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fluence English theology may specially pray to be delivered. Open intolerance, stubborn prejudice, are obstacles which may be attacked with simple arguments, and from a sure footing. The most useful auxiliary to the cause of reactionary interpretation is that tone of mingled patronage and contempt which implies an involuntary respect for the theories to which outward circumstances alone necessitate an apparent opposition. There are some writers whose views are just liberal enough to add additional zest to their hatred of intellectual thoroughness. So far as they know the truth, the truth has made them slaves. It is a poor compromise between conscience on the one hand and literary obligations on the other, to imply an obscure assent to an opinion, and make up for it by abusing its advocate. Writers in such a position are forced into a dogmatism which betrays itself by its very acrimony. To urge that Dr. Colenso's book is worthless because some texts are quoted inaccurately, shows feebleness of judgment. To infer that because he states questions in detail, his arguments must therefore be superficial, indicates want of logical power. To blame the bishop for publicly supporting a view, and at the same time to hint its truthfulness, is an inconsistency which argues either dulness or hypocrisy, or both. Such writers may be simply told, that the contempt which they profess recoils on them with augmented force from the candid students of theology. Even their half-hearted and disguised support brings little credit to the cause of honesty and courage. Not with such weapons as these, nor with such champions to lead the fight, is the battle of progress and of religious liberty to be fought.
The mass of Englishmen would be surprised if they knew how tumultuously the spirit of rebellion against religious dogmatism, and specially the dogma of biblical infallibility, is seething in the breasts of men who yet shrink from notoriety and the odium which it brings. As a body, the educated world has discarded these notions already. Among the younger generation of students the Bible is freely regarded as open to unfettered criticism. It is only in public and in print that they fear to be candid; among one another they take the question for granted. Religious liberty is the watchword of the tacit understanding which prevails in literary society on the subject. For severe criticism all men have not the leisure or the inclination ; but upon the right to criticise, and the general result of this particular discussion, the writers and thinkers of the nation are in an accordance of which the dogmatists little dream. It is not a healthy state of things. It is a bad thing that the students should be so far ahead of the actors in the world; and it presses with a terrible weight upon those who are newly setting out on the path of study. The sense of encountering at every onward step the mandate of opinion and authority, the consciousness that the road to biblical investigation is paved with anathemas, bears more heavily on the candid inquirer than we care to picture. For that terror, that agony, which rolls with overwhelming pain upon so many minds when they first are forced to examine the truth of what they have been taught, the fatal prejudices of past generations are responsible. Perhaps there is no suffering in the world more keen than that of religious doubt. May Heaven forgive those who, by overloading belief and stilling inquiry, make its pangs more severe!“ A shell shot into the fortress of the soul! Cast it out!" cries episcopal placidity. “Doubt manfully on, till labour brings conviction !" we reply. He who despiseth not the sighing of a contrite heart, nor the desire of such as be sorrowful, will care as much for the distresses of honest scepticism as for the panics of startled orthodoxy.
“ These difficulties are left as a trial of our faith.” From our childhood up we have ever regarded that as a cruel and wicked fallacy. Doubts are to be solved either by intellectual or by moral means.
If by intellectual reasoning, the issue cannot depend upon religious faith; if by moral determination, we reject with all the emphasis of which we are capable the doctrine, that there is any other virtue which can enter into the examination of a controversial problem than honesty, energy, and perseverance. Yes; perhaps they are given to us as a trial of faith, to see if we have strength to work them out. That courage and trust can be but faint which shrinks from inquiry from dread of its uncertain issue. Let us repay God's gift of intellect by honest and trustful use of it. Fear indeed hath torment; but perfect love casteth out fear.
There are some who look into these questions, some who read this treatise of the bishop, who will feel, as they concede a reluctant assent to its arguments, that the prop of life has suddenly been taken from them. They will think, sadly enough, that if the Book on which they have learnt to depend for strength and solace is now withdrawn from their adoration, there is nothing left to fill its place. For years perhaps they have hung on its pages with rapture; they have yielded implicit obedience to its laws; they have fled to its promises for comfort; they have trusted to its sentences for wisdom. Now it seems as if a heartless criticism were stepping in between them and their God, and robbing them of all that is precious in the world. As the awful divinity of its pages seems to fade away, they fancy that
the air they breathe seems colder, and the scenes they gaze upon less bright. The newer interpretations may be true, the old theories may turn out mistaken; but it is all that they have had to bear them through the manifold trials of life. Like Sir Bedivere, they seem to step onward into a world that knows them not.
" And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds." So be it. God fulfils himself in many ways. To such as these a superhuman record may have been the fit instrument to lead them through the perilous journey of the world ; none the less must those who live with the labours of the past and their own consciences to guide them tread boldly wherever their judgment leads. The camps are not hostile; the paths are not divergent. Or, if human passions and the ignorance that is in us bring trouble and enmity for a time between those who profess each to fight for truth, there is yet a unity that lies deeper than their differences; there is a harmony which in the sight of Heaven their discords cannot avail to drown; there is a sympathy which, beyond the feuds of criticism and the jarring subtleties of debate, binds in one those who labour for the same high calling, and name the same holy name.
Art. II.-ORLEY FARM. Orley Farm. By Authony Trollope. Chapman and Hall. 1862. M. FORGUES has recently taken occasion, in the pages of the Revue des Deux Mondes, to express, under the unflattering title of “ Dégénérescence du Roman,” his views as to the present state of English fiction, and the future prospects of English morality. As he grounds his opinion in the one case on a survey of about a dozen of the most worthless stories of the day, and in the other on the revelations of Sir Cresswell Cresswell's court, it is natural enough that the account which he gives of us should be of a somewhat gloomy and humiliating character. With perfect good humour, and with a polite vindictiveness, the fruit evidently of prolonged provocation, he turns the laugh of his audience against the affected severity of our social code, the delicacy of our taste, and the boasted prudery of our literature. British mothers, he says, look upon a French novel as “the
abomination of desolation,” and British youths veil their faces in pious horror before the innuendos of Paul de Kock, the eager voluptuousness of Dumas, or the ingenious impurity of Ernest Feydau. And yet, continues our frank monitor, England stands a good chance of descending from her pinnacle, and proving herself, in outward demonstration, no better than her neighbours. Such exposures as the Windham trial show that profligacy is much the same on one side of the Channel as the other, and the activity of the Divorce Court bespeaks an unhallowed restlessness in the matrimonial world. On the other hand, free trade is likely enough to extend from material to intellectual productions: along with the vintage of Bordeaux and the silks of Lyons, the sturdy Puritans are day by day imbibing the lax notions of less austere communities; and England, whose métier it has been to lecture the rest of Europe on improprieties, already possesses a race of novelists who want only the liveliness of their neighbours and the tricks of the trade, to be as viciously entertaining, and to gratify their own and their readers' improper cravings and unchastened sensibilities, by delineations as daring, a levity as complete, a license as openly avowed, as any thing that Eve's latest and most degenerate daughters can pluck from the fruit-trees of forbidden knowledge in the lending libraries of Paris.
Such a work as Orley Farm is perhaps the most satisfactory answer that can be given to so disagreeable an imputation. Here, it may fairly be said, is the precise standard of English taste, sentiment, and conviction. Mr. Trollope has become almost a national institution. The Cornhill counts its readers by millions, and it is to his contributions, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, that the reader first betakes himself. So great is his popularity, so familiar are his chief characters to his countrymen, so wide-spread is the interest felt about his tales, that they necessarily form part of the common stock-in-trade with which the social commerce of the day is carried on. If there are some men in real life whom not to know argues oneself unknown, there are certainly imaginary personages on Mr. Trollope's canvas with whom every well-informed member of the community is expected to have at least a speaking acquaintance. The disappointment of Sir Peregrine, the boyish love of his grandson, the conceited transcendentalism of Lucius Mason, the undeserved prosperity of Graham, the matrimonial troubles of the Furnival establishment, and the high life below stairs to which Mr. Moulder and his travelling companion introduce us, -have probably been discussed at half the dinner-tables in London, as often and with as much earnestness as Royal Academies, International Exhibitions, the last mail from America, Sir William Armstrong's newest discovery in the science of destruction, or any other of the standing conversational topics on which the conventional interchange of thought is accustomed to depend. The characters are public property, and the prolific imagination which has called them into existence is, without doubt, the most accurate exponent of the public feeling, and of that sort of social philosophy which exercises an unperceived, but not less actual, despotism over the life and conscience of every individual who forms a unit in the great aggregate of society. More than a million people habitually read Mr. Trollope, and they do so because the personages in his stories correspond to something in themselves: the hopes, fears, and regrets, are such as they are accustomed to experience; the thoughtfulness is such as they can appreciate; the standard of conduct just that to which they are prepared to submit. It becomes, therefore, an interesting inquiry to see what are the principal characteristics of an author in whom so large a section of the community sees as it were its own reflection, and who may himself unhesitatingly be accepted as the modern type of a successful novelist:-how far are we justified, with Orley Farm in our hands, in rebutting M. Forgues' accusations, and in maintaining that neither in literature nor morality has the period of English degeneracy as yet commenced.
One part of the charge may, we think, be very speedily disposed of. If the popularity of the portrait is the result of its truthfulness, and English life is at all what Mr. Trollope paints it, whatever its other failings may be, it is at any rate a very correct affair; writer and readers alike look at the performance from a strictly moral point of view: there is a general air of purity, innocence, and cheerfulness. The Bohemians that now and then fit across the stage are the tamest imaginable, and are only just sufficiently Bohemian to be picturesque without violating propriety. There are occasional villains of course, but they seem to belong to an outer world, with which the audience has so little in common that it can afford to treat their crimes as a matter of mere curiosity. The low Jewish attorney, the brassbrowed Old Bailey practitioner, Mr. Moulder in his drunken moods, Dockwrath in his revengeful spite,-are none of them models of what gentlemen and Christians should be; but they are never brought sufficiently near to display the full proportions of their guilt, or to suggest the possibility of contamination. The real interest of the story is concentred upon wellto-do, decorous, and deservedly prosperous people, who solve, with a good deal of contentment and self-satisfaction, the difficult problem of making the most both of this world and the next.