« VorigeDoorgaan »
ten. It is a great deal better for a decented to her something, whereas her husband tradesman to avoid card clubs, and little had his ledger to think of, could even sugextravagancies, and flirtations, and over gest the new purchase which his wife so much brandy and water, nor is it very indignantly repudiates as unheard-of exunreasonable to warn him not to neglect travagance. The little meannesses of wowealthy relatives, or to ask him not to for- men which men so dislike
though withget the children's need of a trip to the sea. out them every house would be an annexe That is all Mrs. Caudle does, and women to the Bankruptcy Court — all spring from who read it think they could do it all, and a want of perspective very injurious to tact. yet avoid making themselves as ludicrous Women are not really mean, but the houseas Mr. Jerrold's heroine. She nagged, and hold allowance is to them the income, and nagging is universally useful only with they think on a false scale. The little thing maids. She lost her temper occasionally, is treated in such a large way, so often, and the suffering-angel dodge” is a very and at such length, that the man is irrimuch more effective as well as Christian tated by the visible disproportion. He resource. She chose her time badly, and a will stand being told that he has acted“ so very little watchfulness will always prevent like a man” in losing his umbrella, or playthat mistake, while she was oh ! so vulgar. ing whist a little too high, or taking a secHer absurdity lay in her want of tact, and ond tumbler, and will think the implied rehow easy, think her feminine readers, to buke has its justification, but a whole lecdisplay tact! Is it? That is precisely the ture irritates. Men rarely make this mispoint upon which we are not clear. Men, take, their habitual blunder being to underand particularly authors, are very fond of tone everything, to make too light of Julia's conceding tact to women, and almost all new frock, and Johnnie's symptoms of women claim it for themselves, till between measles, and the way they waste things the consensus and the assumption a very down stairs. That is aggravating enough, doubtful assertion has become almost an es- and shows want of tact on their part also, tablished fact. Half womankind are doubt. But it is easier to bear than household ful of their ability to govern, but no woman exaggeration. For the same reason, too, at heart disbelieves her ability to "man- they seldom lose temper so quickly, the age,” to rule husbands, and children, and thing not seeming important enough to be servants, without recourse to authority or out of temper about. "Women, again, watch lapse into fretful bickering. Sometimes more closely than men, and watching can the belief is well founded. In the cases speak better, hit the sore places when they where an able woman marries an able hus- want to hit them much harder, and they band it is almost always so, for they choose place less restraint on their power. There are separate domains, and little frictions can be men with this dangerous faculty in perfection, avoided by that self-restraint which is not nervous men, sympathetic men, who know strictly tact, but has all its value. In cases exactly what each word will do, but then where the husband knows his inferiority, or they are seldom cruel, still seldomer forget thinks he knows it - a wonderfully common the unwritten code wbich among men, but alternative, though repudiated by both sexes not among women, saves repartee from -- the conviction is also well founded. There degenerating into insult, and the majority is but one authority in the end, and the cannot hit at all. They laugh at their consciousness that there is but one gives the wives' ignorance, who at heart are a little woman the calm which is the very essence proud to be ignorant compared with them,
But apart from those two cases, or accuse them of jealousy, which unless in each of which the woman is assumed very bitterly done is but a rough caress, or to be able, we question whether the say they are mean, which good women who palm of tact belongs to the weaker sex. never think themselves mean enough receive Average women are quicker to perceive almost as praise. Then men never by any than men, but the quickness is compensated chance try to play suffering angels, the one by many disadvantages fatal to the develop- device which strikes almost all women as so ment of tact. Few women, especially in and the use of which of itself proves England, are quite as good-tempered as their deficiency in tact. It yields victory men. They are constitutionally more irri- sometimes, but then every such victory is a table, lead unhealthier lives, and from a victory of injustice, and makes the husband paucity of interests exaggerate more the think of Mrs. Caudle and nerves him to ulimportance of domestic topics. The loss of timate rebellion. Somebody, we suppose * an umbrella, about which Mrs. Caudle in Mr. Shirley Brooks, has shown that very one lecture makes such a fuss, really seem- well in Punch, in the more refined series of
Caudle lectures called the “Naggletons.” | indeed do not comprehend average men. Mrs. Naggleton hits very hard with her You will see a couple live together for thir. tongue, but Mr. Naggleton, who oddly ty years, and the wife during all that time enough is made, by an unconscious exercise never comprehend why her husband does of dramatic power, a real rather than a typ- this or that, why he wants cards, why he ical " character”. can hit back, and does likes that oppressive friend, what is his innot mind, and only gets into a rage when his ducement to occasional whimsies, why he wife resigns herself to her fate. All men cannot, as Mrs. Caudle puts it, be content get into rages when their womenkind resign with his comfortable fireside,” why, above themselves, and the fact that women never- all, he things the little Evangelicalisms or theless continue to resign themselves seems Puseyisms which seem to her almost divine to us to suggest at least a doubt of their su- so very mean and petty. Why is he, for experior tact.
ample, so impatient under that sweet vicar, The main doubt, however, is this. Almost who seems to her to be uttering such meall women think it indispensable, nay more, lodious truth? It is not one woman in a even morally right, nay more, an absolute hundred who can comprehend a theological Christian duty, to "manage the men proposition — just ask a knot of she-curates about them. Sometimes, though very rare- what they mean by baptismal regeneration ly, husband and wife arrive at a real com- or prevenient grace — but in the English prehension of each other, which makes all middle class there is scarcely a woman who efforts at - management” superfluous, and does not accuse her husband, who has proboccasionally, though much more rarely, a ably worked out his theology as thoroughly mother contrives by aid of her mysterious as his politics, of thoughtlessness or inconinstinct the necessary rapport with her son siderateness as to religious observance. No on most of the relations of life. Not all, for woman, for example, has the faintest notion no mother on earth ever escaped the delu- of Scriptural teaching about oaths, or can sion that her son needed “ management " comprehend why her husband pshaws when about his love affairs and his relations to she tells him it is a crime to damn some stupid womenkind generally. Left to himself, with- blunderer. Thousands of married women out gentle pulls at the curb, and touches really think that the club is a device for getof the reins and chirrupings, he would, the ting away from them. Thousands more, partimother thinks, be sure to do something silly. cularly of women brought up without fathers But with these exceptions, there is probably or brothers, fail all their lives to catch the in the United Kingdom no woman who in special points in the idiosyncrasy of the some capacity or other, as wife, or daugh- men they love, on which if they want happiter, or betrothed, or housekeeper, or friend, ness they must be tolerant, rage against or servant, is not trying consciously to man- petty habits such as smoking, fret at small age some one man. Sometimes the manage- lawlessnesses such as late hours, and think in ment is very slight and addressed to trivial. their hearts that safety for both depends on ities, but more fiequently it is elaborate, and their own shrewd tact and gentle manage touches every affair of every day. Many ment. They think it by some strange faculty women have a definite theory that in small peculiar to themselves, even while they think things men are fools, that to yield or even the victim all the while first of his sex, defer to compromise on such a point as the to him, and love bim hard. The woman who arrangement of a party or the distribu- will implicitly trust her husband in a tion of new furniture' is simply to al- bold stroke for fortune or ruin will watch, low the male person to do something silly, and plan, and wheedle, and pout to avoid or extravagant, or in bad taste. There his giving a guinea too much for a toy she never was a great femalo artist, but there deems a caprice. When she is a lady, she also was never a wife who did not believe cautions, and plans, and hints, when a Mrs. she had a better eye for colour than her Caudle, she lectures, and in either cause husband. Out of the studio Rubens' wife shows deplorable want of tact. For men, would have laughed to herself at his choice in all else thicker-witted than women, are of hangings for her dais. Many more really in this keener of appreciation, and perceive desire, very reasonably, to have in the lit- and resent “ management” as they do not tle things of life the “way” which is refus- resent counsel. Let any woman who doubts ed in greater things, and think “manage- it mark how her husband receives an unment” the easiest way to obtain it. But the pleasing remark from a friend and from main cause of all this waste of power is a herself, and then cogitate whether his reawant of comprehension, leading to a defi- sonableness in one case and unreasonableciency of tact. Average women very often ness in the other might not be due to tact.
Suppose Mr. Prettymian had wished to ad- disease, and who thought it right that we vise Caudle not to bail a friend, he would should publicly deprecate the terrible visihave done it in five “chaffy” words ; Mrs. tation which had begun to afflict us. But, Caudle does it in a lecture ; but which is on the other hand, it excited an almost the more effective, the more full of tact ? angry outburst of protest and criticism.
Fault was found with details of the prayer, in a tone which shewed plainly that those who found it disliked the whole before they quarrelled with the parts. Then followed
reflection and questioning. '“ If this prayer From Macmillan's Magazine. is
what kind of prayer is right ? ” NATURE, AND PRAYER. Objections have been gravely and even
reverently raised; attempts have been BY THE REV. J. LLEWLYN DAVIES.
made to meet those objections. Laymen The prayer appointed for use in our have come forward to say that, while churches with reference to the cattle plague they felt that somne ordinary kinds of and the cholera, appears to have fallen upon prayer could not be defended in the face of a susceptible state of the public mind like a science, and must be abandoned, they yet spark upon tinder. It is evident that could not consent to give up prayer altomany thoughtful persons have been much gether. Reasons have been given for disexercised in mind by questions relating to criminating between one kind of prayer and prayer. Not unwilling to pray, they have another; and it has also been seen, as is shrunk from praying blindly. They have common in similar cases, that those who have wished to feel assured that they could pray given up certain beliefs in deference to reasonably, and without stultiiying convic- argument, think they have thereby purchased tions upon which a main part of their life right to live unmolested by argument in is built up. Old difficulties and perplexities what they retain. about prayer have revived, and have assum- Every one is aware of the ground upon ed what has appeared for the time a more which prayer is commonly objected to at formidable aspect. And whilst these anxieties the present time. The uniformity of nature, have been stirring in the minds of the it is said, makes it impossible that any thoughtful, that portion of the religious prayers having for their object a variation world which is not troubled by doubts has in the course of nature should be effectual. been disposed to push the use of prayer with The laws of nature, according to all true a certain importunity, and in a spirit of observation, are constant. There is no latent, if not professed, antagonism. There greater or less in the matter. To ask that are always people ready to seize with eager- a single drop of rain may fall, is as contraness what they regard as an opportunity dictory to science as to ask that the law of " to rebuke the infidel notions of the day.” gravitation may be suspended. Prayer, Most likely a strong and early pressure was therefore, having reference to anything brought to bear upon the Archbishop and which comes within the domain of natural the Ministry to induce them to appoint a laws, is forbidden by modern science. public prayer against the cattle plague. It would be the rashness of mere ignorance * What are the clergy and the authorities and folly to enter the lists against science, doing,”. I was asked, “ that we have no or against that principle of the uniformity prayer issued for deliverance from the cattle of nature which is at once the foundation plague?” I expressed a doubt whether the and the crowning discovery of science. calamity had reached a magnitude which Science has been so victorious of late years, called for so special an act. “Oh, but,” and has been adding so constantly to the the answer was, “it is so important to take strengḥ of its main positions, that it is these things in time!” The appointment of scarcely safe to doubt anything which is a prayer which was to be looked to as a affirmed by cautious and scientific men as a kind of a mechanical prophylactic did not fact within their own domain.. But when, seem to me a thing much to be desired; and from the proper and recognised conclusions probably a similar distaste was similarly of science, inferences are drawn which excited in others. When the prayer came, affect the spiritual life, and threaten deit certainly was not peculiarly felicitous, but struction to what we have been accustomed it was not unlike other prayers of the same to regard as most precious, it cannot be kind. It was welcome, I fully believe, to a complained of if we scrutinize those inferenlarge number of pious persons, who had been ces carefully. If there is a region of very much alarmed by the reports of the genuine mystery, into which the science of phenomena is pushing forward its methods | ligible to us as taking place through human too confidently, it may be forced to retire, action, than if we transcend human action. not indeed by spiritual intimidation, but by But we are now speaking of possibility, in a the opposition of realities to which it is self- strict logical sense. And, although we are compelled to pay respect.
entirely ignorant how the Creator can Now the affirmation of the uniformity of change the course of nature otherwise than nature, when pressed logically against the through man, it seems clearly unreasonable utility of prayer, seems to me either to prove to affirm that such other interference is imtoo much or to prove nothing. We may be possible, because we know nothing about it. permitted to ask this question, Does the con- If there are invisible beings in the universe, stancy of the laws of nature imply that the why should they not have some power of course of nature is absolutely fixed, or not ? acting upon the course of nature ? So far
It is surely conceivable that the nega- as analogy is any guide, the fact that we, tive answer might be given to this question. by our volitions, can alter the course of For the experience of every hour, of every things without violating laws, would suggest minute, seems to show, that the actual course a presumption that the sanie thing can be of nature may be altered without the slight- done in other ways of which science simply est interference with any law of nature. knows nothing, and about which imaginaShall I blow out the candle before me, or tion cannot with much advantage exercise not? It seems to me that I may do it or its power of conjecture. It is conceivable refrain from doing it as I please. In either therefore that prayer relating to definite case, no law of nature is violated. In either physical ends might be answered, without case, interminable consequences follow my the appearance of the slightest departure choice. The whole course of nature will from the ordinary course of nature. be different if I do it from what it would be If, then, the constancy of natural laws if I did not do it. The voyage of discovery be so interpreted as to admit of indefinite of Christopher Columbus was at one time variations, through free volition, of the apparently within the domain of human course of nature, that constancy proves choice. He might not have sailed; he did nothing against prayer. sail; and what prodigious results have follow- If, however, it be interpreted to mean ed, in the ordinary course of nature, as we that by the operation of cause and effect say, from his enterprise ! If this variableness of the course of nature is so fixed that no the course of nature be admitted, it is clear change in accordance with human thought that the constancy of natural laws inter- or desire can possibly take place in it, the poses no obstacle to an efficacy of prayer argument proves too much. If the tremenwithout limit. There may be other reasons dous doctrine of necessity be called in at all, why human prayer should not avail to change it is unscientific to apply it partially. If in the course of nature, but the absolute invio- the face of a fixed and necessary course of lability of law will not be a reason. For, in things prayer becomes an absurdity, how the first place, prayer may be conceived as much else becomes absurd also! Everytaking effect through human wills. In a thing properly human ceases to be rational, vast proportion of cases, the objects for which till we are reduced to the deadest fatalism. we have prayed might be accomplished If a philosopher says to me, “ How can you through human agency. The cattle plague think that by your prayers you can divert might be neutralized by the discovery of a universal nature from its preordained remedy, by the adoption of hitherto neg. course ?” I think I reply rationally by asklected sanitary precautions, and by other ing, “How can I suppose that by any acts means which ingenuity might imagine as of mine, any more than by any prayers,
I operating through the minds of men. If can alter the unalterable ?" If the asserany persons have a conviction that our pray- tion, “It is of no use to pray against the ing could not lead to any quickening of hu- cattle-disease or the cholera," be based upon man intelligence, or to any invigoration of the fact that effect follows cause with unvahuman effort, they would hardly express rying uniformity, the same reason would that conviction by saying that the laws of lead us on to the further assertion, “ It is external nature are too constant to allow it. of no use to do anything against the cattleWith regard to all that may be done through disease or the cholera." human volition, the existence of fixed laws Let us consider what will have to be girof nature is manifestly no hindrance to its en up, if prayer for physical benefits be being done.
condemned on the ground of the uniformity The interference of mind and will with of nature. Prayer for spiritual blessings the course of nature is no doubt more intel- can hardly be retained. Are not spiritual
things mixed up inextricably with phy- | side. That is so in the present case. And sical? Spirit acts upon outward things; we might desire to meet as summarily as outward things act upon the spirit. Fever possible an assumption which holds up to is raging in a swampy district. The owner, contempt a large part of all the utterances feeling it to be his duty to try and subdue which human souls in their earnestness and it, and learning that he might probably do their anguish have offered up, and still of80 by draining it, cuts a drain. The place fer up, at that Throne of Grace before becomes wholesome. Then the moral tone which they have been invited to prostrate of the population also rises. The children themselves. But the most important bearbecome brighter, more intelligent, more ing of this argument is that it leads us to moral. A great spiritual gain is secured, lay stress upon the affinity between Prayer by the enlightenment of one man acting and rational Desire. through a physical improvement. Can it “Prayer is the souls sincere desire, utbe said that visible things are subject to tered or unexpressed." All Christians have law, spiritual things to no law ? Neither been ready to accept this as a principle of the philosopher nor the Christian could ac- devotion. But may we not finil, in the defiquiesce for a moment in such a distinction. nition, that prayer is desire looking upIt, then, a mother is forbidden, by reason, wards, a useful guide as to the conditions of to
pray for the restoration to health of her reasonable prayer? If desire, by looking child, can she reasonably pray that it may upwards, becomes prayer, then we have a grow up wise and virtuous ? Again, thanks- real basis for prayer before we come to congiving appears te be correlative to prayer. sider its efficacy. We have it even before If we are to regard everything that hap- we have provided ourselves with any solupens as fixed by a predetermined order, we tion of the mystery of God's providence. shall be bound to repress all special prompt- What we do require, as an antecedent conings to gratitude. There may remain per- dition of prayer, is the confession of a livhaps a certain sense of admiration of the ing God, whose creatures we are, and in course of things as a whole, modified, whose presence we stand. Then the simple one would expect, by a good deal of dis- affection of desire for this or that, by being satisfaction, - but what we commonly mean the affection of a man wbo remembers God, by thanksgiving must disappear. Again, and knows his relation of dependence and deliberate effort to accomplish any end is subjection to God, grows into a prayer. A stultified. If a man were betrayed into it man who desires, in his true cousiousness by the singular instinct which haunts us, as a creature and child of God, also prays. the recollection of the true philosophy Supposing this ideal condition to be realwould make him smile at himself as a fool. ized, whatever modifies the di sire will modiAnd lastly, he would learn to be ashamed fy the prayer; and whatever modities the of desire and hope. Only those who have prayer will modify the desire. not been taught the unalterableness of the This view of the nature of prayer would course of things can be weak enough to in- have two important negative effects : -1. dulye a wish or a hope concerning the fu- It shuts out the use of prayer as a kind of ture. What will be will be: and there is spiritual machinery. The plausible reprean end of it. Motives, aims, hopes, may be sentations of what has been gained by included as blind instincts in the great praying, which are often made use of to scheme, but they cannot be properly ra- stimulate the devotions of religious persons, tional; they cannot justify themselves to have a tendency to become thoroughly ofthe enlightened understanding. They must tensive to a reverent mind. We cannot share the fate of prayer. They are in- pray rightly, if we resort to prayer simply stinctive -so is prayer. Prayer is not ra- as an expedient for obtaining what we want. tional — no more are they.
2. It protests against the divorce of prayer It would seem, then, that the unalterable- from exertion. Instead of being a substiness of nature, if it is allowed to condemn tute for effort, or a supplement to it, prayer prayer, must go on to extinguish everything is seen to be a kind of natural breath of that we call human. And this argument, effort. And the man whose energies are if it is sound, would no doubt be generally most simply roused in pursuit of any object, accepted as a reductio ad absurdum, conclu- will be the man to pray most earne tly. sive for refutation. A reductio ad absurdum, But how does this view,
is however, is always more annoying to an op- the Godward aspect of desire, bear upon ponent, than really satisfying or instruct- the question, What boons may we reasonive. It ought hardly to be used except ably ask for from God ? It suggests, I think, where strict logic is professed on the other the following principles.