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‘ [389] and the fruits of a distempered brain, let my brain be evermore possessed with this happy distemper’

It must, however, be confessed that there is a cant of philanthropy too general and abstract for any practical purpose,—a morbid sentimentalism, —which contents itself with whining over real or imaginary present evil, and predicting a better state somewhere in the future, but really doing nothing to remove the one or hasten the coming of the other. To its view the present condition of things is all wrong; no green hillock or twig rises over the waste deluge; the heaven above is utterly dark and starless: yet, somehow, out of this darkness which may be felt, the light is to burst forth miraculously; wrong, sin, pain, and sorrow are to be banished from the renovated world, and earth become a vast epicurean garden or Mahometan heaven.

The land, unploughed, shall yield her crop;
     Pure honey from the oak shall drop;
The fountain shall run milk;
     The thistle shall the lily bear;
And every bramble roses wear,
     And every worm make silk.

Ben Jonson's Golden age restored.

There are, in short, perfectionist reformers as well as religionists, who wait to see the salvation which it is the task of humanity itself to work out, and who look down from a region of ineffable self-complacence on their dusty and toiling brethren who are resolutely doing whatsoever their hands find to do for the removal of the evils around them.

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