Occasional Papers eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Occasional Papers.

The world at large thought Mr. Maurice obscure and misty, and was, as was natural, impatient of such faults.  The charge was, no doubt, more than partially true; and nothing but such genuine strength and comprehensive power as his could have prevented it from being a fatal one to his weight and authority.  But it is not uninstructive to remember what was very much at the root of it.  It had its origin, not altogether, but certainly in a great degree, in two of his moral characteristics.  One was his stubborn, conscientious determination, at any cost of awkwardness, or apparent inconsistency, or imperfection of statement, to say out what he had to say, neither more nor less, just as he thought it, and just as he felt it, with the most fastidious care for truthful accuracy of meaning.  He never would suffer what he considered either the connection or the balance and adjustment of varied and complementary truths to be sacrificed to force or point of expression; and he had to choose sometimes, as all people have, between a blurred, clumsy, and ineffective picture and a consciously incomplete and untrue one.  His choice never wavered; and as the artist’s aim was high, and his skill not always equally at his command, he preferred the imperfection which left him the consciousness of honesty.  The other cause which threw a degree of haze round his writings was the personal shape into which he was so fond of throwing his views.  He shrunk from their enunciation as arguments and conclusions which claimed on their own account and by their own title the deference of all who read them; and he submitted them as what he himself had found and had been granted to see—­the lessons and convictions of his own experience.  Sympathy is, no doubt, a great bond among all men; but, after all, men’s experience and their points of view are not all alike, and when we are asked to see with another’s eyes, it is not always easy.  Mr. Maurice’s desire to give the simplest and most real form to his thoughts as they arose in his own mind contributed more often than he supposed to prevent others from entering into his meaning.  He asked them to put themselves in his place.  He did not sufficiently put himself in theirs.

But he has taught us great lessons, of the sacredness, the largeness, and, it may be added, the difficulty of truth; lessons of sympathy with one another, of true humility and self-conquest in the busy and unceasing activity of the intellectual faculties.  He has left no school and no system, but he has left a spirit and an example.  We speak of him here only as those who knew him as all the world knew him; but those who were his friends are never tired of speaking of his grand simplicity of character, of his tenderness and delicacy, of the irresistible spell of lovableness which won all within its reach.  They remember how he spoke, and how he read; the tones of a voice of singularly piercing clearness, which was itself a power of interpretation, which revealed his own

Project Gutenberg
Occasional Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook