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ourselves less changed than we believed or desired. Much will always remain in this last and strangest mystery, our ownselves, inexplicable, governed by powers we cannot control, and beyond human consciousness. Yet selfanalysis on the points just indicated is to a certain extent possible ; and although a process unpopular from causes beyond examination in these pages, at the present day, may be turned I think to real and lasting advantage. Here, at least, if anywhere, self-knowledge appears to me a simple duty; to ask how we became what we are, that in this irrestrainable flux of Being, we may master the moment next to be and direct it to worthier issues. The writer has expressed already his belief that the faithful record of such an examination may be not without use to others; the soul's unity renders it a needful scene in the true picture of passion: but he plans to touch only on the main features, desirous to give conclusions of thought rather than processes in pages which, although by necessity egotistic, are intended at least as an autobiography of the dearer self in self,—a confession and a monument to Désirée.
XVI Why, however, was it that one distinguishable point in my University life is marked out by memory as the commencement of a great change, an initiation into the mysteries? Were any chains of authority or 'habit now first loosened ? Had I fallen beneath the power of some mighty destructive thinker till then unheard, or heard of only with terror ? Had some sad internal experience, casual intercourse with friends of a new order, conversance with the world and practical things, shaken youthful convictions ? Was I, lastly, influenced by some pervading sin, by passion for paradox, pride, vanity, or recklessness?
I desire to extenuate nothing in myself ; nor, again, to set down anything in malice. Man may not, indeed, claim as his own or as self-originated, what portion of the good, in motive or in aim, he possesses ; but I do not judge it right,-rather it is right not to deny what of this better nature existed within me, in the exercise of that sophistical humility which, although often proclaimed Christian, can hardly be acceptable to the Divine Truth. In this change, then, viewed thus, I see no ground for self-accusation. It was not speculative only, but influential through the whole sphere of practical life and of moral judgment : yet it arose from no discontent with the limitations set by conscience,- led to no infractions of ethical ordinance. It was accompanied, again, by deferential study and colligation of opinions received now or in former ages : by hours of bitter humiliation, scorn from neighbours, years of research and reflection which, if success in pursuing truth were proportionate to anxious eagerness in the pursuit, might have authorized hopes which the reader himself cannot think more baseless than I. No bitter experience, no sorrow or joy subversive to the mind's central calm, not even the sympathy or the example of friends, no single teacher (with one exception I shall presently notice) by written word or speech, not in any great degree, external events in the words' rigorous significance,-taught me with relation to many treasured convictions, many despised thoughts, the bitter salutary lesson of the converted king, incendere quod adoraveram, adorare quod incenderam'. By process of the seasons rather I was led to this result; by sights of common life, by voices from the foolish and the wise of many lands, by the voice within the heart, finally,- constraining me with an irresistible command, deaf alike to pride and to humility, indifferent to pain and careless of conclusions, to inquire how, in the fullest extent of the phrase, these things might be.
XVII The expressions above employed are strictly proportionate to the importance of the fact to my own soul : not, if they appear magniloquent, to any greatness in the change itself, or to any conclusions which I am justified in thinking of absolute value. I have, of course, only what ' has been, and may be again', -nothing new, no discovered arcanum to boast of. The change was a modification in the method of thought rather than in the results ; to take with a wider meaning an admirable expression from Whewell, it might be defined a deep and permanent sense of the Fundamental Antitheses of Philosophy. Or, using words far less lucid and pregnant, but (I fear) likely to be far more generally intelligible, I might say a never-strengthening conviction of the infinite mysteriousness of all things was henceforward with me: that increase of knowledge, experience, and reflection led the mind on to a confession of ignorance, at each new augmentation the more profound and the more humbling.
XVIII A notice of the studies and of the thoughts which were the main successive elements in framing this conviction -the only new and real event during several years of earlier manhood — may make my meaning clearer. Some teaching came indeed from the world without, but rather corroborative of changes in the world within the soul, than affecting it with any new impulses. Of such events one here deserves special commemoration. For within my own University I saw the system of religious doctrine (I do not name it, because I can only name it by appellations more than commonly connotative of party bitterness) devised by two or three subtle minds, and followed by many devout and serious, shaken so deeply, that those who left, and those who opposed it, raised shouts of ungraceful derision over a catastrophe by which, however, that system was rather modified, the event has shown, than ruined. Before the revolution alluded to, these opinions, resting on scholastic and archaeological arguments so triumphantly announced, that it was difficult to believe them baseless, had with myself lost the prestige of authority ; I was not personally touched by the crisis ;- yet, beside the personal regret roused by the sight of many dear friends' perplexity, by the miserable outeries of angry theologians, by farewells at last of peculiar sadness, this disruption afforded two lessons equally affecting, although of opposite nature ; operative respectively, I might say, in the direction of Scepticism and of Conviction. Making full allowance for what portion in this remarkable controversy was merely verbal, it was impossible not to recognize that on points which from any or every view of Christian theology are truly essential, an uncertainty existed, so great that men who had not only with entire faith maintained, but throughout lives of eminently consistent goodness had acted on one series of doctrines, could within the space not always of a few months, support conclusions rigorously opposite with equal belief and practical realization. In those of whom I am here speaking, the charge of conscious sophistry, advanced not by the ignorant alone, but by one conspicuous opponent in whom singular ability and goodness were tempered by an even less than average discrimination of human character, was untenable:- I may add, if true, it would have touched me far more slightly than the conclusion, absolute as any within the precincts of formal logic, that the almost ideally religious life which had accompanied the leaders from Canterbury to Rome,
had not, according to their own confession, whilst adhering to one at least of these ecclesiastical centres, saved them from a long course of acknowledged acted untruth on some, or many, or all (I am not curious here to measure the amount) of those doctrines to which they ascribed their whole moral direction. This conclusion was immediate : later reflection, with the signal defeat of the prophecy that the system as a rule of religious life would be henceforth annihilated, taught a less discomfortable lesson :that system and logical consistency are not unattainable only, but unrequisite for safe guidance in action ; that through the deepest revolutions in dogmatic creed, honest hearts retain an inner life sufficient for the demands of outward practice -- the natural theology of Conscience.
XIX It is an old saying, the traveller brings back from the journey what he took with him, and holds good of the pilgrimage we make into the regions of thought and study. We are apt to believe every famous book a fact, a sensible outward reality, a substantial world'; a capital or a mountain district, if I may preserve the analogy of the traveller, where all comers will find the same peaks and palaces, beauty or sublimity. But this 'life-blood of some
master spirit', (as philosophy affirms of the external world), has its visionary aspect; is an indefinite spiritual force, and varies in intensity with the pre-existing capacities of the percipient mind. Every noble book, in a word, for better or for worse, is half re-written by the reader. Thus study is action also. We are apt, I think, to draw idle lines across the map of the soul, parting reason from sentiment, and contrasting practice with theory. But these opposites are ever passing into each other, and exist only by virtue of their inseparable union. There is a sense in which thought is act, and act thought; experience creates books :