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cussion, viz., that the more the novel gets away from woman the greater the book. This I suppose you will think is heresy, but I expect to show you it is orthodox. That is, the more she is made the priestess of the religion without herself becoming the religion the greater the book. In his preface Montaigne says, “I have gathered flowers from everybody's field, and nothing is mine except the string that binds them.” So, the modern novel, that is, the ideal novel—and the modern novel is approaching the ideal novel-is a book in which the truth is gathered from every field, from science, from religion, from politics, and woman is the white ribbon that binds them for us. That is all. To illustrate: Let us take the German novel by Rich
Who was Richter? Was he some young man trying to palm off on the public an account of his courtship? By no means. For fifty or sixty years had the sun gone down in beauty along the Rhine in his sight. For fifty years he had been a sincere follower of Jesus Christ. The hair hung snow-white upon his shoulders when he sat down to commit to writing his deepest thoughts regarding education, and religion, and the development of character; and he chose Linda, a beautiful being, and set her down in the midst of his thought after weaving around her all the flowers of his mind's best moments, and we are all allured along by her shining figure through the deepest thoughts of that German philosopher. In George MacDonald our religion is reinstated. The religion of the past is all reconstructed—not overthrown, but beautifully reconstructed. In his works the gates of hell are made a little narrower, so that not quite so big a crowd are forced therein. In his works the gates of heaven are made a good deal larger, so that millions of beings whom our ancestors shut out forever from this blessed abode all come crowding in there, a happy throng, through its pearly gates. What need I say of Bulwer, and George Eliot, and all this modern school? I will only say this, that they are gates of beauty through which often appear the holiest truths of life.
Now, if education were simply the accumulation of truths I should not be willing to enter this plea, but education is never the accumulation of facts. Otherwise all
the books we would need would be the encyclopedia, the dictionary, the daily press.
Education is the awakening of the heart: it is life, vitality, the arousing of the spirit. And hence all the arts come beside the truths of life. Education, being the power to think, the power to act, what we need is not information only, but awakening something that moves the sluggish blood in our hearts and makes us truly alive. This is what we all need, because inan is not only by nature totally depraved, but totally lazy. Edmund Burke was indeed a man that knew much, but you can find many a German professor in his garden that knew ten times as much. So Daniel Webster; but Daniel Webster felt deeply some of the truths of life. They flowed all through his blood, tingled in his fingerends—liberty for example, the Union. Education, therefore, is not the amassing of truths, but it is the deep realization of truth, and hence around the great forehead of Daniel Webster all the shouts of liberty in all the ages of the past echoed a great music in the upper air. This was education, the power to think and to feel deeply.
I speak with feeling upon this point, because one of the great calamities with which we all have to battle is narrowness, that is, we all become attached to our little path in life, and we think that is the God-appointed life. The physician feels that if only the whole human family would read some of the rules regarding health, they would need little else. They would not need much daily newspaper, or preaching, or magazine. He has come to feel that the wisdom of the world is all along his path. It is so with the lawyer, and who is an exception to this? I am not sure but that the editor of the daily paper—the best in the land-feels that if we would all take his paper-and it is the best in the land we would need nothing else. And then along comes a clergyman, and he is perfectly certain -if the clergyman ever has an assurance of faith, it is on this point-that if the whole world were brought before his pulpit every Sunday morning, it would need very little of the novel, or the newspaper, or the magazine, for does he not know it all?—and so cheap! It is the fine art that helps the newspaper, and the newspaper that helps the fine art, and the pulpit the same, and he has the educated
soul who permits all these rays of light to fall right down through his intellect upon his heart.
The question, Who should read novels? is perfectly absurd. There are in all the arts the high and the low. The wit of Rabelais is low, or Cervantes lofty. The paintings of the old Dutch school were humble, being most of them scenes in grog-shops, but in the Düsseldorf school lofty, being for the most part great scenes from the world of nature. The poetry of Swinburne is low for the most part, that of Bryant lofty. These two colors, white and black, run through all the arts everywhere, and it is for us to choose. Who should read the novel? Everybody should read the novel where woman decorates the great truths of life; but where the novel is the simple history of love, nobody. And especially should those read novels who the most don't want to; they the most need them. And there ought to be a law requiring a certain class of people to read one novel a year-persons who through some narrowness of law, or of medicine, or of merchandise, or, what is most probable, of theology, have been reduced to the condition of pools of water in August, stationary, sickly, scum-covered, and just about to go dry.
Nor are we to love only the novel in the day when history has become so deep, so broad, so grand, not being the history of wars any more, but of thought, of science, of art. In such a day, to love only the novel, and to read only the novel, is to offer an insult alike to God and to man; but even Tyndall ought to turn away from his perpetual analyses of drops of water, everlasting weighing of dust, and over the pages of “John Halifax” pass from a world of matter to a world of spirit. So must you all live, with all the beautiful things and the powerful things of God's world falling right into your open hearts, feeding the great flame of life. As miners look up a long shaft and see a little piece of sky which they call heaven, so there are men who look through a long punched-elder, very long and very slim, and they see through the other end of it a spot, and call it a world. It must be the effort of our lives to get right away from this imprisonment. To be too near any one thing—that is fanaticism. It is the eclipse of God's great Heavens in favor of our tallow candle