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Heaven in ordinary; man well drest;
The milky way; the bird of paradise;
The land of spices; something understood. Lord H.—(who has listened attentively, after a moment's thought.)—There is something in the spirit of your lines which pleases me, and, in general, I know not that I should differ; yet you have expressed yourself nearest to mine own knowledge and feeling, where you have left more room to consider our prayers as aspirations, rather than the gifts of grace; as
"Heart in pilgrimage;"
In your likenesses, you sometimes appear to quibble in a way unworthy the subject.
George H.-It is the nature of some minds, brother, to play with what they love best. Yours is of a grander and severer cast ; it can only grasp and survey steadily what interests it. My walk is different, and I have always admired you in yours without expecting to keep pace with you.
Lord H.—I hear your sweet words with the more pleasure, George, that I had supposed you were now too much of the churchman to value the fruits of my thought.
George H.-God forbid that I should ever cease to reverence the mind that was, to my own, so truly that of an elder brother ! I do lament that you will not accept the banner of my Master, and drink at what I have found the fountain of pure wisdom. But as I would not blot from the book of life the prophets and priests that came before Him, nor those antique sages who knew all
That Reason hath from Nature borrowed,
What willing Nature speaks; what, freed by fire:
The stock and surplus, cause and history,–
Lord H.-You speak wisely, George, and, let me add, religiously. Were all churchmen as tolerant, I had never assailed the basis of their belief. Did they not insist and urge upon us their way as the one only way, not for them alone, but for all, none would wish to put stumbling-blocks before their feet.
George H.-Nay, my brother, do not misunderstand me. None, more than I, can think there is but one way to arrive finally at truth.
Lord H.—I do not misunderstand you; but, feeling that you are one who accept what you do from love of the best, and not from fear of the worst, I am as much inclined to tolerate your conclusions as you to tolerate mine.
George H.—I do not consider yours as conclusions, but only as steps to such. The progress of the mind should be from natu. ral to revealed religion, as there must be a sky for the sun to give light through its expanse.
Lord H.—The sky is nothing !
George H.—Except room for a sun, and such there is in you. Of your own need of such, did you not give convincing proof, when you prayed for a revelation to direct whether you should publish a book against revelation ?*
* The following narration, published by Lord Herbert, in his life, has often been made use of by his opponents. It should be respected as an evidence of his integrity, being, like the rest of his memoir, a specimen of absolute truth and frankness towards himself and all other beings :
Having many conscientious doubts whether or no to publish his book, Do Veritate, (which was against revealed religion, on the ground that it was improbable that Heaven should deal partially with men, revealing its will to one
Lord H.—You borrow that objection from the crowd, George ; but I wonder you have not looked into the matter more deeply. Is there any thing inconsistent with disbelief in a partial plan of salvation for the nations, which, by its necessarily limited work. ing, excludes the majority of men up to our day, with belief that each individual soul, wherever born, however nurtured, may receive immediate response, in an earnest hour, from the source of truth.
George H.—But you believed the customary order of nature to be deranged in your behalf. What miraculous record does more?
Lord H.-It was at the expense of none other. A spirit asked, a spirit answered, and its voice was thunder; but, in this, there was nothing special, nothing partial wrought in my behalf, more than if I had arrived at the same conclusion by a process of reasoning.
George H.-I cannot but think, that if your mind were al. race and nation, not to another,) “ Being thus doubtful in my chamber, one fair day in the summer, my casement being opened to the south, the sun shining clear and no wind stirring, I took my book, De Veritate, in my hand, and kneeling on my knees, devoutly said these words :-0, thou eternal God, author of the light which now shines upon me, and giver of all inward illuminations, I do beseech thee, of thy infinite goodness, to pardon a greater request than a sinner ought to make. I am not satisfied enough whether I shall publish this book, De Veritate. If it be for thy glory, I beseech thee give me some sign from heaven; if not, I shall suppress it.—I had no sooner spoken these words, but a loud, though yet gentle noise came from the heavens, (for it was like nothing on earth,) which did so comfort and cheer me, that I took my petition as granted, and that I had the sign I demanded, whereupon, also, I resolved to print my book. This, how strange soever it may seem, I protest before the Eternal God, is true; neither am I any way superstitiously deceived herein, since I did not only clearly hear the noise, but in the serenest sky that ever I saw, being without all cloud, did, to my thinking, see the place from wlience it came.”
Lord Orford observes, with his natural sneer, “How could a man who doubted of partial, believe individual revelation?”
lowed, by the nature of your life, its free force to search, it would survey the subject in a different way, and draw inferences more legitimate from a comparison of its own experience with the gospel.
Lord H.—My brother does not think the mind is free to act in courts and camps. To me it seems that the mind takes its own course everywhere, and that, if men cannot have outward, they can always mental seclusion. None is so profoundly lonely, none so in need of constant self-support, as he who, living in the crowd, thinks an inch aside from, or in advance of it. The hermitage of such an one is still and cold; its silence unbroken to a degree of which these beautiful and fragrant solitudes give no hint. These sunny sights and sounds, promoting reverie rather than thought, are scarce more favourable to a great advance in the intellect, than the distractions of the busy street. Beside, we need the assaults of other minds to quicken our powers, so easily hushed to sleep, and call it peace. The mind takes a bias too easily, and does not examine whether from tradition or a native growth intended by the heavens.
George H.—But you are no common man. You shine, you charm, you win, and the world presses too eagerly on you to leave many hours for meditation.
Lord H.—It is a common error to believe that the most prosperous men love the world best. It may be hardest for them to leave it, because they have been made effeminate and slothful by want of that exercise which difficulty brings. But this is not the case with me ; for, while the common boons of life's game have been too easily attained, to hold high value in my eyes, the goal which my secret mind, from earliest infancy, prescribed, has been high enough to task all my energies. Every year has helped to make that, and that alone, of value in my eyes; and did I be. lieve that life, in scenes like this, would lead me to it more speedily than in my accustomed broader way, I would seek it
to-morrow—nay, to-day. But is it worthy of a man to make him a cell, in which alone he can worship ? Give me rather the al. ways open temple of the universe! To me, it seems that the only course for a man is that pointed out by birth and fortune. Let him take that and pursue it with clear eyes and head erect, secure that it must point at last to those truths which are central to us, wherever we stand ; and if my road, leading through the busy crowd of men, amid the clang and bustle of conflicting interests and passions, detain me longer than would the still path through the groves, the chosen haunt of contemplation, yet I in. cline to think that progress so, though slower, is surer. Owing no safety, no clearness to my position, but so far as it is attained to mine own effort, encountering what temptations, doubts and lures may beset a man, what I do possess is more surely mine, and less a prey to contingencies. It is a well-tempered wine that has been carried over many seas, and escaped many shipwrecks.
George H.-I can the less gainsay you, my lord and brother, that your course would have been mine could I have chosen. Lord H.-Yes ; I remember thy verse :-
Whereas my birth and spirits rather took
The way that takes the town;
And wrap me in a gown.
George H.-I have long learnt to feel that it noway chanced; that thus, and no other, was it well for me. But how I view these matters you are, or may be well aware, through a little book I have writ. Of you I would fain learn more than can be shown me by the display of your skill in controversy in your printed works, or the rumors of your feats at arms, or success with the circles of fair ladies, which reach even this quiet nook. Rather let us, in this hour of intimate converse, such as we have