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able lightness, a seeming impossibility of doing anything else, or doing anything better, which was so graceful, so natural, and agreeable, that it overcomes me, even now, in the remembrance. « We made
merry in the little parlour, where the Book of Martyrs unthumbed since my time, was laid out upon the desk as of old, and where I now turned over its terrific pictures, remembering the old sensations they had awakened, but not feeling them. When Peggotty spoke of what she called my room, and of its being ready for me at night, and of her hoping I would occupy it, before I could so much as look at Steerforth, hesitating, he was possessed of the whole case.
“Of course,' he said. “You'll sleep here, while we stay, and I shall sleep at the hotel.'
“But to bring you so far,' I returned, and to separate, seems bad companionship, Steerforth.'
“Why, in the name of Heaven, where do you naturally belong?' he said. What is " seems,” compared to that!' It was settled at once.
He maintained all his delightful qualities to the last, until we started forth, at eight o'clock, for Mr. Peggotty's boat.
Indeed, they were more and more brightly exhibited as the hours went on; for I thought even then, and I have no doubt now, that the consciousness of success in his determination to please, inspired him with a new delicacy of perception, and made it, subtle as it was, more easy to him. If any one had told me, then, that all this was a brilliant game, played for the excitement of the moment, for the employment of high spirits, in the thoughtless love of superiority, in a mere wasteful careless course of winning what was worthless to him, and next minute thrown away“I say, if any one had told me such a lie that night, I wonder in what manner of receiving it my indignation would have found a vent !
"Probably only in an increase, had that been possible, of the romantic feelings of fidelity and friendship with which I walked beside him, over the dark wintry sands, towards the old boat; the wind sighing around us even more mournfully than it had sighed and moaned upon the night when I first darkened Mr. Peggotty's door.
“This is a wild kind of place, Steerforth, is it not ?'
“Dismal enough in the dark,' he said ; and the sea roars as if it were hungry for us.'
What a treasure of recollection and anticipation there is in this passage; how it initiates us into the thoughts and the temptations of every character in the story; and what a fearful fulfilment of the foreboding inspired by an evil conscience, we find in the hour when Steerforth went to judgment struggling with the hungry sea !
We have left ourselves no space even to glance at the wide range of character embraced in the Personal History of David Copperfield. We could say much of the hero, of both his wives, of his aunt and Mr. Dick, of Mr. Peggotty and Ham, of Traddles, of Doctor and Mrs. Strong and the Old Soldier, and of the unctuous racy humour which lards the lean earth wherever the Micawber family walk along both in England and at the Antipodes. We regret that we have not been able to give specimens of the passages in Pendennis where Mr. Thackeray's genius is seen at its best. We have found it a longer task than we anticipated to point out what we find jarring and objectionable in his tone. We repeat that his delineation of the classes of men which he selects for portraiture appears to us to be more easy and perfect than that attained by Mr. Dickens in his wider range. The personages of the latter are apt to talk too much like their author and too little like themselves, when he loses the remembrancer supplied by an eccentric diction, as witness the words given to Martha on the Thames' bank. But we repeat likewise that he does in spite of this convey to us individual conceptions equally distinct with those of Mr. Thackeray, and much more varied and imaginative, and that we believe his view of life, idealized as it undoubtedly is, to be by far the more complete and the more healthy, and therefore in the highest sense the more true.
ART. III.—THE CREED OF CHRISTENDOM.
The Creed of Christendom; its Foundations and Super
structure. By William Rathbone Greg. London: John Chapman, 1851.
This is a vast subject-the foundations and superstructure of the Creed of Christendom! To treat it adequately requires patient, laborious, conscientious research in many directions, and the repeated consideration of it under various aspects. It is a subject, however, which is daily forcing itself more and more on public attention, and in some shape or other will be discussed by the competent or the incompetent. The author of the present work has not hastily rushed into print. It was commenced,' he tells us,' in the year 1845, and was finished two years ago;' and he now gives it to the world after long hesitation, with much diffidence, and with some misgiving.' We think him fully justified by the motives which he assigns for publication. We rejoice indeed at every earnest and mature utterance of thought on these high and solemn themes, whatever form it may take and from whatever quarter it may come. Nothing is so much to be deprecated as the silence of apathy. The path he has struck out, is sufficiently distinct from that of some recent inquirers in the same field, to leave him a sphere and work of his own :—and though there are occasional defects of manner and inaccuracies of detail which we fear may prejudice some readers against what is substantially true in his conclusions, yet throughout he appears to us to have executed his task with thorough honesty of purpose, and in a spirit essentially reverential—in a style clear, animated and often eloquent; and for one who disclaims the possession of learning, with no small amount of critical knowledge and philosophic endowment. We are moreover inclined to believe with him, that there are some advantages in such a work being undertaken by a layman. It is at least an evidence of interest in a quarter, where interest, it is too often supposed, has ceased to exist. Professional divines of the most liberal and candid spirit, through the mere habit of looking at the subject from a particular side, contract a certain obliquity of mental vision, which prevents their taking in the whole of the truth. They cannot, from the very necessities of their position, avoid every now and then casting side-glances at what may be practical consequences. Their familiarity with details—with all the niceties of grammar and criticism and archæology-sometimes disqualifies them for apprehending broader relations and catching a general effect. They cannot translate their theology into humanity; and in many cases they are of all men the least able to conceive, how a statement of evidence or of moral impression will act on the popular mind. They are suspected too-not always justly-of being biassed and committed to certain foregone conclusions, which carry therefore little weight from their lips. For all these reasons the attestation of a layman to the great truths of religion is of singular value. It is assumed, that it would never be given at all, if it were not dictated by conviction; and though he may cast aside much that is commonly received, his retention of the residue seems to give it a warrant of genuineness which more than replaces all that has gone.
But the change is not one of pure gain. There is another side of the question. If the layman is free from some of the prejudices of the divine, he may have deficiencies from looking at the subject in too purely intellectual a light, which may no less effectually prevent him from embracing it in all its bearings and fathoming all its depths. His views will be apt to represent too exclusively the feelings and conceptions of an individual mind; and, however valuable these may be for the new light and interest which they infuse into the inquiry, they will perhaps, from the very fact that they are original and take a survey of it from some remote or neglected point, not only fail to satisfy the demands of the general mind, but, more than that, overlook some of those humbler and commoner elements of humanity which must enter into every complete and exhaustive analysis of the great problem to be solved. We say, then, not that the mere theologian or scientific divine, but that the practical administrator of religion-he who is emphatically a minister of the Gospel to the poor, the wretched and the sinful-has opportunities for testing the reality and learning the power of a faith in God and things invisible, which one who stands, as it were, outside the great spiritual process, or has had no personal experience of religion but in its workings on his own soul, cannot by all his acuteness and manifold acquaintance with books, possibly replace. When logic and criticism have bred incessant doubt and well nigh choked all living faith within us, a few moments of sympathising communion with the suffering or departing spirit will often suffice to bring back in all its strength, the blessed influence that seemed gone. We are made to feel the difference between realities an words; and our observation of the deep and holy trust that seems to spring up the more freely and richly, the more it is needed, for the support and comfort of all pure and faithful souls in the darkest hour of this world's sorrow and trial, sets the seal of experience and fact on those eternal verities of our spiritual existence, which it is Christianity's clearest evidence of divine original to speak so directly and with such authority to man's conscience and heart. From many affecting and beautiful concessions in the work before us, we are sure, that Mr. Greg would be the last man to deny the surpassing value of the light thrown on the solemn themes which he has touched, by the testimonies of the religious life. But we think it important to mark thus distinctly at the outset, the different aspects of the subject that will present themselves to the practical and to the speculative religionistto the mind that is habitually conversant with the details of ordinary spiritual experience, and the mind that is familiar with the comprehensive abstractions of books; and to record our profound conviction, that both aspects must be combined and reconciled in a thorough settlement of the fundamental questions of Religion. Labourers in both directions are needed; we can spare the services of neither. The simple minister attests and asserts from his living experience, divine and unchanging verities. The critic tears away the mere products of human feeling and imagination—the opinionum commenta,'—which have grown over and stifled them, and been mistaken for truth simply from their association with better matter. We