The Bible of Amiens/The Lion Tamer

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I. IT has been often of late announced as a new discovery, that man is a creature of circumstances; and the fact has been pressed upon our notice, in the hope, which appears to some people so pleasing, of being able at last to resolve into a succession of splashes in mud, or whirlwinds in air, the circumstances answerable for his creation. But the more important fact, that his nature is not levelled, like a mosquito's, to the mists of a marsh, nor reduced, like a mole's, beneath the crumblings of a burrow; but has been endowed with sense to discern, and instinct to adopt, the conditions which will make of it the best that can be, is very necessarily ignored by philosophers who propose, as a beautiful fulfilment of human destinies, a life entertained by scientific gossip, in a cellar lighted by electric sparks, warmed by tubular inflation, drained by buried rivers, and fed, by the ministry of less learned and better provisioned races, with extract of beef, and potted crocodile.

2. From these chemically analytic conceptions of a Paradise in catacombs, undisturbed in its alkaline or acid virtues by the dread of Deity, or hope of futurity, I know not how far the modern reader may willingly withdraw himself for a little time, to hear of men who, in their darkest and most foolish day, sought by their labour to make the desert as the garden of the Lord, and by their love to become worthy of permission to live with Him for ever. It has nevertheless been only by such toil, and in such hope, that, hitherto, the happiness, skill, or virtue of man have been possible: and even on the verge of the new dispensation, and promised Canaan, rich in beatitudes of iron, steam, and fire, there are some of us, here and there, who may pause in filial piety to look back towards that wilderness of Sinai in which their fathers worshipped and died.

3. Admitting then, for the moment, that the main streets of Manchester, the district immediately surrounding the Bank in London, and the Bourse and Boulevards of Paris, are already part of the future kingdom of Heaven, when Earth shall be all Bourse and Boulevard,—the world of which our fathers tell us was divided to them, as you already know, partly by climates, partly by races, partly by times; and the 'circumstances' under which a man's soul was given to him, had to be considered under these three heads:—In what climate is he? Of what race? At what time?

He can only be what these conditions permit. With appeal to these, he is to be heard;—understood, if it may be;—judged, by our love, first—by our pity, if he need it—by our humility, finally and always.

4. To this end, it is needful evidently that we should have truthful maps of the world to begin with, and truthful maps of our own hearts to end with; neither of these maps being easily drawn at any time, and perhaps least of all now—when the use of a map is chiefly to exhibit hotels and railroads; and humility is held the disagreeablest and meanest of the Seven mortal Sins.

5. Thus, in the beginning of Sir Edward Creasy's History of England, you find a map purporting to exhibit the possessions of the British Nation—illustrating the extremely wise and courteous behaviour of Mr. Fox to a Frenchman of Napoleon's suite, in "advancing to a terrestrial globe of unusual magnitude and distinctness, spreading his arms round it, over both the oceans and both the Indies," and observing, in this impressive attitude, that "while Englishmen live, they overspread the whole world, and clasp it in the circle of their power."

6. Fired by Mr. Fox's enthusiasm, the—otherwise seldom fiery—Sir Edward, proceeds to tell us that "our island home is the favourite domicile of freedom, empire and glory," without troubling himself, or his readers, to consider how long the nations over whom our freedom is imperious, and in whose shame is our glory, may be satisfied in that arrangement of the globe and its affairs; or may be even at present convinced of their degraded position in it by his method of its delineation.

For, the map being drawn on Mercator's projection, represents therefore the British dominions in North America as twice the size of the States, and considerably larger than all South America put together: while the brilliant crimson with which all our landed property is coloured cannot but impress the innocent reader with the idea of a universal flush of freedom and glory throughout all those acres and latitudes. So that he is scarcely likely to cavil at results so marvellous by inquiring into the nature and completeness of our government at any particular place,—for instance in Ireland, in the Hebrides, or at the Cape.

7. In the closing chapter of the first volume of 'The Laws of Fesole' I have laid down the mathematical principles of rightly drawing maps;—principles which for many reasons it is well that my young readers should learn; the fundamental one being that you cannot flatten the skin of an orange without splitting it, and must not, if you draw countries on the unsplit skin, stretch them afterwards to fill the gaps.

The British pride of wealth which does not deny itself the magnificent convenience of penny Walter Scotts and penny Shakespeares, may assuredly, in its future greatness, possess itself also of penny universes, conveniently spinnable on their axes. I shall therefore assume that my readers can look at a round globe, while I am talking of the world; and at a properly reduced drawing of its surfaces, when I am talking of a country.

8. Which, if my reader can at present do—or at least refer to a fairly drawn double-circle map of the globe with converging meridians—I will pray him next to observe, that, although the old division of the world into four quarters is now nearly effaced by emigration and Atlantic cable, yet the great historic question about the globe is not how it is divided, here and there, by ins and outs of land or sea; but how it is divided into zones all round, by irresistible laws of light and air. It is often a matter of very minor interest to know whether a man is an American or African, a European or an Asiatic. But it is a matter of extreme and final interest to know if he be a Brazilian or a Patagonian, a Japanese or a Samoyede.

9. In the course of the last chapter, I asked the reader to hold firmly the conception of the great division of climate, which separated the wandering races of Norway and Siberia from the calmly resident nations of Britain, Gaul, Germany, and Dacia.

Fasten now that division well home in your mind, by drawing, however rudely, the course of the two rivers, little thought of by common geographers, but of quite unspeakable importance in human history, the Vistula and the Dniester.

10. They rise within thirty miles of each other,[1] and each runs, not counting ins and outs, its clear three hundred miles,—the Vistula to the north-east, the Dniester to the south-west: the two of them together cut Europe straight across, at the broad neck of it,—and, more deeply looking at the thing, they divide Europe, properly so called—Europa's own, and Jove's,—the small educationable, civilizable, and more or less mentally rational fragment of the globe, from the great Siberian wilderness, Cis-Ural and Trans-Ural; the inconceivable chaotic space, occupied datelessly by Scythians, Tartars, Huns, Cossacks, Bears, Ermines, and Mammoths, in various thickness of hide, frost of brain, and woe of abode—or of unabiding. Nobody's history worth making out, has anything to do with them; for the force of Scandinavia never came round by Finland at all, but always sailed or paddled itself across the Baltic, or down the rocky west coast; and the Siberian and Russian ice-pressure merely drives the really memorable races into greater concentration, and kneads them up in fiercer and more necessitous exploring masses. But by those exploring masses, of true European birth, our own history was fashioned for ever; and, therefore, these two truncating and guarding rivers are to be marked on your map of Europe with supreme clearness: the Vistula, with Warsaw astride of it half way down, and embouchure in Baltic,—the Dniester, in Euxine, flowing each of them, measured arrow-straight, as far as from Edinburgh to London,—with windings,[2] the Vistula six hundred miles, and the Dniester five—count them together for a thousand miles of moat, between Europe and the Desert, reaching from Dantzic to Odessa.

11. Having got your Europe moated off into this manageable and comprehensible space, you are next to fix the limits which divide the four Gothic countries, Britain, Gaul, Germany, and Dacia, from the four Classic countries, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Lydia.

There is no other generally opponent term to 'Gothic' but 'Classic' : and I am content to use it, for the sake of practical breadth and clearness, though its precise meaning for a little while remain unascertained. Only get the geography well into your mind, and the nomenclature will settle itself at its leisure.

12. Broadly, then, you have sea between Britain and Spain—Pyrenees between Gaul and Spain—Alps between Germany and Italy—Danube between Dacia and Greece. You must consider everything south of the Danube as Greek, variously influenced from Athens on one side, Byzantium on the other: then, across the Ægean, you have the great country absurdly called Asia Minor, (for we might just as well call Greece, Europe Minor, or Cornwall, England Minor,) but which is properly to be remembered as 'Lydia,' the country which infects with passion, and tempts with wealth; which taught the Lydian measure in music, and softened the Greek language on its border into Ionic; which gave to ancient history the tale of Troy, and to Christian history, the glow, and the decline, of the Seven Churches.

13. Opposite to these four countries in the south, but separated from them either by sea or desert, are other four, as easily remembered—Morocco, Libya, Egypt, and Arabia.

Morocco, virtually consisting of the chain of Atlas and the coasts depending on it, may be most conveniently thought of as including the modern Morocco and Algeria, with the Canaries as a dependent group of islands.

Libya, in like manner, will include the modern Tunis and Tripoli: it will begin on the west with St. Augustine's town of Hippo; and its coast is colonized from Tyre and Greece, dividing it into the two districts of Carthage and Cyrene. Egypt, the country of the River, and Arabia, the country of no River, are to be thought of as the two great southern powers of separate Religion.

14. You have thus, easily and clearly memorable, twelve countries, distinct evermore by natural laws, and forming three zones from north to south, all healthily habitable—but the races of the northern-most, disciplined in endurance of cold; those of the central zone, perfected by the enjoyable suns alike of summer and winter; those of the southern zone, trained to endurance of heat. Writing them now in tabular view,

Britain Gaul Germany Dacia
Spain Italy Greece Lydia
Morocco Libya Egypt Arabia,

you have the ground of all useful profane history mapped out in the simplest terms; and then, as the fount of inspiration, for all these countries, with the strength which every soul that has possessed, has held sacred and supernatural, you have last to conceive perfectly the small hill district of the Holy Land, with Philistia and Syria on its flanks, both of them chastising forces; but Syria, in the beginning, herself the origin of the chosen race—"A Syrian ready to perish was my father"—and the Syrian Rachel being thought of always as the true mother of Israel.

15. And remember, in all future study of the relations of these countries, you must never allow your mind to be disturbed by the accidental changes of political limit. No matter who rules a country, no matter what it is officially called, or how it is formally divided, eternal bars and doors are set to it by the mountains and seas, eternal laws enforced over it by the clouds and stars. The people that are born on it are its people, be they a thousand times again and again conquered, exiled, or captive. The stranger cannot be its king, the invader cannot be its possessor; and, although just laws, maintained whether by the people or their conquerors, have always" the appointed good and strength of justice, nothing is permanently helpful to any race or condition of men but the spirit that is in their own hearts, kindled by the love of their native land.

16. Of course, in saying that the invader cannot be the possessor of any country, I speak only of invasion such as that by the Vandals of Libya, or by ourselves of India; where the conquering race does not become permanently inhabitant. You are not to call Libya Vandalia, nor India England, because these countries are temporarily under the rule of Vandals and English; neither Italy Goth-land under Ostrogoths, nor England Denmark under Canute. National character varies as it fades under invasion or in corruption; but if ever it glows again into a new life, that life must be tempered by the earth and sky of the country itself. Of the twelve names of countries now given in their order, only one will be changed as we advance in our history;—Gaul will properly become France when the Franks become her abiding inhabitants. The other eleven primary names will serve us to the end.

17. With a moment's more patience, therefore, glancing to the far East, we shall have laid the foundations of all our own needful geography. As the northern kingdoms are moated from the Scythian desert by the Vistula, so the southern are moated from the dynasties properly called 'Oriental' by the Euphrates; which, "partly sunk beneath the Persian Gulf, reaches from the shores of Beloochistan and Oman to the mountains of Armenia, and forms a huge hot-air funnel, the base" (or mouth) "of which is on the tropics, while its. extremity reaches thirty-seven degrees of northern latitude. Hence it comes that the Semoom itself (the specific and gaseous Semoom) pays occasional visits to Mosoul and Djezeerat Omer, while the thermometer at Bagdad attains in summer an elevation capable of staggering the belief of even an old Indian."[3]

18. This valley in ancient days formed the kingdom of Assyria, as the valley of the Nile formed that of Egypt. In the work now before us, we have nothing to do with its people, who were to the Jews merely a hostile power of captivity, inexorable as the clay of their walls, or the stones of their statues; and, after the birth of Christ, the marshy valley is no more than a field of battle between West and East. Beyond the great river,—Persia, India, and China, form the southern 'Oriens.' Persia is properly to be conceived as reaching from the Persian Gulf to the mountain chains which flank and feed the Indus; and is the true vital power of the East in the days of Marathon: but it has no influence on Christian history except through Arabia; while, of the northern Asiatic tribes, Mede, Bactrian, Parthian, and Scythian, changing into Turk and Tartar, we need take no heed until they invade us in our own historic territory.

19. Using therefore the terms 'Gothic' and 'Classic' for broad distinction of the northern and central zones of this our own territory, we may conveniently also use the word 'Arab'[4] for the whole southern zone. The influence of Egypt vanishes soon after the fourth century, while that of Arabia, powerful from the beginning, rises in the sixth into an empire whose end we have not seen. And you may most rightly conceive the religious principle which is the base of that empire, by remembering, that while the Jews forfeited their prophetic power by taking up the profession of usury over the whole earth, the Arabs returned to the simplicity of prophecy in its beginning by the well of Hagar, and are not opponents to Christianity; but only to the faults or follies of Christians. They keep still their faith in the one God who spoke to Abraham their Father; and are His children in that simplicity, far more truly than the nominal Christians who lived, and live, only to dispute in vociferous council, or in frantic schism, the relations of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

20. Trusting my reader then in future to retain in his mind without confusion the idea of the three zones, Gothic, Classic, and Arab, each divided into four countries, clearly recognizable through all ages of remote or recent history;—I must farther, at once, simplify for him the idea of the Roman Empire, (see note to last paragraph,) in the manner of its affecting them. Its nominal extent, temporary conquests, civil dissensions, or internal vices, are scarcely of any historical moment at all; the real Empire is effectual only as an exponent of just law, military order, and mechanical art, to untrained races, and as a translation of Greek thought into less diffused and more tenable scheme for them. The Classic zone, from the beginning to the end of its visible authority, is composed of these two elements—Greek imagination, with Roman order: and the divisions or dislocations of the third and fourth century are merely the natural apparitions of their differences, when the political system which concealed them was tested by Christianity. It seems almost wholly lost sight of by ordinary historians, that, in the wars of the last Romans with the Goths, the great Gothic captains were all Christians; and that the vigorous and naive form which the dawning faith took in their minds is a more important subject of investigation, by far, than the inevitable wars which followed the retirement of Diocletian, or the confused schisms and crimes of the lascivious court of Constantine. I am compelled, however, to notice the terms in which the last arbitrary dissolutions of the empire took place, that they may illustrate, instead of confusing, the arrangement of the nations which I would fasten in your memory.

21. In the middle of the fourth century you have, politically, what Gibbon calls "the final division of the Eastern and Western Empires." This really means only that the Emperor Valentinian, yielding, though not without hesitation, to the feeling now confirmed in the legions that the Empire was too vast to be held by a single person, takes his brother for his colleague, and divides, not, truly speaking, their authority, but their attention, between the east and the west. To his brother Valens he assigns the extremely vague "Præfecture of the East, from the lower Danube to the confines of Persia," while for his own immediate government he reserves the "warlike prefectures of Illyricum, Italy, and Gaul, from the extremity of Greece to the Caledonian rampart, and from the rampart of Caledonia to the foot of Mount Atlas." That is to say, in less poetical cadence, (Gibbon had better have put his history into hexameters at once,) Valentinian kept under his own watch the whole of Roman Europe and Africa, and left Lydia and Caucasus to his brother. Lydia and Caucasus never did, and never could, form an Eastern Empire,—they were merely outside dependencies, usefui for taxation in peace, dangerous by their multitudes in war. There never was, from the seventh century before Christ to the seventh after Christ, but one Roman Empire, which meant, the power over humanity of such men as Cincinnatus and Agricola; it expires as the race and temper of these expire; the nominal extent of it, or brilliancy at any moment, is no more than the reflection, farther or nearer upon the clouds, of the flames of an altar whose fuel was of noble souls. There is no true date for its division; there is none for its destruction. Whether Dacian Probus or Noric Odoacer be on the throne of it, the force of its living principle alone is to be watched—remaining, in arts, in laws, and in habits of thought, dominant still in Europe down to the twelfth century;—in language and example, dominant over all educated men to this hour.

22. But in the nominal division of it by Valentinian, let us note Gibbon's definition (I assume it to be his, not the Emperor's) of European Roman Empire into Illyricum, Italy, and Gaul. I have already said you must hold everything south of the Danube for Greek. The two chief districts immediately south of the stream are upper and lower Mcesia, consisting of the slope of the Thracian mountains northward to the river, with the plains between it and them. This district you must notice for its importance in forming the Mœso-Gothic alphabet, in which "the Greek is by far the principal element,"[5] giving sixteen letters out of the twenty-four. The Gothic invasion under the reign of Valens is the first that establishes a Teutonic nation within the frontier of the empire; but they only thereby bring themselves more directly under its spiritual power. Their bishop, Ulphilas, adopts this Mœsian alphabet, two-thirds Greek, for his translation of the Bible, and it is universally disseminated and perpetuated by that translation, until the extinction or absorption of the Gothic race.

23. South of the Thracian mountains you have Thrace herself, and the countries confusedly called Dalmatia and Illyria, forming the coast of the Adriatic, and reaching inwards and eastwards to the mountain watershed. I have never been able to form a clear notion myself of the real character of the people of these districts, in any given period; but they are all to be massed together as northern Greek, having more or less of Greek blood and dialect according to their nearness to Greece proper; though neither sharing in her philosophy, nor submitting to her discipline. But it is of course far more accurate, in broad terms, to speak of these Illyrian, Mcesian, and Macedonian districts as all Greek, than with Gibbon or Valentinian to speak of Greece and Macedonia as all Illyrian.[6]

24. In the same imperial or poetical generalization, we find England massed with France under the term Gaul, and bounded by the "Caledonian rampart." Whereas in our own division, Caledonia, Hibernia, and Wales, are from the first considered as essential parts of Britain,[7] and the link with the continent is to be conceived as formed by the settlement of Britons in Britany, and not at all by Roman authority beyond the Humber.

25. Thus, then, once more reviewing our order of countries, and noting only that the British Islands, though for the most part thrown by measured degree much north of the rest of the north zone, are brought by the influence of the Gulf stream into the same climate;—you have, at the time when our history of Christianity begins, the Gothic zone yet unconverted, and having not yet even heard of the new faith. You have the Classic zone variously and increasingly conscious of it, disputing with it, striving to extinguish it—and your Arab zone, the ground and sustenance of it, encompassing the Holy Land with the warmth of its own wings, and cherishing there—embers of phœnix fire over all the earth,—the hope of Resurrection.

26. What would have been the course, or issue, of Christianity, had it been orally preached only, and unsupported by its poetical literature, might be the subject of deeply instructive speculation—if a historian's duty were to reflect instead of record. The power of the Christian faith was however, in the fact of it, always founded on the written prophecies and histories of the Bible; and on the interpretations of their meaning, given by the example, far more than by the precept, of the great monastic orders. The poetry and history of the Syrian Testaments were put within their reach by St. Jerome, while the virtue and efficiency of monastic life are all expressed, and for the most part summed, in the rule of St. Benedict. To understand the relation of the work of these two men to the general order of the Church, is quite the first requirement for its farther intelligible history.

26. Gibbon's thirty-seventh chapter professes to give an account of the 'Institution of the Monastic Life' in the third century. But the monastic life had been instituted somewhat earlier, and by many prophets and kings. By Jacob, when he laid the stone for his pillow; by Moses, when he drew aside to see the burning bush; by David, before he had left "those few sheep in the wilderness"; and by the prophet who "was in the deserts till the time of his showing unto Israel." Its primary "institution," for Europe, was Numa's, in that of the Vestal Virgins, and College of Augurs; founded on the originally Etrurian and derived Roman conception of pure life dedicate to the service of God, and practical wisdom dependent on His guidance.[8]

The form which the monastic spirit took in later times depended far more on the corruption of the common world, from which it was forced to recoil either in indignation or terror, than on any change brought about by Christianity in the ideal of human virtue and happiness.

27. "Egypt" (Mr. Gibbon thus begins to account for the new Institution!), "the fruitful parent of superstition, afforded the first example of monastic life." Egypt had her superstitions, like other countries; but was so little the parent of superstition that perhaps no faith among the imaginative races of the world has been so feebly missionary as her's. She never prevailed on even the nearest of her neighbours to worship cats or cobras with her; and I am alone, to my belief, among recent scholars, in maintaining Herodotus' statement of her influence on the archaic theology of Greece. But that influence, if any, was formative and delineative; not ritual: so that in no case, and in no country, was Egypt the parent of Superstition: while she was beyond all dispute, for all people and to all time, the parent of Geometry, Astronomy, Architecture, and Chivalry. She was, in its material and technic elements, the mistress of Literature, showing authors who before could only scratch on wax and wood, how to weave paper and engrave porphyry. She was the first exponent of the law of Judgment after Death for Sin. She was the Tutress of Moses; and the Hostess of Christ.

28. It is both probable and natural that, in such a country, the disciples of any new spiritual doctrine should bring it to closer trial than was possible among the illiterate warriors, or in the storm-vexed solitudes of the North; yet it is a thoughtless error to deduce the subsequent power of cloistered fraternity from the lonely passions of Egyptian monachism. The anchorites of the first three centuries vanish like feverish spectres, when the rational, merciful, and laborious laws of Christian societies are established; and the clearly recognizable rewards of heavenly solitude are granted to those only who seek the Desert for its redemption.

29. 'The clearly recognizable rewards,' I repeat, and with cautious emphasis. No man has any data for estimating, far less right of judging, the results of a life of resolute self-denial, until he has had the courage to try it himself, at least for a time: but I believe no reasonable person will wish, and no honest person dare, to deny the benefits he has occasionally felt both in mind and body, during periods of accidental privation from luxury, or exposure to danger. The extreme vanity of the modern Englishman in making a momentary Stylites of himself on the top of a Horn or an Aiguille, and his occasional confession of a charm in the solitude of the rocks, of which he modifies nevertheless the poignancy with his pocket newspaper, and from the prolongation of which he thankfully escapes to the nearest table-d'hôte, ought to make us less scornful of the pride, and more intelligent of the passion, in which the mountain anchorites of Arabia and Palestine condemned themselves to lives of seclusion and suffering, which were comforted only by supernatural vision, or celestial hope. That phases of mental disease are the necessary consequence of exaggerated and independent emotion of any kind must, of course, be remembered in reading the legends of the wilderness; but neither physicians nor moralists have yet attempted to distinguish the morbid states of intellect[9] which are extremities of noble passion, from those which are the punishments of ambition, avarice, or lasciviousness.

30. Setting all questions of this nature aside for the moment, my younger readers need only hold the broad fact that during the whole of the fourth century, multitudes of self-devoted men led lives of extreme misery and poverty in the effort to obtain some closer knowledge of the Being and Will of God. We know, in any available clearness, neither what they suffered, nor what they learned. We cannot estimate the solemnizing or reproving power of their examples on the less zealous Christian world; and only God knows how far their prayers for it were heard, or their persons accepted. This only we may observe with reverence, that among all their numbers, none seem to have repented their chosen manner of existence; none perish by melancholy or suicide; their self-adjudged sufferings are never inflicted in the hope of shortening the lives they embitter or purify; and the hours of dream or meditation, on mountain or in cave, appear seldom to have dragged so heavily as those which, without either vision or reflection, we pass ourselves, on the embankment and in the tunnel.

31. But whatever may be alleged, after ultimate and honest scrutiny, of the follies or virtues of anchorite life, we are unjust to Jerome if we think of him as its introducer into the West of Europe. He passed through it himself as a phase of spiritual discipline; but he represents, in his total nature and final work, not the vexed inactivity of the Eremite, but the eager industry of a benevolent tutor and pastor. His heart is in continual fervour of admiration or of hope—remaining to the last as impetuous as a child's, but as affectionate; and the discrepancies of Protestant objection by which his character has been confused, or concealed, may be gathered into some dim picture of his real self when once we comprehend the simplicity of his faith, and sympathise a little with the eager charity which can so easily be wounded into indignation, and is never repressed by policy.

32. The slight trust which can be placed in modern readings of him, as they now stand, may be at once proved by comparing the two passages in which Milman has variously guessed at the leading principles of his political conduct. "Jerome began (!) and ended his career as a monk of Palestine; he attained, he aspired to, no dignity in the Church. Though ordained a presbyter against his will, he escaped the episcopal dignity which was forced upon his distinguished contemporaries." ('History of Christianity,' Book III.)

"Jerome cherished the secret hope, if it was not the avowed object of his ambition, to succeed Damasus as Bishop of Rome. Is the rejection of an aspirant so singularly unfit for the station, from his violent passions, his insolent treatment of his adversaries, his utter want of self-command, his almost unrivalled faculty of awakening hatred, to be attributed to the sagacious and intuitive wisdom of Rome?" ('History of Latin Christianity' Book I., chap, ii.)

33. You may observe, as an almost unexceptional character in the "sagacious wisdom" of the Protestant clerical mind, that it instinctively assumes the desire of power and place not only to be universal in Priesthood, but to be always purely selfish in the ground of it. The idea that power might possibly be desired for the sake of its benevolent use, so far as I remember, does not once occur in the pages of any ecclesiastical historian of recent date. In our own reading of past ages we will, with the reader's permission, very calmly put out of court all accounts of "hopes cherished in secret"; and pay very small attention to the reasons for mediaeval conduct which appear logical to the rationalist, and probable to the politician[10]We concern ourselves only with what these singular and fantastic Christians of the past really said, and assuredly did.

34. Jerome's life by no means "began as a monk of Palestine." Dean Milman has not explained to us how any man's could; but Jerome's childhood, at any rate, was extremely other than recluse, or precociously religious. He was born of rich parents living on their own estate, the name of his native town in North Illyria, Stridon, perhaps now softened into Strigi, near Aquileia. In Venetian climate, at all events, and in sight of Alps and sea. He had a brother and sister, a kind grandfather, and a disagreeable private tutor, and was a youth still studying grammar at Julian's death in 363.

35. A youth of eighteen, and well begun in all institutes of the classic schools; but, so far from being a monk, not yet a Christian;—nor at all disposed towards the severer offices even of Roman life! or contemplating with aversion the splendours, either worldly or sacred, which shone on him in the college days spent in its Capital city.

For the "power and majesty of Paganism were still concentrated at Rome; the deities of the ancient faith found their last refuge in the capital of the empire. To the stranger, Rome still offered the appearance of a Pagan city. It contained one hundred and fifty-two temples, and one hundred and eighty smaller chapels or shrines, still sacred to their tutelary God, and used for public worship. Christianity had neither ventured to usurp those few buildings which might be converted to her use, still less had she the power to destroy them. The religious edifices were under the protection of the praefect of the city, and the præfect was usually a Pagan; at all events he would not permit any breach of the public peace, or violation of public property. Above all still towered the Capitol, in its unassailed and awful majesty, with its fifty temples or shrines, bearing the most sacred names in the religious and civil annals of Rome, those of Jove, of Mars, of Janus, of Romulus, of Caesar, of Victory. Some years after the accession of Theodosius to the Eastern empire, the sacrifices were still performed as national rites at the public cost,—the pontiffs made their offerings in the name of the whole human race. The Pagan orator ventures to assert that the Emperor dared not to endanger the safety of the empire by their abolition. The Emperor still bore the title and insignia of the Supreme Pontiff; the Consuls, before they entered upon their functions, ascended the Capitol; the religious processions passed along the crowded streets, and the people thronged to the festivals and theatres which still formed part of the Pagan worship."[11]

36. Here, Jerome must have heard of what by all the Christian sects was held the judgment of God, between them and their chief enemy—the death of the Emperor Julian. But I have no means of tracing, and will not conjecture, the course of his own thoughts, until the tenor of all his life was changed at his baptism. The candour which lies at the basis of his character has given us one sentence of his own, respecting that change, which is worth some volumes of ordinary confessions. "I left, not only parents and kindred, but the accustomed luxuries of delicate life.' The words throw full light on what, to our less courageous temper, seems the exaggerated reading by the early converts of Christ's words to them—"He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me." We are content to leave, for much lower interests, either father or mother, and do not see the necessity of any farther sacrifice: we should know more of ourselves and of Christianity if we oftener sustained what St. Jerome found the more searching trial. I find scattered indications of contempt among his biographers, because he could not resign one indulgence—that of scholarship; and the usual sneers at monkish ignorance and indolence are in his case transferred to the weakness of a pilgrim who carried his library in his wallet. It is a singular question (putting, as it is the modern fashion to do, the idea of Providence wholly aside), whether, but for the literary enthusiasm, which was partly a weakness, of this old man's character, the Bible would ever have become the library of Europe.

37. For that, observe, is the real meaning, in its first power, of the word Bible. Not book, merely; but 'Bibliotheca', Treasury of Books: and it is, I repeat, a singular question, how far, if Jerome, at the very moment when Rome, his tutress, ceased from her material power, had not made her language the oracle of Hebrew prophecy, a literature of their own, and a religion unshadowed by the terrors of the Mosaic law, might have developed itself in the hearts of the Goth, the Frank, and the Saxon, under Theodoric, Clovis, and Alfred.

38. Fate had otherwise determined, and Jerome was so passive an instrument in her hands that he began the study of Hebrew as a discipline only, and without any conception of the task he was to fulfil, still less of the scope of its fulfilment. I could joyfully believe that the words of Christ, "If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead," had haunted the spirit of the recluse, until he resolved that the voices of immortal appeal should be made audible to the Churches of all the earth. But so far as we have evidence, there was no such will or hope to exalt the quiet instincts of his natural industry; and partly as a scholar's exercise, partly as an old man's recreation, the severity of the Latin language was softened, like Venetian crystal, by the variable fire of Hebrew thought, and the "Book of Books" took the abiding form of which all the future art of the Western nations was to be an hourly expanding interpretation.

39. And in this matter you have to note that the gist of it lies, not in the translation of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures into an easier and a common language, but in their presentation to the Church as of common authority. The earlier Gentile Christians had naturally a tendency to carry out in various oral exaggeration or corruption, the teaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles, until their freedom from the bondage of the Jewish law passed into doubt of its inspiration; and, after the fall of Jerusalem, even into horror-stricken interdiction of its observance. So that, only a few years after the remnant of exiled Jews in Pella had elected the Gentile Marcus for their Bishop, and obtained leave to return to the Ælia Capitolina built by Hadrian on Mount Zion, "it became a matter of doubt and controversy whether a man who sincerely acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, but who still continued to observe the law of Moses, could possibly hope for salvation!"[12] While, on the other hand, the most learned and the most wealthy of the Christian name, under the generally recognised title of "knowing" (Gnostic), had more insidiously effaced the authority of the Evangelists by dividing themselves, during the course of the third century, "into more than fifty numerably distinct sects, and producing a multitude of histories, in which the actions and discourses of Christ and His Apostles were adapted to their several tenets."[13]

40. It would be a task of great, and in nowise profitable difficulty to determine in what measure the consent of the general Church, and in what measure the act and authority of Jerome, contributed to fix in their ever since undisturbed harmony and majesty, the canons of Mosaic and Apostolic Scripture. All that the young reader need know is, that when Jerome died at Bethlehem, this great deed was virtually accomplished: and the series of historic and didactic books which form our present Bible, (including the Apocrypha) were established in and above the nascent thought of the noblest races of men living on the terrestrial globe, as a direct message to them from its Maker, containing whatever it was necessary for them to learn of His purposes towards them, and commanding, or advising, with divine authority and infallible wisdom, all that was best for them to do, and happiest to desire.

41. And it is only for those who have obeyed the law sincerely, to say how far the hope held out to them by the law-giver has been fulfilled. The worst "children of disobedience" are those who accept, of the Word, what they like, and refuse what they hate: nor is this perversity in them always conscious, for the greater part of the sins of the Church have been brought on it by enthusiasm which, in passionate contemplation and advocacy of parts of the Scripture easily grasped, neglected the study, and at last betrayed the balance, of the rest. What forms and methods of self-will are concerned in the wresting of the Scriptures to a man's destruction, is for the keepers of consciences to examine, not for us. The history we have to learn must be wholly cleared of such debate, and the influence of the Bible watched exclusively on the persons who receive the Word with joy, and obey it in truth.

42. There has, however, been always a farther difficulty in examining the power of the Bible, than that of distinguishing honest from dishonest readers. The hold of Christianity on the souls of men must be examined, when we come to close dealing with it, under these three several heads: there is first, the power of the Cross itself, and of the theory of salvation, upon the heart,—then, the operation of the Jewish and Greek Scriptures on the intellect,—then, the influence on morals of the teaching and example of the living hierarchy. And in the comparison of men as they are and as they might have been, there are these three questions to be separately kept in mind,—first, what would have been the temper of Europe without the charity and labour meant by 'bearing the Cross'; then, secondly, what would the intellect of Europe have become without Biblical literature; and lastly, what would the social order of Europe have become without its hierarchy.

43. You see I have connected the words 'charity' and 'labour' under the general term of 'bearing the cross.'" If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, (for charity) and take up his cross (of pain) and follow me."

The idea has been exactly reversed by modern Protestantism, which sees, in the cross, not a furca to which it is to be nailed; but a raft on which it, and all its valuable properties,[14] are to be floated into Paradise.

44. Only, therefore, in days when the Cross was received with courage, the Scripture searched with honesty, and the Pastor heard in faith, can the pure word of God, and the bright sword of the Spirit, be recognised in the heart and hand of Christianity. The effect of Biblical poetry and legend on its intellect, must be traced farther, through decadent ages, and in un fenced fields;—producing 'Paradise Lost' for us, no less than the 'Divina Commedia';—Goethe's 'Faust,' and Byron's 'Cain,' no less than the 'Imitatio Christi.'

45. Much more, must the scholar, who would comprehend in any degree approaching to completeness, the influence of the Bible on mankind, be able to read the interpretations of it which rose into the great arts of Europe at their culmination. In every province of Christendom, according to the degree of art-power it possessed, a series of illustrations of the Bible were produced as time went on; beginning with vignetted illustrations of manuscript, advancing into life-size sculpture, and concluding in perfect power of realistic painting. These teachings and preachings of the Church, by means of art, are not only a most important part of the general Apostolic Acts of Christianity; but their study is a necessary part of Biblical scholarship, so that no man can in any large sense understand the Bible itself until he has learned also to read these national commentaries upon it, and been made aware of their collective weight. The Protestant reader, who most imagines himself independent in his thought, and private in his study, of Scripture, is nevertheless usually at the mercy of the nearest preacher who has a pleasant voice and ingenious fancy; receiving from him thankfully, and often reverently, whatever interpretation of texts the agreeable voice or ready wit may recommend: while, in the mean-time, he remains entirely ignorant of, and if left to his own will, invariably destroys as injurious, the deeply meditated interpretations of Scripture which, in their matter, have been sanctioned by the consent of all the Christian Church for a thousand years; and in their treatment, have been exalted by the trained skill and inspired imagination of the noblest souls ever enclosed in mortal clay.

46. There are few of the fathers of the Christian Church whose commentaries on the Bible, or personal theories of its gospel, have not been, to the constant exultation of the enemies of the Church, fretted and disgraced by angers of controversy, or weakened and distracted by irreconcilable heresy. On the contrary, the scriptural teaching, through their art, of such men as Orcagna, Giotto, Angelico, Luca della Robbia, and Luini, is, literally, free from all earthly taint of momentary passion; its patience, meekness, and quietness are incapable of error through either fear or anger; they are able, without offence, to say all that they wish; they are bound by tradition into a brotherhood which represents unperverted doctrines by unchanging scenes; and they are compelled by the nature of their work to a deliberation and order of method which result in the purest state and frankest use of all intellectual power.

47. I may at once, and without need of returning to this question, illustrate the difference in dignity and safety between the mental actions of literature and art, by referring to a passage, otherwise beautifully illustrative of St. Jerome's sweetness and simplicity of character, though quoted, in the place where we find it, with no such favouring intention,—namely, in the pretty letter of Queen Sophie Charlotte, (father's mother of Frederick the Great,) to the Jesuit Vota, given in part by Carlyle in his first volume, ch. iv.

"'How can St. Jerome, for example, be a key to Scripture?' she insinuates ; citing from Jerome this remarkable avowal of his method of composing books;—especially of his method in that book, Commentary on the Galatians, where he accuses both Peter and Paul of simulation, and even of hypocisy. The great St. Augustine has been charging him with this sad fact, (says her Majesty, who gives chapter and verse,) and Jerome answers, ' I followed the commentaries of Origen, of—five or six different persons, who turned out mostly to be heretics before Jerome had quite done with them, in coming years, 'And to confess the honest truth to you,' continues Jerome,' I read all that, and after having crammed my head with a great many things I sent for my amanuensis, and dictated to him, now my own thoughts, now those of others, without much recollecting the order, nor some-times the words, nor even the sense'! In another place, (in the book itself further on[15]) he says, ' I do not myself write; I have an amanuensis, and I dictate to him what comes into my mouth. If I wish to reflect a little, or to say the thing better, or a better thing, he knits his brows, and the whole look of him tells me sufficiently that he cannot endure to wait' Here is a sacred old gentleman whom it is not safe to depend upon for interpreting the Scriptures,—thinks her Majesty, but does not say so,—leaving Father Vota to his reflections." Alas, no, Queen Sophie, neither old St. Jerome's, nor any other human lips nor mind, may be depended upon in that function; but only the Eternal Sophia, the Power of God and the Wisdom of God: yet this you may see of your old interpreter, that he is wholly open, innocent, and true, and that, through such a person, whether forgetful of his author, or hurried by his scribe, it is more than probable you may hear what Heaven knows to be best for you; and extremely improbable you should take the least harm,—while by a careful and cunning master in the literary art, reticent of his doubts, and dexterous in his sayings, any number of prejudices or errors might be proposed to you acceptably, or even fastened in you fatally, though all the while you were not the least required to confide in his inspiration.

48. For indeed, the only confidence, and the only safety which in such matters we can either hold or hope, are in our own desire to be rightly guided, and willingness to follow in simplicity the guidance granted. But all our conceptions and reasonings on the subject of inspiration have been disordered by our habit, first of distinguishing falsely—or at least needlessly—between inspiration of words and of acts; and secondly by our attribution of inspired strength or wisdom to some persons or some writers only, instead of to the whole body of believers, in so far as they are partakers of the Grace of Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Ghost. In the degree in which every Christian receives, or refuses, the several gifts expressed by that general benediction, he enters or is cast out from the inheritance of the saints,—in the exact degree in which he denies the Christ, angers the Father, and grieves the Holy Spirit, he becomes uninspired or unholy,—and in the measure in which he trusts Christ, obeys the Father, and consents with the Spirit, he becomes inspired in feeling, act, word, and reception of word, according to the capacities of his nature. He is not gifted with higher ability, nor called into new offices, but enabled to use his granted natural powers, in their appointed place, to the best purpose. A child is inspired as a child, and a maiden as a maiden; the weak, even in their weakness, and the wise, only in their hour.

That is the simply determinable theory of the inspiration of all true members of the Church; its truth can only be known by proving it in trial: but I believe there is no record of any man's having tried and declared it vain.[16]

49. Beyond this theory of general inspiration, there is that of especial call and command, with actual dictation of the deeds to be done or words to be said. I will enter at present into no examination of the evidences of such separating influence; it is not claimed by the Fathers of the Church, either for themselves, or even for the entire body of the Sacred writers, but only ascribed to certain passages dictated at certain times for special needs: and there is no possibility of attaching the idea of infallible truth to any form of human language in which even these exceptional passages have been delivered to us. But this is demonstrably true of the entire volume of them, as we have it, and read,—each of us as it may be rendered in his native tongue; that, however mingled with mystery which we are not required to unravel, or difficulties which we should be insolent in desiring to solve, it contains plain teaching for men of every rank of soul and state in life, which so far as they honestly and implicitly obey, they will be happy and innocent to the utmost powers of their nature, and capable of victory over all adversities, whether of temptation or pain.

50. Indeed, the Psalter alone, which practically was the service book of the Church for many ages, contains merely in the first half of it the sum of personal and social wisdom. The 1st, 8th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 23rd, and 24th psalms, well learned and believed, are enough for all personal guidance; the 48th, 72nd, and 75th, have in them the law and the prophecy of all righteous government; and every real triumph of natural science is anticipated in the 104th.

51. For the contents of the entire volume, consider what other group of historic and didactic literature has a range comparable with it. There are—

I. The stories of the Fall and of the Flood, the grandest human traditions founded on a true horror of sin.

II. The story of the Patriarchs, of which the effective truth is visible to this day in the polity of the Jewish and Arab races.

III. The story of Moses, with the results of that tradition in the moral law of all the civilized world.

IV. The story of the Kings—virtually that of all Kinghood, in David, and of all Philosophy, in Solomon: culminating in the Psalms and Proverbs, with the still more close and practical wisdom of Ecclesiasticus and the Son of Sirach.

V. The story of the Prophets—virtually that of the deepest mystery, tragedy, and permanent fate, of national existence.

VI. The story of Christ.

VII. The moral law of St. John, and his closing Apocalypse of its fulfilment.

Think, if you can match that table of contents in any other—I do not say 'book' but 'literature.' Think, so far as it is possible for any of us—either adversary or defender of the faith—to extricate his intelligence from the habit and the association of moral sentiment based upon the Bible, what literature could have taken its place, or fulfilled its function, though every library in the world had remained unravaged, and every teacher's truest words had been written down?

52. I am no despiser of profane literature. So far from it, that I believe no interpretations of Greek religion have ever been so affectionate, none of Roman religion so reverent, as those which will be found at the base of my art teaching, and current through the entire body of my works. But it was from the Bible that I learned the symbols of Homer, and the faith of Horace: the duty enforced upon me in early youth of reading every word of the gospels and prophecies as if written by the hand of God, gave me the habit of awed attention which afterwards made many passages of the profane writers, frivolous to an irreligious reader, deeply grave to me. How far my mind has been paralysed by the faults and sorrow of life,—how far short its knowledge may be of what I might have known, had I more faithfully walked in the light I had, is beyond my conjecture or confession: but as I never wrote for my own pleasure or self-proclaiming, I have been guarded, as men who so write always will be, from errors dangerous to others; and the fragmentary expressions of feeling or statements of doctrine, which from time to time I have been able to give, will be found now by an attentive reader to bind themselves together into a general system of interpretation of Sacred literature,—both classic and Christian, which will enable him without injustice to sympathize in the faiths of candid and generous souls, of every age and every clime.

53. That there is a Sacred classic literature, running parallel with that of the Hebrews, and coalescing in the symbolic legends of mediaeval Christendom, is shown in the most tender and impressive way by the independent, yet similar, influence of Virgil upon Dante, and upon Bishop Gawaine Douglas. At earlier dates, the teaching of every master trained in the Eastern schools was necessarily grafted on the wisdom of the Greek mythology; and thus the story of the Nemean Lion, with the aid of Athena in its conquest, is the real root-stock of the legend of St. Jerome's companion, conquered by the healing gentleness of the Spirit of Life.

54. I call it a legend only. Whether Heracles ever slew, or St. Jerome ever cherished, the wild or wounded creature, is of no moment to us in learning what the Greeks meant by their vase-outlines of the great contest, or the Christian painters by their fond insistance on the constancy of the Lion-friend. Former tradition, in the story of Samson,—of the disobedient Prophet,—of David's first inspired victory, and finally of the miracle wrought in the defence of the most favoured and most faithful of the greater Prophets, runs always parallel in symbolism with the Dorian fable: but the legend of St. Jerome takes up the prophecy of the Millennium, and foretells, with the Cumsean Sibyl, and with Isaiah, a day when the Fear of Man shall be laid in benediction, not enmity, on inferior beings,—when they shall not hurt nor destroy in all the holy Mountain, and the Peace of the Earth shall be as far removed from its present sorrow, as the present gloriously animate universe from the nascent desert, whose deeps were the place of dragons, and its mountains, domes of fire.

Of that day knoweth no man; but the Kingdom of God is already come to those who have tamed in their own hearts what was rampant of the lower nature, and have learned to cherish what is lovely and human, in the wandering children of the clouds and fields.

Avallon, 28th August, 1882.

  1. Taking the 'San' branch of Upper Vistula.
  2. Note, however, generally that the strength of a river, cæteris paribus, is to be estimated by its straight course, windings being almost always caused by flats in which it can receive no tributaries.
  3. Sir F. Palgrave, 'Arabia,' vol. ii., p. 155. I gratefully adopt in the next paragraph his division of Asiatic nations, p. 160.
  4. Gibbon's fifty-sixth chapter begins with a sentence which may be taken as the epitome of the entire history we have to investigate: "The three great nations of the world, the Greeks, the Saracens, and the Franks, encountered each other on the theatre of Italy." I use the more general word, Goths, instead of Franks; and the more accurate word, Arab, for Saracen; but otherwise, the reader will observe that the division is the same as mine. Gibbon does not recognize the Roman people as a nation—but only the Roman power as an empire.
  5. Milman, ' Hist, of Christianity,' vol. iii. p. 36.
  6. I find the same generalization expressed to the modern student under the term 'Balkan Peninsula,' extinguishing every ray and trace of past history at once.
  7. Gibbon's more deliberate statement is clear enough. "From the coast or the extremity of Caithness and Ulster, the memory of Celtic origin was distinctly preserved in the perpetual resemblance of languages, religion, and manners, and the peculiar character of the British tribes might be naturally ascribed to the influence of accidental and local circumstances." The Lowland Scots, " wheat-eaters "' or Wanderers, and the Irish, are very positively identified by Gibbon at the time our own history begins. "It is certain" (italics his, not mine) "that in the declining age of the Roman Empire, Caledonia, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, were inhabited by the Scots."—Chap. 25, vol. iv., p. 279.

    The higher civilization and feebler courage of the Lowland English rendered them either the victims of Scotland, or the grateful subjects of Rome. The mountaineers, Pict among the Grampians, or of their own colour in Cornwall and Wales, have never been either instructed or subdued, and remain to this day the artless and fearless strength of the British race.

  8. I should myself mark as the fatallest instant in the decline of the Roman Empire, Julian's rejection of the counsel of the Augurs. "For the last time, the Etruscan Haruspices accompanied a Roman Emperor, but by a singular fatality their adverse interpretation by the signs of heaven was disdained, and Julian followed the advice of the philosophers, who coloured their predictions with the bright hues of the Emperor's ambition." (Milman, Hist, of Christianity, chap, vi.)
  9. Gibbon's hypothetical conclusion respecting the effects of self-mortification, and his following historical statement, must be noted as in themselves containing the entire views of the modern philosophies and policies which have since changed the monasteries of Italy into barracks, and the churches of France into magazines. "This voluntary martyrdom must have gradually destroyed the sensibility, both of mind and body; nor can it be presumed that the fanatics who torment themselves, are capable of any lively affection for the rest of mankind.A cruel unfeeling temper has characterized the monks of every age and country."

    How much of penetration, or judgment, this sentence exhibits, I hope will become manifest to the reader as I unfold before him the actual history of his faith; but being, I suppose, myself one of the last surviving witnesses of the character of recluse life as it still existed in the beginning of this century, I can point to the portraiture of it given by Scott in the introduction to 'The Monastery' as one perfect and trustworthy, to the letter and to the spirit; and for myself can say, that the most gentle, refined, and in the deepest sense amiable, phases of character I have ever known, have been either those of monks, or of servants trained in the Catholic Faith.

  10. The habit of assuming, for the conduct of men of sense and feeling, motives intelligible to the foolish, and probable to the base, gains upon every vulgar historian, partly in the ease of it, partly in the pride ; and it is horrible to contemplate the quantity of false witness against their neighbours which commonplace writers commit, in the mere rounding and enforcing of their shallow sentences. "Jerome admits, indeed, with specious but doubtful humility, the inferiority of the unordained monk to the ordained priest," says Dean Milman in his eleventh chapter, following up his gratuitous doubt of Jerome's humility with no less gratuitous asseveration of the ambition of his opponents. " The clergy, no doubt, had the sagacity to foresee the dangerous rival as to influence and authority, which was rising up in Christian society."
  11. Milman, 'History of Christianity,' vol. iii. p. 162. Note the sentence in italics, for it relates the true origin of the Papacy.
  12. Gibbon, chap. xv. (II. 277).
  13. Ibid., II. 283. His expression "the most learned and most wealthy " should be remembered in confirmation of the evermore recurring fact of Christianity, that minds modest in attainment, and lives careless of gain, are fittest for the reception of every constant,—i.e. not local or accidental,—Christian principle.
  14. Quite one of the most curious colours of modern Evangelical thought is its pleasing connection of Gospel truth with the extension of lucrative commerce! See farther the note at p. 130.
  15. 'Commentary on the Galatians,' Chap. iii.
  16. Compare the closing paragraph in p. 45 of 'The Shrine of the Slaves.' Strangely, as I revise this page for press, a slip is sent me from 'The Christian' newspaper, in which the comment of the orthodox evangelical editor may be hereafter representative to us of the heresy of his sect; in its last audacity, actually opposing the power of the Spirit to the work of Christ. (I only wish I had been at Matlock, and heard the kind physician's sermon.)

    "An interesting and somewhat unusual sight was seen in Derbyshire on Saturday last—two old-fashioned Friends, dressed in the original garb of the Quakers, preaching on the roadside to a large and attentive audience in Matlock. One of them, who is a doctor in good practice in the county, by name Dr. Charles A. Fox, made a powerful and effective appeal to his audience to see to it that each one was living in obedience to the light of the Holy Spirit within. Christ within was the hope of glory, and it was as He was followed in the ministry of the Spirit that we were saved by Him, who became thus to each the author and finisher of faith. He cautioned his hearers against building their house on the sand by believing in the free and easy Gospel so commonly preached to the wayside hearers, as if we were saved by; believing' this or that. Nothing short of the work of the Holy Ghost in the soul of each one could save us, and to preach anything short of this was simply to delude the simple and unwary in the most terrible form.

    "[It would be unfair to criticise an address from so brief an abstract, but we must express our conviction that the obedience of Christ unto death, the death of the Cross, rather than the work of the Spirit in us, is the good tidings for sinful men.—Ed.]"

    In juxtaposition with this editorial piece of modern British press theology, I will simply place the 4th, 6th, and 13th verses of Romans viii., italicising the expressions which are of deepest import, and always neglected. "That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. . . . For to be carnally minded, is death, but to be spiritually minded, is life, and peace. . . . For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but il ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

    It would be well for Christendom if the Baptismal service explained what it professes to abjure.