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tellectual confusion into which the Americans have fallen; they listen to ministers of differing faith, who seek to draw them, each, to his own party; more frequently the reason of the people is distracted between so many contradictory beliefs, and they remain undecided. Not being directed by true faith, they are like men abandoned in the midst of a stormy sea, on a vessel without a rudder; they wander about with every wind of doctrine; in the distance Catholicism appears through the clouds like an immense beacon; many perceive its light only to avoid it; others profit by it to enter into port, that is to say, into the bosom of the unity of the faith. Protestantism yields under the repeated blows, which its own children give; it appears to a looker-on to be only a skeleton; its dissolution is inevitable and near at hand. But Catholicism, we must believe, will breathe on these dry bones, and animate them with new life.”.
We have not brought forward these representations by Catholic writers of Protestantism in the United States, for the purpose of refuting them. Every Protestant reader will at once detect the exaggerations and will understand that they are the views of persons who look from a widely different point of observation from his own; who have no idea of a church, but as a hierarchy of pope, bishops, and priests in true succession; or of converts, but of those regenerated in baptism, although the rite be performed under false pretenses by hired servants; and who are so petrified in ecclesiastical forms that they cannot appreciate the outward manifestations of the working of the Spirit of God in the heart of man; who, notwithstanding their voluntary association in contributions for the propagation of their faith, are bound as with fetters of iron in unwavering submission to the will of a fellow creature, and who, seeing in liberty only unrestrained license, have not attained to that liberty wherewith Christ maketh his people free.
We have thought, in accordance with the old maxim, “Fas est ab hoste doceri,” that something may be learned from an enemy, and that we may thus be prepared to correct what is wrong, to strengthen what is weak, and so make perfect the weapons of Christian warfare. .
Since this Article was written, we have received from Messrs. J. Murphy & Co., Booksellers, Baltimore, the numbers of the Annales for the present year, in the English edition, from which we learn that the total receipts of the association for the year 1857, were 4,191,716 francs, of which 68,615 francs were received from the United States, and 570,923 francs were distributed for the support of the different missions in the United States, by the Superior Councils.
This English edition appears to be a translation from the original French, and like that is not intended to be circulated through the usual channels of trade, but is published mainly for the information of the contributors, and to lead others to become contributors to the object of extending the Catholic faith, by acquainting them with what the society has done and is doing towards this end. It gives as full extracts from the letters of the missionaries supported by the society as any of the Protestant missionary journals, and is valuable for the information it contains respecting the operations of this society, as well as for general information respecting the geography and statistics of various countries. It is a valuable work for any public or private library.
ARTICLE IV.-CHINA AND THE CHINESE.
It is a singular circumstance, which has not failed to attract remark, that the Atlantic cable seems to have been laid for no other practical end, so far as we on this side the ocean are concerned, than to let us know, a few days earlier than we should otherwise have learned it, that a treaty had been concluded with China by the two greatest European powers ; a treaty which promised the attainment, at last, of the purpose of long years of peaceful diplomacy and warlike endeavor, in the laying open of that vast and populous empire to the knowledge of Europe, and the influence of European ideas. Certainly, no other event of the century has had so costly and conspicuous an instrumentality provided for its announcement. And although, in an age of cool-headed reason and contempt of omens like the present, we shall hardly be allowed to draw from this fact the inference that no other event of the century has been of the same importance to us, we may claim, without danger of serious contradiction, that it stands prominently forward among the great events of the time, and that its bearings require to be carefully studied; the more so, on account of the acknowledged difficulty of the subject. More discordant opinions than may be found recorded respecting China, the character of its people, the value of their institutions, their accessibility to trade, their capacity of adopting new ideas and new forms of social and political life, the possibility of their reception into the brotherhood of nations—if it be not impertinence in us, wrangling and mutually exclusive set that we are, to talk of our fraternity, and of admitting into it a member as big, and many times as old, as all the rest of us together—more discordant opinions than have been expressed upon such points as these, even by the well informed, it would not be easy to find put forth upon any other similar subject. We by no means suppose that anything we can say will go far toward reducing this discordance to harmony; but, as an enlightened and outspoken Journal, we must have our word upon whatever the world is talking most about, whether it shall prove to be wellsaid or ill-said. Perhaps we may be able to bring forward facts, or present views, which will enable some minds to arrive at juster and clearer judgments than they would otherwise form respecting the Celestial Empire and its inhabitants.
We candidly warn our readers, at the outset, that we feel a strong inclination to side with the Chinese in their present difference with the rest of mankind, so far as a regard for the rights of the case shall not forbid it. We wish to take the most favorable view that we can of all that concerns them; to allow them credit for all that is justly their due, and to look with compassion and indulgence upon their short-comings and faults; to place ourselves, in short, in as close sympathy with them as shall be found possible. Various potent considerations move as to this. Feelings of gratitude, in the first place, are not without their effect upon us. Who can sit over that cup, of all cups the most social and cheering, and the most harmless withal, and not feel within him a warm glow of something like affectionate good-will toward a country which has given, and which alone continues to supply, such a gift to man and womankind? Can that part of earth's surface, after all, be truly said to have cut itself off from communion with the rest, from contributing intimately and efficiently to their pleasures, which in so many and so widely scattered homes fills the steaming urn with its enlivening beverage? What shall we say, farther, of silk and porcelain, as contributions to the material comfort of the race? We will not insist too strongly upon the Chinese inventions of the mariner's compass, gunpowder, and the art of printing, since, while some of them may be claimed to have done nearly as much mischief as good in the world, we cannot trace their origin, as possessions of our own, directly and certainly back to China. But a country which has bestowed upon mankind silk, porcelain, and tea, we might almost regard as having done its fair part, and allow to build up as high a fence as it pleased about itself, even at the risk of shutting out much sunlight, and to be happy within in its own chosen way.
Again, we cannot help feeling a great respect and admiration for a country which has had such a history as China. The remarkable character of the spectacle it presents among the nations of the earth is not seldom remarked upon, but cannot be too often or too impressively called to notice. China was one people and one kingdom a thousand years before that dim and half-mythical period when the Greek heroes led their followers to the siege of Troy, and it has maintained ever since, unbroken, the identity of its language, its national character, and its institutions. What changes, what overturnings and reconstructions, has not every other part of the world had to undergo during that interval of four thousand years! There alone upon the earth's face does stability seem to have reigned, while revolution has been elsewhere the normal order of things. We say deliberately stability, not inaction. China has known during all that time as constant action, often as violent commotion, and in many respects no less real progress, than other countries: had it been stagnant only, had there not been in it a healthy vital action, it must long since have perished in inanity and putrescence: but, far from that, China has seen within the last two hundred years one of its happiest and most prosperous periods. Here is a problem for the student of history of which the interest cannot easily be overstated. How have the Chinese succeeded in finding and maintaining the stable equilibrium which other races have vainly sought ? Is it in their character, or their peculiar external circumstances, or in the wisdom with which they have harmonized the two, that their strength has lain? As we look upon this venerable structure, the sole survivor of all the fabrics of em-. pire reared by the hands of the men of olden time, we can hardly help wishing that it might have been left to stand until it should fall of itself; that the generations to come might have seen whether there yet remained in it enough of the recuperative energies which had already more than once raised it from an estate far lower than that into which it was seeming now to be fallen, to give it a renewed lease of its old life, a return to its ancient prosperity and vigor. That is now no longer possible. China was able, by the force of her superior gifts and culture, to overbear and assimilate the wild tribes of the northern and VOL. XVII.