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Runcie considers His Natural Life in relation to the search for a moral framework by John Stuart Mill and others to replace the outdated one of the first half of the nineteenth century. Runcie argues that His Natural Life is a dramatization of the failure of contemporary society to adequately deal with religion, government and personal spirituality. Rufus Dawes' spiritual life is the innermost subject of the novel as he experiences a descent and ascent before reclaiming his name, Devine, at the end of the novel.