ABSTRACT

Under what aspect is the relation of the world and man to God represented in the poems of Mr. Tennyson! Surely,-it will be said,- one who feels so strongly the presence of law in the physical world, and who recognises so fully the struggle in the moral nature of man between impulse and duty, assigning to conscience a paramount authority, has the materials from which arises naturally a vivid feeling of what is called the personal relation of God to his creatures. A little reflection will show that this is not so. It is quite possible to admit in one's thoughts and feelings the existence of a physical order of the

material world, and a moral order of the spiritual world, and yet to enter slightly into those intimate relations of the affections with a Divine Being which present him in the tenderest way as a Father,-as a highest Friend. Fichte, the sublime idealist, was withheld from seeing God by no obtruding veil of a material universe. Fichte, if any man ever did, recognised the moral order of the world. But Fichte-living indeed the blessed life in God,-yet annihilated for thought his own personality and that of God, in the infinity of this moral order. No: it is not law but will that reveals will; it is not our strength but our weakness that cries out for the invisible Helper and Divine Comrade; it is not our obedience but our aspiration, our joy, our anguish; it is the passion of self-surrender, the grief that makes desolate, the solitary rapture which demands a partaker of its excess, the high delight which must save itself from as deep dejection by a passing over into gratitude.