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persons, including the families of missionaries, in South Africa; and its funds, the year before last, amounted to eighty-eight thousand one hundred and seventy-five francs. We have not learned the amount for the last year. It has been justly remarked,* that the national spirit of the French fits them to be the most useful people in the world, in the great Christian movements of the present age, if they could only be brought under a more general influence of true religion. Do not the facts which we have just detailed prove the assertion? While yet in the infancy of their cause, the French evangelists have put into operation all the machinery of Christian benevolence, and have sent their missionaries to the ends of the earth. Let but the French spirit catch generally the inspiration of Christian zeal, and the enthusiasm which swept before it the thrones of Europe, and planted their eagles beneath the shade of the pyramids, will seize on the cross, and bear it forward to the bounds of the world. A more interesting example of energy can hardly be found in the modern history of the church, than that which the present evangelical movements in France and Switzerland exhibit. It is an energy which might befit a veteran cause, more than one which has hardly existed long enough to attract around it the sympathies of foreign churches, and, indeed, is scarcely known but to those who have witnessed it on the spot. Unfavorable liabilities still beset their path; they live amidst elements that may explode without a moment's warning, and frustrate their best hopes; but yet the vigor with which they have thus far sustained themselves affords a pledge the most satisfactory of future success.
We have mentioned that collateral circumstances have occurred, affording new facilities for the labors of these noble men. One of the most interesting of these circumstances is, the very manifest decline of the papal church in France. The lamented French revolution has, at least, left one favorable trace in the destructive effect which it produced on the prospects of popery in the country, and, indeed, throughout the whole of western Europe. Infidelity is usually held responsible for the unparalleled enormities of that memorable event; but the church is responsible for infidelity, and, through infidelity, for the sanguinary transactions of that "epoch of terror." The church had increased its corruptions until it could no longer be tolerated. In the decrepitude of her age and the decline of her influence, she had loaded herself with such an accumulation of meretricious frippery, to sustain still her decayed attractions, that considerate men laughed her to scorn, her very friends looked askance at each other, and her own strength gave way beneath the burden. Popery had worked it. self to a crisis, and the revolution was the development of that crisis. The horrors of the revolution are over, and that of 1830 shows that the fearful lessons taught by its predecessor were not forgotten; but the shock which shook the church still tells on its very foundations; she has reeled under it ever since, and seems on the eve of her final fall. The intelligent classes have almost entirely deserted it. The priests and peasantry are its only remaining adherents. The attachment of the priests is well known there to originate in pecuniary motives. Not only in France, but throughout western Europe, it is unquestionable that they are fast declining (if decline it can be called)
* See letters from Europe, in Christian Advocate and Journal.
into skepticism. While the philosophers and statesmen, the leaders of the public mind, are returning to belief, and are demanding higher moral influences for the popular mind, the priests are just commencing to descend to the "horrible pit," whence the former are emerging. The literary and political men were Catholics themselves once. But popery, as we have said, worked itself to a crisis: it made them in. fidels. But infidelity has likewise had its reaction; they have found it unsubstantial, and now are proposing inquiries after better principles. They have not yet announced themselves Christians, but their speculations are tending toward Christianity; and the sudden and vigorous commencement of the evangelical movements above described, appears not a little like a providential coincidence with the change in the moral speculations of the country-a provision to meet the new inquiries of the present moment. It is probable that the priests themselves will go through the same process of decline and reform. There is a strong disposition at this time in France to dissever the church and state. The proposition has already been stated before the public mind, and a prize essay called for by one of the first moral societies of the metropolis. This society includes citizens of commanding character in literature and society, and the expression of its opinions will carry a potent influence to the public mind, and through the public mind to the legislative chambers. There is no doubt entertained by the people of France, that the prop of civil support will soon be withdrawn from the church, and then it must inevi. tably fall. Already deprived of the patronage of the wealthy classes, possessing but limited resources of its own, it cannot sustain itself when none but the ignorant and destitute peasantry stand around its deserted altars. Pecuniary motives being the only tie that still binds the priesthood to it, they will, no doubt, retire from it when these are extinguished. The people are unaccustomed to contribute to the support of religion, except by state taxes; so that the disposition, as well as the ability, will be wanting, if an appeal should be made to their sympathies. The ecclesiastics are aware of these desolate prospects, and the effect is manifest in a general depression of all their energies. They wear an aspect of despondency; they stand amidst the desolations of what was once the fairest portion of their dominion. France, the land of their greatest triumphs and best theologians— France, the brightest gem in the triple diadem, is no longer theirs ; and they know that her history will be a standing instruction to her, never to return to the religion of her fathers-a lesson written with the blood of St. Bartholomew's.
The defection of the Abbe de la Mennais, from the church, is a circumstance of much interest in France. Mennais is a giant. A little nervous man, never writing without kindling a fever in his frame, but a colossal intellect. He is almost a copy of Rousseau in his intellectual characteristics, without any of his moral obliquities. Like Rousseau, he thinks profoundly and boldly, and expresses himself with language the most pungent, with words that burn. Rousseau lies on his writing table, and he seeks inspiration from his pages whenever he wishes to write, as he often does, in lines of fire. His sentences are condensed and abrupt, each complete in itself, and fall with the weight of thunder-bolts. He has the happy art of rendering his rhetoric logic, or, more properly, his logic rhetoric. A profusion of
VOL. IX.-July, 1838.
figures, rich as the golden harvest, spread over his pages; but every metaphor and simile is an argument. His celebrated work on Religious Indifference placed him at once in the first rank of French writers, many say next to Rousseau; some give him the precedence. That work inspired anew the declining hopes of the French Catholic Church. A champion had risen up among its decaying altars; while such men as Chateaubriand and La Martine were introducing a new school of polite literature, the chief element of which was enthusiasm for the venerable superstitions of its creed. The eyes of all the French papists were fixed upon Mennais with hope, when he appalled them by announcing in a periodical which he had established, (l'AvenirThe Future,) views which involved nothing less than a revolution of the whole character of the church, in order to adapt it, as he expresses it, to the demands of the 19th century. And these announcements were made with a daring eloquence which could not fail to carry the French enthusiasm with it. “Mankind,” said he, "are advancing to a better state of things. If the church will not go with the people, they will not stop for her, but leave her to perish. "Your power," said he to the pope, "your power wanes, and is ready to pass away. There is no possibility of perpetuating it, but by attaching your throne to the moral and political wants of the 19th century. Nothing stands still in this world. You long controlled kings, but now they rule you. Separate yourself from kings, extend your hand to the people, and they will uphold you with their brawny arms.' He went so far as to call for a separation of the church and state, and recom. mended an abandonment of the states of the Holy See. "What are those rags of purple, those tattered trappings of departed splendor, which now only give kings and people matter of merriment and pity? Take again the simple crook of the ancient Christian pastors, and the spirit which animated them—exchange your golden cross for one of wood-accept poverty, and, if need be, bear the chains of martyrs."
We need not tell the reader how these sentiments were received. Mennais' writings were put in the "Index Expurgatorius" at Rome. This gave but a new impulse to his bold spirit, and soon he was on his way to the seat of St. Peter to confront pope and cardinals. They knew the man they had to deal with, and with a wise caution declined the discussion of their differences. He was actually admitted to the holy presence, with the stipulated condition that his peculiar views should not be referred to. While in Rome, he made observations on the condition of the church, which, of course, only confirmed his previous convictions of its utter corruption and unfitness for the advanced improvements of the present age. He returned to Paris, and sent forth a new book, which has swept over the nation like a tornado. Not many months elapsed before, we think, twenty-two editions were exhausted. Has the reader ever been traveling in a dark night in a solitary highway, when, suddenly, a streak of lightning flashed in his face, blinding with confusion his sight, and sending a tremor through his whole system? then he may borrow from the recollection an im. pression of the effect produced by this book. The priests were confounded at so bold a disclosure of the ruined condition of their cause; the friends of that cause could not but despond with hopelessness, and its enemies exulted anew. We would take pleasure in giving ample extracts from the "Affairs of Rome," the work alluded to, but many
striking ones have already been presented to, perhaps, all the readers of this journal. He shows that the pontifical influence has declined most rapidly within a few years in Portugal, Spain, Germany, and Holland. "What is the reason of this deep and universal decline of the pontifical power? Rome knows. The power of the pope is nowhere less rooted than in Italy. The lower classes respect it from habit, where it does not interfere with their inclinations; but beyond these it finds few but vigorous censors and enemies. The middle and higher classes of Italians not only do not believe in it, but reject it with violent animosity; they hate it with an implacable hatred as the chief cause of their country's calamities. Austria itself is less detested than popery. It is sad to say it; but in the present state of things the truth should not be hid. If, then, Italy were left to herself for a day, a single day, and the existing government had no other support than the decrees of the head of the church, a revolution would, to-morrow, extend from Turin to the extremity of the Calabrias." This is not the opinion of M. Mennais alone, but of every discriminating traveler who reads rightly the signs of the times around him. The conclusion to which Mennais comes is thus expressed: "If men ever again become Christians, let it not be imagined that the Christianity to which they will unite themselves, can ever be that known under the name of Catholicism."
The late marriage of the duke of Orleans to a Protestant princess of Germany, is certainly a circumstance not a little favorable to the hopes of Protestantism. A church, formerly used by the Catholics, was presented to the Protestants on that occasion, and the dignity of officer of the legion of honor was conferred on Cuvier, the Protestant minister who officiated at the ceremonies. We were present in Paris when, a few days after the arrival of the royal family from Fontainbleau, the young bride and her mother attended a public service of thanksgiving in one of the Protestant churches. It is expected that, on the accession of the duke, the direction of affairs will be much influenced by her superior talents. She possesses a mind of extraordinary powers, while the duke presents an example of premature imbecility. His choice of a Protestant princess to share his future throne, and the consent of the royal family to it, show, at least, no very tenacious regard for the sentiments usually taught by the Holy See respecting heretics.
Another consideration favorable to Christianity, is the state of ethical speculation. The ethical speculations of the French have ever exercised a singular influence on their moral character. In the scholastic ages they produced some of the first metaphysicians. Previous to, and at the time of the first revolution, ethical speculations introduced universal corruption and skepticism, and shook down the throne, and almost abolished the whole fabric of society. "The philosophical system," says a French writer, " of any particular period is the moral index to that period; it expresses the sentiments of predilection pertaining to such a period, and may be considered as its watchword." While among us such speculations are never known, except in the meditations of an individual, or the text-book of the college, in Europe they excite almost as much interest and discussion as political
* See letters from Europe in Christian Advocate and Journal.
questions do among ourselves. Parties are formed by differences of opinion, and the contest of mind is carried on with a force which might become the battle field. These parties have their birth, their struggles, their day of triumph, and their downfall, as much as the political factions of our republic. The practical money-making spirit in our own country and England, has never allowed this nobler strife of intellectual warfare to exist. Reid's Philosophy scarcely attracted attention until the eloquence of Stewart gave it a more popular form; and even at this moment, so great is our indifference for such studies, it can hardly be said to have gained to it a party interest either here or in England; while the same doctrines in substance, taught in the far more repulsive form of Kant, in Germany, soon produced a universal interest; threw into excitement, for fifty years, the intellectual world; spread their leaven through all its poetry and polite literature, and have at last spread over France, and engaged in their defence the greatest minds of our times.
The skeptical philosophy of the revolution was of English extraction. Hume was its great champion, and his intercourse with the literati of France served much to give it influence. Locke's doctrines were introduced by Condillac, and formed the basis of French materialism. It was but one step farther in the same path, when the French savans pushed the doctrine of the mind's dependence upon the senses for its knowledge, taught by Locke, to the denial of any essential distinctness of the mind from the body. Helvetius went but a step farther when he denied the existence of any real distinction between moral good and evil, and taught that the only motive of action was sensual pleasure. And then came Diderot and his fellow-encyclopedists, waging universal war against religion in all its forms. The idea of God was laughed at, the Bible was an antiquated fable, death an unending sleep. And then came the "days of terror," the dissolution of marriage, the disorganization of government, and the downfall of society.
That unparalleled social disaster, the French revolution, exposed the tendency of the popular creeds, and prepared the way for the influence of the doctrines of Kant and Reid. They found an extraordinary champion in the celebrated COUSIN. He was educated under Roger Collord, and succeeded him in the defence of the Edinburgh school. He threw the energies of his active mind into the task of developing, with a wider comprehension, the principles of the system, searched the classical stores of moral speculation, and has imbodied the results of his research and meditations in a system as elegant as it is profound. It bears the name of the eclectic school, and adopts, as its basis, the system of Kant and Reid. The chief distinction of the old system has been technically called among them, "sensualism," while that of Mon. Cousin is named "spiritualism," words which import the extreme contrast of their respective doctrines. Cousin has furnished a most lucid and unanswerable refutation of Locke's fundamental principle, and blasted, we trust for ever, the hopes of the material sect in France. He teaches the independence of the mind, the existence of internal and original sources of knowledge, and reveres the truth of spiritual existences. There is no truth of revelation too spiritual or too supernatural for the faith of his disciples; and however questionable some of his positions may be, the moral influence of his opinions is in happy