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in expression, in tone, and feeling, are all required by a logical criticism which objects to and puts its veto upon floridity, superfluity, bathos, &c. ; which permits only the apposite as the genuine.
The canons of truth are irreversible; criticism discovers and arranges them, it does not invent them. It insists on attention to these as preliminary to true reproductive efforts, and in consequence of this insistence it is that criticism demands accuracy of ideation, consistency of influence upon the sentiments, conformity of executive skill to the highest possibilities attainable under the conditions, and with the materials of production; and correctness of conceptive presentation in the perceptive representation, of correspondence between the ideal form and that in which it is realized; hence the intellectual standard of criticism is all-consistent truth.
Every product of human thought and effort possesses worth of some sort or other. It may be that it is a worth of expediency, of economicality, of commercial interchangeability, of artistic attractiveness, of literary merit, of intellective satisfactoriness, of moral tendency, or of religious blessing. Worth varies from the low range of expediency to the lofty height of sacramental grace. The estimate of worth comes, therefore, to be a matter of much interest and importance, and the knowledge of what standard to aim at is not less valuable to the producing agent than is a perception of the demands requisite, to be made, in regard to any given sort of product, indispensable to the critic. The settlement of the kind and amount of worth any skilled effort should possess is one which requires not only rare tact, but rare honesty in the critic.
The logic of value, so far as criticism is concerned, is very different from that which the political economist fixes. It does not discuss supply or demand, but need or merit. Men
have a demand for epic poems, but that will not gift the nations with Homers, Virgils, Dantes, Miltons; it may only produce Southeys, Herauds, Klopstocks, and Viennets. Men may have a supply of philosophic thought, but, cheapen and popularize it as you may, you cannot bring the minds of the masses to accept the expositions of Plato, Aristotle, Bacon, Kant, Hamilton, J. S. Mill, J. H. Stirling, or Dr. M Cosh. Men need a religion, but just in proportion to their need of it is their heedlessness about it;
and a true philosophy merits recognition, though the likelihood of its gaining it is exceedingly doubtful.
The critic should know the real needs of men, and ought to be able to pronounce upon the merits of productions in their relation to these needs. The real worth of a work of mind may be very different from its accidental value in a given age, and the accidental popularity and value of a work may far exceed or fall below its genuine deserts. The true, i.e., the subtle, searching judicial critic is the umpire between the public and the producer, the advocate or denouncer of the latter, and the protector of the former. The determination of a just estimate of worth, intrinsic or accidental, and the power of giving it effect in his adjudication, is not less requisite in the true critic than it is necessary for the dependent public.
What constitutes real worth? What kind and degree of worth ought each class of product to possess ? To what class of society does the special worth of any work commend it! What encouragement should the worth of the work secure for it ?-and what are the duties of society in regard to this product of worth? are some of the questions which criticism should be able to solve. But the decision of any one of these questions involves a process of reasoning, an exertion of logical culture, of specific thought applied to the particular matter in hand, thought governed by definite laws, proceeding from premies to conclusion in regular sequence. The critic must be cultured. Disciplined mental culture is logic: it may be the logic of facts, of analogies, of symbols, of ethical problems, of inductions, of poetics, of arts, of sciences, of faiths, of probabilities, of historic evidence, of interpretation, of theories, of theologies, &c., but logic it must be; i. e., a scientific culture by which the mind is corrected and improved in its several activities by an acquaintance with and exercises in the methods of reasoning, which conform to or result from the laws of thought. For, however little we may be inclined to believe it, logic has a latent force in all the efforts of mind, and may be traced, if sought after, in every exertion of mental power which has resulted either in the gratification of the present age, or in the improvement of these influences which have outlived the ages of the past.
What, then, in a word, does the highest criticism demand? The greatest possible amount of harmony compatible with the conditions of production between ideation, style, taste, truth, and worth ;-the consistency of all elements involved in the effecting of any result. As the manner of doing this best can only be resolved by logical process, so it should form a distinct culture. It may or may not bear the name of a logic of criticism, but such it would be in effect. We have endeavoured to call attention to its elements, that it may be seen that we do not think that tart, smart, caustic, fluent opinionativeness, however valuable or eloquent, constitutes criticism; and that we may induce others to believe that no criticism is really trustworthy which is not only reasonable, but willing to render a reason. An academy of criticism as a tribunal of judgment might, probably, dogmatize and tyrannize--it would not, in all likelihood, condescend to reason. If we were to insist on all critics giving evidence of reasoned thought, we should not require to care about their anonymity. Hence, as a means of moving out of our present reprehensible uncertainty, we advise the study of the logic of criticism. Such a study would not only increase the trustworthiness of criticism, it would make it a moral agent and a beneficent power-a true leader of the thoughts of men, and an advantageous Dikastery on the merits of all human products, industrial, commercial, artistic, or literary. Reviewing to be critical must become logical. Criticism is applied logic.
OUGHT STANDARDS OF FAITH TO BE IRREVISABLE ?
The completion of a volume brings with it the close of the present animated debate on this interesting and important subject, and it becomes the duty of those who led the van on either side of the attack to rally their forces, and to examine how far they have penetrated the fortifications of their opponents, as well as how much their own defences have suffered from assault. It is not less with considerable pleasure than diffidence that I undertake this taskpleasure that the debate has called forth so many able contributors on both sides, and diffidence of my own powers in adequately reply. ing to so many eminent writers. But not to waste time in parley, let us turn to the work in hand.
And first to the article of “G. M. Sutherland.” With the writer of this temperate and thoughtful article I in many points agree, and on first perusal thought it really was meant for an affirmative paper, and had been misplaced. Even now I can hardly understand why the writer should be found on the negative side of the question, and I fancy before this he must have changed his opinion. He holds that there was one rule of faith given at the beginning; but then where he and most of my opponents differ from myself is in the continuance or otherwise of this standard of faith. G. M. Sutherland” and others believe that this faith once delivered to the saints has been lost, and argue accordingly. I, on the other hand, from my own independent examination of the New Testament, of ecclesiastical history, and of the works of the Christian fathers, am persuaded that this faith, once for all delivered, still exists; and that, though mingled in some cases with error, and in others altered in small points of discipline, yet as the church has with its many members but one Head, so there is among its many members the unity arising from their holding "one faith.” I cannot logically come to any other conclusion, nor see how I can believe myself a true member of the Church Catholic, or call myself a professed member of any of its branches, unless my faith in the truth of its doctrines is firm and steadfast. G. M. S. very truly says that “this faith was to reign supreme and unalterable down the entire steep of time.” And neither he nor any of those who have written on the same side have shown any valid reasnos why the standard should be revised. An alteration to suit different stages of the language is not a revision in the proper sense of the term as applied to standards of faith. A revised translation of the Bible was necessary at the close of the Tudor epoch; but though this was done by the first Stuart, yet the Bible as the Bible was not revised, only the previous translations and MSS. None of its precepts or doctrines, though changed as to the mere outward expression, were altered in their spirit and application. So should it be with standards of faith. A revision to suit the changes of language is not a revision of the matter of faith, nor, when it does take place, is it any proof that standards of faith are or ought to be revisable. In fact, it proves just the opposite, viz., the care of the church to preserve intact the matter of her articles of faith by adapting them to the common language, so that, as all can understand, none may have an excuse for rejecting or disregarding them.
The argument of G. M. S. (p. 40), deducible from the fact that different minds perceive things differently, defeats itself. For, firstly, things which can be fully understood and comprehended by all do not form the matter of a creed. They are not the objects of religious faith, which is the expectation of things hoped for, the conviction of undiscernible things. And the origin of creeds was as G. M. S. describes on the same page. But, secondly, supposing standards to be revisable in order to suit the new ideas of the varied schools of theology, it is manifest that there could be no standards at all, or that their number would be innumerable, each man forming his own to suit his taste, or the way in which he, as G. M. S., conceives faith, or rather the matter of it.
Again, the argument that standards, as in the case of that branch of the Church Catholic established in England, do not secure uniformity, is no argument against their use. Because, in the first place, it is not the fault of these standards, which are explicit enough, but of the delays and glorious uncertainty of the civil law. A revision may be needed of the method of dealing with ecclesiastical offenders, but this has nothing to do with standards of faith. Indeed, were these standards revisable at pleasure, it is manifest that the church would be continually making ex post facto laws, and have really no power of determining what was heresy or of judging any
offenders ; for it is evident that, assuming the advisability of revising the standards of faith, they would be altered each time any cause célèbremas that of the Essayists and Reviewers, Bishop Colenso, &c.-turned up, to suit the new ideas of such persons; and also that any other future offender would feel certain that a new change would be made to suit his fresh views, and justly feel himself aggrieved if such measure were not dealt out to him.
With the origin of creeds given by G. M. S. on (p. 43) I cannot agree, and it is quite contradictory to that given on (p. 46). There were not standards of faith at first. There was but one standard ; and here I boldly accept the challenge thrown down by “R. D. Robjent,” and declare that as there was at first but one standard, so now there should be but one. But this does not prevent the use of varied formularies, as those of Bangor, Lincoln, Hereford, and Salisbury, to which he and others allude. There is one faith, though diversity of expression. It was so in the days of Tertullian, who more than once alludes to it, yet did not on that account consider the church divided. It is no doubt better that all the realm should have but one use, and so it was enacted by the reformers, but there was no schism though there was diversity in the early history of the Christian church.
“Ruddy,” in his article, shows the necessity for creeds; and if there were nothing more to appeal to than to the Bible, a case would certainly be made out for diversity of creeds, or for revision whenever thought convenient. Every sect claims that its creed is in all parts consistent with the Bible; in every case the Scriptures are wrested to the support of certain theories, or to the spiritual destruction of those who hold them. But there is something more than this to appeal to,-not as overriding the teaching of Scripture, but as supplementing and explaining it, and this is the custom and doctrine of the primitive church, as noted in the writings of the fathers. “R. D. Robjent" may sneer at the idea of successors of the apostles, but there can be no doubt that there were such successors in the bishops or overseers of the various churches founded by the apostles, who were fully informed as to apostolic doctrine and practice, and if not inspired themselves, received their instruction and commands from those who were.
The recommendation of “Ruddy” and others to have a period. ical revision of standards of faith is not tenable, because on his (and their) own showing these should only be altered when new ideas absolutely demand it; and it is quite possible, even when the time
Ruddy” would allow for the periodical revision came round, there would be nothing to revise, and the faith of the many would be unnecessarily disturbed.
The fact that the general opinion of the educated now is contrary to that of the same class in the seventeenth century, as to the method and time of the Creation, does not invalidate the Westminster Confession, which declares it to have been performed in six days. The point between a believer and an unbeliever is not what time the Creation occupied, but whether there was a creation at all, or whether all things are not the result of chance. The Westminster Confession and the fourth commandment of the moral law do not state the length of the days, but the cardinal fact that there was a creation. Again, I believe in the existence of a heaven and hell, of angels good and evil, but it is probable that my conceptions of these things are very different from those of others who still believe in their existence. There is a certain right of private judgment to be conceded, but this does not go so far as the sticklers for it suppose. Seeing there are so many religious denominations existing, the right must be conceded for each man to judge which of the many appears to him to be most in accordance with the one original standard originally delivered, and to adhere to that; but having once done so, he cannot expect that that sect will continually alter its creed to suit the new ideas of himself or others.