« AnteriorContinua »
condition precedent of other not less necessary reforms. It should not be forgotten, for example, that, over and above the serfs properly so called, there were a great many other peasants whose lot had to be amended-above all, the huge mass of the Crown peasants—that is, the peasants living on the lands belonging to the State. These were almost as numerous as the serfs proper. In fact, a dead lift required to be made to raise the whole of the lower classes in Russia, and the abolition of serfage was an all-important part of it.
We must look to two influences for an improvement in the present state of affairs--time and education-for we suppose any hope of the Church bringing its influence to bear on preventing the people drinking too much brandy is only a pious wish. It will, we presume, keep on tithing the mint and cumin and everything else it can tithe, letting the weightier matters of the law look after themselves.
Thus far I have considered chiefly the various classes into which Russian society is divided. It remains to examine the government which is supported by and directs this society. That I propose to attempt in the second half of this paper, and when I have done so, , and have passed in review our relations to that society and that government, I trust to be able to show that the opinions of our countrymen should, while they avoid the disturbing dreams of Russophobia, not be conformed to those of the persons who hold that we alone should join with Russia alone in coercing the Turks to do something as to which the coercers themselves would be only halfagreed.
By all means let us join with Russia, but if we join with her let it be for a well-defined object, and let us not join with her alone. Let us join with Russia and all the great Powers to settle the Eastern Question, so far as European Turkey is concerned, in the general interest, WHEN ALL THE GREAT POWERS HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE STATE OF THINGS IN THAT COUNTRY IS OTHERWISE
Events are moving so quickly that it may not be long before that point is reached; and I for one see no prospect of any settlement that promises sufficient advantage to the people of the Eastern peninsula, or sufficient security to Europe, to justify anything that can properly be called coercion, except from the introduction into the Eastern peninsula of fresh life by the well-considered cooperation of England, Russia, and the other great Powers in creating a new power on the Bosphorus.
We all know the gigantic difficulties which stand in the way of such a settlement, but it is better, after all, willingly to face difficulties, however great, than to have to face impossibilities. A little foresight ten or even five years ago might have thrown over the decision of the questions of the Eastern peninsula, in so far as they affect Europe at large, to another generation.
Will anyone say the same now?
When the dread Present, as on an abyss,
M. E. GRANT DUFF
IS THE PULPIT LOSING ITS POWER?
*Quam pulchri super montes pedes annuntiantis et prædicantis pacem!'
St. Paul must at least be credited with a far-reaching glance over
We are assured authoritatively by serene censors that all the
reliable estimate of the forces which are working for progress
which will be formidable precisely in the measure of their success. There is no rest possible for man in nescience, or in any negation. He needs a rock and not the pivot of a balance to sustain him; and the end of a long course of painful balancings has always been a swift rush downwards towards an abyss.
But, whatever may be the destiny of Christianity in the future, no student of history can ignore the power of the preacher in relation to its first establishment and its earliest triumphs. It is the preacher rather than the pulpit'-—which represents the preacher expanded into an institution, with more or less detriment to his vital powerwith whom we have to do in the early days of the Gospel. They had no pulpit, those men who shook the world—happily for them and happily for mankind. But it did please God, by the foolishness of preaching,' to make what must be confessed on all hands to be a mighty impression on human society—the foolishness in this connection really meaning the purest wisdom, that wisdom which looks like foolishness only to fools. The work of the kingdom of heaven was done mainly by the preacher, because it was a history, the tale of what bad actually been said and done by a living man upon this earth, and not a discipline or a philosophy, which had to be planted in the belief of mankind.
They were simple preachers, sent, as St. Paul declares, not to baptise, but to preach the Gospel,' who, by the confession of their opponents, before many years had passed away, had turned the world upside down —that is, right side up, with its face towards heaven and God. That Godward aspect and attitude it has since maintained, though in a very confused and blundering way; and it has been greatly helped by its preachers in its aspiring effort, and, alas ! in its blundering too. I am not inquiring here what reason we have for believing that there is a living reality above this Godward attitude and aspiration of Christendom. But, as matter of fact, it cannot be questioned that those ideas about God and divine things, and about man's relations to God and to divine things, which these men proclaimed, have been before the face of Christendom and in some measure in its heart through all these Christian ages; and as little can it be questioned that through all these ages Christendom has been the focus of a vital activity and progress which bear indisputable marks of superiority to every other form of the activity of mankind.
The preacher continued to be the main power of the new movement, while the ideas and the forces which Christianity brought to bear on men were at work within the bosom of the Empire. The new spirit strained the old bottles of the Roman Imperial civilisation to bursting ; while it wrought at the foundations of a new Empire in the West, mainly over peoples of Teutonic blood, wherein that policy of large comprehension which was the principle of the Marian party, and was adopted by Cæsar and the Cæsarean house, was carried up by the Roman See into a higher region, and became charged with more pregnant results. The Empire meanwhile, having been mastered by the spirit of that East which it had conquered, as Diocletian's keep insight discerned, withdrew itself to the south-eastern corner of the continent. There, in its fair marble palaces by the Bosphorus, it guarded its priceless literary and adıninistrative heirlooms during the stormy age in which the West was growing to its manhood; it shielded them from wreck with a steadfast courage and a successful tenacity which are among the wonders of history; and it yielded them up at last in its heroic death, only when the West was ready to receive them, and to scatter them by its discoveries and settlements through the habitable world. It would not be difficult to show that the spirit of the new faith was the most formidable of the invaders of the Empire, and the most fatal solvent of its system. It was manifest from the first that a new theatre, in which that spirit should be able to work on the very foundations, would be needed for the structure of Christian society.
The power of the preacher was a main factor in the early stages of the culture of Christendom; for it had to do with the moral ideas, the aims, and the hopes of men-by which things societies grow. And it continued to be a chief factor through all the formative ages of its growth, until that decay of old institutions began which was the first warning of the Reformation. Many, no doubt, will be disposed to question this estimate of the value of the preacher's influence, and would attach a very much larger importance to the manifold secular influences which were at work. Influences of various orders work together happily in society, as in nature. Rain, dew, frost, storm, the juices of the earth and the air, combine benignly for the nourishment of the plant; but the sunlight is supreme, and, where fruitage is in question, rules over them all. After the same fashion the sacred and the secular seem to some of us to be related harmoniously in the order of the great human world.
At the Reformation this power of the preacher, which had been prostituted in the Roman Church to the very basest uses, broke out with overmastering energy, and assumed the leading place in the conduct of the new movement when it first arose.
The preacher became organised as the pulpit ; he became, as was inevitable, a Church institution of permanent form and power, coordinate with the written word, which was exalted to the chief place of authority in the ordering of human affairs. The idol of Church authority was dethroned; but there was no little danger lest the letter of the word 'should be set up as an idol in its room. How nearly that came to pass even in Luther's days, that lamentable conference with Zuingle, in which the great Reformer chalked • Hoc est corpus meum' in large letters on the table between them, as though that settled the controversy, and insisted that “God was above mathe