« PreviousContinue »
Letter CXX. To R. Mayor, Esq.: Burntisland, 28 July,
Rebukes his son Richard for excess in expenditure.
What aud how great are the interests which connect themselves with the hope that England may yet attain to some practical belief and understanding of its History during the Seventeenth Century, need not be insisted on at present; such hope being still very distant, very uncertain. We have wandered far away from the ideas which guided us in that Century, and indeed which had guided us in all preceding Centuries, but of which that Century was the ultimate manifestation: we have wandered very far; . and must endeavor to return, and connect ourselves therewith 'again! It is with other feelings than those of poor peddling Dilettantism, other aims than the writing of successful or unsuccessful Publications, that an earnest man occupies himself in those dreary provinces of the dead and buried. The last glimpse of the Godlike vanishing from this England; conviction and veracity giving place to hollow cant and formulism,—antique 'Reign of God,' which all true men in their several dialects and modes have always striven for, giving place to modern Reign of the No-God, whom men name Devil: this, in its multitudinous meanings and results, is a sight to create reflections in the earnest man! One wishes there we're a History of English Puritanism, . the last of all our Heroisms; but sees small prospect of such a thing at present.
'Few nobler Heroisms,' says a well-known Writer long occuI pied on this subject, 'at bottom perhaps no nobler Heroism ever \ transacted itself on this Earth; and it lies as good as lost to us;