Page images




George Eliot (in propria persona).

Who shall put his finger on the work of justice, and say, 'It is there'? Justice is like the kingdom of God

-it is not without us as a fact, it is within us as a great yearning


The great river-courses which have shaped the lives of men have hardly changed ; and those other streams, the life-currents that ebb and flow in human hearts, pulsate to the same great needs, the same great loves and terrors. As our thought follows close in the slow wake of the dawn, we are impressed with the broad sameness of the human lot, which never alters in the main headings of its history-hunger and labour, seedtime and harvest, love and death. · Even if, instead of following the dim daybreak, our imagination pauses on a certain historical spot, and awaits the fuller morning, we may see a world-famous city, which has hardly changed its outline since the days of Columbus, seeming to stand as an almost unviolated symbol, amidst the flux of human things, to remind us that we still resemble the men of the past more than we differ from them, as the great mechanical principles on which those domes and towers were raised must make a likeness in human building that will be broader and deeper than all possible change.

[ocr errors]

Our deeds are like children that are born to us ; they live and act apart from our own will. Nay, children may be strangled, but deeds never : they have an indestructible life both in and out of our consciousness ; and that dreadful vitality of deeds was pressing hard on Tito for the first time.


Under every guilty secret there is hidden a brood of guilty wishes, whose unwholesome infecting life is cherished by the darkness. The contaminating effect of deeds often lies less in the commission than in the consequent adjustment of our desires—the enlistment of our self-interest on the side of falsity ; as, on the other hand, the purifying influence of public confession springs from the fact, that by it the hope in lies is for ever swept away, and the soul recovers the noble attitude of simplicity.

good and

If the subtle mixture of good and evil prepares suffering for human truth and purity, there is also suffering prepared for the wrong-doer by the same mingled conditions.

minoting preparanan truth

Necessity does the work of courage.

« PreviousContinue »