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things,” and “most men find no difficulty in turning their minds away from its transient character." Even our enjoyment of “pleasant people and curious things ” must be held, then, on the condition of reducing ourselves-philosophers that we are, or shall be—to the humble level of the hares and rabbits !
“Regardless of their doom the little victims play.” Surely the happiness of any creature, deserving to be called Rational, depends on the circumstance whether he can look on Good as “the final goal of ill,” or believe Ill to be the final goal of any good he has obtained or hopes for;—whether he walk on a firm, even if it be a thorny road, or tread on thin, albeit glittering ice, destined ere long to break beneath his feet? The faith that there is an ORDER tending everywhere to good, and that JUSTICE sooner or later will be done to all,—this, almost universal, faith to which the whole literature of the world bears testimony, seems to me no less indispensable for our selfish happiness than it is for any unselfish satisfaction in the aspect of human life at large. If it be finally baulked, and we are compelled to relinquish it for ever at the bidding of science, existence alike on our own account and that of others will become unendurable.
In all I have said hitherto, I have confined myself to discussing the probable results of the downfall of religion on men in general, and have not attempted to define what they would be to those who have been fervently religious; and who we must suppose (on the hypothesis of such a revolution) to be forcibly driven by scientific arguments out of their faith in God and the life to come. To such persons (and there are, alas! many already who think they have been so driven, and to whom the sad result is therefore the same) the loss must needs be like that of the darkening of the sun. Of all human sorrows the bitterest. is to discover that we have misplaced our love; laboured and suffered in vain ; thrown away our heart's devotion. All this, and much more, must it be to lose God. Among those who have endured it there are, of course, as we all know, many who have reconciled themselves to the loss, and some tell us they are the happier. Yet, I think to the very last hour of life there must remain in every heart which has once loved God (not merely believed in or feared Him) an infinite regret if it can love Him no more; and the universe, were it crowded with a million friends, must seem empty when that Friend is gone.
As to human Love and Friendship, to which we are often bidden to turn as the best substitutes for religion, I feel persuaded that, abore all other things they must deteriorate in a "Faithless World.” To apples of Sodom must all their sweetness turn, from the hour in which men recognize their transitory nature. The warmer and more tender and reverential the affection, the more intolerable must become the idea of eternal separation; and the more beautiful and admirable the character of our friend, the more maddening the belief that in a few years, or days, he will vanish into nothingness. Sooner than endure the agony of these thoughts, I feel sure that men will check themselves from entering into the purer and holier relations of the heart. Affection, predestined to be cast adrift, will throw out no more anchors, but will float on every wave of passion or caprice. The day in which it becomes impossible for men to vow that they will love for ever will almost be the last in which they will love nobly and purely at all.
But if these things hold good as regard the prosperous and healthy, and those still in the noon of life, what is to be said of the prospects in the “Faithless World,” of the diseased, the povertystricken, the bereaved, the aged ? There is no need to strain our eyes to look into the dark corners of the earth. We all know (though while we ourselves stand in the sunshine we do not often feel) what hundreds of thousands of our fellow-mortals are enduring at all times, in the way of bodily and mental anguish. When these overtake us, or when Old Age creeps on, and
“ First our pleasures die, and then
Our hopes, and then our fears,”
is it possible to suppose it will make “ little difference” what we believe as to the existence of some loving Power in whose arms our feebleness may find support; or of another life wherein our winter may be turned once more to spring? If we live long enough, the day must come to each of us when we shall find our chief interest in our daily newspaper most often in the obituary columns, till, one after another nearly all the friends of our youth and prime have “gone over to the majority," and we begin to live in a world peopled with spectres. Our talk with those who travel still beside us is continually referring to the dead, and our very jests end in a sigh for the sweet old laughter which we shall never hear again. If in these solemn years we yet have faith in God and Immortality, and as we recall one dear one after another,—father, mother, brother, friend, we can say to ourselves, “ They are all gone into the world of light; they are all safe and rejoicing in the smile of God;" then our grief is only mourning; it is not despair. Our sad hearts are cheered and softened, not turned to stoue by the memories of the dead. Let us, however, on the other hand, be driven by our new guide, Science, to abandon this faith and the hope of eternal reunion, then, indeed, must our old age be utterly, utterly desolate. 0! the mockery of saying that it would make " no great difference !”
We have been told that in the event of the fall of religion, “ life would remain in most particulars and to most people much what it is at present.” It appears to me, on the contrary, that there is actually nothing in life which would be left unchanged after such a catastrophe.
But I have only conjured up the nightmare of a “Faithless World." GOD LIVES; and in His light we shall see light.
FRANCES POWER COBBE.
WÜRZBURG AND VIENNA:
SCRAPS FROM A DIARY.
ARRIVE at Vienna at 10 o'clock and alight at the “ Münsch”
hotel, a very old-established one, and very preferable, in my opinion, to those gigantic and sumptuous “Ring” establishments where one is a mere number. I find awaiting me a letter from the Baron de Neumann, my colleague of the University of Vienna, and a member of the Institut de Droit International. He informs me that the Minister Taaffe will await me at 1 o'clock, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. de Kálnoky, at 3 P.M. It is always well to make the acquaintance of Ministers when visiting foreign countries. It is the means of obtaining the key to doors generally closed, to consulting documents otherwise inaccessible, and to getting out of prison if by mistake you happen to be one day thrown therein.
The Home Office is a sombre-looking palace, situated in the Judenplatz, a dark and narrow street in old Vienna ; the apartments are spacious, correct but bare ; the furniture severe, simple but pure eighteenth century style. It resembles the abode of an ancient family who must live carefully to keep out of debt. How different to the Government Offices in Paris, where luxury is displayed everywhere in gilt panellings, Lyons velvets, painted ceilings and magnificent staircases—as, for instance, at the Financial and Foreign Offices. I prefer the simplicity of the official buildings of Vienna and Berlin. The State ought not to set an example of prodigality. The Comte Taaffe is in evening dress, as he is going to a conference with the Emperor. He, nevertheless, receives my letter of introduction from one of his cousins most amiably, and also the little note I bring him from my friend Neumann, who was his professor of public law. The present policy of the Prime Minister, which gives satisfaction to the Tscheks and irritates the Germans so much, is not unjustifiable. He reasons thus :- What is the best means to ensure the comfort and contentment of several persons living together in the same house? Is it not to leave them perfectly free to regulate their lives just as they think well ? Force them to live all in the same way, to take their meals and amuse themselves together, and they will be certain, very shortly, to quarrel and separate. How is it that the Italians of the Canton of Tesino never think of uniting with Italy? Because they are perfectly satisfied to belong to Switzerland. Remember that Austria's motto is Viribus unitis. True union would be born of general contentment. The sure way to satisfy all is to sacrifice the rights of none. “Yes,” I said, “if unity could be made to spring from liberty and autonomy it would be indestructible."
Count Taaffe has long been in favour of federalism. Under the Taaffe-Potocki Ministry, in 1869, he had sketched a plan of reforms with the object of extending the sway of provincial governments.* In some articles in the Revue des Deux Mondes, in 1868-9 I tried to show that this was the best solution of the question. Count Taaffe is still young; he was born in 1833, Feb. 24. He is descended from an Irish family and is a peer of that country, with the title of Viscount Taaffe of Correw and Baron of Ballymote; but his ancestors left their home and lost their Irish estates on account of their attachment to the Stuarts. They took service, then, under the Dukes of Lorraine, and one of them distinguished himself at the siege of Vienna in 1683. Count Edward, the present Minister, was born at Prague. His father was President of the Supreme Court of Justice. He himself commenced his career in the Hungarian Administration under the Baron Bach, who, seeing his great aptitudes and his perseverance, procured him rapid advancement. Taaffe became successively Vice-Governor of Bohemia, Governor of Salzburg, and finally Governor of Upper Austria. Called to the Ministry of the Interior in 1867, he signed the famous “ Ausgleich ” of December 21, which forms the basis of the present Dual Empire. After the fall of the Ministry, he was appointed Governor of the Tyrol, and held that post to general satisfaction for a space of seven years. On his return to power he again took up the portfolio of the Interior, and was also appointed President of the Council. He continued to pursue his federalist policy, but with more success than in 1869. The concessions he makes to the Tscheks are a subject of both grief and wonder in Vienna. It is said that he does it to secure their votes for the revision of the law of primary education in favour of reactionary clericalism. Those who are of this opinion must forget that he has clearly shown his leaning to federalism for more than sixteen years.
* I give a brief sketch of this in my book, "La Prusse et l'Autriche depuis Sadowa," vol. i., p. 265.