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juncture of affairs in the Soudan, when it has even been proposed to place power in the hands of such a monster as Zebehr Pasha, it is important to remember this; for one of the most horrible, because the most demoralising, of the branches of the slave trade is the traffic in beautiful young Abyssinian girls, many of them Christians, who are collected by Mahometan merchants in the Wooma and Galla districts, and sold at the public market of Galabat, to which I have referred, for transmission across the desert to the shores of the Red Sea, whence those who survive the journey are smuggled over in Arab dhows to furnish Eastern harems.
They can feel, these poor beautiful children of the sun, who have spent their happy childhood among bubbling brooks and shady banana groves, on the verdant slopes of their native mountains ; for, when I was at Jeddah, one more daring than the rest, sprang from her lofty latticed casement and yielded her spirit up to God in the foul, narrow street below, rather than sink body and soul in the degrading atmosphere of the harem where she had been caged. A small crowd collects round the spot, and two black slaves carry a crushed fragile form quickly out of sight, then the idlers pass on their way, and only the street dogs remain sniffing round those dark red splashes in the sand. The master of the harem gives another puff at his pipe, and gently shrugs his shoulders. Usuf will go to the dealer and buy another slave to replace her-Allah is good, there are plenty more!
Certainly Galabat should be restored to King John, on condition that the slave market there shall cease, and the export of all slaves be prohibited from his dominions under heavy penalties. He told me it was only his Mahometan subjects who would oppose such a measure, and that he had the power to enforce it. In the name of humanity let it be enforced. But it is necessary, if any lasting good is to be obtained, that the king should have such a full and liberal concession made to him as will really open the way to a change in the condition of his country. Now that provinces in the Soudan are being given away right and left, it would be absurd to suppose that there could be any hesitation in restoring to this friendly and Christian prince those districts which he claims on his north-west frontier; but the more important question remains of a port on the Red Sea, which is indispensable to the development of the resources and civilisation of a country, which in the future may be expected to send rich stores of coffee, cotton, myrrh, senna, tobacco, flax, and grain to the Western markets, and from its convenient position, healthy climate, and regular rainfalls, will offer a field to commercial enterprise which should not be undervalued.
Massowah is geographically the natural port of Abyssinia, but there are grave diplomatic difficulties in the way of its cession, and I lelieve it has been proposed to erect it into a free port. If this is done, an arrangement must be arrived at with regard to the low-lying
country between the mountains and the sea, as otherwise the Shoho Arabs who inhabit these plains would be likely to tax goods passing through their territory, and Abyssinia would still suffer. A naval commission of officers now stationed in the Red Sea should be appointed to inquire into the best situation for an Abyssinian port south of Massowab, if Massowah itself cannot be given her; and it must be remembered that the possession of such a port will be the best guarantee for the good conduct of future Abyssinian sovereigns, as we should always have it in our power to close the sole outlet of their
But it is by such liberal and effective concessions to Abyssinia as will encourage the direction of commercial enterprise towards her, that we shall lay the surest foundation of her future development and utility to the civilised world. For fifteen centuries she has been asleep, like the enchanted princess of fairy lore; let it be the part of England to step through the surrounding barrier and awaken her to life by the kiss of commerce; and it may be that, by-and-by, we shall find much to compensate us in the development of this great African kingdom for the present loss to civilisation entailed by the lapsing of the Soudan provinces into a state of primitive barbarism. Should a retreat by Berber prove impracticable, the garrisons of Khartoum, Senaar, and Kassala might still be extricated by the co-operation of an Abyssinian force moving to their relief down the Blue Nile, and covering their march to Massowah; perhaps the day may yet come when King John, like the mouse in the fable, will prove himself a valuable ally. At all events, it should not be our part to confer favours on the fanatic, the slave-trader, and the rebel alone, while we refuse to assist a friendly and Christian prince, who has waited patiently for justice, and seeks anxiously to bring his country into communication with the civilisation of the Western hemisphere.
E. A. DE COSSON.
LUTHER AND RECENT CRITICISM.
THERE have been many voices about Luther during the last few months-voices of various meaning; some critical and denunciatory, others applausive and indiscriminate. It may be well to gather up the result; not, indeed, to pitch voice against voice—which would be of no use-but to sift as clearly as we can the strain of truth from them, and to set the real work of Luther in as broad a light of fact and reason as we can.
It would be of no use to go over again the well-known incidents of Luther's life. These have been related, briefly or copiously, in many forms. They are well known, and can hardly fail to be so, lending themselves so readily as they do to graphic treatment. This at least is true of all his earlier history, which stands out in bold relief from his later and more dubious career. It is important, both for his work and character, to discriminate between the two.
One can hardly imagine a more picturesque group of incidents, touched with a more heroic lustre, than the successive phases of Luther's life up to the year 1525. Apart from all religious interest, they impress the historical imagination and kindle feelings of elevated passion. We are carried away in the sweep of their large and imposing movement, even if our sympathies are not enlisted in his
This is seen in his Catholic biographer Audin, who would fain be critical, but is often found admiring. His pen glows against his will as he touches in succession the glowing scenes which bring before us the youthful monk struggling with his own dark thoughts at Erfurt, or daring Tetzel in his flagitious traffic, or nailing his ninety-five theses on the doors of the Castle Church at Wittenberg, or entering Worms, or standing alone before the Emperor there, or working in lonely faith at the translation of the New Testament in the Wartburg, or quelling the iconoclasm of Carlstadt on his return to Wittenberg. Up to this point Luther's conflict is on a grand scale. It is inspired by simple and noble motives. It is the impersonation of a spirit of self-sacrifice, of duty—“Here I stand; I can do no otherwise, so help me God.' Whether in point of fact he ever uttered these often-quoted words, the spirit of them animated all bis earlier career. They fitly symbolise it throughout, and not merely at Worms. Even the cold pen of Gibbon grows warm in describing the great figure of Athanasius contra mundum; and it must be a small as well as a hostile pen which refuses to be moved by the figure of the brave untended monk as he stood facing both Pope and Emperor in the fresh outburst of his reforming faith.
The second portion of the Reformer's career is by no means so heroic. It does not rise to the same level, even if it present here and there richer points of interest. He is no longer the simple hero, but the husband and father, the theologian and head of a great party. A marvellous power his life still is, and it touches us at many points. In some respects it touches us more than the earlier and simple story. It is more full of human feeling. It is the time of Luther's many friendships, of his delights in nature and home and children; of his charming letters, with all their love and prattle to his Kate and his Hans; of his tears by the deathbed of Lena, his darling, allbeautiful, all-obedient daughter'—of all the free and wise and graphic converse of the “Tischreden. Yet it is no longer a life of the same elevation. It no longer moves on the same lofty plane, or exhibits the same sbeer simplicity, directness, and self-sacrifice. His motives have become more mixed, bis aims more involved. He is no longer merely the Reformer, but the Churchman: no longer merely the leader with his own magnanimous impulses to guide him, but the defender of a cause, the general of an army, who has to think of many things but what to himself is simply true and right. With all its more tender and varied aspects, therefore, his later life is by no means so heroic. It does not challenge admiration or kindle enthusiasm in the same degree.
It does not rise before us with the same stately, impressive, and irresistible grandeur.
It is always to be remembered, therefore, that we have a sort of two Luthers before us—the Luther of Erfurt, the opponent of Tetzel and Eck, the hero of Worms and the Wartburg, the 'solitary monk that shook the world ; ' apd, again, the Luther of the Peasant War, the opponent of Erasmus and Zwingli, the perplexed adviser of the Landgrave of Hesse determined to take a second wife while the first was still living, the vindicator not only of grace in his own experience against the frightful abuses of penance and indulgence, but of the doctrine of justification by faith in relation to life and works. The one Luther is great above the measure of most men. There may be figures of more heroic mould; but we do not know them. But to Luther the Politician, the Polemic, the Theologian there may be much exception taken. His greatness in these respects is open to question, and we do not feel ourselves called upon to be his defenders.
The conduct and works of Luther which have been most impugned are, however, more capable of defence than many of his critics allow. A generous appreciation of the man and of his training knows how to
make allowances, can see the patriot in the alarmist and the love of holiness in the antinomian polemic. To draw sharp lines, and separate the harsh sayings from the tender prayer and the wild paradox from the wise and broad line of thought, is not criticism of the highest order. We shall afterwards advert to his doctrine of grace, and the extremes to which at times he seems to push it. His harsh and hasty words during the Peasants' War have been brought against him perhaps with more reason. Yet a little consideration will serve to show how few of his critics have realised his true position in that case, and consequently how much they have misunderstood him. Words, however harsh and indefensible in themselves, can only be rightly measured when weighed along with their context and the whole antecedent attitude of the speaker.
In his lifetime it is worthy of remark that Luther was blamed for a spirit in this matter the very opposite to that with which he is now charged. Then, he was supposed, by men like Sir Thomas More and others, to be identified with the cause of the peasants, to have actively stirred up the disorders into which it ran, and to have been largely responsible for them. He was accused as a man of the people, towards whom he is now alleged to have been cruel and pitiless. In reality, he is not fairly liable to either charge, although it may be true, on one side, that his movement initiated the Peasants' movement, and on the other that he used words at last, when he found his remonstrances of no avail, which were justifiable in their harshness.
The Peasants' movement began late in the summer of 1524, in the Black Forest. It gained strength in the beginning of the following year, and spread rapidly. Carlstadt gave direct incitement to it by calling upon the people to destroy all images. Yet the demands of the peasantry were in the first instance not only reasonable but singularly moderate. They claimed above all the right of each parish to choose its own minister. They were determined no longer to be 'the property of others,' for Christ had redeemed all alike with His blood. They demanded for everyone the right to hunt and fish, because God had given to all men equally power over the animal creation. They based their demands upon the Word of God. “If we are wrong,' they said, 'let Luther set us right by the Scriptures.' There were as yet none of the wild imaginations of Münzer and his prophets, no schemes of a Kingdom of Saints founded on spoliation and murder. They burned down convents, it is true, and spoiled and burned cities; but they did not announce this as their mission, nor set themselves for the overthrow of the existing order of civilisation.
When the articles of the insurgents reached Wittenberg in the spring of 1525, Luther was moved by many things they contained. He felt that the peasantry bad many grievances. He was himself the
i Köstlin's Life, p. 315.