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child her eyes wandered to her eldest boy, Duncan, a youth of some eighteen or nineteen years, who was at home for the vacation, and then rested on her first-born, a daughter, in her twentieth year. The former was kneeling in front of the fire, and looking intently into it; while his sister, unable to read or work till the candles were lit, sitting on the music-stool, and dreaming very likely, as maidenhood will dream, every now and then, scarcely touching the keys, played softly just some favourite bar or two, in a sort of tender musical whisper, and then was silent again. At last Duncan said, in a tone which intimated that, at least, his reverie was ended
'I am so glad Mr. Warrington is coming. The lake is all frozen hard, and there will be capital skating. Won't he enjoy it?'
Bút neither the remark nor the question elicited any rejoinder. By-and-bye, however, Nora said, and just as if the name had not been so recently mentioned
'I am so glad Mr. Warrington is coming, for I have met with two or three passages in Dante which I can't at all understand, and I know he can make them plain.'
• Do you think he'll mind skating to-morrow, Nora ?' asked Duncan.
Christmas-day! I don't know, I'm sure,' said the sister, in reply.
• Oh! I should think Christmas-day was no more to him than any other day, now he has left the Church. You know there's no good reason for supposing it to be the birth-day of our Lord.'
‘No; but Mr. Warrington may consider it right not to seem even to pour contempt on the religious observances of others, and especially of those among whom his whole life, till recently, has been passed.'
‘Bosh ! ejaculated Duncan; but instantly added, “No, I did not mean to say that either ; at least, not to you, Nora, for you are a dear good sister; but remember what your favourite Tennyson says
“ Cut prejudice against the grain,"
you know, eh? I promise myself a glorious bout to-morrow, I can tell you ; but, of course, Mr. Warrington will please himself.'
'Please himself, interposed Mrs. Spencer; I should think he'll study rather how to please others, or else he's more changed than is at all likely
"Well, you know what I mean. He'll do what he thinks right, and so shall I, you
know.' Duncan, my boy,' said the father, let me congratulate you that to do right is with you the same thing as pleasing yourself
. Hold hard by that, and you'll ever be our own dear Duncan.'
The boy was silent, but presently said
'I shall get him to examine me in my mathematics, and see if I'm as well up as I should be. What a pity he is not a college-tutor, or something of that sort, he's such a capital fellow at teaching, is not he?'
· Because he begins at the beginning of everything, and goes on step by step, and is so thorough,' said Nora.
I suppose, my dear,” said Mrs. Spencer, “you'll get Mr. Warrington to take one of the services for you on Sunday ? '
Certainly I shall. It will be indeed a pleasure to some of us, at all events, to hear him.'
‘But, I say,' interposed Duncan, “what will some of the deacons say to that? or are they got a little wiser since I have been away?'
There being no answer to this boyish escapade, he presently turned to his sister
'I say, Nora, do you remember Stonehill's cutting out of the vestry without speaking a word the last time Mr. Warrington preached for us, and keeping away from the week-night services for a fortnight or more? What a Solomon! Do you remember? '
As his sister gave him but a monosyllable in reply, he amused himself with whistling a tune in an undertone while drawing in his breath, but presently broke out with another interrogative
* What was the reason Mr. Triggs would not let Mr. Warrington preach for him when he was ill, and wanted a supply, and had to send to London for one ? Because he had lived some time in Germany, wasn't it?'
• Something of the sort, I believe,' answered the sister, after a pause, and seeing neither Mr. nor Mrs. Spencer replied,
Well, that's what I call enlightenment,' said the youth ; "that looks like progress and the march of mind, that does, upon my word! Not let a capital fellow like Mr. Warrington preach for him because he's well up in German! What a - he supplied the blank by a sort of half-whistled “fwhphew.?
“Mr. Warrington has preached in German, hasn't he, papa ?' asked Nora, knowing Mr. Spencer did not relish the weaknesses of his brethren being commented on in his own family.
I believe he has, my dear.'
And that Latin sermon of his, addressed “Ad Cleros," did he ever preach it, or only write and print it?' asked Duncan.
• Wrote it only, I suppose; for I don't see what audience he would be likely to have for it, orally delivered.'
Why, I declare,' exclaimed Duncan, looking at his watch, if it is not almost time he was here! He was to come by the half past five train, and it only wants a quarter. I'll be off to the station.'
The boy's announcement and movement roused the whole party. Little Lucy woke out of her sleep. The candles were lighted, the fire replenished, and a few little feminine touches soon put the room into 'apple-pie order,' that everything might contribute to make the reception of the looked-for guest the more cordial and welcome.
We will take advantage of the quarter of an hour which must elapse before his arrival, to give the reader some account of Mr. Warrington, especially seeing he is the chief subject of our narrative.
In his youth he had been a pupil of Arnold's, and was not likely ever to forget that he had been at Rugby. Arnold's enthusiastic love
for Oxford made Warrington decide on that university for himself in preference to the sister one; and so he passed four years as a gentleman commoner of Oriel, having for his college companions some who have since made for themselves a name in the world. After he had taken his degree, which he did with honours, he devoted himself to the study of the law, and everybody augured for him a successful and not improbably a brilliant career. But after two or three years, a combination of circumstances led him to contemplate resigning the chances of ultimate distinction at the bar. The chief, however, of all the causes that influenced him in this direction might be ranked under the head of religious.'
He did not remember the time when he was without a more or less deep sense of reverence for God. He had been conscientious from his boyhood upward, while his conscientiousness was of that kind which one often wishes were more common among the talkers about conscience ; for, while some would have pronounced it identical with the fear of God, the less religious of his acquaintance always said that' Warrington had as nice a sense of honour, and was as true a gentleman in all his feelings, as any man in England. Indeed, I remember when Tennyson's In Memoriam ' first came out, portions of it were being read aloud in a circle in which he was well known, and when the cxth was finished
Not being less, but more than all
Each office of the social hour
To noble manners, as the flower
Or villain fancy fleeting by,
Drew in the expression of an cyc,
The grand old name of gentleman,
Detamed by every charlatan,
one remarked, “ That will do for Warrington.'
There was a gradual deepening of his religious character while at Oxford ; and without identifying himself with either of the religious parties there, the more earnest of each of them enjoyed and valued his intimacy, though without being able to enlist him as a proselyte. I think his theological sympathies were rather with the Evangelicals, while the Puseyites perhaps commanded more of his respect; but, even then, the Broad Church party, had it existed, would possibly have obtained a larger measure of his concurrence than either. Ile was a Churchman, as a matter of course, from birth and training;
and no question concerning the propriety, and indeed necessity and perfect naturalness, of a national church having ever been raised in his world, it was from habit and feeling rather than conviction that he deemed himself a true son of the Church of England.
He had always, too, been more or less conscious of a vague wish to devote himself to the ministry ; but, in proportion as he became more deeply conscious of the blessedness of personal religion, and so had a still deeper yearning to impart to others the knowledge and the joy of salvation, his idea of the necessary qualifications and solemn responsibility of the preacher's office rose, and he resolved, in humility, as he believed, to adopt a civil profession, and glorify God in private life.
But after he ba l entered on his legal studies, which he pursued with characteristic eari. stness, the religious life that was in him continued to deepen; and as he thought of the multitudes who, however conversant with the outside of religion, seemed to have no deep sense of the nature of the spiritual life, the yearnings within him began to take so definite a form, and to become so peremptory, that the idea of abandoning his recently-adopted profession stood before him with a growing distinctness that eventually compelled him deliberately to examine and decide. And thus, in about the third year of his legal course, all visions of a silk gown in the future, and of more dignitied possibilities in the still further distance, faded entirely away, and le turned from the great lawyers to the theologians and divines.
Till now, he had never entertained a doubt that to become a Christian minister and to become a clergyman were one and the same thing; but as he studied the canons of the Church, and re-examined the familiar formularies and the ordination service, as from a new stand-point, because with a reference to his own personal action and
a responsibility, he began to be aware of difficulties that he might never have been called to face as a layman. Perhaps it may be some clue to his after-course, to state that his very central idea of Christianity and all religion was, that it is, above all things_life. Not a form, not a creed, but a Life--the life of God, received into the soul, through the only Mediator, who was the Life manifested.' Receiving this life, he had also received power and freedom. Ecclesiastical, and even theological, restrictions and enclosures began to appear as unallowable barriers and hindrances. The bishop
The bishop of Exeter and the Puseyites were worrying Evangelicals; and Evangelicals, in the same spirit, seemed bent on casting out Puseyites from the Church. He shrunk from the idea of being at the mercy of either the one or the other. And the Church, which he had ever fondly spoken of as a 'mother,' and as the 'ark' of safety, began gradually to appear to him in a more questionable light. His position was one of painful embarrassment. On the one hand, inwardly impelled to testify to the truth, that he might bless men and glorify God; on the other, prevented from doing it in the only way he had ever hitherto contemplated. His soul was filled with sadness. And, as he well knew how all his old college friends would counsel him, and, moreover, shrunk from possibly
bringing on them the same burden he found so heavy for himself, he looked about for some adviser who, from a different point of view, might perhaps throw an independent light on the question that was now beginning to press for some solution.
Mr. Spencer was an old friend. Indeed, he had received from him his earliest instructions, previously to going to Rugby. And Mr. Spencer was a Nonconformist too; the only minister out of the Church' that he had any knowledge of. And all his impressions of his early tutor were pleasant. He remembered how ó very religious' he used, as a boy, to think him; and all that he recalled of him served only to increase his respect. He renewed the acquaintance, and found a sympathizing friend and wise counsellor. Mr. Spencer said not a word to urge him to quit the Church of his early associations and affections. Earnest Dissenter himself, he was not solicitous to make proselytes, but to deepen in every one a loving reverence for the Truth, and to increase the power of perceiving it. The sum of his advice had been that, as Mr. Warrington was clear on the first point, viz., that of renouncing the law and embracing the vocation of a religious teacher, but all beyond was impossible to be shaped as yet, he should take a fair period of time for calm thought away from all near and disturbing influences; and, as he could afford the time, being then only twenty-six, he advised him to go to Germany for a year or two, and continue his studies at one of the universities there. The entireness of the change might prove everyway favourable to the formation ultimately of a judgment not to be subsequently repented of, and the knowledge he would gain there would be for ever useful to him as a Christian teacher, whatever Church he might ultimately join.
Mr. Warrington had thoroughly approved this counsel, and acted upon it; only prolonging his period of residence to three years, and not only making the acquaintance and even acquiring the friendship of some of the best living divines there, but eventually, saying nothing of his Oxford degree, taking another, I think at Halle. During his German period he came gradually to feel it impossible to surrender his personal Christian freedom so much as would be involved in becoming a clergyman of the Church of England. The life that was in him refused to be clipped, and trimmed, and trained just so. He had no notion of answering, in writing, some eighty questions on baptismal regeneration, and kindred topics, to the satisfaction of any prelate whatever. Nor did he like, as a man who prayed for the gist of the Holy Spirit to himself, the permanent promise of Christ to the Church, to be bound quite so rigidly as articles and other formularies would bind him. Negatively, his course was quite clear. Dearly as he loved the memory of his alma mater, and decply as he felt the full force of the many associations and attractions of the church of his childhood and youth, yet, as a man, owing his first loyalty to truth, he could not surrender himself so absolutely as he must do if he would minister at her altars. Yet-the Disseniers! How would he fare among them? Would nearer acquaintance increase his satisfaction,