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Leaving out, i. e., Coleridge's reference to the Bible and to God, in this recommendation, then we shall not find him refer at all to the Bible or to God. Q.e. d.
In letter vi., p. 25, Coleridge speaks of his having introduced a note to a passage in vol. iii. of the “Friend,” from an anxiety to shew that “ true philosophy, so far from having any tendency to unsettle the principles of faith, that may, and ought to be, common to all men, does itself actually require them as its premises, nay, that it supposes them as its ground.”
The editor calls this, in a note, “a modification of opinion, to suit conventional influences."
In page 3], we have a note again from the editor to this effect:
“ I may as well state here, that the writer, possessing confessedly great and extraordinary powers, has been wholly and entirely misconceived, and by none more so than those who fondly deemed him of their belief. His belief was so capacious, that it contained not only theirs, and a hundred others, but also their opposites (!!) and existed in equipoise, or equilibrium. Thus, in speaking, as was his wont, of Peter, towards whom he felt an especial distaste, he was accustomed to refer to the passage in Matthew, chap. xix., v. 27, where the Janitor asks, · Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore ?' and, in a humorous strain of contemptuous remark, exhibit the selfishness of the (in mind) vulgar fisherman, who, &c. &c.”
To believe this, is to believe that Coleridge was as ignorant of St. Peter's character as the editor plainly is. No infidel, with the character of St. Peter fully before him, and not knowing him to have been an apostle of our Lord, could ever do him such injustice, as it is here said it was Coleridge's wont to do. passage
in letter viii. we have this note :“ The allusion to the Socinians may need some explanation. In early life, Coleridge had opportunities of free and unrestrained intercourse and communion with the more influential and distinguished of this sect; and the result was, a conviction of the insincerity, (conscious or otherwise,) selfishness, or, as he expressed it, self-centering, and want of moral courage, produced by this faith, or, as he again termed it, this want of faith. That this was the fact at the time, I am willing to admit ; but my own experience, my own knowledge, of many who delight in, or endure, this name, leads me to the conclusion, that a change has come over their spirit , , It would be more in unison with that universal progression, which we see in every other sect or party, to find them casting away the small remnant of superstition which they have hitherto retained, out of consideration, as it should seem, to the fouler superstitions and mental degradation by which they are still surrounded.”
The small remnants of superstition that the Socinian still retains !— What can it be? Will the words put into Coleridge's mouth, in p. 230, where he is made to speak of “infidels who honour God by rejecting Christ,” serve for an explanation here?
In p. 63 we have an extract from the “ Friend,” of which the following is a part :-“ Vice is the effect of error, and the offspring of surrounding circumstances—the object, therefore, of condolence, not of anger;" an observation we need not dispute the truth of, especially when taken in connexion with the conclusion drawn from it. But is this the case with the proposition retailed for it by the editor—“Opinion is always the result of previous circumstances and influences, not the consequence of any choice or will of the individual mind”? or of
the conclusion he would draw from it-viz., that man cannot be responsible for his opinions or actions ?
In p. 85, he makes Coleridge speak of
“ The hollow pretences, the false reasonings, and absurdities of the rogues and fools with which all establishments, and all creeds seeking to become established, abound. He makes him describe Lamb's faith as that of one neither hoping much nor fearing anything—as being in a state of suspended animation ; and Lamb, as having, in this state, more of the essentials of Christianity than ninety-nine out of a hundred professing Christians ; and he then in a note tells us, how Leigh Hunt once expressed his surprise that such a man as Coleridge should, when speaking of Christ, always call him our Saviour, and how Lamb said in answer—'He-he!--never mind what Coleridge says; he is full of fun."
And, in p. 97, upon Coleridge's observing of his friend Mr. Green, « that he had been able to believe in a spiritual first cause, and a presiding free will,” the editor adds—“ It is to be hoped Mr. Green will favour the world with the process by which he has arrived at these conclusions.”
I think, Sir, these extracts will have given your readers some insight into the compiler's object in this work, and will incline them to agree with me, that the “Quarterly” reviewer did not overstep the modesty of truth when he said, that everything in the shape of editorial remark had much better have been omitted altogether.
I shall neither take up my own time nor that of your readers in extracting objectionable passages from the “Recollections of Coleridge's Conversations." In the works published during his lifetime, and in his « Table Talk,” all that can be wanted to put Coleridge's character, as a Christian, and attached member of the church of England, in the right light, will be found.
But I may, perhaps, be permitted to make the following observations :-Supposing, for a moment, that the observations attributed to Coleridge in these volumes have been given us, word for word, as they fell from his lips-I no more admit this to be the fact, than I admit that the spring-water that finds its way into the Thames through the sewers of London is as pure at its issue as it was at its source,but, supposing it to be so for a moment, they would yet be without weight, as any index of Coleridge's deliberate opinions, for this plain reason—that either they are inconsistent with the opinions to which he has set his seal in his published works, or they are contradicted by them. They must thus, for the most part, be classed among those expressions of thoughts which are rejected by the mind that gives them birth, almost as soon as they are clothed in language, and only have an unnatural existence and strange importance extended to them by an abuse, or misunderstanding, of the confidence supposed to be placed in every friendly hearer. The fact, however, being, that the sentiments here attributed to Coleridge have had to pass through an infidel mind before they are presented to us, it follows, that no credit can be attached to them as reflections of Coleridge's mind : to say nothing of the bias notoriously always influencing sceptical writers when they are concerned with revelation and the believers in it, a single word ignorantly added or omitted, or the careless substitution of
one phrase for another, would, in many instances, make all the differ-
The letter may be found in the sixth volume of this Magazine, page 317. Now, if the compiler of these volumes has seen these papers, with what measure shall we mete the depth of his love of truth, and the sincerity of his affection for Coleridge, when he thus attempts to substitute for Coleridge's deliberate and dying opinions the broken scraps and musty recollections, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations, of his conversations ? If he has not seen them-his letter to his godchild particularly, I am afraid he must prepare for a shock which it will require all his present admiration of Coleridge to meet; for he will find in them more « remnants of superstition” than all his recollections and annotations will be able to outweigh, even if we give him into the bargain the full benefit of his attempt to anticipate the effect of all such authorities, in page 32 of his first volume :
“ It ought to be known, that many men in these latter days, many even from the especial land of cant and notions, used to seek to pick up crumbs from his mental banquets; and as these were chiefly weak-minded and superstitious men, with a few men of strong heads and minim hearts, which latter class are not, however, selfdeceived, he was led, being then feeble in health, to assent to their conclusions, seeing that, between minds like theirs and his giant intellect, an impassable chasm existed; in short, for peace' sake he humoured them, and for sympathy, as he used to say of Cromwell, spoke in the language, but not in the sense, of the canters.”
As respects the insinuation of charges against distinguished members of the family, this is done repeatedly in the course of the two volumes. Oh this “spirit of intense humanity!” What an admirable substitute it is for the faith, hope, and charity of the gospel! Observe the guilelessness—the tender, forbearing spirit-in which the following note is written :
“ They are, or have been, clever enough to appropriate his great reputation to their advancement, and then to allow him to need assistance from strangers. It is not always wise to scan too deeply the source of human actions; but I am irresistibly led to the conclusion, that a sort of half-consciousness of their own insignificance but for the passport of his name) entered into this almost (in one sense more than) parricidal neglect. I blame them not."- Page 223.
And again :“ Unworthy as the motives have been termed by which sundry persons were considered to be influenced, I am conscious that for them no other course was possible."
Blame them! Oh, no! Such a thought never entered his heart ! He will only give them a bad name!
But I must have done. One use such a work as this may be
turned to, and, in protracting my observations upon it, I have had that object mainly in view, is to make it an exhibition of the interior of the whited sepulchre of infidelity. For, what is this spirit of pure and intense humanity but a rejection of God and his Son under the plea of love to man-want of justice-want of common charity to individuals, under the assumed obligation of some self-supposed “sacred" duty, and a fierce revolutionary spirit, eager to set one class of society in arms against another, under the plea of care for the poor? God have mercy upon us, and preserve us from falling into the hands of such men !
C. J. H.
TRACTS AGAINST POPERY.NO. IV.
That a belief in transubstantiation was not required of any, as necessary to salvation, prior to the fourth Lateran council, 1215, the records of the church sufficiently declare; and it is indeed confessed by many of the Roman writers, as Tonstal, Erasmus, Durandus, Johannes Ferus, and the others cited by Bishop Taylor. So that, as regards the question of antiquity and semper, there is no longer room for dispute. Rome stands convicted of requiring that as necessary to salvation which has not been required, semper, ubique, et ab omnibus ; in other words, of putting forth a new article of faith as a term for church communion, in direct violation of the decrees of Ephesus and Chalcedon; that is to say, in direct violation of the decisions of councils which have been received as general by the whole church. But though the main question regarding transubstantiation is thus decided, there is another, and by no means an uninteresting one, still open-namely, how far a belief in transubstantiation, though not required as necessary to salvation, was, in point of fact, generally received and entertained in the Christian church from the beginning. This is affirmed, as might be expected, by the Romans, who, by taking isolated sentences of different writers, and giving them an arbitrary force, have shewn that they are not wholly destitute of plausible defence, and are enabled to represent the voice of antiquity as being on their side, to those who have not the means of examining into the truth of the matter, which would shew that although, in those happy days, before transubstantiation had been started, they indulged in warmth of expression concerning the nature and the privileges of the Eucharist, which
we, who live after the introduction of that error, are obliged to forego, they (I believe invariably) are found to have also spoken of it in such terms as are wholly incompatible with the Roman fabrication.
In discussing this point, the stores of individual writers have been again and again appealed to; but I do not think due use has ever been made of the very remarkable testimonies borne upon this point by the collective opinions of the large assemblies of bishops who formed the two great councils, the one of Iconoclasts, under the Emperor Vol. IX.-April, 1836.
Constantine Copronymus, which met at Constantinople, A.D. 754, and consisted of 338 bishops: the other of the Iconodulists, under the Empress Irene, which met at Constantinople, and was afterwards transferred to Nice, in Bithynia, A.D. 787, and consisted of 350 bishops. Both of these councils assumed the style of the seventh general council. At one of the sittings (the sixth) of the Deutero Nicene Synod, all the synodical decrees of the former were read over, clause by clause, and held up to scorn and reprobation; and it having so happened that, in one of their clauses, the fathers of the synod of 754 had expressed their opinion as to the light in which the consecrated elements in the Eucharist are to be regarded, the assembly of 787 had the opportunity of stating what exception they could make to the definition of the former. The incidental way in which the subject came to be discussed adds further to the value of the testimony. The main aim and object of the council under Copronymus was to shew the unreasonable, unecclesiastical, and unscriptural character of the custom of introducing images, especially images of Christ, into the Christian temples as objects of adoration. Among other arguments against it, they allege this,—that the church had already the one, and the only, image of Christ, which he had sanctioned in the bread of the Eucharist. (Not that these holy fathers looked upon it as a bare sign! No; using the self same caution, nay, the very words of our reformers, in the homilies, they say it is sanctified as “no unreal figure" of Christ's flesh, meaning thereby that it conveyed to the faithful receivers that inward treasure of which it was the appointed image.) To this argument Irene's bishops reply.
Let us now read the statements of both. First, that of the council of Constantinople:
Let them be glad, and rejoice, and be of good courage, who with singleness of heart make, and desire, and worship the true image of Christ, and offer it for the salvation of body and soul; which he, the Priest and God, taking out of our own a moderate portion, at the time of his voluntary passion, delivered to the stewards of his mysteries for a type and memorial. For when he was about willingly to give himself up to his memorable and life-giving death, he took bread and blessed it, and gave thanks, and brake it, and distributed it, saying, “ Take, eat, for the remission of sins: this is my body.” In like manner he distributed the cup, saying, “ This is my blood ; do this in remembrance of me.” As though no other form, or type, were chosen by him of things under heaven as able to image his carnality. Behold, then, the image of his life-giving body, which is previously and honourably made. For what did the all-wise God mean to argue by this ? Surely, no other than to shew and teach clearly to us men the mystery which is wrought in his dispensation. That as that which he took of us is simple matter of human substance, perfect in all points, which does not express the real subsisting person, lest an addition of a person be made to the godhead, (μή χαρακτηριζούσης ιδιοσύστατον πρόσωπον, ίνα μη
poglýkn s POOÚTOV Šv rõ GeórnTI &#éop); so also, he ordered, as an image, the peculiar matter, the substance of bread, to be offered, not fashioned in human form, lest idolatry be introduced. As therefore the natural body of Christ is holy, as deified, so it is clear that, by adoption, his image also is holy, as being rendered divine by grace, through sanctification. For this, also, as we said, the Lord Christ effected, -that as he deified, by his own natural sanctification, the flesh which he took upon him, by its very unity with himself; so also, that the bread of the Eucharist should become a divine body, being sanctified as no unreal figure of his natural flesh, by the Holy Spirit coming upon it; through the mediation of the priest, who makes the oblation, turning it from common into holy. Again, the natural, living, and intelligent flesh of the Lord was anointed to divinity by the Holy Ghost; just so the