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breathing, and no mere philologist can explain it away. Mr. Arnold is on much firmer ground when he deals with the historic materials for the life of Christ. “ The record,” he says, “ when we first get it, has passed through at least half a century or more of oral tradition, and through more than one written account.” Mr. Arnold's view, and since his time the learned Professor Harnack's view, of the Fourth Gospel is that St. John was the original source from which the sayings attributed to Christ in it come, but that he did not write the Gospel, that he was not responsible for the form of it, and that spurious sayings, or logia, of Christ were mixed up with those which are genuine. “We might,” says Mr. Arnold, “ go through the Fourth Gospel chapter by chapter, and endeavour

assign to each and all of the logia in it their right character—to determine what in them is probably Jesus, and what is the combining, repeating, and expanding Greek editor. But this would be foreign to our object.” Vigorous and rigorous enough. But nobody, not even Professor Harnack, can know as much as that. This Greek editor is an imaginary personage. He may have existed, or he may not. Mr. Arnold's service to Biblical criticism lies not in inventing him, but in showing how much more the interpretation of the Bible is a literary than a metaphysical task.

Last Essays on Church and Religion (1877) do what their name implies. They close the chapter of Mr. Arnold's theology, and may fitly close this chapter of mine. They are chiefly interesting for a thoughtful and appropriate study of Bishop Butler, originally delivered in the form of two lectures to the Philosophical Institution at Edinburgh. The effect of these essays upon my mind is not precisely what Mr. Arnold intended it to be. “Bishop Butler and the Zeit-Geist” he called them. The Zeit-Geist in Mr. Arnold's hands, like the "Être Suprême” in Robespierre's, began to be a bore. The picture of the great Bishop, or rather of the great man who happened to be a Bishop, drawn with Mr. Arnold's winning and prepossessing grace, allures and at the same time awes the beholder. It helps me at least to understand the supremacy of Butler at Oxford in Mr. Arnold's time, and in Mr. Gladstone's. True it is that Butler did not grapple, did not pretend to grapple, with the root of the question. He assumed not merely the existence of God, but the existence of a future life. He laid himself open to the logically unanswerable reply of Hume, that more cannot be put into the conclusion than is contained in the premisses, and that therefore a world constructed by analogy cannot be better than this, though it may be as good. It is possible that Butler has made other people atheists besides James Mill. Mr. Arnold says, truly enough, that the Analogy was aimed at the mob of freethinkers and loose livers who frequented Queen Caroline's routs, to whom Shaftesbury's Characteristics were the last word of philosophy. But if we put aside all that, what a wonderful figure remains. “To me," says Mr. Goldwin Smith, “an episcopal philosopher is a philosopher and nothing more; a dead bishop is a dead man.” Granted. But what a man, and what a philosopher, is Butler. He walked through the gay throng at St. James's, he preached to the fashionable congregation at the Rolls' Chapel like a being from another world. He paid

them no compliments. He offered them no congratulations. He told them the realities of things. “Things are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be; why then should we desire to be deceived ?" Like Pascal, he was profoundly impressed with the littleness of human nature, and the vanity of all earthly concerns. He exposed with pitiless accuracy the springs and motives of men's conduct. Without a trace of humour, he made frivolity ridiculous. He almost worshipped reason. Reason, he said, was the only faculty by which we could judge the claims even of Revelation itself. Yet this cold, passionless critic was full of benevolence, abounding in charity to the poor, and so devoted to works of mystical piety that he earned, or at least acquired, the reputation of a Papist. But this is not a life of Bishop Butler.

In the preface to this volume Mr. Arnold is more than usually explicit about his own creed. “I believe,” he says, "that Christianity will survive because of its natural truth. Those who fancied that they had done with it, those who had thrown it aside because what was presented to them under its name was so unreceivable, will have to return to it again, and to learn it better." He pleads eloquently for some great soul” to arise, and purge the ore of Christianity from the dross. “But," as he adds somewhat bitterly, “ to rule over the moment and the credulous has more attraction than to work for the future and the sane." It is, however, sometimes rather difficult to know what he would be at. For in his address to the London clergy at Sion College he gravely argues that the State should adopt "some form of religion or other — that which seems best suited to the majority.” The London clergy showed him no little kindness, and politely made as though they agreed with him. But they must have been a little staggered by this Parliamentary view of the faith. It reminds one of the American who said, in the course of a discussion upon eternal punishment, “ Well, all I can say is, that our people would never stand it."

A higher conception of the Established Church may be found on page 37 of these Essays, where he says that it is to be considered as a national Christian society for the promotion of goodness, to which a man cannot but wish well, and in which he might rejoice to minister.” Mr. Arnold did not write for those who were satisfied with the popular theology. He wrote for those who were not. His object was not to disturb any one's faith, but to convince those who could not believe in the performance of miracles, or the fulfilment of prophecies, that they need not therefore become materialists. He could quote many texts on his side, as for instance, “Except I do signs and wonders ye will not believe,” and “The Kingdom of God is within you.” The occasional flippancy of Literature and Dogma, however deplorable, is a small thing compared with the warfare against ignorance and grossness which Mr. Arnold never ceased to wage.

CHAPTER XII

MR. ARNOLD'S POLITICS

In politics Matthew Arnold was a Liberal Conservative, which, as Lord John Russell remarked, says in seven syllables what Whig says in one. His patron, Lord Lansdowne, was a Whig of the purest water, equally afraid of moving and of standing still. Mr. Arnold himself was never a candidate for Parliament. Even if he had been disposed to take part in the “Thyestean banquet of clap-trap,” his position as a member of the Civil Service would have prevented him. But his practical interest in politics, always keen, increased with age, and during the year before his death he contributed to the Nineteenth Century a series of articles on the Session of 1887. When he left off dabbling in theology, politics absorbed him more and more. They promised quicker returns. “Perhaps,” he wrote to Mr. Grant Duff, on the 22nd of August 1879,“ perhaps we shall end our days in the tail of a rising current of popular religion, both ritual and dogmatic With that feeling, which I suspect was stronger than the expression of it, Mr. Arnold turned to more mundane matters. No one knew better how to deliver himself, as Shakespeare says, like a man of this world. His long experience of official work had made him thoroughly practical. He had received from nature a keen eye for the central point of a case, and a power

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