Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

slaves practically; without education, avith-| and indolent ease in this world and the out aim or purpose in life beyond minister- next. Its vanquished foes and their ing to the brutal passions of their masters. property become its lawful prize, and the What hope can there be for sons brought believer who falls in war against the inup in such nurseries of frivolity and sen. fidel goes straight to Paradise to recline suality? This point is put in a striking on luxurious couches by cooling streams form by the learned author of “ The Fall and attended by black-eyed houris — seve of Constantinople" (himself for many enty for each believer — who serve him years resident in Constantinople), in a let. with dainty food and refreshing wines, a ter which I have lately received from him. beverage that may be quaffed without He says:

stint in Paradise. The true believers, Once the Mahomedan nation has constituted moreover, are promised the irresistible aid itself and Islam becomes the recognized creed, and protection of an omnipotent tribal then decadence begins. The position assigned God, whose favorites they must remain so to women is quite enough to account for this. long as they are true to his Prophet. The best-educated Turks see in the position Opposed to the rush of fanatical barbaof their women the hopelessness of competing rians thus stimulated and inspired was with Christians. One of them once put it to Christendom on the one hand, disunited me in this way. Suppose,' " said he, “in and enfeebled by internecine strife ; and, 1453, you had peopled one island with Ma on the other, the Persian Empire, enerhomedans, and another with Christians of any vated by luxury and shaken to its founda. education and intelligence; what would be the tions by successive waves of barbaric result now? The Mahomedan children would invasion. It was therefore to the sword have been brought up in the stupidity of the of conquest and not to any innate attracharem; during all those years the sons would tiveness that Islam owed its early tri. have regarded their sisters and mothers as umphs. “Of all the native populations of inferior animals; the fathers would have had the countries subdued,” says Finlay, in his no intercourse with their wives on any social, “ History of Greece under Foreign Domimercantile, political, or religious questions; nation,"* " the Arabs of Syria alone the wives would have been ignorant with a appear to have immediately adopted the childish ignorance a European can hardly im. religion of their co-national race; but the erations of children would have been each great mass of the native races in Syria, practically the offspring of only one parent Mesopotamia, Egypt, Cyrenaica, and Afeducated by contact with his fellows. On the rica, clung firmly to their faith; and the other hand, cach child of the Christian Cult decline of Christianity in all those counwould be the issue of two persons, who, from tries is to be attributed rather to the converse together and with their friends and extermination than to the conversion of relations of both sexes, had acquired an edu- the Christian inhabitants.” And even the cation which was wanting to the Mahomedan converts to Islam, in the first generation, mothers.” In fact, my friend's idea was that have everywhere been almost always on pure Darwinian principles the Mahomedan proselytes by compulsion or from some islanders would be inferior in intelligence to secular motive. They are mostly so in the Christians. I say nothing here about morality, though on that point the difference Africa at the present day. The two great would have been greater.

motives of conversion there are (1) the

sword of Islam, (2) the dread of slavery. The rapid spread of Islam has been | The slave-hunters and slave-merchants are contrasted with the slower progress of Muslims. Slave traffic is sanctioned by Christianity. But rapidity of propagation, Mahomedan law, even in the case of Musso far from being a mark of superior or lim slaves; and not only so, but the torganization, is commonly the reverse. The ture of slaves, such as mutilation in case rabbit is not superior to the elephant, nor of theft, is authorized. Nevertheless, the the American weed to the forest oak. African slave-hunters naturally prefer nonThe rapid spread of Islam can be ex. Musulman slaves — so much so, indeed, plained on other grounds. The new the. that they discourage in some districts ocracy offered to the rude brave sons of conversions to Islam as narrowing the the desert a number of alluring induce area of the pagan population available for ments well calculated to weld them together into a terrific engine of destruction.

i. 368. Cf. Dozy, Hist. des Musulman d'Espagne,

ii., " In the ninth century the conquerors of the Islam "panders to man's lower appetites, Peninsula followed to the letter the coarsely expressed and imposes very few self-denials. It is advice of the khalif Omar: “We ought to eat up the a religion without a cross, appealing to them up as long as Islam endures."

Christians, and our descendants ought to go on eating man's lust, cupidity, pride, love of power, # See the Hedaya, edited by Grady, p. 265.

[ocr errors]

slavery. To escape slavery, therefore, necessary condition of progress is unsat. whole tribes in Africa sometimes profess isfied longing. Our Lord's command, Islam. These are manifestly not genuine therefore, * Be ye perfect, as your Faconversions. In India the caste system ther which is in heaven is perfect," is operates in the same way. The profes- but a declaration of the universal law of sion of Islam is an immense social gain progress for all intellectual and moral beto low.caste populations. Here again is ings. To prescribe a standard of conduct no genuine conversion. In short, purely which the mass of men can easily reach is spiritual causes have never had much to to doom, as Islam dooms, mankind to do with conversions to Islam anywhere. stagnation and sterility. It is its excepAnd it must be borne in mind, in addition, tionally high standard that has helped to that in Mahomedan countries the chil make Christian civilization so exceptiondren, not only of mixed marriages, but ally superior to all other civilizations. even of heathen parents, are by law recko Tó it is mainly due the fabric of all that oned as Mahomedans, although they have complex structure known as modern civilnever made any profession of Islam.* ization. In the degree in which ChrisFinally, the following fact reported by tianity has had fair play human nature Consul Sandwith from Larnaca is true of has been purified and elevated. Slavery many other places under Musulman rule: has steadily receded before it. Woman “There exist some fifteen hundred per-|(whose moral and intellectual status is an sons who are Musulmans in name only; unfailing test of civilization) has been but a great many are Christians at heart, raised to her rightful position as man's but are obliged publicly to acknowledge co-equal partner. The sacredness of huthe Prophet, and can only secretly testify man life, even in its feeblest and most their adherence to Christianity."

degraded forms, has been established as a As a spiritual force, in so far as it ever religious dogma.* Wars are becoming was one, Islam is not advancing, but ret- less frequent and immeasurably more hurograding. The Musulman world con- mane. Popular education and political tains no longer a single centre from which freedom have advanced under the ægis of radiates

any intellectual light or any sign Christianity in a degree never imagined of material progress. There is not one by the wisest teachers of paganism. The Musulman State in the world which wields industrial classes even of Greece and independent sway

- which, in fact, does Rome were slaves. And coincident with not exist solely by the sufferance of Chris- this moral progress has been the advancetendom. A creeping paralysis has fas- ment of Christendom in the arts and sci. tened upon Islam, and the shadow of the ences. Nor is there any sign that the devouring eagles may even now be de- impulse thus given to human progress is scried on its horizon.

on the wane, or that Christianity, as some How stands the case of Christianity in would persuade us, is played out. The comparison? Its pattern man is not only very perfection of its ideal is the guarantee to the Christian, but to the great mass of of its ever-abiding welcome to the quest intelligent and educated unbelievers, the of knowledge in every department of scihighest and noblest ideal of humanity that ence. We must admit and deplore that history records or the human mind can Christian teachers and tribunals have at

His teaching and example are different times opposed new discoveries the most perfect exhibition of human vir- and improvements. That is merely a tue that the world has seen. Mr. Cotter proof that the instruments through which Morison, indeed, thinks that Christianity Christianity works are fallible and sinful. inculcates so high a standard of conduct The answer is that, unlike Islam, the remthat it “is only adapted to a very limited edy has generally come from the bosom number of minds.” I is not this a fallacy of Christianity itself

. They have been in the sphere not only of ethical progress, Christian brains and tongues and pens but of intellectual as well ? Does not which have, for the most part, exposed progress depend on an ever-receding goal? and corrected the errors of mistaken The artist, the man of science, the orator Christian advocates. or poet, who realizes his own ideal and is And as to the comparatively slow proysatisfied, can progress no

The ress of Christianity and its imperfect suc

conceive.

more.

• " The Christian care for the sick and infirm was * See Blue-book on Religious Persecutions in Turkey, (1875), pp. 40, 49, 54.

unknown to the pagan world" (Service of Man, p. Consul Reports on the Condition of Christians in 237:) This is one of Mr. Cotter Morison's many can. Turkey, (1867), p. 54.

did acknowledgments of the superiority of Christianity Service of Man, pp. 224-5.

to all its rivals.

cess even within the frontiers of Chris- | time of Christ's death “ the number of tendom, we must distinguish between the names together” who owned themselves essence of a system and its separable his disciples were about an hundred and accidents. I have endeavored to show twenty."* Was that a fair test of the that Islam, at its best, bears within it the success of his ministry? The apparently incurable germ of inevitable decay and signal failures of Christianity have gener. dissolution. The hindrances to the spread ally been the preludes to fresh victories. of Christianity, on the other hand, are but So it may be now. The success of Chrisparasites which cling to it and which it tianity at any given time is not to be may shake off. They may be summarized measured by visible results. In India, in as follows: (1) The divisions of Christen- Japan, in China, in Africa, throughout the dom. Islam, too, has its sects, and many Turkish Empire, it is silently sapping the of them ; but they close their ranks and foundations of rival religions. lis ideas present a united front to the “ unbeliev- and principles are in the air, like those ers.” (2) Faulty methods of propagan- minute yet potent germs of which physdism, such as neglect of rearing in foreign ical science tells us. Only they are germs lands a native ministry, while importing of health inoculating diseased organisms European habits, customs, and dress with the seeds of a regenerate life. Chrisamong native converts. (3) The discredit tianity is impregnating Islam, Buddhism, cast upon the Christian name by the lives Confúcianism, paganism, with hopes, aspi. and demoralizing traffic of professing rations, ideals, principles, which are grad. Christians. (4) To which may be added, ually but surely disintegrating the old as regards India, the active discourage order of things, and preparing the way ment and even resistance which, until a for the reception of Christianity. The recent period, a professedly Christian stranger who stands on the banks of the government offered to the propagation of Neva or drives over its frozen surface, at Christianity. Chaplains in the Indian the close of winter, bas no idea of the army were forbidden to make converts, change that is impending – no idea that and a Sepoy who became a Christian was, in one week ice and snow will have vanI believe, down to the Mutiny, liable to ished, giving place to flowers and verdure, dismissal from the army.

while the erstwhile quiet and leafless But admitting all this, do not slow prog. woods will, in full foliage, be resonant ress and apparent failure indicate the with the song of birds. All this sudden divine method of working, which is not by transformation, however, is the result of lopping off branches and pruning super- forces which have been at work long beficial excrescences, but by subterranean fore, though silently and invisibly. Those approaches and working at roots ? What who believe that the Author of Nature is is this earth which we inhabit but a record the Founder of Christianity are justified in of what must have seemed failures at the looking for similar methods and corretime? In the retrospect we see that there sponding results in both. was no failure. We behold a develop

MALCOLM MACCOLL. ment from rude beginnings, through seeming flaws and miscarriages, to a crowning result. Thus the perfection of which we are cognizant in the physical not less than in the intellectual and moral world is a

From Temple Bar. perfection seen at the end of a long vista

MARINO FALIERO. of apparent failures. The progress is not

On the evening of the Thursday before in a straight line, but zigzag, like that of Lent, in the year 1355, the palace of the the Alpine climber, whose back is sometimes turned towards the point for which doge of Venice was faring with the lights

of a masqued ball. A festival was in the he is making would confine the comparison between glistening waters; and every gondola set It is therefore a superficial view which ocean city. The gondolas of all her proud.

est palaces shot everywhere across the Christianity and Islam to the numerical down a gorgeous company at the steps of proportions of their respective adherents, St. Mark's Place. The grand hall, where though even on that score Christianity has no reason to blush, as I have already article was written before the delivery of Sir W. Hunshown, and as Sir William Hunter has ter's interesting lecture, under the auspices of the so explained with respect to India.* At the ciety of Arts, and also before the appearance of the

article on " Islam and Christianity in India," LIVING

AGE, No. 2280, p. 579. See his Indian Empire, 2nd. ed., pp. 263-4. This

• Acts i. 15.

the doge received his guests, ablaze with upon the holy man and boxed his ears. lamps and torches, and humming with the Hotspur was not more jealous in honor strains of festal music, was thronged that Mercutio was not more quick in quarrel night with all that was most gallant and — than the grey-bearded doge. And his most beautiful in Venice. All the sights jealous honor had one ever-vulnerable and sounds of carnival were there; cava- point. He was an old man married to a liers and lovely ladies, flowers and gems, young and lovely wife. magnificent attires, light feet whirling in Such was the man who stood, that night, the dances, bright eyes gleaming through amidst the bright assembly of his guests. the velvet masks. "Venice, - night, - a It was, although he little dreamed it, the masquerade ! - who could dream that this last scene on earth on which he was to was the first scene of a most dark and look with peace of mind. awful drama? And yet so it was to be. Among the masqueraders was a certain

That drama is about to pass before us. handsome youth, a patrician of high rank, But without a clear conception of the named Michael Sieno. Steno had sedoge's character, it will be impossible to lected as his partner one of the dogessa's understand it. Thereupon the whole plot waiting-ladies, into whose ears he was now hangs. Fortunately that character, strik- earnestly employed in breathing vows of ing as it is, lies on the surface and re-everlasting adoration. At length, giddy quires no seer to read it.

with beauty, and perhaps with wine, he Marino Faliero had been doge of Ven- began to press his suit too ardently. The ice hardly more than half a year; but he dame drew back, in real or feigned diswas already an old man. At the time of pleasure. The doge beheld the little scene. his election he was seventy-six; and the With eyes of flame he strode up to the long life on which he could look back had offender, and commanded him, in full view been one brilliant course of triumphs. of the bystanders, instantly to quit the From the proud and ancient house of hall. Faliero two doges had, in former centu. Michael Steno was one of the curled ries, already sprung; but that house could darlings of the nation. He left the chamshow no name more splendid than his ber; but bis blood boiled at the indignity

He had been a soldier - and had which had so publicly been put upon him. seen the king of Hungary with eighty His offence - a trifling indecorum thousand men fly like hares before his one which the intoxication of the hour little army. He had been commander of might have excused. Raging with rethe fleet, and had forced the baughty gon- sentment, he wandered aimlessly about. falon of Capo d'Istria to stoop before his the palace. At length, whether by design flag. He had been a senator, and had or accident, he found himself alone in the filled with high distinction all the loftiest great senate-hall a hall which our imag. offices of state. He had been ambassador ination peoples with immortal phantoms; at Genoa and at Rome. It was while on the hall where Portia pleaded, where Shyembassy at the latter city that he received lock whetted his keen knife, and where intelligence of his election, during his ab- Othello taught another doge and Senate sence, and without his solicitation, to the the charms which had bewitched the heart crowning dignity of doge.

of Desdemona. But, high-born, brave, and gifted as he The hall, when Steno entered it, was was, Faliero was not one of those fine lonely and unlighted. Around the semi. spirits who bear greatness with simplicity. circle at the upper end were set the seats His character, by nature quick and fiery, of honor of the senators, arrayed on each had become, by life-long habits of com- side of the doge's throne. Steno, smitten mand, imperious, fierce, and arrogant. Op. with a thought of vengeance, went forward position, of whatever kind, aroused within in the dusky light, and with a piece of him a tornado of vindictive passion which chalk, such as the dancers used to prevent swept everything before it. No rival had their shoes from slipping on the glassy been found of power enough to stand be foors, wrote up a dozen words, in staring fore him; no opponent was so small as to characters, across the doge's throne. escape his anger. He resembled in cour That done, he stole away. age, but not in magnanimity, the lion which The masque broke up; the guests defies with savage joy at the elephant or parted; and Steno's handiwork remained the tiger, but which disdains to crush the undiscovered. But carly the next morning mouse that runs across his paw. Once, in an official of the palace, on en:ering the a chapel at Treviso, where the bishop kept senate-chamber, was stunned with horror him waiting for the cup and wafer, he flew and amazement at the sight of this inscrip

LIVING AGE. VOL LXII. 3198

own.

was

tion, chalked across the throne in letters a one moment the entire patrician order foot long:

became transfigured, in his eyes, to the THE DOGE HAS A LOVELY wife likeness of a single mighty foe. - BUT SHE IS NOT FOR HIM.

No foe, however mighty, had ever yet op

posed him with success. His motto should The man, half scared out of his senses, have been the fiery menace, Nemo me imwent instantly to seek his master. Faliero pune lacessit. But now, for the first time in hastened to the council-chamber, and read his long life, he found himself confronted with his own eyes the words of infamy. by an adversary more powerful than himWhat truth there was in Steno's innuendo self. The sense of impotence increased is not known; what glances, or what more his frenzy. His rage became the image than glances, may have passed between of Caligula's, when he wished that the him and the young dogessa is beyond our Roman people had a single head, that he information. Faliero's wife, for aught we might cut it off. But with what weapon know, may have been as spotless as Othel- could he hope to strike that many-headed lo's, and as foully wronged. But whether hydra, the Signory of Venice? Steno spoke the truth, or whether he lied In this temper he was brooding in his like an Iago, the poisoned arrow of his chamber, that same evening, gloomy and vengeance struck the mark. The effect of alone, when a man came panting to the such an insult upon such a mind is not to palace gates, and desired to see him on a be described. Shylock raging against case of justice. The doge bade him be Jessica — Lear cursing in the tempest - shown in; and speedily a startling figure are but faint and feeble types of Faliero stood before him. The man's dress was as he looked upon the writing on the a plebeian's, torn and ruffled; the blood throne.

was streaming down his face; and the It was not difficult to guess his enemy: fierceness of his passion shook him like An officer was instantly sent out, and an aspen, as he burst into a flood of angry Michael Steno was arrested. A tribunal speech. His name was Israel Bertuccio of the Forty was convened with speed; he was a workman in the arsenal; he had and the culprit was brought up before his quarrelled with a certain noble of high peers. Their task was easy. Steno in- rank, who had struck him in the face stantly admitted his offence, left the facts And he appealed for justice. to answer for themselves, and stood for “ Justice !” said the doge, with bitter judgment with a certain nonchalance emphasis, "justice against a member of which was not without an air of dignity. the Signory! I cannot gain it for my

The court passed sentence of two self.” months' imprisonment, to be followed by Then,” said Bertuccio fiercely, “we a year of exile. The decree was certainly must avenge ourselves — as I will." And not too severe ; for the fault was gross and he turned to leave the chamber. glaring. Yet the case was not wholly The man's implacable resentment struck without vindication. The act had been a in with the doge's humor. He called him freak of passing passion; the provocation back, encouraged him to speak, and preshad been cruel; and the avowal had been ently discovered, with a fierce delight, that frank and open. Nor was the punishment chance had put a weapon in his hands. a light one. A patrician locked up in a Bertuccio was a member of a secret dungeon cell suffered, in wounded honor, brotherhood, which held the Signory in far more than in privation; and a year of deadly hatred. A thousand fiery spirits exile was a bitter penance. On the whole, of the lower class, stung to madness by a if fairly weighed, the sentence of the Sig- sense of wrongs, were ripe and ready for nory will hardly seem to have erred grossly revolt. Faliero heard this news with gliton the side of inercy.

tering eyes. A gigantic scheme of venBut the doge was blind with anger. geance rose before him. Bertuccio's horde He appears to have taken it for granted of plotters might be used; and he resolved that his insulter would be doomed to lose to use it. his head. The verdict stung him to the Anger, like misery, acquaints a man quick. Instantly, his rage was turned with strange companions. Hours went from Steno to the Signory - to those false by; and still the pair of strange associates and wicked judges who had, in order to sat together in the doge's chamber, deep protect their fellow, flagrantly betrayed in consultation. When at length Bertuc. their trust. The white heat of his pas- cio left the palace, it was late at night; sion was of a kind of which the colder and he was under an engagement to reraces of the north can hardly dream. In turn in secret on the night succeeding.

« ZurückWeiter »