Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/153

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141
JOWETTS LIFE

defend the use of superstitious observances as 'metaphorical' or popular versions of truths, they may be playing into the hands of the superstitious. They sanction a device which can be turned against them. Other people will combine superstition and reason to the profit of superstition. Divines have lately discovered how to accept the critical results which shocked readers of Essays and Reviews, and yet to accept the whole theory of priestly magic. The compromise may result in the enslavement of reason instead of the neutralising of superstition. I know not what may be the result to the Church of England, but the enterprise attempted in the best possible faith by Jowett and his friends, seems to be injurious to the higher interests of intellectual honesty. It was a hopeless endeavour to hide irreconcilable contrasts and pretend that they did not exist.

Jowett sincerely held 'Christianity' to be in some shape the great force on the side of the moral elevation of mankind. When removing what seems to others the very essence of the creed, he really supposed himself to be only removing 'incrustations.' That he could hold that position sincerely implies, as I fancy, an intellectual weakness admitted by his biographers.