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water, “He shall deliver thee from the noisome pestilence; and though a thousand fall at thy right hand, it shall not come nigh thee.” 1 This, as a Christian, I am bound to believe. This, speaking as a Christian, I am bound to proclaim, whatever the consequences may be to the town, or the opinion of me formed by the Common Council; as a Christian, I believe prayer to be, in the last sense, sufficient for the salvation of the town; and drainage, in the last sense, insufficient for its salvation. Not that you will find me, looking back through the pages of Fors, unconcerned about drainage. But if, of the two, I must choose between drains and prayer—why, “look you”—whatever you may think of my wild and whirling words, I will go pray.'
And now, therefore, for St. George's schools, I most solemnly reverse the statement B, and tell my scholars, with all the force that is in me, that the facts of the universe are not steadfast, that they ARE changed by human fancies, and by human follies (much more by human wisdoms),—that the laws of the universe are no more relentless than the God who wrote them,—that they will relax in the presence of human weakness, and do give way under the pressure of human passion and force, and give way so totally, before so little passion and force, that if you have but
faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible unto you."
13. “ Are these merely fine phrases, or is he mad, as people say ?” one of my polite readers asks of another.
Neither, oh polite and pitying friend. Observe, in the first place, that I simply speak as a Christian, and express to you accurately what Christian doctrine is. I am myself so nearly as you are,-so grievously faithless to less than the least grain of—Colman's—mustard, that I can take up no serpents, and raise no dead.
(Psalms xci. 3, 7.]
(See, for instance, Vol. XXVII. pp. 92, 296, 326; Vol. XXVIII. pp. 176, 181, 204, 301, 689; and above, pp. 323-324.]
[Hamlet, Act i. sc. 5: “Look you, I'll go pray."] • 'Matthew xvii. 20.]
my sins. 3
But I don't say, therefore, that the dead are not raised, nor that Christ is not risen, nor the head of the serpent bowed under the foot of the Seed of the Woman.” I say only,—if my faith is vain, it is because I am yet in
And to others I say—what Christ bids me say. That, simply,—that, literally,—that, positively; and
“If thou wilt believe, thou shalt see the salvation of God.” 4
If thou wilt (wouldest)-Faith being essentially a matter of will, after some other conditions are met. For how shall they believe on whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher ?5 Yea; but-asks St. George, murmuring behind his visor,-much more, how shall they hear without-ears.
He that hath ears (it is written),– let him hear; 8_but how of him that hath none ?
For observe, far the greater multitude of men cannot hear of Christ at all. You can't tell an unloving person, what love is, preach you till his doomsday. What is to become of them, God knows, who is their Judge; but since they cannot hear of Christ, they cannot believe in Him, and for them, the Laws of the Universe are unchangeable enough. But for those who can hear-comes the farther question whether they will. And then, if they do, whether they will be steadfast in the faith,—steadfast behind the shield, point in earth, cross of iron—(compare Laws of Fésole, chapter iii., and the old heraldic word “restrial,” of bearings, first written in blood ),—else, having begun in
1 [See 1 Corinthians xv. 16.]
& (Chapter iii. in the Laws of Fésole has for its subject “The Quartering of St. George's Shield”: see Vol. XV. p. 365. For “restrial” bearings—said of those which "in respect of their strength and solid substance" are “able to abide the stresse and force of any triall they shall be put unto"-800 Val d'Arno, $ 105 (Vol. XXIII. p. 64); for the cross, as the first restrial bearing “ drawn by dying fingers dipped in blood," see ibid., $ 115, p. 70.)
the spirit, they may only be “made perfect in the flesh.” (Gal. iii. 3.) But if, having begun in the Spirit, they grieve it not, there will be assuredly among them the chorusleader. He that “leads forth the choir of the Spirit,” and worketh MIRACLES among you. (Gal. iii. 5.)
14. Now, lastly, read in the ninth chapter of Froude's History of England, the passage beginning, “Here, therefore, we are to enter upon one of the grand scenes of history,
,"* down to, “He desired us each to choose our confessor, and to confess our sins one to another;” and the rest, I give here, for end of this Fors:
“The day after, he preached a sermon in the chapel on the 59th Psalm :3 50 God, Thou hast cast us off, Thou hast destroyed us;' concluding with the words, 'It is better that we should suffer here a short penance for our faults, than be reserved for the eternal pains of hell hereafter; '--and so ending, he turned to us, and bade us all do as we saw him do. Then rising from his place he went direct to the eldest of the brethren, who was sitting nearest to himself, and kneeling before him, begged his forgiveness for any offence which in heart, word, or deed he might have committed against him. Thence he proceeded to the next, and said the same; and so to the next, through us all, we following him, and saying as he did, ~each from each imploring pardon.
" Thus, with unobtrusive nobleness, did these poor men prepare themselves for the end ; not less beautiful in their resolution, not less deserving the everlasting remembrance of mankind, than those three hundred who in the summer morning sate combing their golden hair in the passes of Thermopylæ. We will not regret their cause; there is no cause for which any man can more nobly suffer than to wit ess that better for him to die than to speak words which he does not mean. Nor, in this their hour of trial, were they left without higher comfort.
"The third day after,' the story goes on, was the mass of the Holy Ghost, and God made known His presence among us.
For when the host was lifted up, there came as it were a whisper of air, which breathed upon our faces as we knelt. Some perceived it with the bodily senses; all felt it as it thrilled into their hearts. And then followed a sweet, soft sound of music, at which our venerable father was so moved, God being thus
. is to Since Him.
* Octavo edition of 1858, vol. ii., p. 341.4
1 [Ephesians iv. 30.)
Lo On érixoporyür ruiv rd Ilvellua: translated in the English version, “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit.”]
(An error for Psalm 1x.]
Vol. ii. pp. 235-245, in the small edition ; from the account of the execution of the brethren of the London Charterhouse (1535). The preacher was the Prior. For another reference to the incident, see below, p. 389.)
abundantly manifest among us, that he sank down in tears, and for a long time could not continue the service--we all remaining stupefied, hearing the melody, and feeling the marvellous effects of it upon our spirits, but knowing neither whence it came nor whither it went. Only our hearts rejoiced as we perceived that God was with us indeed.""
15. It can't be the end of this Fors, however, I find (15th February, half-past seven morning), for I have forgotten twenty things I meant to say; and this instant, in my morning's reading, opened and read, being in a dream state, and not knowing well what I was doing,—of all things to find a new message !—in the first chapter of Proverbs.
I was in a dreamy state, because I had got a letter about the Thirlmere debate, which was to me, in my purposed quietness, like one of the voices on the hill behind the Princess Parizade.? And she could not hold, without cotton in her ears, dear wise sweet thing. But luckily for me, I have just had help from the Beata Vigri at Venice, who sent me her own picture and St. Catherine's, yesterday, for a Valentine ;8 and so I can hold on :-only just read this first of Proverbs with me, please.
“ The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel.
- To know wisdom and instruction.”
1 [The Manchester Corporation's Thirlmere Bill had been read a second time on February 13: compare Vol. XIII. p. 517 n.]
* (Arabian Nights (“Story of the Sisters who envied their Younger Sister”). See Jonathan Scott's translation, 1811, vol. v. pp. 379-381. The Princess Periezadeh, in her search for the speaking bird, the singing tree, and yellow water, stopped her ears with cotton-wool against the terrifying voices on the mountain. “I mind not, said she to herself, all that can be said, were it worse ; I only laugh at them, and shall pursue my way.” It was from this story, by the way, that the incident of the black stones, utilised by Ruskin in his King of the Golden River, is derived.)
3 (So Ruskin notes in his diary: Presumably some one had sent him a study, or a photograph, of a favourite picture in the Academy at Venice—“the Beata Catherine Vigri's St. Ursula ; Catherine Vigri herself, it may be, kneeling to her”: see Vol. XXIV. p. 185.)
• [Compare Letter 11, § 19 (Vol. XXVII. p. 195); and below, Letter 89, $ 2 (p. 399).]
“To perceive the words of understanding.”
(He that hath eyes, let him read—he that hath ears, hear. And for the Blind and the Deaf,—if patient and silent by the right road-side, there may also be some one
• He is coming.”) “To receive the instruction of WISDOM, JUSTICE, and JUDGMENT, and EQUITY."
Four things,-oh friends,—which you have not only to perceive, but to receive. And the species of these four things, and the origin of their species, you know them, doubtless, well,—in these scientific days ?
“ To give subtlety to the simple; to the young man, knowledge and discretion.”
(Did ever one hear, lately, of a young man's wanting either? Or of a simple person who wished to be subtle ? Are not we all subtle-even to the total defeat of our hated antagonists, the Prooshians and Rooshians ??)
“A wise man will hear and will increase learning.” (e.g., "A stormy meeting took place in the Birmingham Town Hall last night. It was convened by the Conservative Association for the purpose of passing a vote of confidence in the Government; but the Liberal Association also issued placards calling upon Liberals to attend. The chair was taken by Mr. Stone, the President of the Conservative Association, but the greater part of his speech was inaudible even upon the platform, owing to the frequent bursts of applause, groans, and Kentish fire, intermingled with comic songs. Flags bearing the words "Vote for Bright' and Vote for Gladstone' were hoisted, and were torn to pieces by the supporters of the Government. Dr. Sebastian Evans moved, and Alderman Brinsley seconded, a resolution expressing confidence in Her Majesty's Government. Mr. J. S. Wright moved, and Mr. R. W. Dale seconded, an amendment, but neither speaker could make himself heard; and on the resolution being put to the meeting it was declared carried, but the Liberal speakers disputed the decision of the chairman, and asserted that two-thirds of the meeting were against the resolution.”—Pall Mall Gazette, February 13th, 1878.)
*[See Matthew xx. 30: “two blind men, sitting by the wayside, when they heard that Jesus passed by,” etc.]
* [The reference is to the foreign policy of Lord Beaconsfield, and to the movements of the British Fleet at this time, which were directed to preventing a Russian occupation of Constantinople--a contingency to which the German Government was supposed not to object. Ruskin attunes his words to the Cockneyism as in the popular music-hall ditty of the time : “The Rooshians shall not have Constantinople"; or as W. Ş. Gilbert has it, “He might have been a Roosian, A French, or Turk, or Proosian."]