which we opened the work. It is with reluctance that we feel ourselves compelled to state, that it bas hardly equalled our expectations. Goethe was a great man as well as a distinguished poet, and the best proof of this is, the magical influence which he exercised upon all who came within his sphere. To this many of the most eminent men of Germany will willingly bear witness. Among the most enthusiastic of bis admirers is Dr. Eckerman, whose interesting conversations with Goethe need no recommendation from us, as they are doubtless in the hands of all German scholars.
The work before us is of a different nature. Dr. Riemer, instead of giving us bis own reminiscences of Goethe (which however we hope he will do on a future occasion), has unfortunately adopted a polemical tone of no ordinary severity. We say unfortunately, not that we would blame bim for the feelings which he entertains on this subject; on the contrary, they are highly honourable to him; but it was incumbent upon him to maintain the position which he had taken up by other arguments than by quotations from Goethe's works, for it is in these that its chief merit consists, and the student who is not deeply read in some of the less known works of the poet, will find in the volume before us an interesting collection of table talk.
That there has been a growing spirit of opposition to Goethe, which has not hesitated to attack his character in a manner which must give pain to every well-wisher to the Gerinans, we are compelled to admit. Yet we think it would have been wiser in Dr. Riemer not to have taken up the cudgels on behalf of his friend and patron, but to have left it to time and the influence of his own best defence, his works. For the manner in which he has conducted his cause will convince no one, and excite still more violently the passions of party spirit. As we do not recollect to have seen this reaction against Goetbe taken notice of by our critics, we shall say a few words upon the subject.
We believe that the higher and more philosophical writers among the Germans still look upon Goethe with the veneration which during bis lifetime he universally commanded. The Berlin Academy held a special sitting this year in bonour of the poet's birth-day, a fact which may deserve mention, sbould Dr. Riemer's ominous chapter on the faults of his countrymen reach a second edition. But the periodical literature is mostly in the hands of younger men, with the exception of Wolfgang Menzel, whose antipathy to Goethe almost equals in violence his patriotic hatred of the French. The light and frivolous tone in which many of these spurned the dead lion, was well calculated to excite the indignation of Dr. Riemer, and he prefixed to his volume the following words from Bidpai, “For it is said, tbat he who withholdeth a testimony for the dead, sball be scourged with scourges of fire at the day of the resurrection.” We turned eagerly to the chapter on Patriotism, (Deutschheit), and regretted not to find it more satisfactory, for this we suspect to be the chief reason for the violent opposition, the insulting remarks heaped upon Goethe's memory, that, living at a period during which the French Revolution and Buonaparte's usurpation reduced Germany to the lowest depth of degradation, he has no where exhibited a feeling such as was to be expected from a leader among the people. True, he was a poet and not a man of action, but Dr. Riemer has not given us any proof of Goethe's feelings on this subject, even in private conversation. If he be in possession of any such, we would respectfully submit that it is his imperative duty to make them public. For although it cannot be doubted that an event which changed the condition of the continent must have deeply affected a mind like Goethe's, yet with the exception of a few secondary works, it does not seem to have produced such an impression as might have been expected. Fichte was a man of science, and the courage with which he delivered bis “ Speeches to the German Nation," at a time when his voice was drowned by the noise of French drums in the streets of Berlin, will render his name immortal, when little or nothing of his philosophical system will be remembered. Since the battle of Waterloo, the German