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It was not strange that men like Disraeli and Palmerston, who did not think a conscience paid for its keeping, were amazed at his course. For if they had any convictions, except the one cherished motto, "To be all things to all men, if by any possibility we may gain something," nobody ever knew what their convictions and principles were, least of all themselves. To part company from his constituencies and his colleagues in Parliament cost him many a pang; and some of his saddest plaints were his parting addresses to those boroughs which once sought, and afterwards rejected him, as their representative. But, as between conscience in one end of the balance and political honors, friendships, or even reputation for consistency, in the other, these would not have the weight of a feather. The seer of human nature said,
"Set honor in one eye and death i' the other
Substitute "conscience" for "honor," and this would apply to Gladstone in every part of his life, public or private, even to the minutest action. Thus he was always an enigma to such men as Derby, Cobden, Hartington, Lowe, or even to Russell and Bright. They thought it the very essence of political life to observe the way the popular wind blew; and, therefore, it was folly to stickle for matters to be decided by utility or policy. With these two eyes they thought it possible to see both ways; but he with one, that is, conscience as the rule of life, saw more than they with two. Yet those who with fancied stereoscopic power make the photographs of wire-pulling and straightforward dealing blend into one solid picture of righteousness, effect only a blur, and render life not worth living.
Nothing better illustrates the fixed trend of Mr. Gladstone's mind than his last great undertaking, the edition of Bishop Butler's works. This author will be known through all time as the one who brought into clear prominence the doctrine of the "Supremacy of Conscience." Both the Analogy" and the "Sermons," particularly the latter, teach this more than any other doctrine; and it is not too much to say that Butler appeals to his Editor's true character more than any other uninspired author. And it is eminently fitting that the greatest statesman, scholar, and man of affairs should give his maturest powers to the editing of the noblest work ever written in the English language.
We leave McCarthy's "Story" with the feeling of profound gratitude to the biographer for giving us such a clear, lifelike, and, in the main, fair delineation of the life of the most renowned Englishman of any age. We could wish that he had made the literary and religious life of his subject more prominent. But, from the employments of Mr. McCarthy as a professed politician and a writer somewhat of the Bohemian sort, this was scarcely to be expected. Admirers of Mr. Gladstone's religious character will have "to read between the lines" of this charming narrative. There is enough given them that, by a little use of the imagina
tion, they can form a perfect picture in this aspect of his life. The constant marvel is that he can be so great and in so many lines of thought and action. For he appears as a man of the highest order in human nature, no matter in what light we view his wonderful personality.
SINCE the above was in type the sun has set. There was the Divine light at the eventide as there had been during life's long day. The "Amen," in response to the Service for the Dying, was a fit ending for the voice which had always plead that the will of God might be done. The finish was as beautiful as the preceding course in life's struggle had been brave; and we can in our souls hear the plaudit: "Well done, good and faithful servant!" There is nothing to be desired but that he might have been spared the long agony of his terrible disease. Perhaps it was necessary that he should "be made perfect through suffering," the keenest that ever separates the soul from the body; and that he might give an example of uncomplaining endurance in physical pain, as he had so often in mental distress when hounded by ungrateful men. The discordant voice of invective was hushed while the world waited and prayed around the sick couch at Hawarden. All recognized at last the sublimity of that character which for half a century had directed, and the transcendent genius which had devised, those measures which will have a wider and more permanent influence for good than those of any other mere man in the world's history. He showed by an illustration, beforė which pessimism and agnosticism must be dumb, that life is worth living. For though few, if any, are endowed with such forces of heart and brain, yet all can be strong by laying hold of that Strength in whose might he battled; and can conquer in the Name which implanted his conscience.
The charm of that voice in the Senate or on the Hustings, whether pleading in the Forum for the rights of man, swelling the Psalm in church, or enlivening the social gathering, will be heard no more. The pen which illustrated classic literature, or taught statecraft; which could turn out a Greek epigram, or explain the profound truths of the Moral Law, is stilled forever. But the forces which he started will work on irresistibly, as the beneficent powers of Nature which act unseen and renew the face of the earth with heavenly beauty. Whether we consider the mental or bodily strength with which he was endowed, the marvelous culture which he imbibed from every source, the prolonged energy and industry with which he wrought for every interest dear to man, the unsullied purity of his character and unswerving devotion to duty, we find few, if any, peers; and certainly no superior. His magnanimity to his opponents equaled his devotion to his followers; his modesty in imparting knowledge surpassed, if that were possible, its boundless wealth. The world feels itself poorer at his departure. Though dowered by his legacies of speech and writing, it will miss the witchery of a presence
which quickened with light and warmth every interest bound up in its advancement. Three hundred years ago the seer foresaw him in his "mind's eye," and uttered the prophecy which now has had its fulfill
"He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again."
THE DRAMATIC QUALITIES OF THE BOOK OF ACTS. THE book of the Acts of the Apostles is a history. It is, however, highly artistic in structure. It has to a notable degree certain qualities of the drama. Its name allies it to drama, for drama has for its distinctive field the representation of action. The word "drama" is from a Greek word meaning "an act." An essential feature in drama is a plot -a unity binding all acts and events together. The book of the Acts has this feature as distinctly as any drama ever written.
The first fourteen verses correspond to the prologue characteristic of drama, containing, as usual, introductory statements, including "the plot." Comparison may be made, from the "Prometheus Bound" of Eschylus to Shakespeare's Henry VIII. In the opening of 'this book is found something like the dramatist personae which appears at the opening of dramas. The gist of "the plot" is in the eighth verse, 'Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa and Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth." No drama holds to its plot with more artistic effect than does the book of Acts to the working out of this announcement. As the history proceeds, actors and their doings are brought forward and dropped according to their relation to this unifying utterance. Over and over the speech or event is brought to a head in the word "witness," and the Holy Spirit is never lost sight of as the empowering agency. The development of the widening range of witnessbearing is held to throughout in strict conformity to "the plot." The first seven chapters are given to scenes in Jerusalem. In the opening of the eighth chapter "they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judæa and Samaria," and "went everywhere preaching the word." The transformation of Peter comes next, and his consequent witness-bearing to Gentiles (x. 39, 41). All this is highly dramatic in its scenic setting. Peter's part in the book culminates in his conclusive speech before the Jerusalem council, and his disappearance is marked by the midnight scene of escape from prison, the knock at the securely closed door of the prayer-meeting, and the overjoyed Rhoda within running to tell the praying band while "Peter continued knocking"! Could anything be more artistic than this narrative, or could there be a more dramatic incident fixed upon to mark disappearance from the scenes?
Meanwhile Saul has been introduced gradually, in a most skillful way from a dramatic point of view. With the disappearance of Peter, Barnabas and Saul” (Barnabas being always first named for a time) start by direction of the Holy Spirit on a witness-bearing tour of still wider range than Peter's. Saul is presently called Paul without a word of explanation. The introduction of the changed name is timed with such artistic precision as to register the dramatic development to a nicety. For a little it is "Barnabas and Paul" and "Paul and Barnabas" interchangeably. Then they separate, Barnabas disappears, Paul has his vision of the man of Macedonia calling him to Europe. It is set in order as finely as fiction could be set. Paul's tours absorb all attention thereafter, without a break. The star has been on the stage in reserve from the time he stood aside as a young man guarding the clothes of a mob; now he commands all eyes by the royal grandeur of devoted deeds.
Paul's missionary tours are as romantic in the setting given them, as the dramatized history of Shakespeare's pages. His speeches and the scenes of their making are given in such picturesque form, that they would charm an audience if reproduced to-day. His "I appeal unto Caesar," comes just in time to carry out “the plot" by heading off the inclination to release him. The governor's "Unto Caesar shalt thou go," fixes the trend of events. Could this crisis be more dramatic in its setting? Then through what scenes, historic of course, but described with the most artistic attentiveness to "the plot," does Paul at last reach Rome! The introductory scene in that city is given. He is "persuading them concerning Jesus." Abruptly the book closes. The plot is completed. In the metropolis of the world-empire the word is fulfilled, "Ye shall be my witnesses."
A fact pointing to the dramatic structure of this book is that it readily falls into parts bearing a relation to the whole like that of the acts of a drama. The scenes of the first seven chapters are laid in Jerusalem, and close with the tragic death of Stephen. The next five chapters are laid in Judæa and Samaria, center about Peter, and close with his disappearThe third act, if one may so speak, is laid in a still widening field, showing Barnabas and Paul in Asia Minor, closing with the disappearance of Barnabas, and Paul's vision of the man of Macedonia calling him to Europe. The fourth ends with the final arrest of Paul at Jerusalem after his preaching in Europe as far as Athens and Corinth. In the fifth part is that splendid series of scenes and speeches culminating in the dauntless preacher's establishment in Rome.
A most important item in the evidence of dramatic structure, is that the speeches are constantly in direct discourse. The narrative usually does little more than make up the circumstantial setting and connect the shifting scenes and appropriate speeches, very much as the stage directions do in an actual drama. A good example of the artistic character of this speech-making in the first person, is in chapter second, where
the multitude present on Pentecost is made to rehearse a list of seventeen names descriptive of its motley make-up, closing with the words, "We do hear them speak in our own tongues the mighty works of God." It makes one think of the utterances of the chorus in a Greek drama. Yet what actually occurred is plainly seen.
One more most interesting bit of evidence may be mentioned. At Stephen's stoning, they laid their garments at the feet of "a young man named Saul." When it is remembered that this was written when Saul was the great Paul, known throughout the churches as probably no other man was, the artistic quality is seen to be very pronounced in this nicety in keeping the perspective. How fine is the dramatic quality of the single remark in closing the scene: "And Saul was consenting unto his death." Why mention that of "a young man named Saul," who stood looking on? It is clearly a dramatic touch.
I am not able to name out of all prose literature the equal of this book in such literary qualities. In view of these, its exact adherence to the style and subject-matter of veritable history makes this book a literary rarity, as unique in its type as it is choice in its execution.
FALL RIVER, MASS.
THE HIGHER CRITICISM APPLIED TO A MODERN
IN this note I endeavor to apply the critical principles with which we are familiar, when applied to "the Hexateuch," to a well-known ode of the poet Burns. I shall endeavor to show that it must have proceeded from at least two " sources," with a probable admixture by a third hand in the last stanza, which, after approved precedent, I venture to ascribe to a "compiler," who "appears to have introduced slight additions of his own." I shall distinguish the sources as B' and B2, and the compiler as C. The ode consists of nine stanzas, and it will be seen at a glance that the principal line of demarcation falls after the fifth of these. The first five I assign to B', the next three unhesitatingly to B2, while of the last I speak with more reserve, and leave to more curious and minute critics the question, in what proportions it is to be divided between B2 and C. I fear I shall hardly make my remarks intelligible without a transcript of the greater part of the poem, which, happily, is not long.
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,
ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH, IN APRIL, 1786.
Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower,
Thou 's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my power,
VOL. LV. No. 219. II
Thou bonny gem.