26 NOVEMBER 1887, Page 28

force to the case of the enthusiast P How is

he to be trained in the exercise of his own responsibilities except by being allowed to suffer for his deliberate mistakes when he makes mistakes P Lord Justice Lindley does not appear to demur to this. He seems to say that, so far as the interests of the blundering enthu- siast go, he would let them alone, and not protect him, were it not so essential to check the dangerous influence exerted by those who guide the blundering enthusiast. But that is just where we wholly fail to apprehend the wisdom of the law. Surely in our day at all events, religious guides are not influences half as dangerous in relation to the dis- position of the property of the world, as fortune-hunters, projectors of various kinds, speculators who trade on the ignorance and incapacity of ordinary investors. For a few thousands of pounds which religious guides may divert into wrong channels, shrewd men of the world divert millions. And why should it be supposed that the religions enthusiast will be an easier or a richer prey to those who can find the key to his generosity, than is the selfish or needy investor to those who can find the key to his credulity P In the present day it is not by rich single prizes, but by a vast number of small prizes, that prosperous careers are made, and certainly such careers will never be made out of the manipulation of religions enthusiasm. We hold that it is not more important to make the simple-minded investor feel that he may easily ruin him- self by his folly, than it is to make the simple-minded enthusiast feel that he may come bitterly to regret the impatience and precipitation of his own superficial zeal. And yet, however true it may be that the present law is not aimed at protecting such enthusiasts from the consequences of their precipitation, but only at damping the hopes of those who find them wax in their hands, the unquestionable result is that it does suggest to the enthusiast that, even if he makes a mistake, the consequences of that mistake need not be irretrievable. Why in the world should it be so P It seems to as even more important to impress on a high-minded man or woman that what is done from a high motive most be deliberately and circumspectly done, and that if so done it cannot be undone, than it is to impress on needy or :grasping or ignorant men or women that what they do should be prudently done, since it cannot be undone. It is even more important to filter out the latent dross in noble motives, than to arouse the caution and vigilance of those who are 'confessedly acting on self-interest, and self-interest alone.