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were really believed, it would suffice to make those pageantries of very small account, and to give to their life a seriousness which at present finds little place even in their dreams. In those antique forms of devotion to which these persons listen, and which they repeat; and in the utterances of that still older volume which is read so often in their hearing, there is a welling forth of thoughts, contritions, and aspirations, as from the chambers of the earnest and the mighty dead, fitted indeed to move the living, if aught may move them. But moved these believing people are not. In the midst of all this, the great care of the older, is about good positions and good marriages for the younger; and the hearts of old and young are drifted on amidst a stream of inanities so pitiable as to seem as if devised, and stilted into prominence, by some laughing devil, for the purpose of putting mockery on the dread realities of our being. The great lament of our modern prophet accordingly is, that men through believing nothing, should have ceased to be masters over anything. Everywhere they are before him as carried away by things the most vulgar, or manifestly the most artificial and frivolous, if contrasted with the true end of exist
Now the novelty here is, not that these things should be said, but that such a man should have said them. The preaching is not new, but the preacher in this case is not of a class given to make sermons. To assign a due precedence to the weightier as compared with the lighter interests of existence has not been a conspicuous virtue in our men of letters. Not a little in their doings, as all the world knows, has been quite as frothy as the most empty-headed and emptyhearted in the crowds about them could have desired. From the lips of a Wordsworth or a Southey, utterances of a deeper and graver meaning have been sometimes heard, but the apostle of the age from among men of this class is Mr. Carlyle. The great aim of his class has been to amuse, or to call forth admiration—his own aim is much higher. He labours to lay bare the depths and the heights of things, that men may see what their condition is, and what it should be. He paints eeaselessly, but his pictures are all so many appeals to the reason and the moral nature. He has little sympathy with our modern methodism, but in his zeal in this direction he is himself a very methodist-and greatly to his honour.
As we have said, his doctrine embraces nothing really new. His views in respect to the state of human nature, its obligations, interests, and destiny are very much those of our old puritan teachers, and have been expounded in our own day by Hall and Chalmers, and all men of their class, times innumerable. Of Chalmers it was eminently thus. In Scotland, he saw a people well-given to church-going or chapel-going, and zealous enough about creeds and church standards; but a people who needed to be admonished that creeds may exist as a lifeless orthodoxy, and that the best of forms may be without value, as being without power. He, too, felt that the great want of the age, and even of Scotland, was an earnest faith. To bring men truly to believe, what they nearly all professed to believe, was the great object of his life's hard labour. The place assigned by Mr. Carlyle to the religious element in man is stated in the following passage
It is well said, in every sense, that a man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him. A man's, or a nation of men's. By religion I do not mean here the church-creed which he professes, the articles of faith which he will sign, and in words or otherwise, assert; not this wholly, in many cases not this at all. We see men of all kinds of professed creeds attain to almost all degrees of worth or worthlessness under each or any of them. This is not what I call religion, this profession and assertion; which is often only a profession and assertion from the outworks of the man, from the mere argumentative region of him, if even so deep as that. But the thing a man does practically believe and this is often enough without asserting it even to himself, much less to others); the thing a man does practically lay to heart, and know for certain, concerning his vital relations to this mysterious universe, and his duty and destiny there, that is in all cases the primary thing for him, and creatively determines all the rest. That is his religion ; or, it may be, his mere scepticism and no-religion : the manner it is in which he feels himself to be spiritually related to the unseen world or no-world; and I say, if you tell me what that is, you tell me to a very great extent what the man is, what the kind of things he will do is. Of a man or of a nation we inquire, therefore, first of all, what religion they had.'—Hero Worship, pp. 3, 4.
On this topic, however, we think Mr. Carlyle greatly underrates the influence of the current beliefs of Christian men. In the case of the aforesaid Richard Brown, the creed professed does not appear to have wrought all the positive good that might have been expected from it. But it may be that, even on his defective temperament, it has prevented evil in a degree by no means inconsiderable; and that the direct good conferred by it is much greater than our haughty and superficial philosophy is at all likely to discover. If this same Richard, moreover, does not seem to be burdened with much anxious thought of a religious nature, or to be the subject of any very fervent and refined aspirations, perhaps, without travelling far, he could introduce our philosopher to certain plain and pious people, in whom the faith which Richard professes has given existence to soul-conflicts and earnest spiritual breathings, in a degree that would be censured as excessive and morbid. Of the soul-history of some myriads--of many myriads of truly religious people in this country, we must suppose our author to be almost wholly ignorant. To his contemporaries he does not cede a tenth of the high qualities they possess in this respect; while towards certain sham religionists of remote times his charities are superabundant. The passage we are about to quote is from
Past and Present,' and relates to the Abbot of St. Edmundsbury, and to the glebe-loving, feast-loving monks who did his bidding. It shows how discriminating and charitable Mr. Carlyle can be, when his humour inclines him that way.
• Jocelin, we see, is not without secularity. Our Dominus Abbas was intent enough on the divine offices; but then bis account books? One of the things that strike us most, throughout, in Jocelin's Chronicle, and, indeed, in Eadmer's Anselm, and other old monastic books, written evidently by pious men, is this—that there is almost no mention whatever of personal religion' in them; that the whole gist of their thinking and speculation seems to be the privileges of our order,' strict exaction of our dues,” God's honour,' (meaning the honour of our saint,) and so forth. Is not this singular? A body of men set apart for perfecting and purifying their own souls, do not seem disturbed about that in any measure: theIdeal' says nothing about its idea; says much about finding bed and board for itself ! How is this?
• Why for one thing, bed and board are a matter very apt to come to speech : it is much easier to speak of them than of ideas; and they are sometimes much more pressing with some! Nay, for another thing, may not this religious reticence, in these devout good souls, be perhaps a merit and sign of health in them? Jocelin, Eadmer, and such religious men, have as yet nothing of · Methodism;' no doubt, or even root of doubt. Religion is not a diseased self-introspection, an agonizing inquiry: their duties are clear to them, the way of supreme good plain, indisputable, and they are travelling on it. Religion lies over them like an all-embracing heavenly canopy, like an atmosphere and life-element, which is not spoken of, which in all things is presupposed without speech. Is not serene or complete religion the highest aspect of human nature, as serene cant or complete non-religion, is the lowest and miserablest ? Between which two all manner of earnest methodisms, introspections, agonizing inquiries, never so morbid, shall play their respective parts, not without approbation.'
pp. 80, 81.
Now here is a candour which can see the signs of something like a serene or complete religion,' where, in fact, there is no sign of religion at all. Only allow a small portion of this charity exercised in favour of these stupid and worldly monks, to be exercised in favour of that somewhat dull and easy class of religionists among ourselves, towards whom Mr. Carlyle shows so little forbearance, and even these people would rise at once into a race of saints of the first water. Nor do we quite understand the fling at' Methodist introspections,' except it be meant to say, that, even in a nature like ours, the best condition of religion is that which makes the least demand on a man's cogitations or emotions—a doctrine not very consistent with the philosophy of the case, with the teaching of the Bible, or with the great drift of Mr. Carlyle's own writings. But so it is with pur author. His contemporaries are of two classes-men whose professed faith is no faith, or men who believe only to become the victims of ' a diseased self-introspection. Not to be in earnest is to be pronounced a 'sham,' and to be in earnest is to be written down a fanatic. We believe in the somewhat wide existence both of religious formalism and of religious extravagance; but between these there is something much better than either, which Mr. Carlyle does not see, and to which, accordingly, he has never done justice. In support of our statement on this point, take the following estimate of the religion of our own age, as compared with the very different estimate of the monkish religion at Edmundsbury, which, from all that appears, began and ended in a tissue of cares and struggles about bed and board.'
• To begin with our highest spiritual function, with religion, we might ask, whither has religion now fled? Of churches and their establishments we here say nothing, nor of the unhappy domains of unbelief, and how innumerable men, blinded in their minds, must • live without God in the world;' but taking the fairest side of the matter, we ask, what is the nature of that same religion, which still lingers in the hearts of the few who are called, and call themselves, specially the religious? Is it a healthy religion, vital, unconscious of itself; that shines forth spontaneously in doing of the work, or even in preaching of the word? Unhappily, no. Instead of heroic martyr conduct, and inspired and soul-inspiring eloquence, whereby religion itself were brought home to our living bosoms, to live and reign there, we have Discourses on the Evidences,' endeavouring with the smallest result, to make it probable that such a thing as religion exists. The most enthusiastic evangelicals do not preach a gospel, but keep describing how it should and might be preached : to awaken the sacred fire of faith, as by a sacred contagion, is not their endeavour; but at most, to describe how faith shows and acts, and scientifically distinguish true faith from false. Religion, like all else, is conscious of itself, listens to itself; it becomes less and less creative, vital; more
and more mechanical. Considered as a whole, the Christian religion, of late ages, has been continually dissipating itself into metaphysics; and threatens now to disappear, as some rivers do in deserts of barren sand.'— Essays, iii. pp. 300, 301.
We do not say that there are no appearances among us to warrant a little declamation of this sort. But, as we read it, we are constrained to ask our zealous censor-And wherein consisted the “heroic martyr conduct' of your monks of St. Edmundsbury? In fact, did that conduct ever rise higher than a somewhat piggish fight in defence of rich abbey lands, and of the good feed to be extracted from them? As to Discourses on the Evidences,' let there be an end to such discoursings as Mr. Carlyle and his friends are so often putting forth against the said evidences, and there may then be an end to such things in their favour. In the meantime, it is not unnatural that men who would fain put another gospel in the place of that of the New Testament, should be little pleased with efforts tending to demonstrate that this older gospel is a fixed and everlasting reality. With regard to metaphysics, these, if we mistake not, constitute the Bible of Mr. Carlyle himself, and certainly of a large class of his admirers. Of such elements must the inward illumination of whose sufficiency they boast purely consist. These should not, therefore, be in ill repute in such quarters.
As to the soul-inspiring eloquence' which brings religion home to our living bosoms,' we are not aware that the philosophy of the age has shown itself to be more potent to this end than its Christianity. Its right to throw stones remains to be made out. Of course, Mr. Carlyle is not ignorant of these considerations. He could readily marshal them all, and many more, in favour of the religion of our age, if sufficiently free from prejudice to be so disposed. In the progress of his own Teufelsdröckh, from the · Everlasting no to the Everlasting yea,' we see a Fire-baptism'-a great spiritual change, brought about by philosophy, which has its full counterpart, and something more, in the change experienced by every mind which, in the · Evangelical' sense, is born again;' the great difference being, that for one instance in which the lesser effect has been produced by philosophy, the greater effect has been produced in a thousand instances by Christianity, and upon minds of a sort which your philosophy can never reach.
If the mischief of all this ended with Mr. Carlyle, the circumference of the evil would be measurable enough. But it does not so end. Not a few among us, whose beards are only beginning to put on visibility, place an implicit faith in him. The natural effect follows. They learn to snuff at the