Imatges de pÓgina

in depth and richness of religious experience and strictness of practical morality and scope of active benevolence, no class of Christians have surpassed those who have held the doctrine under consideration.

(b) If evil sometimes apparently results from the docrine, this may be owing to the fact that the real doctrine has not been clearly apprehended, or is not held in connection with other correlated doctrines, which are needful to give it its proper place and adjustment in the great system of religious truth. Almost any doctrine of the Bible may be so distorted, , or misunderstood, or be taken out of its proper connections, and so pressed into undue prominence, as to exert anything but its wholesome, legitimate influence. But in such a case the fault is not in the doctrine, nor can the resulting evil be justly urged as an objection to it.

(c) In some instances it is doubtless true that “ ungodly and unstable men » 6 wrest” the doctrine of decrees “ to their own destruction.” But this is only what they do with all other scriptural truths; not only those which “ are hard," but also those which are easy, “ to be understood. How many wrest the doctrine of the divine love, and make it the occasion of their endless ruin! And perhaps there is that in the nature of the doctrine of decrees, which renders it peculiarly liable to be thus wickedly wrested. Dr. Emmons shrewdly observes : " It is a mark of the moral depravity of mankind, that they are generally more inquisitive to know their fortune than to know their duty. They are more solicitous to know what God intends than what he requires."! But this disposition to neglect known requirements, in search of unknown purposes, is an argument for the doctrine of human depravity, rather than an argument against the doctrine of divine decrees.

(d) There is no reason apparent in the nature of this doctrine why it should tend to exert an unfavorable moral influence on any candid, truth-loving mind. “ It discourages effort and prayer,” says the objector. But how, if, as we

| Works, Vol. IV. p 286. Boston. 1842.

have endeavored to show, it in no way impairs man's freedom and responsibility? A duty is made no less a duty by being decreed. And the neglect of duty is rendered no less sinful by being decreed. Effort is none the less important, and prayer is none the less efficacious, because included in God's eternal purposes. Yea, more: effort and prayer avail solely because God's purposes do extend to them and to their results. If this objection has any force, it is on the ground that all events are rendered certain by the divine decrees. But they are certain whether decreed or not, and are foreknown as certain. A belief in God's foreknowledge, therefore, or in the certainty of all events, has as much tendency to discourage effort and prayer, as a belief in God's decrees has.

We might go further, and easily show the adaptedness of this doctrine to exert, instead of a hurtful, a most healthful and benign influence on all who cordially and intelligently embrace it. We might show how it is fitted to inspire the heart with humility, reverence, submission, confidence, and religious joy; how it furnishes a needed check and counterpoise to other doctrines, and gives symmetry to the whole system of Christian truth. But this would be virtually to introduce a new argument in favor of the doctrine; whereas, we are here only answering an objection often urged against it; and that objection is sufficiently answered, negatively, by showing that there is no evidence whatever that the doctrine, rightly understood, is fraught with any harmful tendencies.

In conclusion, we are happy to add that we can honor and esteem those of our Christian brethren whose views on this subject do not harmonize with our own, while we sincerely regret their failure to receive a doctrine which, for us, solves many more theoretical difficulties than it occasions; the benign practical influence of which we have experienced; which is to us as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;" and the general rejection of which, we feel confident, would detract not a little from the working forces of our holy religion.



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volumes. 1859-61.1 This is not a biography, but a history. It is a history of Europe in its religious and political relations to the papal see, for a period of forty years, from A. D. 1046 to 1085. The subject is, for the most part, treated by topics, after the manner of Gibbon; and to the several topics are prefixed very elaborate preliminary views, not unlike that of Robertson, in his History of Charles V. These special introductions are not mere compilations, but are founded on original investigations, bringing much new matter to light, and often handling subjects of which no author has treated before. The work is a rich storehouse of facts, drawn from the rarest and most recently discovered documents. The novelty of its matter and the exuberance of its sources of information, may be reckoned among its chief merits. Nor is it a dry presentation of facts. These, on the contrary, are skilfully grouped, and, in their historical combination, show rather an excess than a deficiency of ingenuity. The author, though a little too fertile in his invention, always gives the reader the means of judging for himself. It is harilly too much to say that Gibbon himself did not study the sources of his history more thoroughly than Gfrörer has studied his in the work before us. Those who do not accept his views, will, as in the case of Giesebrecht, acknowledge that they have derived much new information from his book. One cause of distrust, beside that already intimated, in respect to the author's conclusions, is the fact that, after having been known for most of his life as an extreme rationalist, he became a Catholic a few years before the publication of this life of Gregory. Whether the study of his subject made him a Catholic, or his Catholic sympathies led him to the choice of his subject, it is not easy to decide. He informs us that he spent ten years in the preparation of bis work ;: and he became a Catholic in 1853. It is not a little remarkable that another great historian, Hurter, was converted to the Catholic faith by his studies for the biography of the greatest of the popes, Innocent III. Drumann, the biographer of Boniface VIII., who ranks as third in ability among the bishops of Rome, is, we believe, no less a Protestant than ever; but Reuter, who is now engaged in re-writing his Life of Alexander III., which gives a panoramic view of Christian Europe, not unlike those given by Hurter and Gfrörer, betrays so warm a sympathy with his hero that some of bis friends have been apprehensive that he, too, is “ on bis way to Rome.”

Pabst Gregorius VII. und sein Zeitalter durch A. Fr. Gfrörer. Schaffhausen. 2 He died after having nearly finished the preface to the last volume. Only three lines are added to it.

But it may be said of all these biographers of the great popes, that there is no taint of Jesuitism in their writings; that they are conscientious and honest as well as able historians, though their faith may influence their judgment.

It is impossible to give a correct impression of the character of the work of Gfrörer, without descending to particulars. The author's chief aim is to represent the age of Gregory VII. in all its important features, using as means of information every known document that has reached us through a period of eight centuries. Of the early life of Hildebrand, afterwards known as Pope Gregory VII., scarcely anything has been transmitted to us from which a biography can be constructed. We only know that he was at first a pupil, and then a monk at Clugny; that he was a mature and a very remarkable man at his first public appearance. From this time onward – from 1046 to 1073 — he was, successively, papal chaplain under Gregory VI., steward under Leo IX., legate under Stephen X., and cardinal under Nicholas II. and Alexander II. From 1073 to 1085, he sat upon the papal throne. In all these places, and throughout this whole period of forty years, he was essentially the same man. The earnest and devoted Catholic priest, the unrivalled diplomatist, and the ruling spirit of the age, whether behind the throne or upon it. On this account the author determined to give a great historical picture of Europe, with Gregory as the central figure. It is one of the scenes, and one of the most interesting, of the great drama of mediaeval Rome successfully struggling, both for good and for evil, to become a second time mistress of the world. Its chief actor corrected many abuses, and restrained many evils among the clergy and laity alike; but in so doing, acquired for the church an authority dangerous for herself, and oppressive to society. The good was temporary; the evil, abiding.

In that age, the most important public relations of the church of Rome, were those subsisting between it and the German Empire. For this reason the author devotes most of the first volume to a description of the political state of Germany. The exact character of the feudal system in Germany in the eleventh century; the time and the manner in which the great fiefs became hereditary ; the history of those families of the aristocracy out of which dynasties sprang; the internal organization of the empire, its duchies, metropolitan districts, and marches, all required special attention, as they were the hinges on which turned the affairs of Germany under Henry IV., the chief rival of Gregory VII. for the supremacy. The power against which Henry had to contend at home was that of the nobles. What the character of that power was, and on what it depended, the author has informed us better than any other writer. Still, it strikes us as a little odd, that, in a Life of Gregory, we begin and continue to read hundreds and hundreds of pages abc Lorraine, and Flanders, and Saxony, and Franconia, and Suabia, and Bavaria, their geography, their political history, and their ruling families, with as little allusion to the great pope as to the Great Mogul. A little light, however, begins to break upon the reader on the five hundred and sixtieth page; for there he finds mention made of Italy and of several of the predecessors of the man whose bistory he is to read. In the remainVOL. XIX. No. 74.


der of the first volume we have an account of Italy up to the time that Gregory ascended the papal throne. This portion of the history of the Roman see is not only essential to a comprehension of the pontificate of Gregory, which is but a continuation of the preceding policy, but is directly connected with the author's design, as nearly all the plans that were, during that period, executed at Rome proceeded from his counsels.

The second volume opens with a full narrative of the course of events in Germany, from the point where it broke off in the first volume, and continues it to the year 1073, when Gregory was placed at the helm of the Roman state and church. It was a period of great confusion and turmoil. Henry IV. was still a boy. His father, Henry III., at his death, appointed Agnes, the queen-mother, regent. The political leaders of Germany, who were dissatisfied with her administration, had already procured her overthrow. Two of these political leaders, archbishop Hanno of Cologne, and archbishop Adalbert of Bremen, were heads of opposite factions, and alternately guided the young profligate emperor, and consequently held the reins of power. All these individuals made it one part of their policy to manage for themselves, as well as they could, with Alexander II., then bishop of Rome. On this tangled web of history the author has labored, not without success, having succeeded in bringing many new facts to light.

It would naturally be supposed that the author now, having fairly reached bis subject, would enter upon it without delay. But no; he has, in his method another contrivance, by which he can bring forward an unlimited amount of preliminary matter. He reminds us of a certain landbolder, of whom, we once heard, who said that “ he was not anxious to add much to his possessions; he only desired the land which bordered upon bis." He now takes a survey of country after country in its relations to the holy see. In order to do this intelligently, it is of course necessary to take a retrospective view of each, and to settle its geographical boundaries and divisions in the eleventh century. We are the less inclined to complain of such licence, since these are the most novel and instructive features of the work. We get very rare and valuable information, about which we care more than we do about the pope of Rome. The author, however, makes a plausible defence for all his numerous digressions. He says, the estimate to be made of the pontificate of Gregory VII. is one of the most contested points in history; and that the controversy is to be settled, not by debate, but by a more careful study of the history of the times, of the considerations that influenced him, and of the political and social effects of his policy. While this is set forth as an argument in favor of his arrangement, it is, in fact, a key to the understanding of the whole work. He affirms that he could not dispense with the treatment of these apparently extraneous matters, because there were no works that treat of them satisfactorily for his purpose to which he could refer.

He therefore begins his survey in the middle of volume second, with a chapter entitled “ The Relations of the Holy See and of Gregory VII. to the Slavonic and Scandinavian Nations of the North.” This is too large a sub

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