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busy at all hours to perform his part in abundant and superabundant measure !" Of that which it was to me personally," continues Mr. Hare, " to have such a fellow-laborer, to live constantly in the freest communion with such a friend, I cannot speak. He came to me at a time of heavy affliction, just after I had heard that the Brother, who had been the sharer of all my thoughts and feelings from childhood, had bid farewell to his earthly life at Rome; and thus he seemed given to me to make up in some sort for him whom I had lost. Almost daily did I look out for his usual hour of coming to me, and watch his tall slender form walking rapidly across the hill in front of my window; with the assurance that ho was coming to cheer and brighten, to rouse and stir me, to call me up to some height of feeling, or down to some depth of thought. His lively spirit, responding instantaneously to every impulse of Nature and Art; his generous ardor in behalf of whatever is noble and true; his scorn of all meanness, of all false pretences and conventional beliefs, softened as it was by compassion for the victims of those besetting sins of a cultivated age; his never-flagging impetuosity in pushing onward to some unattained point of duty or of knowledge: all this, along with his gentle, almost reverential, aflectionateness toward his former tutor, rendered my intercourse with him an unspeakable blessing; and time after time has it seemed to me that his visit had been like a shower of rain, bringing down freshness and brightness on a dusty roadside hedge. By him, too, the recollection of these our daily meetings was cherished till the last."
There are many poor people still at Hurstmoneeux who affectionately remember him; Mr. Hare especially makes mention of one good man there, in his young days "a poor cobbler," and now advanced to a much better position, who gratefully ascribes this outward and the other improvements in his life to Sterling's generous encouragement and charitable care for him. Such was the curate-life at Hurstmonteux. So, in those actual leafy-lanes, on the edge of Pevenscy Level, in this new age, did our poor New Paul (on hest of certain oracles) diligently study to comport himself, and struggle with all his might not to be a moonshine shadow of the First Panl.
If Sterling was "hoodwinked" into this,he was hoodwinked into no base or trivial vocation, and can we rationally doubt that thousands of men might undertake such duties with entire sincerity of reason and of understanding? It would hardly be a safe or sober experiment to expel all those ministers, RELIGION AND DOUBT.
Conformist and Non-conformist, who arc trying to awaken something of a Divine glow in the hearts of laborers, mechanies, farmers, and sqnires, and to leave their work to be done by Latter-day prophets and by journalists. Thackeray makes it quite plain, by a remark here and there in his writings, that he regarded with a smile of his own gentle but penetrating disdain the big words in which many foolish men, and Carlyle alone among wise men, have denounced as an incubus the Christian ministry at present existing in England.
Under the influence of Carlyle, Sterling threw up his curacy and became a literary man. His success was fair, but not great. Carlyle informs us that "the want of the living, swift looks and motions, and manifold dramatic accompaniments," tells heavily against his writings. "What," says the biographer, who cannot help feeling that he is to some extent in the position of a Johnson writing the life of a Boswell, " can be done with champagne itself, much more with soda-water, when the gaseous spirit is fled!" I have no doubt that Sterling's brilliant talk afforded pleasure to many a clever listener, and that his essays and tales and letters have made time hang less heavily upon the hands of a few rich and polite people, and may even have had an elevating and ennobling effect upon a smaller number; but I cannot help doubting whether, after leaving Mr. Hare, he did so much real good in the world as when he worked among the "many poor people" who "still at Hurstmonceux affectionately remember him, and when he succeeded in making a man of at least one "poor cobbler."
Carlyle proceeds on the assumption that no faith can be sincere unless it is unfaltering. He would have repelled with scorn the man who said to Christ, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief," and who was not told by the Saviour that there could be no true religion that was shadowed with doubt. "All weakness is not falseness," Browning has just been reminding us; and candid reflection will, I think, justify the assertion that, in ages when light is pouring in from many quarters upon the human mind—in ages like our own, when science has revolutionized our knowledge of God's universe — hesitation and doubt in matters of faith are presumptions in favor of sincerity, rather than the reverse. There will, of course, in such ages, be on each side a number of persons who arc spiritually stone-dead. One section of these will affect to be religious if their so doing procures them respectability or bread; another will leap exultantly to any atheistic conclusion that leaves them unvisited by conscientious qualms in the enjoyment of their champagne and their harlots. These two sections may pair off with each other; and I believe that those who reject religion because it clogs vicious enjoyment are at present rather more than less numerous than those who, from selfish motives, pretend to believe. Some persons are naturally believers; they have never found any difficulty in believing what was taught them in their childhood, and they live a simple, innocent, and sincere life, though the storms of doubt are hurtling in the air around them. Some, on the other hand, are born doubters and scepties, incapable of standing still, perfectly sincere in each phase of belief or unbelief through which they successively pass, but quite sure to believe nothing long. A fine form of this character was presented by John Sterling. But there arc in all transition periods, particularly there are in ours, persons who, in so far as they retain the old, do so because they have tested its truth; and, in so far as they accept the new, do so because, having candidly examined it, they find it more true than the old. Tennyson tells us that there lives more faith in honest doubt than in half the creeds; and I dare say he would extend the application of the remark to more than half the vehemently dogmatic rejections of creed.
All the great operations of nature arc gradual. There is a time every morning at which you cannot say whether it is day or night. The trees take half the summer to dress themselves, THB OLD AND THE NEW.
and scarcely has the rich, deep green of their midsummer rohes been attained when the process of disrobing commences, and leaf after leaf continues to change color and to fall, until, in midwinter, the branches again are bare. Such is the spiritual revolution which is at present taking place in Western Europe.
It is hardly too much to say that, in the present time, doubt at one period of life or another is for all persons of superior faculties and extensive information an inevitable fate, if not a positive duty. If honor ought to be rendered to those highminded iconoclasts who find their whole duty summed up in destruction, honor may be claimed for those also who attempt the still more difficult task of transforming the old into the new, and separating the imperishable truth from the perishable form in which men have previously apprehended it. In this point of view Coleridge, Ncander, and a host of others, deserve more honorable mention than Carlyle has ever vouchsafed them.
JOHN STERLING AND CARLYLE ON SARTOR RESARTL'S.
TOIIN STERLING, we saw, decided to turn away from the "Christian ministry. One of the subjects which principally occupied his mind while in a state of transition was Mr. Carlyle's Sartor Resartus. In February, 1835, he bade adieu to Mr. Llare, and to the sick folks and inquiring cobblers of Hurstmonceux, and in the following May sent Carlyle a long letter on Sartor, in which he says that he has read the book "twice with care." Of this letter Mr. Carlyle prints enough to fill nearly seven pages; and there is nothing in the whole range of his writings that strikes me as more curiously or instructively suggestive than a comparison of what he prints with what he suppresses.
Sterling enters into minute verbal criticism of the book, dwells upon its resemblance to the writings of Rabelais, Montaigne, Sterne, and Swift, points out its mannerisms, and pronounces judgment upon particular words occurring in. it, such as " vestural," " stertorous," " talented." All this Carlyle prints in full. But the part of his criticism to which Sterling calls particular attention—the part compared with which he rightly pronounces all discussion of the literary and artistic qualities of the book to be mere triviality—is that in which he attempts to define "the principle which lies at the root of, and gives the true meaning to," the character and opinions of Carlyle's hero, who has always been regarded as Carlyle himself. How does Carlyle deal with this all-important passage? Let us see. He quotes from Sterling as follows: