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us, to continue for a whole volume country from its existing populaon the Service of Man. For, if tion—which would be, we cannot what he says is true, it will be im- but think, from his premisses a practicable to attempt to serve man justifiable and patriotic act. in these islands at least. The most Let not the reader, however, be philanthropic, the most self-devot- deceived. The book which follows ed cannot invent bread and meat, this alarming preface, has in reality or even money, though that is a nothing whatever to do with the less achievement. The only thing Service of Man. It is a direct and indeed which Mr Morison's Servant detailed attack upon Christianity, of Man could do, so far as his sug- which really, if Mr Morison is gestions go, would be to interfere right, is already so feeble that it is somehow with “ the criminality of scarcely worth his trouble to charge producing children.” In this point at it so vehemently. Few or any he finds an apostle in the member persons worth calculating with for Northampton. “Mr Bradlaugh, now thoroughly believe this effete with a courage which will no doubt religion, he tells us. be acknowledged after his death, the way of all the others, the way and when the fight is won, has that every system in its time must borne,” he says, is the penalty of go. The name of the book is justiappearing as a champion of com- fied by the fact that the Service of mon-sense and human wellbeing." God being an exploded possibility,
This is an unsavoury champion to the Service of Man is its appropriate put forward, and it is likewise a successor in the new world. This very unsavoury conclusion which we accept as a natural corollary of makes out that “A and his pro- Mr Morison's views, and are fully lific spouse" are more injurious to prepared to hear how and by what the world than most evil-doers, and nobler ways the new service should that “the barren prostitute" de. be accomplished. All the charities serves better of her country than and tendernesses which were Christhey. These are not pleasant tian may go with their origin : but things to read, nor do they seem what will the new Servants of Man very profitable in the immedi- do? It would be well and wise, ate circumstances. “If only the and indeed it is only just, to tell devastating torrent of children us. If it is a more excellent way, could be arrested for a few years, as we have almost a right to exit would bring untold relief,” our pect, we have a claim upon its prophet says ; but to stop all pro- propounders to make it known to duction in this way for the space us, to show us what, in the withof a dozen years could not avert drawal of all inducements towards a calamity which is so imminent. our old allegiance, the new masThat would be but a drop in the ters recommend and prescribe. ocean of those famishing millions We are aware that they do not inwho must cry for bread in the tend to offer us consolation or props day when a page of the • Times' will which they hold to be imaginary, suffice for the business advertise- such as a supernatural Friend or a ments of London. If it is to be waiting heaven. But at least there over so soon, why pause upon such will be this Service, not unsublime. details? Mr Morison, who is no- The Lord of all Christian souls has thing is not scientific, might with told us that what we do for the least greater effect get up an invasion of of His brethren—that is, for the microbes and bacilli to clear the most insignificant or debased man
- we do for Him. What then shall Christianity having visibly broken we do for man as man, the only down? No, nothing of the sort ; object of sympathy or regard ? But not a word about service at all, Mc Morison has nothing to say on only an elaborate argument to this subject. Either he cannot or he show that Christianity is not conwill not tell us. What is the Ser- solatory, is not moral, is a sort of vice of Man? He knows, perhaps, devil-worship, and has done all the but he does not say. That new and harm possible to humanity. Is splendid work, for splendid surely it this all that Mr Morison and his must be, since it is so much higher friends can do to serve man? than the service of the Christian, We may quote his description of remains in the darkness unrevealed. the manner in which, not ChrisHe can tell us a great deal which tianity, but God, has been cleared indeed it is true we did not know away out of an enlightened world. about the state of our own feelings A glossary of the words which towards the Christian faith. But express this
better knowledge he does not tell us in one single might have been supplied; they particular what he and his en- are not pretty nor very expressive, lightened fellows mean to do for nor are they, we think, English humanity. The book is misnamed: but this is
but this is a small particular; it has nothing whatever to say up
“Now, the conception of God is on the subject it assumes to treat- freely treated by many of the leaders there is not a single piece of infor- of philosophical and scientific opinion mation given, not even a principle as a transitory phase of thought laid down, to show us how the which the growth of knowledge has Servants of Man intend to fulfil finally terminated. The natural histheir mission. The Service of Man tory and evolution of the idea of God evidently, in Mr Morison's eyes, cradle to its grave—from its nascent
is traced in calm outline from its means nothing active, no new and form in Animism to its metaphysical nobler ministration, no help or presentation as an inscrutable First practical efficiency; in short, he Cause, the absolute, unconditioned has nothing at all to say on that and unrelated to the phenomenal subject. All that he has to tell world. The idea of God has been us is about the unsatisfactory, nay,
defecated to a pure transparency, bebasing character of the Service has been deanthropomorphised,' to
as one eminent writer phrases it; it of God.
use the language of another. A new This is surely not what we have and widely current word has been a right to expect from a teacher of invented to designate the large class such pretensions : and one who is of persons (mostly persons of excepneither ashamed of his convictions tional knowledge and ability) who nor afraid to follow them out. So idea of a single divine Being, maker
refuse to entertain any more the strong, so brave, so wise, why is of all things in heaven and earth. he so disingenuous ? A
Agnostics are to be met with on every tional preface, all ready pre- side, the place of honour is given to pared for the big headings of the their articles in the most popular placards—the Black Death—and monthly reviews, and just as in the a Horrible Catastrophe ready to fourth century the mysteries of the overwhelm us before the end of Trinity and the Incarnation were
discussed in the streets of Constantinthe century, and then—what ?--an earnest setting forth of what the tomers, so now at dinner-parties and
ople by shopkeepers and their cusServants of Man are going to do to gatherings of both sexes the existence meet this tremendous emergency, of God emerges from time to time as
a topic of conversation, ending often very cleverly, which is the reason in negative conclusions.”
of that desirable promotion. And It is not an enemy that has said Mr Leslie Stephen writes still this, but Mr James Cotter Morison better, and so does Mr Huxley; himself. The existence of God is a and it is for the propagation of great and tremendous matter; and clever writing and entertaining the men who have succeeded ac- matter, not for the spread of Agcording to their own belief in dis- nostic views, that the monthly proving it, ought to be sensible of reviews exist : all of which facts the gravity of their object. But somewhat lessen the importance there is surely a long step between of the test thus afforded by the that and a place of honour in even success of these gentlemen in dethe most popular of monthly re- molishing Christianity. views—as long a step, we should But, after all, the reviews and have said, as there was once sup- the dinner-parties don't do much posed to be between the sublime for the Service of Man. How do our and the ridiculous. And yet Mr instructors, in the time when they Morison states this great result shall have it all their own way, inwith pride, with an evident con- tend to serve humanity? By stopviction that such an acknowledg- ping “the devastating torrent of ment of his success in his high children” (only not in their own argument is a triumphant one. If families), by “suppressing in some this is not bathos, we do not know effectual way" the bad man, and what is. We might add, that to by training for the uses of life discuss the existence of God at a "only the good sorts, the good dinner-table would be a piece of bad stock, eliminating and discouragtaste and dull perception, to say ing as far as possible the bad. nothing more, which we cannot These suggestions are very sweepimagine possible in any company of ing, very general, very vague. educated English men and women. How are they to be carried out? What ! discuss the profoundest We are told to face them honestly, mysteries of human feeling (to go But how is it to be done? Would no higher) between two entrées, Mr Cotter Morison advocate a amid the cheerful sound of the new Massacre of St Bartholomew, champagne-bottles, in light inter- to be carried out upon the crimichange of lively voices across the nal and profligate classes ? would silver and the flowers? We hope, he suggest making away with the for the sake of the humanity which babies? The laws as at present they pretend to elevate, that even constituted, we fear, would come at the tables of Agnostics this is in his way. And how is he to not so—and we do not believe it secure the good sorts, the good is so, which is more. Certainly stock which alone is worth at decent English boards, among serving? Alas! there are tares in people of beliefs not quite so high- every human field. In the best ly pronounced, we should say such races from generation to generation discussions unknown. We the prodigal will eat husks with leave Mr Cotter Morison his dig- the swine, though he started as nified place in the monthly re- fair as his brother. Is each father views. The first specialist in to be the executioner of his own cricket is as fortunate as he; wild or wicked boy, each mother and perhaps there is something the cutter-off of her selfish or also in the fact that he writes silly daughter ? Our English Ag
nostics may be powerful writers friends had the better of it, and and fine critics, and in great ac- were in a position to condescend. ceptance with the monthly re. It is a gallant thing, no doubt, for views; but they will indeed find a popinjay to attack an eagle, but their work laid out before them if it also a little ridiculous: and they are to change this sorrow- we want a better reason for conful and wonderful earth, full of all sidering the champions of the New those tragic elements which wring to be the final victors than that our hearts, yet give an endless in- they are allowed to talk blasphemy terest above all abstractions to the at dinner-tables, and get their poorest human family, love, pity, articles into the monthly reviews. sorrow, hope_into a perfectly In the meantime it would be well regulated model world all safe and if they would tell us what practical sound in level respectability and work is to follow their adoration self-approval. Mr Morison allows of humanity, and what they mean that already nothing pays so well to do, except talk, for the Service as good behaviour; and we hope of Man. he will ultimately find that this Mr Stebbing's interesting and thoroughly satisfactory inducement valuable book is in some respects
so much better than anything also a misnomer, though in a very offered by the Christian religion, different way from the work of the which curiously has never trained Agnostic prophet. When we hear its children to look out for what speak of • Verdicts Reviewed,' pays — will help him as it ought it is difficult not to take it for to change the aspect of things. It granted that the reviewer also does not matter so much, however, revises and in some important if the Black Death, the collapse of degree alters the decision of hisindustry and capital and everything tory. This, however, is not at all by which we live, is to take place the case in the present volume. by the end of the present century. Scarcely in any instance does Mr Mr Morison is almost as incon- Stebbing change or attempt to sistent in continuing to discuss the change the conclusion come to by cultivation of the best sorts in the the general voice. face of this closely approaching first essay—that upon Shaftesbury catastrophe, as the late Dr (the first of the name)—the introCumming in taking a long lease duction of the subject favours the of his house, when he expected the natural idea. No one of the poliend of the world in a year.
ticians of his corrupt period, he It is time, we think, however, says, “has been so universally to protest against the presumption stigmatised as Anthony Ashley with which this pettiest of all Cooper, first Earl of Shaftesbury petty sects, which has been un- and Lord Chancellor." able even to keep itself together, Posterity has been content to but has split into two in the ear- accept as a judicial conviction the liest beginnings of its career, sets Court poet's magnificent onslaught
on the popular champion. It has up its too-clever handful of professional literary men in opposi- little more than that which is told
not sought for evidence, and knows tion to Christianity as if the party it in Absalom and Achitophel.' was equal—nay, as if our fine Manuals of history inform it in
In the very
1 Some Verdicts of History Reviewed. By William Stebbing. London : John Murray. 1887.
addition that Lord Ashley owns a
tional merits. His failure was due letter in the word 'cabal,' and that as much to the limitation of his Lord Shaftesbury was author of the unscrupulousness as to that itself. Habeas Corpus Act. Some persons He cannot but think he must have are aware of a connection between surveyed his career at its close with him and the ethical philosopher of wonder how a course of political the Characteristics.' They have not maneuvres had landed him in exile, thought enough about it to be amused a suppliant to a State of which, at the opinion of a celebrated Ameri- though it had never harmed him, can authoress that the statesman and he had in the bewiidering tangle of writer are one. In general the name party tactics vowed the extirpation. is passed by without inquiry on the Refugee as he was at his death, and gibbet to which contemporary malev- proclaimed traitor, it is still hard to olence assigned it, with its super- pronounce whether he ever designed scription of low cunning vice, hypoc- a revolution or even an insurrection." risy, and recklessness."
Thus our author holds the balWe conclude that Mr Stebbing
even, a little leaning to will proceed, accordingly, to re- mercy's side, but with none of the habilitate the brilliant, shifty, too zeal which changes the Ethiop's subtle and unscrupulous statesman. skin and the leopard's spots. Mr But he does not in reality do so. He cites certain considerations in broken by the fierce likings and
Stebbing's historical calm is not modification of the blame. He
dislikings which have been known points out the good qualities, the
to move other men.
He inspects perpetual buoyant activity, the his subject with the composure of good sense, the pleasant social
a judge, not the enthusiasm of a gifts, the good-humour and ami
partisan. It is a state of mind ability of his hero. But he can- much more suited to historical innot go further. He allows that
vestigation, but it is perhaps wanthis diaries, letters, and speeches ing in sympathetic influence. There "afford no evidence which can
are two of his studies, however, clear his fame. Their answer is which cannot be said to be wantwholly negative. Not
a spark ing in sympathy. These are the scintillates from them of generous articles Benjamin Franklin self-denial in himself, or admira- and William Cobbett. The men, tion of it in others." Yet there
though they are so different, have are ameliorating circumstances.
yet so much of the humorous ele. “He was no thorough-paced villain, ment in both as to secure his deand he was no patriot. He was lighted interest. This is especially simply a dexterous party leader in the case in respect to Franklin, circumstances demanding rather the who, it is evident, thoroughly character of a demagogue or that of
amuses and pleases his historian. a tyrant, neither of which was he inclined to play. He could not
Nothing can be better than his endure a superior, and scarcely an
account of the English-American, equal. His misfortune was that, like the Colonist-rebel, the statesman his most illustrious predecessor in the of a new empire. The way in guardianship of the Great Seal, he which he comes over, so to speak, was endowed with a burning ambi- to his father's house, like a long-abtion and no enthusiasın of heart, sent son, at first full of enthusiasm, with a quick brain-power and a slow but soon with a certain jealousy, a moral pulse. His crime was that he chose his allies and his causes with a
sense of neglect, a hot sensation of view to their power to promote his having the others preferred to pre-eminence rather than their na- him, and being, indeed, a nobody