2 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 12


Recollections and Letters of the Rev. W. H. E. McKnight. By his Niece, Edith Isabel Thomson. (Masters and Co. 6s.)—Mr. McKnight died in 1896, and this is the first, record of his work. It will be welcome to not a few who remember the man, one of the most single-minded and honest of human beings. The best part of his life was given to teaching, and as his pupils came, for the most part, from families in high position, he had opportunities, which he used with great skill and faithfulness, of influencing men who would afterwards become influential. For the last seventeen years of his life he was rector of Silk Willoughby,

near Sleaford, and had the reputation of being the only Liberal clergyman in the county of Lincoln. The Home-rule Bill separated him from his party. Generally, indeed, he saw reason to reconsider more or less some of the political opinions of early days. He always had a keen interest in politics, but social questions also occupied him much, and he found time for other pursuits, among which gardening was perhaps the chief. As a theologian he had a truly broad and generous outlook. Ritualism was distasteful to him, but he did not fail to recognise the devotion and earnestness of Ritualists. It is hero that the interest of this book, which is largely occupied with Mr. McKnight's letters, chiefly lies, for the letters are in no common degree revelations of the writer's heart and mind. We give a typical extract :7-" A thought came again which I candidly tell you I have hitherto deemed it 'prudent' to suppress—viz., that intellectual records of truth are man's make, not God's; that as yet, in the imperfect knowledge of all truth, error and truth are so much confused and intermingled that no human standard can be the test of a man's salvation.

Whether this thought contains a truth that will suit a nobler manhood of the world than now, [a time] when men will see truth as it blooms in strength in the soul of each, not jabber it from articles and creeds, second-hand, and dry, and unreal, this I ask myself."