We may be edified or we may be sceptical, according to our temperament and training; but a profound unconcern devitalizes both scepticism and edification. What have we mortals in common with these perfected prodigies of grace? It was Cardinal Newman who first entered a protest against "minced" saints, against the pious and popular custom of chopping up human records into lessons for the devout.
His conception is paralleled by that of another physician, Alcmaeon, of Proton, who contended that man's ideas of the gods amounted to mere suppositions at the very most. A rationalistic or sceptical tendency has been the accompaniment of medical training in all ages.
It was that fresh, pure heart, it was that simple, earnest sweetness, it was that contrast in look, in tone, in sentiment, and in reasonings, to all that had jaded and disgusted her in the circle of her admirers, it was all this that captivated Beatrice at the first interview with Leonard. Here was what she had confessed to the sceptical Randal she had dreamed and sighed for.
Whatever their particular theories might be, their general spirit was that of free inquiry and discussion. They sought to test everything by reason. The second half of the fifth century might be called the age of Illumination. It may be remarked that the knowledge of foreign countries which the Greeks had acquired had a considerable effect in promoting a sceptical attitude towards authority.
One might compare the boy's character to an ill-proportioned compensation pendulum; it contained too much of the soft metal of the mother, not enough of the hard metal of the father. Friction and irregular oscillations were the natural consequences. Now he was full of sentiment, now hard and sceptical. His mother's death affected him beyond words.
His eye flashed prophetic fire. "So soon?" I said, with a sceptical smile. "How could they survive?" Marindin inquired scathingly. "Is it likely any of us would consent to be born hunchbacks?" broke in the publisher; "or to enter families with hereditary gout? Would any sane Antelander put himself under the yoke of animal instincts or tendencies to drink?
In all likelihood, he was a pagan, a sceptical or hesitating pagan, such as existed in numbers at that time. Led by Augustin, he drew near to Manicheeism. Then, when Augustin gave up Manicheeism for Platonic philosophy, we see Romanianus take the airs of a philosopher. Later, when Augustin came back to Catholicism, he drew Romanianus in his wake towards that religion.
The sceptical spirit in the host the folk of whom there are many great-grandchildren living to-day, who always have objections to urge when disagreeable duties are crammed up against their faces would have enough to say on that occasion, but the bulk of the people were true, and obeyed. Now, we do not need to put out the eyes of our understanding in order to practise the obedience of faith.
Why, it's child's-play, my darlin'. But I didn't look for tragedy to-night. Sleep in this house I can't, my love!" Lucy was astonished. "Not sleep here, Mrs. Berry? Oh! why, you silly old thing? I know." "Do ye!" said Mrs. Berry, with a sceptical nose. "You're afraid of ghosts." "Belike I am when they're six foot two in their shoes, and bellows when you stick a pin into their calves.
He manifested for her a great deal of respectful attention, and even refrained from indulging in the sceptical sneers which he knew displeased her. Happy to witness this reform and to testify her gratitude, she invited him to remain on two or three evenings when he came to take his leave, and talked with him of books and the theatres.