Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/150

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138
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

pass into an idea'; 'every moral act' be acknowledged to have a 'physical antecedent,' and 'doctrines become unmeaning words.' Yet, he says, the essence of religion 'may still be self-sacrifice' and so forth—'a doctrine common to Plato and to the Gospel.' This (which is, of course, a rough private note) surely amounts, as the Germans say, to emptying out the baby with the bath. Christianity will be evacuated of every clement which is not common to Plato. Indeed, we may go further. Jowett proceeds to speak of partly accepting Mr. Herbert Spencer's Agnosticism; and though he always spoke with dislike of Comte and of Darwin, it is hard to see what positive objection he could make to either.

I confess, therefore, that I am simply puzzled when I find Jowett professing a belief in 'the best form of Christianity,' and his biographers fully accepting the statements. A Christianity without the supernatural, without doctrines, without immortality, and without a 'personal God' seems to be merely an alias for morality. Neither can I share Prof. Campbell's objection to a phrase of Carlyle. Carlyle, as we are reminded, had proposed an 'exodus from Houndsditch,' and yet 'the moment some one within the camp spoke