Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/536

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Matthew Arnold aptly expresses his own point of view when he speaks of himself as

"Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head."

or, again

". . . The sea of faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled,
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world."

Meanwhile, as the old faith began to lose power, art, science, and the religion of humanity stepped forward into prominence, at first in antagonism to Christianity. The struggle became critical during the years 1873-'74, and left a feeling of despair and pessimism for a time on men's minds. But with time this feeling has begun to wear off, and we see that the allegiance formerly claimed for the old theology is claimed now by its rivals. The interval of pessimism, the period of dormant anarchy, was marked by many gropings in different directions. Scholars drew attention to the great rivals of Christianity, to Judaism, to Mohammedanism, to Buddhism. To this we owe in part such books as "Daniel Deronda" (1876) and "The Light of Asia" (1879). The theories of great philosophers of the past began to be studied with fresh attention, especially the writings of Plato and Aristotle, of Berkeley, Spinoza, and Kant. Even spiritualism and the doctrine of metempsychosis were found to give the support needed to unscientific souls who lacked the courage to stand by the old orthodoxy which the Zeit-geist had condemned.

The need of some reconstruction was felt even by philosophy's of the new school. Spencer propounded an evolution theory of morals in his "Data of Ethics" (1879); and George Eliot, as a reconstructive radical, in her "Theophrastus Such" (1879), drew attention to the fact that "ideas acquired long ago reappear as the sequence of an awakened interest or a line of inquiry which is really new to us." As stable elements of the religion of the future, she pointed to the love of ideals, and specially to the constantly renewed ideal self; to the value of external nature, as exercising a soothing influence, of family life, and of national sentiments. We are thus led to the work before us. Its importance is due to its recognition of the facts which this short review of the religious thought of the last thirty years has brought into prominence and it takes up and makes a part of its system the ideas on culture and civilization, which Matthew Arnold has reiterated at intervals, ever since his publication in 1869 of "Culture and An-