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authority, as narrow and unrealistic. Recall the passage in his Autobiography where he relates his disgust at a sermon preached on the great text in Philippians: Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any virtue, or any praise, think on these things. Franklin says that, in expounding this text, the minister confined himself to five points: keeping the Sabbath, reading the Scriptures, attending public worship, partaking of the sacraments, and respecting the ministers. Franklin recognized at once that there was no moral life in that minister, was 'disgusted,' and attended his preaching no more. It was the revolt of a living Puritanism from a Puritanism that was dead.
For, note what follows, as the consequence of his break with the church. 'It was about this time that I conceived,' says Franklin, 'the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time, and to conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into.' Everyone will recall how Franklin drew up his table of the thirteen real moral virtues, and how diligently he exercised himself to attain them. But, for us, the significant feature of his enterprise was the realistic spirit in which it was conceived: the bold attempt to ground the virtues on reason and experience rather than authority; the assertion of his doctrine 'that vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone considered.'
Having taken this ground, it became necessary for him to explore the nature of man and the universe. So Puritanism, which, in Robinson and Mather, was predominantly rational, becomes in Franklin predominantly scientific. With magnificent fresh moral force, he seeks for the will of God in nature, and ap
plies his discoveries with immense practical benevolence to ameliorating the common lot of mankind, and to diffusing good-will among men and nations. Light breaks into his mind from every quarter of his century. His vision of the good life includes bringing every faculty of mind and body to its highest usefulness. With a Puritan emancipator like Franklin, we are not obliged to depend, for the opening of our minds, upon subsequent liberators devoid of his high reconstructive seriousness.
I must add just one more name, for the nineteenth century, to the history of our American Puritan tradition. The original moral force which was in Mather and Franklin passed in the next age into a man who began to preach in Cotton Mather's church, Ralph Waldo Emerson, descendant of many generations of Puritans. The church itself had now become Unitarian: yet, after two or three years of service, Emerson, like Franklin, revolted from the church; the vital force of Puritanism in him impelled him to break from the church in behalf of his vision of sincerity, truth, and actuality. "Whoso would be a man,' he declares in his famous essay on Self-Reliance, ‘must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.'
No American ever lived whose personal life was more exemplary; or who expressed such perfect disdain of outworn formulas and lifeless routine. There is dynamite in his doctrine to burst tradition to fragments, when tradition has become an empty shell. 'Every actual state is corrupt,' he cries in one of his dangerous sayings; 'good men will not obey the laws too well.' To good men whose eyes are wide and full of light, there is always breaking a new vision of right reason, which is the will of God, and above the law. Emer
son himself broke the Fugitive Slave Law, and in the face of howling ProSlavery mobs declared that John Brown would 'make the gallows glorious like the cross.'
That is simply the political aspect of his radical Puritanism. On the æsthetic side, Emerson disregarded the existing conventions of poetry to welcome Walt Whitman, who saluted him as master. Emerson hailed Walt Whitman because Whitman had sought to make splendid and beautiful the religion of a Puritan democracy; and a Puritan democracy is the only kind that we have reason to suppose will endure.
Let these two examples of Emerson's revolt and vision suffice to illustrate the modern operation of the Puritan spirit, its disdain for formalism and routine.
Now, our contemporary leaders of the attack against the modern Puritan declare that modern Puritanism means campaigns of 'snouting and suppression.' That, we should now be prepared to assert, is precisely and diametrically opposite to what modern Puritanism means. Modern Puritanism means the release, not the suppression, of power, welcome to new life, revolt from decay and death. With extravagant asceticism, with precisianism, modern Puritanism has nothing whatever to do.
What made the teaching of Emerson, for example, take hold of his contemporaries, what should commend it to us to-day, is just its unfailingly positive character; its relish for antagonisms and difficulty; its precept for the use of the spur; its restoration of ambition to its proper place in the formation of the manly character; its power to free the young soul from the fetters of fear and send him on his course like a thunderbolt; and, above all, its passion for bringing the whole of life for all men to its fullest and fairest fruit; its pas
sion for emancipating, not merely the religious and moral, but also the intellectual and the political and social and æsthetic capacities of man, so that he may achieve the harmonious perfection of his whole nature, body and soul. To this vision of the good life, Puritanism! has come by inevitable steps in its pilgrimage through the ages.
What have I been trying to demonstrate by this long review of the Puritan tradition? This, above all: that the Puritan is profoundly in sympathy with the modern spirit, is indeed the formative force in the modern spirit.
The Puritan is constantly discarding old clothes; but, being a well-born soul, he seeks instinctively for fresh raiment. Hence his quarrel with the Adamite, who would persuade him to rejoice in nakedness and seek no further.
Man is an animal, as the Adamites are so fond of reminding us. What escapes their notice is, that man is an animal constituted and destined by his nature to go on a pilgrimage in search of a shrine; and till he finds the shrine, constrained by his nature to worship the Unknown God. This the Puritan has always recognized. And this, precisely, it is that makes the Puritan a better emancipator of young souls than our contemporary Adamite.
A great part of our lives, as we all feel in our educational period, is occupied with learning how to do and to be what others have been and have done before us. But presently we discover that the world is changing around us, and that the secrets of the masters and the experience of our elders do not wholly suffice to establish us effectively in our younger world. We discover within us needs, aspirations, powers, of which the generation that educated us seems unaware, or toward which it appears to be indifferent, unsympathetic, or even actively hostile. We perceive gradually or with successive shocks of
surprise that many things which our fathers declared were true and satisfactory are not at all satisfactory, are by no means true, for us. Then it dawns upon us, perhaps as an exhilarating opportunity, perhaps as a grave and sobering responsibility, that in a little while we ourselves shall be the elders, the responsible generation. Our salvation in the day when we take command will depend, we believe, upon our disentanglement from the lumber of heirlooms and hereditary devices, and upon the free, wise use of our own faculties.
At that moment, if we have inherited, not the Puritan heirlooms, but the living Puritan tradition, we enter into the modern spirit. By this phrase I mean, primarily, the disposition to accept nothing on authority, but to bring all reports to the test of experience. The modern spirit is, first of all, a free spirit open on all sides to the influx of truth, even from the past. But freedom is not its only characteristic. The modern spirit is marked, further, by an active curiosity, which grows by what it feeds upon, and goes ever inquiring for fresher and sounder information, not content till it has the best information to be had anywhere. But since it seeks the best, it is, by necessity, also a critical spirit,
constantly sifting, discriminating, rejecting, and holding fast that which is good, only till that which is better is within sight. This endless quest, when it becomes central in a life, requires labor, requires pain, requires a measure of courage; and so the modern spirit, with its other virtues, is an heroic spirit. As a reward for difficulties gallantly undertaken, the gods bestow on the modern spirit a kind of eternal youth, with unfailing powers with unfailing powers of recuperation and growth.
To enter into this spirit is what the Puritan means by freedom. He does not, like the false emancipator, merely cut us loose from the old moorings and set us adrift at the mercy of wind and tide. He comes aboard, like a good pilot; and while we trim our sails, he takes the wheel and lays our course for a fresh voyage. His message when he leaves us is not, 'Henceforth be masterless,' but, 'Bear thou henceforth the sceptre of thine own control through life and the passion of life.' If that message still stirs us as with the sound of a trumpet, and frees and prepares us, not for the junketing of a purposeless vagabondage, but for the ardor and discipline and renunciation of a pilgrimage, we are Puritans.
THINGS SEEN AND HEARD
BY EDGAR J. GOODSPEED
My academic orbit is not too rigid to permit an occasional deviation into the outer world. At such times I direct my steps into the neighboring City of Destruction, where, in a lofty building, is one of those centres of light and leading which punctuate the darkness of the metropolis. The structure is not externally remarkable, but the modest fraction of it assigned to my activities is certainly no ordinary apartment.
The extraordinary thing about my classroom is its sides. One is formed by a vast accordion door, loosely fitting, as is the manner of such doors. It faithfully conceals the persons behind it and their every action, while it as faithfully transmits all they may have to say. Theirs is an eloquent concealment. From the sounds that well through the ample interstices of that door, we gather that it is psychology that is going on in the adjoining room. The fascinating affirmations of that most intimate science break in upon our occasional pauses with startling effect. It is thus beyond doubt that theology should always be inculcated to a psychological obbligato, an accompaniment of the study of the mind.
Even more unusual is the other side of the room. From floor to ceiling it is all of plate-glass, not meanly divided into little squares, but broadly spaced, so that you are hardly conscious it is there. Through it you may behold, as in an aquarium, a company of men and women going through many motions but
making no sound. A tall romantic youth, presumably the teacher, stands before them, and they rise up and sit down for no perceptible reason and to no apparent purpose. One of them will get up and stand for a long time, and then will as suddenly and causelessly sit down again. At other times, even more distressing, they are all motionless. Lips move, but they give forth no sound. It is like a meeting of the deaf-and-dumb society. Worst of all, they will sometimes unanimously and quite without warning rise in their places, simultaneously adjust their wraps, and silently depart. It is as if they all suddenly realize that they have had enough of it. You know that you have. There is something weird in all this soundless action, this patient motiveless mechanicaldown-sitting and uprising, something far more distracting even than in those disembodied psychological voices that murmur in our ears.
But much more disturbing than either of these extraordinary neighbors of our reflections is their combination. The sounds that come through the door do not tally with the sights that come through the glass. What you hear bears no relation to what you see. It does not even contradict it. There is a war in your members. Your senses do not agree.
And yet you are haunted by the notion that what you are hearing has something to do with what you are seeing. When someone asks a question
behind the door at your left and someone makes a motion beyond the glass at your right, you instinctively try to relate the two. But in vain; there is no relation. Especially when all the visibles get up and leave, it seems as if it must be because of something the audibles have said. Nevertheless, the audibles go right on psychologizing, entirely oblivious of the visibles' departure.
Reflection has satisfied me that much confusion of the modern mind is due to the incongruity of what we hear and what we see. The conditions of my quaint lecture-room are typical. You look about upon a community of earnest hard-working people, soberly doing their daily work at business and at home. But you pick up the Home Edition, and read of a very different world of violence and vice. All its men are scoundrels and its women quite different from those you see, to say the least. You have long been assured that this is the Age of Reason; but observation finds little to support the claim. The Age of Impulse would seem as good a guess. You hear that the League of Nations is dead, but on visiting the movies you are astonished to see it in session and to find that it yet speaketh. You are told on all hands that everything about the war was a failure, and yet, as a whole, it seems to have accomplished its immediate end. You hear much lamentation over the sensationalism of the press, but as you read it, it is its conventionality that oftener leaves you mourning. The newspapers show you a comfortable view of the steel strike, but the cook's brother, who was one of the strikers, tells you something entirely different. With a laudable desire to preserve your reason, you do your best to cultivate the virtues of blindness, deafness, insensibility, and unbelief. Yet you are sometimes just a little bewildered. Your universe is not unified.
The most disturbing thing is not that things seen and things heard contradict each other: that we might learn to allow for. The great trouble is that they seem to bear no relation to each other at all. Most political talk is of this description. It has nothing to do with the case. It is like the effort of a young friend of mine who, on being asked to translate a well-known passage of Epictetus, produced the following:
'If teachings are no longer the reasons of all things, and who has false doctrines, how much should be the cause, and as such the destruction.'
That mythical creature, the American of British fiction, so boldly portrayed by Mr. Chesterton, Mr. Buchan, Mr. Oppenheim, and Mr. Doyle, much as we love and enjoy him, is, it must be confessed, little known save by reputation on this side of the sea. He is fiction in the strictest sense. Like Mr. De Quincey's unfortunate reporter, non est inventus. But he is not the less popular among us for being an imported article. He is so rich, so ready, so unspoiled, so clear-eyed, clean-limbed, nasal-toned, poker-faced, and best of all (true to the great traditions of his country), so quick on the trigger!
The trouble is not merely that the things we hear we never see, but that the things we see we never hear. For how extraordinary is the sensation when you hear of something you have seen! Perhaps it is only an accident. Do you not yearn to rise up and cry out, 'I saw that! I was there'? It is because, for once, things seen coincide with things heard.
Brain-proud men of science sourly say that Greek is dead. But to the Grecian mind it is refreshing to observe that familiarity with Greek is now extraordinarily widespread in this country. This is all the more fascinating at a time when the practical educators have triumphantly excluded the study of