Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/282

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any poet of our time has spoken so directly to the consciences of the more enlightened portion of his contemporaries as Matthew Arnold. If, as the Roman poet has said, "there are tears in things," so also are there deep and grave admonitions, earnest pleadings, ever a voice for those who will hear, calling to man to walk in the light and realize the bliss of moral freedom. Mr. Arnold has made himself the interpreter to us of the truth of things, and this is what gives his poetry its acknowledged weight and value despite its somewhat restricted imaginative range. To read it is to commune with Nature, not with human authority. Carlyle talks of the "eternities" and "immensities." Mr. Arnold does not talk of them, but he brings us into their presence—

"The world that was e'er I was born,
The world that lasts when I am dead."

In his "Empedocles on Etna," written before he was thirty years of age, Mr. Arnold may be said to have sketched a scientific philosophy of life. We are tempted to quote a verse or two:

"In vain our pent wills fret,
And would the world subdue.
Limits we did not set
Condition all we do;
Born into life we are, and life must be our

"Born into life!—man grows
Forth from his parents' stem,
And blends their bloods, as those
Of theirs are blent in them;
So each new man strikes root into a far fore-


The world's course proves the terms
On which man wins content;
Reason the proof confirms—
We spurn it, and invent
A false course for the world and for ourselves
false powers.


"I say: Fear not! Life still
Leaves human effort scope.
But, since life teems with ill.
Nurse no extravagant hope;
Because thou must not dream, thou need'st
not then despair!"

The world has lost in Mr. Arnold a man ever loyal to the cause of truth, and ever interested in the cause of humanity. We may sometimes have been tempted to regard him as an opponent of scientific discipline; but upon a general review of his career we are compelled to recognize him as an ally, not an adversary, and as one who, just because he cultivated a special field of his own by methods of his own, will not easily be replaced. All the more, then, must we value, as elements of progress, the spirit that breathes through his works and the influence bequeathed by his character.


The Religious Sentiments of the Human Mind. By Daniel Greenleaf Thompson, author of "A System of Psychology," "The Problem of Evil," etc. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1888.

In the volume before us, Mr. Thompson has entered upon a fruitful field of thought and discussion—one, moreover, which requires great tact and delicacy in its cultivation if the author would secure the sympathetic and respectful attention of his readers. In this respect Mr. Thompson has been notably successful. His treatment of his topic is calm, temperate, philosophical, free from bias, appealing to reason rather than to theological or anti-theological prejudices. While his discussion of the religious problem is entirely frank, manly, and unconventional, it is also duly considerate of those conceptions which he is compelled to discredit and oppose. Some of his conclusions will, nevertheless, probably surprise not only those who are conservative adherents of the Christian faith, but also those who have accepted agnostic or radical views.

Our author defines religion as "the aggregate of those sentiments in the human mind arising in connection with the relations assumed to subsist between the order of Nature (inclusive of the observer) and a postulated supernatural." His use of the term "supernatural" appears somewhat misleading, on account of the character of the antithesis popularly assumed to subsist