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paltry and vile would have dared to shew itself at a public school, where mean faults at any rate are mostly discouraged. And truly a meaner or a baser spirit than is betrayed by persecuting or annoying another because he does any thing better than ourselves, or because we wish ourselves to do it ill, and therefore would have no one do it well, is not easily to be met with.
I am come now to the sixth fault, the spirit of combination and companionship. And it were vain to deny that this also exists in some degree amongst us. But this spirit shews itself in so many ways, and is so widely prevalent for evil, not here only but amongst all mankind, that I would not willingly notice it so briefly as my time and limits would require if I were to enter on the subject now. I will rather reserve the consideration of this sixth evil, this bond of wickedness, for yet another occasion, when I may hope to complete the whole matter of the text.
Aug. 30, 1840.
ST. LUKE, xix. 45, 46, 47.
And He went into the Temple, and began to cast out them that
sold therein, and them that bought ; saying unto them, My house is the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves. And He taught daily in the Temple.
I STOPPED last Sunday after having noticed five out of the six evils by which I supposed that great schools were likely to be corrupted, and changed from the likeness of God's temple to that of a den of thieves. The sixth evil I left for separate consideration, because it appeared to require a fuller notice. And its very name, if we attend, will make it probable that it does so. I called it the spirit of combination and companionship, whereas the other evils of which I spoke were such things as idleness, falsehood, drunkenness, disobedience; names very different in their character from combination and companionship. They are very dif
ferent in this, that when we speak of idleness or falsehood we mean things altogether evil, which are plainly and altogether to be avoided and abhorred; but when we speak of combination or companionship, we name things not in their own nature evil, things which have a good sense as well as a bad sense; things, therefore, not plainly and altogether, but only upon consideration and beyond a certain point to be avoided and condemned. Here, therefore, the subject must be gone into more carefully; we must not blame indiscriminately, but opening gently, as it were, what lies in a tangled mass before us, we must so learn, if we can, to separate the evil from the good.
And if in this enquiry I go a little deeper than can be clear or interesting to all of my hearers, yet it will be well I think to do so for the sake of those among you who can certainly understand what I am going to say, and I hope will also be interested in it; for speaking to a congregation consisting of persons of such different ages, it
, would not be right to adapt what is said always, and in all respects to the condition of the youngest and least thinking. What I have called the spirit of companionship, is that feeling by which we are drawn towards our equals, while we are conscious that they and we stand in a certain relation to a common superior. I mean that the feeling of companionship, as I am now taking it, implies that, besides the persons so feeling it, and who are always more or less on an equality with each other, there exists also some superior party, and that his superiority modifies the mutual feeling of the parties on an equality. Thus the feeling of companionship amongst brothers and sisters, supposes that they have all parents also, to whom they stand in another relation, and not in that of companionship; the same feeling amongst the poor supposes that they have also something to do with the rich, the same feeling amongst subjects supposes that they have a government, and if it could exist amongst all mankind towards each other as men, then it would imply the existence of God, and that he interfered in the affairs of mankind. The first element then in this sense of companionship is sympathy, a feeling that we are alike as in many other things, so also in our relation to some other party; that our hopes and fears with respect to this party are in each of us the same. And thus far the feeling is natural and quite blameless, sympathy being a very just cause why we should be drawn together. But then this sympathy is accompanied very often with a total want of sympathy so far as regards our common superior; as we who are each other's companions have with respect to him the same hopes and fears, so we often think that he and we have not the same hopes and fears, or in other words the same interest, in any degree at all: but that his interest is one thing, and ours is the very contrary.
So that while there is a sympathy between us and our companions, there is also between us and our superior the very contrary to sympathy, we conceive ourselves placed towards him in actual opposition.
But if he too could be taken into our bond of sympathy, if we could feel that his interests and ours are also the same, no less than ours and our companions', then the feeling of companionship, if I may so speak, being extended to all our relations, would produce no harm at all, but merely good: it would then, in fact, be no other than the perfection of our nature,-perfect love.
That this general sympathy does not exist, that men do feel sympathy with their equals, and not with their superiors, or in a much less degree, has been occasioned like all our evil since the fall, partly by our own fault, and partly by that of others. Partly by our own fault, inasmuch as we have been and are very slow to perceive the higher sympathies for which our nature has been formed, and rest contentedly in the lower; partly through the fault of others, inasmuch as superiors have often shown that they regarded their own interest as different from that of those below them, and therefore bave themselves as it were forbidden