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rather than a theologian. He added something, perhaps, to the theology of his time, but nothing which is felt in the theology of to-day. He was inferior in intellectual power to Athanasius, Augustine, and Origen. He followed the Greek Fathers in his dogmatics, though laying more stress than they on the doctrines of sin and grace, anticipating in some measure the anthropology of Augustine. Half of his works, comprising the first volume, is devoted to exposition of the Scriptures. His interpretation is mainly allegorical, and of very little value. An exception may possibly be made in favor of his discourses on the Psalms, which are more earnest and practical. The principal work in the second volume is a treatise De Officiis Ministrorum, which is ethical rather than theological, and shows how much stronger he was in the sphere of morals than of theology. He, however, adopts the vicious distinction, current in his time, between perfect and imperfect moral obligation, placing virginity, fasting, poverty, among those “counsels of perfection” which belong to a life strictly dedicated to religion. His sister, Marcellina, had taken in his early days the vow of perpetual virginity. And he not only yielded, but contributed to the mighty ascetic tendency coming in from the Eastern Church which developed monachism, and made it such a power for evil and for good in the coming ageg. Six of the works in the second volume treat of the celibate state, and speak its praises. His Works also include ninetyone letters, on various subjects, which illustrate the character of the man and the events of his life.
The name of Ambrose is connected with a great improvement in the church-music of the fifth and sixth centuries. Before his time the music was a mere recitation of words, with a slight modulation of the voice, and a monotonous singing of prayers, performed entirely by the younger clergy. He introduced the musical scale of the Greeks, and their more melodious tunes. He also taught the practice of antiphonal chanting, as Augustine states, during his conflict with the Empress Justina. It soon spread through the Western Church, and held its place for two hundred years. At the end of the sixth century it was superseded throughout Italy by the richer Gregorian chant; but in the church of Milan it is still preserved with jealous
1 Neander, Church History, II, 562.
? " It was a year, or not much more, that Justina, mother to the Emperor Valentinian, a child, persecuted thy servant Ambrose, in favor of her heresy, to which she was seduced by the Arians. The devout people kept watch in the church, ready to die with the Bishop, thy servant. Then it was first instituted that, after the manner of the Eastern Churches, hymos and psalms should be sung, lest the people should wax faint, through the tediousness of sorrow; and from that day to this the custom is retained, divers, yea, almost all thy congrega. tions, throughout other parts of the world, following herein."-Confessions, IX, 1.
pride. There, in the beginning, the ardent soul of Augustine was moved by its simple beauty, though his conscience was alarmed lest the delights of music should be a snare to his soul.' “How did I weep,” he says, “in thy hymns and canticles, touched to the quick by the voices of thy sweet-attuned church! The voices flowed into mine ears, and the truth distilled into my heart, whence the affections of my devotion overflowed, and tears ran down, and happy was I therein."2
Ambrose, and with him Hilary of Poictiers, led the way in the composition of hymns, for use in the worship of the church. Neander states that the ancient usage had been to confine the singing to passages taken from the Scriptures, and that this improvement met considerable opposition. The Te Deum, whose stately strains have echoed through the churches of Christendom ever since, has been ascribed to the Bishop of Milan, and he probably translated it from the Greek, for the use of his choir.4 Many hymns have been attributed to him which are not his. The Benedictines admit but twelve, and a recent writer, one of the Prefetti of the Ambrosian Library at Milan, Dom. Biraghi, whose learning is vouched for by Bishop Wordsworth, rejects five of these. He, however, has added others, and, going beyond other authorities, admits eighteen hymns and four poems as genuine productions of Ambrose. His hymns are vigorous, severe, dogmatic, objective. There is no tenderness of sentiment, and an austere simplicity of diction. They belonged to the time, and he made effective use of them. He says, in one of his letters: “Some complain that the people are led away by the singing of my hymns. I do not deny it. The singing is grand, and nothing can stand before it. What can be more telling than the confession of the Trinity in the mouth of the whole population, day by day ? "6
At other times, shunning over-anxiously this very deception, I err in too great strictness; and sometimes to that degree, as to wish the whole melody of sweet music, which is used to David's Psalter, banished from my ears, and the church's too: and that mode seems to me safer, which I remember to have been often told me of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, who made the reader of the psalm utter it with so slight inflection of the voice, that it was nearer speaking than singing. Yet, again, when I remember the tears I shed at the Psalmody of thy church, in the beginning of my recovered faith; and how at this time I am moved, not with the singing, but with the things sung, when they are sung with a clear voica, and a modulation most suitable, I acknowledge the great use of this iustitution. Thus I Auctuate between peril of pleasure and approved wholesomeness ; inclined the rather (though not as pronouncing an irrevocable opinion) to approve of the use of singing in the churches, that so by the delight of the ears the weaker minds may rise to the feeling of devotion."Confessions, X, 33. 2 Confessions, IX, 6.
• Church History, II, 318.
Opera, II, 873. Ep. XX, 31.
Perhaps his grandest hymn is the Veni Redemptor Gentium, a translation of which Dr. Schaff has set at the head of his excellent collection, “ Christ in Song." The morning song, Aeterne rerum Conditor, and the evening song, Deus Creator Omnium, are also famous. Translations of most of them are to be found in “Hymns, Ancient and Modern," and some of them are used in the servicebooks of our unritual churches.
The name of Ambrose is still borne by the liturgy of the church of Milan, though a large part of it must be more ancient than his day. Parts of it he may have composed, and it was revised under his hand. But from the time, at least, of Gregory the Great, down to the present day, the ritual of the church of Milan has been peculiar, differing in many respects from the Roman. Attempts have been often made to introduce the Roman liturgy in its place, but have been always successfully resisted. The Latin Church everywhere else has relinquished the original mode of baptism, and, as Dean Stanley says, "with the
" two exceptions of the Cathedral of Milan, and the sect of the Baptists, a few drops of water are now the Western substitute for the three-fold plunge into the rushing rivers, or the wide baptisteries of the East.” ?
Ambrose was one of the men who, by Providential position as well as by powerful character, had an important part in moulding the Latin Church and Latin Christianity, which have so greatly shaped the fortunes and colored the history of the modern world. At a juncture when the new religion was fixing its form, and organizing itself for the conquest of western Europe; when, as we cannot but think it was violating its first principles, and abdicating its noblest opportunity for the sake of temporal as well as spiritual dominion, and cherishing the ambition of advancing both together; when it was condensing itself into a gigantic ecclesiasticism; this Roman civilian, trained in all civic duties and virtues, used to command, with the clear head, the resolute will, the austere virtue which belong to the typical Roman, came to the see where, next to that of the metropolis of the world, he could direct the course of western Christianity. He took the theocratic view, which is the farthest possible from ours. He held it, no doubt, sincerely; not out of personal ambition, not so much, perhaps, from mere narrow sacerdotalism, as from a profound conviction that religion, and the church which he identified with it, was real king of the world. But in it was the germ of that dark growth of ecclesiastical power which has shed disastrous eclipse across 1 Palmer, Origines Liturgicæ I, 125–133. Muratori, Antichita Italiane, VIII, 205–228.
• Eastern Church, 117. Robinson gives a description of minor-baptism at Milan, according to the Ambrosian ritual in the twelfth century. History of Baptism, 95–102.
since. It without doubt has done service for mankind. It protected the weak against worse enemies. It carried the ark of God, the culture, the learning, the piety, the seeds of a better time, through ages of barbarism and darkness. It has often balanced and counterpoised, it has resisted and sometimes avenged, the tyrannies of civil power. But another age has come, and the world henceforth refuses to shelter itself under the protection or to bear the yoke of ecclesiastical power.
power wanes, and religion finds for itself a surer and a purer home in the heart of man, and in his voluntary submission to Divine law. History has shown that it is not safe to trust man with great power in the church, and it is not needful. Religion is suppressed, asphyxiated, killed, under excess of organization.
It lives, it grows, at all events it preserves its spiritual freshness and purity, in the air of liberty, and through the processes of spontaneous development. The aspiration and the destiny of Italy -of the Italy of Ambrose and Cavour, of Theodosius and Victor Emmanuel-is for a free church in a free state; for religion at last to come to that happy position where the fathers of Rhode Island left it at the beginning of their history—the church, religion, to stand or fall by its own truth, virtue, spiritual power and inward life, keeping itself out of civil government, keeping the government out of it.
SAMUEL L. CALDWELL. PROVIDENCE, R. I.
THE PILGRIMS AND THE PURITANS.
R. Scott restricts his plea for the Pilgrims as not persecutors to
the original colonists, inasmuch as when the Quakers first appeared in New England, in 1656, and severe laws were passed against them in Plymouth as well as in Massachusetts, every leader of the Plymouth party whose name is recorded was dead, and Plymouth was no longer an independent colony, but one of a confederacy of four New England settlements, and much under the influence of Massachusetts. He cites the case, also, of Isaac Robinson, son of John Robinson, who opposed the law enacted against the Quakers in 1659. But when we consider that the Separatists of England did, to a certain extent, believe in the coercive authority of the civil government in matters of religion, and that this was true even of the father of the Plymouth Colony, according to his published statements only the year before the emigration of his church from Leyden, it is to be presumed that, generally, the colonists themselves, with whom Robinson was high authority, shared the opinions of their leader. We have no proof to the contrary. On the other hand, there is conclusive evidence that at least some leading men were opposed to a general religious toleration. Edward Winslow, who had been a member of Robinson's Church at Leyden, and was one of the Pilgrim Fathers, may be regarded as a fair representative of the spirit of the majority of the colony, from his being three times