24 FEBRUARY 1866, Page 16


[To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."] SIR,—Amidst discourses on cattle plagues and Reform Bills, your readers are not likely to take much interest in such a controversy as that into which I have been unwillingly drawn by your corres- pondent " E. V. N."

I have only to say, in answer to his last letter, that I expressly acquitted him of being a Manichee, so far as I understand that, and I need not therefore enter into the question what Main- cheism is, or whether, according to some possible explanation of it, either he or I may be open to the charge. As to the argument about the animals, I have not been used, when I have called a horse " vicious," to mean that he had the kind of wickedness which one imputes to an Iago or a Lovelace. Perhaps that may be the force of the epithet ; if it is, i. e., if the horse is a voluntary, spiritual creature, and not a mere animal, I should of course believe him open to temptation from an Evil Spirit or Will. Whilst I retain my old opinion, such a supposition must seem to me monstrous.

"E. V. N. " thinks that I confound myths with history. No doubt he thinks so ; that is the very point at issue between us. I think that I escape the myths of the tenth century and of the Wneteenth by accepting the story of our Lord's temptation as I 'find it, and taking it as the interpretation of my Life. I have no notion of convincing him that I am right. For his attempts to convince me that I am wrong I am thankful. But the phrases " mythical" and " historical " are not quite new to me. If they could have changed my mind, it would have been changed some time ago.—Your