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thing, that there are among the serious and sincere those who are beginning to suspect that the New Learning is a good deal of a failure ? It is a singular fact, if it is not a significant one, that the confident pursuit of knowledge has given birth to a school of men who profess to be content to know only that they can know nothing. More noteworthy than the rise of agnosticism, is the disposition to-day, unmistakably manifested in certain quarters, to discredit modern accomplishments, and to return to the mediaval. Evidence of this in art is given by the pre-Raphaelite movement, by the growing influence of the classic school in architecture and by the romantic revival in literature; and in religion, by the Catholic revival on one side, and on the other the reproduction of the Greek theology. The real thinkers to-day are not talking about new thought. The really advancing are not singing hymns to progress, but the situation has a certain irony and delicate pathos) are trying to discover whether there be such a thing as progress. Incomplete, on the verge of its greatest triumphs, the New Learning has lost very much of its steadiness, its soberness, its trustworthiness; it has become largely frivolous.
But now when we ask why it has become frivolous, we confront again the phenomenon which I have deprecated—the disposition to separate Truth and Life. Why is our latest learning empty and vain and mad ? Because it has become an eagerness for knowledge, considered merely as a pleasantly exciting novelty; instead of (what it should be) an enthusiasm for Truth as a divine law to be loved and obeyed. To know the Truth and not to do it, is to derange and mutilate the human mind, body and soul. God has so ordered the world and so framed man, that perception without application is constitutionally injurious. Nothing is more certain than this; it is a commonplace of philosophy; it is illustrated by the effect of music and of all physical, mental, and spiritual stimulants. For perfect sanity and health, perception and action, seeing and doing, knowledge and obedience, must go hand in hand.
Now, I do not accuse the prevailing intellectual activity of being ignorant. It gives us no little interesting information; it is entertaining; its announcements are faintly thrilling, and, I doubt not, for the most part true enough. But at the best they are only interesting and clever. I fault it because it has nothing for us but these nice, exhilarating, clever things. I suspect it because it gives us too many men who consider they have done a day's work if they have made an epigram; I suspect it because it knows more of the construction of the Elizabethan proscenium than it knows of the human tragedy of to-day; because it has more energy for a study of the philosophy of the comic in fiction and the drama than it has for the wiping away the tears of living men and women.
Oh! it has studied modern society-and from more such studies God defend us! It knows scientifically every sort of character that walks the streets or stands in drawingrooms.
It has watched the interesting phenomena of their consciences and their hearts; it has measured and analyzed their agonies, and has gathered much data most useful in supplying us with decorative and becoming emotions. But what does it all come to ? Who acts? Who takes the revelations of the modern novel home to himself ? The case is by no means new.
It is as old as the New Learning. The earliest representatives of the movement were Pius II., Sixtus IV., Julius II., Alexander VI.,monsters under the tiara. Its first patrons were the Medicis and the Borgias. It had in those days its Marcilio Facino who hung a lamp alike before Plato and the Blessed Virgin, its Cardinal Bempo who declined to read the New Testament for fear of corrupting the elegance of his Greek. While Wiclif was translating the Bible, Boccaccio was penning the Decameron; while the knightliest of men was recording the fair dream of Utopia, the most depraved of politicians was writing the Principe. The fact is, progress in learning by no means goes hand in hand with triumphant morality. Increasing wisdom, culture, love of the Beautiful and interest in unfolding Truth do not of necessity imply higher living. I forget for the moment the deeper truth that to know truly is to do truly, and that that is not Knowledge which has not passed into Life, and I say this. Deeply considered, all wrong living is from lack of knowledge; sin is essentially error, and the evil-lived Humanists were not wise.
I lay this consideration momentarily aside, and I say that it is a commonplace among those who reflect upon the phenomena of human life, that there is a learning which exhilarates and tickles the brain, but makes no appeal to the will; that there is a disposition to be interested in Truth as
an abstraction unrelated to the concrete duties of life. I have not meant to exaggerate the degree in which this modern day yields to that disposition. The form of my arraignment may have been too severe, but no observing person will charge that it is groundless. Our devotion to Truth to-day is sincere; our zeal for scientific accuracy is great; our tastes are delicately correct; our emotions are carefully trained. We know the poems, the pictures, the sentiments, we ought to admire, and the degree to which we ought to admire