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[The Right of Translation is reserved.]

PREFACE.

con amore.

These essays were composed mostly in the intervals of arduous professional duty. The writer states this not with any idea of forestalling criticism ; but rather that his readers may know that the task has been taken up

The nature of the views advanced, and the persistent attempts made to find out and to fix not only the progressive unity of life and work in each of our three great writers-Carlyle, Tennyson and Ruskin ; --but a unity also of spirit and purpose binding them together into a suggestive trio, will, he fondly hopes, favourably recommend them to the daily-augmenting ranks of the thoughtful and inquiring. At any rate the author commits his volume trustfully to the hands of those who may be interested in any worthy word spoken regarding either or all of them.

But indeed when one thinks of the great need there

is for a wide-based reform in our extravagant ways of thought, and above all, in our foolish and empty habits of life, he cannot but wish that the influence of these three-an influence so directed towards drawing men back to truthfulness, simplicity and genuine affection in all the relations of life-could be brought very widely to bear. For though men "run to and fro” and by that means truly knowledge is being increased, yet with the knowledge the curse comes ever, sending men thirsty and fevered to wander over the wide arid desert of circumstance,” there only to fail grievously in the search for blessedness in all forms of external finery and falseness. This is the price we pay for progress; the tax the grim tollman of civilization exacts of

But in everything there is compensation. Sour smoke has possibility in it to become clear lambent flame. The artificial involvements of our time may be transmuted into pathways of return to primitive repose, simplicity, and fruitfulness. They who can and will, at great self-sacrifice, direct us wisely in this matter, surely deserve not only grateful recognition but "blessings and eternal praise.” Carlyle, Tennyson, and Ruskin have taken upon themselves to prescribe the cure for the "vague disease ” of the century.

us.

Surely then it more and more behoves us to try to discover what these, our three great men, really meanto get at the root-principle, the spirit out of which they write; and if it be a true one, then to practically adjust, not only our words and thoughts, but also our acts and lives thereby. This is the claim they have over us as thinking men if they are indeed our Great Teachers. The writer finds they are one in aim and spirit and desire. Their words may vary slightly, but they soon resolve themselves into one grand all-including monition :“Be simple, single-minded, prudent, true, genuine men." They are pre-eminently a sort of missionaries these three, preaching each in his own way, according to opportunity, truths old as the Old Testament; but practically forgotten and departed from. Broadly taken, one may say they separate themselves from nearly all the other writers of the time by the fact that they have each asserted their place in literature without the sacrifice of their individuality. As they value their specific character and distinctive qualities as men, so do they reverence these in others—making the maintenance of them the very basis of the great reform they unitedly aim at accomplishing. Through individual regeneration and intense personal conviction, all improvement that is

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worthy is to be accomplished; consequently there is nothing narrow, dogmatic or sectarian about their writings; but a noble universality of thought and spirit throughout. Individual goodness is with them the root of all progress and of all national prosperity. It is the little seed-grain which grows into a great world-tree, spreading grateful shadow for thousands.

Our very external culture is cursing us they say, by sucking away all true individuality of life or of conviction; producing thus an over-refinement whose children are desire, unrest, sensualism, and barbaric trust in material resources. The respect for individuality felt by these men soon accordingly transforms them into art-critics essentially, as seen from one point of view. They discover an element of cold pagan intellectualism, opposed alike to true progress and true Christianity, sapping away the lives of men or making them fruitless, empty and diseased. They enter on a contest for maintaining the sacredness of life. That contest under varying names, and assuming in different circumstances different features, is traceable throughout all Christian history. It may be said to simply circle round the question whether or not art in its lower or heathen form shall be called in to decorate and sen

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