Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 131.djvu/220

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which was dear and precious to him was in the house, and just became of that he could not call it his own. There was less light in it than in any other within his range. He walked up and down the opposite side of the street its whole length some fifty times, but saw no sign of vitality about the house. At length a brougham stopped at the door, and a man got out and knocked. Malcolm instantly crossed, but could not see his face. The door opened, and he entered. The brougham waited. After about a quarter of an hour he came out again, accompanied by two ladies, one of whom he judged by her figure to be Florimel. They all get into the carriage, and Malcolm braced himself for a terrible run. But the coachman drove carefully: the snow lay a few inches deep, and he found no difficulty in keeping near them, following with fleet foot and husbanded breath. They stopped at the doors of a large dark-looking building in a narrow street. He thought it was a church, and wondered, from what he knew of his sister, that she should be going there on a week-night. Nor did the aspect of the entrance-hall, into which he followed them, undeceive him. It was more showy certainly, than the vestibule of any church he had ever been in, but what might not churches be in London? They went up a great flight of stairs — to reach the gallery, as he thought — and still he went after them. When he reached the top they were just vanishing round a curve, and his advance was checked: a man came up to him, said he could not come there, and gruffly requested him to show his ticket.

"I haven't got one. What is this place?" said Malcolm, mouthing his English with Scotch deliberation.

The man gave him a look of contemptuous surprise, and turning to another, who lounged behind him with his hands in his pockets, said, "Tom, here's a gentleman as wants to know where he is: can you tell him?"

The person addressed laughed, and gave Malcolm a queer look.

"Every cock crows on his own midden," said Malcolm, "but if I were on mine I would try to be civil."

"You go down there and pay for a pit-ticket, and you'll soon know where you are, mate," said Tom.

Malcolm went, and after a few inquiries and the outlay of two shillings found himself in the pit of one of the largest of the London theatres.



If it be true, as was urged in the last of these papers, that it is an incorrect use of words which identifies religion with Christianity, much more with the clerical Christianity of the day, readers may still be disposed to regard the criticism as merely verbal and unimportant, and maybe disappointed at the consequences which have been drawn from it. They may say that in papers promising to treat of religion they do not want to find, on the one hand, much about art, introduced on the ground that, defined in a certain way, religion may be thought to include art; and, on the other hand, little about Christianity, on the ground that Christianity is but one form of religion. If Christianity and religion be not identical, they may say, in that case it is Christianity and not religion that is interesting to us; and if there may be religions that have little connection with morality, and others that are even immoral, such religions we do not desire to hear of, and we think it something like a profanation to class them together with that which has in all minds such solemn associations.

Assuredly it is not intended here to question the pre-eminent importance among religions of those which are moral, and among historical religions of Christianity. Of the three forms of religion which we have distinguished — that of visible, things, that of humanity, and that of God regarded as the unity of the universe — the second is far more important than the first, and would be just as much more important than the third, unless we could succeed in recognizing in God something answering to humanity; in which case we shall attain, as in Christianity we do attain, to a higher religion than any of these three made by compounding two of them. In any case the most indispensable religion to human beings must be that which influences morality, that which tells man what he ought to do and to be. If I have lingered long upon the notion of a religion which is not moral, it has not been on account of the intrinsic importance of such a religion, but on account of the esssential importance to my purpose of distinguishing the notion of a religion from that of a morality. For I have undertaken in these papers to exhibit religion as a thing only accidentally and not necessarily connected with the supernatural, and the great difficulty I have to con-