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Monday, May 16, 2011

Romney's Reformation

As Cold Water is to a Thirty Soul, So is Good News From a Far Country (1864) by George Smith
Romney reappears in Book VIII and visits Aurora in Italy.  He, like Carrington, has read Aurora's most recent book and loved it, to the point that it has become a part of him.  He compliments the work, saying "it draws me up" (285).  He particularly appreciates the truth that Aurora presents on the twofold world, made up of the natural and spiritual.  Romney uses Aurora's book to improve his work,which he says has failed.  Romney now recognizes that one must deal with the spiritual as well as the natural in order to bring about change. 

Romney's work has failed because he arrogantly assumed that he could solve all the world's problems and did not acknowledge God's role in his plans.  Romney drew men to himself and tried to be everything to them.  His thinking was that he alone was all that was needed to better society.  God remained in the  background, Romney seeing himself and not God as omnipotent.

To think,–I have a pattern on my nail,
And I will carve the world new after it,
And solve so, these hard social questions,–nay,
Impossible social questions,–since their roots
Strike deep in Evil's own existence here,
Which God permits because the question's hard
To abolish evil nor attaint free-will.
Ay, hard to God, but not to Romney Leigh!

Romney saw himself as capable of providing an answer, despite his lack of faith in God's ability to do so.

Nevertheless, Aurora's book helped Romney see that despite all his natural efforts, he neglected the spiritual side of those he tried to help.  He not only tried to be their God by also he ignores the needs of their souls.  As Aurora points out:

'Tis impossible
To get at men excepting through their souls,
However open their carnivorous jaws;
And poets get directlier at the soul,
Than any of your economists:–for which,
You must not overlook the poet's work
When scheming for the world's necessities.
The soul's the way. Not even Christ himself
Can save man else than as He hold man's soul (537-45).

Romney thought he could help man most by providing a natural cure, Aurora helps him see that the spiritual cure is foremost.  One must follow the example of Christ in one's work for men.

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