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the last century, that, as they complain, "he seems to write without any moral purpose," that he "makes no just distribution of good or evil." It is a shallow view of art, as of life, which could alone have given birth to this accusation. It is true that the moral intention of Shakspeare's poetry does not lie on the surface, is not obtruded; it may and will often escape the careless reader. But it is there, lying deep as do nearly all the lessons which God teaches us through our own lives, or through the lives of others. To no one of the uninspired writers of the world has it been granted, I believe, so strongly to apprehend, so distinctly to make visible, that men reap as they have sown, that the end lies in the beginning, that sooner or later, "the wheel will come full circle," and "the whirligig of time bring round its revenges." Who else makes us so, and with such a solemn awe, to feel that justice walks the world-" delaying," it may be, but "not forgetting," as is ever the manner with the Divine avengers? Even faults comparatively trivial, like that of Cordelia, he does not fail to show us what a train of sorrows, for this life at least, they may entail. Certainly we shall look in vain in him, as we look in vain through the moral universe, for that vulgar distribution of rewards and punishments in which some delight; neither is death, which may be an euthanasia, the divine cutting of some tangled knot which no human skill could ever have untied-not death, but dishonoured life, is, in his estimate, the worst of ills. So, too, if we would recognise these footsteps of God in the world, this Nemesis of life, which he is so careful to trace, we must watch his slightest hints, for in them lies oftentimes the key to, and the explanation of, all. In this, if I may say it with reverence, he often reminds us of Scripture, and will indeed repay almost any amount of patient and accurate study which we may bestow upon him. Let me illustrate what I say. They are but a few idle words dropt at random, which, in the opening scene of "King Lear," make only too evident that Gloster had never looked back with serious displeasure at the sin of his youth, which stood embodied before him in the person of his bastard son; that he still regarded it with complacency, rolled it as a sweet morsel under his tongue. This son, his whole being corroded, poisoned, turned to gall and bitterness, by the ever-present consciousness of the cleaving stain of his birth, is made the instrument to undo him, or rather to bring him through bitterest agonies, through the wreck and ruin of his whole worldly felicity, to a final repentance. Indeed, for once Shakspeare himself points the moral in those words, so often quoted, but not oftener than they deserve :
"The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.”
But for this once that he points the moral of a life, a hundred times he leaves us to point it; as indeed is almost always the manner in that Book of books,
which, like Joseph's kingly sheaf, stands up in the midst of the field, that even the chiefest among the others may make obeisance to it.
Let me note, in connexion with what has just been spoken, that the ideal characters of his art, just as the real characters of actual life, never stand still. They are rising or falling, growing better or growing worse, and ripening thus for their several dooms. Some we behold working out their lives into greater clearness and nobleness, making steps of their dead selves by which they are mounting to higher things. Summoned to the more stern and serious business of life, or brought into the school of adversity, we see them taking shame to themselves that they have played the truant hitherto, learning to look at life as something more than a jest, girding themselves in earnest to its tasks and toil, and leaving for ever behind them the frivolity and the vanity, it may be the folly and the sin, in which hitherto their years were spent. There is no dearer argument with Shakspeare than this, nor one to which he oftener returns.
And then, on the other side, he shows us them who will not use aright the discipline of life, who welcome and allow those downward-dragging temptations which beset us all; these waxing worse and worse, forfeiting what good they once possessed, strengthening in their evil, and falling from one wickedness to another. He shows us a Macbeth, met in that most dangerous hour, the hour of his success, giving place to the devil, allowing the wicked sugges tion of the Evil One room in his heart, and then the dread concatenation of crime, one ever drawing on, and in a manner rendering necessary, another, till the end is desolation and despair, the blackness of darkness for ever. Where, I sometimes ask myself as I read, where is there a sermon on the need of resisting temptations at the outset, of treading out the sparks of hell before they have set on fire the whole course of nature, like that?
I will only ask you, as you prepare your offering, each to imagine to himself this England of ours without her Shakspeare; in which he had never lived or sung. What a crown would be stricken from her brow! how would she come down from the pre-eminence of her place as nursing mother of the foremost poet whom the world has seen, whom, we are almost bold to prophesy, it ever will see! Think how much poorer intellectually, yea, and morally, every one of us would be; what would have to be withdrawn from circulation, of wisest sayings, of profoundest maxims of life-wisdom, which have now been absorbed into the very tissue of our hearts and minds! what regions of our fancy, peopled now with marvellous shapes of strength, of grace, of beauty, of dignity, with beings which have far more reality for us than most of those whom we meet in our daily walk, would be empty and depopulated! And remember that this which we speak of would not be our loss alone, or the loss of those who have lived already, but the disappearance as well of all that de
light, of all that instruction, which, so long as the world endures, he will diffuse in circles ever larger, as the recognition of him in his unapproachable greatness becomes every day more unquestioned, as he moves in the ages which are yet to come, "through ever wider avenues of fame."
But of this enough. Cease we from man. Let no word be uttered by us here, which shall even seem to imply that the praise and honour, the admiration and homage, which a man may receive from his fellows, are or can be the best, the crowning glory of life. Good they are; but they are not the best. Few, in the very nature of things, can be those illustrious sons of memory, dwelling apart from their fellows on the mountain peaks of their solitary grandeur, and dominating from these their own age and the ages to come. Το very few it can be granted, that their names shall resound through the centuries, that men shall make long pilgrimages to the place of their birth, gather up the smallest notices of them as infinitely precious, chide an incurious age which suffered so much about them, that would have been priceless to us, to perish for ever, or celebrate with secular solemnities the returning period of their birth. All this must be the heritage of the fewest; but because such, it cannot be the best of all; for a righteous God would never have put his best and fairest beyond the reach of well-nigh all among his children. This is not the best. That is the best which all may make their own, those with the smallest gifts as certainly as those with the greatest-faithfully to fulfil humble duties; to follow Christ, it may be by lowliest paths, unseen of men, though seen of angels, and approved of God; and so to have names written, not on earth, but in heaven; not on the rolls of earthly fame, but in the Lamb's book of life. For, brethren beloved, I should be untrue to that solemn trust which I bear, untrue to those responsibilities from which I can never divest myself, if I did not remind you, above all if I did not remind you on such a day as this, that goodness is more than greatness, and grace than gifts; that men attain to heaven, not soaring on the wings of genius, but patiently climbing by the stairs of faith, and love, and obedience; that the brightest crowns, if all their brightness is of earth, and none from heaven, are doomed to wither; that there is but one amaranthine crown, even that which Christ gives to them, be they high or low, wise or simple, emperors or clowns, who have loved, and served, and obeyed Him.
This crown they have obtained, the serious and sage pocts, who have consecrated their divine faculty to the service of Him who lent it. For myself, I am strong to believe that from one so gentle, so tender, so just, so true, as was Shakspeare, the grace to make this highest consecration was not withholden-that we have a right to number him with Dante, with Spenser, with Milton, and that august company of poets
"Who sing, and singing in their glory move."
His intimate, in some sense his profound acquaintance with Scripture, no one can deny, or the strong grasp which he had of its central truths. He knew the deep corruption of our fallen nature, the desperate wickedness of the heart of man; else he would never have put into the mouth of a prince of stainless life such a confession as this:-"I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me, . . with more offences at my beck than I have words to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in." He has set forth the scheme of our redemption in words as lovely as have ever flowed from the lips of uninspired man :—
"Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once,
And He that might the vantage best have took
He has put home to the holiest here their need of an infinite forgiveness from Him who requires truth in the inward parts:
"How would you be,
If He, which is the top of judgment, should
But judge you as you are?”
He was one who was well aware what a stewardship was his own in those marvellous gifts which had only been intrusted to him; for he has himself told
"Heaven does with us as we with torches do-
As if we had them not."
And again he has told us that
"Spirits are not finely touched But for fine issues;"
assuredly not ignorant how finely his own had been touched, and what would be demanded from him in return. He was one who certainly knew that there is none so wise that he can "circumvent God;" and that for a man, whether he be called early or late,
Ripeness is all."
Who shall persuade us that he abode outside of that holy temple of our faith, whereof he has uttered such glorious things-admiring its beauty, but not himself entering to worship there? One so real, so truthful, as all which we learn about Shakspeare declares him to have been, assuredly fell in with no idle form of words, when in that last testament which he dictated so shortly before his death, he first of all, and before all, commended his soul to God his
Creator; and this (I quote his express words), "hoping and assuredly believing through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting."
Yes, brethren, he has shown us here the one gate of heaven, and there is no other gate by which man may enter there.
Mechanics' Institutions (Yorkshire)—LORD MORPETH'S Addresses.
[THESE institutions were designed for the instruction of the working classes, and to supply the want of that early school training, which the more wealthy classes receive.
The chief and primary mention was to give instruction in natural and mechanical philosophy, and the rules and principles of the various arts connected with their avocations.
Dr. Berkbeck, of Glasgow, was the first originator. They were first established in 1800.
In the progress of time it was found necessary to render these institutions more popular by delivering lectures on music, poetry, and light literature.
Lord Carlisle was one of the first to apply himself with energy to the desired object for which these institutions were formed—the education and refinement of the working population, and for many years delivered in the several mechanics' institutes of Yorkshire, and furnished a bright example of an English nobleman endeavouring to elevate the tone and sympathies of the working people of England.
In all his lectures, the cultivation of our higher nature by means of the fine arts and literature is strongly urged.
In this work some of Lord Carlisle's lectures are given. However, the following passages-the first addressed to the Leeds Mechanics' Institute, the other to the Yorkshire Union of Mechanics' Institute at Wakefield-in which he exhorts the working men to perseverence in the pursuit of refined knowledge, and encourages them by numerous instances of successful mental cultivation by men sprung from the working classes, who, by their inventions and scientific attainments vastly contributed to human advancement—are expressed in natural and familiar terms, and are most impressive.]