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out of himself and steering free of the besetting sin of thoughtful young men, namely, philosophizing about life instead of actually living; and in this his need, he says, the Deus ex machina who came effectively to his aid was the cheerfulness, the strong and healthy vitality, the catholic human sympathy, the deep-rooted patriotism, fine pictorial eye, and rare historic furniture of Walter Scott, whom he learned to associate in æsthetic bonds with the sunny sobriety of Homer and the great Greeks. Besides stimulating a love of hills and waters, the prose and poetry of the foremost of literary Scotchmen made men familiar with “the great in conduct and the thought.”
Wordsworth was the one English writer who held most powerful sway over the early years of J. S. Blackie, who says :
He, in fact, along with Goethe and my other German gods, held out an effective arm to redeem me from that “whirling gulf of fantasy and flame” into which the violent sweep of Lord Byron's indignant muse had a tendency to plunge his admirers. From the day that I became acquainted with Wordsworth I regarded Byron only as a very sublime avatar of the devil, and would have nothing to do with him. What influenced me in Wordsworth was the kindly spirit with which he tried to bind the highest and the lowest in one bond of reverential sympathy, the truly evangelical as well as profoundly philosophical insight with which he set forth in so many attractive forms the superiority of a wise humility to a willful pride, and his habitual subjection of delicate fancy and purified passion to the legitimate sway of reason.
Louis Stevenson thinks almost everyone who reads has been influenced by Wordsworth, though it is hard to tell precisely how. “A certain innocence, a rugged austerity of joy, a sight of the stars, “the silence that there is among the hills,' something of the cold thrill of dawn, cling to his work and give it a particular address to what is best in us. I do not know that you learn a lesson ; you need not agree with his beliefs ; and yet the spell is cast. Such are the best teachers : a dogma learned
may be only a new error—the old one was perhaps as good ; but a spirit communicated is a perpetual possession. These best teachers climb beyond teaching; it is themselves and what is best in themselves that they communicate.”
Mr. Hamerton, while finding pleasure in Wordsworth's love of nature, felt in the poet himself something repellant, and guesses it may have been his extremely obvious belief in his own moral and intellectual excellence. Montaigne is an author whose influence, once felt, is not easily outlived. Hamerton, naming him as the prose writer who affected his youth most and best, says :
His wisdom seems to me of the kind most applicable to a thoughtful human life that is to be kept in touch with common interests. For anyone who, like myself, desires to keep the thinking part of himself alive without becoming an intellectual dandy or epicure, Montaigne is a great friend and helper. Even now, when I have an hour to spend in reading and hesitate about the choice of a book, my hesitation ends as often as not in taking down a volume of Montaigne. There has, however, always been a want of completely docile discipleship in me on one important point. Montaigne deferred to custom with a degree of willingness that I have never been able to command, and he erected this deference into a principle. For me it seems merely a convenience in small matters and a lamentable sacrifice of principle in great ones. I should never conform to any political or religious party in deference to custom, nor would I get married, as Montaigne did, because the common usage would have it so. My sympathies have always been with all Nonconformists for conscience sake, and my antipathies are strong against caste observances, so here I differ from my old master, with his prudence and his conformity; but he lived in another age than ours, and we may still honor him for the stoutness and courage that he displayed in many ways, and for the essential truthfulness which was the basis of his character.
Montaigne's Essays fell early into Louis Stevenson's hands, and their power over him grew with his years. Of them he
That temperate and genial picture of life is a great gift to place in the hands of persons of to-day; they will find in these smiling pages a magazine of heroism and wisdom, all of an antique strain ; they will have their “linen decencies ” and excited orthodoxies fluttered, and will (if they have any gift of reading) perceive that these have not been fluttered without some excuse and ground of reason; and (again if they have any gift of reading) they will end by seeing that this old gentleman held a nobler view of life than they or their contemporaries. To the works of John Foster a typical testimony, which might be manifolded from the experience of others, is that of Dr. Marcus Dods, Professor of Exegetical Theology in New College, Edinburgh, who says:
Before I had made a study of any writer, ancient or modern, and while as yet Fenimore Cooper was almost my sole noncompulsory reading, one of the most efficient teachers I have known took me in hand and put me on some methods of self-education. Among other things, he counseled me to read each week one chapter of Foster's Essays, and the following week to write what I remembered of it. As a discipline in attentive reading, in memory, and in composition, this was valuable, but as an introduction to Foster, no words can explain the influence it had upon my mental attitude and habits of thought. Analytic and critical, Foster is also imaginative and speculative, fond of feeding his imagination with history, philosophy, and expensive illustrated books of travel and of art. Not only are the writings of Foster-Essays, Lectures, Reviews, Journals—fitted to preoccupy the youthful mind with just observations on men and things, but they lift the young reader to “a peak of Darien," whence a new world opens to his view, the immeasurable ocean of human life, where, if other explorers have pen. etrated, they have left no track and mapped out no discoveries. Foster possesses the opening mind with the belief that severe thinking on the motives of men, the varying situations of human life, the influences which mold character, and the principles which ought to govern men will always attain results of value and of interest. In his writings we see such results, and the process by which they are reached. And there is in him an intense thirst for knowledge, an affinity for what is spiritual, a keenness of observation, a closeness of reasoning, and a living rigor which give depth and felicity to his style and make his writing continuously trenchant and suggestive. An influence not so radical as Foster's, yet as marked and beneficial, Dr. Dods thinks, is that of Faber, whom he calls an unrivaled spiritual pathologist, to whose scrutiny the whole human subject lies open, and who speaks with his eye steadily on the subject and in one of the most lucid and racy styles ever employed by an English writer, and with the austerity of his judgment relieved by the tender sympathy of a man who knows the infirmities of men and the difficulty of holy living.
Edward A. Freeman, the historian, names as the writers who held him fastest and taught him most in his Oxford days, and sent him farthest on his way to his lifework, Thomas Arnold and Lord Macaulay, of whom he writes :
To me Arnold is not the famous schoolmaster, in which character he has had worshipers enough. Arnold of Rugby was nothing to me. All that I learned from him I should have learned just as well, perhaps better, if he had stayed at Lalebam or at Oriel. But in his character of editor of Thucydides and author of the History of Rome there is no man from whom I learned more. It was not so much particular facts or particular views that I learned from him as something much greater. I learned from him how to use any facts or any views. I learned from him what history was. I learned from bim the truth of the unity of history. I learned from him the folly of the wretched distinctions "ancient," and "mod. ern," and what not, which make true historic learning almost hopeless. As to Lord Macaulay—the History of England did not come out till I had left Oxford, and I doubt if I read the Essays till about the same time; but of the Lays of Ancient Rome–I believe the critics of the grand style call them “pinchbeck," which I fancy is meant to be scornful—I can only say that they are still ringing in my ears with a note as fresh as they had fifty years back. I have said them over on their own ground; I have proved the truth of every epithet ; and now, with the Sicilian deeds of Pyrrhus as my day's work, it is the notes of the “ Proph. ecy of Capys,” which come first home to me at the thought of the Red King” and his bold Epirotes. Still, the Lays are play-work beside the History.
I am told that the matchless writing of Macaulay is nowadays jeered at. I am not sure whether it is allowed to be “style ;” I am not sure whether it is allowed to be "literature." I have now and then made some efforts to find out wbat "style” and “ literature” are. I find that they are something very different from Macaulay, something very different from Arnold, something, I might go on to say, very different from Gibbon. I have tried the writings of a notable “stylist,” the great living model, I am told, of style. Now, did anybody ever have to read over a sentence of Macaulay or of Arnold, or even of the artificial Gibbon, a second time simply in order to find out its meaning? But I found that in my “stylist" a plain man could not make out the meaning of a single sentence without greater pains than are needed to follow an imperfectly known foreign language. A story seemed to be told; but there was no making out whether the story was meant to be fact or fiction. I will not say that I have imitated Macaulay's style, because I gather from what I saw of my “stylist " that Macaulay has no "style.” I have not consciously imitated his manner of writing; that is, I have not tried to write like him. Yet Macaulay's manner of writing has been in the highest measure an influence with me. I have learned from him to say what I mean and to mean what I say—to cut my sentences short-not to be afraid of repeating the same word, not to talk about “the former ” and “the latter," but to call men and things whatever they are. I have learned from him to say what I have to say in the purest, the clearest, the strongest, age, and the most rhythmical, English that I can muster. If my "stylist” is “style," and Lord Macaulay is not "style," a man who wishes to be understood will say something more than "sæpe stylum vertas ; ” he will say good-bye to “style" and stick to plain English.
While the intimate fellowship of great books is to be sought and cherished as most likely to be powerfully stimulative and ennobling, an awakening and empowering influence may often come to the mind from some casual and unexpected source. Philip Gilbert Hamerton has recorded that a few lines in an old number of the Saturday Review gave deep and lasting admonition, correction, and incitement to both his intellectual and his practical life. This is the extract:
It is the slovenliness of men and women which for the most part makes their lives so unsatisfactory. They do not sit at the loom with keen eye and deft finger; but they work listlessly and without a sedulous care to piece together as they best may the broken threads. We are apt to give up work too soon, to suppose that a single breakage has ruined the cloth. The men who get on in the world are not daunted by one nor a thousand breakages.
But it should not be forgotten that life is greater than literature. Sir Walter Besant, after enumerating and characterizing the great books which roused, kindled, moved, and molded him in formative years, concludes with these wise words:
There is, lastly, a Book into which some of us are happily led to look, and to look again, and never to tire of looking. It is the Book of Man. You may open that Book whenever and wherever you find another human voice to answer yours, and another human hand to take in your own. This Book naturally follows the reading of the boy, because all the books that ever were written are only valuable as they help him to read this Book, and to understand the language in which it is written.
THE PHARISEE IN METHODISM. THERE is rapidly developing in our Church a pharisaic school which threatens, if it does not imperil, its ancient life. The secret of the vital. ity of Methodism, its raison d'être, is evangelism. Its mission has not been to define or emphasize any new doctrine or form, but solely to save men from sin. It was at first only a great, throbbing life which broke every band, dogmatic and ecclesiastic, which hindered its passion for souls and its aspiration for holiness. The best periods of its history have been those in which it has been truest to the spirit of its youth, when, shaking off the shackles of ancient usages, it adopted any and every method which it found to be effective, “becoming all things to all men so that it might win some." Its true evolution is the widest liberty in nonessentials, and the greatest diversity in multiplied applications to the spiritual needs of men. Methodism and Formalism, though verbally akin, are spiritually antipodal. If ever the living evangelism of our Church becomes incrusted with inflexible forms, there is no longer any reason for its continued existence. It is a phariseeism which is at once a profession and a grave.
I use the term with no purpose of contemptuous characterization, but because of its historic appropriateness. The Pharisees were the most dignified, learned, and influential religious sect among the Jews in the time of Christ. They took their rise in a determined opposition to the introduction of Greek philosophy and habits in Israel. They were the orthodox party of the country. They stood for the ancient faith. Their moral character was the highest. They were celebrated for the purity of their domestic life, their public morals, and their kindness to the poor. The finest characters of their day were found among them. Hillel, Zacharias, Shammai, Nicodemus, Gamaliel, Saul, were Pharisees. It was a surprise to devout men that Jesus did not himself become a Pharisee. They believed in the same God, the same Scriptures, the same nation. They had a common hope and a common purpose. Yet they were widely and hopelessly asunder. The dividing line was an impassable gulf. Jesus taught the spirit life. That inward life which originally unfolded the law and the prophets was the essential thing. He sought to awaken it in all men, when it would supersede the necessity of any particular rules and would create anew forms best adapted to its growth. The Pharisees, on the other hand, believed that the forms that a holy life once created must forever be lioly, and were the only means to preserve the life. It was the divinity of an expanding life as opposed to the divinity of a rigid form.
The presence of the Pharisee in our Church is seen in many particu