« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
But let a public opinion be created, fostered, maintained. Let preachers preach, and the public demand from the pulpit, the fundamental truths of Christianity. Let clerical offenders be shown the just indignation of honourable men against professing the Creed of a Church which impugns not only their public utterances but their private principles. And the cry of remonstrance will ascend to heaven, and the voice of truth, of reason, of religion and of moderation will ere long be heard. Let the Prayer Book be taken as the standard of doctrine and practice till it be modified; and let such change be duly carried out through the constituted authorities and by the proper forms of law. Let the appeal to history and the Fathers be fairly faced and honestly represented, and the general judgment of antiquity have its due weight in the interpretation of those things on which Scripture is wisely silent. Above all, let the Episcopate be honestly defended as a vital part of our Christian institutions, not on the insane plea of being an essential factor of a revelation from heaven, but on the true ground advanced by Jewell and Hooker, by Laud and Jeremy Taylor, by Bull and Waterland—that of its primitive antiquity in some churches and of a very early antiquity in most; while the merely outward advantage of an apostolical succession is great 'where it may be had.' Of this position the present Archbishop of Canterbury is a steady supporter and worthily upholds the great Hooker, Tillotson and Tait tradition.
Zwinglianism in the countries once ruled by Calvin is fast running to seed. Popery, with its various counterparts and counterfeits, has everywhere degenerated into a weak and silly superstition. It is the province of the English Church to preserve the balance and to hold the mean-not with the calculations of a prudent compromise by which religion is turned, as at Rome and Geneva, into an engine of politics, but with that Christian intuition and nice sense of spiritual perception which can improve on the adage of Terence : Christianus sum. Nihil Christiani a me alienum puto.
'The Church of England is now at the parting of the ways.' Which path will she take? The road to Rome and ruin, against which the genius not only of history but of Christianity cries out? --or the road of reason, of religion, of the Reformation, which after three centuries of uninterrupted prosperity has made us the polestar of Christendom and the envy of the nations? As Döllinger says, the issue will not be doubtful except for those for whom the warning page of history has been written in vain. Πάθει μάθος.
4 Thus in a new and valuable book called Aspects of the Communion, 1911 (Longmans), the reverend author informs us that while Transubstantiation is condemned' by Article xxviii, yet in its more refined and spiritual form it may be held within the Church' (p. 266)! In the same way he evades the Articles and the Black Rubric by allowing 'adoration' of the elements (p. 283). On the other hand, the Bishop of Chester, in his Visitation Charge at his Cathedral in 1908, represented this ‘drifting away from the position of Bishop Bull and our Anglican divines' as a challenge to ' Protestant' feeling, which in its grosser form savours of 'superstition and even idolatry' as exhibited at the late Eucharistic Congress. The Archbishop of Sydney and the Bishop of Manchester have since as courageously and moderately blown the trumpet of alarm.
MRS. JOHN STUART MILL:
A VINDICATION BY HER GRANDDAUGHTER
In an article entitled 'Famous Autobiographies,' by an anonymous writer in the Edinburgh Review for October, certain statements have been made that must have grated upon all admirers of John Stuart Mill, accustomed as they are to pay respect to the memory of the woman whom he loved with unfailing constancy from youth to the day of his death; and also to that of his step-daughter, who, at the sacrifice of her best years, which she had desired to devote to her own chosen career, did her utmost to fill in some measure the void in his life caused by the death of Mrs. Mill, and to assist him in his great and exhausting labours for the good of humanity.
The injustice of the attack made upon Mrs. Mill's memory is shown by the comparison of her with the women of Cellini and Rousseau. That such men should be mentioned in the same breath with Mill in order to compare their love affairs with his attachment to Mrs. Taylor shows clearly the spirit in which the article is written. Cellini's revelation of himself in his autobiography has its chief interest as revealing the strangest union of artistic genius with the lowest depravity and brutality; while the insistent eulogy of the amours of Rousseau in the article alluded to is particularly offensive in connexion with the strictures made on the acknowledged pure relations which existed between Mill and Mrs. Taylor. According to the author of Emile, he had five children by Thérèse, each of whom he secretly consigned to the Foundling Hospital as soon as it was born. This wronged and unfortunate woman, who could neither learn to read, remember the names of the months, nor tell the time from the face of a clock, and whose deficiencies were made an occasion for jesting between him and his friends, is represented by the Edinburgh reviewer as the right helpmeet for Rougseau. But he overshoots the mark when he recommends to a man of distinction like Mill such a type as this for his life companion.
That Mill's literary work was 'vulgarised and enfeebled' by the Taylor influence is an accusation against his wife and stepdaughter which is not supported by a single instance given.
Certainly we cannot take this statement on the mere judgment of the writer, and no one capable of admiring the Liberty and the Subjection of Women will admit it to be other than an impertinence. The sentiment of the latter work was largely inspired by Mrs. John Stuart Mill's warm and far-seeing enthusiasm for the needs and claims of her sex. She at least led this strong masculine mind, already prepared by nature and education for just and noble thoughts, in that particular direction. It was impossible for him to reflect upon the subject of the disabilities of women, amounting, as he says, to 'chains riveted upon the weaker sex,' without desiring to strike a blow at those disabilities.
The remark that no one alive' could have rendered to such great writers as Rousseau, Goethe, and Mill any assistance in the formation and expression of their ideas is a species of intellectual arrogance and conceit of which I venture to say no man of genius would be guilty. The published letters of John Stuart Mill suffer, it appears, from the impression left upon them by Mrs. Mill and Miss Helen Taylor. This critic insists that no man of superior gifts should have a highly educated helpmeet, lest she by her 'flabby views of life '--common result, he says, of high education among women-should exert a vulgarising influence upon him. He goes on to say: 'It is a well-established statistical fact that the average of two characters will always diverge less from the commonplace than a single character.' What is the logical deduction we are expected to make from this last observation? Apparently, that no one ought to influence any one else, lest the individuality of the person influenced should be lessened. Are not all education, literature, and social intercourse means through which characters endeavour to make their influence felt upon others ?
The assertion that 'Mill's fame was made before his marriage and he never afterwards greatly increased it,' is written in utter disregard of the fact that the close intellectual friendship between Mill and Mrs. Taylor had existed for about twenty years before their marriage, which covered only a period of seven years. Unless, therefore, a great man should 'materially increase' his fame every seven years of his intellectual life, we must look for a 'vulgarising and enfeebling' feminine influence.
W. L. Courtney, in his Life of John Stuart Mill, says :
Liberty was planned by Mill and his wife in concert we cannot be wrong in attributing to her [Mrs. Mill] the parentage of one book of Mill, the Subjection of Women. It is true that Mill had before learned that men and women ought to be equal in legal, political, social and domestic relations. ... But Mrs. Taylor had actually written on this point, and the warmth and fervour of Mill's denunciations of women's servitude were unmistakably caught from his wife's views on the practical
disabilities entailed by the feminine position. What his wife really was to Mill we shall perhaps never know. But that she was a natural and vivid force which roused the latent enthusiasm of his nature we have abundant evidence.
Any inferiority which the Edinburgh critic sees in those works which Mill produced after his marriage can be no proof of the deleterious influence of his wife upon his literary output, since while he was writing those books which are here acknowledged to be great he was in close touch with her, at a period when she was even more likely to be of that assistance to him which he declared she was than during the years of her increasing invalidism after their marriage.
Thérèse and Christiane, the women of Rousseau and Goethe, are contrasted for their helpfulness to those great writers with Mrs. Mill and Miss Helen Taylor in their injurious effect on Mill. The former were, we are told, healthy, robust-minded persons, whose outlook on life was free from trepidation or the vacillation which comes from unrealised ambitions and hopes . . . women ... whose whole interest was in domestic life . . whose outlook on life was simple, robust and confident.
Does this writer consider that Thérèse showed that interest' and that ' robust outlook on life’ by submitting, albeit with grief and reluctance, to be deprived of all her children? It was necessary, Rousseau informs us, in order to save her honour. Our critic maintains that in the women of Goethe and Rousseau feminine characteristics predominated, but that highly educated women are apt to lose their femininity. Poor Thérèse! Hers are the womanly charms and outlook, yet she was not allowed the indulgence of her natural tastes; or perhaps the writer thinks that 'domestic life’ for even the most ‘feminine 'woman means simply subservience to the man. But even he might have hesitated to allude to her freedom from the vacillation which comes from unrealised ambitions and hopes.' He proceeds to plead 'that Thérèse, after an association of thirty years with Rousseau, should fall in love with a stable-boy may not be creditable to her, but is powerful evidence of a vigorous vitality’; and to assert that this vigorous vitality'
vigorous vitality' was the best thing for Rousseau, as having an 'invigorating effect
In other words, he looks upon a woman purely as an animal. While fully admitting the unsullied nature of the affection that Mill entertained for Mrs. Taylor, he leads the reader to imagine that, bad this been otherwise, she might then have been able to compete in his estimation with Rousseau's mistress, as producing an 'invigorating effect' on the great man who honoured her with his regard.