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CURRENT THOUGHT.

THE CATHOLIC SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS. | summarize the account of Geoffrey of -The Rev. Augustine F. Hewitt, in the Monmouth:Catholic World, thus speaks of the proposed "International Scientific Congress of Catholics," which is appointed to be held at Paris during the week beginning April 8, 1888:

"After this, Brutus in a chosen place builds Troia nova, chang'd in time to Trinovantum, now London: and began to enact Laws, Heli being then high priest in Judæe; and having govern'd The specific end and object of this the whole Ile 24 years, dy'd, and was Congress is to promote the development buried in his new Troy. His three sons of science for the defence of the faith. Locrine, Albanact, and Camber divide Theology, in the strict sense of the word, the Land by consent. Locrine had the is excluded from its circle of topics. Its middle part, Loegria; Camber possess'd direct scope is not Apologetics. It is Cambria or Wales; Albanact Albania, intended to furnish materials and aids to now Scotland. But he in the end by those who professedly engage in the great Humber King of the Hunns, who with a work of Christian Apologetics, by directly Fleet invaded that Land, was slain in laboring for the development of the fight, and his people driv'n back into various branches of science. It will Loegria. Locrine and his Brother goe occupy itself with the impulse and direc-out against Humber; who, now marching tion which ought to be given, at the present time, to the scientific researches of Catholics, and with the method to be followed in order to make these researches subservient to the Christian cause without sacrificing anything of the most frank orthodoxy or the most entire scientific sincerity. Natural Theology is included in the programme as a department of Rational Philosophy; and Biblical Science, so far as it is concerned with the relations of the Scriptures to the sciences and secular history, excluding all questions concerning the extent of their inspiration. The commission has invited Catholic scholars and scientists to prepare memoirs and reports, which, after being examined and approved, will be presented to the Congress for discussion, but there will be no votes taken or decisions formulated on their respective topics. The principal object to be aimed at in these papers will be to determine the actual state of science, in respect to those questions which, by their relations to Christian faith, have a special interest for Catholics. The acts of the Congress will he published, including such papers as may be selected, or abstracts of the same In this way will gradually be collected an encyclopedia which will be of the greatest value and interest."

THE LEGEND OF LOCRINE.-The legend which Mr. Swinburne has dramatized is thus told by Milton in his History of England, wherein he does little more than

onward, was by them defeated, and in a River drown'd, which to this day retains his name. Among the spoils of his Camp and Navy, were found certain young Maids, and Estrildis, above the rest, passing fair; the Daughter of a King in Germany; from whence Humber, as he went wasting the Sea-Coast, had led her Captive: whom Locrine, though before contracted to the Daughter of Corineus, resolvs to marry. But being forc'd and threatn'd by Corineus, whose Autority, and pouer he fear'd, Guendolen the Daughter he yeelds to marry, but in secret loves the other: and oft-times retiring as to som privat Sacrifice, through Vaults and passages made under ground; and seven years thus enjoying her, had by her a Daughter equally fair, whose name was Sabra. But when once his fear was off by the Death of Corineus, not content with secret enjoyment, divorcing Guendolen, he makes Estrildis now his Queen. Guendolen all in rage departs into Cornwall; where Madan, the Son she had by Locrine, was hitherto brought up by Corineus his Grandfather. And gathering an Army of her Fathers Freinds and Subjects, gives Battail to her Husband by the River Sture; wherein Locrine shot with an Arrow ends his life. But not so ends the fury of Guendolen ; for Estrildis and her Daughter Sabra, she throws into a River; and to leave a Monument of revenge, proclaims, that the stream be thenceforth call'd after the Damsels name;

which by length of time is chang'd now language, not its grammar, is the one to Sabrina or Severn."

desire. His plan has been to begin with some easy author, and follow its text closely while some one reads aloud an English or some other familiar translation. By following such a plan through a dozen or more books, one may then venture on some simple author, dispensing with both dictionary and translation so far as possible, and learning the meanings of the new words, as they appear, from the context. After having read twenty or thirty novels or similar works in this way, he should begin the study of the grammar, and will then be surprised to find that conjugations and declensions are no longer a task. After one has learned a language, a dictionary is very useful; but he certainly can never get a thorough and exact knowledge of words from English synonyms."

AN IDEAL SON.-Apropos of Joseph Hofmann, the wonderful boy-pianist, Mr. James Payn says, in the Independent:"Boys of genius are not always a blessing to parents, but when it is of a kind to attract the public I can fancy no offspring so delightful. Instead of one's father, to have children who can clothe and feed and locate us in fashionable neighborhoods must, as the poet Calverly observes, be 'most golluptious.' How careful one would be of such precious olive branches. How solicitous (if their talents lay in a vocal direction) that the winds of Heaven did not visit their bronchial tubes too roughly. How willingly should we indulge them but not spoil them (and especially their voices). How in supplying them with every luxury we should 'study the wholesomes.' It is only music alas! that supplies us with infant phenomenons of the paying class. By bending the tender joints the wrong way, and immersing them in oil-baths, it is said, indeed, that the gifts of the gymnast can "It is very difficult to meet with pictorial illustrations of the life of Shakebe greatly developed, for which calling the usual expensive materials for a start speare that belong to even a small antiqin life-education at the public schools ity. With the exception of the very few and the University, tutor, reading with a in editions of the poet's works, and in engravings to be met with in periodicals, conveyancer, etc.-can be dispensed with. Nothing is wanted but a pole, a suit of Ireland's Warwickshire Avon, and which tinseled raiment and a square piece of which were executed before the commenceare sufficiently common, any of the kind carpet. But after all what are the emolument of the present century are of exceed

ments of an acrobat to a father? No, there has never been anything but music worth the attention of a youthful genius (from the parental point of view) except, indeed, in one instance, that of Master Betty, the youthful Roscius, who made £20,000 for his family before he was fourteen. That is my notion of a son,— not a son and heir, but quite the other way-a son who, without causing any one to deplore his loss, makes his parents independent.'

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SHAKESPEARIAN CURIOSITIES.—Mr. J.

Halliwell-Phillipps has lately issued "A Calendar of the Shakespearian Rarities, Drawings, and Engravings, preserved at Hollingbury Copse, near Brighton. Of existing collections he says:

The Bodleian

Library, so rich in English topography, ingly rare occurrence. has none; while in that enormous literary warehouse, the British Museum, there There are, indeed, only two large and imare hardly any of the slightest interest. portant collections of drawings and enbiography. One of these, that now pregravings illustrative of Shakespearian served at the birth-place, was found by the late Mr. W. O. Hunt and myself in years gone by, when we ransacked Stratford-onAvon and its neighborhood for every relic of the kind. The other, the present one, is all but entirely the result of purchases from other localities. Each collection is, at present, of unique interest, and is likely to remain so. It is not possible that another, of equal value to either, could now be formed, and even many of the engravings and lithographs of forty or fifty years of age are of great rarity, obtainable only by accident."

RIGHT AND WRONG.

I SUPPOSE the words "right" and "wrong" enter more largely into human life than any other. They are among the first words that are uttered by children at their play: "You have no right to do this!" "That is wrong!" They are most profusely used, or abused, in the commonest affairs of daily existence by the most ignorant and uncultivated, and generally-which is noteworthywith an appeal to the universal validity of the conceptions they represent, as though, in the secure judgment of the universe, the gainsayer must be in bad faith. Every one talks of right as if it were the easiest thing in the world to pronounce upon. And yet in practice it is the hardest. Consider how terrible are the problems which may be raised regarding even the simplest and least questioned rights. Parental right, for example, springing as it does from the most sacred of human relations, how easy to deride and decry it, if we regard merely the blind irrational impulse to which each individual the accident of an accident, owes his procreation. Again, think how large a part of human activity is consumed in the endeavor, mostly fruitless, to settle questions of right. The whole machinery of justice, with its legislatures, its courts of various instance, its judges, advocates, and attorneys attends continually upon this very thing. And yet the glorious uncertainty of the law has become a byword. Fleets and armies are still the last resource of civilization for determining the rights of nations. Now, as in the time of Brennus, the sword is the ultimate makeweight in the scale of justice. It may be said that the history of right throughout the ages is one long martyrdom. It is ever being crucified afresh and put to an open shame. But, speaking generally, we may assert that the idea of right has hitherto been venerated by mankind at large as absolute, supersensuous, divine. The rights, whether of nations. or of the individual of whom they are composed, have been held to rest upon ethical obligation, and that upon noumenal truth. Justice has been accounted a matter of the will, according to the dictum of the Roman jurisconsult, "Justitia est constans et perpetua voluntas jus suum cuique tribuendi." Wrong has been referred, not to the exterior act but to the interior mental state: "Mens rea facit reum." The world on the whole has not doubted that what is just exists by nature, that universal obligation is a prime note of right, that a violation of right entails, according to the laws of the universe, retributive suffering upon the wrong-doer.

I do not, of course, mean that the vast majority of men have ever held these views as philosophers. They made their way into the popular mind through the religious traditions which are the only philoso

phies available for the multitude. The morality of the old civilization of Egypt, of India, of Judea, was bound up with their religions. The same may be said of the ancient phase of Hellenic and, more strongly still, of Roman civilization. It is the special glory of Buddhism that it established the supremacy of the moral law over gods and men and the whole of sentient existence. To Christianity the human race owes the supreme enforcement of the autonomy of conscience as the voice of Him whom it is better to obey than man. But now the old ethical conceptions are everywhere falling into discredit. The very principles on which the ideas of right and wrong have hitherto rested are very widely questioned, nay, more than questioned. "No one," observes a recent thoughtful writer, "can deny either the reality or the intensity of the actual crisis of morality. Nor is the crisis confined to certain questions of casuistry. On the contrary, it extends to the most general rules of conduct, and through those rules to the very principles of ethics themselves ". "By-and-by," a popular professor in the Paris School of Medicine recently prophesied to his admiring pupils, "by-and-by, when the rest of the world has risen to the intellectual level of France, and true views of the nature of existence are held by the bulk of mankind, now under clerical direction, the present crude and vulgar notions regarding morality, religion, divine providence, deity, the soul, and so forth, will be swept entirely away, and the dicta of science will remain the sole guides of sane and educated men.. Churchmen and moral philosophers represent the old and dying world, and we, the men of science, represent the new." And similarly, Mr. Herbert Spencer assures us that "the establishment of the rule of right conduct upon a scientific basis is a pressing need."

New let us inquire what is the substitute for the present crude and vulgar notions regarding morality" proposed to the world by "men of science," as physicists modestly call themselves, in disdainful ignorance of all science except their own. The inquiry is of much pith and moment, for this among other reasons, that the public order reposes upon the idea of right. Social relations can be explained and justified only by moral relations. Of course there is diversity of operation in the attempts at ethical reconstruction. But in all worketh one and the self same spirit. They all aim at presenting the world with "an independent morality," by which they mear a morality deduced merely from physical law, grounded solely on what they call "experience," and on analysis of and deduction from experience; holding only of the positive sciences, and rejecting all pure reason, all philosophy in the true sense of the word. They all insist that there is no essential difference between the moral and the physical order; that the world of ideas is but a development of the world of phenomena. They all agree in the negation of primary

and of final causes, of the soul and of free-will. Instead of finality, they tell us, necessity reigns; mechanical perhaps, or it may be dynamical, but issuing practically in the elimination of moral liberty as a useless spring in the machinery of matter. I venture to say that in the long run there are only two schools of ethics-the hedonistic and the transcendental. There are only two sides from which we can approach a question of right and wrong the physical and the spiritual; there are only two possible foundations of moralityconscience and concupiscence; the laws of universal reason, or what Professor Huxley calls "the laws of comfort." The "men of science" are agreed in anathematizing the transcendental. Their method is purely physical. They concieve of man merely as "ein genissendes Thier," an animal whose motive principle is what they call "happiness;" who, in Bentham's phrase, "has been placed by nature under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.' Such are the foundations of the new independent morality. Let us now follow it out in some of its details.

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And first let us learn of one concerning whom a well-informed writer recently testified that "in this country and America he is the philosopher," and whose works, if less implicitly received as oracles in France and Germany, have done much to shape and color current speculation in those countries. I need hardly say that I speak of Mr. Herbert Spencer. The doctrine unfolded at such great length by this patient and perspicuous thinker appears to me to amount to this, in the last resort: that all the actions of society are determined by the actions of the individual; that all the actions of the individual are regulated by the laws of life; and that all the laws of life are purely physical.

Turn we to another eminent teacher, hardly less influential. Consider the following account of human nature which Professor Huxley sets before us in his Lay Sermons, enforcing it by an epigram of Goethe:

"All the multifarious and complicated activities of men are comprehended under three categories. Either they are directed toward the maintenance and development of the body, or they effect transitory changes in the relative positions of the body, or they tend toward the continuance of the species. Even those manifestations of in tellect, of feeling, of wit, which we rightly name the higher faculties, are not excluded from this classification, inasmuch, as to every one but the subject of them, they are known only as transitory changes in the relative position of parts of the body. Speech,

*I use the word in its proper philosophical sense: "a certain power and motion of the mind, whereby men are driven to desire pleasant things that they do not possess. Listen in this connection to Professor Huxley's dogmatic utterance: "Isay that natural knowledge, seeking to satisfy natural wants, has found the idea which alone can still spiritual cravings. I say that natural knowledge, in desiring to ascertain the law of comfort, has been driven to discover the laws of conduct, and to lay the foundations of a new morality."-"A new morality" based ultimately on "the law of comfort!" Glad tidings of great joy, indeed, to a benighted nineteenth century.

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