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what the eye can see, the ear can listen to, or the hand can touch. His main business is with the good or bad actiny that has taken place in the world, not so much with the actors. surface deed, and the surface motive, are vividly before you; but rarely does he disclose to you anything more latent. With Sir James Stephen, however, it is not so. He must descend deeper, and as the consequence he must ascend higher. The more he sees of what man has done, the more earnest becomes his inquiry as to what man is; and the more he explores the chambers of the human spirit, the stronger is the feeling which impels him to ascend to the oracle of a higher Spirit, and to ask grave questions THERE. In this fact we have our explanation of the circumstance that the department of reading and authorship on which Sir James Stephen has bestowed the greatest attention, viz., the lives of religious men as such, is that on which Mr. Macaulay would appear to have bestowed the least. Of course, it is manifest enough, that the author of the memorable papers in the Edinburgh Review on Ranke's Lives of the Popes, and on Lord Bacon, must have read considerably both in the history of the Church and in the bistory of philosophy. But it is no less clear, that, from some cause, Mr. Macaulay has the power of treating even such themes, so as to be capable of infusing into them an extraordinary energy, and of throwing over them an extraordinary brilliancy; and, at the same time, a manner which leaves all the vital questions that should be suggested by them wholly untouched. The pictures which pass before you are pictures of things as they are, not of things as they ought to be. Not that this is consciously done. Mr. Macaulay's sympathies are generous and noble. In so far as he is at all a teacher, his teaching is of admirable quality; but his bias is, as we have said on a former occasion, to sink the instructor in the painter, the prophet in the artist.

But all sins, even the sins of omission, are retributive. The man who contents himself with being merely artistic, will not rise to the highest eminence even as an artist. Man is not a being of intellect only. He is a moral and religious being. This is to be remembered by those who would discourse of him with the desired fulness, or to him with the desired effect. The artist, speaking to us from the marble, the canvas, or through human speech, must know humanity-know it, and have strong sympathy with it in its highest forms of spiritual beauty and sublimity, if he would depict it effectively iu those forms. It is not too much to say, that the degree in which men of genius have failed in their aspirations has resulted more from their want of goodness, than from their want of genius. If Milton

had not felt how awful goodness is, his description of it would never have been given to us. So in a thousand instances beside.

Herein lies the difference between what is called Christian art and Pagan art. Christianity presents manifestations of beauty and greatness other than are found elsewhere, and higher than are found elsewhere; and the artist who would depict them truly, must have come so far under their influence as to have felt their attraction, so as to have been fascinated, as it were, into the study of them. That he should fail in such attempts it is not necessary that he should be a bad man,-it is enough that he is not a good man, and that somewhat in the Christian sense of goodness. This new beauty and new greatness, which came to humanity nearly two thousand years since, have never ceased to be part of it-the purer, the nobler, the progressive part of it.

Nothing is farther from our thought than to say, that men of Mr. Macaulay's powers should never give themselves to writing without intending to preach. We have no such meaning. Goethe is not a person to be classed among saints; but he appears to have had his seasons in which he came under the ⚫ influence of all good along with all evil, and to have concentrated his thought intensely, at intervals, on both. As the result, his estimate of religion in its relation to humanity was such as to dispose him to assign to its subtle, complex, and powerful influence, a large space in every development of man. In his view, to ignore religion in man was to ignore the most potent and productive element of his nature; and to ignore the Christian religion, was to ignore the religious as diffusing its creative and its formative power over all things human in the highest degree.

In touching thus far on the defective in these respects, so observable in the writings of Mr. Macaulay, we are not influenced by a shade of unfriendly feeling towards him. We simply regret that, with powers so extraordinary, he should content himself, in the main, with themes so ordinary; that, possessing so much of the genius of the artist, the art, after all, should not be of that higher description towards which such genius should aspire. Nothing can exceed the vividness with which he depicts characters and manners within the limits which he has prescribed to himself. But his success within those limits appears to have become his snare. It seems to have precluded him from aiming at anything higher. His latest efforts are simply repetitions of his earliest. The material or the subject changes, but the handicraft brought to it is everywhere the same. The manner natural to him from the first was singularly


adapted to startle and fascinate, and to the present moment he would seem to have been distrustful of all change. Now we admire Mr. Macaulay's force quite as much, we think, as our neighbours, but we do at times feel the want of a little more discrimination. We are as sensible, we think, as we ought to be to his brilliancy, but there are moments in which we feel obliged to suspect that the patient scrutiny has not been such as to ensure that it is all gold that glitters. We never cease to be charmed with his rhetoric-with the pith sometimes concentrated in a single word, with the point given to an antithesis, and with the mighty sweep of the invective; but the drawback lies in our distrust as to the exact truth of what is thrown off in terms so unmitigated, so absolute. It is true, the man who must discriminate is in danger of becoming dull; and the man who would be profound will be sometimes obscure; while the man who resolves that his rhetoric shall be so curbed and attempered as to become a vehicle fitted to convey all the nicer shades of truth, is likely to move at a pace not quite so swift as the wings of the wind;—and with Mr. Macaulay, to be dull, to be obscure, to move slowly, would appear to be the sin of all sins in authorship-the sin never to be forgiven.

Nevertheless, discrimination there must be, thoroughness there must be, and a cautious accuracy there must be, in the historian who aspires to be a guide to the wise, an authority to the just, a model to the truthful. We are sorry to say, however, that history, as it comes to us from the pen of Mr. Macaulay, is not a little wanting in these higher qualities. It is true, readers who read little history beside, will read it as given to them by him; but we venture to affirm, that few men of the class whose opinions Mr. Macaulay himself would most value, ever think of looking to his historical portraitures for anything more than an approach towards the exact truth. The great outline may be in the main correct, and the impression conveyed by it may be in the main a just impression; but to feel that as you descend from the outline to the filling up, your every step becomes uncertain, and that as you test the impression you have received, it proves to be in great part vague and unauthenticated, because your knowledge has been of that nature, is not very satisfactory. As this process of discovery goes on, sense of obligation to your guide naturally diminishes. You have ever to bear in mind, that, from the fear of becoming tedious, he rarely gives you the whole truth; and that from the ardour of his sympathy with the bold and the dramatic, he is always liable to be betrayed into exaggeration.

Mr. Macaulay predicted, long since, that were the history of

England written according to his conception of the manner in which it should be written, people would flock for it to the circulating libraries as for the last new novel. History has since been written after this conception; and it must be admitted that the prophecy has been fulfilled. But did it never occur to Mr. Macaulay to ask whether history be really a subject which, from its own nature, can be successfully treated after this manner? No doubt the history of the English bar, or of the English parliament, would afford a field for much picturesque description, and much eloquent discourse, to any gifted man; but could the history of either be made to present the facts, the discriminations, the reasonings, proper to a history, and be still a book to attract crowds to the circulating-libraries? We need not attempt to answer the question. It is very much thus with the History of England. Lectures or orations upon history may be made to take with them all the attraction predicted by Mr. Macaulay; but we feel bound to think that it is not possible that history proper should be made to serve two masters in the manner attempted by him. History which people crowd after as for the last new novel, cannot be history of the kind to be highly prized where there is a just perception as to the nature of history. It may be rich in all the effulgence of genius-as everything Mr. Macaulay does is sure to be-but to be the popular affair which he would make it, the true idea of history must be relinquished, and powerful writing on the more salient or dramatic points of history must be substituted in its room.

Our strictures on Mr. Macaulay have reached to a greater length than we had intended; but the reader will see how this has happened. It has resulted from that association of ideas which Aristotle tells us is equally affected by the laws of resemblance and contrast.

Sir James Stephen, in common with his friend, is desirous of writing, not for scholars merely, but for the community. Hence, from his pen also, history has hitherto consisted not so much of history proper, as of résumés of history-of discourses upon it. He has had a similar dread of being found tedious, or dull, and has aimed with a similar steadiness of purpose to secure attention from people not largely endowed with that power, by giving his broad sketches of the past more in the style of the orator than in that of the historian, and by throwing a pictorial, a dramatic, and sometimes a poetic richness over his fields of thought. But with these indications in common, Sir James's narrative, especially in the volumes now before us, exhibits more discrimination, more fulness, more simplicity, thinking much more carefully wrought out, and feeling much riper, than we find in Mr. Macaulay. That



he might diffuse these qualities through his writings, he has been prepared to hazard some loss in the way of popularity. In passionate mental force, Sir James does not rival Mr. Macaulay; but his mind is of greater depth, and, taken as a whole, of richer combinations. In the volumes before us there are passages which, as examples of condensed power, and of clearness and vigour in expression, could not be surpassed; but it is not the manner of the author to put himself upon the strain for effect in this form. If he is to be a favourite with the community, it must be, in a good degree, on his own terms. He is not unwilling to be a popular writer, but he must, at the same time, be the scholar, the philosopher, the Christian. He has all the humane feeling of Mr. Macaulay, and more than all, but it is more quiet, more courtly; it is feeling which prompts to caution more often than to boldness. It is in him, not an occasional force, so much as a mellowed habit. It has disposed him to look with a very large charity on many who have aberrated the most widely from a wisdom and self-government like his own. This feeling, indeed, together with his love of the artistic, has led him, we think, in some cases, to pass somewhat lightly over evils that he should have branded, and to convey a general impression in respect to certain men and systems greatly more favourable than truth would warrant. Some of his ecclesiastical biographies are, in our judgment, open to strong exception of this kind. Neither the Roman system, nor Roman saints, are entitled to anything like the leniency he has shown them. That system has ever been, in the main, a great, a most corrupting lie; and never more so than at this hour. In many places it is as sensuous as it ever was; and everywhere it is, in its general development, the ambitious, pitiless, denaturalizing, jesuitical thing it has ever been.

Nevertheless, the works of Sir James Stephen have a place of their own among us. His ecclesiastical biographies do not come up to the standard of genuine history so nearly as the chapters of Mr. Hallam. But in the lectures before us we have a fulness and a discrimination often reminding us of that distinguished writer, and this allied generally with a fluency, a force, and an eloquence of style such as Mr. Hallam rarely exhibits. They are in our literature what the lectures of Guizot, and other eminent men, have become in French literature. In the manner of those writers, Sir James Stephen has contented himself with a general reference to the authors whom he has taken chiefly as his guides. We regret this, because, though the custom of giving references at the foot of the page is often overdone among our German neighbours, and not always honestly done among

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