THE TRUE GREATNESS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
Win assent in the end the new construction will, but not at once; and there will be a passage-time of confusion first. It is not for nothing, as we have said, that people take short cuts and tell themselves fairy-tales, because the immense scale of the history of 'bringing in everlasting righteousness' is too much for their narrow minds. It is not for nothing; they pay for it. It is not for nothing that they found religion on prediction and miracle, guarantee it by preternatural interventions and the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds, consummate it by a banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in a city shining with gold and precious stones. They are like people who have fed their minds on novels or their stomachs on opium; the reality of things is fiat and insipid to them, although it is in truth far grander than the phantasmagorical world of novels and of opium. But it is long before the novel-reader or the opium-eater can rid himself of his bad habits, and brace his nerves, and recover the tone of his mind enough to perceive it. Distress and despair at the loss of his accustomed stimulant are his first sensations.
Miracles, the mainstay of popular religion, are touched by Ithuriel's spear. They are beginning to dissolve; but what are we to expect during the process of dissolution? Probably, amongst many religious people, vehement efforts at reaction,