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are as immoveable and unchangeable as the soil on which they are nurtured
"Cette terre de granit recouverte de chênes.' It is well perhaps that it should be so, and that—especially in the present state of French society-Bretons should cling with characteristic pertinacity and stubbornness to their ancient ways. Doubtless, as the commis-voyageur remarked, Brittany is, in some respects, le pays le plus arrière de la France ; doubtless there is immense room both for moral and material improvement, and Bretons might certainly rise higher in the scale of social and thinking beings, but they might also fall, like many of their countrymen (if Frenchmen can be called such) into the opposite and worse extreme. An able writer, M. Pelletan, in his recently-published Nouvelle Babylone, describes his countrymen as an utterly degenerate race, caring for nothing but the gross material enjoyments that wealth and civilisation (so called) can procure, squandering on dinners at the Café Anglais and other places, and in ministering to the voracity of courtezans, money won at the lottery of the Bourse -caring for no literature but the prurient novels of Flaubert and Feydeau—destitute of religion-careless of their personal dignity-absorbed by dissipation and luxury, vices which it seems to be the policy of the Imperial Government to foster and develop to the utmost of its power; and, as a finishing touch to the picture, he gives them all the low vices of Oriental sensualisms—the soul of a lackey in the body of an ape. This flattering portraiture may be considered by some as overdrawn, but it is that also given by Father Félix in his Conferences. A spirit of religion, however, has moulded the Breton people and their manners; it interpenetrates their daily life; their wants are but few and their wishes all confined;
Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though small,
He sees his little lot, the lot of all;' and he is contented with it; and it is better he should remain so than exchange his primitive habits and simple confiding faith-not unaccompanied with certain repulsive superstitions for the fictitious and demoralising civilisation, the refined barbarism, and the gross practical heathenism prevalent in so many parts of France.
But we must now give the conclusion of the Elegy. All those who witness with consternation the cold and dreary materialism, and the levelling and democratic tendencies of the age; all those who do battle for the ideal, and for the cause of practical religion and philanthropy; all those who would raise the 'plodding groveller above the actual, the sensual, and the things that are seen,' will heartily re-echo many of the sentiments of the poet, especially towards the conclusion of the poem :
• Adieu, les vieilles meurs, grâces de la chaumière,
Vol. ii. pp. 283–287. French poetry and French poets are, in general, but little known in England—French religious poets, for the best of all reasons, especially so. Those who wish for real and high-toned poetry, for an interesting and correct account of Breton legends and customs, for picturesque descriptions, for accurate delineations of moral character, for grace, freshness and originality, for delicacy of touch, and great artistic skill—those who seek for the tender, the beautiful, and the true- will find all this in Brizcux. What the poet's idea of poetry was is embodied in two of his own lines:
Au prêtre d'enseigner les choses immortelles ; ?
Poëte, ton devoir est de les rendre belles ; ' and this idea is practically carried out in the two volumes before us. The poet is dead; but the Beautiful never dies. It is written of-chanted in poem—thought of—sighed for-aspired after, though it will never be fully realized, till the bright shore is gained for which, we trust, Brizeux has left this earth.
In that land of beauty,
as active as ever.
Art. II.-1. Essays and Reviews. John W. Parker and Son,
West Strand. 2. The Confession of Faith, and other Standards. Printed by
Authority. 1860. 3. The Inspiration of Scripture. By William LEE, M. A.
Rivingtons. So much has already been written upon the Essay and Review controversy, that it seems at first sight a useless step to recur to the subject. Nor should we have ventured to do so, were it not that we are anxious to present the question in an aspect which has not hitherto met with much attention. Our apology for troubling our readers must be the unspeakable importance of the matter in debate, and the fact that the sceptical tendencies represented by the Essayists, so far from being extinct, are still
We fear, indeed, there is but little prospect of a speedy termination to this controversy. Many things seem to indicate that it will go on and, perhaps, intensify. Scepticism has not yet developed its full power of attack. There are ideas antagonistic to the religion of Christ, latent in the public mind, which have not yet been brought into play. The appearance of Bishop Colenso's book shows that the previous lull in the storm was only delusive, and we shall not be surprised if, very soon, it breaks forth with redoubled fury. Everything, indeed, seems to indicate that in these latter days the religion of Christ will encounter a trial as great as, perhaps greater than, any it has yet come through. For the result, we have not the slightest fear; but in the meantime, it is sad to think of the multitude of souls that will make shipwreck of their faith, and of the
greater number whose spiritual life will be stunted through perplexing doubt.
The case presented by the Essayists is, that the Old Theology, in the face of advancing knowledge, has completely broken down. So entirely, in their idea, is this the case, that they do not even condescend to inform us how or in what way this has occurred. They take it for granted. They assume that to go before an educated audience and preach what has hitherto been regardleul as orthodox Christianity, is to insure its rejection. Men will not, and cannot, believe it. It is inconsistent with what they know for certain from science and advancing knowledge. And this inconsistency attaches not only to Miracles, Inspiration, and
or system. It is too narrow as an exponent of God and His universe. Science reveals a much wider and grander idea. Such being the case, they argue, the time has come for making some concession. There are Christian ideas and a Christian life, against which no contradiction can be alleged. They are enough for all practical purposes. Let us only give up the idea of a special and supernatural Christianity, and, with God's blessing, we may preserve the rest.
Now, with regard to the case thus presented, we must frankly admit that it is a reasonable one. If there is a discrepancy between what men know for certain and what they are taught to believe, there can be no question as to which must succumb; and we cannot but attribute the best of motives to those who, convinced of discrepancy, were anxious to save what they could. Nay, we would even go so far as to allow that, prima facie, their case was a probable one. No candid and thoughtful Christian can help feeling that very serious difficulties have of late arisen. Contradictions between knowledge and religious faith, however much they may be ignored, are evidently deeply and distressingly felt. But, it strikes us, á fatal mistake was committed by the Essayists in their mode of procedure. As soon as these contradictions emerged, without the slightest inquiry, they called upon us to give up Christianity in the only aspect in which it is worth contending for. But, surely, a previous question of vast importance was here overlooked! It was taken for granted that the theological ideas predominant in the public mind, which were found untenable in the face of advancing knowledge, were the genuine theology of Christ and His Church. We do think, before demanding such a sacrifice, this point ought to have been ascertained. A rigid criticism of the prevailing theology ought to have been instituted. It ought to have been ascertained how far and in what respect these ideas were contradicted, and how far the contradiction applied to the genuine teaching of Christ and His Church. Had this procedure been actually adopted, we feel very certain the Essayists would have found there was no such pressing claim for the sacrifice demanded of us. We do not say they would have been prepared to maintain a supernatural Christianity; for there would still remain the great philosophical question as between faith and sight, a special and a general providence of God, concerning which minds have always differed, and will continue to differ. But what we do say is, that they would speedily have seen that this eternal question has not been specially altered by advancing knowledge; that, in fact, a supernatural Christianity is as tenable now as it has been at any moment since Christ came.
We propose, in the present paper, to call attention to this aspect of the question. It will be our object to point out in what respect the popular ideas of theology diverge from those of the Ancient Church ; and, if we mistake not, it will turn out that just in proportion to this divergence do these ideas clash with advancing knowledge. But here the question meets us: What is the popular theology, or—as it is termed, derisively, by sceptical writers-orthodoxy ?
Amid the many sects which make up the national Christianity, each with its own peculiar dogma, to which shall we look as the representative one? This difficulty is more apparent than real. When we look more narrowly at the various religious systems, we find that their differences are quite subordinate. All are agreed in the main. There is, in truth, but one theological system accepted by all; we mean Calvinistic Protestantism. Éven within the Church, where there is the counteracting influence of Catholic ideas from the Prayer-Book, Calvinism may almost be said to predominate. Not only is it the only theology of the Low-Church party, but many of its ideas are more or less accepted by High-Churchmen. In fact, with the exception of those who have been thoroughly influenced by the Catholic movement, every intelligent Englishman will instinctively look at Christianity from the Calvinistic point of view. Our task is thus simplified: in analysing Calvinism we shall find the key to the Popular Theology.
Nowhere is Calvinism laid down with such logical precision and consistency as in the standards of the Scottish Establishment. The Confession of Faith' and the 'Longer Catechism' are, probably, the ablest theological documents of the Reformed Church. It will thus be an advantage, in the contrast we propose, to take these as our basis. It may, indeed, be said, that by doing so we make our whole undertaking illusory, as, probably, few moderns would accept in its entirety the Confession of Faith.' Probably they would not; but, if we mistake not, it will appear that the theological systein there laid down is essentially the theology of the present day. The points which are not accepted, as will be shown, are not the leading doctrines which make up the system, but certain deductions therefrom. In fact, the Confession of Faith' will give, in a way which no other document could, the key to the present Popular Theology. Unfortunately, in our inquiry we shall have to travel over somewhat extensive ground. In order to get a clear view of the popular system, we shall have to survey, in a brief and hurried way, much theological ground. This we deeply regret, as it would have been much more interesting to have taken
at once to