« ПредишнаНапред »
I respond most heartily to the last two lines; but I venture to add, with regard to the preceding six, “Love that holy One, and the impalpable resistance will vanish; for when thou seest him enter to sup with thy neighbour, thou wilt love that neighbour as thyself.”
Ye praise the humble: of the meek ye say,
Is it a fancy that, in the midst of all this devotion and lovely thought, I hear the mingled mournful tone of such as have cut off a right hand and plucked out a right eye, which had not caused them to offend? This is tenfold better than to have spared offending members; but the true Christian ambition is to fill the divine scheme of humanity-abridging nothing, ignoring nothing, denying nothing, calling nothing unclean, but burning everything a thank-offering in the flame of life upon the altar of absolute devotion to the Father and Saviour of men. We must not throw
away half his gifts, that we may carry the other half in both hands to his altar.
But sacred fervour is confined to no sect. Here it is of the profoundest, and uttered with a homely tenderness equal to that of the earliest writers. Mrs. Browning, the princess of poets, was no partisan. If my work were mainly critical, I should feel bound to remark upon her false theory of English rhyme, and her use of strange words. That she is careless too in her general utterance I cannot deny ; but in idea she is noble, and in phrase magnificent. Some of her sonnets are worthy of being ranged with the best in our language-those of Milton and Wordsworth.
Speak low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet,
Speak to me as to Mary at thy feet-
He sleeps the faster that he wept before. Gladly would I next give myself to the exposition of several of the poems of her husband, Robert Browning, especially the Christmas Eve and Easter Day; in the first of which he sets forth in marvellous rhymes the necessity both for widest sympathy with the varied forms of Christianity, and for individual choice in regard to communion; in the latter, what it is to choose the world and lose the life. But this would take many pages, and would be inconsistent with the plan of my book.
When I have given two precious stanzas, most wise as well as most lyrical and lovely, from the poems of our honoured Charles Kingsley, I shall turn to the other of the classes into which the devout thinkers of the day have divided.
No lark could pipe to skies so dull and grey ;
For every day.
Do noble things, not dream them, all day long;
One grand, sweet song.
THE DIVINE JUDGMENT.
Surely these last, who have not accepted tradition in the mass, who believe that we must, as our Lord demanded of the Jews, of our own selves judge what is right, because therein his spirit works with our spirit -worship the Truth not less devotedly than they who rejoice in holy tyranny over their intellects.
THE QUESTIONING FERVOUR.
AND now I turn to the other class—that which, while the former has fled to tradition for refuge from doubt, sets its face towards the spiritual cast, and in prayer and sorrow and hope looks for a dawn-the noble band of reverent doubters—as unlike those of the last century who scoffed, as those of the present who pass on the other side. They too would know ; but they know enough already to know further, that it is from the hills and not from the mines their aid must come. They know that a perfect intellectual proof would leave them doubting all the same; that their high questions cannot be answered to the intellect alone, for their whole nature is the questioner; that the answers can only come as questioners and their questions grow towards them. Hence, growing hope, blossoming ever and anon into the white flower of confidence, is their answer as yet ; their hope—the Beatific Vision—the happy-making sight, as Milton renders the word of the mystics.
It is strange how gentle a certain large class of the priesthood will be with those who, believing there