Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/535

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"NATURAL RELIGION."

ances of men of science upon this point in the notes appended to that work. It is true that all men of science do not associate their worship with the name of God, but we are fully in agreement with our author when he writes: "By what names they call the object of their contemplation is in itself a matter of little importance. Whether they say God, or prefer to say Nature, the important thing is that their minds are filled with the sense of a Power to all appearances infinite and eternal, a Power to which their own being is inseparably connected, in the knowledge of whose ways alone are safety and well-being, in the contemplation of which they find a beatific vision."

The claims of art to an independent position, to a right to the undivided attention of its votaries, are no less unequivocal. When W. Morris published his "Earthly Paradise" in 1868, he prefaced it with an "Apology," in which he acknowledged the littleness of his undertaking, almost lamenting that he could not rise to higher work:

"Of heaven or hell I have no power to sing,
I can not ease the burden of your fears,
Or make quick-coming death a little thing,
Or bring again the pleasure of past years,
Nor for my words shall ye forget your tears,
Or hope again for aught that I can say,
The idle singer of an empty day."

He only professes to tell

". . . a tale not too importunate
To those who in the sleepy region stay."

I have quoted Mr. Pater's claim for art put forth in 1878. Listen, lastly, to the terms in which the newest singer bids his soul abandon the secular world:

". . . O come out of it,
Come out of it, my soul, thou art not fit
For this vile traffic-house, where day by day
Wisdom and reverence are sold at mart,
And the rude people rage with ignorant cries
Against an heritage of centuries.
It mars my calm: wherefore in dreams of Art
And loftiest culture I would stand apart,
Neither for God, nor for his enemies."

To sum up the intellectual and religious revolution of the last few years: Matthew Arnold's poetry aptly represents the tone of mind of advanced religious thinkers during the fifties. Looked at from the orthodox stand-point, his poems are intended, like the reasonings of the devils in hell upon theological problems, to—

". . . arm the obdured breast
With stubborn patience as with triple steel."