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Title: Culture and Anarchy
Author: Arnold, Matthew
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Culture and Anarchy" ***


Chapter Notes: I have indicated the author's notes with a superscript
asterisk *, my own substantive notes with a superscript + sign, and
my nonsubstantive notes with a superscript ± symbol.

Pagination: The text following a given page number in brackets marks
the beginning of that page, as in the following example: [22] This is
page twenty-two. [23] This is page twenty-three.


Preface: iii-lx
I: 1-50 (Sweetness and Light)
II: 51-92 (Doing as One Likes)
III: 93-141 (Barbarians, Philistines, Populace)
IV: 142-166 (Hebraism and Hellenism)
V: 166-197 (Porro Unum est Necessarium)
VI: 197-272 (Our Liberal Practitioners)

*Note: in the first edition, chapters are numbered only, not named.
I have added the third edition's titles for reference.



[iii] My foremost design in writing this Preface is to address a word
of exhortation to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.  In
the essay which follows, the reader will often find Bishop Wilson
quoted.  To me and to the members of the Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge his name and writings are still, no doubt,
familiar; but the world is fast going away from old-fashioned people
of his sort, and I learnt with consternation lately from a brilliant
and distinguished votary of the natural sciences, that he had never
so much as heard of Bishop Wilson, and that he imagined me to have
invented him.  At a moment when the Courts of Law have just taken off
the embargo from the recreative religion furnished on Sundays by my
gifted acquaintance and others, and when St. Martin's Hall [iv] and
the Alhambra will soon be beginning again to resound with their
pulpit-eloquence, it distresses one to think that the new lights
should not only have, in general, a very low opinion of the preachers
of the old religion, but that they should have it without knowing the
best that these preachers can do.  And that they are in this case is
owing in part, certainly, to the negligence of the Christian
Knowledge Society.  In old times they used to print and spread abroad
Bishop Wilson's Maxims of Piety and Christianity; the copy of this
work which I use is one of their publications, bearing their imprint,
and bound in the well-known brown calf which they made familiar to
our childhood; but the date of my copy is 1812.  I know of no copy
besides, and I believe the work is no longer one of those printed and
circulated by the Society.  Hence the error, flattering, I own, to me
personally, yet in itself to be regretted, of the distinguished
physicist already mentioned.

But Bishop Wilson's Maxims deserve to be circulated as a religious
book, not only by comparison with the cartloads of rubbish circulated
at present under this designation, but for their own sake, and even
by comparison with the other works of the same [v] author.  Over the
far better known Sacra Privata they have this advantage, that they
never meant to be printed, and have on that account, like a work of,
doubtless, far deeper emotion and power, the Meditations of Marcus
Aurelius, something peculiarly sincere and first-hand about them.
Some of the best things from the Maxims have passed into the Sacra
Privata; still, in the Maxims, we have them as they first arose; and
whereas, too, in the Sacra Privata the writer speaks very often as
one of the clergy, and as addressing the clergy, in the Maxims he
almost always speaks solely as a man.  I am not saying a word against
the Sacra Privata, for which I have the highest respect; only the
Maxims seem to me a better and a more edifying book still.  They
should be read, as Joubert says Nicole should be read, with a direct
aim at practice.  The reader will leave on one side things which,
from the change of time and from the changed point of view which the
change of time inevitably brings with it, no longer suit him; enough
[vi] will remain to serve as a sample of the very best, perhaps,
which our nation and race can do in the way of religious writing.
Monsieur Michelet makes it a reproach to us that, in all the doubt as
to the real author of the Imitation, no one has ever dreamed of
ascribing that work to an Englishman.  It is true, the Imitation
could not well have been written by an Englishman; the religious
delicacy and the profound asceticism of that admirable book are
hardly in our nature.  This would be more of a reproach to us if in
poetry, which requires, no less than religion, a true delicacy of
spiritual perception, our race had not done such great things; and if
the Imitation, exquisite as it is, did not, as I have elsewhere
remarked, belong to a class of works in which the perfect balance of
human nature is lost, and which have therefore, as spiritual
productions, in their contents something excessive and morbid, in
their form something not thoroughly sound.  On a lower range than the
Imitation, and awakening in our nature chords less poetical and
delicate, the Maxims of Bishop Wilson are, as a religious work, far
more solid.  To the most sincere ardour and unction, Bishop Wilson
unites, in these Maxims, that downright honesty [vii] and plain good
sense which our English race has so powerfully applied to the divine
impossibilities of religion; by which it has brought religion so much
into practical life, and has done its allotted part in promoting upon
earth the kingdom of God.  But with ardour and unction religion, as
we all know, may still be fanatical; with honesty and good sense, it
may still be prosaic; and the fruit of honesty and good sense united
with ardour and unction is often only a prosaic religion held
fanatically.  Bishop Wilson's excellence lies in a balance of the
four qualities, and in a fulness and perfection of them, which makes
this untoward result impossible; his unction is so perfect, and in
such happy alliance with his good sense, that it becomes tenderness
and fervent charity; his good sense is so perfect and in such happy
alliance with his unction, that it becomes moderation and insight.
While, therefore, the type of religion exhibited in his Maxims is
English, it is yet a type of a far higher kind than is in general
reached by Bishop Wilson's countrymen; and yet, being English, it is
possible and attainable for them.  And so I conclude as I began, by
saying that a work of this sort is one which the Society for
Promoting Christian [viii] Knowledge should not suffer to remain out
of print or out of currency.

To pass now to the matters canvassed in the following essay.  The
whole scope of the essay is to recommend culture as the great help
out of our present difficulties; culture being a pursuit of our total
perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most
concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world,
and, through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free
thought upon our stock notions and habits, which we now follow
staunchly but mechanically, vainly imagining that there is a virtue
in following them staunchly which makes up for the mischief of
following them mechanically.  This, and this alone, is the scope of
the following essay.  I say again here, what I have said in the pages
which follow, that from the faults and weaknesses of bookmen a notion
of something bookish, pedantic, and futile has got itself more or
less connected with the word culture, and that it is a pity we cannot
use a word more perfectly free from all shadow of reproach.  And yet,
futile as are many bookmen, and helpless as books and reading often
prove for bringing nearer to perfection those who [ix] use them, one
must, I think, be struck more and more, the longer one lives, to find
how much, in our present society, a man's life of each day depends
for its solidity and value on whether he reads during that day, and,
far more still, on what he reads during it.  More and more he who
examines himself will find the difference it makes to him, at the end
of any given day, whether or no he has pursued his avocations
throughout it without reading at all; and whether or no, having read
something, he has read the newspapers only.  This, however, is a
matter for each man's private conscience and experience.  If a man
without books or reading, or reading nothing but his letters and the
newspapers, gets nevertheless a fresh and free play of the best
thoughts upon his stock notions and habits, he has got culture.  He
has got that for which we prize and recommend culture; he has got
that which at the present moment we seek culture that it may give us.
This inward operation is the very life and essence of culture, as we
conceive it.

Nevertheless, it is not easy so to frame one's discourse concerning
the operation of culture, as to avoid giving frequent occasion to a
misunderstanding whereby the essential inwardness of the [x]
operation is lost sight of.  We are supposed, when we criticise by
the help of culture some imperfect doing or other, to have in our eye
some well-known rival plan of doing, which we want to serve and
recommend.  Thus, for instance, because I have freely pointed out the
dangers and inconveniences to which our literature is exposed in the
absence of any centre of taste and authority like the French Academy,
it is constantly said that I want to introduce here in England an
institution like the French Academy.  I have indeed expressly
declared that I wanted no such thing; but let us notice how it is
just our worship of machinery, and of external doing, which leads to
this charge being brought; and how the inwardness of culture makes us
seize, for watching and cure, the faults to which our want of an
Academy inclines us, and yet prevents us from trusting to an arm of
flesh, as the Puritans say,--from blindly flying to this outward
machinery of an Academy, in order to help ourselves.  For the very
same culture and free inward play of thought which shows us how the
Corinthian style, or the whimsies about the One Primeval Language,
are generated and strengthened in the absence of an [xi] Academy,
shows us, too, how little any Academy, such as we should be likely to
get, would cure them.  Every one who knows the characteristics of our
national life, and the tendencies so fully discussed in the following
pages, knows exactly what an English Academy would be like.  One can
see the happy family in one's mind's eye as distinctly as if it was
already constituted.  Lord Stanhope, the Bishop of Oxford, Mr.
Gladstone, the Dean of Westminster, Mr. Froude, Mr. Henry Reeve,--
everything which is influential, accomplished, and distinguished; and
then, some fine morning, a dissatisfaction of the public mind with
this brilliant and select coterie, a flight of Corinthian leading
articles, and an irruption of Mr. G.  A.  Sala.  Clearly, this is not
what will do us good.  The very same faults,--the want of
sensitiveness of intellectual conscience, the disbelief in right
reason, the dislike of authority,--which have hindered our having an
Academy and have worked injuriously in our literature, would also
hinder us from making our Academy, if we established it, one which
would really correct them.  And culture, which shows us truly the
faults, shows us this also just as truly.

[xii] It is by a like sort of misunderstanding, again, that Mr. Oscar
Browning, one of the assistant-masters at Eton, takes up in the
Quarterly Review the cudgels for Eton, as if I had attacked Eton,
because I have said, in a book about foreign schools, that a man may
well prefer to teach his three or four hours a day without keeping a
boarding-house; and that there are great dangers in cramming little
boys of eight or ten and making them compete for an object of great
value to their parents; and, again, that the manufacture and supply
of school-books, in England, much needs regulation by some competent
authority.  Mr. Oscar Browning gives us to understand that at Eton he
and others, with perfect satisfaction to themselves and the public,
combine the functions of teaching and of keeping a boarding-house;
that he knows excellent men (and, indeed, well he may, for a brother
of his own, I am told, is one of the best of them,) engaged in
preparing little boys for competitive examinations, and that the
result, as tested at Eton, gives perfect satisfaction.  And as to
school-books he adds, finally, that Dr.  William Smith, the learned
and distinguished editor of the Quarterly Review, is, as we all know,
[xiii] the compiler of school-books meritorious and many.  This is
what Mr. Oscar Browning gives us to understand in the Quarterly
Review, and it is impossible not to read with pleasure what he says.
For what can give a finer example of that frankness and manly self-
confidence which our great public schools, and none of them so much
as Eton, are supposed to inspire, of that buoyant ease in holding up
one's head, speaking out what is in one's mind, and flinging off all
sheepishness and awkwardness, than to see an Eton assistant-master
offering in fact himself as evidence that to combine boarding-house-
keeping with teaching is a good thing, and his brother as evidence
that to train and race little boys for competitive examinations is a
good thing?  Nay, and one sees that this frank-hearted Eton self-
confidence is contagious; for has not Mr. Oscar Browning managed to
fire Dr.  William Smith (himself, no doubt, the modestest man alive,
and never trained at Eton) with the same spirit, and made him insert
in his own Review a puff, so to speak, of his own school-books,
declaring that they are (as they are) meritorious and many?
Nevertheless, Mr. Oscar Browning is wrong in [xiv] thinking that I
wished to run down Eton; and his repetition on behalf of Eton, with
this idea in his head, of the strains of his heroic ancestor,
Malvina's Oscar, as they are recorded by the family poet, Ossian, is
unnecessary.  "The wild boar rushes over their tombs, but he does not
disturb their repose.  They still love the sport of their youth, and
mount the wind with joy." All I meant to say was, that there were
unpleasantnesses in uniting the keeping a boarding-house with
teaching, and dangers in cramming and racing little boys for
competitive examinations, and charlatanism and extravagance in the
manufacture and supply of our school-books.  But when Mr. Oscar
Browning tells us that all these have been happily got rid of in his
case, and his brother's case, and Dr.  William Smith's case, then I
say that this is just what I wish, and I hope other people will
follow their good example.  All I seek is that such blemishes should
not through any negligence, self-love, or want of due self-
examination, be suffered to continue.

Natural, as we have said, the sort of misunderstanding just noticed
is; yet our usefulness depends upon our being able to clear it away,
and to convince [xv] those who mechanically serve some stock notion
or operation, and thereby go astray, that it is not culture's work or
aim to give the victory to some rival fetish, but simply to turn a
free and fresh stream of thought upon the whole matter in question.
In a thing of more immediate interest, just now, than either of the
two we have mentioned, the like misunderstanding prevails; and until
it is dissipated, culture can do no good work in the matter.  When we
criticise the present operation of disestablishing the Irish Church,
not by the power of reason and justice, but by the power of the
antipathy of the Protestant Nonconformists, English and Scotch, to
establishments, we are charged with being dreamers of dreams, which
the national will has rudely shattered, for endowing the religious
sects all round; or we are called enemies of the Nonconformists,
blind partisans of the Anglican Establishment.  More than a few words
we must give to showing how erroneous are these charges; because if
they were true, we should be actually subverting our own design, and
playing false to that culture which it is our very purpose to

Certainly we are no enemies of the Nonconformists; [xvi] for, on the
contrary, what we aim at is their perfection.  Culture, which is the
study of perfection, leads us, as we in the following pages have
shown, to conceive of true human perfection as a harmonious
perfection, developing all sides of our humanity; and as a general
perfection, developing all parts of our society.  For if one member
suffer, the other members must suffer with it; and the fewer there
are that follow the true way of salvation the harder that way is to
find.  And while the Nonconformists, the successors and
representatives of the Puritans, and like them staunchly walking by
the best light they have, make a large part of what is strongest and
most serious in this nation and therefore attract our respect and
interest, yet all that, in what follows, is said about Hebraism and
Hellenism, has for its main result to show how our Puritans, ancient
and modern, have not enough added to their care for walking staunchly
by the best light they have, a care that that light be not darkness;
how they have developed one side of their humanity at the expense of
all others, and have become incomplete and mutilated men in
consequence.  Thus falling short of harmonious [xvii] perfection,
they fail to follow the true way of salvation.  Therefore that way is
made the harder for others to find, general perfection is put further
off out of our reach, and the confusion and perplexity in which our
society now labours is increased by the Nonconformists rather than
diminished by them.  So while we praise and esteem the zeal of the
Nonconformists in walking staunchly by the best light they have, and
desire to take no whit from it, we seek to add to this what we call
sweetness and light, and develope their full humanity more perfectly;
and to seek this is certainly not to be the enemy of the

But now, with these ideas in our head, we come across the present
operation for disestablishing the Irish Church by the power of the
Nonconformists' antipathy to religious establishments and endowments.
And we see Liberal statesmen, for whose purpose this antipathy
happens to be convenient, flattering it all they can; saying that
though they have no intention of laying hands on an Establishment
which is efficient and popular, like the Anglican Establishment here
in England, yet it is in the abstract a fine and good thing that
religion should [xviii] be left to the voluntary support of its
promoters, and should thus gain in energy and independence; and Mr.
Gladstone has no words strong enough to express his admiration of the
refusal of State-aid by the Irish Roman Catholics, who have never yet
been seriously asked to accept it, but who would a good deal
embarrass him if they demanded it.  And we see philosophical
politicians, with a turn for swimming with the stream, like Mr.
Baxter or Mr. Charles Buxton, and philosophical divines with the same
turn, like the Dean of Canterbury, seeking to give a sort of grand
stamp of generality and solemnity to this antipathy of the
Nonconformists, and to dress it out as a law of human progress in the
future.  Now, nothing can be pleasanter than swimming with the
stream; and we might gladly, if we could, try in our unsystematic way
to help Mr. Baxter, and Mr. Charles Buxton, and the Dean of
Canterbury, in their labours at once philosophical and popular.  But
we have got fixed in our minds that a more full and harmonious
development of their humanity is what the Nonconformists most want,
that narrowness, one-sidedness, and incompleteness is what they most
suffer from; [xix] in a word, that in what we call provinciality they
abound, but in what we may call totality they fall short.

And they fall short more than the members of Establishments.  The
great works by which, not only in literature, art, and science
generally, but in religion itself, the human spirit has manifested
its approaches to totality, and a full, harmonious perfection, and by
which it stimulates and helps forward the world's general perfection,
come, not from Nonconformists, but from men who either belong to
Establishments or have been trained in them.  A Nonconformist
minister, the Rev. Edward White, who has lately written a temperate
and well-reasoned pamphlet against Church Establishments, says that
"the unendowed and unestablished communities of England exert full as
much moral and ennobling influence upon the conduct of statesmen as
that Church which is both established and endowed." That depends upon
what one means by moral and ennobling influence.  The believer in
machinery may think that to get a Government to abolish Church-rates
or to legalise marriage with a deceased wife's sister is to exert a
moral and ennobling influence [xx] upon Government.  But a lover of
perfection, who looks to inward ripeness for the true springs of
conduct, will surely think that as Shakspeare has done more for the
inward ripeness of our statesmen than Dr.  Watts, and has, therefore,
done more to moralise and ennoble them, so an Establishment which has
produced Hooker, Barrow, Butler, has done more to moralise and
ennoble English statesmen and their conduct than communities which
have produced the Nonconformist divines.  The fruitful men of English
Puritanism and Nonconformity are men who were trained within the pale
of the Establishment,--Milton, Baxter, Wesley.  A generation or two
outside the Establishment, and Puritanism produces men of national
mark no more.  With the same doctrine and discipline, men of national
mark are produced in Scotland; but in an Establishment.  With the
same doctrine and discipline, men of national and even European mark
are produced in Germany, Switzerland, France; but in Establishments.
Only two religious disciplines seem exempted; or comparatively
exempted, from the operation of the law which seems to forbid the
rearing, outside of national establishments, of men of the [xxi]
highest spiritual significance.  These two are the Roman Catholic and
the Jewish.  And these, both of them, rest on Establishments, which,
though not indeed national, are cosmopolitan; and perhaps here, what
the individual man does not lose by these conditions of his rearing,
the citizen, and the State of which he is a citizen, loses.

What, now, can be the reason of this undeniable provincialism of the
English Puritans and Protestant Nonconformists, a provincialism which
has two main types,--a bitter type and a smug type,--but which in
both its types is vulgarising, and thwarts the full perfection of our
humanity?  Men of genius and character are born and reared in this
medium as in any other.  From the faults of the mass such men will
always be comparatively free, and they will always excite our
interest; yet in this medium they seem to have a special difficulty
in breaking through what bounds them, and in developing their
totality.  Surely the reason is, that the Nonconformist is not in
contact with the main current of national life, like the member of an
Establishment.  In a matter of such deep and vital concern as
religion, this separation from the main current of the national life
has [xxii] peculiar importance.  In the following essay we have
discussed at length the tendency in us to Hebraise, as we call it;
that is, to sacrifice all other sides of our being to the religious
side.  This tendency has its cause in the divine beauty and grandeur
of religion, and bears affecting testimony to them; but we have seen
that it has dangers for us, we have seen that it leads to a narrow
and twisted growth of our religious side itself, and to a failure in
perfection.  But if we tend to Hebraise even in an Establishment,
with the main current of national life flowing round us, and
reminding us in all ways of the variety and fulness of human
existence,--by a Church which is historical as the State itself is
historical, and whose order, ceremonies, and monuments reach, like
those of the State, far beyond any fancies and devisings of ours, and
by institutions such as the Universities, formed to defend and
advance that very culture and many-sided development which it is the
danger of Hebraising to make us neglect,--how much more must we tend
to Hebraise when we lack these preventives.  One may say that to be
reared a member of an Establishment is in itself a lesson of
religious moderation, and a help towards [xxiii] culture and
harmonious perfection.  Instead of battling for his own private forms
for expressing the inexpressible and defining the undefinable, a man
takes those which have commended themselves most to the religious
life of his nation; and while he may be sure that within those forms
the religious side of his own nature may find its satisfaction, he
has leisure and composure to satisfy other sides of his nature as

But with the member of a Nonconforming or self-made religious
community how different!  The sectary's eigene grosse Erfindungen, as
Goethe calls them,--the precious discoveries of himself and his
friends for expressing the inexpressible and defining the undefinable
in peculiar forms of their own, cannot but, as he has voluntarily
chosen them, and is personally responsible for them, fill his whole
mind.  He is zealous to do battle for them and affirm them, for in
affirming them he affirms himself, and that is what we all like.
Other sides of his being are thus neglected, because the religious
side, always tending in every serious man to predominance over our
other spiritual sides, is in him made quite absorbing and tyrannous
by [xxiv] the condition of self-assertion and challenge which he has
chosen for himself.  And just what is not essential in religion he
comes to mistake for essential, and a thousand times the more readily
because he has chosen it of himself; and religious activity he
fancies to consist in battling for it.  All this leaves him little
leisure or inclination for culture; to which, besides, he has no
great institutions not of his own making, like the Universities
connected with the national Establishment, to invite him; but only
such institutions as, like the order and discipline of his religion,
he may have invented for himself, and invented under the sway of the
narrow and tyrannous notions of religion fostered in him as we have
seen.  Thus, while a national Establishment of religion favours
totality, hole-and-corner forms of religion (to use an expressive
popular word) inevitably favour provincialism.

But the Nonconformists, and many of our Liberal friends along with
them, have a plausible plan for getting rid of this provincialism,
if, as they can hardly quite deny, it exists.  "Let us all be in the
same boat," they cry; "open the Universities to everybody, and let
there be no establishment of [xxv] religion at all!" Open the
Universities by all means; but, as to the second point about
establishment, let us sift the proposal a little.  It does seem at
first a little like that proposal of the fox, who had lost his own
tail, to put all the other foxes in the same boat by a general
cutting off of tails; and we know that moralists have decided that
the right course here was, not to adopt this plausible suggestion,
and cut off tails all round, but rather that the other foxes should
keep their tails, and that the fox without a tail should get one.
And so we might be inclined to urge that, to cure the evil of the
Nonconformists' provincialism, the right way can hardly be to
provincialise us all round.

However, perhaps we shall not be provincialised.  For the Rev. Edward
White says that probably, "when all good men alike are placed in a
condition of religious equality, and the whole complicated iniquity
of Government Church patronage is swept away, more of moral and
ennobling influence than ever will be brought to bear upon the action
of statesmen." We already have an example of religious equality in
our colonies.  "In the colonies," says The Times, "we see religious
communities unfettered by [xxvi] State-control, and the State
relieved from one of the most troublesome and irritating of
responsibilities." But America is the great example alleged by those
who are against establishments for religion.  Our topic at this
moment is the influence of religious establishments on culture; and
it is remarkable that Mr. Bright, who has taken lately to
representing himself as, above all, a promoter of reason and of the
simple natural truth of things, and his policy as a fostering of the
growth of intelligence,--just the aims, as is well known, of culture
also,--Mr. Bright, in a speech at Birmingham about education, seized
on the very point which seems to concern our topic, when he said: "I
believe the people of the United States have offered to the world
more valuable information during the last forty years than all Europe
put together." So America, without religious establishments, seems to
get ahead of us all in culture and totality; and these are the cure
for provincialism.

On the other hand, another friend of reason and the simple natural
truth of things, Monsieur Renan, says of America, in a book he has
recently published, what seems to conflict violently with [xxvii]
what Mr. Bright says.  Mr. Bright affirms that, not only have the
United States thus informed Europe, but they have done it without a
great apparatus of higher and scientific instruction, and by dint of
all classes in America being "sufficiently educated to be able to
read, and to comprehend, and to think; and that, I maintain, is the
foundation of all subsequent progress." And then comes Monsieur
Renan, and says: "The sound instruction of the people is an effect of
the high culture of certain classes.  The countries which, like the
United States, have created a considerable popular instruction
without any serious higher instruction, will long have to expiate
this fault by their intellectual mediocrity, their vulgarity of
manners, their superficial spirit, their lack of general
intelligence."* Now, which of these two friends of culture are we to
believe?  Monsieur Renan seems more to have in his eye what we
ourselves mean by culture; [xxviii] because Mr. Bright always has in
his eye what he calls "a commendable interest" in politics and
political agitations.  As he said only the other day at Birmingham:
"At this moment,--in fact, I may say at every moment in the history
of a free country,--there is nothing that is so much worth discussing
as politics." And he keeps repeating, with all the powers of his
noble oratory, the old story, how to the thoughtfulness and
intelligence of the people of great towns we owe all our improvements
in the last thirty years, and how these improvements have hitherto
consisted in Parliamentary reform, and free trade, and abolition of
Church rates, and so on; and how they are now about to consist in
getting rid of minority-members, and in introducing a free breakfast-
table, and in abolishing the Irish Church by the power of the
Nonconformists' antipathy to establishments, and much more of the
same kind.  And though our pauperism and ignorance, and all the
questions which are called social, seem now to be forcing themselves
upon his mind, yet he still goes on with his glorifying of the great
towns, and the Liberals, and their operations for the last thirty
years.  It never [xxix] seems to occur to him that the present
troubled state of our social life has anything to do with the thirty
years' blind worship of their nostrums by himself and our Liberal
friends, or that it throws any doubts upon the sufficiency of this
worship.  But he thinks what is still amiss is due to the stupidity
of the Tories, and will be cured by the thoughtfulness and
intelligence of the great towns, and by the Liberals going on
gloriously with their political operations as before; or that it will
cure itself.  So we see what Mr. Bright means by thoughtfulness and
intelligence, and in what manner, according to him, we are to grow in
them.  And, no doubt, in America all classes read their newspaper and
take a commendable interest in politics more than here or anywhere
else in Europe.

But, in the following essay, we have been led to doubt the
sufficiency of all this political operating of ours, pursued
mechanically as we pursue it; and we found that general intelligence,
as Monsieur Renan calls it, or, in our own words, a reference of all
our operating to a firm intelligible law of things, was just what we
were without, and that we were without it because we worshipped our
machinery [xxx] so devoutly.  Therefore, we conclude that Monsieur
Renan, more than Mr. Bright, means by reason and intelligence the
same thing as we do; and when he says that America, that chosen home
of newspapers and politics, is without general intelligence, we think
it likely, from the circumstances of the case, that this is so; and
that, in culture and totality, America, instead of surpassing us all,
falls short.

And,--to keep to our point of the influence of religious
establishments upon culture and a high development of our humanity,--
we can surely see reasons why, with all her energy and fine gifts,
America does not show more of this development, or more promise of
this.  In the following essay it will be seen how our society
distributes itself into Barbarians, Philistines, and Populace; and
America is just ourselves, with the Barbarians quite left out, and
the Populace nearly.  This leaves the Philistines for the great bulk
of the nation;--a livelier sort of Philistine than ours, and with the
pressure and false ideal of our Barbarians taken away, but left all
the more to himself and to have his full swing!  And as we have found
that the strongest and most vital part of English Philistinism was
the [xxxi] Puritan and Hebraising middle-class, and that its
Hebraising keeps it from culture and totality, so it is notorious
that the people of the United States issues from this class, and
reproduces its tendencies,--its narrow conception of man's spiritual
range and of his one thing needful.  From Maine to Florida, and back
again, all America Hebraises.  Difficult as it is to speak of a
people merely from what one reads, yet that, I think, one may,
without much fear of contradiction say.  I mean, when, in the United
States, any spiritual side in a man is wakened to activity, it is
generally the religious side, and the religious side in a narrow way.
Social reformers go to Moses or St.  Paul for their doctrines, and
have no notion there is anywhere else to go to; earnest young men at
schools and universities, instead of conceiving salvation as a
harmonious perfection only to be won by unreservedly cultivating many
sides in us, conceive of it in the old Puritan fashion, and fling
themselves ardently upon it in the old, false ways of this fashion,
which we know so well, and such as Mr. Hammond, the American
revivalist, has lately, at Mr. Spurgeon's Tabernacle, been refreshing
our memory with.  Now, if America thus [xxxii] Hebraises more than
either England or Germany, will any one deny that the absence of
religious establishments has much to do with it?  We have seen how
establishments tend to give us a sense of a historical life of the
human spirit, outside and beyond our own fancies and feelings; how
they thus tend to suggest new sides and sympathies in us to
cultivate; how, further, by saving us from having to invent and fight
for our own forms of religion, they give us leisure and calm to
steady our view of religion itself,--the most overpowering of
objects, as it is the grandest,--and to enlarge our first crude
notions of the one thing needful.  But, in a serious people, where
every one has to choose and strive for his own order and discipline
of religion, the contention about these non-essentials occupies his
mind, his first crude notions about the one thing needful do not get
purged, and they invade the whole spiritual man in him, and then,
making a solitude, they call it heavenly peace.

I remember a Nonconformist manufacturer, in a town of the Midland
counties, telling me that when he first came there, some years ago,
the place had no Dissenters; but he had opened an Independent
[xxxiii] chapel in it, and now Church and Dissent were pretty equally
divided, with sharp contests between them.  I said, that seemed a
pity.  "A pity?" cried he; "not at all!  Only think of all the zeal
and activity which the collision calls forth!" "Ah, but, my dear
friend," I answered, "only think of all the nonsense which you now
hold quite firmly, which you would never have held if you had not
been contradicting your adversary in it all these years!" The more
serious the people, and the more prominent the religious side in it,
the greater is the danger of this side, if set to choose out forms
for itself and fight for existence, swelling and spreading till it
swallows all other spiritual sides up, intercepts and absorbs all
nutriment which should have gone to them, and leaves Hebraism rampant
in us and Hellenism stamped out.

Culture, and the harmonious perfection of our whole being, and what
we call totality, then become secondary matters; and the
institutions, which should develope these, take the same narrow and
partial view of humanity and its wants as the free religious
communities take.  Just as the free churches of Mr. Beecher or
Brother Noyes, with their provincialism [xxxiv] and want of
centrality, make mere Hebraisers in religion, and not perfect men, so
the university of Mr. Ezra Cornell, a really noble monument of his
munificence, yet seems to rest on a provincial misconception of what
culture truly is, and to be calculated to produce miners, or
engineers, or architects, not sweetness and light.

And, therefore, when the Rev. Edward White asks the same kind of
question about America that he has asked about England, and wants to
know whether, without religious establishments, as much is not done
in America for the higher national life as is done for that life
here, we answer in the same way as we did before, that as much is not
done.  Because to enable and stir up people to read their Bible and
the newspapers, and to get a practical knowledge of their business,
does not serve to the higher spiritual life of a nation so much as
culture, truly conceived, serves; and a true conception of culture
is, as Monsieur Renan's words show, just what America fails in.

To the many who think that culture, and sweetness, and light, are all
moonshine, this will not appear to matter much; but with us, who
value [xxxv] them, and who think that we have traced much of our
present discomfort to the want of them, it weighs a great deal.  So
not only do we say that the Nonconformists have got provincialism and
lost totality by the want of a religious establishment, but we say
that the very example which they bring forward to help their case
makes against them; and that when they triumphantly show us America
without religious establishments, they only show us a whole nation
touched, amidst all its greatness and promise, with that
provincialism which it is our aim to extirpate in the English

But now to evince the disinterestedness which culture, as I have
said, teaches us.  We have seen the narrowness generated in
Puritanism by its hole-and-corner organisation, and we propose to
cure it by bringing Puritanism more into contact with the main
current of national life.  Here we are fully at one with the Dean of
Westminster; and, indeed, he and we were trained in the same school
to mark the narrowness of Puritanism, and to wish to cure it.  But he
and others would give to the present Anglican Establishment a
character the most latitudinarian, as it is called, possible;
availing themselves for this [xxxvi] purpose of the diversity of
tendencies and doctrines which does undoubtedly exist already in the
Anglican formularies; and they would say to the Puritans: "Come all
of you into this liberally conceived Anglican Establishment." But to
say this is hardly, perhaps, to take sufficient account of the course
of history, or of the strength of men's feelings in what concerns
religion, or of the gravity which may have come to attach itself to
points of religious order and discipline merely.  When the Rev.
Edward White talks of "sweeping away the whole complicated iniquity
of Government Church patronage," he uses language which has been
forced upon him by his position, but which is, as we have seen,
devoid of any real solidity.  But when he talks of the religious
communities "which have for three hundred years contended for the
power of the congregation in the management of their own affairs,"
then he talks history; and his language has behind it, in my opinion,
facts which make the latitudinarianism of our Broad Churchmen quite
illusory.  Certainly, culture will never make us think it an
essential of religion whether we have in our Church discipline "a
popular authority of elders," as Hooker calls [xxxvii] it, or whether
we have Episcopal jurisdiction.  Certainly, Hooker himself did not
think it an essential; for in the dedication of his Ecclesiastical
Polity, speaking of these questions of Church discipline which gave
occasion to his great work, he says they are "in truth, for the
greatest part, such silly things, that very easiness doth make them
hard to be disputed of in serious manner." Hooker's great work
against the impugners of the order and discipline of the Church of
England was written (and this is too indistinctly seized by many who
read it), not because Episcopalianism is essential, but because its
impugners maintained that Presbyterianism is essential, and that
Episcopalianism is sinful.  Neither the one nor the other is either
essential or sinful, and much may be said on behalf of both.  But
what is important to be remarked is that both were in the Church of
England at the Reformation, and that Presbyterianism was only
extruded gradually.  We have mentioned Hooker, and nothing better
illustrates what has just been asserted than the following incident
in Hooker's own career, which every one has read, for it is related
in Isaac Walton's Life of Hooker, but of which, [xxxviii] probably,
the significance has been fully grasped by not one-half of those who
have read it.

Hooker was through the influence of Archbishop Whitgift appointed, in
1585, Master of the Temple; but a great effort had just been made to
obtain the place for a Mr. Walter Travers, well known in that day,
though now it is Hooker's name which alone preserves his.  This
Travers was then afternoon-lecturer at the Temple.  The Master whose
death made the vacancy, Alvey, recommended on his deathbed Travers
for his successor, the society was favourable to him, and he had the
support of the Lord Treasurer Burghley.  After Hooker's appointment
to the Mastership, Travers remained afternoon-lecturer, and combated
in the afternoons the doctrine which Hooker preached in the mornings.
Now, this Travers, originally a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge,
afterwards afternoon-lecturer at the Temple, recommended for the
Mastership by the foregoing Master, whose opinions, it is said,
agreed with his, favoured by the society of the Temple, and supported
by the Prime Minister,--this Travers was not an Episcopally ordained
clergyman at all; he was a Presbyterian, [xxxix] a partisan of the
Geneva church-discipline, as it was then called, and "had taken
orders," says Walton, "by the Presbyters in Antwerp." In another
place Walton speaks of his orders yet more fully:--"He had
disowned," he says, "the English Established Church and Episcopacy,
and went to Geneva, and afterwards to Antwerp, to be ordained
minister, as he was by Villers and Cartwright and others the heads of
a congregation there; and so came back again more confirmed for the
discipline." Villers and Cartwright are in like manner examples of
Presbyterianism within the Church of England, which was common enough
at that time; but perhaps nothing can better give us a lively sense
of its presence there than this history of Travers, which is as if
Mr. Binney were now afternoon-reader at Lincoln's Inn or the Temple,
were to be a candidate, favoured by the benchers and by the Prime
Minister, for the Mastership, and were only kept out of the post by
the accident of the Archbishop of Canterbury's influence with the
Queen carrying a rival candidate.

Presbyterianism, with its popular principle of the power of the
congregation in the management of [xl] their own affairs, was
extruded from the Church of England, and men like Travers can no
longer appear in her pulpits.  Perhaps if a government like that of
Elizabeth, with secular statesmen like the Cecils, and ecclesiastical
statesmen like Whitgift, could have been prolonged, Presbyterianism
might, by a wise mixture of concession and firmness, have been
absorbed in the Establishment.  Lord Bolingbroke, on a matter of this
kind a very clear-judging and impartial witness, says, in a work far
too little read, his Remarks on English History:--" The measures
pursued and the temper observed in Queen Elizabeth's time tended to
diminish the religious opposition by a slow, a gentle, and for that
very reason an effectual progression.  There was even room to hope
that when the first fire of the Dissenters' zeal was passed,
reasonable terms of union with the Established Church might be
accepted by such of them as were not intoxicated with fanaticism.
These were friends to order, though they disputed about it.  If these
friends of Calvin's discipline had been once incorporated with the
Established Church, the remaining sectaries would have been of little
moment, either for numbers or [xli] reputation; and the very means
which were proper to gain these friends, were likewise the most
effectual to hinder the increase of them, and of the other sectaries
in the meantime." The temper and ill judgment of the Stuarts made
shipwreck of all policy of this kind.  Yet speaking even of the time
of the Stuarts, but their early time, Clarendon says that if Bishop
Andrewes had succeeded Bancroft at Canterbury, the disaffection of
separatists might have been stayed and healed.  This, however, was
not to be; and Presbyterianism, after exercising for some years the
law of the strongest, itself in Charles the Second's reign suffered
under this law, and was finally cast out from the Church of England.

Now the points of church discipline at issue between Presbyterianism
and Episcopalianism are, as has been said, not essential.  They might
probably once have been settled in a sense altogether favourable to
Episcopalianism.  Hooker may have been right in thinking that there
were in his time circumstances which made it essential that they
should be settled in this sense, though the points in themselves were
not essential.  But by the very fact of the settlement not having
then been effected, of the [xlii] breach having gone on and widened,
of the Nonconformists not having been amicably incorporated with the
Establishment but violently cast out from it, the circumstances are
now altogether altered.  Isaac Walton, a fervent Churchman, complains
that "the principles of the Nonconformists grew at last to such a
height and were vented so daringly, that, beside the loss of life and
limbs, the Church and State were both forced to use such other
severities as will not admit of an excuse, if it had not been to
prevent confusion and the perilous consequences of it." But those
very severities have of themselves made union on an Episcopalian
footing impossible.  Besides, Presbyterianism, the popular authority
of elders, the power of the congregation in the management of their
own affairs, has that warrant given to it by Scripture and by the
proceedings of the early Christian Churches, it is so consonant with
the spirit of Protestantism which made the Reformation and which has
such strength in this country, it is so predominant in the practice
of other reformed churches, it was so strong in the original reformed
Church of England, that one cannot help doubting whether any
settlement which suppressed it could have been really permanent,
[xliii] and whether it would not have kept appearing again and again,
and causing dissension.

Well, then, if culture is the disinterested endeavour after man's
perfection, will it not make us wish to cure the provincialism of the
Nonconformists, not by making Churchmen provincial along with them,
but by letting their popular church discipline, formerly found in the
National Church, and still found in the affections and practice of a
good part of the nation, appear in the National Church once more; and
thus to bring Nonconformists into contact again, as their greater
fathers were, with the main stream of national life?  Why should not
a Presbyterian or Congregational Church, based on this considerable
and important, though not essential principle, of the congregation's
power in the church management, be established,--with equal rank for
its chiefs with the chiefs of Episcopacy, and with admissibility of
its ministers, under a revised system of patronage and preferment, to
benefices,--side by side with the Episcopal Church, as the Calvinist
and Lutheran Churches are established side by side in France and
Germany?  Such a Congregational Church would unite the main bodies of
Protestants who are now separatists; and [xliv] separation would
cease to be the law of their religious order.  Then,--through this
concession on a really considerable point of difference,--that
endless splitting into hole-and-corner churches on quite
inconsiderable points of difference, which must prevail so long as
separatism is the first law of a Nonconformist's religious existence,
would be checked.  Culture would then find a place among English
followers of the popular authority of elders, as it has long found it
among the followers of Episcopal jurisdiction; and this we should
gain by merely recognising, regularising, and restoring an element
which appeared once in the reformed National Church, and which is
considerable and national enough to have a sound claim to appear
there still.

So far, then, is culture from making us unjust to the Nonconformists
because it forbids us to worship their fetishes, that it even leads
us to propose to do more for them than they themselves venture to
claim.  It leads us, also, to respect what is solid and respectable
in their convictions, while their latitudinarian friends make light
of it.  Not that the forms in which the human spirit tries to express
the inexpressible, or the forms by which man tries to [xlv] worship,
have or can have, as has been said, for the follower of perfection,
anything necessary or eternal.  If the New Testament and the practice
of the primitive Christians sanctioned the popular form of church
government a thousand times more expressly than they do, if the
Church since Constantine were a thousand times more of a departure
from the scheme of primitive Christianity than it can be shown to be,
that does not at all make, as is supposed by men in bondage to the
letter, the popular form of church government alone and always sacred
and binding, or the work of Constantine a thing to be regretted.
What is alone and always sacred and binding for man is the climbing
towards his total perfection, and the machinery by which he does this
varies in value according as it helps him to do it.  The planters of
Christianity had their roots in deep and rich grounds of human life
and achievement, both Jewish and also Greek; and had thus a
comparatively firm and wide basis amidst all the vehement inspiration
of their mighty movement and change.  By their strong inspiration
they carried men off the old basis of life and culture, whether
Jewish or Greek, and generations arose [xlvi] who had their roots in
neither world, and were in contact therefore with no full and great
stream of human life.  Christianity might have lost herself, if it
had not been for some such change as that of the fourth century, in a
multitude of hole-and-corner churches like the churches of English
Nonconformity after its founders departed; churches without great
men, and without furtherance for the higher life of humanity.  At a
critical moment came Constantine, and placed Christianity,--or let us
rather say, placed the human spirit, whose totality was endangered,--
in contact with the main current of human life.  And his work was
justified by its fruits, in men like Augustine and Dante, and indeed
in all the great men of Christianity, Catholics or Protestants, ever
since.  And one may go beyond this.  Monsieur Albert Reville, whose
religious writings are always interesting, says that the conception
which cultivated and philosophical Jews now entertain of Christianity
and its founder, is probably destined to become the conception which
Christians themselves will entertain.  Socinians are fond of saying
the same thing about the Socinian conception of Christianity.  Even
if this were true, it would still have been [xlvii] better for a man,
through the last eighteen hundred years, to have been a Christian,
and a member of one of the great Christian communions, than to have
been a Jew or a Socinian; because the being in contact with the main
stream of human life is of more moment for a man's total spiritual
growth, and for his bringing to perfection the gifts committed to
him, which is his business on earth, than any speculative opinion
which he may hold or think he holds.  Luther,--whom we have called a
Philistine of genius, and who, because he was a Philistine, had a
coarseness and lack of spiritual delicacy which have harmed his
disciples, but who, because he was a genius, had splendid flashes of
spiritual insight,--Luther says admirably in his Commentary on the
Book of Daniel: "A God is simply that whereon the human heart rests
with trust, faith, hope and love.  If the resting is right, then the
God too is right; if the resting is wrong, then the God too is
illusory."  In other words, the worth of what a man thinks about God
and the objects of religion depends on what the man is; and what the
man is, depends upon his having more or less reached the measure of a
perfect and total man.

[xlviii] All this is true; and yet culture, as we have seen, has more
tenderness for scruples of the Nonconformists than have their Broad
Church friends.  That is because culture, disinterestedly trying, in
its aim at perfection, to see things as they really are, sees how
worthy and divine a thing is the religious side in man, though it is
not the whole of man.  And when Mr. Greg, who differs from us about
edification, (and certainly we do not seem likely to agree with him
as to what edifies), finding himself moved by some extraneous
considerations or other to take a Church's part against its enemies,
calls taking a Church's part returning to base uses, culture teaches
us how out of place is this language, and that to use it shows an
inadequate conception of human nature, and that no Church will thank
a man for taking its part in this fashion, but will leave him with
indifference to the tender mercies of his Benthamite friends.  But
avoiding Benthamism, or an inadequate conception of the religious
side in man, culture makes us also avoid Mialism, or an inadequate
conception of man's totality.  Therefore to the worth and grandeur of
the religious side in man, culture is rejoiced and willing to pay any
tribute, [xlix] except the tribute of man's totality.  True, the
order and liturgy of the Church of England one may be well contented
to live and to die with, and they are such as to inspire an
affectionate and revering attachment.  True, the reproaches of
Nonconformists against this order for "retaining badges of
Antichristian recognisance;" and for "corrupting the right form of
Church polity with manifold Popish rites and ceremonies;" true, their
assertion of the essentialness of their own supposed Scriptural
order, and their belief in its eternal fitness, are founded on
illusion.  True, the whole attitude of horror and holy superiority
assumed by Puritanism towards the Church of Rome, is wrong and false,
and well merits Sir Henry Wotton's rebuke:--"Take heed of thinking
that the farther you go from the Church of Rome, the nearer you are
to God."  True, one of the best wishes one could form for Mr.
Spurgeon or Father Jackson is, that they might be permitted to learn
on this side the grave (for if they do not, a considerable surprise
is certainly reserved for them on the other) that Whitfield and
Wesley were not at all better than St. Francis, and that they
themselves are not at all better than Lacordaire.  Yet, [l] in spite
of all this, so noble and divine a thing is religion, so respectable
is that earnestness which desires a prayer-book with one strain of
doctrine, so attaching is the order and discipline by which we are
used to have our religion conveyed, so many claims on our regard has
that popular form of church government for which Nonconformists
contend, so perfectly compatible is it with all progress towards
perfection, that culture would make us shy even to propose to
Nonconformists the acceptance of the Anglican prayer-book and the
episcopal order; and would be forward to wish them a prayer-book of
their own approving, and the church discipline to which they are
attached and accustomed.  Only not at the price of Mialism; that is,
of a doctrine which leaves the Nonconformists in holes and corners,
out of contact with the main current of national life.  One can lay
one's finger, indeed, on the line by which this doctrine has grown
up, and see how the essential part of Nonconformity is a popular
church-discipline analogous to that of the other reformed churches,
and how its voluntaryism is an accident.  It contended for the
establishment of its own church-discipline as the only true [li] one;
and beaten in this contention, and seeing its rival established, it
came down to the more plausible proposal "to place all good men alike
in a condition of religious equality;" and this plan of proceeding,
originally taken as a mere second-best, became, by long sticking to
it and preaching it up, first fair, then righteous, then the only
righteous, then at last necessary to salvation.  This is the plan for
remedying the Nonconformists' divorce from contact with the national
life by divorcing churchmen too from contact with it; that is, as we
have familiarly before put it, the tailless foxes are for cutting off
tails all round.  But this the other foxes could not wisely grant,
unless it were proved that tails are of no value.  And so, too,
unless it is proved that contact with the main current of national
life is of no value (and we have shown that it is of the greatest
value), we cannot safely, even to please the Nonconformists in a
matter where we would please them as much as possible, admit Mialism.

But now, as we have shown the disinterestedness which culture
enjoins, and its obedience not to likings or dislikings, but to the
aim of perfection, let us show its flexibility,--its independence of
machinery.  That [lii] other and greater prophet of intelligence, and
reason, and the simple natural truth of things,--Mr. Bright,--means
by these, as we have seen, a certain set of measures which suit the
special ends of Liberal and Nonconformist partisans.  For instance,
reason and justice towards Ireland mean the abolishment of the
iniquitous Protestant ascendency in such a particular way as to suit
the Nonconformists' antipathy to establishments.  Reason and justice
pursued in a different way, by distributing among the three main
Churches of Ireland,--the Roman Catholic, the Anglican, and the
Presbyterian,--the church property of Ireland, would immediately
cease, for Mr. Bright and the Nonconformists, to be reason and
justice at all, and would become, as Mr. Spurgeon says, "a setting up
of the Roman image."  Thus we see that the sort of intelligence
reached by culture is more disinterested than the sort of
intelligence reached by belonging to the Liberal party in the great
towns, and taking a commendable interest in politics.  But still more
striking is the difference between the two views of intelligence,
when we see that culture not only makes a quite disinterested choice
of the machinery [liii] proper to carry us towards sweetness and
light, and to make reason and the will of God prevail, but by even
this machinery does not hold stiffly and blindly, and easily passes
on beyond it to that for the sake of which it chose it.

For instance: culture leads us to think that the ends of human
perfection might be best served by establishing,--that is, by
bringing into contact with the main current of the national life,--in
Ireland the Roman Catholic and the Presbyterian Churches along with
the Anglican Church; and, in England, a Presbyterian or
Congregational Church of like rank and status with our Episcopalian
one.  It leads us to think that we should really, in this way, be
working to make reason and the will of God prevail; because we should
be making Roman Catholics better citizens, and Nonconformists,--nay,
and Churchmen along with them,-- larger-minded and more complete
men.  But undoubtedly there are great difficulties in such a plan as
this; and the plan is not one which looks very likely to be adopted.
It is a plan more for a time of creative statesmen, like the time of
Elizabeth, than for a time of instrumental [liv] statesmen like the
present.  The Churchman must rise above his ordinary self in order to
favour it; and the Nonconformist has worshipped his fetish of
separatism so long that he is likely to wish still to remain, like
Ephraim, "a wild ass alone by himself."  The centre of power being
where it is, our instrumental statesmen have every temptation, as is
shown more at large in the following essay, in the first place, to
"relieve themselves," as The Times says, "of troublesome and
irritating responsibilities;" in the second place, when they must
act, to go along, as they do, with the ordinary self of those on
whose favour they depend, to adopt as their own its desires, and to
serve them with fidelity, and even, if possible, with impulsiveness.
This is the more easy for them, because there are not wanting,--and
there never will be wanting,--thinkers like Mr. Baxter, Mr. Charles
Buxton, and the Dean of Canterbury, to swim with the stream, but to
swim with it philosophically; to call the desires of the ordinary
self of any great section of the community edicts of the national
mind and laws of human progress, and to give them a general, a
philosophic, and an imposing expression.  A generous statesman may
[lv] honestly, therefore, soon unlearn any disposition to put his
tongue in his cheek in advocating these desires, and may advocate
them with fervour and impulsiveness.  Therefore a plan such as that
which we have indicated does not seem a plan so likely to find favour
as a plan for abolishing the Irish Church by the power of the
Nonconformists' antipathy to establishments.

But to tell us that our fond dreams are on that account shattered is
inexact, and is the sort of language which ought to be addressed to
the promoters of intelligence through public meetings and a
commendable interest in politics, when they fail in their designs,
and not to us.  For we are fond stickers to no machinery, not even
our own; and we have no doubt that perfection can be reached without
it,--with free churches as with established churches, and with
instrumental statesmen as with creative statesmen.  But it can never
be reached without seeing things as they really are; and it is to
this, therefore, and to no machinery in the world, that culture
sticks fondly.  It insists that men should not mistake, as they are
prone to mistake, their natural taste for the bathos for a relish for
the sublime; and if statesmen, either [lvi] with their tongue in
their cheek or through a generous impulsiveness, tell them their
natural taste for the bathos is a relish for the sublime, there is
the more need for culture to tell them the contrary.  It is delusion
on this point which is fatal, and against delusion on this point
culture works.  It is not fatal to our Liberal friends to labour for
free trade, extension of the suffrage, and abolition of church-rates,
instead of graver social ends; but it is fatal to them to be told by
their flatterers, and to believe, with our pauperism increasing more
rapidly than our population, that they have performed a great, an
heroic work, by occupying themselves exclusively, for the last thirty
years, with these Liberal nostrums, and that the right and good
course for them now is to go on occupying themselves with the like
for the future.  It is not fatal to Americans to have no religious
establishments and no effective centres of high culture; but it is
fatal to them to be told by their flatterers, and to believe, that
they are the most intelligent people in the whole world, when of
intelligence, in the true and fruitful sense of the word, they even
singularly, as we have seen, come short.  It is not [lvii] fatal to
the Nonconformists to remain with their separated churches; but it is
fatal to them to be told by their flatterers, and to believe, that
theirs is the one pure and Christ-ordained way of worshipping God,
that provincialism and loss of totality have not come to them from
following it, or that provincialism and loss of totality are not
evils.  It is not fatal to the English nation to abolish the Irish
Church by the power of the Nonconformists' antipathy to
establishments; but it is fatal to it to be told by its flatterers,
and to believe, that it is abolishing it through reason and justice,
when it is really abolishing it through this power; or to expect the
fruits of reason and justice from anything but the spirit of reason
and justice themselves.

Now culture, because of its keen sense of what is really fatal, is
all the more disposed to be pliant and easy about what is not fatal.
And because machinery is the bane of politics, and an inward working,
and not machinery, is what we most want, we keep advising our ardent
young Liberal friends to think less of machinery, to stand more aloof
from the arena of politics at present, and rather to try and promote,
with us, an inward working.  They do not listen [lviii] to us, and
they rush into the arena of politics, where their merits, indeed,
seem to be little appreciated as yet; and then they complain of the
reformed constituencies, and call the new Parliament a Philistine
Parliament.  As if a nation, nourished and reared in Hebraising,
could give us, just yet, anything better than a Philistine
Parliament!--for would a Barbarian Parliament be even so good, or a
Populace Parliament?  For our part, we rejoice to see our dear old
friends, the Hebraising Philistines, gathered in force in the Valley
of Jehoshaphat before their final conversion, which will certainly
come; but for this conversion we must not try to oust them from their
places, and to contend for machinery with them, but we must work on
them inwardly and cure them of Hebraising.

Yet the days of Israel are innumerable; and in its blame of
Hebraising too, and in its praise of Hellenising, culture must not
fail to keep its flexibility, and to give to its judgments that
passing and provisional character which we have seen it impose on its
preferences and rejections of machinery.  Now, and for us, it is a
time to Hellenise, and to praise knowing; for we have Hebraised too
much, [lix] and have over-valued doing.  But the habits and
discipline received from Hebraism remain for our race an eternal
possession; and, as humanity is constituted, one must never assign
them the second rank to-day, without being ready to restore them to
the first rank to-morrow.  To walk staunchly by the best light one
has, to be strict and sincere with oneself, not to be of the number
of those who say and do not, to be in earnest,--this is the
discipline by which alone man is enabled to rescue his life from
thraldom to the passing moment and to his bodily senses, to ennoble
it, and to make it eternal.  And this discipline has been nowhere so
effectively taught as in the school of Hebraism.  Sophocles and Plato
knew as well as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews that
"without holiness no man shall see God," and their notion of what
goes to make up holiness was larger than his.  But the intense and
convinced energy with which the Hebrew, both of the Old and of the
New Testament, threw himself upon his ideal, and which inspired the
incomparable definition of the great Christian virtue, Faith,--the
substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,--this
energy of faith in its ideal has [lx] belonged to Hebraism alone.  As
our idea of holiness enlarges, and our scope of perfection widens
beyond the narrow limits to which the over-rigour of Hebraising has
tended to confine it, we shall come again to Hebraism for that devout
energy in embracing our ideal, which alone can give to man the
happiness of doing what he knows.  "If ye know these things, happy
are ye if ye do them!"--the last word for infirm humanity will always
be that.  For this word, reiterated with a power now sublime, now
affecting, but always admirable, our race will, as long as the world
lasts, return to Hebraism; and the Bible, which preaches this word,
will forever remain, as Goethe called it, not only a national book,
but the Book of the Nations.  Again and again, after what seemed
breaches and separations, the prophetic promise to Jerusalem will
still be true:--Lo, thy sons come, whom thou sentest away; they come
gathered from the west unto the east by the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing in the remembrance of God.


xxvii. *"Les pays qui comme les États-Unis ont créé un enseignement
populaire considérable sans instruction supérieure sérieuse,
expieront longtemps encore leur faute par leur médiocrité
intellectuelle, leur grossièreté de moeurs, leur esprit superficiel,
leur manque d'intelligence générale."


[1] In one of his speeches a year or two ago, that fine speaker and
famous Liberal, Mr. Bright, took occasion to have a fling at the
friends and preachers of culture.  "People who talk about what they
call culture!" said he contemptuously; "by which they mean a
smattering of the two dead languages of Greek and Latin."  And he
went on to remark, in a strain with which modern speakers and writers
have made us very familiar, how poor a thing this culture is, how
little good it can do to the world, and how absurd it is for its
possessors to set much [2] store by it.  And the other day a younger
Liberal than Mr. Bright, one of a school whose mission it is to bring
into order and system that body of truth of which the earlier
Liberals merely touched the outside, a member of the University of
Oxford, and a very clever writer, Mr. Frederic Harrison, developed,
in the systematic and stringent manner of his school, the thesis
which Mr. Bright had propounded in only general terms.  "Perhaps the
very silliest cant of the day," said Mr. Frederic Harrison, "is the
cant about culture.  Culture is a desirable quality in a critic of
new books, and sits well on a possessor of belles lettres; but as
applied to politics, it means simply a turn for small fault-finding,
love of selfish ease, and indecision in action.  The man of culture
is in politics one of the poorest mortals alive.  For simple pedantry
and want of good sense no man is his equal.  No assumption is too
unreal, no end is too unpractical for him.  But the active exercise
of politics requires common sense, sympathy, trust, resolution and
enthusiasm, qualities which your man of culture has carefully rooted
up, lest they damage the delicacy of his critical olfactories.
Perhaps they are the only class [3] of responsible beings in the
community who cannot with safety be entrusted with power."

Now for my part I do not wish to see men of culture asking to be
entrusted with power; and, indeed, I have freely said, that in my
opinion the speech most proper, at present, for a man of culture to
make to a body of his fellow-countrymen who get him into a committee-
room, is Socrates's: Know thyself! and this is not a speech to be
made by men wanting to be entrusted with power.  For this very
indifference to direct political action I have been taken to task by
the Daily Telegraph, coupled, by a strange perversity of fate, with
just that very one of the Hebrew prophets whose style I admire the
least, and called "an elegant Jeremiah."  It is because I say (to use
the words which the Daily Telegraph puts in my mouth):--"You mustn't
make a fuss because you have no vote,--that is vulgarity; you mustn't
hold big meetings to agitate for reform bills and to repeal corn
laws,--that is the very height of vulgarity,"--it is for this reason
that I am called, sometimes an elegant Jeremiah, sometimes a spurious
Jeremiah, a Jeremiah about the reality of whose mission the writer in
the Daily [4] Telegraph has his doubts.  It is evident, therefore,
that I have so taken my line as not to be exposed to the whole brunt
of Mr. Frederic Harrison's censure.  Still, I have often spoken in
praise of culture; I have striven to make all my works and ways serve
the interests of culture; I take culture to be something a great deal
more than what Mr. Frederic Harrison and others call it: "a desirable
quality in a critic of new books."  Nay, even though to a certain
extent I am disposed to agree with Mr. Frederic Harrison, that men of
culture are just the class of responsible beings in this community of
ours who cannot properly, at present, be entrusted with power, I am
not sure that I do not think this the fault of our community rather
than of the men of culture.  In short, although, like Mr. Bright and
Mr. Frederic Harrison, and the editor of the Daily Telegraph, and a
large body of valued friends of mine, I am a liberal, yet I am a
liberal tempered by experience, reflection, and renouncement, and I
am, above all, a believer in culture.  Therefore I propose now to try
and enquire, in the simple unsystematic way which best suits both my
taste and my powers, what culture really is, what good it [5] can do,
what is our own special need of it; and I shall seek to find some
plain grounds on which a faith in culture--both my own faith in it
and the faith of others,--may rest securely.


[5] The disparagers of culture make its motive curiosity; sometimes,
indeed, they make its motive mere exclusiveness and vanity.  The
culture which is supposed to plume itself on a smattering of Greek
and Latin is a culture which is begotten by nothing so intellectual
as curiosity; it is valued either out of sheer vanity and ignorance,
or else as an engine of social and class distinction, separating its
holder, like a badge or title, from other people who have not got it.
No serious man would call this culture, or attach any value to it, as
culture, at all.  To find the real ground for the very differing
estimate which serious people will set upon culture, we must find
some motive for culture in the terms of which [6] may lie a real
ambiguity; and such a motive the word curiosity gives us.  I have
before now pointed out that in English we do not, like the
foreigners, use this word in a good sense as well as in a bad sense;
with us the word is always used in a somewhat disapproving sense; a
liberal and intelligent eagerness about the things of the mind may be
meant by a foreigner when he speaks of curiosity, but with us the
word always conveys a certain notion of frivolous and unedifying
activity.  In the Quarterly Review, some little time ago, was an
estimate of the celebrated French critic, Monsieur Sainte-Beuve, and
a very inadequate estimate it, in my judgment, was.  And its
inadequacy consisted chiefly in this: that in our English way it left
out of sight the double sense really involved in the word curiosity,
thinking enough was said to stamp Monsieur Sainte-Beuve with blame if
it was said that he was impelled in his operations as a critic by
curiosity, and omitting either to perceive that Monsieur Sainte-Beuve
himself, and many other people with him, would consider that this was
praiseworthy and not blameworthy, or to point out why it ought really
to be accounted worthy of blame [7] and not of praise.  For as there
is a curiosity about intellectual matters which is futile, and merely
a disease, so there is certainly a curiosity,--a desire after the
things of the mind simply for their own sakes and for the pleasure of
seeing them as they are,--which is, in an intelligent being, natural
and laudable.  Nay, and the very desire to see things as they are
implies a balance and regulation of mind which is not often attained
without fruitful effort, and which is the very opposite of the blind
and diseased impulse of mind which is what we mean to blame when we
blame curiosity.  Montesquieu says:--"The first motive which ought to
impel us to study is the desire to augment the excellence of our
nature, and to render an intelligent being yet more intelligent."
This is the true ground to assign for the genuine scientific passion,
however manifested, and for culture, viewed simply as a fruit of this
passion; and it is a worthy ground, even though we let the term
curiosity stand to describe it.

But there is of culture another view, in which not solely the
scientific passion, the sheer desire to see things as they are,
natural and proper in an intelligent [8] being, appears as the ground
of it.  There is a view in which all the love of our neighbour, the
impulses towards action, help, and beneficence, the desire for
stopping human error, clearing human confusion, and diminishing the
sum of human misery, the noble aspiration to leave the world better
and happier than we found it,--motives eminently such as are called
social,--come in as part of the grounds of culture, and the main and
pre-eminent part.  Culture is then properly described not as having
its origin in curiosity, but as having its origin in the love of
perfection; it is a study of perfection.  It moves by the force, not
merely or primarily of the scientific passion for pure knowledge, but
also of the moral and social passion for doing good.  As, in the
first view of it, we took for its worthy motto Montesquieu's words:
"To render an intelligent being yet more intelligent!" so, in the
second view of it, there is no better motto which it can have than
these words of Bishop Wilson: "To make reason and the will of God
prevail!"  Only, whereas the passion for doing good is apt to be
overhasty in determining what reason and the will of God say, because
its turn is for acting rather than thinking, and it wants to be [9]
beginning to act; and whereas it is apt to take its own conceptions,
which proceed from its own state of development and share in all the
imperfections and immaturities of this, for a basis of action; what
distinguishes culture is, that it is possessed by the scientific
passion, as well as by the passion of doing good; that it has worthy
notions of reason and the will of God, and does not readily suffer
its own crude conceptions to substitute themselves for them; and
that, knowing that no action or institution can be salutary and
stable which are not based on reason and the will of God, it is not
so bent on acting and instituting, even with the great aim of
diminishing human error and misery ever before its thoughts, but that
it can remember that acting and instituting are of little use, unless
we know how and what we ought to act and to institute.

This culture is more interesting and more far-reaching than that
other, which is founded solely on the scientific passion for knowing.
But it needs times of faith and ardour, times when the intellectual
horizon is opening and widening all round us, to flourish in.  And is
not the close and bounded intellectual horizon within which we have
long lived [10] and moved now lifting up, and are not new lights
finding free passage to shine in upon us?  For a long time there was
no passage for them to make their way in upon us, and then it was of
no use to think of adapting the world's action to them.  Where was
the hope of making reason and the will of God prevail among people
who had a routine which they had christened reason and the will of
God, in which they were inextricably bound, and beyond which they had
no power of looking?  But now the iron force of adhesion to the old
routine,--social, political, religious,--has wonderfully yielded;
the iron force of exclusion of all which is new has wonderfully
yielded; the danger now is, not that people should obstinately refuse
to allow anything but their old routine to pass for reason and the
will of God, but either that they should allow some novelty or other
to pass for these too easily, or else that they should underrate the
importance of them altogether, and think it enough to follow action
for its own sake, without troubling themselves to make reason and the
will of God prevail therein.  Now, then, is the moment for culture to
be of service, culture which believes in making reason and the [11]
will of God prevail, believes in perfection, is the study and pursuit
of perfection, and is no longer debarred, by a rigid invincible
exclusion of whatever is new, from getting acceptance for its ideas,
simply because they are new.

The moment this view of culture is seized, the moment it is regarded
not solely as the endeavour to see things as they are, to draw
towards a knowledge of the universal order which seems to be intended
and aimed at in the world, and which it is a man's happiness to go
along with or his misery to go counter to,--to learn, in short, the
will of God,--the moment, I say, culture is considered not merely as
the endeavour to see and learn this, but as the endeavour, also, to
make it prevail, the moral, social, and beneficent character of
culture becomes manifest.  The mere endeavour to see and learn it for
our own personal satisfaction is indeed a commencement for making it
prevail, a preparing the way for this, which always serves this, and
is wrongly, therefore, stamped with blame absolutely in itself, and
not only in its caricature and degeneration.  But perhaps it has got
stamped with blame, and disparaged with the dubious title of
curiosity, because [12] in comparison with this wider endeavour of
such great and plain utility it looks selfish, petty, and

And religion, the greatest and most important of the efforts by which
the human race has manifested its impulse to perfect itself,--
religion, that voice of the deepest human experience,--does not only
enjoin and sanction the aim which is the great aim of culture, the
aim of setting ourselves to ascertain what perfection is and to make
it prevail; but also, in determining generally in what human
perfection consists, religion comes to a conclusion identical with
that which culture,--seeking the determination of this question
through all the voices of human experience which have been heard upon
it, art, science, poetry, philosophy, history, as well as religion,
in order to give a greater fulness and certainty to its solution,--
likewise reaches.  Religion says: The kingdom of God is within you;
and culture, in like manner, places human perfection in an internal
condition, in the growth and predominance of our humanity proper, as
distinguished from our animality, in the ever-increasing
efficaciousness and in the general harmonious expansion [13] of those
gifts of thought and feeling which make the peculiar dignity, wealth,
and happiness of human nature.  As I have said on a former occasion:
"It is in making endless additions to itself, in the endless
expansion of its powers, in endless growth in wisdom and beauty, that
the spirit of the human race finds its ideal.  To reach this ideal,
culture is an indispensable aid, and that is the true value of
culture."  Not a having and a resting, but a growing and a becoming,
is the character of perfection as culture conceives it; and here,
too, it coincides with religion.  And because men are all members of
one great whole, and the sympathy which is in human nature will not
allow one member to be indifferent to the rest, or to have a perfect
welfare independent of the rest, the expansion of our humanity, to
suit the idea of perfection which culture forms, must be a general
expansion.  Perfection, as culture conceives it, is not possible
while the individual remains isolated: the individual is obliged,
under pain of being stunted and enfeebled in his own development if
he disobeys, to carry others along with him in his march towards
perfection, to be continually doing all he can to enlarge [14] and
increase the volume of the human stream sweeping thitherward; and
here, once more, it lays on us the same obligation as religion, which
says, as Bishop Wilson has admirably put it, that "to promote the
kingdom of God is to increase and hasten one's own happiness."
Finally, perfection,--as culture, from a thorough disinterested study
of human nature and human experience, learns to conceive it,--is an
harmonious expansion of all the powers which make the beauty and
worth of human nature, and is not consistent with the over-
development of any one power at the expense of the rest.  Here it
goes beyond religion, as religion is generally conceived by us.

If culture, then, is a study of perfection, and of harmonious
perfection, general perfection, and perfection which consists in
becoming something rather than in having something, in an inward
condition of the mind and spirit, not in an outward set of
circumstances,--it is clear that culture, instead of being the
frivolous and useless thing which Mr. Bright, and Mr. Frederic
Harrison, and many other liberals are apt to call it, has a very
important function to fulfil for mankind.  And this function is
particularly [15] important in our modern world, of which the whole
civilisation is, to a much greater degree than the civilisation of
Greece and Rome, mechanical and external, and tends constantly to
become more so.  But above all in our own country has culture a
weighty part to perform, because here that mechanical character,
which civilisation tends to take everywhere, is shown in the most
eminent degree.  Indeed nearly all the characters of perfection, as
culture teaches us to fix them, meet in this country with some
powerful tendency which thwarts them and sets them at defiance.  The
idea of perfection as an inward condition of the mind and spirit is
at variance with the mechanical and material civilisation in esteem
with us, and nowhere, as I have said, so much in esteem as with us.
The idea of perfection as a general expansion of the human family is
at variance with our strong individualism, our hatred of all limits
to the unrestrained swing of the individual's personality, our maxim
of "every man for himself."  The idea of perfection as an harmonious
expansion of human nature is at variance with our want of
flexibility, with our inaptitude for seeing more than one side of a
thing, with our intense [16] energetic absorption in the particular
pursuit we happen to be following.  So culture has a rough task to
achieve in this country, and its preachers have, and are likely long
to have, a hard time of it, and they will much oftener be regarded,
for a great while to come, as elegant or spurious Jeremiahs, than as
friends and benefactors.  That, however, will not prevent their doing
in the end good service if they persevere; and meanwhile, the mode of
action they have to pursue, and the sort of habits they must fight
against, should be made quite clear to every one who may be willing
to look at the matter attentively and dispassionately.

Faith in machinery is, I said, our besetting danger; often in
machinery most absurdly disproportioned to the end which this
machinery, if it is to do any good at all, is to serve; but always in
machinery, as if it had a value in and for itself.  What is freedom
but machinery? what is population but machinery? what is coal but
machinery? what are railroads but machinery? what is wealth but
machinery? what are religious organisations but machinery?  Now
almost every voice in England is accustomed to speak of these things
as if they [17] were precious ends in themselves, and therefore had
some of the characters of perfection indisputably joined to them.  I
have once before noticed Mr. Roebuck's stock argument for proving the
greatness and happiness of England as she is, and for quite stopping
the mouths of all gainsayers.  Mr. Roebuck is never weary of
reiterating this argument of his, so I do not know why I should be
weary of noticing it.  "May not every man in England say what he
likes?"--Mr. Roebuck perpetually asks; and that, he thinks, is quite
sufficient, and when every man may say what he likes, our aspirations
ought to be satisfied.  But the aspirations of culture, which is the
study of perfection, are not satisfied, unless what men say, when
they may say what they like, is worth saying,--has good in it, and
more good than bad.  In the same way The Times, replying to some
foreign strictures on the dress, looks, and behaviour of the English
abroad, urges that the English ideal is that every one should be free
to do and to look just as he likes.  But culture indefatigably tries,
not to make what each raw person may like, the rule by which he
fashions himself; but to draw ever nearer to a sense of what is
indeed [18] beautiful, graceful, and becoming, and to get the raw
person to like that.  And in the same way with respect to railroads
and coal.  Every one must have observed the strange language current
during the late discussions as to the possible failure of our
supplies of coal.  Our coal, thousands of people were saying, is the
real basis of our national greatness; if our coal runs short, there
is an end of the greatness of England.  But what is greatness?--
culture makes us ask.  Greatness is a spiritual condition worthy to
excite love, interest, and admiration; and the outward proof of
possessing greatness is that we excite love, interest, and
admiration.  If England were swallowed up by the sea to-morrow, which
of the two, a hundred years hence, would most excite the love,
interest, and admiration of mankind,--would most, therefore, show the
evidences of having possessed greatness,--the England of the last
twenty years, or the England of Elizabeth, of a time of splendid
spiritual effort, but when our coal, and our industrial operations
depending on coal, were very little developed?  Well then, what an
unsound habit of mind it must be which makes us talk of things like
coal or iron as constituting [19] the greatness of England, and how
salutary a friend is culture, bent on seeing things as they are, and
thus dissipating delusions of this kind and fixing standards of
perfection that are real!

Wealth, again, that end to which our prodigious works for material
advantage are directed,--the commonest of commonplaces tells us how
men are always apt to regard wealth as a precious end in itself; and
certainly they have never been so apt thus to regard it as they are
in England at the present time.  Never did people believe anything
more firmly, than nine Englishmen out of ten at the present day
believe that our greatness and welfare are proved by our being so
very rich.  Now, the use of culture is that it helps us, by means of
its spiritual standard of perfection, to regard wealth as but
machinery, and not only to say as a matter of words that we regard
wealth as but machinery, but really to perceive and feel that it is
so.  If it were not for this purging effect wrought upon our minds by
culture, the whole world, the future as well as the present, would
inevitably belong to the Philistines.  The people who believe most
that our greatness and welfare [20] are proved by our being very
rich, and who most give their lives and thoughts to becoming rich,
are just the very people whom we call the Philistines.  Culture says:
"Consider these people, then, their way of life, their habits, their
manners, the very tones of their voice; look at them attentively;
observe the literature they read, the things which give them
pleasure, the words which come forth out of their mouths, the
thoughts which make the furniture of their minds; would any amount of
wealth be worth having with the condition that one was to become just
like these people by having it?"  And thus culture begets a
dissatisfaction which is of the highest possible value in stemming
the common tide of men's thoughts in a wealthy and industrial
community, and which saves the future, as one may hope, from being
vulgarised, even if it cannot save the present.

Population, again, and bodily health and vigour, are things which are
nowhere treated in such an unintelligent, misleading, exaggerated way
as in England.  Both are really machinery; yet how many people all
around us do we see rest in them and fail to look beyond them!  Why,
I have heard [21] people, fresh from reading certain articles of The
Times on the Registrar-General's returns of marriages and births in
this country, who would talk of large families in quite a solemn
strain, as if they had something in itself beautiful, elevating, and
meritorious in them; as if the British Philistine would have only to
present himself before the Great Judge with his twelve children, in
order to be received among the sheep as a matter of right!  But
bodily health and vigour, it may be said, are not to be classed with
wealth and population as mere machinery; they have a more real and
essential value.  True; but only as they are more intimately
connected with a perfect spiritual condition than wealth or
population are.  The moment we disjoin them from the idea of a
perfect spiritual condition, and pursue them, as we do pursue them,
for their own sake and as ends in themselves, our worship of them
becomes as mere worship of machinery, as our worship of wealth or
population, and as unintelligent and vulgarising a worship as that
is.  Every one with anything like an adequate idea of human
perfection has distinctly marked this subordination to higher and
spiritual ends of the cultivation of bodily vigour and activity.

[22] "Bodily exercise profiteth little; but godliness is profitable
unto all things," says the author of the Epistle to Timothy.  And the
utilitarian Franklin says just as explicitly:--"Eat and drink such an
exact quantity as suits the constitution of thy body, in reference to
the services of the mind."  But the point of view of culture, keeping
the mark of human perfection simply and broadly in view, and not
assigning to this perfection, as religion or utilitarianism assign to
it, a special and limited character,--this point of view, I say, of
culture is best given by these words of Epictetus:--"It is a sign of
aphuia"+ says he,--that is, of a nature not finely tempered,--"to
give yourselves up to things which relate to the body; to make, for
instance, a great fuss about exercise, a great fuss about eating, a
great fuss about drinking, a great fuss about walking, a great fuss
about riding.  All these things ought to be done merely by the way:
the formation of the spirit and character must be our real concern."
This is admirable; and, indeed, the Greek words aphuia, euphuia,+ a
finely tempered nature, a coarsely tempered nature, give exactly the
notion of perfection as culture brings us to conceive of it: a
perfection in which the [23] characters of beauty and intelligence
are both present, which unites "the two noblest of things,"--as
Swift, who of one of the two, at any rate, had himself all too
little, most happily calls them in his Battle of the Books,--"the two
noblest of things, sweetness and light."  The euphyês+ is the man who
tends towards sweetness and light; the aphyês+ is precisely our
Philistine.  The immense spiritual significance of the Greeks is due
to their having been inspired with this central and happy idea of the
essential character of human perfection; and Mr. Bright's
misconception of culture, as a smattering of Greek and Latin, conies
itself, after all, from this wonderful significance of the Greeks
having affected the very machinery of our education, and is in itself
a kind of homage to it.

It is by thus making sweetness and light to be characters of
perfection, that culture is of like spirit with poetry, follows one
law with poetry.  I have called religion a more important
manifestation of human nature than poetry, because it has worked on a
broader scale for perfection, and with greater masses of men.  But
the idea of beauty and of a human nature perfect on all its sides,
which is the dominant idea of poetry, is a true and invaluable idea,
though it [24] has not yet had the success that the idea of
conquering the obvious faults of our animality, and of a human nature
perfect on the moral side, which is the dominant idea of religion,
has been enabled to have; and it is destined, adding to itself the
religious idea of a devout energy, to transform and govern the other.
The best art and poetry of the Greeks, in which religion and poetry
are one, in which the idea of beauty and of a human nature perfect on
all sides adds to itself a religious and devout energy, and works in
the strength of that, is on this account of such surpassing interest
and instructiveness for us, though it was,--as, having regard to the
human race in general, and, indeed, having regard to the Greeks
themselves, we must own,--a premature attempt, an attempt which for
success needed the moral and religious fibre in humanity to be more
braced and developed than it had yet been.  But Greece did not err in
having the idea of beauty, harmony, and complete human perfection, so
present and paramount; it is impossible to have this idea too present
and paramount; only the moral fibre must be braced too.  And we,
because we have braced the moral fibre, are not on that account in
the right way, if at the same [25] time the idea of beauty, harmony,
and complete human perfection, is wanting or misapprehended amongst
us; and evidently it is wanting or misapprehended at present.  And
when we rely as we do on our religious organisations, which in
themselves do not and cannot give us this idea, and think we have
done enough if we make them spread and prevail, then, I say, we fall
into our common fault of overvaluing machinery.

Nothing is more common than for people to confound the inward peace
and satisfaction which follows the subduing of the obvious faults of
our animality with what I may call absolute inward peace and
satisfaction,--the peace and satisfaction which are reached as we
draw near to complete spiritual perfection, and not merely to moral
perfection, or rather to relative moral perfection.  No people in the
world have done more and struggled more to attain this relative moral
perfection than our English race has; for no people in the world has
the command to resist the Devil, to overcome the Wicked One, in the
nearest and most obvious sense of those words, had such a pressing
force and reality.  And we have had our reward, not only in the great
worldly prosperity which our obedience to this [26] command has
brought us, but also, and far more, in great inward peace and
satisfaction.  But to me few things are more pathetic than to see
people, on the strength of the inward peace and satisfaction which
their rudimentary efforts towards perfection have brought them, use,
concerning their incomplete perfection and the religious
organisations within which they have found it, language which
properly applies only to complete perfection, and is a far-off echo
of the human soul's prophecy of it.  Religion itself, I need hardly
say, supplies in abundance this grand language, which is really the
severest criticism of such an incomplete perfection as alone we have
yet reached through our religious organisations.

The impulse of the English race towards moral development and self-
conquest has nowhere so powerfully manifested itself as in
Puritanism; nowhere has Puritanism found so adequate an expression as
in the religious organisation of the Independents.  The modern
Independents have a newspaper, the Nonconformist, written with great
sincerity and ability.  The motto, the standard, the profession of
faith which this organ of theirs carries aloft, is: "The Dissidence
of Dissent and the [27] Protestantism of the Protestant religion."
There is sweetness and light, and an ideal of complete harmonious
human perfection!  One need not go to culture and poetry to find
language to judge it.  Religion, with its instinct for perfection,
supplies language to judge it: "Finally, be of one mind, united in
feeling," says St. Peter.  There is an ideal which judges the Puritan
ideal,--"The Dissidence of Dissent and the Protestantism of the
Protestant religion!"  And religious organisations like this are what
people believe in, rest in, would give their lives for!  Such, I say,
is the wonderful virtue of even the beginnings of perfection, of
having conquered even the plain faults of our animality, that the
religious organisation which has helped us to do it can seem to us
something precious, salutary, and to be propagated, even when it
wears such a brand of imperfection on its forehead as this.  And men
have got such a habit of giving to the language of religion a special
application, of making it a mere jargon, that for the condemnation
which religion itself passes on the shortcomings of their religious
organisations they have no ear; they are sure to cheat themselves and
to explain this condemnation [28] away.  They can only be reached by
the criticism which culture, like poetry, speaking a language not to
be sophisticated, and resolutely testing these organisations by the
ideal of a human perfection complete on all sides, applies to them.

But men of culture and poetry, it will be said, are again and again
failing, and failing conspicuously, in the necessary first stage to
perfection, in the subduing of the great obvious faults of our
animality, which it is the glory of these religious organisations to
have helped us to subdue.  True, they do often so fail: they have
often been without the virtues as well as the faults of the Puritan;
it has been one of their dangers that they so felt the Puritan's
faults that they too much neglected the practice of his virtues.  I
will not, however, exculpate them at the Puritan's expense; they have
often failed in morality, and morality is indispensable; they have
been punished for their failure, as the Puritan has been rewarded for
his performance.  They have been punished wherein they erred; but
their ideal of beauty and sweetness and light, and a human nature
complete on all its sides, remains the true ideal of perfection
still; just as the Puritan's ideal [29] of perfection remains narrow
and inadequate, although for what he did well he has been richly
rewarded.  Notwithstanding the mighty results of the Pilgrim Fathers'
voyage, they and their standard of perfection are rightly judged when
we figure to ourselves Shakspeare or Virgil,--souls in whom sweetness
and light, and all that in human nature is most humane, were
eminent,--accompanying them on their voyage, and think what
intolerable company Shakspeare and Virgil would have found them!  In
the same way let us judge the religious organisations which we see
all around us.  Do not let us deny the good and the happiness which
they have accomplished; but do not let us fail to see clearly that
their idea of human perfection is narrow and inadequate, and that the
Dissidence of Dissent and the Protestantism of the Protestant
religion will never bring humanity to its true goal.  As I said with
regard to wealth,--let us look at the life of those who live in and
for it;--so I say with regard to the religious organisations.  Look
at the life imaged in such a newspaper as the Nonconformist;--a life
of jealousy of the Establishment, disputes, tea-meetings, openings of
chapels, sermons; and then think of it [30] as an ideal of a human
life completing itself on all sides, and aspiring with all its organs
after sweetness, light, and perfection!

Another newspaper, representing, like the Nonconformist, one of the
religious organisations of this country, was a short time ago giving
an account of the crowd at Epsom on the Derby day, and of all the
vice and hideousness which was to be seen in that crowd; and then the
writer turned suddenly round upon Professor Huxley, and asked him how
he proposed to cure all this vice and hideousness without religion.
I confess I felt disposed to ask the asker this question: And how do
you propose to cure it with such a religion as yours?  How is the
ideal of a life so unlovely, so unattractive, so narrow, so far
removed from a true and satisfying ideal of human perfection, as is
the life of your religious organisation as you yourself image it, to
conquer and transform all this vice and hideousness?  Indeed, the
strongest plea for the study of perfection as pursued by culture, the
clearest proof of the actual inadequacy of the idea of perfection
held by the religious organisations,--expressing, as I have said, the
most wide-spread effort which the human [31] race has yet made after
perfection,--is to be found in the state of our life and society with
these in possession of it, and having been in possession of it I know
not how many hundred years.  We are all of us included in some
religious organisation or other; we all call ourselves, in the
sublime and aspiring language of religion which I have before
noticed, children of God.  Children of God;--it is an immense
pretension!--and how are we to justify it?  By the works which we do,
and the words which we speak.  And the work which we collective
children of God do, our grand centre of life, our city which we have
builded for us to dwell in, is London!  London, with its unutterable
external hideousness, and with its internal canker of public
egestas, privatim opulentia,+--to use the words which Sallust puts
into Cato's mouth about Rome,--unequalled in the world!  The word,
again, which we children of God speak, the voice which most hits our
collective thought, the newspaper with the largest circulation in
England, nay, with the largest circulation in the whole world, is the
Daily Telegraph!  I say that when our religious organisations,--which
I admit to express the most considerable effort after perfection [32]
that our race has yet made,--land us in no better result than this,
it is high time to examine carefully their idea of perfection, to see
whether it does not leave out of account sides and forces of human
nature which we might turn to great use; whether it would not be more
operative if it were more complete.  And I say that the English
reliance on our religious organisations and on their ideas of human
perfection just as they stand, is like our reliance on freedom, on
muscular Christianity, on population, on coal, on wealth,--mere
belief in machinery, and unfruitful; and that it is wholesomely
counteracted by culture, bent on seeing things as they are, and on
drawing the human race onwards to a more complete perfection.

Culture, however, shows its single-minded love of perfection, its
desire simply to make reason and the will of God prevail, its freedom
from fanaticism, by its attitude towards all this machinery, even
while it insists that it is machinery.  Fanatics, seeing the mischief
men do themselves by their blind belief in some machinery or other,--
whether it is wealth and industrialism, or whether it is the
cultivation of bodily strength and activity, or whether it is a [33]
political organisation, or whether it is a religious organisation,--
oppose with might and main the tendency to this or that political and
religious organisation, or to games and athletic exercises, or to
wealth and industrialism, and try violently to stop it.  But the
flexibility which sweetness and light give, and which is one of the
rewards of culture pursued in good faith, enables a man to see that a
tendency may be necessary, and even, as a preparation for something
in the future, salutary, and yet that the generations or individuals
who obey this tendency are sacrificed to it, that they fall short of
the hope of perfection by following it; and that its mischiefs are to
be criticised, lest it should take too firm a hold and last after it
has served its purpose.  Mr. Gladstone well pointed out, in a speech
at Paris,--and others have pointed out the same thing,--how necessary
is the present great movement towards wealth and industrialism, in
order to lay broad foundations of material well-being for the society
of the future.  The worst of these justifications is, that they are
generally addressed to the very people engaged, body and soul, in the
movement in question; at all events, that they are always seized with
[34] the greatest avidity by these people, and taken by them as quite
justifying their life; and that thus they tend to harden them in
their sins.  Now, culture admits the necessity of the movement
towards fortune-making and exaggerated industrialism, readily allows
that the future may derive benefit from it; but insists, at the same
time, that the passing generations of industrialists,--forming, for
the most part, the stout main body of Philistinism,--are sacrificed
to it.  In the same way, the result of all the games and sports which
occupy the passing generation of boys and young men may be the
establishment of a better and sounder physical type for the future to
work with.  Culture does not set itself against the games and sports;
it congratulates the future, and hopes it will make a good use of its
improved physical basis; but it points out that our passing
generation of boys and young men is, meantime, sacrificed.
Puritanism was necessary to develop the moral fibre of the English
race, Nonconformity to break the yoke of ecclesiastical domination
over men's minds and to prepare the way for freedom of thought in the
distant future; still, culture points out that the harmonious
perfection of generations of [35] Puritans and Nonconformists have
been, in consequence, sacrificed.  Freedom of speech is necessary for
the society of the future, but the young lions of the Daily Telegraph
in the meanwhile are sacrificed.  A voice for every man in his
country's government is necessary for the society of the future, but
meanwhile Mr. Beales and Mr. Bradlaugh are sacrificed.

Oxford, the Oxford of the past, has many faults; and she has heavily
paid for them in defeat, in isolation, in want of hold upon the
modern world.  Yet we in Oxford, brought up amidst the beauty and
sweetness of that beautiful place, have not failed to seize one
truth:--the truth that beauty and sweetness are essential characters
of a complete human perfection.  When I insist on this, I am all in
the faith and tradition of Oxford.  I say boldly that this our
sentiment for beauty and sweetness, our sentiment against hideousness
and rawness, has been at the bottom of our attachment to so many
beaten causes, of our opposition to so many triumphant movements.
And the sentiment is true, and has never been wholly defeated, and
has shown its power even in its defeat.  We have not won our
political battles, we have not carried our [36] main points, we have
not stopped our adversaries' advance, we have not marched
victoriously with the modern world; but we have told silently upon
the mind of the country, we have prepared currents of feeling which
sap our adversaries' position when it seems gained, we have kept up
our own communications with the future.  Look at the course of the
great movement which shook Oxford to its centre some thirty years
ago!  It was directed, as any one who reads Dr. Newman's Apology may
see, against what in one word maybe called "liberalism."  Liberalism
prevailed; it was the appointed force to do the work of the hour; it
was necessary, it was inevitable that it should prevail.  The Oxford
movement was broken, it failed; our wrecks are scattered on every

     Quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?+

But what was it, this liberalism, as Dr. Newman saw it, and as it
really broke the Oxford movement?  It was the great middle-class
liberalism, which had for the cardinal points of its belief the
Reform Bill of 1832, and local self-government, in politics; in the
social sphere, free-trade, unrestricted competition, [37] and the
making of large industrial fortunes; in the religious sphere, the
Dissidence of Dissent and the Protestantism of the Protestant
religion.  I do not say that other and more intelligent forces than
this were not opposed to the Oxford movement: but this was the force
which really beat it; this was the force which Dr. Newman felt
himself fighting with; this was the force which till only the other
day seemed to be the paramount force in this country, and to be in
possession of the future; this was the force whose achievements fill
Mr. Lowe with such inexpressible admiration, and whose rule he was so
horror-struck to see threatened.  And where is this great force of
Philistinism now?  It is thrust into the second rank, it is become a
power of yesterday, it has lost the future.  A new power has suddenly
appeared, a power which it is impossible yet to judge fully, but
which is certainly a wholly different force from middle-class
liberalism; different in its cardinal points of belief, different in
its tendencies in every sphere.  It loves and admires neither the
legislation of middle-class Parliaments, nor the local self-
government of middle-class vestries, nor the unrestricted competition
of middle-class [38] industrialists, nor the dissidence of middle-
class Dissent and the Protestantism of middle-class Protestant
religion.  I am not now praising this new force, or saying that its
own ideals are better; all I say is, that they are wholly different.
And who will estimate how much the currents of feeling created by Dr.
Newman's movement, the keen desire for beauty and sweetness which it
nourished, the deep aversion it manifested to the hardness and
vulgarity of middle-class liberalism, the strong light it turned on
the hideous and grotesque illusions of middle-class Protestantism,--
who will estimate how much all these contributed to swell the tide of
secret dissatisfaction which has mined the ground under the self-
confident liberalism of the last thirty years, and has prepared the
way for its sudden collapse and supersession?  It is in this manner
that the sentiment of Oxford for beauty and sweetness conquers, and
in this manner long may it continue to conquer!

In this manner it works to the same end as culture, and there is
plenty of work for it yet to do.  I have said that the new and more
democratic force which is now superseding our old middle-class
liberalism cannot yet be rightly judged.  It has its [39] main
tendencies still to form.  We hear promises of its giving us
administrative reform, law reform, reform of education, and I know
not what; but those promises come rather from its advocates, wishing
to make a good plea for it and to justify it for superseding middle-
class liberalism, than from clear tendencies which it has itself yet
developed.  But meanwhile it has plenty of well-intentioned friends
against whom culture may with advantage continue to uphold steadily
its ideal of human perfection; that this is an inward spiritual
activity, having for its characters increased sweetness, increased
light, increased life, increased sympathy.  Mr. Bright, who has a
foot in both worlds, the world of middle-class liberalism and the
world of democracy, but who brings most of his ideas from the world
of middle-class liberalism in which he was bred, always inclines to
inculcate that faith in machinery to which, as we have seen,
Englishmen are so prone, and which has been the bane of middle-class
liberalism.  He complains with a sorrowful indignation of people who
"appear to have no proper estimate of the value of the franchise;" he
leads his disciples to believe,--what the Englishman is always too
ready to believe, [40] --that the having a vote, like the having a
large family, or a large business, or large muscles, has in itself
some edifying and perfecting effect upon human nature.  Or else he
cries out to the democracy,--"the men," as he calls them, "upon whose
shoulders the greatness of England rests,"--he cries out to them:
"See what you have done!  I look over this country and see the cities
you have built, the railroads you have made, the manufactures you
have produced, the cargoes which freight the ships of the greatest
mercantile navy the world has ever seen!  I see that you have
converted by your labours what was once a wilderness, these islands,
into a fruitful garden; I know that you have created this wealth, and
are a nation whose name is a word of power throughout all the world."
Why, this is just the very style of laudation with which Mr. Roebuck
or Mr. Lowe debauch the minds of the middle classes, and make such
Philistines of them.  It is the same fashion of teaching a man to
value himself not on what he is, not on his progress in sweetness and
light, but on the number of the railroads he has constructed, or the
bigness of the Tabernacle he has built.  Only the middle classes are
told they have [41] done it all with their energy, self-reliance, and
capital, and the democracy are told they have done it all with their
hands and sinews.  But teaching the democracy to put its trust in
achievements of this kind is merely training them to be Philistines
to take the place of the Philistines whom they are superseding; and
they too, like the middle class, will be encouraged to sit down at
the banquet of the future without having on a wedding garment, and
nothing excellent can then come from them.  Those who know their
besetting faults, those who have watched them and listened to them,
or those who will read the instructive account recently given of them
by one of themselves, the Journeyman Engineer, will agree that the
idea which culture sets before us of perfection,--an increased
spiritual activity, having for its characters increased sweetness,
increased light, increased life, increased sympathy,--is an idea
which the new democracy needs far more than the idea of the
blessedness of the franchise, or the wonderfulness of their own
industrial performances.

Other well-meaning friends of this new power are for leading it, not
in the old ruts of middle-class [42] Philistinism, but in ways which
are naturally alluring to the feet of democracy, though in this
country they are novel and untried ways.  I may call them the ways of
Jacobinism.  Violent indignation with the past, abstract systems of
renovation applied wholesale, a new doctrine drawn up in black and
white for elaborating down to the very smallest details a rational
society for the future,--these are the ways of Jacobinism.  Mr.
Frederic Harrison and other disciples of Comte,--one of them, Mr.
Congreve, is an old acquaintance of mine, and I am glad to have an
opportunity of publicly expressing my respect for his talents and
character,--are among the friends of democracy who are for leading it
in paths of this kind.  Mr. Frederic Harrison is very hostile to
culture, and from a natural enough motive; for culture is the eternal
opponent of the two things which are the signal marks of Jacobinism,-
-its fierceness, and its addiction to an abstract system.  Culture is
always assigning to system-makers and systems a smaller share in the
bent of human destiny than their friends like.  A current in people's
minds sets towards new ideas; people are dissatisfied with their old
narrow stock of Philistine ideas, Anglo-Saxon [43] ideas, or any
other; and some man, some Bentham or Comte, who has the real merit of
having early and strongly felt and helped the new current, but who
brings plenty of narrownesses and mistakes of his own into his
feeling and help of it, is credited with being the author of the
whole current, the fit person to be entrusted with its regulation and
to guide the human race.  The excellent German historian of the
mythology of Rome, Preller, relating the introduction at Rome under
the Tarquins of the worship of Apollo, the god of light, healing, and
reconciliation, observes that it was not so much the Tarquins who
brought to Rome the new worship of Apollo, as a current in the mind
of the Roman people which set powerfully at that time towards a new
worship of this kind, and away from the old run of Latin and Sabine
religious ideas.  In a similar way, culture directs our attention to
the current in human affairs, and to its continual working, and will
not let us rivet our faith upon any one man and his doings.  It makes
us see, not only his good side, but also how much in him was of
necessity limited and transient; nay, it even feels a pleasure, a
sense of an increased freedom and of an ampler future, in so [44]
doing.  I remember, when I was under the influence of a mind to which
I feel the greatest obligations, the mind of a man who was the very
incarnation of sanity and clear sense, a man the most considerable,
it seems to me, whom America has yet produced,--Benjamin Franklin,--I
remember the relief with which, after long feeling the sway of
Franklin's imperturbable common-sense, I came upon a project of his
for a new version of the Book of Job, to replace the old version, the
style of which, says Franklin, has become obsolete, and thence less
agreeable.  "I give," he continues, "a few verses, which may serve as
a sample of the kind of version I would recommend."  We all recollect
the famous verse in our translation: "Then Satan answered the Lord
and said: 'Doth Job fear God for nought?'"  Franklin makes this:
"Does Your Majesty imagine that Job's good conduct is the effect of
mere personal attachment and affection?"  I well remember how when
first I read that, I drew a deep breath of relief, and said to
myself: "After all, there is a stretch of humanity beyond Franklin's
victorious good sense!"  So, after hearing Bentham cried loudly up as
the renovator of modern society, [45] and Bentham's mind and ideas
proposed as the rulers of our future, I open the Deontology.  There I
read: "While Xenophon was writing his history and Euclid teaching
geometry, Socrates and Plato were talking nonsense under pretence of
talking wisdom and morality.  This morality of theirs consisted in
words; this wisdom of theirs was the denial of matters known to every
man's experience."  From the moment of reading that, I am delivered
from the bondage of Bentham! the fanaticism of his adherents can
touch me no longer; I feel the inadequacy of his mind and ideas for
being the rule of human society, for perfection.  Culture tends
always thus to deal with the men of a system, of disciples, of a
school; with men like Comte, or the late Mr. Buckle, or Mr. Mill.
However much it may find to admire in these personages, or in some of
them, it nevertheless remembers the text: "Be not ye called Rabbi!"
and it soon passes on from any Rabbi.  But Jacobinism loves a Rabbi;
it does not want to pass on from its Rabbi in pursuit of a future and
still unreached perfection; it wants its Rabbi and his ideas to stand
for perfection, that they may with the more authority recast the
world; [46] and for Jacobinism, therefore, culture,--eternally
passing onwards and seeking,--is an impertinence and an offence.  But
culture, just because it resists this tendency of Jacobinism to
impose on us a man with limitations and errors of his own along with
the true ideas of which he is the organ, really does the world and
Jacobinism itself a service.

So, too, Jacobinism, in its fierce hatred of the past and of those
whom it makes liable for the sins of the past, cannot away with
culture,--culture with its inexhaustible indulgence, its
consideration of circumstances, its severe judgment of actions joined
to its merciful judgment of persons.  "The man of culture is in
politics," cries Mr. Frederic Harrison, "one of the poorest mortals
alive!"  Mr. Frederic Harrison wants to be doing business, and he
complains that the man of culture stops him with a "turn for small
fault-finding, love of selfish ease, and indecision in action."  Of
what use is culture, he asks, except for "a critic of new books or a
professor of belles lettres?"  Why, it is of use because, in presence
of the fierce exasperation which breathes, or rather, I may say,
hisses, through the whole production in which Mr. Frederic Harrison
[47] asks that question, it reminds us that the perfection of human
nature is sweetness and light.  It is of use because, like religion,-
-that other effort after perfection,--it testifies that, where bitter
envying and strife are, there is confusion and every evil work.

The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and
light.  He who works for sweetness works in the end for light also;
he who works for light works in the end for sweetness also.  But he
who works for sweetness and light united, works to make reason and
the will of God prevail.  He who works for machinery, he who works
for hatred, works only for confusion.  Culture looks beyond
machinery, culture hates hatred; culture has but one great passion,
the passion for sweetness and light.  Yes, it has one yet greater!--
the passion for making them prevail.  It is not satisfied till we all
come to a perfect man; it knows that the sweetness and light of the
few must be imperfect until the raw and unkindled masses of humanity
are touched with sweetness and light.  If I have not shrunk from
saying that we must work for sweetness and light, so neither have I
shrunk from saying that we must have a broad basis, must have
sweetness and light [48] for as many as possible.  Again and again I
have insisted how those are the happy moments of humanity, how those
are the marking epochs of a people's life, how those are the
flowering times for literature and art and all the creative power of
genius, when there is a national glow of life and thought, when the
whole of society is in the fullest measure permeated by thought,
sensible to beauty, intelligent and alive.  Only it must be real
thought and real beauty; real sweetness and real light.  Plenty of
people will try to give the masses, as they call them, an
intellectual food prepared and adapted in the way they think proper
for the actual condition of the masses.  The ordinary popular
literature is an example of this way of working on the masses.
Plenty of people will try to indoctrinate the masses with the set of
ideas and judgments constituting the creed of their own profession or
party.  Our religious and political organisations give an example of
this way of working on the masses.  I condemn neither way; but
culture works differently.  It does not try to teach down to the
level of inferior classes; it does not try to win them for this or
that sect of its own, with ready-made judgments and watchwords. [49]
It seeks to do away with classes; to make all live in an atmosphere
of sweetness and light, and use ideas, as it uses them itself,
freely,--to be nourished and not bound by them.

This is the social idea; and the men of culture are the true apostles
of equality.  The great men of culture are those who have had a
passion for diffusing, for making prevail, for carrying from one end
of society to the other, the best knowledge, the best ideas of their
time; who have laboured to divest knowledge of all that was harsh,
uncouth, difficult, abstract, professional, exclusive; to humanise
it, to make it efficient outside the clique of the cultivated and
learned, yet still remaining the best knowledge and thought of the
time, and a true source, therefore, of sweetness and light.  Such a
man was Abelard in the Middle Ages, in spite of all his
imperfections; and thence the boundless emotion and enthusiasm which
Abelard excited.  Such were Lessing and Herder in Germany, at the end
of the last century; and their services to Germany were in this way
inestimably precious.  Generations will pass, and literary monuments
will accumulate, and works far more perfect than the [50] works of
Lessing and Herder will be produced in Germany; and yet the names of
these two men will fill a German with a reverence and enthusiasm such
as the names of the most gifted masters will hardly awaken.  Because
they humanised knowledge; because they broadened the basis of life
and intelligence; because they worked powerfully to diffuse sweetness
and light, to make reason and the will of God prevail.  With Saint
Augustine they said: "Let us not leave Thee alone to make in the
secret of thy knowledge, as thou didst before the creation of the
firmament, the division of light from darkness; let the children of
thy spirit, placed in their firmament, make their light shine upon
the earth, mark the division of night and day, and announce the
revolution of the times; for the old order is passed, and the new
arises; the night is spent, the day is come forth; and thou shalt
crown the year with thy blessing, when thou shalt send forth
labourers into thy harvest sown by other hands than theirs; when thou
shalt send forth new labourers to new seed-times, whereof the harvest
shall be not yet."


22. +aphuia.

22. +aphuia, euphuia.  See notes below for these words separately,
page 23.

23. +euphyês.  Liddell and Scott definition: "well-grown, shapely,
goodly: graceful.  II. of good natural parts: clever, witty; also 'of
good disposition.'"

23. +aphyês.  Liddell and Scott definition: "without natural talent,
dull."  GIF image:

31. +publicé egestas, privatim opulentia.  E-text editor's
translation: public penury and private opulence.

36. +Quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?  E-text editor's
translation: Which part of the world is not filled with our sorrows?
P. Vergilius Maro (Virgil), Aeneid, Book 1, Line 459.


[51] I have been trying to show that culture is, or ought to be, the
study and pursuit of perfection; and that of perfection as pursued by
culture, beauty and intelligence, or, in other words, sweetness and
light, are the main characters.  But hitherto I have been insisting
chiefly on beauty, or sweetness, as a character of perfection.  To
complete rightly my design, it evidently remains to speak also of
intelligence, or light, as a character of perfection.  First,
however, I ought perhaps to notice that, both here and on the other
side of the Atlantic, all sorts of objections are raised against the
"religion of culture," as the objectors mockingly call it, which I am
supposed to be promulgating.  It is said to be a religion proposing
parmaceti, or some scented salve or other, as a cure for human
miseries; a religion breathing a spirit of cultivated inaction,
making its believer refuse to lend a hand at uprooting the definite
evils on all sides of us, and filling him with antipathy against the
reforms and reformers which try to [52] extirpate them.  In general,
it is summed up as being not practical, or,--as some critics more
familiarly put it,--all moonshine.  That Alcibiades, the editor of
the Morning Star, taunts me, as its promulgator, with living out of
the world and knowing nothing of life and men.  That great austere
toiler, the editor of the Daily Telegraph, upbraids me,--but kindly,
and more in sorrow than in anger,--for trifling with aesthetics and
poetical fancies, while he himself, in that arsenal of his in Fleet
Street, is bearing the burden and heat of the day.  An intelligent
American newspaper, the Nation, says that it is very easy to sit in
one's study and find fault with the course of modern society, but the
thing is to propose practical improvements for it.  While, finally,
Mr. Frederic Harrison, in a very good-tempered and witty satire,
which makes me quite understand his having apparently achieved such a
conquest of my young Prussian friend, Arminius, at last gets moved to
an almost stern moral impatience, to behold, as he says, "Death, sin,
cruelty stalk among us, filling their maws with innocence and youth,"
and me, in the midst of the general tribulation, handing out my

[53] It is impossible that all these remonstrances and reproofs
should not affect me, and I shall try my very best, in completing my
design and in speaking of light as one of the characters of
perfection, and of culture as giving us light, to profit by the
objections I have heard and read, and to drive at practice as much as
I can, by showing the communications and passages into practical life
from the doctrine which I am inculcating.

It is said that a man with my theories of sweetness and light is full
of antipathy against the rougher or coarser movements going on around
him, that he will not lend a hand to the humble operation of
uprooting evil by their means, and that therefore the believers in
action grow impatient with them.  But what if rough and coarse
action, ill-calculated action, action with insufficient light, is,
and has for a long time been, our bane?  What if our urgent want now
is, not to act at any price, but rather to lay in a stock of light
for our difficulties?  In that case, to refuse to lend a hand to the
rougher and coarser movements going on round us, to make the primary
need, both for oneself and others, to consist in enlightening
ourselves and qualifying ourselves [54] to act less at random, is
surely the best, and in real truth the most practical line, our
endeavours can take.  So that if I can show what my opponents call
rough or coarse action, but what I would rather call random and ill-
regulated action,--action with insufficient light, action pursued
because we like to be doing something and doing it as we please, and
do not like the trouble of thinking, and the severe constraint of any
kind of rule,--if I can show this to be, at the present moment, a
practical mischief and danger to us, then I have found a practical
use for light in correcting this state of things, and have only to
exemplify how, in cases which fall under everybody's observation, it
may deal with it.

When I began to speak of culture, I insisted on our bondage to
machinery, on our proneness to value machinery as an end in itself,
without looking beyond it to the end for which alone, in truth, it is
valuable.  Freedom, I said, was one of those things which we thus
worshipped in itself, without enough regarding the ends for which
freedom is to be desired.  In our common notions and talk about
freedom, we eminently show our idolatry of machinery.  Our prevalent
notion is,--and I quoted a [55] number of instances to prove it,--
that it is a most happy and important thing for a man merely to be
able to do as he likes.  On what he is to do when he is thus free to
do as he likes, we do not lay so much stress.  Our familiar praise of
the British Constitution under which we live, is that it is a system
of checks,--a system which stops and paralyses any power in
interfering with the free action of individuals.  To this effect Mr.
Bright, who loves to walk in the old ways of the Constitution, said
forcibly in one of his great speeches, what many other people are
every day saying less forcibly, that the central idea of English life
and politics is the assertion of personal liberty.  Evidently this is
so; but evidently, also, as feudalism, which with its ideas and
habits of subordination was for many centuries silently behind the
British Constitution, dies out, and we are left with nothing but our
system of checks, and our notion of its being the great right and
happiness of an Englishman to do as far as possible what he likes, we
are in danger of drifting towards anarchy.  We have not the notion,
so familiar on the Continent and to antiquity, of the State--the
nation, in its collective [56] and corporate character, entrusted
with stringent powers for the general advantage, and controlling
individual wills in the name of an interest wider than that of
individuals.  We say, what is very true, that this notion is often
made instrumental to tyranny; we say that a State is in reality made
up of the individuals who compose it, and that every individual is
the best judge of his own interests.  Our leading class is an
aristocracy, and no aristocracy likes the notion of a State-authority
greater than itself, with a stringent administrative machinery
superseding the decorative inutilities of lord-lieutenancy, deputy-
lieutenancy, and the posse comitatûs,+ which are all in its own
hands.  Our middle-class, the great representative of trade and
Dissent, with its maxims of every man for himself in business, every
man for himself in religion, dreads a powerful administration which
might somehow interfere with it; and besides, it has its own
decorative inutilities of vestrymanship and guardianship, which are
to this class what lord-lieutenancy and the county magistracy are to
the aristocratic class, and a stringent administration might either
take these functions out of its hands, [57] or prevent its exercising
them in its own comfortable, independent manner, as at present.

Then as to our working-class.  This class, pressed constantly by the
hard daily compulsion of material wants, is naturally the very centre
and stronghold of our national idea, that it is man's ideal right and
felicity to do as he likes.  I think I have somewhere related how
Monsieur Michelet said to me of the people of France, that it was "a
nation of barbarians civilised by the conscription."  He meant that
through their military service the idea of public duty and of
discipline was brought to the mind of these masses, in other respects
so raw and uncultivated.  Our masses are quite as raw and
uncultivated as the French; and, so far from their having the idea of
public duty and of discipline, superior to the individual's self-
will, brought to their mind by a universal obligation of military
service, such as that of the conscription,--so far from their having
this, the very idea of a conscription is so at variance with our
English notion of the prime right and blessedness of doing as one
likes, that I remember the manager of the Clay Cross works in
Derbyshire told me during the Crimean [58] war, when our want of
soldiers was much felt and some people were talking of a
conscription, that sooner than submit to a conscription the
population of that district would flee to the mines, and lead a sort
of Robin Hood life under ground.

For a long time, as I have said, the strong feudal habits of
subordination and deference continued to tell upon the working-class.
The modern spirit has now almost entirely dissolved those habits, and
the anarchical tendency of our worship of freedom in and for itself,
of our superstitious faith, as I say, in machinery, is becoming very
manifest.  More and more, because of this our blind faith in
machinery, because of our want of light to enable us to look beyond
machinery to the end for which machinery is valuable, this and that
man, and this and that body of men, all over the country, are
beginning to assert and put in practice an Englishman's right to do
what he likes; his right to march where he likes, meet where he
likes, enter where he likes, hoot as he likes, threaten as he likes,
smash as he likes.  All this, I say, tends to anarchy; and though a
number of excellent people, and particularly my friends of the
liberal or progressive party, as they [59] call themselves, are kind
enough to reassure us by saying that these are trifles, that a few
transient outbreaks of rowdyism signify nothing, that our system of
liberty is one which itself cures all the evils which it works, that
the educated and intelligent classes stand in overwhelming strength
and majestic repose, ready, like our military force in riots, to act
at a moment's notice,--yet one finds that one's liberal friends
generally say this because they have such faith in themselves and
their nostrums, when they shall return, as the public welfare
requires, to place and power.  But this faith of theirs one cannot
exactly share, when one has so long had them and their nostrums at
work, and sees that they have not prevented our coming to our present
embarrassed condition; and one finds, also, that the outbreaks of
rowdyism tend to become less and less of trifles, to become more
frequent rather than less frequent; and that meanwhile our educated
and intelligent classes remain in their majestic repose, and somehow
or other, whatever happens, their overwhelming strength, like our
military force in riots, never does act.

How, indeed, should their overwhelming strength [60] act, when the
man who gives an inflammatory lecture, or breaks down the Park
railings, or invades a Secretary of State's office, is only following
an Englishman's impulse to do as he likes; and our own conscience
tells us that we ourselves have always regarded this impulse as
something primary and sacred?  Mr. Murphy lectures at Birmingham, and
showers on the Catholic population of that town "words," says Mr.
Hardy, "only fit to be addressed to thieves or murderers."  What
then?  Mr. Murphy has his own reasons of several kinds.  He suspects
the Roman Catholic Church of designs upon Mrs. Murphy; and he says,
if mayors and magistrates do not care for their wives and daughters,
he does.  But, above all, he is doing as he likes, or, in worthier
language, asserting his personal liberty.  "I will carry out my
lectures if they walk over my body as a dead corpse; and I say to the
Mayor of Birmingham that he is my servant while I am in Birmingham,
and as my servant he must do his duty and protect me."  Touching and
beautiful words, which find a sympathetic chord in every British
bosom!  The moment it is plainly put before us that a man is
asserting his personal liberty, we are half disarmed; [61] because we
are believers in freedom, and not in some dream of a right reason to
which the assertion of our freedom is to be subordinated.
Accordingly, the Secretary of State had to say that although the
lecturer's language was "only fit to be addressed to thieves or
murderers," yet, "I do not think he is to be deprived, I do not think
that anything I have said could justify the inference that he is to
be deprived, of the right of protection in a place built by him for
the purpose of these lectures; because the language was not language
which afforded grounds for a criminal prosecution."  No, nor to be
silenced by Mayor, or Home Secretary, or any administrative authority
on earth, simply on their notion of what is discreet and reasonable!
This is in perfect consonance with our public opinion, and with our
national love for the assertion of personal liberty.

In quite another department of affairs, an experienced and
distinguished Chancery Judge relates an incident which is just to the
same effect as this of Mr. Murphy.  A testator bequeathed 300£. a
year, to be for ever applied as a pension to some person who had been
unsuccessful in literature, and whose duty [62] should be to support
and diffuse, by his writings, the testator's own views, as enforced
in the testator's publications.  This bequest was appealed against in
the Court of Chancery, on the ground of its absurdity; but, being
only absurd, it was upheld, and the so-called charity was
established.  Having, I say, at the bottom of our English hearts a
very strong belief in freedom, and a very weak belief in right
reason, we are soon silenced when a man pleads the prime right to do
as he likes, because this is the prime right for ourselves too; and
even if we attempt now and then to mumble something about reason, yet
we have ourselves thought so little about this and so much about
liberty, that we are in conscience forced, when our brother
Philistine with whom we are meddling turns boldly round upon us and
asks: Have you any light?--to shake our heads ruefully, and to let
him go his own way after all.

There are many things to be said on behalf of this exclusive
attention of ours to liberty, and of the relaxed habits of government
which it has engendered.  It is very easy to mistake or to exaggerate
the sort of anarchy from which we are in danger through them.  We are
not in danger from [63] Fenianism, fierce and turbulent as it may
show itself; for against this our conscience is free enough to let us
act resolutely and put forth our overwhelming strength the moment
there is any real need for it.  In the first place, it never was any
part of our creed that the great right and blessedness of an
Irishman, or, indeed, of anybody on earth except an Englishman, is to
do as he likes; and we can have no scruple at all about abridging, if
necessary, a non-Englishman's assertion of personal liberty.  The
British Constitution, its checks, and its prime virtues, are for
Englishmen.  We may extend them to others out of love and kindness;
but we find no real divine law written on our hearts constraining us
so to extend them.  And then the difference between an Irish Fenian
and an English rough is so immense, and the case, in dealing with the
Fenian, so much more clear!  He is so evidently desperate and
dangerous, a man of a conquered race, a Papist, with centuries of
ill-usage to inflame him against us, with an alien religion
established in his country by us at his expense, with no admiration
of our institutions, no love of our virtues, no talents for our
business, no turn for our comfort!  Show him our symbolical [64]
Truss Manufactory on the finest site in Europe, and tell him that
British industrialism and individualism can bring a man to that, and
he remains cold!  Evidently, if we deal tenderly with a
sentimentalist like this, it is out of pure philanthropy.  But with
the Hyde Park rioter how different!+  He is our own flesh and blood;
he is a Protestant; he is framed by nature to do as we do, hate what
we hate, love what we love; he is capable of feeling the symbolical
force of the Truss Manufactory; the question of questions, for him,
is a wages' question.  That beautiful sentence Sir Daniel Gooch
quoted to the Swindon workmen, and which I treasure as Mrs. Gooch's
Golden Rule, or the Divine Injunction "Be ye Perfect" done into
British,--the sentence Sir Daniel Gooch's mother repeated to him
every morning when he was a boy going to work: "Ever remember, my
dear Dan, that you should look forward to being some day manager of
that concern!"--this fruitful maxim is perfectly fitted to shine
forth in the heart of the Hyde Park rough also, and to be his
guiding-star through life.  He has no visionary schemes of revolution
and transformation, though of course he would like his class to rule,
as the aristocratic [65] class like their class to rule, and the
middle-class theirs.  Meanwhile, our social machine is a little out
of order; there are a good many people in our paradisiacal centres of
industrialism and individualism taking the bread out of one another's
mouths; the rioter has not yet quite found his groove and settled
down to his work, and so he is just asserting his personal liberty a
little, going where he likes, assembling where he likes, bawling as
he likes, hustling as he likes.  Just as the rest of us,--as the
country squires in the aristocratic class, as the political
dissenters in the middle-class,--he has no idea of a State, of the
nation in its collective and corporate character controlling, as
government, the free swing of this or that one of its members in the
name of the higher reason of all of them, his own as well as that of
others.  He sees the rich, the aristocratic class, in occupation of
the executive government, and so if he is stopped from making Hyde
Park a bear-garden or the streets impassable, he says he is being
butchered by the aristocracy.

His apparition is somewhat embarrassing, because too many cooks spoil
the broth; because, while the aristocratic and middle classes have
long been doing [66] as they like with great vigour, he has been too
undeveloped and submissive hitherto to join in the game; and now,
when he does come, he comes in immense numbers, and is rather raw and
rough.  But he does not break many laws, or not many at one time;
and, as our laws were made for very different circumstances from our
present (but always with an eye to Englishmen doing as they like),
and as the clear letter of the law must be against our Englishman who
does as he likes and not only the spirit of the law and public
policy, and as Government must neither have any discretionary power
nor act resolutely on its own interpretation of the law if any one
disputes it, it is evident our laws give our playful giant, in doing
as he likes, considerable advantage.  Besides, even if he can be
clearly proved to commit an illegality in doing as he likes, there is
always the resource of not putting the law in force, or of abolishing
it.  So he has his way, and if he has his way he is soon satisfied
for the time; however, he falls into the habit of taking it oftener
and oftener, and at last begins to create by his operations a
confusion of which mischievous people can take advantage, and which
at any rate, by troubling the common course [67] of business
throughout the country, tends to cause distress, and so to increase
the sort of anarchy and social disintegration which had previously
commenced.  And thus that profound sense of settled order and
security, without which a society like ours cannot live and grow at
all, is beginning to threaten us with taking its departure.

Now, if culture, which simply means trying to perfect oneself, and
one's mind as part of oneself, brings us light, and if light shows us
that there is nothing so very blessed in merely doing as one likes,
that the worship of the mere freedom to do as one likes is worship of
machinery, that the really blessed thing is to like what right reason
ordains, and to follow her authority, then we have got a practical
benefit out of culture.  We have got a much wanted principle, a
principle of authority, to counteract the tendency to anarchy which
seems to be threatening us.

But how to organise this authority, or to what hands to entrust the
wielding of it?  How to get your State, summing up the right reason
of the community, and giving effect to it, as circumstances may
require, with vigour?  And here I think I see [68] my enemies waiting
for me with a hungry joy in their eyes.  But I shall elude them.

The State, the power most representing the right reason of the
nation, and most worthy, therefore, of ruling,--of exercising, when
circumstances require it, authority over us all,--is for Mr. Carlyle
the aristocracy.  For Mr. Lowe, it is the middle-class with its
incomparable Parliament.  For the Reform League, it is the working-
class, with its "brightest powers of sympathy and readiest powers of
action."  Now, culture, with its disinterested pursuit of perfection,
culture, simply trying to see things as they are, in order to seize
on the best and to make it prevail, is surely well fitted to help us
to judge rightly, by all the aids of observing, reading, and
thinking, the qualifications and titles to our confidence of these
three candidates for authority, and can thus render us a practical
service of no mean value.

So when Mr. Carlyle, a man of genius to whom we have all at one time
or other been indebted for refreshment and stimulus, says we should
give rule to the aristocracy, mainly because of its dignity and
politeness, surely culture is useful in reminding us, [69] that in
our idea of perfection the characters of beauty and intelligence are
both of them present, and sweetness and light, the two noblest of
things, are united.  Allowing, therefore, with Mr. Carlyle, the
aristocratic class to possess sweetness, culture insists on the
necessity of light also, and shows us that aristocracies, being by
the very nature of things inaccessible to ideas, unapt to see how the
world is going, must be somewhat wanting in light, and must therefore
be, at a moment when light is our great requisite, inadequate to our
needs.  Aristocracies, those children of the established fact, are
for epochs of concentration.  In epochs of expansion, epochs such as
that in which we now live, epochs when always the warning voice is
again heard: Now is the judgment of this world--in such epochs
aristocracies, with their natural clinging to the established fact,
their want of sense for the flux of things, for the inevitable
transitoriness of all human institutions, are bewildered and
helpless.  Their serenity, their high spirit, their power of haughty
resistance,--the great qualities of an aristocracy, and the secret of
its distinguished manners and dignity,--these very qualities, in an
epoch of [70] expansion, turn against their possessors.  Again and
again I have said how the refinement of an aristocracy may be
precious and educative to a raw nation as a kind of shadow of true
refinement; how its serenity and dignified freedom from petty cares
may serve as a useful foil to set off the vulgarity and hideousness
of that type of life which a hard middle-class tends to establish,
and to help people to see this vulgarity and hideousness in their
true colours.  From such an ignoble spectacle as that of poor Mrs.
Lincoln,--a spectacle to vulgarise a whole nation,--aristocracies
undoubtedly preserve us.  But the true grace and serenity is that of
which Greece and Greek art suggest the admirable ideals of
perfection,--a serenity which comes from having made order among
ideas and harmonised them; whereas the serenity of aristocracies, at
least the peculiar serenity of aristocracies of Teutonic origin,
appears to come from their never having had any ideas to trouble
them.  And so, in a time of expansion like the present, a time for
ideas, one gets, perhaps, in regarding an aristocracy, even more than
the idea of serenity, the idea of futility and sterility.  One has
often wondered whether upon the whole [71] earth there is anything so
unintelligent, so unapt to perceive how the world is really going, as
an ordinary young Englishman of our upper class.  Ideas he has not,
and neither has he that seriousness of our middle-class, which is, as
I have often said, the great strength of this class, and may become
its salvation.  Why, a man may hear a young Dives of the aristocratic
class, when the whim takes him to sing the praises of wealth and
material comfort, sing them with a cynicism from which the conscience
of the veriest Philistine of our industrial middle-class would recoil
in affright.  And when, with the natural sympathy of aristocracies
for firm dealing with the multitude, and his uneasiness at our feeble
dealing with it at home, an unvarnished young Englishman of our
aristocratic class applauds the absolute rulers on the Continent, he
in general manages completely to miss the grounds of reason and
intelligence which alone can give any colour of justification, any
possibility of existence, to those rulers, and applauds them on
grounds which it would make their own hair stand on end to listen to.

And all this time, we are in an epoch of expansion; [72] and the
essence of an epoch of expansion is a movement of ideas, and the one
salvation of an epoch of expansion is a harmony of ideas.  The very
principle of the authority which we are seeking as a defence against
anarchy is right reason, ideas, light.  The more, therefore, an
aristocracy calls to its aid its innate forces,--its impenetrability,
its high spirit, its power of haughty resistance,--to deal with an
epoch of expansion, the graver is the danger, the greater the
certainty of explosion, the surer the aristocracy's defeat; for it is
trying to do violence to nature instead of working along with it.
The best powers shown by the best men of an aristocracy at such an
epoch are, it will be observed, non-aristocratical powers, powers of
industry, powers of intelligence; and these powers, thus exhibited,
tend really not to strengthen the aristocracy, but to take their
owners out of it, to expose them to the dissolving agencies of
thought and change, to make them men of the modern spirit and of the
future.  If, as sometimes happens, they add to their non-
aristocratical qualities of labour and thought, a strong dose of
aristocratical qualities also,--of pride, defiance, turn for
resistance--this truly aristocratical [73] side of them, so far from
adding any strength to them really neutralises their force and makes
them impracticable and ineffective.

Knowing myself to be indeed sadly to seek, as one of my many critics
says, in "a philosophy with coherent, interdependent, subordinate and
derivative principles," I continually have recourse to a plain man's
expedient of trying to make what few simple notions I have, clearer,
and more intelligible to myself, by means of example and
illustration.  And having been brought up at Oxford in the bad old
times, when we were stuffed with Greek and Aristotle, and thought
nothing of preparing ourselves,--as after Mr. Lowe's great speech at
Edinburgh we shall do,--to fight the battle of life with the German
waiters, my head is still full of a lumber of phrases we learnt at
Oxford from Aristotle, about virtue being in a mean, and about excess
and defect, and so on.  Once when I had had the advantage of
listening to the Reform debates in the House of Commons, having heard
a number of interesting speakers, and among them Lord Elcho and Sir
Thomas Bateson, I remember it struck me, applying Aristotle's
machinery of the [74] mean to my ideas about our aristocracy, that
Lord Elcho was exactly the perfection, or happy mean, or virtue, of
aristocracy, and Sir Thomas Bateson the excess; and I fancied that by
observing these two we might see both the inadequacy of aristocracy
to supply the principle of authority needful for our present wants,
and the danger of its trying to supply it when it was not really
competent for the business.  On the one hand, in Lord Elcho, showing
plenty of high spirit, but remarkable, far above and beyond his gift
of high spirit, for the fine tempering of his high spirit, for ease,
serenity, politeness,--the great virtues, as Mr. Carlyle says, of
aristocracy,--in this beautiful and virtuous mean, there seemed
evidently some insufficiency of light; while, on the other hand, Sir
Thomas Bateson, in whom the high spirit of aristocracy, its
impenetrability, defiant courage, and pride of resistance, were
developed even in excess, was manifestly capable, if he had his way
given him, of causing us great danger, and, indeed, of throwing the
whole commonwealth into confusion.  Then I reverted to that old
fundamental notion of mine about the grand merit of our race being
really our honesty; and the [75] very helplessness of our
aristocratic or governing class in dealing with our perturbed social
state gave me a sort of pride and satisfaction, because I saw they
were, as a whole, too honest to try and manage a business for which
they did not feel themselves capable.

Surely, now, it is no inconsiderable boon culture confers upon us, if
in embarrassed times like the present it enables us to look at the
ins and the outs of things in this way, without hatred and without
partiality, and with a disposition to see the good in everybody all
round.  And I try to follow just the same course with our middle-
class as with our aristocracy.  Mr. Lowe talks to us of this strong
middle part of the nation, of the unrivalled deeds of our liberal
middle-class Parliament, of the noble, the heroic work it has
performed in the last thirty years; and I begin to ask myself if we
shall not, then, find in our middle-class the principle of authority
we want, and if we had not better take administration as well as
legislation away from the weak extreme which now administers for us,
and commit both to the strong middle part.  I observe, too, that the
heroes of middle-class liberalism, such as we have [76] hitherto
known it, speak with a kind of prophetic anticipation of the great
destiny which awaits them, and as if the future was clearly theirs.
The advanced party, the progressive party, the party in alliance with
the future, are the names they like to give themselves.  "The
principles which will obtain recognition in the future," says Mr.
Miall, a personage of deserved eminence among the political
Dissenters, as they are called, who have been the backbone of middle-
class liberalism--"the principles which will obtain recognition in
the future are the principles for which I have long and zealously
laboured.  I qualified myself for joining in the work of harvest by
doing to the best of my ability the duties of seed-time."  These
duties, if one is to gather them from the works of the great liberal
party in the last thirty years, are, as I have elsewhere summed them
up, the advocacy of free-trade, of parliamentary reform, of abolition
of church-rates, of voluntaryism in religion and education, of non-
interference of the State between employers and employed, and of
marriage with one's deceased wife's sister.

Now I know, when I object that all this is machinery, the great
liberal middle-class has by this [77] time grown cunning enough to
answer, that it always meant more by these things than meets the eye;
that it has had that within which passes show, and that we are soon
going to see, in a Free Church and all manner of good things, what it
was.  But I have learned from Bishop Wilson (if Mr. Frederic Harrison
will forgive my again quoting that poor old hierophant of a decayed
superstition): "If we would really know our heart let us impartially
view our actions;" and I cannot help thinking that if our liberals
had had so much sweetness and light in their inner minds as they
allege, more of it must have come out in their sayings and doings.
An American friend of the English liberals says, indeed, that their
Dissidence of Dissent has been a mere instrument of the political
Dissenters for making reason and the will of God prevail (and no
doubt he would say the same of marriage with one's deceased wife's
sister); and that the abolition of a State Church is merely the
Dissenter's means to this end, just as culture is mine.  Another
American defender of theirs says just the same of their industrialism
and free-trade; indeed, this gentleman, taking the bull by the horns,
proposes that we should for the [78] future call industrialism
culture, and the industrialists the men of culture, and then of
course there can be no longer any misapprehension about their true
character; and besides the pleasure of being wealthy and comfortable,
they will have authentic recognition as vessels of sweetness and
light.  All this is undoubtedly specious; but I must remark that the
culture of which I talked was an endeavour to come at reason and the
will of God by means of reading, observing, and thinking; and that
whoever calls anything else culture, may, indeed, call it so if he
likes, but then he talks of something quite different from what I
talked of.  And, again, as culture's way of working for reason and
the will of God is by directly trying to know more about them, while
the Dissidence of Dissent is evidently in itself no effort of this
kind, nor is its Free Church, in fact, a church with worthier
conceptions of God and the ordering of the world than the State
Church professes, but with mainly the same conceptions of these as
the State Church has, only that every man is to comport himself as he
likes in professing them,--this being so, I cannot at once accept the
Nonconformity any more than the industrialism and the other great
[79] works of our liberal middle-class as proof positive that this
class is in possession of light, and that here is the true seat of
authority for which we are in search; but I must try a little
further, and seek for other indications which may enable me to make
up my mind.

Why should we not do with the middle-class as we have done with the
aristocratic class,--find in it some representative men who may stand
for the virtuous mean of this class, for the perfection of its
present qualities and mode of being, and also for the excess of them.
Such men must clearly not be men of genius like Mr. Bright; for, as I
have formerly said, so far as a man has genius he tends to take
himself out of the category of class altogether, and to become simply
a man.  Mr. Bright's brother, Mr. Jacob Bright, would, perhaps, be
more to the purpose; he seems to sum up very well in himself, without
disturbing influences, the general liberal force of the middle-class,
the force by which it has done its great works of free-trade,
parliamentary reform, voluntaryism, and so on, and the spirit in
which it has done them.  Now it is clear, from what has been already
said, that there has been at least [80] an apparent want of light in
the force and spirit through which these great works have been done,
and that the works have worn in consequence too much a look of
machinery.  But this will be clearer still if we take, as the happy
mean of the middle-class, not Mr. Jacob Bright, but his colleague in
the representation of Manchester, Mr. Bazley.  Mr. Bazley sums up for
us, in general, the middle-class, its spirit and its works, at least
as well as Mr. Jacob Bright; and he has given us, moreover, a famous
sentence, which bears directly on the resolution of our present
question,--whether there is light enough in our middle-class to make
it the proper seat of the authority we wish to establish.  When there
was a talk some little while ago about the state of middle-class
education, Mr. Bazley, as the representative of that class, spoke
some memorable words:--"There had been a cry that middle-class
education ought to receive more attention.  He confessed himself very
much surprised by the clamour that was raised.  He did not think that
class need excite the sympathy either of the legislature or the
public."  Now this satisfaction of Mr. Bazley with the mental state
of the middle-class [81] was truly representative, and enhances his
claim (if that were necessary) to stand as the beautiful and virtuous
mean of that class.  But it is obviously at variance with our
definition of culture, or the pursuit of light and perfection, which
made light and perfection consist, not in resting and being, but in
growing and becoming, in a perpetual advance in beauty and wisdom.
So the middle-class is by its essence, as one may say, by its
incomparable self-satisfaction decisively expressed through its
beautiful and virtuous mean, self-excluded from wielding an authority
of which light is to be the very soul.

Clear as this is, it will be made clearer still if we take some
representative man as the excess of the middle-class, and remember
that the middle-class, in general, is to be conceived as a body
swaying between the qualities of its mean and of its excess, and on
the whole, of course, as human nature is constituted, inclining
rather towards the excess than the mean.  Of its excess no better
representative can possibly be imagined than the Rev. W. Cattle, a
Dissenting minister from Walsall, who came before the public in
connection with the proceedings at [82] Birmingham of Mr. Murphy,
already mentioned.  Speaking in the midst of an irritated population
of Catholics, the Rev. W. Cattle exclaimed:--"I say, then, away with
the mass!  It is from the bottomless pit; and in the bottomless pit
shall all liars have their part, in the lake that burneth with fire
and brimstone."  And again: "When all the praties were black in
Ireland, why didn't the priests say the hocus-pocus over them, and
make them all good again?"  He shared, too, Mr. Murphy's fears of
some invasion of his domestic happiness: "What I wish to say to you
as Protestant husbands is, Take care of your wives!"  And, finally,
in the true vein of an Englishman doing as he likes, a vein of which
I have at some length pointed out the present dangers, he recommended
for imitation the example of some churchwardens at Dublin, among
whom, said he, "there was a Luther and also a Melancthon," who had
made very short work with some ritualist or other, handed him down
from his pulpit, and kicked him out of church.  Now it is manifest,
as I said in the case of Sir Thomas Bateson, that if we let this
excess of the sturdy English middle-class, this conscientious
Protestant Dissenter, so strong, so self- [83] reliant, so fully
persuaded in his own mind, have his way, he would be capable, with
his want of light--or, to use the language of the religious world,
with his zeal without knowledge--of stirring up strife which neither
he nor any one else could easily compose.

And then comes in, as it did also with the aristocracy, the honesty
of our race, and by the voice of another middle-class man, Alderman
Wilson, Alderman of the City of London and Colonel of the City of
London Militia, proclaims that it has twinges of conscience, and that
it will not attempt to cope with our social disorders, and to deal
with a business which it feels to be too high for it.  Every one
remembers how this virtuous Alderman-Colonel, or Colonel-Alderman,
led his militia through the London streets; how the bystanders
gathered to see him pass; how the London roughs, asserting an
Englishman's best and most blissful right of doing what he likes,
robbed and beat the bystanders; and how the blameless warrior-
magistrate refused to let his troops interfere.  "The crowd," he
touchingly said afterwards, "was mostly composed of fine healthy
strong men, bent on mischief; if he had [84] allowed his soldiers to
interfere they might have been overpowered, their rifles taken from
them and used against them by the mob; a riot, in fact, might have
ensued, and been attended with bloodshed, compared with which the
assaults and loss of property that actually occurred would have been
as nothing."  Honest and affecting testimony of the English middle-
class to its own inadequacy for the authoritative part one's
admiration would sometimes incline one to assign to it!  "Who are
we," they say by the voice of their Alderman-Colonel, "that we should
not be overpowered if we attempt to cope with social anarchy, our
rifles taken from us and used against us by the mob, and we, perhaps,
robbed and beaten ourselves?  Or what light have we, beyond a free-
born Englishman's impulse to do as he likes, which could justify us
in preventing, at the cost of bloodshed, other free-born Englishmen
from doing as they like, and robbing and beating us as much as they

This distrust of themselves as an adequate centre of authority does
not mark the working-class, as was shown by their readiness the other
day in Hyde Park to take upon themselves all the functions of [85]
government.  But this comes from the working-class being, as I have
often said, still an embryo, of which no one can yet quite foresee
the final development; and from its not having the same experience
and self-knowledge as the aristocratic and middle classes.  Honesty
it no doubt has, just like the other classes of Englishmen, but
honesty in an inchoate and untrained state; and meanwhile its powers
of action, which are, as Mr. Frederic Harrison says, exceedingly
ready, easily run away with it.  That it cannot at present have a
sufficiency of light which comes by culture,--that is, by reading,
observing, and thinking,--is clear from the very nature of its
condition; and, indeed, we saw that Mr. Frederic Harrison, in seeking
to make a free stage for its bright powers of sympathy and ready
powers of action, had to begin by throwing overboard culture, and
flouting it as only fit for a professor of belles lettres.  Still, to
make it perfectly manifest that no more in the working-class than in
the aristocratic and middle classes can one find an adequate centre
of authority,--that is, as culture teaches us to conceive our
required authority, of light,--let us again follow, with this class,
the method we have [86] followed with the aristocratic and middle
classes, and try to bring before our minds representative men, who
may figure to us its virtue and its excess.  We must not take, of
course, Colonel Dickson or Mr. Beales; because Colonel Dickson, by
his martial profession and dashing exterior, seems to belong
properly, like Julius Caesar and Mirabeau and other great popular
leaders, to the aristocratic class, and to be carried into the
popular ranks only by his ambition or his genius; while Mr. Beales
belongs to our solid middle-class, and, perhaps, if he had not been a
great popular leader, would have been a Philistine.  But Mr. Odger,
whose speeches we have all read, and of whom his friends relate,
besides, much that is favourable, may very well stand for the
beautiful and virtuous mean of our present working-class; and I think
everybody will admit that in Mr. Odger, as in Lord Elcho, there is
manifestly, with all his good points, some insufficiency of light.
The excess of the working-class, in its present state of development,
is perhaps best shown in Mr. Bradlaugh, the iconoclast, who seems to
be almost for baptizing us all in blood and fire into his new social
dispensation, and to whose [87] reflections, now that I have once
been set going on Bishop Wilson's track, I cannot forbear commending
this maxim of the good old man: "Intemperance in talk makes a
dreadful havoc in the heart."  Mr. Bradlaugh, like Sir Thomas Bateson
and the Rev. W. Cattle, is evidently capable, if he had his head
given him, of running us all into great dangers and confusion.  I
conclude, therefore,--what, indeed, few of those who do me the honour
to read this disquisition are likely to dispute,--that we can as
little find in the working-class as in the aristocratic or in the
middle class our much-wanted source of authority, as culture suggests
it to us.

Well, then, what if we tried to rise above the idea of class to the
idea of the whole community, the State, and to find our centre of
light and authority there?  Every one of us has the idea of country,
as a sentiment; hardly any one of us has the idea of the State, as a
working power.  And why?  Because we habitually live in our ordinary
selves, which do not carry us beyond the ideas and wishes of the
class to which we happen to belong.  And we are all afraid of giving
to the State too much power, because we only conceive of the State
[88] as something equivalent to the class in occupation of the
executive government, and are afraid of that class abusing power to
its own purposes.  If we strengthen the State with the aristocratic
class in occupation of the executive government, we imagine we are
delivering ourselves up captive to the ideas and wishes of Sir Thomas
Bateson; if with the middle-class in occupation of the executive
government, to those of the Rev. W. Cattle; if with the working-
class, to those of Mr. Bradlaugh.  And with much justice; owing to
the exaggerated notion which we English, as I have said, entertain of
the right and blessedness of the mere doing as one likes, of the
affirming oneself, and oneself just as it is.  People of the
aristocratic class want to affirm their ordinary selves, their
likings and dislikings; people of the middle-class the same, people
of the working-class the same.  By our everyday selves, however, we
are separate, personal, at war; we are only safe from one another's
tyranny when no one has any power; and this safety, in its turn,
cannot save us from anarchy.  And when, therefore, anarchy presents
itself as a danger to us, we know not where to turn.

[89] But by our best self we are united, impersonal, at harmony.  We
are in no peril from giving authority to this, because it is the
truest friend we all of us can have; and when anarchy is a danger to
us, to this authority we may turn with sure trust.  Well, and this is
the very self which culture, or the study of perfection, seeks to
develop in us; at the expense of our old untransformed self, taking
pleasure only in doing what it likes or is used to do, and exposing
us to the risk of clashing with every one else who is doing the same!
So that our poor culture, which is flouted as so unpractical, leads
us to the very ideas capable of meeting the great want of our present
embarrassed times!  We want an authority, and we find nothing but
jealous classes, checks, and a dead-lock; culture suggests the idea
of the State.  We find no basis for a firm State-power in our
ordinary selves; culture suggests one to us in our best self.

It cannot but acutely try a tender conscience to be accused, in a
practical country like ours, of keeping aloof from the work and hope
of a multitude of earnest-hearted men, and of merely toying with
poetry and aesthetics.  So it is with no little [90] sense of relief
that I find myself thus in the position of one who makes a
contribution in aid of the practical necessities of our times.  The
great thing, it will be observed, is to find our best self, and to
seek to affirm nothing but that; not,--as we English with our over-
value for merely being free and busy have been so accustomed to do,--
resting satisfied with a self which comes uppermost long before our
best self, and affirming that with blind energy.  In short,--to go
back yet once more to Bishop Wilson,--of these two excellent rules of
Bishop Wilson's for a man's guidance: "Firstly, never go against the
best light you have; secondly, take care that your light be not
darkness," we English have followed with praiseworthy zeal the first
rule, but we have not given so much heed to the second.  We have gone
manfully, the Rev. W. Cattle and the rest of us, according to the
best light we have; but we have not taken enough care that this
should be really the best light possible for us, that it should not
be darkness.  And, our honesty being very great, conscience has
whispered to us that the light we were following, our ordinary self,
was, indeed, perhaps, only an inferior self, only darkness; and [91]
that it would not do to impose this seriously on all the world.

But our best self inspires faith, and is capable of affording a
serious principle of authority.  For example.  We are on our way to
what the late Duke of Wellington, with his strong sagacity, foresaw
and admirably described as "a revolution by due course of law."  This
is undoubtedly,--if we are still to live and grow, and this famous
nation is not to stagnate and dwindle away on the one hand, or, on
the other, to perish miserably in mere anarchy and confusion,--what
we are on the way to.  Great changes there must be, for a revolution
cannot accomplish itself without great changes; yet order there must
be, for without order a revolution cannot accomplish itself by due
course of law.  So whatever brings risk of tumult and disorder,
multitudinous processions in the streets of our crowded towns,
multitudinous meetings in their public places and parks,--
demonstrations perfectly unnecessary in the present course of our
affairs,--our best self, or right reason, plainly enjoins us to set
our faces against.  It enjoins us to encourage and uphold the
occupants of the executive power, whoever they [92] may be, in firmly
prohibiting them.  But it does this clearly and resolutely, and is
thus a real principle of authority, because it does it with a free
conscience; because in thus provisionally strengthening the executive
power, it knows that it is not doing this merely to enable Sir Thomas
Bateson to affirm himself as against Mr. Bradlaugh, or the Rev. W.
Cattle to affirm himself as against both.  It knows that it is
stablishing the State, or organ of our collective best self, of our
national right reason; and it has the testimony of conscience that it
is stablishing the State on behalf of whatever great changes are
needed, just as much as on behalf of order; stablishing it to deal
just as stringently, when the time comes, with Sir Thomas Bateson's
Protestant ascendency, or with the Rev. W. Cattle's sorry education
of his children, as it deals with Mr. Bradlaugh's street-processions.


56. +posse comitatûs.  Arnold's phrase refers to the medieval
institution of the "power of the county."  It originally consisted of
a county's able-bodied males over fifteen, and the local authorities
might call upon it to preserve order.  Later, the posse became an
instrument of the church parish.

64. +London's Hyde Park riots occurred in 1866.  Reform Leaguers bent
on assembling to promote universal suffrage broke through the iron
rails encompassing the Park.


[93] From a man without a philosophy no one can expect philosophical
completeness.  Therefore I may observe without shame, that in trying
to get a distinct notion of our aristocratic, our middle, and our
working class, with a view of testing the claims of each of these
classes to become a centre of authority, I have omitted, I find, to
complete the old-fashioned analysis which I had the fancy of
applying, and have not shown in these classes, as well as the
virtuous mean and the excess, the defect also.  I do not know that
the omission very much matters; still as clearness is the one merit
which a plain, unsystematic writer, without a philosophy, can hope to
have, and as our notion of the three great English classes may
perhaps be made clearer if we see their distinctive qualities in the
defect, as well as in the excess and in the mean, let us try, before
proceeding further, to remedy this omission.

It is manifest, if the perfect and virtuous mean of that fine spirit
which is the distinctive quality [94] of aristocracies, is to be
found in Lord Elcho's chivalrous style, and its excess in Sir Thomas
Bateson's turn for resistance, that its defect must lie in a spirit
not bold and high enough, and in an excessive and pusillanimous
unaptness for resistance.  If, again, the perfect and virtuous mean
of that force by which our middle-class has done its great works, and
of that self-reliance with which it contemplates itself and them, is
to be seen in the performances and speeches of Mr. Bazley, and the
excess of that force and that self-reliance in the performances and
speeches of the Rev. W. Cattle, then it is manifest that their defect
must lie in a helpless inaptitude for the great works of the middle-
class, and in a poor and despicable lack of its self-satisfaction.
To be chosen to exemplify the happy mean of a good quality, or set of
good qualities, is evidently a praise to a man; nay, to be chosen to
exemplify even their excess, is a kind of praise.  Therefore I could
have no hesitation in taking Lord Elcho and Mr. Bazley, the Rev. W.
Cattle and Sir Thomas Bateson, to exemplify, respectively, the mean
and the excess of aristocratic and middle-class qualities.  But
perhaps there might [95] be a want of urbanity in singling out this
or that personage as the representative of defect.  Therefore I shall
leave the defect of aristocracy unillustrated by any representative
man.  But with oneself one may always, without impropriety, deal
quite freely; and, indeed, this sort of plain-dealing with oneself
has in it, as all the moralists tell us, something very wholesome.
So I will venture to humbly offer myself as an illustration of defect
in those forces and qualities which make our middle-class what it is.
The too well-founded reproaches of my opponents declare how little I
have lent a hand to the great works of the middle-class; for it is
evidently these works, and my slackness at them, which are meant,
when I am said to "refuse to lend a hand to the humble operation of
uprooting certain definite evils" (such as church-rates and others),
and that therefore "the believers in action grow impatient" with me.
The line, again, of a still unsatisfied seeker which I have followed,
the idea of self-transformation, of growing towards some measure of
sweetness and light not yet reached, is evidently at clean variance
with the perfect self-satisfaction current in my class, the middle-
class, [96] and may serve to indicate in me, therefore, the extreme
defect of this feeling.  But these confessions, though salutary, are
bitter and unpleasant.

To pass, then, to the working-class.  The defect of this class would
be the falling short in what Mr. Frederic Harrison calls those
"bright powers of sympathy and ready powers of action," of which we
saw in Mr. Odger the virtuous mean, and in Mr. Bradlaugh the excess.
The working-class is so fast growing and rising at the present time,
that instances of this defect cannot well be now very common.
Perhaps Canning's "Needy Knife-grinder" (who is dead, and therefore
cannot be pained at my taking him for an illustration) may serve to
give us the notion of defect in the essential quality of a working-
class; or I might even cite (since, though he is alive in the flesh,
he is dead to all heed of criticism) my poor old poaching friend,
Zephaniah Diggs, who, between his hare-snaring and his gin-drinking,
has got his powers of sympathy quite dulled and his powers of action
in any great movement of his class hopelessly impaired.  But examples
of this defect belong, as I have said, to a bygone age rather than to
the present.

[97] The same desire for clearness, which has led me thus to extend a
little my first analysis of the three great classes of English
society, prompts me also to make my nomenclature for them a little
fuller, with a view to making it thereby more clear and manageable.
It is awkward and tiresome to be always saying the aristocratic
class, the middle-class, the working-class.  For the middle-class,
for that great body which, as we know, "has done all the great things
that have been done in all departments," and which is to be conceived
as chiefly moving between its two cardinal points of Mr. Bazley and
the Rev. W. Cattle, but inclining, in the mass, rather towards the
latter than the former--for this class we have a designation which
now has become pretty well known, and which we may as well still keep
for them, the designation of Philistines.  What this term means I
have so often explained that I need not repeat it here.  For the
aristocratic class, conceived mainly as a body moving between the two
cardinal points of Lord Elcho and Sir Thomas Bateson, but as a whole
nearer to the latter than the former, we have as yet got no special
designation.  Almost [98] all my attention has naturally been
concentrated on my own class, the middle-class, with which I am in
closest sympathy, and which has been, besides, the great power of our
day, and has had its praises sung by all speakers and newspapers.
Still the aristocratic class is so important in itself, and the
weighty functions which Mr. Carlyle proposes at the present critical
time to commit to it must add so much to its importance, that it
seems neglectful, and a strong instance of that want of coherent
philosophic method for which Mr. Frederic Harrison blames me, to
leave the aristocratic class so much without notice and denomination.
It may be thought that the characteristic which I have occasionally
mentioned as proper to aristocracies,--their natural inaccessibility,
as children of the established fact, to ideas,--points to our
extending to this class also the designation of Philistines; the
Philistine being, as is well known, the enemy of the children of
light, or servants of the idea.  Nevertheless, there seems to be an
inconvenience in thus giving one and the same designation to two very
different classes; and besides, if we look into the thing closely, we
shall find that the term Philistine conveys a sense which [99] makes
it more peculiarly appropriate to our middle class than to our
aristocratic.  For Philistine gives the notion of something
particularly stiff-necked and perverse in the resistance to light and
its children, and therein it specially suits our middle-class, who
not only do not pursue sweetness and light, but who prefer to them
that sort of machinery of business, chapels, tea meetings, and
addresses from Mr. Murphy and the Rev. W. Cattle, which makes up the
dismal and illiberal life on which I have so often touched.  But the
aristocratic class has actually, as we have seen, in its well-known
politeness, a kind of image or shadow of sweetness; and as for light,
if it does not pursue light, it is not that it perversely cherishes
some dismal and illiberal existence in preference to light, but it is
seduced from following light by those mighty and eternal seducers of
our race which weave for this class their most irresistible charms,--
by worldly splendour, security, power and pleasure.  These seducers
are exterior goods, but they are goods; and he who is hindered by
them from caring for light and ideas, is not so much doing what is
perverse as what is natural.

Keeping this in view, I have in my own mind [100] often indulged
myself with the fancy of putting side by side with the idea of our
aristocratic class, the idea of the Barbarians.  The Barbarians, to
whom we all owe so much, and who reinvigorated and renewed our worn-
out Europe, had, as is well-known, eminent merits; and in this
country, where we are for the most part sprung from the Barbarians,
we have never had the prejudice against them which prevails among the
races of Latin origin.  The Barbarians brought with them that staunch
individualism, as the modern phrase is, and that passion for doing as
one likes, for the assertion of personal liberty, which appears to
Mr. Bright the central idea of English life, and of which we have, at
any rate, a very rich supply.  The stronghold and natural seat of
this passion was in the nobles of whom our aristocratic class are the
inheritors; and this class, accordingly, have signally manifested it,
and have done much by their example to recommend it to the body of
the nation, who already, indeed, had it in their blood.  The
Barbarians, again, had the passion for field-sports; and they have
handed it on to our aristocratic class, who of this passion too, as
of the passion for asserting one's personal liberty, are the [101]
great natural stronghold.  The care of the Barbarians for the body,
and for all manly exercises; the vigour, good looks, and fine
complexion which they acquired and perpetuated in their families by
these means,--all this may be observed still in our aristocratic
class.  The chivalry of the Barbarians, with its characteristics of
high spirit, choice manners, and distinguished bearing,--what is this
but the beautiful commencement of the politeness of our aristocratic
class?  In some Barbarian noble, no doubt, one would have admired, if
one could have been then alive to see it, the rudiments of Lord
Elcho.  Only, all this culture (to call it by that name) of the
Barbarians was an exterior culture mainly: it consisted principally
in outward gifts and graces, in looks, manners, accomplishments,
prowess; the chief inward gifts which had part in it were the most
exterior, so to speak, of inward gifts, those which come nearest to
outward ones: they were courage, a high spirit, self-confidence.  Far
within, and unawakened, lay a whole range of powers of thought and
feeling, to which these interesting productions of nature had, from
the circumstances of their life, no access.  Making allowances for
the [102] difference of the times, surely we can observe precisely
the same thing now in our aristocratic class.  In general its culture
is exterior chiefly; all the exterior graces and accomplishments, and
the more external of the inward virtues, seem to be principally its
portion.  It now, of course, cannot but be often in contact with
those studies by which, from the world of thought and feeling, true
culture teaches us to fetch sweetness and light; but its hold upon
these very studies appears remarkably external, and unable to exert
any deep power upon its spirit.  Therefore the one insufficiency
which we noted in the perfect mean of this class, Lord Elcho, was an
insufficiency of light.  And owing to the same causes, does not a
subtle criticism lead us to make, even on the good looks and
politeness of our aristocratic class, the one qualifying remark, that
in these charming gifts there should perhaps be, for ideal
perfection, a shade more soul?

I often, therefore, when I want to distinguish clearly the
aristocratic class from the Philistines proper, or middle-class, name
the former, in my own mind, the Barbarians: and when I go through the
country, and see this and that beautiful and [103] imposing seat of
theirs crowning the landscape, "There," I say to myself, "is a great
fortified post of the Barbarians."

It is obvious that that part of the working-class which, working
diligently by the light of Mrs. Gooch's Golden Rule, looks forward to
the happy day when it will sit on thrones with Mr. Bazley and other
middle-class potentates, to survey, as Mr. Bright beautifully says,
"the cities it has built, the railroads it has made, the manufactures
it has produced, the cargoes which freight the ships of the greatest
mercantile navy the world has ever seen,"--it is obvious, I say, that
this part of the working-class is, or is in a fair way to be, one in
spirit with the industrial middle-class.  It is notorious that our
middle-class liberals have long looked forward to this consummation,
when the working-class shall join forces with them, aid them heartily
to carry forward their great works, go in a body to their tea-
meetings, and, in short, enable them to bring about their millennium.
That part of the working-class, therefore, which does really seem to
lend itself to these great aims, may, with propriety, be numbered by
us among the Philistines.  That part of it, again, which [104] so
much occupies the attention of philanthropists at present,--the part
which gives all its energies to organising itself, through trades'
unions and other means, so as to constitute, first, a great working-
class power, independent of the middle and aristocratic classes, and
then, by dint of numbers, give the law to them, and itself reign
absolutely,--this lively and interesting part must also, according to
our definition, go with the Philistines; because it is its class and
its class-instinct which it seeks to affirm, its ordinary self not
its best self; and it is a machinery, an industrial machinery, and
power and pre-eminence and other external goods which fill its
thoughts, and not an inward perfection.  It is wholly occupied,
according to Plato's subtle expression, with the things of itself and
not its real self, with the things of the State and not the real
State.  But that vast portion, lastly, of the working-class which,
raw and half-developed, has long lain half-hidden amidst its poverty
and squalor, and is now issuing from its hiding-place to assert an
Englishman's heaven-born privilege of doing as he likes, and is
beginning to perplex us by marching where it likes, meeting where it
likes, bawling what it likes, [105] breaking what it likes,--to this
vast residuum we may with great propriety give the name of Populace.

Thus we have got three distinct terms, Barbarians, Philistines,
Populace, to denote roughly the three great classes into which our
society is divided; and though this humble attempt at a scientific
nomenclature falls, no doubt, very far short in precision of what
might be required from a writer equipped with a complete and coherent
philosophy, yet, from a notoriously unsystematic and unpretending
writer, it will, I trust, be accepted as sufficient.

But in using this new, and, I hope, convenient division of English
society, two things are to be borne in mind.  The first is, that
since, under all our class divisions, there is a common basis of
human nature, therefore, in every one of us, whether we be properly
Barbarians, Philistines, or Populace, there exists, sometimes only in
germ and potentially, sometimes more or less developed, the same
tendencies and passions which have made our fellow-citizens of other
classes what they are.  This consideration is very important, because
it has great influence in begetting that spirit of indulgence which
[106] is a necessary part of sweetness, and which, indeed, when our
culture is complete, is, as I have said, inexhaustible.  Thus, an
English Barbarian who examines himself, will, in general, find
himself to be not so entirely a Barbarian but that he has in him,
also, something of the Philistine, and even something of the Populace
as well.  And the same with Englishmen of the two other classes.
This is an experience which we may all verify every day.  For
instance, I myself (I again take myself as a sort of corpus vile to
serve for illustration in a matter where serving for illustration may
not by every one be thought agreeable), I myself am properly a
Philistine,--Mr. Swinburne would add, the son of a Philistine,--and
though, through circumstances which will perhaps one day be known, if
ever the affecting history of my conversion comes to be written, I
have, for the most part, broken with the ideas and the tea-meetings
of my own class, yet I have not, on that account, been brought much
the nearer to the ideas and works of the Barbarians or of the
Populace.  Nevertheless, I never take a gun or a fishing-rod in my
hands without feeling that I have in the ground of my nature the
self-same seeds which, fostered by [107] circumstances, do so much to
make the Barbarian; and that, with the Barbarian's advantages, I
might have rivalled him.  Place me in one of his great fortified
posts, with these seeds of a love for field-sports sown in my nature,
With all the means of developing them, with all pleasures at my
command, with most whom I met deferring to me, every one I met
smiling on me, and with every appearance of permanence and security
before me and behind me,--then I too might have grown, I feel, into a
very passable child of the established fact, of commendable spirit
and politeness, and, at the same time, a little inaccessible to ideas
and light; not, of course, with either the eminent fine spirit of
Lord Elcho, or the eminent power of resistance of Sir Thomas Bateson,
but, according to the measure of the common run of mankind, something
between the two.  And as to the Populace, who, whether he be
Barbarian or Philistine, can look at them without sympathy, when he
remembers how often,--every time that we snatch up a vehement opinion
in ignorance and passion, every time that we long to crush an
adversary by sheer violence, every time that we are envious, every
time that we are brutal, [108] every time that we adore mere power or
success, every time that we add our voice to swell a blind clamour
against some unpopular personage, every time that we trample savagely
on the fallen,--he has found in his own bosom the eternal spirit of
the Populace, and that there needs only a little help from
circumstances to make it triumph in him untameably?

The second thing to be borne in mind I have indicated several times
already.  It is this.  All of us, so far as we are Barbarians,
Philistines, or Populace, imagine happiness to consist in doing what
one's ordinary self likes.  What one's ordinary self likes differs
according to the class to which one belongs, and has its severer and
its lighter side; always, however, remaining machinery, and nothing
more.  The graver self of the Barbarian likes honours and
consideration; his more relaxed self, field-sports and pleasure.  The
graver self of one kind of Philistine likes business and money-
making; his more relaxed self, comfort and tea-meetings.  Of another
kind of Philistine, the graver self likes trades' unions; the relaxed
self, deputations, or hearing Mr. Odger speak.  The sterner self of
the [109] Populace likes bawling, hustling, and smashing; the lighter
self, beer.  But in each class there are born a certain number of
natures with a curiosity about their best self, with a bent for
seeing things as they are, for disentangling themselves from
machinery, for simply concerning themselves with reason and the will
of God, and doing their best to make these prevail;--for the pursuit,
in a word, of perfection.  To certain manifestations of this love for
perfection mankind have accustomed themselves to give the name of
genius; implying, by this name, something original and heaven-
bestowed in the passion.  But the passion is to be found far beyond
those manifestations of it to which the world usually gives the name
of genius, and in which there is, for the most part, a talent of some
kind or other, a special and striking faculty of execution, informed
by the heaven-bestowed ardour, or genius.  It is to be found in many
manifestations besides these, and may best be called, as we have
called it, the love and pursuit of perfection; culture being the true
nurse of the pursuing love, and sweetness and light the true
character of the pursued perfection.  Natures with this bent emerge
in all classes,--among the Barbarians, among the Philistines, [110]
among the Populace.  And this bent always tends, as I have said, to
take them out of their class, and to make their distinguishing
characteristic not their Barbarianism or their Philistinism, but
their humanity.  They have, in general, a rough time of it in their
lives; but they are sown more abundantly than one might think, they
appear where and when one least expects it, they set up a fire which
enfilades, so to speak, the class with which they are ranked; and, in
general, by the extrication of their best self as the self to
develope, and by the simplicity of the ends fixed by them as
paramount, they hinder the unchecked predominance of that class-life
which is the affirmation of our ordinary self, and seasonably
disconcert mankind in their worship of machinery.

Therefore, when we speak of ourselves as divided into Barbarians,
Philistines, and Populace, we must be understood always to imply that
within each of these classes there are a certain number of aliens, if
we may so call them,--persons who are mainly led, not by their class
spirit, but by a general humane spirit, by the love of human
perfection; and that this number is capable of being diminished or
augmented.  I mean, the number of those who will succeed in [111]
developing this happy instinct will be greater or smaller, in
proportion both to the force of the original instinct within them,
and to the hindrance or encouragement which it meets with from
without.  In almost all who have it, it is mixed with some infusion
of the spirit of an ordinary self, some quantity of class-instinct,
and even, as has been shown, of more than one class-instinct at the
same time; so that, in general, the extrication of the best self, the
predominance of the humane instinct, will very much depend upon its
meeting, or not, with what is fitted to help and elicit it.  At a
moment, therefore, when it is agreed that we want a source of
authority, and when it seems probable that the right source is our
best self, it becomes of vast importance to see whether or not the
things around us are, in general, such as to help and elicit our best
self, and if they are not, to see why they are not, and the most
promising way of mending them.

Now, it is clear that the very absence of any powerful authority
amongst us, and the prevalent doctrine of the duty and happiness of
doing as one likes, and asserting our personal liberty, must tend to
prevent the erection of any very strict standard of [112] excellence,
the belief in any very paramount authority of right reason, the
recognition of our best self as anything very recondite and hard to
come at.  It may be, as I have said, a proof of our honesty that we
do not attempt to give to our ordinary self, as we have it in action,
predominant authority, and to impose its rule upon other people; but
it is evident, also, that it is not easy, with our style of
proceeding, to get beyond the notion of an ordinary self at all, or
to get the paramount authority of a commanding best self, or right
reason, recognised.  The learned Martinus Scriblerus well says:--"The
taste of the bathos is implanted by nature itself in the soul of man;
till, perverted by custom or example, he is taught, or rather
compelled, to relish the sublime."  But with us everything seems
directed to prevent any such perversion of us by custom or example as
might compel us to relish the sublime; by all means we are encouraged
to keep our natural taste for the bathos unimpaired.  I have formerly
pointed out how in literature the absence of any authoritative
centre, like an Academy, tends to do this; each section of the public
has its own literary organ, and the mass of the public is without any
suspicion that [113] the value of these organs is relative to their
being nearer a certain ideal centre of correct information, taste,
and intelligence, or farther away from it.  I have said that within
certain limits, which any one who is likely to read this will have no
difficulty in drawing for himself, my old adversary, the Saturday
Review, may, on matters of literature and taste, be fairly enough
regarded, relatively to a great number of newspapers which treat
these matters, as a kind of organ of reason.  But I remember once
conversing with a company of Nonconformist admirers of some lecturer
who had let off a great fire-work, which the Saturday Review said was
all noise and false lights, and feeling my way as tenderly as I could
about the effect of this unfavourable judgment upon those with whom I
was conversing.  "Oh," said one who was their spokesman, with the
most tranquil air of conviction, "it is true the Saturday Review
abuses the lecture, but the British Banner" (I am not quite sure it
was the British Banner, but it was some newspaper of that stamp)
"says that the Saturday Review is quite wrong."  The speaker had
evidently no notion that there was a scale of value for judgments on
these topics, and that the judgments of the [114] Saturday Review
ranked high on this scale, and those of the British Banner low; the
taste of the bathos implanted by nature in the literary judgments of
man had never, in my friend's case, encountered any let or hindrance.

Just the same in religion as in literature.  We have most of us
little idea of a high standard to choose our guides by, of a great
and profound spirit, which is an authority, while inferior spirits
are none; it is enough to give importance to things that this or that
person says them decisively, and has a large following of some strong
kind when he says them.  This habit of ours is very well shown in
that able and interesting work of Mr. Hepworth Dixon's, which we were
all reading lately, The Mormons, by One of Themselves.  Here, again,
I am not quite sure that my memory serves me as to the exact title,
but I mean the well-known book in which Mr. Hepworth Dixon described
the Mormons, and other similar religious bodies in America, with so
much detail and such warm sympathy.  In this work it seems enough for
Mr. Dixon that this or that doctrine has its Rabbi, who talks big to
him, has a staunch body of disciples, and, above all, has plenty
[115] of rifles.  That there are any further stricter tests to be
applied to a doctrine, before it is pronounced important, never seems
to occur to him.  "It is easy to say," he writes of the Mormons,
"that these saints are dupes and fanatics, to laugh at Joe Smith and
his church, but what then?  The great facts remain.  Young and his
people are at Utah; a church of 200,000 souls; an army of 20,000
rifles."  But if the followers of a doctrine are really dupes, or
worse, and its promulgators are really fanatics, or worse, it gives
the doctrine no seriousness or authority the more that there should
be found 200,000 souls,--200,000 of the innumerable multitude with a
natural taste for the bathos,--to hold it, and 20,000 rifles to
defend it.  And again, of another religious organisation in America:
"A fair and open field is not to be refused when hosts so mighty
throw down wager of battle on behalf of what they hold to be true,
however strange their faith may seem."  A fair and open field is not
to be refused to any speaker; but this solemn way of heralding him is
quite out of place unless he has, for the best reason and spirit of
man, some significance.  "Well, but," says Mr. Hepworth Dixon, [116]
"a theory which has been accepted by men like Judge Edmonds, Dr.
Hare, Elder Frederick, and Professor Bush!"  And again: "Such are, in
brief, the bases of what Newman Weeks, Sarah Horton, Deborah Butler,
and the associated brethren, proclaimed in Rolt's Hall as the new
covenant!"  If he was summing up an account of the teaching of Plato
or St. Paul, Mr. Hepworth Dixon could not be more earnestly
reverential.  But the question is, have personages like Judge
Edmonds, and Newman Weeks, and Elderess Polly, and Elderess
Antoinette, and the rest of Mr. Hepworth Dixon's heroes and heroines,
anything of the weight and significance for the best reason and
spirit of man that Plato and St. Paul have?  Evidently they, at
present, have not; and a very small taste of them and their doctrines
ought to have convinced Mr. Hepworth Dixon that they never could
have.  "But," says he, "the magnetic power which Shakerism is
exercising on American thought would of itself compel us,"--and so
on.  Now as far as real thought is concerned,--thought which affects
the best reason and spirit of man, the scientific thought of the
world, the only thought which deserves [117] speaking of in this
solemn way,--America has up to the present time been hardly more than
a province of England, and even now would not herself claim to be
more than abreast of England; and of this only real human thought,
English thought itself is not just now, as we must all admit, one of
the most significant factors.  Neither, then, can American thought
be; and the magnetic power which Shakerism exercises on American
thought is about as important, for the best reason and spirit of man,
as the magnetic power which Mr. Murphy exercises on Birmingham
Protestantism.  And as we shall never get rid of our natural taste
for the bathos in religion,--never get access to a best self and
right reason which may stand as a serious authority,--by treating Mr.
Murphy as his own disciples treat him, seriously, and as if he was as
much an authority as any one else: so we shall never get rid of it
while our able and popular writers treat their Joe Smiths and Deborah
Butlers, with their so many thousand souls and so many thousand
rifles, in the like exaggerated and misleading manner, and so do
their best to confirm us in a bad mental habit to which we are
already too prone.

[118] If our habits make it hard for us to come at the idea of a high
best self, of a paramount authority, in literature or religion, how
much more do they make this hard in the sphere of politics!  In other
countries, the governors, not depending so immediately on the favour
of the governed, have everything to urge them, if they know anything
of right reason (and it is at least supposed that governors should
know more of this than the mass of the governed), to set it
authoritatively before the community.  But our whole scheme of
government being representative, every one of our governors has all
possible temptation, instead of setting up before the governed who
elect him, and on whose favour he depends, a high standard of right
reason, to accommodate himself as much as possible to their natural
taste for the bathos; and even if he tries to go counter to it, to
proceed in this with so much flattering and coaxing, that they shall
not suspect their ignorance and prejudices to be anything very unlike
right reason, or their natural taste for the bathos to differ much
from a relish for the sublime.  Every one is thus in every possible
way encouraged to trust in his own heart; but "he that trusteth in
his [119] own heart," says the Wise Man, "is a fool;"+ and at any
rate this, which Bishop Wilson says, is undeniably true: "The number
of those who need to be awakened is far greater than that of those
who need comfort."  But in our political system everybody is
comforted.  Our guides and governors who have to be elected by the
influence of the Barbarians, and who depend on their favour, sing the
praises of the Barbarians, and say all the smooth things that can be
said of them.  With Mr. Tennyson, they celebrate "the great broad-
shouldered genial Englishman," with his "sense of duty," his
"reverence for the laws," and his "patient force," who saves us from
the "revolts, republics, revolutions, most no graver than a
schoolboy's barring out," which upset other and less broad-shouldered
nations.  Our guides who are chosen by the Philistines and who have
to look to their favour, tell the Philistines how "all the world
knows that the great middle-class of this country supplies the mind,
the will, and the power requisite for all the great and good things
that have to be done," and congratulate them on their "earnest good
sense, which penetrates through sophisms, ignores commonplaces, and
gives to conventional illusions their [120] true value."  Our guides
who look to the favour of the Populace, tell them that "theirs are
the brightest powers of sympathy, and the readiest powers of action."
Harsh things are said too, no doubt, against all the great classes of
the community; but these things so evidently come from a hostile
class, and are so manifestly dictated by the passions and
prepossessions of a hostile class, and not by right reason, that they
make no serious impression on those at whom they are launched, but
slide easily off their minds.  For instance, when the Reform League
orators inveigh against our cruel and bloated aristocracy, these
invectives so evidently show the passions and point of view of the
Populace, that they do not sink into the minds of those at whom they
are addressed, or awaken any thought or self-examination in them.
Again, when Sir Thomas Bateson describes the Philistines and the
Populace as influenced with a kind of hideous mania for emasculating
the aristocracy, that reproach so clearly comes from the wrath and
excited imagination of the Barbarians, that it does not much set the
Philistines and the Populace thinking.  Or when Mr. Lowe calls the
Populace drunken and venal, he [121] so evidently calls them this in
an agony of apprehension for his Philistine or middle-class
Parliament, which has done so many great and heroic works, and is now
threatened with mixture and debasement, that the Populace do not lay
his words seriously to heart.  So the voice which makes a permanent
impression on each of our classes is the voice of its friends, and
this is from the nature of things, as I have said, a comforting
voice.  The Barbarians remain in the belief that the great broad-
shouldered genial Englishman may be well satisfied with himself; the
Philistines remain in the belief that the great middle-class of this
country, with its earnest common-sense penetrating through sophisms
and ignoring commonplaces, may be well satisfied with itself: the
Populace, that the working-man with his bright powers of sympathy and
ready powers of action, may be well satisfied with himself.  What
hope, at this rate, of extinguishing the taste of the bathos
implanted by nature itself in the soul of man, or of inculcating the
belief that excellence dwells among high and steep rocks, and can
only be reached by those who sweat blood to reach her?  But it will
be said, perhaps, that candidates for [122] political influence and
leadership, who thus caress the self-love of those whose suffrages
they desire, know quite well that they are not saying the sheer truth
as reason sees it, but that they are using a sort of conventional
language, or what we call clap-trap, which is essential to the
working of representative institutions.  And therefore, I suppose, we
ought rather to say with Figaro: Qui est-ce qu'on trompe ici?+  Now,
I admit that often, but not always, when our governors say smooth
things to the self-love of the class whose political support they
want, they know very well that they are overstepping, by a long
stride, the bounds of truth and soberness; and while they talk, they
in a manner, no doubt, put their tongue in their cheek.  Not always;
because, when a Barbarian appeals to his own class to make him their
representative and give him political power, he, when he pleases
their self-love by extolling broad-shouldered genial Englishmen with
their sense of duty, reverence for the laws, and patient force,
pleases his own self-love and extols himself, and is, therefore,
himself ensnared by his own smooth words.  And so, too, when a
Philistine wants to represent his brother Philistines, and [123]
extols the earnest good sense which characterises Manchester, and
supplies the mind, the will, and the power, as the Daily News
eloquently says, requisite for all the great and good things that
have to be done, he intoxicates and deludes himself as well as his
brother Philistines who hear him.  But it is true that a Barbarian
often wants the political support of the Philistines; and he
unquestionably, when he flatters the self-love of Philistinism, and
extols, in the approved fashion, its energy, enterprise, and self-
reliance, knows that he is talking clap-trap, and, so to say, puts
his tongue in his cheek.  On all matters where Nonconformity and its
catchwords are concerned, this insincerity of Barbarians needing
Nonconformist support, and, therefore, flattering the self-love of
Nonconformity and repeating its catchwords without the least real
belief in them, is very noticeable.  When the Nonconformists, in a
transport of blind zeal, threw out Sir James Graham's useful
Education Clauses in 1843, one-half of their parliamentary
representatives, no doubt, who cried aloud against "trampling on the
religious liberty of the Dissenters by taking the money of Dissenters
to teach the tenets of the [124] Church of England," put their tongue
in their cheek while they so cried out.  And perhaps there is even a
sort of motion of Mr. Frederic Harrison's tongue towards his cheek
when he talks of the "shriek of superstition," and tells the working-
class that theirs are the brightest powers of sympathy and the
readiest powers of action.  But the point on which I would insist is,
that this involuntary tribute to truth and soberness on the part of
certain of our governors and guides never reaches at all the mass of
us governed, to serve as a lesson to us, to abate our self-love, and
to awaken in us a suspicion that our favourite prejudices may be, to
a higher reason, all nonsense.  Whatever by-play goes on among the
more intelligent of our leaders, we do not see it; and we are left to
believe that, not only in our own eyes, but in the eyes of our
representative and ruling men, there is nothing more admirable than
our ordinary self, whatever our ordinary self happens to be,--
Barbarian, Philistine, or Populace.

Thus everything in our political life tends to hide from us that
there is anything wiser than our ordinary selves, and to prevent our
getting the notion of a paramount right reason.  Royalty itself,
[125] in its idea the expression of the collective nation, and a sort
of constituted witness to its best mind, we try to turn into a kind
of grand advertising van, to give publicity and credit to the
inventions, sound or unsound, of the ordinary self of individuals.  I
remember, when I was in North Germany, having this very strongly
brought to my mind in the matter of schools and their institution.
In Prussia, the best schools are Crown patronage schools, as they are
called; schools which have been established and endowed (and new ones
are to this day being established and endowed) by the Sovereign
himself out of his own revenues, to be under the direct control and
management of him or of those representing him, and to serve as types
of what schools should be.  The Sovereign, as his position raises him
above many prejudices and littlenesses, and as he can always have at
his disposal the best advice, has evident advantages over private
founders in well planning and directing a school; while at the same
time his great means and his great influence secure, to a well-
planned school of his, credit and authority.  This is what, in North
Germany, the governors do, in the matter of education, for the [126]
governed; and one may say that they thus give the governed a lesson,
and draw out in them the idea of a right reason higher than the
suggestions of an ordinary man's ordinary self.  But in England how
different is the part which in this matter our governors are
accustomed to play!  The Licensed Victuallers or the Commercial
Travellers propose to make a school for their children; and I
suppose, in the matter of schools, one may call the Licensed
Victuallers or the Commercial Travellers ordinary men, with their
natural taste for the bathos still strong; and a Sovereign with the
advice of men like Wilhelm von Humboldt or Schleiermacher may, in
this matter, be a better judge, and nearer to right reason.  And it
will be allowed, probably, that right reason would suggest that, to
have a sheer school of Licensed Victuallers' children, or a sheer
school of Commercial Travellers' children, and to bring them all up,
not only at home but at school too, in a kind of odour of licensed
victualism or of bagmanism, is not a wise training to give to these
children.  And in Germany, I have said, the action of the national
guides or governors is to suggest and provide a better.  But, in
England, the action of the national [127] guides or governors is, for
a Royal Prince or a great Minister to go down to the opening of the
Licensed Victuallers' or of the Commercial Travellers' school, to
take the chair, to extol the energy and self-reliance of the Licensed
Victuallers or the Commercial Travellers, to be all of their way of
thinking, to predict full success to their schools, and never so much
as to hint to them that they are doing a very foolish thing, and that
the right way to go to work with their children's education is quite
different.  And it is the same in almost every department of affairs.
While, on the Continent, the idea prevails that it is the business of
the heads and representatives of the nation, by virtue of their
superior means, power, and information, to set an example and to
provide suggestions of right reason, among us the idea is that the
business of the heads and representatives of the nation is to do
nothing of the kind, but to applaud the natural taste for the bathos
showing itself vigorously in any part of the community, and to
encourage its works.

Now I do not say that the political system of foreign countries has
not inconveniences which may outweigh the inconveniences of our own
political [128] system; nor am I the least proposing to get rid of
our own political system and to adopt theirs.  But a sound centre of
authority being what, in this disquisition, we have been led to seek,
and right reason, or our best self, appearing alone to offer such a
sound centre of authority, it is necessary to take note of the chief
impediments which hinder, in this country, the extrication or
recognition of this right reason as a paramount authority, with a
view to afterwards trying in what way they can best be removed.

This being borne in mind, I proceed to remark how not only do we get
no suggestions of right reason, and no rebukes of our ordinary self,
from our governors, but a kind of philosophical theory is widely
spread among us to the effect that there is no such thing at all as a
best self and a right reason having claim to paramount authority, or,
at any rate, no such thing ascertainable and capable of being made
use of; and that there is nothing but an infinite number of ideas and
works of our ordinary selves, and suggestions of our natural taste
for the bathos, pretty equal in value, which are doomed either to an
irreconcileable conflict, or else to a [129] perpetual give and take;
and that wisdom consists in choosing the give and take rather than
the conflict, and in sticking to our choice with patience and good
humour.  And, on the other hand, we have another philosophical theory
rife among us, to the effect that without the labour of perverting
ourselves by custom or example to relish right reason, but by
continuing all of us to follow freely our natural taste for the
bathos, we shall, by the mercy of Providence, and by a kind of
natural tendency of things, come in due time to relish and follow
right reason.  The great promoters of these philosophical theories
are our newspapers, which, no less than our parliamentary
representatives, may be said to act the part of guides and governors
to us; and these favourite doctrines of theirs I call,--or should
call, if the doctrines were not preached by authorities I so much
respect,--the first, a peculiarly British form of Atheism, the
second, a peculiarly British form of Quietism.  The first-named
melancholy doctrine is preached in The Times with great clearness and
force of style; indeed, it is well known, from the example of the
poet Lucretius and others, what great masters of style the atheistic
[130] doctrine has always counted among its promulgators.  "It is of
no use," says The Times, "for us to attempt to force upon our
neighbours our several likings and dislikings.  We must take things
as they are.  Everybody has his own little vision of religious or
civil perfection.  Under the evident impossibility of satisfying
everybody, we agree to take our stand on equal laws and on a system
as open and liberal as is possible.  The result is that everybody has
more liberty of action and of speaking here than anywhere else in the
Old World."  We come again here upon Mr. Roebuck's celebrated
definition of happiness, on which I have so often commented: "I look
around me and ask what is the state of England?  Is not every man
able to say what he likes?  I ask you whether the world over, or in
past history, there is anything like it?  Nothing.  I pray that our
unrivalled happiness may last."  This is the old story of our system
of checks and every Englishman doing as he likes, which we have
already seen to have been convenient enough so long as there were
only the Barbarians and the Philistines to do what they liked, but to
be getting inconvenient, and productive of anarchy, [131] now that
the Populace wants to do what it likes too.  But for all that, I will
not at once dismiss this famous doctrine, but will first quote
another passage from The Times, applying the doctrine to a matter of
which we have just been speaking,--education.  "The difficulty here"
(in providing a national system of education), says The Times, "does
not reside in any removeable arrangements.  It is inherent and native
in the actual and inveterate state of things in this country.  All
these powers and personages, all these conflicting influences and
varieties of character, exist, and have long existed among us; they
are fighting it out, and will long continue to fight it out, without
coming to that happy consummation when some one element of the
British character is to destroy or to absorb all the rest."  There it
is; the various promptings of the natural taste for the bathos in
this man and that amongst us are fighting it out; and the day will
never come (and, indeed, why should we wish it to come?) when one
man's particular sort of taste for the bathos shall tyrannise over
another man's; nor when right reason (if that may be called an
element of the British character) shall absorb and [132] rule them
all.  "The whole system of this country, like the constitution we
boast to inherit, and are glad to uphold, is made up of established
facts, prescriptive authorities, existing usages, powers that be,
persons in possession, and communities or classes that have won
dominion for themselves, and will hold it against all comers."  Every
force in the world, evidently, except the one reconciling force,
right reason!  Sir Thomas Bateson here, the Rev. W. Cattle on this
side, Mr. Bradlaugh on that!--pull devil, pull baker!  Really,
presented with the mastery of style of our leading journal, the sad
picture, as one gazes upon it, assumes the iron and inexorable
solemnity of tragic Destiny.

After this, the milder doctrine of our other philosophical teacher,
the Daily News, has, at first, something very attractive and
assuaging.  The Daily News begins, indeed, in appearance, to weave
the iron web of necessity round us like The Times.  "The alternative
is between a man's doing what he likes and his doing what some one
else, probably not one whit wiser than himself, likes."  This points
to the tacit compact, mentioned [133] in my last paper, between the
Barbarians and the Philistines, and into which it is hoped that the
Populace will one day enter; the compact, so creditable to English
honesty, that no class, if it exercise power, having only the ideas
and aims of its ordinary self to give effect to, shall treat its
ordinary self too seriously, or attempt to impose it on others; but
shall let these others,--the Rev. W. Cattle, for instance, in his
Papist-baiting, and Mr. Bradlaugh in his Hyde Park anarchy-
mongering,--have their fling.  But then the Daily News suddenly
lights up the gloom of necessitarianism with bright beams of hope.
"No doubt," it says, "the common reason of society ought to check the
aberrations of individual eccentricity."  This common reason of
society looks very like our best self or right reason, to which we
want to give authority, by making the action of the State, or nation
in its collective character, the expression of it.  But of this
project of ours, the Daily News, with its subtle dialectics, makes
havoc.  "Make the State the organ of the common reason?"--it says.
"You may make it the organ of something or other, but how can you be
certain that [134] reason will be the quality which will be embodied
in it?"  You cannot be certain of it, undoubtedly, if you never try
to bring the thing about; but the question is, the action of the
State being the action of the collective nation, and the action of
the collective nation carrying naturally great publicity, weight, and
force of example with it, whether we should not try to put into the
action of the State as much as possible of right reason, or our best
self, which may, in this manner, come back to us with new force and
authority, may have visibility, form, and influence, and help to
confirm us, in the many moments when we are tempted to be our
ordinary selves merely, in resisting our natural taste of the bathos
rather than in giving way to it?

But no! says our teacher: "it is better there should be an infinite
variety of experiments in human action, because, as the explorers
multiply, the true track is more likely to be discovered.  The common
reason of society can check the aberrations of individual
eccentricity only by acting on the individual reason; and it will do
so in the main sufficiently, if left to this natural operation."
This is what I call the specially British form of [135] Quietism, or
a devout, but excessive, reliance on an over-ruling Providence.
Providence, as the moralists are careful to tell us, generally works
in human affairs by human means; so when we want to make right reason
act on individual reason, our best self on our ordinary self, we seek
to give it more power of doing so by giving it public recognition and
authority, and embodying it, so far as we can, in the State.  It
seems too much to ask of Providence, that while we, on our part,
leave our congenital taste for the bathos to its natural operation
and its infinite variety of experiments, Providence should
mysteriously guide it into the true track, and compel it to relish
the sublime.  At any rate, great men and great institutions have
hitherto seemed necessary for producing any considerable effect of
this kind.  No doubt we have an infinite variety of experiments, and
an ever-multiplying multitude of explorers; even in this short paper
I have enumerated many: the British Banner, Judge Edmonds, Newman
Weeks, Deborah Butler, Elderess Polly, Brother Noyes, the Rev. W.
Cattle, the Licensed Victuallers, the Commercial Travellers, and I
know not how [136] many more; and the numbers of this noble army are
swelling every day.  But what a depth of Quietism, or rather, what an
over-bold call on the direct interposition of Providence, to believe
that these interesting explorers will discover the true track, or at
any rate, "will do so in the main sufficiently" (whatever that may
mean) if left to their natural operation; that is, by going on as
they are!  Philosophers say, indeed, that we learn virtue by
performing acts of virtue; but to say that we shall learn virtue by
performing any acts to which our natural taste for the bathos carries
us, that the Rev. W. Cattle comes at his best self by Papist-baiting,
or Newman Weeks and Deborah Butler at right reason by following their
noses, this certainly does appear over-sanguine.

It is true, what we want is to make right reason act on individual
reason, the reason of individuals; all our search for authority has
that for its end and aim.  The Daily News says, I observe, that all
my argument for authority "has a non-intellectual root;" and from
what I know of my own mind and its inertness, I think this so
probable, that I should be inclined easily to admit it, if it were
not that, in [137] the first place, nothing of this kind, perhaps,
should be admitted without examination; and, in the second, a way of
accounting for this charge being made, in this particular instance,
without full grounds, appears to present itself.  What seems to me to
account here, perhaps, for the charge, is the want of flexibility of
our race, on which I have so often remarked.  I mean, it being
admitted that the conformity of the individual reason of the Rev. W.
Cattle or Mr. Bradlaugh with right reason is our true object, and not
the mere restraining them, by the strong arm of the State, from
Papist-baiting or railing-breaking,--admitting this, we have so
little flexibility that we cannot readily perceive that the State's
restraining them from these indulgences may yet fix clearly in their
minds that, to the collective nation, these indulgences appear
irrational and unallowable, may make them pause and reflect, and may
contribute to bringing, with time, their individual reason into
harmony with right reason.  But in no country, owing to the want of
intellectual flexibility above mentioned, is the leaning which is our
natural one, and, therefore, needs no recommending to us, so
sedulously recommended, and the leaning which is [138] not our
natural one, and, therefore, does not-need dispraising to us, so
sedulously dispraised, as in ours.  To rely on the individual being,
with us, the natural leaning, we will hear of nothing but the good of
relying on the individual; to act through the collective nation on
the individual being not our natural leaning, we will hear nothing in
recommendation of it.  But the wise know that we often need to hear
most of that to which we are least inclined, and even to learn to
employ, in certain circumstances, that which is capable, if employed
amiss, of being a danger to us.

Elsewhere this is certainly better understood than here.  In a recent
number of the Westminster Review, an able writer, but with precisely
our national want of flexibility of which I have been speaking, has
unearthed, I see, for our present needs, an English translation,
published some years ago, of Wilhelm von Humboldt's book, The Sphere
and Duties of Government.  Humboldt's object in this book is to show
that the operation of government ought to be severely limited to what
directly and immediately relates to the security of person and
property.  Wilhelm von Humboldt, one of the [139] most beautiful and
perfect souls that have ever existed, used to say that one's business
in life was, first, to perfect oneself by all the means in one's
power, and, secondly, to try and create in the world around one an
aristocracy, the most numerous that one possibly could, of talents
and characters.  He saw, of course, that, in the end, everything
comes to this,--that the individual must act for himself, and must be
perfect in himself; and he lived in a country, Germany, where people
were disposed to act too little for themselves, and to rely too much
on the Government.  But even thus, such was his flexibility, so
little was he in bondage to a mere abstract maxim, that he saw very
well that for his purpose itself, of enabling the individual to stand
perfect on his own foundations and to do without the State, the
action of the State would for long, long years be necessary; and soon
after he wrote his book on The Sphere and Duties of Government,
Wilhelm von Humboldt became Minister of Education in Prussia, and
from his ministry all the great reforms which give the control of
Prussian education to the State,--the transference of the management
of public schools from their old boards of trustees to the [140]
State, the obligatory State-examination for schools, the obligatory
State-examination for schoolmasters, and the foundation of the great
State University of Berlin,--take their origin.  This his English
reviewer says not a word of.  But, writing for a people whose dangers
lie, as we have seen, on the side of their unchecked and unguided
individual action, whose dangers none of them lie on the side of an
over-reliance on the State, he quotes just so much of Wilhelm von
Humboldt's example as can flatter them in their propensities, and do
them no good; and just what might make them think, and be of use to
them, he leaves on one side.  This precisely recalls the manner, it
will be observed, in which we have seen that our royal and noble
personages proceed with the Licensed Victuallers.

In France the action of the State on individuals is yet more
preponderant than in Germany; and the need which friends of human
perfection feel to enable the individual to stand perfect on his own
foundations is all the stronger.  But what says one of the staunchest
of these friends, Monsieur Renan, on State action, and even State
action in that very sphere where in France it is most excessive, the
sphere [141] of education?  Here are his words:--"A liberal believes
in liberty, and liberty signifies the non-intervention of the State.
But such an ideal is still a long way off from us, and the very means
to remove it to an indefinite distance would be precisely the State's
withdrawing its action too soon."  And this, he adds, is even truer
of education than of any other department of public affairs.

We see, then, how indispensable to that human perfection which we
seek is, in the opinion of good judges, some public recognition and
establishment of our best self, or right reason.  We see how our
habits and practice oppose themselves to such a recognition, and the
many inconveniences which we therefore suffer.  But now let us try to
go a little deeper, and to find, beneath our actual habits and
practice, the very ground and cause out of which they spring.


119. +Proverbs 28:26.  "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool:
but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered."  The King James

122.  +"Qui est-ce qu'on trompe ici?"  E-text editor's translation:
"Who is the one getting fooled here?"


[142] This fundamental ground is our preference of doing to thinking.
Now this preference is a main element in our nature, and as we study
it we find ourselves opening up a number of large questions on every

Let me go back for a moment to what I have already quoted from Bishop
Wilson:--"First, never go against the best light you have; secondly,
take care that your light be not darkness."  I said we show, as a
nation, laudable energy and persistence in walking according to the
best light we have, but are not quite careful enough, perhaps, to see
that our light be not darkness.  This is only another version of the
old story that energy is our strong point and favourable
characteristic, rather than intelligence.  But we may give to this
idea a more general form still, in which it will have a yet larger
range of application.  We may regard this energy driving at practice,
this paramount sense of the obligation of duty, self-control, and
work, this earnestness in going manfully with the best light we [143]
have, as one force.  And we may regard the intelligence driving at
those ideas which are, after all, the basis of right practice, the
ardent sense for all the new and changing combinations of them which
man's development brings with it, the indomitable impulse to know and
adjust them perfectly, as another force.  And these two forces we may
regard as in some sense rivals,--rivals not by the necessity of their
own nature, but as exhibited in man and his history,--and rivals
dividing the empire of the world between them.  And to give these
forces names from the two races of men who have supplied the most
signal and splendid manifestations of them, we may call them
respectively the forces of Hebraism and Hellenism.  Hebraism and
Hellenism,--between these two points of influence moves our world.
At one time it feels more powerfully the attraction of one of them,
at another time of the other; and it ought to be, though it never is,
evenly and happily balanced between them.

The final aim of both Hellenism and Hebraism, as of all great
spiritual disciplines, is no doubt the same: man's perfection or
salvation.  The very language which they both of them use in
schooling [144] us to reach this aim is often identical.  Even when
their language indicates by variation,--sometimes a broad variation,
often a but slight and subtle variation,--the different courses of
thought which are uppermost in each discipline, even then the unity
of the final end and aim is still apparent.  To employ the actual
words of that discipline with which we ourselves are all of us most
familiar, and the words of which, therefore, come most home to us,
that final end and aim is "that we might be partakers of the divine
nature."  These are the words of a Hebrew apostle, but of Hellenism
and Hebraism alike this is, I say, the aim.  When the two are
confronted, as they very often are confronted, it is nearly always
with what I may call a rhetorical purpose; the speaker's whole design
is to exalt and enthrone one of the two, and he uses the other only
as a foil and to enable him the better to give effect to his purpose.
Obviously, with us, it is usually Hellenism which is thus reduced to
minister to the triumph of Hebraism.  There is a sermon on Greece and
the Greek spirit by a man never to be mentioned without interest and
respect, Frederick Robertson, in which this rhetorical use of Greece
and the Greek [145] spirit, and the inadequate exhibition of them
necessarily consequent upon this, is almost ludicrous, and would be
censurable if it were not to be explained by the exigences of a
sermon.  On the other hand, Heinrich Heine, and other writers of his
sort, give us the spectacle of the tables completely turned, and of
Hebraism brought in just as a foil and contrast to Hellenism, and to
make the superiority of Hellenism more manifest.  In both these cases
there is injustice and misrepresentation.  The aim and end of both
Hebraism and Hellenism is, as I have said, one and the same, and this
aim and end is august and admirable.

Still, they pursue this aim by very different courses.  The uppermost
idea with Hellenism is to see things as they really are; the
uppermost idea with Hebraism is conduct and obedience.  Nothing can
do away with this ineffaceable difference; the Greek quarrel with the
body and its desires is, that they hinder right thinking, the Hebrew
quarrel with them is, that they hinder right acting.  "He that
keepeth the law, happy is he;" "There is nothing sweeter than to take
heed unto the commandments of the Lord;"+--that is the Hebrew [146]
notion of felicity; and, pursued with passion and tenacity, this
notion would not let the Hebrew rest till, as is well known, he had,
at last, got out of the law a network of prescriptions to enwrap his
whole life, to govern every moment of it, every impulse, every
action.  The Greek notion of felicity, on the other hand, is
perfectly conveyed in these words of a great French moralist: "C'est
le bonheur des hommes"--when? when they abhor that which is evil?--
no; when they exercise themselves in the law of the Lord day and
night?--no; when they die daily?--no; when they walk about the New
Jerusalem with palms in their hands?--no; but when they think aright,
when their thought hits,--"quand ils pensent juste."  At the bottom
of both the Greek and the Hebrew notion is the desire, native in man,
for reason and the will of God, the feeling after the universal
order,--in a word, the love of God.  But, while Hebraism seizes upon
certain plain, capital intimations of the universal order, and rivets
itself, one may say, with unequalled grandeur of earnestness and
intensity on the study and observance of them, the bent of Hellenism
is to follow, with flexible activity, the whole play of the universal
order, to be [147] apprehensive of missing any part of it, of
sacrificing one part to another, to slip away from resting in this or
that intimation of it, however capital.  An unclouded clearness of
mind, an unimpeded play of thought, is what this bent drives at.  The
governing idea of Hellenism is spontaneity of consciousness; that of
Hebraism, strictness of conscience.

Christianity changed nothing in this essential bent of Hebraism to
set doing above knowing.  Self-conquest, self-devotion, the following
not our own individual will, but the will of God, obedience, is the
fundamental idea of this form, also, of the discipline to which we
have attached the general name of Hebraism.  Only, as the old law and
the network of prescriptions with which it enveloped human life were
evidently a motive power not driving and searching enough to produce
the result aimed at,--patient continuance in well doing, self-
conquest,--Christianity substituted for them boundless devotion to
that inspiring and affecting pattern of self-conquest offered by
Christ; and by the new motive power, of which the essence was this,
though the love and admiration of Christian churches have for
centuries been employed in varying, amplifying, [148] and adorning
the plain description of it, Christianity, as St. Paul truly says,
"establishes the law,"+ and in the strength of the ampler power which
she has thus supplied to fulfil it, has accomplished the miracles,
which we all see, of her history.

So long as we do not forget that both Hellenism and Hebraism are
profound and admirable manifestations of man's life, tendencies, and
powers, and that both of them aim at a like final result, we can
hardly insist too strongly on the divergence of line and of operation
with which they proceed.  It is a divergence so great that it most
truly, as the prophet Zechariah says, "has raised up thy sons, O
Zion, against thy sons, O Greece!"+  The difference whether it is by
doing or by knowing that we set most store, and the practical
consequences which follow from this difference, leave their mark on
all the history of our race and of its development.  Language may be
abundantly quoted from both Hellenism and Hebraism to make it seem
that one follows the same current as the other towards the same goal.
They are, truly, borne towards the same goal; but the currents which
bear them are infinitely different.  It is true, Solomon will praise
[149] knowing: "Understanding is a well-spring of life unto him that
hath it."+  And in the New Testament, again, Christ is a "light,"+ and
"truth makes us free."+  It is true, Aristotle will undervalue
knowing: "In what concerns virtue," says he, "three things are
necessary,--knowledge, deliberate will, and perseverance; but,
whereas the two last are all important, the first is a matter of
little importance."  It is true that with the same impatience with
which St. James enjoins a man to be not a forgetful hearer, but a
doer of the work,+ Epictetus exhorts us to do what we have
demonstrated to ourselves we ought to do; or he taunts us with
futility, for being armed at all points to prove that lying is wrong,
yet all the time continuing to lie.  It is true, Plato, in words
which are almost the words of the New Testament or the Imitation,
calls life a learning to die.  But underneath the superficial
agreement the fundamental divergence still subsists.  The
understanding of Solomon is "the walking in the way of the
commandments;" this is "the way of peace,"+ and it is of this that
blessedness comes.  In the New Testament, the truth which gives us
the peace of God and makes us free, is the love of Christ
constraining [150] us to crucify, as he did, and with a like purpose
of moral regeneration, the flesh with its affections and lusts, and
thus establishing, as we have seen, the law.  To St. Paul it appears
possible to "hold the truth in unrighteousness,"+ which is just what
Socrates judged impossible.  The moral virtues, on the other hand,
are with Aristotle but the porch and access to the intellectual, and
with these last is blessedness.  That partaking of the divine life,
which both Hellenism and Hebraism, as we have said, fix as their
crowning aim, Plato expressly denies to the man of practical virtue
merely, of self-conquest with any other motive than that of perfect
intellectual vision; he reserves it for the lover of pure knowledge,
of seeing things as they really are,--the philomathês.+

Both Hellenism and Hebraism arise out of the wants of human nature,
and address themselves to satisfying those wants.  But their methods
are so different, they lay stress on such different points, and call
into being by their respective disciplines such different activities,
that the face which human nature presents when it passes from the
hands of one of them to those of the other, is no longer the [151]
same.  To get rid of one's ignorance, to see things as they are, and
by seeing them as they are to see them in their beauty, is the simple
and attractive ideal which Hellenism holds out before human nature;
and from the simplicity and charm of this ideal, Hellenism, and human
life in the hands of Hellenism, is invested with a kind of aërial
ease, clearness, and radiancy; they are full of what we call
sweetness and light.  Difficulties are kept out of view, and the
beauty and rationalness of the ideal have all our thoughts.  "The
best man is he who most tries to perfect himself, and the happiest
man is he who most feels that he is perfecting himself,"--this
account of the matter by Socrates, the true Socrates of the
Memorabilia, has something so simple, spontaneous, and
unsophisticated about it, that it seems to fill us with clearness and
hope when we hear it.  But there is a saying which I have heard
attributed to Mr. Carlyle about Socrates,--a very happy saying,
whether it is really Mr. Carlyle's or not,--which excellently marks
the essential point in which Hebraism differs from Hellenism.
"Socrates," this saying goes, "is terribly at ease in Zion"
Hebraism,--and here is the source of its [152] wonderful strength,--
has always been severely preoccupied with an awful sense of the
impossibility of being at ease in Zion; of the difficulties which
oppose themselves to man's pursuit or attainment of that perfection
of which Socrates talks so hopefully, and, as from this point of view
one might almost say, so glibly.  It is all very well to talk of
getting rid of one's ignorance, of seeing things in their reality,
seeing them in their beauty; but how is this to be done when there is
something which thwarts and spoils all our efforts?  This something
is sin; and the space which sin fills in Hebraism, as compared with
Hellenism, is indeed prodigious.  This obstacle to perfection fills
the whole scene, and perfection appears remote and rising away from
earth, in the background.  Under the name of sin, the difficulties of
knowing oneself and conquering oneself which impede man's passage to
perfection, become, for Hebraism, a positive, active entity hostile
to man, a mysterious power which I heard Dr. Pusey the other day, in
one of his impressive sermons, compare to a hideous hunchback seated
on our shoulders, and which it is the main business of our lives to
hate and oppose.  The discipline of the [153] Old Testament may be
summed up as a discipline teaching us to abhor and flee from sin; the
discipline of the New Testament, as a discipline teaching us to die
to it.  As Hellenism speaks of thinking clearly, seeing things in
their essence and beauty, as a grand and precious feat for man to
achieve, so Hebraism speaks of becoming conscious of sin, of
awakening to a sense of sin, as a feat of this kind.  It is obvious
to what wide divergence these differing tendencies, actively
followed, must lead.  As one passes and repasses from Hellenism to
Hebraism, from Plato to St. Paul, one feels inclined to rub one's
eyes and ask oneself whether man is indeed a gentle and simple being,
showing the traces of a noble and divine nature; or an unhappy
chained captive, labouring with groanings that cannot be uttered to
free himself from the body of this death.

Apparently it was the Hellenic conception of human nature which was
unsound, for the world could not live by it.  Absolutely to call it
unsound, however, is to fall into the common error of its Hebraising
enemies; but it was unsound at that particular moment of man's
development, it was premature.  The indispensable basis of conduct
and [154] self-control, the platform upon which alone the perfection
aimed at by Greece can come into bloom, was not to be reached by our
race so easily; centuries of probation and discipline were needed to
bring us to it.  Therefore the bright promise of Hellenism faded, and
Hebraism ruled the world.  Then was seen that astonishing spectacle,
so well marked by the often quoted words of the prophet Zechariah,
when men of all languages of the nations took hold of the skirt of
him that was a Jew, saying:--"We will go with you, for we have heard
that God is with you."+  And the Hebraism which thus received and
ruled a world all gone out of the way and altogether become
unprofitable, was, and could not but be, the later, the more
spiritual, the more attractive development of Hebraism.  It was
Christianity; that is to say, Hebraism aiming at self-conquest and
rescue from the thrall of vile affections, not by obedience to the
letter of a law, but by conformity to the image of a self-sacrificing
example.  To a world stricken with moral enervation Christianity
offered its spectacle of an inspired self-sacrifice; to men who
refused themselves nothing, it showed one who refused [155] himself
everything;--"my Saviour banished joy" says George Herbert.  When the
alma Venus, the life-giving and joy-giving power of nature, so fondly
cherished by the Pagan world, could not save her followers from self-
dissatisfaction and ennui, the severe words of the apostle came
bracingly and refreshingly: "Let no man deceive you with vain words,
for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children
of disobedience."+  Throughout age after age, and generation after
generation, our race, or all that part of our race which was most
living and progressive, was baptized into a death;+ and endeavoured,
by suffering in the flesh, to cease from sin.  Of this endeavour, the
animating labours and afflictions of early Christianity, the touching
asceticism of mediaeval Christianity, are the great historical
manifestations.  Literary monuments of it, each, in its own way,
incomparable, remain in the Epistles of St. Paul, in St. Augustine's
Confessions, and in the two original and simplest books of the

Of two disciplines laying their main stress, the [156] one, on clear
intelligence, the other, on firm obedience; the one, on
comprehensively knowing the grounds of one's duty, the other, on
diligently practising it; the one on taking all possible care (to use
Bishop Wilson's words again) that the light we have be not darkness,
the other, that according to the best light we have we diligently
walk,--the priority naturally belongs to that discipline which braces
man's moral powers, and founds for him an indispensable basis of
character.  And, therefore, it is justly said of the Jewish people,
who were charged with setting powerfully forth that side of the
divine order to which the words conscience and self-conquest point,
that they were "entrusted with the oracles of God;"+ as it is justly
said of Christianity, which followed Judaism and which set forth this
side with a much deeper effectiveness and a much wider influence,
that the wisdom of the old Pagan world was foolishness compared to
it.  No words of devotion and admiration can be too strong to render
thanks to these beneficent forces which have so borne forward
humanity in its appointed work of coming to the knowledge and
possession of itself; above all, in those great [157] moments when
their action was the wholesomest and the most necessary.

But the evolution of these forces, separately and in themselves, is
not the whole evolution of humanity,--their single history is not the
whole history of man; whereas their admirers are always apt to make
it stand for the whole history.  Hebraism and Hellenism are, neither
of them, the law of human development, as their admirers are prone to
make them; they are, each of them, contributions to human
development,--august contributions, invaluable contributions; and
each showing itself to us more august, more invaluable, more
preponderant over the other, according to the moment in which we take
them, and the relation in which we stand to them.  The nations of our
modern world, children of that immense and salutary movement which
broke up the Pagan world, inevitably stand to Hellenism in a relation
which dwarfs it, and to Hebraism in a relation which magnifies it.
They are inevitably prone to take Hebraism as the law of human
development, and not as simply a contribution to it, however
precious.  And yet the lesson must perforce be [158] learned, that
the human spirit is wider than the most priceless of the forces which
bear it onward, and that to the whole development of man Hebraism
itself is, like Hellenism, but a contribution.

Perhaps we may help ourselves to see this clearer by an illustration
drawn from the treatment of a single great idea which has profoundly
engaged the human spirit, and has given it eminent opportunities for
showing its nobleness and energy.  It surely must be perceived that
the idea of the immortality of the soul, as this idea rises in its
generality before the human spirit, is something grander, truer, and
more satisfying, than it is in the particular forms by which St.
Paul, in the famous fifteenth chapter of the Epistle to the
Corinthians,+ and Plato, in the Phaedo, endeavour to develope and
establish it.  Surely we cannot but feel, that the argumentation with
which the Hebrew apostle goes about to expound this great idea is,
after all, confused and inconclusive; and that the reasoning, drawn
from analogies of likeness and equality, which is employed upon it by
the Greek philosopher, is over-subtle and sterile?  Above and beyond
the inadequate solutions which Hebraism and Hellenism here attempt,
extends the immense [159] and august problem itself, and the human
spirit which gave birth to it.  And this single illustration may
suggest to us how the same thing happens in other cases also.

But meanwhile, by alternations of Hebraism and Hellenism, of man's
intellectual and moral impulses, of the effort to see things as they
really are, and the effort to win peace by self-conquest, the human
spirit proceeds, and each of these two forces has its appointed hours
of culmination and seasons of rule.  As the great movement of
Christianity was a triumph of Hebraism and man's moral impulses, so
the great movement which goes by the name of the Renascence* was an
uprising and re-instatement of man's intellectual impulses and of
Hellenism.  We in England, the devoted children of Protestantism,
chiefly know the Renascence by its subordinate and secondary side of
the Reformation.  The Reformation has been often called a Hebraising
revival, a return to the ardour and sincereness of primitive [160]
Christianity.  No one, however, can study the development of
Protestantism and of Protestant churches without feeling that into
the Reformation too,--Hebraising child of the Renascence and
offspring of its fervour, rather than its intelligence, as it
undoubtedly was,--the subtle Hellenic leaven of the Renascence found
its way, and that the exact respective parts in the Reformation, of
Hebraism and of Hellenism, are not easy to separate.  But what we may
with truth say is, that all which Protestantism was to itself clearly
conscious of, all which it succeeded in clearly setting forth in
words, had the characters of Hebraism rather than of Hellenism.  The
Reformation was strong, in that it was an earnest return to the Bible
and to doing from the heart the will of God as there written; it was
weak, in that it never consciously grasped or applied the central
idea of the Renascence,--the Hellenic idea of pursuing, in all lines
of activity, the law and science, to use Plato's words, of things as
they really are.  Whatever direct superiority, therefore,
Protestantism had over Catholicism was a moral superiority, a
superiority arising out of its greater sincerity and earnestness,--at
the moment of its apparition at any [161] rate,--in dealing with the
heart and conscience; its pretensions to an intellectual superiority
are in general quite illusory.  For Hellenism, for the thinking side
in man as distinguished from the acting side, the attitude of mind of
Protestantism towards the Bible in no respect differs from the
attitude of mind of Catholicism towards the Church.  The mental habit
of him who imagines that Balaam's ass spoke, in no respect differs
from the mental habit of him who imagines that a Madonna of wood or
stone winked; and the one, who says that God's Church makes him
believe what he believes, and the other, who says that God's Word
makes him believe what he believes, are for the philosopher perfectly
alike in not really and truly knowing, when they say God's Church and
God's Word, what it is they say, or whereof they affirm.

In the sixteenth century, therefore, Hellenism re-entered the world,
and again stood in presence of Hebraism,--a Hebraism renewed and
purged.  Now, it has not been enough observed, how, in the
seventeenth century, a fate befell Hellenism in some respects
analogous to that which befell it at the commencement of our era.
The Renascence, that [162] great re-awakening of Hellenism, that
irresistible return of humanity to nature and to seeing things as
they are, which in art, in literature, and in physics, produced such
splendid fruits, had, like the anterior Hellenism of the Pagan world,
a side of moral weakness, and of relaxation or insensibility of the
moral fibre, which in Italy showed itself with the most startling
plainness, but which in France, England, and other countries was very
apparent too.  Again this loss of spiritual balance, this exclusive
preponderance given to man's perceiving and knowing side, this
unnatural defect of his feeling and acting side, provoked a reaction.
Let us trace that reaction where it most nearly concerns us.

Science has now made visible to everybody the great and pregnant
elements of difference which lie in race, and in how signal a manner
they make the genius and history of an Indo-European people vary from
those of a Semitic people.  Hellenism is of Indo-European growth,
Hebraism is of Semitic growth; and we English, a nation of Indo-
European stock, seem to belong naturally to the movement of
Hellenism.  But nothing more strongly marks the essential unity of
man than the affinities we can [163] perceive, in this point or that,
between members of one family of peoples and members of another; and
no affinity of this kind is more strongly marked than that likeness
in the strength and prominence of the moral fibre, which,
notwithstanding immense elements of difference, knits in some special
sort the genius and history of us English, and of our American
descendants across the Atlantic, to the genius and history of the
Hebrew people.  Puritanism, which has been so great a power in the
English nation, and in the strongest part of the English nation, was
originally the reaction, in the seventeenth century, of the
conscience and moral sense of our race, against the moral
indifference and lax rule of conduct which in the sixteenth century
came in with the Renascence.  It was a reaction of Hebraism against
Hellenism; and it powerfully manifested itself, as was natural, in a
people with much of what we call a Hebraising turn, with a signal
affinity for the bent which was the master-bent of Hebrew life.
Eminently Indo-European by its humour, by the power it shows, through
this gift, of imaginatively acknowledging the multiform aspects of
the problem of life, and of thus getting itself unfixed from its own
over- [164] certainty, of smiling at its own over-tenacity, our race
has yet (and a great part of its strength lies here), in matters of
practical life and moral conduct, a strong share of the assuredness,
the tenacity, the intensity of the Hebrews.  This turn manifested
itself in Puritanism, and has had a great part in shaping our history
for the last two hundred years.  Undoubtedly it checked and changed
amongst us that movement of the Renascence which we see producing in
the reign of Elizabeth such wonderful fruits; undoubtedly it stopped
the prominent rule and direct development of that order of ideas
which we call by the name of Hellenism, and gave the first rank to a
different order of ideas.  Apparently, too, as we said of the former
defeat of Hellenism, if Hellenism was defeated, this shows that
Hellenism was imperfect, and that its ascendency at that moment would
not have been for the world's good.

Yet there is a very important difference between the defeat inflicted
on Hellenism by Christianity eighteen hundred years ago, and the
check given to the Renascence by Puritanism.  The greatness of the
difference is well measured by the difference in force, beauty,
significance and usefulness, between [165] primitive Christianity and
Protestantism.  Eighteen hundred years ago it was altogether the hour
of Hebraism; primitive Christianity was legitimately and truly the
ascendent force in the world at that time, and the way of mankind's
progress lay through its full development.  Another hour in man's
development began in the fifteenth century, and the main road of his
progress then lay for a time through Hellenism.  Puritanism was no
longer the central current of the world's progress, it was a side
stream crossing the central current and checking it.  The cross and
the check may have been necessary and salutary, but that does not do
away with the essential difference between the main stream of man's
advance and a cross or side stream.  For more than two hundred years
the main stream of man's advance has moved towards knowing himself
and the world, seeing things as they are, spontaneity of
consciousness; the main impulse of a great part, and that the
strongest part, of our nation, has been towards strictness of
conscience.  They have made the secondary the principal at the wrong
moment, and the principal they have at the wrong moment treated as
secondary.  This contravention of the [166] natural order has
produced, as such contravention always must produce, a certain
confusion and false movement, of which we are now beginning to feel,
in almost every direction, the inconvenience.  In all directions our
habitual courses of action seem to be losing efficaciousness, credit,
and control, both with others and even with ourselves; everywhere we
see the beginnings of confusion, and we want a clue to some sound
order and authority.  This we can only get by going back upon the
actual instincts and forces which rule our life, seeing them as they
really are, connecting them with other instincts and forces, and
enlarging our whole view and rule of life.


145. +Proverbs 29:18 is the source of the first passage.  I have not
found the exact language of the second quotation, but the thought
resembles that of Psalms 19:9-10: "The fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous
altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much
fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb."  King James

148. +Romans 3:31.  "Do we then make void the law through faith? /
God forbid: yea, we establish the law."  King James Bible.

148. +Zechariah 9:12-13.  "Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners
of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto
thee; / When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim,
and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made
thee as the sword of a mighty man."  King James Bible.

149. +Proverbs 16:22.  "Understanding is a wellspring of life unto
him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly."  King James

149.  +John 8:12.  "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am
the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in
darkness, but shall have the light of life."  And again: John 9:4-5.
"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the
night cometh, when no man can work. / As long as I am in the world, I
am the light of the world."  King James Bible.

149. +John 8:31-32.  "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on
him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; /
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
King James Bible.

149. +James 1:25.  "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of
liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but
a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."  King
James Bible.

149. +Proverbs 2:20-21 may be the passage Arnold has in mind,
although the language differs: "That thou mayest walk in the way of
good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. / For the upright
shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it."  One of
the central devices in Proverbs is the metaphor of the "path"--of
uprightness, folly, etc.  King James Bible.

150. +Romans 1:18.  "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the
truth in unrighteousness."  King James Bible.

150. +Philomathês, "fond of knowledge, loving knowledge."  (Liddell
and Scott.)  GIF image:

154. +Zechariah 8:23.  "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days
it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all
languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him
that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that
God is with you."  King James Bible.

155. +Ephesians 5:6.  "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for
because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of
disobedience."  King James Bible.

155. +Romans 6:3.  "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized
into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?"  King James Bible.

155. *The two first books.  +Arnold refers to the Imitatio Christi,
attributed to fourteenth-century priest Thomas à Kempis.  The Benham
translation and a modern English translation are currently available
from the College of St. Benedict at Saint John's University Internet
Theology Resources site.  See also the Benham text link.

156. +Romans 3:1-2.  "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what
profit is there of circumcision? / Much every way: chiefly, because
that unto them were committed the oracles of God."  King James Bible.

158. +See 1 Corinthians 15.  Saint Paul wrestles in this chapter to
explain the Resurrection's promise.  For example, refer to 15:50-53:
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. /
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall
all be changed, / In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed. / For this corruptible must
put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

159. *I have ventured to give to the foreign word Renaissance,
destined to become of more common use amongst us as the movement
which it denotes comes, as it will come, increasingly to interest us,
an English form.


[166] The matter here opened is so large, and the trains of thought
to which it gives rise are so manifold, that we must be careful to
limit ourselves scrupulously to what has a direct bearing upon our
actual discussion.  We have found that at the [167] bottom of our
present unsettled state, so full of the seeds of trouble, lies the
notion of its being the prime right and happiness, for each of us, to
affirm himself, and his ordinary self; to be doing, and to be doing
freely and as he likes.  We have found at the bottom of it the
disbelief in right reason as a lawful authority.  It was easy to show
from our practice and current history that this is so; but it was
impossible to show why it is so without taking a somewhat wider sweep
and going into things a little more deeply.  Why, in fact, should
good, well-meaning, energetic, sensible people, like the bulk of our
countrymen, come to have such light belief in right reason, and such
an exaggerated value for their own independent doing, however crude?
The answer is: because of an exclusive and excessive development in
them, without due allowance for time, place, and circumstance, of
that side of human nature, and that group of human forces, to which
we have given the general name of Hebraism.  Because they have
thought their real and only important homage was owed to a power
concerned with their obedience rather than with their intelligence, a
power interested in the moral side of their nature almost
exclusively.  Thus they have [168] been led to regard in themselves,
as the one thing needful, strictness of conscience, the staunch
adherence to some fixed law of doing we have got already, instead of
spontaneity of consciousness, which tends continually to enlarge our
whole law of doing.  They have fancied themselves to have in their
religion a sufficient basis for the whole of their life fixed and
certain for ever, a full law of conduct and a full law of thought, so
far as thought is needed, as well; whereas what they really have is a
law of conduct, a law of unexampled power for enabling them to war
against the law of sin in their members and not to serve it in the
lusts thereof.  The book which contains this invaluable law they call
the Word of God, and attribute to it, as I have said, and as, indeed,
is perfectly well known, a reach and sufficiency co-extensive with
all the wants of human nature.  This might, no doubt, be so, if
humanity were not the composite thing it is, if it had only, or in
quite overpowering eminence, a moral side, and the group of instincts
and powers which we call moral.  But it has besides, and in notable
eminence, an intellectual side, and the group of instincts and powers
which we call intellectual.  No doubt, mankind makes in general its
progress in a [169] fashion which gives at one time full swing to one
of these groups of instincts, at another time to the other; and man's
faculties are so intertwined, that when his moral side, and the
current of force which we call Hebraism, is uppermost, this side will
manage somehow to provide, or appear to provide, satisfaction for his
intellectual needs; and when his intellectual side, and the current of
force which we call Hellenism, is uppermost, this, again, will provide,
or appear to provide, satisfaction for men's moral needs.  But sooner or
later it becomes manifest that when the two sides of humanity proceed
in this fashion of alternate preponderance, and not of mutual
understanding and balance, the side which is uppermost does not
really provide in a satisfactory manner for the needs of the side
which is undermost, and a state of confusion is, sooner or later, the
result.  The Hellenic half of our nature, bearing rule, makes a sort
of provision for the Hebrew half, but it turns out to be an
inadequate provision; and again the Hebrew half of our nature bearing
rule makes a sort of provision for the Hellenic half, but this, too,
turns out to be an inadequate provision.  The true and smooth order
of humanity's development [170] is not reached in either way.  And
therefore, while we willingly admit with the Christian apostle that
the world by wisdom,--that is, by the isolated preponderance of its
intellectual impulses,--knew not God, or the true order of things, it
is yet necessary, also, to set up a sort of converse to this
proposition, and to say likewise (what is equally true) that the
world by Puritanism knew not God.  And it is on this converse of the
apostle's proposition that it is particularly needful to insist in
our own country just at present.

Here, indeed, is the answer to many criticisms which have been
addressed to all that we have said in praise of sweetness and light.
Sweetness and light evidently have to do with the bent or side in
humanity which we call Hellenic.  Greek intelligence has obviously
for its essence the instinct for what Plato calls the true, firm,
intelligible law of things; the love of light, of seeing things as
they are.  Even in the natural sciences, where the Greeks had not
time and means adequately to apply this instinct, and where we have
gone a great deal further than they did, it is this instinct which is
the root of the whole matter and the ground of all [171] our success;
and this instinct the world has mainly learnt of the Greeks, inasmuch
as they are humanity's most signal manifestation of it.  Greek art,
again, Greek beauty, have their root in the same impulse to see
things as they really are, inasmuch as Greek art and beauty rest on
fidelity to nature,--the best nature,--and on a delicate
discrimination of what this best nature is.  To say we work for
sweetness and light, then, is only another way of saying that we work
for Hellenism.  But, oh! cry many people, sweetness and light are not
enough; you must put strength or energy along with them, and make a
kind of trinity of strength, sweetness and light, and then, perhaps,
you may do some good.  That is to say, we are to join Hebraism,
strictness of the moral conscience, and manful walking by the best
light we have, together with Hellenism, inculcate both, and rehearse
the praises of both.

Or, rather, we may praise both in conjunction, but we must be careful
to praise Hebraism most.  "Culture," says an acute, though somewhat
rigid critic, Mr. Sidgwick, "diffuses sweetness and light.  I do not
undervalue these blessings, but religion gives fire and strength, and
the world wants fire [172] and strength even more than sweetness and
light."  By religion, let me explain, Mr. Sidgwick here means
particularly that Puritanism on the insufficiency of which I have
been commenting and to which he says I am unfair.  Now, no doubt, it
is possible to be a fanatical partisan of light and the instincts
which push us to it, a fanatical enemy of strictness of moral
conscience and the instincts which push us to it.  A fanaticism of
this sort deforms and vulgarises the well-known work, in some
respects so remarkable, of the late Mr. Buckle.  Such a fanaticism
carries its own mark with it, in lacking sweetness; and its own
penalty, in that, lacking sweetness, it comes in the end to lack
light too.  And the Greeks,--the great exponents of humanity's bent
for sweetness and light united, of its perception that the truth of
things must be at the same time beauty,--singularly escaped the
fanaticism which we moderns, whether we Hellenise or whether we
Hebraise, are so apt to show, and arrived,--though failing, as has
been said, to give adequate practical satisfaction to the claims of
man's moral side,--at the idea of a comprehensive adjustment of the
claims of both the sides in man, the moral as well [173] as the
intellectual, of a full estimate of both, and of a reconciliation of
both; an idea which is philosophically of the greatest value, and the
best of lessons for us moderns.  So we ought to have no difficulty in
conceding to Mr. Sidgwick that manful walking by the best light one
has,--fire and strength as he calls it,--has its high value as well
as culture, the endeavour to see things in their truth and beauty,
the pursuit of sweetness and light.  But whether at this or that
time, and to this or that set of persons, one ought to insist most on
the praises of fire and strength, or on the praises of sweetness and
light, must depend, one would think, on the circumstances and needs
of that particular time and those particular persons.  And all that
we have been saying, and indeed any glance at the world around us,
shows that with us, with the most respectable and strongest part of
us, the ruling force is now, and long has been, a Puritan force, the
care for fire and strength, strictness of conscience, Hebraism,
rather than the care for sweetness and light, spontaneity of
consciousness, Hellenism.

Well, then, what is the good of our now rehearsing [174] the praises
of fire and strength to ourselves, who dwell too exclusively on them
already?  When Mr. Sidgwick says so broadly, that the world wants
fire and strength even more than sweetness and light, is he not
carried away by a turn for powerful generalisation? does he not
forget that the world is not all of one piece, and every piece with
the same needs at the same time?  It may be true that the Roman world
at the beginning of our era, or Leo the Tenth's Court at the time of
the Reformation, or French society in the eighteenth century, needed
fire and strength even more than sweetness and light.  But can it be
said that the Barbarians who overran the empire, needed fire and
strength even more than sweetness and light; or that the Puritans
needed them more; or that Mr. Murphy, the Birmingham lecturer, and
the Rev. W. Cattle and his friends, need them more?

The Puritan's great danger is that he imagines himself in possession
of a rule telling him the unum necessarium, or one thing needful,+
and that he then remains satisfied with a very crude conception of
what this rule really is and what it tells him, thinks [175] he has
now knowledge and henceforth needs only to act, and, in this
dangerous state of assurance and self-satisfaction, proceeds to give
full swing to a number of the instincts of his ordinary self.  Some
of the instincts of his ordinary self he has, by the help of his rule
of life, conquered; but others which he has not conquered by this
help he is so far from perceiving to need subjugation, and to be
instincts of an inferior self, that he even fancies it to be his
right and duty, in virtue of having conquered a limited part of
himself, to give unchecked swing to the remainder.  He is, I say, a
victim of Hebraism, of the tendency to cultivate strictness of
conscience rather than spontaneity of consciousness.  And what he
wants is a larger conception of human nature, showing him the number
of other points at which his nature must come to its best, besides
the points which he himself knows and thinks of.  There is no unum
necessarium, or one thing needful, which can free human nature from
the obligation of trying to come to its best at all these points.
The real unum necessarium for us is to come to our best at all
points.  Instead of our "one thing needful," justifying in us
vulgarity, hideousness, ignorance, violence,--our [176] vulgarity,
hideousness, ignorance, violence, are really so many touchstones
which try our one thing needful, and which prove that in the state,
at any rate, in which we ourselves have it, it is not all we want.
And as the force which encourages us to stand staunch and fast by the
rule and ground we have is Hebraism, so the force which encourages us
to go back upon this rule, and to try the very ground on which we
appear to stand, is Hellenism,--a turn for giving our consciousness
free play and enlarging its range.  And what I say is, not that
Hellenism is always for everybody more wanted than Hebraism, but that
for the Rev. W. Cattle at this particular moment, and for the great
majority of us his fellow-countrymen, it is more wanted.

Nothing is more striking than to observe in how many ways a limited
conception of human nature, the notion of a one thing needful, a one
side in us to be made uppermost, the disregard of a full and
harmonious development of ourselves, tells injuriously on our
thinking and acting.  In the first place, our hold upon the rule or
standard to which we look for our one thing needful, tends to become
less and less near and vital, our conception of it more and more
[177] mechanical, and unlike the thing itself as it was conceived in
the mind where it originated.  The dealings of Puritanism with the
writings of St. Paul afford a noteworthy illustration of this.
Nowhere so much as in the writings of St. Paul, and in that great
apostle's greatest work, the Epistle to the Romans, has Puritanism
found what seemed to furnish it with the one thing needful, and to
give it canons of truth absolute and final.  Now all writings, as has
been already said, even the most precious writings and the most
fruitful, must inevitably, from the very nature of things, be but
contributions to human thought and human development, which extend
wider than they do.  Indeed, St. Paul, in the very Epistle of which
we are speaking, shows, when he asks, "Who hath known the mind of the
Lord?"+--who hath known, that is, the true and divine order of things
in its entirety,--that he himself acknowledges this fully.  And we
have already pointed out in another Epistle of St. Paul a great and
vital idea of the human spirit,--the idea of the immortality of the
soul,--transcending and overlapping, so to speak, the expositor's
power to give it adequate definition and expression.  But quite
distinct from the question [178] whether St. Paul's expression, or
any man's expression, can be a perfect and final expression of truth,
comes the question whether we rightly seize and understand his
expression as it exists.  Now, perfectly to seize another man's
meaning, as it stood in his own mind, is not easy; especially when
the man is separated from us by such differences of race, training,
time, and circumstances as St. Paul.  But there are degrees of
nearness in getting at a man's meaning; and though we cannot arrive
quite at what St. Paul had in his mind, yet we may come near it.  And
who, that comes thus near it, must not feel how terms which St. Paul
employs in trying to follow, with his analysis of such profound power
and originality, some of the most delicate, intricate, obscure, and
contradictory workings and states of the human spirit, are detached
and employed by Puritanism, not in the connected and fluid way in
which St. Paul employs them, and for which alone words are really
meant, but in an isolated, fixed, mechanical way, as if they were
talismans; and how all trace and sense of St. Paul's true movement of
ideas, and sustained masterly analysis, is thus lost?  Who, I say,
that has watched Puritanism,--the force which [179] so strongly
Hebraises, which so takes St. Paul's writings as something absolute
and final, containing the one thing needful,--handle such terms as
grace, faith, election, righteousness, but must feel, not only that
these terms have for the mind of Puritanism a sense false and
misleading, but also that this sense is the most monstrous and
grotesque caricature of the sense of St. Paul, and that his true
meaning is by these worshippers of his words altogether lost?

Or to take another eminent example, in which not Puritanism only,
but, one may say, the whole religious world, by their mechanical use
of St. Paul's writings, can be shown to miss or change his real
meaning.  The whole religious world, one may say, use now the word
resurrection,--a word which is so often in their thoughts and on
their lips, and which they find so often in St. Paul's writings,--in
one sense only.  They use it to mean a rising again after the
physical death of the body.  Now it is quite true that St. Paul
speaks of resurrection in this sense, that he tries to describe and
explain it, and that he condemns those who doubt and deny it.  But it
is true, also, that in nine cases out of ten where St. Paul thinks
and speaks of resurrection, he [180] thinks and speaks of it in a
sense different from this; in the sense of a rising to a new life
before the physical death of the body, and not after it.  The idea on
which we have already touched, the profound idea of being baptized
into the death of the great exemplar of self-devotion and self-
annulment, of repeating in our own person, by virtue of
identification with our exemplar, his course of self-devotion and
self-annulment, and of thus coming, within the limits of our present
life, to a new life, in which, as in the death going before it, we
are identified with our exemplar,--this is the fruitful and original
conception of being risen with Christ which possesses the mind of St.
Paul, and this is the central point round which, with such
incomparable emotion and eloquence, all his teaching moves.  For him,
the life after our physical death is really in the main but a
consequence and continuation of the inexhaustible energy of the new
life thus originated on this side the grave.  This grand Pauline idea
of Christian resurrection is worthily rehearsed in one of the noblest
collects of the Prayer-Book, and is destined, no doubt, to fill a
more and more important place in the Christianity of the future; but
almost as [181] signal as is the essentialness of this characteristic
idea in St. Paul's teaching, is the completeness with which the
worshippers of St. Paul's words, as an absolute final expression of
saving truth, have lost it, and have substituted for the apostle's
living and near conception of a resurrection now, their mechanical
and remote conception of a resurrection hereafter!

In short, so fatal is the notion of possessing, even in the most
precious words or standards, the one thing needful, of having in
them, once for all, a full and sufficient measure of light to guide
us, and of there being no duty left for us except to make our
practice square exactly with them,--so fatal, I say, is this notion
to the right knowledge and comprehension of the very words or
standards we thus adopt, and to such strange distortions and
perversions of them does it inevitably lead, that whenever we hear
that commonplace which Hebraism, if we venture to inquire what a man
knows, is so apt to bring out against us in disparagement of what we
call culture, and in praise of a man's sticking to the one thing
needful,--he knows, says Hebraism, his Bible!--whenever we hear this
said, we may, without [182] any elaborate defence of culture, content
ourselves with answering simply: "No man, who knows nothing else,
knows even his Bible."

Now the force which we have so much neglected, Hellenism, may be
liable to fail in moral force and earnestness, but by the law of its
nature,--the very same law which makes it sometimes deficient in
intensity when intensity is required,--it opposes itself to the
notion of cutting our being in two, of attributing to one part the
dignity of dealing with the one thing needful, and leaving the other
part to take its chance, which is the bane of Hebraism.  Essential in
Hellenism is the impulse to the development of the whole man, to
connecting and harmonising all parts of him, perfecting all, leaving
none to take their chance; because the characteristic bent of
Hellenism, as has been said, is to find the intelligible law of
things, and there is no intelligible law of things, things cannot
really appear intelligible, unless they are also beautiful.  The body
is not intelligible, is not seen in its true nature and as it really
is, unless it is seen as beautiful; behaviour is not intelligible,
does not account for itself to the mind and show the reason for its
existing, unless it is beautiful.  The [183] same with discourse, the
same with song, the same with worship, the same with all the modes in
which man proves his activity and expresses himself.  To think that
when one shows what is mean, or vulgar, or hideous, one can be
permitted to plead that one has that within which passes show; to
suppose that the possession of what benefits and satisfies one part
of our being can make allowable either discourse like Mr. Murphy's
and the Rev. W. Cattle's, or poetry like the hymns we all hear, or
places of worship like the chapels we all see,--this it is abhorrent
to the nature of Hellenism to concede.  And to be, like our honoured
and justly honoured Faraday, a great natural philosopher with one
side of his being and a Sandemanian with the other, would to
Archimedes have been impossible.  It is evident to what a many-sided
perfecting of man's powers and activities this demand of Hellenism
for satisfaction to be given to the mind by everything which we do,
is calculated to impel our race.  It has its dangers, as has been
fully granted; the notion of this sort of equipollency in man's modes
of activity may lead to moral relaxation, what we do not make our one
thing needful we may come to treat not [184] enough as if it were
needful, though it is indeed very needful and at the same time very
hard.  Still, what side in us has not its dangers, and which of our
impulses can be a talisman to give us perfection outright, and not
merely a help to bring us towards it?  Has not Hebraism, as we have
shown, its dangers as well as Hellenism; and have we used so
excessively the tendencies in ourselves to which Hellenism makes
appeal, that we are now suffering from it?  Are we not, on the
contrary, now suffering because we have not enough used these
tendencies as a help towards perfection?

For we see whither it has brought us, the long exclusive predominance
of Hebraism,--the insisting on perfection in one part of our nature
and not in all; the singling out the moral side, the side of
obedience and action, for such intent regard; making strictness of
the moral conscience so far the principal thing, and putting off for
hereafter and for another world the care for being complete at all
points, the full and harmonious development of our humanity.  Instead
of watching and following on its ways the desire which, as Plato
says, "for ever through all the universe tends towards that which
[185] is lovely," we think that the world has settled its accounts
with this desire, knows what this desire wants of it, and that all
the impulses of our ordinary self which do not conflict with the
terms of this settlement, in our narrow view of it, we may follow
unrestrainedly, under the sanction of some such text as "Not slothful
in business," or, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all
thy might," or something else of the same kind.  And to any of these
impulses we soon come to give that same character of a mechanical,
absolute law, which we give to our religion; we regard it, as we do
our religion, as an object for strictness of conscience, not for
spontaneity of consciousness; for unremitting adherence on its own
account, not for going back upon, viewing in its connection with
other things, and adjusting to a number of changing circumstances; we
treat it, in short, just as we treat our religion,--as machinery.  It
is in this way that the Barbarians treat their bodily exercises, the
Philistines their business, Mr. Spurgeon his voluntaryism, Mr. Bright
the assertion of personal liberty, Mr. Beales the right of meeting in
Hyde Park.  In all those cases what is needed is a freer play of
consciousness [186] upon the object of pursuit; and in all of them
Hebraism, the valuing staunchness and earnestness more than this free
play, the entire subordination of thinking to doing, has led to a
mistaken and misleading treatment of things.

The newspapers a short time ago contained an account of the suicide
of a Mr. Smith, secretary to some insurance company, who, it was
said, "laboured under the apprehension that he would come to poverty,
and that he was eternally lost."  And when I read these words, it
occurred to me that the poor man who came to such a mournful end was,
in truth, a kind of type, by the selection of his two grand objects
of concern, by their isolation from everything else, and their
juxtaposition to one another, of all the strongest, most respectable,
and most representative part of our nation.  "He laboured under the
apprehension that he would come to poverty, and that he was eternally
lost."  The whole middle-class have a conception of things,--a
conception which makes us call them Philistines,--just like that of
this poor man; though we are seldom, of course, shocked by seeing it
take the distressing, violently morbid, and fatal turn, which [187]
it took with him.  But how generally, with how many of us, are the
main concerns of life limited to these two,--the concern for making
money, and the concern for saving our souls!  And how entirely does
the narrow and mechanical conception of our secular business proceed
from a narrow and mechanical conception of our religious business!
What havoc do the united conceptions make of our lives!  It is
because the second-named of these two master-concerns presents to us
the one thing needful in so fixed, narrow, and mechanical a way, that
so ignoble a fellow master-concern to it as the first-named becomes
possible; and, having been once admitted, takes the same rigid and
absolute character as the other.  Poor Mr. Smith had sincerely the
nobler master-concern as well as the meaner,--the concern for saving
his soul (according to the narrow and mechanical conception which
Puritanism has of what the salvation of the soul is), and the concern
for making money.  But let us remark how many people there are,
especially outside the limits of the serious and conscientious
middle-class to which Mr. Smith belonged, who take up with a meaner
master-concern,--whether it be pleasure, or field-sports, or [188]
bodily exercises, or business, or popular agitation,--who take up
with one of these exclusively, and neglect Mr. Smith's nobler master-
concern, because of the mechanical form which Hebraism has given to
this nobler master-concern, making it stand, as we have said, as
something talismanic, isolated, and all-sufficient, justifying our
giving our ordinary selves free play in amusement, or business, or
popular agitation, if we have made our accounts square with this
master-concern; and, if we have not, rendering other things
indifferent, and our ordinary self all we have to follow, and to
follow with all the energy that is in us, till we do.  Whereas the
idea of perfection at all points, the encouraging in ourselves
spontaneity of consciousness, the letting a free play of thought live
and flow around all our activity, the indisposition to allow one side
of our activity to stand as so all-important and all-sufficing that
it makes other sides indifferent,--this bent of mind in us may not
only check us in following unreservedly a mean master-concern of any
kind, but may even, also, bring new life and movement into that side
of us with which alone Hebraism concerns itself, and awaken a
healthier [189] and less mechanical activity there.  Hellenism may
thus actually serve to further the designs of Hebraism.

Undoubtedly it thus served in the first days of Christianity.
Christianity, as has been said, occupied itself, like Hebraism, with
the moral side of man exclusively, with his moral affections and
moral conduct; and so far it was but a continuation of Hebraism.  But
it transformed and renewed Hebraism by going back upon a fixed rule,
which had become mechanical, and had thus lost its vital motive-
power; by letting the thought play freely around this old rule, and
perceive its inadequacy; by developing a new motive-power, which
men's moral consciousness could take living hold of, and could move
in sympathy with.  What was this but an importation of Hellenism, as
we have defined it, into Hebraism?  And as St. Paul used the
contradiction between the Jew's profession and practice, his
shortcomings on that very side of moral affection and moral conduct
which the Jew and St. Paul, both of them, regarded as all in all--
("Thou that sayest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? thou that
sayest a man should not [190] commit adultery, dost thou commit
adultery?")+--for a proof of the inadequacy of the old rule of life,
in the Jew's mechanical conception of it, and tried to rescue him by
making his consciousness play freely around this rule,--that is, by
a, so far, Hellenic treatment of it,--even so, when we hear so much
said of the growth of commercial immorality in our serious middle-
class, of the melting away of habits of strict probity before the
temptation to get quickly rich and to cut a figure in the world; when
we see, at any rate, so much confusion of thought and of practice in
this great representative class of our nation, may we not be disposed
to say that this confusion shows that his new motive-power of grace
and imputed righteousness has become to the Puritan as mechanical,
and with as ineffective a hold upon his practice, as the old motive-
power of the law was to the Jew?  and that the remedy is the same as
that which St. Paul employed,--an importation of what we have called
Hellenism into his Hebraism, a making his consciousness flow freely
round his petrified rule of life and renew it?  Only with this
difference: that whereas St. Paul imported Hellenism within the
limits of our moral part only, [191] this part being still treated by
him as all in all; and whereas he exhausted, one may say, and used to
the very uttermost, the possibilities of fruitfully importing it on
that side exclusively; we ought to try and import it,--guiding
ourselves by the ideal of a human nature harmoniously perfect at all
points,--into all the lines of our activity, and only by so doing can
we rightly quicken, refresh, and renew those very instincts, now so
much baffled, to which Hebraism makes appeal.

But if we will not be warned by the confusion visible enough at
present in our thinking and acting, that we are in a false line in
having developed our Hebrew side so exclusively, and our Hellenic
side so feebly and at random, in loving fixed rules of action so much
more than the intelligible law of things, let us listen to a
remarkable testimony which the opinion of the world around us offers.
All the world now sets great and increasing value on three objects
which have long been very dear to us, and pursues them in its own
way, or tries to pursue them.  These three objects are industrial
enterprise, bodily exercises, and freedom.  Certainly we have, before
and beyond our neighbours, given ourselves [192] to these three
things with ardent passion and with high success.  And this our
neighbours cannot but acknowledge; and they must needs, when they
themselves turn to these things, have an eye to our example, and take
something of our practice.  Now, generally, when people are
interested in an object of pursuit, they cannot help feeling an
enthusiasm for those who have already laboured successfully at it,
and for their success; not only do they study them, they also love
and admire them.  In this way a man who is interested in the art of
war not only acquaints himself with the performance of great
generals, but he has an admiration and enthusiasm for them.  So, too,
one who wants to be a painter or a poet cannot help loving and
admiring the great painters or poets who have gone before him and
shown him the way.  But it is strange with how little of love,
admiration, or enthusiasm, the world regards us and our freedom, our
bodily exercises, and our industrial prowess, much as these things
themselves are beginning to interest it.  And is not the reason
because we follow each of these things in a mechanical manner, as an
end in and for itself, and not in reference to a general end of human
[193] perfection? and this makes our pursuit of them uninteresting to
humanity, and not what the world truly wants?  It seems to them mere
machinery that we can, knowingly, teach them to worship,--a mere
fetish.  British freedom, British industry, British muscularity, we
work for each of these three things blindly, with no notion of giving
each its due proportion and prominence, because we have no ideal of
harmonious human perfection before our minds, to set our work in
motion, and to guide it.  So the rest of the world, desiring
industry, or freedom, or bodily strength, yet desiring these not, as
we do, absolutely, but as means to something else, imitate, indeed,
of our practice what seems useful for them, but us, whose practice
they imitate, they seem to entertain neither love nor admiration for.
Let us observe, on the other hand, the love and enthusiasm excited by
others who have laboured for these very things.  Perhaps of what we
call industrial enterprise it is not easy to find examples in former
times; but let us consider how Greek freedom and Greek gymnastics
have attracted the love and praise of mankind, who give so little
love and praise to ours.  And what can be the reason [194] of this
difference?  Surely because the Greeks pursued freedom and pursued
gymnastics not mechanically, but with constant reference to some
ideal of complete human perfection and happiness.  And therefore, in
spite of faults and failures, they interest and delight by their
pursuit of them all the rest of mankind, who instinctively feel that
only as things are pursued with reference to this ideal are they

Here again, therefore, as in the confusion into which the thought and
action of even the steadiest class amongst us is beginning to fall,
we seem to have an admonition that we have fostered our Hebraising
instincts, our preference of earnestness of doing to delicacy and
flexibility of thinking, too exclusively, and have been landed by
them in a mechanical and unfruitful routine.  And again we seem
taught that the development of our Hellenising instincts, seeking
skilfully the intelligible law of things, and making a stream of
fresh thought play freely about our stock notions and habits, is what
is most wanted by us at present.

Well, then, from all sides, the more we go into the matter, the
currents seem to converge, and together [195] to bear us along
towards culture.  If we look at the world outside us we find a
disquieting absence of sure authority; we discover that only in right
reason can we get a source of sure authority, and culture brings us
towards right reason.  If we look at our own inner world, we find all
manner of confusion arising out of the habits of unintelligent
routine and one-sided growth, to which a too exclusive worship of
fire, strength, earnestness, and action has brought us.  What we want
is a fuller harmonious development of our humanity, a free play of
thought upon our routine notions, spontaneity of consciousness,
sweetness and light; and these are just what culture generates and
fosters.  Proceeding from this idea of the harmonious perfection of
our humanity, and seeking to help itself up towards this perfection
by knowing and spreading the best which has been reached in the
world--an object not to be gained without books and reading--culture
has got its name touched, in the fancies of men, with a sort of air
of bookishness and pedantry, cast upon it from the follies of the
many bookmen who forget the end in the means, and use their books
with no real aim at perfection.  We will not stickle for a name,
[196] and the name of culture one might easily give up, if only those
who decry the frivolous and pedantic sort of culture, but wish at
bottom for the same things as we do, would be careful on their part,
not, in disparaging and discrediting the false culture, to
unwittingly disparage and discredit, among a people with little
natural reverence for it, the true also.  But what we are concerned
for is the thing, not the name; and the thing, call it by what name
we will, is simply the enabling ourselves, whether by reading,
observing, or thinking, to come as near as we can to the firm
intelligible law of things, and thus to get a basis for a less
confused action and a more complete perfection than we have at

And now, therefore, when we are accused of preaching up a spirit of
cultivated inaction, of provoking the earnest lovers of action, of
refusing to lend a hand at uprooting certain definite evils, of
despairing to find any lasting truth to minister to the diseased
spirit of our time, we shall not be so much confounded and
embarrassed what to answer for ourselves.  We shall say boldly that
we do not at all despair of finding some lasting truth to minister to
the diseased spirit of our time; but that we have [197] discovered
the best way of finding this to be, not so much by lending a hand to
our friends and countrymen in their actual operations for the removal
of certain definite evils, but rather in getting our friends and
countrymen to seek culture, to let their consciousness play freely
round their present operations and the stock notions on which they
are founded, show what these are like, and how related to the
intelligible law of things, and auxiliary to true human perfection.


174. +unum necessarium or one thing needful.  Arnold refers here, and
in his subsequent chapter title, Porro Unum est Necessarium, to Luke
10:42.  Here is the context, 10:38-42.  "[Jesus] . . . entered into a
certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into
her house. / And she had a sister called Mary . . . . / But Martha
was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord,
dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid
her therefore that she help me. / And Jesus answered and said unto
her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
/ But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part,
which shall not be taken away from her."  King James Bible.

177. +Romans 11:34.  "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who
hath been his counsellor?"  King James Bible.

189-90. +Romans 2:21-22.  "Thou therefore which teachest another,
teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not
steal, dost thou steal? / Thou that sayest a man should not commit
adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost
thou commit sacrilege?"  King James Bible.


[197] But an unpretending writer, without a philosophy based on
inter-dependent, subordinate, and coherent principles, must not
presume to indulge himself too much in generalities, but he must keep
close to the level ground of common fact, the only safe ground for
understandings without a scientific equipment.  Therefore I am bound
to take, before concluding, some of the practical operations in which
my friends and countrymen are at this moment engaged, and [198] to
make these, if I can, show the truth of what I have advanced.
Probably I could hardly give a greater proof of my confessed
inexpertness in reasoning and arguing, than by taking, for my first
example of an operation of this kind, the proceedings for the
disestablishment of the Irish Church, which we are now witnessing.
It seems so clear that this is surely one of those operations for the
uprooting of a certain definite evil in which one's Liberal friends
engage, and have a right to complain and to get impatient and to
reproach one with delicate Conservative scepticism and cultivated
inaction if one does not lend a hand to help them.  This does,
indeed, seem evident; and yet this operation comes so prominently
before us just at this moment,--it so challenges everybody's regard,-
-that one seems cowardly in blinking it.  So let us venture to try
and see whether this conspicuous operation is one of those round
which we need to let our consciousness play freely and reveal what
manner of spirit we are of in doing it; or whether it is one which by
no means admits the application of this doctrine of ours, and one to
which we ought to lend a hand immediately.

[199] Now it seems plain that the present Church establishment in
Ireland is contrary to reason and justice, in so far as the Church of
a very small minority of the people there takes for itself all the
Church property of the Irish people.  And one would think, that
property assigned for the purpose of providing for a people's
religious worship when that worship was one, the State should, when
that worship is split into several forms, apportion between those
several forms, with due regard to circumstances, taking account only
of great differences, which are likely to be lasting, and of
considerable communions, which are likely to represent profound and
widespread religious characteristics; and overlooking petty
differences, which have no serious reason for lasting, and
inconsiderable communions, which can hardly be taken to express any
broad and necessary religious lineaments of our common nature.  This
is just in accordance with that maxim about the State which we have
more than once used: The State is of the religion of all its
citizens, without the fanaticism of any of them.  Those who deny
this, either think so poorly of the State that they do not like to
see religion condescend to touch the State, or they think [200] so
poorly of religion that they do not like to see the State condescend
to touch religion; but no good statesman will easily think thus
unworthily either of the State or of religion, and our statesmen of
both parties were inclined, one may say, to follow the natural line
of the State's duty, and to make in Ireland some fair apportionment
of Church property between large and radically divided religious
communions in that country.  But then it was discovered that in Great
Britain the national mind, as it is called, is grown averse to
endowments for religion and will make no new ones; and though this in
itself looks general and solemn enough, yet there were found
political philosophers, like Mr. Baxter and Mr. Charles Buxton, to
give it a look of more generality and more solemnity still, and to
elevate, by their dexterous command of powerful and beautiful
language, this supposed edict of the British national mind into a
sort of formula for expressing a great law of religious transition
and progress for all the world.  But we, who, having no coherent
philosophy, must not let ourselves philosophise, only see that the
English and Scotch Nonconformists have a great horror of
establishments and endowments for [201] religion, which, they assert,
were forbidden by Christ when he said: "My kingdom is not of this
world;"+ and that the Nonconformists will be delighted to aid
statesmen in disestablishing any church, but will suffer none to be
established or endowed if they can help it.  Then we see that the
Nonconformists make the strength of the Liberal majority in the House
of Commons, and that, therefore, the leading Liberal statesmen, to
get the support of the Nonconformists, forsake the notion of fairly
apportioning Church property in Ireland among the chief religious
communions, declare that the national mind has decided against new
endowments, and propose simply to disestablish and disendow the
present establishment in Ireland without establishing or endowing any
other.  The actual power, in short, by virtue of which the Liberal
party in the House of Commons is now trying to disestablish the Irish
Church, is not the power of reason and justice, it is the power of
the Nonconformists' antipathy to Church establishments.  Clearly it
is this; because Liberal statesmen, relying on the power of reason
and justice to help them, proposed something quite different from
what they now propose; and they proposed [202] what they now propose,
and talked of the decision of the national mind, because they had to
rely on the English and Scotch Nonconformists.  And clearly the
Nonconformists are actuated by antipathy to establishments, not by
antipathy to the injustice and irrationality of the present
appropriation of Church property in Ireland; because Mr. Spurgeon, in
his eloquent and memorable letter, expressly avowed that he would
sooner leave things as they are in Ireland, that is, he would sooner
let the injustice and irrationality of the present appropriation
continue, than do anything to set up the Roman image, that is, than
give the Catholics their fair and reasonable share of Church
property.  Most indisputably, therefore, we may affirm that the real
moving power by which the Liberal party are now operating the
overthrow of the Irish establishment is the antipathy of the
Nonconformists to Church establishments, and not the sense of reason
or justice, except so far as reason and justice may be contained in
this antipathy.  And thus the matter stands at present.

Now surely we must all see many inconveniences in performing the
operation of uprooting this evil, [203] the Irish Church
establishment, in this particular way.  As was said about industry
and freedom and gymnastics, we shall never awaken love and gratitude
by this mode of operation; for it is pursued, not in view of reason
and justice and human perfection and all that enkindles the
enthusiasm of men, but it is pursued in view of a certain stock
notion, or fetish, of the Nonconformists, which proscribes Church
establishments.  And yet, evidently, one of the main benefits to be
got by operating on the Irish Church is to win the affections of the
Irish people.  Besides this, an operation performed in virtue of a
mechanical rule, or fetish, like the supposed decision of the English
national mind against new endowments, does not easily inspire respect
in its adversaries, and make their opposition feeble and hardly to be
persisted in, as an operation evidently done in virtue of reason and
justice might.  For reason and justice have in them something
persuasive and irresistible; but a fetish or mechanical maxim, like
this of the Nonconformists, has in it nothing at all to conciliate
either the affections or the understanding; nay, it provokes the
counter-employment of other fetishes or mechanical maxims [204] on
the opposite side, by which the confusion and hostility already
prevalent are heightened.  Only in this way can be explained the
apparition of such fetishes as are beginning to be set up on the
Conservative side against the fetish of the Nonconformists:--The
Constitution in danger!  The bulwarks of British freedom menaced!
The lamp of the Reformation put out!  No Popery!--and so on.  To
elevate these against an operation relying on reason and justice to
back it is not so easy, or so tempting to human infirmity, as to
elevate them against an operation relying on the Nonconformists'
antipathy to Church establishments to back it; for after all, No
Popery! is a rallying cry which touches the human spirit quite as
vitally as No Church establishments!--that is to say, neither the one
nor the other, in themselves, touch the human spirit vitally at all.

Ought the believers in action, then, to be so impatient with us, if
we say, that even for the sake of this operation of theirs itself and
its satisfactory accomplishment, it is more important to make our
consciousness play freely round the stock notion or habit on which
their operation relies for aid, than to [205] lend a hand to it
straight away?  Clearly they ought not; because nothing is so
effectual for operating as reason and justice, and a free play of
thought will either disengage the reason and justice lying hid in the
Nonconformist fetish, and make them effectual, or else it will help
to get this fetish out of the way, and to let statesmen go freely
where reason and justice take them.

So, suppose we take this absolute rule, this mechanical maxim of Mr.
Spurgeon and the Nonconformists, that Church establishments are bad
things because Christ said: "My kingdom is not of this world."
Suppose we try and make our consciousness bathe and float this piece
of petrifaction,--for such it now is,--and bring it within the stream
of the vital movement of our thought, and into relation with the
whole intelligible law of things.  An enemy and a disputant might
probably say that much machinery which Nonconformists themselves
employ, the Liberation Society which exists already, and the
Nonconformist Union which Mr. Spurgeon desires to see existing, come
within the scope of Christ's words as well as Church establishments.
This, however, is merely a negative and [206] contentious way of
dealing with the Nonconformist maxim; whereas what we desire is to
bring this maxim within the positive and vital movement of our
thought.  We say, therefore, that Christ's words mean that his
religion is a force of inward persuasion acting on the soul, and not
a force of outward constraint acting on the body; and if the
Nonconformist maxim against Church establishments and Church
endowments has warrant given to it from what Christ thus meant, then
their maxim is good, even though their own practice in the matter of
the Liberation Society may be at variance with it.

And here we cannot but remember what we have formerly said about
religion, Miss Cobbe, and the British College of Health in the New
Road.  In religion there are two parts, the part of thought and
speculation, and the part of worship and devotion.  Christ certainly
meant his religion, as a force of inward persuasion acting on the
soul, to employ both parts as perfectly as possible.  Now thought and
speculation is eminently an individual matter, and worship and
devotion is eminently a collective matter.  It does not help me to
think a thing more clearly that thousands of other people are
thinking [207] the same; but it does help me to worship with more
emotion that thousands of other people are worshipping with me.  The
consecration of common consent, antiquity, public establishment,
long-used rites, national edifices, is everything for religious
worship.  "Just what makes worship impressive," says Joubert, "is its
publicity, its external manifestation, its sound, its splendour, its
observance universally and visibly holding its way through all the
details both of our outward and of our inward life."  Worship,
therefore, should have in it as little as possible of what divides
us, and should be as much as possible a common and public act; as
Joubert says again: "The best prayers are those which have nothing
distinct about them, and which are thus of the nature of simple
adoration."  For, "The same devotion," as he says in another place,
"unites men far more than the same thought and knowledge."  Thought
and knowledge, as we have said before, is eminently something
individual, and of our own; the more we possess it as strictly of our
own, the more power it has on us.  Man worships best, therefore, with
the community; he philosophises best alone.  So it seems that whoever
[208] would truly give effect to Christ's declaration that his
religion is a force of inward persuasion acting on the soul, would
leave our thought on the intellectual aspects of Christianity as
individual as possible, but would make Christian worship as
collective as possible.  Worship, then, appears to be eminently a
matter for public and national establishment; for even Mr. Bright,
who, when he stands in Mr. Spurgeon's great Tabernacle is so ravished
with admiration, will hardly say that the great Tabernacle and its
worship are in themselves, as a temple and service of religion, so
impressive and affecting as the public and national Westminster
Abbey, or Notre Dame, with their worship.  And when, very soon after
the great Tabernacle, one comes plump down to the mass of private and
individual  establishments of religious worship, establishments
falling, like the British College of Health in the New Road,
conspicuously short of what a public and national establishment might
be, then one cannot but feel that Christ's command to make his
religion a force of persuasion to the soul, is, so far as one main
source of persuasion is concerned, altogether set at nought.

[209] But perhaps the Nonconformists worship so unimpressively
because they philosophise so keenly; and one part of religion, the
part of public national worship, they have subordinated to the other
part, the part of individual thought and knowledge?  This, however,
their organisation in congregations forbids us to admit.  They are
members of congregations, not isolated thinkers; and a true play of
individual thought is at least as much impeded by membership of a
small congregation as by membership of a great Church; thinking by
batches of fifties is to the full as fatal to free thought as
thinking by batches of thousands.  Accordingly, we have had occasion
already to notice that Nonconformity does not at all differ from the
Established Church by having worthier or more philosophical ideas
about God and the ordering of the world than the Established Church
has; it has very much the same ideas about these as the Established
Church has, but it differs from the Established Church in that its
worship is a much less collective and national affair.  So Mr.
Spurgeon and the Nonconformists seem to have misapprehended the true
meaning of Christ's words, My kingdom is not of this world; [210]
because, by these words, Christ meant that his religion was to work
on the soul; and of the two parts of the soul on which religion
works,--the thinking and speculative part, and the feeling and
imaginative part,--Nonconformity satisfies the first no better than
the Established Churches, which Christ by these words is supposed to
have condemned, satisfy it; and the second part it satisfies much
worse than the Established Churches.  And thus the balance of
advantage seems to rest with the Established Churches; and they seem
to have apprehended and applied Christ's words, if not with perfect
adequacy, at least less inadequately than the Nonconformists.

Might it not, then, be urged with great force that the way to do
good, in presence of this operation for uprooting the Church
establishment in Ireland by the power of the Nonconformists'
antipathy to publicly establishing or endowing religious worship, is
not by lending a hand straight away to the operation, and
Hebraising,--that is, in this case, taking an uncritical
interpretation of certain Bible words as our absolute rule of
conduct,--with the Nonconformists.  If may be very well for born
[211] Hebraisers, like Mr. Spurgeon, to Hebraise; but for Liberal
statesmen to Hebraise is surely unsafe, and to see poor old Liberal
hacks Hebraising, whose real self belongs to a kind of negative
Hellenism,--a state of moral indifferency without intellectual
ardour,--is even painful.  And when, by our Hebraising, we neither do
what the better mind of statesmen prompted them to do, nor win the
affections of the people we want to conciliate, nor yet reduce the
opposition of our adversaries but rather heighten it, surely it may
be not unreasonable to Hellenise a little, to let our thought and
consciousness play freely about our proposed operation and its
motives, dissolve these motives if they are unsound, which certainly
they have some appearance, at any rate, of being, and create in their
stead, if they are, a set of sounder and more persuasive motives
conducting to a more solid operation.  May not the man who promotes
this be giving the best help towards finding some lasting truth to
minister to the diseased spirit of his time, and does he really
deserve that the believers in action should grow impatient with him?

But now to take another operation which does [212] not at this moment
so excite people's feelings as the disestablishment of the Irish
Church, but which, I suppose, would also be called exactly one of
those operations of simple, practical, common-sense reform, aiming at
the removal of some particular abuse, and rigidly restricted to that
object, to which a Liberal ought to lend a hand, and deserves that
other Liberals should grow impatient with him if he does not.  This
operation I had the great advantage of with my own ears hearing
discussed in the House of Commons, and recommended by a powerful
speech from that famous speaker, Mr. Bright; so that the effeminate
horror which, it is alleged, I have of practical reforms of this
kind, was put to a searching test; and if it survived, it must have,
one would think, some reason or other to support it, and can hardly
quite merit the stigma of its present name.  The operation I mean was
that which the Real Estate Intestacy Bill aimed at accomplishing, and
the discussion on this bill I heard in the House of Commons.  The
bill proposed, as every one knows, to prevent the land of a man who
dies intestate from going, as it goes now, to his eldest son, and was
thought, by its friends and by its enemies, to be a [213] step
towards abating the now almost exclusive possession of the land of
this country by the people whom we call the Barbarians.  Mr. Bright,
and other speakers on his side, seemed to hold that there is a kind
of natural law or fitness of things which assigns to all a man's
children a right to equal shares in the enjoyment of his property
after his death; and that if, without depriving a man of an
Englishman's prime privilege of doing what he likes by making what
will he chooses, you provide that when he makes none his land shall
be divided among his family, then you give the sanction of the law to
the natural fitness of things, and inflict a sort of check on the
present violation of this by the Barbarians.  It occurred to me, when
I saw Mr. Bright and his friends proceeding in this way, to ask
myself a question.  If the almost exclusive possession of the land of
this country by the Barbarians is a bad thing, is this practical
operation of the Liberals, and the stock notion, on which it seems to
rest, about the right of children to share equally in the enjoyment
of their father's property after his death, the best and most
effective means of dealing with it?  Or is it best [214] dealt with
by letting one's thought and consciousness play freely and naturally
upon the Barbarians, this Liberal operation, and the stock notion at
the bottom of it, and trying to get as near as we can to the
intelligible law of things as to each of them?

Now does any one, if he simply and naturally reads his consciousness,
discover that he has any rights at all?  For my part, the deeper I go
in my own consciousness, and the more simply I abandon myself to it,
the more it seems to tell me that I have no rights at all, only
duties; and that men get this notion of rights from a process of
abstract reasoning, inferring that the obligations they are conscious
of towards others, others must be conscious of towards them, and not
from any direct witness of consciousness at all.  But it is obvious
that the notion of a right, arrived at in this way, is likely to
stand as a formal and petrified thing, deceiving and misleading us;
and that the notions got directly from our consciousness ought to be
brought to bear upon it, and to control it.  So it is unsafe and
misleading to say that our children have rights against us; what is
true and safe to say is, that we have duties towards our [215]
children.  But who will find among these natural duties, set forth to
us by our consciousness, the obligation to leave to all our children
an equal share in the enjoyment of our property? or, though
consciousness tells us we ought to provide for our children's
welfare, whose consciousness tells him that the enjoyment of property
is in itself welfare?  Whether our children's welfare is best served
by their all sharing equally in our property depends on circumstances
and on the state of the community in which we live.  With this equal
sharing, society could not, for example, have organised itself afresh
out of the chaos left by the fall of the Roman Empire, and to have an
organised society to live in is more for a child's welfare than to
have an equal share of his father's property.  So we see how little
convincing force the stock notion on which the Real Estate Intestacy
Bill was based,--the notion that in the nature and fitness of things
all a man's children have a right to an equal share in the enjoyment
of what he leaves,--really has; and how powerless, therefore, it must
of necessity be to persuade and win any one who has habits and
interests which disincline him to [216] it.  On the other hand, the
practical operation proposed relies entirely, if it is to be
effectual in altering the present practice of the Barbarians, on the
power of truth and persuasiveness in the notion which it seeks to
consecrate; for it leaves to the Barbarians full liberty to continue
their present practice, to which all their habits and interests
incline them, unless the promulgation of a notion, which we have seen
to have no vital efficacy and hold upon our consciousness, shall
hinder them.

Are we really to adorn an operation of this kind, merely because it
proposes to do something, with all the favourable epithets of simple,
practical, common-sense, definite; to enlist on its side all the zeal
of the believers in action, and to call indifference to it a really
effeminate horror of useful reforms?  It seems to me quite easy to
show that a free disinterested play of thought on the Barbarians and
their land-holding is a thousand times more really practical, a
thousand times more likely to lead to some effective result, than an
operation such as that of which we have been now speaking.  For if,
casting aside the impediments of stock notions and mechanical action,
we try to find the intelligible law [217] of things respecting a
great land-owning class such as we have in this country, does not our
consciousness readily tell us that whether the perpetuation of such a
class is for its own real welfare and for the real welfare of the
community, depends on the actual circumstances of this class and of
the community?  Does it not readily tell us that wealth, power, and
consideration are, and above all when inherited and not earned, in
themselves trying and dangerous things? as Bishop Wilson excellently
says: "Riches are almost always abused without a very extraordinary
grace."  But this extraordinary grace was in great measure supplied
by the circumstances of the feudal epoch, out of which our land-
holding class, with its rules of inheritance, sprang.  The labour and
contentions of a rude, nascent, and struggling society supplied it;
these perpetually were trying, chastising, and forming the class
whose predominance was then needed by society to give it points of
cohesion, and was not so harmful to themselves because they were thus
sharply tried and exercised.  But in a luxurious, settled, and easy
society, where wealth offers the means of enjoyment a thousand times
more, and the temptation to abuse [218] them is thus made a thousand
times greater, the exercising discipline is at the same time taken
away, and the feudal class is left exposed to the full operation of
the natural law well put by the French moralist: Pouvoir sans savoir
est fort dangereux.  And, for my part, when I regard the young people
of this class, it is above all by the trial and shipwreck made of
their own welfare by the circumstances in which they live that I am
struck; how far better it would have been for nine out of every ten
among them, if they had had their own way to make in the world, and
not been tried by a condition for which they had not the
extraordinary grace requisite!

This, I say, seems to be what a man's consciousness, simply
consulted, would tell him about the actual welfare of our Barbarians
themselves.  Then, as to their actual effect upon the welfare of the
community, how can this be salutary, if a class which, by the very
possession of wealth, power and consideration, becomes a kind of
ideal or standard for the rest of the community, is tried by ease and
pleasure more than it can well bear, and almost irresistibly carried
away from excellence and strenuous virtue?  This must certainly be
what [219] Solomon meant when he said: "As he who putteth a stone in
a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool."+  For any one can
perceive how this honouring of a false ideal, not of intelligence and
strenuous virtue, but of wealth and station, pleasure and ease, is as
a stone from a sling to kill in our great middle-class, in us who are
called Philistines, the desire before spoken of, which by nature for
ever carries all men towards that which is lovely; and to leave
instead of it only a blind deteriorating pursuit, for ourselves also,
of the false ideal.  And in those among us Philistines whom this
desire does not wholly abandon, yet, having no excellent ideal set
forth to nourish and to steady it, it meets with that natural bent
for the bathos which together with this desire itself is implanted at
birth in the breast of man, and is by that force twisted awry, and
borne at random hither and thither, and at last flung upon those
grotesque and hideous forms of popular religion which the more
respectable part among us Philistines mistake for the true goal of
man's desire after all that is lovely.  And for the Populace this
false idea is a stone which kills the desire before it can even
arise; so impossible and unattainable for [220] them do the
conditions of that which is lovely appear according to this ideal to
be made, so necessary to the reaching of them by the few seems the
falling short of them by the many.  So that, perhaps, of the actual
vulgarity of our Philistines and brutality of our Populace, the
Barbarians and their feudal habits of succession, enduring out of
their due time and place, are involuntarily the cause in a great
degree; and they hurt the welfare of the rest of the community at the
same time that, as we have seen, they hurt their own.

But must not, now, the working in our minds of considerations like
these, to which culture, that is, the disinterested and active use of
reading, reflection, and observation, carries us, be really much more
effectual to the dissolution of feudal habits and rules of succession
in land than an operation like the Real Estate Intestacy Bill, and a
stock notion like that of the natural right of all a man's children
to an equal share in the enjoyment of his property; since we have
seen that this mechanical maxim is unsound, and that, if it is
unsound, the operation relying upon it cannot possibly be effective?
If truth and reason have, as we believe, any natural irresistible
effect on [221] the mind of man, it must.  These considerations, when
culture has called them forth and given them free course in our
minds, will live and work.  They will work gradually, no doubt, and
will not bring us ourselves to the front to sit in high place and put
them into effect; but so they will be all the more beneficial.
Everything teaches us how gradually nature would have all profound
changes brought about; and we can even see, too, where the absolute
abrupt stoppage of feudal habits has worked harm.  And appealing to
the sense of truth and reason, these considerations will, without
doubt, touch and move all those of even the Barbarians themselves,
who are (as are some of us Philistines also, and some of the
Populace) beyond their fellows quick of feeling for truth and reason.
For indeed this is just one of the advantages of sweetness and light
over fire and strength, that sweetness and light make a feudal class
quietly and gradually drop its feudal habits because it sees them at
variance with truth and reason, while fire and strength tear them
passionately off it because it applauded Mr. Lowe when he called, or
was supposed to call, the working-class drunken and venal.

[222] But when once we have begun to recount the practical operations
by which our Liberal friends work for the removal of definite evils,
and in which if we do not join them they are apt to grow impatient
with us, how can we pass over that very interesting operation of this
kind,--the attempt to enable a man to marry his deceased wife's
sister?  This operation, too, like that for abating the feudal
customs of succession in land, I have had the advantage of myself
seeing and hearing my Liberal friends labour at.  I was lucky enough
to be present when Mr. Chambers, I think, brought forward in the
House of Commons his bill for enabling a man to marry his deceased
wife's sister, and I heard the speech which Mr. Chambers then made in
support of his bill.  His first point was that God's law,--the name
he always gave to the Book of Leviticus,--did not really forbid a man
to marry his deceased wife's sister.  God's law not forbidding it,
the Liberal maxim that a man's prime right and happiness is to do as
he likes ought at once to come into force, and to annul any such
check upon the assertion of personal liberty as the prohibition to
marry one's deceased wife's sister.  A distinguished Liberal
supporter of Mr. Chambers, in [223] the debate which followed the
introduction of the bill, produced a formula of much beauty and
neatness for conveying in brief the Liberal notions on this head:
"Liberty," said he, "is the law of human life."  And, therefore, the
moment it is ascertained that God's law, the Book of Leviticus, does
not stop the way, man's law, the law of liberty, asserts its right,
and makes us free to marry our deceased wife's sister.

And this exactly falls in with what Mr. Hepworth Dixon, who may
almost be called the Colenso of love and marriage,--such a revolution
does he make in our ideas on these matters, just as Dr. Colenso does
in our ideas on religion,--tells us of the notions and proceedings of
our kinsmen in America.  With that affinity of genius to the Hebrew
genius which we have already noticed, and with the strong belief of
our race that liberty is the law of human life, so far as a fixed,
perfect, and paramount rule of conscience, the Bible, does not
expressly control it, our American kinsmen go again, Mr. Hepworth
Dixon tells us, to their Bible, the Mormons to the patriarchs and the
Old Testament, Brother Noyes to St. Paul and the New, and having
never before read anything else but [224] their Bible, they now read
their Bible over again, and make all manner of great discoveries
there.  All these discoveries are favourable to liberty, and in this
way is satisfied that double craving so characteristic of the
Philistine, and so eminently exemplified in that crowned Philistine,
Henry the Eighth,--the craving for forbidden fruit and the craving
for legality.  Mr. Hepworth Dixon's eloquent writings give currency,
over here, to these important discoveries; so that now, as regards
love and marriage, we seem to be entering, with all our sails spread,
upon what Mr. Hepworth Dixon, its apostle and evangelist, calls a
Gothic Revival, but what one of the many newspapers that so greatly
admire Mr. Hepworth Dixon's lithe and sinewy style and form their own
style upon it, calls, by a yet bolder and more striking figure, "a
great sexual insurrection of our Anglo-Teutonic race."  For this end
we have to avert our eyes from everything Hellenic and fanciful, and
to keep them steadily fixed upon the two cardinal points of the Bible
and liberty.  And one of those practical operations in which the
Liberal party engage, and in which we are summoned to join them,
directs itself entirely, as we have seen, to these cardinal points,
[225] and may almost be regarded, perhaps, as a kind of first
instalment or public and parliamentary pledge of the great sexual
insurrection of our Anglo-Teutonic race.

But here, as elsewhere, what we seek is the Philistine's perfection,
the development of his best self, not mere liberty for his ordinary
self.  And we no more allow absolute validity to his stock maxim,
Liberty is the law of human life, than we allow it to the opposite
maxim, which is just as true, Renouncement is the law of human life.
For we know that the only perfect freedom is, as our religion says, a
service; not a service to any stock maxim, but an elevation of our
best self, and a harmonising in subordination to this, and to the
idea of a perfected humanity, all the multitudinous, turbulent, and
blind impulses of our ordinary selves.  Now, the Philistine's great
defect being a defect in delicacy of perception, to cultivate in him
this delicacy, to render it independent of external and mechanical
rule, and a law to itself, is what seems to make most for his
perfection, his true humanity.  And his true humanity, and therefore
his happiness, appears to lie much more, so far as the relations of
love and [226] marriage are concerned, in becoming alive to the finer
shades of feeling which arise within these relations, in being able
to enter with tact and sympathy into the subtle instinctive
propensions and repugnances of the person with whose life his own
life is bound up, to make them his own, to direct and govern, in
harmony with them, the arbitrary range of his personal action, and
thus to enlarge his spiritual and intellectual life and liberty, than
in remaining insensible to these finer shades of feeling, this
delicate sympathy, in giving unchecked range, so far as he can, to
his mere personal action, in allowing no limits or government to this
except such as a mechanical external law imposes, and in thus really
narrowing, for the satisfaction of his ordinary self, his spiritual
and intellectual life and liberty.

Still more must this be so when his fixed eternal rule, his God's
law, is supplied to him from a source which is less fit, perhaps, to
supply final and absolute instructions on this particular topic of
love and marriage than on any other relation of human life.  Bishop
Wilson, who is full of examples of that fruitful Hellenising within
the limits of Hebraism itself, of that renewing of the [227] stiff
and stark notions of Hebraism by turning upon them a stream of fresh
thought and consciousness, which we have already noticed in St.
Paul,--Bishop Wilson gives an admirable lesson to rigid Hebraisers,
like Mr. Chambers, asking themselves: Does God's law (that is, the
Book of Leviticus) forbid us to marry our wife's sister?--Does God's
law (that is, again, the Book of Leviticus) allow us to marry our
wife's sister?--when he says: "Christian duties are founded on
reason, not on the sovereign authority of God commanding what he
pleases; God cannot command us what is not fit to be believed or
done, all his commands being founded in the necessities of our
nature."  And, immense as is our debt to the Hebrew race and its
genius, incomparable as is its authority on certain profoundly
important sides of our human nature, worthy as it is to be described
as having uttered, for those sides, the voice of the deepest
necessities of our nature, the statutes of the divine and eternal
order of things, the law of God,--who, that is not manacled and
hoodwinked by his Hebraism, can believe that, as to love and
marriage, our reason and the necessities of our humanity have their
true, [228] sufficient, and divine law expressed for them by the
voice of any Oriental and polygamous nation like the Hebrews?  Who, I
say, will believe, when he really considers the matter, that where
the feminine nature, the feminine ideal, and our relations to them,
are brought into question, the delicate and apprehensive genius of
the Indo-European race, the race which invented the Muses, and
chivalry, and the Madonna, is to find its last word on this question
in the institutions of a Semitic people, whose wisest king had seven
hundred wives and three hundred concubines?

If here again, therefore, we seem to minister better to the diseased
spirit of our time by leading it to think about the operation our
Liberal friends have in hand, than by lending a hand to this
operation ourselves, let us see, before we dismiss from our view the
practical operations of our Liberal friends, whether the same thing
does not hold good as to their celebrated industrial and economical
labours also.  Their great work of this kind is, of course, their
free-trade policy.  This policy, as having enabled the poor man to
eat untaxed bread, and as having wonderfully augmented trade, we
[229] are accustomed to speak of with a kind of solemnity; it is
chiefly on their having been our leaders in this policy that Mr.
Bright founds for himself and his friends the claim, so often
asserted by him, to be considered guides of the blind, teachers of
the ignorant, benefactors slowly and laboriously developing in the
Conservative party and in the country that which Mr. Bright is fond
of calling the growth of intelligence,--the object, as is well known,
of all the friends of culture also, and the great end and aim of the
culture that we preach.  Now, having first saluted free-trade and its
doctors with all respect, let us see whether even here, too, our
Liberal friends do not pursue their operations in a mechanical way,
without reference to any firm intelligible law of things, to human
life as a whole, and human happiness; and whether it is not more for
our good, at this particular moment at any rate, if, instead of
worshipping free-trade with them Hebraistically, as a kind of fetish,
and helping them to pursue it as an end in and for itself, we turn
the free stream of our thought upon their treatment of it, and see
how this is related to the intelligible law of human life, and to
national well- [230] being and happiness.  In short, suppose we
Hellenise a little with free-trade, as we Hellenised with the Real
Estate Intestacy Bill, and with the disestablishment of the Irish
Church by the power of the Nonconformists' antipathy to religious
establishments and endowments, and see whether what our reprovers
beautifully call ministering to the diseased spirit of our time is
best done by the Hellenising method of proceeding, or by the other.

But first let us understand how the policy of free-trade really
shapes itself for our Liberal friends, and how they practically
employ it as an instrument of national happiness and salvation.  For
as we said that it seemed clearly right to prevent the Church
property of Ireland from being all taken for the benefit of the
Church of a small minority, so it seems clearly right that the poor
man should eat untaxed bread, and, generally, that restrictions and
regulations which, for the supposed benefit of some particular person
or class of persons, make the price of things artificially high here,
or artificially low there, and interfere with the natural flow of
trade and commerce, should be done away with.  But in the policy of
our Liberal friends free-trade [231] means more than this, and is
specially valued as a stimulant to the production of wealth, as they
call it, and to the increase of the trade, business, and population
of the country.  We have already seen how these things,--trade,
business, and population,--are mechanically pursued by us as ends
precious in themselves, and are worshipped as what we call fetishes;
and Mr. Bright, I have already said, when he wishes to give the
working-class a true sense of what makes glory and greatness, tells
it to look at the cities it has built, the railroads it has made, the
manufactures it has produced.  So to this idea of glory and greatness
the free-trade which our Liberal friends extol so solemnly and
devoutly has served,--to the increase of trade, business, and
population; and for this it is prized.  Therefore, the untaxing of
the poor man's bread has, with this view of national happiness, been
used, not so much to make the existing poor man's bread cheaper or
more abundant, but rather to create more poor men to eat it; so that
we cannot precisely say that we have fewer poor men than we had
before free-trade, but we can say with truth that we have many more
centres of industry, as they are called, and much [232] more
business, population, and manufactures.  And if we are sometimes a
little troubled by our multitude of poor men, yet we know the
increase of manufactures and population to be such a salutary thing
in itself, and our free-trade policy begets such an admirable
movement, creating fresh centres of industry and fresh poor men here,
while we were thinking about our poor men there, that we are quite
dazzled and borne away, and more and more industrial movement is
called for, and our social progress seems to become one triumphant
and enjoyable course of what is sometimes called, vulgarly,
outrunning the constable.

If, however, taking some other criterion of man's well-being than the
cities he has built and the manufactures he has produced, we persist
in thinking that our social progress would be happier if there were
not so many of us so very poor, and in busying ourselves with notions
of in some way or other adjusting the poor man and business one to
the other, and not multiplying the one and the other mechanically and
blindly, then our Liberal friends, the appointed doctors of free-
trade, take us up very sharply.  "Art is long," says The Times, "and
life [233] is short; for the most part we settle things first and
understand them afterwards.  Let us have as few theories as possible;
what is wanted is not the light of speculation.  If nothing worked
well of which the theory was not perfectly understood, we should be
in sad confusion.  The relations of labour and capital, we are told,
are not understood, yet trade and commerce, on the whole, work
satisfactorily."  I quote from The Times of only the other day.  But
thoughts like these, as I have often pointed out, are thoroughly
British thoughts, and we have been familiar with them for years.

Or, if we want more of a philosophy of the matter than this, our
free-trade friends have two axioms for us, axioms laid down by their
justly esteemed doctors, which they think ought to satisfy us
entirely.  One is, that, other things being equal, the more
population increases, the more does production increase to keep pace
with it; because men by their numbers and contact call forth all
manner of activities and resources in one another and in nature,
which, when men are few and sparse, are never developed.  The other
is, that, although population always tends to equal the means of
[234] subsistence, yet people's notions of what subsistence is
enlarge as civilisation advances, and take in a number of things
beyond the bare necessaries of life; and thus, therefore, is supplied
whatever check on population is needed.  But the error of our friends
is just, perhaps, that they apply axioms of this sort as if they were
self-acting laws which will put themselves into operation without
trouble or planning on our part, if we will only pursue free-trade,
business, and population zealously and staunchly.  Whereas the real
truth is, that, however the case might be under other circumstances,
yet in fact, as we now manage the matter, the enlarged conception of
what is included in subsistence does not operate to prevent the
bringing into the world of numbers of people who but just attain to
the barest necessaries of life or who even fail to attain to them;
while, again, though production may increase as population increases,
yet it seems that the production may be of such a kind, and so
related, or rather non-related, to population, that the population
may be little the better for it.  For instance, with the increase of
population since Queen Elizabeth's time the production of silk-
stockings has wonderfully increased, and silk- [235] stockings have
become much cheaper and procurable in much greater abundance by many
more people, and tend perhaps, as population and manufactures
increase, to get cheaper and cheaper, and at last to become,
according to Bastiat's favourite image, a common free property of the
human race, like light and air.  But bread and bacon have not become
much cheaper with the increase of population since Queen Elizabeth's
time, nor procurable in much greater abundance by many more people;
neither do they seem at all to promise to become, like light and air,
a common free property of the human race.  And if bread and bacon
have not kept pace with our population, and we have many more people
in want of them now than in Queen Elizabeth's time, it seems vain to
tell us that silk-stockings have kept pace with our population, or
even more than kept pace with it, and that we are to get our comfort
out of that.  In short, it turns out that our pursuit of free-trade,
as of so many other things, has been too mechanical.  We fix upon
some object, which in this case is the production of wealth, and the
increase of manufactures, population, and commerce through free-
[236] trade, as a kind of one thing needful, or end in itself, and
then we pursue it staunchly and mechanically, and say that it is our
duty to pursue it staunchly and mechanically, not to see how it is
related to the whole intelligible law of things and to full human
perfection, or to treat it as the piece of machinery, of varying
value as its relations to the intelligible law of things vary, which
it really is.

So it is of no use to say to The Times, and to our Liberal friends
rejoicing in the possession of their talisman of free-trade, that
about one in nineteen of our population is a pauper, and that, this
being so, trade and commerce can hardly be said to prove by their
satisfactory working that it matters nothing whether the relations
between labour and capital are understood or not; nay, that we can
hardly be said not to be in sad confusion.  For here comes in our
faith in the staunch mechanical pursuit of a fixed object, and covers
itself with that imposing and colossal necessitarianism of The Times
which we have before noticed.  And this necessitarianism, taking for
granted that an increase in trade and population is a good in itself,
one of the chiefest of goods, tells us that disturbances of [237]
human happiness caused by ebbs and flows in the tide of trade and
business, which, on the whole, steadily mounts, are inevitable and
not to be quarrelled with.  This firm philosophy I seek to call to
mind when I am in the East of London, whither my avocations often
lead me; and, indeed, to fortify myself against the depressing sights
which on these occasions assail us, I have transcribed from The Times
one strain of this kind, full of the finest economical doctrine, and
always carry it about with me.  The passage is this:--

"The East End is the most commercial, the most industrial, the most
fluctuating region of the metropolis.  It is always the first to
suffer; for it is the creature of prosperity, and falls to the ground
the instant there is no wind to bear it up.  The whole of that region
is covered with huge docks, shipyards, manufactories, and a
wilderness of small houses, all full of life and happiness in brisk
times, but in dull times withered and lifeless, like the deserts we
read of in the East.  Now their brief spring is over.  There is no
one to blame for this; it is the result of Nature's simplest laws!"
We must all agree that it is impossible that [238] anything can be
firmer than this, or show a surer faith in the working of free-trade,
as our Liberal friends understand and employ it.

But, if we still at all doubt whether the indefinite multiplication
of manufactories and small houses can be such an absolute good in
itself as to counterbalance the indefinite multiplication of poor
people, we shall learn that this multiplication of poor people, too,
is an absolute good in itself, and the result of divine and beautiful
laws.  This is indeed a favourite thesis with our Philistine friends,
and I have already noticed the pride and gratitude with which they
receive certain articles in The Times, dilating in thankful and
solemn language on the majestic growth of our population.  But I
prefer to quote now, on this topic, the words of an ingenious young
Scotch writer, Mr. Robert Buchanan, because he invests with so much
imagination and poetry this current idea of the blessed and even
divine character which the multiplying of population is supposed in
itself to have.  "We move to multiplicity," says Mr. Robert Buchanan.
"If there is one quality which seems God's, and his exclusively, it
seems that divine philoprogenitiveness, [239] that passionate love of
distribution and expansion into living forms.  Every animal added
seems a new ecstasy to the Maker; every life added, a new embodiment
of his love.  He would swarm the earth with beings.  There are never
enough.  Life, life, life,--faces gleaming, hearts beating, must fill
every cranny.  Not a corner is suffered to remain empty.  The whole
earth breeds, and God glories."

It is a little unjust, perhaps, to attribute to the Divinity
exclusively this philoprogenitiveness, which the British Philistine,
and the poorer class of Irish, may certainly claim to share with him;
yet how inspiriting is here the whole strain of thought! and these
beautiful words, too, I carry about with me in the East of London,
and often read them there.  They are quite in agreement with the
popular language one is accustomed to hear about children and large
families, which describes children as sent.  And a line of poetry
which Mr. Robert Buchanan throws in presently after the poetical
prose I have quoted:--

     'Tis the old story of the fig-leaf time--

this fine line, too, naturally connects itself, when one is in the
East of London, with the idea of God's [240] desire to swarm the
earth with beings; because the swarming of the earth with beings does
indeed, in the East of London, so seem to revive

     . . . the old story of the fig-leaf time--

such a number of the people one meets there having hardly a rag to
cover them; and the more the swarming goes on, the more it promises
to revive this old story.  And when the story is perfectly revived,
the swarming quite completed, and every cranny choke-full, then, too,
no doubt, the faces in the East of London will be gleaming faces,
which Mr. Robert Buchanan says it is God's desire they should be, and
which every one must perceive they are not at present, but, on the
contrary, very miserable.

But to prevent all this philosophy and poetry from quite running away
with us, and making us think with The Times, and our practical
Liberal free-traders, and the British Philistines generally, that the
increase of small houses and manufactories, or the increase of
population, are absolute goods in themselves, to be mechanically
pursued, and to be worshipped like fetishes,--to prevent this, we
have got that notion of ours immoveably fixed, of which I [241] have
long ago spoken, the notion that culture, or the study of perfection,
leads us to conceive of no perfection as being real which is not a
general  perfection, embracing all our fellow-men with whom we have
to do.  Such is the sympathy which binds humanity together, that we
are indeed, as our religion says, members of one body, and if one
member suffer, all the members suffer with it; individual perfection
is impossible so long as the rest of mankind are not perfected along
with us.  "The multitude of the wise is the welfare of the world,"
says the wise man.  And to this effect that excellent and often
quoted guide of ours, Bishop Wilson, has some striking words:--"It is
not," says he, "so much our neighbour's interest as our own that we
love him."  And again he says: "Our salvation does in some measure
depend upon that of others."  And the author of the Imitation puts
the same thing admirably when he says:--"Obscurior etiam via ad
coelum videbatur quando tam pauci regnum coelorum quaerere
curabant,"+--the fewer there are who follow the way to perfection,
the harder that way is to find.  So all our fellow-men, in the East
of London and elsewhere, we must take along with us in the progress
towards perfection, [242] if we ourselves really, as we profess, want
to be perfect; and we must not let the worship of any fetish, any
machinery, such as manufactures or population,--which are not, like
perfection, absolute goods in themselves, though we think them so,--
create for us such a multitude of miserable, sunken, and ignorant
human beings, that to carry them all along with us is impossible, and
perforce they must for the most part be left by us in their
degradation and wretchedness.  But evidently the conception of free-
trade, on which our Liberal friends vaunt themselves, and in which
they think they have found the secret of national prosperity,--
evidently, I say, the mere unfettered pursuit of the production of
wealth, and the mere mechanical multiplying, for this end, of
manufactures and population, threatens to create for us, if it has
not created already, those vast, miserable, unmanageable masses of
sunken people,--one pauper, at the present moment, for every nineteen
of us,--to the existence of which we are, as we have seen, absolutely
forbidden to reconcile ourselves, in spite of all that the philosophy
of The Times and the poetry of Mr. Robert Buchanan may say to
persuade us.

[243] And though Hebraism, following its best and highest instinct,--
identical, as we have seen, with that of Hellenism in its final aim,
the aim of perfection,--teaches us this very clearly; and though from
Hebraising counsellors,--the Bible, Bishop Wilson, the author of the
Imitation,--I have preferred (as well I may, for from this rock of
Hebraism we are all hewn!) to draw the texts which we use to bring
home to our minds this teaching; yet Hebraism seems powerless, almost
as powerless as our free-trading Liberal friends, to deal
efficaciously with our ever-accumulating masses of pauperism, and to
prevent their accumulating still more.  Hebraism builds churches,
indeed, for these masses, and sends missionaries among them; above
all, it sets itself against the social necessitarianism of The Times,
and refuses to accept their degradation as inevitable; but with
regard to their ever-increasing accumulation, it seems to be led to
the very same conclusions, though from a point of view of its own, as
our free-trading Liberal friends.  Hebraism, with that mechanical and
misleading use of the letter of Scripture on which we have already
commented, is governed by such texts as: Be fruitful and multiply,+
the edict of [244] God's law, as Mr. Chambers would say; or by the
declaration of what he would call God's words in the Psalms, that the
man who has a great number of children is thereby made happy.  And in
conjunction with such texts as these it is apt to place another text:
The poor shall never cease out of the land.+  Thus Hebraism is
conducted to nearly the same notion as the popular mind and as Mr.
Robert Buchanan, that children are sent, and that the divine nature
takes a delight in swarming the East End of London with paupers.
Only, when they are perishing in their helplessness and wretchedness,
it asserts the Christian duty of succouring them, instead of saying,
like The Times: "Now their brief spring is over; there is nobody to
blame for this; it is the result of Nature's simplest laws!"  But,
like The Times, Hebraism despairs of any help from knowledge and says
that "what is wanted is not the light of speculation."  I remember,
only the other day, a good man, looking with me upon a multitude of
children who were gathered before us in one of the most miserable
regions of London,--children eaten up with disease, half-sized, half-
fed, half-clothed, neglected by their parents, without health,
without [245] home, without hope,--said to me: "The one thing really
needful is to teach these little ones to succour one another, if only
with a cup of cold water; but now, from one end of the country to the
other, one hears nothing but the cry for knowledge, knowledge,
knowledge!"  And yet surely, so long as these children are there in
these festering masses, without health, without home, without hope,
and so long as their multitude is perpetually swelling, charged with
misery they must still be for themselves, charged with misery they
must still be for us, whether they help one another with a cup of
cold water or no; and the knowledge how to prevent their accumulating
is necessary, even to give their moral life and growth a fair chance!

May we not, therefore, say, that neither the true Hebraism of this
good man, willing to spend and be spent for these sunken multitudes,
nor what I may call the spurious Hebraism of our free-trading Liberal
friends,--mechanically worshipping their fetish of the production of
wealth and of the increase of manufactures and population, and
looking neither to the right nor left so long as this increase goes
on,--avail us much here; and that here, again, what we [246] want is
Hellenism, the letting our consciousness play freely and simply upon
the facts before us, and listening to what it tells us of the
intelligible law of things as concerns them?  And surely what it
tells us is, that a man's children are not really sent, any more than
the pictures upon his wall, or the horses in his stable, are sent;
and that to bring people into the world, when one cannot afford to
keep them and oneself decently and not too precariously, or to bring
more of them into the world than one can afford to keep thus, is,
whatever The Times and Mr. Robert Buchanan may say, by no means an
accomplishment of the divine will or a fulfilment of Nature's
simplest laws, but is just as wrong, just as contrary to reason and
the will of God, as for a man to have horses, or carriages, or
pictures, when he cannot afford them, or to have more of them than he
can afford; and that, in the one case as in the other, the larger the
scale on which the violation of reason's laws is practised, and the
longer it is persisted in, the greater must be the confusion and
final trouble.  Surely no laudations of free-trade, no meetings of
bishops and clergy in the East End of London, no reading of papers
and reports, can tell [247] us anything about our social condition
which it more concerns us to know than that! and not only to know,
but habitually to have the knowledge present, and to act upon it as
one acts upon the knowledge that water wets and fire burns!  And not
only the sunken populace of our great cities are concerned to know
it, and the pauper twentieth of our population; we Philistines of the
middle-class, too, are concerned to know it, and all who have to set
themselves to make progress in perfection.

But we all know it already! some one will say; it is the simplest law
of prudence.  But how little reality must there be in our knowledge
of it; how little can we be putting it in practice; how little is it
likely to penetrate among the poor and struggling masses of our
population, and to better our condition, so long as an unintelligent
Hebraism of one sort keeps repeating as an absolute eternal word of
God the psalm-verse which says that the man who has a great many
children is happy; or an unintelligent Hebraism of another sort keeps
assigning as an absolute proof of national prosperity the multiplying
of manufactures and population!  Surely, the one set of Hebraisers
have [248] to learn that their psalm-verse was composed at the
resettlement of Jerusalem after the Captivity, when the Jews of
Jerusalem were a handful, an undermanned garrison, and every child
was a blessing; and that the word of God, or the voice of the divine
order of things, declares the possession of a great many children to
be a blessing only when it really is so!  And the other set of
Hebraisers, have they not to learn that if they call their private
acquaintances imprudent and unlucky, when, with no means of support
for them or with precarious means, they have a large family of
children, then they ought not to call the State well managed and
prosperous merely because its manufactures and its citizens multiply,
if the manufactures, which bring new citizens into existence just as
much as if they had actually begotten them, bring more of them into
existence than they can maintain, or are too precarious to go on
maintaining those whom for a while they maintained?  Hellenism,
surely, or the habit of fixing our mind upon the intelligible law of
things, is most salutary if it makes us see that the only absolute
good, the only absolute and eternal object prescribed to us by God's
law, or the divine order of [249] things, is the progress towards
perfection,--our own progress towards it and the progress of
humanity.  And therefore, for every individual man, and for every
society of men, the possession and multiplication of children, like
the possession and multiplication of horses and pictures, is to be
accounted good or bad, not in itself, but with reference to this
object and the progress towards it.  And as no man is to be excused
in having horses or pictures, if his having them hinders his own or
others' progress towards perfection and makes them lead a servile and
ignoble life, so is no man to be excused for having children if his
having them makes him or others lead this.  Plain thoughts of this
kind are surely the spontaneous product of our consciousness, when it
is allowed to play freely and disinterestedly upon the actual facts
of our social condition, and upon our stock notions and stock habits
in respect to it.  Firmly grasped and simply uttered, they are more
likely, one cannot but think, to better that condition, and to
diminish our formidable rate of one pauper to every nineteen of us,
than is the Hebraising and mechanical pursuit of free-trade by our
Liberal friends.

So that, here as elsewhere, the practical operations [250] of our
Liberal friends, by which they set so much store, and in which they
invite us to join them and to show what Mr. Bright calls a
commendable interest, do not seem to us so practical for real good as
they think; and our Liberal friends seem to us themselves to need to
Hellenise, as we say, a little,--that is, to examine into the nature
of real good, and to listen to what their consciousness tells them
about it,--rather than to pursue with such heat and confidence their
present practical operations.  And it is clear that they have no just
cause, so far as regards several operations of theirs which we have
canvassed, to reproach us with delicate Conservative scepticism; for
often by Hellenising we seem to subvert stock Conservative notions
and usages more effectually than they subvert them by Hebraising.
But, in truth, the free spontaneous play of consciousness with which
culture tries to float our stock habits of thinking and acting, is by
its very nature, as has been said, disinterested.  Sometimes the
result of floating them may be agreeable to this party, sometimes to
that; now it may be unwelcome to our so-called Liberals, now to our
so-called Conservatives; but what culture seeks is, above all, to
float them, to [251] prevent their being stiff and stark pieces of
petrifaction any longer.  It is mere Hebraising, if we stop short,
and refuse to let our consciousness play freely, whenever we or our
friends do not happen to like what it discovers to us.  This is to
make the Liberal party, or the Conservative party, our one thing
needful, instead of human perfection; and we have seen what mischief
arises from making an even greater thing than the Liberal or the
Conservative party,--the predominance of the moral side in man,--our
one thing needful.  But wherever the free play of our consciousness
leads us, we shall follow; believing that in this way we shall tend
to make good at all points what is wanting to us, and so shall be
brought nearer to our complete human perfection.

Thus we may often, perhaps, praise much that a so-called Liberal
thinks himself forbidden to praise, and yet blame much that a so-
called Conservative thinks himself forbidden to blame, because these
are both of them partisans, and no partisan can afford to be thus
disinterested.  But we who are not partisans can afford it; and so,
after we have seen what Nonconformists lose by being locked up in
their New Road forms of religious institution, [252] we can let
ourselves see, on the other hand, how their ministers, in a time of
movement of ideas like our present time, are apt to be more exempt
than the ministers of a great Church establishment from that self-
confidence, and sense of superiority to such a movement, which are
natural to a powerful hierarchy; and which in Archdeacon Denison, for
instance, seem almost carried to such a pitch that they may become,
one cannot but fear, his spiritual ruin.  But seeing this does not
dispose us, therefore, to lock up all the nation in forms of worship
of the New Road type; but it points us to the quite new ideal, of
combining grand and national forms of worship with an openness and
movement of mind not yet found in any hierarchy.  So, again, if we
see what is called ritualism making conquests in our Puritan middle-
class, we may rejoice that portions of this class should have become
alive to the aesthetical weakness of their position, even although
they have not yet become alive to the intellectual weakness of it.
In Puritanism, on the other hand, we can respect that idea of dealing
sincerely with oneself, which is at once the great force of
Puritanism,--Puritanism's great superiority over all products, like
ritualism, of our Catholicising [253] tendencies,--and also an idea
rich in the latent seeds of intellectual promise.  But we do this,
without on that account hiding from ourselves that Puritanism has by
Hebraising misapplied that idea, has as yet developed none or hardly
one of those seeds, and that its triumph at its present stage of
development would be baneful.

Everything, in short, confirms us in the doctrine, so unpalatable to
the believers in action, that our main business at the present moment
is not so much to work away at certain crude reforms of which we have
already the scheme in our own mind, as to create, through the help of
that culture which at the very outset we began by praising and
recommending, a frame of mind out of which really fruitful reforms
may with time grow.  At any rate, we ourselves must put up with our
friends' impatience, and with their reproaches against cultivated
inaction, and must still decline to lend a hand to their practical
operations, until we, for our own part at least, have grown a little
clearer about the nature of real good, and have arrived nearer to a
condition of mind out of which really fruitful and solid operations
may spring.

In the meanwhile, since our Liberal friends keep [254] loudly and
resolutely assuring us that their actual operations at present are
fruitful and solid, let us in each case keep testing these operations
in the simple way we have indicated, by letting the natural stream of
our consciousness flow over them freely; and if they stand this test
successfully, then let us give them our commendable interest, but not
else.  For example.  Our Liberal friends assure us, at the very top
of their voices, that their present actual operation for the
disestablishment of the Irish Church is fruitful and solid.  But what
if, on testing it, the truth appears to be, that the statesmen and
reasonable people of both parties wished for much the same thing,--
the fair apportionment of the church property of Ireland among the
principal religious bodies there; but that, behind the statesmen and
reasonable people, there was, on one side, a mass of Tory prejudice,
and, on the other, a mass of Nonconformist prejudice, to which such
an arrangement was unpalatable?  Well, the natural way, one thinks,
would have been for the statesmen and reasonable people of both sides
to have united, and to have allayed and dissipated, so far as they
could, the resistance of their respective extremes, and where [255]
they could not, to have confronted it in concert.  But we see that,
instead of this, Liberal statesmen waited to trip up their rivals, if
they proposed the arrangement which both knew to be reasonable, by
means of the prejudice of their own Nonconformist extreme; and then,
themselves proposing an arrangement to flatter this prejudice, made
the other arrangement, which they themselves knew to be reasonable,
out of the question; and drove their rivals in their turn to blow up
with all their might, in the hope of baffling them, a great fire,
among their own Tory extreme, of fierce prejudice and religious
bigotry,--a fire which, once kindled, may always very easily spread
further?  If, I say, on testing the present operation of our Liberal
friends for the disestablishment of the Irish Church, the truth about
it appears to be very much this, then, I think,--even with a
triumphant Liberal majority, and with our Liberal friends making
impassioned appeals to us to take a commendable interest in their
operation and them, and to rally round what Sir Henry Hoare (who may
be described, perhaps, as a Barbarian converted to Philistinism, as
I, on the other hand, seem to be a Philistine converted to culture)
finely calls the conscientiousness of a [256] Gladstone and the
intellect of a Bright,--it is rather our duty to abstain, and,
instead of lending a hand to the operation of our Liberal friends, to
do what we can to abate and dissolve the mass of prejudice, Tory or
Nonconformist, which makes so doubtfully begotten and equivocal an
operation as the present, producible and possible.

And so we bring to an end what we had to say in praise of culture,
and in evidence of its special utility for the circumstances in which
we find ourselves, and the confusion which environs us.  Through
culture seems to lie our way, not only to perfection, but even to
safety.  Resolutely refusing to lend a hand to the imperfect
operations of our Liberal friends, disregarding their impatience,
taunts, and reproaches, firmly bent on trying to find in the
intelligible law of things a firmer and sounder basis for future
practice than any which we have at present, and believing this search
and discovery to be, for our generation and circumstances, of yet
more vital and pressing importance than practice itself, we
nevertheless may do [257] more, perhaps, we poor disparaged followers
of culture, to make the actual present, and the frame of society in
which we live, solid and seaworthy, than all which our bustling
politicians can do.  For we have seen how much of our disorders and
perplexities is due to the disbelief, among the classes and
combinations of men, Barbarian or Philistine, which have hitherto
governed our society, in right reason, in a paramount best self; to
the inevitable decay and break-up of the organisations by which,
asserting and expressing in these organisations their ordinary self
only, they have so long ruled us; and to their irresolution, when the
society, which their conscience tells them they have made and still
manage not with right reason but with their ordinary self, is rudely
shaken, in offering resistance to its subverters.  But for us,--who
believe in right reason, in the duty and possibility of extricating
and elevating our best self, in the progress of humanity towards
perfection,--for us the framework of society, that theatre on which
this august drama has to unroll itself, is sacred; and whoever
administers it, and however we may seek to remove them from the
tenure of administration, yet, while they administer, [258] we
steadily and with undivided heart support them in repressing anarchy
and disorder; because without order there can be no society, and
without society there can be no human perfection.

With me, indeed, this rule of conduct is hereditary.  I remember my
father, in one of his unpublished letters written more than forty
years ago, when the political and social state of the country was
gloomy and troubled, and there were riots in many places, goes on,
after strongly insisting on the badness and foolishness of the
government, and on the harm and dangerousness of our feudal and
aristocratical constitution of society, and ends thus: "As for
rioting, the old Roman way of dealing with that is always the right
one; flog the rank and file, and fling the ringleaders from the
Tarpeian Rock!"  And this opinion we can never forsake, however our
Liberal friends may think a little rioting, and what they call
popular demonstrations, useful sometimes to their own interests and
to the interests of the valuable practical operations they have in
hand, and however they may preach the right of an Englishman to be
left to do as far as possible what he likes, and the duty of his
government to indulge him and connive as much as [259] possible and
abstain from all harshness of repression.  And even when they
artfully show us operations which are undoubtedly precious, such as
the abolition of the slave-trade, and ask us if, for their sake,
foolish and obstinate governments may not wholesomely be frightened
by a little disturbance, the good design in view and the difficulty
of overcoming opposition to it being considered,--still we say no,
and that monster processions in the streets and forcible irruptions
into the parks, even in professed support of this good design, ought
to be unflinchingly forbidden and repressed; and that far more is
lost than is gained by permitting them.  Because a State in which law
is authoritative and sovereign, a firm and settled course of public
order, is requisite if man is to bring to maturity anything precious
and lasting now, or to found anything precious and lasting for the

Thus, in our eyes, the very framework and exterior order of the
State, whoever may administer the State, is sacred; and culture is
the most resolute enemy of anarchy, because of the great hopes and
designs for the State which culture teaches us to nourish.  But as,
believing in right reason, and having faith in the progress of
humanity [260] towards perfection, and ever labouring for this end,
we grow to have clearer sight of the ideas of right reason, and of
the elements and helps of perfection, and come gradually to fill the
framework of the State with them, to fashion its internal composition
and all its laws and institutions conformably to them, and to make
the State more and more the expression, as we say, of our best self,
which is not manifold, and vulgar, and unstable, and contentious, and
ever-varying, but one, and noble, and secure, and peaceful, and the
same for all mankind,--with what aversion shall we not then regard
anarchy, with what firmness shall we not check it, when there is so
much that is so precious which it will endanger!  So that, for the
sake of the present, but far more for the sake of the future, the
lovers of culture are unswervingly and with a good conscience the
opposers of anarchy.  And not as the Barbarians and Philistines,
whose honesty and whose sense of humour make them shrink, as we have
seen, from treating the State as too serious a thing, and from giving
it too much power;--for indeed the only State they know of, and think
they administer, is the expression of their ordinary self; and though
the headstrong and violent [261] extreme among them might gladly arm
this with full authority, yet their virtuous mean is, as we have
said, pricked in conscience at doing this, and so our Barbarian
Secretaries of State let the Park railings be broken down, and our
Philistine Alderman-Colonels let the London roughs rob and beat the
bystanders.  But we, beholding in the State no expression of our
ordinary self, but even already, as it were, the appointed frame and
prepared vessel of our best self, and, for the future, our best
self's powerful, beneficent, and sacred expression and organ,--we are
willing and resolved, even now, to strengthen against anarchy the
trembling hands of our Barbarian Home Secretaries, and the feeble
knees of our Philistine Alderman-Colonels; and to tell them, that it
is not really in behalf of their own ordinary self that they are
called to protect the Park railings, and to suppress the London
roughs, but in behalf of the best self both of themselves and of all
of us in the future.

Nevertheless, though for resisting anarchy the lovers of culture may
prize and employ fire and strength, yet they must, at the same time,
bear constantly in mind that it is not at this moment true, what the
majority of people tell us, that the world [262] wants fire and
strength more than sweetness and light, and that things are for the
most part to be settled first and understood afterwards.  We have
seen how much of our present perplexities and confusion this untrue
notion of the majority of people amongst us has caused, and tends to
perpetuate.  Therefore the true business of the friends of culture
now is, to dissipate this false notion, to spread the belief in right
reason and in a firm intelligible law of things, and to get men to
allow their thought and consciousness to play on their stock notions
and habits disinterestedly and freely; to get men to try, in
preference to staunchly acting with imperfect knowledge, to obtain
some sounder basis of knowledge on which to act.  This is what the
friends and lovers of culture have to do, however the believers in
action may grow impatient with us for saying so, and may insist on
our lending a hand to their practical operations, and showing a
commendable interest in them.

To this insistence we must indeed turn a deaf ear.  But neither, on
the other hand, must the friends of culture expect to take the
believers in action by storm, or to be visibly and speedily
important, and to rule and cut a figure in the world.  Aristotle
says, [263] that those for whom ideas and the pursuit of the
intelligible law of things can have much attraction, are principally
the young, filled with generous spirit and with a passion for
perfection; but the mass of mankind, he says, follow seeming goods
for real, bestowing hardly a thought upon true sweetness and light;--
"and to their lives," he adds mournfully, "who can give another and a
better rhythm?"  But, although those chiefly attracted by sweetness
and light will probably always be the young and enthusiastic, and
culture must not hope to take the mass of mankind by storm, yet we
will not therefore, for our own day and for our own people, admit and
rest in the desponding sentence of Aristotle.  For is not this the
right crown of the long discipline of Hebraism, and the due fruit of
mankind's centuries of painful schooling in self-conquest, and the
just reward, above all, of the strenuous energy of our own nation and
kindred in dealing honestly with itself and walking steadfastly
according to the best light it knows,--that, when in the fulness of
time it has reason and beauty offered to it, and the law of things as
they really are, it should at last walk by this true light with the
same staunchness [264] and zeal with which it formerly walked by its
imperfect light; and thus man's two great natural forces, Hebraism
and Hellenism, should no longer be dissociated and rival, but should
be a joint force of right thinking and strong doing to carry him on
towards perfection?  This is what the lovers of culture may perhaps
dare to augur for such a nation as ours.  Therefore, however great
the changes to be accomplished, and however dense the array of
Barbarians, Philistines, and Populace, we will neither despair on the
one hand, nor, on the other, threaten violent revolution and change.
But we will look forward cheerfully and hopefully to "a revolution,"
as the Duke of Wellington said, "by due course of law;" though not
exactly such laws as our Liberal friends are now, with their actual
lights, fond of offering us.

But if despondency and violence are both of them forbidden to the
believer in culture, yet neither, on the other hand, is public life
and direct political action much permitted to him.  For it is his
business, as we have seen, to get the present believers in action,
and lovers of political talking and doing, to make a return upon
their own minds, scrutinise their stock notions and habits much more,
value their present [265] talking and doing much less; in order that,
by learning to think more clearly, they may come at last to act less
confusedly.  But how shall we persuade our Barbarian to hold lightly
to his feudal usages; how shall we persuade our Nonconformist that
his time spent in agitating for the abolition of church-rates would
have been better spent in getting worthier ideas than churchmen have
of God and the ordering of the world, or his time spent in battling
for voluntaryism in education better spent in learning to value and
found a public and national culture; how shall we persuade, finally,
our Alderman-Colonel not to be content with sitting in the hall of
judgment or marching at the head of his men of war, without some
knowledge how to perform judgment and how to direct men of war,--how,
I say, shall we persuade all these of this, if our Alderman-Colonel
sees that we want to get his leading-staff and his scales of justice
for our own hands; or the Nonconformist, that we want for ourselves
his platform; or the Barbarian, that we want for ourselves his pre-
eminency and function?  Certainly they will be less slow to believe,
as we want them to believe, that the intelligible law of things has
in itself something desirable and [266] precious, and that all place,
function, and bustle are hollow goods without it, if they see that we
can content ourselves with it, and find in it our satisfaction,
without making it an instrument to give us for ourselves place,
function, and bustle.

And although Mr. Sidgwick says that social usefulness really means
"losing oneself in a mass of disagreeable, hard, mechanical details,"
and though all the believers in action are fond of asserting the same
thing, yet, as to lose ourselves is not what we want, but to find the
intelligible law of things, this assertion too we shall not blindly
accept, but shall sift and try it a little first.  And if we see that
because the believers in action, forgetting Goethe's maxim, "to act
is easy, to think is hard," imagine there is some wonderful virtue in
losing oneself in a mass of mechanical details, therefore they excuse
themselves from much thought about the clear ideas which ought to
govern these details, then we shall give our chief care and pains to
seeking out those ideas and to setting them forth; being persuaded,
that, if we have the ideas firm and clear, the mechanical details for
their execution will come a great deal more simply and easily than we
now [267] suppose.  And even in education, where our Liberal friends
are now, with much zeal, bringing out their train of practical
operations and inviting all men to lend them a hand; and where, since
education is the road to culture, we might gladly lend them a hand
with their practical operations if we could lend them one anywhere;
yet, if we see that any German or Swiss or French law for education
rests on very clear ideas about the citizen's claim, in this matter,
upon the State, and the State's duty towards the citizen, but has its
mechanical details comparatively few and simple, while an English law
for the same concern is ruled by no clear idea about the citizen's
claim and the State's duty, but has, in compensation, a mass of
minute mechanical details about the number of members on a school-
committee, and how many shall be a quorum, and how they shall be
summoned, and how often they shall meet,--then we must conclude that
our nation stands in more need of clear ideas on the main matter than
of laboured details about the accessories of the matter, and that we
do more service by trying to help it to the ideas, than by lending it
a hand with the details.  So while Mr. Samuel Morley and his friends
talk [268] of changing their policy on education, not for the sake of
modelling it on more sound ideas, but "for fear the management of
education should be taken out of their hands," we shall not much care
for taking the management out of their hands and getting it into
ours; but rather we shall try and make them perceive, that to model
education on sound ideas is of more importance than to have the
management of it in one's own hands ever so fully.

At this exciting juncture, then, while so many of the lovers of new
ideas, somewhat weary, as we too are, of the stock performances of
our Liberal friends upon the political stage, are disposed to rush
valiantly upon this public stage themselves, we cannot at all think
that for a wise lover of new ideas this stage is the right one.
Plenty of people there will be without us,--country gentlemen in
search of a club, demagogues in search of a tub, lawyers in search of
a place, industrialists in search of gentility,--who will come from
the east and from the west, and will sit down at that Thyesteän
banquet of clap-trap, which English public life for these many years
past has been.  Because, so long as those old organisations, of which
we have seen [269] the insufficiency,--those expressions of our
ordinary self, Barbarian or Philistine,--have force anywhere, they
will have force in Parliament.  There, the man whom the Barbarians
send, cannot but be impelled to please the Barbarians' ordinary self,
and their natural taste for the bathos; and the man whom the
Philistines send, cannot but be impelled to please those of the
Philistines.  Parliamentary Conservatism will and must long mean
this, that the Barbarians should keep their heritage; and
Parliamentary Liberalism, that the Barbarians should pass away, as
they will pass away, and that into their heritage the Philistines
should enter.  This seems, indeed, to be the true and authentic
promise of which our Liberal friends and Mr. Bright believe
themselves the heirs, and the goal of that great man's labours.
Presently, perhaps, Mr. Odger and Mr. Bradlaugh will be there with
their mission to oust both Barbarians and Philistines, and to get the
heritage for the Populace.  We, on the other hand, are for giving the
heritage neither to the Barbarians nor to the Philistines, nor yet to
the Populace; but we are for the transformation of each and all of
these according to the law of perfection.

[270] Through the length and breadth of our nation a sense,--vague
and obscure as yet,--of weariness with the old organisations, of
desire for this transformation, works and grows.  In the House of
Commons the old organisations must inevitably be most enduring and
strongest, the transformation must inevitably be longest in showing
itself; and it may truly be averred, therefore, that at the present
juncture the centre of movement is not in the House of Commons.  It
is in the fermenting mind of the nation; and his is for the next
twenty years the real influence who can address himself to this.

Pericles was perhaps the most perfect public speaker who ever lived,
for he was the man who most perfectly combined thought and wisdom
with feeling and eloquence.  Yet Plato brings in Alcibiades
declaring, that men went away from the oratory of Pericles, saying it
was very fine, it was very good, and afterwards thinking no more
about it; but they went away from hearing Socrates talk, he says,
with the point of what he had said sticking fast in their minds, and
they could not get rid of it.  Socrates is poisoned and dead; but in
his own breast does not every man carry about with him a possible
Socrates, [271] in that power of a disinterested play of
consciousness upon his stock notions and habits, of which this wise
and admirable man gave all through his lifetime the great example,
and which was the secret of his incomparable influence?  And he who
leads men to call forth and exercise in themselves this power, and
who busily calls it forth and exercises it in himself, is at the
present moment, perhaps, as Socrates was in his time, more in concert
with the vital working of men's minds, and more effectually
significant, than any House of Commons' orator, or practical operator
in politics.

Every one is now boasting of what he has done to educate men's minds
and to give things the course they are taking.  Mr. Disraeli
educates, Mr. Bright educates, Mr. Beales educates.  We, indeed,
pretend to educate no one, for we are still engaged in trying to
clear and educate ourselves.  But we are sure that the endeavour to
reach, through culture, the firm intelligible law of things, we are
sure that the detaching ourselves from our stock notions and habits,
that a more free play of consciousness, an increased desire for
sweetness and light, and all the bent which we call [272]
Hellenising, is the master-impulse now of the life of our nation and
of humanity,--somewhat obscurely perhaps for this moment, but
decisively for the immediate future; and that those who work for this
are the sovereign educators.  Docile echoes of the eternal voice,
pliant organs of the infinite will, they are going along with the
essential movement of the world; and this is their strength, and
their happy and divine fortune.  For if the believers in action, who
are so impatient with us and call us effeminate, had had the same
fortune, they would, no doubt, have surpassed us in this sphere of
vital influence by all the superiority of their genius and energy
over ours.  But now we go the way the world is going, while they
abolish the Irish Church by the power of the Nonconformists'
antipathy to establishments, or they enable a man to marry his
deceased wife's sister.



201. +John 18:36.  "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world:
if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that
I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from
hence."  King James Bible.

219. +Proverbs 26:8.  "As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is
he that giveth honour to a fool."  King James Bible.

241. +Arnold refers to fourteenth-century priest Thomas à Kempis.
The Benham translation and a modern English translation of the
Imitatio are currently available from the College of St. Benedict at
Saint John's University Internet Theology Resources site.  See also
the Benham text link.

243. +Genesis 1:21-22.  "And God created great whales, and every
living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth
abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind:
and God saw that
it was good. / And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and
multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in
the earth."  King James Bible.

244. +Deuteronomy 15:11.  "For the poor shall never cease out of the
land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand
wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."

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