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the elevation of sentiment, which frequently marks Mr. Gladstone's "Gleanings." He is not merely attracted by what is noble and great in sentiment, and all the fairer traits of our higher nature, but there is an elevated and poetic glow at times in such criticisms as those on Leopardi and Tennyson which carry their author beyond the mere critical sphere, and show that he is capable of being touched to finer issues. As a student of Homer and Dante, he is familiar with the loftiest and richest poetic ideals; and these ideals have evidently sunk deep into his mind. They have bred in him a kindred enthusiasm, and, what is more, an enthusiasm which is capable of being fired alike by the heroism of Hellenic and the humilities of Christian virtue. He is entirely free from the classical furore which has been rampant in many quarters of late, and whose craze is a return to mere pagan ideals. Unlike Leopardi and the pessimist school, which may be said to date from him, he has fed his genius "on the Mount of Sion" not less than "on the Mount of the Parthenon," "by the brook of Cedron" no less than "by the waters of Ilissus." While recognizing the prophetic element in Homer, and enraptured by his exquisite creations-and no one has described them with a more vivid and brightly-tinctured pencil-he yet bows before the higher prophetic genius of Isaiah, and sees in the marvelous ideals of Christian poets, from Dante to Tennyson, a more perfect bloom of the human mind and character. Achilles and Ulysses, Penelope and Helen, Hector and Diomed, are all "immortal products." But
the Gospel has given to the life of civilized man a real resurrection, and its second birth was followed by its second youth. Awakened to aspirations at once fresh and ancient, the mind of man took hold
of the venerable ideals bequeathed to us by the Greeks as a precious part of its inheritance, and gave them again to the light, appropriated but also renewed. The old materials came forth, but not alone; for the types which human genius had formerly conceived were now submitted to the transfiguring action of a law from on high. Nature herself prompted the effort to bring the old patterns of worldly excellence and greatness-or rather, the copies of these patterns, still legible, though depraved, and still rich with living suggestion-into harmony with that higher Pattern once seen by the eyes, and handled by the hands of men, and faithfully delineated in the Gospels for the profit of all generations.
In this great example Mr. Gladstone recognizes "the true source of that new and noble cycle" of character which has been preserved to us in the two great systems of romance-the one associated with our own Arthur in England and the other with Charlemagne in France-which
have come down to us from the imaginative storehouse of medieval Europe. The connection between these "twin systems," and again their "consanguinity to the primitive Homeric types," are very happily expounded by him. Ingenuity never fails him in tracing analogies and contrasts; but there is here far more than ingenuity. There is a genuine, living, and richly thoughtful insight in the parallel which he draws between the typical forms of the Carlovingian romance on the one hand, and the romance of the Round Table on the other. The latterif far less vivid and brilliant, far ruder as a work of skill and art, has more of the innocence, the emotion, the transparency, the inconsistency, of childhood. Its political action is less specifically Christian than that of the rival scheme; its individual portraits more so. It is more directly and seriously aimed at the perfection of man. It is more free from gloss and varnish; it tells its own tale with more entire simplicity. The ascetic element is more strongly, and at the same time more quaintly, developed. It has a higher conception of the nature of woman; and, like the Homeric poems, it appears to eschew exhibiting her perfections in alliance with warlike force and exploits. So also love, while largely infused into the story, is more subordinate to the exhibition of other qualities. Again, the romance of the Round Table bears witness to a more distinct and keener sense of sin, and, on the whole, a deeper, broader, and more manly view of human character, life, and duty. It is in effect more like what the Carlovingian cycle might have been had Dante molded it.
No higher subject, according to our author, could have been selected for poetical treatment— and in Mr. Tennyson's hands it has assumed, if not the proportions, yet the essential dignity of a great epic. The title of "Idylls " is condemned as inadequate to the "breadth, vigor, and majesty" of the theme, "as well as to the execution of the volume." But nothing can be finer than the criticism which follows of the four "Books," as the critic prefers to call them. It is at once elaborate, delicate, and profound. No criticism has ever placed Mr. Tennyson higher-none could well do so but high-pitched as is the strain throughout, it rises naturally from the close analysis to which the poems are subjected, and the felicitous presentation of their tender or heroic types of character. The spirit of a true poet, which Mr. Tennyson has shown from the first, and all the characteristics of his genius are seen here in ripened forms
the delicate insight into beauty, the refined perception of harmony, the faculty of suggestion, the eye, both in the physical and moral world, for emotion, light, and color, the sympathetic and close observation of nature, the dominance of the constructive
faculty, and that rare gift, the thorough mastery and loving use of his native tongue. . . . The music and the just and pure modulation of his verse carry us back not only to the fine ear of Shelley, but to Milton and to Shakespeare; and his powers of fancy and expression have produced passages which, if they are excelled by that one transcendent and ethereal poet of our nation whom we have last named, yet hardly could have been produced by any other minstrel.
“Finally, the chastity and moral elevation" of the "Idylls," their "essential and profound though not didactic Christianity, are such as perhaps can not be matched throughout the circle of English literature in conjunction with an equal power."
Here, as always, our author's religious sentiments come out strongly, and it is necessary, before completing our notice, to advert more particularly to this marked feature of his writing. We can not otherwise do full justice to its character or the genius that inspires it. Of all writers of our day none is more distinguished for the constant assertion of religious principles of the most definite kind. It is not merely that his pages are everywhere imbued with religious feeling, or that he always puts forth a Christian standard of judgment. He writes not merely as a Christian, but as an Anglo-Catholic; and it is startling to the lay reader to find himself so frequently in contact with the most definite types of theological and ecclesiastical opinion. Mr. Gladstone challenges the declaration of Mr. Trevelyan that his uncle had a strong and decided taste for theological speculation. He can see no evidence in Macaulay's writings that he knew much of theology. This can not certainly be said of his critic. The most abstruse definitions of Christian doctrine, the distinctions of Augustinianism and Pelagianism, of Calvinism and Arminianism, of the sixteenth and seventeenth century theology, of the Anglican and Presbyterian codes, of the Evangelical and the Oxford schools, are all at his fingers' ends. It may be doubted whether the Church has not lost in him a great scholastic, whatever the state may have gained or lost by him. His mind, indeed, is rich beyond any mere power of scholastic dialectics. It has a native freshness and vigor unspoiled by the schools. Yet they have everywhere left their impress upon him, and their dogmatism crops out in the most unexpected manner in the midst of biographic analysis, and even the delightful fluencies of poetic description.
In this respect more than any other Mr. Gladstone's mind seems to have made little or no advance, or, if the word advance be deemed inapplicable from his own point of view, seems to have undergone little or no change. During a
period of the most profound religious disturbance, when so many have not only lost their early dogmatic creed, but lost all faith whatever in a spiritual order and a life beyond the present, the writer of these essays holds fast not only to religion, but apparently to every jot and tittle of ded in the great forms of dogma on which it was Anglican orthodoxy. His mind remains imbedoriginally based, untouched not merely by the destructive but by the historical spirit of his age. Christianity is with him, as with all his school, the Christianity of the creeds of the fourth or later centuries. It is bound up with the Nicene, or even the Athanasian dogma, and with a system of government, discipline, and worship descending (as he supposes) from the Apostolic age to the present time. Nothing can be more emphatic than his repeated assertion that Christianity is only fully vital when thus conceived as a whole, both dogmatically and ecclesiastically, as "a tradition firmly anchored in the Bible, and interpreted and sustained by the unvarying voices of believers from the first beginning of known records."* Religion is little to him unless "incased in the well-knit skeleton of a dogmatic and ecclesiastical system." "Christianity," he specially says—
is the religion of the person of Christ; and the creeds only tell us from whence he came, and how he came and went, by what agent we are to be incorporated
with him, and what is the manner of his appointed agency and the seal of its accomplishment. . . The doctrinal part of the Revelation has a full and coequal share with the moral part. The Christian system neither enforces nor permits any severance of the two.
Ministerial succession is, we apprehend, the only rational foundation of Church power. For unless Church power came by a definite intelligible charge capable of delivery from man to man, how did it come? . . . And if the mission of the twelve, so solemnly conveyed by our Lord, and so authentically sealed by him with the promise of perpetuity, is to be struck out of the scheme of his gospel, his holy sacraments will not long survive (except as mere shows) that ministry to whose hands they were committed; and the loss of the true doctrine concerning them will naturally in its turn be followed by a general corruption and destruction of true Christian belief concerning the divine grace of which they were appointed to be the especial channels and depositories.
The meaning of these grave assertions is unmistakable; and it is certainly one of the most
"Nineteenth Century," October, 1879, "Olympian System versus Solar Theory," the last production of Mr. Gladstone's pen in the periodical press.
astonishing facts of our time that a mind so restless and subtile, so energetic and penetrating, and, moreover, so capable of moving with effect in the purely human atmosphere of literature, should have retained a dogmatic standpoint so little able to withstand critical analysis. To hold the dogmas of the fourth century as if they were delivered from heaven "a divine gift," and the ministry of the Church of England as if it were the perpetuity of the apostolic office, is a marvelous exercise of faith in a time like ours; but it is also a curious indication of that lack of genuine historic culture which, with all his other great endowments, is not found in Mr. Gladstone. The modern historical spirit is, indeed, a growth long subsequent to his Oxford career, and has never apparently touched him, a fact which many of his Homeric speculations conspicuously illustrate. With large power of research, and of accumulating in graphic masses historical details, he has no higher insight into historic method, or the real genesis and growth of great ideas and institutions. This is a definite deficiency betrayed in many of these essays, and without regard to which we can not estimate aright his intellectual nor perhaps his political character. More than anything else, it is the source of his one-sided religious speculativeness-perhaps also of his onesided and sometimes headlong biases in public life. More than anything else, it explains his devotion to what he esteems principles rather than institutions.
There never was a more absurd accusation made against Mr. Gladstone than that of indifference to principle. Through all these productions of a long life he is a writer of singularly steadfast principle. From first to last he knows in what he believes, and is assured that it is true and right. He may abandon a principle once firmly held, as in the case of the Irish Church, elaborately explained by him in his chapter of autobiography in the last volume, but in all his writings, as, no doubt, in all his actions, he works forward from a strong and firm ground of conviction. He is never lacking in dogma, whether it be right or wrong. What he lacks is width and geniality of historic comprehension, love for the manifold and diverse in human life and human institutions—heartiness and tenderness of appreciation (as, for example, in his judgment of Unitarianism)* for that with which he does not agree the grounds of which he does not find in his own intellectual or moral nature. In many things Scotch, he is in this respect thoroughly English, and of a narrow school. The incapacity of judging fairly what we do not like is unhappily a characteristic of human nature, wheth
*Vol. ii., p. 18.
er Scotch or English, or any other nationality. But it will hardly be denied that there is a type of Anglican culture peculiarly insensible to a fair-minded appreciation of characteristics differing from its own. And although Mr. Gladstone rises far above any Philistinism of this kind, there is yet a certain harshness in many of his intellectual and religious judgments which savors of austerity. The crust of old prejudice clings sometimes to his freshest utterances. And prejudice of any kind, however venerable, is always a limiting power in the sphere of literature. It may pervade a college court; it may give emphasis and sharpness to a theological argument; but literature claims "an ampler ether, a diviner air." And Mr. Gladstone, as a man of letters, would have been a richer and certainly a more commanding and original genius if he had risen more above its confining influence.
In close connection with this narrowness of thought is his tendency to paradox. He sees affinities which do not exist, and he is blind to resemblances which more open-minded students plainly recognize. He twits Macaulay with confounding the theology of the Seventeenth Article with the general Calvinism of the sixteenth century-the "portentous code" framed at Lambeth before its close. But Macaulay, although far less versed in technical theology, is here nearer the mark than his critic. The Seventeenth Article is Calvinistic beyond all doubt. It is more happily expressed, indeed, than the plain-spoken and ugly propositions of the Lambeth Articles; but its meaning is so far distinctly the same. And Macaulay was too much of an historical student
untinctured by any dogmatic prejudices-not to know that the theology of the Church of England in the sixteenth century, like that of all the Churches of the Reformation, was what is commonly called Calvinistic. The same great lines of thought, transmitted from Augustine, adopted by Luther, received it may be in more rigid form by Calvin, were accepted as of divine authority in the Reformed Church of England no less than in the Protestant Churches on the Continent, and in the Church of Scotland. It is the fashion, we know, to deny this, and to represent "Calvinism as an exceptional product of Geneva and Scotland. It is needless and very unhistorical to quarrel about a name. Geneva of course was intimately connected with Scotland, and the name of the Genevan divine was intimately stamped upon its theology. But Macaulay very well knew that it is not the name but the thing which is important, and that a system of thought embracing the same great principles as to the divine sovereignty and the operation of divine grace, is the same whether it be called Augustinian or Calvinian, or a portentous Lambeth
Code. The "Calvinistic formula" of Scotland, like its judaical Sabbatarianism, may be "simply a form of Protestant tradition founded neither on the Word of God nor on the general consent of Christendom"; but if so, the Augustinian formula and the theology of the Seventeenth Article are no better. Whether well or ill founded is no matter for the present purpose, save as showing how Mr. Gladstone's school theology has blinded him to those deeper affinities of thought and history which a mind like Macaulay's, with less depth but more openness and breadth, readily perceived.
Again, when our essayist recognizes in the Evangelical movement not merely a precursor but a cause of Tractarianism, he is misled by the same imperfect insight into the meaning of the phenomena before him. It is possibly true that some of the most ardent leaders of the new movement came from evangelical families, and had tasted of the excitements of evangelical teaching. But this is little to the point. It merely shows, as pointed out elsewhere," that a religious movement naturally recruits itself from those who are interested in religious matters, and therefore specially susceptible to any fresh spirit ual impulse." Such minds most readily catch the contagious force of a new excitement. But this proves nothing of casual relation between the movements. The receding tide of evangelical fervor was caught by the rising tide of AngloCatholicism, and activities which might have gone in the one direction were turned in the other. But the two tides ran from wholly different sources, and have never coalesced save in this accidental manner. Both have their source in deep-seated principles which the Church of England has been comprehensive enough from the first to inclose within her bosom. The Calvinism which Mr. Gladstone can not see in the Articles, but which has powerfully moved Anglican Christianity at more than one period of its history, is the natural congener of the one; the Catholicism so dear to him, and no less an inherited and active religious power in England, is the true parent of the other. They have each "their standing-points in the formularies, theology, and historical traditions" of the Church, but they are essentially and radically opposed in theory. The one aims to Protestantize, the other to Catholicize. The one looks upon Rome as the "mother of abomination"; the other regards her as a true, if fallen, parent. The process by which in the one case the ancient mother becomes once mcre glorified, and the Anglo-Catholic passes from wistful longing into believing and hopeful
* Vol. ii., p. 360, "Dr. Norman Macleod." t "Nineteenth Century," August, 1879, p. 287.
embrace, is clearly intelligible and has been often exhibited in our time. It is not necessary on this account to say that Tractarian Catholicism has prepared the way for Rome. This is the language of controversial politics and not of historical induction. But to say that the evangelical scheme must share the blame of any transition to Rome because the buddings of a religious life which may have ended there were "in form and color evangelical," is the obvious language of paradox. Every system must be judged by its own natural fruits, and not by the accidents which may have attended it. And it remains beyond doubt that the principles of the evangelical theory are radically at variance with those of the Roman system, with which, on the contrary, the principles of Anglo-Catholicism have a certain affinity. Romanism is not an illogical development of the one. It is the antithesis of the other; and the evangelical scheme, although it may have nursed for a time men who afterward became Romanists, is no more responsible for such a result-even at second hand—than Mr. Gladstone himself, according to Mr. Lecky's comparison, can be held responsible for the excesses of our present foreign policy, because his accentuated Liberalism may have produced, by way of reaction, the present Tory Government.*
But we must draw this paper to a close with a special glance at Mr. Gladstone's literary style. Such quotations as we have made give, upon the whole, a fair idea of it. It is powerful, flexible, and elaborately if not gracefully expressive. It has all the vigor and swell of the substance of his thought. But, just as he often seems to be thinking on his legs and casting forth in an impetuous cataract the current of his ideas, so does his style move with 'uneasy, and swaying, and often too vehement force-a force always more or less rhetorical, often pictured and eloquent, but sometimes singularly clumsy, and seldom facile or delicate. Yet he surprises the reader at times by a happy figure, touched lightly and beautifully, as when he says of the confidential outpourings of Bishop Patteson, in his letters to his sister at home, that they were "like flowers caught in their freshness, and perfectly preserved in color and in form."
We confess to having formed a higher idea than we had of Mr. Gladstone's powers as a mere writer by an attentive perusal of these "Gleanings." The first impression one gets of his style is disappointing. It looks fatiguing. It does not invite, nor does it readily lead, the reader along, even when he has yielded to the impulse and felt the fascination of a strong mind. But at last it lays hold of the attention. We are caught in its
"Nineteenth Century," August, 1879, p. 289.
sweep and made to feel that we are in the hands of a master who knows his subject and will not let us go till he has brought us to some share of his own knowledge. We may feel not unfrequently that he is far more subtile than true, more ingenious in theory than penetrating in insight, more intent on making out a case than in going to the root of a difficulty; that he is conventional rather than critical, and traditional where he ought to be historical; still, there is the glow of an intense genius everywhere, and the splendor of a rhetoric which often rises into passion and never degenerates into meanness. Clumsy his style certainly can be at times, in an extraordinary degree, as in such a sentence as the following, speaking of the evangelical clergy and the estimate to be formed of their activity and moral influence: "The vessels of zeal and fervor, taken man by man, far outweighed the heroes of the ballroom and the hunting-field, or the most half
THE SEA MY
HOW STEPHEN SENT AN AMBASSADOR.
NE evening, Stephen met Jack Baker, which was not unusual, at the club. They dined together. Jack's manner was mysterious. He whispered that he had something to communicate after dinner. He hurried through the meal with a haste quite unusual with him, and, as soon as possible, led Stephen into a little room, never used till much later in the evening, called the strangers' card-room.
Sit down, Hamblin."
BY WALTER BESANT AND JAMES RICE.
"This. They've found something."
What do you mean?"
"You know they have been advertising and offering rewards? Very well, then. Something has come out of it. A clerk of mine knows a clerk in Hamblin's. The clerks there are tremendously excited about the business. My man is to learn whatever goes on. He reports to-day that an old woman called and sent up her name in an envelope, saying she had come in answer to an advertisement."
convicted minds and perfunctory performers of a measure of stipulated duty, who supplied so considerable a number of the clerical host."
But, even if such sentences were more common, they are but blemishes in an intellectual feast; and, if we are to estimate writing not merely by the momentary pleasure it gives, but by the elevation and moral as well as mental stimulus it imparts, we must attach a high value to many of Mr. Gladstone's essays. It would be difficult to say how far they may survive as monuments of his literary genius. They are more likely to do so, we believe, than his Homeric speculations, labors of love and special knowledge as these are. But, whatever may be their fate, they are remarkable and marvelously interesting as products of literary devotion and ambition in a mind of intense activity, amid the pauses of a great public career.
"What the deuce is the meaning of all this make it." mystery, Jack?”
"Pooh!" said Stephen. "What had she got to tell? I say there never was any marriage."
"I say that possibly there was. How about false names? It's always the old women one has got to fear most. One must trust them; they know everything; they make up what they are not told; they never die, and they turn up at the wrong moment, just when they are not wanted, and let it all out. Hamblin, I wish I hadn't stood in with you."
"Hang it, man! you are not afraid of your paltry thousand, are you?"
"Well, if you come to that, a thousand is a thousand, and it takes a mighty long time to
And you stand to win a thousand."
"I want to know what this old woman had to tell," Jack Baker went on doggedly.
"Man alive! Let the old woman go to the devil.”
But Stephen's cheek continued pale. He was not easy about that old woman. Had the men known that she was plain Mrs. Duncombe, once nurse to Alison, their apprehensions would have been calmed.
"Look here, old man," said Jack, "let us smooth matters a bit. Why not make it a friendly suit? Hang it! if I had a month's