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sentiments that do not seem to have any root in the larger order of the universe, while their minds are thirsting for a wider and a deeper insight into the springs of life. Science, though it only satisfies the intellect, does satisfy this yearning for intellectual space and sublimity. It does not rest the spirit or the will, but it lulls for a time by its grandeur 'the cares of the world' to sleep. And unless the Christian Churches can effect the same, and much more than the same; unless they can draw living water' for the intellect, will, and spirit of careworn men on the Sunday, the men of physical science will keep the secularists still,—not because they speak of matters which bear immediately on the utilities and comforts of life, but, on the other hand, because they speak of matters which feed the spiritual imagination so much more effectually than the commonplaces of a half-realized system of morality and religion. Mr. Matthew Arnold has recently assured us, with his usual imperious beauty of diction, that the problem of the age is to find a life more natural, more rational, with more love of the things of the mind, more love of beautiful things, for the toiling classes. Assuredly we believe with him that to save more opportunity for enjoying the ends of life, out of the time now devoted to manipulating its means, is the great problem of modern society, though we should probably differ from him very much as to what those ends are. The contemplation of the life of God, as it is seen shining here and there through the revolving constellations of secular phenomena, seems to us the highest and most refreshing of these ends, which no one needs more than the noblest practical philanthropists, whose life would be ever in danger of being grated down into a mere powder of small purposes and petty arrangements without this slaking of their highest thirst. None feel this thirst, we believe, more deeply than the secularists. Science does not satisfy it, except for the intellect, but rather presents an order too pitiless and undeviating for the education of free beings,-a silent order, which prostrates the mind, like the stillness of those gigantic idols before whose mock serenity and lifeless steadfastness of gaze Oriental worshippers cower, and often consent to sacrifice their life. Undoubtedly working men are seeking to-day, as much as eighteen centuries ago, after a great organizing force, such as we believe Christ's revelation contains. But they cannot find the organizing force without finding the revelation. They cannot find the enthusiasm of humanity' without finding the living well of inspiration. They cannot find the infinite love of man which it contains without finding the root of that love. Human love is a poor instrument for any Divine purpose. St. John knew what he meant, and knew that he was touching a chord of feeling as deep in the working classes of the first century as it is in those of the nineteenth, when he said: 'Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us.'
The scepticism of the modern æsthetic refinement is in some respects the deepest, because apparently the most human, and because it is mingled with that spiritual thirst for poetry which is usually but one side of faith. Shelley's scepticism has warped deeper minds than ever did Comte's. When the poetry of the most passionate yearning refuses to hear any voice that answers to its yearning, there comes a deeper shock to those who enter into its spirit than either the scepticism of science, or of dull laborious labour, can awaken. And the fine discrimination of shades of feeling on which it prides itself, is often so true and delicate, that men are at first sight disposed to give it credit for ample power to discover the truth as to God and His revelation, as well as perfect fidelity in reporting all the characteristic facts it discerns. Shelley's scepticism, however, may be seen to rest chiefly on his impatience--on the ardour with which he gave himself up to thick-coming impulses, and the abhorrence he felt for the regal power of conscientious volition. He seemed almost incapable of understanding, ‘Be still, and know that I am God. His heart panted after sweet emotions, not after One who sitteth between the cherubim, be the people never so unquiet.' His poetry was the poetry of yearnings, rather than of yearning, -of single desires chasing each other eagerly through the heart; and yet, had he lived, he would probably have reached a higher faith, for nearly his last and greatest poem contains the finest of all assertions of the Absolute and Immutable Light that shines behind the flitting shadows of human emotion :
• The One remains, the many change and pass,
Heaven's light for ever shines, earth's shadows fly;
Stains the white radiance of Eternity.' But the modern poetic sceptics are certainly far enough from the feverish impatience which marked the genius of Shelley. They are, for the most part, Goethe-worshippers, lovers of tranquil discriminations, of calm insights. The sign of weakness, however, appears in their intellectual exclusiveness; their delight in ' distinction; that love of moral monopoly which forms a great part of their joy in art. They love to criticise from above, to sit on an intellectual throne and judge the world. And then they maintain that the modern spirit,''the relative spirit,' in which they discharge this function, is the only one which can
do justice to the infinite variety of nature and circumstance which comes beneath its eye. The belief in an absolute God, in an absolute love of men, in an absolute standard of morality and humanity, they say, makes criticism rigid, inflexible, unfair; weakness and frailty must be misjudged if the mind is full of a dream of absolute righteousness. In short, this school believes that there is not really any absolute standard ; the historic and 'positive' view, which admits no categorical ‘ought,' but looks at everything in relation to the antecedents out of which it arose, affords the only elastic, the only humane canon of criticism. The writer in the Westminster Review to whom we have alluded, applies this doctrine to show the injustice of Coleridge's 'romantic faith in the Absolute, by the havoc it would produce in the criticism of Coleridge's own wrecked genius. The relative spirit,' he says, “by dwelling constantly on the more fugitive conditions or circumstances of things, breaking through a thousand rough and brutal classifications, and giving elasticity to inflexible principles, begets an intellectual finesse, of which the ethical result is a delicate and tender justness in the criticism of human life.' Now we believe that no one has practically shown better than the author of Ecce Homo, how precisely this passage describes the moral judgments of Christ, whose nature even the Westminster reviewer must admit was fed upon faith in the Absolute, and not on a philosophy which makes it its chief duty to 'dwell on the fugitive conditions or circumstances of things. Indeed, we believe the fact to be the precise contrary of the essayist's statement. In philosophy and practical life alike, the 'modern spirit,' the spirit which is satisfied with the relative,' and dwells much on the fugitive conditions or circumstances of things, has always been the greatest victim of the spirit of 'brutal' classification, the least able to reconcile the various contradictions of life and thought. Where has there been a school of philosophy more tyrannic and brutal in its classifications than that of Locke, and James Mill, and Bentham, and, though in a less degree, even of J. S. Mill, who has, nevertheless, profited greatly by the teaching of his great opponent Coleridge? Where has there been one of larger, more catholic, and elastic spirit than that which we owe to the moral criticism of Bishop Butler ? And in practical life, where do we go for trenchant brutal' criticisms, with so much certainty as to the light gossip of the drawing-room? Where do we expect to find gentler, kindlier criticisms than from the contemplative piety which, like Fénélon's, or Madame Guyon's, or Bishop Berkeley's, or Mr. Maurice's, is really formed upon Christ's ? But the test of the truth or falsehood of the criticism is, of course, in the extreme cases at either end of the scale. If this view is right, whose lives should be so full of severe and unjust criticisms as Christ's and His apostles whose spirits were permeated as it were with God? Yet even Renan attributes to our Lord a tenderness and delicacy of moral discrimination which marked a new crisis in the Oriental genius, and there has been no great critic of any school, of St. Paul's character, who has not testified to the wonderful tact and charity of the apostle in adapting himself to the ‘fugitive conditions' of things when passing his moral judgments. We believe the truth to be, that without profound rest in the Absolute righteousness, there is always some little tendency to overstrain our own dogmatic opinions. So much more seems to depend on emphasis of statement, if you cannot trust the vindication of your faith to God. Besides, the faith in Him in whose mysterious essence so many seemingly conflicting attributes are reconciled, engenders a habit of mind which renders it comparatively easy to recognise in the same men the most apparently conflicting qualities. At all events, every new delineation of Christ that attracts attention, even among sceptics, insists upon the flexibility and beauty of His feeling for human infirmity, and the 'tender justness' of His moral judgments. The author of Ecce Homo is evidently penetrated with this feeling, and we wish the plan of his book had allowed him to illustrate more fully his conception of the individual relations between Christ and His followers. There are, however, several passages of great beauty on isolated scenes in Christ's life, and the following will show, as well as any, how little, in our author's conception, Christ's eternal communion with God had blunted the delicacy of His feeling for the fugitive influences which shade off human character:
We have insisted upon the effect of personal influence in creating virtuous impulses. We have described Christ's Theocracy as a great attempt to set all the virtue of the world upon this basis, and to give it a visible centre or fountain. But we have used generalities. It is advisable, before quitting the subject, to give a single example of the magical passing of virtue out of the virtuous man into the hearts of those with whom he comes in contact. A remarkable story which appears in St. John's biography, though it is apparently an interpolation in that place, may serve this purpose, and will at the same time illustrate the difference between scholastic or scientific and living or instinctive virtue. Some of the leading religious men of Jerusalem had detected a woman in adultery. It occurred to them that the case afforded a good opportunity of making an experiment upon Christ. They might use it to discover how he regarded the Mosaic law. That he was heterodox on the subject of that law they had reason to believe, for he had openly quoted some Mosaic maxims and declared them at least incomplete, substituting for them new rules of his own, which at least in some cases appeared to abrogate the old. It might be possible, they thought, by means of this woman, to satisfy at once
themselves and the people of his heterodoxy. They brought the woman before him, quoted the law of Moses on the subject of adultery, and asked Christ directly whether he agreed with the lawgiver. They asked for his judgment.
"A judgment he gave them, but quite different, both in matter and manner, from what they had expected. In thinking of the 'case they had forgotten the woman, they had forgotten even the deed. What became of the criminal appeared to them wholly unimportant; towards her crime or her character they had no feeling whatever, not even hatred, still less pity or sympathetic shame. If they had been asked about her, they might probably have answered, with Mephistopheles, “She is not the first;" nor would they have thought their answer fiendish, only practical and business-like. Perhaps they might on reflection have admitted that their frame of mind was not strictly moral, not quite what it should be, that it would have been better if, besides considering the legal and religious questions involved, they could have found leisure for some shame at the scandal and some hatred for the sinner. But they would have argued that such strict propriety is not possible in this world, that we have too much on our hands to think of these niceties, that the man who makes leisure for such refinements will find his work in arrears at the end of the day, and probably also that he is doing injustice to his family and those dependent on him. This they might fluently and plausibly have urged. But the judgment of Christ was upon them, making all things seem new, and shining like the lightning from the one end of heaven to the other. He was standing, it would seem, in the centre of a circle, when the crime was narrated, how the adultery had been detected in the very act. The shame of the deed itself, and the brazen hardness of the prosecutors, the legality that had no justice and did not even pretend to have mercy, the religious malice that could make its advantage out of the fall and ruin and ignominious death of a fellow-creature-all this was eagerly and rudely thrust before his mind at once. The effect upon him was such as might have been produced upon many since, but perhaps upon scarcely any man that ever lived before. He was seized with an intolerable sense of shame. He could not meet the eye of the crowd, or of the accusers, and perhaps at that moment least of all of the woman. Standing as he did in the midst of an eager multitude that did not in the least appreciate his feelings, he could not escape. In his burning embarrassment and confusion he stooped down so as to hide his face, and began writing with his finger on the ground. His tormentors continued their clamour, until he raised his head for a moment and said, “ He that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her," and then instantly returned to his former attitude. They had a glimpse perhaps of the glowing blush upon his face, and awoke suddenly with astonishment to a new sense of their condition and their conduct. The older men naturally felt it first and slunk away; the younger followed their example. The crowd dissolved and left Christ alone with the woman. Not till then could