Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/184

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172
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

dangerous manifesto. This, it must be admitted, sounds strange at the present day. Were any books ever more obviously harmless? People who remember certain English controversies about Maurice, which happened a little before the appearance of the Autocrat, may succeed in understanding why, in the country of the Puritans, Holmes should have passed for a heresiarch. Yet it now requires an effort to put oneself in that position, and certainly Holmes's remarks would now hardly excite a shudder in the best-regulated families. Yet they represented what seems to have been the most important passage of his mental history. The old Puritanism, one may guess, appeared to him in a new light when he had sat at the feet of Parisian professors. The old Boston, at any rate, was not quite the 'hub of the universe' in a physiological point of view; and he fancied, when the old and the new currents met, a good deal of the sediment of old-fashioned dogma would be precipitated. Still, the old problem which Calvinism had answered in its own way came up in a new form. The doctrine of hereditary sin might be abandoned, but the problems of scientific 'heredity' took its place. Jonathan Edwards's discussions of moral responsibility have still a serious meaning