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Doctrine as to the Person of Christ. But I seem to be able to read less than ever, and all books alike stand on my shelves, as it were, mocking me; for I cannot make use of them though I have them.
Henry will come down here next month, to have his examination from me previously to going into the schools. He will stay here, I hope, some time; for it will do him good, I think, to be out of Oxford as much as he can just before his examination, when he will need all possible refreshment and repose. Tell me something of your absent sons, of Ernest, and Charles, and George, of whose progress I should much like to hear.
God bless you, my dearest friend.
Rugby, October 19, 1840. I never rejoiced so much as I do now that I see no daily newspaper. I think that the interest of this present crisis would soon make me quite ill, if I did not keep my eyes away from it. The spirit displayed by the French press, and by, I fear, a large portion of the people, is very painful to all those who, like me, have been trying resolutely to look on France with regard and with hope; and it will awaken, I doubt not, that vulgar Antigallican feeling in England which did so much mischief morally to us.
Besides, I dread a war on every conceivable ground, both politically and morally. I do not see how
any power but Russia can gain by it: and Russia's gain seems to me to be the world's loss. Besides, I have no faith in coalitions ; the success of 1814 and 1815 was a rare exception, owing to special causes, none of which are in action now; so that I have great fears of France being victorious ; for, with the greatest respect for our army and navy, I have none whatever for our war ministers, whether Whig or Tory,-blundering in that department having marked all our wars, with scarcely a single year's exception. And
then the money and the debt, and the mortgaging our land and industry still deeper; and thus inevitably feeding the deadly ulcer of Chartism, which now, for the moment, is skinned over, and, being out of sight, is with most of us, according to the usual infirmity of human nature, out of mind. Certainly, the command to "put not our trust in princes, nor in the son of man, for there is no help in them,” was never less difficult to fulfil than now; for he must be a desperate idolater who can find among our statesmen any one on whom he can repose any excessive confidence.
One thing has delighted me, namely, Bishop Stanley's speech on the presentation of the petition last session, for the revision of the Liturgy, &c., which he has now published with notes. He has done the thing exceedingly well, and has closed himself completely, I think, against all attack. But I do not imagine that the question itself will make any progress.
I am reading and abstracting Cyprian's Letters,--the oldest really historical monument of the condition of the Christian Church after the Apostolical Epistles. They are full of information, as all real letters written by men in public stations must be; and are far better worth reading than any of Cyprian's other works, which are indeed of little value. I am revising my Thucydides for the second edition, and reserving the third volume of Rome for Fox How; so that I do not do much at present beyond the business of the school: we are sadly too full in point of numbers, and I have got thirty-six in my own form. I have read Mr. Turnbull's book on Austria, which I like much, and it well agrees with my tenderness for the Austrian government and people.
Rugby, September 14, 1840. I have received your Bampton Lectures, for which I thank you much; and I have read seven out of
the eight Sermons carefully, and shall soon finish the volume. The volume interested me greatly for the subject's sake, as well as for your own. With much I entirely agree,-indeed I quite agree as to your main positions; but I have always supposed it to be a mere enemy's caricature of our Protestant doctrine, when any are supposed to maintain that it is the duty of each individual to make out his faith de novo, from the Scriptures alone, without regard to any other authority living or dead. I read with particular interest what you say about Episcopacy, because I did not know exactly what you thought on the subject: there I am sorry to find that we differ most widely. I cannot understand from your book,-and I never can make out from any body, except the strong Newmanites,—what the essence of Episcopacy is supposed to be. The Newmanites say that certain divine powers of administering the Sacraments effectually can only be communicated by a regular succession from those who, as they supposed, had them at first. W. Law holds this ground; there must be a succession, in order to keep up the mysterious gift bestowed on the priesthood, which gift makes Baptism wash away sin, and converts the elements in the Lord's Supper into effectual means of grace. This is intelligible and consistent, though I believe it to be in the highest degree false and Antichristian. Is Government the essence of Episcopacy, which was meant to be perpetual in the Church? Is it the monarchical element of government ?and if so, is it the monarchical element pure, or limited ? Conceive what a difference between an absolute monarchy, and one limited like ours; and still more, like the French monarchy under the constitution of 1789. I cannot in the least tell, therefore, what you suppose to be the real thing intended to be kept in the Church, as I suppose that you do not like the Newmani:e view. And all the moderate High Churchmen appear to me to labour under the same defect,—that they do not seem to perceive clearly what is the essence of Episcopacy ; or, if they do perceive it, they do not express themselves clearly.
Another point incidentally introduced, appeared to me also to be not stated quite plainly. You complain of those persons who judge of a Revelation, not by its evidence, but by its substance. It has always seemed to me that its substance is a most essential part of its evidence; and that miracles wrought in favour of what was foolish or wicked, would only prove Manicheism. We are so perfectly ignorant of the unseen world, that the character of any supernatural power can be only judged of by the moral character of the statements which it sanctions : thus only can we tell whether it be a revelation from God,
from the Devil. If his father tells a child something which seems to him monstrous, faith requires him to submit his own judgment, because he knows his father's person, and is sure, therefore, that his father tells it him. But we cannot thus know God, and can only recognise His voice by the words spoken being in agreement with our idea of His moral nature. Enough, however, of this. I should hope that your book would do good in Oxford ; but whether any thing can do good there or not is to me sometimes doubtful.
Rugby, September 21, 1840. This sheet is not so large as yours, but it is my largest size next to foolscap; and I readily and thankfully acknowledge your claim upon me for as long and full a letter as I can write. I have more time than enough just now, for I have been confined to my room since Thursday with a slight attack of fever, which, though it would be nothing, I suppose, to any one else, yet always has such an effect upon my constitution as to unfit me for all exertion; and I lay either in bed or on the sofa in my room for three days, a most inutile lignum. Nor am I yet allowed to go down stairs, but I am on the mend, and my pulse has reif my
turned nearly to its natural tardiness, which in me is its state of health. So I can now thank you very heartily for your letter, and that delightful picture which it gave me of your home repose. No man feels more keenly than I do how much betterit is παραλαβείν τον άγρον than κτήσασθαι,- ,
father's place in the Isle of Wight had never passed out of his executors' hands, I doubt whether I ever could have built Fox How, although in all other respects there is no comparison to my mind between the Isle of Wight and Westmoreland. Therefore I “ macarize” you the more, for having both an inherited home, and in a county and part of the county per se delightful. I never saw Ottery but once, and that in the winter; but the valley and the stream, and the old church, and your house, are still tolerably distinct in my memory; and I do trust that one day they will be freshened by a second actual view of them. Cornish and his wife, I hear, are actually in Yorkshire: if you can tell where a letter would find them, I would ask you to let me know by one line, for I want to catch them on their return, and to secure some portion of their time by a previous promise before George's home sickness comes on him like a lion, and drives him off to Cornwall, uno impetu, complaining that even railways are too slow. .. The School is flourishing surprisingly, and I cannot keep our numbers within their proper limit; but yet the limit is so far useful, that it keeps us within bounds, and allows us to draw back again as soon as we can. We are now about 340, and I have admitted 63 boys since the holidays. And all this pressure arose out of applications made previously to our great success at Oxford in the summer, which was otherwise likely to set us up a little. Yet it is very certain to me that we have little distinguished talent in the School, and not much of the spirit of reading. What gives me pleasure is, to observe a steady and a kindly feeling in the school in general, towards the Masters and towards each other. This I say to-day,