Page images
[blocks in formation]

speak), they saw not those grand and fearful truths lying at the bottom of our nature, and which have been alone harmonised by the incarnation of the eternal Aóryos. Some of the Easterns, with various degrees of distinctness, and the Italian philosophers, with more closeness of reasoning and regard to practical life, saw these truths, and steadfastly looked at them. The writings of Plato show the utmost they could do, not possessing those blessed lights of Revelation which God has vouchsafed to us.

I am very much interested with your remarks on Euripides, and the passage you point out is a perfect

I go the full length with you in admiring it. I have not read one play, or even one page

of Euripides. By the will of God I hope to do him' at some future time. Mind you begin Plato with Gorgias, then Phædo, and then Parmenides, and then Phædrus. I have not read further myself, but I am sure this is the right order.-— Most sincerely yours,



MAGDALEN HALL, February 3rd, 1840. MY DEAR STRACHEY,—There seems to be a very pleasant lot of men at the Hall, and a sufficient number of those who are of advanced age. I am quite optimistic as to my present position, as it regards the outward man in the University; Oxford is the best University that is, if not, that might be, Magdalen Hall is the best place in Oxford, and my lodgings are the best near Magdalen Hall. No College or Hall at present stands so high for scholarship as Magdalen Hall, still you know the scholarship is not such as you and I should choose. We assembled


only on Saturday, and I suppose lectures will not commence till the day after to-morrow; I have not therefore much to say to you respecting a college life. Since I have been here I have been reading by myself, and have led a hermit life except at dinner, when I have dined with the few men that have been at the Hall. I have only been dissatisfied with one thing in particular, which is, that all of us who matriculate above twenty-five years of age are constrained to be gentlemen commoners, and are distinguished by a silk gown and a velvet cap, and dine

, at a separate table. I care less about this being a miserable satire upon the position and pocket, than that it prevents us from immediately and completely feeling ourselves to be one of the society of which we are members, and unseasonably reminds us of our age. You, on many accounts, would not perhaps be so sensible of this as I am. But after beating about in the every-day world and working for one's bread, it needs an effort to feel that one has really become a member of a University, and this effort is enhanced by the aforesaid distinction. I have, however, to thank God for a thousand helps to this feeling, tending, as it does, towards apostolisation. The ecclesiastical form of the buildings, the church bells for half the day, the caps and gowns around me, and above all, the daily prayers, have so impressed me and helped me to feel myself at home, as if I had been here for years.

Jacobson, as a tutor, is all that could be wished for by those who know how to understand his single deficiency, which is in what perhaps Maurice is redundant. Dr. Macbride is a very kind old gentleman, who most respectably fills the office of principal. I like him




much better as a man than as a divine. But we have scarcely anything to do with him, except to pay our money to him, to dine with him now and then, and (if we feel inclined) to attend his Divinity lectures. Jacobson is the life of the Hall.

I like your proposal respecting a partnership in writing aphorisms * exceedingly, though I am sure I can write nothing that is worth printing. I mean, however, to try, but you must not wonder if I should be too much taken up to do anything towards it for the next month.

I am afraid, from what you say, that my malivodía of what I first said of Carlyle's book was not so full as I meant it. I opened first on the passage about the Church, and standing alone, it seemed to be much more monstrous than when read in connection with what precedes and follows. The whole essay is worthy of its author. The comparison of the unspeaking but groaning common people to Enceladus, with its context, is equal to anything I ever read.-- Believe me, my dear Strachey, very sincerely yours,


MAGDALEN Hall, February 24th, 1840. MY DEAR STRACHEY,-I am in love with Oxford, and enjoying my position in it. I am at times almost tempted to forget the end and purpose of my coming here. As you may guess, I have to suffer from my untaughtness. My deficiency in Latin and Greek (besides my want of general discipline) was really frightful at first. But I have now got into the way of looking at it coolly, so as to work on quietly, and I

* For the · Educational Magazine.'

[ocr errors]

I look upon

trust through God's blessing to remedy it, as far as may be meet for what I sball have hereafter to do.

Our tutor is all that could be reasonably hoped for as a tutor. He has a most healthy heart, and most

a accurate and extensive knowledge. He does not obviously show you that he goes very deep in insight, , bat in some way he is always right upon the surface. He seems to know all controversies in detail, and to be firm and open, and yet no party can claim him, or say that he agrees with them in this or that. You and I should be able to see that he is a sound Churchman, and yet the Low Church people hear his sermons and remarks on the New Testament lectures with cordial admiration and concurrence. him as a very wonderful person, and a genius in his own most peculiar way. As a man, everybody likes

a him and honours him.

I have been disappointed to find that our society at the Hall is most distinctly cut into a High Church party and a Low Church party. And this is not the worst, for those who profess to hold to the Church are, almost all of them, mere formalists, and hold themselves rather daintily as gentlemen; while the more earnest men are bitter Calvinists, who are exemplary in their outward conduct, and consider that the others are High Churchmen because they have not felt the grace of God. The controversy is seldom or never introduced between the two, as they are kept very much apart from anything more than distant civility, by one party assuming a superiority of spirituality, and the other party a sort of superiority of rank. Perhaps I feel this more than most would, because I have happened to become acquainted with


[blocks in formation]

some of each class, whom I would fain keep in with, and this is somewhat difficult in a college society, from its necessary habits and manners. What I have now mentioned is the only peculiar objection to Magdalen Hall, and even that arises almost necessarily from one of its advantages—the advanced age of

many of its men. I

go to hear Newman preach every Sunday afternoon, and Sunday week I heard Dr. Pusey, who preached one of the University sermons. I cannot say that my impression of their theological views has become more favourable from what I have heard from their own lips. I never heard a sermon from either, the chief subject of which has not been their doctrine of repentance and its corollaries. Yesterday, Newman (with his exquisite, though most peculiar voice and manner, and his exquisite and not peculiar language) went at great length into the division of sins into deadly and venial, in just such a manner as to lay himself most open to the charge of Romanism. The consequence of the former he carried out to the utmost limit of the view contained in the objectionable part of Scriptural Views of Holy Baptism,' which I once thought, judging from his books, that he would not have done. His burden seemed to be that sin was an outward act, an opus operatum, and you know what an awful show of truth may be made of such a notion. In short, it seems to me (and I should like to know whether you agree with me) that this conception of sin and repentance is derived from a fact of experience, and becomes visibly wrong only when seen in the light of super-intellectual


and faith. What is done is done for ever. The

grace and faith.

« PreviousContinue »