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wilful, but along with it a most attaching gentleness, sweetness, singleness of heart and purpose. Both were formed by nature to command others, both had the faculty of attracting to themselves the passionate devotion of their friends and followers.
When I first saw him he had written his book upon the Arians. An accidental application had set him upon it, at a time, I believe, when he had half resolved to give himself to science and mathematics, and had so determined him into a theological career.
He had published a volume or two of parochial sermons. A few short poems of his had also appeared in the British Magazine, under the signature of “Delta,” which were reprinted in the
Lyra Apostolica.” They were unlike any other religious poetry which was then extant. It was hard to say why they were so fascinating. They had none of the musical grace of the “ Christian Year.” They were not harmonious ; the metre halted, the rhymes were irregular, yet there was something in them which seized the attention, and would not let it go. Keble’s verses flowed in soft cadence over the mind, delightful, as sweet sounds are delightful, but are forgotten as the vibrations die away. Newman's had pierced into the heart and mind, and there remained. The literary critics
of the day were puzzled. They saw that he was not an ordinary man; what sort of an extraordinary man he was they could not tell. « The eye of Melpomene had been cast upon him," said the omniscient (I think) Athenæum; “but the glance was not fixed or steady.” The eye of Melpomene had extremely little to do in the matter. Here were thoughts like no other man's thoughts, and emotions like no other man's emotions. Here was a man who really believed his creed, and let it follow him into all his observations upon outward things. He had been travelling in Greece; he had carried with him his recollections of Thucydides, and, while his companions were sketching olive gardens and old castles and picturesque harbors at Corfu, Newman was recalling the scenes which those harbors had witnessed thousands of years ago in the civil wars which the Greek historian has made immortal. There was nothing in this that was unusual. Any one with a well-stored memory is affected by historical scenery. But Newman was oppressed with the sense that the men who had fallen in that desperate strife were still alive, as much as he and his friends were alive. We should all, perhaps, have acknowledged this in words. It is happy for us that we do not all realize what the words mean. The minds of most of us would break down under the strain.
Their spirits live in awful singleness,
Each in its self-formed sphere of light or gloom.
Other conventional beliefs, too, were quickened into startling realities. We had been hearing much in those days about the benevolence of the Supreme Being, and our corresponding obligation to charity and philanthropy. If the received creed was true, benevolence was by no means the only characteristic of that Being. What God loved we might love; but there were things which God did not love ; accordingly we found Newman saying to us:
Christian, would'st thou learn to love;
First learn thee how to hate.
Hatred of sin and zeal and fear
Lead up the Holy Hill;
A self-denial still.
It was not austerity that made him speak so. No one was more essentially tender-hearted ; but he took the usually accepted Christian account of man and his destiny to be literally true, and the terrible character of it weighed upon him.
Sunt lacrymæ rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt. He could be gentle enough in other moods. "Lead, kindly Light,” is the most popular hymn in the language. Familiar as the lines are they may here be written down once more:
Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on.
Lead Thou me on.
Should'st lead me on.
Lead Thou me on.
So long Thy power has blest us, sure it will
Still lead us on.
The night is gone,
It has been said that men of letters are either much less or much greater than their writings. Cleverness and the skilful use of other people's thoughts produce works which take us in till we see the authors, and then we are disenchanted. A man of genius, on the other hand, is a spring in which there is always more behind than flows from it. The painting or the poem is but a part of him inadequately realized, and his nature expresses it
self, with equal or fuller completeness, in his life, his conversation, and personal presence. This was eminently true of Newman. Greatly as his poetry had struck me, he was himself all that the poetry was, and something far beyond. I had then never seen so impressive a person. I met him now and then in private; I attended his church and heard him preach Sunday after Sunday ; he is supposed to have been insidious, to have led his disciples on to conclusions to which he designed to bring them, while his purpose was carefully veiled. He was, on the contrary, the most transparent of men. He told us what he believed to be true. He did not know where it would carry him. No one who has ever risen to any great height in this world refuses to move till he knows where he is going. He is impelled in each step which he takes by a force within himself. He satisfies himself only that the step is a right one, and he leaves the rest to Providence. Newman's mind was world-wide. He was interested in everything which was going on in science, in politics, in literature. Nothing was too large for him, nothing too trivial, if it threw light upon the central question, what man really was, and what was his destiny. He was careless about his personal prospects. He had no ambition to make a career, or to rise to rank and power. Still