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This recalls to me the 213th verse of the second book of the Laws of Manou. It is in the nature of the feminine sex to seek here below to corrupt men, and therefore wise men never abandon themselves to the seductions of women.' The same code, however, says:
• Wherever women are honoured the gods are satisfied.' And again : 'In every family where the husband takes pleasure in his wife, and the wife in her husband, happiness is ensured.' And again : "One mother is more venerable than a thousand fathers.' But knowing what stormy and irrational elements there are in this fragile and delightful creature, Manou concludes : “At no age ought a woman to be allowed to govern herself as she pleases.'
Up to the present day, in several contemporary and neighbouring codes, a woman is a minor all her life. Why? Because of her dependence upon nature, and of her subjection to passions which are the diminutives of madness; in other words, because the soul of a woman has something obscure and mysterious in it, which lends itself to all superstitions and weakens the energies of man. To man belong law, justice, science, and philosophy, all that is disinterested, universal, and rational. Women, on the contrary, introduce into everything favour, exception, and personal prejudice. As soon as a man, a people, a literature, an epoch, become feminine in type, they sink in the scale of things. As soon as a woman quits the state of subordination in which her merits have free play, we see a rapid increase in her natural defects. Complete equality with man makes her quarrelsome; a position of supremacy makes her tyrannical. To honour her and to govern her will be for a long time yet the best solution. When education has formed strong, noble, and serious women in whom conscience and reason hold sway over the effervescence of fancy and sentimentality, then we shall be able not only to honour woman, but to make a serious end of gaining her consent and adhesion. Then she will be truly an equal, a workfellow, a companion. At present she is so only in theory. The moderns are at work upon the problem, and have not solved it yet.
15th June 1869. — The great defect of liberal Christianity 4 is that its conception of holiness is a frivolous one, or, what comes to the same thing, its conception of sin is a
superficial one. The defects of the baser sort of political liberalism recur in liberal Christianity ; it is only half serious, and its theology is too much mixed with worldli
The sincerely pious folk look upon the liberals as persons whose talk is rather profane, and who offend religious feelings by making sacred subjects a theme for rhetorical display. They shock the convenances of sentiment, and affront the delicacy of conscience by the indiscreet familiarities they take with the great mysteries of the inner life. They seem to be mere clever special pleaders, religious rhetoricians like the Greek sophists, rather than guides in the narrow road which leads to salvation.
It is not to the clever folk, nor even to the scientific folk, that the empire over souls belongs, but to those who impress us as having conquered nature by grace, as having passed through the burning bush, and as speaking, not the language of human wisdom, but that of the divine will. In religious matters it is holiness which gives authority ; it is love, or the power of devotion and sacrifice, which goes to the heart, which moves and persuades.
What all religious, poetical, pure, and tender souls are least able to pardon is the
diminution or degradation of their ideal. We must never rouse an ideal against us; our business is to point men to another ideal, purer, higher, more spiritual than the old, and so to raise behind a lofty summit one more lofty still. In this way no one is despoiled ; we gain men's confidence, while at the same time forcing them to think, and enabling those minds which are already tending towards change to perceive new objects and goals for thought. Only that which is replaced is destroyed, and an ideal is only replaced by satisfying the conditions of the old with some advantages over.
Let the liberal Protestants offer us a spectacle of Christian virtue of a holier, intenser, and more intimate kind than before ; let us see it active in their persons and in their influence, and they will have furnished the proof demanded by the Master: the tree will be judged by its fruits.
22d June 1869 (Nine A.M.) – Gray and lowering weather. – A fly lies dead of cold on the page of my book, in full summer! What is life? I said to myself, as I looked at the tiny dead creature. It is a loan, as movement is. The universal life is a sum total, of which the units are visible here,
there, and everywhere, just as an electric wheel throws off sparks along its whole surface. Life passes through us; we do not possess it. Hirn admits three ultimate principles : 5 the atom, the force, the soul; the force which acts upon atoms, the soul which acts upon force. Probably he distinguishes between anonymous souls and personal souls. Then my fly would be an anonymous soul.
(Same day.)— The national churches are all up in arms against so-called Liberal Christianity ; Basle and Zurich began the fight, and now Geneva has entered the lists too. Gradually it is becoming plain that historical Protestantism has no longer a raison d'être between pure liberty and pure authority. It is, in fact, a provisional stage, founded on the worship of the Bible - that is to say, on the idea of a written revelation, and of a book divinely inspired, and therefore authoritative. When once this thesis has been relegated to the rank of a fiction Protestantism crumbles away. There is nothing for it but to retire upon natural religion, or the religion of the moral consciousness. MM. Réville, Coquerel, Fontanès, Buisson, accept this logical outcome.