Plainly Faber’s materialism sprang from no defect in the region of the imagination; but I find myself unable to determine how much honesty, and how much pride and the desire to be satisfied with himself, had relatively to do with it. I would not be understood to imply that he had an unusual amount of pride; and I am sure he was less easily satisfied with himself than most are. Most people will make excuses for themselves which they would neither make nor accept for their neighbor; their own failures and follies trouble them little: Faber was of another sort. As ready as any other man to discover what could be said on his side, he was not so ready to adopt it. He required a good deal of himself. But then he unconsciously compared himself with his acquaintances, and made what he knew of them the gauge, if not the measure, of what he required of himself.
It were unintelligible how a man should prefer being the slave of blind helpless Law to being the child of living Wisdom, should believe in the absolute Nothing rather than in the perfect Will, were it not that he does not, can not see the Wisdom or the Will, except he draw nigh thereto.
I shall be answered:
“We do not prefer. We mourn the change which yet we can not resist. We would gladly have the God of our former faith, were it possible any longer to believe in Him.”
I answer again:
“Are you sure of what you say? Do you in reality mourn over your lost faith? For my part, I would rather disbelieve with you, than have what you have lost. For I would rather have no God than the God whom you suppose me to believe in, and whom therefore I take to be the God in whom you imagine you believed in the days of your ignorance. That those were days of ignorance, I do not doubt; but are these the days of your knowledge? The time will come when you will see deeper into your own hearts than now, and will be humbled, like not a few other men, by what you behold.”
THE BUTCHER’S SHOP.
About four years previous to the time of which I am now writing, and while yet Mr. Drake was in high repute among the people of Cowlane chapel, he went to London to visit an old friend, a woman of great practical benevolence, exercised chiefly toward orphans. Just then her thoughts and feelings were largely occupied with a lovely little girl, the chain of whose history had been severed at the last link, and lost utterly.