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sentence can be spoken aloud. A beginner can seldom manage more than twenty-five words in one sentence with perfect ease. Nearly all young writers, just as men did in the early ages of prose composition, drift into ragged, preposterous, inorganic sentences, without beginning, middle, or end, which they ought to break into two or three. And then they hunt up terms that are fit for science, poetry, or devotion. They affect evolution' and 'factors,' 'the inter-action of forces,' the co-ordination of organs;' or else everything is 'weird,' or opalescent,'' debonair' and 'enamelled,' so that they will not call a spade a spade. I do not say, stick to Saxon words and avoid Latin words as a law of language, because English now consists of both good and plain English prose needs both. We seldom get the highest poetry without a large use of Saxon, and we hardly reach precise and elaborate explanation without Latin terms. Try to turn precise and elaborate explanation into strict Saxon; and then try to turn ‘Our Father which art in Heaven ' into pure Latin words. No! current English prose-not the language of poetry or of prayermust be of both kinds, Saxon and Latin. But, wherever a Saxon word is enough, use it: because if it have all the fulness and the precision you need, it is the more simple, the more direct, the more homely.



Never quote anything that is not apt and new. Those stale citations of well-worn lines give us a cold shudder, as does a pun at a dinner party. A familiar phrase from poetry or Scripture may pass when imbedded in your sentence. But to show it round as a nugget which you have just picked up is the innocent freshman's snare. Never imitate any writer, however good. All imitation in literature is a mischief, as it is in art. A great and popular writer ruins his followers and mimics, as did Raffaelle and Michel Angelo; and when he founds a school of style, he impoverishes literature more than he enriches it. Johnson, Macaulay, Carlyle, Dickens, Ruskin have been the cause of flooding us with cheap copies of their special manner. And even now Meredith, Stevenson, Swinburne, and Pater lead the weak to ape their airs and graces. All imitation in literature is an evil. I say to you, as Mat Arnold said to me (who surely needed no such warning), Flee Carlylese as the very devil!' Yes! flee Carlylese, Ruskinese, Meredithese, and every other ese, past, present, and to come. A writer whose style invites imitation so far falls short of being a true master. He becomes the parent of caricature, and frequently he gives lessons in caricature himself.

Though you must never imitate any writer you may study the best writers with care. And for study choose those who have founded no school, who have no special and imitable style. Read Pascal and Voltaire in French; Swift, Hume, and Goldsmith in English; and of the moderns, I think, Thackeray and Froude. Ruskin is often too rhapsodical for a student; Meredith too whim

sical; Stevenson too precious,' as they love to call it; George Eliot too laboriously enamelled and erudite. When you cannot quietly enjoy a picture for the curiosity aroused by its so-called brushwork,' the painting may be a surprising sleight-of-hand, but is not a masterpiece.

Read Voltaire, Defoe, Swift, Goldsmith, and you will come to understand how the highest charm of words is reached without your being able to trace any special element of charm. The moment you begin to pick out this or that felicity of phrase, this or that sound of music in the words, and directly it strikes you as eloquent, lyrical, pictorial-then the charm is snapped. The style may be fascinating, brilliant, impressive: but it is not perfect.

Of melody in style I have said nothing; nor indeed can anything practical be said. It is a thing infinitely subtle, inexplicable, and rare. If your ear does not hear the false note, the tautophony or the cacophony in the written sentence, as you read it or frame it silently to yourself, and hear it thus inaudibly long before your eye can pick it forth out of the written words, nay, even when the eye fails to localise it by analysis at all-then you have no inborn sense of the melody of words, and be quite sure that you can never acquire it. One living Englishman has it in the highest form; for the melody of Ruskin's prose may be matched with that of Milton and Shelley. I hardly know any other English prose which retains the ring of that ethereal music-echoes of which are more often heard in our poetry than in our prose. Nay, since it is beyond our reach, wholly incommunicable, defiant of analysis and rule, it may be more wise to say no more.

Read Swift, Defoe, Goldsmith, if you care to know what is pure English. I need hardly tell you to read another and a greater Book. The Book which begot English prose still remains its supreme type. The English Bible is the true school of English Literature. It possesses every quality of our language in its highest form-except for scientific precision, practical affairs, and philosophic analysis. It would be ridiculous to write an essay on Metaphysics, a political article, or a novel in the language of the Bible. Indeed, it would be ridiculous to write anything at all in the language of the Bible. But if you care to know the best that our literature can give in simple noble prose-mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Holy Scriptures in the English tongue.


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In this paper I desire to submit to thoughtful and earnest Churchmen the question, whether the time has not come for some more serious consideration and treatment of the growing tendency to unauthorised variations in our Church Service. It has been forced upon us at the present time in an unpleasant and discreditable manner by recent events at St. Ethelburga's, Bishopsgate, St. Cuthbert's, Earl's Court, and elsewhere. Against brawling and disorder in church, public opinion will, I trust, pronounce unhesitatingly; we may reasonably hope that such riots as once disgraced St. George's in the East are absolutely things of the past; we may well rejoice that in the minds of men generally there has grown up a more intelligent and liberal recognition of variety in ritual and ceremonial, which forbids all, except a few fanatics, to raise a 'No Popery' cry on the smallest occasion. But there are thousands of attached members of the Church of England who, while they not only condemn in the strongest terms all violent and disorderly proceedings, but have no sympathy whatever with the narrow and intolerant spirit which manifests itself in them, are yet seriously uneasy as to the obvious disposition in many of our Churches to set aside Church Law in public worship, even where it is plain and unmistakable, and where the refusal to obey it may well have important significance. And the question arises-primarily, indeed, concerning those who are in authority, but in some degree coming home to all ChurchmenWhat are we to say of this, and what are we to do? I do not wish to use strong language, or to exaggerate the gravity of the situation; but it cannot, I think, be ignored or neglected.

(1) That this impatience of strict regulation of law is quite in the fashion of the day-that it falls in with a general tendency in the public tone and feeling of our times-appears plain enough. That tendency can certainly be traced everywhere, alike in domestic, in political, and in social life. Like other such tendencies, it has a mixed origin, partly of evil, partly also of good. It is absolutely an

evil, so far as it is the offspring of pure self-will and self-conceit— unwilling to submit to any restraint or to accept any direction. But it has, I think, very often a far nobler parentage. Men have before them some true and living principles, and they find, or think they find, that law stands in the way of their full realisation. Or they feel the crudeness and imperfection of law, as an exponent of truth and duty, and the danger of its impairing the freedom, which has the vitality and elasticity of the spirit. Seeing clearly that law cannot do everything in the service of good, they rashly draw the inference that it can do nothing; and, under their idea of its comparative uselessness, they naturally yield it but scant obedience. They protest with St. Paul against idolatry of law; but they forget the declaration of his maturest thought, that Law is good, if a man. use it lawfully.'

But, however this may be, I do not think it can well be questioned, that, since the practical failure of certain ritual law-suits, there has been visible in our churches a tendency-exceptional, but not unfrequent, and growing in frequency-to set aside the appointed order of our Church worship; and this, moreover, not where it depends on this or that interpretation of a disputed rubric, or on the decisions of this or that Court, but where it is so plainly written in the Prayer Book, in its text or its rubrics, that its meaning is beyond controversy. On this matter there will be, I think, little difference of opinion, although, perhaps, we may differ much as to the extent and the seriousness of this unauthorised variation. Nor can we fail to see that it is constantly defended on the ground that, if a parish priest and his congregation (who are not necessarily his parishioners) agree on a particular phase of worship and ritual, it is wrong in equity, if not in law, for other Churchmen to complain of this, or for the Bishop to interfere with it. The 'aggrieved parishioner' has passed into a proverb of scorn; the canonical authority of the Bishop is, to say the least, very narrowly limited by those who have promised to obey it. Now this plea for indefinite liberty of variation appears clearly to involve the essential principle of Congregationalism-not even parochialism-in worship. Such Congregationalism is a system perfectly defensible in itself. Nay, it is one which has its advantages, if there be, underlying its variety, a general consenus as to fundamental principles, although to my mind these advantages are very dearly bought. But certainly it is of the very essence of Nonconformity properly so called, and so directly opposed to what has always been the leading principle of worship in the Church of England. There is a curious irony of circumstance in its being sometimes put forward from an extreme High-Church point of view, considering what were the original idea and practice of the great Church movement of this century. If it is to be adopted-if, that is, our whole traditions are to be revolutionised-this ought certainly to be done with our eyes

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open, by some recognised action of authority, and by some overt relaxation or modification of Church law.

Now this unauthorised variation is of two kinds. Sometimes it is made purely with a view to what is thought to be convenient, and likely to conduce to that brightness and freshness which are now almost idolised; and in this phase it is apt to grow into a love of variation for variation's sake. Sometimes it undoubtedly involves principle, and so indicates a certain dissatisfaction with our Prayer Book as it stands-discernible plainly enough in itself, but especially plain to those who have studied its history, and know, therefore, what its present form really means. The two kinds of variation naturally shade into each other; and the latter, which is the more serious variation, constantly defends itself by the existence of the former.

The variation, moreover, has now come to manifest itself, not only in the introduction of unauthorised ceremonial, often of a strange and questionable kind, and in the setting aside of the plain directions of our rubrics, but-what is far more important-in alteration of the substance of our Services, by unauthorised addition or unauthorised omission. I do not inquire whether these alterations are in themselves good or bad—whether the insertions are in the abstract edifying and having the support of Catholic usage, or superstitious and grotesque-whether the omissions involve serious loss or are in themselves a gain. I am only concerned with the fact that they are arbitrary and unauthorised. I do not know that the tendency of which I complain is confined to any one school in the Church, although at this moment it is most prominently brought before us in churches of what is called the Ritualistic type. Nor do I desire to refer to any particular instances of it. But of the fact generally there can be little doubt. There are certainly churches in which not only is the Prayer Book Service overloaded with unauthorised ritual developments, but Services absolutely unauthorised are introduced, and the regular Services mutilated or interpolated with unauthorised material. I have seen, I think, complaints even in the Church Times, that Churchmen-especially old-fashioned Churchmen-are in many cases utterly bewildered and lost in the Services of such churches, and, above all, in that Eucharistic Office which ought to be, from its very sacredness, the least variable and unfamiliar. It is, nodoubt, true that these churches are still exceptional, and, moreover, most often found in great towns, where the attendance of our people is congregational rather than parochial; but I do not think we can doubt that these exceptions are rapidly increasing day by day, and that we can see not unfrequently now what would have been impossible some few years ago.

(2) But is this a condition of things which we can regard with equanimity, or is there in it a serious danger?

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