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humoursome," he wrote, “as to refuse all things you have not known so long as Christ's Col
Once even he was offered an English Bishopric, and his friends got him as far as Whitehall to kiss hands, but they concealed the real object of their designs, and when he understood it, he was not on any account to be persuaded.
Late in life he accepted a prebend at Gloucester, urgently pressed on him by Heneage Finch, Earl of Nottingham, the Lord Chancellor, brother of an old pupil, but he resigned it almost immediately in favour of one of his friends; and once, too, the Fellows offered to elect him to the Mastership of Christ's, when it fell vacant, but this also he declined.
He was tutor of the College for a time, and was brought thus into close relations with Sir John Finch, afterwards Ambassador to Turkey, younger brother of Lord Nottingham, then an undergraduate. Finch's sister, Lady Conway, had been converted to the tenets of the Quakers, and Henry More, whose interest in his pupil extended itself to his pupil's sister, laboured to reclaim her for several years; he was thus brought into contact with Penn and the leaders of the Quietist party.
Lady Conway, the original of Lady Cardiff in “John Inglesant," was afflicted by mysterious and incurable pains in the head, and not only
travelled to consult physicians, but was accustomed to assemble quacks and specialists in her house at Ragley; there More spent most of his time, and composed several books at her ladyship's special request. There, too, he met the faithhealer Greatrakes, a moody man who had lived for some time in seclusion at his own ruined castle of Capperquin in Ireland; as well as the famous Van Helmont, Baron of Austria, Quaker and physician, son of the famous chemist of the same name. This man was all that Greatrakes was not ; he had considerable medical skill, and a quiet pious character. To us the union of the preacher and physician is somewhat repugnant. We take it to mean that a man supplies the gaps in his practical knowledge by the pretensions of spiritual insight; we believe him to be proficient in neither. Van Helmont, however, seems to have been a genuine man, and to suffer from an undeserved contempt. As a matter of fact the possession of keen moral insight and sympathy is one of the most powerful instruments that a physician can claim; the physical and mental constitution react so invariably, that without it a man must be at a loss; the healing art need not necessarily halt at the threshold of hypochondria.
As I have touched on Lady Conway and Van Helmont, I may as well follow out the part that Henry More plays in that fascinating romance-John Inglesant. The life and works,
It is very
down even to the style and mode of expression, of Henry More have interested and influenced Mr. Shorthouse very strongly.
I have heard the conversation between John Inglesant and Dr. More, which is said to have taken place at Oulton, instanced as an admirable tour de force of Mr. Shorthouse's style. The fact is that Henry More speaks there, not in character, but actually; nearly three-quarters of the conversation being sentences and aphorisms extracted straight from More's works. ingeniously done, though a little too elaborate to be lifelike when regarded as conversation.
But the effects of Henry More's writings are traceable in several other parts of John Inglesant. In the conversation to which I have alluded, More is made to sketch what he considers to be Inglesant's character and physical constitution.
“There would seem to be some that by a divine sort of fate are virtuous and good to a great and heroical degree, and fall into the drudgery of the world rather for the good of others, or by a divine force, than through their own fault or any necessity of Nature; as Plato says, they descend hither to declare the being and nature of God, and for the greater health, purity, and perfection of the lower world.”
He goes on to describe the “luciform vehicle in which such a soul as this is apt to display
itself; and the great need of scrupulous temperance and purity to keep it undimmed.
Now these passages are, in the places where they occur in Henry More's works, undoubtedly and in reality autobiographical : they are extracted word for word from passages where he is obviously referring to himself.
The fact thus remains that, though Inglesant and More are represented as holding converse together, it is in reality More talking to himselfhimself, that is, differently circumstanced and developed by other fortunes and influences. The figure of More was not quite romantic enough for Mr. Shorthouse, and his religious system lacked the vivid sense of the personal presence of Christ that is so marked a feature in Inglesant's career; but there is no reasonable doubt that Dr. More affords in the main outlines of his character and temperament the basis for that delicately drawn, laborious book which has made such a mark upon our late literature,
After Lady Conway's death, More was so far identified with her family and friends, as to write a preface, in the character of Van Helmont, for her Remains. At one time he thought of abandoning his collegiate life for his rectory of Ingoldsby in Lincolnshire; he intended to settle there with some friend as curate, and spend his time in quiet parochial work and study—but the scheme came to nothing.
It may be doubted
whether even he would have been proof against the trials of a country rectory; at Cambridge, indeed, he had quiet as much as he wished, but he had stimulus too : at Ingoldsby he would have had enforced quiet without the stimulus.
He was elected into the Royal Society, before its establishment by charter, in order to add lustre to it; for, though he never aimed at it, he had acquired long before his death a great reputation by his writings, which, as Mr. Chishull, the eminent bookseller of the day, said, ruled all the other booksellers in London.
He was a very laborious writer ; his works fill folio volumes, and are full of curious learning, with a strange streak of humour, descending at times to a coarseness of expression which would not be tolerated now.
His voice, as was said, was somewhat inward, and not suited to the pulpit ; and so he determined to give the world his thoughts in writing.
The Divine Dialogues are the Mystery of Godliness and the Mystery of Iniquity; the first of these being an exhaustive inquiry, in many books, into the nature and spirit of heathen religions. It may be said at once that his method of treating the subject is unjust; he is far too anxious, in his zeal for the Truth, to attribute to them a licentious or contemptible origin and obscene or meaningless ceremonies. The
Mysteries of Eleusis," which, according to