Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/146

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134
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

effort that the passages quite deserve this lofty eulogy, but I gladly admit that Dr. Abbott probably sees real merit to which I am blinded by prejudice or want of sympathy. I read the book, however, when it first appeared; I have turned to it since to verify my impressions; and I confess that I am afraid that they are such as would inevitably occur to any man of plain understanding. One instance will be ample. Jowett writes an essay upon the theory of the Atonement. He holds that the theory as ordinarily stated is repulsive. No unsophisticated mind will accept the doctrine that a just God pardons sinners in consideration of the suffering of a perfectly innocent man. In other words, the dogma as accepted by the Salvation Army, or even by Butler, revolts the conscience. He tries, therefore, to restate it in a variety of ways, and admits that the doctrine, turn and twist it as you will, remains morally objectionable. He suggests by way of escape that the erroneous version is produced by turning rhetoric into logic and mistaking a metaphor, one among many, for a kind of rigid legal formula. That may be true; and we will also suppose that St. Paul meant no more than a metaphor. But a 'metaphor,' unless it be a mere phrase, ought