England's Antiphon

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Ye hermits blest, ye holy maids,

The nearest heaven on earth, Who talk with God in shadowy glades, Free from rude care and mirth; To whom some viewless teacher brings The secret lore of rural things,

The moral of each fleeting cloud and gale,

The whispers from above, that haunt the twilight vale:

Say, when in pity ye have gazed On the wreath'd smoke afar, That o'er some town, like mist upraised, Hung hiding sun and star;
Then as ye turned your weary eye To the green earth and open sky,

Were ye not fain to doubt how Faith could dwell

Amid that dreary glare, in this world's citadel?

But Love's a flower that will not die For lack of leafy screen,
And Christian Hope can cheer the eye That ne'er saw vernal green: Then be ye sure that Love can bless Even in this crowded loneliness,

Where ever-moving myriads seem to say,

Go--thou art nought to us, nor we to thee--away!

There are in this loud stunning tide Of human care and crime,
With whom the melodies abide Of the everlasting chime;
Who carry music in their heart Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,

Plying their daily task with busier feet,

Because their secret souls a holy strain repeat.

There are here some indications of that strong reaction of the present century towards ancient forms of church life. This reaction seems to me a further consequence of that admiration of power of which I have spoken. For, finding the progress of discovery in the laws of nature constantly bring an assurance most satisfactory to the intellect, men began to demand a similar assurance in other matters; and whatever department of human thought could not be subjected to experiment or did not admit of logical proof began to be regarded with suspicion. The highest realms of human thought--where indeed only grand conviction, and that the result not of research, but of obedience to the voice within, can be had--came to be by such regarded as regions where, no scientific assurance being procurable, it was only to his loss that a man should go wandering: the whole affair was unworthy of him. And if there be no guide of humanity but the intellect, and nothing worthy of its regard but what that intellect can isolate and describe in the forms peculiar to its operations,--that is, if a man has relations to nothing beyond his definition, is not a creature of the immeasurable,--then these men are right. But there have appeared along with them other thinkers who could not thus be satisfied--men who had in their souls a hunger which the neatest laws of nature could not content, who could not live on chemistry, or mathematics, or even on geology, without the primal law of their many dim-dawning wonders--that is, the Being, if such there might be, who thought their laws first and then embodied them in a world of aeonian growth. These indeed seek law likewise, but a perfect law--a law they can believe perfect beyond the comprehension of powers of whose imperfection they are too painfully conscious. They feel in their highest moments a helplessness that drives them to search after some Power with a heart deeper than his power, who cares for the troubled creatures he has made. But still under the influence of that faithless hunger for intellectual certainty, they look about and divide into two parties: both would gladly receive the reported revelation in Jesus, the one if they could have evidence enough from without, the other if they could only get rid of the difficulties it raises within. I am aware that I distinguish in the mass, and that both sides would be found more or less influenced by the same difficulties--but more and less, and therefore thus classified by the driving predominance. Those of the one party, then, finding no proof to be had but that in testimony, and anxious to have all they can--delighting too in a certain holy wilfulness of intellectual self-immolation, accept the testimony in the mass, and become Roman Catholics. Nor is it difficult to see how they then find rest. It is not the dogma, but the contact with Christ the truth, with Christ the man, which the dogma, in pacifying the troubles of the intellect--if only by a soporific, has aided them in reaching, that gives them peace: it is the truth itself that makes them free.

The worshippers of science will themselves allow, that when they cannot gain observations enough to satisfy them upon any point in which a law of nature is involved, they must, if possible, institute experiments. I say therefore to those whose observation has not satisfied them concerning the phenomenon Christianity,--"Where is your experiment? Why do you not thus try the utterance claiming to be the law of life? Call it a hypothesis, and experiment upon it. Carry into practice, well justified of your conscience, the words which the Man spoke, for therein he says himself lies the possibility of your acceptance of his mission; and if, after reasonable time thus spent, you are not yet convinced enough to give testimony--I will not annoy you by saying to facts, but--to conviction, I think neither will you be ready to abandon the continuous experiment." These Roman Catholics have thus met with Jesus, come into personal contact with him: by the doing of what he tells us, and by nothing else, are they blessed. What if their theories show to me like a burning of the temple and a looking for the god in the ashes? They know in whom they have believed. And if some of us think we have a more excellent way, we shall be blessed indeed if the result be no less excellent than in such men as Faber, Newman, and Aubrey de Vere. No man needs be afraid that to speak the truth concerning such will hasten the dominance of alien and oppressive powers; the truth is free, and to be just is to be strong. Should the time come again when Liberty is in danger, those who have defended the truth even in her adversaries, if such there be, will be found the readiest to draw the sword for her, and, hating not, yet smite for the liberty to do even them justice. To give the justice we claim for ourselves is, if there be a Christ, the law of Christ, to obey which is eternally better than truest theory.

I should like to give many of the hymns of Dr. Faber. Some of them are grand, others very lovely, and some, of course, to my mind considerably repulsive. He seems to me to go wrong nowhere in originating--he produces nothing unworthy except when he reproduces what he never could have entertained but for the pressure of acknowledged authority. Even such things, however, he has enclosed in pearls, as the oyster its incommoding sand-grains.

His hymn on The Greatness of God is profound; that on The Will of God is very wise; that to The God of my Childhood is full of quite womanly tenderness: all are most simple in speech, reminding us in this respect of John Mason. In him, no doubt, as in all of his class, we find traces of that sentimentalism in the use of epithets--small words, as distinguished from homely, applied to great things--of which I have spoken more than once; but criticism is not to be indulged in the reception of great gifts--of such a gift as this, for instance:--

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