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But this temperament is not given to all. There are others, just as much inborn or given to men, which produce results very different.
There is the temperament which renders its possessor conscious of material facts only; which makes him reduce all things in Heaven and earth to atoms and germs, which allows him to believe, indeed to know, nothing which he cannot weigh or measure; and whilst “all creation cannot pierce beyond the bottom of his eye,” makes him cling to sight as the final test of truth. A man like this is as if he were born deaf, and, having no perception of music, should prove conclusively by his reason that the music of the spheres was a delusion, and should dismiss as too foolish for argument those whom he could not convince because they were not so deaf as he was. Again, there are the temperaments, which are now,
I suppose, called Agnostic, whose possessors almost perceive, but yet cannot affirm. Some of these are people who do believe, but believe indefinitely, vaguely, and who are quite sincere when they say “they do not know," and are too honest to take upon themselves a responsibility which they feel they have not earned. They are, perhaps, secretly conscious of a faith in “they know not what, that comes they know not whence.” But they do know that whatever such faith comes from, it does not come from the sources which alone they think legitimate-logic or authority. Again, there are others, also calling themselves Agnostics, to whom the idea of God does not seem an unreasonable one. On the contrary, they realise with bitter intensity that all is chaos without Him. But they see that Nature is governed by physical law, and that the rising up of the sun and its going down can be explained without need of a fresh miracle every morning. They see no logical necessity for a Divine Intelligence; and relying absolutely on their logical faculties, they are despairingly Atheists in all except the name. Depending upon analysis for proof, they seek after a sign, and find none. And yet, conscious, perhaps, of reasoning powers at least above the average, they feel, in spite of their own un happiness, a pitying contempt for those who still hope and believe, when they themselves see ground for neither belief nor hope. They find a new kind of superiority in the profession of ignorance ; having known that belief for them
, selves is at best but a Penelope's web, which though it were set up every night afresh would be again unravelled by the morning.
I am mentioning merely a few well-known types. We may all of us add others. The differences between them are explicable by one fact only—the fact that they are caused by difference of individual temperament. Nor in this view is there anything that should be really shocking to even the most devout. We know that the Sciences exist, and we know that the Arts exist, and any man may be taught something of any one of them. But we do not expect cvery man to be his own Newton, and to rediscover for himself the laws of gravity ; or to be his own Titian or his own Beethoven, and rediscover for himself the laws of Beauty. Why, then, need we expect men in general to rediscover God by any conscious process of their individual intellects ? And yet this is what our modern controversialists seem to expect us to do; or eise, if we fail to do it, to admit that there is no God to discover.
Experience, which is stronger than all controversy, shows us that these men are wrong. It shows us that we do not reach God by arguing, any more than we reach Beauty. Men reach both by perception, by a peculiar insight, by being in the literal sense seers. It is not everyone who has this perception—who is a seer, but those who are seers may be the guides of those who are not. The few have the vision ; the many must see through the eyes of the few. They do not see the glory of God itself, but they may see it on the faces of the prophets, when they come down from the mountain.
It is, however, of the few that we are now talking. The religion of these men, however much they reason about it and endeavour by reason to vindicate it in the face of their opponents, does not depend on the reason which they thus employ. It depends on their own gift of insight. All men reason alike, but all men do not see alike ; and the difference between the believers and the unbelievers is, that they are not in possession of a common subject. The mind's cye of each has a different range of vision, just as the bodily eyes may be of different colours. The feud is a feud not of wits but of temperaments. The modern relaxation of the penalties once attached to vagaries of religious conviction show's all unconsciously the growing appreciation of this fact. We are
coming to feel, even if we do not yet consciously realise, that it is as absurd to punish a religious teacher for his. convictions as it would be to punish him for the colour of his eyes or hair, or for his sense of music or his want of it.
This connection of faith with temperament is not materialism. It does not degrade spirit, but it raises matter. Matter and spirit may indeed be inseparably related; but the view just expressed is no more materialism than a great picture is the pigments with which it has been painted. Materialism is merely the wrong side of the tapestry of which spiritualism is the right side. Obviously, from the material side, our own lives and actions could be perfectly well described as being merely mechanical, and we ourselves as the automata of habit and custom. But we are aware that we have an overruling intellectual end and aim ; and we know that without the motive power of our spiritual nature that gives the key to our smallest action, even the mechanical part of our lives would no longer hold together, but would presently fall into disruption and decay. In fact, in the material civilised world everything that exists is an incarnation of man's spiritual nature. Civilisation and all it means is nothing if not that. What are the ruins of antiquity and the towns of mediæval times, what are the pictures and poems and churches of the world, its Magna Chartas and its political con stitutions, considered without their spiritual meaning, merely on their material side ? Instead, then, of saying that we live in a material world, it would be far truer to say that we live in a spiritual world, since that is the cause of the other; and when we come to think of all the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them we may well say that man's nature “doth then show likest God's ! when his creative power transcends his analytic faculty.
And now, to return to the point from which we first started: if material civilisation and art are the incarnations of man's intelligence, is not the natural world a like incarnation of the Divine Intelligence? Do we not value“ on earth the broken arc,” because " in Heaven's the perfect round"? And are not the very imperfections of earth dear to us because of the ideal perfection which they suggest, and for which they plead ?
Many people to these questions will answer with a contemptuous
No. Precisely. It is the very thing I am arguing.
“The perfect round,” and “ideal perfection”—such words, such thoughts, will mean nothing to them, because their temperaments can give no harbour to them. But whilst such men are blind and deaf, there are others who can hear and see; and there is hardly anything in life or nature which will not serve to illustrate this fact. In the fragility of beauty some men will see simple fragility and nothing more. Others will feel an appeal in it to their reverence and their tenderness; and by that very appeal it will make those qualities deeper. The weary lines in a worn, once lovely, face, which will seem to some eyes to mar its physical beauty, will hold with a charm him who can read the meaning right. The solitary pine-tree, blasted and bare, bowed to the winds, will make one soul thrill involuntarily with the memories of storms; whilst to another it will merely suggest the reflection, “Why cumbers it the ground ? ”
So, too, with regard to Nature generally, some men see God in it, some do not ; just as some men see the vision of beauty in it, to which others, if their own sight is unaided, are blind. If anyone is shocked to hear the direct vision of God thus spoken of as a matter of temperament, let him visit the National Gallery, and see in the best works of art of every age what is the case with regard to the analogous vision of Beauty. That this is a matter of temperament is evident.
Art is a gift, an inspiration that comes only from the Giver of all things, and cannot be created " by reason or the despotic will of man.” If, then, it is only given to the few to have a direct vision of God's beauty in Nature, why should it be thought a hard saying that it is only given to the few to have a direct vision of God's existence in Nature ? Why it is given to the few only, who shall say? But so it is. “ The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit.”
ELEMENTARY EDUCATION AND THE
FREE SCHOOL QUESTION.
HE supporters of Church schools must look deeper than
the percentage of passes secured by their scholars or the merit grant obtained by their schools to provide a standard by which their continued efforts in behalf of elementary education are to be judged, and to justify the great sacrifices they have made and are still making. They commenced their labours long before political popularity or Government grants could be gained by what they did, and their object was and is the moral and religious education of the people, as well as their instruction in secular learning. It is necessary, therefore, to say something of the past in order to show how consistently this principle has controlled their action throughout.
Whilst saying this, it must not be supposed that for one moment I admit the superiority of Board schools. They spend more, and they cram more, and by these means are enabled to secure a slightly larger percentage of passes, and by their costly buildings and expensive appliances are able to obtain somewhat higher merit grants. But for the solid instruction of the children, and for moulding their characters, for the tone of the schools, and for their influence upon the children's morals and behaviour, voluntary schools can fearlessly challenge comparison with those of the Board ; and there is nothing in the evidence given before the Education Commission, or in the Report of that Commission, to support any other conclusion.
Nearly two centuries ago Churchmen made great efforts to promote popular education; they raised considerable sumsof money, and built and supported elementary schools in London and many large