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because it is very curious that, wbile we might have expected that Mr. Maurice's sympathies would bave been on the side of the cultured, tolerant, sweet-tempered, and sweet-voiced reformer, the exact contrary is the fact. He despised Erasmus from his heart. He speaks of him as the selfish dilettante,' of Luther as the Christian Hero. ' I think that this combination of tolerance with earnestness is the most unique thing about Mr. Maurice. His toleration was infinite; we feel disposed to wish sometimes that his earnestness had been a little less intense. Of the great controversy of his life, that with Mr., afterwards Dean, Mansel, he says that, had he listened to advice, he should have let it alone.
There is a passage on St. Augustine in the Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy which seems to show that he was incapable of realising the position of a conscientious agnostic. We do not like to fancy even the slightest resemblance between him and those good people whose distress and dread would be pitiful if it were not grotesque. To hear some of these talk, for instance, at the present day, one would almost suppose that they believed that some twenty years ago there had been a God, but that Professor Huxley and Professor Tyndall had killed Him, and that, in consequence, not unnaturally, some considerable perplexity and distress was being felt. If there be a God it would seem probable that He will be able to protect Himself against Professor Tyndall, and I do not imagine that the Third Person of the Trinity was in such imminent danger of annihilation from Henry Longueville Mansel, D.D., as to make it necessary for Mr. Maurice to come to the rescue without an hour's delay.
It seems only yesterday, though it is a quarter of a century ago, that the controversy with Dean Mansel began. I remember with distinctness the effect that "What is Revelation ?' had upon myself. The prominent feeling was how gracious it was of Mr. Maurice to lavish such a wealth of spiritual thought and vitality merely to crush that most unique, surely, of all champions of orthodoxy-the man who implicitly denied the existence and ridiculed the office and functions of the Third Person of the Trinity. It is difficult to believe that the effect of the lectures could have been such as to require such a confutation. Mr. Mansel was an acute logician, but he was not a metaphysician any more than he was a theologian. His position is utterly untenable except from a purely logical standpoint. He speaks indeed of a 'revelation,' but, whatever this may be, it is evident that it must be of the vaguest description, for he commences by stating that it is evident that no systematic theology has been given by it, and he exposes with admirable acuteness the absurd statements which dogmatism has made in its attempts to formulate
As therefore Mr. Mansel denied the possibility of any communication or acquaintance with God except by means of this shadowy nothing, it is not perhaps an unfair presumption that the tendency of the Bampton Lectures that year was towards practical atheism. His position at any rate was exactly that which Mr. Maurice felt himself, as his biographer points out, sent into the world to protest against-the establishment of some system, some idol of opinion--in place of the energising Spirit of the living God. Mr. Mansel puts passages from the New Testament at the head of his lectures, and intersperses a few more in the course of them. It is therefore fair to suppose that he had looked into that book, otherwise it would be difficult to believe that he had even heard of it.
It is very doubtful whether personal controversy is at any time productive of an advance in the apprehension of truth, so much is lost by the introduction of the necessary personal allusion and recrimination; at any rate I think it will be admitted that Mr. Maurice did not shine in it. His conceptions and faculties were of a character too lofty for success in mere personal word-play. He is too much in earnest. He is absorbed by the splendour of his conception; dazzled, it may be, by the abundance of the revelation.' His line of argument, as relates to his opponent, is confused, it is needlessly protracted ; the point seems constantly lost sight of; long extracts from bis adversary confuse the reader, who at last does not know which of his teachers is speaking. Distracted between two disputants, neither of whom evidently in the least understand one another, attempting in vain to grasp the real meaning of the one in order that he may see how it is to be confuted by the other, the reader is at last tempted to exclaim in Mr. Maurice's own graphic words: This way madness lies.' Mr. Mansel's point of view is easily realised. He had written and preached his Bampton Lectures with considerable applause. He had previously had a correspondence with Mr. Maurice, which he appears to have conducted with courtesy. Suddenly there burst upon him an assault which he was utterly incapable of either comprehending or repulsing. He was somewhat in the position of a Weaver Bottom, who through a troubled dream is dimly conscious of a world of mystery and glamour, which he can in no way realise, of heights and depths of starry firmament, of the mountain full of horses of fire and chariots of fire round about the prophet. The certain deductions, as they seemed to him, of his logical sequences are perverted and mis-stated ; the pure unaffected humility of Mr. Maurice appears to him to be sarcasm. The result on both sides is painful. How much better would it have been had Mr. Maurice ignored Mr. Mansel altogether, preached a series of sermons embodying all thoughts aroused by the lecturer, and left the good seed to produce its natural harvest. He might have lost some little publicity, but what an immeasurable gain! No loss of space and time on formal statement and denial ; no waste of nerve-tissue and of physical power, of which nothing is more destructive than the irritation of personal conflict; nothing but a sublime calm, a ceaseless flow of the Divine Reason exalting, refining, purifying the reader, raising him above the partial understandings, the inadequate conceptions, of personal debate, into the certainties of absolute truth. He always spoke of the controversy in after times as forgotten, and while, as he could not fail to do, maintaining that his position was the true one, as regretting the personalities involved in it. At the very moment it was taking place he was writing of Mr. Spurgeon, and of what he conceived to be his errors, in a tone of perfect insight and calm, but Mr. Spurgeon's position at that time was very different to Mr. Mansel's, and his particular opinions did not touch Mr. Maurice so nearly. In one of the last things he wrote—the preface to the final edition of the Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy-he has the following passage, which forms so appropriate a conclusion to the remarks upon a once famous controversy that I hope to be allowed to
I would not willingly hare been 'spared one of these conflicts, for they have forced me to observe what conflicts there are in myself. Butler and Paley did not invent the questions about a conscience; they do not exist in a volume of sermons at the Rolls, or of lectures on moral philosophy. If thou hast not a conscience, Butler will not give it thee. If thou hast one, Paley cannot take it away. They can only between them set thee upon considering what it is or is not. Thou hast senses which Locke did not endow thee with ; thou thinkest and thou actest, whether Descartes tells thee so or not. What signifies it that Bentham laughs at sympathy, if there are sympathies between thee and the members of thy kind ? How canst thou feel otherwise than grateful to Bentham for showing thee that there is a something called happiness which men are striving after, and that it may be a general, not a mere separate, happiness? If he can see nothing above or beneath but utility, was it not his function to speak of that?
The remarks which I have ventured to make upon Mr. Maurice as a controversialist apply only to pure controversy. Where he is simply stating his case, in reply forced upon him by attack, as in his
Letter to Dr. Jelf on the word “ Eternal," ' nothing can be clearer or more concise than his method and argument. Indeed, his position was so absolutely unassailable that it would have been difficult for any man to have gone wrong in it. It is not necessary to do more than allude to the miserable business of the King's College fiasco. A mere majority, promoted by selfish ignorance and bigotry, and snatched by fraud, had no other real effect than that of increasing Mr. Maurice's influence twenty-fold. The one point which seems to me worthy of notice is the instance it affords of the supreme intolerance and ignorance of laymen. A fact well worth considering at a time when schemes of Church councils and government are constantly discussed.
We have seen Mr. Maurice as a teacher of theology; we have yet to consider him as a scholar and a man of letters. This is a point of view from which he is not perhaps usually regarded, but it is assuredly a necessary one if we wish really to understand his power and influence. The Prophets and Kings, simple as its pages seem in the stately rhythm of their majestic thought, could never have been written save by a Platonic scholar, and a man of literary and dramatic genius; but what shall we say of his great work, the work of his life, which repeated editions and ceaseless labour had wrought to the point at which we have it in the last years of his life-the Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy? He would be a bold man who would undertake to criticise this book. Colonel Maurice cites the testimony of specialists in any particular period, and of teachers, who have used the book. They testify, in the only way in which, in the case of a book of such extent (not less, indeed, than the entire history of human thought), it is possible for anyone to testify, to its value. If I might venture to add anything to what they have said, I should wish to call attention to the intellectual instinct which realised the later Latin genius, and, with it, the situations of absorbing interest, in which it was developed, amid the conflicts and alternating vices and virtues of the old and new faiths. No one, I imagine, can read the pages which describe the Emperor Julian, Augustine, Gregory the Great, and others, without being aware of the presence of this graphic perception, to which only genius attains—the grasp of what human thought was like during the procession of those weird centuries through which East and West passed alike, when the future of the race seemed perpetually to tremble in the balance "amid the extravagances, follies, tyrannies, rebellions of the world, which rose out of the ruins of the Empire of Augustus. In the biography are one or two letters of great interest, addressed by Mr. Maurice to the author of Hypatia, recommending to bim the introduction of this Latin race-spirit in a more direct manner than Mr. Kingsley seemed to have intended. One passage upon St. Augustine I cannot resist quoting, it so exactly expresses the leading principle of Mr. Maurice's own life.
He had no doubt a craving, felt in his youth and never lost, for a very definite system of opinions. But the influences which crossed this desire and drove him in search of another object were really the blessed influences of his life, those to which he owed all the strength of his own belief and all his power of teaching others. When he had got his system nearly complete, the voice which asked him • What art thou?' and forced him in the heights or in the depths to find an answer to the question, broke the thread of his speculations and forced him to begin anew. The oftener in his after life he heard that voice, and believed that it was the one which he was to make others to hear, the more fresh and living and full of instruction for all ages did his words become. When he forgot it, and sought to build earthly tabernacles for Moses and Elias and his Divine Lord, his spirit became confused, and he forged afresh for mankind some of those very chains from which he had been set free.
I should anticipate for the beautiful edition of this book published in 1882, with its etched portrait, an increasing and enduring recognition not only from scholars, but also from the general reader. For the latter will find in it a singular clearness and brilliancy of diction while treating of subjects usually dry and formal, and a picture of the real life of successive centuries through which runs a vein of quiet humour often very effective. It would be easy to select, indeed, from Mr. Maurice's letters, and even from his sermons, instances of this quiet humour and of perception of the characteristics of social life which go to form genial satire.
Colonel Maurice, in the chapter we have already alluded to, gives us the following charming passage :
It was almost painful to walk with him in any part of the town where it was necessary for him to ask his way. In the noisiest and most crowded places he would inquire his direction in the gentlest and most apologetic tone, perhaps of some bluff old costermonger woman, who, unaccustomed to hear such subdued language, would continue to shove her way along, utterly unconscious of having been addressed. He would instantly draw back as though he had been rebuffed in an intrusion which, on reflection, he felt to have been quite unwarrantable, and would watch for a more favourable opportunity of attracting the attention of some other passer-by.
This perfectly, I will not say sincere, but instinctive humility of Mr. Maurice is shown in numberless passages in his letters. One particular trait is, I think, worthy of notice. He believed that he was very deficient in a love of Nature, and says, in one place, that his first wife, whose approbation he valued above all things, was constantly regretting his deficiency in this respect. In spite of this, however, I cannot help connecting bim, in my own mind, with one for whom he had the greatest admiration and respect, and who, though essentially the poet of man, is most truly associated with the love of Nature-William Wordsworth. In the Christian Year are some lines which throw, I think, considerable light on this connecticn.
And wilt thou seek again
The revolution which Wordsworth wrought in the realm of English thought--the change from pseudo-civilisation, from artificial emotion, from false taste to the true life of simple manhood-made it possible for the gospel of humanity to be heard again.
Thus Nature spoke. The work was done.
In Wordsworth's pages we breathe again the air of Palestine, when the world was young. The singleness of character and of life is