The philosophy of life, and philosophy of language, in a course of lectures by Schlegel, Friedrich von

Every attempt has been made to replicate the original as printed. Some typographical errors have been corrected; a list follows the text. No attempt has been made to correct the German spelling. The footnotes follow the text. (etext transcriber’s note)








LECTURE I. Page Of the thinking Soul as the Center of Consciousness, and of the false Procedure of Reason 7

LECTURE II. Of the loving Soul as the Center of the moral Life; and of Marriage 28

LECTURE III. Of the Soul’s Share in Knowledge, and of Revelation 48

LECTURE IV. Of the Soul in relation to Nature 70

LECTURE V. Of the Soul of Man in relation to God 95

LECTURE VI. Of the Wisdom of the divine Order of Things in Nature, and of the Relation of Nature to the other Life and to the Invisible World 115

LECTURE VII. Of the divine Wisdom as manifested in the Realm of Truth, and of the Conflict of the Age with Error 141

LECTURE VIII. Of the divine Order in the History of the World and the Relation of States 162

LECTURE IX. Of the true Destination of Philosophy: and of the apparent Schism but essential Unity between a right Faith and highest Certainty, as the Center of Light and Life in the Consciousness 185

LECTURE X. Of the twofold Spirit of Truth and Error in Science; of the Conflict of Faith with Infidelity 206

LECTURE XI. Of the Relation of Truth and Science to Life, and of Mind in its application to Reality 232

LECTURE XII. Of the symbolical Nature and Constitution of Life with reference to Art and the moral Relations of Man 256

LECTURE XIII. Of the Spirit of Truth and Life in its application to Politics, or of the Christian Constitution of the State and the Christian Idea of Jurisprudence 277

LECTURE XIV. Of the Division of Ranks, and of the reciprocal Relations of States, according to the Christian Idea. Of Science as a Power; of its Constitution, and of the right Regulation of it 301

LECTURE XV. Of the true Idea of a Theocracy; of the Might of Science, and of the final Restoration and Perfection of the human Consciousness 320


Preface of the German Editor 341












These fifteen Lectures on the Philosophy of Life are intended to give, as far as possible, a full and clear exposition of the most interesting topics that can engage human attention. In the opening they treat of the soul, first of all as forming the center of consciousness, and, secondly, of its co-operation with mind or spirit in science, that is, the acquisition of a right knowledge of man and nature, and of their several relations to the Deity. These matters occupy five Lectures of the whole series. The next three treat of the laws of divine wisdom and providence, as discernible in outward nature, in the world of thought, and in the history of mankind. The last seven contain an attempt to trace the development of man’s mind or spirit, both within himself and in science and public life. Tracing its gradual expansion, as unfolded either by the legitimate pursuit of a restoration to original excellence, or by the struggle with the opposing spirit of the times, they follow the human race through its progressive gradations, up to the closing term of perfection.




“There are,” says a poet as ingenious as profound,[1] “more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” This sentiment, which Genius accidentally let drop, is in the main applicable also to the philosophy of our own day; and, with a slight modification, I shall be ready to adopt it as my own. The only change that is requisite to make it available for my purpose would be the addition--“and also between heaven and earth are there many things which are not dreamt of in our philosophy.” And exactly because philosophy, for the most part, does nothing but dream--scientifically dream, it may be--therefore is it ignorant, ay, has no inkling even of much which, nevertheless, in all propriety it ought to know. It loses sight of its true object, it quits the firm ground where, standing secure, it might pursue its own avocations without let or hinderance, whenever, abandoning its own proper region, it either soars up to heaven to weave there its fine-spun webs of dialectics, and to build its metaphysical castles in the air, or else, losing itself on the earth, it violently interferes with external reality, and determines to shape the world according to its own fancy, and to reform it at will. Half way between these two devious courses lies the true road; and the proper region of philosophy is even that spiritual inner life between heaven and earth.

On both sides, many and manifold errors were committed even in the earlier and better days of enlightened antiquity. Plato himself, the greatest of the great thinkers of Greece, set up in his Republic the model of an ideal polity, which, in this respect, can not bear the test of examination. His design indeed finds, in some measure, its apology in the disorders and corruption which, even in his day, had infected all the free states of Greece, whether great or small. His work, too, by the highly-finished style of the whole, the vivid perspicuity of its narrative, its rich profusion of pregnant ideas and noble sentiments, stands out in dignified contrast to the crude and ill-digested schemes of legislation so hastily propounded in our own day. Still, it will ever remain the weak point of this great man. One needs not to be a Plato to see how absolutely unfeasible, not to say practically absurd, are many of the propositions of this Platonic ideal. Accordingly, it has ever been the fruitful occasion, not only among cotemporaries, but also with posterity, of ridicule to the ignorant and of censure to the wise. In this respect it can not but excite our regret that such great and noble powers of mind should have been wasted in following a false direction, and in pursuit of an unattainable end. The oldest philosophers of Greece, on the other hand--those first bold adventurers on the wide ocean of thought--combined together the elements of things, water, or air, or fire, or atoms, or, lastly, the all-ruling intellect[2] itself, into as many different systems of the universe. If, however, each in his own way thus set forth a peculiar creed of nature, we must ever bear in mind that the popular religion, with its poetical imagery, and the fabulous mythology of antiquity, as affording not only no sufficient, but absolutely no answer to the inquiring mind, as to the essence of things, and the first cause of all, could not possibly satisfy these earlier thinkers. Consequently, they might well feel tempted to find, each for himself, a way to honor nature, and to contemplate the supreme Being. Since then, however, the world has grown older by nearly twenty-five centuries, and much, in the mean while, has been accomplished by, or fallen to the share of, the human race. But when philosophy would pretend to regard this long succession of ages, and all its fruits, as suddenly erased from the records of existence, and for the sake of change would start afresh, so perilous an experiment can scarcely lead to any good result, but in all probability, and to judge from past experience, will only give rise to numberless and interminable disputes. Such an open space in thought--cleared from all the traces of an earlier existence (a smoothly-polished marble tablet, as it were, like the _tabula rasa_ of a recent ephemeral philosophy)--would only serve as an arena for the useless though daring ventures of unprofitable speculation, and could never form a safe basis for solid thought, or for any permanent manifestation of intellectual life.

In itself it is nothing surprising if young and inexperienced minds, occupying themselves prematurely, or in a perverted sense, with the grand ideas of God and Nature, liberty and the march of thought, should be wholly overmastered and carried away with them. It has often happened before now, and it is no new thing if youthful and ardent temperaments should either yield to the seductive temptation to make, not to say create, a new religion of their own; or else feel a deceitful impulse to censure and to change all that is already in existence, and, if possible, to reform the whole world by their newly-acquired ideas.

That this twofold aberration and misuse of philosophical thought must prove universally injurious, and prejudicial both to education and the whole world, is so evident that it can scarcely be necessary to dwell upon it. Its effect has been to cause men, especially those whose minds have been formed in the great and comprehensive duties of practical life, to view the thing altogether in an evil light, although it must be confessed there is much injustice in this sweeping condemnation. In several of the great statesmen of Rome we may observe a similar contempt for Grecian philosophy as useless and unprofitable. And yet, as is happily indicated by its Greek name, this whole effort was assuredly based upon a noble conception, and, when duly regulated, a salutary principle. For in this beautiful word, according to its original acceptation, science is not regarded as already finished and mature, but is rather set forth as an object of search--of a noble curiosity and of a pure enthusiasm for great and sublime truths, while at the same time it implies the wise use of such knowledge. Merely, however, to check and to hinder the aberrations of a false philosophy, is not by itself sufficient. It is only by laying down and leveling the right road of a philosophy of life, that a thorough remedy for the evil is to be found. True philosophy, therefore, honoring that which has been given from above and that which is existent from without, must neither raise itself in hostility to the one, nor attempt to interfere violently with the other. For it is exactly when, keeping modestly within its proper limits of the inner spiritual life, it makes itself the handmaid neither of theology nor of politics, that it best asserts its true dignity and maintains its independence on its own peculiar domain. And thus, even while it abstains most scrupulously from intermeddling with the positive and actual, will it operate most powerfully on alien and remote branches of inquiry, and by teaching them to consider objects in a freer and more general light, indirectly it will exercise on them a salutary influence. Thus, while it proceeds along its appointed path, it will, as it were without effort, disperse many a mist which spreads its dangerous delusion over the whole of human existence, or remove, perhaps, many a stone of stumbling, which offends the age and divides the minds of men in strife and discord. In this manner, consequently, will it most beautifully attest its healing virtue, and at the same time best fulfill its proper destination.

The object, therefore, of philosophy is the inner mental life (_geistige Leben_), not merely this or that individual faculty in any partial direction, but man’s spiritual life with all its rich and manifold energies. With respect to form and method: the philosophy of life sets out from a single assumption--that of life, or, in other words, of a consciousness to a certain degree awakened and manifoldly developed by experience--since it has for its object, and purposes to make known the entire consciousness, and not merely a single phase of it. Now, such an end would be hindered rather than promoted by a highly elaborate or minutely exhaustive form, and a painfully artificial method; and it is herein that the difference lies between a philosophy of life and the philosophy of the school. If philosophy be regarded merely as one part of a general scientific education, then is the instruction in method (whether under the old traditionary name of Logic or any other) the chief point to be regarded. For such a mere elementary course, passing over, or at least postponing for a while the consideration of the matter, as possessing as yet but a very remote interest for the student, and, in the default of an adequate internal experience of his own, incapable of being understood by him, concerns itself rather with the practice of methodical thought, both as necessary for the future, and as applicable to all matters. But the preliminary exercise in philosophical thinking is only the introduction to philosophy, and not philosophy itself. This school-teaching of philosophy might, perhaps, be rendered productive of the most excellent consequences, if only it were directed to the history of the human intellect. What could be more interesting than a history which should enter into the spirit, and distinctly embody the various systems which the inventive subtilety of the Greeks gave birth to, or which, taking a still wider range, should embrace the science of the Egyptians, and some Asiatic nations, and illustrate the no less wonderful nor less manifold systems of the Hindoos--those Greeks of the primeval world? But this, perhaps, would be to encroach upon the peculiar domain of erudition, and might, moreover, fail to furnish equal interest for all; and, at any rate, the history of philosophy is not philosophy itself.

Now, the distinction between the philosophy of life and the philosophy of the school will appear in very different lights, according to the peculiarity of view which predominates in the several philosophical systems. That species of philosophy which revolves in the dialectical orbit of abstract ideas, according to its peculiar character, presupposes and requires a well-practiced talent of abstraction, perpetually ascending through higher grades to the very highest, and even then boldly venturing a step beyond. In short, as may be easily shown in the instance of modern German science, the being unintelligible is set up as a kind of essential characteristic of a true and truly scientific philosophy. I, for my part, must confess that I feel a great distrust of that philosophy which dwells in inaccessible light, where the inventor indeed asserts of himself, that he finds himself in an unattainable certainty and clearness of insight, giving us all the while to understand thereby that he does see well enough how, of all other mortals, scarcely any, or, perhaps, strictly speaking, no one, understands or is capable of understanding him. In all such cases it is only the false light of some internal _ignis fatuus_ that produces this illusion of the unintelligible, or, rather, of nonsense. In this pursuit of wholly abstract and unintelligible thought, the philosophy of the school is naturally enough esteemed above every other, and regarded as pre-eminently the true science--_i.e._, the unintelligible.

In such a system a philosophy of life means nothing more than a kind of translation of its abstruser mysteries into a more popular form, and an adaptation of them to the capacity of ordinary minds. But even such popular adaptations, though evincing no common powers of language and illustration, in spite of their apparent clearness, when closer examined, are found as unintelligible as the recondite originals. For, inasmuch as the subject-matter of these abstract speculations was, from the very first, confused and unintelligible, it was consequently incapable of being made clear even by the most perspicuous of styles. But the true living philosophy has no relation or sympathy with this continuous advance up to the unintelligible heights of empty abstraction. Since the objects it treats of are none other than those which every man of a cultivated mind, and, in any degree accustomed to observe his own consciousness, both has and recognizes within himself, there is nothing to prevent its exposition being throughout clear, easy, and forcible. Here the relation is reversed. In such a system the philosophy of life is the chief and paramount object of interest; while the philosophy of the school, or the scientific teaching of it in the schools, however necessary and valuable in its place, is still, as compared with the whole thing itself, only secondary and subordinate. In the philosophy of life, moreover, the method adopted must also be a living one. Consequently it is not, by any means, a thing to be neglected. But still it need not to be applied with equal rigor throughout, or to appear prominently in every part, but, on all occasions, must be governed in these respects by what the particular end in view may demand.

A few illustrations, drawn from daily experience, will, perhaps, serve to explain my meaning. Generally speaking, the most important arts and pursuits of life are ultimately based on mathematics. This science furnishes them, as it were, with the method they observe; but it is not practicable, nor, indeed, has man the leisure, to revert on every occasion, with methodical exactness, to these elements, but, assuming the principles to be well known and admitted, he attends rather to the results essential to the end he has in view. The economical management of the smallest as well as of the largest household, rests, in the end, on the elementary principles of arithmetic; but what would come of it if, on every occasion, we were to go back to the simple “one-times-one” of the multiplication table, and reflected upon and sought for the proofs that the principle is really valid and can confidently be relied on in practice? In the same way the art of war is founded on geometry; but when the general arranges his troops for battle, does he consult his Euclid to satisfy himself of the correctness and advantages of his position? Lastly, when the astronomer, whose vocation is pre-eminently dependent on accurate calculation, when he would make us acquainted with the phenomena of the sidereal heavens, confines himself almost entirely to them, without wearying those whom he wishes to interest, with the complicated reckonings which, however, in all probability, he was obliged himself to go through. With all these arts and pursuits of practical life, the intellectual business of thinking--of such thinking at least as is common to most men--and of communicating thought, has a sort of affinity and resemblance. For, unquestionably, it is one among the many problems of philosophy to establish a wise economy and prudent stewardship of that ever-shifting mass of incoming and outgoing thoughts which make up our intellectual estate and property. And this is the more necessary the greater are the treasures of thought possessed by our age. For, in the highly rapid interchange of and traffic in ideas, which is carrying on, the receipts and disbursements are not always duly balanced. There is much cause, therefore, to fear lest a thoughtless and lavish dissipation of the noblest mental endowments should become prevalent, or a false and baseless credit-system in thought spring up amid an absolute deficiency of a solid and permanent capital safely invested in fundamental ideas and lasting truths. As for the second simile: I should, by all means, wish to gain a victory, not indeed for you, but with you, over some of the many errors and many semblances of thought, which are, however, but cheats and counterfeits which distract the minds of the present generation, disturb the harmony of life, and banish peace even from the intellectual world. And as respects the third illustration: I should indeed rejoice as having, in a great measure, attained my object, if only I shall succeed in directing your attention to some star in the higher region of intellect, which hitherto was either totally unknown, or, at least, never before fully observed.

But above all, I think it necessary to observe further, that in the same way as philosophy loses sight of its true object and appropriate matter, when either it passes into and merges in theology, or meddles with external politics, so also does it mar its proper form when it attempts to mimic the rigorous method of mathematics. In the middle of the last century scarcely was there to be found a German manual for any of the sciences that did not ape the mathematical style, and where every single position in the long array of interminable paragraphs did not conclude with the solemn act of demonstrative phraseology. But it is also well known that the philosophy which was propounded in this inappropriate form and method was crammed full of, nay, rather, was hardly any thing more than a tissue of arbitrary, now forgotten, hypotheses, which have not brought the world at all nearer to the truth--not at least to that truth which philosophy is in search of, and which is something higher than a mere example of accurate computation.

And even in the present day--although, indeed, the application is made in a very different way from formerly--German philosophy is any thing but free from those algebraic formularies, in which all things, even the most opposite, admit of being comprised and blended together. But, be it as it may, this elaborate structure of mechanical demonstration can never produce a true, intrinsic, and full conviction. The method which philosophy really requires is quite different, being absolutely internal and intellectual (_geistige_). As in a correct architectural structure it is necessary that all its parts should be in unison, and such as the eye can take in easily and agreeably, so in every philosophical communication, the solid simple basis being laid, the arrangement of all the parts, and the careful rejection and exclusion of all foreign matter, is the most essential point, both for internal correctness and external perspicuity. But, in truth, the matter in hand bears a far closer resemblance and affinity to natural objects which live and grow, than to any lifeless edifice of stone; to a great tree, for instance, nobly and beautifully spreading out on all sides in its many arms and branches. As such a tree strikes the hasty and passing glance, it forms a somewhat irregular and not strictly finished whole; there it stands, just as the stem has shot up from the root, and has divided itself into a certain number of branches, and twigs, and leaves, which livingly move backward and forward in the free air. But examine it more closely, and how perfect appears its whole structure! how wonderful the symmetry, how minutely regular the organization of all its parts, even of each little leaf and delicate fiber! In the same way will the ever-growing tree of human consciousness and life appear in philosophy, whenever it is not torn from its roots and stripped of its leaves by a pretended wisdom, but is vividly apprehended by a true science, and exhibited and presented to the mind in its life and its growth.

Not only, however, the arrangement of the whole, but also the connection of the several parts of a philosophical treatise or development, is of a higher kind than any mere mechanical joining, such, for instance, as that by which two pieces of wood are nailed or glued together. If I must illustrate this connection by a simile from animated nature, the facts of magnetism will best serve my purpose. Once magnetically excited, the iron needle comes into invisible contact and connection with the whole globe and its opposite poles; and this magnetic clew has guided the bold circumnavigator into new and unknown regions of the world. Now, the intrinsic vital coherence of the several thoughts of philosophy resembles this magnetic attraction; and no such rude, mechanical, and, in fact, mere external conjunction of thought, like that lately alluded to, can satisfy the requirements of philosophical connection.

But the supreme intrinsic unity of philosophical thought, or of a philosophical series of ideas, is quite different from every thing hitherto mentioned. It belongs not to nature, but to life; it is not derived from the latter by way of figure or illustration, but is a part and constituent of it, and goes to the very root and soil of the moral life. What I mean is, the unity of sentiment--the fixed character, remaining ever the same and true to itself--the inner necessary sequence of the thoughts--which, in life no less than in the system and philosophical theory, invariably makes a great and profound impression on our minds, and commands our respect, even when it does not carry along with it our convictions. This, however, is dependent on no form, and no mere method can attain to it. How often, for instance, in some famous political harangue, which perhaps the speaker, like the rhapsodist of old, poured forth on the spur of the moment, do we at once recognize and admire this character in the thoughts, this consistency of sentiment? How often, on the contrary, in another composed with the most exquisite research and strict method, and apparently a far more elaborate and finished creation of the intellect, we have only to pierce through the systematic exterior to find that it is nothing but an ill-connected and chance-medley of conflicting assumptions and opinions taken from all quarters, and the crude views of the author himself, devoid of all solidity, and resting on no firm basis, without character, and wholly destitute of true intrinsic unity?

If now, in the present course of Lectures, I shall succeed in laying before you my subject in that clearness and distinctness which are necessary to enable you to comprehend the whole, and, while taking a survey of it, to judge of the agreement of the several parts, you will find, I trust, no difficulty in discovering the fundamental idea and sentiment. And further, I would venture to entreat you not to judge hastily of this sentiment from single expressions, and least of all at the very outset, but, waiting for its progressive development, to judge of it on the whole. Lastly, I would also indulge a hope that the views of an individual thinker, if perspicuously enunciated, may, even where they fail of conviction, and though points of difference still subsist, produce no revolting impression on your minds; but, by exercising a healing influence on many a rankling wound in thought and life, produce among us some of the fairest fruits of true philosophy.

Hitherto we have been considering, first of all, the object and proper sphere of the philosophy of life; and, secondly, its appropriate form of communication, as well as all other methods which are alien and foreign to it. Of great and decisive importance for the whole course and further development of philosophical inquiry is it to determine, in the next place, the starting-point from which it ought to set out. It will not do to believe that we have found this in any axiom or postulate such as are usually placed at the head of a system. For such a purpose we must rather investigate the inmost foundation--the root out of which springs the characteristic feature of a philosophical view. Now, in the philosophy of life the whole consciousness, with all its different phases and faculties, must inevitably be taken for the foundation, the soul being considered as the center thereof. This simple basis being once laid, it may be further developed in very different ways. For it is, I might almost say, a matter of indifference from what point in the circumference or periphery we set out in order to arrive at the center, with the design of giving a further development to this as the foundation of the whole. But in order to illustrate this simple method of studying life from its true central point, which is intermediate between the two wrong courses already indicated, and in order to make, by contrast, my meaning the plainer, I would here, in a few words, characterize the false starting-point from which the prevailing philosophy of a day--whether that of France in the eighteenth century or the more recent systems of Germany--has hitherto, for the most part, proceeded. False do I call it, both on account of the results to which it has led, and also of its own intrinsic nature. In one case as well as in the other, the starting-point was invariably some controverted point of the reason--some opposition or other to the legitimacy of the reason--under which term, however, little else generally was understood than an opposition of the reason itself to some other principle equally valid and extensive. The principal, or, rather, only way which foreign philosophy took in this pursuit, was to reduce every thing to sensation as opposed to reason, and to derive every thing from it alone, so as to make the reason itself merely a secondary faculty, no original and independent power, and ultimately nothing else than a sort of chemical precipitate and residuum from the material impressions.[3] But however much may be conceded to these and to the external senses, and however great a share they may justly claim in the whole inner property of the thinking man, still it is evident that the perception of these sensuous impressions, the inner coherence--in short, the unity of the consciousness in which they are collected--can never, as indeed it has often been objected on the other side, have come into the mind from without. This was not, however, the end which this doctrine had exclusively, or even principally, in view. The ultimate result to which they hoped to come by the aid of this premise was simply the negation of the suprasensible. Whatever in any degree transcends the material impression, or sensuous experience, as well as all possible knowledge of, and faith therein, not merely in respect to a positive religion, but absolutely whatever is noble, beautiful, and great--whatever can lead the mind to, or can be referred to a something suprasensible and divine--all this, wherever it may be found, whether in life or thought, in history or in nature--ay, even in art itself--it was the ultimate object of this foreign philosophy to decry, to involve in doubt, to attack and to overthrow, and to bring down to the level of the common and material, or to plunge it into the skeptical abyss of absolute unbelief. The first step in this system was a seeming subordination of reason to sensation, as a derivative of it--a mere slough which it throws off in its transformations. Afterward, however, the warfare against the suprasensible was waged entirely with the arms of reason itself. The reason, indeed, which supplied these weapons was not one scientifically cultivated and morally regulated, but thoroughly sophistical and wholly perverted, which, however, put into requisition all the weapons of a brilliant but skeptical wit, and moved in the ever-varied turnings of a most ingenious and attractive style. Here, where the question was no longer the abrogation of any single dogma of positive religion, but where the opposition to the divine had become the ruling tendency of philosophy, it is not easy to refrain from characterizing it as atheistical--what, indeed, in its inmost spirit it really was, and also historically proved itself by its results.

The other course adopted by French philosophy, in the times immediately preceding the Revolution, was to lay aside the weapons of wit, and to employ a burning eloquence as more likely to attract and to carry away minds naturally noble. It had, consequently, if possible, still more fatal results than the former. The reason, as the peculiar character of man in a civilized state--so it was argued--is like civilized man himself, an artificial creation, and in its essence totally unnatural; and the savage state of nature is the only one properly adapted to man. As the means of emancipation from an artificial and corrupt civilization, the well-known theory of the social contract was advanced. Our whole age has learned dearly enough the lesson, that this dogma, practically applied on a large scale, may, indeed, lead to a despotism of liberty, and to the lust of conquest, but can as little effect the re-establishment of a true civilization as it can bring back the state of nature. It would be a work of supererogation to dwell upon the pernicious results or the intrinsic hollowness of this system. It is, however, worth while to remark, that, in this theory also, the beginning was made with an opposition to reason. Starting with a depreciation of it as an artificial state and a departure from nature, at the last it threw itself, and the whole existing frame of society, into the arms of reason, and thereby sought to gain for the latter an unlimited authority over all laws, both human and divine. A somewhat similar phenomenon may every where be observed, and the same course will invariably be taken when philosophy allows itself to set out with some question or impugning of the reason, and, in its exclusiveness, makes this dialectical faculty the basis of its investigations.

Modern German philosophy, wholly different from the French, both in form and spirit, has, from its narrow metaphysical sphere, been of far less extensive influence; and, even if it has occasionally led to anarchy, it has been simply an anarchy of ideas. And yet, notwithstanding its different character, a similar course of inversion is noticeable in it. Beginning with a strict, not to say absolute, limitation of the reason, and with an opposition to its assumptions, it also ended in its investiture with supreme authority--not to say in its deification. The founder[4] of the modern philosophy of Germany commenced his teaching with a lengthy demonstration that the reason is totally incapable of attaining to a knowledge of the suprasensible, and that, by attempting it, it does but involve itself in endless disputes and difficulties. And then, on this assumed incompetency of the reason for the suprasensible was based the doctrine of the need, the necessity of faith--nay, faith itself.[5] But this arbitrary faith appeared to have but little reliance on itself; and, when closely viewed, turned out to be the old reason, which, after being solemnly displaced from the front of the philosophical palace, was now again, slightly altered and disguised, set up behind it as a useful but humble postern. Dissatisfied with such a system, the philosophical _Me_ (Ich, Ego) chose another and a new road, that of absolute science,[6] in which it might, from the very first, do as it pleased--might bluster and fluster at will. But soon it became plain, that in this idealistic doctrine there was no room for any but a subjective reason-god devoid of all objective reality. In it the absolute Ego or Me of each individual was substituted for and identified with the divine. Against this certainty of the “Me,” therefore, there arose first of all a suspicion, and lastly the reproach of atheism. But, in truth, we ought to be extremely scrupulous in applying this term in all cases where the question does not turn on a rude denial of the truth, but rather on a highly erroneous confusion of ideas. At least, it would be well if, in such a case, we were to distinguish the imputed atheism by the epithet of scientific, in order to indicate thereby that the censure and the name apply in truth only to the error of the system, and not to the character of the author. For with such a scientific atheism, the sternest stoicism in the moral doctrine may, as indeed was actually the case here, be easily combined. Quite weary, however, of the transcendent vacuity of this ideal reason and mere dialectical reasoning, German philosophy now took a different road. It turned more to the side of nature,[7] in whose arms she threw herself in perfect admiration, thinking to find there alone life and the fullness thereof. Now, although this new philosophy of nature has borne many noble fruits of science, still even it has been haunted by that delusive phantom of the Absolute, and it is not free from liability to the reproach of a pantheistic deification of Nature. But properly and accurately speaking, it was not nature itself that was set up as the supreme object of veneration, but this same phantom of reason, which was taken as the basis and fundamental principle of nature. It was, in short, nothing but the old metaphysical one-times-one[8] in a somewhat novel application and more vivid form. Here, therefore, also did the system commence with a seeming disgust at the reason, and with a subordination of it to nature, in order to conclude with the absolute principle of the reason.

Viewed, however, as a philosophical science of nature, it has rather to answer for some occasional errors and perverse extravagances, than for any thoroughly consequent and systematic carrying out of the ingrafted error into all its parts. Moreover, a broad distinction must undoubtedly be drawn between its different advocates and promulgators. In these last days German philosophy has, in a measure at least, reverted again into the empty vacuum of _the absolute_ idea.[9] The latter, indeed, and the idol of absolute reason which is enshrined therein, is no more a mere inward conception, but is objectively understood and set up as the fundamental principle of all entity. But still, when we consider how the essence of mind is expressly made to consist in negation, and how also the spirit of negation is predominant through the whole system, a still worse substitution appears to have taken place, inasmuch as, instead of the living God, this spirit of negation, so opposed to Him, is, in erroneous abstraction, set up and made a god of. Here, therefore, as well as elsewhere, a metaphysical lie assumes the place of a divine reality.

Thus, then, do we every where observe a strange internal correspondence and affinity between the several aberrations of our age. Here the remotest mental extremes, which externally seem to repel each other, suddenly converge at the same point of delusive light, or rather of brilliant darkness. Instances of this correspondence startle us where we least expect to meet with them. An English poet,[10] perhaps the greatest, certainly the most remarkable poet of our age, in his tragic delineation of the oldest fratricide, has portrayed the prime mover of this deed, the enemy of the human race, and the king of the bottomless pit, as the bold censurer of the divine order of things, and the head of all discontented spirits, and leader of the opposition of the whole creation. In this light he has painted him with unparalleled boldness, and with such moving and astonishing truthfulness, that all previous descriptions by the greatest poets seem but arbitrary and unreal phantoms when compared with this portrait, which was evidently a favorite sketch, for the author’s secret partiality betrays itself in the skill and pains with which he has lavished on this dark figure all the magic colors of his fancy. Thus, then, in this poetic creation, the same hostile principle--the same absolute, _i.e._, evil spirit of negation and contradiction that forms the consummation of the errors of German philosophy, notwithstanding its abstract unintelligibility--is enthroned amid the disordered system. And so, by a strange law of “pre-established harmony,” the anti-Christian poet and these anti-Christian thinkers unexpectedly meet together at the point of a spurious sublimity. In any case, however, this last instance forms the third stage of idealistic confusion, and certainly the last grade of scientific atheism.

Now, briefly to recapitulate my own convictions and my view of the relation subsisting between the philosophy of life which I propose to set before you, and the prevalent philosophy and science of the age, the following few remarks will suffice. I honor and admire the discoveries so pregnant with important results which natural philosophy has made in our days, but especially the gigantic strides which the study of nature in France has taken; so far, at least, as they contain and have established a real and solid advance of human science; so far, too, as I am acquainted with them, and in my sphere understand them. On the other hand, I can not but take exception to that admixture of materialism which has been infused into them by the ruling philosophical system of a previous age, which in France has still so many followers. I honor, too, and love German science, with its diligent and comprehensive research. Nay, I value the natural philosophy of Germany even still more than that of France, since, while it adopts the same great discoveries, it views them in a more spiritual light. As for that idealistic jargon, however, which runs parallel and is interwoven with it, on which, indeed, it was originally based, and from which even now it is any thing but clear--this I can not regard in any other light than, what it really is, an intellectual delusion of the most pernicious kind, and one which will inevitably produce the most destructive and fatal consequences on the human mind.

What has been now said will suffice for our notice of the opposing systems of philosophy. Henceforward we shall have no need to turn our looks to this side, but shall be able to give our attention solely and calmly to the development of that which I have already announced, and have now to communicate to you. Previously, however, to entering upon this subject, it seemed to me advisable, by contrasting the false starting-point with the true center of philosophy, to set the latter before you in a clearer and distincter light.

The dialectical faculty of abstraction is naturally the predominant one, and the most completely evolved in the thinking mind. Accordingly, most thinkers have set it up as the basis of their speculations, in order to arrive the more rapidly at the desired end of an absolute science; or, if the habit of mind be more disposed that way, at an absolute _not-knowing_, and the rejection of all certainty; which, in the main, is quite as false, and, in this respect, identical with the former. But it is not sufficient to follow any such a partial course, and to start from any one side merely of the human consciousness. On the right and sure road of a complete and thorough investigation, our first duty is to study the human consciousness in its fullness and living development, in all its faculties and powers. And then, in the second place, when, by thus assuming a position in the center, man has enabled himself to take a complete survey of the whole, he may unquestionably proceed to inquire what kind and what degree of knowledge, with such a consciousness, he is capable of attaining, both of the external world and of the suprasensible, and how far the latter is conceivable and its existence possible. Now, just as generally the soul is the principle of all life in nature, so is the thinking soul the center of the human consciousness. But in the thinking soul is comprised the reason which distinguishes, combines, and infers, no less than the fancy which devises, invents, and suggests. Standing in the center between the two, the thinking soul embraces both faculties. But it also forms the turning-point of transition between the understanding and the will; and, as the connecting link, fills up the gulf which otherwise would lie between and divide the two. It comprises, also, all sorts and degrees of conceptions, from the absolutely necessary, precisely definite, and permanently unchangeable, down to those which arise and pass away half involuntarily--from those in no degree clearly developed up to those which have been advanced to the highest clearness of the understanding--those which are witnessed with a calm indifference, and those also which excite a gentle longing or kindle a burning resolve. The thinking soul is the common store-house where the whole of these conceptions are successively lodged. Indeed, to describe it in general terms, it is but the inner pulse of thought, corresponding to the pulsation of the blood in the living body.

This general description, it must be confessed, is very far from being an adequate explanation of the matter, and at best does but imperfectly convey our meaning. But perhaps a different line of thought, however bold and hazardous it may seem, may bring us far more simply to the point at present in view--a more accurate description, namely, of the peculiar property of the human mind, and of the characteristic feature which distinguishes man from other beings equally finite, but endowed in the same manner with consciousness. That the rational soul, or the reason, distinguishes him from the brutes, is a remark common and trite enough. But this is only one aspect of the matter: and must we always cast our looks downward, and never upward? What I mean is this: supposing that there are other created spirits and finite intelligences besides men, might not the comparison of their purely spiritual consciousness with man’s serve, perhaps in an eminent degree, to elucidate the distinctive properties of the human consciousness in that other aspect which is too commonly neglected? I am far from intending to make this matter a subject of investigation in the present place. I take it merely as an hypothesis, warranted, indeed, by universal tradition, and solely as an aid to elucidate the matter in hand. Universal, however, I may well call this tradition, since, agreeing in the main with what Holy Writ asserts, the oldest and most civilized nations of antiquity (among whom I need only mention the Egyptians, and especially the Persians and the Hindoos) have admitted, as a well-established fact, the existence of such finite intelligences and created spirits, invisible indeed to man, but not altogether alien to him. And as for the Greeks and Romans, if occasionally they allude to the genius of Socrates as something strange and singular, this was only because the wise Athenian spoke of this subject in peculiar language, and referred to it more habitually than was the wont of his countrymen and cotemporaries. Otherwise it was the general belief, both of Greeks and Romans, that every man has his guardian spirit or genius. Now this hypothesis being once admitted to be possible, let us inquire in what light were these ancients accustomed to regard, and what ought we to conceive of the peculiar nature of these spiritual beings in conformity with the representation of so universal a tradition?

Now, in the first place, they have always been thought of as pure spiritual beings, having no such gross terrestrial body as man has. At least, if they were supposed to require and possess a body as the organ and medium of their spiritual operations, it was considered to be of a special kind--an ethereal body of light, but invisible to the human eye. But this incorporeity is little more than a negative quality. A more positive and a profounder distinction lies perhaps in this, that these pure spiritual beings are wholly free from that weakness of character, or frailty, which is so peculiar to man. That pervading internal mutability, that undecided vacillation between doing and letting alone, that reciprocation between effort and relaxation--the wide gulf between volition and execution, the thought and the carrying into effect--nothing of all this admits of being applied or transferred to these pure spiritual beings without contradicting the very idea of their essence. It is thus only, or not at all, that we can conceive of them. Coming and going like the lightning, and rapid as the light, they never grow weary of their endless activity. They need no rest, except the spiritual contemplation which constitutes their essence. All their thoughts are marked with unity and identity. With them the conception is at the same time a deed, and the purpose and the execution are simultaneous. Every thing, too, in them has the stamp of eternity. This prerogative, however, has, it must be confessed, its disadvantages. When once they have deviated from the true center, they go on forever in their devious course.

But still, all this is little more than a description of the whole idea which I have allowed myself, merely with a view of employing it as a passage to the point which is at present in question. That purpose was, on the supposition of the existence of such superior beings, accurately to indicate which of man’s powers, or faculties of mind and soul, may rightly be attributed to them. Now, to my mind, the distinction is very strikingly suggested in the well-known sentiment of one of our famous poets. Thus he addresses man--“Thy knowledge thou sharest with superior beings;” superior, for in the clearness of their eternal science they undoubtedly stand far higher than men: and then he continues, “But art thou hast alone.”[11] But, now, what else is art than fancy become visible, and assuming a bodily shape, or word, or sound? It is, therefore, this nimble-footed, many-shaped, ever-inventive fancy, which forms the dangerous prerogative of man, and can not be ascribed to these pure spiritual beings. And as little justifiable would it be to ascribe to them that human reason, with its employment of means, and its slow processes of deduction and comparison. Instead of this, they possess the intuitive understanding, in which to see and to understand are simultaneous and identical. If, then, in an accurate sense of the terms, neither fancy nor reason belongs to them, it would further be wrong to attribute them a soul as distinct from the mind or spirit, and as being rather a passive faculty of inward productiveness, and change, and internal growth. Briefly to recapitulate what has been said: The existence of the brutes is simple, because in them the soul is completely mixed up and merged in the organic body, and is one with it; on the destruction of the latter it reverts to the elements, or is absorbed in the general soul of nature. Twofold, however, is the nature of created spirits, who besides this ethereal body of light are nothing but mind or spirit; but threefold is the nature of man, as consisting of spirit, soul, and body.[12] And this triple constitution and property, this threefold life of man, is, indeed, not in itself that pre-eminence, although it is closely connected with that superior excellence which ennobles and distinguishes man from all other created beings. I allude to that prerogative by which he alone of all created beings is invested with the Divine image and likeness. This threefold principle is the simple basis of all philosophy; and the philosophical system which is constructed on such a foundation is the philosophy of life, which therefore has even “words of life.” It is no idle speculation, and no unintelligible hypothesis. It is not more difficult, and needs not to be more obscure, than any other discourse on spiritual subjects; but it can and may be as easy and as clear as the reading of a writing, the observation of nature, and the study of history. For it is, in truth, nothing else than a simple theory of spiritual life, drawn from life itself, and the simple understanding thereof. If, however, it becomes abstract and unintelligible, this is invariably a consequence, and, for the most part, an infallible proof of its having fallen into error. When in thought we place before us the whole composite human individual, then, after spirit and soul, the organic body is the third constituent, or the third element out of which, in combination with the other two, the whole man consists and is compounded. But the structure of the organic body, its powers and laws, must be left to physical science to investigate. Philosophy is the science of consciousness alone. It has, therefore, primarily to occupy itself with soul and spirit, or mind, and must carefully guard against transgressing its limits in any respect. But the third constituent beside mind and soul, in which these two jointly carry on their operations, needs not always, as indeed the above instance proves, to be an organic body. In other relations of life, this third, in which both are united, or which they in unison produce, may be the word, the deed, life itself, or the divine order on which both are dependent. These, then, are the subjects which I have proposed for consideration. But in order to complete this scale of life, I will further observe--triple is the nature of man, but fourfold is the human consciousness. For the spirit or mind, like the soul, divides and falls asunder; or, rather, is split and divided into two powers, or halves--the mind, namely, into understanding and will, the soul into reason and fancy. These are the four extreme points, or, if the expression be preferred, the four quarters of the inner world of consciousness. All other faculties of the soul, or powers of mind, are merely subordinate ramifications of the four principal branches; but the living center of the whole is the thinking soul.



The development of the human consciousness, according to the triple principle of its existence, or of its nature as compounded of spirit or mind, soul, and animated body, must begin with the soul, and not with the spirit, even though the latter be the most important and supreme. For the soul is the first grade in the progress of development. In actual life, also, it is the beginning and the permanent foundation, as well as the primary root of the collective consciousness. The development of the spirit or mind of man is much later, being first evolved in or out of, by occasion of, or with the co-operation of the soul. But even when thus developed, the mind (under which term we comprise the will, as well as the understanding) is neither in all men, nor always in the same individual, equally active. In this respect we may apply to it what has been said of the wind, which imparts vital motion and freshness to all the objects of outward nature: we “hear the sound thereof, but we can not tell whence it comes, nor whither it goeth.”[13] The thinking soul, on the contrary, is, properly speaking, always, though silently, working; and it is highly probable that it is never without conceptions. Of these, indeed, it may either possess a clear or an almost totally indistinct consciousness, according to that principle of unconscious representations propounded as a fundamental axiom of psychology by a great German philosopher[14] of earlier times, with whose opinions I often find myself agreeing, and with whom, before all other men, I would most gladly concur.

Applied to the alternating states of sleeping and waking in the outward organic life, this would merely mean that in sleep we always dream, even at those times when our vision leaves no traces on our memory. The great majority of dreams, even those which in the moment of awakening we still remember, are absolutely nothing but the conjoint impression of the bodily tone and the ever-varying temperament of life and health, and of the disorderly repetition of such ideas as previously to sleeping had principally engaged the attention. Now, since every opposite comes near to its correlative in one or more points of contact, which, as they establish, also serve to maintain the relationship between the two, so the state of the soul in dreaming will serve strikingly to illustrate its waking action. Of the great multitude of dreams, which are for the most part confused and unmeaning, some occasionally stand out from the rest extremely clear and well-connected, in which the feelings oftentimes discover a profound significance, or which, at least, as significant images, interest the fancy. And just in the same manner in the state of waking there passes before the soul no inconsiderable number of obscure and vague conceptions, which are not much if at all clearer or more methodically disposed than the train of images which in a dream succeed one another without the least intrinsic order or connection. Still we should greatly err were we to assume, that like the latter they leave no trace behind them on the soul. On the contrary, in these undeveloped beginnings of thought there often lies the germ of very definite ideas, and especially of the various peculiarities of mental character, as also of the impulses and determination which, at first slowly and spontaneously formed, eventuate in some definite susceptibility or direction of the will. Now, as the external life of man alternates between the waking activity and the state of repose in sleep, so, too, the thinking soul is divided between the abstracting and classifying Reason and the inventive Fancy.[15] These two are, as it were, the halves, so to speak, or the two poles of the thinking soul, of which the one may be regarded as the positive, the other as the negative. In respect to the inner fruitful cogitation itself--to the origination and production of thoughts--the imagination, as the reproductive faculty, is the positive pole. As for the fancy, properly so called--the poetic _fancy_, or that which plays an important part in the inclinations and passions--it is only a particular species and operation of this faculty, which in its general form also manifests itself in many other directions and spheres of human thought and action. To it belongs, for instance, that talent of extensive combination which distinguishes all the great discoverers in mathematics. Opposite to this productive faculty of thought, the negative pole is formed by the classifying faculty of reason, which further elaborates, closely determines, and limits the materials furnished to it by the fancy. Thus, then, the place which the fancy--with all the powers, emotions, and impressions which belong to it--assumes relatively to the external world, is subordinate and ministerial, since it is only within certain prescribed limits that it can duly make use of its rich productive energies, realize its inmost ideas, and act upon them.

Here, therefore, the first place belongs to the ordering and determining reason, and which here ought to hold the helm. In this respect it may justly be called the regulative faculty. And yet, since the reason is, so to speak, only one half of the soul, it must not pretend to exclusive authority; while, on the other hand, it is but little likely that that which we may have set before our mind and imagination as the innermost wish of our hearts, will simply on that account prove invariably a real and lasting good.

I called the understanding and the will, the reason and the fancy, the four principal branches of the human consciousness, of which all other mental powers or faculties of the soul, usually ascribed to man, are but so many offshoots. These other powers, however, can not with perfect propriety be called subordinate, since in another point of view they may, perhaps, be entitled to assume a higher rank. _Assigned_[16] faculties is, therefore, what I should prefer to term them. Now of such faculties belonging to the domain of the combining and distinguishing reason, the memory and the conscience are pre-eminently to be mentioned. For the memory also in another way is a combining, just as the conscience is a distinguishing faculty--the latter, however, being so not only in another, but even in a far higher sense. But we must postpone for the present the further consideration of this matter, and consider rather those faculties or functions which are under the influence of, or at least immediately connected with, the fancy. These are the senses, and the inclinations or instincts. With regard, then, to the senses: in the first place, I would simply call your attention to the fact, that the triple principle of human existence--according to which the latter consists of a spirit or mind, of a soul, and of a living body or a bodily manifestation--is repeated as it were in miniature in every smaller and narrower sphere of man’s consciousness. This is especially the case with the external senses. Thus viewing them, however, we should have to reckon but three senses instead of the usual number of five. This can be managed easily enough by taking the three lower and counting them as one, since they constitute pre-eminently the corporeal sense, as contradistinguished from the other two, which are both higher and more incorporeal. For to the three lower senses, not only is a material contact indispensable, but also, as in the case of smell, a sort of chemical assimilation with matter. No doubt, in the act of seeing and hearing there is likewise a certain but imperceptible contact of the nerves of the eye and ear with the waves of light and the undulations of the air; but still this contact is of a different kind from the former, and of another and indeed of a higher nature, producing the relations of tone, color, and shape. Now, in this classification, the eye is the mind or spirit’s sense for beauty of form and grace of motion. It is so in truth, not merely in those who are endowed with a taste for the arts or the artistic eye, but far more universally, being diffused in a greater or less degree through the whole human family. Special gifts of it, or, rather, higher though varying endowments, are to be found in some highly-favored individuals; and in the same way the ear for music is not imparted to all who possess the general organ of hearing, which we very properly term the soul’s sense. The external senses man shares, indeed, in common with the brutes, in some of whom they are found of an exquisite and highly-developed susceptibility. But these higher endowments of eye and ear, and above all the natural artistic feeling for beauty of form, and the musical talent, are the prerogatives of man, conferred upon him by his peculiar faculty of fancy. On this account they, like that faculty, are distributed unequally among men, though they are not on that account less real and undeniable.

The brutes, I said, do not possess them. No doubt there is a certain melodious rhythm perceptible in the songs of birds. Some, also, of the more eminently docile and sagacious of terrestial animals do indeed evince peculiar signs of pleasure in the music of man. Still I would call this but so many single, unconnected echoes or reverberations of fancy, since every thing like free choice, further development, or intrinsic coherence, is wanting to them--all is broken, abrupt, and incapable of being formed into a whole. In the same manner the artistic instinct and skill of some animals exhibits, no doubt, a certain likeness in its operations to the rational works of man, but still it ever remains a resemblance at best, and is forever divided from reason by a wide and impassable gulf. It is, as it were, the indistinct trace of a weather-worn and nearly obliterated inscription--the dying notes of some far-off music. And hence the agreeable, but, at the same time, melancholy, impression which such things make upon our feelings. A something human seems to be stirring in them. They appear to revive a faint but nearly-forgotten allusion to an originally close and intrinsic relation between animated nature in its highest developments and man as its former master and as the divinely-appointed lord of the whole earthly creation. But if the influence and the operation of the fancy on the external senses be thus indistinct and difficult to be traced, it is far more apparent, as also far greater and more decided, on the inclinations, instincts, and passions which form the second class of the faculties subordinate to the fancy. It can easily be shown how even the simplest instincts of self-preservation, and the gratification of the most natural wants, are in man perceptibly affected by the working of fancy, so as to be manifoldly diversified thereby. But still more is this the case with the higher impulses and instincts, as confirmed and strengthened by use and indulgence, especially when, in their most violent and intensest development, they become passions. For, in this shape, both by this excess and by the false direction they give to the mental powers, originally designed for nobler and more exalted purposes, they form so many moral perversities and faults of character. I would here, in the first place, call your attention to the fact, that in all the passions, when, by their intensity, they become immoral, the fancy exercises an essential and co-operating influence. And, in the second place, I would remind you that in the same way as in the external senses generally, so also in all the principal phases of ill-regulated passion, the threefold principle of human existence manifests itself once more, and is even repeated anew in all the several forms and subdivisions of these special spheres.

Now, the first of these false tendencies and moral infirmities--unbounded pride and haughtiness--is essentially a mental blindness and aberration; and vanity, with its delusions, is the same disease in a lower and milder phase. And all will admit that the source of this moral failing is an overweening love of self. But in self-conceit the co-operating influence of fancy is easily and distinctly traceable. As to the second of those infirmities which distract and disturb life: I should also be disposed to consider the sensual passionateness or passionate sensuality as a disease indeed, but of a brutalizing tendency--an inflammatory habit, a fever of the soul, which either spends itself in acute and violent paroxysms, or with slower but certain progress secretly undermines and subverts all man’s better qualities. In either case, the true source of the evil--the irresistible energy and the false magic of this passion--lies in an over-excited, deluded, or poisoned fancy. The natural instinct itself, in so far as it is inborn and agreeable to nature, is obnoxious to no reproach. The blame lies altogether in the want of principle, or that weakness of character which half-voluntarily concedes to the mere instinct an unlimited authority, or, at least, is incapable of exercising over it a due control. The third false direction of man’s instincts which, after the two already noticed, involves human society in the greatest disorder, and most fatally disturbs the peace of individuals, is an unlimited love of gain, selfishness, and avarice. No doubt, in a certain modified and lower sense, the hope of advantage or profit is the motive that prompts every enterprise; at least, according to the judgment of the world, nothing is undertaken or transacted without a view to some object of a selfishness more or less refined. But when we look to the worst and most violent cases of this disease--an insatiable avarice and a morbid love of gain, then we at once see the baneful effects which the fancy, dwelling exclusively on material property and chinking coin, has on this moral disease, where, with the golden treasure, mind and soul are shut up and buried, and both completely numbed and petrified, in the same way that, by certain organic diseases of the body, the heart becomes ossified.

By these pernicious passions, the higher moral organ of life is in different ways attacked and destroyed. In the first case, that of the blinding of the mind by pride and vanity, the moral judgment is perverted and falsified. In the second case, where the soul is brutalized by a life of sensuality, the moral sense is clouded, loses all its delicacy, and is at last totally obliterated. In the third instance, that of a thorough numbness of the inner life produced by selfishness and avarice, the idea of moral duty is in the end totally lost, dies away, and becomes extinct, while the dead Mammon is regarded as the supreme good of life, and, being set up as the sole object of human exertion, is substituted for the best and noblest acquisition of mind and soul. The three passions which we have already examined are founded indeed on a positive pursuit, however false may be the extent or perverted the direction in which it is carried out. We might now proceed with our speculation, and, progressively developing it from the same point of view, extend and apply it to the aggressive passions, which are based on a merely negative pursuit--the attack, annihilation, and destruction of their objects. I allude to the passion of hatred, in its three different elements or species, viz., anger, malice, and revenge. But to enter further upon such investigations would be inappropriate in the present place. Generally, indeed, in touching upon matters so universally known, my object has been merely to consider and exhibit them from their psychological side, in order to show partly how the triple principle of human existence, according to mind or spirit, and soul, and the third element, wherein the former two conjointly operate, finds its application, and is repeated, as it were, in miniature, in the narrower sphere of the natural inclination, both good and bad, and also in that of the external senses. At the same time it was also my wish to call attention to the fact, that the dominion of the fancy over its subordinate faculties, whether of the external senses or the instincts, manifests itself likewise in the pernicious passions, as exercising over them a very baneful influence, and, indeed, as being the principal source of the prevailing aberrations.

These three passions and leading defects of character, which destroy the inward peace of individuals and disturb the order of society, may be regarded as so many Stygian floods, so many dark subterranean streams of lava and fire, which, bursting from the crater of a burning fancy, pour down upon the region of the will, there again to break out in lawless deeds and violent catastrophes, or, perhaps, what is far worse, to lie smoldering in a life frittered away in worthless pursuits, without object or meaning, or in the frivolous routine of an ordinary existence.

Having thus fully set forth the injurious influence of a disordered fancy on the deadly and pernicious passions of man, we shall be more at liberty to consider the other and better aspect of this mental faculty. For fancy, which, as his peculiar prerogative, distinguishes man from all other intellectual beings, is a living and fruitful source of good no less than of evil. Accordingly, in the higher aims of his good instincts, noble inclinations, and true enthusiasms, fancy gives life and stability to his exertions, and arouses and calls to his aid all the energies of mind and intellect.

But here I must make the preliminary remark, that in the ethical domain generally, and in all moral matters and relations, nothing but a very fine line divides right from wrong. The fault lies not unfrequently in the undue exaggeration or false application of a right principle. Pride and vanity, for instance, are the commonest subjects of the world’s censure; but who would banish from existence a true sense of honor, and a noble thirst of fame. And how would society lose all its tone and its true ring, if we were to withdraw from it all those precious metals! Avarice and the love of gain are, no doubt, fruitful sources of evil, and bring into society a thousand--nay, we may rather say, without exaggeration, ten thousand times ten thousand woes. They are the occasion of countless feuds and endless litigation; so that the prevention and settlement of these numberless commercial quarrels and disputes about property occupy the chief part of the attention, and absorb the best energies of domestic government. But a gainful industry, directed to utility, and even to private utility--labor and assiduity which have no other end in view than a lawful gain and a fair profit, which not merely does not violate the rights of others, but even pays a due regard to their interests, will be universally recognized as an essential part of the frame of society. It forms, indeed, the alimentary sap of life, which, as it ascends through its different vessels, diffuses every where both health and strength.

Lastly, we will now consider that other instinct of our nature, which, even as the strongest, most requires moral regulation and treatment. By all noble natures among civilized nations, in their best and purest times, this instinct has, by means of various moral relations, been spontaneously associated with a higher element. And, indeed, taken simply as inclination, it possesses some degree of affinity therewith. Such a strong inclination and hearty love, elevated to the bond of fidelity, receives thereby a solemn consecration, and is even, according to the divine dispensation, regarded as a sanctuary. And it is in truth the moral sanctuary of earthly existence, on which God’s first and earliest blessing still rests. It is, moreover, the foundation on which is built the happiness and the moral welfare of races and nations. This soul-connecting link of love, which constitutes the family union, is the source from which emanate the strong and beautiful ties of a mother’s love, of filial duty, and of fraternal affection between brethren and kindred, which together make up the invisible soul, and, as it were, the inner vital fluid of the nerves of human society. And here, too, the great family problem of education must be taken into account--and by education I mean the whole moral training of the rising generation. For, however numerous and excellent may be the institutions founded by the state, or conducted by private individuals, for special branches and objects, or for particular classes and ages, still, on the whole, education must be regarded as pre-eminently the business and duty of the family. For it is in the family that education commences, and there, also, it terminates and concludes at the moment when the young man, mature of mind and years, and the grown-up maiden, leave the paternal roof to found a new family of their own. In seasons of danger, and of wide-spread and stalking corruption, men are wont to feel--but often, alas! too late--how entirely the whole frame, both of human and political society, rests on this foundation of the family union. Not merely by the phenomena of our own times, but by the examples of the most civilized nations of antiquity, may this truth be historically proved; and numerous passages can be adduced from their great historians in confirmation of it. In all times and in all places a moral revolution within the domestic circle has preceded the public outbreaks of general anarchy, which have thrown whole nations into confusion, and undermined the best-ordered and wisely-constituted states. When all the principal joists of a building have started, and all its stays and fastenings, from the roof to the foundation, have become loose, then will the first storm of accident easily demolish the whole structure, or the first spark set the dry and rotten edifice in flames.

Next in order and dignity to this soul-binding tie of a noble and virtuous love, which promotes and preserves the intimate union of all the parts of social life, another species or form of a lofty, a good, and a beautiful--nay, even of a sublime--endeavor, shows itself in what we call enthusiasm. The latter has for its positive object a thought which the soul having once intellectually embraced, is ever after filled and possessed with. But the mere inward idea does not suffice here, however it may in the case of the simple conception or admiration of a noble thought. The distinctive characteristic of enthusiasm is rather the untiring energy with which, even at great personal sacrifice, it labors to realize, or to preserve in realization, the idea which has once fully possessed the soul. The commonest form or species of this enthusiasm is patriotism, or the love of country, which best and most plainly manifests itself in seasons of national danger or calamity. As the daily life of the individual alternates between labor and rest, and the refreshing sleep of the night renews the strength which has been exhausted by the toils of the day, so is it on a larger scale with the public life of the state in its alternations between peace and war. For although peace is justly prized and desired, as the greatest of public blessings, still it is some comfort and compensation for its unavoidable absence, to know that the presence of war, and the struggle with its dangers and hardships, first awaken and call into being many of man’s best energies and noblest virtues, which, in uninterrupted peace and tranquillity, must have remained forever dormant. But, as is every where the case throughout the moral domain, a spurious enthusiasm stands close alongside of the true and genuine species, and requires to be carefully distinguished from it. Forced to speak of the love of country, and to paint its genuine traits, I rejoice that I am standing on one of its chosen and most familiar scenes, where my hearers will understand me at the first sound, when I declare that the true enthusiasm of patriotism reveals itself most plainly in misfortune--in the midst of deep and lasting calamities. Another characteristic is, that it does not arbitrarily set up its object, or capriciously make its own occasion, but at the first call of its hereditary sovereign rushes to the post of danger. The second mark, therefore, of a true patriotism is obedience, but an obedience associated with the forward energies of a fixed and prepared resolve, which far outruns the exact requisitions of duty, and gives rise to a true and real equality--the equality of self-sacrifice, wherein the high and noble vie with the poor and lowly in the magnanimous oblation to their country of their best and dearest possessions.

Another generally known and admitted species of enthusiasm, viz., a taste for the arts, has not so universal a foundation in the constitution of the human mind as the feeling of patriotism, but implies a particular mental disposition, and certain natural endowments, and consequently the sphere of its operation is far narrower. But here, also, as in the former case, enthusiasm manifests itself as a property or state of the soul which is far from being contented with a calm philosophical contemplation, or admiration, of its inward thought, but which, longing eagerly to realize and exhibit externally the idea with which it is possessed, knows no rest nor peace till it has accomplished its cherished object. And such an ideal enthusiasm is not confined to the sphere of art alone, but even in the calmer regions of science is its influence felt. It is, in short, the animating impulse of all great inventions, creations, and discoveries. Without it Columbus would never have been able to overcome all the dangers and obstacles which beset the first design and the final consummation of his bold conception. But in the latter instances the object of enthusiasm is no longer a pure ideal, like that which animates the artist, but something great or new in the region of useful science, or of practical life. In every case, however, enthusiasm has for its object a something positive and real, which, even if it be not one which captivates the soul with its transcendent beauty and excellence, yet, at least, by its exalted nature fills it with wonder and admiration. Quite otherwise is it with a longing--an indefinite feeling of profound desire, which is satisfied with no earthly object, whether real or ideal, but is ever directed to the eternal and the divine. And although it presupposes, as the condition of its existence, no special genius or peculiar talents, but proceeds immediately out of the pure source of the divinely created and immortal soul--out of the everlasting feelings of the loving soul--still, from causes which are easily conceivable, a pure development of this species is _far_ rarer than even of the enthusiasm for art. No doubt, in certain happy temperaments, under circumstances favorable to their free expansion, this vague longing is peculiar to the age of youth, and is often enough observed there. Indeed, it is in that soft melancholy, which is always joined with the half-unconscious, but pleasant feeling of the blooming fullness of life, that lies the charm which the reminiscence of the days of youth possesses for the calm and quiet contemplations of old age. Here, too, the distinctive mark between the genuine and the spurious manifestations of this feeling is both simple enough, and easily found. For as this longing may in general be explained as an inchoate state--a love yet to be developed--the question reduces itself consequently to the simple one of determining the nature of this love. If, upon the first development and gratification of the passions, this love immediately passes over to and loses itself in the ordinary realities of life, then is it no genuine manifestation of the heavenly feeling, but a mere earthly and sensual longing. But when it survives the youthful ebullition of the feelings, when it does but become deeper and more intense by time, when it is satisfied with no joys, and stifled by no sorrows of earth--when, from the midst of the struggles of life, and the pressure of the world, it turns, like a light-seeing eye upon the storm-tossed waves of the ocean of time, to the heaven of heavens, watching to discover there some star of eternal hope--then is it that true and genuine longing, which, directing itself to the divine, is itself also of a celestial origin. Out of this root springs almost every thing that is intellectually beautiful and great--even the love of scientific certainty itself, and of a profound knowledge of life and nature. Philosophy, indeed, has no other source, and we might in this respect call it, with much propriety, the doctrine or the science of longing. But even that youthful longing, already noticed, is oftentimes a genuine, or, at least, the first foundation of the higher and truer species, although, unlike the latter, it is as yet neither purely evolved nor refined by the course of time.

One general remark remains to be added. This beautiful longing of youth, a fruitful fancy, and a loving soul, are the best and most precious gifts of benignant nature, that dispenses with so liberal a hand, or, rather, not of nature, but of that wonderful Intelligence that presides in and over it. They form, as it were, a fair garden of hidden life within man. But as the first man was placed in the garden of Eden, not merely for his idle enjoyment, but, as it is expressly stated, “to dress it and to keep it,” so here also, when this law of duty is neglected, the inmost heart of the most eminent characters and of the most richly-endowed natures becomes, as it were, a Paradise run wild and waste.

In the consideration of these three forms of man’s higher effort--viz., longing, true love, and genuine enthusiasm--I have throughout silently implied, what no one can possibly deny, the co-operating influence of fancy. As in the evil passions it exercises an injurious, inflammatory, and destructive effect, so also it co-operates beneficially with the longing which is directed to the good and the divine, and imparts to it its animating ardor, and its highest energy. In the pure longing, indeed, the inventive fancy is dissolved in what has ceased to be an earthly feeling, and has become completely identified with the living soul. But in the love and enthusiasm which are directed to some actual object, it is the sustaining flame of life, and of all loftier aspirations which, as they spring from the source of fancy, attest its co-operation. It may be that the pure spirits are filled and pervaded with that loving veneration of the Deity which makes up their blissful existence, simply by means of the intuitive understanding and the pure will, without even any admixture of fancy. A human love or enthusiasm, however, which should be totally devoid of fancy, and free from its influence, will very rarely, if ever, be met with, and is but barely conceivable. This, however, does not involve any reproach or censure against man’s love and enthusiasm, as though they were unreal and founded on an untruth. For nothing can be more erroneous than to suppose that the fancy must invariably be untrue and deceiving, or at least self-deceived. Such a supposition is derived merely from one species of it--the poetical fancy. And yet even this, in its genuine manifestations, contains beneath its privileged and permitted garb of external untruth, a rich store and living source of great and profound verities, of a peculiar kind, and belonging to an internal truth of nature. Or, perhaps, this misconception of fancy in general may have its origin in that abortion or corruption of it which operates so powerfully in the evil passions, which is undoubtedly in the highest degree deceptive and delusive. In and by itself, and taken in its widest signification, this faculty of fancy is, generally speaking, the living productive thought--the faculty of internal fertility--and which also with its outward organs, both of an earthly and a higher sense, apprehends the whole external world. It enters, therefore, with a living interest into every good as well as base pursuit of man, and giving new shapes of its own to all that it has once apprehended, labors to invest it with a living form, to apply and to realize it. In itself, therefore, and in its pure and uncorrupt state, far from clashing with the divine truth (which, however, is not in every case identical with the ordinary reality), fancy, as we shall show more fully in another place, admits of being easily reconciled with it. But of human things we must always judge by a human standard, and with due allowance. Even supposing that, in the case of a true love and a genuine enthusiasm, a passing thought may be detected, a momentary excitement or manifestation which goes beyond the exact line of the actual truth--even in such a case this love and this enthusiasm would not therefore be less real and genuine--still would not all be exaggeration that might seem so to the unsympathizing and unenthusiastic intellect. At all events, it must ever remain undeniable, that emergencies occur in human life which are not met by the rigorous and mathematical formularies of ethical science, and where by nothing but a noble sacrifice of love far transcending all the common and general requisitions of the practical reason--by nothing but a lofty energy and resolute enthusiasm--can a man extricate himself from his perplexities and arrive at a happy result. At least, it will not do to overlook or misrepresent this element of human life, even though it must be admitted that it is not exempt from those traces of human infirmity which are also but too apparent in the other aspect of it, the one, viz., in which the formal reason decides every thing, and is supreme.

As, therefore, the thinking soul is the living center of the human consciousness, so, on the other hand, the loving soul is the middle point and the foundation of all moral life, as it shows itself in that soul-bond of love, which, while it constitutes marriage, is tied and completed therein. On this union, then, which, as historically represented, appears to be the true commencement of civilized life, it will be necessary to say a few words; and the present seems the most appropriate place for them. Now, both in philosophy and in all general speculation, there are many reasoners who would derive every thing from material sensations, and seek to degrade all that is regarded as high and noble by mankind. So here, also, in the world’s mode of judging of this union--which, however, all publicly-acknowledged principles regard as holy--it, and all that belongs to it, is accounted for by some evanescent passion, some sensual impression, or some interested view or other, while the existence of any thing like true and genuine love is absolutely denied. But, in the first place, in the case of a union which embraces the entire man--his sensuous as well as his rational, or, as I should prefer to say, his earthly no less than his spiritual nature and temperament--it can not fairly be urged in objection to it, that both the elements of his mixed constitution are present in it. On the contrary, it is obviously most unjust, in our estimate of it, violently to separate what, even in the least corrupted disposition and purest characters, are most closely interwoven, or, rather, fused together, and to subject them to an invidious and destructive analysis. This is not the way to determine the characteristics of a true and of a false love. The distinction between them must rather be sought by a simpler method, similar to that which we followed in the case of longing and enthusiasm--by considering merely the total result. A feeling of this kind may appear at the beginning never so violent; it may even amuse itself with a thorough mental hallucination, which betrays itself in its very outward aspect, with the profoundest veneration, nay, deification of its admired object; but in married life this intense admiration soon gives place to satiety or indifference, and imbittered by mutual distrust and misunderstanding, it terminates in incurable discord. In such a case the feeling, even in its ardent beginnings, was no true love, but simply passion. But in those happy unions, where the first passionate ardor of youth yields only to an ever-growing and still purer development of mutual good-will and confidence--while self-sacrifice and patient endurance, both in good and evil fortune, do but cherish the same deep affection and calm friendship--here, from the very first, it was true and genuine love. For, however much the outward appearances of human life may seem to contradict it, there is not in nature, and even in the higher region, any love without a return. And as all true love is reciprocal, so also is true love lasting and indestructible; or, to “speak as a man,” even because it is the very inmost life of humanity, it is, therefore, true unto death.

Moreover, in the case of a union which extends to the whole of life, it is quite consistent that a due regard should be paid to the other circumstances and relations of existence; only no general rule can be laid down in this respect. This is a matter which has been left to the discretion of individuals, even by the divine laws, those sacred guardians of wedlock, which, however, rigorously insist on the absence of all compulsion, inasmuch as the free consent of all parties is an essential condition of this union. And as we should be justified in taking for granted that this reciprocal act of free will must not be any inconsiderate or extorted assent, or one induced by other interested feeling or consideration, so is this expressly asserted by the fact that, according to the spirit of these holy laws of matrimony, this union must be founded on mutual affection, and regarded as an indissoluble bond of souls, and not as a mere civil contract or deed of sale and transfer of rank and property. The latter, as well as all else, are mere subordinate matters. Three things, according to God’s moral government of the world, are indispensable to and required by the essence and spirit of these holy laws. In the first place, there must be a mutual consent of the will--a reciprocal fondness and liking, to which the will, whenever it is left free and unshackled, gives an appropriate utterance and expression. In the second place, these laws require that unison of temper which is indispensable to its permanence; while, thirdly and lastly, they provide that this union, so sacred in the sight of all civilized nations, should be indissoluble. In perfect harmony with this last condition is monogamy--the fundamental law of Christian wedlock. And even among the heathen nations of antiquity, though without the sanction of law, yet, nevertheless, under the influence of an instinctive sense of what is morally right and noble, monogamy had practically become the almost universal rule. Highly important to the welfare of the human race is the inviolable maintenance of this sacred law of marriage. So incalculable are the disasters which follow from its violation, that I can safely venture to assert, without fear of exaggeration, that a religion which would venture to desecrate or pull down the venerable sanctuary of wedlock, and consequently to expose the weaker sex to degradation and oppression, would even thereby bespeak its own falsity, and renounce all pretensions to a divine origin. Wherever, on the contrary, this noble institution and woman’s dignity are acknowledged and respected, there this union of souls in consecrated love operates, by the means of lasting personal intercourse, a reciprocal mental influence of the most diversified, salutary, and beautiful kind. And this influence tends to promote the development not only of the soul and character, but also of the mind or spirit. Accordingly in this, the first and the most intimate of all unions, all the three principles of human existence--body, soul, and spirit, or mind--alike meet together, and partake of a common evolution. And the result of this mutual influence relatively to the different characters of the mental capacities and consciousness of the two sexes, and the development of each produced thereby, forms, merely in its psychological aspect, a remarkable and pregnant phenomenon. Consistently, therefore, with the law I have proposed myself, in every case, to set out in my investigations from life itself, and from the very center thereof, I can not well avoid, while treating of the several grades of the development of man’s consciousness, to give some, though it must be but a partial, consideration to this interesting topic.

Congeniality of mind and temper forms, it is confessed, the sole basis of domestic peace and contentment, and of a happy, _i.e._, of a well-assorted marriage. But to determine on what this depends, in each individual case, is a problem which, considering the extremely great and infinite varieties of human dispositions, admits not of a precise or particular solution. On this point the closest observers are not unfrequently deceived in their predictions. How often do those agree very well of whom previously it would not have been supposed possible? On the contrary, those frequently live most unhappily together of whose blissful union the judgment of society and the ordinary estimate of human character had led to the most favorable anticipations. Nevertheless, for the latter fact a general reason may be given. It is not so much the similarity of tastes and pursuits, as, rather, the want in one of some mental quality possessed by the other, that forms the strongest source of attraction between the two sexes, so that the inner life or consciousness of the one finds its complement in that of the other, or, at least, receives from it a further development and elevation. For in the same way that a certain community of goods and property, even though not complete nor enforced by law, yet still, in some measure and by daily use, does practically take place in wedlock--so, also, by the constant interchange of every thought and feeling, a sort of community of consciousness is produced, which derives its charm and value from the very difference in the mental character of the two sexes. When I would attempt to give a more precise determination of this difference, I feel how difficult and incomplete must be every attempt generally to define the varieties of mental character. And this is especially the case when men take in hand to paint the characters of whole ages and nations, and by contrasts endeavor distinctly to limit and sharply to define them. Thus, for instance, the predominant element in the mental character of the Greeks is usually said to be intellect--comprising under this term every form and manifestation of it, the scientific as well as the artistic, profundity not less than acuteness, and vivid perspicuity, together with critical analysis; while energy of will, strength of mind, and greatness of soul, are assigned to the Romans as their distinguishing peculiarity. No doubt these descriptions are not in general untrue. How many nicer limitations, however, and modifications must they undergo, if we are not to rest contented with this historical antithesis and summary--which, no doubt, are correct enough, as far as they go--but desire, rather, to form in idea and to set down in words a full and complete image of these two nations in their whole intellectual life. So, too, as a general description of the middle ages, it might be said, with tolerable truth, that in them fancy was predominant; while in modern times reason has been gradually becoming more and more paramount. But how many particulars must be added in the latter case, if the truth of life is not to be swallowed up in a general notion. But in a still higher degree does this observation apply, when we come to speak not merely of nations and eras, but of the mental differences of the two sexes. Such mere outlines must be given and taken for nothing more than what they really are, mere sketchy thoughts. However, they may often lead us farther, giving rise occasionally to useful applications, or, at least, serving, not seldom, to exclude a false and delusive semblance of a thought. To attempt, therefore, something of the kind, I would make the following remark, in which most voices will, I think, concur. Of the several faculties or aspects of human consciousness previously described, soul appears to be most pre-eminent in the mental constitution of women; so that the prophet who said that women have no soul proved himself thereby a false prophet. For it is even this rich fullness of soul which manifests itself in all their thoughts, and words, and deeds--that constitutes the great charm of the social intercourse of civilized nations, as well as the winning attractiveness of their more familiar conversation, and in part, also, the harmonizing influence which they produce on the mind in the more intimate union of wedded life. Nevertheless, I think we should altogether miss the truth, if, from any love of antithesis, we should go on to append the remark, that, in like manner, mind [_geist_] generally predominates among men, and is commonly to be found in a higher degree among them than among women. For, in the first place, the measure both of natural capacity and also of acquired culture, not only in themselves, but also in the manifold spheres and modes of their application, are so exceedingly different in different individuals, that it is not easy to form therefrom any general and characteristic estimate of the whole sex. And just as it would be a most false exaggeration to deny to man altogether the possession of a soul with its rich fullness of feeling, since it is only of its preponderance among the other sex that it is allowable to speak, so can we with as little justice refuse absolutely to attribute mind to woman, or at best ascribe it to her only in a very limited degree. For even if the subtler abstractions of scientific reasoning are very rare among, and little suited to them, still sound reason and judgment are only the more common. The understanding which women possess is not so much dry, observant, cool, and calculating, as it is vivid and intuitively penetrating. And it is exactly this vividness of intellect that, when speaking of individuals, we call mind or spirit.

Another line of thought will, perhaps, lead us more directly and nearer to the end we have in view. The external influence of women on the whole human community is, for the most part (for here, too, there are great and memorable exceptions) confined to a narrow sphere of the immediate duties of the affections, or to similar relations in the wider social circle. So, too, is it inwardly as regards the consciousness. All the faculties of women and their several manifestations lie, if I may so express myself, close together, and, as it were, in a friendly circle around the loving soul, as their common center. With regard, then, to the comparison of the two sexes and their mental differences, I would venture to observe, that on the one side it seems to me that a certain harmonious fullness of the consciousness is the preponderating character; and, on the other, its eccentric evolution. Not that I mean that in the sex which is pre-eminently called to outward activity, the mind loses its grand center in the inner life, or, comet-like, delights to wander in vast, irregular orbits, as is, indeed, commonly enough asserted. My meaning is, simply, that the masculine mind will ever dare, as, indeed, it ought, to move in wider circles than the feminine. The extremes of the consciousness, if the expression be allowable--the farthest poles both of reason and fancy--are, so to speak, the property of the more active sex; while the harmonious union and contact of both in the soul belong to the more sensitive. All such general and characteristic sketches, however, must always be most imperfect. Still I believe it may be safely and truly said, that, with highly-favored dispositions and noble natures (and these must be always supposed and taken for the foundation of such general remarks), the gain to be derived from this intellectual community and influence, in which one individual consciousness completes the other, must be sought in the one sex in a greater development of mind and elevation of soul, and in the other in a more harmonious adjustment and softening of the mental powers, and in a far more sensitive excitement of the soul’s susceptibilities. But in this most intimate of unions, when regarded as divinely blessed, and when in reality it appears to be so, then on either side both mind and soul are, as it were, twice combined and joined together in closest association, and, if we may say so, even married and wedded together. Consequently, while external life derives from marriage its moral foundation and origin, the internal life of man is, as it were, mentally renewed by it, or fructified afresh and redoubled.



In the first Lecture our attention was directed to the thinking soul as the center of the whole human consciousness; while in the second, I attempted fully to set before you, and to delineate, the loving soul as the true middle point of the moral life. The object of our present disquisition will be to ascertain the part which the soul takes in the knowledge to which man is able to attain. The general element, indeed, which the soul furnishes as its contribution to human knowledge, is not indeed very difficult to determine; but when we come to details, there is much that requires to be well weighed and pondered.

Now, the soul furnishes the cognitive mind with language for the expression of its cognitions; and it is even the distinctive character of human knowledge, that it depends on language, which not only forms an essential constituent of it, but is also its indispensable organ. Language, however, the discursive, but at the same time also the vividly figurative language of man, is entirely the product of the soul, which in its production first of all, and pre-eminently, manifests its fruitful and creative energy. In this wonderful creation the two constituent faculties of the soul--fancy and reason--play an equal and co-ordinate part. From the fancy it derives the whole of its figurative and ornamental portion, and also its melodious rhythm and animated tone. And, moreover, its inmost fundamental web and the primary natural roots belong also to man’s original deep feeling of sympathy with outward nature, and therefore to fancy, unless perhaps some would prefer to ascribe them at once to the soul itself, as still more profoundly and intimately akin to nature. To the reason, on the other hand, language owes its logical order, and its grammatical forms and laws of construction. Which part is the more important, or more highly to be esteemed, is a question whose solution will vary according to the point of view which in any case may be adopted as fundamental, or to the different relations under which the whole shall be considered. Both elements, however, are equally essential and indispensable. In all the instances already considered of the reciprocal relation of reason and fancy we found almost invariably a decided preponderance of one or the other; but neither there nor elsewhere will reason and fancy be found combining in such harmonious proportions, or working so thoroughly together, or contributing so equally to the common product, as in the wonderful production of language, and in language itself. And this is the case, not only with language in general, but also with all its species and noblest applications. Now this dependence of the cognitive mind on its organ of language, discursive indeed, but yet almost always figurative--this close and intimate connection between man’s knowledge and his speech--is even the characteristic mark of human intelligence. But the fault of most of the mere speculative thinkers lies even in this, that they abandon the standard of humanity, by seeking to wrest, and to conquer an unhuman, if we may so say, _i.e._, a wholly independent and absolute knowledge, which, however, it is not in their power to attain to, and in pursuit of which they lose the certainty which lies within their reach, and so at last grasp nothing but an absolute not-knowing, or an endless controversy. If, as we can not but suppose, a communication does take place among those spiritual beings, who in intelligence are preferred to man, then must the immediate speech of these spirits be very different from our half-sensuous half-rational, half-earthly half-heavenly language of nature and humanity. For, even as spiritual, it can not but be immediate--never employing figure and those grammatical forms which human language first analyzes, to form again out of them new and fresh compounds. According to the two properties which constitute the essence of mind [_geist_], it can only be a communication, a transmission, an awakening or immission of thought--some wholly definite thought--by the will, or else the communicating, exciting, and producing by the thought of some equally definite volition. It may be that something of this, or at least something not absolutely dissimilar, occurs in human operations. It is possible that this immediate language of mind, as a secret and invisible principle of life--as a rare and superior element--is contained also in human language, and, as it were, veiled in the outer body, which, however, becomes visible only in the effects of a luminous and lofty eloquence, in which is displayed the magic force of language and of a ruling and commanding thought. Taken on the whole, however, human speech is no such immediate and magically-working language of mind or spirit. It is rather a figurative language of nature, in which its great permanent hieroglyphics are mirrored again in miniature, and in rapid succession. And it retains this natural and figurative character even in the ordinary form of rational dialogue, which must observe so many varieties and details of grammar, of which superior intelligences have no need for their immediate intercommunion, but in which, as in all other human things, many greater or less grammatical oversights creep in and give rise to important consequences in science and thought, and also in life itself. But in the next place, language is intimately connected and co-ordinate with tradition, whether sacred or profane, with all the recorded fruits of human speculation and inquiry. And as the word is the root out of which the whole stem of man’s transmitted knowledge, or tradition, has grown up, with all its branches and offshoots, so, too, in the eloquent speech, in the elegant composition, and even in all lofty internal meditation--which form, as it were, the leaves, flowers, and fruits of this goodly tree of living tradition--it is again the word by which the whole is carried on and ultimately perfected.

But now, in order to develop still more completely, and more accurately to ascertain the part which the soul, as the creator of language, contributes to human cognition and knowledge, it will be necessary to examine nicely the essence of reason, and especially in relation to its collateral and closely-connected, but subordinate faculties. Above all, it will be advisable to determine, as accurately and carefully as possible, the difference between reason and understanding. For otherwise its proper share in this common fruit and joint product of human knowledge can not be ascribed to each power of mind and to each faculty of the soul, nor their proper places and due limits in the whole be severally assigned.

The faculties, then, of the soul, which stand in the same close relationship to the reason that the senses and the instincts or passions do to the fancy, are memory and conscience. Now, memory may be considered either as a gift, according to its greater or less power of comprehension and retention, or as an art to strengthen and facilitate its operations by artificial means of every kind, or as a problem to determine how far the exercise of it constitutes an essential part of man’s intellectual culture and development. But it is not in any of these points of view that we have here to consider it, but simply in its essential conjunction with the reason and rationality, which appear to be dependent on this union.

In other words, we have to regard the memory principally as the inward clew of recollection and of association in the consciousness, in the ever-flowing stream of thought and interchange of ideas. We may, or, I might rather say, we must, forget infinitely many things. But this connecting thread of memory being once broken, or destroyed, or lost, the reason invariably suffers with it, and is injured, or its exercise limited, or, lastly, is rendered totally confused and extinct. Whenever, in the extreme decrepitude of old age, memory fails, reason ceases in an equal degree to be active and energetic, and is supplanted by more or less of a foolish doting. In sleep, no doubt, consciousness is regularly interrupted, but still it is immediately restored again on awaking. If the contrary were to take place, if, as is the foundation of many an ingenious story among the poets, when suddenly awakened we could not recall our former memory and our knowledge, then should we be continually falling into mistakes about ourselves and lose all identity of consciousness. Some such violent interruption or rent in the inward memory of self-consciousness is invariably to be found in madness, and is a leading symptom of it. And here I would merely call upon you to observe a further illustration of what has been already more than once pointed out. The triple principle of body, soul, and spirit is again repeated and manifested even in this sad state of mental alienation, and in all its different forms and species. In true lunacy or monomania--which is generally harmless and quiet--a radically false but fixed idea is often associated, and is not inconsistent with an extraordinary shrewdness on all other points. Nevertheless, this fixed erroneous idea, being made the center of all other thoughts and of the whole consciousness, produces that confusion and that disorganization of the mind which characterizes this form of a disordered intellect. But in true madness, or frenzy, the seat of the disease is in the soul, which, having broken loose from all the ties and restraints of reason and rational habit, appears to have fallen a prey to some hostile, wild, and raging force of nature. In idiotcy, lastly, especially where it is inborn and conjoined with the perfection of the external organs of sense, we must assume the existence of some faulty organization, some defect in the brain, or whatever else is the unknown but higher organ both of thought and life. The source of the last is altogether physical and corporeal, whereas moral causes often co-operate in the highest degree to the production of the former two. The deaf and dumb, if left wholly to themselves, would, in all probability, belong always to the third class, since, with the loss of speech they are simultaneously deprived of a leading condition of rationality. And, accordingly, the first object with those who undertake the difficult task of training these unfortunate beings is to furnish them with another language, by means of signs, instead of the ordinary audible speech of which the accident of birth has deprived them. This instance, therefore, is only a further confirmation of what I have already advanced, that the intellectual character is, in every respect, most intimately dependent on the faculty of speech. A more minute examination of these matters belongs to physical science. Nevertheless, our passing remark on the triple character of this psychological evil, or misfortune, will not, I hope, be found inappropriate here, as affording, even in this narrow and special sphere of a disordered intellect, a further illustration of the general principle of our theory of the human consciousness.

Now, the outer and especially the higher senses may, by reason of the supremacy of the fancy, to which they are subordinate, be termed, with propriety, so many applied faculties of imagination. In the same way we might give the same designation to the inclinations and impulses--the good as well as the evil--if, perhaps, it would not be more accurate to name them an imagination passed into life. In a similar way the memory may be considered as an applied reason which in the application has become quite mechanical and habitual; for unquestionably the logical arrangement is the chief quality in memory. From this it derives both its value and scientific utility. On the other hand, there are certain acquired mental aptitudes which, though originally they can not be formed without the voluntary exercise of memory, become at last a completely unconscious and mechanical operation--the facility, for instance, of learning by heart, or the acquisition of foreign languages, or catching up of musical tunes. In all these the reason has become an instinct, just as the instinct of animals, their artistic impulse and skill, may be designated an unconscious analogy of reason.

In this subordinate faculty of the memory, the reason, agreeably to its specific character, exhibits itself as a useful and ministering agent. In conscience, on the contrary, as its highest function, it assumes a somewhat negative character. But in both relations, whether as a ministerial or negative faculty of thought, the reason, in its place, is of the highest value. If occasionally we have seemed to detract from and to limit its importance, such remarks have been called forth by the undue and overweening authority which the present age would claim for the reason. This is the sole end and meaning of our opposition, which is directed exclusively against that spurious reason which claims to be supreme, and arrogates to itself a productive power; whereas, in truth, it ought not to be the one, and can never be the other. The thought which distinguishes, divides, and analyzes, and that also which combines, infers, and concludes--which, as such, make up the faculty of reason--may be so carried on in indefinite and infinite process, as ultimately to get entirely rid of its object-matter. It is this endless thinking, without a correspondent object, that is the source of scientific error, which, as in all cases it arises solely out of this vacuum in thinking, can only lead to a thinking of nothing--a cogitation absolutely null and false. Far different is the case where a memory, stored with the rich materials of intellectual experience, forms the useful basis of man’s studies and pursuits, or where, as is the case with the apperception of the conscience, the object, even while it is less extensive and manifold, is the more highly and more intensely important. Now, as the reason generally is not only a combining and connecting, but also a distinguishing faculty of thought, so likewise the conscience is a similar power of drawing distinctions in the thought and in the internal consciousness, though in a higher and special degree, and also in a different form from that which, in all other instances, is discursive reason. For it is by a simple feeling and immediate perception that the conscience, in obedience to the voice within man, draws between right and wrong, or good and evil, the greatest of all distinctions. This voice of conscience, while it makes itself heard among all nations, nevertheless, under the ever and widely-varying influence of ruling ideas of the age, and of education, and of custom, speaks in different times and places, in differing tones and dialects. But these differences extend only to subordinate matters. The primary and essential point remains unchanged and never to be mistaken; the same dominant tone and key-note sounds through all these variations--the common tongue and language of human nature and of an untaught and innate fear of God. This fact has led many to regard the conscience as the principal source of all higher and divine truth; with whom I can readily concur, so long as they do not mean thereby that it is the only source, to the exclusion of every other.

Now it is surely significant that in German--and all languages furnish numerous instances of such significant allusions--the word and the name of reason[17] is derived from that internal perception of the conscience which constitutes its highest function. What, then, it may be asked, is perceived by this wonderful perception, that before it the will inwardly retires and withdraws even its earlier and most cherished wishes? The warning voice it is called, in every age and nation. It is, as it were, one who within us warns and remonstrates. It is not, therefore, our own Me, but as it were another, and, as a vague feeling would suggest, of a higher and a different nature. And now by its light that earlier and retiring will appears in like manner as another self--a lower false and seducing Ego--an alien power which would hurry away ourselves and our proper Me. But between the two--this higher warning voice on the one hand, and this constraining, compelling force on the other--there stands a power which is free to decide between them. And this, as soon as the decomposing process is finished, which in the as yet undecided will, or its mixed states, separates and distinguishes between the good voice and the evil inclination--remains to us as our own Ego and our proper self. This inward voice, and the immediate perception of it, is an anchor on which the vessel of man’s existence rides safely on the stormy sea of life, and the ebb and the flow of the will. In other words, it is a divine focus, or a sacred stay of truth. But further, it must be observed, that the understanding of this inner perception, as I have just painted it, does not belong to the reason, to which alone the perceiving can itself be ascribed. The true intelligence thereof--its higher interpretation, and explanation, which adds to it, or recognizes in it a reference to the divine--must, even because it is an intellectual act, be ascribed to the understanding.

The present, therefore, is the place for a close and accurate investigation of the difference between reason and understanding--a question of the highest importance for the whole theory of the consciousness, and its true philosophical interpretation, as well as absolutely for every branch of science. For this purpose I shall follow a line of thought somewhat unusual, perhaps, but which on that account is even the more likely to carry us quickly to the desired end, and to place the distinction in a full and clear light. I lately employed the somewhat hypothetical comparison between man and a superior order of intelligences, as a means of illustrating the faculty of the fancy as the peculiar property of the human consciousness. And now I would go a step higher, and from the acknowledged characteristics of the divine intelligence, derive the means of determining the different functions of the human consciousness, and of setting the relations they stand in, not only to one another, but also to a superior intellect. In this course, however, I shall take nothing for granted but what is well known and generally intelligible. That God is a Spirit, is the concurrent voice of all men, wherever a belief in the one God is professed, or the idea of a Divine Being is diffused. God is a Spirit, and therefore an omniscient intellect and an all-mighty will are unanimously attributed to Him. This axiom, with which a child even of the most ordinary intelligence can associate some kind of meaning, is at the same time the fundamental principle which is involved in all that the deepest thinker can know of God. The same faculties, therefore, that make up the essence and the two functions of created spirits--understanding and will--may, without hesitation, be attributed to the uncreated Spirit; and although this attribution must be understood according to the exalted standard of the infinite distance between the creature and the Creator, still it is made properly and not merely by way of figure.

But now, in Holy Writ, and in the language of pious adoration and prayer, among other nations as well as the Jewish, a multitude of properties, faculties, and senses are ascribed to the Deity in perfectly anthropomorphic descriptions and imagery. Thus mention is even made of His eye, His ear, His guiding hand, His mighty arm, and the omnipotent breath of His mouth. In so far as these are admitted to be mere images there can be no objection to them, and it is not easy to see how they can lead to any abuse. And this is equally the case even with such expressions as it is plain can only be applicable to the Deity in a figurative sense--for instance, when human passions are ascribed to Him--since, if employed properly and literally, they all involve more or less of imperfection. And in the same way, where no forgetfulness is possible or conceivable, it can only be in a figurative sense that it is allowable to speak of memory. And with still less propriety can the faculty of conscience, in its human sense, be ascribed to God. His balance of justice--His regulative thought--is something very different from our mere sense of right. To ascribe conscience to the Deity would be to confound the judge on the bench with the criminal at the bar. Even the first man, as long as he was yet innocent, knew not conscience. For the sense of guilt, and the faculty of perceiving it, must at the very earliest have come simultaneously with the transgression itself, if it was not, rather, consequent upon it. In the application to the Deity of such figurative language, great license is of course allowable. The question, however, which concerns us in a philosophical point of view is whether, in the same proper sense as understanding and will, so also the other faculties which are so peculiarly distinctive of man--reason and fancy, or the soul--can be attributed to the Divine Being. Now it is at once evident that, far beyond all other figurative expressions, it would be perfectly unsuitable to ascribe fancy to God. We feel clearly enough that by so doing we should be leaving the safe ground of truth for the treacherous domain of mythology. That inner mine of intellectual riches which man in his weak measure finds in the faculty of fancy, is, in the case of the Divine Being, furnished once and for all by His omnipotent will; which of itself creates and produces its object, and, unlike created beings, is not confined to any limited data or to a choice between them. Here, then, the Almighty will itself is the full fatherly heart--embracing, nourishing, and sustaining all creatures--or even the living maternal womb of eternal generation, and requires no new and special faculty for this end. In the next place, as to the soul: the expression of the soul of God does, indeed, occur in some of the less known Christian writers of the first centuries of the church, but it soon fell into disuse--from a fear, probably, of its leading to a confusion of idea, and being identified with a mere soul of the world. But however that may be, the soul is simply a passive faculty, and therefore, on that account alone, is highly inappropriate as applied to God. That third property which in the Divine nature is associated with an omniscient intelligence or understanding, and an omnipotent will, can not be called the soul of God, but is even the spirit of love, in which both understanding and will unite and are one. And if this third property be added to the axiomatic definition of the Deity already alluded to, then in the proposition, God is a spirit of love, the double predicate in its essential import involves all that man in general, and even the profoundest thinker, can properly know of God. All besides is a mere expansion or elucidation of this primary and fundamental thought. Moreover, if it is not allowable to ascribe fancy or a soul to God, so neither can He be spoken of as possessing reason as an essential faculty in the same proper sense as understanding and will are attributed to Him. God is indeed the author of reason; and the sound reason is even that which adheres to the center of truth, as He, in creating it, designed and ordered. But from this it does not by any means follow that He is himself the reason which He has created, or that He is even one with it. Were it so, then the advocates of absolute science, the rationalists, would be in the right; in such a case, the knowledge of God were in truth a science of reason, inasmuch as like can only be known by like.

But now, if it be not reason, but rather understanding, that, with the co-operation of all the other faculties both of soul and spirit, is the proper organ for acquiring a knowledge of the divine, and the only means by which man can arrive at a right apprehension thereof; then is the knowledge of God simply and entirely a science of experience, although of a high and peculiar kind, by reason of the finiteness and frailty of man as compared with such an object. As the fancy is the apprehension or seizing of an object, the reason a combination or distinction, so the understanding is the faculty which penetrates, and, in its highest degree, clearly sees through its object. We understand a phenomenon, a sensation, an object, when we have discerned its inmost meaning, its peculiar character and proper significance. And the same is the case even when this object be a speech and communication addressed to us--a word or discourse given us to extract its meaning. If we have discerned the design which is involved in such a communication, its real meaning and purpose, then may we be said to have understood it, even though some minutiæ in the expression may still remain unintelligible, which, as not belonging essentially to the whole, we put aside and leave unconsidered. There are, therefore, many steps and degrees in understanding--very different phases and species of it. A familiar instance will, perhaps, elucidate this matter. We will suppose the case of an extremely rare and remarkable, or, perhaps, hitherto wholly unknown, plant, brought to our country from a foreign clime. The naturalist, having examined its structure and organs, assigns it to a particular class of the higher botanical genera, where it either belongs to some lower species or forms an exception. The chemist, again, when the plant is brought before his notice, conjectures, from certain other characters, that it is formed of such or such elementary parts; while the physician, on other grounds, concludes that in certain diseases it will probably serve as a remedy, equally if not more efficacious than other herbs or roots previously employed for that purpose. Now, if the two last have judged correctly, if their conjectures be confirmed by trial and experiment, then will all the three have understood the plant, and each in his own department have learned and discerned its intrinsic character. Again: how slowly, step by step and gradually, do men attain to the understanding of some ancient, foreign, and difficult language. It commences, perhaps, with the long and difficult deciphering of a manuscript or inscription, with an alphabet incomplete or imperfectly known, and after much painful labor the final discovery of its true meaning is made perhaps by some fortunate accident which all at once throws a full light upon it. A remarkable instance, in our own days, will both elucidate the matter, and serve at the same time to prove how a higher Providence regulates even the progress of science. For more than a millenium and a half had the hieroglyphics of an ancient race remained unintelligible to and undeciphered by a posterity of aliens, when at last, amid the recent commotions and tempests of the political world, a happy accident brought the secret to light. Who can forget the brilliant and dazzling expectations which hailed the departure of the French expedition for Egypt? How was all Europe electrified at the bold project of planting at the foot of the Pyramids a colony of European art and civilization. The enterprise itself failed, and was soon forgotten amid still more important events and greater revolutions; and the humble monument with its triple inscription, which was carried away from Egypt, is all, if we may so speak, that remains of it. But that has unquestionably founded a great epoch in the peaceful empire of science.[18] For a whole generation the learned labored to decipher it with but slow and very imperfect success, when at last a happy coincidence presents itself, and suddenly the key is found. And although of the seven hundred secret symbols, scarcely more than one hundred are as yet made out, still even these have opened a wide vista into the spacious domain of the dark _origines_ of man’s history. And this was effected at a time when man had just learned to put together a few characters of the great alphabet of nature, and here and there to decipher a word or two of its hieroglyphical language, while at the same time streams of historical knowledge began to flow down from the remotest antiquity of the human race, confirming and setting in the clearest light the best of all that we had before possessed, and exciting a hope that we might, perhaps, be also able to understand the obscure hieroglyphics of our own age, and the fearful war of minds which is commencing in it.

Such is the course of things, or, rather, the higher Providence that rules therein; and it was to this, chiefly, that I wished to call your attention by this digression. Thus slow and gradual, but permanent, are the progressive steps in the growth and development of true human science, which is founded on experience--the internal as well as external, the higher as well as the lower--and on tradition, language, and revelation. But, on the contrary, that false, or, as I termed it at the outset, that unhuman and absolute knowledge, as it pretends to embrace all at once, and by one step to place us in full possession of the whole sum of human knowledge, so, ever fluctuating between being and non-being, it soon dissolves into thin air, and leaves nothing behind but a baseless void of absolute non-knowing. Ill would it fare with the knowledge of God and of divine things, if they were left to be discovered, and, as it were, first established by human reason. Even though, in such a case, the intellectual edifice were never so well built and compact, still, as it had originally issued out of man’s thoughts, it would be ever shaking before the doubt whether it were any thing better than an idea, or had any reality out of the human mind.

For this doubt is the foundation of all idealism, to which, often recurring under differing forms of error, it does but give a fresh creation and new shape. Even from this side, consequently, it is apparent that no living certainty and complete reality is attainable by it. Easy, in truth, were it from this position to evolve the ideas of the illimitable, and the infinite, and the absolute; and of such developments there is no lack. But they are at best but pure negations, which do not serve in the least to explain that which is most necessary for us to understand. Curious, indeed, should I be to see the process by which, out of this pet metaphysical idea of the absolute, any one positive notion of God--His patience, for example, and long-suffering--is to be deduced. Strange, too, must be the way in which alone it could carry out the proof that the absolute Deity, or as man prefers, it seems, to say, _the Absolute_, can not dispense with the possession of this attribute of patience, on which, however, before all others, it is important for man to insist. Moreover, this character of absoluteness is applied to the Deity in a manner which is altogether false and erroneous. That God, in the mode of his existence, is unlimited--that the First Cause is not dependent on, and can not be qualified by any other being, is self-evident, and is nothing but a mere identical proposition. But this character does not admit of being applied to his inner essence, or His essential attributes in relation to man and the whole creation. Wo to all men, nay, we might rather say, wo to all created beings, if God were really absolute--if, for instance, His justice, which, however, is the first and principal of all His attributes, were not manifoldly modified, limited, and conditioned by His goodness, His mercy, and His patience. Before such a justice of God, if it were at once to make such an unconditional manifestation of itself, the whole world in terror would sink in dust and ashes. But it is not so. Man does hope--he must believe--ay, we may go on and add, man does know, that the divine justice is not unconditional, but is in an eminent degree limited by His fatherly love and goodness.

No doubt, too, it must not, on the other hand, be forgotten, that the divine love and grace are also conditioned by the attribute of justice, what, however, in a certain effeminate theology of a recent day, seems to have been totally overlooked. However, this grave error of a too sentimental view of divine things is now pretty generally recognized as such, and, for the most part, abandoned. Moreover, it does not properly lie within the scope of our present disquisition. Now, the position that the justice and the grace of God mutually limit each other, involves nothing unintelligible, or, in this sense, inconceivable; as, however, is the case with the baseless phantom of the absolute, where the empty phrase becomes only the more unintelligible the more frequently it is repeated. How much more correct, in this respect, were the definitions and distinctions of the great philosophers of antiquity, especially the Pythagoreans. With them the limitless and the indeterminate were even the imperfect and the evil, and the former they regarded as the characteristic marks of the latter; while the fixedly definite and positive, which forms the very heart and core of personality, was with them identical with the good: and unquestionably, God’s personality--the fundamental notion, the proper and universal dogma of every religion that acknowledges the one true God--is the true center around which the whole inquiry revolves. For the question is, whether philosophy, while it allows this idea to stand indeed externally, and apparently--for even in Germany only one has been found bold enough to deny it expressly and without reserve--intends all the while to put it quietly aside, and secretly to entomb it by refusing to see in it any thing more than an illusion of the natural feelings. The point at issue is whether, by so teaching, philosophy is to come into direct collision with one of man’s most universal and deeply-rooted feelings, and to produce an eternal schism--an irreconcilable discord--not only between science and faith, but even between science and life. For to unsettle life, is even the necessary result of rationalism.

But let us now turn from the “_Absolute_” of reason to the personal God of the believers among all peoples and times. If, now, the knowledge of God be not a discovery of the reason, whose proper office is to analyze and investigate--if, on the contrary, we are only able to understand of Him so much as is given and imparted to us, then the matter assumes quite another aspect. If God has conferred a knowledge of Himself upon man--if He has spoken to him, has revealed Himself to him--as is the common tradition of all ancient nations, the more unanimously corroborated the older they are--then is the power to understand this divine communication given together and at the same time with it, even though we should be forced to allow that this intellectual capacity be limited by human frailty and extremely imperfect. To take our estimate of it as low as possible, we will conceive it to be something like the degree of intelligence with which a child eighteen months old understands its mother. Much it does not understand at all; other things it mistakes, or perhaps does not fully attend to, and its answers, too, are not much to the purpose; but something, nevertheless, it does understand--this we see clearly enough. On this point we should not be likely to be led astray, even though the theorist should wish to raise a doubt on the matter, by attempting to prove that the child could not properly understand its mother, since for that purpose it would be necessary for it to have previously learned thoroughly and methodically the elements of grammar. We believe, however, what, indeed, we see, that man’s power of understanding divine things is really very imperfect. For the relation between the child a year and a half old and its mother completely represents that of man to God, with the more than half-imperfect organs that are given him for this purpose--with his so manifoldly limited mind or spirit, which is a spark of heavenly light, indeed, but still only a spark--a drop out of the ocean of the infinite whole--and, moreover, with his half-soul. For half-soul we may and must call it in this respect, since with the one half it is turned to the earth, and still wholly fraternizes with the sensible world; while with the other it is directed to, and is percipient of, the divine. But such a childlike and humble docility will not satisfy the proud reason, and so it is ever turning again to the other absolute road of a false, imaginary, and unhuman knowledge. Fundamentally, however, those two words,[19] which alone man can be certain of with respect to God, would, since God invariably imparts to every creature its due measure, be quite enough, if only man would always rightly apply and faithfully preserve them.

Now, to this first hypothesis we might append the further question:--supposing that God has imparted a knowledge of Himself to mankind--has spoken to them, and revealed Himself to them--is it not highly probable that He has ordained some institution for the further propagation and diffusion of revealed truth, and also for the maintenance as well of its original integrity as also of the right interpretation of it? But I must content myself with merely advancing this question. I can not attempt to prosecute it in the present place; for its further consideration would carry us out of the established limits of philosophy into the domain of history, and it involves, moreover, the positive articles of faith.

But the previous question, whether the knowledge of God, which we either possess or are capable of possessing, be a science of absolute reason, or rather an understanding of given data, and consequently a science of experience, and resting, ultimately, on revelation--this certainly falls within the scope of philosophical investigation. Indeed, it forms the chiefest and most essential problem of philosophy, inasmuch as it is properly the very question of _being_ and _non-being_--of a true and human, or of an empty and imaginary science--that is here to be decided. On this account, a precise and correct phraseology is of the utmost importance toward a right solution of this leading topic of philosophical inquiry. Now, it is a fact deserving of remark, and well calculated to arrest our attention, that nowhere in Holy Writ, nowhere in all antiquity, or in any of the great teachers and philosophers of olden time, is there any mention made of God’s reason--but universally it is intelligence or understanding, an omniscient intelligence that is ascribed to Him. The wrongful interchange of the two words was reserved exclusively for our modern times, and for the epoch of the absolute rule of reason, and of the worse than Babylonish confusion of scientific terms which has arisen out of it. The only exceptions from the previous remark, which may be found in antiquity, are confined to one or two of the Stoics. But when we reflect how greatly their whole chapter on the Deity labors under the evil influence of that doctrine of an inevitable necessity and blind fate, which forms the reproach of the whole Stoical theory, this apparent exception serves to confirm the general rule, that a wrong use of language invariably has its source in a rationalistic basis of speculation, or, perhaps, is itself the spring and occasion of that erroneous point of view. God is unquestionably the author of reason. If, therefore, any one be disposed to call the divine order of things (which, however, is not the Deity himself) a divine reason, this is a mere matter of indifference. Only in such a case the question to be agitated would not involve the mere expression, but rather the meaning which is associated with it. But, for my part, I should prefer to avoid a mode of speaking which might give rise to great misconception. And this is the more desirable the more needful it is at all times carefully to distinguish between the true and sound reason and its contrary. God is the author of the sound reason, _i.e._, of the reason which follows and is obedient to the divine order. But the other, the rebellious reason, has for its source that spirit of negation which every where opposes God, and has drawn so great a part of creation after him in his fall. For, having lost his true center, and finding none in himself, that evil spirit, with indescribable desire and raging passionateness, seeks to find one in the disordered world of sense, and in its noblest ornament--even in the soul of man, the very jewel of creation. And this is even the origin of the rebellious reason. And it is rebellious even because having wandered from its center in the loving soul, which again has its center in God, it has thrown off the obedience of love, that holy bond which retains the soul in subjection to the divine order. How far in the present day, amid the fermenting rationalistic medley which constitutes the spirit of the age, that sound reason which willingly follows and observes the divine order, or that rebellious reason which is absolute in itself, has the upper hand, and forms the predominant element, is a question easy of solution. It is one which I am content to leave to the decision of all who are in any degree acquainted with the prevailing tone of science and of life.

The philosophy which I have here undertaken to develop, setting out from the soul as the beginning and first subject of its speculations, contemplates the mind or spirit as its highest and supreme object. Accordingly, in its doctrine of the Deity, directly opposing every rationalistic tendency, it conceives of Him and represents him as a living spirit, a personal God, and not merely as an absolute reason, or a rational order. If, therefore, for the sake of distinction, it requires some peculiar and characteristic designation, it might, in contrast with those errors of Materialism and Idealism which I have described and condemned, be very aptly termed Spiritualism. But our doctrine is not any such system of reason as the others pretend to be. It is an inward experimental science of a higher order. Such a designation, consequently, bespeaking as it does, a pretension of system, is not very appropriate, and is, at all events, superfluous. It is best indicated by a simple name, such as we have given it in calling it a philosophy of life.

Moreover, the revelation by which God makes himself known to man, does not admit of being limited exclusively to the written word. Nature itself is a book written on both sides, both within and without, in every line of which the finger of God is discernible. It is, as it were, a Holy Writ in visible form and bodily shape--a song of praise on the Creator’s omnipotence composed in living imagery. But besides Scripture and nature--those two great witnesses to the greatness and majesty of God--there is in the voice of conscience nothing less than a divine revelation within man. This is the first awakening call to the two other louder and fuller proclamations of revealed truth. And, lastly, in universal history we have set before us a real and manifold application and progressive development of revelation. Here the luminous threads of a divine and higher guidance glimmer through the remarkable events of history. For, not only in the career of whole ages and nations, but also in the lives of individuals, the ruling and benignant hand of Providence is every where visible.

Fourfold, consequently, is the source of revelation, from which man derives his knowledge of the Deity, learns his will, and understands his operation and power--conscience, nature, Holy Writ, and universal history. The teaching of the latter is often of that earnest and awful kind, to which we may, in a large sense, apply the adage, “Who will not learn must feel.” How often does it show us some mighty edifice of fortune, which, having no firm basis in the deep soil of truth and the divine order, owed its rapid growth and false splendor to some evil influence, falling suddenly in ruins, as if stricken by the invisible breath of a superior power. On such occasions the public feeling recognizes the hand which sets a limit to every temerity in the history of the world--to every extravagance of a false confidence--and appoints it its ultimate term. And the olden notion (which, with men of the day, had become little more than an antiquated legend) of God’s retributive justice, resumes its place among the actuating sentiments of life, with new and intense significance. The sublime truth, however, is only too soon forgotten, and the temporary alarm subsides but too quickly into the habitual calm of a false security--that old and hereditary feeling of human nature.

The volume of Holy Writ, as it is transmitted to us, and was first commenced about three-and-thirty centuries ago, does not exclude the possibility of an earlier sacred tradition in the twenty-four centuries which preceded it. So far, indeed, is the supposition of such an original revelation from being inconsistent with Scripture, that, on the contrary, it contains explicit allusions to the fact, that such a manifold enlightenment was imparted to the first man, as well as to that patriarch who, after the destruction of the primeval world of giants, was the second progenitor of mankind. But as this divine knowledge, derived immediately from the primary source of all illumination, flowed down in free and unconfined channels to succeeding generations, and to the different nations which branched off from the parent stock, the original sacred traditions were soon disfigured and overloaded with fictions and fables. In these, however, a rich abundance of remarkable vestiges and precious germs of divine truth were mixed up with Bacchanalian rites and immoral mysteries. And thus, amid a multitude of sensuous and stimulating images, the pure and simple truth was buried, as in a second chaos, under a mass of contradictory symbols. Hence arose that Babylonish confusion of languages, emblems, and legends, which is universally to be met with among ancient, and even the most primitive nations. In the great work, therefore, of purification, and of a restoration of true religion (which we may call a second revelation, or, at least, as a second stage thereof), a rigid exclusion of this heathenish admixture of fable and immorality was the first and most essential requisite. But those older revelations, imparted to the first man and the second progenitor of mankind, are expressly laid down as the groundwork of that evangel of the creation, which forms the introduction to the whole volume of Scripture, and furnishes us thereby with a key to understand the history and religion of the primitive world--or, to speak absolutely, the true Genesis of the existing world, its history and its science. This double principle, expressly recognizing, on the one hand, an original revelation and divine illumination of the first progenitors of the human race, of which the olden and less corrupted monuments of heathenism still retain many a trace; and, on the other, strictly rejecting the additions of a corrupt and degenerated heathenism, with all its tissue of fables and false, godless mysteries, must be kept steadily in view in examining the earliest portions of the sacred Scriptures. For the neglect, or imperfect consideration of it, has already led, and is ever likely to give rise to many complicated doubts and perverted views, which imperil not only the simple understanding of the whole body of revealed Scripture, but even the right conception of revelation.

It would seem, then, that not only philosophical, but absolutely every higher species of knowledge is an internal science of experience. For the formal science of mathematics is not a positive science for the cognition of a real object, so much as an organon and aid for other sciences, which, however, as such, is both excellent in itself, and admits of many useful applications. We may, therefore, on this hypothesis consider each of these four faculties of man, which I have called the principal poles or leading branches of human consciousness, as a peculiar sense for a particular domain of truth. For all experience and all science thereof rests on some cognitive sense as the organ of its immediate perceptions. Now, the reason, which, in its form of conscience, announces itself as an internal sense of right and wrong, is, as the faculty for the development and communication of thought, usually named the common sense. It constitutes the bond of connection between men and their thoughts, which is dependent on and conditioned by language and its organ, and may be called the sense for all that is distinctively human. In this respect it forms the foundation and first grade of all other senses for, and immediate organs of, a higher knowledge. Fancy, again, being itself but a reflection of life and of the living powers of the natural world, is the inward sense for nature, which, as will hereafter be more fully shown, first lends and assures to natural science its due import and true living significance. And, inasmuch as the perfect intellection of a single object results from the totality alone--the significance and spirit of the whole--therefore the understanding is the sense for that mind [_geist_] which manifests itself in the sensible world, whether this be a human or natural, or the supreme Divine intelligence.

Now, if we may venture to consider the fourfold revelation of God in conscience, in nature, in Holy Writ, and the world’s history, as so many living springs or fertilizing streams of a higher truth, we must suppose the existence of a good soil to receive the water of life and the good seed of divine knowledge. For without an organ of susceptibility for good to receive the divine gift from above, no amount of revelation would benefit man. Now, the soul, so susceptible of good on all sides, both from within and from without, is even this organ for the reception of revelation. And this function of the soul, together with its creation of language as the outer form of human knowledge, constitutes its contribution to science, and especially to internal science. And even with the understanding, as the sense which discerns the meaning and purport of revelation, the soul is co-operative--since nothing divine can be understood merely in the idea, and of and by itself alone, but in every case a feeling for it must have preceded, or, at least, contributed toward its complete understanding. The soul, consequently, which is thus susceptible of the divine, is ever informing itself about, or co-operating in the acquisition of a knowledge of the Godlike. And this, the soul’s love and pursuit of divine truth, when, unfolding itself in thought, it comes forth in an investiture of words, is even philosophy--not, indeed, the dead sophistic of the schools, but one which, as it is a philosophy of life, can be nothing less than living. And the soul, thus ardently yearning for the divine, and both receiving and faithfully maintaining the revealed Word, is the common center toward which all the four springs of life and streams of truth converge. In free meditation it reconciles and combines them.

On this account the oldest and most natural form of philosophy was that of dialogue, which did not, however, exclude the occasional introduction of a simple narrative, or the continuous explanation of higher and abstruser questions. Philosophy, accordingly, might not inappropriately be defined as a dialogue of the soul in its free meditation on divine things. And this was the very form it actually possessed among the earliest and noblest of the philosophers of antiquity--first of all really and orally, as with Pythagoras and Socrates, and lastly in its written exposition, of which style Plato was the great and consummate master. But it was only to the noblest and best of all ranks, though without distinction of age or sex, that these the greatest men of antiquity communicated their treasures of philosophical wisdom. In this course Pythagoras first set the example, which, on the whole, was followed also by Socrates and Plato. For, in general, the latter confined their philosophical teaching to a select circle, and imparted it, as it were, under the seal of friendship, to such only as in the social intercourse of life they admitted to close and familiar intimacy. Occasional exceptions were, perhaps, furnished by their disputes with the sophists, in the course of which they were constrained to adopt, not only the weapons, but also the method of their adversaries--a license of which Plato, perhaps, has too often availed himself, even if he has not sometimes abused it. For about this time the sophists introduced a practice as erroneous as their doctrine was false. Publishing their philosophemes to the whole people, they treated it and quarreled about it in the market-place as a common party matter. Such a procedure was in every sense pernicious, and one which must have brought even truth itself into contempt. Lastly, Aristotle comprised in his manuals the collective results of all earlier philosophical speculation, and intrusted his treasury of mature knowledge and well-sifted and newly-arranged thoughts to the keeping of a school. Now, we should be far from justified were we to make this a reproach against this master of subtlety and profoundest of thinkers; for at this time all true intellectual life had, together with public spirit, become extinct among the Greeks, amid the disorders of democracy, or under the pressure of the armed supremacy of Macedonia. Still it must ever remain a matter of profound regret. For philosophy, as standing in the center between the guiding spirit of the divine education of man and the external force of civil right and material power, ought to be true mundane soul [_Weltseele_] which animates and directs the development of ages and of the whole human race. Deeply, therefore, is it to be deplored whenever science, and especially philosophy, are withdrawn from this wide sphere of universal operation, and from human life itself, to remain banished and cooped up in the narrow limits of a school.



“We know in part,” exclaimed, with burning zeal, the honest man of God in Holy Scripture, “We know in part, and we prophesy in part.” How true the first member of this sentence is even in the case of that knowledge of God which alone deserves the name of knowledge, or repays the trouble of its acquisition, the previous Lecture must in many ways have served to convince us. The second member, which will chiefly occupy our attention in the present discussion, is in an eminent degree applicable to physical science. For what, in fact, is all our knowledge of nature, considered as a whole and in its inmost essence, but a mere speculation, conjecture, and guess upon guess? What is it but an endless series of tentative experiments, by which we are continually hoping to succeed in unveiling the secret of life, to seize the wonderful Proteus, and to hold him fast in the chains of science? Or is it not, perhaps, one ever-renewed attempt to decipher more completely than hitherto the sybilline inscriptions on the piled-up rows and layers of tombs, which as nature grows older convert its great body into one vast catacomb, and so perchance to find therein the key to unlock and bring to light the far greater--nay, the greatest of all riddles--the riddle of death? Now there are undoubtedly, even in nature itself, occasional indications of, scattered hints and remote allusions to, a final crisis, when even in nature and in this sensible and elementary world, life shall be entirely separated from death, and when death itself shall be no more. Gravely to be pondered and in nowise to be neglected are these hints, although without the aid of a higher illumination they must forever remain unintelligible to man. Thus considered, however, the universe itself appears replete with dumb echoes and terrestrial resounds of divine revelation. It is not, therefore, without reason and significance, if in this beautiful hymn the ancient prophetess of nature lends her concurrent testimony to the promises of the holy seer of a last day of creation, which nature shall celebrate as the great day of her renovation and toward which she yearns with an indescribable longing which is nowhere so inimitably depicted, so strongly and so vividly expressed, as in Holy Writ itself. Holy Scripture could not and can not contain a system of science, whether as a philosophy of reason or a science of nature. Nay, in this form of a manual and methodical compendium of divine knowledge, it could not inspire us with confidence either as revelation or as science. Condescending altogether to the wants of man, both in form and language, it consists of a collection of occasional and wholly practical compositions derived immediately from, and expressly designed for, life--in a certain sense it consists of nothing but the registers and social statutes either of the prophetic people or of the apostolical community. Accordingly, its contents are of a mixed nature: historical, legal, instructive, hortatory, consolatory, and prophetical, together with a rich abundance of minute and special allusions, while it enters every where into, and with watchful love adapts itself to, individual wants and local peculiarities. And the form of these writings, at once so singular in its kind--and in such marvelous wise, but yet so eminently human--is so far from being inconsistent with the divine character, that the very condescension of the Deity constitutes a new and additional but most characteristic proof of genuine revelation. Only the first foundation-stone and the key and corner-stone form an exception. Embracing within their spacious limits the beginning of nature and the end of the world, they form, as it were, the corner-rings and the bearing-staves of the ark of the covenant of revelation. And while on the one side as well as on the other, in the opening no less than in the closing book, which contain almost as many mysteries as words, the seven-branched candlestick of secret signification is set up, still all else that is inclosed within the holy ark receives therefrom sufficient light for its perfect elucidation. In all other respects the style is that of a plain narrative couched in very appropriate and simple words; and if the masters of criticism in classical antiquity have quoted a few passages from the beginning of Genesis as the most exalted instances of the sublime, still it was in the very simplicity and extreme plainness of the language that they recognized this character of sublimity. From these two ends, moreover--from this first root as well as from the last crown of the book, there proceeds many threads and veins, which, running through the tissue, bind it together more closely into a living unity, on which account, although consisting of so many and such divers books, it is justly considered as one, being called simply the “Book” (Bible). Consequently it would, as already said, be foolish to look for a system of science in the divine book for men. Nevertheless we do meet here and there with single words about nature and her secrets--hints occasionally dropped and seemingly accidental expressions--which, giving a clear and full information as to much that is hidden therein, furnish science consequently with so many keys for unlocking nature. These, indeed, are not scattered throughout in equal measure, but here, perhaps, more thinly, and there again more thickly. In all these passages, and especially those of the Old Testament, which not only depict the external beauties and visible glory of nature, but also touch upon its hidden powers and inmost secrets of life, we may observe a kind of intentional, I might, perhaps, say, cautious reserve and heedful circumspection, amounting at times almost to an indisposition to speak out fully and clearly, lest the abuse or probable misconception of what should be said might give encouragement to the heathenish and wide-spread deification of nature.

In the New Testament (if we may venture to speak of these things in the same natural and human fashion that Scripture itself employs) the Holy Spirit uses language far more precise and clear. On the whole, the relation in which Holy Writ and divine revelation stand to nature itself, and the science thereof, is a peculiar one. It is eminently tender and wonderful, but not, indeed, intelligible at the first glance, or broadly definable according to any rigorous and established notion. It is one, however, capable of being made clearer by means of a simile borrowed from Scripture itself. Those guileless men whom the Redeemer chose as His instruments for carrying out His great work of the redemption of the world, were endued with miraculous powers, which it was and ever will be apparent, were not of their own strength, but of His. Now, of the first of these apostles it is narrated that a healing power, and, as it were, an invisible stream of life proceeded from him, without his being conscious of, or, at least, without his regarding it, which healed the sick who were brought out and placed within the range of his shadow as he passed by.[20] In the same manner the fiery wain of divine revelation, as it passes on its way, scatters, in single words and images, many a bright spark. The radiant shadow of the word of God, as it falls, is sufficient to kindle and throw a new light over the whole domain of nature, by means of which the true science thereof may be firmly established, its inmost secrets explored and brought into coherence and agreement with all else.

I have already more than once called your attention to the method which all the philosophers of reason, without exception, pursue. In different ways, according to the special objects they have in view, they all alike presumed to set certain absolute and impassable limits to human reason (which, however, by some slight turn or other, they soon dextrously contrive to transgress) in order to bring within their system of absolute science--which is at best but a dead semblance--all that it will hold, and even what it can not contain. Quite different, however, is it with the truth, and with that living science which we take for the basis of our speculations. For from it it appears that the soul of man, however liable it may be to manifold error, is, nevertheless, capable of receiving the divine communications. Since, then, man can possess as many of these higher branches of knowledge, and can learn as much of divine things as it is given to him to know, and since, at the same time, it is God himself who is the primary source from which all man’s knowledge flows, and his guide to truth--who shall determine the measure and fix the limits--who shall dare to say how much of knowledge and of science God will vouchsafe to man?--who shall venture to prescribe the limits beyond which His illumination can not pass? This, it is evident, is illimitable. It may go on to an extent which, at the beginning, man would not have believed to be possible. In a word, though of himself, and by his own unassisted reason, man is incapable of knowing any thing, yet through God, if it be his will, he may attain to the knowledge of all things. And yet it is true, though in a very different sense from that intended by these philosophers of reason, that man’s knowledge is in reality limited. No absolute limit, indeed, is set to it. Yet because it is a mixed knowledge, composed of outward tradition and inward experience, and is founded on the perceptions of the external and internal senses, therefore is it made up of individual instances, extremely slow in its growth, and in no respect perfect and complete, and scarcely ever free from faults and deficiencies. Consequently, when considered in its totality, and as pretending to be a whole, it is invariably imperfect. But this character of imperfection belongs, in fact, to all real science, as derived from the experience of the senses. Seldom, indeed, is the first impression free from the admixture of error; numberless repeated observations, comparisons, essays, experiments, and corrections, which must often be carried on through many centuries, not to say many tens of centuries, are necessary before a pure and stable result can be attained to. In this way all truly human knowledge is imperfect, and “in part;” and although, on the contrary, the false conceited wisdom may parade itself from the very first as fully ripe and complete, yet in a very brief space indeed will its imperfection and rottenness appear.

And, indeed, the character of imperfection shows itself, as in all other human things, so also in the science of nature. From its birth among the earliest naturalists of Greece to its boasted maturity among ourselves, it counts an age of two millenniums and a half of unbroken cultivation. But now if, looking beyond the explanation of single isolated facts, we consider rather our knowledge of nature in its universal system and internal constitution, can we say that physical science has, during the time, made more than, perhaps, two steps and a half of progress? And this slow and toilsome advance which, in a certain sense, never arrives at more than “knowing in part,” is the law of every department of human science. Consequently it may be justly said of the development of man’s science, that with God a thousand years are as a day, and one day as a thousand years.[21] All knowledge drawn from the senses and experience is bound by this condition. It may, no doubt, apply immediately and principally to external experience, which is dependent on the lower and ordinary senses, whether we reckon them according to the number of their separate organs as five, or as three in compliance with a more scientific classification. But it also holds equally good of those which we pointed out and described in the last Lecture as being the four superior scientific senses, the organs of a knowledge founded on a higher and internal experience, the sense, viz., of reason, the sense of understanding, the sense for nature or fancy, and the proper sense for God, which lies in the inmost free will of man. Not merely as the faculty of suggestion [_Ahndungsvermogen_], is fancy to be regarded as the higher and internal sense for nature, or because it is from this side that the affinity of man, and of man’s soul with nature, is most distinctly revealed, but it also exhibits itself as such in the scientific apprehension of natural phenomena. That dynamical play of the inner life, that law of a living force which constitutes the essence of every phenomenon of nature, is a something so fleeting and evanescent that it can only be seized and fixed by the fancy alone, since, as is now pretty generally allowed by all profound observers of nature, in the abstract notion life eludes the grasp, and nothing remains but a dead formula.

The apprehension of a living object in thought, so as to seize and fix it in its mobile vitality and its fluctuating and fleeting states, is an act of the imagination, which, however, is naturally of a peculiar kind, and entirely distinct from artistic or poetical fancy. It is, in this respect, worthy of remark, that all the most characteristic and felicitous terms which are employed to designate the great discoveries in modern times of the profounder secrets of nature are, for the greater part, boldly figurative, and often even symbolical. Here, therefore, also, we have a manifestation of that affinity which subsists between nature and the faculty of fancy, by which alone its ever-stirring vitality is scientifically apprehended.

I formerly observed that, in the outer senses, as faculties of the soul subordinate to the fancy, a higher intellectual endowment, as a special gift of nature, is occasionally found to exist, namely, the sense of art, or the eye for beautiful forms, and the ear for musical sounds. But even the lower sense, the more purely organic feeling, is often evolved to higher degrees of susceptibility, which, however, do not fall within the sphere of the feeling for art, but form, as it were, a peculiar and special sense of nature. To this class belong those indescribable feelings of sympathy and inward attraction--the many vivid presentiments of a strange foreboding--traces of which may be observed among many other animals besides man, just as, in the case of musical tones and emotions, a light note of remote affinity seems to bring the soul of man in unison with a correspondent nature soul in the higher members of the brute creation. Numberless are the instances of such forebodings (among which we must reckon also the significant vision or dream) recorded of all times, countries, and spheres of life. No doubt, from their strange nature, and from the manifold difficulties with which man’s mode of observing and narrating these phenomena perplexes the consideration of them, it is any thing but easy, in any individual case, to arrive at a pure result, and to pass a final and decisive sentence. Still, on the whole, the fact can not well be denied, as, indeed, it is not even attempted, by any unprejudiced and profound observer of nature in the present day. But now, if such an immediate feeling of invisible light and life does freely develop and clearly manifest itself as an indubitable faculty and a perfectly distinct state of the consciousness, then assuredly we have herein a new organ of perception and a new natural sense. Though not, indeed, more infallible than any other of the senses, it may, nevertheless, be the source of very remarkable phenomena, which, perhaps, above all others require investigation, in order that their distinctive character may be precisely and accurately determined. It is, however, necessary to remember that the latter is not to be determined by any side-blow of caprice, any more than the electric phenomena of nature and the atmosphere, when they are actually lowering there, are to be got rid of by any such expedient.

It is only just and right, and not inconsistent with true human knowledge, if physical science should commence with the study of man. Still, if we would contemplate man from the side of nature, it seems the safer course to endeavor, first of all, to obtain a clear and leading idea of the whole of his constitution in this respect, rather than to lose ourselves in the contemplation of the special phenomena of a particular sphere. Now, with regard to the whole of man’s organization, the organic body as the third constituent of human existence, I will merely remark that, just as the triple principle of body, soul, and spirit is repeated in the special and narrower spheres of the senses, the instincts, and the passions, and even in the different forms in which a disordered intellect usually manifests itself, so also it admits of a further application to the organic body in general. That most wonderful organization, the marvelous structure of bones and muscles, the outward organic frame, is, as it were, the body in a narrower sense, the pre-eminently material constituent of living bodies. The soul of man--here consequently the organic soul--is in the blood and in the five or six organs whose functions are first of all to elaborate the blood and afterward to provide for its circulation--or perhaps by maintaining a perpetual interchange of the breath and the external air, to keep the vital flame constantly burning on the hearth of life within. A third element--and, indeed, the principal one of the three, though only noticeable in its effects on the brain--exists within the higher senses and functions--in short, in the whole nervous tissue. But it lies not in the nervous filaments themselves: anatomy can not detect it, for it is not visible to the eye. On this account some have called it the æther of the nerves to indicate its incorporeal nature--incorporeal, _i.e._, relatively to, and in comparison with, the other two constituents of man--the blood-soul, and the external frame--as being the spirit of life in the organic body. Strictly and sharply enough does Holy Writ distinguish this spiritual body (as it calls it) of man from the body of the soul, or the organic blood-soul, considering the former, as it were, the seed of the resurrection, even because at the moment of death this ethereal body-of-light leaves its terrestrial veil to be in due time reunited to it after a more glorious fashion. And death itself is even nothing else than its total departure and painful emancipation from the organic body, on which the features, one might almost say, the physiognomy of corruption stamps itself, immediately that the immortal Psyche, the invisible seed of light and eternity, has put off the tabernacle of this body.

This internal, invisible body-of-light [_Lichtkorper_] is also the organ and the center of all the higher and spiritual powers of the human organization. For it is easily conceivable that a partial projection of this life of light which is latent in the sound organic body should produce such phenomena, while its complete projection, or rather total separation, would have death for its result, or rather would itself be death. A truly scientific view of nature can easily enter into or allow the legitimacy of this idea. The true rule, however, and standard for the right decision of phenomena of this kind can only be found in a higher region, even because they themselves lie on the extreme limits of nature and life, and in part also pass beyond them.

We therefore prefer to follow the more slow but sure course of development pursued by physical science itself, as commenced nearly twenty-five centuries ago by the Greeks. On the whole it began even there with the cognition of man--of his diseases and their cure. The naturalists, indeed, of the present day are in general disposed to laugh at the ideas of nature which were advanced by the first philosophers of Greece, and to despise the hypotheses of water, or air, or fire, as being the essence of all things, which, nevertheless, as the first beginnings of a clearer contemplation and of a higher view of nature, greatly recommend themselves by their extreme simplicity. But however modern observers of nature may be ready to hand these systems over to fancy as so many purely poetical cosmogonies, yet, on the other hand, the present masters of medicine, with greater gratitude and fuller acknowledgment of his merits, reverence Hippocrates as the founder of their art. For, indeed, as such, and not properly as a science, or at any rate as an art far more than as a science, was medicine regarded by its founder and the great masters who came after him. They looked upon it as the art of the diagnosis and treatment of disease, in which the unerring tact of a practiced and happy judgment is of primary importance, and where the rapid and searching glance of genius into the secret laboratories of life or into the hidden sources of disease is, and ever will be, the principal and most essential point. The mere historical acquaintance with the different forms of diseases and their remedies, with botany, and the anatomy of the human body, with the number and structure of its organs, forms merely the materials, the external sphere of medical practice; while the essential qualification is even this penetrating glance which searches out the inmost secrets of the bodily temperament. But now those who have been most richly gifted with this peculiar gift have ever been the last to believe themselves possessed of a perfect science. And yet, inasmuch as that physical knowledge which, by attaining to a complete understanding of life, shall be able to comprehend and explain the mystery of death would alone deserve the name of the science of nature; inasmuch also as the searching glance of the true physician arrives the nearest to such a point, penetrating, as it does, deep into the manifold fluctuation and struggle between the two, and into the secrets of their conflict, this, therefore, is perhaps to be considered as the first germ of life for a future science of nature, which, however as yet undeveloped, has for more than twenty centuries been slumbering on, hidden, as it were, in embryo, in the womb of medical art and lore. The physical, geographical, and astronomical observations of this whole period of gestation, form, it is true, a rich treasury of valuable materials, but they do not give us that profound knowledge, of which alone the physician’s penetrating glance into life and its constitution furnishes the first commencement and essay, however weak.

With respect to natural science in general, and the possibility of our attaining to it, the case stands thus:--If nature be a living force--if the life which reigns within it be in a certain though still very remote degree akin to the life of man and the human soul--then is a knowledge of nature easily conceivable, and right well possible (for nothing but the like, or at least the similar and cognate, can be known by the like) even though this cognition may still be extremely defective, and at best can never be more than partial. But if nature be a dead, stony mass, as many seem to suppose, then would it be wholly inconceivable how this foreign mass of petrifaction could penetrate into our inmost Ego; then at least would there seem to be good grounds for the idealistic doubt whether ultimately this external world be any thing but a mere phantom, having no existence save in our own thoughts--the outward reflection of ourselves--the pure creation of our own Me.

The question of innate ideas has been often mooted in philosophy. As, however, the essential functions and different acts of thought, together with its several notions, are, properly speaking, nothing but the natural division of man’s cogitative faculty, it is not on their account necessary to suppose such a preliminary intercalation of general ideas into the human mind. And as little necessary is it, in order to explain the universal belief in the existence of a Deity, to suppose that there is in the minds of all men an implanted idea of God; for this would lead to the purely arbitrary hypothesis, of that which is so difficult to conceive--the pre-existence of the spirit or soul of man. And as no created beings can have an idea of God, but those to whom He vouchsafes to communicate it, and to accord a knowledge of His existence, so can He bestow this privilege the very instant He pleases, without the intervention of any innate idea expressly for that end. And yet I am disposed, and not, I think, without reason, to assume that man, as at present constituted, does possess one, though only one, species of inborn ideas, viz., an innate idea of death. This, as a false root of life, and a true mental contagion, produces a dead cogitation, and is the origin of all dead and dead-born notions. For this idea of death, whether hereditary or inoculated in the soul, is, as its peculiar but fundamental error, transferred by the mind of man to every object with which it comes in contact. And thus, in man’s dead cogitation, the surrounding world and all nature appears to him a similar lifeless and inert mass, so long as sitting beneath this shadow of spiritual death, his mind [_geist_] has not sufficient strength to work its way out of its dark prison-house into the light. For not at all without higher aid, and even with it only slowly and tardily, does man discover that all that is really and naturally dead is within himself, or learn to recognize it for what it truly is, a something eminently null and naught. Another species of this false and dead conception of nature presents itself under the form of multiplicity. In this view nature is represented as forming something like a vast sandhill, where, apart from the pile they thus form together and their aggregation in it, the several grains are supposed to have no connection with each other; while, however, they are so diligently counted, as if every thing depended on their right enumeration. But through the sieve of such an atomistic, which would break up the universe into a number of separate and absolute individualities, the sand will ever run, however often and painfully man may strive to reckon or to measure the infinity of these grains of nature. Mathematical calculation and measuring hold the same place in physical science that is held in every living language by conjugating and declining, and other grammatical rules, which, in truth, are but a species of mathematical formulæ. In learning a foreign and especially a dead language, these are indispensable and necessary aids, which greatly promote and facilitate its acquisition; so also mathematics furnish indispensable helps and a most valuable organon for the cognition of nature. But with them alone man will never learn to understand even a word, not to talk of a whole proposition, out of nature’s strangely-sounding and most difficult hieroglyphics.

Somewhat different is it, when man seeks to understand the true living geometry in nature herself, _i.e._, attempts to discover the place which the circle and eclipse (passing from these up to the spheres in their sidereal orbits), or which the triangle, the square, the hexagon, and so forth, assume in the scale of its creations--or when, in a similar spirit, he investigates and ascertains the really dominant rule in the arithmetic of life; those numbers which the physician observes in the periodic developments of life, and which, in the fluctuating states of an abating and heightening malady, enable him, under certain conditions, to predict the moment of its crisis. Of a still higher kind is that spiritual, we might almost call it divine chronology, which, in universal history, marks out definite epochs of the mental development of the human race, and traces therein the influence of certain grades of life, or ages of the world, and the alternating phases of disease in whole communities, and those decisive moments and great critical emergencies in which God Himself appears as the healing Physician and Restorer of life. It was, in all probability, in reference to such an arithmetic, or in some similar sense, that Pythagoras taught that numbers are, or contain the essence of things. For such an arithmetic of life and geometry of nature do afford a positive cognition and a real knowledge. As commonly understood, however, mathematics are nothing more than a formal science--in other words, they are simply a scientific organon, rather than a science. But now, if nature be not regarded as dead, but living, who can doubt that it--or, as we are now speaking of man’s nearest neighbor--that the earth is akin to man? Was he not formed out of the dust of the earth, and is he not therefore the son, nay, in truth, the first-born of the earth?--does he not receive from it food and nourishment? and when the irrevocable summons goes forth from above, does he not give back again to its bosom the earthly tabernacle of his flesh? Do not chemists tell us that the principal constituent of the purest wheat-corn has a great affinity to the substance of man’s blood? and does not the blood, moreover, derive one of its ingredients from iron--the principal among the metals of the earth? And are not gold and other metallic substances either wholesome medicines or deadly poisons? And is there not also an inexhaustible store of both in the wonderful varieties of herbs and plants? Do not invigorating and healing springs burst from numberless rocks and fissures of the earth? Is not--to speak only of the heavenly bodies nearest to and immediately connected with our globe--is not the sun’s heat so specifically different from every other kind of warmth, the quickener of all that lives and moves, and for man under a milder clime, as it were, a soft renovating bath? And is not the other and lesser light--earth’s mighty satellite and companion, the moon--the cause of all those changes in the weather and atmosphere, which, from the earliest times, have been acknowledged to be most serviceable and highly beneficial to agriculture? Is not the great pulse of the ocean, in its ebb and flow, measured by it, as well as many periods, of the development of life? And is it not, when its operation is too powerful or violently exciting, the cause of a peculiar disease among men? As, therefore, the musical unisons in the melodious songs of birds, both find and wake a concordant echo in the heart of man, so, too, in a larger scale, the blood-soul of man, with its living pulsation and organic sensibility, is most nearly akin to and sympathizes with the earth and the whole earthly frame. And is not, in all probability, this sympathetic influence between the earth and man reciprocal? Must not, for instance, the respiration of nine hundred millions of human beings have affected the atmosphere? Has not the very air degenerated with the human race, and like it become corrupt and deteriorated? Are not certain pestilential diseases propagated by the air alone, being carried in fixed telluric directions, without material contact or pollution? And if, in answer to the inference which we would draw from these facts, any one should sit down to calculate the number of cubic miles in the atmospheric belt, and argue that the breath and evaporation from ever so many myriads of human beings would be insufficient to have any effect thereon, we might easily retort upon him the equally vast reckoning of the millions of seconds which make up a hundred and more generations, and by which these respirations must be counted. But, however this may be, it does appear that the air must, in primitive times, have been far more pure and balsamic, and more vital and more nutritive, than at present. For before the Flood men required neither flesh nor wine to recruit their strength, and yet, in duration of life and bodily vigor, and above all in energy of will and powers of mind, they far surpassed the sons of a later age; and it was even by the misuse of these great gifts and endowments that they brought down the divine vengeance on their sinful generation. And, lastly, if the earth were wholly without life, how could it, at the creation of the animals of this planetary world, have yielded obedience to the behest of the Creator, as it went forth on the sixth day, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind?” Highly important, moreover, as regards the true estimate of the whole realm of nature as contemplated by the Divine mind, and deeply significant, is the wide interval which, in the Mosaic history of the creation, separates the bringing forth of the beasts by the earth at the command of the Almighty, from the making of man, whereof it is written, “Let us make man in our own image.”

Physical science having thus sluggishly advanced through a definite period and number of centuries--having lived through almost two millenniums in little better than an embryo state--made at last the few steps of progress that it has yet taken. By a more rapid march of time, it hastened to suit itself to the riper age of man, and to come forth itself, as it were, mature, although, in many respects, this is even yet very far from being the case. The principal of these advances of physical science is the invention of the compass. For, in the first place, the phenomenon of magnetism presents a remarkable manifestation of the universal life of the world, which eludes all mathematical calculations of magnitude, while the little piece of this wonderful iron balances by its living agency the whole globe itself. And, in the second place, the results to which it has led have been no less important and marvelous. The magnetic index pointed the way to the discovery of the New World, and to a more perfect acquaintance with the figure of the earth, and thus, through an enlarged observation of geographical and astronomical facts, opened out a grander and more extensive view of the whole planetary system. Of the new world in the other hemisphere, a trace unquestionably is to be found in antiquity in the legend of the island of Atlantis. The general description of this island, as equal in extent to both Asia and Africa together, agrees remarkably with the size of America. But the fable contains the additional circumstance, that, having existed in the Western Ocean in very ancient times, it was subsequently swallowed up by the waves. From this circumstance I am led to infer, that the legend did not, as is generally supposed, owe its origin to Phœnician navigators, who, even if it be true that they did succeed in sailing round Africa, most assuredly never ventured so far westward. Like so much besides that is equally great and grand, and, indeed, far grander, the main fact of the legend seems to be derived from an original tradition from the primeval times, when, unquestionably, man was far better acquainted with his whole habitation of this earth than in the days of the infant and imperfect science of Greece, or even of the more advanced and enlightened antiquity. A vague traditionary notion of its existence lived on from generation to generation. But afterward, when even the Phœnician sailors, however far they penetrated into the wide ocean, were unable to give any precise information about, or adduce any proof of, the fact, the hypothesis was advanced, and finally added to the tradition, that the island had been swallowed up by the sea.

Modern astronomy, at its first rise, was extremely revolting to man’s feelings, which had become, as it were, habituated to the olden theory of the world’s shape. The system of Ptolemy, indeed, with its narrow egotistic conceit of making man the center of the sidereal universe, was as unsatisfactory as it was absurd, and little was lost when it was exploded. But, on the other hand, it was startling, and still has a staggering effect on our minds, to be told, that, when measured by the mathematical standard of the vast distances and periodic times of the planetary system, the earth, for which the Almighty has done such incalculably great things, and on which He has bestowed such high and precious gifts, is, as it were, but a little and insignificant splinter in the vast regions of infinite space. A true and profound science of nature, however, does not allow of the validity of mathematical magnitude as an exclusive standard of the value of things. Whether in a greater or less sphere of existence, it sees and discovers in far other properties the true center of life. If, even in our globe, the living magnetic pole does not coincide with the true mathematical north pole, but lies a considerable distance on one side of it, may it not, without prejudice to modern astronomy, be also the case with the whole planetary system? The first conceptions of nature are rarely, if ever, free from mistakes, and oftentimes, together with great truths, contain also great errors. And while the first fresh impression, the living intuition, ever recommends itself to the general feeling of mankind, and takes deep root therein, the notions, on the other hand, which new discoveries of nature introduce, not unfrequently do violence to the prevalent views as to the shape and form of the old world. Often, indeed, the former run directly counter to what we might call the old family feelings of mankind, which, transmitted through generations from father to son, have become, as it were, a custom of life, a holy habit. Afterward, however, as the new scientific discovery is more perfectly developed, it gradually conciliates the old hereditary and customary feeling of nature. The two at last fall into friendly relations with each other.

Now, in the article of the stars, the cherished creed of nature, professed by all ancient peoples, insisted, perhaps, on no one dogma so earnestly as that there are seven planets. That this deeply-rooted and habitual feeling of men was not uninfluenced by the general consideration of the number seven, is only natural to suppose. For not only does it comprise the three dimensions of time, together with the four cardinal points of space, but it is also found entering, under a variety of combinations, into the life, the thought, and history of men. And in the new astronomy, though the sun and moon have been ejected from the number of the planets, yet the earth has entered into the list, and the deficient member of the system having been discovered, we have again seven planets, as in the olden belief. For it is, to say the least, highly improbable that any new planetary body will ever be discovered beyond Uranus,[22] and as for the small bodies which are situate between Mars and Jupiter, it is pretty generally acknowledged that they are not properly to be counted as planets, from which they are even distinguished by their very names by some astronomers.

And as little ground is there to take exception or offense at modern astronomy, even on that side of it where difficulties were originally most felt and mooted. For Holy Writ was neither written exclusively nor designed pre-eminently for astronomers. In these matters, therefore, as in all others, it speaks the ordinary language which men employ among themselves in the business of daily life.

Now we know that in the pulse of the organic body its regular beating is occasionally interrupted by a hurried circulation or a momentary stoppage. Is it not in the same way possible that the pulsatory revolutions of the great planetary world do not observe, like a piece of dead clock-work, a mechanical uniformity, but are liable to many deviations and irregularities? If, then, a similar stoppage to that which sometimes occurs in the pulse of man, be here also supposable, as produced by a superior power and external influence, then in the case of such an extraordinary interruption, it is a matter of indifference whether it be said of this wonderful moment that the sun stood still, or (as seems to be the fact) that the earth was held in check and rested in its orbit. And, in like manner, for the changing phenomena of the astronomical day, the common expressions are equally true with the scientific, and equally significant. The sun’s rise, the morning dawn, is, for all men, a figure, or, rather, a fact of pregnant meaning, while the setting sun fills all hearts with a melancholy feeling of separation. Equally true, however, is it, and in a symbolical sense it conveys perhaps a still more serious meaning, when we say, in scientific language, “The earth must go down before the sun can rise;” or, “When the earth goes up, then is it night, and darkness diffuses itself over all.” Or if, perhaps, in the new and quickening spring, instead of the old phraseology, “The sun has returned, has come near to us again,” we were to say, “The earth, or at least our side of it, is again brought nearer to the sun,” would it not be as beautiful and significant a description? And happy, indeed, are those periods of the world wherein, to speak in a figurative but moral sense, that earth-soul which rules in the changes of time--the so-called public opinion, has declined toward, and approached more nearly to, its sun.

It is a remarkable, not to say wonderful, fact, that in ancient times the Pythagoreans held the same system of the universe which modern astronomy teaches, though, perhaps, they were not acquainted with the mathematic calculations of its distances. But still more surprising is it, that while they were thus perfectly acquainted with the number of the planets, and even arranged them in the same order that they are placed by modern astronomers, they admitted into their system two stars which we have not. One of these, as the sun of the gods [_Geister-sonne_],[23] they placed high above the visible sun. The latter, which they named the “counter-earth,” (αντἱχθν) was placed directly opposite to the real earth. It would seem, therefore, that they regarded these two bodies as the invisible centers of the whole sidereal universe, and, as it were, the choir-leaders or _choragi_ of the apparently orderless and scattered host of heaven. Are these two stars now extinct? or is their light too pure and ethereal to penetrate our dense and thickened atmosphere; or, like so much besides, was it little else than a still surviving tradition from the primitive world? This, however, must ever remain conjectural. As for the fact itself, that the Pythagoreans did so teach, and understood by these names, not merely figurative symbols, but real stars, has been placed beyond doubt by modern investigations into the Pythagorean doctrines. At any rate, their knowledge of these stars must have been acquired by some other means than the telescope of modern astronomy, with which, in fact, they were not acquainted, and nothing but some new observation or phenomenon in the sidereal heavens can ever throw light on this matter. And who shall say that even our present astronomical science shall not advance still further, and that it has not closed too soon, and been in all too great a haste to sum up its doubtless most elaborate and complicated calculations?

Thus did the mind of man advance the first step toward the maturity of physical science, by attaining to a more comprehensive survey of the mundane system, and a more accurate knowledge of his own habitation, of this earthly planet. The next step in this sluggish progress was made by the chemical discoveries of modern times, and especially of the French chemists. In a merely negative point of view, these have been important, as establishing the fact that the old elements, water, for instance, and air, which had long been regarded as simple, are themselves decomposable into other constituents and aeriform parts. And, indeed, that such great powers of nature as these are, and must ever remain so long as the present constitution of the world shall last, could only subsist in the reciprocal dynamical relation of several conflicting forces, a profounder glance at nature would of itself have conjectured and presupposed. But in a positive sense, this second step has carried us very far toward the understanding of the hieroglyphics of nature. Those primary elements of things discovered and numbered by that chemical analysis which has subjected to its experiments almost every form and species of matter, constitute, as it were, the permanent material letters and consonants of the natural world around us. On the other hand, the vowels of human language are represented by the fundamental facts of the magnetism of the earth, together with the phenomena of electricity, the decomposition of light, and the chemical chain of the galvanic pile, in which the inner life of the terrestrial force, and of the eternally-moving atmosphere, as well as the soul whose pulse beats therein, finds an utterance, like a voice out of the lowest deep. And thus, by means of an alphabet of nature, which, however, is still most imperfect, we may hope to make a beginning, at least, and to decipher one or two entire words. But modern chemistry has made a more important advance toward a right understanding of nature as a whole. By analyzing and decomposing all solid bodies, as well as water itself, into different forms of a gaseous element, it has thereby destroyed forever that appearance of rigidity and petrifaction which the corporeal mass of visible and external nature presents to our observation. Every where we now meet with living elemental forces, hidden and shut up beneath this rigid exterior. The proportion of aqueous particles in the air is so great, that, if suddenly condensed, they would suffice for more than one flood. And a similar deluge of light would ensue, if all the luminous sparks which are latent in the darkness were simultaneously set free; and the whole globe itself would end in flame, were all the fiery elements that are at present dispersed throughout the world to be at once disengaged and kindled. The investigation of the salutary bonds which hold together these elementary forces in due equilibrium, controlling one by the other, and confining each within its prescribed limits, does not fall within the scope of our present inquiries, as neither does the question, whether these bonds be not of a higher kind than naturalists commonly suppose? More immediately connected with, as also more important for our general subject, is the result which chemical analysis has so indubitably established, that in the natural world every object consists of living forces, and that properly nothing is rigid and dead, but all replete with hidden life. This colossal mountain range of petrified mummies which forms nature on the whole--this pyramid of graves, piled one over the other, is therefore, it is true, a historical monument of the past--of all the bygone ages of the world in the advancing development of death; but nevertheless, there is therein a latent vitality. Beneath the vast tombstone of the visible world there slumbers a soul, not wholly alien, but more than half akin to our own. This planetary and sensible world, and the earth-soul imprisoned therein, is only apparently dead. Nature does but sleep, and will, perhaps, ere long awake again. Sleep generally is, if not the essence, yet, at least, an essential signature and characteristic of nature. Every natural object partakes of it more or less. Not the animals only, but the very plants sleep; while in the vicissitudes of the seasons, and of their influences on the productive surface of the earth, and, in truth, on the whole planet, a perpetual alternation is perceptible between an awakening of life and a state of slumbering repose. Whatever, consequently, partakes, and requires the refreshment of sleep, belongs, even on that account, to nature. Painters, indeed, have given us pictures of sleeping angels or genii; but the pure spirits sleep not, and stand, in truth, in no need of such rest, and their activity is not subject to this necessity of alternate repose.

The comparison of a sentence in the Mosaic history of the creation, with a passage in the Hindoo cosmogony, somewhat similar in kind, but most different in the application, will serve, perhaps, to place this fact in the clearest light. In the former it is said, “God rested on the seventh day.” Now, in this expression there is nothing to startle us. In explaining it, there is no need to have recourse to a figurative interpretation. It does not allude to God’s inmost nature (which admits not of such alternation of states or need of rest), but simply to His external operations. For in every case where an operation of the Deity takes place, whether in history or nature, an alternation between the first divine impulse, and a subsequent period of repose, is not only conceivable but actually noticeable. For the divine impulse or hand is, as it were, withdrawn, in order that this first impulse of the Creator may fully expand itself, and that the creature adopting it, may carry it out and develop his own energies in accordance therewith. But instead of this correct statement, we have, in the Hindoo cosmogony, that “Brahma sleeps.” While he thus slumbers, the whole creation, with its worlds and mundane developments, is said to collapse into naught. Here, then, a single word hurries us from the sure ground of truth and divine revelation into the shifting domain of mythology. Of Him indeed, who is higher than the angels and created spirits, it is no doubt assumed throughout the New Testament that, while on earth, He slept like other men. Once, too, it is expressly stated, that during a great storm, while His disciples were filled with alarm, He was asleep in the hinder part of the ship; but that when He awoke the winds ceased. But here, also, the case is different. While implying many a great object and instructive lesson besides, this passage, like several others, seems designed to prove that our Lord’s body was no mere phantom; but that He took upon Him a real human form, and was, in truth, a man who stood in need of sleep. And from this we may infer, that sleep is so indispensable a condition of natural existence, that even God Himself, as soon as He condescended to enter its limits by taking upon Him a human body, became subject to nature’s essential law of sleep.

The important part which sleep plays, not only in nature, but also in man, her first-born son, appears from the earliest event that is recorded of his history, even in Paradise. God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and out of his opened side took of his vital substance to invest it with a bodily veil and shape, and to present it before him on his awaking as the gentle helpmeet of his existence. Extremely significant also is the difference in the accounts of man’s and of woman’s material formation. Man is formed of the dust of the earth, and therefore shortly after invested with the dominion of the whole earthly globe as the deputy and vicegerent of Him from whom cometh all lordship and authority. But woman is taken and created out of the bosom or heart of man. Would human wit have ever invented, or even conceived the possibility of this great marvel of creative omnipotence?

This was in Paradise--but with the loss of it man was deprived, in a great manner, of those higher powers of life and those secrets of nature which he had previously possessed and understood. For even in the body of his earthly tabernacle, which had fallen a prey to death, he had become deteriorated, and his organic constitution, as is expressly intimated, fell considerably lower in the scale of sensible existence, and sunk nearer to the level of the brute creation. On this account the cherubic sentinels, with the flaming sword, were placed at the gate of Paradise, that man might not stretch forth his hand to seize again the rights and privileges which he had formerly enjoyed. For now they would only have led to more mischievous abuse and deeper corruption. But since then, many great days of creation have come and gone. Again has the great relation between God and man been restored, and that also between man and the sensible world with the spirits and forces that rule therein, has changed and become new. And now that the beginning is made, and the foundation laid for the Redemption of the world, no man, no one at least who will loyally join the banner of the Redeemer, is forbidden, but every one has freely offered to him the divine, flaming, two-edged sword of the Spirit--or of the Word, and of the thoughts of the heart united to Him, enlightened by Him, and emanating from Him. This fact of itself furnishes at once the answer to the question concerning the secrets of nature, whether, since they are no longer to be kept close from man, impure and wicked hands may drag them to the light, or whether it be not better that they should be touched by the holy and conscientious alone, and faithfully guarded with a pious reserve and religious delicacy.

And here the very context suggests naturally the consideration of the last of the three steps which, following the course marked out for it by God, the human mind has at last made in very modern times toward a true physical science, and a right understanding of the most inmost secrets of nature. It consists in a closer observation and a commencing recognition of a sacred thread of ensouled life--of an internal soul-like link which holds together the whole frame of nature. The thing and force itself are as old as the world and every sphere of existence--all the leaves of tradition and history are full of its manifestations and effects. But the methodical observation and treatment of these phenomena (in which alone the true scientific character consists) dates its commencement within little more than half a century ago. To speak, therefore, agreeably to the measure of time in the slow development of science, it is of yesterday or the day before; and it is even on this account also that I have been constrained to count this third and last advance toward a higher science of nature, as nothing more than a half-step. For it is only a beginning which as yet has gained no firm footing in the minds of men, and, moreover, besides the right and direct road, it has already opened many by-paths of possible error. This only direct road, that higher standard of correct judgment which at the very commencement we alluded to as the guiding rule in these matters, must be sought by philosophy in that divine sword of the Spirit which pierces even to the marrow of life, dividing soul and spirit, and which also is a discerner of spirits. But, if another standard and a higher tribunal is to be set up, then I must leave it to others who, perhaps, know more about the matter than I do, and are better qualified to decide upon it. This spiritual warfare, at any rate, can not be much longer eluded or avoided. O that men would take therein Holy Writ exclusively for their guide! For it, indeed, regards the whole of life, and every important moment of it, as a conflict with invisible powers; as also it tacitly implies, or expressly intimates that the whole sensible world is to be looked upon as nothing else than an almost transparent, and, at all events, a very perishable veil of the spiritual world. To the leader of the rebel spirits the Bible ascribes so great an influence in creation, that it calls him the prince, nay, even the god of this world--the ruler of its principalities and powers. And in order that this might not be taken in a mere figurative sense, and be understood only of a race of men morally corrupt and depraved, these spiritual potentates are in other places expressly called the elementary powers of nature--powers of the air, which in this dark planetary world of ours is compounded of light and darkness, and ever struggling between life and death. The true key and explanation of the whole may, however, lie in the simple sentence--“Death came into the world by sin.” As, then, by the death of the first man, who was not created for, nor originally designed for death, death has passed upon the whole human race; so by the earlier fall of him, who had been the first and most glorious of created spirits, death passed upon the universe--that eternal death whose fire is unquenchable. Hence it is written: “Darkness was on the face of the deep, and the earth”--as the mere grave of that eternal death--“was without form and void;” but the “spirit of God moved on the face of the waters,” and therein lay the first germ of life for the new creation. We here see the difference between all heathen systems of natural philosophy and a divine knowledge of nature, _i.e._, one acquired in and by God, and also the key for a right understanding of the latter.

If now the dynamic play of the living forces of nature, which is unquestionably a living entity, and has a life in itself though not indeed of and from itself--if this dynamical alternation between life and death be regarded as a simple fact, and man is content to rest there, without seeking to explain it by a higher principle, then will he have ever the self-same One--an all-producing, all-absorbing, ruminating monster, whether we express it poetically, as in mythology, or in the scientific formularies of physiology. Quite different is it, however, if this great pyramid has been built upon the foundation of eternal death. Then is the whole creature of this earthly planet and sensible world merely a commencing life which, so long as the pyramid is still unfinished and incomplete, is, in parts, perpetually relapsing into death--into actual death, or at least into diseases and fractures of various kinds, which are only so many _principia_ or germs of death. Then is nature itself nothing less than the ladder of resurrection, which, step by step, leads upward, or, rather, is carried from the abyss of eternal death up to the apex of light in the heavenly illumination. For, understanding it in this sense, it is impossible to think of nature without remembering at the same time the divine hand which has built this pyramid, and which, along this ladder, brings life out of death. This view, moreover, accounts for the fact, that a state of slumber is essential to nature, and furnishes an explanation why that perpetually-recurring collapse into sleep, which to us appears so near akin to death, should be nature’s proper character. And just as the consuming fire of death appears in the more highly-organized beings to be somewhat subdued and restrained--mitigated or exalted into the quickening warmth of life--so also sleep is only the more than half-enlightened brother of death. And indeed as such, and the lovely messenger of hope to immortal spirits, was he ever regarded and described by the ancients; but that which for them was little more than a beautiful image of poetry is for us the profoundest of truths.

An exalted view and understanding of nature consists, then, in its being contemplated not merely as a dynamical play of reciprocal forces, but historically in its course of development, as a commencing life, perpetually relapsing into death, ever disposed to sleep, and only painfully raising itself, or, rather, raised and lovingly guided through all the intermediate grades into the light. But beneath the huge tombstone of outward nature there sleeps a soul, not wholly alien, but half akin to ourselves--which is distracted between the troubled and painful reminiscence of eternal death, out of which it issued, and the flowers of light which are scattered here and there on this dark earth, as so many lovely suggesters of a heavenly hope. For this earthly nature, as Holy Writ testifies,[24] is, indeed, subject to nullity, yet, without its will, and without its fault: and consequently in hope of Him who has so subjected it, it looks forward in the expectation that it shall one day be free, and have a part in the general resurrection and consummate revelation of God’s glory, before which both nature and death shall stand amazed--and for this last day of a new creation it sighs anxiously, and yearns with the profoundest longing.



A divine science of nature--one, _i.e._, which is ever looking to and has its root in God, unlike the old heathen physiologies--sees something more in nature than a mere endless play of living forces and the alternations of dynamical action. Contemplating it rather as a whole, and in the connection of its several parts, it traces it from the first foundation on which it was originally raised, up to the final consummation which the Almighty has designed it to attain. Now, to such a mode of studying it, nature appears to be in its beginning, as it were, a bridge thrown across the abyss of eternal death and eternal nothingness. And in perfect agreement with this origin or foundation, it exhibits itself at the outset as a house of corruption, a character which, to a certain degree, it subsequently and long afterward retains. After a while, however, this house of corruption is transformed, by the omnipotence of the good Creator, into a laboratory of new life, and finally is raised into a ladder of resurrection, ascending, or, rather, is made to conduct, step by step, to the highest pitch of earthly glorification, in which nature, too, has a promise that she shall partake. This was the subject of the preceding Lecture, and it naturally enough suggests the further question, whether a similar scale of gradual exaltation exists for the human soul, which, even while it is in many respects akin to mother earth and to nature generally, is, nevertheless, far more excellent, and, by its innate dignity, claims to be regarded as the very head and crown of this earthly creation. The inquiry then, whether the soul of man, gradually rising out of the depths of this perishable existence and the bondage of corruption, up to God, can approach nearer to, and finally be totally identified with Him; or at least, whether it is capable of being united in a perfect and lasting harmony with the superior powers of a higher and a diviner region--this will form the theme of our present disquisition. In discussing it, however, our attention will be directed principally to its psychological aspect--its relation, _i.e._, to the theory of consciousness. For the moral examination of this subject, even if it be not allowable to assume that it, at all events, is well known, belongs to another department of inquiry.

Now, on this head, the following remark immediately and naturally suggests itself to the reflecting mind. Unless the soul be at unity with itself it can not hope ever to be one with, or to attain to an harmonic relation with that Being, who, as he is the one source and principle of all and on whom all depends, is in himself a pure harmony. But so far is this condition from being fulfilled in the actual state of the human consciousness, that the latter appears rather to consist of pure and endless discord. Fourfold, I said, is man’s consciousness; and I called its four conflicting forces, viz., understanding and will, reason and fancy, its four poles, or chief branches, or even the four quarters of the internal world of thought. How seldom, however, do the understanding and will agree together. Does not each of them prefer to follow an independent course of its own? How seldom do men really and perseveringly will and desire what they clearly see and acknowledge and perfectly understand to be the best! And how often, on the other hand, do we understand little or nothing of that, which yet in the inmost recesses of our hearts, we most desire and wish, and most ardently and determinedly resolve upon! Reason and fancy, too, both in the inner thought and in outward life also, are, on the whole, in hostile conflict with each other. Reason would wish to suppress or at least to dispense altogether with fancy, while fancy, caring, for the most part, but little or nothing for the reason, goes its own way. The will, moreover, unceasingly distracted, is never even at peace with itself, while the reason, standing alone in the endless evolution of its own thought, entangles itself at last in a labyrinth of irreconcilable contradictions. The understanding, again, has so many grades and species, and divides itself among so many spheres and functions, that in this respect we might be justified in saying: This one understanding understands not the other, even though it be equally correct both in itself and in its mode of operation. And thus, too, in the individual: his understanding, the sum, _i.e._, of all that he understands, consists, for the most part, but of rags and fragments of truth, which often enough do not match very well, and seldom, if ever, admit of being made to blend harmoniously together. And so, too, is it in all that belongs to, and is under the influence of fancy. The subjective views, for instance, and conceits of man--the delusions of his senses, the rapidly changing meteors and unsubstantial phantoms of human passion, are things only too well known, self-evident, and universally acknowledged.

So profound, then, even in a psychological point of view, and apart from the multiplied phases which the moral aspect presents, appears the discord which reigns in our whole mind as at present constituted! Dissension seems to be interwoven into its fundamental fabric. Instead, therefore, of saying the human consciousness is fourfold, with equal, if not with greater correctness, we might and ought to say, it is divided, or, rather, split, into four or more pieces. It is common enough to speak of _facts_ of consciousness. And yet how seldom among philosophers is any thing more meant by this expression than the mere thinking of thoughts, in the eternal repetition of the same empty process in which the thinking _Ego_ thinks itself, and by means of which the _Me_ is, as it were, seized in the very act, and then, as the first beginning, the imaginary Creator and Demiurge of the ideal world, this _Me_ is hung out like a gilded pennon from the top of the whole artificial system.[25] The only fact of the consciousness that really deserves to be so named is its internal dissension. And this discord not only reveals itself in thought between the Me and Not Me, but pervades the whole and all its branches, or parts and forms, its species and spheres, in mind and soul, understanding and will, reason and fancy, which every where manifests itself, and of which the thousandfold material discords of man’s outer life is only the reflection--its natural consequence and further development. From this fact of the manifold and ever-varying dissension of the human consciousness an exposition of philosophy might not inappropriately set out, in order from this point to seek the solution of its peculiar problem, and the right road for the attainment of its end. For the problem of philosophy, as contemplated from this side, would consist in the restoration of that original, natural, and true state of the consciousness in which it was at unity and in harmony with itself. It is a leading error of philosophy that it views the present state of the human consciousness as even its right one, which requires only to be raised to a higher power in order to be cleansed from the taint of commonness of the ordinary way of thinking which clings to it among the ignorant and unphilosophical, and thereupon to be comprised in strangely artificial and seemingly most profound formulæ. But by such an involution to a higher power the error is not got rid of, but rather the evil itself is aggravated, since it is contained in the root itself, and is to be found in the inmost structure of the consciousness. Besides, it can not have been the original constitution of man’s mind to be thus a prey to manifold dissension, and split, as it were, into pieces and quartered. This discord is, undoubtedly, in the true meaning of the word, a fact, the only one which every individual can without hesitation vouch for on the immediate and independent testimony of his own experience. For the cause of this well-authenticated fact we have only to look to that event which revelation has made known, of which each man must perceive the sad traces within his own heart. It began with that eclipse of the soul which preceded and commenced the present state of man, and was occasioned by the intervention of a foreign body between it and the sun which gave it light. But if the soul, the thinking as well as the loving soul, be the center of consciousness, then, in this great and general darkening of the center, the entire sphere, in its whole essence and structure, must have been altered. And, consequently, in its philosophical aspect, and apart from all special moral depravity in the independent actions, evil habits and passions of individuals, the soul is no longer what it was originally, as created and designed by the Almighty.

Thus, then, the whole human consciousness is filled with unmitigated discord and division, not merely in its mixed rational and sensuous or terrestrial and spiritual nature, but thought itself is at issue with life. And, moreover, while in the thought the internal and the external, faith and science, are involved in a hostile contrariety, disturbing and destroying each other, so is it also in life with the finite and the infinite, the transitory and the imperishable. In such a state of things, therefore, and from this point of view, the problem of philosophy, as already remarked, can not well be any other than the restoration of the consciousness to its primary and true unity, so far as this is humanly possible. Now that this true and permanent unity, if it be at all attainable, must be looked for in God, is at all events an allowable hypothesis. For it will not be disputed, except by one who holds both this unity itself and its restitution to be absolutely impossible. But this is a point on which much may be advanced on both sides, and which, therefore, since mere disputing can avail nothing either one way or the other, can only be decided by the fact--the issue of the attempt. On this hypothesis, then, even philosophy must in every case take God for the basis of its speculations--set out from Him, and draw in every instance from this divine source. But then, considered from this point of view, and pursuing this route, it is no idle speculation and simple contemplation of the inner existence and thought alone--no dead science--but a vital effort and an effectual working of the thought for the restoration of a corrupt and degraded consciousness to its natural simplicity and original unity. And this is the way which we have marked out for the course of our speculations, or, rather, the end which we must strive, however imperfectly, yet at least to the best of our abilities, to attain to. And, accordingly, each of the four preceding Lectures, although in free sketchy outline, contains an attempt to put an end to and reconcile some particular schism among those which are the most marked and predominant in the consciousness, and which in essential points must disturb the whole of life. How far in these four introductory essays this problem has been satisfactorily or completely solved and happily settled, is a question which will be best and most fairly tested by the idea of philosophy, as having its true end and aim in the restoration of this corrupt consciousness to its sound state--to its original unity and full energy of life.

The discord between philosophy itself and life was the first that I attempted to get rid of. But now, if in the place of abstract thought and the dialectical reason, we are entitled to look to the thinking and loving soul for the true center of man’s consciousness, then the imaginary partition-wall between science and life at once crumbles away. Our second Lecture was occupied with the discord which subsists between the finite and the infinite--the eternal and the perishable; and, because this involved a problem which can only be solved by life and reality, I therefore confined myself to pointing out the way in which we may hope to discover their unity and equation. With this view, I attempted to establish a vivid conviction that there is a true enthusiasm wherein the illimitable feeling manifests itself as actual, and that even the earthly passion of love assumes, in the holy union of fidelity and wedlock, the stamp of the indissoluble and eternal, and becomes the source of many divine blessings, and of many moral ties, which are stronger, and furnish a firmer moral basis to society, than any general maxims, or than any ethical theory which is built upon such notional abstractions, far more than upon the pregnant results of the experience of life. And lastly, in pure longing, I pointed out an effort of man’s consciousness directing itself to an infinite, eternal, and divine object. But, as this longing can only evince its reality by the fruits it brings forth, I reserved, to a future opportunity, the more precise determination of this question. The theme of our third Lecture was the existence and the reconciliation of that schism which, both in thought and life, divides the internal and the external worlds. If all knowing be a mere process of the reason, then must this discord between the inner and the outer be forever irreconcilable, and we should be utterly at a loss to conceive how a foreign and alien body could ever have found entrance from without into our Me, and become an object of its cognition. But if every species of knowing be positive--if, also, the cognition of the spiritual and divine be nothing else than an internal and higher science of experience, then the idea of revelation furnishes at once the key to explain, while it establishes the possibility of a knowledge of the divine. And this remark admits, also, of application to nature itself, when we consider it in its totality and internal constitution, and speak of a knowledge of these things--of the vital force which rules in it, or its animating soul; for this, indeed, eludes our grasp, but yet speaks plainly to us--to him, at least, who is wise to understand nature’s language. For if, in attempting to understand nature, we isolate her, as it were, and exclude all reference to Him who gave her being, and has assigned, also, her limits and her end--if, in short, we disturb the two poles of a right understanding of nature, then, most assuredly, will the effort be fruitless, and all our labor unprofitable. Man, however, has gone still further, and by transferring the innate discord of his internal consciousness to outward objects, has forcibly rent asunder God and Nature--he has thus divorced the sensible world and its Maker, and set them in hostile array against each other, and thereby brought physical science in collision with the knowledge of divine things and with revelation. Our fourth Lecture, therefore, was consecrated to an attempt to effect here, also, a reconciliation, or, at least, to lay the first stone, and to mark out the road by which alone we could hope to arrive at so desirable a result: and this is a problem which is even the more important the truer it is, that this discord is not confined to science and the scientific domain, but extends, also, to real life, where these discrepant views and modes of thinking are arrayed against each other in so many hostile and conflicting parties. And although, as differing merely as to the form and direction of thought, they do not come forward in so distinct a shape, or under such characteristic names, as the parties in religion and politics, still this dissension is not, therefore, less real and universal, or its effects and influence less noticeable. Of these parties the first, and by far the most numerous, is the sect of the rationalists, who doubt indiscriminately of all things, and test every matter by the standard of their own skepticism. The second class is formed of the exclusive worshipers of nature, and has many members among scientific men; while, lastly, the third consists of those who derive, from the positive source of a divine decision, the law of their thinking and the standard of their judgment. Now, this last party, if it would only go a few steps farther, and draw still deeper from this source, would be able to assign its appropriate place and value to every potence and truth in the other species of thought and knowledge, and even thereby might qualify itself to dissolve and reconcile the all-pervading discord. But inasmuch as they do not adopt this conciliatory attitude toward natural, historical, and even artistic knowledge, so far as they are true, but, on the contrary, in a spirit of animosity, attempt to circumscribe and set negative limits to them, if not absolutely to reject them as worthless and profane--then, when they least wish it, they really sink into a party no less than the other two. And thus, while they might occupy a far higher position, they fall to the level of the rest, and contribute, on their part, an element to the intellectual strife, and tend to promote and perpetuate it. The three parties, then, which by their ruling ideas divide life and age, are the rational thinkers, the worshipers of nature, and those who, in all controverted questions, appeal absolutely to a higher and divine authority; for inasmuch as the sentence of the latter is only of a negative import, it is therefore insufficient to meet all the requisitions of life.

Thus, then, have I led your consideration to four different points, in order to seize and exhibit, in as many different forms and spheres, this great fact of the dissension in man’s consciousness, as it exists at present. In a similar manner, too, a fourfold attempt has been made to remedy its hereditary disease, which has been inherent in it since the original darkening of the soul at the Fall, and, by appeasing the discord which, as it is all-pervading and universal, assumes manifold shapes and forms, to make the first step of return and approximation toward the original harmonic unity. Having considered the matter in these four special points of view, it will not, I hope, appear premature if I now propose the question in a more general point of view, which will embrace the whole human consciousness itself; but, at the same time, limit our consideration of it exclusively to its psychological aspect.

Now it is in nowise difficult to conceive of the human soul as much simpler than it is, and apart from that division of it into several faculties, which is at most, and properly, but an accident of its existence. One of the first among the modern philosophers of Germany, says somewhere of the soul, that the supposition of its existence is superfluous, and that it is a pure fiction.[A] But this statement was the result of his having abandoned in his system the true center of life and consciousness; whoever, on the contrary, adheres steadily thereto, will never concur in a position which simply, as contradicting the general feeling of human nature, requires no elaborate refutation. But as regards the two parts into which the soul is divided, viz., Reason and Fancy--these, at any rate, are no fiction, but exist really and truly within the consciousness, where, as in life itself, they often stand confronting each other in hostile array. This division can not well be called superfluous, but yet it does not admit of being considered absolutely necessary, and belonging to the soul’s original essence. If all thinking were a living cogitation--if the thinking and the loving soul had remained at unity in their true center, then the external methodical thought and the internal productive thinking, meditating, and invention, would not be separate and divorced--at least they would not come into hostile conflict with each other, but would rather be harmoniously combined in the living cogitation of the loving soul. The several forms, too, of a higher love and a higher endeavor, aye, every lawful earthly inclination, would be blended in this harmony of the soul, and no longer stand out as a separate and isolated faculty, occasionally conflicting with all the others. Even the conscience would no longer appear as a special act or function of the judgment, of a distinct and peculiar kind, but would be absorbed in the whole as a delicate internal sensibility and the pulse of the moral life.

As for sensation and memory, they are in any case but ministering faculties, which only appear distinct and independent under the influence of the prevailing tendency to separation and disunion, but on the supposition of a simpler and more harmonious consciousness, would be counted merely as bodily organs. If, then, the soul had not suffered an eclipse--if it had remained undisturbed in the clear light of God--then would man’s consciousness also have been much simpler than it now is, with all those several faculties which we at present find and distinguish in it. In such a case, it would consist only of understanding, soul, and will. For if, according to the three directions of its activity, any one should still be disposed to divide it into the thinking, the feeling, and the loving soul, still this would not be founded on any intrinsic strife or discord, but they would all combine harmoniously together, and in this harmonious combination be at unity among themselves. As for the distinction between understanding and will, that would still remain, since it is essential to mind or spirit, and may, in a certain sense, be ascribed even to the uncreated spirits. But in this garden of the soul of inward illumination--on this fruitful soil of harmonized thought and feeling--they would walk amicably together, and work in common, and would not, as hostile beings, turn aside in opposite directions, or as is mostly the case in actual life, be divided from each other by an impassable gulf, and never meet in friendly contact.

Thus nearly, or somewhat similarly, must we conceive of, and attempt to represent to ourselves, the human mind in its original state, before it was darkened, rent asunder, and condemned to lasting discord, but was as yet eminently simple and perfectly harmonious.

And now as regards understanding and will, as a division of powers essential to the mind or spirit, which, however, as such, is not necessarily inharmonious: the expression already touched upon of another of our modern German philosophers, will serve as a transition to and commencing point for my remarks. According to this memorable assertion with regard to the mind [_geist_], and which will serve as an appropriate pendent to that last quoted about the soul, the essence of mind or spirit in general consists in the negation of the opposite.[26] Now I can not stop at present to inquire what sense this would give, if applied to the uncreated spirit, and the Creator of all other spiritual beings. But as concerns created spirits: their essence, contrariwise, consists principally in an eternal affirmation. But this, however, they have not of and from themselves, but it is the affirmation of the one to which God has exclusively destined them. But it is not of themselves, but of God and His energy, of whom these created spirits are, as it were, but a ray--a spark of His light--therefore, in this ray, not only sight and understanding, but also thought and deed, will and execution, are simultaneous and identical. And it is in this respect that they are so totally different from men. Now this ray of light, imparted to them from God, is nothing less than the thought of their destination--of the purpose of their being--in a word, their mission, if we may speak after a human fashion, and in the prevailing phraseology. And, indeed, in all ancient languages, the pure created intelligences have these names from that mission which constitutes their essence; for their essence is even perfectly identical with this divine mission or inborn eternal affirmation. To the fallen spirits, on the other hand, the maxim above quoted applies truly enough: their essence consists, not in the divine affirmation, or the mission which they have abandoned, but rather in the eternal, though bootless, denial of their opposite, which is even nothing less than the divine order. For to their ambitious intellect and perverse wills, the latter, in all probability, appeared far too loving, and, therefore, unintelligible; while, to their censorious judgment, it seemed deficient in rigor of consequence, and not unconditional and absolute enough.

All that has hitherto been said reduces itself to the following result. As by the first obscuration and eclipse of the human soul the very body of man was deteriorated, and having been originally created with a capacity of immortality, fell a prey to death, and received the germs, or became liable to many diseases, as roots of death--which is not guilt itself, but the natural result of guilt--so in his consciousness there was then implanted, and has ever since been propagated, a germ of intellectual death, and manifold seeds of error, which, however, are not a new sin, but merely the natural consequences of the first sin and the original corruption of the soul. In four different forms, according to the four cardinal points and fundamental faculties of the human consciousness, does this inborn error and fruitful germ of erroneous and false thinking show and develop itself. We have already spoken of this futile idea of the deadness of all external life, which has taken such deep root in the center of all human thought--in the dead abstract notion and the empty formula, and which, clinging as an original taint to the human mind as at present constituted, renders it so difficult for all those who, not content with merely observing nature, wish really to understand it in its living operation, and, moreover, to imitate in thought its dynamical law, and the inner pulse of its vital forces. For in the abstract notion all this evaporates, and when confined within such dead formularies, the true life of nature quickly becomes extinct. This, therefore, is the primary source of error--the leading species of barren and futile thinking in the abstract understanding. But now this dead and lifeless cogitation of abstract ideas, with its processes of combining and inferring, or of analyzing and drawing distinctions, may be carried on into infinity, as being that wherein the essence or function of reason consists, and also as giving rise to interminable disputes and contradictions. Consequently this form of the reason, which is ever pursuing dialectical disputations, or else skeptically renouncing its own authority, even because it never allows itself to proceed in what alone is its legitimate course, becomes thereby a second source of error and false thinking among men. And, indeed, this erroneous procedure of the dialectical reason, which is incessantly working out or analyzing its abstract notions, is the effect of the present constitution of the human mind; so that no individual can in justice be blamed on its account, nor can its perverted conclusions and corrupting results be fairly imputed to ulterior views and principles of an immoral character.

In considering the imagination as a source of error, we have no need to select the instance of a fancy satanically inflamed to passion, or satanically deluded, or even one of a purely materialistic bias and leaning. For fancy, even in its greatest exaltation and purest form, is at best but a subjective view and mode of cogitative apprehension, and, consequently, as such, is ever a fruitful parent of delusion. How very rarely an imagination is to be found which is not predominantly subjective, is shown precisely in the very highest grade of its development--in the creations of imitative art. Of the exalted geniuses who in single ages and nations have distinguished themselves from the great mass, and attained to that rare eminence--the reputation of the true artist; out of this short list of great names, how few can be selected of whose productions it can be truly said and boasted--Here in this picture we have something more than a mere general view, or the peculiar fantasy of an individual; here life and nature stand before us in their full truth and objective reality, and speak to us in that universal language, which is intelligible to men of all countries and all times! And the same remark applies to the whole domain of scientific thought in general; but especially to physical and historical science.

In like manner, in the sphere of the will, it is not merely immoral volitions, which, as such, must ever be false and wrong, that are exclusively the source of erroneous thought. The spring of those errors which we are at present considering lies in the very form of the will itself, _i.e._, in the absolute willing, even though its object and end be, in themselves, perfectly legitimate and unexceptionable. That this absolute willing--or, to speak more humanly, and in ordinary language, self-will and obstinacy--is a fundamental and hereditary failing of the human character, as at present constituted, which shows itself in the very youngest children, with the first dawn of reason, and requires to be most watchfully checked, is but too well known to every teacher and every mother. But not in infancy only, but also in the most important and comprehensive relations of life--nay, even in the history of the world--this same absolute willing proves the most pernicious of all the sources of error and corruption in the soul and life of man, even when its object is not unmitigatedly bad, or when, perhaps, it may even deserve to be called great and noble. It is through this absolute willing that the sovereign with unlimited authority, even though he be gifted with a strong and comprehensive intellect, and possessed of many estimable qualities and moral virtues, becomes, nevertheless, the oppressor of his people and the merciless tyrant. Through it, also, in states which are not monarchical, but where the supreme authority is divided among several estates, views and principles which, calmly considered and duly limited by opposing principles, are true and beneficial, by being advanced absolutely, and without qualification, are converted into so many violent factions, which, distracting the minds of men and inflaming their passions, produce a wide-spread and fearful anarchy.

The dead abstract notions of the intellect, the dialectical disputes of the reason, the purely subjective and one-sided apprehension of objects by a deluded fancy, and the absolute will, are the four sources of human error. Considered apart from the aberrations of passion, special faults of character, and prejudices of education, as well as the false notions and wrong judgments to which the latter give rise--these four are the springs from which flows all the error of the soul which makes itself the center of the terrestrial reality, and which, springing out of this soil, is nourished and propagated by it. To what, then, are we to look to dispel these manifold delusions but to a closer and more intimate union of the soul with God as the source of life and truth?

What, let us therefore ask, is the organ by which such closer union with and immediate cognition of God is to be effected? Plainly not the understanding, even though as the cognitive sense of a revelation of spirit, and of the spirit of revelation, it carries us through the first steps toward a right understanding of ourselves and the Creator. For so long as we confine ourselves to the understanding, which, at most, is but a preparatory and auxiliary faculty, we shall only make an approximation. It is only when the divine idea, passing beyond the understanding--the mere surface, as it were, of our consciousness--penetrates into the very center of our being, and strikes root there, that it is possible, with a view to this end, to draw immediately from the primary source of all life. Now, the organ which essentially co-operates in this work is the will, which, in such co-operation however, divests itself entirely of its absoluteness. On this account I called the will the sense for God, or the sense which is appropriated to the perception of Deity.

But before I proceed in my attempt to define and elucidate the nature of this reciprocal action, and show how it is possible or generally conceivable, it will be necessary to premise one essential remark. I have already attempted to discover and establish a special and characteristic mark for every sphere of life, and its highest and lowest grades. Thus, the proper and distinctive signature of nature, and all that belongs to it, is a state of slumber or sleep; the characteristic property of man, which distinguishes him from all other intellectual beings, is fancy; while the essential property of the pure created spirits is the stamp of eternity which is impressed on all their operations, by means of which they perform, with untiring energies, their allotted duties, without the alternation of repose or the necessity of sleep, and by reason of which they remain forever what they once begin to be. Applying the same line of thought to a higher region, I would now attempt to discover there some characteristic sign, by observing which man may, perhaps, be able to find his true position. Proceeding, then, in this line of thought, and preserving a due regard to the weakness of the human capacity, I would observe as follows. The characteristic, not, indeed, of the divine essence--for that is too great for man’s powers of apprehension--but of the divine operations and His influence on the creation and all created beings, consists in His incredible condescension toward these His creatures, and especially toward man. Incredible, however, it may, nay, must and ought to be called, inasmuch as it transcends every notion, nay, all belief, even the most confiding and childlike, and the more it is contemplated, appears the more inconceivable and amazing. Only it admits of question, whether the expression be sufficiently simple and appropriate, and, consequently, well-chosen; for the fact itself of this divine condescension is affirmed in every line and word of revelation. And by revelation I mean not merely the written revelation, but every manifestation more or less distinct of God, and His divine operations and providence--history, nature, and life. Now, on no one point are the voices of all, who on such a matter can be regarded as authorities, so perfectly concordant and unanimous, as on this wonderful attribute of the Godhead, which, on the supposition that the belief in one living God is universal, may be considered as placed beyond doubt or question.

In order to demonstrate how essential is the co-operation of the will to that living intercommunion with God, which is something more than a mere understanding, we advance the following assumptions. Supposing that in the incredible condescension of His love, God has made Himself known to a man, just as in the first books of our Holy Scripture He is described as conversing with Moses, and as familiarly as one friend talks to another; supposing also that He revealed to him all the secret things of heaven and earth without reserve; that He at the same time laid open to him His will and hidden counsels, and that not summarily and in a general way, but definitely and in detail--expressly making known to him His gracious purposes, both in what He at present requires of him and designs for him hereafter; that He has also pointed out to man the means which will enable him to accomplish His will, and, moreover, has added the highest possible promises for his encouragement; supposing all this, is it not evident that it nevertheless could not help or profit man unless he consented to receive it? The whole divine communication would be in vain if man obstinately continued in his old Egoism, mixed and compounded of evil habits, fears, and sensual desires, and, unable to tear himself away, still clung close to the narrow limits of self and his own Me.

Now it is nothing but this intrinsic consent and concurrence in the will of God, this calm affirmation of it, that can help man, who is now left to his own free determination even as regards the Deity, and that can lead him to God. On this account I called the will, rather than the understanding, man’s sense for the divine. But all that is here required is the internal assent, and not the power of actual performance; for that varies even according to the standard of nature, or rather of that which is imparted to him from above, since of himself man has no capacity for that which is higher and more excellent, nothing being man’s own but his will. Now this internal assent and submission of man’s own will to the divine is clearly inconceivable where it has not, to a certain degree, withdrawn from the sensible world which surrounds him with so many ties and allurements, and where it has not loosened and set itself free from the narrow domain of self to which his Ego so closely clings.

Here, then, naturally arises the question, how far a renunciation of the world and self-sacrifice, on which even the Platonic philosophy so greatly insisted, is necessary, if we would advance one degree, or at least one step, nearer to God, as the supreme good and all-perfect Being, and what are its true and proper limits? In obedience to this idea of the renunciation of the world as indispensable to communion with God, the Hindoo fakir will sit for thirty years in one spot, with his eyes fixed immutably in the same direction, so that he not only surpasses all the limits of human nature, but also erases and extinguishes all traces of it in himself. Or perhaps, in spite of the simple principle and rule of sound reason, that man, as he is not the author of his own being, has no right to terminate it, he follows a false idea of self-sacrifice, and mounts the flaming pile in order to be the sooner united to the Deity. In the fundamental idea of these extravagances there is doubtless a germ of beauty and of truth, though in the perverse application and gigantic scale of exaggeration that we meet with it among the primeval nations of Asia, it is distorted into monstrous falsehood. A simple illustration, taken from the different ages of man’s life, will perhaps serve to set in a clear light the point on which every thing turns in this matter of the assent of the human to the divine will, and to determine the sense and the degree in which man ought not to give himself up entirely to the world, or to revolve closely round the center of self, if he would yield a sincere and hearty submission to a higher voice and that guiding hand which conducts the education of the whole human race, and watches with equal care the development of individuals and of ages. The child may and must play, for such exercise is wholesome and even necessary for the free expansion of its bodily powers; but at its mother’s call, for to the child hers is the higher voice, it ought to leave its play. Youth, again, ought to be merry and enjoy the verdant spring; but when honor and duty summon to earnest action, then must he be ready to lay aside all light-hearted amusement for sterner avocations; or to take another view of the youthful temperament, should its joyousness touch too rudely, not to say overstep, the bounds of morality, then at the first hint of warning it must abandon its treacherous pleasures. The full-grown man, too, having to make his way in the world and to fight with fortune in the hard struggle of life, has little leisure for idle feelings and meditations; only he must not renounce all higher and nobler sentiments, nor dismiss from his mind the thought of the Godhead and the divine (which indeed for its mere preservation requires no outward ordinance or loss of time), as belonging to the boy, and suitable only for the unripe years of youth. Or to regard life under its passive aspect, let us think of the happy wife by the side of a husband she loves, and living only in her children, and possessing of worldly good as much as she wishes or requires: suddenly, by one of those changes and chances which prevail in this transitory life, she is bereaved of all--the partner of her joys and cares, the children of her bosom, and perhaps, too, of her rank and consideration, while beneath the repeated strokes of affliction her very health sinks. Who would check her tears or blame her natural sorrow if she feels and tells her woes? No one: for holier eyes than man’s look upon her with compassion. One thing, however, may fairly and reasonably be expected of her--that she do not give way entirely to despair, nor murmur against Providence. More, therefore, than man requires of man in the ordinary relations of life, God requires not of the human will; and on that alone does He make any requisition, in respect to that free assent and internal concurrence which alone can bind us in personal union with the Godhead, and bring us near to Him; a consummation which no mere intellectual apprehension of all possible revelations, whether written on the pages of inspiration, or on the open tablets of nature, or engraven on the imperishable annals of history, is sufficient to bring about.

So much and nothing more is required for this essential concurrence of the human will with the divine, in the general relations of life. But, in the case of any special vocation and profession--if, for instance, a man feels himself disposed to become a minister of the revealed Word, an instrument and messenger of the divine communications--then, no doubt, higher and sterner requisitions must come into consideration. To men of native courage, what vocation can be more universal than that of a soldier and defender of his country? but does not it require, besides undaunted courage and contempt of death, the patient and enduring fortitude which bears up under countless hardships and privations? What vocation, again, can be simpler and more fully founded in nature, than that of the softer sex to become a mother? but how many sufferings, and fears, and dangers, compass it about, and how infinite are the great and little anxieties to which a mother’s love--that purest and truest of all earthly affections--is exposed? And it is even herein that human love most betrays its weakness; it may suffice for some one determinate direction, some transitory period of life, for some single effort of magnanimity or self-sacrifice, but it rarely survives the changes of time and fortune, and its faith and ardor too often are extinguished amid the petty trials of every-day life, and its numberless cares and anxieties.

And as with the love, so also is it with the faith of men: it enters not sufficiently into minutiæ; it is not personal enough, nor sufficiently childlike and confiding; it is not made to refer enough to ourselves. Most men, indeed, have only too high an opinion of their own worth--an overweening confidence in their own powers; at least, the opposite fault of extreme diffidence is a rare exception. But yet, it is true, men generally take far too low an estimate of their true vocation and proper destiny; they believe not in its high dignity; and as viewed in its place among the vast universe, they hold it and themselves as comparatively insignificant. But this is a total misconception. Every man is an individual entity--an inner world of his own, full of life--a true microcosm (as has already been said in a different sense) in the eye of God and in the scheme of creation: every man has a vocation of his own, and an appropriate destiny. Could men’s eyes be but once opened to see it, how would they be amazed at the infinity which they have neglected, and might have attained to, and which generally in the world remains neglected and unattained. But of the many thousands whom this remark concerns, how very few ever attain to a clear cognition of their real destination! And the reason of this is simply the fact, that the faith of men is all too weak, and, above all, that it is too vaguely general, too superficial, too little searching or profound--not sufficiently personal and childlike.

A childlike faith, and a love that endureth unto the end--these are the true bonds to hold the soul of man in intimate union with God. But it is in hope, such as is at present found among men, that the chief defect lies; for hope ought to be strong and heroic, otherwise it is not that which the name expresses. Few men, perhaps, are entirely devoid of faith and love, only they are not sufficiently carried into the details and trifles of life, as human wants require; for it is exactly to these that all that is divine in men’s thoughts and deeds ought to be directed. In hope, on the contrary, the inner man must raise himself and ascend up to God: it must, therefore, be strong and energetic, if it is to be efficacious. On this account we might well expect it to be far more rare, comparatively, than faith and love, considered according to the human scale of reasoning; on the other hand, probably, there are many men who, internally, are almost totally destitute of hope.

The longing after the eternal and divine, which has been already described, is the seeking of God; but this calm, inward assent of the will, whenever, with a childlike faith and enduring love, and in steadfast hope, it is carried through and maintained with unwavering fidelity throughout life, is the actual finding of Him within us, and a constant adherence to Him when once we have found Him. As the root and principle of all that is best and noblest in man, this divine longing can not be too highly estimated, and nowhere is it so inimitably described, and its excellence so fully acknowledged, as in Holy Writ itself. A remarkable instance of it is the fact that a prophet who was set apart and called by God Himself to his office, and was for that purpose endued with miraculous gifts, is expressly called in Holy Writ the man of longings.[27] And yet this longing is nothing but the source, the first root, from which springs that triple flower in the lovely symbol of faith, hope, and charity, which afterward, spreading over every grade and sphere of moral and intellectual existence, expands into the richest and most manifold fruits.

Now, it is very possible in some serious and intellectual work to feel a pleasure in this triple union of holy thoughts and sentiments, as with any deeply-significant picture in general, without duly entering the while into its precise requisitions and profound meaning. But from one particular end of a philosophy of life, _i.e._, of a thorough knowledge of the human consciousness, the psychological aspect of the subject assumes a peculiar importance, and essentially demands our attention. With this view, I venture to assert that the human consciousness, which otherwise and in itself is entirely a prey to discord, and split into irreconcilable contraries, is, by faith, hope, and love, redeemed from this dissension--is raised from its innate law, of an erring and dead thought, and of an absolute will, which is no less dead and null, being restored gradually to a perfect state of unison and harmony. Under the influence of faith--and by this term I understand, not the cold and heartless repetition of a customary formulary, but a living and personal faith in a living and personal God and Savior--under the influence of such a faith, the living spirit of truth steps into that place of the consciousness which before was usurped by the mere abstract thinking of a degraded understanding. And whenever, on the other hand, a refined goodness and love have in patient endurance become the soul of existence, there is no room for the stormy obstinacy or passionate wildness of an absolute will. Even in the will itself all is now life; discord is banished from it, and all the threatening elements of strife are forever appeased. And in that trusting confidence with which the loving soul leans upon God--in the strong godlike hope which takes its stand upon the Eternal, the reason, with its ordering, regulating, and methodical processes, and the fancy, with its dreams of the infinite, are again completely reconciled, and thereby the harmony of the human consciousness restored. Fancy, I remarked formerly, is the characteristic property of man, as distinguished by it from other spiritual intelligences; for reason, as a mere faculty of negation, affords only a negative distinction of his nature as compared with irrational creatures. But now, in a more comprehensive view, and, at the same time, with profounder significance and greater truth of description, we may say of man, in the same sense and in the same relation, hope forms his characteristic property and his inmost essence.

Here, then, in this holy hope, is longing, that marvelous flower of the soul, expanded into its perfect and noblest fruit. If, in judging of the three, man looks to the end to which he is to attain--if, in thought, he places himself at this point of view, then assuredly will love appear the highest and the best; for hope ceases when fulfillment comes in, and sight enters into the place of faith, but love abideth forever.[28] As long, however, as man has not yet attained unto that which is perfect, and is still in pursuit of it, hope must be regarded as the greatest, for it is even the true vital flame of faith, as well as of love, and of all higher existence.

This divine hope is even the fruit-bearing principle and the fructification of the immortal soul by the Holy Spirit of Eternal Truth--the luminous center and focus of grace, where the dark and discordant soul is illuminated and restored to unison with itself and with God.



The highest and loftiest language would fail us were it our purpose to speak of the inmost essence of the Godhead, since He is that which no thought or conception can comprehend, and which no words are sufficient completely to describe or adequately to express. On the other hand, when we reflect on God’s work in creation, and of His superintending providence which rules the course of this earthly world, our thoughts can not be simple enough, nor, to judge by that principle of the divine condescension which formed the nucleus of our remarks in the last Lecture, too familiar or affectionate. In a general way this is commonly enough admitted, but practically it is neglected. Men do not clearly present to their minds all that is involved in it, and the remote consequences to which it leads. And so, in spite of their better convictions, they insensibly adopt a high-sounding and solemn strain, when the tone of a childlike reverence is alone the suitable and appropriate style for expressing the relation between the benignant Creator and His creatures, and man especially, as simply and as naturally as it is in reality.

I said as naturally, because it is implied in the very nature of things that if God did originally create free beings like men, He would give them all things needful, keep them constantly in His regard, and every where lend them a helping and directing hand. But from time to time He might, it is not inconsistent to suppose, withdraw, as it were, His guidance; for otherwise they would cease to be free beings. In this respect the divine Providence may be likened to a mother teaching her child to walk. Having chosen a clear spot, free from all things likely to hurt the infant in its fall, she places it firmly on its feet. For a little while she holds and supports it, and then, going back a few steps, she waits for its love to set its little limbs in motion and to follow her. But how watchful is her eye, how outstretched her arms to catch her babe the instant it begins to totter! Such nearly, and equally simple, is the relation of God to man; and not to individuals only, but also to the whole human race. For in the divine education and higher guidance of mankind we may trace the same degrees and natural gradation of developments as form the basis of the education of individuals, and may also be observed in all the processes of nature.

Now we take it for granted that God has willed the creation not only of free and pure spirits, but also of the natural world; for that He has so willed is a fact that, as it were, stares us in the face. If, then, along with the free spirits He has also created a nature, _i.e._, a living reproductive power, capable of and designed to develop and propagate itself, it is plain that we can not and ought not to think of such a nature as independent and self-subsisting. For, first of all, it had not its beginning in itself. Moreover, it would move as a blind force, and as such manifest itself only in destruction and desolation, if its Maker had not originally fixed and assigned to it the end toward which all its efforts were ultimately to be directed. Nature, indeed, is not free like man; but still it is not a piece of dead clock-work, which, when it is once wound up, works on mechanically till it has run itself down again. There is life in it. And if a few abstract but superficial thinkers have failed to discern, or even ventured expressly to deny this truth, the general feeling of mankind, on the other hand, bears witness to it. Yes, man feels that there is life rustling in the tree, as with its many arms and branches, its leaves and flowers, it moves backward and forward in the free air; and that, as compared with the clock, with all its ingenious but dead mechanism, it is even a living thing. And what the common feeling of mankind thus instinctively assumes is confirmed by the profounder investigations of physical science. Thus we know that even plants sleep, and they, too, as much as animals, though after a different sort, have a true impregnation and propagation. And is not nature, on the whole, a life-tree, as it were, whose leaves and flowers are perpetually expanding themselves and seeking nourishment from the balsamic air of heaven, while, as the sap rises from the deep-hidden root into the mighty stem, the branches stir and move, and invisible forces sweep to and fro in its waving crown. Most shallow and superficial, in truth, is that physical science which would consider the system of nature, with all the marvels of beauty and majesty wherewith its Maker has adorned it, as nothing more than a piece of lifeless clock-work. In such a system the all-mighty Creator must appear at best but a great mechanical artist who has at his command infinite resources; or, if we may be allowed so absurd an expression, as the fittest to expose the absurdity of those who would regard the divine work, both in its whole and in its parts, as dead, an omnipotent clockmaker. If, however, to meet the needs of man’s limited capacity, we must, when speaking of the Creator, employ such trifling and childish similes, then of all human avocations and pursuits that of the gardener will serve best to illustrate the divine operations in nature. All-mighty and omniscient, however, He has Himself created the trees and flowers that He cultivates, has Himself made the good soil in which they grow, and brings down from heaven the balmy spring, the dews and rain, and the sunshine that quicken and mature them into life and beauty.

If, then, there be life in nature, as, indeed, observation teaches, and the general feeling of man avouches, it must also possess a vital development, which in its movements observes a uniform course and intrinsic law. In truth, the Creator has not reserved to himself the beginning and the end alone, and left the rest to follow its own course; but in the middle, and at every point, also, of its progress, the Omnipotent Will can intervene at pleasure. If He pleases He can instantaneously stop this vital development, and suddenly make the course of nature stand still; or, in a moment, give life and movement to what before stood motionless and inanimate. Generally speaking, it is in the divine power to suspend the laws of nature, to interfere directly with them, and, as it were, to intercalate among them some higher and immediate operation of His power, as an exception to their uniform development. For, as in the social frame of civil life, the author and giver of the laws may occasionally set them aside, or, in their administration, allow certain special cases of exception, even so is it, also, with nature’s Lawgiver.

Now, this immediate operation, and occasional interference of Supreme Power with the order of nature, is exactly what constitutes the idea of miracle. The general possibility of miracles is a principle which man’s sound and unsophisticated reason has never allowed him to deny. But, on the other hand, it is evidently essential to their very idea that they should be thought of simply as deviations from the usual course of nature’s operations; if they were not exceptions to the laws of nature, then were they no miracles. Such miraculous exceptions, however, it may be observed, need not invariably to be _contrary_ to the course of nature, though _above_ nature, and far transcending its ordinary standard, they always are. Exceptions, therefore, they are; but such, at the same time, as do not permanently disturb the natural course and flow of the vital development, which, on the whole, continues unchanged. For it is only agreeable with Creative wisdom to maintain the world so long as the present state of things subsists, and the final consummation has not yet arrived, in the order originally prescribed to it by His omnipotence.

To this an objection might be made in the opposite sense. Taken then in their principle, the laws of nature, no less than those exceptions to them which are usually called miracles, are one and the same; they are alike from the Creator of all--and the laws themselves, therefore, are equally miraculous. This remark is quite true; but it only teaches us that we ought not to be too ready to see a miracle in every extraordinary event. But still, there will ever remain an essential difference between an immediate operation of omnipotence and the Creator’s original production of a living force, implanting in this creature an inner law, and thereupon leaving to it the further evolution of its powers in the course marked out for and assigned to it.

Now, if such a creature, like this terrestrial nature, be of a mixed constitution, composed of a principle of destruction as well as of a principle of productive development and progression--if its life be a constant struggle with death, then it is manifest that only by the same hand which first formed it, gave it laws, and prescribed its order, can its wise and divine economy be preserved, and the permanence of the organic evolution of its whole system be secured, and the outbursts of elementary dissolution, which are perpetually menacing it, held in check and averted. If this restraint be once relaxed, if the destructive energy of the wild elements be once let loose, and free scope given to their fury--and this globe presents the manifest traces of one such catastrophe, at least--then this, too, must be regarded as an exception, and is only explicable by the higher principle of divine permission. Viewed, however, as the retribution of divine justice on a guilty world, it forms an exception and a miracle of a peculiar kind, and must be distinguished from those other extraordinary operations properly called miracles, wherein, with some saving or quickening purpose, the Almighty, as it were, raises nature above herself, and takes her out of her usual course.

In this way, then, we ought unquestionably to refer every thing in the world to its author and preserver, whether it be conformable to the usual course and order of nature, or, as an extraordinary phenomenon, bespeak a higher and more immediate operation of divinity. But, at the same time, we must never forget that nature itself is a living force endowed with a capacity of self-development. Nature, indeed, is not free in the same sense that man is, possessed and conscious of a power of self-determination and choice; but as all life contains in itself the germ of a free movement and expansion, and while it expands itself a hidden and slumbering consciousness begins to stir and awake, so also in nature, an initiatory or preparatory grade of it, if not fully out-spoken, is at least indicated. In this respect it may be regarded as the vestibule of that temple of freedom which in man, the crowning work of this earthly creation, and made after the divine image and likeness, stands forth in its full dimensions and proportions. Considered from another point of view, the sensible world may be looked upon as a veil thrown over the spiritual world--the light-flowing and almost transparent robe, and, as it were, in all its parts the significant costume of the invisible powers. But in no point of view can we rightly consider nature as properly self-subsisting, or independent of its Creator, and, therefore, in no case as isolated by itself and apart from all reference to a superior being. Rather is it a living force, and one, too, doubly significant, both from within and from without; to which property an allusion is contained in the simile already employed, of a book written both on the inside and the outside. These two ideas, then, of the free will of man and of the living development of nature, must be taken as the basis, and serve as the fixed point of every attempt to ascertain the divine order in nature. On this account we have placed them in the foreground of the present Lecture, which will, in the main, be consecrated to such an investigation.

If, now, this demonstration of a divine order in nature seem to contain nothing less than a kind of Theodicée[29] (so far as man can establish a justification of God’s ways), I, for my part, must confess that I would much rather have before my eyes a Theodicée for the feelings, conceived in the very spirit of love, than any purely rational theory. For such theories, founded in general on far-fetched hypotheses, subtilly introduce into nature numberless divine purposes and designs, of which, however, we are able neither clearly to understand, much less to prove that they were intended by the everlasting counsels, or even that such vestiges of a divine purpose are really discernible in the universe. In this province of speculation we must not be too rigorous in our determinations, and especially we must guard against systematizing. But, above all, we can not be too watchful against the fault which so many reasoners fall into, of transferring into the realm of nature, or of God, that logical necessary connection which is a part of and connatural with our rational constitution, and an indispensable aid to our limited intellectual powers. Such a way of thinking would inevitably lead us to that most mistaken notion of a blind fate--the phantom of destiny.

On the other hand, how many are the questioning feelings and perplexities which arise in the human heart at the sight of certain natural objects. And these even, because they are far from amounting to doubts and objections, or at least from assuming a definite expression or a scientific dignity, seem, on that account, only the more loudly to demand an answer. The mournful cry of some helpless and innocent animal when killed by man--or in a different category--the hissing of the venomous serpent; the lothsome mass of maggots in the putrid corpse: all these are but so many dumb exclamations which, as it were, do but keep back the question, Are, then, these the productions of the all-perfect Being--of the Supreme Intelligence?

The sufferings of animals are indeed a theme for man to reflect upon; and I, for my part, can not concur with him who would regard this as a topic unworthy of his thoughts, and expel from the human bosom all sympathy with the animal creation. The consideration, however, of this subject, naturally enough gives rise to the question as to the soul of animals. Now, it certainly would do no discredit to philosophy, if it should succeed in giving a satisfactory answer to this question, and enable us to follow a middle course; as remote from the exaggerated assumptions of ancient nations with regard to animal existence, on the one hand, as on the other, from the unfeeling conclusions of modern science, which refuses to regard or to sympathize with any pains, and absolutely is unable to conceive the sufferings of any being which does not possess the character of rationality exactly in the same manner and degree as man. As greatly, on the other side, does the Hindoo theology err. Its dogma of the metempsychosis not only ascribes an immortal soul to animals, but it also further teaches that human souls are imprisoned in animal bodies, as the penalty of a guilt incurred in a previous state of existence. Beautiful, however, as is the compassionate sympathy with the sufferings of the brute creation, which this theory has occasioned, and confirmed by the sanction of a religious duty, still the assumption on which it is founded is wholly arbitrary, and the extension of the immortality of the soul to these creatures of our globe is an unwarrantable exaggeration, and has no foundation in observed phenomena. Moreover, the hypothesis of such a migratory state of departed souls is inconsistent with every notion of the divine government of the world; inasmuch as such a temporary punishment can produce no salutary effect, either of purification or of preparation, and consequently would be wholly motiveless and absurd.

Very questionable, moreover, does it seem, whether, with propriety, an individual soul can be attributed to animals. With those that are most closely domesticated with man, there does undoubtedly arise, as it were, by a sort of mental contagion, the appearance of individuality and difference of character, just as the artistic structures of certain species form a kind of analogy to human reason, and as the melodious intonations and feelings of some others seemed to me entitled, in a similar sense, to be termed reverberations of fancy. In all those kinds, however, which remain undisturbed in their natural state, the whole species possesses the same character, and have, consequently, the same common soul.[30] The species itself is only an individual; and, consequently, the several species must be considered as so many living forms of the general organic force of animated nature, since an immortality of individual souls can, in the case of animals, neither be assumed nor allowed to be assumable.

Among those perplexities, or, as I termed them, questioning feelings about nature and its animating principle, I turn now to the consideration of the last instance, that of the maggots of putrefaction. Is not this one of the clearest possible proofs that all nature is animated?[31] So much so, and so eminently is this the case, that even in death and corruption, in foulness and disease, it still livingly operates and produces life--the lowest grade, undoubtedly, of life--or, if any so prefers to call it, a false life--but still a life. Now, can such morbid productions of nature, the worms, _e.g._ [_entozoa_], which in certain diseases are engendered in the bowels, be regarded as real creatures? Naught are they but the dissolving and crumbling matter of life, which even in dissolution is still living.[32] And this fact is not confined merely to organic corruption and disease. Even the element--the fresh water from the spring--is full of life, and it is the more so the clearer and the better it is and the purer from the microscopic animalculæ, which swarm in it more and more the longer it stagnates and becomes foul, until at last, as frequently happens when it has been kept long on shipboard, with the growing foulness of the water they increase in size, and swim about as worms of visible magnitude. Many other instances might be adduced in proof of this origination of worms and vermin out of corruption, and testifying to it as a general principle of nature. And are not those swarms of locusts which in Asiatic countries are a general plague of the lands over which they sweep with their thick and dark migratory hordes, a sickly proof that the atmosphere that has engendered them is passing, or has already fallen into corruption beneath the influence of some other contagious element?

That the air and atmosphere of our globe is in the highest degree full of life, I may, I think, take here for granted and generally admitted. It is, however, of a mixed kind and quality, combining the refreshing and balsamic breath of spring with the parching simoons of the desert, and where the healthy odors fluctuate in chaotic struggle with the most deadly vapors. What else, in general, is the wide-spread and spreading pestilence, but a living propagation of foulness, corruption, and death? Are not many poisons, especially animal poisons, in a true sense, living forces?

Now, may we not give a further extension to this mode of view, and apply the fact of a diseased propagation of a false life, as in the worms of putrefaction, to other unsightly productions of nature. May we not, for instance, consider serpents and snakes as the entozoa or intestinal worms of the earth? That the evil spirits are not without some influence on our terrestrial habitation, and that in many places their malignant influence is distinctly traceable is, at all events, undeniable. And accordingly, some have supposed the monkey tribe not to be an original creation of the Deity, but a satanic device and malicious parody upon man, as the envied favorite of God. That the “Prince of this world”--which expression, in its latter half, is surely not to be understood exclusively of man’s fallen race, but very evidently and expressively alludes to the existing fabric of nature and the corrupted world of sense--that the Prince of this world can exercise a certain degree of pernicious influence on the productive energies of the natural system in its present corrupt and vitiated condition, and that also, there is in nature itself a power to produce evil, are facts which do not admit of denial, and are noways inconsistent with revelation. Only we must not suppose that this baneful influence is not confined within certain limits. He to whom the Prince of this world, no less than the world itself, is subject, has, in His infinite wisdom, set a definite limit both of quantity and duration to this pernicious influence, as, in general, He does to every permission of evil.

At all events we must not for one moment suppose that in the book of nature we have a pure and uncorrupt text of God, and such as it originally came from the hands of its Author. It is of the highest consequence, for a due and right appreciation of the divine economy in nature, that we give full consideration to this fact. On this account it is important to keep in mind the distinction implied in that expression already quoted from the Mosaic history--“Let the earth bring forth.” For, according to this, it does not seem indispensably necessary to ascribe immediately to the good and wise Creator every thing that the earth brought forth; no, nor every thing that is produced by a nature now so imperfect--so diseased, too, in many parts--and visibly constrained to submit to hostile and foreign influences.

Many writers who, with the best intentions, undertake the task of indicating the divine wisdom in the existing order of things, and of defending the ways of Providence against the objections of human presumption and conceit, generally err by taking too narrow a view of their subject, and rigorously insisting on some one general principle, which, by means of very hazardous assertions, they succeed in finding in the whole and every part of the system of the universe. They leave out of sight altogether that Mosaic distinction already alluded to, which in appearance indeed is trifling enough, but yet in reality most essentially important. Consequently, the good work which they take in hand, instead of producing that general concurrence and conviction that it otherwise might, gives rise rather to fresh doubts and objections. The best solution of all such doubts--the most satisfactory answer to all such or similar questions or questioning feelings--lies in the final cause of the present constitution of things, considered as a whole and in general, and judged of from a regard to its triple character and triple destination. Now, according to this triple principle, we have, as already shown, to regard the present system of nature as being primarily a tombstone raised by Almighty benevolence--a bridge of safety thrown across the gulf of eternal death--a bridge, however, which we must not think of as quite so simple, broad, and straight as a bridge made by human hands, but an animated and ensouled bridge of life, and multiform, with many arms and branches, and presenting in some parts nothing more than a narrow footing, where the first false stop precipitates into the abyss beneath. But secondarily, according to this view, nature is grounded on and devoted to progress; a wonderful laboratory of manifold, diversified, and universal reproduction; and lastly, a glorious scale of resurrection, ascending up to the last and highest summit of terrestrial transfiguration. Now this laboratory lies in the hidden womb of nature, while in the noble outward structure of its organic formations this gradational scale manifests itself with a warning, a prognostication of the height of excellence to which it eventually leads. But now, if nature--as, judging from its original design, we may and must assume--were a Paradise for the blessed spirits of the previous creation, for the first-born sons of light, then most assuredly has it not continued so, any more than the first man has remained in the garden of Eden. No doubt, over a few favored spots of the existing globe, a rich fullness of ravishing beauty still hovers, awakening in the heart, as it were, the fleeting images of Paradisaical innocence--dying strains of a primal harmony--mournful reminiscences of the happy infancy of creation. For the powers of darkness and hostile spirits broke in upon the fair beauty of primeval nature, and laid it waste and wild. The garden of the earth in which the first man was placed, “to dress it and to keep it,” is, no doubt, called Paradise; and assuredly it was infinitely more beautiful, more wonderful, purer, and fuller of life, than the loveliest scenery which meets the eye in the fairest spots of the earth, and seems to be of an almost celestial beauty. But this is said only of the immediate inclosure, the immediate habitation of our first parent; the spot chosen and blessed by God--the garden watered and surrounded by the four streams. All the rest of nature, the whole of the world besides, must have ceased at that time to be a Paradise; for, otherwise, whence could the serpent have come? So that even according to the simple sense of the expression, “that old serpent,” he was already there, in the midst of the natural world. And was it not probably a part of the destination of man--at least, in its natural aspect--that, setting out from this divine starting-point of a Paradise prepared for and given to him, he was to go forth and convert the rest of the world into a similar Eden?

But this destination he did not, however, fulfill, and consequently lost even this beginning and model of the first Paradise. The names of the four streams which watered it are indeed still preserved in those regions of Asia, which even to this day are the richest and most fruitful, and, according to history, were the earliest inhabited. But the one source out of which they all took their rise has disappeared, and no vestige of it remains. With the loss of Paradise all is changed, not only in man himself, but in the earth as his place of abode.

The way of return out of this bewildered nature, or, if men prefer so to speak, out of this sunk and degraded, not to say unsound and sickly, state of the earthly and sensible world (and this way of return is even the way of obedience to the course of the divine order in nature), is indicated even by these three grades of its inmost character, its tendency, and ultimate destination. And in these, and in the final cause of the whole constitution of things, is contained its true key and interpretation, as well as the answer to so many questions about nature, which engage not merely the curious intellect of man, but also attract the sympathies of his soul, sweeping across it either with dark doubts and fears, or with bright intimations of life and glorious anticipation.

I spoke deliberately when I said to _many_ of these questioning feelings and perplexities of the human mind, and not all of them. For to expect a satisfactory answer to them all in the present state of science, or generally in this terrestrial life, brief as it is, and limited on all sides and short-sighted, would be agreeable neither with the course nor whole constitution of human affairs. A thoroughly complete and perfectly systematic demonstration of the wisdom in the divine order of nature, which should meet and explain every difficulty, would, even on account of such a pretension, command little respect, and be of slight influence. Much is there in nature which is to remain long hidden from man; much, too, which we shall see first of all in the other world, when death shall have opened our eyes and made us clear-sighted in one direction or another. But the beginning and the end are even here and now placed clearly and intelligibly before us, if only we are ready and willing to walk by the light that is so graciously given us, and here, as elsewhere, invariably to refer the first cause and the final consummation to the Creator and to God. Without such a reference, without thus, as it were, placing its two poles in God, the right understanding of nature is absolutely impossible, and every scientific attempt to attain it apart from and independently of God, must simply as such prove vain and involve itself in absurdities. Hence it is, however paradoxical it may sound, that we can recognize more distinctly, and better understand the end of nature, its meaning and significance as a whole, than we can the final cause of many a single object in it, which, however, as contrasted with the whole, appears inconsiderable and trifling. For the clear perception that we have of the final cause of nature comes immediately from the divine illumination, which therefore we can, so far as it is given to us, see and understand. But in the darker levels, in the subterranean shaft of the obscure sensible world, the prophetic candle of an antlike burrowing science, even though it be originally kindled at that higher light, can not reach to every quarter, can not illuminate every object in this mine of darkness.

But this final cause of creation, such as it is given to us clearly and intelligibly, will be rendered most clear by a comparison and contrast with the conceptions of the end of nature which human reason has put forth. If the proposition already quoted from one of the latest of German philosophers, that the essence of mind consists in the negation of the opposite, be now applied (which was the application I then had in my mind) to the Creator of the world and uncreated Intelligence, then the following must be the meaning involved in it. That which is the opposite of God or the Creator is nothing; and so far the proposition is quite true, since man can not but admit that the Almighty has created the world out of nothing. For if, with some of the ancient philosophers, we were to suppose a matter existing from all eternity, out of which God did not so much create as form the world, then in this case we should have two Gods, and both imperfect and finite, instead of the one all-perfect and self-sufficient Being. But if, on the other hand, the Deity be regarded as merely a not-nothing; if the final cause of creation be simply the negation of naught, then would such a view ascribe a sort of imaginary reality to the nothing, and it would seem that the world was created solely in order to get rid of the nothing, which comes pretty much to the same as saying--if we may allow ourselves so Lessing-like a boldness of expression--the Infinite made the world out of _ennui_. Thus, in every case do the skeptical views and empty negations of idealism lead to a contradictory nothing.

But, in reality and truth, it was out of love that God made the worlds; and, indeed, out of a superabundant love. This we may well venture to assert, and even to call it a fact; and that the divine love is also the final cause, as well as the beginning of creation. A superabundance of love in God we must, however, call the final cause-ground of creation, inasmuch as He stood in no need of it; no need of the love of the creature, nor absolutely of the world itself, or created things. For in His inmost essence, where one depth of eternal love responds fully and eternally to the other, He was perfectly sufficient for himself. And yet it is even so: there is in God the superabundance of love, for He has created the worlds, and it is the divine will to be loved by His creatures. For this end and purpose has He created them; and because He would have their love, He has created them free, and given both to the pure spirits and to men a free will. The whole secret in the relation subsisting between the creature, and man especially, and the Creator, lies even in this great fact, that He has created them out of love, and requires in return the service of their love. There is, perhaps, something awful in this requisition, and in the relation thus found to subsist between a weak and imperfect creature and the infinite and omnipotent Being. But it is even so: we are really free, and are really required by God to give him our love. But now a finite and created being can only be free so far as God leaves him free; and this is only conceivable in the light I have already set it in by the simile of a fond mother teaching her babe to walk, and in order to tempt it to make the first essay with its little limbs, stepping back from it a few steps, and leaving it a moment to itself. No creature could be free did not God, in a similar way, leave it to itself, and, after the first impulse of creation, withhold from it His controlling energy. But if He did not do so--were He, on the contrary, to act upon His creatures without reserve, and with the whole infinite extent of his might--then the liberty of the latter, overwhelmed in His omnipotence, must be destroyed, as being only possible through the spontaneous limitation of the divine power, which results from the superabundance of creative love.

Now we can, it is true, distinguish in the essence or energy of God, between His intelligence and His will--His omniscience and His omnipotence; but they can not be absolutely separated from and opposed to each other, for in Him and in His operations, they, as indeed all else in Him, are one. It would, therefore, be nothing but a foolish and unmeaning subtlety to demand, “Why, then, has the Omniscient created rational beings, of whom He must assuredly have known beforehand that they would fall and perish?” For it is but a logical illusion, when we transfer from the human to the divine mind a form of thought fluctuating between the conceivably possible and the apparently necessary. Man’s freedom undoubtedly consists in the choice between one possibility and another, or in that indefinite possibility which subsists half way between one necessity and another. But God’s freedom is not as man’s: in Him there is neither contingent possibility nor unconditional necessity. All in Him is truly actual, living, and positive. His freedom lies even in the superabundance of His essence--the fact, viz., that He is not bound by any law of necessity to remain contented with this His own internal fullness. For otherwise He were a Fate rather than a free God, and to that conclusion the doctrine of the Stoics consistently enough arrived at last. Extremely difficult must it ever be, in such a system and with such a conception of an intrinsically necessary God, and one bound by this necessity, consistently to account for the creation of the world, which, in appearance, is so irreconcilable with the idea of the self-sufficiency of the divine Being. On this account some of the similarly rationalizing systems of ancient times had recourse to the ingenious device of ascribing the work of creation to a spiritual being of an inferior order, and degrading this secondary deity far below the infinite perfections of the supreme and all-sufficient God. But by this expedient men did but fall, as is, alas! but too commonly the case, from one error into another still greater and even more monstrous. It is, in short, nothing but a mere logical delusion and an illegitimate transference from our limited faculty of thought to the divine intelligence, which gives rise to these pernicious doctrines of an absolute and unconditional predestination, which fundamentally amount and bring us back to a blind and heathenish fatalism.

Thus much, as connected with our subject, will be sufficient on the difficult subject both of the freedom of the pure created spirits and also of man’s will, as regarded solely from its philosophical aspect, and without any reference to the moral theory, and solely in relation to the system of the universe. Difficult, however, is this subject, merely on one account. The logical illusion, from which springs all error, strife, and confusion, and which we are too apt to transfer to the divine mind, is so far innate in the very form of man’s finite intellect, than even when we have recognized it for what it really is; yet, so long as we confine ourselves to mere logical reasoning, and are seduced by its seeming rigor of consequence, we are ever ready to fall anew into this dangerous error without even remarking it.

In the same way, now, that the existence of free beings follows naturally from the love of God, as the final cause of creation, so, on the other hand, the permission of moral evil is a mere result of that freedom in and through which these created beings have to run their appointed time. For this freedom, as considered with a reference to God and futurity, or to the immortality of the soul, is nothing else than the time of trial and the state of probation itself. But, perhaps it will be asked, “Why, then, does not God, by one nod of retributive justice, by one breath of His omnipotence, annihilate forever, as He so easily might, the whole company of evil and rebellious spirits, together with their leader, the Prince of this world, and so purify the whole visible creation, and release external nature from their desolating influence?” To this the answer is simple and at hand. Man is placed in this world on his trial and for a struggle with evil, and this warfare is not yet ended. But by such an annihilation of evil, the living development of nature would be precipitated in that course which God originally designed it to advance through, and cut short before the appointed time of final purification, when, according to His promise, He will, as Holy Writ expresses it, create new heavens and a new earth, and make perfect the whole creation.[33]

Man is free, but utterly unripe as yet; and thoroughly incomplete also is nature, or the sensible world, and material creation; consequently, the immortality of the soul is the corner-stone and key for understanding the whole. For the mere beginning of creation is perfectly unintelligible so long as we do not take into consideration the other extreme or end--its final completion and ultimate consummation. Just as the half of human life on this side the grave can not be understood unless we contemplate, at the same time with it, its second half on the other side of the tomb, as its complement, and as a necessary element toward the elucidation of the whole.

As, then, the permission of evil finds a satisfactory explanation in man’s probationary state, and in God’s love, as the final cause of the creation, so also the physical evils and sufferings to which the free being is liable are fully accounted for on that principle. This is the key of the enigma of their existence. None of the sufferings of the free being, on either side of the grave, are unprofitable and without a motive. They all serve, either in this preparatory state of earthly existence, for probation, for discipline, or for confirmation, or else, after it, for the perfect healing of the soul, and its purification from all the remaining dross and taints of earth.[34] Scarcely ever can the diseased matter be got rid of and expelled from the organic body with out a struggle, and very seldom without pain. Gold is purified by the fire, and pain is the fiery purification of the body. This belief is one which ought least of all to have been called into question, inasmuch as it is only consonant to the simple feelings of human nature. For otherwise, how narrowly must the hopes of the future be confined, if nothing that is unclean shall enter into heaven--the Holy of Holies--the immediate presence of the pure and holy God!

It is not, however, my intention to make this consolatory and blessed hope of a loving and longing heart the topic of dispute, especially since it lies altogether beyond my present limits. I will only allude to the words of the Savior, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” By the “Father’s house” we must, it is clear, understand the future world. On other side, therefore, of the grave, as well as on this, many divisions, many degrees, and many different states, and also manifold transitions, are not merely conceivable and possible, but must of necessity be assumed as actually existent, even though we can not be too cautious in avoiding all hasty decisions as to what is going on in this hidden world. Only we must ever remember that any absolute line of demarcation which on one side has nothing but white, while all that lies on the other is black, is very rarely the line of truth. And this principle holds good, it is plain, in every relation and every possible application. For such a trenchant line of sharp and unmitigated contrast between black and white is even one of those intellectual deceptions connatural to man, which disposes him too hastily to transfer to all without him the limited form of his own finite intellect. All the pains, therefore, and all the sufferings of the creature, whether on this or the other side of the grave, serve either to exercise and strengthen, or to heal and purify, the yet imperfect being, with the single exception of that bitterest of all agonies--the pain of being left eternally to ourselves. But even here, although there is no hope of a salutary effect, a species of converse propriety seems to hold.

It is, we remarked, the problem of philosophy, leaving to physics the whole development of life that lies intermediate between the beginning and end, to explain the two extremes of nature. As, therefore, we have examined one of these extremes, and have discovered in the whole terrestrial creation a Paradise as the blessed state of the still innocent infancy of nature, before the revolt of the rebellious spirits and the fall of the first man, the present seems the place for a few words touching the opposite extreme--the regions of outer darkness. We can safely admit that the figurative representations, not merely of painters and poets, but occasionally also of the preacher, are so horrible, and heaped together with so little consistency--the dark colors laid on so thick, that the whole assumes to the feelings an appearance of improbability, and, on this account, makes, for the most part, no very deep impression. But the spiritual significance of these sufferings, and the sort of propriety and design which holds, even in this unnatural state, on the utmost borders of creation, may, perhaps, be made clear by a very simple illustration. Most reluctantly, and with a heavy heart assuredly, would an earthly parent resolve to turn out of his house, and formally to disinherit, his first-born and beloved son, even though he should have proved himself utterly worthless and hopelessly depraved. But even if an earthly parent might be too hasty in his anger, and actually be harsh and unjust, still we may boldly assume that the love of our Heavenly Father, in patience and gentleness, far transcends the truest parental love that is to be found on earth. But when it actually comes to this point of offended mercy and justice, then the disinherited, cast out into the regions of darkness, joins the band of robbers who in the night lurk about his father’s house, seeking where they may break into it. No other choice is left him than to become a robber, and, whether he will or no, he must obey the leader of the band. But better taught and as yet softer of heart than the rest, he must go through many hardships and sufferings ere he becomes quite like the others--as hard-hearted as the “murderers from the beginning,” who the while look down upon him with scorn and contempt.

What I would say is this: many degrees, and undoubtedly extreme degrees, of pain and torment, are necessary before the man cast out from the presence of God can be wholly and completely transformed into an evil spirit. And this is, perhaps, the proper meaning and essential character under which we are to think of these endless torments of spiritual death and ruin. If, moreover, this eternal death is often described as an unquenchable fire, then unquestionably there lies in this figure, even physically considered, a certain truth, inasmuch as even in this world and in visible nature, fire, when left to itself and to its true essential character, is the proper element of destruction. In the sun’s genial influence, indeed, and in the blood of the living soul, it is constrained and moderated into the wholesome warmth of life; but in itself, and working in its elementary state, it is destructive and opposed to all the other elements. To the light all that has life turns instinctively, and in the air it breathes and pulsates, and from water it draws a part at least of its nourishment. It is only incidentally that the air and water become destructive, but the fire is so in its proper nature. A perfectly organized animal that lived in fire would, in a greater or less degree, fill every mind with horror and alarm, as having no part in and wholly alien from that nature which is known to and friendly to man. On this account, many even of the ancient philosophers taught that the end of the present visible and the external and sensible world, would be brought about by a general conflagration.

The permission of evil is an immediate consequence of the creation of free beings. But although it may be regarded as a fact, that God has created free both the spirits and man, still we must be on our guard how we introduce into this matter any notion of necessity, and suppose that God must have made them free, and could not have created any other. For man is only too prone to transfer his own imaginary conceit of necessity to the Deity himself, and to feign to see it in Him. This, however, were a most grievous error; and yet it is one into which men almost inevitably fall when they adopt either a rigorously systematic or purely logical view of the matter. Could not God in his omnipotence have created powers and dominions which, even though they were living energies and ensouled principalities, should, nevertheless, be without the property of self-determination and a true liberty, and which would consequently require some other nature, but similar to themselves, to rule and direct them? In this sense we read of the spirits of nature, ensouled elementary powers and living forces, which are described as being seized and taken possession of by the power of evil, but as hereafter to be set free by the efficacy of redeeming love, and again subjected to and united to God. Now, as connected with this subject, it is deserving of consideration, that in all the declarations and allusions of the Eternal Truth this present earthly nature is spoken of as the battle-place of invisible powers, the debatable ground on which the two armies of good and evil spirits and elements are posted in hostile array against each other, and perpetually coming into collision.[35]

Could not God, had such been His pleasure, have created other beings, and by the fiat of His all-mighty will have raised them at once above all the dangers of liberty, and enduing them with perfect holiness, and exempt from all liability to fall, have drawn them to Himself in eternal love?

I have hitherto, wherever it has been my object to give a clearer and sharper characterization of the human consciousness by means of a comparison with the faculties of intellect and will possessed by superior but created spirits, confined myself to the idea of the pure spirits, genii or angels. But if it should have been the divine pleasure to create other spiritual beings with an organic body--one, perhaps, not like the human, but still of a very noble though animal form, endued of course with an immortal soul and with a knowledge of God--who is there in such a case to set limits to the omnipotent will? Now if, as already supposed, they were created in perfect holiness, and exempt from the liability to fall, it is easily conceivable how in this respect they would be higher than frail and imperfect man, and must be regarded as a part of the spiritual world, rather than as belonging to the human race or to the existing system of nature.

All these are not so much inappropriate and impertinent conjectures and idle fancies, as calmly mooted questions for explanation, which arise out of and are suggested by certain traditions and points of revelation.

Lastly, if the Almighty had resolved to create a perfect being, so far above and before all the other creatures of His will, as to stand next to Himself, and be, as it were, the mirror and reflection of His own infinite perfections--and many a word in Holy Writ seems to allude to something of the kind--then it is not difficult to see how the already-quoted expression of a soul of God would receive a better sense. This being, so superior to all other created spirits, must in any case be regarded as a soul, and for the most part of a passive essence, for otherwise it would stand too close and near to Deity itself. And it is manifest, that even here the ever-immeasurable interval which separates the Creator from the most perfect of creatures must be most carefully kept in view. And at all events this expression must in no case be applied to the second or third persons of the Godhead, nor be confounded therewith, otherwise this designation would not only be false, but altogether an abomination.

Revelation contains an inexhaustible mine of verities, and I have only wished, by the way, to call attention to these as yet unexplored treasures. But it is above all important, for the philosophical point of view, steadily to insist upon and enforce the truth, that in no respect can we form a notion adequately grand and lofty, or rich and manifold enough, of the Creation. The compactly-closed and orderly-arranged system is almost always the death of truth. So also is that line--which, however, seems to be a connatural fault in the very form of man’s faculty of judgment--that straight line between black and white, for even if it be not radically wrong, it yet leaves much on both sides unconsidered and ill understood.

With this impression, I shall allow myself to notice an opinion but little known, which, moreover, if I had not met with it in writers who, in this province of inquiry, are of the highest authority, I should scarcely have ventured to adduce. In this department of spiritual knowledge, a man would much rather confine himself to the simple primary truth than call attention to mere opinions. The opinion I allude to is to be found in St. Jerome, _i.e._, in that very Father who, for theological judgment, is acknowledged by all to be the first and the greatest. It was held also by St. Francis de Sales, that holy saint of spiritual love, and who, even on that account, is so superior to the many hundreds of the schoolmen before him, as also to so many ideologists after him. Lastly, it occurred to Leibnitz, who, of all philosophers, was most possessed of a true and fine intellectual tact to perceive and discover all the most secret, delicate traits of a great system, even though most remote in character from his own. But still, with this array of great authorities, it remains nothing more than a wholly problematical opinion, on which, as an article of positive faith, nothing is or ever can be decided. Now this opinion is, that in the revolt of the rebellious spirits, while those who remained in their state of innocence and in their allegiance rallied only the closer round their Creator, a considerable number, fearful and undecided, vacillated between good and evil, and, as we might justly say, with the weakness of the human character, remained neutral in the conflict, and thereby lost their original place in the hierarchy of the heavenly host, without, however, being counted among the utterly lost. As a fourth authority for this opinion, I might adduce Dante. He is indeed a poet, but still a theological poet, and deeply versed in theology, who would never have arbitrarily devised or invented, or even adopted such a notion, had he not found it existing among others before him, and had he not been able to adduce a good and valid authority for it. As a good Ghibelline, he was, moreover, no friend of neutral spirits, either in this world or the other; and he passes the most severe sentence upon those beings whom, as he says, heaven has cast out, and hell would not receive.[36]

But what--if we may propound the question with something more of philosophical indifference than the poet--what, according to the analogy of the divine economy and merciful justice, as elsewhere displayed, are we to suppose the doom of these undecided and wavering spirits? In the first place, we may well suppose that they would be submitted to a new probation: just as a general gives another opportunity to the troops, who in some evil moment have shown a want of spirit, to retrieve their honor. Now, if it be allowable to assume that this, or some similar idea, or some tradition of the kind, had an influence on and gave rise to the doctrine of the pre-existence of men, which is so generally diffused among the Hindoos, and which was also held by the Platonists, and even Christian Platonists, of the first centuries, we can then conceive how this otherwise so arbitrary assumption and groundless hypothesis could have arisen. Groundless, however, it may well be named, not only because no cause or explanation of it is adduced, but as being agreeable neither to the nature of the soul nor to the constitution of things; so that, regarded even in this light, it must be looked upon as a singular instance, and consequently as an exception from the laws of nature and as a miraculous intervention of divine power. But a mere pre-existence of spirits would, however, be no true pre-existence in the sense of the Hindoo theology, or of the Platonists, since, by its union with and by the accession of a soul, it becomes a wholly different and quite a new being. Moreover, in this hypothesis, as it is further worked out in the Hindoo and Platonic systems, the whole character and true destination of human life is entirely misunderstood, inasmuch as it is represented as a place and period of punishment; whereas, rightly conceived, and even philosophically contemplated, it appears rather as a battle-place, and the time of discipline and preparation for eternity.

It is the problem and vocation of philosophy not merely to set forth the truth clearly and simply, but also, whenever it can be done incidentally and easily, to account for and explain great and remarkable errors, especially such as were prevalent among the earliest nations and ages. Now, among those errors which are most remarkable in ancient history, this of the Hindoos and Platonists holds in my eyes a very prominent place. But philosophically to explain an error, means not to reject it at once as absurd and undeserving of notice, but requires rather that we should first of all really understand it, _i.e._, that we should study it, and, to a certain degree, enter into its spirit, and seek to discover its best significance, or, in other words, that interpretation which is nearest to the truth, and then in conclusion accurately to determine the point where error begins and truth is violated.

All this, however, may now be left to its own merits. In touching upon it, my only object has been to call attention to the wonderful variety of God’s creative power, even in the copious theme of the immortality of the soul. And in this view it appeared to me not unprofitable to notice even the most discrepant theories on the subject, as being nevertheless well calculated to throw a clear and steady light on the simple truth. In the last age, since the Hindoo metempsychosis, as it is now accurately and authentically known, appeared too serious and sad a doctrine to meet with the welcome and concurrence of the existent generation, a brighter and more fanciful theory was propounded. In it this life has been astronomically depicted in the brightest and most attractive colors as a walk among the stars, continually ascending from one sidereal existence to another. In the limited range of human knowledge, it is alike impossible to deny or to prove the possibility of such a migration among the stars. But it is evidently a wiser course, and one far more agreeable to the nature and limits of man’s powers of understanding, for him to confine his views to his own immediate home--the earth--investigating, sifting, and divining its mysteries, than to lose himself in airy dreams amid the whole starry universe. For, perhaps, that which man is seeking so far off he may find much closer to his own doors than he suspects. For it is not improbable that this planet of our earth contains in its interior many subterranean courses and secret chambers of death, together with the seeds of light which are to spring up into the future resurrection.

But this may be reserved for consideration in another place. Here I will only add, in conclusion, that opposite to that gradational scale, already so often mentioned, which the vast pyramid of nature forms in relation to God and its own living development, stands another scale for man, adapted to his needs and suited to his narrow position and limited intelligence. In this scale, nature, _i.e._, in this sense, the nature which most immediately surrounds and environs man, this planet of our earth which bears and nourishes the human race, is first of all man’s habitation, teeming, indeed, with life, and even itself a living thing, in which, however, he is ever meeting here and there with something that tells him it is not his proper home. In the second step of this view of nature, which contemplates it principally in its relation to man and man’s wants, the natural world in its present form appears as the battle-place and debatable ground of the still undecided, or, rather, not as yet terminated, struggle between the good and evil powers, and the fiercer the strife again begins to be, the more necessary is it not to overlook this aspect of the matter. The third gradation in this view of nature, considered relatively to the mind or spirit of man in his finite existence, is that which teaches him to look upon it as the visible veil of the invisible world, covered all over and richly ornamented with significant symbols and hieroglyphics. And even because nature itself is even a symbolical being, therefore, when we speak of its inmost life and its spirit, or its meaning as a whole, _i.e._, when we attempt to study and to understand it, not physically only, but even philosophically, we can only hope to convey our meaning symbolically, by employing scientific illustrations and living symbols.



God is a spirit of truth; and in the realm of truth, therefore, the divine order, and the law of wisdom which reigns therein, shines forth with an especial clearness--with a higher degree of evidence or greater perspicuity than even in the region of nature, which for us is for the most part half-dark, or at the very best but a _chiaro-oscuro_--a mixture of light and darkness. But man, formed out of the dust of the earth, placed, as it were, in the very center of nature, as its first-born son or its earthly lord, is in this respect himself a natural being. Even in his susceptibility for higher and divine truth, man is tied to and is dependent on a similar and collateral grade of development in the life of nature, which can in no case be violently broken, nor a step in it arbitrarily overleaped, without involving the most disastrous consequences as the penalty of so unnatural a course. Even in education there reigns a similar law of gradual development according to the natural progression of the different ages of life. With the boy of good and natural abilities, who shows an aptness and willingness to learn when knowledge is presented to his mind, and implanted in a true and living form, the teacher’s first care is to improve this disposition, and to strengthen and to foster it, and, by furnishing it with the due measure and the right quality of intellectual culture, gradually to develop its powers. At this age the moral part of education will wisely confine itself to laying a foundation of good habits, to the careful exclusion of all evil communication and the deadly contagion of wicked example. In the soft and yielding character of the child there can scarcely be as yet any question about principles or sentiments. But the case is very different with youth. If at this time of life the moral character be not carefully formed simultaneously with its scientific cultivation, then is the good season irreparably lost, and rarely, if ever, can the deficiency be afterward supplied. For when this stage of intellectual and moral culture is once passed, when the mind has begun at last to move with greater freedom and to mature itself, the young man is at once admitted to the full light of science, or enters into the busy course of active life, to be there brought to the touchstone of experience.

And a similar series of gradation may be observed on a larger scale in the historical succession and development of the ages of the world. For such is, in every case, the gradual expansion of man’s consciousness, as he is at present constituted. His senses must be first excited and expanded; then, and then only, with any good result, can the soul be led to the good and divine, which, however, not content to dismiss them after the first look of wonder and amazement, it must rather dwell upon with the full and deep feelings of admiration and reverence; until at last, being wholly filled with them, it derives from their inspiration a new stimulus and excitement, and thereby is forever and permanently directed to the true end and aim of existence. And now at last can the free spirit apprehend aright the divine truth, and, in the spirit of this knowledge, act with vital energy, conformably to that position in God’s great world which has been assigned and allotted to him.

And this order can not be transgressed with impunity. None of its intermediate steps can be overleaped without involving the most fearful consequences. If the senses be not first of all excited and expanded, then will it be lost labor to attempt to win and fortify the heart, or to turn the soul toward the never-setting sun of divine truth. And, accordingly, how many attempts, both on a large and a small scale, at the moral regeneration of mankind have totally failed even for want of the first step of a forerunning light and previous illumination, by which the observation should have been roused, the senses stimulated, and the eye opened. But when, on the contrary, the full light is imparted to or gained by the mind, while the soul still remains enveloped in darkness and fast wedded to its evil habits, without attaining to a higher exaltation, then, indeed, the result is equally grievous, though different from that which follows from the mistake of overleaping at the first step. It has an effect; it does not remain without an influence. So long as the moral part of man is wholly neglected, and is either left rude and barbarous, or suffered to become degenerate, then science works indeed, but only as a destroying element. In so bad a soil the true knowledge is ever transformed into false, and the more profoundly it is apprehended--the more vividly and vigorously it is pursued--the more fatally, perniciously, and destructively does it work. The examples and the proofs of the injurious consequences of too rapid and premature development of scientific enlightenment amid a general prevalence of moral depravity, and the subversion of those principles which are the foundation of national existence and prosperity, might easily be found at no great distance from our own age. And they admit also of being demonstrated as clearly and convincingly by earlier instances from the history of the Greeks and Romans. The production of these proofs, however, would carry us beyond our present limits, and the truth they would establish is not, moreover, the end to which our present disquisitions are directed. The theme of this Lecture is the course observed by eternal wisdom, or the divine order in the realm of truth. My object is to call your attention to the care with which Providence observes a gradual progression in its mental development of the human race, lovingly suiting and adapting itself to the weakness and finiteness of humanity, and to the imperfection of earthly creatures, according to that principle of divine condescension, so often mentioned already, which, throughout the divine operations in the world, and His influence on man, is distinctly visible.

Thus, then, in the knowledge immediately imparted to man by a higher providence we may discern a preliminary period--a previous illumination, in order to reopen the eye of man, which heathenism had blinded to the truth, that it might be able to see and discern God. This first step of revelation was little more than a preparation for the future; but the second was, or has been, an illumination of the soul--a vital renewal of it--a total conversion of it from the state of darkness to the Everlasting Light and the Sun of Righteousness. But in this living development of the highest life, which is even the divine light of the Spirit, the third and last step (which indeed commences in and is involved in the second, even as it also had its germ in the first) is the full enlightenment of the spirit or mind. And accordingly this full revelation is in Scripture itself, as being the close and completion of the whole, expressly described, and named the last time.

Before attempting, however, to point out the divine order in the education of the human race, by the gradual revelation of truth, two general and preliminary remarks seem called for. I observe, then, first of all, that when we speak of sense, soul, and spirit, as the successive terms in the growing capacity of the human consciousness for a higher knowledge and heavenly training, and for truth in general, but more especially for divine truth, then the general sense of truth, which such an hypothesis supposes, and which indeed is its essential foundation, must be understood as comprising all those other particular species, branches, or departments which we have already enumerated. I mean the common sense of sound reason. For that susceptibility for the impressions of nature, and the understanding, which, as I said before, constitute the sense for the revelation of spirit, or the spirit of revelation--whether written or historical--are alike comprised in that one and common sense for truth. Or perhaps we may rather say, that by their joint operations they form it; while, however, in its special application, now this now that constituent preponderates--or perhaps that this one and universal sense for truth is called into action, and made to co-operate now in this direction and now in that. Moreover, that internal concurrence and assent of the will, which I have endeavored to show is the proper sense in man for God and for divine things, belongs also, as an essential and element of its constitution, to this general sense for truth. For that the opposite fault of self-will and obstinacy is in the highest degree a hinderance of good, even in the acquisition of knowledge and the recognition of truth, is found by experience in the earliest essays of education. But not only in the elementary principles of learning, but even in the most highly-finished and elaborate systems of metaphysical ideas, constructed by the profoundest thinkers and philosophers, does this spirit of negation and contradiction show itself, and prove the greatest obstacle to truth and the most fruitful source of error.

The second remark which we have to make before entering upon the immediate subject of our Lecture refers to the natural progression of the living development of the human consciousness. This gradation, we would observe, holds good, and is applicable, not merely to the moral education of man, but also to the intellectual improvement of man’s capacity, as at present constituted, for all higher and divine verities. But, however true this may be, where the general sense for truth is not from the first open and full of light, where the soul is not already perfectly free and pure; yet on the other hand there is nothing against--on the contrary, every thing favors the supposition, that the earliest revelation imparted to mankind--the illumination which was given to the first man, and bestowed upon him as his heavenly inheritance on earth, was a full and perfect enlightenment of his mind [_geist_]. For his senses were open and clear, his soul as yet incorrupt, pure, and free. Both were directed to God, and being one with and at unison with nature, were keenly alive to and deeply impressed by every token of God’s glory and majesty in creation. It is quite an error to assume, or, rather, to fancy, that this state of purity and innocence was a state of ignorance like that of the child or of the wild man. The tree of life was given to him entirely and without reserve, as also dominion over the earth, whose first-made living creatures the Lord subjected to his dominion, bringing them before him to call and to name them. The knowledge of death was indeed designedly withheld from him, as also the existence of the evil spirits, even because it was exactly therein that his trial and probation were to consist. And so both are perfectly reconcilable: that height of knowledge in the clearest light of nature, which the sacred traditions of all primitive nations so positively and unanimously assign to the first man, is in nowise inconsistent with that ignorance of death which is no less expressly ascribed to him. Moreover, had man but preserved and kept alive in his heart this feeling of God, he would immediately have recognized his enemy, and even thereby have triumphed over him, and become the redeemer of nature, instead of requiring, now that he has failed in that his high destination, a Redeemer for his own fallen race. This first revelation, therefore, was, we may well assume, in the beginning as it will also be in the end, a full enlightenment of the spirit of man, but which, however, was soon darkened by his disobedience and fall. This, too, is the shape which the matter assumes in the legendary history of all the primeval nations of antiquity, and these are the threads of light which in the labyrinthine confusion of legends, symbols, and tongues of earliest heathendom, carry us safely out of its mazes and back to the clear starting-point of the pure and undefiled revelation of God. It were not difficult to show how, through the first two millenniums and a half, or five-and-twenty centuries, a higher providence and divine guidance was ever quietly carrying on these luminous threads of original truth, and from time to time renewing them. But this history of the human mind in the primeval world, however highly attractive, would take us out of our proper limits. Upon the eclipse of man’s soul, when spiritual darkness universally prevailed, the senses originally open to a higher light were closed against it. His better perceptions were overwhelmed or buried beneath a chaos of true and false or half-true images and symbols. Then it was that the natural law of spiritual development commenced in its full force. It followed the progression already described. In the first term the numbed and deadened sense had to be awakened and quickened again, and in its second the soul renewed, purified, and converted, before either could become susceptible of the full and perfect illumination of the Spirit. To trace this natural law in the human consciousness and in the divine education of mankind, and to ascertain the progressive steps in the divine revelations, expressly given and designed to effect that gradual development, is the object of the present Lecture.

The first step or term thereof was the selection of a single people to be the schoolmaster of the whole human race.[37] When the heathenish mass of legends or myths and symbols had reached the height of confusion, and the evil had become otherwise incurable, one nation was chosen and set apart by God as His instrument in opening the eyes of men to the abyss of error in which the whole world was plunged, and to direct their looks exclusively to the future. Many prophets were sent to the chosen people, and it was at first guided and ruled by none but prophets. And, perhaps, we can not form a more correct notion of the character and history of this people, so peculiarly distinguished from all the other nations of the ancient world, than by thinking of it absolutely and in its destination as the _prophetic_ people exclusively intended to point to a distant future, and whose leading ideas and inmost feelings were to be attached to, and to look far into, a remote futurity. Three strokes or words, at most, comprise the highly-simple revelation of the first stage--the first ray of light at the beginning--in which, however, lies contained the hidden key and solution for the chaos of legends, and all the enigmas of the primitive world and of primeval history. But this brief and simple revelation was accompanied with a strict line of demarcation between the Gentiles and the chosen people, who were separated from all the heathen nations by customs and laws, while a long ray of hope reached far into the distant future. This point of light at the beginning was, however, but little considered and ill-understood; the line of demarcation, too, was often transgressed upon the slightest pretext and most ordinary temptations. And when at last it was more strictly kept, it was observed, not in its spirit, but in the letter; and, in consequence, even that high and lofty-hope which irradiated it was totally misunderstood, being interpreted, in a narrow spirit of national exclusiveness, of a temporal Redeemer, and a political redemption from the yoke of the Roman oppressor. This delusion, and the extreme ingratitude with which, consequently, the Light that came into the world was, on the whole, received by those to whom It was in the first place communicated, has been often painted in the darkest colors of indignant censure by the stern pen of history. The stiffneckedness of the Jews has been a fruitful theme for virtuous indignation. But, for my part, I hardly know whether, in this respect, a different and more favorable sentence can be passed on the generations which have witnessed the subsequent steps of divine revelation in its further development. Full time was allowed to the prophetic people to develop itself; and, after the lapse of twenty-fire centuries, which make up the first age of the world, a millennium and a half was allowed to this initiatory step of revelation. And now, at length, after forty centuries of preparation and hope, when the long, dark winter of the olden idolatry was over, the historical development of the human race reached its culminating point, and with the vernal solstice [_Fruhling’s-Solstitium_] of this new manifestation commenced the second term in this series of revelation or of the divine education of the human race. Even from its very first opening, every thing characterizes this second term of development as not intended for a complete and final revelation of spirit and knowledge. Promising, and reserving to the future that final manifestation, it forms, in this respect, a marked contrast to the highly-cultivated science of the Greeks, which, however, in spite of its high pretensions, did but become continually more and more sensuous in its character. The immediate object of this second enlightenment of the whole human race was to be a total conversion of the soul from its previous earthly darkness to the everlasting light and the one and only Sun of Truth, and thereby to effect a complete renewal of life, and a reformation of all its habits, customs, and institutions. This alone did God require; and glorious, and noble, and deeply-touching was the conflict in which this wholly new but heaven-descended sentiment had to engage with the opposing spirit of the old world.

But men soon relapsed into their former discord; and it is now our painful task to point out the rise and growth of this dissension through the succeeding eras of history. For thus only--by considering, in every period, man’s relation, or, rather, his opposition, to the divine revelation--is it possible, amid the rapid progress of the widening disagreement, to trace the divine order which rules amid the anarchy of mind, and to follow it along its path of light up to its appointed end, and to its close and conclusion.

In the first three or four centuries of Christianity, this spirit of opposition showed itself in two different forms. In the one, the new and simple faith was first of all perverted into a chaos of philosophical fictions of an old Asiatic character.[38] In the other, a secret and half infidelity hid itself behind a veil of words,[39] against which the faith must defend itself behind an outwork of words also; and in this period of history, a subtile and refined logomachy first of all attained to a great and lasting importance for mankind. In this dispute, the simple foundation of the faith was indeed maintained and defended, in its purity and integrity, against all hostile attacks; but the first-love lost much of its freshness and ardor. Consequently the new life, which sprung up with the new faith, was unable to fulfill the hopes which at its first rise men had reasonably entertained of it, and, by reforming the corrupt civilization of the old Roman world, to renew it entirely in God. Accordingly, an alien and purely physical element had to be associated with it. The northern nations were called in to infuse fresh energy into the worn-out races of England.

In this work of physical regeneration three centuries were again spent. But at the close of this first period, it was seen, on a sudden, how little the olden spirit of dissension had been really conquered, or even mollified. The faith, it was said, may, in all essential points, be perfectly identical, but a division may be, and still subsists, notwithstanding. But what does that mean, but that the God and Savior of the world worshiped by the East, is different from Him whom the West acknowledges? And thus the one God and the one faith was in the life of man again divided into two; and this singular schism, without any adequate cause, still subsists to the present day.[40] In the following great period a fresh life blossomed in rich and manifold expansion out of that revelation of love which, properly speaking, now first of all put forth its full vital energies, giving a new shape to all the institutions of human society, and impressing on art, as well as on moral and political science, a new character, totally different from that which they possessed among the most enlightened nations of antiquity. Viewed in its loving aspect, _i.e._, in its chivalry, there is much in this period to attract and engage our enthusiasm and sympathies, but for the fearful discord which broke out within it, and set one half of the world in hostile array against the other. The two powers which ought to work together for one divine end--the two swords of which the Lord had said, “It is enough,”[41]--the spiritual sword of the kingdom of faith and truth, and the civil sword of earthly justice, were drawn and held in threatening attitude against each other, by which, however, the minds of men were torn and distracted by the inward struggle of conflicting duties in a far greater degree than the external peace of society was disturbed. But it was not merely in such a collision that the strife alone showed itself; but it extended even to the confusion of the two domains, and a forgetfulness of their proper duties and respective positions.

In the instance, it is true, of the mailed ecclesiastic, however, at first sight, the union in one person of such opposite characters as the soldier and priest may startle the mind, the gallant and noble bearing of the spiritual knight soon reconciles us to the strange phenomenon. So, too, when he whose vocation it was to hold the pastoral staff began also to sway the scepter of a civil prince, the eminent skill and judgment with which the difficult task of discharging the double and often conflicting duties of so mixed a sovereignty was accomplished, silence every murmur of a protest. But when he who ought to carry the crosier of peace hoisted the pennon of war, such a sight naturally gave great offense, and sadly perplexed the minds of men.

Thus, then, passed seven centuries more, making, with the eight already described, fifteen altogether that have elapsed from that great center of the world’s history, when the spiritual sun reached its meridian altitude in this earthly life. These, added to the fifteen which had previously passed from the first shining of the light of revelation, make no less than three millenneums. And to these, again, three centuries more are to be added. Such is the extremely slow course of the divine guidance of the world, as regulated by the inexhaustible patience and long-suffering of God in the education of his human creatures.

In this last period, however, the spirit of discord has become still more general, and has broken out in all its violence, gradually attacking and drawing into the dispute every institution of society and every department of life. In the wonderful coincidence of many and great discoveries, simultaneously made in widely-distinct and independent branches of science, the spirit of man read the proclamation of his majority. Conscious of this intellectual ripeness, in the first use of its new powers it assumed toward the faith an attitude of estrangement and controversy, instead of calmly advancing along the assigned path toward perfection. Even at the very commencement of this period, the hostile relation between the new science and the ancient faith is perceptible enough. But it soon showed itself more distinctly, as the rupture became wider and more general, till at last the discord extended to the very faith itself, which was henceforth broken up into bitter and opposing parties. Still later, a newer and deeper animosity divided the faith in general from the whole civil and political life, from which in many places its religious foundation was altogether removed. And now that life was thus deprived of its higher and spiritual significance, the strife became universal and complete. Involving science and life into the discord, it set them also in deadly array against each other--for life thus unspiritualized could no longer reconcile itself to the dreamy ideal of a science which at most was but partially true, while life itself could not satisfy the requisitions of science. And fearful was the outbreak in which this last antagonism of principle openly displayed its animosity.

This fourfold schism, then--first, between science and faith; secondly, in the faith itself; thirdly, between life and faith; and lastly, between the new science (which usurped the place of the faith it had discarded) and life itself--this fourfold schism, with its several branches and ramifications, extending to every department of human existence, lies now before us, in the present age, as the still-unsolved problem of life.

And who but God alone shall or is able to solve it? As a question of dispute, this problem--and especially its inmost root, the schism in the faith--can be profitably discussed only in the spirit of love and mutual forbearance between cognate and kindred minds, who, while they think differently on a few points, yet agree in most. Many works might be adduced on both sides, composed in that conciliatory spirit of approximation which is most accordant with true philosophy, whose first effort is, in all cases, directed to reconciling and removing the deeply-rooted animosities of human nature. To a complete decision, however, of the whole matter in question, we shall never arrive on the road of disputation. Even though the dispute were maintained with the most valid reasoning, and were conducted with the most dignified forbearance and mildness, the attempt would only be lost labor. For there exists no supreme court of appeal to whose sentence both sides would be ready to submit. On the one side, the reason--which advances with unlimited freedom in its investigations--and faith on the other, with its assumed authority to decide in the last instance, would alike refuse to acknowledge its adversary as a competent tribunal.

Thus deeply piercing into the very marrow of humanity, and thus mortal is the conflict. Indeed, a man can scarcely touch upon it without being carried almost involuntarily into the very midst of the strife, and very fortunate may he account himself if he retires from it unscathed. And if it were only from a mere human point of view of a scientific dispute that I had to consider it, good reason should I have to be on my guard, lest on this matter my mind should be, as it were, forcibly rent and divided into two halves. I have, however, at present no anxiety of the kind. For my purpose is solely and entirely to trace out the divine order in the revelation progressively given to mankind, and following this luminous thread to lead reflection up to the finishing close of God’s education of the human race, where, in the full shining of the perfect day, there shall be no more controversy and no more doubt. Viewing the matter in this light, I see but little to attract my sympathies in the publicly-conducted controversy, however highly important and pre-eminent a place it may hold in the history of the world. Far more attractive to me are those isolated and retiring spirits on both sides who, taking but little, if any, part in the prevailing dispute, have their eyes directed rather to the future, in watchful expectation of that full and final illumination, with all its attendant promises--among which we must reckon, first and foremost, the peace and joy of believing--in the last revelation of divine mind. Of these calmer spirits, however, some have actually fallen, and others have been on the very brink of falling, into the plausible error of regarding this third step of enlightenment as an absolutely new revelation, whereas it is quite clear that it will be nothing more than the simple completion of the earlier steps. For a revelation which should give itself out as perfectly new, apart from and independent of that saving illumination of the soul which marks the second step, and which we are already in possession of--which should disavow this earlier divine revelation of the heart, of love and life in faith, which is withheld from no one, and which every one knows, would, even by such an announcement, proclaim its own falsity. New heavens and a new earth are indeed expressly promised among the blessings of this last age. Mention is also made of a Gospel that shall be preached “unto all them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”[42] This Gospel, however, is nowhere called a new one; since in the old one there is enough for life, if only it be duly observed, and also for knowledge, if only it be rightly understood. But it is called the “everlasting” Gospel; and by this term it is plain that nothing is to be understood but this full light of divine knowledge now made perfect in God, and which has become one with faith, and, consequently, fully reconciled with life also. In this domain, and in this spiritual sense, it is not necessary that the fair morning-star of faith, which has guided us through the dark night, and lighted us to the day-spring, should become extinct when the sun ascends the heavens in his full meridian splendor. On the contrary, it shall burn the more brightly; or, rather, to speak more correctly--for here no such contrast finds a place--it is the morning-star itself that shall expand into the full sun, and illuminate the whole world with its light.

Waiting, therefore, for this manifestation, we must endure with the more patience the existing discord so long as our lot is placed amid it, and show greater moderation toward it, since we are subject to it in hope. Only let me not be thought of as recommending a spurious impartiality, which, in truth, is little better than a culpable indifference to questions the most important that can agitate our own generation and all humanity--or the indiscriminating contempt of an arrogated superiority, which is even still more offensive and baneful to truth than the most vehement adoption of either of the conflicting views, if associated with honesty of purpose and conviction. As little, too, would I be thought to favor the presumptuous decisions of individuals, which, adopting a peculiar principle, or, as it is styled, a higher point of view, even though occasionally it does justice to each in part, yet on the whole materially wrongs them both. In the first ages of this intellectual disease, great names were arrayed on either side; and that through all its variations brilliant talents and scientific attainments maintained the conflict, while there was much that was false and wrong in both parties, is equally unquestionable. But what avails the unrighteousness of man against the righteousness of the cause, when, as we must, we regard the latter as the cause of God?

The painful feature of the conflict is the fact that, in a certain measure, God Himself has become the object of man’s rancor and animosity. In sacred lore and tradition, but pre-eminently in revelation, God Himself became as it were a child; and in the childlike language of the heart, and in the most confiding manner, gave Himself into the hands of men. But now, even this marvelous child and the divine word is near being torn asunder by the disputants, like the child in the old story or parable. Two mothers, we are told, came and stood before the king, disputing violently whose was the child that had been overlaid, and whose was the living one. But the true mother, for both had fallen asleep in the night, was recognized by her prayer that the child might not be divided in two by the sword of justice, but preferred that her son should live, even though she must lose it by resigning it to the other. Whereupon the king ordered his officers in no wise to slay the living child, but to give it to her who by her love had proved herself its mother.[43]

But for us the great sentence which is to decide all controversies, and can alone put an end to this discord, is not yet pronounced. But, in truth, the more confirmed symptoms of the deepening intellectual strife which mark the present generation, furnish one proof the more of the near approach of the day of final decision. And then the perfect triumph of divine revelation and the fiery baptism of the Spirit, which in those last days shall be administered, shall bring with it the long-promised universal peace of the soul when under a divine leader--the invisible One now become visible--all that hope in Him, of all kindreds and families, shall be reunited in Him in one love and one fellowship. A universal and perfect peace like this, which, according to revealed truth, is the last that is to be imparted to the human race, and is even to continue for ever, must, it is natural to suppose, be preceded by a violent but closing conflict. And do we not in our own age see such a one developing itself in a manner unparalleled by all that have gone before in it? To this conflict of our age, then, I must now devote a few words, and consider pre-eminently the relations subsisting between it and science.

In many and various ways, unquestionably, was the spirit of man called upon in this beautiful era of the restoration of science to consider itself ripe and mature; its feelings, too, answered to the call, and, in some respects, perhaps it was even so. But let us examine the matter by the same law of sound reason that we should judge of a corresponding case in ordinary and social life. Let us suppose a youth to have attained his legal majority, or, perhaps, by his father’s will, declared of age at a still earlier period. Is it right for him, all at once, to forget the love wherewith his mother has nursed and reared him? Is it right in him, misinterpreting altogether the motive of his father’s dying wish, to cast off and trample under foot all the wise and useful lessons with which, according to the measure of his years, his mind was stored at school, merely because he has remarked or experienced that there is much in life which was not touched upon in his school-learning? If we saw this in private life, should we not form a very bad opinion of such a youth who so suddenly throws off all restraint, and take care that sooner or later he should fall under another and stricter oversight, since he has all at once outgrown parental control. Why, then, should we form a different judgment in the realm of science and truth? All eyes and universal expectation were directed to this restoration of science. And these hopes were right in so far as through the lapse of these last times which are hastening to a close, the course and trial of human nature are even to lie therein. But if, as already pointed out, they fell into a grave error, who, even while they kept within the bounds of faith, looked upon the promised completion and final triumph of the divine and eternal revelation in the light of a new manifestation of truth, and almost as a new religion; far greater was the aberration of those who formed the conception of, and hoped to attain to, an ever-advancing science altogether without God, or at least one which, proceeding side by side with Him, should never come into vital contact with Him! But men can not thus pass along by the side of Omnipotence, without coming into contact with him; and every effort to rise into the higher regions of truth, which is begun and intended to remain wholly without God, will, sooner or later, be directed against Him. And every branch of knowledge, and more especially the highest, if it be without God, is but a false light of the mind [_geist_], which will only too soon beguile it into the olden darkness of the soul. And so it came to pass then. For under this smooth surface of a seeming moral mildness, the lurking poison suddenly broke out, as it were, by a fearful conspiracy of the times, spreading its contagion far and wide, and corrupting every thing that came within its reach--even as it had been predicted of it in the second book of the future.[44]

For even out of the struggle of good against evil, the latter suddenly arose again in a new and unexpected shape, coming forth, as it were, out of the sea, and the moral world was transformed into a sea of blood. And so, indeed, in these prophetic pages, it is predicted of the enigmas of the last days. Now, throughout this great catastrophe of the world, so far as it can be regarded as a peculiar and especial, but historical warning from God, and a revelation of the divine will, we may trace, among the better disposed, the same gradation of illumination, advancing through the ascending series of sense, soul, and spirit, that we have already noticed, on a larger scale, in the course of the history of mankind. The senses of many individuals become, indeed, more and more open, the more clearly they recognized, by its historical characters, the fatal abyss to which the age of the world was drawing nigh. The epoch of the restoration was, moreover, followed by a general revolution in the sentiments, the moral principles, and prevailing pursuits of men. The third step, however, of a right and true knowledge which, from the position of a full scientific enlightenment of the mind or spirit, should penetrate into the profoundest depths of truth, is still wanting, or at any rate exists as yet only in a very imperfect degree. This property is the defective point in the problem of the age, and in all attempts hitherto made to solve it.

The false science, even that unhuman and godless science which has been already described, can only be overcome and conquered by the true. The mere method of negation--which, generally, indeed, is seldom the right one--is here, too, insufficient for the purpose. And so, in fact, when clouds of dust darken the air, or swarms of noxious insects fill it, it may suffice if the goodman of the house shuts to his casement, as he may lawfully do, even because it is his own; but when the fearful thunderstorm is lowering in the heavens, the closed window will but little insure the safety of his dwelling, unless he has more wisely provided against the danger, by a good lightning-conductor. But what is that? And how came man first to think of it? Why, by studying the electrical phenomena, and arriving at a full understanding of its nature, and so, in obedience to its laws, contriving a counteracting and diverting agent for the electric current, and converting the natural action of the threatening element into an instrument of protection. And just in the same way will a true wisdom proceed in the domain of science and truth. It is only by a good power, of a like kind and similar action to its own, that the supremacy of evil can be overcome. Even, therefore, and to this purport was the earnest warning uttered by the mouth of Truth Itself against those who, although they sat in Moses’s seat, neither went in themselves nor suffered others that were entering to go in.[45]

And what a different picture does Holy Writ set before us in the noble example of Moses! No doubt the preparation for the work to which he was to be called, of leading successfully the people intrusted to him by God out of their Egyptian darkness through the fearful Red Sea and all the wanderings in the wilderness, to the borders of the promised land, was even the forty years of solitude among the noble pastoral people with whom he spent the long period of his exile. But still it is not without a deep significance that it is written that the daughter of the Egyptian monarch, having adopted the foundling of the waters, brought him up and educated him as her own son. So, too, assuredly is it not without design that it is said so emphatically of him, that he “was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.”[46] In the first place, we have good reason to rejoice at and to acknowledge the comprehensive spirit and wide standard of judgment which Holy Writ here sets up. For whereas it passes a severer sentence of reprobation on the Egyptians than on any other heathen nation or people, for their moral depravity, it yet acknowledges that they possessed a scientific wisdom, which amply rewarded the labor of its acquisition, while it proved the very errors wherewith in their extreme corruption they had overloaded it, to be only the more culpable and deserving of punishment. Shallow and superficial skeptics may, indeed, as many have already done, avail themselves of such an admission, and cry, “There! it is plain enough--Moses borrowed every thing from Egypt and the hieroglyphics.”

But this is not the case. No doubt both the first ten and the last twelve letters of the Hebrew alphabet are hieroglyphics, as their very names indicate; but in its primary natural roots, nevertheless, and, above all, in its whole spirit, and structure, and tone, this language differs widely from the hieroglyphical Egyptian. Certainly Moses did learn from Egypt all that there was for him to learn. And this learning enabled him the more easily to disperse the thick Egyptian darkness, and the less cause, consequently, had he to fear the false arts of the Egyptian magicians and serpent-charmers. He took from them all that was available for his purpose, but he made it quite new again, and gave it another nature by the end to which he employed it. He despoiled them of their “jewels of gold and jewels of silver,” by a theft permissible in the realm of science and truth. For it is lawful for man to wrest from the evil power all that may be converted into a means of honoring the things of God and His revealed truth, and which thereby is better employed, spiritualized, and invested with a higher and better significance. This is true even of our own days, as it was then, and, indeed, always has been.

Oh, that the many great men who, in our own generation, have deserved so well of mankind, by devoting themselves to the noble work of re-establishing right sentiments and principles, had, in this their good design, followed the great example set them by this man so highly preferred of God! But, with one or two exceptions, it is impossible to boast of them that, like Moses, they were “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” And hence the fact is at once explicable why, with such ardent and unbounded zeal, they should have effected comparatively so little against the modern Egyptians, and the new Egyptian darkness of our own days.

An intellectual conflict about truth, and, indeed, about divine truth, is the struggle of our age. This fact is already seen and admitted by a few, but, ere long, it will be still more generally acknowledged. God is a spirit of truth; and even on this account is His adversary, the spirit of contradiction, termed “a liar from the beginning;” and, of all the powerful instruments and wicked devices of that evil one, the lie is the first and chiefest. And this suggests to me to notice, in passing, a point in the moral systems of our day, notwithstanding that it does not properly lie within our prescribed limits. In most of our ethical treatises the question of falsehood and untruth is but carelessly treated, and seldom discussed with that prominence and gravity which its great importance demands. Overt transgressions of the laws belong rather to jurisprudence than to ethics, which properly treats of and analyzes the leading faults of human character as so many diseases of the soul. Now, the worst among these are usually denominated mortal, _i.e._, likely to bring the soul unto death; but the lie, in the full import of the term--the intrinsic proper lie of the soul, as the predominant fault in a character of untruth--a whole life become, as it were, one great lie, is far more than mortal--it is even death itself. And it is even of this sin--this secret revolting against and wounding of the Spirit, even the divine Spirit of Eternal Truth--that is said in Holy Writ, that it shall be forgiven neither in this world nor in the next.

On this point, then, I think that moral theory and teaching can never be stern and rigorous enough in its precepts, especially as regards individuals. It is not, indeed, a question about words, but about their interpretation, and what is meant by those who use them; and in this respect there may be, and often is a false and over-scrupulous delicacy of conscience. When, however, we remember how, in particular ages of history, oaths have been played with--millions of oaths lavishly proffered and shortly retaken in quite a different and opposite sense, and soon again abjured with as little difficulty; and when we consider the evil effects this trifling with the most solemn of obligations must have had on the moral character of a people, we can not but see some excuse in this monstrous fact for certain small communities of Christians who absolutely refuse to take an oath in any case. For when, in the important point of truth and falsehood, a grave error has been committed on one side, it is better to meet it on the other by too great strictness. A rigorous severity can never entail such fearful consequences in such a case, as the opposite fault of an over-indulgent laxity, or, what is even still more false and erroneous, the regarding the matter as trifling and indifferent. But the further prosecution of this topic would lead me out of my proper province, and I have only touched upon it in passing to that which lies more immediately before us.

If, then, there is nothing so dangerous to the character of an individual, both inwardly and outwardly--if there is nothing that works so insidiously, conveying its secret poison to the very lowest roots and extremities of the moral character, as untruth and the spirit of lying, how much more fearful must its malignant influence prove when it is become the universal and prevailing fault of an age which has not only wandered far from the truth, but is even animated with a deadly hatred of it!

It is to this spirit of lies, and the false splendor of his colossal empire, and to the final conflict which truth will have to wage with it on earth, that the most awful of the prophecies already alluded to refer. And the application is easily made, since a greater part of their warning denunciations have in our age already come to an actual fulfillment. If, then, this giant spirit of destruction and untruth was strong enough even in his cradle to throttle two quarters of the world,[47] what must it be now that the permitted interval of rest has passed away without being profitably employed to the cause of truth, and now that this same spirit of murder and lies, with a far greater body, and endued with far more magical powers, is let loose again to tread the earth for a while with iron feet, and to deceive the nations?

Those whose responsible position in public life, or comprehensive sphere of intellectual activity, enable them to take in at one glance all the various elements of evil and pernicious principles and destructive tendencies which are so actively at work in our days, will not, perhaps, be disposed to regard these remarks as groundless or exaggerated; others, perhaps, may make a mock at them--but they may go on in their delusion for a while.

In conclusion, I have but three observations to add. The first regards the divine permission of evil, and is intended to form a supplement to that Theodicée which I have attempted, in the only way that such a justification of the divine ways is permissible to man, by appealing, viz., to his feelings, rather than by attempting to force his conviction by the rigor of demonstration. The full justification of the ways of Providence is reserved for a future day, when all mouths shall be stopped, whether that awful crisis be near at hand or yet tarries for a while. If, now, the human race be actually sick and in a sickly state, as indeed can not well be denied, then must God’s overruling providence in the affairs of the world be judged of in the same light as, and be compared to, the wise treatment of a skillful physician. For as the latter, in the case of a patient whose death was to be apprehended from a total prostration of his bodily powers and energy, might wish for or even venture to super-induce a violent paroxysm, in the hope that in it he might perhaps be able to throw off his fatal lethargy; even so, in God’s government of the world, those predetermined counsels, which seem so singular, but, nevertheless, are so expressly foretold, may have a somewhat similar design. In the times of the last struggle the power of darkness will probably work itself to death on the earth; and while the remnant shall come out of the crisis and fiery trial purer and healthier, the divine truth is to gain a complete triumph over sin and death.

The second remark I have to make applies to ourselves and all the well-disposed among our cotemporaries, and refers to the disunion which subsists in these evil times even among the best of men. Were two nations threatened in common by a formidable enemy, would they not, however widely they might differ in, or perhaps be estranged from each other by their respective constitutions languages, and customs, forget in the moment of danger their characteristic differences, and, laying aside all previous feelings of jealousy or estrangement, unite for their mutual protection and safety? My heart’s wish, therefore, is that all the truly pious and well-wishers of truth, on whichever of the two sides of the now divided faith they may stand, would unite together without sacrificing those more intimate differences which can not at present be got rid of or reconciled, and, making a righteous peace of mutual forbearance, join together in a firm alliance against the common enemy of all truth and all faith. For that the dearest interests of religion are in our generation exposed to a violent assault, and menaced with great and immediate danger, will not be denied by any lover of truth, even though his conception of the truth may differ from mine.

Lastly, the third observation that I promised will not take the form of the utterance of a wish, as rather of the expression of the firmest conviction, that, however awful and severe this final conflict may prove, the good cause will not eventually be lost, but that the great battle will have a favorable issue in the complete victory of divine revelation, and the celestial wisdom in the government of this kingdom of truth will be fully manifest both to men and angels.



“The history of the world is the world’s tribunal,”[48] says one of our most famous poets. If by these words he meant to convey an opinion that no other tribunal of judgment is to be expected than that which is even now set up in the history of the world, then such an opinion, implying that the human race is to live forever in its present state, and in this particular terrestrial life, would be even as groundless as that of the fanciful conceit that the human race had existed from all eternity, if, in sooth, any of the philosophical dreamers of antiquity had ever fallen on such a fancy, or, in modern times, any of the antipodes to the usual current mode of thinking should ever stumble upon it. The poet himself, as dramatist and artist, would but have taken it ill had any one laid before him a great drama, composed of several acts and scenes, from which, however, the beginning was torn off, and which, ever going on, untied the existing perplexities only to fall again into new and fresh complications; or like a poor journal ever referring to a continuation, had no true end, no conclusion or proper termination. But unquestionably a better sense is also contained in the poet’s words. He may have merely meant to say that the mind which rules the course of mundane affairs is a mind that inflicts retribution on the world; and that all the great epochs and incidents of history have a retributive character and vindicatory significance.[49] Such an interpretation of the words, which indeed suits well with the author’s serious mind and character, would bring them in perfect unison with my own sentiments, and adequately express the truth which forms the theme of our present consideration on the divine order in the history of the human race.

The human race, then, as it had a beginning, so also will it have an end; it will not continue forever in this present form, but must eventually come to a termination. But, to speak according to the measure of a divine chronology, where a thousand years are but as one day, who can say, who shall dare, off-hand, to decide whether six or seven of these great days of God are fixed for its duration? Enough to know that we stand on the borders of the fourth age, and on the passage from the third to the fourth. And not unimportant is it, on the other hand, for the clear understanding of the whole, to form a right conception of each of these, its great divisions and epochs. The first age is made up of the twenty-five centuries of obscure primeval history. The second, which we called the age of preparation, is formed by the fifteen hundred years which we reckon from the end of the first up to the center and turning-point of the history of the world as known to us, and from which modern history takes its commencement. Even in the oldest traditionary history of the Gentile nations of antiquity we do not meet with any statements that can be relied upon, or any tenable data beyond, if indeed so far back as, the fifteenth century before the epoch of the commencement of modern history. The fifteen centuries which follow this epoch form the third age, in which this principle of a new life in the spiritual, moral, and political world had to develop and completely to unfold itself. In the last Lecture I also reckoned in this period the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries of our era. But if it seems to any more advisable to consider these as the introductory portion of the fourth and subsisting age, there is nothing positively to condemn such a mode of reckoning; only, for my part, I can not but regard it as less correct and more inaccurate than the one which I have proposed. In one case as well as the other the same important consideration will be involved. Reckoning from some point or other within these last forty years, we have, it must be acknowledged by all, entered upon a grand and decisive epoch in the history of the world; and our attention can not be too often or too strongly directed to the fact, that we stand at the critical point of transition from one great period to another.

Now one of the most characteristic signs by which such important moments of general revolution in the history of the world are, for the most part, known and distinguished, is a number of great events pressed closely together and following each other in rapid succession; or, in other words, the accelerated course of time. It is no new remark, that, in the political history of our own age, modern Europe has, in the short space of two-and-twenty years, ran through all the epochs of the old Roman world, from the first party struggles of the republic, and its long wars with Carthage, that mistress of the seas, up to the imperial rule of the Cæsars, in the first reigns mild and indulgent, but at the last so fearfully oppressive and cruel; and even up to the final immigration of the northern nations. Such a simple remark is alone sufficient proof that another law now rules in the history of the world--a quicker life pulsates in its arteries than beat in the calmer days of old. Whether, however, this life be thoroughly sound, or, on the contrary, sickly and feverish, that is quite another question.

But not only in the political world, but also in the intellectual domain of science has the same accelerated course been noticeable. Only, as compared with that of antiquity, the course or direction pursued by modern science is altogether different. We have traveled with equal celerity, but in quite an opposite course to the ancients. Starting from the last term, we have reversed the series of their mental progression. First of all, in the last decades of the preceding century, the Epicurean cast of thought, or one very nearly resembling it, was the one chiefly predominant in the philosophical world. And then, together with but subordinate to it, came scholastic subtilties and hair-splitting distinctions, similar to those of the later Greek schools, not unaccompanied, perhaps, with the same patient industry of research and extensive erudition, and exercising altogether on the minds of men an influence no less wide, nor less pernicious, than did the most brilliant of the sophists of Greece. All the erroneous systems which it was possible for the human mind to embrace, and which are grounded in its essential qualities, or which could possibly originate in any (so to speak) of its inborn misconceptions, which it took the Greeks several centuries to evolve in slow succession, our age has rapidly, and almost simultaneously, run through in as many decades. And in this fact, if I do not greatly deceive myself, there is much ground of consolation. It encourages me to hope that this inverse progression is leading us back again to the truth--that in this ascending line we are gradually coming nearer to the better times of the first great philosophers of Greece--of a Plato, a Socrates, and a Pythagoras. It must be self-evident, that in this case, and still more so in that analogy of political history which I have so recently noticed, as generally, in all such historical parallels, nothing more is intended to be asserted than a general resemblance, which, however, as such, is eminently remarkable. It would not, perhaps, be difficult anxiously to work out the general resemblance into points of detail, but such an overwrought assimilation could only lead to false conclusions and results.

Now that the conflict which our age has to go through is eminently intellectual is implied simply in the prevailing notion of a _public opinion_ and its influence. But, at the same time, we must observe, that in the very notion of opinion, and in the word itself, there is involved a certain character of extreme vagueness and uncertainty. No doubt that which man can properly be said to know is extremely limited and confined. Of very much all that we can have is merely an opinion, and with that must we be content to put up. Nay, inasmuch as all scientific certainty admits not of being imparted to all men, very much of that which we do properly and certainly know is best and most beneficially set forth to others merely as an opinion, in order that we may not seem to force their minds to the admission of this higher certainty. And what is there that the passions of a prejudiced or excited multitude can not be made to adopt as an opinion, which, if presented to them as a sober conviction of reason, would never make an impression? So devoid are they, generally, of that intelligence and accurate knowledge of men and things which are essential and necessary to the formation of a right judgment. If, instead of public opinion (which, unquestionably, is a great power, but which, if it takes a wrong direction, is also a very dangerous one), the appeal were to be made to a public conscience, this would be, to my mind, far more impressive and serious. To illustrate my meaning:--the impression which the events of 1793 made on the general feeling of all Europe, and the universal movement of discontent which, among all European nations, preceded the great political catastrophe of our own days, are instances to which the old maxim, _vox populi vox Dei_, may, without hesitation, be applied. Such feelings are founded on a true and higher judgment--often on a correct presentiment of evil and wrong--even though, as we must admit, that in their utterance more or less of passion and exaggeration reveals itself, and that individual prejudices are not unfrequently mixed up with them. But now seldom, in the ebbing and flooding tide, in the ever-changing course of the stream of public opinion, flows there aught that truly deserves to be called a public judgment. And yet public opinion is even that on which, in this respect, and relatively to the theme of our present Lecture, every thing mainly and principally turns.

In discussing the theory of consciousness a chasm remained, or, rather, was intentionally left open, and the present seems the appropriate place for filling it up and supplying it. The power, or, rather, the faculty of judgment has not, as yet, had its place assigned it. The reason, with its immediate subordinates, memory and conscience--the fancy, with its subordinates, the senses and inclinations, form six faculties of the inner man, with which the understanding and will make together eight. The ninth is the living, loving, feeling soul, which, although it be the center of the whole consciousness, must, nevertheless, be counted as an independent and peculiar faculty. As for the heart [_Gemuth_]--as some peculiarly designate the collective sum of the tender, moral emotions of the soul, and which, at any rate, must be carefully distinguished from the conscience, and also from love--it is, however, a kind of application of the triple relation and function of the soul rather than an independent faculty. But the tenth faculty, which completes the whole cycle and theory of the human consciousness, and which may be regarded as its crown and perfection, is the judgment, or, in other words, the judging mind [_geist_].

But now, if this term judgment be understood purely in a logical sense, as that process of thought which forms combinations and deductions, and by means of which we ascribe to a subject A a predicate B, this would fall very far short of the signification in which I here intend it to be taken. Moreover, it would be, in truth, quite a superfluous task to separate this cogitative relation, or this relative cogitation, from the other logical functions of the understanding, and to make of it a special and independent faculty. The judgment is something higher than this mere coupling in the thought of some special A with some general B. Understanding is the cognition of spirit and of that which it has uttered; and judgment is the decision between two things understood, or the “discerning of spirits.” Of how great a multitude of intellectual relations does a scientific or even an artistic judgment imply the coincidence and concurrent action! And yet these are merely private judgments, which involve an assenting feeling in the individual, but beyond that can not pretend to any valid authority. In practical life the judicial function in the state alone furnishes an adequate standard for estimating the high rank which the faculty of judgment holds as the center of the human consciousness. For, in the deliberative sentence of the judge there is comprised both the mature art of the understanding--which has taken due cognizance of the matter, and impartially discerned between two objects equally well understood--and also a determination of the will: for, though the actual carrying into effect--that which properly and peculiarly constitutes a willing--belong not to, but is independent of, the judge’s office, still the conclusion of a positive judgment implies the existence of the first determining motive of the will. In this one act of judging, therefore, there is contained both functions of the mind [_geist_], understanding and willing; and as the loving soul is the center of the consciousness, so the judging mind, or spirit, is the highest of all its operations.

In the Book of Truth there is a sentence which admits of application here. “There is none good,” it is there written, “but one, that is, God.” However harsh and severe this judgment may sound at the first hearing, still, upon a little reflection, we shall see ample cause to admit its justice. Man is not wholly and purely good; at the very best he is not free from faults, and more or less of imperfection cleaves to all that he does or is. And even granting that a man might be found devoid of all admixture of imperfection, and quite faultless and thoroughly good, still he was not so always and from the first. And even if any should here urge that the angels, who have continued such as they were originally created, were good from the beginning, we must remember that, at least, they are not good in and by themselves, but that, that they are good, comes from God, who is the source of all goodness. Now, just in the same sense can we also say, Who judges rightly? There is none that judges rightly but one, _i.e._, God. He is Himself the truth; and, therefore, He alone has the standard of truth in Himself, and all truth has its ground and principle in Him alone. Every individual judgment and decision, in all important matters, has its ground, either mediately or immediately, in this divine basis, and its rectitude must be estimated according to this standard. But this latter condition need not make us foolishly anxious, for nothing impossible is required of us by God; and this requisition, like every other which He lays upon man, is modified by, and adjusted to, the measure of human finiteness. The conscientious judge, who, after a patient investigation of the cause as it is laid before him, and after a careful weighing of all the possible reasons and motives, nevertheless errs, or is deceived by a rare coincidence of circumstances, stands, nevertheless, exonerated, even though he should have passed an unjust sentence, and have had the misfortune to condemn the innocent. Although, when he becomes aware of it, the thought must be painful enough to his own feelings, yet who, in justice, can reproach him merely because he was not omniscient? He who, in thought, in science, and in faith, adheres to this divine foundation--the best and most certain that he can find, or that is any where offered to him, may rest calm and composed; he has done the utmost that lies in his power. He alone, who makes a bad use of what he has and what has been given to him, like an unjust steward, need fear to give an account of his stewardship.

This reference of all judicial sentences to, and their foundation in a divine authority, is an idea which was not unknown even to the republican states of antiquity, as is evident from the way they expressed themselves on the irrefragable sanctity of the laws and the inviolability of the supreme judicial power, and also in the maxims which they practically advanced on this subject. They honored herein a higher and a diviner principle, of which, however, in theory they possessed no clear and perfect knowledge, though in practical life they were taught by a correct feeling of sound reason and the natural conscience accurately enough to recognize and steadily and distinctly to respect it. With us still more generally is it become an admitted doctrine that all sovereignty and kingly power is of God, and that all obedience to the laws and to the supreme authority in the state rests ultimately on a divine foundation and sanction. If very recently men were for a while disposed to argue that political institutions must be founded on the reason and its unconditional liberty, yet bitter experience quickly convinced them of their error, and it was soon fully refuted by the convincing argument of actual fact. And, accordingly, theory has for the most part reverted to a right principle, and recognized the divine authority as the true foundation of political authority.

But the principle being thus generally recognized, it is, I think, still necessary to distinguish with care and accurately to define in what sense the supreme ruler of the state is the vicegerent of God. The indefinite titles which are assumed by Eastern despots have always been alien to the habits of the West. But it is not enough to avoid such exaggerated titles of honor, if, nevertheless, the appeal to divine right be made so very vaguely, and simply in general terms to God himself. In His absolute essence, God is wholly inconceivable; it is only in his operations on man and nature, and in His relations to the human race, that we can at all think precisely of Him. It is only as Creator of the world, as the Lawgiver of nature, or as the Benefactor and Redeemer of mankind, and so forth, that we can form a clear and distinct notion of the Godhead.

Now, is the supreme ruler of the state God’s deputy as Creator of the world? Who would venture to assert any thing of the kind? It is true that the paternal rule of the earthly parent, and the universal feeling among all peoples and nations of the sanctity of a father’s authority, rests on a resemblance--which is, however, only symbolical--between his relation and that of our unseen Father which is in heaven. And it is no less true, also, that the reign of a truly paternal monarch over his people may be regarded as a mere amplification of the father’s government of his family; a good king is the father of his people. But such remote, although most significant analogies, furnish us with no precise notion of right; and it is on such alone that the whole question here turns. No doubt when a people is governed well and wisely--which is even the same as to say, paternally governed--it exhibits a wonderful power of natural development; productive industry flourishes, population increases, and its physical and mental cultivation advances rapidly. Unfavorable seasons may undoubtedly check this tendency, and it will be entirely stopped as soon as the subject refuses to follow with loving confidence the guiding hand of the paternal monarch. Whenever they whose duty it is to obey seek to be supreme, then are the natural energies of a great people transmuted into a fearful element of universal desolation.

If now we inquire in the next place how far it is allowable to compare the highest authority in the state to the Lawgiver of nature, we shall find that even in this respect the difference is so very great that analogy almost entirely fails us. Holy, unquestionably, are the laws of every political community in respect to the duty of obedience which they suppose and require; but this is not paid spontaneously and naturally, but needs to be enforced and maintained by pains and penalties. And not to speak of the stem laws of retributive justice, but rather of those mild and equitable enactments designed for the general benefit and the improvement of the whole community; these are still more subject to the imperfection and manifold changes of human things. Suppose, for instance, a measure promulgated in any country with the design of balancing in some degree the agricultural and the manufacturing interests--however wisely designed, it is found within a few years to have totally failed; under it misery has but increased on both sides, and the law must be repealed or modified. But it is not so with the laws which God has implanted in the system of the universe: they never fail of their intended effect.

Do we further ask in what, if in any respect, the earthly sovereign is the deputy of God, as Redeemer, Emancipator, and Liberator? A notion of grace and mercy does, we must admit, attach itself to our idea of supreme authority; and in this respect it presents a sort of analogy and resemblance to the idea of the Godhead. Properly speaking, however, the exercise of grace and mercy forms an exception to the general rule of man’s sovereignty, and belongs to him only in his special function as administrator of justice. Moreover, the most paternal and beneficent of earthly rulers can at most provide only for the physical happiness of his people. He may alleviate or avert heavy calamities, or procure many temporal blessings and advantages for his subjects; but the unhappy soul can be helped by One alone. The distinction I have just made will become more apparent by means of a contrast. Wherever the clergy are not regarded merely as teachers of the people, but as is the case in the greater part of Western and of Eastern Christendom, as priests speaking with a divine authority, this their public vicegerency relates primarily and immediately to the _Redeemer_; its judicial functions over the conscience ought to shun a visible publicity, and to be left entirely to the conscience and guarded by its seal of secrecy. And in this respect lies the distinctive peculiarity of the relation subsisting between the supreme authority in the state and God, which, however, refers pre-eminently to His attribute of _justice_. And here it is no mere remote analogy and weak resemblance, dependent on the principle of human weakness and imperfection; but it is a true and real vicegerency, publicly admitted and recognized, and exercising consequently a great public influence. And therefore it is, that among the divers elements or branches of the supreme political authority (which, however, fundamentally and in its essence is one and indivisible), a special sanctity is, as I have already remarked, ascribed to its judicial functions. In a word, the earthly head of the state is the dispenser of the divine justice, the vicegerent of the Judge of the world; he is a divine functionary, and, so to say, the supreme judge in the world’s tribunal. And this is the point of view from which all matters and questions connected with this subject may most fully be answered and most correctly determined. But that this exalted dignity of the earthly ruler may not be interpreted too literally, I must here observe, that the divine Judge is one who allows mercy to take the place of justice, not merely occasionally, and by way of exception, but always and invariably; so long, at least, as it is in any way possible. And here comes in the application of the principle which we previously advanced:--That God is in nowise absolute, but that on the contrary His justice is in every case limited by His love and grace; while the latter again is restricted and modified by His justice, and both, indeed, reciprocally by each other. Whoever has formed in his heart the least vivid notion of God will not entertain the slightest doubt of this union of justice and of mercy in the divine essence.

When, however, we speak of kings being the dispensers of divine justice, we mean it in quite a different sense from that in which, during the great immigration of the northern hordes of Asia, the barbarian conqueror proclaimed himself the scourge of God. By assuming this title he merely meant to terrify his adversaries by the thought of having to encounter in himself a fearful and destructive power of evil, whom, in order to chastise a degenerate world, the Almighty had permitted to do as he pleased and to let loose his fury on the nations of the earth. And phenomena of this kind are not confined to the period of the great migration; for the true notion of the representation of the divine Judge of the world by the supreme power in the state combines together with the sternest severity of justice, which in this respect is both wholesome and necessary, the greatest clemency--for where is there, or can there be, a clemency greater than the divine? But most especially does this idea imply that which is here pre-eminently requisite, and insists with a prominence proportionate to its great importance on the strictest conscientiousness in the discharge of the duties of this vicegerency. But the superior excellence of this idea over many other explanations of a similar kind, but laboring under the defect of extreme vagueness, consists even in this, that it comprises and inseparably combines those two important conditions, both that the supreme governor is responsible to God alone, and, as following therefrom, that he is unquestionably responsible to Him, and that it also determines in what sense and in what way he is so.

Every great and remarkable event which marks an epoch in the political history of nations and the world, may, perhaps, be regarded as a dispensation of justice. If, then, such an event, however partial and confined to a single people or empire, or at most extending to an entire age, may be looked upon as a sign of judgment already commencing, or at least of a retribution threatening, but mercifully suspended, the same mode of consideration may, with as good reason, be applied to every resolution of the political world on the grave questions of peace and war: for the power of making war and peace is, at all events, the peculiar and characteristic prerogative of the supreme authority in the state. Now, the simplest standard, perhaps, of judging of the justice of either is, if we may so speak, to ask, Is the proclamation of war or the treaty of peace so entirely founded on truth, so perfectly correspondent to the righteous and judicial character of God, that man need not fear to lay them before the Judge of the whole world for His ratification? If such be the case, then most assuredly are they right and righteous, whatever be their consequences, or whatever be the judgment that men may pass upon them. But, otherwise, if the manifesto of war contain nothing but shallow and specious pretexts painfully raked together, or of fine-colorable phrases which even the eye of the world can see through, if a light touch of truth be only thrown over it in the hope of concealing the conqueror’s lust of aggrandizement, or the equally destructive principle of an old national feud or jealousy--if, in the pacification, under ambiguous terms and cunningly-devised phrases, the seeds of a future war be carefully sown, and thus the worst disease of the political world be propagated and multiplied from generation to generation, then most assuredly the guardian eye of Eternal Justice has not watched over its completion, and bestowed on it His blessing, but another and a very different coadjutor has had his hand in the game--the spirit of untruth, viz., and of corruption, of strife and ruin, whom no name so exactly describes as that of a “liar from the beginning.”

Now, as not only the annihilation of the race of giants in the universal deluge, with which our sacred history opens, and to which the ancient traditions of almost every people allude, more or less directly, but also the partial overthrow of a single nation, the tragical closing catastrophe of particular ages, is, as it were, a prelude of the final judgment of all nations and peoples of the earth at the end of time; so, on the other hand, the original corruption of the primal lie is propagated as an hereditary evil from millennium to millennium, and from century to century. For even now, may many a fertile spot, the seat of a happy and united community in the midst of prosperous times, and of peace unbroken at home or abroad, be considered, if not a garden of innocence, still the blissful dwelling of peace and quiet. But into these happy precincts the evil spirit of untruth and discontent ever and anon steals, to repeat over again in the history of the human race the same scene of temptation which marked its commencement. Upward and downward, and in a twofold direction, does the lying spirit of strife ply his seductive arts. Now, on the one side, he whispers in the ear of the rising generation, “That is the true knowledge and the real science which men are most anxious to withhold from you; but seek first of all to be free--shake off this unworthy spirit of slavish obedience, then shall all that is noble and intellectually great be at once yours. In this way, and thus only, was it attained by the great and good in ancient times.” But, on the other hand, he directs himself to the individual invested with authority; and if the potentate be unrighteous, his ear is already more than half open--and even if he be upright, still, as a man, he is not always inaccessible to such whisperings. “Why,” he insidiously asks, “dost thou draw back so fearfully before that which the people call their rights? These are nothing but childish notions which the school-boy may do well to declaim about, but practically they are worthless and unreal; no one means them seriously--the whole world puts no faith in this comedy. Rule your subjects with an iron hand, that is all they know how to respect; nay, they even admire the bold spirit that defies them, and they will suppliantly reverence thy greatness of mind and strength of character if, betraying no infirmness of purpose, you boldly and sternly encroach upon or disregard all their pretended rights and privileges. If only your sovereignty be solidly established from within, and well rounded from without, then, besides a great name with posterity, you will also secure to yourself the present enjoyment of very great and solid advantages.”

In this wise, from the original source of the one lie, is the inheritance of the old evil transmitted from generation to generation in the political world, in the two opposite forms of popular anarchy, and the despotic lust of power and aggrandizement. These two forms of evil are more closely allied than at the first look they appear to be in reality; but history, the great teacher of truth, gives its sure witness to their affinity. Nothing is more common in great republics, than for the discord of the citizens to be put an end to by some victorious general, whom all parties, weary of their dissensions, hail as the benefactor of the whole community. But how seldom is the pacificator content with the glorious title of the restorer of domestic peace, and does not go a step farther, and become the scheming tyrant and the aggressive conqueror. The whole history of the world is, in short, little more than the continuous struggle between the purifying fire of the divine retribution and this spirit of political lying, which is ever renewing itself in these twofold forms of anarchy and despotism.

Moreover, while we acknowledge the divine authority invested in the supreme ruler of the state, we must take heed how we mix up with our conceptions on this head the notion, so highly dangerous and so pregnant with fatal errors, of the absolute and unconditional, which, as we have already remarked, can not be applied even to the Godhead without giving rise to misconceptions. If, therefore, in any country a party--for now-a-days even justice is made a party matter--if any where a party of otherwise well-disposed men call themselves “absolutists,” such a designation is of itself sufficient to excite our apprehension, lest, with so absolute a way of thinking, some spark of evil be slumbering beneath the ashes; inasmuch as one absolute, _i.e._, one unconditional element of destruction invariably calls forth another.

Absolute, if this pernicious term must be used, the supreme power of the legitimate sovereign of a state may indeed be called in so far as he is responsible to God alone. For were the supreme ruler responsible to man, then the only difference would be, that instead of one, the many to whom he is answerable would be absolute. But in another sense, it is impossible to call the supreme power, wherever lodged, absolute or unlimited; for it is limited in many ways. Its exercise is checked and controlled by the treaties subsisting between it and other powers--by the laws which it finds in existence from the times of his predecessors, and which are still in force by the family laws of succession, and all matters pertaining to or connected therewith. If he who is invested with the highest power in the state, is determined to interfere with all these institutions, and violently to subvert existing customs and compacts, then is there, in such a case, no one really justified or entitled either to make objections to his measures or to oppose them. By such arbitrary and violent proceedings, however, he is himself undermining the very foundation of his own power. And a regard to and consideration of the possible consequences of such injustice will in most instances furnish the necessary and salutary check. Lastly, if we look a moment from the right itself to its actual exercise and influence, how often and how greatly are the latter limited by adverse circumstances and evil times. Nothing, in short, is more at issue with and opposed to nature and to life, than the very notion of unlimited power, and generally all that is absolute or destructive.

But there is yet another side on which the supreme political power is essentially checked and controlled. It is bound to consider and pay respect to the principles of religious society, which rests no less than itself on a divine authority. For the church, although very different in its nature, and flowing from a wholly different origin from that of the state, is, nevertheless, equally inviolable. If, however, the civil and political ruler, not content with a co-ordinate jurisdiction and the revision of ecclesiastical affairs--with a joint authority and influence, should attempt to make the religious polity also entirely subject to his own arbitrary will, no one perhaps will be able to oppose force to force, and probably no one would be justified in so doing. But by such an attempt, as indeed by every act of religious oppression, the supreme civil power would most fatally undermine the very basis of its own authority. If, for instance, the ruler of a great nation places the third estate in the painful alternative of making, what in any case must be most pernicious, a choice between divine and human authority--or, rather, to speak more correctly, between two claims to its allegiance equally divine, he does but smooth the road which must lead at last to his own ruin.

And here, too, in the spiritual community of the faith, in the same way as in the political body, man’s patrimony of original evil branches out into two directions. In the one it turns longingly back toward the past, and in the other it tends restlessly forward into the indefinite future. Both of these aberrations are wholly independent of the outer form as well as of the subject-matter of belief. They are consequently to be found in the old covenant, as the first grade of divine revelation, no less than in the second. The first of these hereditary faults of man’s nature is deadness, or, in a somewhat different phase, lukewarmness--manifesting itself outwardly in a close and literal adherence to the old in its mere external forms. In a word, it is spiritual death. For though in the abundance of His love, God may have made a revelation of His will to man, and even died to make an atonement for him, still it is left to the free will of the individual to receive it or not; and its retention and observance is the trial of his goodness, and, consequently, in this point, as in others, his hereditary and inborn spiritual death strongly manifests itself. The second of these hereditary faults, or, rather, the same in a different form, is the spirit of innovation, or a false semblance of life, by which, in fact, this inner death is merely propagated.

On both these faults and erroneous ways of thinking on religious matters, Revelation expresses itself equally in the tone of stern reprobation, though perhaps its language with regard to the former is even still more severe. As regards the spirit of innovation, all changes in this domain, which are merely human, and not visibly and manifestly of a divine spirit and origin, must simply on that account be opposed and condemned. Now, in both the parties into which the faith is unhappily divided, there are many who are captivated and led away by this spirit of change. For among those who were originally seduced by it not a few are now animated with a sincere and profound respect for whatever is old and sterling, while of the innovation-mongers of our days, many are to be found in the ranks of those who originally strove to stem the tide of alteration and change. Oh that all who are pervaded by this evil spirit, and are ever casting their views forward into the future, would only advance a little farther still in their thoughts, so as to take in the end and conclusion of all. In the knowledge of the final judgment of the world (and what is this philosophy of revelation but such a reminiscence of death and the end--in which light philosophy was even in olden times explained--not, indeed, in a narrow-minded limitation to ourselves, but in a far wider sense, embracing in its universal sympathy the final catastrophe of the whole human race), in the warnings and allusions to this last day of account, so long and so often given, men will find all the information that they seek, and will no longer need any human innovations, since by this key all that is old and eternal shall receive a trebly-exalted significance and a doubly-new life.

But besides the political body and the religious community, the world of letters forms a third society. Though numerically smaller, yet in its effects on the minds of men, whether it moves freely and diffuses itself without the rigid restraints of form, or is narrowly confined to the formalism of the school, it is, perhaps, as great as either. Spiritual in its matter and in its dissemination, it either renounces a divine sanction, and stands under the protection and supervision of the state--such, at least, is the predominant relation in recent times--or, as was formerly the case, it grows and flourishes beneath the shelter and through the fostering care of ecclesiastical institutions. Holding an intermediate place between the two other bodies of human society--in its subject-matter more akin to the one, but deriving from the other its external support--it is also of a mixed nature and partakes of both. But the inborn and original sin of science is exactly similar to that which infects political life. Manifesting itself in a twofold aberration, it either assumes, in the spirit of anarchy, an hostile position toward all that exists from without, or is given to men from above, or, perhaps, comes forward in a predominant love of system or scientific sectarianism, which not unfrequently is as fanatical as the political party-spirit with which, moreover, it is often very nearly and closely allied.

The nature of the divine order which rules the history of the world, and its stern, retributive law, must, in all essential points, be now apparent from the preceding remarks. It is an all-pervading alternation between the purifying fire of God’s punitive justice and the inheritance of the old evil, which breaks out, now in anarchy, now in despotism--at one time in spiritual deadness and lukewarmness of faith--at another in the pernicious lust of innovation and change. This purifying fire, it must also be clear, while, confining its immediate operation to single nations or to marked and distinct epochs of history, it gives them a new shape and form, invariably gains for itself a wider extension, so as, at last, to embrace the whole world. Moreover, every one must feel that, in investigating the fiery track of this judging spirit in its stern course through centuries, we must reverently follow at a respectful distance to learn from it what it is and how it manifests itself, and take good heed how we presume to confine it within any narrow law, or reduce it to any precise and rigorous definition. We can not be too carefully on our guard against ascribing to Providence in its guidance of mankind many and subtile designs, which, after all, perhaps, are nothing but the mere fancies and conceits of man. In general, however, it may safely be said that the subordinate views and higher ends which are visible in the leading catastrophes of nations and empires, or even of entire ages, have especial reference to that gradation in the divine revelation which I explained to you in the previous Lecture as having a regard to, and comprising the whole human race in, its comprehensive design. By way of exemplification, and as an instance of the right application of the ideas here advanced, I will now, in conclusion, add a few words on those events and catastrophes of universal history, which, in this respect, seem the most important.

The universal deluge, of which the whole surface of our globe presents so many and so great traces and proofs, forms a partition-wall, sternly separating the earliest races of men from the subsequent generations. Of the former it is only probable that they were very different from the latter, not only in their manner of life, but also in their physical and intellectual powers and endowments, and likewise, perhaps, in the nature and mode of their moral corruption and depravity. My remarks, therefore, may well be confined to this side of that great partition-wall. The next great catastrophe, which is both expressly given out as a divine retribution (and, as such, can be proved from profane history as much, though not so universally, as the former), is the so-called Babylonian confusion of tongues and the dispersion of nations. This, and that which is so inseparably connected with it, the confusion of mythical ideas and legends, is rather hinted at than fully and clearly detailed. The time, too, is not given, though the locality is expressly mentioned. It is the same one which, according to all other historical statements, was the very spot of Western Central Asia, where that contagious malady of the lust of conquest first arose, or, if we may be allowed the expression, where this unhappy _invention_ was first made. This dispersion of nations, however, was its natural punishment, since every unity which is either politically false or intellectually untrue, must terminate in chaotic dissolution. This historical fact is distinctly traceable in the world of the ancients among the West Asiatic, South European, and North African nations which dwell around the shores of the Mediterranean. Here we can scarcely find our way out of the labyrinth of traces of reciprocal relationship which abound, in their medley of cognate languages and their chaos of legends, so remarkably agreeing, and yet frequently so inconsistent in their ideas of nature, their far-reaching theogonies, and the divine origination of their heroic families. These chaotic contradictions, however, in which the poetry of heathendom indulged without restraint, gradually undermined the old popular belief, and led, consequently, at a later period, to a very favorable result.

For by this means the Greeks--to whom our present remarks apply especially and pre-eminently--gained free space for the unshackled development of a philosophy which, though it may have run and wandered through many systems of error, yet in so far as it was an honest and sincere search after truth and certainty, served and deserves to be considered as a preparation and introduction to a higher knowledge and the adoption of revelation. For because of this intellectual development (and the fact serves to prove that a pure sensibility to the beautiful, and a clear and pregnant thought on human life and on nature, is ever highly pleasing to God), the Greeks were chosen as the second people of the world, to be the medium and the instruments of the further diffusion of revelation in the course of the development of humanity.

In political life, the erroneous tendency of the Greek mind was to the abuse of liberty and to anarchy. When this evil had been carried to its wildest extreme, it was overtaken by its natural penalty (which inwardly follows close upon its track), in the armed supremacy of Macedon (which, however, was only a brief paroxysm), and the final subjugation of Greece to the Roman yoke. Among the Romans both forms of political evil met together, and were closely connected with each other. To escape from domestic anarchy, they entered on a victorious career of foreign conquest and aggrandizement; and when intestine dissension had reached its greatest height, a perfect despotism was established, both at home and in the provinces.

We recently remarked that the whole of that mixture of ideas, confusion of legends and traditions, and that continual alternation between anarchy and despotism, which in the olden times of heathendom ran through its whole course of development, from the first dispersion of nations to the establishment of the Roman empire over the world, immediately applies to and is only to be understood of the West Asiatic and South European races. In the East of Asia, two great nations or empires, which together make up a third, if not the half, nearly, of the population of the whole earth, have remained in a great measure free from and uninfluenced by it. It would almost seem as if the Almighty, with some special design, had kept and reserved them unto these last times. For three if not four thousand years India has preserved unchanged its institution of castes, and all its essential customs and laws. The very fact that this ancient empire, so extensive, so abundant in riches, and so singular in its nature, and with a civilized population equal to that of the whole of Europe put together, should be now conquered and held in subjection by the sea-ruling isles of Britain, which the ancients named the Cassiterides, or Tin Islands, and described as the ultimate limits of the habitable world, is one of the most remarkable signs of our days. That in such great historical events, and such singular juxtapositions, there rules some grand and mysterious design of the Mind which regulates the course of human affairs, we can not but feel; only we shall greatly err if we precipitately determine its particular nature. The wiser and the safer course is to look forward with attentive expectation to its further development. Already has this remarkable approximation of the extreme East and West led to important consequences. The enlargement of our historical information, by the sources discovered in the East, has alone been so considerable as to give greater coherence and consistency to our knowledge of the earlier, and, indeed, of the very earliest times, and of the origin of mankind, and to have afforded a growing testimony and a strong confirmation of the truth of the sacred narrative.

The Celestial Empire too, with its monosyllabic language, remained until very recently within its walls separate from and never mixing with the rest of the world. Although China has been several times subjugated by northern conquerors, it has, nevertheless, continued in all essential respects the same. But now, in these modern times of universal ferment and of change throughout the political world, China, too, has been set in movement, and has become so far a conquering power, that she who in the earlier centuries of Christianity was only known by name, through fable, has become the immediate neighbor of two great European powers.

The close of the ancient history of the Eastern world, in its westerly regions, is formed by the tragic overthrow of the Jewish people and the fearful destruction of Jerusalem; events which are properly described, as also they were long previously announced, as a partial judgment on an individual nation. And in this light and in similar colors they are, moreover, depicted even by heathen writers. Few things in the whole course of history furnish so singular and striking a phenomenon as this total dissolution of the Jewish nation. The dispersion over all parts of the earth, for so many centuries, of a people that has exercised so great and so decisive an influence on the progress of ideas and the higher cultivation of the human mind, both naturally and scientifically, makes a sad and melancholy impression on our minds. With so much the more of reason, then, may we regard it as a sign of the times, and one, too, full of good promise and of bright and cheerful hope, if this long and cruelly-oppressed people seems suddenly to be aroused again or awakened from its degradation, and in manifold ways evincing an intellectual, moral, and social activity, begins to partake of a more liberal development and culture. And on one account the fact appears still more consolatory. Such a reawakening of this long ill-treated and degraded race is, in their oldest prophecies, fixed for the last decisive days of the world’s history.

In the medieval period of modern history we meet with all the elements of the Christian state. The idea of a pure monarchy also was here carried far higher toward perfection, and much more manifoldly developed than in heathen antiquity. But the civil and spiritual powers soon came into collision, and in their mutual conflict were alike guilty of despotic encroachments on each other. In this sad dissension the whole state of things fell more and more into a new kind of anarchy. And in the same way, in our own times, after a great part of the Christian world had, in sentiment at least, reverted to heathenism, then as a natural consequence of the ruling tone of thought and opinion, there was a great relapse into the double evil of a wild and fatal popular anarchy, and of a still more destructive military despotism. And the whole history of the old heathen world is nothing but one continual alternation between these two evils.

In the Christian West, indeed, both now and in the middle ages, the predominant tendency to error inclined toward the side of anarchy. Among the Mohammedan nations, on the contrary, from the very earliest days of their religion, the despotic lust of conquest has been, as it were, an inborn and homebred hereditary failing. It was indeed fed and encouraged by their national creed. But here also the greatest changes have taken place. The largest and most powerful of all the Mohammedan empires, that, viz., in India, is entirely overthrown, and scarcely a vestige of it remains in these times. By a natural revolution of things, the first irresistible conquerors are now themselves conquered and brought under the yoke of others. And so, too, on the other and western side of their once wide rule, they who formerly threatened the existence of civilized Europe are now dependent upon, essentially mixed up with, and owe their political existence to, European policy and the balance of power. This total change of the relative position of the Mohammedan states in general belongs undoubtedly to the characteristic signs which so peculiarly mark and distinguish our own age.

In the three centuries of modern history which fill up the interval between the middle ages and the revolutionary epoch of our own days, the moral constitution of the monarchy has been far more fully and clearly developed than in any previous era. But the most striking event of this period of history is furnished by the sad and melancholy phenomenon of the religious wars. These were the lamentable consequence of the schism in the faith, not indeed by any indispensable and necessary law, nor even as its natural, but still its perfectly explicable, result. In those lands where, as in England and France, there existed a weaker party of either side, which had either been fully conquered or was kept under by oppressive civil disabilities, this unhappy phenomenon assumed the most revolting appearance. But the same state of things took a very different turn in Germany. Here the religious disputes terminated in a higher and a nobler result. In a long and fruitless struggle of thirty years, which wasted and consumed the best energies of the nation, the two contending parties were taught, that with so nicely-balanced strength, no decisive result either way was to be expected. Coming at length to a wiser mind, they acknowledged their respective rights, and by a peaceable compromise they agreed to live together in the same social community. This great and famous religious peace, which, considered merely in the light of a treaty of general pacification, is a master-piece of policy, without equal or parallel, and serving for the basis for all subsequent treaties and questions of peace, is become for Germany a species of inborn national necessity, and, as it were, a second national character. She finds in it a full and perfect compensation for many disadvantages she labors under as compared with other lands, while she has acquired from it a great and important position in the world of the future. Considered with regard to the whole world, one can not well avoid ascribing to this indestructible religious peace in Germany a still higher importance, however little it is commonly understood or regarded in this light. Indeed, we can not but look upon it as the precursor, with hopeful promises, of a far greater and completer religious peace--a peace, I mean, which shall reconcile not only all differences in the faith, but also that more universal and more pervading dissension between faith and unbelief; the quarrel between science and faith being first adjusted, and unity restored thereby between them, and, consequently, also to life. But to effect this object, God, who wills nothing but peace and unity, must take the upper hand and be stronger than man, who loves and desires strife, or, at least, without loving and seeking it, is still ever relapsing into it.

In such or some similar way a religious view of universal history, and of the divine order therein, admits of being developed; which, however, can not be truly done with too much of scientific rigor, or by violently introducing into its plans any arbitrary and, consequently, false designs and purposes.

My prescribed limits compel me to confine myself to these few hints, and in these I have wished principally to call attention to their reference to our own age, and to exhibit them in the light in which they appear of universal interest and to possess an eminent and remarkable destination. Comprised, then, in one result, the following are the characteristic signs of the present age: the two greatest heathen nations, which for thousands of years stood by themselves apart from the rest of the world, have lately come into the closest contact with Europe--the Mohammedan empires are every where falling into decay, more rapidly than men had been led to expect their fall--the Hebrew race is beginning to rise from its long degradation--in Christian states and communities there is here and there visible a strong inclination to the old evil of anarchy--and if the great human peace, which has now lasted twelve years, appears in some points insecure, or at least endangered from within, it is only because it is devoid of a firm foundation of the internal sentiment of men. What event, then, could be more happy for our age, what better turn could the present posture of affairs take, than by bringing about such a triple divine peace as we have already sketched, to give a new foundation and a firmer basis to the external peace of society? May not this, in God’s good purpose, be the theme which is to occupy the next era of the world?



The philosophy of life can not be any mere science of reason, and least of all an unconditional one. For such does but lead us into a domain of dead abstractions alien to life, which, by the dialectical spirit of disputation connatural to the reason, is soon converted into a labyrinthine maze of contradictory opinions and notions, out of which the reason, with all its logical means and appliances, can not extricate itself. And life, consequently--the inner spiritual life, that is--is disturbed and destroyed by it. And it is even this disturbing and destroying principle of the dialectical reason that most requires to be got rid of and brought into subjection. In the mere form, however, of abstract thought there is nothing in and by itself opposed to the truth. There is nothing in it that it is absolutely and invariably necessary to avoid, or that never and in no case admits of application. It is, no doubt, most certain that every system of philosophy is on a wrong track which borrows its method exclusively from mathematics, and copies it throughout from beginning to end. Still, in the progressive development of philosophical ideas certain points may occur--there may be certain places in the entire system--where occasionally and by the way such formulas and abstract equations may be profitably employed. Such a case may happen in the present Lecture. But by thus employing them only by way of illustration, and episodically in passing, I hope to establish such a use of them, and to make it evident that the perspicuity of the exposition does not essentially suffer thereby.

Philosophy, as the universal science, embraces in its consideration the whole man. As, therefore, it evidently involves the occasion, so it is not unlikely that cases may occur where it can happily borrow, now from one now from another of the sciences, its external form and peculiar formularies. It can, in short, advantageously avail itself of all in turn. Only, such a use, to be profitable, must be free. And this freedom will best evince itself in the deliberate choice and the diversity of the images. The method of free speculation, _i.e._, of philosophy, must not resemble a coat of mail with its infinite number of little uniform chains and rings. It ought not, as is the case nearly with the mathematical method, to be composed, by mechanical rule and measure, of simple propositions scientifically linked together, and then formed again into higher logical concatenations. In short, the method of philosophy can not properly be uniform. The spirit must not be made subservient to the method; the essence must not be sacrificed to the form.

Philosophical thought and knowledge, with that diversity of illustration and variety in method which follows from its universality, is, in this respect, somewhat in the same case with poetry. Of all the imitative arts poetry alone embraces, and by its nature is intended to embrace, the whole man. It is, therefore, free to borrow its similes or colors, and manifold figurative expressions, from every sphere of life and nature, and to take them now from this, now from that object, as on each occasion appears most striking and appropriate. Now, no one would think of prescribing unconditionally to poetry, and compelling her to take all her similes and figures either from flowers and plants, or from the animal world, or exclusively from any one of the several pursuits of man--from the sailor’s life, for instance, or the shepherd’s, or the huntsman’s--or from any of his handicrafts or mechanical arts. For although all such similes, and colors, and expressions, appropriately, introduced, are equally allowable in every poetical composition, and none of them need be rejected, still the exclusive use of any one class of them as a law would hamper the free poetic spirit and extinguish the living fancy. In the same way, philosophy is not confined to any one invariable and immutable form. At one time it may come forward in the guise of a moral, legislative, or a judicial discussion; at another, as a description of natural history. Or, perhaps, it may assume the method of an historical and genealogical development and derivation of ideas as best fitted to exhibit the thoughts which it aims at illustrating in their mutual coherence and connection. On other occasions, perhaps, it will take the shape of a scientific investigation of nature--of an experiment in a higher physiology--in order to test the existence of the invisible powers which it is its purpose to establish. Or again, by the employment of an algebraic equation, or of a mathematical form (which, however, it regards as nothing more than a symbol and visible hieroglyphic for a higher something that is invisible), it will, perhaps, most conveniently attain to its loftier aim. Every method and every scientific form is good; or, at least, when rightly employed, is good. But no one ought to be exclusive. No one must be carried out with painful uniformity, and with wearying monotony be invariably followed throughout.

The philosophy of life, then, can not be any mere absolute philosophy of reason. And as little can, or ought it to be purely and absolutely a philosophy of nature; not, at least, an exclusive one, that is, exactly such and nothing more. Such a philosophy of nature may, indeed, in its physiological aspect, possess unequaled scientific wealth, and be full of profound and ingenious thoughts. But still the right principles and the regulative ideas of human life can never be deduced from it easily, and without having recourse to forced constructions. For even man is, in his life, something higher than nature; even he is something more than a mere physical being. Still less possible, then, were it, from such a philosophy of nature, to derive, establish, and to render clear and intelligible the idea and being of God--the pervading reference to whom, however, makes man what he is. The idea of God deduced from such a source alone would, and indeed could only be, some great final cause of the system of nature.

Neither the conclusions of sound reason, and least of all those of the conscience--no, nor even dialectic itself (so far as it is profitably employed, by the knowledge of it being made available for the detection of error), nor physical science, when cultivated in a noble and lofty spirit, ought in any way to be excluded from the borders, or even the very domain of philosophy. On the contrary, she may, in her own peculiar way, adopt them all, and, giving them a more extensive sense and spirit, employ them for her own higher aims. In its primary and most essential respects, the philosophy of life is a thoroughly human science. It is nothing less than the cognition of man. Now, even on this account, and because it is only by means of his all-pervading relation to God that man stands above nature and is something superior to a mere physical being, and something higher, too, than a mere rational machine, therefore is the philosophy of life actually and in fact a true philosophy of God. The philosophy of life attains this high dignity beyond a mere philosophy of reason, or of nature, simply on this account--that the supreme life and the ultimate source of all other degrees of life is even God. Now this Supreme Life, which has its life in itself, is the subject of my present disquisitions. For it is even with the correct and complete notion of this Supreme Life that the Spirit of Truth first enters the human consciousness; and then, in the inner world of man, which before was “without form and void,” that light begins to shine which never shall become darkness, and of which even this Spirit of Truth has said “that it was good.” This divine but initiatory illumination is the first step in that progressive development of the internal light and truth in human life and consciousness, and which, as starting from this point and passing through its successive stages of advancement, it will be our object to trace in the last seven of the present Lectures. In the eight preceding disquisitions I have endeavored, by advancing step by step, to arrive at this last end of all. We have now reached the culminating point; and the Supreme Life, which, according to what has been already said, is the primary source of all other life, and which has life in itself, is now, together with the full and true notion of this life, to occupy our common consideration. And then again, descending from this summit of light and truth--for which, in the mean time, I entreat your entire and closest attention--I propose, with hasty step, to retrace our way through all the grades of man’s spiritual enlightenment, to carry back your regards and mine into all the several spheres of life and consciousness.

But now, it has been said that the philosophy of life, in every case and instance, invariably ascends to the highest object of every sphere that it contemplates, and that that supreme object is God. From this, further, it has been argued that it is even and truly a philosophy of God. How, then, does it differ from theology?

At the very commencement of these Lectures I confessed that philosophy in general, and especially a philosophy of life, by reason of the common object which they both treat of, could not avoid coming into frequent and close contact with theology. But, at the same time, I asserted that the former, in its whole essence, is completely and materially different from the latter, and requires to be carefully restricted within its own limits. We must take heed lest it either violently encroach upon the proper domain of theology, or, on the other hand, become its servile handmaid at the sacrifice of its own peculiar character and destination. The true relation of these two kindred sciences, as occupied with a common subject, which is often entirely identical, and their, nevertheless, so strongly-marked and distinct limits, may perhaps be most clearly illustrated by a comparison with the mathematical sciences.

Dogmatic theology, or the science of positive belief, resembles pure mathematics. Its ideas and formularies can not be too strictly, or too simply, defined; nor, where it admits of demonstration, can its proofs be carried out with too rigorous and mathematical a precision. For in these matters it is impossible to give the least room or influence to individual caprice without hazarding the loss of all that is most essential in the positive articles of faith. Philosophy, on the other hand, in treating of such subjects--or, at least, that part of it which is occupied with these matters--resembles rather mixed geometry in its several applications, such as practical mensuration, or the science of fortification and the art of war. For philosophy is, if we may so speak, an applied theology. Adopting the universal ideas of the one living God and his overruling Providence, and, what is so closely connected therewith, of the soul’s immortality and man’s free will, it adapts them, in many valuable practical applications, to the whole and almost boundless field of historical knowledge and the development of the human race, as well as to all physical and experimental sciences, and even to the wide domain of scientific disputes and merely human opinion, with its several conflicting systems. In this course of practical application philosophy needs not, in its expressions and formularies, scrupulously to confine itself to the terminology of its sister science, or to repeat its words with a careful exactness. On the contrary, its best and wisest course is to move with freedom, changing and varying its expressions at pleasure. For inasmuch as it is not itself so rigorously tied up as theology is to authority, so it can not appeal to it with equal justice in order to enforce assent to its own teaching. In the same way, too, that in algebraic equations a mere hypothetical calculation is oftentimes introduced, which, moreover, afterward suggests many a valuable practical application, so, also, a similar hypothetical use of the theological magnitudes or axioms, if we may so speak, is quite open and allowable to philosophy in the pursuit of its merely scientific ends. It is only the most general articles of the faith that philosophy makes use of. At least, the minuter and sharply-defined determinations of a positive creed are not immediately and indispensably necessary for its object. Now, an overruling Providence, the soul’s immortality, and the freedom of the will, are articles of universal belief, which, although, perhaps, not couched in express words and definite notions, yet still as germs and vague feelings exist, however deeply they may slumber, in every human breast that is as yet pure and uncontaminated by that captious skepticism which frets and corrodes itself with its seeming perplexities. These, philosophy may safely take for granted. Nay, it is its duty so to do; and where it does so in the right way, then will it never, on that account, meet with any considerable obstacle or opposition. On the contrary, by pursuing this course it will the more surely arouse and awaken these universal feelings from their slumber in the human mind, and gradually shape and convert them into fixed and stable points from which to carry on the further progress and development of the principle of faith.

And it is even herein that philosophy will most display its art, or, rather, its intellectual power over the minds of men. It is in this, pre-eminently, that lies its vocation. But if, on the contrary, it makes this mission to consist rather in demonstrating, in a strictly scientific form, the existence of a Deity, with its natural train of those eternal verities--the immortality of the soul, and the freedom of the will, then at the very first outset it will lose sight of its true aim, and set up a false one. For, were such a demonstration possible, still nothing essential would be gained by its actual attainment. For, in such a case, the existence of God, and God himself, would naturally become dependent, in thought at least, on that from and by means of which the proof was established, and would, consequently, appear to us no longer as the first cause of all, but, rather, a secondary and derivative being. In such the primal essence would be made to depend on our human knowledge and science of reasoning, so to speak; the latter must, in the plenitude of its power, first confer upon and guaranty to the former its existence. This would, indeed, be a complete inversion of the true and natural order of things, such as, alas, has but too often occurred and manifested itself in actual experience.

These remarks, however, must be understood as applying to a strict demonstration of this great verity, or at least to all attempts of the kind. To point to this truth, to trace every indication of it, to elucidate it, to confirm it by analogy or other corroborative evidences, is quite a different matter. All this is perfectly allowable. But God does not allow his existence to be proved. By force of reasoning such a belief is not to be impressed on the mind of that man who is unwilling spontaneously to admit it. As life generally, so also this supreme life must be learned and concluded from every man’s own experience; it must be adopted with the vividness of a feeling.

Let us now, for a moment, revert to the old scholastic forms and the designations usually given in the schools to the several philosophical sciences, and compare with them the division on which our present disquisitions are based. We might, in this respect, say that the first five sections of our treatise have been exclusively devoted to psychology; though not indeed in the ordinary narrow sense of the word, but in one far more extensive, and embracing the whole universe. According to this wider extent and signification of psychology, we have considered the soul relatively, first of all, to the whole of philosophy and its several systems; secondly, to moral life; and, lastly, to revelation, to nature, and to God Himself. The three following Lectures were devoted to an examination of the divine order of things in the several spheres of existence, and to the indications of a ruling Providence discoverable therein. They constitute, therefore, a species of theology; but one, however, empirically conceived and historically worked out from observations in nature and in history, not only in the annals of the external world, but also in the spiritual history of the progressive terms in the development of truth. Such a theological essay exactly corresponds to that notion we so lately advanced, of an applied or mixed science of theology as the peculiar sphere for this part or branch of philosophy which concerns itself with the doctrine of the supreme essence, and the right understanding thereof.

Now if, in compliance with olden forms of division and a scholastic phraseology, it be necessary to deliver a scheme of ontology as the philosophical science and cognition of really existent things, and also of their true and real essence, it is clear that such is only conceivable and possible by means of such an applied theology. For how can things be truly real, and how can they as such be known in their inmost essence, except so far as they have their existence and determination in God, and, in this respect, admit of being known by us?

In any case, however, the name of _natural_ theology, which ever and anon we still hear applied to the philosophical cognition of the Divine Being and His existence, ought carefully to be avoided. Such a designation is based on a thorough misconception and total inversion of ideas. Every system of theology that is not supernatural, or at least that does not profess to be so, but pretends to understand naturally the idea of God, and regards the knowledge of the divine essence as a branch of natural science, or derives the idea simply from nature, is even on that account false. Missing and entirely mistaking its proper object, it must, in short, prove absolutely null and void. Properly, indeed, this inquiry needs no peculiar word nor special division and scientific designation. The name generally of philosophy, or specially of a philosophy of God, is perfectly sufficient to designate the investigation into science and faith, and their reciprocal relation--their abiding discord, or its harmonious reconciliation and intrinsic concord. And this is properly the point which is here in question; it forms the essential part of the topic which we have at present to examine.

The internal schism in the faith itself I formerly excluded from our inquiry, as not lying properly within the limits of philosophy, and belonging to a higher tribunal. I at the same time expressed my conviction that God alone could universally and totally reconcile it. By this, however, I would not by any means wish to be understood as asserting that works on this subject, written with a thorough knowledge of historical facts, and in a luminous and instructive style, can not contribute much to the refutation of error. Works of this nature may, in their degree, tend to bring about a mutual approximation of sentiment. For they serve to elucidate and clear up points which, even though they do not involve the essential articles of positive belief; do, nevertheless, greatly and extensively co-operate in keeping alive a mutual spiritual alienation and estrangement of mind. The great merit of treatises of this kind, when composed with high intellectual powers and in that noble spirit which is at once just and desirous of peace, must not in any case be denied or depreciated. Nevertheless, it is idle to pretend that the influence of such essays, whether greater or less, is not confined to a limited sphere, extending to a few individuals, or at most to classes.

To judge by the usual course of the divine order in the realm of truth, a total conversion of the whole mind of the age, or a reawakening of entire nations, is only to be expected from a higher and universal impulse imparted from above. As a preparation, however, for that divine peace in a universal unity of faith, which so repeatedly and so many ways is promised most distinctly even to this life, nothing can be so effective as to remove, if possible, or at least to reconcile, that triple discord already described as dividing and distracting the inner man. And this is a matter which, as lying within the sphere of human consciousness and science, unquestionably belongs to the domain of philosophical investigation. And it is even the duty of philosophy, whenever it follows its prevailing mediatory and atoning tendency, to attempt scientifically to bring about the reconciliation of that strife, and, undiscouraged by repeated failures, still to labor to re-establish the perfect and profound harmony of consciousness and of life.

Now the first dissension, that, viz., between science and faith, whether actual or apparent, requires for its removal before all things a mutual understanding and compromise. The second dissension between faith in general, even a mere philosophical and natural faith, and that unbelief which is so general and prevalent in our age, can only end with the perfect triumph of the truth. For only by the full light of divine knowledge and truth--by the triumphant exposition of this true light, and by the magic power of such a display on the minds of men--shall doubt and infidelity be fully eradicated and destroyed. The third dissension, between both faith and science on the one hand, and life on the other, needs, for the removal of all misunderstanding, something more than a mere peace and compromise on the disputed points. For this purpose there is required a thorough union of both carried out into fruitful and practical application, by which the living faith and the living science may evince themselves as such, and manifest their true and wholesome influence on life, however at present estranged from and adverse to it.

The second and the third of these dissensions are reserved for consideration in the two following Lectures; but the first, that, viz., which subsists between faith and science, is to form the subject, and its reconciliation the problem of our present disquisition.

Now, is this dissension necessarily and really grounded in the thing itself, and in the nature of the thing? Or, rather, does the blame of it lie with men, and in their defective apprehension and form? I have no hesitation in saying that a living faith and a living science will never be at issue together, at least on essential points. In three cases, no doubt, a dissension, a reciprocal misunderstanding, and endless conflict between both is perfectly conceivable. It is possible, either when the faith is a mere matter of memory and of a few acquired notions, rather than a deeply-rooted conviction of the soul. Or, secondly, since all the faculties of the human mind ought to co-operate in giving a full internal development and an external shape to the truth thus divinely imparted, it may spring up even when the soul receives it with a full love, but is nevertheless principally, or at least too much, under the dominion of a lively fancy, to the exclusion of a due admixture of clearness of understanding, and the circumspection which belongs to the distinguishing judgment. Or, thirdly, it may arise, on the other side, when a conceited and presumptuous science seeks to establish itself rather than truth, and places more dependence on its own conclusions than on its announcements.

What, then, is faith, taken in itself, but the reception into the soul of the divine and divinely-communicated verities? And what is science, more than the apprehension thereof by the mind [_geist_]? Are there, then, two truths, of which, however, one or the other is not true? Undoubtedly there exists, along with the spirit of truth, another spirit--that of contradiction and negation. But the latter is no spirit of truth, but the spirit of untruth and delusion so often described, which invariably triumphs whenever the mind of man, in its pursuit of knowledge, seeks itself rather than the truth, and consequently finds, perceives, and retains nothing but its own Me. And this evil spirit the soul even meets half way whenever it is incapable of embracing and retaining the life and the spirit of the holy faith, and when, consequently, these quickly flee away, and nothing but the letter and the empty form remain behind. But where the spirit of truth has once departed, error in manifold shapes and forms finds, one way or other, an entrance into the soul. Is it not one and the same truth which, on the one side, speaking from the one revelation, impresses itself on the soul of man as the commanding voice of love enjoining faith, and which, on the other, condescendingly offers and presents itself to the mind or spirit of the believer as a mystery, in order that he may, if he will, investigate it in order to discover and adopt the meaning and the light that are veiled and inclosed within it? Is there, then, to be a party feud and a civil war in the heart of man, between soul and spirit, the two elements of his existence; just as if it were some ill-organized state where, in opposition to the supreme political power, some insubordinate body sets itself up in authority, and presumes to give the law? Ought, forsooth, the soul in secret to be liberal, and, in half-unbelief, to grant immunity to all manner of lusts and desires, while the spirit is legitimist in sentiment and constitutional in language? Or ought the soul to be honestly _ultra_ and a thorough legitimist in its established faith, while the mind, on its part, by its liberal measures, is perfectly falling into error? So far is this from being allowable, that even these names and these parties would soon cease and disappear altogether, if, instead of party, the knowledge, and the might, and the inspiration of life--the supreme life, _i.e._, or God, were once to take full possession of the minds of men, and so animate them anew and ardently inspire them with the common spirit and ardor of the one faith and the one science.

Now, the intermediate link which unites science with faith--the mean function between both which admits of demonstration within the limits of the consciousness and of philosophy, is discernment [_erkennen_]. Of this there are two kinds: the one distinguishes between right and wrong, and, consequently, as a separate function, directs itself outwardly in its operation, and observes differences. By the other we see and comprehend, or understand and discern, that two objects apparently different, are properly and essentially one and the same. It is with this intrinsic and inwardly-directed discernment that we are here concerned. For it is by this highest function of thought, which penetrates into the inmost essence of each of two ideas, and by its sentence declaring their similarity, that we perceive and discern that this science and that faith are essentially identical. Discerning in this sense is something different from knowing; it is, as it were, a second knowing; or, if we may be allowed to express ourselves mathematically, “knowing raised to a higher power.” It is this that discovers the essential unity of Science and Faith, and that must bring about the restoration of concord between them, and reconcile them with each other. If, however, this second and higher knowing, or this science of science, be referred and confined to one’s own Me or Self, as is too often done, such a course will only lead us out of the common error of the ordinary self-delusion into one still more profound, which will prove the more complex and aggravated, the more scientifically it is evolved, and which I have already depicted to you in its true colors.

Now this unity of science with faith can only be found and discovered in their common object--in truth, consequently, and _i.e._ in God, who is the sum of all truth. Mere negations--like that of the idea of the infinite, or the notion of the immeasurable, which is applicable even to nature itself, or that of the absolute or unconditional, of which many palpably erroneous applications might easily be made--no such pure negations, nor even any mere enumeration of predicates and properties devoid of intrinsic coherence, can furnish us with an adequate conception of the Deity. But now if a cognition, an understanding of life in general, be attainable (and no skeptical perplexities have yet been able to deter or seduce man’s sound common sense from entertaining and acting upon such a supposition), then it is clear that there is no reason for holding the notion of the supreme life in and by itself to be impossible or utterly unattainable by man.

Now, this is the path which a profounder science and philosophy has invariably marked out for itself in this respect; and in the three different powers, which, however, are at the same time but one, in the trine energy of the one first cause of all, has it ever sought and discovered this highest notion. In this notion belonging to the supreme science, as advanced by philosophy in very different ages of the world and among widely-remote nations, there is a remarkable resemblance, although in the subordinate statements there is a greater or less admixture of error. In the midst of many subordinate aberrations, it has recognized the one great fact, that in the Supreme Life, who has His life in Himself, and is the prime source of all other life, there is, at the same time, a creative intelligence and thought which from the beginning issued therefrom as the Eternal Word self-subsistent and ordering all things, and that the Light which proceeded therefrom was itself also the first life. But now, just as this original life, which was from the beginning, was not simply Infinite, but even the source of all finite and infinite existence, and as this Life is an illumination which illuminates Itself and all other things, so is this Light also a living entity, and not merely spiritual and immaterial (for as such even It might still be a part of nature), but one thoroughly supernatural and holy, and, if man will have it so, an awful light which repels all darkness from itself, and, eternally rejecting, annihilates it.

Now, this Life, this Word, and this Light, these three different powers in the same energy and in the one substance, which even, therefore, is called the Supreme, is at once the highest object of all science, and the center and fundamental source of all faith. And this science of the Highest, even when regarded exclusively from this single aspect of knowing, does not exhibit itself as entirely separate from, and independent of, faith, but even, as such, is from the very first in contact with it, and, taken simply as knowing, involves in it a concurrence and co-operation of faith.

In very many and different, not to say infinitely various ways it may be shown, pointed out, and established, that without this full and correct notion of the Supreme Being, every other species of existence and of knowledge must be without coherence and proper significance. However, as has been so often observed already, there is not involved in it any strict necessity. It does not possess any rigor of logical sequence, constraining the assent of one who in his heart is otherwise disposed, and in his sentiments has otherwise determined. For so must it ever be: the final resolve of conviction is left to the free assent, that quiet internal concurrence of the will already mentioned, which in general brings man into actual communion with God, and opens and enlarges his sense for the divine--since such assent is itself even that sense, or, at least, the principle and commencement of it.

And this complement of the highest science, which is furnished by the free internal assent, is even of itself nothing less than an act of faith. Consequently, the complete and correct notion of the Supreme Essence is the mystical ring in which science and faith are at the first beginning indissolubly connected. Nothing but the perversity and shortsightedness of men in regard both to science and faith, tears them asunder again, and, separating what in God is one and what He has joined together, sets science and faith in hostile opposition, mutually obstructing and destroying one another. Moreover, this highest notion of the highest science is the scientific vertex or the scientifically culminating expression of man’s universal belief in the one living God. For if this one God is necessarily to be conceived of as endued with life, it will be sufficient for me to appeal to the fact, that physical science knows not, and no one even can conceive or comprehend or think of a mode of life in any sphere of existence, without implying a plurality, or, at least, a duality of co-operating forces. But if, further, we are to think of it as a perfect life, then must there be in it a third living energy or operation. Thus, therefore, on this side also the highest notion of a science which has attained to its end, and to the summit of all existence and all knowledge, is in perfect unison with the universal feeling of truth and the natural and simple faith of man.

But now, if the highest science and a divine faith intrinsically and essentially be properly one, it will naturally turn and depend on the preservation of the true ratio and correct proportion between the two powers and elements of human existence, whether or not in their further application and actual life they are to continue at unity, without coming into hostile collision and discord. The believing soul, like the mistress of a family, ought to hold and retain the chief place in the house; the spirit that knows, or that aims at knowledge, as the master, may pursue out of doors whatever avocations it pleases, only it must be continually returning to the domestic hearth, and there warm itself at the pure ascending flame of devotion and pious meditation. And if in its wanderings it should most love to stray in the rich and blooming garden of nature, then of the rare aromatic woods and seeds it there gathers, it may throw one or more into the fire, in order to add some sweet, ethereal incense to its warming and illuminating flames.

Or, leaving figure, to express myself in more precise and exact terms--the believing part of the consciousness observing its due proportion, ought not to refuse and reject the true and Godlike science together with that which is Godless, pernicious, and false. So, too, the cognitive or scientific portion ought to abstain from all hostile attacks on the other domain and on positive faith, which in all probability it has not sufficiently studied, and still less perfectly understands. And thus, also, when this cognitive part (as it ought, and as is essential to its truth and correctness as science) carefully watches itself and rigorously abstains from all arbitrary, presumptuous, and egoistic opinions and ideas, suggestions or beginnings of ideas, as involving the first disposition to false science and every species of error, then there is no need for it to be held in check by the other part, nor to be limited by it.

But in any case we must be ready to admit that the fault lies in man, and on no account suppose that the dissension has its ground in the thing itself. For the thing here is nothing less than truth itself, which can not be twofold, since God Himself is this truth and the sum thereof. It is therefore important, on the one hand, by means of the old spirit, to be ever giving new life and energy to faith, by carrying it back continually to its own eternal foundations, in order to avert the danger, which is ever threatening it, of spiritual deadness and of the ascendency of the letter that killeth. And, on the other hand, we ought never to cease from or to become weary of refining more and more the higher philosophical science from all the egoistic dross of arbitrary opinions and fancied apodictic conclusions, laboring the while to complete it according to the threefold dimensions (to hazard the expression) of this so utterly immeasurable essence of everlasting truth, by keeping incessantly in view the unfathomable depth, the inaccessible height, the inexhaustible center of bliss of the one inconceivable and ineffable Being. For the fault and the cause of the dissension must in no case be ascribed to the thing itself, but invariably either to a dead, imperfectly enlightened, and untelligent faith, on the one hand, or on the other, to the arbitrary assumptions or one-sided conclusions of a science, which in this respect and degree at least is false and erroneous.

But inasmuch as the fault and origin of the dissension has partly its foundation in human imperfection and finiteness, we must rest content, even if we can not all at once get rid of and remove it. We must be satisfied if in this ceaseless struggle with man’s hereditary and connatural fault of error, the progress though slow is sure. It is enough if in this surely advancing progression, each step, however short, brings us nearer to the truth, and to the perfect cognition of the unity of the highest science and divine faith. But this is a point on which even individuals, with the most perfect honesty of purpose and a sincere love of truth, too often go wrong. Unable, perhaps, to reconcile to their own minds some conflicting claim of science and of faith, and to see their way clear out of their perplexities, then to cut the knot of the problem to which they despair of soon finding a satisfactory solution, they precipitately adopt some partial and overhasty conclusion. But slow, extremely slow, is the advance of man’s mental enlightenment in the realm of truth. And if the course of Providence, according to the very gradual progression of divine order in this domain, must be counted by millenniums, then in the life of individuals, years and decades must be reckoned as days and hours. Even though some grave doubt, distracting the inmost feelings, but scarcely definable in express terms--some oppressive problem suggested by the peculiar mental temperament of the individual, can not be resolved in three hours, or even three days, still it may perhaps in three years; and if three years be too little, then thirty years may probably suffice. While in spite of this inward doubt we follow uninterruptedly our vocation in outer life, many a silent change is effected in our minds, and so at length with altered views and enlarged experience we attain to a calm and clear conviction on the points which at an earlier period had appeared to us obscure, had held us in suspense, and oppressed us with perplexing difficulties.

This is the only road that can be safely trod by those who desire above all things to retain a divine faith, but at the same time not to renounce the pursuit of higher science. And is not this the difficult position in the present day of every well-disposed person who is in any way connected with science, or whose pursuits in life require him to occupy himself with it? But now, in the case of physical science, we are all content to observe this law of tardy progress; indeed we think it quite natural, and hold it to be the only correct method. And it is only by following a similar course in the internal investigations of philosophy that we shall ever arrive at a stable position and the firm ground of eternal truth. By any other method, we shall most assuredly lose ourselves among the ever-shifting systems which change with the fashions of the day, or be carried away by the baseless hypotheses of this or that sect or school, which, like the sterile blossoms in the spring, fall fruitless to the ground.

In respect to this tardiness of progress, which most assuredly is at least not inconsistent with true philosophy, I can appeal to my own instance, which in such a case is, I hope, allowable. It is now nine-and-thirty years since I first read, with indescribable avidity, the entire works of Plato in the original; and ever since, amid many other scientific studies, philosophical research has been my principal and favorite avocation. In this pursuit many and various have been the systems of science--of discord and of error--that I have had to wander through. Satisfied neither with the opinions of others nor with my own views, I felt reluctant to come forward with a system of my own. In the mean while my view of philosophy has been in a state of inchoation and of tardy but progressive development. Slowly and incompletely, little by little, incidentally and fragmentarily, at different epochs, has some of its principles come to the light, or escaped me in my earlier literary works and compositions--an explanation which I do not consider superfluous, even for those who are best acquainted with them. But the more I held fast to the two poles of divine faith and of supreme science, which as such is also divine, the firmer footing did I gain in that point and that center in the everlasting Beginning, in which both are one and cease to be at issue, but rather intimately cohering, do but lend fresh life, strength, and elevation to each other. And now at length I believe I have attained to that point when, fully persuaded myself of this unity of science and faith as grounded in God, I may safely indulge the wish to impart to others this important truth, publicly to set it forth, and develop it to the whole world. And it is to me no slight cause of congratulation that I am to enter upon this task in the present place and in the present manner.

Besides those points of correlation already pointed out, between the highest science and faith, there is still another way in which the former, in its all-embracing notion of the triple life of the primal cause and force, is referred to faith, and even to its positive articles and its divine authority. It is obliged to appeal to this, in order to find and maintain its guiding rule and correct standard for the further application and development of this highest and fundamental notion, and to keep it dear of all erroneous and extravagant excrescences. The necessity of this will be best and most simply shown by a few historical instances.

When we open any of the ancient writings of the Hindoos, whether it be their scientific systems, their books of laws and customs for practical life, or their merely mythological poems, we find them, in every instance, based on the notion of a divine trinity, and, in some cases, asserting it in express words and phrases. But inasmuch as, forgetting to maintain the unity together with the trinity, they abandoned the simple truth and made thereout three distinct gods, the metaphysical theory (which otherwise contains so many and distinct traces of ancient truth) and the trinity of the Hindoos has become a pure mythology, comprising as long a genealogy of gods as any other. But the retention, however, of this fundamental notion, their mythology has acquired a theistic hue and coloring, which forms a strong contrast between it and the better known mythology of Greece, notwithstanding that in other respects, and in its purely poetic portion, it exhibits many and strong features of resemblance and affinity. Thus, in this wonderful chaos of distorted truth, of monstrous error, and pure fiction, we meet with ten fabulous creations of men, instead of the single true one with which, only within the last three centuries, the Hindoos have formed a more thorough and permanently-based acquaintance. Moreover, in life and in practice there is exhibited a renunciation of the world, and a mortification of the body, which, far surpassing the rigorous self-denial of the early Christian solitaries in Egypt, is carried to an intensity and an extreme which it is almost incredible that human nature should be capable of. But co-existing with all this, we meet with immoral practices and licentious excesses sanctified by falsehood and superstition, similar to those we have already become acquainted with in the more sensual heathenism of antiquity, that, I mean, which prevailed among the ancient races of this our western portion of the globe. Into such a frightful abyss of error even the most spiritual system of metaphysics inevitably falls, or at least easily becomes associated with falsehood, whenever it is left entirely to itself, and is devoid of a divine rule for its guidance, and the simple standard of a higher and heaven-descended authority.

In the history, too, of the development of the Grecian mind we discover a similar doctrine advanced in one of its latest epochs. The Neo-Platonists were very well acquainted with this doctrine and idea of a divine trinity; as, indeed, it may also be traced in the still earlier writings of Plato himself. How far the expressions and formularies employed by the former writers scientifically to convey this idea were perfect and correct is a question which does not concern us at present to inquire. Moreover, the determination of it would carry us far beyond our proper limits, inasmuch as its exact solution would require a nice and accurate classification of the several writers and systems which belong to this school. It is, however, sufficient to remark that this profound metaphysical school of the Neo-Platonists, which reckoned among its adherents the Emperor Julian, stood in direct and hostile collision with Christianity. To adapt to the purpose of their opposition the old Grecian mythology, a faith in which had sensibly declined even among the masses, they attempted to mold it according to their own views and notions, into such a theological shape and direction as would make it more closely resemble the Indian. By this means they believed it possible to revive and reanimate the popular faith. But, even if their ulterior view and their whole object and actuating motive had not taken a direction so decidedly hostile to the truth, still their enterprise, even as such, could not but miscarry. No doubt the mythology of Greece, in its earliest times and original shape, did contain, in some of its less prominent and more hidden passages, esoterically interpreted, a few symbolical doctrines and somewhat theistic ideas, as many a profound examiner of it, in modern times, has recognized and demonstrated. But, notwithstanding all these traces, which we must regard as the remains of an older tradition of the primary knowledge and full revelation belonging to primeval times, still, in subsequent ages, the Grecian mythology had, on the whole, assumed exclusively and pre-eminently a poetic development and form, which even subordinated to itself that political tendency which in so many of its details is so strong. It was, therefore, nothing less than an absurd and inconsistent attempt to try, so late in the day, to metamorphose this beautiful world of fable into a factitious theory of metaphysics, and a colossal system of mysticism, after the manner and fashion of the Indian. Accordingly, like every other attempt that is fundamentally false and directly opposed to the spirit of the age, it passed away at last, without leaving a trace of its influence.

This inclination to the poetic aberration of polytheism and a deification of nature, so universally prevalent in the heathen antiquity of the West, renders it easily conceivable why, in the first and Jewish portion of written revelation, such great stress is laid pre-eminently and primarily on the oneness of the living God. All other expressions--such as that of the eternal creative Word, of the life-giving Spirit of God--are, as it were, but allusions full of hidden meaning for the more clear-sighted and profounder inquirers. How numerous, nevertheless, such indications are; how frequent the reference to three powers or persons--the time, energy, and property of the one Supreme Being--an allusion to which is contained even in the different Hebrew names of the Godhead, is known and acknowledged, even by those who would, if they could, deny it, both to themselves and others.

The tradition of the Jews, which, lying without the strictly-defined body of Scripture, yet proceeds concurrently with it, while it possesses of itself no authority, is, nevertheless, a very useful though too much neglected source of illustration for the sacred volume. Now, in the Talmud the doctrine and notion of the divine trinity is expressed quite fully and distinctly, and without reserve; although in the mode and manner of conceiving it there is much that is both false and objectionable.

In that second portion of revelation with which our present era commences, together with the fulfilling and perfection of the object of faith, this supreme science is brought prominently and clearly forward. No doubt a certain caution and degree of reserve on this doctrine of the Trinity are distinctly visible in the earliest teaching and statements, so long as the preaching of the new faith was confined within the Jewish nation, on whose mind the idea of the oneness of God was still deeply imprinted, even though, like every other principle of their religion, it was ill understood and had long ceased to be embraced with a living energy, being taken merely in the dead letter. But ere long this thin veil was also removed from the All-holy One, and the great mystery of faith set forth as the introduction to the fourth and last Gospel. From the latter I have accordingly borrowed that designation of this great mystery which is even the most appropriate to science; of the supreme life which is itself omnipotence, of the eternal word which is ominisence, and of the uncreated light which is the All-holy.

Certain great thinkers, who, however, in many respects can not be classed among proper Christians, have indeed recognized and acknowledged the profound significance of this opening of the Gospel. Only they adopted a spirit of hostile analysis, which, as it attacked so many of the great works of olden time, did not spare even this divine monument. They lost themselves in all sorts of superfluous hypotheses as to the source from which this or that passage was derived, and with what object it was introduced. Much simpler were it, without having recourse to any such artificial explanations, to receive the divine truth in sincerity as it is offered to us. If we must ascribe some special design for its composition, it will be sufficient to suppose, that after the Evangel of Life and the new era commencing therewith had been sufficiently set forth as history in a triple narrative, it was requisite to add thereto this Evangel of the Beginning--as the Gospel according to the spirit of the highest science, in so far as this is fully identical with the divine faith, and henceforward was always to continue one with it. It was quite in the natural order of things that the word which was uttered at the beginning of the material creation, and is the basis of the first revelation, should also at the opening of the second revelation, and the spiritual creation of a new era, be repeated (though in a different and far higher sense) for the soul in the realm of truth:--“And God said: Let there be light, and there was light.”



In the terrestial creation, in the realm of nature, no sooner did the behest go forth, “Let there be light,” than the accomplishment forthwith followed. Scarcely was this light and life-creating word spoken, than it was succeeded, spontaneously and immediately, without let or hinderance, by the second word of the joyful conclusion: “And there was light.” Quite otherwise, however, is it in the life and in the world of free-created man, in the progression of his intellectual development, in the history of his mind [_geist_], in his now advancing, now retrograding thought and knowledge. Here, indeed, the first call to light and divine truth does not pass over even man’s stubborn and taciturn heart altogether unheeded and unanswered, and without eliciting some faint response. But lasting is the struggle between light and darkness, between knowledge and ignorance, between faith and infidelity. Ever wavering from side to side, and fluctuating from one extreme to another, the victory long remains undecided. And centuries often, nay, thousands of years, pass away ere with perfect truth that word of fulfillment and completion can be uttered, and we can go on, undoubtedly, to say, “And there was light.” Even when the true end is pursued along the direct road, the right track is often lost amid the endless strife and controversy of men, while a long train of useless discussion raises so thick a cloud of dust as shuts it entirely out of sight, and so a new route has to be sought and opened from quite an opposite quarter.

How deeply was the Gentile world sunk in wild and cruel superstition, when the Great Prophetic Spirit and the Disperser of that Egyptian darkness, which hung over it, repeated or wrote down those first words of light for the spiritual no less than the material creation! Assuredly he had in view thereby a new genesis for his people--a new life and a new beginning of light. Then followed fifteen centuries of probation. And what was this long period but one ceaseless though alternating struggle between light and darkness? At the end of it, in spite of its great and noble gifts and superior knowledge, the whole nation had fallen into the lowest depths of luxury and corruption, on the one hand a prey to the wilder passions, on the other spiritually dead and rotten. But, the shadow of its former self, it dragged on a miserable existence, oppressed by a foreign yoke and torn by intestine sects and parties. The one claiming to be the only legal sect (and as concerned the letter of the law, and the outward ritual, it was so in fact), and arrogant and obstinate, closely adhering to the dead letter, was widely estranged and alienated from the spirit of love and mildness. And thus the very name of Pharisee has become odious and hateful, having passed into a proverb and a by-word. Wholly mistaking the meaning of the revelation imparted to them, they misunderstood the future to which it referred, no less than the immediate fortunes of their nation and their own condition. Consequently they went totally wrong in the interpretation of the former, as well as of the problem of the present which was laid before them. For they took it in the narrow and perverted spirit of party. No doubt the Pharisees reckoned among their members many truly pious, well-disposed, and right-thinking individuals--men, who in the beginning of the new era of the world, as appeals from the simple history of those times, acknowledged the truth, and recognized the hand of God pointing and leading onward to the future. These men mourned in silence over the revolting pride and stiffneckedness of their cotemporaries. But though endued with great learning and talents, and burning zeal for right and truth, they did not venture openly to oppose and to teach differently from their brethren, even because in reality the law, the dead and external law, was on their side.

But the other party was that of the Sadducees. Quite different in principle, these were the innovators among the Jews. Explaining away the theological creed of their nation, they went so far in this direction as to throw into shade, and to question, or, rather, absolutely to deny, the immortality of the soul. In civil matters and questions of law and policy, they were the liberal free-thinkers of their day.

From amid these two dark clouds, which, if they shone at all, glimmered only with the deceptive halo of the false light and hue of party, broke the new dawn and sun of Truth--at first unobserved, nor understood by any, so thickly had these mists overspread the horizon. But this new genesis, and this full illumination, was no longer destined exclusively for a single people. Accordingly, it gradually spread over the ten or twelve great nations who occupy two parts of the habitable globe, and also possess and govern the greatest portion of the third and the most ancient. And it is, in short, by means of that intellectual superiority and civilization which they owe to this springing of a new era, and this first light, that the former bear rule in the remotest regions of the earth.

Since the dawning of that day-spring eighteen centuries have elapsed, and sadly torn and distracted is the present aspect of Christianity. We should, no doubt, give a very distorted picture of the state of Christendom were we anxiously to trace its resemblance, through every minuter trait and nicer shade, to the old world at its close and at the end of those fifteen centuries of Jewish preparation. Such a minute parallel would be false, whether we were to compare it to the moral state and character of that nation, mentally blinded and hurrying with hasty steps toward its ruin, or even to the old heathen world of Rome, already condemned by anarchy and infidelity. Still it is generally true. For it is undeniable that man is perpetually relapsing into dissension and party quarrels, even while the hand which sways the destinies of the world, in ever-recurring epochs of renovation, is continually presenting to him anew both truth and life, health and peace. And every one can answer for himself the question whether this new proclamation of light and truth, this divine message of peace and salvation, has yet reached its full accomplishment. Has the Sun of Righteousness yet penetrated, and cast its bright beams on all the relations of life, to the very inmost joints of soul and spirit? Can it with perfect truth be said, relatively to the whole human race, “And there is light”--that light, at least, which alone is good, even because it shall remain forever? For those meteoric sparks which flash across the universal night and darkness, from the systems of man’s wisdom, which, crossing and recrossing each other’s path, are soon again extinguished forever; or those clouds of public opinion, charged with electric fluid and with pestilence, which, for the most part, is but the public outburst of some party passion; these emit no lasting, no salutary, and, therefore, no true light. Dark and gloomy, too, perhaps, in its future prospects, appears the long struggle between divine truth and human discord, between light and darkness, between faith and infidelity. But the more difficult and intricate the problem is which forms the theme of our present disquisition, the more diligently and the more conscientiously ought we to seek out and dwell upon every bright and quiet spot. For such alone can cheer us on our way along the rugged path that leads to the blissful goal of internal and spiritual peace, which will essentially contribute to give a solid basis to the public and social tranquillity, and to insure its permanence.

Slowly and gradually is it that the individual mind, distracted and vacillating between God and a divine faith on the one hand, and a higher, or even the highest, science on the other, advances in its progress toward the perfect truth. Arriving, step by step, at fuller and better convictions, it attains at last to a clear discernment that, properly and fundamentally, these two apparently-conflicting objects are not distinct, but in their inmost essence are perfectly one. But for the final attainment of this end, the most important condition to be observed is that scientific patience to which I called your attention in the last Lecture. The chief thing to be guarded against is a precipitate and over-hasty decision. For by such we should incur the great danger of sacrificing the sacred deposit of faith to science, or of foolishly rejecting the treasures of true science, which as such is indispensable to the higher life, and even necessary and useful for the confirmation of faith itself. And why, in the pursuit of truth--that proper spiritual theme and highly interesting matter of the otherwise flat and insipid drama of life--should we feel indisposed to such a scientific patience, as I called it? Why should we be unwilling to recognize it as what it really is--both salutary and indispensable to human frailty, and, as an intellectual virtue, no less necessary than even moral patience? And the latter is even the fundamental condition of every great or little business, and almost every pursuit of life, if it is to attain to a happy result, and is not to fail of its true end and aim. For patience is, as it were, the indispensable portion which their earthly existence brings to all men. Not only is it needed by the invalid on the bed of sickness, in the long and tedious observance of his physician’s precise and rigid prescriptions--not only is it wanted by the teacher in his troublesome task of giving the first development to the intellectual powers of the child--not only is patience requisite for the judge who has to settle the complicated quarrel of two litigants, of whom each claims his sympathy, each desires to win him to his own side and to bias his judgment--but it is also indispensable to the warrior whom ambition hurries forward in the pursuit of honor for himself and his country. For numberless are the hardships and privations, and many, too, are the miseries which the soldier must undergo before he can gain the object of his hopes, the hard-fought battle and the glorious victory. The statesman, too, with his wide sphere of influence and authority, stands eminently in need of patience. How watchful and comprehensive must be his vigilance, how deliberate his precautions, lest the organic course of his administration should come to a check or stop, in consequence of his having neglected, or failed to provide for any single member of the great body, or any regulating-wheel in the complicated machinery of the state.

But, on the other hand, there are also moments in human life where the final issue turns not so much on a steady and uniform perseverance in continuous activity, as on a decided resolution and firmness of purpose. Among these we may place foremost, perhaps, in an intellectual relation, the dissension between faith and infidelity, and the choice at the point where the two branch off forever.

It is not here my design to set up, to commend, and to extol faith, nor to decry, to attack, and to make war upon infidelity. For the former would take me beyond my present limits; the latter would lead me into a boundless field of details, and require me to take an exhaustive survey, not only of all actually existent, but also of all conceivable, prejudices and delusions. My principal object is rather to sketch a true and exact picture of both, comprising, at the same time, all their historical manifestations, and explaining their psychological causes, in order to exhibit them both in their true light, so that man may choose for himself and decide between them.

Now the apparent--or it may be real, but still only accidental--schism between science and faith is, in the first place, internal. It is often, indeed, profoundly hidden and concealed in the inmost depths of the heart. It is therefore inwardly only that it admits of being adjusted and finally reconciled. When this task is once accomplished in the heart of an individual, and the choice is at least made one way or the other, then this decision manifests itself outwardly, either as the triumph of truth in the unity of science and faith, or as infidelity and skepticism, shows itself in the form of a determined opposition to this unity, or to faith itself. And the latter is the form it also assumes in the intermediate case when the schism between science and faith is declared to be irreconcilable. Openly expressed, therefore, these two views go far beyond the original dissension, and pass into the second schism and conflict between faith and infidelity. And although this problem be itself an original and internal one, still it reveals itself pre-eminently as a practical schism in actual life, and it is as such, also, that it develops and manifests itself in history.

But it is our object to make this comparison and parallel between faith and infidelity, in the full practical meaning of the words, useful and historically applicable to life. For this purpose we must not regard infidelity as founded exclusively on caprice, aversion, or obstinacy--consequently on ignorance--but consider it rather as enjoying every intellectual advantage, and commanding all the resources of learning and science. For a purely personal, and merely negative unbelief, without any deep foundation, and without even an apparently scientific confirmation, is neither very dangerous to the community, and, above all, presents little if any interest to philosophy. But, on the other hand, if faith is successfully to cope with such an adversary, furnished with all the armor and expedients of science, it must be able to stand the comparison with it in this respect. It must, in short, be conceived and set forth in its natural relation to true science, and, taking its proper place and position, must act in union and co-operation with it.

I must here, however, premise a second preliminary remark. I can not bring myself to follow a very general opinion, and look upon faith as a true and duly moderated medium between superstition and infidelity. On the contrary, I join superstition with infidelity, and can not but class them together. If by this term of superstition nothing is meant but some exaggeration or other, some over-excitement of the moral and religious feelings in individuals, then such a purely-personal case admits not of being raised to a general rule, nor elevated into a universal principle. And in any case it does not fall within the range of philosophical speculation. For the care of the spiritual health and healthy diet of the believing soul, which draws both life and love from the deep sources of faith, belongs to a wholly different province from that of philosophy. But by this word and notion of superstition there is often understood a very childish error, which does not duly separate and distinguish the figurative language and figurative forms of fancy from the substance of the true intrinsic meaning. This error, which thus confounds the figurative expression with reality, and takes it to be something real, may justly be called childish, inasmuch as it is universally peculiar, almost natural, to the intellect of children. Now, in and by itself, and simply understood, such an internal _optical delusion_ results from nothing but a psychological imperfection, or a mere semblance of intellectual nature. But when this error is carried out into a system, and applied, on a large scale, to the sum and essence of faith, then, undoubtedly, it possesses a profounder origin and significance. This species of superstition belongs to one of those classes of error which I am about to describe. When, for instance, an actual positive error is comprised in and understood by this name, then it belongs to infidelity, which, in general, is rather a false faith than any mere absence of belief. Infidelity, in short, is an erroneous belief. And such, also, is every species of superstition, and this designation of it by the name of erroneous faith, if generally adopted, would be more correct and accurate, or, at least, less liable to be misunderstood than its ordinary title.

For, to adhere to the usual term, every species of infidelity is either a material deification of nature and a worship of the sensible powers of life, or it is an abstract deification of the absolute subjective Me, and the pure reason, with its endless thinking and knowing. Even when it is conceived in a purely skeptical light as an absolute _not-knowing_, still even in this case it is the understanding that is deified. Standing apart from, and thinking itself superior to, the weak prejudices of other men--in its negation feeling and fancying itself to be instinct with genius--it is regarded and set up as the highest object of existence, and thereby in a certain intellectual sense is made an idol of. Even the evil power of perverted genius--for such we may well call it when it ventures to contemn both law and right, and fancies itself to be raised high above the voice of conscience and the moral duties of docility and humblemindedness as belonging to ordinary minds--even such a perverted genius may be made the idol of a man who has once turned his back on the simple truth and on God, and has arrogantly set himself in opposition to both. We may, in short, without hesitation, advance it as an invariable principle and an unerring rule, that the man who has lost or abandoned--not to say rejected--the idea and belief in the one good and righteous God, has enshrined within his breast and cherishes some more or less dangerous idol, whether it be the subjective Me or some fearful passion, or, it may be, some firm and well-finished system of deified reason or nature.

The complete notion or ideal scheme of pure faith, in its organic union, co-operation, and true relation with all higher and with all natural or earthly science, must be conceived of and sketched in agreement with the triple principle of the human consciousness, according to which it is divided into spirit, soul, and sense. At least it is in this way that it can most easily be made clear, and being accurately apprehended in its essential properties and nature, is kept distinct from all foreign elements and adscititious matters. But infidelity, and that doubt and absence of harmony from which it takes its rise, as well as that error which results from it, have their seat in the fourfold consciousness. These all owe their origin to that disunion in which the mind was involved by the Fall, and which manifests itself principally in the dissension which subsists between Fancy and Reason, and eventually destroys all harmony and co-operation between the Understanding and the Will. For this twofold schism in the human consciousness is the source of all philosophical error and of its various false systems. And this scientific error again, so soon as it attains to a practical utterance, and in a living form enters into or interferes with life, becomes infidelity.

Originally, however, the consciousness was not thus rent by dissension. Throughout, in its triple principle of sense, soul, and spirit, prevailed one living, harmonious action. Now, in this its natural state, the soul must be regarded as the principle of faith. And this is a point especially to be borne in mind. It is, however, too often forgotten. And consequently the faith, or, rather (for we are not speaking at present of the subject-matter so much as of the mental act), the believing, is in an external manner derived very incompletely and unsatisfactorily from the divided and quadruple consciousness. For generally the act of believing and its essence is made to consist in a certain internal reserve on the part of both understanding and will, and a similar control of the fancy, and even of the reason, as well as in the recognition of these limits and of such limitation.

We must, no doubt, admit that there may be very much which the human intellect can not fathom nor see through. This it would by no means be difficult to prove. And still more easy were it to show that man’s will can not always give the law, but must often submit to and recognize a higher and more universal authority. And as regards the fancy, every one will be ready--not to say forward--to make a somewhat similar admission. The faculty of imagination, sensuous and material in its origin and in its operation, and always remaining in the highest degree subjective, is liable to innumerable illusions, to which we ascribe no value, or, rather, which we carefully endeavor to dispel from our minds, whenever we attempt to penetrate into the inmost essence of the highest truth which it is the object of faith to embrace. That, moreover, the reason, no less than the fancy, has its peculiar--one might almost say, its innate--optical delusions, must be but too well known to every one who has made the slightest progress in the art of logic, and advanced beyond the mere elements of a philosophical examination of this faculty.

All this, however, is only a negative nature. The mere recognition and acknowledgment of the fact that we can and ought to restrain our reason and reserve our judgment whenever a higher act of faith comes into question--or, in other words, that in such a case the absolute reason, with its logical processes and laws of thought, is not alone qualified to decide, but meets with limits which it is unable to surmount--such concessions do not lead to any positive result. They do but establish the possibility of a faith which may transcend and is not confined within these bounds. While, however, they lead to the inference that such a faith is thoroughly conceivable, and that while it transcends the reason is, nevertheless, rational, and capable of being brought into perfect unison with the sound reason, they do not by any means establish at once its reality. All this is rather the preparatory step to believing, and not the true living faith itself.

A true living faith (and we are here speaking of the function of believing, rather than of the particular details of a positive creed), is nothing else than the reception into the soul of the truth given unto us by God. And inasmuch as the soul is in its origin loving, and, indeed, the very faculty of love, a true living faith can not be thought of or exist without this accompaniment of love, which is even its distinctive characteristic.

In the case, for instance, of a special form and positive rule of faith, the incompetency of the reason and understanding to pass a definitive judgment on such high and divine matters may be acknowledged, and even the external will may sacrifice its own inclinations and submit to the requirements of a positive law. But so long as all this remains, as it were, external to man, so long as the soul within does not concur therewith--a fact which may be infallibly discerned by the want or absence of love--then in this case it is but a dead faith, even though outwardly, and in the judgment of others, it may pass as legitimate and orthodox. Then only is it a true living faith when it is wholly received into the entire soul, as manifested by its internal fruitfulness in spiritual thought and moral action. For it is the soul that believes--that same thinking and loving soul which we have already designated the center of the collective consciousness of man and of his moral life. In this state, however, the soul has undergone a change; is this higher act of believing its cogitation has become steady and uniform, and its love perfectly pure and abidingly permanent in God.

But now, if in the triple consciousness the soul be the principle of faith, then is the spirit or mind [_geist_] that of higher science, of free thought, of a full and complete discernment, and of the final and supreme act of distinguishing and deciding. And by this higher science I mean that which has for its exclusive object the eternal truth, and Him who is the sum and source of all immutable verities. But, thirdly, the sensuous faculty is the principle of all lower sensible, terrestrial, and natural knowledge. And this comprises all human history, and together therewith all language and art, and every branch of learning that is occupied therewith. But besides the physical sciences, mathematics also belong to this department, for these are dependent on the sensuous conditions of number, weight, and measure, and consequently on time and space, and on those material properties which fill space, viz., gravity and solidity.

Now there is nothing, however hidden--nothing, however profound--into which this sensuous principle of knowledge, which investigates all that is earthly, natural or human, and historical, may not attempt at least to penetrate. Only the inquiring senses must not quit their true center. In other words, they ought not to make a hostile attack on the center of the consciousness, which is even the believing soul. They must not, by breaking through it, or passing by it, attempt violently and unduly to ascend to the highest. For in such a case, attempting to create a supreme and highest object of their own, raising it on their own soil, and drawing its materials from their own sources, they will produce nothing but absolutely false and mere nature-gods, or else some historical phantoms, or idols of national recollections and patriotic enthusiasm, such as were enshrined in the heathen worship of antiquity. For even, without material images and altars, such an idolatry may be revived in a scientific form, similar to what we have witnessed, or, if we look around us, may still witness, with our own eyes. And as little can the free spirit of supreme knowledge look down from its own height on this center of the soul, and pay no regard either to faith or love. In the depths of sensuous observation, amid all the rich treasures of physical and historical science, it can not move as sovereign without being first invested with the luminous garment of pure faith and love. Otherwise it only hastens from one error to another to fall from the first abyss into a second and still deeper one.

The pure and living faith of a loving soul abiding permanently in God, is properly the center of the human consciousness--the natural passage of life for the senses as they ascend into the heights, and for the mind or spirit as it penetrates into the depths. It is the connecting mean which not only reconciles and adjusts, joins and combines the two, but also restores them to harmonious unity.

In the preceding Lecture I considered the notion of the truth in which the supreme science and the divine faith coincide, and are at unison in reference to their subject-matter--consequently, as the right notion of Him who is truth itself. Viewing it thus from its objective side principally, I designated it the sum and source of all truth. We have now, in the progress of our speculations, met again with this notion in its subjective aspect. It is chiefly in regard to its form that it is at present to engage our attention. We have, in short, to answer the question how the consciousness must organically be formed and fashioned, and divided, but still harmonized in all its parts, so that in thought and knowledge, in faith, love, and science, in investigating and in learning, it may be well-grounded and find a stable resting-point, and be no longer distracted by dissension and doubt.

Now the more the living faith becomes love the more does it, through the immediate feeling and personal experience of life, attain to the certainty of science. For whatever we experience in our own selves, or whatever our own life brings as acquainted with, whatever we are immediately sensible of, and feel that we also know and are certain of it, that at least is a matter on which we are not likely to be led astray by the seeming dialectical proofs of the opposite, or by all skeptical attacks, or objections to the effect that such an immediate sensation and knowledge of a higher object is impossible. Although we are incapable of refuting them, we are, nevertheless, unmoved by the doubts which are raised even against the possibility of our own life and existence. We let them pass by and still live on in the world until, in some unlooked-for moment, and some unhoped-for way, the true solution, and the answer to these cavils which call in question the reality both of man’s inner life and his personal experience, spontaneously suggest themselves. And in the same way that the highest science, so soon as it discerns and understands its own nature, also becomes conscious of faith, and of its own dependence on faith, and being supported, completed, and perfected thereby, comes into immediate and living contact with it, so, on the other hand, the higher faith in the divine, the more vivid and the more earnest it is in love, becomes a more immediate conviction, and a science founded on the personal experience of life.

Faith in the soul, as the center of man’s entire consciousness, may be likened to the outspread canopy of the blue heavens, according to that olden notion of it as a firmament, which perhaps in its figurative investiture still contains much that is strikingly true. According to this old but beautiful conception, the firmament was a definite limit that divides the heaven from the earth. Above it the free ether of light diffuses itself and stretches into the wide regions of illimitable space; while in the lower sphere, inclosed by the firmament, the wind of life [_Lebenswind_] now plays with refreshing motion, now descends to the earth in quickening dews or fertilizing showers, or draws out of the ground and to the light the hidden springs of life and mighty streams. Faith, therefore, is, as it were, the heavenly firmament in the consciousness that divides the streams of spiritual life and of external and internal science that are above it, from those that are under it. If this boundary be taken away, or violently broken through, the light and the darkness are no longer held apart, but mingle together in one confused and orderless mass. The true light grows darker and gradually becomes extinct, while the darkness begins to shine with a false glare and the glimmering twilight of pernicious delusion. The old chaos breaks in again upon the human mind, and it becomes anew what it formerly was, “without form and void.”

When, however, the triple consciousness preserves its beautiful order and harmony, then the spirit, as the heavenly height above, the sensible nature as the deep below, and the soul as the firmament between them, are indeed divided, but not separated or hostilely opposed to each other. On the contrary, the height as well as the deep, and the whole circle of spiritual existence, are organically combined and united together in this center of faith in the soul. Now this original constitution of the mind being preserved, the further development and progress of knowledge and truth may be regarded as the second step of internal creation, wherein the light begins to shine more and more on the mind and on science. The first clear insight, on the other hand, and internal perception that the highest science and the divine faith are not essentially distinct, but are fundamentally identical, must be considered as the earliest entrance of the spirit of truth into the heart of man.

Such is the right notion of faith, and of a mind wherein faith and science are organically united and harmoniously concordant. But in order to afford freedom of choice between faith and infidelity, it is necessary to contrast this living image with the complete picture of a mind involved in doubt, distraction, unbelief, and error. For all the motives that can influence a decision must be furnished by a simple comparison of the two, which, indeed, if made honestly and completely, furnishes of itself the solution of the problem.

Now I have already more than once called your attention to the tendency to discord, and to the disposing causes to error which subsist in the natural constitution of the human mind with its four poles or members. In particular I directed your notice to the fact that reason and fancy, such as they now are in their present state of mutual alienation and of hostile opposition to each other, can not be regarded as original faculties of the human consciousness. Originally they were both in unison in the thinking and loving soul so long as living and working in faith and truth, it was on that account confirmed by the divine Spirit, and preserved by union with Him. But when it had once lost this center of unity, and, its light being obscured, it had become a prey to dissension, it immediately fell asunder into these two halves or faculties of thought. On the one hand stood the reason--as a mere organ of reflection--one, _i.e._, which, in lifeless abstraction, thinks over the objects previously presented to it, or as a mere directive faculty of thought, without any originative powers of its own; while, on the other, the fancy presented itself with a blindly-productive energy in thought and invention, as a wild, but, nevertheless, living sense and instinct of nature.

Reason and fancy, therefore--those two faculties of half truth, if it be allowable so to speak--whenever, instead of seeking to escape from dissension by reverting to a higher center of unity, they stand isolated, and attempt each by itself to reign supreme, are the real source and actual seat of all error. Now, one species of error to which man has been most prone ever since his soul was rent asunder and lost its unity, is the subjective shape which he gives to material phenomena. For that fancy, even when most comprehensive, purest, and best, invariably remains more or less subjective, is a fact which no man will either wish or attempt to deny, any more than that the imagination takes its beginning from the sensuous impressions of the material world. And this subjectivity of the fancy may, I think, be taken for granted, even without any reference to and without discussing the question of the possibility of demoniacal influences.

Now, this subjective shaping of material phenomena forms the foundation of all mythology; it is the general explanation of all the facts of heathenism. It is, of course, implied in the very principle of its explanation, that manifold and various shapes or forms and developments are both conceivable and possible. And, in actual fact, it exhibits the greatest diversity, from the rude objects of the grossest Fetischism up to the exquisite creations of a refined and artistic mythology. In its actual manifestations, however, and in its effects on practical life, the latter still retains its affinity with the former; at least, it rests on the same foundation of a poetical religion--some view of the universe embodied in a real shape--in short, the deification of nature.

We have here taken the olden heathenism in a very simple light, and quite generally as a materialism assuming a poetic form and expression, but one, at the same time, in which, as soon as we pierce through its poetical investiture, we discern many points of contact with Pantheism. When, however, pursuing a searching historical inquiry into the heathen modes of conception, we enter thoroughly and deeply into its details, we meet therein with so many magical rites and usages, that, in spite of any previous inclination to the contrary, we feel indisposed to deny the possibility of a demoniacally-affected imagination having, in some degree, influenced the character of heathenism. And, indeed, even in a philosophical point of view, there does not exist any sufficient reason for such a denial. This, however, as we formerly said, is a matter which needs not to be taken into consideration at present.

It would be a great mistake to suppose that this error of a heathenish deification of nature is confined to the ancient world, or to those great and half-civilized primeval races of the remotest East, which, however, remained, and still continue, as it were, a living monument of an earlier epoch in the development of humanity. In the more intellectual ages of the world, physical science, or the philosophy of nature, may still be heathenish. It may be this, even while abstaining rigorously from all symbolical language, it comes forward in the highest elevation of the dynamical theory, and in pure scientific formularies. This may be the case even when outwardly it appears to be highly spiritual, or, at least, far removed from all the ordinary features of materialism. And it is invariably such whenever it recognizes nothing higher or superior to the infinite vital force and its dynamical play and law, and, consequently, does but deify nature. Heathenish it must ever remain so long as it does no more than this. This forms, as it were, a relapse of science into heathenism, and here, under a different form, fancy asserts her olden authority. For this purpose she does but assume a geometrical shape, and, decking herself out with all the riches of science, and moving with free dynamic action, speaks a thoroughly mathematical language. The point of indifference, and the positive and the negative pole of all existence, are now, so long as such a philosophy recognizes nothing beyond them, the new gods which, in those scientific fictions, whereof our own age has been profuse enough, may receive a shifting rank and honor, but still hold a similar position therein to that of Jupiter and Venus, or Mars and Apollo, in the ancient mythologies.

When, however, in epochs pre-eminently devoted to science, and possessed of a true or false scientific enlightenment, we look to the whole age and its general tone, this philosophical error of an exclusive materialism, and of a scientific deification of nature, does not appear to be the most universally prevalent. It occurs rather as an episode and an exception, and, in a certain limited degree, as an opposition to another error, which, as it is received far more generally, so it exercises a still more despotic authority over the minds of men. I mean rationalism; this is properly the new heathenism of scientific times. Here, in the infinity of dialectics, and the endless dialectical disputes of an abstract and empty thinking, as well as in the false semblance of a logical necessity which prevails in these logical disputations, lies the source of the second leading error of philosophy. All erroneous systems, whether of philosophy or religion, lie somewhere between these two extremes of false thought. Every species of theoretical or practical unbelief or erring faith, or even of a scientific superstition, either approximates, on the one hand, to naturalism, whether under the garb of a poetical symbolism, or the scientific form of a dynamical theory, or, on the other, to the absolutism of the reason, with its dead formularies. Every religious and every philosophical error is either a subordinate or a distorted species of one or the other--or, it may be, a mixture--a mean compounded of both. Manifold, however, or, rather, innumerable, are the several changes and combinations into which these two elements of infidelity and an erring faith may, and, indeed, actually do, enter.

These, then, are the two principal elements out of which all the other forms of error are produced. Reason, therefore, and fancy must be looked upon as their true roots and sources in the human consciousness. They spring either from the scientific productive faculty of imagination, as the unpurified sense of nature before the Spirit of God has moved on the face of these waters of infinite life, or from the mere subjective reason, which, in its pursuit of the absolute, thinks only and knows only its own Me. It is on this soil also that philosophical error first assumes a systematic shape and development.

Our meaning will perhaps be made clear by an illustration from the healing art. Confining ourselves to the simple facts, we might say correctly enough, fever and gout, as two leading forms of human disease, have their seats either in the organs and circulation of the blood, or in the system of the bones and muscles. Still it would not be inconsistent with such a statement to believe that the primary occasion or cause of both evils has a deeper and more hidden origin in some higher organ of life within the human frame, and in some derangement or disturbance of its functions. In their outward effects, however, and manifestation, these two diseases respectively seize upon these two spheres of bodily organization, and there spend themselves. And the same is true of those two intellectual diseases, rationalism and the absolute system of nature, as regards the reason and fancy. The latter are their principal seats: they form the domain wherein all the false productions of erring systems are engendered and spring up, or, in other words, the spot where the paroxysm of their internal enmity and strife comes to a complete outbreak. Of course we do not mean that these two diseases always present themselves simply and purely. In the morbid state of the intellect, as well as in the similar case of organic affection, there are numerous complications of disease which require a careful and accurate treatment. The first cause of all intellectual disease, of scientific error, or systematic infidelity, or generally of every species of a false faith, may lie still deeper, or must be traced still higher to some more remote and hidden cause. And, in truth, the primary origin of all human error is to be found in the alienation of the mind or spirit from God and His eternal light, and in its inevitable consequences--the obscuration of the soul, and the blinding, and the aberration and disorder of the senses--and especially of the higher scientific sense for truth. And in order that the senses may be gradually restored to their true state and order, and reopened--and in order that the soul be also illuminated anew, the spirit must recover its true luminous center in God. When this is once done, the whole of man’s cognitive faculty will be restored to its original state.

But in the outward manifestations of consciousness, as it is now entangled in and limited by the material, or sensible world, or practical life, the absolute reason, and a fancy totally merged in and engrossed by nature, form the two poles of philosophical error. In all the systems hitherto so frequently alluded to, these two are essentially the only sources of delusion, although, of course, innumerable intermediate tints or chemical combinations of both are possible. The understanding and the will--that is, a faulty sophistical intellect, and a faulty unconditional or absolute volition--do, no doubt, essentially co-operate in the formation and completion of both these erroneous systems of science. There are, besides, certain passionate and personal errors and prejudices of the understanding no less than of the will. These, however, in their immediate effects, are practical, and confined to actual life. At least, taken by themselves, and without the co-operation of fancy and reason, they will never be able to create a scientific system.

In order, however, more precisely to indicate the extent to which the understanding and will co-operate in the production of philosophical error, it is necessary to repeat my previous remarks, and also to add some more precise determinations with respect to the form of aberration peculiar to, and, as it were, inborn in, each of these faculties. As concerns the will, we placed its proneness to err in its unconditional or absolute volition, which manifests itself in life as a destructive or disturbing force, where, however, its effects are variable, being proportionate to the wider or narrower sphere of action. In all alike, however, this principle of absolute willing retains its true character. It shows itself, first of all, in the obstinacy of the child, where it forms the greatest obstacle that education has to contend against. Its action is, no doubt, but very weak here; still this apparently insignificant phenomenon serves to prove--and for this purpose we referred to it--that the fault has its root, and is, as it were, inborn in the very nature of man, and in the present constitution of his mind. As for the second degree, since the evil runs through all the various stages of human life, and assumes manifold shapes, we are, therefore, at no loss for examples. Whether we take our instance from the obstinacy of the founder of a sect passionately adhering to and maintaining the opinions he has once adopted, or that of the leader of some dangerous political party, in either case the consequences of this pernicious principle will appear to be, in the highest decree, extensive and awful. But, lastly, it shows itself in its full and most frightful energy in the reckless and unsparing lust of conquest, and in the unsatiable thirst of absolute dominion which stimulates the conquering despot.

The second of the two similes, however, as it is most immediately connected with, so it throws most light upon, the problem before us, the explanation, viz., of intellectual error. For science, too, has its sects, and even into the calm regions of philosophy (for such it surely ought to be, as professing to be the satisfaction of our inmost longing after a knowledge of ourselves and of nature in truth and in God), the violent spirit of party finds too often an entrance. In the spirit of system, and in the prejudices of a view or opinion once adopted, the absolute and resolved will, which originally is rather a fault of character than an error of the understanding, nevertheless co-operates essentially to the establishment of a philosophical error, at least from its formal side. When, however, as, under the influence of the spirit of system, is easily, and indeed generally done by the founders of scientific sects, the _absolute_ is itself adopted as the immediate object, then it is the pursuit of this idea of the unconditional that carries each of these two general forms of error to the highest pitch of extravagance. Applied to nature and any positive view and particular system thereof, it gives to it a character of exclusiveness and definiteness, by which, separated from all that is higher and properly divine, and made to rest entirely in itself, it is carried away to the pantheistic self-sufficiency and deification of a false unity. Combined with the egoistic or subjective reason, this pursuit of the absolute and the idea thereof creates the idealistic delusion, or, at least, readily gives rise to it, and this is the first step, or, at any rate, the usual introduction, to scientific atheism.

As to the understanding--in one of the earliest of these Lectures, we mentioned abstract thought as its peculiar form of error. It is unquestionable that the understanding may lose itself in mere abstract and dead thinking, so as, amid its mass of purely abstract conceptions, to forget entirely all truly pregnant and vital cogitation. Such as understanding, there can be no doubt, must either be defective in its organization, or imperfectly and falsely developed; and so it goes on deceiving itself and propagating error among others. Correctly speaking, however, this abstract thinking does not belong to the understanding, so much as to the reason, which is even the faculty of abstraction. And indeed, apart from its great and manifold abuses, the latter, in its right place and within its assigned limits, forms nothing less than a natural requirement and an essential function of the human mind. As for the understanding, it is based on intellection; consequently it supposes that in this intellectual act the object is vividly seen through and thoroughly penetrated by the mind. And this object may be either an external one, taken from nature or actual life, or internal--a mere thought or conception, and the word or name designating it. In the latter case, the mental act of penetration is directed to ascertaining the true and original sense of an idea, or the import of the notion, or of the term by which it is designated. An understanding which has lost itself among abstract ideas must, in such purely abstract thinking, become eventually entirely extinct. Wholly, however, without life and spirit, the understanding, according to its peculiar character, can never be; it is therefore its total absence, or a very defective condition of it, rather than its death, that is marked out and indicated by such a state.

But if we wish to determine the particular fault or error that is peculiar to any one faculty of the human consciousness, it is evident that we must not seek for it in any defective state or imperfect development; but, on the contrary, in the highest and fullest energy. But now an extremely ingenious, clear, and vivid intellect may be combined with what I have lately termed an evil genius--the false power of genius. In such a combination, we have the true state of a perverted understanding, or of that aberration which is peculiar to it, and for which the term of a sophistical intellect seems the tersest and most appropriate designation. And this sophistical understanding is ever the working organ and instrument for the building and construction of all false systems, and to which sooner or later the latter are all obliged to have recourse.

With regard, then, to the co-operation of the sophistical understanding in the formation of philosophical error, and its share and influence on the spirit and the matter of any system of untruth, it furnishes an opposition to the idealistic confusion which the absolute will produces by its predominant idea of the unconditional. Here we have rather a predominating tendency to a realistic view of the world, according to the principle it adopts of the universal insignificance of all things, not merely in reference to morals or practical life, and in the domain of history, but also in nature and the whole creation. And with this view is associated a skeptical contempt for all who dare to think otherwise--all ordinary minds who can not rise to the height where the consciousness of knowing and believing nothing sits enthroned. This tendency, therefore, and this error of the sophistical understanding, is most immediately related to, and associated with, the dialectical confusion of the reason with its endless disputations. But as the absolute volition and pursuit of the unconditional can not well be thought of entirely apart from a certain perversion of the intellectual powers, so the operation of the sophistical understanding is impossible, without a certain admixture of an evil will and an intentional determination to oppose the truth.

But notwithstanding this intrinsic connection between these two intellectual faults, yet in their outward manifestation, and in actual life, they often stand wide apart from each other. The true notion of a sophistical intellect will perhaps be best illustrated in a few words by recalling to your recollection the most celebrated writer of the eighteenth century, who exercised so great an influence not only on the minds of his countryman, but on the whole spirit of the age.[50] If, again, it were necessary to employ instances in order to give you a clear idea of the philosophical pursuit of the absolute, examples enough might be found among the German schools and philosophers of recent times. But to revert to the sophistical intellect: rarely has it been, and rarely will it be, found manifesting itself in such fullness as it did in this anti-Christian and worldly writer, who indeed worshiped the age which worshiped him, but mocked and scoffed at all besides.

Now as to these two opposite systems of error and unbelief--rationalism, viz., and a false idolatrous system of nature--in their inmost essence they are both equally false and pernicious. In this respect there is nothing to choose between them; they are alike utterly abominable. Even in the judgment of theology, pantheism, as the one extreme of error on the side of nature, can scarcely appear less false and abominable than atheism as the other idealistic extreme. Both must be placed on the same line; for the one no less than the other is a full and perfect refusal to recognize the one Eternal Truth and the Living God.

Looking, however, to their external manifestation and effects--a philosophy of nature which cloaks its thoroughly heathenish sentiments beneath the bright and seductive attraction of beautiful and highly-finished form--may perhaps appear more dangerous and more pernicious than rationalism, especially when in the comparison the latter appears under its more moderate, pliant, and skillfully modified phases.

But it is not so much in and by themselves, and generally, that we have here to consider these two kinds of error. In such a case the sentence we must pass upon them would be, that they are equally fatal and pernicious. At present we are rather concerned with them in their reference to our own age, and to that struggle which it has to undergo with them. In this respect I can not hesitate decidedly to pronounce rationalism the greater and the more dangerous error of the two. For not only has it struck its root more deeply in the spirit of the age, and is far more widely diffused, but it is far more supple. Parasitically it engrafts itself on the truth and its various systems, to prey upon them the more successfully. It is ever ready to make concessions to and to capitulate with its adversary, in order to triumph over it the more completely in the end. And when it seems driven altogether from the field, it still holds its ground beneath some new disguise. In short, it is scarcely possible to determine the point, if indeed it is ever reached, where it can be safely said that the evil is completely and forever eradicated. It is only life itself--the higher spiritual life, that is--and the true philosophy which traces and restores it in the mind’s triple faculties of knowledge, that can extricate us from this dilemma of conflicting errors, and provide the clew which shall guide us out of the dialectical mazes of the reason. On the other hand, a false philosophy of nature--and such is every system that stands in hostile opposition to religion, or attempts to usurp its place--which is conceived in a merely empirical spirit, will never prove dangerous. After a brief and limited influence, it will soon fall into neglect and oblivion. When, however, it is the result of a lofty and intellectual effort--when a truly great and comprehensive spirit moves within it--then will it soon become conscious of those limits, and feeling its own false position, it will, ere long, find the passage to the divine, which is beyond and above it. But it is not easy for a philosophy of nature to be or at least long to remain strictly and absolutely confined to its own limits of system, even because of the continual advance of this science of life. And as soon as it recognizes its true place as second and subordinate to a divine philosophy, then does it immediately cease to be a false faith. It is forthwith reconciled to the truth, or at least is already far on the road toward a complete reconciliation with it. This milder judgment, however, can not in justice be extended to that pantheistic science in which nature is as decidedly and absolutely deified as in any of the old systems of heathenism.

We have now completed our comparison of faith and infidelity, and sketched the picture both of man’s mind and of his science, to and from which they respectively belong or issue. We, therefore, leave it free to the judgment of every thoughtful mind that reflects upon itself and the nature of things, and loves and desires the truth, to choose and decide between them. This comparison is ever the proper problem of philosophy; and even if the sketch and delineation of these two states of the human consciousness be, from the limits to which we are confined, not perfectly complete, still we may regard this problem as satisfactorily solved. The struggle, however, between belief and unbelief is still to go on in the world and time, but the victory of truth is reserved to higher powers and forces than man’s.

As to the nature and conditions of that intellectual conflict, and its several moments, a few remarks must be added, on its relation to, and bearings on, philosophy. First of all, I think the previous remarks must have tended to throw light on a phenomenon which otherwise is remarkable and startling enough. The good cause, even when advocated by men of the best intentions and the purest zeal for truth, with the greatest acuteness and a thorough knowledge of the truth and its essential principles, nevertheless is but little successful. At the very best, it makes an extremely slow progress, while evil error advances with the fearful rapidity of contagion. To account for this singular fact it is not sufficient to appeal to the persuasive rhetoric which the latter has at its command, or to any superior power of intellect in its advocates. The cause lies rather in the miasmas of spiritual pestilence which are spread throughout, and are suspended in the moral atmosphere.

We should err greatly were we to suppose that the cause of truth, and of the refutation of error, could as easily be disposed of as any civil process before a judicial tribunal. Here, to carry the day, it is enough completely to refute the pretensions of one’s adversary, and to set forth one’s own claim in a clear and irrefragable chain of legal proof. But, in the matter of philosophy and the higher truth, how little is gained by the refutation, be it ever so complete, of one written system of error, when, in the mean while, two or three more spring up and call for refutation no less than the first. The straight road, therefore, of a calm, simple, and, at the same time, luminous and complete exposition of the highest system of knowledge seems, to my mind, a far more appropriate means for the establishment and diffusion of the truth than the indirect course of refuting any false or erroneous system that may reign in a particular age and throughout the whole world. For, in the latter course, if the controversy be at all searching and complete, it is necessary to enter into all its tortuous windings, at the risk of being lost and entangled in them. And even in the most favorable case, where the refutation is complete, nothing is ultimately gained by it but a mere negative--the establishing the untruth of the refuted system, together with the proofs of that negative.

It would be most erroneous to suppose that this controversy is either entirely or in the main directed against books and leaves, propositions and words. It looks rather to the soul and spirit, and seeks to drive away, to remove, and banish from them, and utterly to extirpate, all the deadly seeds of error and falsehood, replacing them by truth in all its fullness and energy, so as to win the minds and souls of men to its beneficent rule.

This, however, is only possible by an individual process and a personal interchange of ideas. For error and the restoration of truth assume a thousand different shapes, according to the different temperaments of individuals, or to the different periods of life in each. If, therefore, it be the wish or duty of philosophy to make this its principal aim, it is only in the form of dialogue that it can successfully accomplish the task, by suiting itself and closely conforming to the personal character of individuals. In this sense, and on this account, Plato, and the other disciples of Socrates, in their controversy with the Sophists, invariably employed the dialogical style, and chose this form for the exposition of their philosophical views. But even the written dialogue can not do more than exhibit, as it were, a vertical section of the whole infinite variety of individual views, convictions, and characters. And what thereupon is to be done in order to set them free and emancipate them from error, and to win them for, and to fill them with, the truth?

The inner sense for the truth and the spiritual eye must be opened, and the spirit of man must be led back and restored to its lost center. But the soul must be won and attracted, totally converted and endued with new life. But is this possible without some higher and divine power? Can it be accomplished by man’s ordinary art of disputation, even though it be perhaps sufficient for the ordinary transactions of a civil tribunal; or by a logical train of proofs, or by the skillful terms of a well-managed dialogue, in the absence of all profounder power to move and actuate the soul?

And such a higher power and effectual word of truth does exist. In the language of Scripture it is called the Sword of the Spirit, which pierces to the very marrow and divides asunder the soul and the spirit. A deep meaning is involved in this expression of the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the very greatest of all the soul’s pains is most appropriately indicated thereby. In death the immortal soul is separated and departs from the body; but soul and spirit still continue together in indissoluble union. These words, then, allude to some other and more violent separation. And it is one, moreover, which is indispensable to the triumph of truth in this struggle for life and death. For when error goes to the inmost depths, and reaches to the very center of life, both spirit and soul grow and adhere together, and the delusion can not otherwise be dispelled than by the violent separation of the two. And thus the light suddenly shines upon the spirit to show it the abyss on whose brink it stands, while the soul is simultaneously set free from all the chains which bind it to its false life, and is thereby completely changed and converted. In this way is the triumph of truth over error and infidelity effected. Only we must remember that the Sword of the Spirit, “which pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,” needs not always to be properly a spoken or a written “word.” In some deeply-moving catastrophe of a man’s life it makes a distinct and speaking manifestation of itself, working in him a total change of his feelings and sentiments. But the Spirit’s flaming sword of judgment may be turned not only upon individuals, but also upon whole nations and ages, to divert them from error and unbelief, and to lead them back to truth. Lastly, it may also be directed toward the whole world and the whole human race; and to this interesting topic, which in so many ways is brought so immediately home to the present era of the world, we shall, in the course of the following Lectures, have occasion to recur.



The union of profound knowledge with divine faith, and the recognition and perception of their unity, is the mind’s first step within the domain of truth and of the consciousness of it; or, rather, the first step in that gradation by which the mind and consciousness advance toward verity; and it is even the fundamental principle of truth itself that constitutes this beginning. The judgment which discriminates and decides between a simple universal belief in God, and the connection of such a faith with all natural and sublimely true philosophy on the one hand, and unbelief, false science, and the various systems of error on the other, forms the second term or step in the gradual progress of truth and the spirit of truth in the human consciousness, whether of individuals, or of the whole human race, or of any particular period of its development. These two subjects have already occupied our attention in the two preceding Lectures. The third point which the mind must attain to as the spirit of truth is more fully expanded, both in the consciousness and in science, is the profitable application thereof to actual life, or its real manifestation, and the practical carrying out of its principles. For it is by this alone that the divine and fundamental principle of truth, and that important faculty of judgment which separates and distinguishes truth and true science from ignorance and error, are realized, and attain to their full end and perfection. The consideration of this subject will form the basis of the present and all the following Lectures.

Before, however, I enter upon this new topic, or attempt to solve this third problem of the actual application of science to life and of its profitable combination therewith, I would wish to add here a few historical remarks on the subject-matter of our last discussions, which, while they serve to complete and to illustrate it, will at the same time furnish a natural and easy transition to our present speculations. The struggle and the alternate triumph of belief and unbelief, as they gained in turn the ascendency over the minds of men, and gave the dominant tone to different ages, or, rather, the contest of truth and true science with the different systems of error in the several periods of the development of mankind and of the history of the human intellect, is at all times a subject of the highest interest for philosophical observation. In historical applications like the present, it invariably proves pre-eminently useful and instructive. I shall, however, confine myself to a few examples, and select such as are most immediately connected with our subject, or seem likely to lead to the most important results.

From the whole history of the ancient world I shall adduce but two illustrations: first of all, the twofold mental or spiritual state of the primeval times; and, secondly, the highest reach of thought and knowledge which Greece attained in her most enlightened days, which are marked at once with the signs of first maturity and of earliest decline. From both these instances it will be my object to prove that truth invariably prevails in the beginning, and that it is always and every where prior to and antecedent to error.

From the annals of modern history I shall in like manner bring before you only a few particularly fruitful instances. From such periods of the world’s history I propose to show that the problem of science, in its reference to life and its profitable application, admits not of any pure and complete solution; or that often after an opening of promise it suddenly takes a wrong direction, and so misses its true aim, and, consequently, the problem of the age remains unsolved. This examination of the actual relation subsisting between science and life as it has been, or still is, historically exhibited in this or that particular epoch, together with the difficulties and the questions which it suggests, will serve as an introduction to our entire theme. For this is nothing less than the satisfactory exposition and correct theory of the application of true science to life, and of their profitable combination.

First of all, let us cast our glance back to the infancy of the human race. In these primeval times, we every where meet with legends and traditions of man’s divine origin, mixed up and interwoven with the fables and symbols of heathenism. Now we are accustomed to regard heathenism, or the religion of the Gentiles, as universally, and, without exception, false and idolatrous, or at least absurd and fabulous. But is this consistent with the natural course of things?--is it not probable, or, rather, necessary, that, in its beginning at least, this chaotic medley of symbols and legends must have had for its foundation some very simple form of error, if we must suppose that it was always, and even from the very first, nothing but error?

No doubt the heathenism of the first races, so far as we can trace it, and the early legends and rites of the oldest times that we are acquainted with, appear to be already involved in a perplexing confusion of the strangest fancies. Nothing better are they than a chaos of symbolical images of nature, mingled and interwoven with some vague and shadowy outlines of truly spiritual ideas and thoughtful notes of a higher strain, and also with ambiguous and enigmatical legends of historical tradition. The whole medley, moreover, differently developed, according to the peculiar varieties of national character, or the hereditary feeling of tribe and family, assumes a particular hue from the local colorings of these different spheres of life; or, moreover, as is not unfrequently the case, is remolded and cast into new combinations by the arbitrary caprices of the poetic fancy. Who can hope to find the simple clew of such a maze? or who will give us the threads of Ariadne to guide us out of its intricacies?

It is true, generally speaking, that our historical knowledge and research do not reach very far back. The Flood, to which the traditions of all people remount, and which all telluric sciences, whether geography, or natural history, or geology, or whatever other name they may bear, directly or indirectly confirm, forms an impassable gulf between the modern and later family of man, and that first and gigantic race of the antediluvian world. And yet careful criticism and historical investigation are still able to distinguish in the chaotic congeries of different mythologies the several strata and epochs, and can separate the primary rock of the earlier natural legend from the later mythical formations. But even this primary rock itself, amid the legends of primeval times--this first, and oldest, and simplest basis of heathenism, is itself but a fusion and the _debris_ of some earlier and precedent convulsion. But now all legends, every mythology, and universal tradition, agree in this one point. They concur in deriving the origin of man from God, and assert that the first man, who, while he proceeded immediately from God, was also the first-born son of earth, in which he was placed, because it was of a nature nearest akin to his and ours. Now this same first man, as proceeding and taking his beginning from God, could not well be without some knowledge of Him. The concurrent tradition of all nations leads us to the idea of man’s possessing knowledge, and in truth an immediate and intuitive knowledge of God in and out of nature, and indeed primarily and principally from this source, and on the other hand also of his having an immediate and intuitive knowledge of nature in God. And this exactly is the old and true Gentilism of the holy patriarchs of the primeval world, if by this term we understand the original religion of nature, among the earliest families, and the pious patriarchs of the human race, as it is described in the language and after the analogy of Holy Writ,[51] and also in the ancient traditions which have grown out of and attached themselves to it. Now, according to the simple progression of truth, which is also that of God, and of the knowledge of Him, this revelation of nature was the first and earliest that was imparted to man upon earth, and must be carefully distinguished from that later or second revelation of God, which is both of a positive nature and is contained in a written law, or written word and book of the law. And in the written revelation this distinction is most carefully observed throughout. The divine law, which although not written on brazen tablets, unquestionably existed in these primeval ages of a natural revelation, which was read and intuitively understood in nature herself, or immediately in the hearts and minds of men, was far simpler, and consequently also easier and less burdensome, than the later law of the second revelation, which was designed for the moral regeneration of a degenerate people, and for fitting them to be a witness of the truth to other nations of the world still more degraded and benighted than themselves. And in the same way this second revelation was less stringent and less exalted in its scope than the last law of later times, promulgated in the third age of the world to all nations and kindreds of the earth. For the latter was not designed for the first happy period of the infancy of mankind, but for his last difficult, but decisive struggle, which is to end in the perfect triumph of good, and in man’s total emancipation from the hostile and oppressive yoke of original evil. For the wise and omniscient Father of all has given to every age of man’s history a peculiar and appropriate law. For the infancy of the race, He published an easy rule of life--permitting the full expansion and the blooming development of all his vital energies; but one of sterner preparation, of promise and of expectation, for his youth. For his maturity, lastly, He has set forth a law of determined struggle with evil, and of a predominant love of the invisible, and even of perfection. And consequently a new application of the same law, and a new strengthening for the same conflict, is to be looked for in the last times of the final consummation. But not only was the divine natural law, as promulgated to man in the earliest ages, far different from that of later times, and the subsequent stages of a further development of revealed knowledge. This immediate revelation, and intuitive knowledge of nature, was likewise very dissimilar to the artificially elaborate and complicated systems of physical science. For these have principally to trace out and to revert to the original source of life, and of the full truth of nature, although even on this right road of return we are not always nearest to the end, even when we seem to have made the greatest advance in that direction. But as the first man recognized God in nature, and not merely understood, but immediately perceived, and, as it were, saw, that He was there, therefore nature also was, in a certain measure, transparent to his eye in God. And although his knowledge of nature was in the highest degree simple, still did it even on that account penetrate more deeply into its inmost secrets. It was rendered thereby more thoroughly vital and endued with power. One might almost call it a natural force within him, similar to and akin to those without him. For generally in those early ages of the world, man possessed many higher energies and living powers in and over nature, which subsequently were entirely withdrawn from him, or which in later times, as wonderful phenomena, formed singular exceptions to man’s ordinary endowments.

We are, perhaps, only too much disposed to imagine that the ancient race before the Flood resembled in every particular a later and even the present generation. Our conceptions of it, as regards both its virtues and its vices, are in nowise great and wonderful enough. In the first place, it is highly probable that the atmosphere of the globe was at that period totally different from what it is in the present day, and that consequently both the food and manner of living in those days were also dissimilar from our own. If any reliance is to be placed on the best and oldest historical testimonies on these points, we can scarcely doubt that the primeval race--at least the generations immediately preceding the Deluge--were of gigantic stature, and that their mental powers and faculties were on a correspondent scale of magnitude. In perfect conformity with these other proportions, the Scripture also assigns to those antediluvian races a duration of existence, which, as compared with our own standard of the average life of man, is equally gigantic. And so little of antecedent improbability is there in this statement, that to get rid of it commentators have been forced to have recourse to the most far-fetched and arbitrary, and, in fact, most untenable and groundless hypotheses.

Now, it is manifest that such corporeal advantages and length of life which the first patriarchs of the human race enjoyed, must have been highly favorable to the development of their intellectual gifts and immediate intuition, as founded on a living natural faith, so long as they were rightly used and directed toward God, as their proper object. And in the same way their tendency to fearful corruption, under an impious and sinful employment of their great mental endowments, must be equally evident. At the same time we must confess our inadequacy to form a conception of the height to which they attained in either state which would be in any way proportionate to the truth. It is, however, an invariable principle of development, confirmed by the observation of nature, and a careful induction of historical facts, that all that is greatest and noblest, if it once begins to degenerate and corrupt, reaches in its corruption and degeneracy the worst and most fearful extremes. And so it appears to have been with this gigantic and gigantically endowed race of the antediluvian world.

In modern times, a great German philosopher, who flourished toward the close of the seventeenth century, and was no less famous for his historical learning than for his mathematical discoveries, made the memorable remark, that the last sect in the whole development of Christian revelation, and toward the close of modern history--the last sect, and also the most prevalent and most fearful, would be that of atheism. This dictum, at the time at which it was pronounced, which was somewhere about the transition from the anxiety and oppression of the seventeenth century to the enlightenment and self-complaisancy of the eighteenth, must have appeared a perfect paradox. But now that its fulfillment seems, both to our eyes and understanding, so close at hand, we recognize with amazement, not to say with a slight feeling of horror, its deep oracular truth.

Now, as the beginning and the end often bear a wonderful resemblance to each other, it is not improbable that the first sect was of the same kind and nature as it has been predicted that the final heresy will be. A mere dead unbelief and purely negative atheism, it is true, can as little have prevailed in those times as a symbolically degraded and immorally materializing heathenism. For it was only after the higher magical powers were withdrawn from man, that the fancy became in this sense, and to such an extreme degree, symbolical and figurative. Or, perhaps, we may more correctly say, that of all high endowments now lost forever, a purely figurative fancy was all that remained; whereupon, in opposition to it, the other erroneous extreme of abstract thought gradually attained to a greater and undue development. And we may with good reason assume, that with this fearful catastrophe the very consciousness of man was essentially altered and changed. Of the wild and lawless state of the generations before the Flood, we can not, perhaps, form a juster conception than by regarding it as an open rebellion and organized revolt of man against his Maker and benefactor, a complete and visible supremacy of the evil principle and the wicked spirits on earth, and an intimate union between man and the devil. It must have resembled the description which we meet with in some old books of the future reign of antichrist. Such a state of things may justly be denominated atheism. But, however this may be, and whatever conception we may form, and whatever historical shape we may give to particulars in this domain (where, after all, we can not get beyond conjecture and presumptions, or, it may be, hypothetical history, based on probabilities), one general point is incontestable. Truly noble, in those primeval times of a pure natural faith, must have been the intellectual powers and development of the first ancestors of the world and those great progenitors of the human race, and fearful, in the same degree, must have been the fall and corruption which followed the abuse of those high privileges. For man’s mental powers, still subsisting in the plenitude of their productive energy, and his lordship over nature being undisturbed, his corruption must have generated the wildest and most monstrous excesses. Consequently, amid the universal reign of evil and wickedness, the only course that remained was the total destruction of the existing generation, and the complete renovation, or, rather, a new commencement of mankind.

But the corruption of later times, though, in truth, on a less scale, has likewise been very great. Rapid, too, has been the passage from good to evil. Moreover, it is self-evident that in the primeval ages of a vivid natural faith, and of a life according to nature, that separation between life and nature that exists in these later times could not well have taken place--nay, at such a period it is totally inconceivable. On the contrary, science and life must have been in perfect unison. And this is true, not only of the virtuous knowledge in the first happy epoch of the world’s golden age, but also of the wicked ideas and the demoniac efforts of error in the succeeding periods of gigantic bewilderment and arrogant enmity to God. It is by reason of this unity between life and knowledge that this instance belongs to that gradation in the mutual relations of the two in the different ages of the world.

Quite otherwise, however, was it, in this respect, with Grecian philosophy. In the most enlightened days of classical antiquity we behold it either coming forward in direct opposition to life, especially in its public aspect of politics and religion, or else as absolutely esoteric, retiring altogether and estranged from active duties. Now, in adducing the history of Grecian philosophy as my second instance, and as an eminently important moment in the history of the intellectual development of the ancient world, my object is to show that in the same way that, according to all grounds of analogy, a simpler natural faith, as the simple religion of the first patriarchs of the human race, preceded the later form of heathenism into which the worship of the Gentiles so wildly and so fearfully degenerated--so, also, in the philosophy of Greece, its later systems and sects, which were so thoroughly false and pernicious, were preceded by, at least, a comparatively better and higher view--by a purer theory of science and of truth.

For though the oldest philosophers of the Ionian school held water, or air, or fire, to be the ground and principle of all things, and built on such hypotheses their whole theory of nature, nevertheless we should, in all probability, greatly err, were we, on that account, to charge them with or to suspect them of materialism. They understood these elements, not in the ordinary, but in a spiritual and living sense, as the elements of universal life, and, at the same time, did not fail to acknowledge a higher spirit operating in and above nature, and God’s all-disposing intelligence. Of Heraclitus, who made fire the essential ground and first principle of all things, we know, with historical certainty, that, notwithstanding, his philosophy and view of the universe was, in the highest degree, ideal and spiritual. And the same is true also of Anaxagoras, the teacher of Socrates. Much, too, that would do great credit to the general spirit of thought and science of that period, might be adduced from the venerable founder of the valuable art of medicine, and also from his school, were the present the appropriate place. The simple fact, too, that Socrates proceeded from out of this Ionian school, would alone dispose me to form a favorable opinion of it in its earliest state; and it is greatly to be regretted that our information concerning the oldest of these great thinkers is so scanty, and its details so uncertain and so little to be depended on, that it is impossible to form any settled and definite judgment on the matter.

When, however, we proceed to examine the religious spirit and value of Grecian philosophy in general, or any of its special branches, schools, and epochs, we must adopt as the fundamental rule of our judgment the universal dogmas of man’s pure and uncorrupted feelings or judgment. Taking for our standard the natural belief in a living and personal God, and in an everlasting and all-ruling spirit, in the immortality of the soul, and in the freedom of the will, together with the immutable principles and ideas of justice, honor, morality, and virtue, we must, in this case, carefully exclude all the special doctrines of a positive faith. We must not look for or require, in so early an age, that which the further development of later periods brought to light. Far be it from us to wonder at, or to urge it as a reproach against Pythagoras or Plato, if among their doctrines we meet with ideas, which, strictly understood, are not perfectly consistent with Christianity. Rather is it a matter for surprise and congratulation that they knew and were aware of, had anticipated and taught, so much that a later date first placed in a fuller light, and made the common property of all men. This, at least, was the opinion and conclusion on this subject entertained in the first century by the greatest and best-informed of the fathers of Christian doctrine and science.

This highly religious tendency and perception which we recognize in Pythagoras, for instance, or in Plato--this anticipation by science of the ideas of Christianity, of principles which, with this exception, belong to the Christian era of the world’s history, could not have been without God. We must, in short, recognize therein a higher providence. We may accordingly justly regard Grecian philosophy, in its better spirit and elements, as forming on its part a preparation for the Gospel, and a scientific introduction to Christianity, of a special and peculiar kind.

Now, among those whose observations, and sciences, and endeavors were throughout directed Godward, the Pythagoreans stand highest and foremost. We have already alluded to the fact, that in physical science they were acquainted with the best and the most important of all that our history of discoveries, within the last three centuries, is so proud of. Here and there, perhaps, their knowledge even outran our own, and in all probability they were not without some insight into those mysteries of creation, about which our philosophy of nature has within the last half century excited so much wonder and admiration. It is also probable, we observed, that by their theory of numbers we are not to understand the ordinary formulæ of mathematics, nor the usual arbitrary play with them in which science so often indulges, but rather the development of the intrinsic and divine law of nature and of life according to its everlasting structure and immutable foundations, or according to the vicissitudes of its critical times and seasons. But here it may be asked--whence had they all this? how, without the telescope, and with, at best, a very defective system of mathematics, and an imperfect art of calculation, did they attain to a knowledge of the true astronomical system of the universe? To start the hypothesis, that they learned and borrowed it all from the Egyptians, would only be to remove the question a step farther back, and not really to answer it. But even if we were to admit the fact, such an assumption would only, as regards the essential question with respect to the Pythagoreans and the origin of their science, increase their merits and their glory. For in the same way as we observed on an earlier occasion, with reference to Moses and the Hebrews, it must have been by the exercise of a rare wisdom, that while they selected all that was best and most valuable in Egyptian science, they rejected so much that was pernicious, and laid aside so much that was likely to lead them astray, and even the impious magical superstitions that were to be found there.

In much later times, and even down to our own days, the name of the Pythagorean school and science has been forced to serve as a cloak for every noxious farrago of mysticism, as also that of the Neo-Platonists has been made the symbol of every visionary extravagance. But even if (what, however, I greatly doubt) an historical connection can be shown to subsist between the so-called Pythagoreans of later times and the earlier and genuine school, nothing further would follow from such a fact, than a confirmation of my general position. It would but furnish an additional proof that all that is greatest, noblest, and most beautiful, when it once begins to degenerate and corrupt, invariably reaches a proportionate depth of corruption and degeneracy, and assumes the worst and wildest aspect of deformity.

As concerns the influence of this school of life, and its political aims and tendencies, which were unquestionably part of the general design of the Pythagorean doctrine: all this must be judged of in conformity with Greek notions and habits, and with reference to the unsettled and disordered state of the several Grecian communities. This being granted, it will appear that a simple but lofty object was the basis of their fraternity. By forming an enlightened aristocracy of highly cultivated minds, of men of scientific attainments, and of pure and noble morals, they hoped to establish a new and better polity, such as might check the reigning anarchy and revolutionary spirit of democracy, which distracted all the republics, whether smaller or greater, into which Greece was at that time divided. But the evil had become too great, and its power was irresistible. But the whole enterprise failed, and its failure entailed the dissolution of the Pythagorean society.

Many similar views and political designs, which Plato subsequently ingrafted on his own philosophy, in like manner remained nothing more than ideas, and led to no practical result. A far more considerable influence on life and its relations was exercised by the Sophists. Considered in a political point of view, they were truly and properly pernicious demagogues, and, in the fullest sense of the term, the flatterers of the populace. Not only did they undermine the outward national worship, with its poetical and hereditary associations, but also overthrew the inward religion of good principles and of moral sentiments. In short, they practically taught a true moral atheism, and succeeded in making it the prevailing and ruling principle in the conduct of life.

At this stage of Grecian philosophy, we witness, for the first time, a remarkable phenomenon. The true and good science which directs itself to the Godlike and divine, is unable to attain to any lasting or pervading influence on the lives of men: on the other hand, we see a false and evil sophistic gradually gaining a complete ascendency amid the general demoralization of society, and the growing anarchy of the political community, which, thoroughly corrupt and degenerate, only rose out of one revolution to fall immediately into another. Or, rather, this false sophistic, and this moral and political anarchy, were perfectly one together, so far at least as two destructive principles can ever be or be brought in unison.

The complete alienation which now existed between the better science and life, and especially public life, is most distinctly manifested in the case of the greatest among the Grecian philosophers of later times--in Aristotle, and the position he occupied in his own age and nation. This acute thinker, with the utmost care and diligence, collected together all the most eminent results of the science, and the most remarkable thoughts of earlier times. Examining and analyzing them with great critical acumen, and with a comprehensive survey, he formed them into a new whole, and arranged them into a system of his own, completer and fuller than had ever before been attempted or accomplished.

We can not, perhaps, estimate too highly or admire too much this great master of human subtilty, whether for his intellectual powers and extent of learning, or even as a writer. Still we must not forget that in his system were contained the germ and evident tendency to the two chief forms of philosophical error--naturalism on the one side, and rationalism on the other. And so we find that in the later times of the following centuries, each of these false systems, according as the occasion favored the one or the other, were drawn out from the Aristotelian doctrine, to receive a further and a distincter development. In his doctrine on the Godhead, he can least of all stand a severe and rigorous criticism. And in many points, as, for instance, in his notion of the absolute self-sufficiency of the reason, he approximates but too closely to the idealistic view which we have already designated as the transition to scientific atheism.

It was only in a very remote and distant age that Aristotle attained to a very great importance and authority. In his own day he did but form a very inconsiderable school, which exercised far less influence on public life than two other sects, in whose history the development of Grecian philosophy finds its close.

The system of the Stoics, with its stern and, consequently, impracticable theory of morals, its doctrine of absolute necessity and blind fatalism, announces itself at once as identical with an austere rationalism. At the same time, under the teaching of the Epicureans, a soft and effeminate naturalism became almost universally prevalent. And while, in another and newer form, it gradually assumed the place of the old mythical heathenism, which daily fell more and more into neglect and disrepute, it still retained the old heathen sentiment, and a careless and undisturbed indifference in inactive bliss and self-enjoyment, as it was even ascribed and imputed to the gods, was introduced into life, and extolled as the true wisdom. Thus, then, while on the one hand the foundation was laid for that insensibility with which the wide-spreading and growing corruption and the approach of the general ruin were contemplated, so, on the other hand, the apathy of the Stoics was not exactly the right kind of sentiment to furnish a check or counteractive to this sybaritic indifference.

As concerns the relations of public life, the social community, and the state, the Stoical doctrine appears, no doubt, in a worthier and a better light. On this account it numbered among its adherents almost all the great statesmen that lived from the last times of the Republic down to the later centuries of the Empire. Considered, however, in themselves, and scientifically regarded, both systems must be looked upon simply as the last chemical decomposing process, or the initiatory putrifying state of all higher science and philosophical reflection among the Greeks. On the whole, then, we conclude that Grecian science and philosophy have exercised no influence at all on life, or at least, either a very inadequate, or such as has proved radically baneful and pernicious.

But now, in the very center of man’s history--in the transition-point between the ancient and the modern world--science and life were again at unison, as at the beginning. And this was effected by the appearance of a new science in another form. For most assuredly we shall not err in giving this name to a new living and spiritual power, which, totally changing and giving an entirely new direction to the arbitrary views, sentiments, and principles of public and private life, and also to the modes of thinking prevalent in the age and in the world, was strong enough to triumph, not only over heathenism itself, but also over the science and philosophy of its most enlightened nations. Now this new mode of thinking, which came forward in the full certainty of the most undoubting faith and the highest internal illumination, had, so far as it is right and allowable to call it a science, a very different form and scope from all that has previously and usually been so called. For it issued out of the very depths of life, and received from love--a divine love, that is--its first diffusion and establishment. Consequently, it was a thoroughly living science, or, as being perfectly clear and certain in itself, a new scientific life, which, moreover, proceeded from this its first starting-point, was able to penetrate into all the other forms of public life and of the anterior systems of science, and by adopting or remodeling them, give to itself therein a further and more universal development.

But here, also, the divine impulse from above encountered the usual partial or entire resistance from below. Accordingly, this new living wisdom, which, in its essence, is one with life, and which, therefore, the more it is developed only unfolds this unity the more universally and the more immutably, was not, at the first, universally adopted, or did not become every where predominant. Moreover, even where it was received, and its authority acknowledged, its reception was often little more than external. It was not admitted as a living principle into all the depths of the soul, or impressed on all the habits and tendencies of the mind [_geist_]. And even where, in some degree at least, it was adopted in the inner man with full and sincere love, it was often nothing more than an undeveloped germ of the future and of a higher life. Isolated by itself, and standing apart, it remained shut up within the inmost bosom, without at the same time penetrating, reanimating, and giving a new life and shape to all the other life-elements of the consciousness and the productions of human science.

Thus, then, it was only too possible for error to find its entrance even here also. And it is remarkable that both its principal forms, such as in varying shapes the history of philosophy is constantly presenting to us in the different epochs of its progress, here again most distinctly present themselves with all the features of their intellectual physiognomy plainly marked, and with the still more obvious contrast of their intrinsic diversity. A philosophy of nature more or less visionary and fanciful was the common basis of the various Gnostic sects. With their long series of imaginary emanations from the Deity, resembling in no slight degree the old heathen genealogies of the gods, they would, had they triumphed, have converted Christianity into a similar mythology, though of a more philosophical character. In the Arians, on the contrary, and other kindred sects before and after them, we recognize rather the spirit of rationalism, which, dwelling on some point of life, or theory, with a show of rigor and accuracy, while, apparently, it disputes only about words, is, in fact, undermining the foundation of the most essential ideas.

All these parties, however, as they originated, so they also disappeared, within the first five or eight centuries of our era. It was, therefore, impossible for their pernicious influence to gain a deep hold of life. At least it was neither universal nor permanent. Yet by them the ardor of a first love was cooled. And sad, indeed, has been the loss as regards the fullness of living energy, and even in respect of profounder wisdom.

The history of the middle ages again presents a rare and singular phenomenon. One great mind and writer of antiquity, whose influence in his own day was far from extensive, became at this date, in a most remarkable manner, the problem and center of scientific inquiry. For several centuries the human mind was laboriously engaged in disputing about the philosophy of Aristotle. And although men did not understand it--not, at least, its deeper meaning, for they lacked the first and most essential qualifications, and also the requisite means for such a purpose--this apparently aimless disputation, and this unsolved problem, was, nevertheless, not without great and manifold influence on their own and the following ages. It has had a permanent effect on the whole frame of man’s life and being.

Of the two wholly different aspects which, as we have already so often remarked, the philosophy of Aristotle presents, it was probably not its fruits of rationalism (for, at this period, such were generally regarded as forbidden) that throughout the great part of the then civilized world excited so incredible a fondness for this all-absorbing and all-understanding system. Its attraction lay rather in some great and mysterious knowledge of nature. And the desire for these intellectual treasures was not a little heightened by the fact, that, in general, they were inaccessible.

In the little intercourse subsisting, at this period, between distant nations and lands, and the almost total separation of the East from the West, it was only through the Arabic versions, or Latin translations molded again upon these, that any knowledge of this philosophy could be drawn. This must have led, it is obvious, to a wide deviation from the true sense and critical spirit of the author. Its original aim must have been generally missed. For, however highly we may be disposed to estimate the intellectual merits of the Arabians, as writers of their native history, or in poetry, or in any other science, they are notoriously deficient in the true critical spirit. Their total and universal want, in this respect, is especially evident when they are compared with the Greeks, among whom this critical acuteness, whether false or true, sprung up and reached its greatest height.

Strange, no doubt, and singular is it at first sight, to view this old master of philosophical thought and science, who, on the whole, is so perfectly heathen, suddenly received among the medieval theologians, and taking, as it were, his seat, and giving his voice among them. Still, if men of great mental powers and authority sought to make themselves masters of the whole matter--both of the much-disputed works of this writer, this Aristotle, so strangely disguised in his new motley dress of Arabic Latin, and also of the voluminous labors bestowed upon him--we must look upon this procedure as analogous to that of the thoughtful physician, who, in the midst of a wide-spread pestilence and inevitable contagion, prefers to inoculate it himself, in order the more safely to treat and to cure it. In short, as the case really stands, we must look on these illustrious men in two distinct lights. On the one hand we must see in them the Church’s venerable teachers, and the sagacious and discriminating theologians of the day; on the other, the scholastic interpreters of Aristotle, who had now become a necessary evil for the Christian middle ages.

This, however, and whatever else was the matter and object of such subtile disputes, was too soon forgotten. In these scholastic contests, after the fashion of the day, the combatants, horse and man, were armed _cap-a-piè_, incased and disguised in logical coats of mail, composed of countless rings of thought and chains of ideas. With this heavy panoply, the great object was to heave their antagonist out of the saddle. Often they recoiled from the shock without advantage on either side--so equally matched were they in their good lances and the weight of their armor--and often they swerved from the charge. Mostly, however, both of the philosophical knights found themselves, at the end of the strife, at their old station in the lists, or driven back, perhaps, to their original entry. This scholastic philosophy, in the form it now took, of a highly elaborate art of logical tourney in the philosophical schools, was, undoubtedly, an abiding evil in the age that immediately followed, and furnished an important element to the party disputes of later, and to the rationalism of these latest times.

The overthrow of the Grecian empire and the discovery of the new world, suddenly and at once introduced into Western Europe vast and varied treasures of historical, physical, and philosophical knowledge. In this brilliant epoch of the fifteenth century, a new world of thought was, as it were, laid open. A new era of science would have been founded, and a veritable reformation of the whole Christian life must have ensued, had not the moral corruption and the political disorders of the period been gross beyond description. But for all this, how much is there to admire in the Platonic writers of the fifteenth century, among whom Germany, after Italy, produced the most famous and the greatest number? When we take up, even now, any one of their works, and contemplate therein their comprehensive liberal pursuit of science, their mild, antique spirit, their noble form, and their quick recognition of the beautiful, we can not turn from them without regret to that new state of barbarism into which, during the sixteenth and part also of the seventeenth century, science was plunged by the rampant spirit of party and controversy.

At last, however, peace and quiet returned again to Christian lands and states, and slowly, and by degrees, to the minds also of men. And now was it, in the eighteenth century, and especially toward the middle of it, that out of this apparent and superficial peace, a new science, or a new light, or at least a new diffusion of it, seemed ready to arise. Simply regarded in a scientific point of view, this philosophical endeavor of the eighteenth century, and the most memorable of the systems to which it gave rise, occupied our attention in the very opening of these Lectures. Here the immediate object of our consideration is not this new science itself, whether true or false, but rather the influence on the age, and on life in general, of this modern mode of thinking, as generally diffused and prevalent.

Much, undoubtedly, has been discovered or newly learned in the natural sciences and in the domain of history; many too have been the bold ventures, at least, and novel essays in philosophy. This new wisdom, moreover, was taught and disseminated far more universally than ever before had been the case; while even the agreeable feeling produced by the moderation of the intellectual spirit now prevalent, greatly promoted its wide and rapid diffusion. But at a later period this enlightenment, so rapidly and so widely diffused, which, moreover, was taken only in a negative sense, was soon recognized to be unsatisfactory and superficial, while also the theory of popular liberty and independence which was grafted thereon, and claimed, or at least wished to be rational, bore the bitterest and worst of fruits.

In short, to speak most leniently of it, the whole was nothing less than the undigested scheme of an immature and imperfect knowledge, brought into the world before its time. Accordingly, its rash and precipitate course in the last age, whose history is unparalleled in the annals of the whole world, together with the fearful catastrophe which it has brought about, opened the eyes of men to the fearful abyss to which such a precipitate abuse of science had hurried them. And, in consequence, thinking men of the highest endowments and the richest intellectual gifts among different nations, have in many ways nobly devoted themselves to the work of restoration in sentiment, in thought, and in science.

But on the one hand, the first elements of the former destructive principle appear to be still existing, even though it be in less obvious and more pliable and disguised forms. On the other hand again, the corrected mode of thinking, and the better tone of sentiment and science, is for the most part confined merely to a more chastened outward form. Scarcely any where as yet is it carried far enough back, up to the profoundest sources of spiritual life, up to the primal origin and veritable foundation of the divine and of the eternally good.

And yet this is exactly the problem of our age, and herein alone shall we find the solution of the great enigma of the times. For from this hasty review of the whole course of the intellectual development of humanity, from its beginning to its close, the result, for the sake of and with a view to which alone I ventured so cursorily and in such faint outline to sketch all the leading epochs of the history of philosophy, must at least be evident. As in the beginning, and in the center thereof, science and life lovingly co-operated together and were fully in unison; and as in the intermediate epochs and intervals among the Greeks in civilized antiquity, and in the middle ages among ourselves, they became more and more estranged, so at the end will they be at one again. And already, even in our own days, every thing is tending to bring about such a consummation. But who shall say whether it shall be in a good or an evil sense? Ere long, life shall either, under the influence of the true and good and divine knowledge, be again restored, permanently regulated, and receive a new shape and fresh vigor, or, by a false and delusive science, be completely destroyed, and involved in eternal ruin.

Having, in this hasty review, considered, under its historical aspect, the problem of the relation of science--the true and divine, as well as the false and delusive--to both private and public life, it now remains for us to examine and to answer this same question from the side of theory. Regarded from this point of view, it would appear that whenever science fails to exercise an influence on life, or when they withdraw and are estranged one from the other, the fact may be always accounted for and explained by accidental causes and purely local influences, such as have their origin in the several periods of the world’s history, or flow from certain imperfections on one side or the other. For, considered in itself, science in general is nothing but this unity of thought and life, and consequently its living operation and influence are involved in the very idea of a higher science, provided only it be true and properly regulated. Either, therefore, science is life elevated into a thought, and consequently transformed into a thinking, or else it is a thought carried into reality, that has passed and been transmuted into life, and therein fully attested and certified by life itself--consequently a thinking become life.

Now, according to this view, that science consists in the mutual approximation to, and the final attainment of, a perfect unity between thought and life, there are three degrees of it, according to that triple gradation and threefold principle which exists in the human consciousness. The first of these, then, is reflection. And this, understood in a somewhat profounder acceptation than ordinarily, is an internal feeling, hearing, or seeing of one’s own thinking. Consequently it is a perception similar to that of the senses, by means of which the unseen thought is in some degree projected and introduced into external reality. But this act of reflection is nothing more than a passive state of the soul in its internal observation of itself. So long as it remains confined to this narrow sphere, it perpetually revolves in the same orbit, and, properly speaking, produces no ulterior results of a knowledge fruitful and applicable to actual and outward life.

The second degree or moment of science is abstraction, by virtue of which, from the complete sum of all the criteria and characteristics of an object, or, rather, of a thought, some one is prominently set forth as the most essential, and for the sake of communication designated by a name. For all communication and language is based on this faculty of abstraction, which is itself an arbitrary act of the free will. But although by this naming, generalization, and communication, the internal thought is advanced a step farther into the external world and the living reality among and with others, still the reality of the thought is by no means satisfactorily established thereby. For this very liberty in the choice of name, of combination, and of general classification, opens a wide field for caprice. This is evident enough from the countless multitude of terminologies, so needlessly invented and so rapidly thrown into oblivion, which form so many remote and mutually unintelligible philosophical dialects, in the ever-repeated attempt to build methodically the Babel tower of philosophical system. For these designations of abstract thoughts, even when they are most felicitous, fail to win the concurrence of others, and do but open a door to endless dialectical disputation.

Thus, then, neither reflection, which is eternally revolving within the narrow orbit of our inward self, nor empty abstraction, though it strays at pleasure over the spacious realm of the possible, can lead us to the desired end of perfect certainty or veritable science. It is alone the practical carrying out into real life of a speculative thought, that can bring it to the conclusion of perfection of certainty, and to a complete and true science. Now I should prefer to designate this its highest grade by the notion and name of _consequence_. But by this term, I must be understood as meaning not merely a correct logical enchainment of ideas, but pre-eminently a faithfully-worked-out _consequence_ or consistency of sentiment and life, _i.e._, a perseverance in good. At the same time, it must ever be remembered, that the evil principle, although it often makes a boast of possessing this quality, does so only in appearance, and never in this true sense. On the contrary, torn to pieces by conflicting passions in its inmost being, it is really in the highest degree inconsequent, as acting in direct opposition to its beginning and origin, which, like all other created beings, it took and received from God.

Truly consequent or consistent a man can not be except in the truth, _i.e._, in Him out of whom all truth, and from whom all existence is derived and flows--in other words, in God. Science, therefore, is an _applied_ thinking, _i.e._, one that has passed into life, and thereby become real and certain; and it is only on the road of practice, by its actual carrying out or _real_ manifestation, that it can attain to its highest degree, and that the truth of an idea or speculative thought can be satisfactorily attested.

The ideas, according to the original sense of the term, are even the self-existing thoughts of a higher life, as distinct both from the simple facts of the consciousness in the domain of reflection, and from the arbitrary forms of thought set up by empty abstraction. And though even here as elsewhere, a false, sickly, or a null and illusory life, may be substituted for that which is true, still this applies only to the form of the living idea, as contrasted with the sensuous semblance or the dead notion. For, that an idea is truly divine, can only be proved by this quality of consequence--by its divine influence and effect on life.

On the other hand, many philosophical thinkers have somewhat erroneously indicated the intrinsic certainty of philosophical thought by the name and under the form of an intellectual intuition, and thereby given occasion to manifold misconceptions. But if in all the fullness of the conception already advanced of the eternal truth, and of Him who is its sum and source, we were really able to be sentinent of and to feel the divine life--to hear and audibly to perceive the eternal Word and actually to see the holy Light, such a spiritual intuition of God’s glory and majesty would be far more appropriate for the future than for the present world. And even though we may and can admit it to be conceivable, as given from above, still a communication of it would be impossible, and, consequently, could not be available for the ordinary purpose of giving a philosophical foundation to any human system. Under this form, then, of a so-called intellectual intuition, if it be really such, and not rather a mere form of abstract thought under another and an assumed name, speculative science would consequently assume the character of a questionable vision, and a possible mental delusion. For a full internal satisfaction and certainty--so far at least as these are attainable by man--even in the case that they are the sign and the proof that this intuition, or perception of the divine light actually took place, can only be furnished by that quality of consequence already described as belonging to every thought and cognition which is founded in God. And to this character of consequence or consistency, the condition of agreement with every other idea or revelation already acknowledged to be divine, belongs naturally as the irrefragable law of judgment and of life.

That full and correct conception of eternal truth which has been developed by us in the ninth Lecture as the living _idea_ of the Supreme Being is unquestionably the fundamental speculative notion and the internal spiritual basis on which every other higher science, that has any pretensions to the qualities of permanence and consequence which belong to right-thinking and to immutable truth, is subsequently raised, or, in other words, it is the source from which it abidingly flows. In the three subsequent Lectures, however, the subject has been mostly scientific, speculative, and metaphysical, though throughout accompanied with historical illustrations drawn from the development of the human mind. And here, accordingly, a reference to the science or discipline of logic is every where supposed.

Now, in the form in which this science or discipline has come down to us from the Greeks, there is much that is rather an accident than a part of its essence, and whose presence must be accounted for by some special and local necessity. With no people before or since has rhetoric enjoyed so commanding an influence as with the Greeks, and with none also has the sophistic art produced such great and such pernicious effects. Accordingly, they found it necessary to devote to the analysis of all its arts, delusions, and tortuous windings, and also to the development of the dialectical means for their detection and refutation, a disproportionate degree of attention, which is neither necessary for us nor practically useful.

The Hindoos, likewise, have from the most ancient times possessed a scientific system of logic. Indeed it has even been said, that Aristotle, having received from Alexander the Great some of their logical treatises, borrowed from them his own system, or, at least, molded it after them. But from the reasons just adduced, I am disposed to think that, in all probability, the Hindoo logic was much simpler than the Grecian, where the simple end of truth, and the great desideratum of a correct standard thereof, was lost sight of amid an overminute analysis, and the mazes of an endless subdivision of notions.

In the routine of our school education logic might, perhaps, be made a highly profitable study if only it were combined with and made to bear upon the history of the gradual development of human thought, and especially the theory of language. And then, since thought and speech are so intimately allied to and dependent on each other, it would be advisable to go a step farther, and extend our logical studies to the theory of imagination, symbolical language and its fundamental rules.

In a scientific education, too, a logic of the memory (if we may be allowed the expression) would in all probability be highly useful. For an established law and disposition of our thoughts would greatly facilitate the exercise of memory, and as furnishing rules for the practice, or generally as an exercise of that faculty, would form an excellent basis for scientific education. For the conduct of life, indeed, there is nothing so important or so desirable as a right logic of the conscience, which should detect all the internal delusions of egoism and the still more subtile sophistry of selfishness in every point where the question lies between the righteous truth and a latent falsehood. And this is intimately connected with, or at least leads directly to, the notion of the sound reason which requires before all things a conscientious susceptibility of the truth.

But a logic applicable to this higher science must be understood in a far more comprehensive sense than is ordinarily done. And this is even what we have here attempted to furnish. Logic in general is conversant about three objects: the notion, the judgment, and the conclusion. But it ought also to possess a general fundamental rule and regulative standard of truth, so far as this is attainable. But inasmuch as in this domain the eternal is simply one, so also for this higher science one notion properly is sufficient; as also one judgment which comprises all others, and one conclusion which completes the whole, is sufficient. The act of understanding has been explained to be the completion of the notion; and the full and complete apprehension of the eternal truth, or of Him who is the sum of all verities, was the subject-matter of our ninth treatise. The act of discerning was explained to be the completion of the judgment; and this perfect judgment, which decides and distinguishes between truth and error, was the theme of our tenth disquisition. Science, however, is the perfection of all thinking, and in its actual operation, as applied to life, and in itself carried to a conclusion, is one with it. Now this was the end to which the present discussion and development was intended to lead; while the further prosecution of it and its reference to the several spheres and domains of existence must be reserved to the following discourses.



How difficult it generally is for man to express his internal conceptions, to bring out the indwelling idea and to realize its perfect external manifestation, is shown, for example, among other instances, by the fine arts, or the art of the beautiful. For this reason the theory of the latter, the so-called æsthetics (which, however, might far more correctly be termed symbolism), forms the natural pendant and accompaniment to logic, if the latter, instead of being limited, as is usual, to the mere art of distinguishing the different kinds of notions, is understood in a far higher sense, and referred to eternal, and, consequently, divine truth, and to its intrinsic and equally divine standard. For when the question no longer involves a purely material or simply subjective verity, but that which is more exalted and heavenly, then beauty (that, namely, about which art is conversant, and which, far surpassing all that is merely human, pretends and really ought to be divine and supernatural) forms the other and symbolical aspect of one and the same eternal truth. And indeed it is neither separable from it nor opposed to it, so long as art maintains its high standing and employs the sensual charm which it requires for the lively expression of vitality, and its outward manifestation, only as a symbol and for the sake of that higher significance which she herself lends to it, and does not seek nor admire it for its own sake, nor sees therein the fulfillment of its own true end and aim.

But by far the greater number of the productions of art are only repetitions or copies of some previous realization. And I use this term, not in its usual depreciatory sense, but rather in one that is applicable to what are truly artistic productions but still only successful formations at second-hand. Extremely rare, indeed, are the original expressions or impressions of an indwelling, unborrowed idea And even among these very many are nothing more than the first faint outline and commencement, which only at a subsequent epoch of art, and after long and repeated essays, attains to complete perfection and a really successful and veritable outward exhibition of the indwelling idea. For we must ever consider as an idea that inward object which art in its external manifestations strives to realize, and which in its creations ought to stand out, as it were, bodily before us.

Even in music (as the expression of the emotions of the soul in their flow and change, and in the struggle with inharmonious discords, till at last they finally dissolve in harmony) it is not so much the immediate feeling--for this would be no more artistic than the mere cry of passion--as rather the idea of it that the artist has in his mind, and that forms the subject of his representations. The musician strives to represent the whole idea--the beautiful and the marvelous in the whole progress of its development. Following the inmost life-pulse in its alternate rising and falling, he labors to give its unexpected transitions up to their sudden harmony or its repetitions of still increasing pitch up to a full and soothing close, or (if this is designedly to be left unattained) up to the abrupt and painful breaking off or gradual dying away and cessation of the plaintive note or the tone of ardent longing.

And the same is the case with sculpture. But here we would premise the remark, that the principle with which we set out, of the triple nature and division of man’s being, is confirmed by the existence of a corresponding order and diversity in the fine arts. Among the arts, accordingly, whose object is the manifestation of the beautiful, music is pre-eminently the art for the soul, while sculpture is for the most part corporeal.

Now, in sculpture it is not any actual figure or the body itself that the artist has in view. It is the general idea thereof that constitutes the subject-matter of his representations. He seeks to portray its most perfect structure, its full organic development, its exquisite correctness of symmetry and sublime beauty of form. And to all this even the expression of character and passion is in a certain degree subordinate. And exactly because the external medium which it employs, because the material mass on which its internal conceptions are to be stamped, or, rather, out of which they are to be worked, is the inanimate stone and cold marble, therefore does true sculpture aim at a higher excellence than the uniformity and death-like repose which characterize the Egyptian statues of the gods. It seeks rather to triumph by copying with the most marvelous truth and fidelity the living frame in its most rapid movements, and life in its most violent struggles, and by seizing its fleeting graces to fix them forever in its own imperishable creations.

In truth, the imitation of actual reality, however difficult and in itself worthy of admiration it may be, does not constitute the aim or object, or generally the principle of sculpture, any more than of any other art. A remarkable proof of this is afforded by the fact that color, with all its charms, is excluded from the plastic art and its embodied manifestations as too meretricious and too closely allied to reality. For by such an expedient, not less than by the use of ingenious mechanism to give motion to the limbs, the artistic ideal, or the images of the gods, would have degenerated into the puppets of children.

Reality, therefore, with its actual shapes and the delusive imitation and servile copying of them, is in nowise the proper or immediate object of the plastic art. Even beauty of form is not always, not at least solely and exclusively its aim; it is only so accidentally and relatively, as a condition of the expression of character, of external states, and of the total significance. Always and universally it is a thought, the _idea_ of some subject or form as the inner sense and significance thereof, that constitutes the essence of a work of art, and with which art in general is concerned. In other words, art is symbolical. And this may be predicated with equal truth of every higher art, as well as of sculpture, whatever may be the medium of its manifestations, whether a statue, or tone as in music, or words as in poetry. It is exactly this that constitutes the difference between high art and every other which, however closely allied to it in appearance, has some ulterior and practical object, and which therefore can not be symbolical.

Of this kind, for instance, is the difference between rhetoric (which most assuredly is an art, or at least was exclusively treated as such by the Greeks) and poetry. And it is of the utmost importance to keep this distinction constantly in view. For exactly in the same degree that it is neglected is the proper character and true excellency of the higher art of the beautiful lost sight of. And a right estimate of the other arts which have an ulterior and practical object would also be endangered. An orator who with the greatest command of practical and imaginative language is nevertheless devoid of convincing logical power to sway the minds of men by his arguments, and to bend them irresistibly to his purpose, would exercise but little influence; while no heavier censure can be passed on one who sets up for a poet, than to affirm of him, that he possesses and understands nothing but the rhetoric of passion, without--though such further qualification is evidently superfluous--true poetry.

Of the fine arts, therefore, which, employing a material medium for their representations, possess an ideal and symbolical significance, music is the art of the soul, and sculpture is that of corporeal form, and of the manifestation of the true idea of organic beauty. But among the three sister arts, painting is the true spiritual one. As the light, with its ceaseless variety of tints and hues, is the most spiritual element of nature, and as the eye is the most spiritual of man’s senses, so painting, as concerned about these, is the most spiritual of the arts, and the one with which the symbolical spirit readily associates itself. Painting directs itself wholly to the eye, whereas sculpture appeals indeed to the eye, but only as the necessary medium for satisfying the corporeal sense and feeling.

But painting, in its manifestations, does not confine itself to abstract beauty (if we may so say) or the perfect structure and symmetry of form. It embraces all the eye can reach in the visible phenomena of the world, with all its wonderful play of light and shade and magical splendor of coloring, where not only the whole, but the several parts--in a word, all that in many and various ways is charming to the senses, attractive to the eye with ever new wonders, and all that to the mind or spirit is full of deep spiritual and symbolical significance. And for this reason the wonderful art of painting is even the most appropriate, shall I say to exhibit, or rather to suggest, the high mysteries of divine love in religion and revelation. No wonder, then, if, in modern Christendom, music and painting, the art or symbolism of soul and spirit, have been chiefly cultivated, and attained their highest development and perfection, whereas the art of the perfect development of organic form and corporeal and sensual beauty, reached its height of excellence in the sculpture of classical antiquity, which in the same way and degree will never again be paralleled, or at least will never be surpassed.

It appears sufficient if we assume that there are only three symbolical arts for the higher manifestation of the beautiful. For architecture, although in various ways bound and modified by the conditions of some ulterior design, is, nevertheless, in its principal features closely related to sculpture, and stands on the same line with it. For beauty of structure, correctness of proportion, and grace of symmetry, which form the fundamental laws of the plastic art, constitute also the ideal of architecture. Accordingly, among the Greeks and Romans, where the latter attained to its highest and richest cultivation, its principles, relations, and forms approximate to those of organic figure, to which they are not indeed outwardly in their structure, but in a certain degree and according to their internal constitution, similar and correspondent, or at least related.

Egyptian architecture, with its predominantly mathematical character, and the tree-like Gothic aspiring to heaven, with its slender shafts and floral decorations, form the two extremes of this organic character which belongs to architecture, and which constitutes it one and the same art with sculpture. For the structures of the former environ and surround the creations of the latter. And it is only consistent that that which supplies the legitimate sphere and the natural medium for the other properly exhibitive art of sculpture and its statues of the gods, should even possess or acquire a similarity of character with it. As to the Egyptian and Gothic architectures, the remark readily suggests itself that the symbolical character displays itself predominantly in them: purity of form, however, is the prevalent feature of the _antique_ (or Grecian), but even here in its proportions the symbolical principle may be traced, although it is more recondite, not to say concealed.

Even poetry is no fourth art alongside of the other three. It does not stand on the same line with and form, as it were, the complement of their number. It is rather the universal symbolical art which comprises and combines in different mediums all those other exhibitive arts of the beautiful. In its rhythm and other metrical aids it possesses all the charms of a music in words; in its figurative diction it maintains an endless succession of shifting pictures in the vivid coloring of diversified illustration; while in its entire structure (which must be neither purely historical, nor logical, or even rhetorical) it strives to attain, by a beautiful organic development and disposition of its parts, to an arrangement of the whole both architecturally great and correct.

Poetry owes in every instance its first creative beginning to some great and singular ray of light from symbolical tradition, which, at the same time, illuminates the noble and memorable past, and points forward to the dark and mystical future. For it would be difficult to produce one among the great epic poems of antiquity that does not contain this poetico-prophetic element, and does not touch upon the profound mysteries of both worlds. The next and middle step is occupied by the poetry of sentiment and feeling--that music of the soul or poesy of song in which the calm deep longings and the wild tearing passions of the moment, once plunged and glorified in that immortal element, become eternal. But the height of perfection in the organic development of poetry is marked by the drama. This third and highest form of poetical art has for its subject-matter the whole struggle of human life, which in its vivid representations it aims to realize, and, as it were, to bring bodily before our eyes.

There exists an obvious analogy between the several constituents, as well as the different species or kinds of poetry and the three _material_ arts of the beautiful. As the latter are symbolical throughout in the subject no less than in the manner and design of their manifestations, so also, but in a far higher degree, is poetry, as the art which embraces all the three in its own sphere. And this was the end to which I wished to arrive, inasmuch as the symbolical significance of the whole of life is the very point which at present claims our attention. For it bears intimately on the conclusion which I attempted to establish in my last Lecture. It was there my endeavor to prove that the supreme science, which is essentially identical with a divine faith, may be actually applied to life, be really brought in unison with it, and become transformed into a living and real existence. But this can only be accomplished by a symbolical process, or in other words, the symbolical signification of life is either itself the basis, or else an indispensable condition of, and inevitable transition-point toward, such a union and its accomplishment.

But in the arts which portray the beautiful, this symbolical significance and property is most distinctly prominent; here it is most easily understood and most universally recognized. On this account I have chosen this subject, as forming the natural transition and connecting link between the previous and the following Lectures. No doubt the æsthetical portion of man’s constitution and life is in itself sufficiently remarkable and attractive, and rich and important enough in its effects and consequences, to vindicate for itself such an episode, and to claim for it a place in philosophical speculation. For it shows that that fundamental law of psychological science and triple principle of division of the human consciousness into spirit, soul, and sense, admits also of application in this domain also, and may serve to confirm the whole theory and way of thinking. The further prosecution, however, of this elementary view or sketch of art would carry me beyond my present limits. For the aim of that philosophy of which I am attempting to give an exposition is directed to life itself--as well the inner life of the individual as the public life (and in the present place, also, its symbolical relation or signification)--which is so inseparably and intimately connected with the investigation into the divine foundation of life and the divine direction which ought to be imparted to it.

It can easily be shown that education as well as art is essentially symbolical. Such, indeed, must be the character of the education, whether public or private, of the whole rising generation, unless it is to degenerate into an ordinary mechanical system. And it is even in this quality principally that we are disposed to place the distinction between an unspiritual education, which, even though in the sternness of its morality it may defy censure, yet eventually proves barren and mortal, and one more solid and more conformable to human nature, which, less pretending in the outset, is even the more lasting in its effects.

The ready susceptibility of the youthful mind for every thing symbolical that lies within its reach, and its vivid perception of its meaning, might be clearly enough shown by instancing some of the ordinary amusements of boyhood and youth. How commonly, in these years, are the various occupations, pursuits, and circumstances of real and, to them, still future life, childishly, perhaps, but still ingeniously imitated, or, rather, anticipated! And how lasting an influence does this frequently make on their little society! What various but lasting traces does it often leave on their minds, more perhaps than many hours of study, especially if in the latter the usual system of overloading the young mind defeats its own end. Play, indeed, must not become the mere pastime of idleness, for it is only by its alternation with labor and the sternness of discipline that it continues to be a recreation and a pleasure.

And, indeed, the earnestness, the labor, and the sterner part in this whole business and matter of education, as mixed and composed of two opposite elements, of the serious and the sportive, is highly capable of receiving so spiritual a reference and vital a significance. And if all education be nothing else than a preparation for the future, and the state of this preparation, then it must be self-evident that too many or enough of such vivid references and spiritual allusions to a future life, either generally or to any particular phase of it that may chiefly be had in view, can not be introduced into education and its serious and sportive elements and pursuits. For it is only by this method that the susceptibilities of youth and the youthful fancy can be vividly excited and thoroughly impressed with the fundamental design and significance of the whole of life--a result which no mere dry definition of the future state, or generally of any “destination of man” on the dusty road of logic, will ever attain to.

It is nowise singular if this symbolical property and disposition of human nature announces itself as distinctly in the earliest development and in the most perfect of the productions of artistic genius, whether we take into consideration the whole existing state of mankind, or his original and essential constitution relatively to the world and to God. We have already remarked, on more than one occasion, that man, as soon as he was deprived of those higher faculties which he had abused to his ruin, fell thereby more entirely than would seem originally to have been the case, under the dominion of figurative fancy, and that, consequently, his whole nature and consciousness became greatly changed from what it was at the beginning. If man did at the very first possess the faculty and the power to communicate his thoughts to others inwardly by a mere operation of his will, and without having recourse to the external medium of words, he no longer enjoys this privilege; and if any wonderful phenomena in any way resembling thereto be now found, they only form so many remarkable exceptions, instead of making the rule of human life and consciousness as they now are. As at present constituted, man feels that his state is pre-eminently symbolical: he sees in symbolism a necessary requirement for his earthly pursuits--a substitute for those immediate powers of cogitation which he has lost. And all this is true, independently of any use he may freely choose to make of symbols for the higher purposes of spiritual life.

Man, at the beginning, was placed on this earth as its first-born son, in the midst of the telluric universe, or, in other words, in the center of a planetary world akin to and similar to his own. Now, whatever may be the case, or whatever it may be allowable to think of any other of the starry spheres--though in the invisible world of spirits all perhaps is more immediately full of and instinct with essence, and is not veiled in material emblems, this is not the case with this earth. Terrestial nature, in all its organic productions and warring elements of life, is throughout symbolical. Man, therefore, viewed from this position of his earthly habitation, is surrounded by a symbolical world of sensuous emblems. And if we can, or, rather, if we will, believe the grand intimation with which revelation opens, the first and highest destination of man is even symbolical--to be the Divine image.

If, now, all the natural wants and properties of man are symbolical--if such be his present state in the midst of creation--his whole position in the mundane system, and his high and heavenly destination, can we, or, rather, ought we, to wonder if even religion presents itself for the most part clothed in a symbolical garb? For this is the case, not merely with that which was the wild upgrowth of a poetical and purely imaginative heathenism, but also the old, original, and pure religion of nature--as the first love devoting itself for sacrifice--the second revelation of God. And so we find it to have been in the old world, or, as it is otherwise called, the old covenant. Here the first twilight of faith was yet studded with all the starry splendor of the whole symbolical creation, as it were with the brilliant diadem of nature’s most glorious images. And even the new era of the ascending and brightening dawn still bears on its front the glittering morning-star of art.

But now, if still retaining the same figure, or, rather, borrowing from it a contrast, we proceed to designate art in and by itself, we may justly compare it to the moon, which illumines with its vague but marvelous _half-light_ the domain of night and the dark realms of creative fancy. Even here it is but a borrowed splendor from the true sun, a reflection from another and a higher luminary, that lights up the darkness. And while all the wonderful starry types of the spiritual world, which retire in the full day, come out in this magical twilight, so also deceptive phantoms, airy forms of gigantic magnitude, may mingle with the hovering and misty troop of shadows to which the earth-born vapors alone give birth and shape. And yet, notwithstanding this earthly intermixture, the art of the beautiful, whenever it retains its true nature, is in its essence directed to the divine. Consequently it not only lends an external charm to religion, but in its origin, in all times and peoples, it was intimately related to it, and bound to it by the strictest ties of affinity and association. And this is not the less true, even though to the eye of a severe criticism most of its productions, in the ages of its decline, may appear utterly remote from its first source and aim, and perfectly vain, worthless, and sensual.

The divine origin of art is easily proved by its history every where, and indeed is so manifest that it can not well be doubted. High art, indeed, can not and never will surrender its claim to a divine power and sanctity: it must insist upon the recognition of this its high sanction. If we could conceive an age or country where religion should entirely cease and be forgotten--where not only all positive faith and revelation, but even the universal belief in a Divinity above them, should die away and perish among men--the light of all higher and heaven-directed thoughts and aims should become extinct--that echo of eternity and of eternal love which the inmost feelings of the human soul spontaneously gives back, should be hushed forever--then and there at the self-same moment would all high art be withdrawn and disappear.

In our own age the state of things is the direct contrary to that which we have been supposing. While from the universal prevalence of freethinking in politics--a natural consequence of the reign of religious skepticism--the whole of life, and especially public life, has ceased to be regarded and understood in its symbolical character and dignity; while the little of religious sentiment that still survives is more or less distracted and secularized by sectarian controversy, and scarcely one inviolable sanctuary is left for a simple and undoubting faith to shelter in--art and the beautiful are for a certain portion of the educated classes the only fresh oasis of divinity amid the surrounding desert of worldliness. It is the last treasure left to them, and, indeed, prized by them as such, and regarded as the true palladium of a higher intrinsic life; but this, in its isolated state and by itself, it never can be.

In this respect the present age may be likened to a noble house, fallen from its primitive wealth and magnificence into decay and ruin. Its revenues dissipated by misfortunes, mismanagement and extravagance; its mansion and domains mortgaged or encumbered with debt, nothing remains to it but the family jewels. These time-honored heirlooms of better days are all that it still retains of its former opulence. And even in these many a false stone has been introduced among the old genuine diamonds; much spurious metal has been substituted for the sterling gold of antiquity. Apparently, however, the whole are still preserved as the last relic of a former splendor, and of a wealth which once seemed inexhaustible. In the same way the present generation supports its inner and higher life on the mere external treasures of art, while the great capital of ancient faith, to which among other excellent fruits that ornament of beauty owed its existence, has by the great majority been long squandered on the “_spirit of the age_.”

But the symbolical dress that religion every where assumes constitutes but one half of its external form. The other consists in the vital and intrinsic union of all the members and professors of the common faith. Religion can not by any means be isolated and solitary. It is impossible to think of it as existing only for the individual. In a word, there is no such thing as religion in a proper sense without a community. Two or three must at least be united in a common faith, that its power and efficacy may be visible among them. And this association is one vital throughout--an inmost bond binding souls together by a spiritual attraction, and, as it were, enchainment of the several members.

As the electrical shock traverses instantaneously the entire chain of the connected links, and the spark which enters at one extremity flashes the next moment at the other--as a single loadstone will by contact convert any number of needles into magnets, and elevate them into a new and higher relation to the whole globe--so is it also in religion. A living communication from the first origin runs through the whole community. As in the voltaic pile, composed of alternate layers of two different metals, one chemical element of the telluric energy or of the vital principle of the air or atmosphere is emitted or set free on one side and the other on the opposite; so is it here also in the spiritual chain of faith and in its living reciprocal action of the different members of this soul-chain--between those who are active ministers and conductors, or instruments by which it works, and the others, who in a somewhat passive relation only imbibe the invisible life. By the one the divine blessing of sanctification and holiness is set in action and brought to light--developed and confirmed; while by the others grace is received as the effectual power and gift of salvation.

One remark, however, seems particularly called for in this place. It appears, from what has been already said, that even revelation and the true religion itself invariably puts on and is invested with that symbolical garb which is so consonant and agreeable to the state and nature of humanity. This being the case, it becomes extremely difficult to form a general standard by which we may unfalteringly determine what symbols are not essential, as only serving for the external garb of religion and an intelligible vehicle of its communications. For this, it is evident, must be governed by the diversity of individual wants and peculiarities, and must consequently assume a variable and personal character. If, however, a symbol proceeds immediately from God, then it must necessarily be essential. It is not only a type, but an actual substance. To suppose otherwise would be even almost parallel to presuming to regard the eternal Logos, who is the source of light and life, of all knowledge and of all being, as a word merely, without innate energy and substance.

Most natural, therefore, is it (that is to say, most consistent with the nature of the thing, which however in itself is supernatural, incomprehensible, and surpasses all conception), that the highest symbol of the faith, that which forms the principle of communion and the living center of unity of all Christendom, should have such a character as to be at once a symbol and also the veritable reality of the thing itself. For inasmuch as on the altar of this religion of divine love, since the one oblation has long ago been perfected, no other fire shall again be kindled but the flame of prayer and of a will directed to and in unison with God; therefore, the act by means of which that communion of souls which constitutes the essence of all religion, is maintained and carried on, consists simply in this, that the essential substance of the divine power and of God’s love to man is given and received as the wonderful seal of union with Him.[52]

As to the altar itself, how rich or how simple its ornaments ought to be, is a question which I have already remarked, does not easily admit of any general solution. If, however, we should attempt to think of Christianity without an altar, or desire and attempt to establish such a scheme--what indeed among the vast variety of human conceits and religious theories has only occurred to a very limited number, and never has and never will exercise any lasting and decided influence--a Christianity thus divested of symbols and mysteries would be degraded into a mere philosophical view and opinion--or at the very best, a school of the kind--any thing, in short, rather than religion. Even the study of the Bible, if in spite of so sad a state of things it should still survive, would sink into a mere matter of erudition, on a level with any other favorite pursuit of antiquarian lore and research. And if, on the other hand, rising perhaps somewhat higher than a mere philosophical opinion or the favorite pursuits of erudition, a religious community, having no altar at all, should pretend to rest entirely on prayer and spiritual teaching or preaching, such a scheme must presuppose an immediate inspiration, communicable to all and continuous throughout time. But such an hypothesis invariably proves the easy and natural transition to the most frightful fanaticism, of whose pernicious and evil effects those only who are acquainted with the domestic history of Mohammedism, among whose modern and ancient sects this idea is rampant, can form a clear and adequate conception.

In religion, therefore, and that entire union of the inner man and soul with God which it demands, or at least hopes and desires to bring about as essential and necessary, and which the higher philosophy of antiquity, no less than revealed religion, strove and longed to attain, there lies a something inconceivably sublime and beautiful. Nay, we might almost call it an impossible result, similar in some degree to that which is involved in the higher and more intricate of algebraic equations for which there is no solution, or which, at least, appear to have none till it is actually discovered. Now this finite, changeable, and in all respects incomplete and in no one point satisfactorily, or at least not perfectly defined (_a_) of our own individual self, with which we are wont to commence the whole of our thought and life, is to be brought into communion with, or, in other words, to be equaled to the wholly incomprehensible (_x_) of the incommunicable Godhead. How is this possible? By what means is it to be accomplished?

Properly, indeed, our Ego is no such (_a_), and can not be defined as such in the wonderful algebraic equation of our inmost life and highest pursuit. For nowhere does man feel himself to be _a first_; all things prove him to be secondary and derivative, wherever it may be that he is to take or seek his beginning. And not only does the alphabet of our life carry us beyond itself and toward its end in this incomprehensible (_x_), but it is also defective at its commencement, and wants a beginning and the first (_a_), which ought to form its very opening. And even the (_b_) (could this satisfy us) is nowhere distinctly and clearly to be found such as it is in and by itself, or such even as it was originally. It is invariably mixed and involved with something else equally unknown. We have, therefore, in this equation of our life, to do with two wholly unknown magnitudes--with the incomprehensible (_x_), and with the (_y_). For by the latter sign we will at present designate that which every where meets and opposes us. For the fact of such an inborn and connatural obstacle every one will admit, even though he may refuse to explain it by the evil principle and may be unwilling to receive the explanation which revelation gives of it.

How, now, is this our (_b_) to be carried back to its original (_a_)? How is it to be set free from this evil (_y_), and brought into union with the highest (_x_)? The answer and solution to this apparently insoluble equation can only be obtained by one method. In attempting it, we must keep steadily in view the principle so recently advanced, that the essence of religion consists in the effectual communication of a higher and living power, which, emanating from the first and original point, traverses the whole spiritual chain to its farthest link. But, in order to illustrate completely this principle, and the idea which arises from it, of a satisfactory solution of this problem, I will indulge myself in a brief but episodical explanation of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, as furnishing the most suitable example for my purpose. For, inasmuch as the symbolical nature and constitution of the human, and, indeed, of all mortal existence, was the main subject which opened, and has occupied our present consideration, it may be regarded as the natural complement and keystone to the whole discussion, if, in addition to what has preceded, we go on briefly to examine how and in what sense the oldest writing and earliest method employed by men for the communication of their ideas was symbolical.

Of the languages of Western Asia, at least, and of the alphabets derived therefrom, the Hebrew, viz., the Phœnician and the Greek, it may without hesitation be asserted, that they were derived from hieroglyphics, and are, without exception, of hieroglyphic origin. This can not be asserted as decidedly of the Indian alphabet, which differs so totally from all those previously mentioned. Still I shall not allow myself, simply on this account, to come over hastily to any conclusion as to the comparative antiquity of the Hindoo and the Egyptian modes of writing.

Now, according to all that we know of the hieroglyphical mode of indicating objects, it rests on a very simple principle. The discovery which was in so remarkable a manner reserved to our own age, is not indeed complete, and leaves much still to be explained. The fundamental principle, nevertheless, is well established. From this it appears that the hieroglyphic system of Egypt, although entirely symbolical, contains, notwithstanding, the germ of alphabetical writing. As the principle of hieroglyphical writing is equally applicable to modern languages as to the Egyptian, a German word will serve us as well for an example, and for the purposes of our illustration, as any other. Preliminary, however, it is necessary to observe, that in this mode of notation the leading characters and essential elements of the radical sound are alone indicated; such vowels and consonants as are quiescent, or servile, are omitted, and being without any special signs are left to be mentally supplied.

To take, then, a German word for our example. The word _Leben_ (life) would be signified by its three principal characters. Now, the first letter would be indicated by _Licht_ (a flaming light), because this word also begins with L, _Baum_ (a tree) would stand for B, while N would be represented by any kind of _Nass_ (fluid), by a rapid waterfall, for instance, or by a waving line, as a type of its moving and undulating surface. A light, then, a tree, and an undulating surface, will, by means of the initial letters of our German terms for them (_L_icht, _B_aum, _N_ass), stand for the word _Leben_, _i.e._, life.

Now, from this example, which I have purposely chosen, it will appear that this hieroglyphical mode of notation and writing, while it was fundamentally alphabetical, had, nevertheless, at the same time, a symbolical significance. For a light, or light-giving flame, the tree with its growth, as well as the flowing stream with its waves or ripples, aptly express and typify the intrinsic character of life, with its several characteristics and elements. And it is even this addition of symbolical coloring and signification which in the otherwise equivocal, and, consequently, inconvenient, representation of objects by an hieroglyphical alphabet, constitutes the peculiar difficulty, but, at the same time the mental attraction of this kind of writing.

This mode of hieroglyphical representation is not, however, the most difficult to be understood. Another, so far as it has as yet been found out, and as progress has been made toward deciphering it, appears to be far more abstruse and enigmatical. For to understand or to interpret the latter in any degree, it is almost indispensable to know beforehand what is the object indicated or intended. In this mode of hieroglyphical notation the image of an object is made to stand for any other whose name begins with the same letter, as the word does that designates the former. Thus, to employ the same instance as before, the picture of a flaming light would by itself stand for the word and idea of life. This is, if we may so say, a bold play with algebraic equations, between enigmatical emblems, which are at most but imperfectly indicated, and which nothing but the intelligence of one well versed in the system can ever hope to comprehend. Any other, even with the greatest pains, will scarcely be able to decipher it with any degree of certainty. And this leads me back again to our former and still unsolved equation, involving the riddle of human life, and which this simile of the hieroglyphics was intended to help us to solve.

The hieroglyphical mode of writing is, according to the explanation we have given of it, a symbolical representation by means of the initial letters of words. In it and through it even that which is the most ordinary and common assumes a mystical character, and passes into this wonderful, imaginative, and emblematical sphere. Now the solution of this general problem lies even in this: that this (_x_)--this incomprehensible (_x_)--as the eternal Logos of the incommensurable Godhead, became also (_a_) (that is to say, took on Him a human life and nature), and is even now fully and really such. For thus the beginning and the initial letter of the whole alphabet of human existence, which was so long wanting, although from the very first it was implied in and was the foundation of the (_b_), was given anew to it by God. And now this (_b_), and every other of the following letters, can attach themselves in due order and connection, be united with it and even be equated to it, and being thus equalized, inasmuch as _x_=_a_, it also becomes capable of apprehending the otherwise unattainable (_x_). And at the same time it can be entirely set free, at once and forever, from the restlessly opposing and destructive (-_y_); since this (_y_), as opposed to the (_x_), is merely a negative quantity, and as such vanishes.

But however we may attempt by means of this or any other scientific or figurative illustrations to apprehend or to express the ineffable, the fact, and above all, a living faith in that great verity, that the divine (_x_) has become a human (_a_)--that the eternal Logos actually and really took upon Him the nature of man, and still retains it, is the point from which a new and higher life commences. It is the ring which holds together the whole human family--the first link in the chain of spiritual life, to which all must be referred and from which all is to proceed.

Thus, then, beginning with the emblematical representations of the fine arts, and developing the idea through several other spheres of its manifestation, I have carried the symbolical significance of human life up to the highest hieroglyphic of all existence. And as in the three previous Lectures I have considered the eternal Word, simply and principally in a scientific point of view, as the fundamental law of truth, it now remains for me to exhibit it as the word which shall solve all difficulties in the problem of human existence, and shall prove an unerring guide in the conflict of life and in all its most important relations and perplexities. And to this subject the three last and concluding Lectures will be devoted. And in these we shall consider all this in its reference to the external and public life of man in society and the state. For not only does it hold true of the higher pursuits and inmost being of individuals, but it has also a universal application; for this highest of all hieroglyphics, which is the beginning of a new life, forms also the foundation of the state in its sacred character.

And because the application of Christian truth and of the fundamental idea of Christianity is in general so greatly mistaken, I have thought it necessary to remount somewhat higher in my investigations, to draw from a deeper source, and to connect them with a higher principle, in order to arrive more steadily and more certainly at the result which I had in view. And this result may be thus summed up: The Christian state is nothing less than symbolical, and even thereby historically sanctified--whereas the mere polity of nature or that of reason, which, however artistical and consummate in its constitution, remains all the while false and unsanctified, is either purely dynamical or else absolute.

In human life and society there are three species of power, which possess a symbolical significance and a sacred character as resting on a divine foundation. And these are parental authority, the spiritual or priestly power, and the kingly or whatever may be the supreme authority in the state. The affectionate care and anxiety of an earthly parent possesses but a faint analogy to the goodness and providence of the omniscient and eternal Father of all, and is scarcely more than a type of it. Moreover, the parental authority and a father’s rights over his children, founded on his relation as the loving and affectionate author of their being, admits not of being set forth and comprised in any exact and positive formularies. And even if the social community occasionally steps in to determine by legislation the limits, and in certain points gives its sanction to the domestic rights and authority of a father, as founded on love and feeling, this is only done, nevertheless, with a view to guard against and to remedy the possible abuse of so natural a right and relation. When, however, as was the principle of the old Roman law, power over the life and death of his offspring is conceded to the father, we feel at once that this is an undue extension of the paternal authority, and that the provinces of the three different powers are not kept duly distinct and separate. A parent who should avail himself of such a privilege would but prove himself devoid of the ordinary feelings of nature. On the other hand, by a natural sentiment, common to the savage and barbarian, as well as to the most refined and civilized nations, respect for and reverence of parents is held to be something more than an ordinary and conventional duty and obligation. It is universally regarded in the light of a duty in every sense sacred and holy. And the divine moral law of the Old Testament completely agrees with the universal feeling of man’s nature in this ascription to it of holiness. But, on the other hand, the rights of the Christian limit the parent’s authority on the side of the spiritual domain, wherever it would trench upon the freedom of belief and liberty of conscience. Special circumstances, again, such as the dotage of old age, mental weakness, faults of character, or offenses against society, may, in certain cases, tend greatly to limit and control, or otherwise modify, the parental dignity and authority. But still, in the very worst case, the most respectful behavior and the tenderest delicacy, on all points connected with this relationship, remains forever an immutable law of duty to the child, which, as it is deeply founded in the moral sense of man, makes itself heard throughout the whole habitable world. The mutual tie of parental love and filial duty has, it is plain, its foundations deep in nature itself, and out of it proceeds the sanctity of the very notion of domestic life, and of all its relations, as well as of the peculiar authority of a father and a parent.

As for the spiritual and priestly power: wherever religion recognizes the priest in his true character--_i.e._, not simply as the preacher and promulgator, but also as the living channel for dispensing and communicating the divine grace, he is, in so far as his office is concerned, and in the discharge of his sacerdotal functions, a vicegerent of God--not so much, perhaps, of the everlasting Father, the Creator and Lawgiver of nature, as of the Son who came down into the world to ransom and redeem the human race. The priestly or spiritual power, therefore, has a divine foundation on which it ultimately rests. But inasmuch as that bond of communion which unites our souls with God must be sought and attained by faith and in the spirit of faith, so this authority, however holy in itself, is, nevertheless, by its very nature, confined to the province of spirituals.

The judicial function, also, where it is recognized as dogmatic, is at least subordinate to that other character whose office it is to carry out the work of redemption, to dispense the divine grace, and to bless. For an arbitrary judicial power, where internal caprice is the rule of judgment, and where the execution of its decrees depends on the individual, does not in strict truth deserve this appellation. With as much reason might the anointed head of the state claim, by virtue of this consecrating and anointing, to exercise the functions of the spiritual office.

Further, we may observe, all these sacred offices possess a certain analogy and affinity one with the other. This fact, however, does not in any way militate against the essential and necessary duty of preserving a precise and accurate separation of their several functions. The privacy of home, the family circle, and the relations of domestic life, are by the laws of most nations regarded as a sanctuary which the external power of the state ought not lightly and without grave necessity to violate or profane. On the other hand, in ordinary language paternal titles are ascribed to the other two powers. But as regards spiritual personages, this is a mere mark of respect, while, as applied to the head of the state, it serves to indicate a special character of goodness and clemency in the government. It is not by any means applicable generally to the functions of government as marking its specific nature and essence. For it may not be, nay, perhaps, we should rather say it can not in all cases be simply and purely paternal.

Strict impartiality, for instance, is a primary requisition in the judge, but is it possible, nay, would it properly be just, to require this in every case of a father? The judicial character, however, is the predominant element of political government, and the supreme judicial function is its essential aspect, with which all the other distinctive characteristics or exclusive prerogatives of sovereign power are most intimately connected. And on this account, while the paternal authority rests primarily on that tie of souls which consists in the reciprocal affection of parents and children, and while the priestly power is limited to the sacerdotal and spiritual domain, the supreme judicial and sovereign power in the state, which is responsible to God alone, as the highest and paramount of these three sacred and venerated powers, embraces the complete whole, if I may so say, the bodily reality of man’s public life. And in this sphere of historical reality it will be my endeavor to trace the further development of these three ideas as they manifest themselves in the busy conflict of life and the age. And to this subject I propose to devote the three following Lectures.

In concluding our present disquisition I will only add one remark. All these three powers, as founded on nature, on divine revelation, and on historical rights, are alike holy and sacred. The good, that is to say, the prudent and affectionate father, the pious priest, and the righteous king, are each and all, though in different ways and degrees, and with different powers and rights, visible and acting vicegerents on earth of the invisible God. The last, in truth, is not merely the representative but the unlimited dispenser of divine justice. And this divine foundation of these powers, which claim and present an inviolable character of sanctity, forms the practical part of that symbolical signification of life which in its highest phase has formed the theme of the present Lecture.



The Asiatic custom of deifying their earthly rulers by addressing them as King of Kings, Lord or Spanner [_Umspanner_] of Creation, the Effulgence of the Deity, and the like, have ever been and very naturally most repugnant to the moral sense of Christian Europe. The Christian notion and axiom, that all power is of God, is founded on a very definite idea and well-considered principle. And this principle is nothing less than this, that the supreme head of the state has to dispense the divine justice. And while this constitutes the peculiar dignity of his office, he is, in the exercise of this his highest function and authority, responsible to God alone. If, however, we should any where meet, either in the present times or the history of the past, with a state in which, by the principle of its constitutions, the nominal possessor of supreme authority and the executive is responsible to another body, then is the latter in fact the sovereign power, and not the former, which really is subordinate to the other. The Spartan constitution will serve to illustrate my meaning. Here, to judge by that strict definition of the sovereign authority and its peculiar character and distinctive criteria, it evidently lay in the Ephori rather than in the possessors of supreme executive power, who were called kings, and whose office was hereditary. The very fact that two kings reigned conjointly is of itself subversive of the very notion of sovereign power. But still more fatally was this undermined by their responsibility in certain cases to the censorship of the other Spartan magistracy. To the other ancient republics, whose constitution was based naturally enough on a very artificial division of powers, and the maintenance of a certain antagonism and accurate balance between them, our notion of a supreme and sovereign political authority is scarcely applicable. It is found far more fully expressed in a special character of inviolable sanctity and dignity attaching to certain judicial functions and magistracies, such as that of the Areopagus in Athens and of the censorship at Rome in the days of the Republic, than to the transitory tenure of the executive power, over which those judicial authorities possessed and exercised in certain cases a control.

The proper and _de facto_, or personal division of power, is essentially a republican principle. In notion, however, or in idea, it is perfectly legitimate to make a distinction between the several functions and elements of the whole sovereign authority. Now, in such a case, the judicial power--the supreme judicial power we would emphatically say--is pre-eminently the characteristic sign and specific distinction of sovereignty, from which all its other prerogatives and properties are originally derived or flow from it as its necessary and natural consequences. The noble prerogative of pardon and mercy, for instance, is, as it were, the natural attribute of the supreme judicial power.

With respect to legislation, however, and the legislative authority, an important co-ordinate power may, according to the existing constitution of a particular state, be vested in the other correlative members of the body politic. The preliminary deliberation, the first sketch or the initiation of a law, may not, perhaps, proceed in every case from the supreme head of the community. In other states, again, the law must emanate from the free choice and individual will of the monarch, or at least the introduction of it, since he can not of himself alone make and carry out the whole. This is a point, consequently, on which it is extremely difficult to draw the boundary line, which must in no case be transgressed or deviated from--in so far, that is, and so long as there is no question about any thing more than a simple co-operation or co-ordinate deliberation upon the proposed laws. But still in every case the final sanction, by which a law becomes properly the law, or by which it is annulled or repealed, must be reserved to the royal prerogative, otherwise the monarch ceases at once to be supreme.

Even the prerogative of proclaiming war and of concluding peace is, if perhaps we may be allowed so to say, a judicial function on a large scale, and applied to the external relations of states. It is, in short, nothing less than a judicial act. And in this light it will appear to every one who does not regard it as a mere act of arbitrary caprice. This, however, it never ought to be. For it is, as it were, a verdict on the existing relations of right and wrong between two neighboring states. But in as much as both parties, in point of right and law, are in so far equal, that they refuse to recognize in common any higher judge, an absolute state of violence necessarily ensues, a struggle of power follows, until at last, in the change of circumstances, the relations of justice are restored by mutual consent. The party that first proclaims war becomes, in this process of trial by battle, the judge of its own cause. And if by the fearful issue of the combat it is taught to see its own injustice, then must it either make due concessions, or, at very best, by calling in the mediation of a third and neutral state, it must constitute it the judge by whose decision it is ready and willing to abide.

The usual insignia of the kingly dignity, the scepter and the throne, are only the signs of judicial power, as it were, promoted one degree higher, and can be historically traced up to the judge’s bench and staff. The crown alone remains as the peculiar and exclusive symbol of the highest earthly dignity. And rightly is it called a splendid burden. For while it exalts him who is called to wear it above all earthly dependence and responsibility, and exempts him from all the ordinary relations of human life, the heavy weight of this splendid ornament reminds the wearer of the grave reckoning and the strict account he will have to render to God, as the Supreme Judge of all--who is the source and sum of all justice and righteousness. For this serious and solemn responsibility is received from God, together and at the very same time with the crown.

Quite different in signification was the symbolical ensign of the old emperors in the middle ages--a sword pointing to the four winds or cardinal points of heaven. It alluded to the peculiar idea and the peculiar constitution of that dignity. For in this respect it was not simply a distinction of power, of rank, or of title, between the imperial and the kingly dignities. It involved a total and essential difference between the ideas and objects of these sacred and anointed potentates--between the elective emperor and the hereditary king, duke, or prince, although it was from these alone that the former could be duly and regularly elected. For the emperor was looked upon as armed with the sword of all Christendom to be the defender of the whole system of European states. Accordingly, as the representative of the union of several states, he bore this ensign of his imperial office.

To this ancient idea of a Christian empire we shall again have occasion to revert in the further examination of the idea of a political state and its Christian community. We shall meet with it once more in that section of our inquiry which will be occupied with the ruling principle of right and polity in a system of states as a body, and also in the mutual relations of its several members. In this section we shall also show that this principle must be either absolute, that is, one where one or more of the several members of the union exercises a superior and preponderating influence, or one artificially constituted and dynamical, _i.e._, a system of the so-called balance of power. And here will naturally arise the question whether, for such a confederacy of moral and civilized societies and nations, a less imperfect and higher, but common principle of Christian justice might not be found and established? For any system of mutual confederation, whether absolute or founded on the artificial relations of the strength of its respective members, is in any case defective and imperfect, whatever may be the ground of union, whether founded on the internal constitution of the states, or derived from the physical consideration of their geographical position and neighborhood.

According, then, to that divine principle and Christian foundation of the state which I have attempted to derive from the symbolical signification of life and the symbolical destiny of man in his relation to God, the highest authority of the state--the king, or generally the monarch, as well as the spiritual functionary, or the priest--are the vicegerents of a highest and divine power, whom they represent on earth. The only difference between them is, that the latter has chiefly to represent and to set forth God as teaching men, but at the same time as warning and commanding them in this revelation of His will, and as promising and as livingly dispensing to them His grace, while the former is the representative of the Omnipotent Lawgiver and Judge, who governs the world with justice, and will by no means clear the guilty. According, therefore, to the true Christian notion of these two powers, both of them--the civil no less than the spiritual--possess a representative character, which, however, deviates very widely from the ordinary notion of the representation and a representative constitution, or, rather, forms a decided contrast to them.

And what contrast can, in fact, be more decided than that which such a representative power and dignity as belongs to the ministering of the divine grace to the soul and spirit, or the dispensing of divine justice to the whole earthly life, forms with that thing of horrible memory,[53] which has been called a representation of the people, or the systems which have been similarly designated? But even if it could be satisfactorily proved that a people, like the invisible essence of the Deity, could be represented, it is open to very grave doubt whether this is really possible in the method usually adopted. According to the principle of this kind of popular representation, where the whole adult population are entitled individually to vote, the election becomes, as it were, a lottery, and even the political winners thus determined, or the ballotted members, become so many influential units in one branch of the legislative body and for a limited period. In respect, however, to the principles and sentiments, the predominant character and spirit of a people, those who are thus chosen are the representatives not so much of the whole nation as of the reigning passion of the moment, or the spirit of the times in its restless agitation. For when thus resolved into its constituent atoms and numbered off in succession, a nation is reduced to an elementary mass. But like all that is thus elementary, when thus decomposed, and fermenting in its process of dissolution, it assumes a destructive tendency and turn. At least it ceases to form an organic whole, an individual. It is only when a state or a nation historically lives on, further develops and vitally maintains itself in its organic members, _i.e._, in its several estates or essential corporations, that it can be said to form a living whole, and to be, as it were, one great individual.

It is only in this sense that there can be true representatives of a people, who, if the expression is allowable, are its true historical men. It is in them that the spirit and character, the general leaning tendency, the peculiar style of feeling, sentiment, and thought of a nation, in any definite period or periods, finds its most decided and loudest expression. Rarely, however, is this attained in a system of elective deputies or representatives, which is liable to many passing and accidental influences, and, indeed, in and by itself has no connection with it. Scipio and Cato would be representatives of the Roman character and spirit, even if they had never been invested with public authority and had lived their whole lives in exile. And in the same manner purely intellectual natures may often stand for such historical characters and representatives. Horace and Tacitus most assuredly occupy the same relation to their respective ages as the two former did to theirs, and this, in truth, quite independently of any subordinate rank or political dignity and influence which either the one or the other possessed in peace or war. Cicero, indeed, would have been all this in an equal degree, and, perhaps, still more so, if, keeping entirely aloof from the civil contentions of his day, for which he was little suited, he had devoted himself to the acquisition of a purely intellectual and literary influence.

However, it is not every famous author or every brilliant political speaker that can in this sense be justly regarded as historical characters. Besides that energy of talent which creates an epoch, and which is, indeed, the primary and essential condition, certain other properties of character are required, certain sentiments and principles vividly carried out and realized in life and action. But this is a combination which is rarely found. A peculiar sphere of practical influence does not form an immediate, nor, indeed, a necessary qualification of such a character. Still it is evident that a writer who truly merits such an appellation must be something more than a mere man of letters or an artist. The effects he produces on the minds of men must be both truly national and historical. Such alone are truly and properly the historical representatives of a people--the men of their nation.

As for those other elective representatives already mentioned, it is only when they belong to a particular estate and corporation, and represent it, that they can promote the permanent interests of this organically constituted whole. For it is out of such organic members that the national existence gains its true, _i.e._, its historical development. But this is impossible whenever they are chosen by the individual votes of the entire population. Such a splitting of the whole political body, as it were, into its constituent atoms, is either in itself an elementary decomposition or must eventually lead to it. Even a republican constitution, if it be well and wisely ordered, will be based principally on corporations or organic division of estates, rather than on any principle of numerical majority and equality, which, taken as a general element, invariably proves, as history testifies, sooner or later, a positive source of anarchy.

Not only would it be an exaggeration, but even a gross error, were we to regard the republican polity as excluded from the Christian principle, that all sovereignty is of God, or as irreconcilable with it and even as directly contradicting its spirit. On the contrary, the duty of obedience and the actual dependence on the existing and _de facto_ head of the state, is not less binding on all who, through the accident of birth or their own free choice and voluntary obligation, belong to such a community, than on the subjects of an hereditary monarchy. The utmost that can be safely asserted is, that the Christian state principally inclines to the latter form of polity, without, however, formally rejecting, or unconditionally excluding the former. Historical experience has shown this, and the whole of modern history will furnish abundant testimony to its truth. When the responsibility of the supreme political authority is in an endless circle shifted from point to point of a mere human sphere, then the sacred character of the divine foundation of the state exhibits itself with least distinctness. It is more immediately manifest in an hereditary monarchy, where, by a single point, as the first link which holds together the whole community, this responsibility is attached immediately to God and the divine justice, before whose tribunal it has alone to answer. And this more immediate manifestation forms the ground of that preponderating tendency and preference of the monarchical constitution by the Christian principle.

But in another respect, also, is it easier to give a religious meaning to political life in an hereditary monarchy, and to discharge its duties and to maintain it in a religious spirit, than in a republic. Since all that is human is subject to change, fluctuation, and imperfection, it would be something wonderful if the case were different with political matters, and if the state were to form a singular exception from the general rule. Such an expectation would, indeed, be strange, and contrary to the nature of things, as well as to reason and common sense. For, to take an instance from that people whom God so specially and immediately led and directed; after a wise Solomon has long and peacefully occupied the throne, with prosperity at home and splendor and renown abroad, the reins of government may fall into the weak hands of a minor, when, even without any personal culpability, all hostile elements come to an outbreak, and lead to the most fearful political consequences. And even Solomon, with a wisdom which, in many respects, was more than human, was not secure from all mistakes and errors. For inasmuch as, after receiving this illumination from above, this wisdom lent to him from God, he still remained a free agent, he might, as he actually did, pervert it to an evil use. Like every thing else that is good, it was liable to abuse by man. Generally it does not lie in the nature of things that in long succession and change of times one reign should be equally mild and paternal as another--equally prosperous and splendid--and equally wise and successful.

This, indeed, is a matter which does not depend invariably and exclusively on the personal qualities of the sovereign. It is governed much more by the peculiar circumstances of the age, and the general relations of the political world. We should err greatly if we were to suppose, or feel inclined to assert, that this change, from happy and prosperous to adverse or less fortunate times, is less frequent in republican states, or that the latter are entirely exempted from such fluctuations. History furnishes numerous instances to refute so absurd an idea. On the contrary, such changes are far more generally the rule in republican states, and their ruin advances with a more rapid and certain progress. For the growth of a republic in external power and influence, and the consequent multiplication of its relations with foreign powers, is invariably accompanied with great internal agitation, leading to sudden and violent changes. The greatest and most important difference, however, lies in this, that in an hereditary monarchy the change from a distinguished to an unfortunate and less prosperous reign is distinct, and has an assignable cause, which, by a natural and just sentiment, is received as a divine visitation, and wherever any sense of religion still survives and prevails in men’s views of life, will be patiently endured as such. Accordingly, besides its mere legal sense, the maxim that all authority is of God now assumes the further significance of a divine dispensation. And it is clearly manifest that this Christian maxim and principle was intended to convey this second meaning, and that it embraces such a religious view and estimate of political matters and events.

Now, it is true that the providence of God extends to all events and circumstances of the world. Every permission, therefore, of evil, whether in a greater or less degree, every misfortune and calamity that happens to us, must, from this point of view, be regarded either as a well-merited punishment or as a severe trial, as a wholesome pang and conflict or as a painful transition to a higher degree of perfection. This, at least, will be our feeling, in proportion as we entertain and faithfully follow a religious view and estimate of our own life and fortunes, as well as of all mundane events, in a firm and unshaken faith in the Divine Omnipotence and Wisdom. Even for the preservation and health of his physical life, man stands in need of pain and privation, but still more so for his moral improvement.

Now, notwithstanding that this principle of a divine providence is equally applicable in every case, still, even the religious estimate, not to say a simply human mode of judging of political events and relations, is in republics subject to the following important and essential modification. In such a constitution, all hangs, or is made dependent, on the choice or the caprice of men, or, if such terms be preferred, their merit and intelligence. Consequently, the entire blame of every error or miscarriage in government, whether real or imaginary, and however great or little, is forthwith ascribed to its human administrators. But an injury at the hands of man invariably provokes bitterness, revenge, and opposition. On the contrary, a misfortune which overtakes us from God, and which, as being unable to impute the blame of it to any human individual, we feel and recognize to be a divine visitation, awakens in us wholesome and salutary reflection. Thus it is founded on the very nature of things, and on a right and sound state of human feeling, that a change from a year of plenty to one of want and barrenness should be borne with patience and resignation. But if, on the other hand, a general scarcity and dearth, or any similar affliction and disproportion between the supply and demand of the necessaries of life, should occur among a trading or manufacturing population, of which the source should really or apparently lie in some erroneous measure or selfish policy of those on whom the administration of the state devolved, all minds would immediately be in a state of excitement and uproar. And, in fact, the words of the pious king in Holy Writ: “Let us fall now into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man,”[54] are quite in unison with the general feelings of human nature.

Accordingly, throughout the sacred history of the old world, and in all times where religious sentiment is not quite dead, such calamities, and even an unfortunate, not to say a wicked reign, are looked upon as the deserved visitation of God’s wrath, and as a time of heavy trial. And the chastisement of Heaven will be borne, by all right-thinking persons, not out of fear of man, but as is fitting, in reverent submission to the divine will, with manly patience and resignation. On the other hand, innumerable instances of a contrary course might be produced from republican times and histories. How often, in such states, has a false step in government, trifling, indeed, in itself, but still in fact and in truth, a blunder in one party, been the occasion of an opposition and resistance of another, and of a general feeling of discontent and a violent reaction, which have proved a hundred times more fatal and pernicious than the first occasion of popular murmurs. How often has a merely human oversight, trivial enough in itself, and running counter to public opinion in some little trifle, led to the most fearful catastrophes, amid which the first exciting cause is lost sight of and entirely forgotten, and finally all is involved in one general ruin.

In this respect, and in this degree, it may safely be affirmed that the Christian principle of the state is more favorable to an hereditary monarchy than to a republican constitution. But at this point the proposition must be left purposely indeterminate. For a rigorous exclusion of all republican states, as if, properly, they could never be right and legitimate, would most assuredly not be accordant with the Christian principle of a state and the fundamental religious conception of all political relations and events. On the contrary, it would, undoubtedly, go directly counter to all proper feelings and ideas on the subject. For the Christian principle of justice respects all that has an historical existence, and leaves even the imperfect in the undisturbed possession of its rights. In this respect it is entirely opposed to the revolutionary spirit. For the latter, in its inmost essence, is anti-historical; its first step being the refusal to recognize the value and the claims of all that comes down from, and has been established by, the past. And, moreover, the Christian idea of justice, with all its strict rigor, involves a principle of equity. For, in truth, every Christian sentiment embraces the whole of life, and its several relations, with a loving mildness, and pays a due regard to all really existent though subordinate circumstances. And it is this exactly that constitutes the very notion of equity. Lastly, the doctrine of Christianity, and the idea of human life which it gives rise to, is highly favorable to true liberty. But, then, it is liberty, in a large and exalted sense of the term, in which, first and before all, a spiritual and moral freedom is meant as necessary to be firmly established within men before the external liberty in social and political life can be hoped for. For most true is the sublime declaration, “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”[55] To every one for whom this sentiment possesses a meaning and significance it would be superfluous to add, what, indeed, is so palpably evident, that the Son makes no one free except in the way that He Himself was, viz., by obedience--a perfect obedience which brings the whole man, with all its passions and affections, as a free-will offering to the Father.

The predominant tendency of modern Christendom to a monarchical constitution, as most accordant with the Christian principle of the state, is abundantly evinced in history. The fact is so generally admitted, that it is almost a work of supererogation to adduce instances of it. Not only within the memory of living men, but also two centuries ago, a great Christian monarchy, fanatically possessed and inflamed with the idea of absolute liberty and equality, lapsed for a while into a republic. But in both cases this passing fever of fanaticism soon worked itself out by its very violence, and the foreign and diseased matter was thrown off by the political body. It was out of this crisis, however, that the much-lauded constitution of England arose, with its dynamical theory of the division and nicely-adjusted balance of power, which has reached at present so great a height of practical excellence. Moreover, it is almost superfluous to notice the fact how a second-rate maritime power, which in its very origin was entirely republican, gradually approximated to, and has at last entirely adopted, a monarchical polity.[56] Another state, monarchical indeed, but which, from the fact that its sovereigns were elective, deserves rather to be called a republic, and in some respects was really so, amid the anarchy of party and the feuds which arose out of the elections, soon lost its ancient greatness and splendor, and even its existence as an independent nation. In short, in the whole of Christian Europe, but a few small and uninfluential communities have retained a republican form. As for the republics which have sprung up out of the colonial states in the New World, the very oldest of them are of too recent an origin to allow us to pass upon them any judgment which could be justly and truly called historical. On the other hand, however, the modern Christian era furnishes one remarkable phenomenon of a republican state on a large scale, and of a wholly peculiar kind. And we may adduce this instance as a proof that such a constitution is by no means excluded from the spirit of a Christian polity or its legitimate and historical principle.

I am alluding to the ancient German, or the Christian Roman Empire of the middle ages, during a period of many centuries, and in the time of its vigor and splendor, when it led, not to say, formed, the great political world.[57] As an elective empire, but still monarchical in the unity of the whole, it possessed so far a republican tendency and shape. And this it preserved even long afterward, when, by a long succession of emperors of the same house, the imperial crown had in fact become almost the hereditary right of a single family; for the solemn sanction of an election was still indispensable, and this gave rise to more than one exception or interruption to the otherwise historically confirmed law of succession. Moreover, this great system or confederation of states embraced many smaller and principally republican states; at least in its members were comprised every possible form of political constitution. The four great dukedoms, who in the imperial diet were the original representatives, together with the other hereditary powers which subsequently attained to the electoral dignity, formed, as it were, the monarchical element in the whole body, retaining, however, at the same time, its national and popular character. Alongside of these the spiritual princes, as entirely dependent on choice and election for their dignities, formed an aristocracy, not only of birth, but of science and the intellectual culture of the age--in short, an aristocracy of merit. Lastly, the trading and manufacturing free towns, with their imperial privileges and charters, formed, among the other members of the Empire, a true democratical element, in the highest and noblest sense of the term. For we must not understand thereby any mere universal equality, leading to the usual popular anarchy, but corporations, with well-defined rights, of the burgher classes, as they attained to historical importance and influence. The very name of the Hanse Towns is sufficient to remind us of the vast and important part which the latter played, even in the declining times of the Empire.

Thus free and republican in its spirit was the old Christian monarchy of the German Kaisers. It had no doubt to undergo many convulsions from domestic faction, and, finally sunk beneath them. Still this political constitution of the middle ages, in their best days, must forever remain a remarkable and singular phenomenon. Its full and deep significance and grandeur are little recognized, and still less perfectly understood, by the modern science of politics. Peculiarly Christian in principle, in its kingly administration as vigorous and successful as any other state in the most brilliant eras of the history of the world, while in the internal development of its republican members and constituents it was more rich and varied, and, in truth, much freer than even the most lauded among the mixed constitutions of modern times. For historical experience, that great teacher of political science, distinctly proves that in those _dynamical_ states, which are based on the principle of the division and nicely-adjusted balance of power, the ministry and the opposition usurp between them all the functions of authority, while the sacred cipher of an hereditary monarch is nothing more than a mere shadow, beneath which they can sit at ease to carry on their endless disputes.

The Christian view, then, of the world, and of the state, as we have already remarked, does not exclude or reject any form of political existence. On the contrary, it recognizes whatever possesses an historical cause and foundation, and allows it to stand in its proper place, and in its true and original significance and rights. Accordingly, it admits the validity as such even of the dynamical form of polity, even though it feels it impossible to agree with partial and enthusiastic admirers in considering it as perfect. Nay, it does not reject even an absolute despotism, notwithstanding that it sees clearly enough all its imperfections and great inferiority. It is only by a complete view of history that their existence can be explained and understood. And in this they will appear either as a necessary evil in its mildest form, _i.e._, as the less pernicious and dangerous, under existing circumstances, or as a remedy for some more fearful disorder, by which alone the social frame can be restored to a more healthy condition.

The usual transition and natural issue of popular anarchy, when it has lasted long enough to exhaust its own fearful violence, is a perpetual dictatorship or despotism in some shape or other, but devoid of a higher and diviner sanction. This form of government, or (since, strictly speaking, it is not a form) this political condition, must be carefully distinguished from a long-established, legitimate, and hereditary monarchy, with which its whole character has nothing in common. No doubt when the revolutionary evil has reached its greatest height, and when a successful and prudent usurper, like the much-lauded Augustus in ancient Rome, without being personally answerable for the overthrow of the previous constitution, appears pre-eminently in the character of mediator between parties and a general pacificator, the world is ready to accord to him its applause. Gradually his authority is more and more widely acknowledged. Although at first he is recognized conditionally only and relatively, nevertheless, if he remains faithful to his better tendencies, and continues to the last to confer important benefits on his people, he may often give a permanent and historical foundation to his dynasty. But if, on the contrary, under his usurped power, revolution, phenix-like, only renews itself out of its own ashes, and the old anarchy from below revives in another form from above, as a merely military despotism, which, in its resistless and annihilating lust of conquest, honors nothing, but throws the whole world into confusion, then is the second evil worse than the first, which it promised to remedy. By such a course it loses its only moral foundation, inasmuch as it was to the better promise it held out that it owed its temporary and conditional recognition. Such an instance has been brought closely enough before our eyes in the history of very recent times, to enable us at once intuitively to understand its whole character. More slowly, and in a more organized method, and, consequently, with more lasting and historical results, did such transitions shape themselves in the ancient world, and especially in the Roman constitution. The ancient development, therefore, of this phenomenon, and its special form, is highly instructive and pre-eminently calculated to throw a clear light on our whole theory.

Modern history at no period presents to us such a vast system of republican states as we meet with in the annals of antiquity, which exhibit this under the most various forms, as the predominant constitution of the whole civilized world, not only in its infant, but in its maturest and most flourishing development. Not only the Grecian communities, Carthage, Rome, and the Italian municipalities, but also all the independent nations of central and northern Europe, possessed a more or less perfect form of republican polity. This portion, therefore, of ancient history furnishes to political science a phenomenon which in the highest degree demands its attention. However greatly its freedom of inquiry and high intellectual culture, its splendid examples of patriotism and its noble characters and heroic deeds, may prepossess us in its favor, on the whole we are forced to confess that experience has decided against such a system. This great teacher shows it to us as utterly impracticable, and ill adapted to promote the real progress of human development, inasmuch as with whatever of brightest promise it may begin, it invariably terminates in barbarism and disorder. In all of these states we trace early enough the same evil tendency to political license and anarchy, which, developing itself with ceaseless rapidity, soon paves the way to the indeterminate condition of absolute power. Almost all the great thinkers and political writers of antiquity, without exception, set themselves to oppose the democratic element of their national constitutions, and foresaw and predicted the ruin of their country from this source, without being able in any way to prevent it. It will be enough to mention Plato in Athens, and in a different manner and degree, Cicero in Rome, who was himself drawn into the vortex of political strife. The remedy and counterpoise for the evils of this democratical spirit was sought by the political thinkers and philosophers of those times, in a doubtlessly noble but still very imperfect form of an aristocracy--a remedy which is as little consonant to our feelings as it is unlikely to satisfy our scientific convictions. A just and clear idea of an hereditary and well-regulated monarchy was at that date almost entirely unknown, since in its essential features, in its true and perfect character, it is entirely of a Christian origin. In the ancient world, at most, a few and faint outlines of it are occasionally to be discovered.

The internal and external dissensions of the republics of Greece, and the consequent loss of their independence and subjugation by the Macedonian monarchy, or the half-Asiatic half-Grecian powers which sprung out of it, affords a sufficient confirmation of the law that the republican constitution, in the times of moral degeneracy, invariably terminates in popular anarchy and ruin. The same transition in the Roman polity presents us with interesting considerations of a higher but different kind. For in this instance the change was effected with clear ideas, definite views, and well-digested principles. After a long and unparalleled succession of bloody civil wars, and an equally fearful series of foreign conquest and aggression, which were almost indispensable as an outlet for the wild and ambitions passions of men, the catastrophe which forecasting minds had long foreseen at last came about. And instead of continuing a hopeless resistance, it was now the first object of the wise and prudent to convert the new military power into an instrument of peace, and by investing the modern but absolute authority with all the old and hallowed forms of dignity, to bring it as near as possible to the character of an hereditary monarchy. It is to the tendency to improvement which forms the germ of these ideas that we must look for the apology, while in the course of history at this period there lies whatever there can be of reason and justification for such absolute despotism as prevailed at this era in the political world. In itself, however, it can not be too often repeated, it is altogether formless and full of imperfection. A true family succession and hereditary dynasty, however, was scarcely possible, so long as there existed no limit to caprice in adoption or divorce, and when all the relations of marriage and the family were undermined by the universal corruption in morals, which the better emperors sought in vain to check and restrain.

By the ascription to the imperial dignity of priestly offices and titles belonging to the popular religion, it was indeed attempted to give it a more sacred character and sanction. This, however, secured to the emperor no real accession of power. Such was the state of decay and weakness in which religion, no less than morals, was sunk. The heathenism of those days consisted in nothing but some poetical legends, external rites, and ceremonial pomp, which occasionally found a philosophical interpretation, but without a proper intrinsic substance and coherence, and an organized priesthood--all which are to be still found in the ancient religion of the Hindoos. And it was only a natural addition to the other numerous inconsistencies--it only rendered the whole drama the more revolting, if, after an inhuman reign, and after being at last put out of the way in a very human, and, at the same time, very _un_human way, the hated tyrant was in conclusion placed among the national gods. And if under Aurelius and the Antonines better days appeared, still they were but brief and transitory, since they did not, and in truth could not, possess any historical confirmation and moral basis like that of the hereditary monarchy of Christian times and states.

In jurisprudence, not only as a science, but in its practical administration, the Romans have in all ages, and even modern times, been justly famous. One reason, perhaps, of this was the fact, that all who still retained the least sense of right and justice, withdrawing from the dangers of political life and honors, retired to the still inviolate domain of law, and devoted themselves to the development of the old juristic principles. But when the whole social frame, and the very principle of civil existence has become in its inmost essence unrighteous, and based on injustice, a few just laws about property, and robbery, and fraud, and murder, and the like (offenses which, generally speaking, are, for the most part, essentially the same in all times and places), can profit little. Equally unavailing, too, are the shrewdest and most sagacious of juridical treatises on such topics. To extol the Roman Empire on this ground would be tantamount to praising one of the worst and most pernicious systems of philosophical error, or excusing it because it does not violate, or, rather, because it necessarily observes, the ordinary rules of logic, which, however, does not by any means lessen or remove the error, but, on the contrary, aggravates it; since by rendering it so much the more specious, it does but gain for it a more ready acceptance among men.

In the later epoch of the Christian renovation of the Roman Empire in the German, the better elements of the old Roman jurisprudence were rich in valuable and beneficial results. Still the Christian principle of the state accords better with the old Teutonic laws than with the civil code, inasmuch as by the old German usages a greater regard is paid, and a higher influence allowed, to the rights of equity. No doubt but the Roman jurisprudence has most acutely defined and developed this beautiful notion; but it is chiefly as an exception from strict right that it recognizes it at all. For such was the Roman law from its commencement; and it was regarded and established as the proper province of equity to moderate and to soften its original sternness and severity. But, according to Christian law, equity and strict right ought to be in every instance intimately associated and blended together, as is, indeed, implied in the very idea of Christian sentiment and feeling.

Herein lies, consequently, the great and essential distinction between Roman and Christian law. And this is the principle on which a thorough and systematic development of Christian jurisprudence must proceed, and in such a spirit alone can it be consistently carried out. A second distinctive mark of Christian law and of its very conception consists in this, that beyond all others, it is founded on historical rights. No doubt in its simple and natural character the Germanic custom invariably tends toward an historical legislation, both for the burgher and for the private individual, and is so far perfectly reconcilable with the Christian principle of right and justice. But in the full and extensive signification of the term, as it embraces the state, and all such powers of the civilized world as are brought by geographical contact into political relations with each other, it is only the Christian principle of right that can be truly said to be historical; for none but the Christian view of the world really embraces in its plans and consideration the whole of mankind.

Had man not fallen from the very first into dissension and discontent with himself and his fellows, with nature and with God, society would have stood in no need of a constraining force, or of the state to constrain it. For what else is the state but an armed neutrality for the preservation of peace--a sword of justice against wrong, whether from individuals or communities, a fortress and a bulwark against unjust attacks and the violence of war? And whence but from that only perfect system--the system of Christian truth and the first opening of revelation--can we derive the explanation of that which is but the propagation of the old evil and the primal curse? Does it not furnish, in the first wrong and the first fratricide, the historical derivation and origin of the state, accounting for it as the divinely-appointed protection against man’s inborn tendency to injustice? And if in any other history or tradition a tolerably clear and definite allusion to such ideas exist, it was, without doubt, originally derived from the same source.

It is, however, as in my last Lecture I have already endeavored to show, in the second and new divine commencement of the human race that we are to look for the true sanction and foundation of the state; for it is in this renovation of mankind that their true intrinsic and higher peace was first proclaimed and offered to him. Not, however, perfect peace, for that is to be the fruit and reward of having “fought a good fight.”[58] Still it is, in the mean time, a sure and everlasting basis of future peace, and an ever-growing germ of tranquillity even in the present. Viewed in this light, then, every human peace which is not merely specious and pretended, but honestly intended, and in so far Christian, however imperfect and partial, forms, nevertheless, a step in the great scale of progression--an approximation and a preparation to that universal and all-embracing peace of God which is higher than all reason, and all the disputes which arise out of or about it.

If injustice and wrong should ever disappear totally from the earth--if the peace of God were actually established thereon, then would the end of law be attained, and all institutions for its accomplishment would become superfluous. Law presupposes a condition of struggle, and is intended to endure as long as it lasts. It is itself nothing less than a struggle against wrong. The Christian view, accordingly, and theory of law, is far higher. In a scientific point of view, too, it alone is satisfactory on this account, that it recognizes a higher principle as the source of right, or as right itself, and that it alone contains in itself the historical key for the whole, and embraces at once the beginning and the end. But now the Christian idea of right is thus historical, not merely because it furnishes a complete explanation of the first beginning of wrong, and gives an historical derivation of the divine sanction of the state; but also in this sense, that in obedience to the principle of equity, as extended to the wider relations of political life, and to the law of toleration founded on this feeling, it respects even the imperfect and inferior degrees of right, whenever, at least, they are the unavoidable results of a previous course of things, and possess an historical foundation, and are established as less evil, and at least as comparatively good. And this explains, what is otherwise incomprehensible, how the Christian sense of right could reconcile itself to the absolute form, or, rather, formlessness of the later Roman world, and being gradually associated and fused therewith, led to its complete renovation in the exalted phenomenon of a Christian empire.

This peace-loving and tolerant recognition of imperfect political constitutions and forms of state is only applicable, however, where the absolute and the pernicious had its foundation in some historical occasion, and where, by a natural course of development, the evil has followed as the result of some previous defective condition of the political body. It has no place where the evil is radical and of spontaneous growth, as in the empire of Mohammed, and of his immediate successors; for a fanatical lust of conquest was introduced in the first germ of this dynasty, and indeed formed its foundation and its animating and vital principle. The brilliant success and personal talents of the first caliphs may indeed win our admiration and chain our imagination, but still in the very worst times of the old Roman world absolute power never presented itself in so unmitigated a form as it does in this empire of deadly fanaticism. This is the calm judgment of history. In the former case the evil sprung chiefly from the personal caprice of individual tyrants; in the latter, the pervading principle was despotism, which, on the whole, remained unchanged in the most famous and greatest characters. For such immutability is an essential principle of despotism whenever the spiritual and the temporal power are held by the same hand, and are united in one common center and sovereign.

In another point of view also, that, viz., of the moral estimate, the historical comparison between the old Roman and the Mohammedan empires turns out to the disadvantage of the latter. In the latter times of the Roman Empire, the family relations, and the sacred ties of married life, were no doubt greatly disturbed and perverted by the prevailing tone of immorality. But among the Mohammedans they were entirely overthrown by a false religion. Even in this respect, therefore, it is evident that there could be no place in the latter for that moral foundation of a long-established family unity, such as a civilized state like the Christian monarchy requires. It is nothing strange, consequently, if in the times of the Arabian dynasty, the Mohammedan state stood in more decided opposition, and proved less reconcilable to the Christian polity than ever heathenism did in the days of ancient Rome. But, notwithstanding this, we find, on the other side, the Christian principle of peace extending itself even to the historical phenomena and political relations of the Mohammedan world. For the most part (and in a greater degree with the advance of time) these events have been judged in that mild spirit of historical justice which, in its complete and comprehensive estimate, allows a due consideration to every motive and circumstance.

Moreover, a high principle of toleration has extended to them the benefit of the international laws of Christian states--a policy which only requires to be rightly understood to be pronounced in no ways deserving of blame or reprobation; for the evil can only be radically extirpated by the complete triumph of Christian truth over the false foundation and leading idea of this fanatical delusion.

But, however improbable it may seem, regarded merely in an historical light, that the Mohammedan races will ever adopt Christian sentiments, morals, and principles, still in the great course of mundane things, or, in other words, in the counsels of Providence, nothing, however it may contradict human expectations, can rightly be held to be impossible. And, indeed, recent times furnish many speaking indications of a growing tendency to such an approximation. Many signs might be pointed out, which, while they bear witness to a widening and deepening feeling of its desirableness, encourage us to entertain higher and better hopes. To promote, and indeed to co-operate in bringing about so great and divine a consummation, so long as it can be done without violating higher duties and principles, does not appear to go in any degree beyond the sphere of a truly Christian and pacific policy, or to interfere with the relations which it is right to observe in regard to non-Christian states. On the contrary, the worst violation thereof, and one that most surely menaces danger and mischief, is for a Christian state, in direct opposition to its natural principle and vocation, to be seized and actuated by a fanatical lust of conquest similar to that which animated the Saracens. Such a subversion and confusion of all moral ideas, and of political life, was publicly manifested, for the first time in the Christian world, during the French Revolution. Breaking out with furious violence, in the brief period of its duration it developed itself with fearful rapidity. How many, or, rather, how few steps it would have required, had its reign been longer, to convert it into a military despotism, thoroughly heathenish, such as the Revolution indeed was from beginning to end; into a despotism which, like that of the caliphate already mentioned, should unite in the same person all spiritual, as well as temporal authority, we need not here further investigate. The dreadful possibility of such a contingency has been brought only too closely home to our fears.

The essence of despotism, as I said before, lies in the union in one person of the civil and spiritual powers--or in a most anomalous state, which is, by a rare and faulty combination, at once spiritual and temporal. And since the distinction between the two powers is involved in the very notion of a Christian state, it is of the highest importance that the state should carefully observe and respect the boundaries between the two domains. It is extremely difficult to establish any general standard for all the cases of collision between the two that either have actually occurred or are conceivably possible. For it is evident that this contingency must be modified in an infinite number of ways, by existing treaties, the local circumstances and political constitution of the different states. The chief point is the general spirit and feeling. The question turns principally on good will and honest intentions; but pre-eminently on a right conception of both powers, as alike possessing in their respective spheres a higher sanction, a divine foundation, and a sacred character. This must be recognized in every case and time, and all circumstances belonging to either sphere must be treated accordingly.

Many and serious cases of such collision between the church and the state have occurred and are perpetually recurring. Many and grave errors have been committed on both sides. But for the most part they have been unfairly judged, or, rather, misjudged, through ignorance both of the times, and of the actual circumstances of the case. The day is not long gone by when in this respect it was the habitual rule to subject certain of the early popes especially to an unqualified vituperation and censure. And it must be told, to the praise of German impartiality, that Protestant writers were the first, by their historical researches, to do justice to and to form a fair estimate of these, in their day, truly great and eminent characters. Still we do not by any means pretend to deny that both in these and later times grave blame rests with many of the popes individually. On neither side, however, and at no time, were the limits which divide the two powers overstepped so far as they were by Henry VIII. of England, that absolute monarch in temporals, and who wished also to be equally supreme in spirituals. The most despotic sovereign that ever sat on the throne of England, by founding [the independence of] the Anglican Church,[59] became undesignedly and unconsciously the true author of that much-lauded constitution of England, which, essentially resting on this foundation, furnishes the only instance of a dynamical polity, as the only remedy of an otherwise incurable tendency to division and anarchy, attaining to a highly perfect shape and development. As for the schism in the faith, which in these latter times has in so many Christian countries made the problem of religion only the more difficult, and its relation to the state more delicate and liable to aggression, it has in England, through this royal reformer, assumed so complicated a shape that, unsolved as yet, it appears to many, judging of it in a merely human light, totally and forever incapable of solution.

We must reserve to the succeeding Lecture the enumeration of all the results which flow from these premises, and this first outline of a truly Christian justice, which as such involves the principle of equity, and is even truly historical.



Whenever philosophy, setting up any conceit of its own as a principle, intrudes either into the domain of religion or of politics, such an intrusion is, in every case, an aggression. And if the aggressive idea, once formed and entertained, is, nevertheless, externally and in appearance held in check and restrained--if, from ulterior considerations and for the sake of some remote object, science accommodates itself to the established system of law or religion--then is the case only so much the worse. The deep and pervading hostility of sentiment is but concealed beneath the external servility of language, and the rankling wound has but skinned over the surface. The influence of evil is far from being checked and destroyed; or, to say the least, that of good is nipped in the bud, not being allowed fully to expand itself. And at the same time the dignity of science, which can only be maintained by its independence, is fatally and irretrievably endangered.

Under this conviction, I strongly protested, at the very opening of these Lectures, against all such intermeddling of philosophy with matters foreign to it; and I trust that, for my part, I have hitherto duly observed the spirit of that protest. But now, the end which philosophy strives to attain to is a right estimate and full understanding of its own nature, and that of man, both in the internal properties of his mind and in his external existence relatively to God and nature, and also to the world and society. In pursuit of this object, having once found and acknowledged the center of the inner life, such as it is given to us, and setting out therefrom, philosophy can and may, with perfect propriety, submit to investigation the highest ideas of life, and judge them after its own method, and from its own peculiar position. But still it will do this in the hope rather of explaining what actually exists, than of establishing any self-devised ideal of its own, or of setting up impracticable laws for a merely conceivable state of things under the most arbitrary assumptions--for a wholly visionary world.

Consistently, then, with this notion of philosophy, and under this limitation, I have not, I think, deviated in the latter Lectures from the law I originally laid down. Inasmuch, however, as the exposition of a philosophy of life must necessarily be _vivid_, and consequently requires to be interspersed with historical views and examples, I must request you, looking principally to the ideas which form the essential foundation of these discourses, to judge the latter by the pervading tenor and connection of the thoughts rather than by the several allusions and instances which I have introduced for the mere purpose of illustration. All that is merely personal in the interpretation passed upon those events will, I trust, be looked upon as the private opinions, indeed, but still the unprejudiced conclusions, of an individual.

In the course of these Lectures I attempted, first of all, to establish a firm foundation for the human soul, considered both in its own proper nature and with regard to its most essential relations in life to nature and to God. In the next place, by investigating the order of the divine dispensations in nature, and in the realms of truth and history, it was my endeavor to obtain for it a wider and more solid basis. Lastly, I occupied myself with tracing the course which the Spirit of Eternal Truth pursues in science and in life, and the shapes which in its progress toward perfection it successively assumes. Accordingly, I have pointed out to you, first of all, how this Spirit of Eternal Truth is ever one and the same in the highest science and in divine faith; then, how victoriously it comes forth out of the conflict between faith and infidelity; and, in conclusion, I showed you that, far from being confined to the narrow region of science, it may and rightly ought to enter with an earnest influence into life itself. How the latter duty is actually fulfilled we endeavored to show, by considering the symbolical signification of life, and, as derived therefrom, its higher sanction and divine foundation, especially in public life and the state. And herein the idea of a universal Christian and truly historical justice found a closer application and wider development. And this formed the subject of our last disquisition.

I there sought to elucidate this idea solely and entirely from history. For this purpose I endeavored, by means of historical instances, to set in a clear, discriminating light the opposite and divergent notions of an absolute and of a dynamical or limited monarchy, so far at least as regards the essential features and characteristic constitution of each. As instances of the former, I pointed to the old Roman world and the empire of the caliphs, while the latter was elucidated by the English constitution, in which, as yet, it has attained to its highest and most perfect development. This is, no doubt, a master-piece of political wisdom, wherein an intractable spirit of opposition being adopted, as it were, into the very constitution, is thereby rendered legitimate and its evil tendency is held in check. Still the principle of it can not rightly be viewed in any other light than the wise procedure of the physician who, in the case of an inevitable epidemic, resolves to inoculate the disease in order to be able to control it the better, and by watching more closely its crisis, to regulate its course and issue.

In its true historical place, therefore, this constitution finds its satisfactory explanation and justification; or, rather, deserves our highest praise, the fullest acknowledgment of its merits, and even our admiration. But inasmuch as every feature of it is thoroughly historical and national, and since the slightest local diversity in the character of a people or nation might with different relations and circumstances give rise to wants and difficulties little expected or dreamed of, we must be cautious how we seek to introduce it elsewhere. In the arts it is ever a sorry business to imitate great works of original genius. By such a course little but _manner_ is multiplied. So it is rarely a felicitous idea to suppose that a constitution, though copied from ever so lauded a model, must be suited to all nations alike, and must prove a universal and unfailing source of political felicity--a tree of liberty, which we may transplant at pleasure, or, as it were, a constitutional bill of exchange, which, once endorsed we may put in circulation.

But if the true Gordian knot in that master-piece of polity, the English constitution, remains still an unsolved problem, since that war of religious opinion, which seems at every moment to be threatening an outbreak, is as yet, with consummate skill and prudence, kept under and restrained within its recognized limits, we may see in this fact a further confirmation and justification of the encomiums we recently passed upon the religious peace which has become for us in Germany as it were a second nature, and which, in the place of such a constitution, is to us the guaranty of mental freedom and the pledge of a higher unity than one simply political. It is not a mere dead letter, but it is a living power enshrined in the minds of men. And if occasionally some rash expression in a great and influential writer, or any grievous act on the part of a powerful and leading political character, may seem to menace violence to this religious peace, the general feeling soon pronounces itself against such indiscretion, and the single note of discord is quickly brought in unison with the general harmony, or else dies away without producing any deep or widely-prejudicial consequences. Not, indeed, that the existing differences in religious opinion are a thing desirable--we mean any thing but that by our encomiums on the religious peace. What we really mean is, that in the present state of things such a peace is of the very highest value, and one whose great blessing can only be appreciated fully by those who enjoy it. And nothing but a comparison with other civilized nations in this respect can enable us to understand and to form a full estimate of its value. And if every ordinary treaty of peace between states, whenever it is settled on true and lasting foundations and sincerity of purpose, has an influence on the inward development of mind or spirit in the course of history, and affords, as it were, a calm presage of a higher and a more universal peace of God, how can we look upon this peculiar and internal peace between men’s minds in any other light than as a token of a richer and fuller future, and as a symbol of ultimate perfection and unity?

In our notice of the schism in the faith we made allusion to the possibility of a collision between the two highest and most sacred powers, the civil and the spiritual, according to the distinction involved in the very idea of the Christian life. In order, therefore, to avoid every possible misconception, it seems to be necessary, or, at least, not a superfluous task, to add one brief remark on the extreme case when, in such an unfortunate collision, right and justice are openly violated and set at defiance. If the civil power be the party attacked and unduly interfered with in its legitimate province, it has a perfect right to defend itself, as, indeed, in our days, it is quite able and knows well how to do. The only thing that apparently remains to be desired is, that in the exercise of this right it should observe, as indeed becomes the stronger side, the greatest moderation. But if, on the contrary, the aggression proceeds from this side, and the spiritual power is attacked, then it ought to bear in mind that its legitimate opposition to the civil power ought to assume a material character. Its resistance must never be public and open violence, nor, either directly or indirectly, by means of what we may call _machinations_, for such a proceeding would undermine the sacred foundations of public confidence, and shake the whole edifice of moral order and society. In the case of such an aggression, religion would deprive herself of her duly-acquired position in the state. But this, so long as the latter remains Christian, religion itself never can and never will do, as neither will those whose duty it is to guide and to minister it in a truly reverent and pious spirit.

The only opposition, therefore, that the spiritual power can rightly and justly make to the aggression of the state must be of a passive nature. It is not necessary to lay down any elaborate and rigorous distinctions for such an emergency; for such definitions rarely meet the complicated variety and special character of every possible or even every actual case. A few historical examples, which readily present themselves, will serve briefly and perspicuously to illustrate the view of duty which we wish to enforce. In the unfortunate case of a great and public collision between the Church and the State, the model of a just and legitimate resistance on the part of the spiritual power has been furnished by the conduct of that venerable old man,[60] whom half of Europe regarded as invested with the highest priestly and apostolical dignity. With calm fortitude, even in bonds, he refused to yield to the military despot, and won the personal esteem and admiration likewise of that other half of Europe which denied his spiritual authority. Or, to take an example from a more limited sphere, and of a more personal nature, we may appeal to the history of the patron saint of Bohemia, which, at least, can not be classed among the legends, and which, in any case, will afford a beautiful and simple example of a noble, perfectly-allowable resistance of a spiritual party against the injustice of the political head of the nation. By such passive resistance, and by such alone, did Christianity, in the earliest centuries, though so unattractive and so lowly at its first commencement, gradually attain a secure external foundation, and become the religion of the whole civilized world. A public outbreak, and even a secret feeling of discontent between the spiritual and the temporal power, between Church and State, is, at all times, and in every case, a great evil, threatening and bringing danger and ruin on both. For the state, as being ultimately founded on a religious basis, undermines its own foundation by assuming a hostile attitude toward religion. No financial difficulties, or any such partial calamities, will ever ruin a people so long as any moral energy still exists in the whole body, and it is consequently sound at the core. Political skepticism, which is the immediate and necessary consequence of infidelity in religion, is the true cause and origin of the decay of nations. These two vital principles of human society, therefore--these two powers, however essentially and necessarily distinct--must work together in perfect peace and unity. For the one can only flourish where the soil has been rendered morally fertile by the other, while the latter can not exercise its full influence except under the sanction of the political power. If religion were at unity in itself, and totally free from party and controversy, and the state, as the public life, were in perfect harmony with it, and thoroughly pervaded by its life-giving spirit, humanity would, by such a consummation, have made a great step in advance toward that divine peace for which every human pacification, however imperfect, is the expression of a profound and imperishable longing--of a pursuit which, though ever attaining, is still never wholly abandoned.

However, the alienation and separation of the civil and spiritual powers seems to belong peculiarly and essentially to, or, rather, to be a necessary law of, the present condition of humanity, still involved in struggle with evil, and not yet having attained to the end of its endeavors. It is much older than men think. It must have existed in the first ages of the world, and in the earliest stage of the Gentile religion. For among the Hindoos, who, as they are the most ancient people that we are acquainted with, are also the most authentic monument that remains of the primeval condition of the human race, we find this separation formally and definitely established. It there forms an insurmountable barrier between the regal and the sacerdotal dignity. On this point it would not be advisable to direct our attention exclusively or even principally to the condition of the priestly class among the Greeks and Romans, since, in the later epochs of these nations, Gentilism had greatly degenerated, and in the more civilized days of these people had lost all its essential forms, and its true spirit had disappeared. But, with that still more ancient people of the Hindoos, the same unchanged law still exists in these days as in the very earliest times. A Brahmin who should attempt to ascend the throne or usurp its powers, or a rajah who should wish to be as a Brahmin, or to suppress and annihilate the Brahminical caste, would be universally regarded as an abomination. The attempt, on either side, would appear an offense against human nature and divine laws. For a mixture or confusion of castes signifies to the Hindoos the very abomination of anarchy; and by this term, in one characteristic word of their language, they designate all revolutionary times, even though, we must observe, such periods among the Hindoos were never more than brief and transitory, the waves of anarchy breaking harmlessly against the everlasting rocks of this ancient and solidly-compact system.

Besides the many other traces of family affinity between the Indian and Teutonic races, another is furnished by the Germanic constitution, which forms the political basis of most European kingdoms. In India the noble class who most especially are bound to military service forms also the caste of the lords of the soil; and from their latter character they also derive their name as a class.[61] Some of the most general and most ancient features of the feudal system have likewise been discovered among them, though not, indeed, its more artificial and complicated system, to which feudalism was in later times developed among European nations. To this landed nobility belong the nabobs and even the rajahs. For it was left open to the fluctuating fortunes of different families to rise or to fall from the summit of political dignity. Between the several grades of honor accessible to a particular caste no insurmountable barrier was raised; all were open to all the members of the same rank or caste.

The democratical writers of a recent era, in obedience to a sentiment natural enough to their false system, have expressed a deep horror and strong aversion to this institution of castes among the Hindoos, stamping it on every occasion with the strongest marks of reprobation. Viewing it, however, in an historical light, I for my part am disposed to think that it is to this ancient and hereditary institution, however much of imperfection it undoubtedly involves, that this great and populous country owes that firm stability of its laws and customs, and that indestructible prosperity which the various conquests it has undergone both in ancient and modern times have been unable to shake or to undermine. No doubt the Indian gradation of ranks wants the stamp of perfection and mildness which belongs to Christian politics. And in this respect the comparison is especially instructive. It serves to draw attention to, and strongly illustrates the fact, that a Christian division of ranks is, in some points, different in its principle, and the very opposite to the correspondent state of things in the old world, as yet unrefined and purified by this divine element. For, first of all, according to the Christian idea, the spiritual class can not depend upon birth; it must possess a higher and peculiar vocation. This order, consequently, can not recruit itself merely by birth, but must derive its members from the other classes which are hereditary. But in consequence of this principle, the partition-wall, otherwise impassable and absolute, between the other ranks, which, taken on the whole, are hereditary, is so far removed, that exceptional cases occur when these barriers are opened to merit or other important considerations. It is a self-evident fact, requiring no elaborate argument for its proof, that the Christian sentiment, or, as we have here expressed it, that principle of equity so universally and essentially interwoven with the Christian idea of justice, demands that every alleviation of their toilsome and oppressive lot should be afforded to the industrious classes. To those on whom the accident of birth, as the world speaks, or, as we should prefer to say, a higher and a divine Providence, has laid all the hardships of life, it is but just that every privilege should be conceded that does not militate against the general welfare, or the private rights of individuals. And in the same spirit, every political constitution that is organically arranged and founded on a Christian, and, consequently, modified separation of ranks, will attentively observe and engraft into its old constitutional stock every new historical shoot. A great and instructive example of the kind is at hand. In the Teutonic constitutions of the middle ages, and especially in the Germanic Empire, cities and trades, which at an earlier period had formed a very immaterial and comparatively insignificant element in the whole--in short, the growing burgher classes were, at their very first appearance, understood humanly and politically--received a great organic development, and taken into a living combination with the old.

In all probability our own deeply-agitated times, which assuredly deserve not to be called unfruitful, even though, together with the good fruit, they may also produce many a false blossom, give birth to much that is new indeed, but which is, nevertheless, or at least may eventually become, historical. The phenomena of the present, therefore, demand our most careful consideration, lest any negligence in this case should inevitably involve us in disaster, and bring on us a natural historical retribution. An exclusive and narrow aristocracy, or, if we must say so, one senselessly insisting on its privileges, such as in the earlier part of the last century was probably to be met with in a few countries, is, to the true friend of the ancient order of things, the most painful phenomenon. It is its own greatest enemy--since, by an historical law of antagonism and reaction, one extreme inevitably calls forth the other sooner or later. Hereditary monarchy, as it is the oldest form of polity in history, so, if it is maintained in the mild and moderate spirit of the Christian state, is likely to survive all others, and to be the last in force among the human race; for a state which is founded and established on the Christian principle of an equitable distinction and division of ranks, must, in every calm and unprejudiced judgment, deserve the preference over the artificial constitution of a dynamical balance of powers; for the necessary equipoise is liable to be disturbed by the restless agitation to which the latter form of polity is exposed. And it is only, therefore, in comparison with an absolute despotism that the dynamical theory can appear desirable and win so many adherents, while the former, on the other hand, as the only remedy for popular anarchy, if administered with talent and energy, becomes not only tolerable, but acquires even an historical justification.

Each of these two extremes, the absolute and the dynamical, admit, however, of a wider application than merely to single states and their different forms, according to the fluctuation of the times between prosperity and adversity. For the entire system of Christian states throughout the civilized world may in their mutual relations and confederations depend principally on the absolute preponderance of some leading power which holds the others in subjection or rules them. But this is an authority which all are ready to throw off, and is never willingly acknowledged or submitted to. Or, perhaps, the whole political world may, on the dynamical theory, be based on the balance of power, each state being held in check by the rest. This was the reigning system of the eighteenth century, and at its first foundation was admired as the perfection of a wise policy. In experience, however, it has proved inadequate and practically untenable. The only case where it seems to admit of application is that of a division embracing the whole globe, but based on geographical relations; but even in such a case it could only serve to check mutual injury, and not to promote any salutary end.

In the middle ages, as soon as the German Empire, having fallen from its original purity, had become totally false to its Christian principle, it found, according to the spirit of the times, a salutary check and counterpoise in the Church. And that iron character of the Ghibellines, which was exhibited no less strikingly in individuals and morals than in politics and counsels of state, affords the best justification for this antagonism, as well as for the opposite great party of the Guelphs, with their milder bearing and sentiments.

But now that this ancient division and conflict of the spiritual and the temporal powers is in these enlightened times a bygone thing, and in the older sense is extinct forever--since it seems mankind can not do without antagonism of some kind, we have, instead of it, an elementary one between land and water. A political schism variously manifests itself between the ocean and the continent. In fact, that great Island Kingdom which traverses and rules the ocean, and by founding colonies and settlements wherever it listeth or thinketh profitable, puts forth, as it were, the feelers of universal dominion, is properly an empire of the sea. For in contradistinction from a kingdom we may call every monarchy an empire which comprises in itself several other peoples and nations of divers races and political constitutions. In such a sense we have contrasted this maritime empire with the Continent. But although experience has shown the possibility of such a division of the whole world and political alienation of the two elements of land and water throughout the globe, it has also established a conviction that though these two divisions might do incalculable injury and mischief to each other, no permanent or decided supremacy of either would follow, inasmuch as a medium for maintaining the dependence of either is wanting. And as it is only in some urgent need of the times to find some counterpoise to absolute power, or an apprehension of it, that a dynamical state or the tendency to it finds its justification, so it was only during the transient reign of a despotic lust of conquest, and as a check to it, that this maritime power could have risen so high as it has in the opinion of the Continental states.

Since then, however, the great powers of Europe have had a different interest to pursue, and their political counsels have been directed to the preservation of peace rather than to selfish aggrandizement. For they have all had to contend with a common enemy in the restless spirit of the age, which is yet very far from being conquered and subdued. If, then, an absolute preponderance of a single state is hateful to all, and a dynamical balance of power in the general state-system is either inadequate for such an end, or else does not admit of application, is it not at least conceivable that a higher principle of Christian justice might be substituted for these which are equally defective? Might not a common point of moral unity be found and established for the European states? Must this sublime idea ever be nothing more than the noble enthusiasm of a magnanimous character? And is it to be regarded as impossible merely because it is imbedded in difficulties? But is not all that is great also difficult? Still, inasmuch as this exalted political unity must have a purely spiritual basis in the sentiments of men, a precipitate or violent attempt to bring it about must inevitably miscarry. It would not only militate against, but also corrupt the original purity of the very idea. It must be universally recognized before it can, in the contest with the evil principle of the day, become a salutary power of good, or furnish for the political relations a general basis of Christian justice. The one extreme of political Europe, with its absolute polity, which moreover has fallen very low from its former preponderance, seems excluded by the very nature of things from the idea of such a unity. But if it be true that it is gradually becoming more and more European, a character in which, until very lately, it has rarely been regarded, then a modified kind of subordinate connection with such a general principle of association among European states, does not seem necessarily inadmissible or inconsistent. The other extreme of Europe, with its dynamical constitution, had, in an opposition, moderate indeed in form and conditionally, more than half renounced this idea. In the opinion, however, of many competent judges, this renunciation is much more decided, and must exercise a great and unfavorable effect on the harmony of the whole. The moral want of our age, judged by this or some similar idea, is the necessity which was so keenly felt upon its deliverance from the general yoke of a military aggression, of a moral and intrinsic regeneration of Europe. And this unity is not to be derived from and set up merely in science, but must be felt as a living energy in life itself. But how is such an inner restoration to be brought about and effected in Christian states, but by a complete renewal and invigoration of their religious foundation? And inasmuch as this want actually exists and is felt, the problem which is to supply it must be regarded as an historical one; and consequently the historical development of the times--abstracted from the accidental form of the first essays at its solution--will sooner or later carry us to all that is most essential in the idea.

Formerly, in the medieval times, the German Empire claimed to be this Christian center of unity for the states of Europe--although, in truth, it was far from embracing the whole system of European states. Latterly, in the new political theory, the mutual relation of nations has become gradually republican. And this new form has consequently been accompanied with imperfections and difficulties and almost inextricable perplexities. Is it, then, probable that in the commencing or recently-commenced era of history, a firm, compact, but vast corporation of states, founded on a principle of Christian justice, can be substituted for and gradually evolved out of the two previous ones, which are now found wholly inadequate for the ends they were designed to meet? As a mere historical probability we may well allow this idea to stand.

Totally different from those idle speculations of an endless peace, which, for the sake of mere intellectual amusement and discussion, philosophy was used to advance in the schools, is this thoroughly-practical thought of a confederation of states based on the principle of Christian justice and vitally connected with religion as the most general center of humanity. And the latter must be regarded as the essential condition of its internal consistency and permanence. At least we may safely advance the following as the result of a philosophical consideration of history. An exalted and universal religious peace of this kind, and proceeding from such a principle, in which, by a peaceful approximation, not only the two parties in the faith should be reconciled and finally united, but also the spiritual and the secular powers, the Church and the State, should be allied together in the profoundest harmony, is, properly speaking, the very thing which mankind most stands in need of. But this desirable result never can and never will be attained until all shall be united in pervading harmony with religion and with life, especially with public life or the state, so that all these three principles or fundamental elements of human existence may work together with one aim and purpose. Such a state of profound internal peace would be something more than a simple political peace, with its transient blessings. It would be a sacred peace of God and the higher spirits, or at least the precursor and the best initiation thereto. This, however, is not to be effected by diplomatic skill no more than by scientific hypotheses. It can only be brought about by the immediate operation of God, and by that divine energy which from the beginning has sustained and still sustains the system of the universe. Philosophy, accordingly, must content itself with pointing to this end and this sustaining power, and also with calling attention to all the traces historically furnished which tend in the same direction. And since the great conflict of the age draws all powers into its vortex more violently than ever, it may be allowed to be sufficient for us to have hazarded a glance toward this glorious consummation; and we now will turn our attention to the development of intellect and intellectual powers as at present involved in the as yet undecided conflict. Thus much at least must be clear, that if science, religion, and the state, and the several powers, parties, and influences belonging to each of these domains, is, as hitherto, to pursue each its own way in opposition to the rest, then will all hasten again with rapid strides into a state of chaotic confusion. It may, therefore, well be permitted us to endeavor to hold up before men, in as strong a light as possible, this better hope, and to furnish them with every possible confirmation of it both from science and history.

If our age be as yet far from healthy--if it be still in a sickly state, if the first fearful crisis has not totally expelled the diseased matter--if, on the contrary, the general European body in many of its members is still infected with the virus which has penetrated into the inmost and secret marrow of life--if the source of the malady lie in false ideas, or the total absence of right ones, or, in other words, in philosophical error, which has spread in indefinite vagueness and endless hair-splitting over the whole of public and private life, and in a skepticism no less political than religious--then, since the external refutation rarely avails any thing, our first object must be intrinsically to conquer and to banish this error by truth, and the spirit of truth in that higher science which is genuine and lawful and directs itself to divine things.

The restless anarchical spirit of the times, or the perverted absolute spirit--for they are essentially one and the same, is yet a spirit--it may be a superficial, shallow, sensual, and negative one, but still a spirit, and therefore can not be overcome by any mere negation, but on the contrary only struggles against it with renewed bitterness and consequently more vigorous resistance. As opposed to the divine spirit of truth, however, it appears an unsubstantial nullity, and soon vanishes into its own vanity.

A direct controversy with error entails one disadvantage. By such a course the latter is unduly acknowledged for a positive power of evil. But in reality it only becomes so conditionally, through the atomistic splitting and diffusion of false ideas, and by the mass of its followers, when once every thing is resolved into elementary decomposition. Moreover, one extreme of exaggeration, whenever in controversy we enter into it and get involved in it, easily introduces its opposite, which then again is on its side carried too far--or which even, though strictly and literally it be right enough, is yet asserted with too little of limitation, and applied with unsalutary rigor. It is, therefore, a lamentable mistake if men of great and deserving talents, who from a scientific point of view have devoted themselves to the great task of morally regenerating the age, have adopted a too decidedly polemical tendency. For it is partly through exclusively following such a course that their influence for good has been so narrow and limited, and has not met with a more general and more unqualified success.

If men would only, first and before all things, endeavor to set forth with all possible vividness the intrinsic unity which subsists between higher science with a divine faith, and develop it for its own sake, without passion or interest, the further results on life of applied truth would follow spontaneously. From this simple and pure source they would continue to flow in ample and widening streams over the whole domain and all its relations. God is truth, and simply on this account the spirit of truth in a good and true science must even be divine. Its proper aim is, accordingly, directed to the divine; and on this account there can not be such a thing as an indifferent science. For every science which is not directed to the divine is shallow, superficial, sensuously negative, and idly rationalizing. On this account it is false, and must consequently prove, in its external effects, nothing less than evil, injurious, and destructive.

It is in regard to all this that I have classed science, together with religion and a Christianly-regulated state, as the third power of good. Although merely intellectual [_geistige_,] it is of great moment in the conflict which all have to wage against the destructive principles which so fearfully menace our age. The power of science, it is true, can only produce an effect in an intellectual sphere, but this intellectual sphere is of itself of great influence on every other circle of human operation. Religion has for its immediate object the soul and its salvation, or its union with God; and this is its peculiar region; but still it comes in various ways in contact with the higher science, and penetrates deeply into actual and also into public life. But it is the state, as the organic form of the latter, by which the divine as law, and as a higher idea of justice, modified and completed with that of clemency and equity, is first introduced into reality of actual and corporeal existence, and this historical and sensible world. But the state itself has no other than a religious foundation. It is built upon religion, but also requires the support of science.

By the visible relation, and that parallel similitude which spontaneously suggests itself between these three great moral powers in public life--philosophy, religion, and government--and that original triple principle of the human consciousness, as consisting of body, soul, and spirit, as the simple but fundamental idea of Christian philosophy (however the latter may insist on this basis in confirmation of its utility in living application), we do not for one moment mean to maintain, or propose, a total separation or estrangement of these three spheres. This would be quite unnatural. For in a political, as well as in a psychological sense, these three primary principles must co-operate and be intimately blended together to produce a complete and perfect result in the sphere of any one individually.

If, as we are perfectly justified, we have been considering science, at least that which is true and divine, as a power of a higher kind, we must still remember that it is not so in the same way as religion or government. The latter rests on a divine foundation of eternal justice; and therein lies the source of its vital efficacy. Religion is the legitimate form of a living dispensation of the divine strength and grace. True science is the mind’s lofty pursuit, in a Godward direction, of perfect knowledge; and this direction forms the characteristic distinction between it and false science. In the state, in like manner, its loftiest character lies in the sacred foundation of justice. It is, therefore, a very wrongful and a most pernicious error to look for the inmost essence of the state, or the true source of political prosperity, in any external form or formula. For this external form is in many cases nothing but the shape in which the national mind displays itself--the theater which it erects for its political manifestations. But, in another point of view, also, the form of the state is subordinate to the essence and its foundation of right. In the legitimate state, an hereditary monarchy, _i.e._, the act of crowning, is, no doubt, a very beautiful, highly significant, and, indeed, an essential sacred right. But, with the exception of certain special cases and positive institutions in some existing constitutions, the monarch’s right is not dependent thereon, but even before the anointing he is truly and fully a sovereign. Far different is the case, however, where the political authority is only delegated and vicarious, as with an ambassador or a plenipotentiary deputed to negotiate a peace, or other treaty. For in such cases there is no authority but what is derived solely and entirely from the delegating source, and on the legal act by which the right or power was delegated. Without this, it is absolutely null and void. This remark extends to every case and every sphere of legitimate transference of a higher authority, even though the latter be of a divine origin. And it is simply on this account that in religion, as the proper sphere for the dispensing of divine strength and grace, the form is so highly important and so thoroughly essential--even as much so as the matter itself--or the imparted light of the spirit, and properly is inseparable from it.

The position of science is quite different. For this rests on what is thoroughly human and inborn in man--the passion of longing; which, however, if it be maintained in its purity and perseveringly carried out, may, without doubt, pass over into a divine pursuit. Even the form of communication in science is human throughout, since it employs language as the intellectual medium for setting forth the truth. If, then, in this higher tendency, the full center of living and divine truth be attained, according to man’s utmost powers and ability, then, even here, a higher and divine power may, undoubtedly, intervene and co-operate therewith. But still, for such a case, no strictly-defined form, or external sanction and consecration, exists, and from the very essence of the thing, it is not to be looked for. That which is divine in science must, from its nature, move freely, and be devoid of all such forms. As a higher power, it must operate immediately, and must seek to establish its own law for itself, intermediate between religion and the state, or even in each of them alike, though still in a peculiar way of its own. Wherever it is genuine and unadulterated, then it will in no case come into collision with the actual laws either of one or of the other, even because truth is one and every where the same. But if science, in its external form, and in its social and political existence, should become entirely blended with religion and the spiritual class, being confined and restricted thereto, as was the case with the institution of castes among the Hindoos, which we have already noticed, and with the Egyptian priesthood, then we must fain admit that freedom, which the scientific spirit requires for its growth and development in the sphere assigned to it, would be too closely limited and checked by narrow and partial considerations. But if, on the other hand, it be possible for a false science to arrogate that spiritual and divine right of free action, which, unquestionably, is in a certain sense the prerogative of heavenly truth in its invisible kingdom, which the latter can neither misemploy, nor ever impede in its course, then such a supposition would account for the prevalence of error. It would also, at the same time, serve to illustrate the mode by which such a prejudice as the arrogated right of an unrestricted freedom of thought, or, rather, of the free and unchecked communication thereof, could ever have struck so deep a root in the human mind. But this is a claim which we can in no way recognize, or allow, as really founded in right and justice. Since, wherever, as is the case in this sphere of purely intellectual operation, all is immediate and without a definite form of external sanction, there any thing like right must at most be indefinite and individual.

It forms, perhaps, one of the most important problems or questions of our day, whether the entire sphere of science, the whole republic of letters--not only the mere elementary instruction of the schools, but the whole domain of education in general, embracing under the latter description literature and the fine arts--might not, in obedience to the requisitions of the age, be brought into a more organized and well-regulated form. For if this were possible, it might be made to approximate more closely to the other great spheres of public life in religion and the state, and confined within its proper limits, according to some greater and more comprehensive ideas than those current among us, or than those which have come down to us from antiquity, which are either defective in themselves, or else are no longer adapted to existing circumstances. Those which the present age has advanced, are, for the most part, crude and ill-digested, and scarcely ever consistently carried out. But, after having reflected for many a long year on this question, so deeply interesting to myself, I have arrived at the conviction that, for the present at least, a radical change in this department would be premature and scarcely desirable, as promising to afford no very advantageous results. Every thing in this sphere is too isolated; whatever is good, and especially what is best, is too individual and too formless to allow of its being as yet, without great difficulty, reduced in all parts and in every point to a firm rule and definite shape. In all probability, by attempting unseasonably to introduce organic order and law, we should cramp rather than assist and develop the good. In the present chaotic state of science, it is only the vicious and profane that possesses a systematic coherence. All detrimental and dangerous, as well as futile and indifferent ideas, mixed with a few good and useful ones, are atomistically diffused and spread in every possible shape and quarter. And if against this boundless dissemination of evil thoughts--this elementary decomposition and chemical analysis of the human mind, and the whole body of human thoughts, a negative barrier be set up as a preventive measure of defense, and as a temporary substitute for a better and higher state of things, murmurs and reproaches immediately rise from all sides. But, taken on the whole, and in so far as principle is involved, these remonstrances are neither just nor well founded. For in almost every state where, owing to peculiar circumstances, such precautionary measures have not been taken, the most dangerous disorders and jarring discords have affected the whole of public life, as the inevitable consequences of its absence.

But let us turn our eyes from the insignificant controversies, with its host of ephemeral publications, the interest of which seems little likely to outlive even that of a daily journal, and let us look to the greater and more historical phenomena amid them, which, in all probability, will mark an epoch in the development of mind. From these it is distinctly apparent that science is a real and actual power. In proof of this fact, we need only appeal to the great talents and abilities which, not only in recent years, but also throughout the last century, have exercised in the domain of science what, without exaggeration, we may well term a world-embracing influence. Only we must admit that in this period they have taken more or less a destructive tendency, and one that threatened in this scientific burrowing to undermine the foundations of everlasting truth. But if we will take a still wider survey, so as to embrace all the several periods of the world’s history, and the course of the human mind therein, then, undoubtedly, we may discern the higher might of divine truth, manifesting itself as an influence for good, as a pure and genuine spiritual theocracy of science, to whose domain above all others the idea of an immediate and higher supremacy of mind and divine power is peculiarly applicable.



The idea which the adverse party, or opposition, in the political domain, and in the scientific theory of politics, usually form of a theocracy, is for the most part incorrect. By the adverse party I mean all those who either openly assail, or privately call in question, the religious foundation, the higher sanction, and the divine authority of the state; in short, those in general who are hostile to the religious sentiment. The latter apply the idea of theocracy and employ the term to signify the rule of the spiritual power, such as the Egyptian priesthood may, perhaps, or, at least, such as they suppose them to have possessed--or a polity where the supreme temporal authority works in unison with the sacerdotal class.

And even by the defenders of the good cause--by men of higher and better principles, the idea is frequently taken in too inaccurate and indefinite, not to say incorrect, a sense. They seem to understand by it nothing more than the divine authority of the state and of the Church, and their mutual support and dependence, and their co-operation. But nothing can be more erroneous than such a notion. For the kingly dignity, no less than the priestly, as respects the divine authority, which is inherent in both, is not immediate, but vicarious and representative.

When, however, we turn to its original source--to the historical basis, _i.e._, to Christian revelation, and derive therefrom the true idea of a theocracy, we shall find it to be very different from the assumption which each of these parties tacitly advances as self-evident. The idea of a theocracy can only be properly determined from the instance of the Jews. The history of that nation will not only enable us fully to develop it as an actual form of polity, having an historical origin and existence, but also in the clearest and readiest way to illustrate it. Now the passage from revolution, civil war, and anarchy, to absolute despotism, in its genetic progress, can be most clearly and most profitably traced in Roman history. The true nature, moreover, of the dynamical polity can be learned from the historically originated and historically preserved exemplification of it in England, far better than from any theory, or from any scheme of a constitution propounded for the occasion of some state experiment, for all such experiments require the lasting test of a few generations, or at least of half a century before any decided opinion can be passed on their success and historical permanency. And just in the same way the peculiar character and essence of a theocracy can be deduced from no source so clearly or so fully as from the Jewish history. Or, rather, the true idea of it can be acquired from no other channel, since among this people only has a theocracy ever existed as a real form of national polity. And here it continued in force for nearly four hundred years.

However poor may be the part which the people of Israel played in the great drama of the world’s history, in comparison with that of the great conquering nations, the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, still the prophetic people (whose importance must be sought only in this designation, or, in other words, their continual relation to the future), possesses, even in their peculiar code of laws and form of government, a remarkable interest for the historian. For in the true historical estimate of things mere extent of power can not pass for the exclusive standard of greatness and importance. And this has been already the judgment of many writers of history, who, as far as regards this particular subject, and the general question of religion, must undoubtedly be pronounced free from either prepossession or prejudice. The way, too, in which this ancient people have survived the destruction of their national government, and for nearly two thousand years since have uniformly remained separate from all other nations, has been more than once confessed to be a very striking phenomenon, unparalleled in the history of the world.

Moses, from whom that theocracy first emanated, or, rather, with whom it commenced, was not himself the High Priest. His brother Aaron enjoyed that dignity. He neither wished nor had a title to hold it. He had no hereditary claim to it, neither was he elected to it by the people. And yet he stood in no man’s place, nor did he forcibly dispossess any one of his right. And so even, if for a while we dismiss the theological view entirely from our regard, and, forgetting it for a moment, judge of the matter by the strictest juristic notions, we can not call him a usurper, even in that sense of the term which comprises the demagogue’s character. At an earlier period of his life, he appeared likely to become a mere liberator in the usual sense of the word. In this character, however, he does not appear unjust, even though he allowed himself to be hurried into an act of violence against a petty tyrant among the oppressors of his countrymen. And at a later period, when he had received his call, we can not in his conduct toward the Egyptians discover any trace of injustice, even judging him by the strictest legal notions. Now, the authority which Moses exercised over his own people, while he led them through the wilderness, rested on the immediate exercise of the divine powers which were lent to him from above, and which were immediately acknowledged as such, and nowhere met with any considerable resistance. And, accordingly, properly speaking, no question was ever raised against a right which was based entirely on those imparted powers, although they were totally devoid of any formal or distinct act of legal sanction. The office he held was prophetical. But by this term I do not mean merely according to its later and more obvious meaning, the function of warning or promising, of teaching or predicting, but all this, and something more--a higher and divine power, which vividly and persuadingly displayed itself in life and deeds. Looking at it in a general light, and as applied to a case which, at least, we can think of as not impossible, of the Almighty having sent, or purposing to send, a second Moses to some other people, then the circumstance we lately mentioned, that this Moses forcibly dispossessed no one of his rights, and had made no unrighteous revolution, must be taken into consideration, even if it might not simply by itself serve as the characteristic or distinctive test of the genuineness of the vocation in question.

For a power emanating from God, and truly divine, would never violate or forcibly subvert any established right, whether essentially sacred or hallowed only by prescription. It will respect the least privilege of equals and inferiors no less than the greatest prerogative of superiors. I have introduced these remarks in order to determine more precisely the right point of view for an historical comparison of Moses with every other character that sets himself before the world in the same light, whether the parallel be made with Mohammed, or that still earlier Indian Mohammed who is usually called Buddha, although this is only an honorary epithet, and not the name of any historical person in particular. And the same standard will hold good for our judging of any other reformer of the world who makes religion the instrument of his ambition, to whatever age he may belong, or any modern Mohammed, in whatever part of the world he may arise.

As regards the religion itself, or the matter of the pretended revelation, there is another characteristic mark by which we may distinguish a genuine from a spurious mission from God. Although it is both external and negative, still, as being historical, it deserves to be here adduced. It is this: a genuine revelation is, in the doctrine which it promulgates, at the same time both old and new. It is new in regard to its novel application to life and in its fulfillments, and also to its animating force and spiritual awakening; but old in so far as invariably referring to an earlier revelation and to a still older source of light, it remounts up to the pure fountain of eternal truth. And such is, throughout, the case even with the Mosaic revelation. It continually leads the inquirer back to some higher and remoter source--some deeper spring of everlasting light. And on the same principle it also has been acknowledged as such by the Christian or divine philosophy of the Spirit, and Moses has been recognized and honored from all time as its founder. In the domain of religion, to be absolutely new is equivalent with being false or groundless, namely, totally detached from the old and everlasting foundations, without connection therewith, and, consequently, isolated and arbitrary.

In reference to, and as contrasted with, the above characteristics of genuine revelation, there is for the most part in systems of imposture as little really new as actually old. This is especially the case with the doctrine and Koran of Mohammed, however much it may have been lauded for its poetry, or on account of the rhetorical art and vigor which it displays. Its subject-matter and doctrines are not really new, since they are but recasts of Jewish and Christian ideas, which it has freely borrowed, mixing them together and adapting them to an obvious end and design; and yet not old, since it does not go back far enough or deep enough, and never remounts to the first beginning of nature and of man, far less to the threefold fountain of divine life.

Now, with respect to Moses: an historical judge of the ordinary kind, who could not enter into the religious view of his character and office, might say, “This is quite a strange world to us, a very remote period; much is there in this history difficult to explain and extremely obscure. This much, however, seems to follow from the whole history: the man possessed extraordinary mental powers for his times, and an equally uncommon strength of character; no wonder, then, if he bore down all obstacles, and by the force of genius carried every thing before him.” Such an estimate, however, reduces every thing to the force of genius in an heroic character, instead of a higher and immediate operation of divine power and the prophetic office founded thereon. Superficially judging this false view, eluding, or, rather, perverting, the divine illumination, admits of an application, though delusive and specious enough, to Moses, on account of those ample powers of genius which, no doubt, he possessed, or even on account of the sublimity of his style, which the very heathens could appreciate and admire. Still, it is in no way applicable to that line of men, for the most part of the very simplest character, who succeeded him, and during the period of the theocracy down to the time of the kings, held what was immediately a divine or prophetic rule. It was not by any hereditary title or formal choice that they ruled; neither were they priests any more than Moses. Called immediately by God to the dignity of judge, they suddenly stood before the people, to be instantly and without opposition acknowledged, and thereupon their mission and authority were at once established, without any external sanction or solemnities, or any form of legal recognition.

The general condition of the Jewish people under the Judges was that of a noble and not uncivilized nomadic race. We must not confound this description, however, with the so-called natural state of a wild and barbarous people, but rather think of it as resembling that of the Arabians generally before the time of Mohammed, or of a few tribes still subsisting in the most retired parts of Arabia, where, under their most distinguished leaders, as shepherd princes they lead a roving life of hereditary freedom. Similar, or at least not very different, was the mode of life and state of society that prevailed among the Hebrews in the interregnums which occur in this long period of the Judges. Toward the close of this period, judges first arise who are invested with the priestly as well as the judicial dignity. These form, accordingly, the transition to the regal government and the epoch of the kings. For when the people at last demanded a king to rule over them, like the neighboring Gentiles, every sanction that could exalt, and every sacerdotal inauguration that could be thought of, was conferred upon the appointed tribe and the kingly house. But at the same time the priestly dignity was guarded strictly and jealously from encroachment, and the temporal power was rigorously kept free from all union and confusion with the sacerdotal authority. But that wild and tumultuous demand of the people, or, I should say, of _public opinion_, which at that time was in favor of a monarch with the same pomp and splendor as the Gentile sovereigns displayed, as in more modern times it directs itself to the no less heathenish attraction of liberty, was imputed to them and depicted as a grievous fall and religious infidelity. For in the previous times of the direct theocracy, Jehovah Himself had been their true but invisible king, while, as is expressly asserted, the judges and leaders were only His embassadors or plenipotentiaries. Under the first kings we may discern, in the historical description of the sacred books, many traces of that higher power, and its immediate exercise and effects. Subsequently, however, it totally disappears; and after the division of the two kingdoms, the contrast in the personal powers and character of the later sovereigns, and the consequent fortunes of the people, so accordant with the political history of other Asiatic countries, becomes most decided.

The preceding remarks will, I hope, be sufficient to throw out, in perfect distinctness, the true idea of a theocracy, such as it has been historically developed. For inasmuch as in the present age, and amid the party disputes which mark it, this idea has been employed in so many various acceptations, and mostly in a false or partial sense, I thought it expedient, in the present place, not to omit to sift the question to the utmost. Now, in a very remarkable manner, a single element, from the earlier and original theocracy of the olden time, still survived among the Jews in the period of the monarchy. It formed no longer indeed the supreme power of the state, for this was held by the kings, but constituted formally and avowedly an antagonism to them, as a well-defined opposition, which, so long as it confined itself within its due limits, was altogether righteous and justifiable, and which we may justly designate as legitimate and divine. In this light we must view the position of the later prophets, who, without, however, being invested with any special political dignity or power, dared to raise, before a vicious government--or, since in those simple days of old every thing was more or less personal--before a wicked king who had forgotten his high vocation, the voice of warning or denunciation. This peculiar form of a political opposition, and, as such, recognized to be legitimate and allowable, this remnant of the once exclusive theocracy and a complete supremacy of the prophets, which still survived in the time of the kings, forms a phenomenon as highly remarkable as it is singular in its kind. And those who have no admiration but for opposition, might, perhaps, if they could disentangle themselves from the forms of their own days, or the notions imbibed at school, find here an object altogether worthy of their praise. They might probably find the duties of an uncompromising and yet justifiable and lawful opposition to the state discharged by an Elijah with equal, if not greater intelligence, strength of mind, and energy of character, as well as sense of justice, as by the Ephori in Sparta, or a Demosthenes in Athens during the Macedonian ascendency, or by the most virtuous of the censors, and the most upright of the tribunes of the people in old Rome; or even by the parliament of England. It was only in the last period of the total decline of the Israelitish nation, and shortly before and during the first days of the Roman dominion, that the regal dignity and the office of High Priest were united in one family (for even here they were not invariably associated in the same person), in such a manner as to correspond with the notion that is at present usually understood by the term theocracy.

Far otherwise, however, was it, in this respect, with the Christian world. The first apostolical preachers of the new doctrine of grace and founders of an era which was truly, and in a divine sense, new, undoubtedly did not possess less of that immediate miraculous power than even a Moses or an Elijah. But the only use they made of it was to promote the diffusion and to set forth the glory of religion. Once only did the first of the Apostles, for the sake of preserving the hierarchical authority, and the purity of the community which professed to give up itself and all that it had to God, make a retributive use of the divine authority committed to him. He who for the love of money was false to the cause of God and of truth, was struck dead by the avenging glance of him who in will was united with God as the everlasting Judge. Never did the Apostles employ their power against the state, or avail themselves of it in opposition to its decrees. And yet the despotic measures of the Roman Government toward the degraded nation it had brought, by force of arms, under its oppressive yoke, might seem, at least, to justify such an interference with its unlawful usurpation. Not even in self-defense, or to escape from afflictions or bonds, did they once employ the theocratic powers committed to them.

The idea of a theocracy which is entertained in the present day is so loose and shifting, and its application generally so erroneous, that it is necessary to show, at length, how little the common views of it are founded on truth. There exists no foundation for them in the view or theory of a Christian state in its first and simple origin. And as little is it the case with the succeeding epochs of Christianity. Such extraordinary powers, as were manifested from time to time and intrusted to particular individuals, have ever been employed for the diffusion of the faith, its internal development, or to glorify it before unbelievers, or for a new confirmation of old truths, but never for the purpose of founding a temporal power or political influence.

The true theocracy, however, such as it has actually manifested itself, does not depend on any particular theory, but, as an immediate power and authority from God, is regulated by the divine will alone. It would, therefore, be precipitate, if judging of it, _à priori_, by any arbitrary principle, we should unconditionally pronounce its recurrence to be impossible. Generally, the wonder of a theocracy must be judged of historically in the light in which its own history exhibits it. A mere theory can lead us to no stable determination regarding it. The following seems its relation to the natural history of man, or, even, we may say, to the usual course of external nature. Viewed generally, and in its principle, whatever is, comes from God, as its first cause. The permission of evil, however, whether in the realm of nature or of humanity, when, after their first divine impulse, they are left for a time to pursue their own course of internal development, is clearly something of another and peculiar kind. Peculiar, too, are the higher authorities which exist in the latter, and which are ultimately founded on a divine law and right, and somewhat different is the case with their immediate divine operation and miraculous agency. As, therefore, the course of the world, on the whole, is natural, and whatever transcends it as a singular or rare exception, does but interrupt the regularity of the ordinary laws of nature; so, too, the course of universal history, in ordinary times, is agreeable to man’s nature, as regulated and modified simply by historical circumstances. At most a few theocratical junctures, a few eminent moments of a more divine working and development of power, may be noticed at distant intervals. And these grand and pregnant epochs, in which all the existing relations of the world assume a new and unexpected form, are generally, in the first moment of its triumphant result, or scarcely-hoped-for emancipation, rightly and thankfully regarded and acknowledged as interventions of a higher and a divine agency; though, alas, the enthusiasm of man’s gratitude to God, even when it does take a passing hold on man’s heart, is wont to evaporate, even more rapidly than any other of his ardent feelings.

Our own age has afforded a very remarkable instance of this kind. To this it is sufficient to allude, without entering into any further disquisition concerning it. But it is not only in such wonderful changes for good or happy deliverances from the power of evil that these remarkable divine moments or theocratic junctures announce themselves in the history of the world. We may even recognize them in every commencement of a truly new era in history, which, in the favorable crisis, is suddenly and triumphantly effected by a some higher impulse and divinely-imparted power. Many instances of the kind might easily be adduced if this were the proper place for it, or time allowed. The first triumph of the Cross and Christianity that was public and extended to the whole world, under Constantine the Great, belongs to this class. As a second instance, I would mention that beginning of the Christian Empire in the West under Charlemagne, which was afterward to receive so happy a development. Superficial inquirers, who judge by the mental external coloring, are in danger of confounding these creative beginnings--these turning-points of a higher intervention--with the ordinary event of a revolution, or the rapid and decisive step of energetic usurpation. But to the eye of patient observation and deep penetration they are distinguished from the latter by their profound historical causes and their attendant circumstances, and by a peculiar stamp of purity and grandeur. In short, in their essence they are entirely different.

These observations must have made it evident in what sense I spoke of a theocracy of science. The power of truth in that good science which is directed toward God, is in its influence of a lofty and even divine nature. But it is this simply, in its immediate energy of operation, without depending on any external sanction, or even form thereof. In the same way error also, in its evil effects, is most unquestionably, and in the fullest sense of the term, a power; and that not merely in a sensuous and materialistic, or relatively to the mind in a purely negative sense, but a demoniacal power of evil with a most embarrassing and perverting influence, such as it has been often and in our own times most undeniably exercised. The great degree in which science actually manifests itself as a power is not apparent so long as we limit our consideration to the history of the human intellect in our own circle of observation and the ordinary sphere of European civilization.

Among the Greeks, for example, rhetoric became the mere slave of an extremely corrupt government, and followed it in all its disorders. Poetry, indeed, was the handmaid of the heathen worship and its religious legends; but still, as being an art and the sport of fantasy, it moved with a considerable degree of freedom. Accordingly, in the best and purest and greatest of the poets of antiquity, a profound and significant symbolism of life lies under, and occasionally appears on, the surface of their works, which, as considered from a right point of view and in a liberal spirit, is neither totally repugnant nor directly opposed to a higher, or even the highest, _i.e._, Christian truth. But still such notes of a divinely-inspired feeling, which in the inspiration attains to a clearer perception of the divine nature, is very far from amounting to the power of an idea, and its actually and determining influence on life. The philosophy and science of the Greeks, from its beginning to its close, stood in decided opposition both to the popular religion and to the state. Accordingly, they either exercised no influence at all on life, or, at least, no uncontested one. At any rate, their effects were very trivial. All that can be justly said of the subject of Grecian science or the ideas of the Greeks applies, with a slight modification and in a less general sense, to those of the Romans.

The remarks we made above on ancient art and poetry hold good, though in a somewhat different application, of the romantic portion of the middle ages, its legends, namely, and poetic fictions. However important the nobler aim which fancy here pursued to influence morals and life, still the idea of the power of science can scarcely come in here. As for science itself, the medieval mind was divided in its pursuit of it. On one hand there prevailed a strong desire after what was forbidden--or at least was supposed to be forbidden--the old heathen philosophy; on the other, as soon as it appeared impossible to get rid of it altogether, an anxious endeavor to come to an equitable compromise with it, or at least to make a rationally Christian application of it, and especially of Aristotle, who, in the judgment of those days, ruled as supreme monarch over all the sciences. Under these circumstances, and confined by these chains of authority, it was impossible for Christian science to put forth its full power and might, or to exercise any material influence on the age or on life. On the contrary, agreeably with the very principle of the Christian life, the latter shows itself only in writers like St. Bernard, who did not belong to the schoolmen. For in the genuine scholastic philosophy, as having its origin in a perfectly heathen dialectic, neither the method nor the forms of thought could be purely Christian.

How great the power of science has shown itself within the last century, and especially in our own age, is a frequent topic of remark. And at the same time the fact has not been overlooked, that this power has gradually assumed a more pernicious direction, or at least has become involved in a great and violent struggle, which as yet is undecided, between a destructive tendency of mind and the power of goodness and truth exerting itself in an effort of restoration. And it is, perhaps, only to the latter, in its conflict with the evil principle of unbelief and the denial of all that is divine, that the idea of a theocracy of science and such a higher power of truth is really applicable. For this alone seems likely to secure to it the victory in this contest, which, so far as numbers are concerned, is most unequal.

If, now, we turn our looks to a more distant point, and take into consideration the older Asiatic nations, though chiefly and in generally with respect to the religious aspect of their science and scientific monuments, here, more than elsewhere, we shall meet with much that corresponds with this idea, and has on its front a strong theocratical impress and signature. It will, therefore, pre-eminently serve to elucidate this idea. The whole edifice of scientific thought among the Hindoos, though in its form of sacred laws, systems, and authentic commentaries thereon--of history, legends and poetry, it is not less rich and diversified than the literature and philosophy of the Greeks, forms, nevertheless, a whole where every part is of one piece and one mold. In all its manifold forms, it rests and is supported on the same foundation, which is regarded and venerated as divine. And therein lies the secret of its incalculable power, to which it owes its unshaken stability through so many tens of centuries, as well as its great influence on the whole of Indian life, which has derived from it its unchanging form and duration, so that we might almost say, Here has science, or at least this elevated system of thought, become the animating principle of life and a second nature.

To the many and great errors which are mixed up with the Indian system of faith and thought, I am not disposed to ascribe this indestructible principle of vitality and permanent influence on life. At least, if something must be ascribed to this source, a vast deal more must be assigned to the influence of the truth that is also contained in it, and which, though variously adulterated and falsified, still, in its leading features, has been distinctly preserved from the sacred traditions of primeval times and the first progenitors of the nation. And yet even here, in this edifice, otherwise so uniform, many a book and many a system has been introduced from the opposition, even though the latter exerted its antagonistic principle far more weakly and far less pertinaciously here than among the Greeks, or on any other domain of the European mind. For it was chiefly in the southeastern peninsula that the founder of that purely intellectual and ideal, but yet demoniacal and therefore truly anti-Christian sect of philosophy and religion, who lived about as many centuries before the Christian epoch as Mohammed after it, and whose followers, numbering nearly a third of the whole population of the world, spread over the southeast of Asia, and Tartary, and China, found adherents in India. Still the old and proper India did not remain totally free from the pernicious tenets of Buddhism, which, of all religious or philosophical sects and errors, is the most fatal and destructive that ever has been or ever will be.

Let us now glance at the sacred writings of the Jews, though not, indeed, in so far as they are to be regarded as the divine law of faith for that nation, and for all others who should come in the future and latter times of Christianity (a law, we must observe, which is expressed in a language so thoroughly individual, and in so national a spirit, that it often becomes thereby highly obscure and difficult to understand), nor, indeed, generally in a theological light. For otherwise the example we have chosen for the illustration of the theocracy of science would be identical with the matter it was intended to illustrate. We must here consider it simply as the written record of the origin and descent of the nation, both in its legal and historical existence, combining therewith its distant promises and expectations of the future--in short, as the history, poetry, literature, political institutions and hopes of this singular people. Viewing it, then, in this light, merely in its human, national, and historical aspect, its firm and lasting impression on the Jewish mind, and its indestructible effects, which survive all the changes of time, form a most remarkable phenomenon. For by means of it this ancient people, so miraculously scattered among all the nations of the world, is to this day--three-and-thirty centuries from the original composition of its first sacred books--still one, amid all its dispersion, and, we might almost add, even in spite of its half unbelief in itself.

In modern history, which commences with the second epoch of revelation, the four holy Gospels, with various didactic epistles, and the great prophetic book at the close of all, forms the deep focus of illumination, to which, however, I do not now immediately refer, lest, as I observed in a former case, the illustration and the illustrated matter should prove identical. Out of this first germ of light, as it was carried forward in a living transmission through the first five or six centuries, was gradually raised an edifice of Christian science and thought. A new literature was formed in every branch of doctrine or history, of eloquence or controversy, which, composed in the two highly-cultivated languages of classical antiquity, has exercised the greatest possible influence not only on the succeeding generation, but on all subsequent times. Occasionally, no doubt, and especially in the earlier centuries, a deviation from, or, rather, opposition to, the prevailing system, whether as private opinion or positive error, intruded itself into the midst. Still, notwithstanding these little discords, scarce perceptible in the entire mass, the whole forms, as a system of thought, an intellectual power whose effects have been so great that its authors, or, rather, its spokesmen, have with perfect justice been styled the Fathers or the earthly creators and founders of the Church, _i.e._, of this new era and of the truth which is transmitted in it, without change, indeed, but with a stream which widens as it flows.

I have chosen all these examples from well-known matters, in order to direct your attention to the fact that the idea we have advanced of a theocracy of science, or a divine power of truth therein, does not depend for its final triumph and the total extinction of error on any individual force of genius, however great, but on a common and joint operation of a system of forces--on a vast and comprehensive edifice of thought, various indeed in its composition and mental character and form of expression, but still perfectly harmonizing as a whole. One thing, however, is indispensable--a divine tendency must predominate in it. The foundation on which it rests and is supported must be divine. The one ray of light, even though in itself it be ever so pure and bright, and truly deserve to be termed divine--one stroke of the sword, though ever so sharply and keenly struck--the one confining limit, though set up and maintained by ever so comprehensive an intelligence (which term I use to convey something more than mere _prudence_)--all these will avail nothing against this new flood of error and infidelity, and of Godless ideas--thoughts, that is, which are entirely without God, and making no reference to Him, proceed from impious and demoniacal delusion. Against the inroad of atheism, which is threatening life on all sides, the divine might or theocracy of true science can alone furnish a defense. It can only raise a new ark to save the age from perishing in the flood of spiritual wickedness. But with this view the most essential point is the building of a consistent and compact whole, while those who wish to co-operate in the good work must, like the builder of the ancient ark, have their regards turned chiefly to the future, looking far beyond the present, and its minute and frequently most trifling controversies.

This true theocracy of science, resting on a divine tendency in man, which, though it is inborn, is seldom found pure, and still more rarely retains its purity to the end, must look to the state to secure its external stability and unimpeded action. To this end it is necessary, however, that the state should understand and recognize its own divine foundation, and look to that heavenly grace and strength which religion alone vouchsafes to it as the true source of its vitality and permanence. Individuals can at most do nothing more than co-operate in bringing about this desirable consummation. They must not attempt to go beyond the true relation of this co-operative character. The moving power must come from above; it must proceed from the fountain of all goodness and all truth.

Philosophically viewed, indeed, science and its divine tendency rests on the good and genuine aspirations of the human consciousness. And it is only by the restoration of man’s mind to the perfection in which it originally came from the Creator’s hands that science can attain to its perfect state. Now that the consciousness in its present state is imperfect--or, rather, that as compared with its condition when, in the first fresh energy of life and in full and unimpeded action, it came immediately from the Creator, it is no longer uncorrupt, unconfused, or unimpaired, as it was almost our opening remark, so it has been kept in view throughout the present series of Lectures. The most natural conclusion of our labors, therefore, is to consider the possibility of restoring it to its original divine perfection, as being the only method which can secure to science a stable foundation and enable its Godward tendency to attain its proper end.

In a cold, dead, and abstract understanding--in a passionately blind and absolute will--in a reason which loses itself in dialectical disputes or amuses itself with dynamical theories, and, consequently, never reaches its true object--in a fancy which is ever longing after and pursuing its own imaginations, living on and lost in a dreamy and imaginary world of its own--in these severally faulty forms of the human consciousness, as corrupted by the influence of sin, and the consequences of the Fall (even though the objects of this vitiated thought and will may, in themselves, appear perfectly innocent, indifferent, unselfish, and even intellectual), lies the original fountain of all perverted and deadly thinking. The soul, in the center of this fourfold source of false cogitation and false volition, is torn and distracted many ways, impeded, and, as it were, crippled and deadened. But still it remains eternal and immortal. Accordingly, the soul must be the point from which the restoration and reawakening of life must proceed. But this restoration of the human consciousness to perfection is to be called divine, on this account, because it can only be reached by the soul attaching itself exclusively to what we formerly called the second new and divine starting-point of human existence. For the more that the soul, created for immortality and loving, and in love embracing that which is in itself immortal, adopts this great and new word for man, this second beginning in God, and is impregnated with it, in the same degree do reason and fancy cease to be at issue with each other and to be independent, isolated, and clashing faculties; and, finally, they become altogether merged in the one thinking and loving soul. Then, too, does the soul cease to be dead, cold, and abstract, and becomes, instead, a living and wakeful spirit, _i.e._, one which in its new life works freely and energetically. And the will, too, is no longer blind, no longer passionately absolute; but, restored to sight, becomes one with the internal sense, as the third member of the human consciousness. And by this union the will is, as it were, fully armed and equipped. For the external sense, which hitherto has been thoroughly passive, as soon as the will is restored to sight, assumes by its means an active and living operation; and the inner moral sense, which before was merely subjective, acquires a power of external discernment.

This is the end of perfection. And it is only on this road of a divine restoration of the human consciousness, according to its established law of progress, that the divine tendency of science can attain to perfection. With the attainment of this end an entirely new era will commence. But the intricacy of the problem which our own age has to solve arises simply from this circumstance, that a truly new era and a false one are engaged in mortal conflict. The former can only spring up and flourish when the latter decays and is got rid of. To this end the present false spirit of the age, which is but a perversion of the true cosmopolitan spirit, must die the death. And this must be brought to pass by the sword of the Word or of eternal truth, which pierces even to the joints and marrow, and divides asunder soul and spirit. For the immortal, God-created, and God-devoted soul requires to be separated and detached from the so-called spirit of the age, which is mixed up and compounded of so many dim, false, imperfect, and evil spirits. And the spirit of the age must itself be entirely converted and be brought to a knowledge and open confession of its error, and when once whatever in it is totally dead has been adjudged to eternal death, it will itself be renovated and purified in the fiery floods of the truly new times.

In this divine restoration, however, of the human consciousness, or theocracy, man’s part must be wholly passive. It is enough if he does not hinder or retard it; for in a certain sense he can at least co-operate in bringing it to pass. Even that final consummation toward which that true new era, which as yet is entirely hidden and, as it were, choked by the false, longs and yearns--that peace of God, of which the highest and best religious peace is but a foreboding symbol, and, as it were, the first weak grade, or step, can not be brought about by human art and power. It is not by any diplomatic courtesy, which in this case would be highly culpable--not by any amalgamation, which in the present sphere is contradictory to every notion of right, that that peace can be brought about, in which, according to no vain or unmeaning promise, there is to be one fold and one Shepherd. Its accomplishment must be reserved entirely to Him who, from all eternity has been, and still is, the good Shepherd of all His creatures.

Here, then, at this point, having, by means of the idea of a restoration of the human consciousness to its original divine perfection, arrived at a close, I will pause a few moments to take once more a rapid survey of, and to throw a clearer light on, my past labors. And herein I shall purposely refer to the division of philosophy, and the designations of its several parts usually given in the schools. The first five Lectures treated of the human soul in the wide extent of its original relation, not only to life but also to nature and to God, and formed consequently of psychology, though in a wider sense than the science which is usually occupied with this subject. The three next, as discussing the divine order of things, contained a species of natural theology, though treated of in a perfectly living method and relation, and entering historically into individual, no less than universal, life. Of the last seven Lectures the first three were devoted to the investigation of truth. We here examined its fundamental principle of the unity of the highest science and divine faith, the discrimination of truth in the struggle between faith and skepticism, and the final conclusion in the unity of this higher science and faith with the true life and its influence therein. This higher logic, in so far as it considers the true essence of things, might even be designated an ontology. And, indeed, since it derives every thing from a divine principle, it might not inaptly be called an applied or mixed theology, in the same sense as this designation is employed in the mathematical sciences, viz., as the first part of such an applied theology. In this sense the second part thereof would be formed by the metaphysics of life, as the science of that which is above nature, whose province it is to indicate all higher and supernatural principles in the whole sphere of existence and the actual world, so far as it is given to man to know them. Employing the old phraseology and division of the schools, we might term this a cosmology, in a moral and intellectual sense, and with a regard to what human philosophy can attain to. The symbolical energy of the divine communication in religion, the divine foundation of the state, the Godward tendency of science, and the restoration of the consciousness by God, form, as it were, the four poles or summits of all these principles, which transcend and overpass the merely natural.

Concerning the accomplishment of perfection in man’s divinely-restored consciousness, and also in the whole of existence, or in nature itself, a few words yet remain to be added. And thus this last section, considered as a cosmology, is based on a divine principle, so far as this is attainable by man.

Now, the first consequence of the perfection of the human consciousness, as accomplished by God, will be the restoration of the divine image and likeness in man. The soul, now purified and made complete again, becomes once more spiritually fruitful, and in this internal productiveness, which even the pure spirits do not possess, is rendered similar, though at an infinite distance and in a very secondary sense, to the Creator in His productive energy. The livingly operative spirit in the creature is like to that in the being who is increate and from all eternity, while the livingly active sense, as the third member or element in the perfected consciousness, is similar and correspondent to the divine operating word. And lastly, in this livingly quickened and completely restored consciousness, man reassumes his original true and distinct relation to nature. By the soul, first of all, he is reunited to God; in his spirit, now restored to true life, he enters into a living and clear communion with all other kindred spirits; and by his will, now clearly seeing and working in God, he assumes once more his original relation to nature as her first-born son and her legitimate lord.

But nature, as the creature that groaneth and travaileth in pain together, waiteth in earnest expectation for its perfection and restoration. And this is the only view of it that is either founded in truth or really Christian. And in this idea of creation groaning and travailing in pain lies a fullness of prophetic intimations for nature. While she seems on the whole to be deeply slumbering, this alone excites a hope of a great and general awakening; whereas it is scarcely a generation and a half, or two at most, since physical science first began to awaken out of the grave of its own dead notions, when in nature itself, no less than in the science of it, all seemed sunk in death.

We need not, therefore, be surprised if this Christian view of nature and a dynamical physiology evince so little of agreement. For the latter invariably regards the system of nature as something absolute and as perfect and complete in itself; but this it evidently is not. And indeed many an eloquent theological essay on the proofs of design in nature and on its indications of the goodness of the Creator, sets out on a similarly defective hypothesis, that nature, in its present condition, is exactly the same as God originally created it. But this is directly contradicted by the promise so expressly and distinctly made to the last times, of “new heavens and a new earth.” For this not merely implies, but rather asserts, that nature stands in need of a grand renovation, which it transcends the ordinary course of its proper powers of development to accomplish, and which, consequently, is only conceivable as brought about by the immediate operation of divine power, or of a celestial theocracy for this purpose, in the time of the universal regeneration.

We are far more ready and disposed to assign to the powers of evil a greater influence and a wider field of operation in the world of man than in the system of nature. But it is, perhaps, more conformable to truth to see in the present condition of the latter a state of truce with the evil and destructive powers which formerly raged more fiercely--an interval during which the conflict is confined within certain limits, rather than as a complete and perfect peace. Its external influences, as they affect man, must not be taken for the standard in this case; for they may be merely accidental; just as the ordinary inundations belong to the economy of the balance of the elementary forces of nature, and as the storms and tempests, which occasionally are fearfully destructive, are, nevertheless, it is clear, a process necessary for the purification and salubrity of the atmosphere. But, on the other hand, many facts of medical experience and peculiar phenomena of disease, or even births of faulty or defective organization--as well as the lothsome generation of insects in the atmosphere or on the surface of the earth, and many diseased states in both--when viewed simply and elementarily, and apart from the usual principle of epidemic contagion, appear to point rather to some intrinsical evil and originally wild demoniacal character in the sphere of nature, even though they only occur as exceptions to these general laws. How deadly even sidereal influences may prove is at least established by the fact of lunacy. In those fields of celestial light, too, and those brilliant hosts of heaven, which, as nature’s more retiring and lovelier charms, become visible only by night, and display themselves to the calm and tranquil soul, all is not in such perfect unison and harmony as the first impression would lead us to suppose. A note of discord arises from the irregular orbits of those eccentrically revolving stars, which, though rare in their appearance, seem to be pretty numerous--exercising either a watery or an arid influence on the terrestrial atmosphere, and whose paths astronomy has indeed calculated, though her calculations have not always been verified. All our knowledge, too, and recorded observations of the rest of nature, _i.e._, in this sense of the earth itself, does not go beyond the surface--consequently to only one portion of it; and yet perhaps that internal part, which is hidden from us, is the very one that is most deeply significant, and more nearly akin to the eternal. Nature, in her interior and reality, may perhaps possess little resemblance to what we see of her externally. At every step we stumble on some new proof of our ignorance, and much also that gives an intimation of a new and unknown world.

Nature in general may, for us, be compared to a towering pyramid of hieroglyphics heaped together at random, from which, with our utmost pains, we can scarcely succeed in bringing together and deciphering two or three at most, while we have not the key for interpreting the meaning and order of the whole; for we must not, as under a very erroneous idea is often done, seek this in nature itself, but entirely in its divine principle; for in this must all that is unintelligible find its solution. Now, in that one part of nature which we are best acquainted with, its surface--after that law of sexual distinction which reigns not only in the animal but also in the vegetable world, and which, moreover, in a certain sense prevails in the very atmosphere and its elementary organs of life--no other law of nature is so universal as that of death. But if it be true that through that spirit and power of evil who first revolted from God, death came into the world, and also into nature, then must the earthly and now natural death have proceeded from the author of eternal death.

Very questionable, in this case, would it appear to be, whether the first and original creations of nature were other than immortal. If He whose essence is omnipotence thinks hieroglyphics, then are they living creatures; and can we, judging of Him in Himself, and His proper nature, suppose that He would conceive of or create aught else than what is eternal and immortal? The old curse still hangs over nature, wherein the first author and inventor of death has contrived to root himself so deeply. And that malediction was not removed by the first man; on the contrary, it was deepened and confirmed by him. And even at the divine renewal of the human race, the same anathema was again pronounced upon the natural tree of an earthly life, condemning it to wither still more and more under the baneful dominion of death. The victory over death is only to be gained together with the perfection of man. And then shall follow a theocracy and divine renovation of nature, under which all that is therein shall again become immortal. A perfect harmony shall thereby be restored to the whole of creation.




In these pages we give to the world the philosophical Lectures which the late F. V. Schlegel delivered last winter, at Dresden, to a numerous and distinguished auditory--the last monument of his life and mind. To many of his personal hearers they will probably be welcome, as enabling them, in the perusal of what their own ears so lately heard, to realize more distinctly the matter of the Lectures, and the whole person of the eminent individual who was so unexpectedly taken away from among them. But to a still larger circle of the friends and admirers of Schlegel, this publication will, no doubt, be acceptable, especially since, under a pervading reference to language, it throws much light and more fully carries out the views advanced by Schlegel in the Lectures delivered two years before, at Vienna, on the Philosophy of Life. In this rich and important fragment, Schlegel’s whole idea of philosophy stands out far more clear and distinct, though, for its complete elucidation and exposition, it was his intention, had he been spared, to add at least one more series of Lectures to the three already given to the world.

The present publication is eminently calculated to show what in these three connected series of Lectures it was the author’s first object, both as a thinker and teacher, to accomplish, viz., to convey the living words of his inmost mind, rich with the fruits of many years’ study and research, to all who possessed a sensibility or disposition likely to be roused and animated thereby to pursue or promote some kindred inquiry or object. It would, therefore, be a proof of grave misconception to make such requisitions on these Lectures as are incompatible with this end and with the character which they most covet, of being, in the higher sense of the term, a living discourse; for, to satisfy such demands was neither the design or wish of the author. It was not his purpose either to take some single abstract notion, and by detailed elucidation to make it clear and obvious, nor to set up some rigorously limited system of notions, with its definitions and arbitrary terminology, whose great merit should be made to consist in such regularity of plan and faithful execution, as should every where command the notice and the wonder of the reader. In short, it was not his object, in some partial speculation of the reason, exclusively to set forth a long series of abstract propositions as a model and precedent for such essays. Those, however, who, to use Schlegel’s own words, look upon these Lectures as a series of questions to which their own hearts, silently, indeed, give a concurrent answer, or find therein the satisfactory solution to many difficulties suggested by their own reflections on the life and mind of man, will not be able to get rid of a just and righteous sorrow, to think that the voice from which they still looked for many such questionings, and much similar instruction, is suddenly silenced, and that none remains who, as inheriting the spirit of the departed, or as his favorite and intelligent scholar, is able to supply what is still wanting.

With this heavy feeling of sorrow, it seems perhaps inconsistent to express a passing regret that the author has not been permitted himself to superintend this edition of his Lectures, and to make those corrections which here and there might have appeared to him desirable. A few passages, noticed thus (†) in the text, were marked by Schlegel himself, either for emendation or enlargement, and the loss of these corrections we can not but miss and regret.


By philosophy--and this term best expresses the historical and original conception as it was understood by the Greeks, who so variously and ingeniously developed it--I understand man’s innate and natural curiosity, so far as it is universal in its scope, and not from the first limited to any one specific end or subject.

This natural curiosity, consequently, stimulated by the mysteries of existence, whether in the external world or of its own consciousness, would fain make all these enigmas clear, to itself, and by attaining to an inward illumination, would discover the true signification, or, if we may so call it, the all-explaining key-word of life. And, indeed, there is no reasonable doubt but that the possession of this revivifying and living key-word would give to life, both individual and universal, a much more exalted energy. For nothing less than an internal light of intellectual brightness, or of the spirit made clear to itself, is that search after truth and knowledge, by which we discover the key-word and true signification of life, as a whole. By it all the powers, qualities, and faculties of the soul are strengthened anew, inwardly elevated, and augmented in force and fertility. And if any would prefer to give the name of science to this highest and earliest speculative knowledge or pursuit of internal certainty and divine truth, we object not, so long as it is admitted that it is not a science precisely in the same sense, and still less in exactly the same or similar form, as the other sciences, which are directed to one specific aim and limited to one subject. Free as life and the free-formed spirit itself, ever new, wonderful, versatile, and infinitely varied, both in internal structure and external manifestation, are the ways of man’s thinking and speculative spirit. A ready and apposite illustration will clearly demonstrate this peculiar freedom and manifold variety in the methods, species, and developments of philosophy. At any rate, if it do not place it vividly before our eyes, it at least suggests the idea of it. The written dialogues of Plato--that great master of philosophical exposition and of the thinking dialogue of science, with its ever-living and changing play of thought, and earnest spirit of investigation--are perhaps not less diversified in their course; not less wonderfully manifold and exuberant with all the riches of genius; not less peculiar in their general conception, as well as external development; not less exquisite in the finish of the several parts and divisions, than the poetical productions of the greatest and most admired of dramatists.

Those who are best acquainted with the art and the intellect of the poet and of the thinker, will be least inclined to dispute the justice and accuracy of this comparison. We appeal to the instance of Plato with greater confidence, not only because he stands alone, as inimitable for beauty of exposition, and for fullness and grace, as well as spirit and vividness of style, but also because (as is apparent from the numerous and varied compositions which he has bequeathed to posterity) every path of inquiry previously opened, as well as every road and by-way of dialectic subtilty still conceivable or possible, were perfectly familiar to this lofty intellect. There was, in short, no field of speculative thought and investigation, however high or deep, that remained unexplored by him. From any one of his most perfect master-pieces, consequently, we might perhaps, by a precise and exhaustive analysis of the art and skill that lies hidden in it, gain a more correct notion of the true and profitable method of speculative thought and investigation than from many or most of our compendiums of all absolute ideas and metaphysical chimeras, or from the systems at present in vogue of unconditional logical negation.

In order, however, to establish this view of a true philosophy of life, which in its very form is also living, it is unnecessary to appeal to any single example, even though it be one so splendid as that of the Socratic school in general, or of Plato, the greatest thinker it has produced. For in fact, the whole history of philosophy, from its commencement to its close, will serve as a proof and confirmation of its truth. In various ways does it teach and convince us that in this lofty struggle after truth the most divergent, and even apparently contradictory methods and tendencies may, however, and actually do lead to similar conclusions, nay, to one common result. It shows us that, however various may be the paths, the end of knowledge--the eagerly-sought jewel of truth itself--is by no means always and in all cases tied to any immutable and exclusive rule of one fixed form and solely felicitous method of thought, as to a magic charm on which all depends, and from which all success must flow. The history of philosophy, I said, for, understood in its full extent, in its correct sense and spirit, and in its deepest significancy, what else is this than the internal reverse of the picture of man?--the intellectual half of humanity, in its development through all the peculiar and remarkable processes which in the pursuit and cognition of truth--that noblest exercise of man’s powers and faculties--he has at any time had recourse to. And in tracing this gradual progression, we may easily discern an invisible guidance which shows itself, especially in the more remarkable epochs or transition-points and decided periods of the struggle. In the general exciting cause, and the new directions which the inward intellectual development occasionally took up, and the law it followed, an entirely distinct order of things manifests itself to the glance that looks beneath the surface, of a far higher and more exalted nature than aught which is comprised and established by the insignificant rule of our ordinary school methods, or which is only estimated and judged thereby.

It is by no means my wish to set aside the usual scholastic form in the academical exposition of scientific philosophy, or in any way to depreciate it when it is effectively carried out on strict principles. In its right place, and when the occasion demands it, we must acknowledge it to be indispensable. It is not to be neglected with impunity. This is especially the case in that period of our life which is more particularly and exclusively devoted to the study of the sciences, when philosophy naturally takes its place among the rest in the academical course, and also in the systematic mode of instruction assumes a form similar to the other sciences. It is involved in the already advanced but briefly and imperfectly developed idea of the spiritually free and ever-varying, ever-shifting form which belongs to the very nature of philosophical thought and knowledge, that when circumstances predispose, and its external relations afford the opportunity and occasion, philosophy should adopt and appropriate the limited and less absolute form of other sciences, or, as I would rather express it, may and can condescend to assume them. But this is only a special application for some collateral purpose, a deviation and exception from, and not the rule itself, if we thereby understand the natural rule, or that which is essential and original, and consequently the simplest and highest.

As regards, however, the philosophy which pretends to be the science of life, and not merely of the school, this principle follows from the fact, that when taken as a whole, and when the question is not of any special application to a particular view and object, its form also must be free and vivid. Consequently, even when classed and associated with the other sciences, it justly lays claim to the first place among them, as being of a different nature and origin.

It is far, therefore, from being requisite that philosophy, following the mathematical sciences as a handmaid, should endeavor servilely to copy them, as has been so often erroneously done, and, in spite of experience of its impracticability, over and over again attempted. Still, with a true view of a living philosophy, mathematical science, however dead in itself, and even fatal to a higher spirit, attains under profounder apprehension to intrinsic significance, and becomes elevated and ennobled. The true method (that, namely, which alone deserves to be so called, the method of truth) is based on the simple process of thought and its living development, in which one thought springs and unfolds itself naturally from another, and rigidly excludes all that is foreign and repugnant. The true method does not move in paragraphs and numbered propositions, making an outward parade of an apparently strong chain of evidence, in which, however, a rigid scrutiny often detects some specific link in the chain totally valueless and without illative force, or at least weak and far from cogent, or placed in a false position, to which it has properly no reference, and only in appearance filling the void it covers. Thus it is also with what we call system, or systematic. We are indeed accustomed to employ this word in a twofold sense--either to convey praise, or in an evil and deprecatory signification. In the latter use we say, “This or that work is nothing but a system,” or, “According to this or that system.” But by such phrases, when criticising any comprehensive theory of scientific thought, we do not mean that the work is entirely without foundation, purely and absolutely imaginary. For in such a case it would hardly be worth while to spend more words upon it. Our meaning rather is, that while containing something that is true, and much that is excellent, undue importance is ascribed to the system, or too much is inferred from it, every thing being forcibly made to agree with it, and itself carried beyond the limits of sober truth: in a word, that the systematic coherence is only external and specious, and the result of much labor and art. In reality this is very frequently the case. This course is too often pursued in the theories and discoveries of modern science, especially in those branches which stand in the closest relation to physical life and its preservation, and are consequently most influenced by the fashionable ideas of the age. Some happy thought, bearing the very stamp of genius, some ingenious idea or entirely new view is started; on this foundation a system is forthwith raised, either by the author himself or his followers and disciples. Embraced with the ardor of enthusiasm, the novel theory is further extended and promulgated, and becomes the watchword of a sect or party, until, degenerating into a mere fashion, and being borne up awhile by the eddies of the moment, it sinks at last into insignificance, and is swallowed up by the vast stream of time. When once the matter has reached this point or this stage in the pathology of human thought and opinion, then that first idea and original invention may be considered as good as defunct, or at least is, as it were, buried alive, and the true vital principle which originally animated it is no longer perceptible.

But in a good and legitimate sense we may characterize a scientific work or a scheme of thought as systematic, or as forming a system in itself, and as such approve of it, if only it possesses the virtue of internal consistency, and the spirit of unity pervades and animates it. And if this consistency of idea be really intrinsic and spiritual, and at the same time living and natural, it will be easily recognized in its perspicacious simplicity of form and expression. It will need neither the external display of systematic precision and prolix demonstrative argumentation, nor the apparently rigid concatenation of paragraphs, in which, however, the forced connection and the panoplied array of propositions form but a poor device to conceal the deficiency of intrinsic life and unity.

The case is precisely the same with the science of human thought and philosophy, as with external life and daily experience. Nothing is more highly estimated in society, business, or politics, than an active and consistent character. Properly speaking, this example is not so much a simile as the very thing itself, or the same subject viewed from another ground or in a different relation. But this high and rare property of a genuine consistency of character does not depend on the delivery of a multitude of philosophic adages in and out of season, or the specious thrusting forward of moral maxims, but rather manifests itself amid general reserve and silence, by its straightforwardness of action, or when it speaks, by the clear simplicity of its language. So is it also with consistency of idea in philosophy. The intrinsic and vital unity of a comprehensive system of thought--the systematic coherence which results from a reigning idea of the whole, reveals itself and is to be known by a simple and familiar form of expression, not unlike that of a friendly conversation, and is not exclusively confined to any prescriptive or preconceived formula of the schools or artificial method.

But in respect to academical instruction, and the position which philosophy either may or ought to occupy therein, I have one remark to add. If I may judge by my own experience, or by what I have at times observed in others, either when as a youth I was an academical student, or when afterward, as a visitor at several of the German universities, I took part in the scientific pursuits, and occasionally as a lecturer propounded my own views and opinions, a decided and striking division seems to subsist between philosophy and the peculiar scientific studies proper to the future wants of life. This is, however, less the case with the study of medicine, which, being founded on, and conversant with, the science of nature, stands in a close relation to philosophy. Still even the prosecution of this natural science proves distinctly enough that the interests of general science follow entirely different paths from such as are most eligible, and more especially conducive to the acquirement and collection of particular information. Still more does this apply to that numerous class who devote themselves to civil professions, and whose future life is to be employed in political departments. By them philosophy is pursued as a mere collateral and secondary object of study, as a half-superfluous intellectual luxury. But this she nowise admits of; she demands an earnest and devoted affection, and must be embraced with the full ardor of love. It is in this very earnestness of purpose, and this genuine attachment and enthusiasm, that it has its source and being. Hence we may often observe many a studious youth attracted by the general question as to the nature of the human soul, and by these sublime investigations into the mysteries of existence. Under the influence, as it were, of some magical spell, he is absorbed in them so as completely to forget and lose sight of the studies appropriate to the calling he has chosen, or at least to neglect them, viewing them as comparatively secondary, while others of more practical tendency steadily devote themselves to the study of their profession, and confine themselves exclusively to its pursuit. Rigidly rejecting the metaphysical charm and seduction of system, as a dangerous lure, they care little, if at all, for the contempt with which the other class, whom dialectic speculation has bewitched into forsaking its proper object of study, looks down upon them as incapable of rising to the height of its own exalted argument. Now, if I might venture to hazard a suggestion for the removal, or at least the accommodation, of this alienation from, not to say opposition to, philosophy, which exists in the tone of our German universities, and if it be not out of place here to enter into this matter, my first desire and advice would be, that the study and course of philosophy should be kept entirely distinct from that of the profession or the particular science which is learned with a view to future avocations in life. In such a case philosophy might most advantageously be taken up by the student after the completion of his other studies, in short, at the conclusion of the whole academical course, setting, so to speak, the crown upon it, and forming the last step which the pupil must take before he enters upon the realities of life.

Moreover, there is no leisure for idle meditation during the years of academical study--that period of preparation which few have a second time afforded them, and which, being entirely practical, ought to be specially devoted to the perfect mastering of the special sciences which in after-life are to occupy us. It is rather in our later and maturer years, after the acquirement of the particular professional knowledge, and even in the midst of the active business of life, that leisure, together with a convenient opportunity, or a natural occasion, is afforded for that meditation with which philosophy ordinarily begins, but which in its results remains no idle speculation; or for that apparently superfluous inquiry, which, however, investigates a subject more necessary and more essential to man than all else.

So much--if it has not been indeed too much--I believed it requisite to say concerning the form of philosophy, not so much to justify or to excuse that which in the present case I could alone adopt, as rather from this point of view also to establish the independent position, and to depict the lofty aims of philosophy. For if philosophy is nothing less than the actual science of life (and the skeptical query whether such a science be either possible or attainable by man, will in nowise affect the question; for if the doubt concerning the nature of life, or life itself, is suggested by life, and consequently is living and real, it amounts to the same thing, and the objection applies alike to the doubt or the certainty)--if, I repeat, the object of philosophy be the sublime conception of our inner life, struggling to unravel the mystery of its own being, how can it be right, or how could a wish arise to exclude from it one half of humanity, or society, or of civilized life? The proper sphere of philosophy, no less than of art, is the whole civilized public. This is the body in which it must circulate, and to which its action must be applied. The specious ground for such an exclusion can only be looked for and discovered in the ordinary school form, which indeed, as I have endeavored to show, is by no means essential to it, but rather a mere accident, which is so far from being necessary, that it is not even of universal application.

If, therefore, the subject-matter of philosophy is the whole inward life of man, if its end is the solution of the ever-recurring questions of the speculative consciousness, and the reading of the enigma of existence, or however else we may choose to characterize and express it, it is assuredly something of a distinct and more exalted nature than any of the preparatory sciences which make up the academical course of study for the specific objects of some limited calling and profession. The philosophy of life, as it sets out only with one simple position--life, viz., man’s inner life--is restricted to no particular sphere, but embraces them all in their fit season and occasion. When, indeed, in the youthful, not to say childlike spirit, standing on the threshold of expectation, this inward feeling of life or consciousness has not as yet shaped itself into an ardent speculative curiosity, or a grave and melancholy questioning, or when at least, it has not passed through the first stage of thoughtful wondering, then it is as yet too early for the awakening of philosophy--that inward search after truth and meditation on the nature of our existence and consciousness, that self-examination, those half-doubting yearnings after an unknown love. Youth, inexperienced and undeveloped, may reasonably be supposed to be excluded from a participation in this natural field of philosophical speculation, although even in this, as in every other case, it is extremely difficult to define the precise limits. It would also be idle to repeat the remark so often insisted on by the sages of antiquity--that where life is totally absorbed in the business or pleasures of life, or distracted by the cares of avarice or ambition, so that, strictly speaking, no voice from within is heard, no soul-cherished feeling or sentiment, nay, even scarcely a thought purely spiritual, still survives, or finds a place in that world-engrossed bosom--there philosophy finds no ear for her sublime revelations of the inner life, nor dares hope for a responsive echo to her high-soaring meditations, and that profound emotion from which it draws her own birth.

Philosophy, I said, takes nothing for granted but life--an internal life, that is. The more perfectly, the more manifold the aspects, and the more comprehensively within the given limits under which this life which it supposes is viewed and studied, the more easily will it fulfill its object, the sooner will it attain to that which constitutes its proper end and aim. For this aim is to render clear and intelligible, both to itself and others, that higher life, whose existence it assumes as the necessary basis of its speculations. But how would this primary postulate, this natural basis of philosophy of life, be restricted and limited, if the sex which is so pre-eminently marked by strong and deep feeling should be entirely excluded from the sphere of its inquiries. Indeed, according to a more liberal, comprehensive, and enlarged point of view, such as is most consistent with the true nature of things, youth, with its enthusiasm and quick sensibility for the beautiful--its first and most exalted love--is not to be exclusively given up to the fine arts. As the latter are elements of life, and very important elements too, they can not be excluded from the sphere of philosophy, but, on the contrary, form no inconsiderable portion of its general problem. The objection, however, might be raised, that these, the best and fairest of the gifts which nature dispenses with a liberal and benignant hand, are but transitory, and that they wither and disappear before the first rude touch of external circumstances that limits their free play; so that, to judge from appearances, they scarcely can abide, or be steadily kept up to the gravity of philosophical contemplation. Often, it may be urged, some unpropitious destiny, some sudden storm of fate, overwhelms and destroys them, stripping the youthful tree of life of all its leafy honors before it has properly put forth its blossoms. This, no doubt, is perfectly true. In most cases, however, the destroying principle does not come from without. Fortune and external circumstances have little to do with it. It lies rather in the inner impetuosity of passion, in self-will, or some other dark shade of character, perverting and bringing jarring discord into the most exalted feelings of the soul. Would it not be well and especially advisable to place from the very first these tender and delicate flowers of youthful feeling within the influence, and under the action of an inward illumination and reflection, as the only probable means of imparting to them greater hardihood and durability, and thereby to convert the fair but ephemeral flowers of youthhood into the mature and enduring fruit of sincere benevolence, of a generous activity and inward harmony? There is, in truth, no easier or more simple mode by which man can hope to arrive at this end. It is only by means of such inner light, and purity of sentiment and luminous meditation, that we, can hope to work our way to the key-word of existence which shall reconcile every difficulty, clear up every doubt, and attune to harmony every discord. For hereby also will the power be gained which alone can sustain and protect this inner life from every destructive influence. This enlightenment, however, is nothing else than the philosophy of life, and therein consists its essence.

Now, in order to place before us the very center of the entire question, and at least to notice beforehand that which must more perfectly develop itself as, step by step, we trace the natural process of thought, both in life itself and the science of life, one remark is necessary. The soul is nothing less than the faculty of love in man. For this reason, also, the loving soul (if I may here make such an application of the words of a great teacher) is the clear mirror in which we gaze upon the secrets of divine love either reflected or symbolically figured as so many enigmas, which, nevertheless, serve us as light-giving and guiding stars amid the darkness of this earthly existence. And in this pure mirror of our soul we plainly behold the eververdant and immortal plants or hidden flowers of nature, like the dark bed of the deep through the clear waters of a still sea. In this mental mirror nature greets us with features less strange and unknown, and with familiar aspect seems to claim at once a kindred sympathy.

In these slight and passing remarks, I have touched briefly upon many a topic of which the full development must be reserved for our subsequent Lectures. Still, though thus limited, they contain the grounds which to my mind fully justify my adhesion to the opinion which, more than thirty years ago, in the first commencement of my literary labors, I advanced with regard to the question of the propriety of excluding one half of mankind from this region of speculation. And although, in maintaining this sentiment, I have to stand alone in, or even am opposed to, the age in which I live, still on this point I prefer to take as my guide and precedent the ancients, the Socratic school, and, above all, the great master, Plato. And were it necessary, and the present place admitted of it, I might easily, both from ancient history and modern times, adduce authorities enough, both in number and in weight, to refute the opposite opinion, or, rather, prejudice.

The sphere, therefore, and field in which philosophy has to move, or to which it has to apply itself, is no narrow one, hemmed in and confined by any unwarrantable exclusiveness. On the contrary, it must, so far is possible for aught that is human, be complete and perfect. And for this reason also, she must not, as indeed she can not, take her rise in a consciousness artificially parceled out and divided, and, in short, but one half of its true self, and which, being biassed and visionary in its views, is divorced from real life. It can originate only in the mind’s greatest perfection and in its full and most undivided entirety, inasmuch as to make this consciousness clear to itself and to others constitutes even its proper function and entire aim.

In the latest period of German philosophy many an ingenious path of investigation has, no doubt, been here and there struck out. By a critical comparison of different views, systems, and opinions, dialectics, as a preparatory course of study, has been improved, psychological research advanced, especially the philosophy of nature enlarged. Still, on the whole, a purely abstract mode of thinking, totally estranged and separate from actual life, is almost universally held to be the only right road to a profound philosophy. This so-called pure and abstract thinking takes nothing for granted, and allows of no postulate or axiom; it acknowledges none besides, and generally has no foundation save itself; it starts from itself alone, and in so far has, strictly speaking, no proper beginning. Consequently, without proper end or aim, it goes on continually revolving around itself as a center, and within its own charmed circle. Assuredly, where the dialectic art and system moves within this narrow range of thought, and restricts itself thereto, employing a language which, while it is sharply abstruse, metaphysically recondite, and pre-eminently abstract, has at least the merits of clearness and distinctness, and ingenious classification, then the very first result of such an exercise of dialectic art is profitable, although merely negative. For it establishes the fact, that truth and knowledge are not to be attained by this method; that thus it can not profitably be either sought or found. It shows, too, that this dialectical preludium itself in nothing more than a preliminary exercise that at most does but serve as an introduction to another more lively way of fruitful thought; though even as such it is suited, not indeed for all, but simply for those who enter upon it with this view of its nature.

Human language, with its wonderful suppleness, can adjust itself even to the consciousness which is parceled out and abstractedly divided, so as perfectly to copy and reflect it in its ever-movable mirror. It is able to give a perspicuous order and an artist-like shape even to the mere logical thought which has no subject-matter. It only fails when the logical conceit of mere empty thought contemptuously rejects in the giddy whirl of supreme abstraction, as its last earthly defect, the laws of grammatical art, and refuses to add to its abstract style the merit of perspicuity, in order that, as a metaphysical chimera, it may in the inaccessible darkness that shrouds the obscure of the high-enthroned “Ego,” soar higher and higher, and withdraw itself as much as possible from the eyes of man. A confused terminology, perfect unintelligibility, are the never-failing companions and peculiar characteristics of a false philosophy, which dreams of finding the inestimable jewel of truth and science in a never-ending and elaborate division of the consciousness. It places perfection in an abstraction carried continually higher and higher in its emptiness. But in truth it is only in the living unity of the full consciousness that we can properly understand the pure logical forms of thought, such as they are inborn in the human mind, or are engraved thereon as the first directive traits and principles of its intellect and rational activity. They must be judged of according to the place which they occupy in the whole, and relatively to the manner in which they act in or influence it. It is thus alone that their true signification can be determined and truly conceived.

As often, however, as from that self-styled pure, but in reality empty and totally abstract mode of thinking, which is divorced from life and the realities of things, it is hoped to raise or to evoke, as it were, by spell, a real system of true knowledge, we have a repetition of the old history of the Babylonian tower, with its consequent confusion of language. Every new system of this kind is nothing more than an additional section of or an appendix to that ancient confusion of speech, as well as of views and opinions, so ancient in the history of the human mind. Each of these builders in the edifice of endless error commences with pulling down the fabric that his immediate predecessor and all before him may have commenced, while in the space he has thus cleared for his own labors, he founds and rears the imaginary tower of _his own_ knowledge and science. He has at least the firm intention to raise it still higher--nay, far and far above the height that all before him have attained. But one man understands another just as little as himself. More and more entangled and obscure, consequently, becomes this new confusion of ideas, till at last nothing remains but the anomalous ruins of crumbled and abraded thoughts, which even when entire were only so many lifeless stones--mere abstractions, soon either wholly forgotten, or if surviving, becoming daily more and more unintelligible--since the original lexicon or alphabet, or the all-explaining key to these rare and singular characters, can be recovered only with the greatest difficulty.

A true and living philosophy can not choose and pursue this method of ever-advancing abstraction; much less can it recognize it as the only right one. It proceeds rather from life itself and the feeling of life, and, in truth, from a feeling and consciousness of it, which strives to be as complete as possible. Far is it from dreaming that it is in any artificial and elaborately-worked-out division of the human mind, that it must seek its success or hope to attain its aim--the end of all true knowledge. Without that, it feels that man’s consciousness, in its existing state, at least, is already too much rent and distracted by division, and being by means of this dismemberment checked in its natural action, and weakened and impeded.

And this even is the point on which all turns. That philosophy of so-called pure, but properly empty thinking, separated and abstracted from actual reality, without end and without beginning, without ground as without aim, knows nothing of our postulate of life, in the full extent and sense of this word, so far as any thing is full and complete for man. The thinker, once entangled in the meshes of such a philosophy, can not admit of such an hypothesis, will allow to it no value, or, rather, knows nothing of it, and would never be able to make any thing of it. And yet, notwithstanding, in this very philosophy an hypothesis is started, or, rather, assumed beforehand--one, however, which in truth is entirely arbitrary, and which, when examined more closely and with rigid scrutiny, betrays at once its utter baselessness. It depends on or consists in assuming that the human mind, as it exists at present, is in a perfect state, and has remained entire and complete, and altogether unaltered from its original constitution. It holds that nothing is wanted for the attainment of truth, beyond a careful and skillful analysis of man’s self-consciousness, and a correct and appropriate classification of its several members. But, on the contrary, whenever we yield and give ourselves up to the feelings of our inward consciousness, and try carefully to understand it simply as it is, the first thing that strikes us most forcibly is a discord and opposition subsisting not only between ourselves and the external world, but a strife with one’s self raging in the inmost center of the mind, so that it seems to fall asunder and to rend itself into absolute unconsciousness and irreconcilable contrarieties.

Now, is it probable that strife would form the original state or the proper destiny of the human or even of any other being? can this, in short, have been the case from the first?

Strife, it is true, prevails every where in human life. It has its parties and divisions in the present no less than in the past, in the free intercourse of private as well as in political life, in the family as well as in the faith, in knowledge as in thought and opinion. Wherever these act upon life, or in any way affect it, they invariably involve it in hostile opposition and sectarian animosity.

But the immediate question here is not of this strife of the passions, or of the moral corruption of the inner character, which is excited by their indulgence, although, in truth, the external strife of human nature, which comes forward, as it were, in a visible and bodily shape, and its earliest source in the hidden contentions of the inmost soul, which arise from its entire constitution and the present condition and state of our faculty of thought.

Just a little also do we refer to any view taken of the sad mutilations of the human consciousness resulting either from some faulty organization and disease, or from those defects which proceed from defects of character or weakness of intellect. The conditions which, relatively speaking at least, we call physically and morally sound, as being free from all remarkable deficiencies or disorders, are, nevertheless, not to be regarded on this account as perfect, and endued with full living energy, and possessed of their original completeness. On the contrary, in the general mind, such as on the whole we find it at present, and which, in this respect, we may look upon as being in its true and proper state, there is much that is evidently perverted from its right object, much that has fallen a prey to disorder. And indeed we are naturally led to take the same view of it when we discover most of the several constituents of the mind for the greater part extremely weak, and as it were in a crippled state, and its different faculties seldom if ever maintaining a deep pervading harmony, and keeping in perfect unison with each other. It is to this internal opposition and original dissension of the thinking consciousness that I here would draw your attention, as psychologically manifesting itself between thinking, feeling, and willing. In this dissension, so deeply rooted in our inmost being, intellect and will are, even independently of the effect of human institutions and observances, but seldom in harmony; while reason and imagination, if not always opposed, are at least greatly estranged, and seldom maintain a mutual good understanding.

This is man’s first and ever-recurring, ever-renewed perception of his inward life. Careful observation of self is ever impressing on him a consciousness of what we might almost call an inborn, or at least hereditary, discord and division in the human mind. This intellectual fact, which is one purely psychological and totally independent of the disturbing influences of passion or disease, may in truth well carry us to the conclusion which, independently of it, so many other moral phenomena and historical traces appear to point at. It leads us on almost irresistibly to embrace that exposition of it which has been held in common by almost every ancient people; the doctrine, namely that man at the very onset fell from his original state of harmony into dissension and disunion, and has since sunk many degrees lower and lower from the dignity which belonged to him on his first creation. But as this primitive obscuration and degeneracy went to the inmost root of man’s being, under its influence, not only his relations to the external world, but also in himself, in his pure internal thinking, feeling, and willing, all is deranged, discordant, and fragmentary, so that very rarely indeed do the three co-operate effectually in a living and enduring harmony. And it is doubtless because the prevailing theories of the human mind overlook the fact of this great change that they are so utterly unsatisfactory and generally so tame and superficial. The determination, however, how far this event is to be regarded as an historical fact and rests on authentic tradition, is a question which lies beyond our present purpose, and belongs rather to a purely critical investigation. The immediate and specific aim of philosophy is simply to analyze and clearly understand the psychological fact of the discord and dissension which subsists between the several faculties of soul and spirit, and to exhibit it just as it is. Having accomplished this, it will then proceed to indicate the point or position from which the work of restoration must be commenced, or by which at least the way which leads to it may be discovered; the path, namely, of return to the original harmony of the soul. In other words, its ultimate object will be to discover the means of restoring a living and perfect consciousness, and of bringing about a more harmonious co-operation of its hitherto divided powers and faculties, whether of soul or spirit.

Now, even in ordinary experience, certain propitious combinations of circumstances do occur, when this inward strife and innate or hereditary discord between the understanding and the will, the reason and fancy, is happily overcome. Under their influence the faculties, which previously were separate and divided, or hostilely arrayed against each other, are, partly at least, and for one individual life in all its incidents, actions, and productions, brought into profitable agreement and harmony. These rare occasions are furnished by extraordinary energy of character, unrivaled artistic genius, or other high and rare mental endowment. These, therefore, form not only so many experimental proofs of the possibility of restoring the now discordant elements and the isolated organs of the inner man to completeness of unity and entirety of life, but also furnish stable points from which to start again, and to carry on the work of restoration. Such instances, however, are but exceptions from the general course of things. Fortunate and rare exceptions they are, no doubt, but still, even as such, they only serve to establish more surely and incontestably the predominance of the rule, and the universal fact of the internal strife among the faculties of the human mind.

Not unnecessarily to distract your attention at the very outset, I shall for the present omit to consider many subordinate and derivative, but applied and complex faculties of our mind and soul, such as memory, the external senses, the various instincts, and the conscience. Restricting, therefore, myself immediately to these four principal powers--understanding and will, with reason and fancy, which we may regard as the four poles of the internal world, or as the quarters of the human consciousness, I shall consider generally the opposition which displays itself between these elementary powers of man’s mind. This fact is so universally recognized, and so generally predominant, that it displays itself even in the experience and incidents of every-day life. To what amounts the opinion so commonly expressed of many men, nay even the greater part of distinguished characters, “that their judgment and will are not in unison?” “What extensive learning and comprehensive views does he not possess,” is said of one man; “what acuteness, excellent judgment! What might he not accomplish if he had but the will; but he is so changeful, you can never depend upon him, so inactive, so void of energy of character, that he does not himself know rightly what he wishes.” Now in such passing estimates of men, it is deserving of remark, that it is not the passions, or of passionate transgressions of the moral law, that come in question, but rather some internal defect and weakness. “He has the best will,” is said of another, “is always active, capable of any sacrifice and devotion, and of a firm and undaunted resolution; but at the same time he is so narrow-minded, so unbending and short-sighted, and possessed by such inflexible prejudices, that nothing can in truth be made of him, and every enterprise is sure to miscarry that he has any thing to do with.” The discord is not indeed in every case so strongly marked and distinct, still every one who at all observes his own consciousness may easily determine, and satisfactorily answer the question, whether this opposition between the understanding and the will, or at least the disposition thereto, is not deeply fixed and rooted in our inmost nature, and on the whole universal. Whence else springs the high estimation in which steadiness and consistency of character are generally held, but from the fact that it is a rare exception for will and understanding--the inward thought and the outward practice--to be in perfect harmony and agreement? And in truth consistency, thoroughly carried out in the whole life, steadfast unison of idea and practice--in short, power--immediately enforces our respect and admiration, even though we may not be able to agree with the motive and principles on which it acts, and moreover remark much in the whole line of conduct deserving of blame, when measured by the highest ideal standard of moral justice and perfection. How often do we feel this to be the case in the historical judgment and estimate of great and celebrated men, where our admiration by no means implies or carries with it a full and perfect approbation of every trait in their character or actions. Another mode of view and comparison will perhaps serve to set in a still clearer light the characteristic feature of the human mind in its present broken and discordant condition. Man usually directs his glance downward to the brutes, in order, by pointing out its difference from the animal world, to determine the peculiar essence of his own being and nature. In this comparison, after much and painful investigation, man discovers that although his physical organization and the principle of life, the blood-soul, as the source of vital heat, is of the same kind and nature with that of the brutes, he nevertheless possesses a rational soul, which they do not enjoy.

More instructive would it be, occasionally at least, to raise our contemplation to things above. By this method, many characteristic qualities of the human mind might be briefly but distinctly set forth in sharper contrast by comparison with other created things, or, as the poet calls them, “superior spirits, with whom we share our knowledge.”[62] Leaving this belief in the existence of purely spiritual beings, which was common to all nations of the old world, to rest on its own deep foundation, and passing over the doubts which might perhaps be raised against it, I shall simply take for the basis of my comparison the general idea of these angelic essences, such as from the very first it has been long and widely entertained. Now, from this point of view I should be at least justified, were I to point to that fickleness and inconsistency, or weakness and even defect of character, which I have above mentioned and depicted as forming the ordinary condition and the specific characteristic of man, which according to our hypothesis does not belong, either in the same degree or at all, to the pure spirits. With them understanding and willing are altogether one, and every thought is at the same time also a deed, every fact perfectly comprehended and carried out, with a design perfectly understood. Their activity is ever one and the same living and uninterrupted operation, whatever be its direction, in a bad as well as a good sense. And thus it is that with these spirits knowing and willing are one; so that a living and effective intellect is even a very spirit, and equally so is a perfectly self-conscious will. But a spiritual being like man, in whom intellect and will are not one, is, as contemplated from this point of view, a spirit divided and distracted, and one that has fallen into disunion with itself, which only by means of a new and higher aspiration can be again raised to its full energy and living unity.

Still more obvious, and even more striking than the general and universally prevailing discord between the understanding and the will, is the opposition and division which holds both the fundamental faculties or opposite poles of the inner world of consciousness, namely, between reason and fancy. The fancy is the fertile, and, properly speaking, the inventive and creative faculty of man; but she is blind, and subject to many, or rather, we must say, innumerable delusions. This is not the case indeed, at least not in the same degree and manner, with the reason, as the faculty of calm prudence in man--the internal standard of the moral equilibrium of his nature. Still, actually to produce, truly to bring forth or to create, is, with all its reasoning, utterly beyond its power; and if at times, as is the case with the false philosophy and mere dialectical thinking, it does make the attempt, it gives birth to naught but lifeless abortions and mere thought-created phantoms of abstract nothingness. It will hardly be necessary to track this opposition between reason and fancy farther, and to follow it into the great arena of public life, or to prove by a lengthened discussion that the men endowed with the best reasoning powers are not at the same time or especially endowed with the fire of genius, or that the most æsthetical and artistic natures are not always the most logical. True genius, however, forms a rare exception to this rule, because in him the faculties of soul and spirit, which are usually found isolated and opposed, are happily united and effectually co-operate in an harmonious unison. In other words, we have in such a case a union of the creative fancy, which in the productions of genius is the most essential point, and the acute, discerning sagacity, as also the distinctness of sensible shape and order, which can not be absent from any real production of art. And yet, for all this, the understanding of the artist is something quite distinct from practical reason and logical acuteness. There is, moreover, another state, or, rather, quality of the soul, wherein the else divided reason and fancy are intimately associated and entirely reunited. This is a natural, pure affection, and the very faculty of love, which is itself the soul and the peculiar essence of man’s spiritual soul. For example, a mother’s love for her child, which is the deepest and strongest of the natural affections; no one can call this love irrational, although it must be judged by an entirely different standard from the reason. At least it does not arise from any carefully-weighed process of the reason, for it is over it that it gains its greatest triumphs. In love both halves of the soul are united. For, taken separately and apart, reason is only one half of the soul, and fancy the other. In love alone do both concur, and the soul is there present totally and perfectly. In it both halves, which otherwise are ever apart, being again united, restore a perfect state of the consciousness.

And in the same manner there is also a means of reunion for the understanding and the will. And that, too, is a pure, strong, and morally regulated love. Whenever, proceeding from the very depths of man’s being, it has become, as it were, a second nature, and having received a higher and diviner consecration, it forms the still and invisible, but ruling soul of life, then is it the best and surest road for attaining to the reconciliation of the otherwise inveterate and deeply-rooted discord between the intellect and the will. By such a love the inmost man may be restored to peace and harmony with itself, and the otherwise distracted consciousness, regaining a full and perfect unity, is enabled to exercise its best and highest energies.

The following are briefly the results of this our first psychological sketch, so far forth as they are necessary for the purpose and object before us. The ordinary state of the human mind, such as, in its present condition, it exhibits itself to our internal apperceptions, is one of fourfold discord and distraction. Or, rather, if we may so speak, it is a quadruply divided consciousness, as being a prey to the double contrariety between the understanding and the will, and between reason and fancy. But the mind, when restored to its full and living perfection, is threefold, or, if the expression be here allowable, it is a triune consciousness--the soul restored to unity in love--the mind or spirit requickened by the energy of a consistent life, and, lastly, the internal sense for all that is highest and divine--which third member, as the external medium and the ministering instrument of the other two, can not interfere with or disturb their profound harmony. Now, the return from the mind, checked and limited in its operation by its existing divisions and discord, into a living triple or triune consciousness, is the very beginning of a truly vital philosophy, and, indeed, of a renovated and enhanced vitality.


When man is considered relatively to his external existence in the sensible world and nature, to which by his body he belongs and forms a constituent part, then the three elements of which, as regarded from this point of view, his whole being or essence appears to consist, are body, soul, and spirit. Now, not even from these are schism and conflict excluded. There is little or no harmony between the higher and spiritual principle of the inner man and the outer world to which properly his sensuous faculty belongs. The natural wants and the organic laws of our corporeal life are at issue with the moral law of the inward feelings--with the exalted requisitions of the soaring thought and the profound desire of the pure spirit. The struggle between these two distinct laws or ordinances of life, the higher and the lower, forms, perhaps, the chief problem which in his moral destination on earth man has to solve. At least it constitutes the first beginning and step thereof. No doubt, the external frame of the human body, with its wonderful organization, presents in the prime of its development the corporeal image of a more exalted and more spiritual beauty. In its highest and happiest expansion--in its noblest forms--in many a bright gleam, for instance, of animated expression on the countenance of youth--we read the graceful reflection of a more than earthly loveliness. The stamp of man’s heavenly origin is not quite extinct or completely defaced even in his frame. But on the other hand, it is exposed and subject to innumerable injuries, sufferings, diseases, and corruptions; so that we feel at once the truth of the Apostle’s words, in calling it the “body of this death.” Added, then, to the other two elements of man’s being, spirit and soul, the organic body forms the third constituent, in which, however, is contained the ground and occasion of conflict and strife. In the inner man, indeed, taken by itself, and in soul and spirit, as the two constituents of his higher life, there is involved no absolute element of discord. No doubt even here the harmony is liable to many disturbances, and perfect unison, perhaps, is very rarely to be met with; but still the discord has not its ground in the essential constitution of these two principles of soul and spirit. The contrariety between reason and fancy, understanding and will, though existing in the fourfold consciousness of man in its present state, prevails not there by any law of necessity. It is not a result of their essential constitution. Simply, the spirit is the more active faculty of the whole higher principle and of its internal life, the soul the more passive one. I have designedly employed the expression the _more_ active, and the _more_ passive, while thus speaking of soul and of spirit; for perfectly passive, and entirely devoid of liberty, the feeling and loving soul is not, as neither, on the other hand, is the spirit perfectly active and independent. The latter stands in need of the fellowship of the soul and of the life-giving feeling to kindle and to expand it. To a certain degree, both spirit and soul, or at least the preponderance of the one or the other, are dependent on the organization and organic differences of sex. In general, we may at least assert and admit this much: that, viz., spirit or thought predominates in man, but spirit or soul in the female sex. But even here (so incalculably great is the diversity of human character and disposition, so various are the methods and forms of education and moral culture) many exceptions, either by way of complication or deviation from the original simple relation, are found to subsist. In no case, moreover, can this preponderance of the reigning element be taken or understood as a total isolation or severance from the other. On the contrary, there are manifold transitions and fusions in the reciprocal action of soul and spirit. In the same way that there are peculiar modes of thought, a special kind of intellect, which, by a happy divination, goes infallibly to the point and the truth, and is entirely the judgment of feeling--the issue, in short, of the _feeling_ soul; so, too, there are many impressions on the feelings (an ardent love, for instance, and a purely intellectual enthusiasm), which take their origin immediately out of some thought, or generally from the understanding. And, in fact, the very separation of the two generally does but lead to their more intimate union, and furnish a new bond of unity. Thought and feeling stand reciprocally in need of each other. As thought gains new life and animation from the rich feeling, with its facile, tender, and profound emotions, deriving therefrom its vital nourishment and sustenance, even so the feelings are not unfrequently first awakened, and very often strengthened and elevated, by the lofty flight of thought in its bold and searching investigations. It is even this that constitutes, in part at least, the attraction of social intercourse, the charm of love, and the happiness of a well-assorted union, which does but become more close by years--the one party finding in the other the intellectual or (if the term be preferred) the psychological complement of his own being and character.

But now a similar complement for the void and deficiency which, even in the most favored dispositions, enjoying the highest advantages of learning and culture, still remains in man’s consciousness and internal existence, may be found in yet another wise, and by a far superior method. We may, for instance, seek this consummation of our nature in that Being who contains in Himself the fullness of all might and of all existence--of all life and of all love--and out of whom both soul and spirit proceed and take their beginning. Now, if we should wish to form an idea of the heavenly state of supreme felicity, such, at least, as in forecasting hope we may suppose it to be, and indeed are justified in so doing, then we may doubtless think of it as such that in it both soul and spirit, sunk in the abyss of eternal love, will rest perfectly satisfied. Or rather, in a living communion of thought and feeling, they will most intimately sympathize in this ineffable majesty, being absorbed in the never-failing stream of the infinite plenitude of divinity. In this state of bliss, the body will be dissolved and no longer existent. At least transfigured and changed, it will remain nothing more than the pure, luminous veil [_Lichthülle_] of the immortal soul and the spirit, now totally and freely emancipated. For it will no longer be possible, with any propriety, to think of the body as separate and distinct from the soul and spirit, as in truth and fundamentally it will not be separate from them. Now, for this blissful state of perfect union with the supreme essence, no less than for those single and rare moments of mental ravishment, during which, even in this earthly life, man occasionally, though transiently, does, by vivid thought, transport himself to such a state, the third element, which as the connecting link must accrue to these two fundamental energies of man’s inward being and existence, in order to complete and perfect it, is God Himself. For it is here even as in the external world of sense; there must be a third element. There, however, it is the body, which, as no less essential than the other two, completes the existence of the total man. Merely psychologically regarded, and when we adhere and limit ourselves to the given sphere of the internal consciousness, the triple principle of man’s being is neither God, soul, and spirit, as in the higher blissful state, nor even body, soul, and spirit, as in this material world, but simply spirit, soul, and sense. These are the three elements of the mind, which as such immediately concern us at present, and form the essential basis of the following considerations.

Much is there that attaches itself to this principle, or follows from it. It would consequently only lead to confusion were we at present to take a full survey of all these cognate matters and consequences, and lay them before you at the outset. Many of them will arise much more naturally afterward. Even the treating, and the elucidation, of the relation in which the senses, as the third element of the human mind, stands to the other two, and the place which it holds among them, will hereafter come more appropriately before us. And this is especially true of a question which, however, has an important bearing on the matter before us--the question, viz., whether or not some particular faculty, either of soul or spirit, is to be regarded as an internal sense, a moral instinct, or an immediate perception and intuition of the highest and best. And, connected with this inquiry, is the remark, that even in the usual outward senses there lies a spark of higher spiritual perception--such, for instance, as the artistic eye for beauty of form and color, and for grace of motion, or the musical ear for lovely sounds and measures; so that even the senses are not so purely corporeal, so totally material and grossly sensuous, as at the first glance they appear. But there is another topic which here enforces itself on our consideration, and which, for the correct apprehension of the whole matter, is even still more important than that of the relation which sense holds to the other two elements of man’s consciousness. And this is to determine whether these two, soul and spirit, are really different, or whether it be not probable that, as the active and the passive powers and aspects of a higher principle in man, they are, on the whole, one and the same, and consequently ought not, in thought even, to be unduly separated and distinguished. But however this question is to be answered, even though in man they be really and necessarily united, still a relative distinction of them is justified by that preponderance of one or the other which manifests itself at different times and in different relations of life. But a weighty reason exists for supposing that they are essentially two elements. A fair presumption that, after all, soul and spirit are not perhaps one and the same under two several sets, arises from a comparison of man with other created spirits, if only it be allowed us to make a further application of a parallel which, on a certain hypothesis, we have already hazarded. For, however problematical at most the results of such comparisons may appear, still in such cases as the present they are often very useful. They tend, at least, to give a sharp and precise determination of the peculiar and characteristic features of man’s consciousness. Now, the free and pure spirits far surpass man in energy of will--in activity and power--and, secondly, in rapidity and clearness of apprehension, possessing as they do an intellect immediately intuitive. In these properties, as contrasted with the mutability and weakness of man’s vacillating will, the slowness of his groping and erring intellect, the angels have greatly the advantage of man. But, on the other hand, the human mind or spirit possesses in its peculiar creative fertility a vast prerogative, which can not--not, at least, in the same degree--be ascribed even to the pure creatures of light. And, in truth, it is on the soul, which is not merely receptive or sentient, but also inwardly productive, lovingly creative, and ever giving new forms and shapes to the old and common, that the creative faculty of invention, so distinctive of man, ultimately rests. At least, it forms the inner foundation and root out of which it springs and rises. Fancy, indeed, with its external shape and visible manifestion in art, is only one portion of it. But still the other part also of the soul, viz., the reason, when directed to its right end, and so long as it remains within its natural limits, is a faculty of endless intellectual development, infinite advance, and perfectionment. And, in truth, the position is by no means new, that perfectibility or the faculty of endless improvement (which, however, is associated with an equally great and no less infinite faculty of deterioration), is the essential and wholly peculiar prerogative of man. It is his characteristic property. With regard to the other aspect or portion of the same property, the productive fancy namely, and its creative productions, a similar view to our own--and, indeed, under the same parallel and hypothesis--is expressed in the poet’s assertion already quoted--

“Thy knowledge thou sharest with superior spirits; Art, oh man! thou hast alone.”[63]

Only the term “art” must here be understood in a wide and comprehensive signification, so as to take in language. Or, rather, language itself is the general, all-embracing art of man. For nowhere does art evince its peculiar, internal, and intellectual fertility, its creative faculty of invention, so striking as in this wonderful structure of human language, with its many compartments. Man, we might well say, in general terms, is a production of nature that has attained to the perfection of language. In other words, he is a spirit to whom, before all other creatures, the word explanatory and declaratory, the guiding, the communicative, and even the commanding word, is lent, imparted, committed, or conveyed, and even therein consists his original, marvelous, and high dignity, so far surpassing the ordinary standard of creation.

On this account, therefore, it is only natural and consistent, _i.e._, agreeable to man’s nature and dignity, that the comparative juxtaposition and parallel which is to lead to a more correct characterization of the human mind, with its peculiar faculties and properties, should, as I said, be directed upward, rather than, as is usually done, downward to the brutes, and to the animal consciousness, if, indeed, we may justly ascribe such to them. Now, in this method of comparison I would go a step farther, for by so doing I hope to promote the more perfect understanding of the whole, and also to arrive at a correct and accurate notion of the several faculties of man’s spirit and of the powers of his soul. Which, then, of man’s faculties or powers may be rightly attributed to the Deity, and which not? To answer this question, however, it is not my intention to enter into any very difficult and abstruse investigations, such as would neither be very apposite to this place, and perhaps (to speak generally) would be absolutely without and beyond the limits of the human understanding. It will be sufficient for my purpose throughout to take for granted what, according to the universal feeling of mankind, is generally admitted, and which is even as generally intelligible, as it is easy of apprehension and clear. But when I thus without hesitation take for granted a universal belief in the existence of a divine principle, notwithstanding the doubt which in the human mind springs up against all else, so also against the highest object of faith, I do so with a deliberate view and purpose. For I shall reserve the solution of this grave problem to a later period of my sketch and exposition of the thinking consciousness and of a true living science. It is there, in truth, that it will find its most natural and appropriate place. Here, however, for the purposes of our intended comparison, which, as the instance itself will prove, is likely to be highly instructive, it will be sufficient if I confine myself to a single remark. The little that we know or can with certainty predicate of God may be comprised almost in the few words, “God is a spirit.” It is by virtue of this proposition that we ascribe to Him an omniscient intellect and an all-mighty will. Both these attributes or powers of God, are, it is self-evident, in the most perfect harmony, and can scarcely be separated from one another; whereas in man they are frequently widely divergent, at times even hostilely oppose each other, and at best do but check and limit their mutual action. Here, however, arises the question whether in strict propriety we may venture to ascribe to the Deity any of the other mental faculties and powers which man is conscious of, though on a greater and different scale, and in a very extended sense?

Now, in the creative energy of God, there is, in truth, comprised the plenitude of all fertility, and, if it be allowable so to speak, an inexhaustible source of all invention.

But still, as every one must at once feel, a productive faculty of imagination and a creative fancy can not on this account be ascribed to Him; for, were we to do so, we should step at once into the domain of mythology with its fabulous gods. And even as little, in strict propriety and accuracy of language, can we attribute to God the faculty of reason, which, in man, is the opposite of fancy. Reason is the connecting, inferring, discursive faculty of thought. But all this, with its graduated series of ideas or conceptions, is not applicable to the Deity, for in Him all must be thought of as standing at once and immediately before the divine mind, or, rather, as directly emanating from Him. Consequently, in a strict sense, and following a rigorous precision of a thoroughly correct designation, we may indeed ascribe to God an immediately cognizant and intuitive understanding, but not reason; since, by this term, it is only by a violent abuse of language and a total conversion of ideas that a faculty of intellectual intuition can be understood. One kind alone, or branch of reason, is immediately intuitive; and that is the conscience, or the moral instinct, for the appreciation of whatever is good or evil, right or wrong. This might not inaptly be called an applied reason; viz., a reason applied to the will and to its inmost motives, and to its just commencing, still inchoate determinations, out of which external actions ultimately issue. But even because conscience is an immediate perception of right and wrong, a moral instinct for good and evil, and, consequently, in form, wholly distinct from that function of reason which infers and deduces consequences, I am indisposed to give it such a name, and would rather regard it as a peculiar faculty of soul or heart, subsisting by itself, and intermediate between will and reason. In any case, it would be superfluous to observe how highly inappropriate it would be to designate by this name that warning or punitive judicial vision with which God looks through and penetrates the inmost heart, even though we must seek here the root and origin of the lucid oracles and simple revelations of the human conscience. As a property, however, it can only be ascribed to those beings who, like man, behold the law of God far above them, but by no means to that Being who is Himself the sum and source of all moral laws. But let us now revert to our first question of the predication of reason to the Deity. If, in our present reigning systems, and especially in the latest German philosophy, reason is, notwithstanding, ascribed to Him, or, rather, the eternal, unconditional, and absolute reason is itself called God, and rationality is made to be His essence; this is but the immediate consequence of the predominantly pantheistic tendency of these systems, in which the Deity is identified with the mundane All, and resolved into the universal essence. For, inasmuch as it was felt that it could not be merely the all-producing and all-absorbing--the all-bearing, infinite, vital power of the heathen systems of nature--and, since a more scientific designation was required, nothing remained for the totally abstract designation of the one All, but the name of that faculty which even in the human mind forms the principle of unity.

No doubt, in the preceding centuries, one or two great teachers have employed very similar, if not identical expressions, in reference to the Deity; still this, to my mind, appears an exception from the general rule, to be explained and justified only by individual terminology and points of view. And, at any rate, it is much safer to follow the ancient usage on this point. Accordingly, I have made it a law scrupulously to observe it throughout. But if people will at once subvert the ancient modes of speech, and completely interchange and confuse the ordinary signification of the terms reason and understanding, then all must naturally turn on the thing itself and the internal thoughts and the proper meaning which lies at the bottom of them. And then, by a due consideration of these, a mutual understanding may perhaps be eventually arrived at, notwithstanding the different modes of speech. With most of the writers and philosophers of the present day this, perhaps, is scarcely to be hoped for. The grave question, however, here (and which, as it lies at the bottom, must ultimately decide on this difference of phraseology), is this--whether philosophy in general is, according to the rationalistic way of thinking, a mere philosophy of reason, or a higher philosophy of the spirit and of spiritual revelation, or, indeed, of a divine experience.

Further, whenever, in the olden phraseology, there are ascribed to the Deity, memory and even desires, not to say impulses, which, viewed nearly in the same light as man’s appetites and passions, are designated by the same terms, all this is to be understood in the same way as the expressions concerning His all-seeing eye, His ear, and His mighty arm. They are merely figurative and symbolical phrases. In the use of them there is no pretension to scientific accuracy, with which understanding and will are universally and actually ascribed to Him. They are devoid even of that apparent probability which gives rise to the question, whether imagination and reason can, with the same propriety as the former two, be attributed to Him. With as little truth can a soul be ascribed to Him. For this is, exclusively, a passive faculty; whereas, in God, all is energy and activity. The expression, however, of a soul of God, is found, by way of exception from the general usage, in a few among ancient writers.

A more correct mode of indicating what is meant by this term would be to say that God is love, and that love is even His essence. Or the same idea would be well conveyed by speaking, under the form of a living force and property, of God’s fatherly heart as the center of His being, of His omnipotence and omniscience, and of the infinite love which results from the two. No doubt even this expression of God’s fatherly heart is merely figurative and symbolical. Still it is one of high significance, and, as such, it is not a mere figure without meaning. For, the higher and profounder spiritual philosophy, from Plato down to Leibnitz, has ever purposely employed such symbols and figures to indicate that which properly is inexpressible. In fact, it has always preferred them to the abstract notions employed by the rationalizing systems of our own lifeless metaphysics of naught, which, as they are void in themselves, so do they in reality say nothing.

Thus, then, has the very first step in this comparative psychology carried us, at once, to the utmost limits of what is knowable by man. Still it has tended, in passing, to place in an eminently distinct light many important matters and essential properties and faculties which belong to our present sphere of psychological inquiry. It is now, however, necessary for me to turn my regards back to the point from which we started. In order to commence our philosophy of life with the center of life and of man’s whole consciousness, we set out from a psychological fact, which immediately impresses itself on the awakening consciousness. This fact is the perception of the discord which reigns in our entire self, and especially of the deep-rooted dissension which, in their usual state, divides the four principal faculties of the consciousness, according to the twofold contrariety of understanding and will, and of reason and fancy. I will here merely add the remark, that further still, another essential property of man, and a state equally characteristic and peculiar to him, is closely associated with, and, indeed, is grounded in this internal discord, viz., the freedom of the will and the state of doubt. Now, this freedom of will which belongs to man is very different from the freedom of God, or even from that of the pure spirits who were first created. The notion of free will, however, is so deeply and firmly grounded in our inmost feelings, that man’s universal conviction of it can never be wholly undermined by any doubts of the reason, however subtilely advanced, and, in appearance, demonstratively urgent. No objection or difficulty can totally extinguish and annihilate the persuasion of its truth within our breast. For even after the greatest shock which our faith in ourselves may sustain, either from reflection or from subtilely refining on the subject--after what, apparently, is a complete refutation of its truth, this divine and inborn prejudice (if I may so term it) of our intrinsic freedom still springs up again. As the inextinguishable vital flame of the spirit, it rises anew from the expiring embers of those deadening doubts, which are themselves nothing more than the dead notions and null phantoms of a false semblance of thought. Now this freedom of will is a liberty of choice, _i.e._, a will long vacillating between two different series of ideas--of opposing grounds and reasons, and, at last, deciding for one or the other. This volition, however, is, by its nature, so little decided, and frequently finds so great difficulty in coming to a decision, that even when externally it has already concluded its deliberations, it often becomes again undecided and begins anew to hesitate. Or this freedom of choice in man may otherwise be described and thought of as a decision of the understanding, which compares together two different volitions, carefully weighs the conflicting grounds in favor of each, and, at last, in its final judgment, recognizes the preference to one or the other. Consequently, this free will and choice, so peculiar to man, depends intimately and essentially upon that controversy between understanding and will, which, if not inborn, has become, at least, a second nature to him. I have spoken of this freedom of will as peculiar to man, since it is not necessary, and rather would be a most arbitrary hypothesis, were we to go so far as to assert, that, assuming the existence of other free but created essences, our own special kind of freedom is the only possible and conceivable one. Still, for our present purpose, it is allowable to make such a purely hypothetical simile and comparison, if (a point on which the experiment itself must decide) it be likely to render our own peculiar form of consciousness more intelligible and conceivable. In this sense, then, we may go on to say, that we must conceive the liberty of the blessed spirits as being in its essence very different from that of man’s. As such it belongs to beings who have long passed beyond the probation of the still undecided choice, or who, at the very beginning of their existence, were, by the design of the Creator, withdrawn from it, and have, consequently, attained to eternal freedom, together with undisturbed and undisturbable peace in God, who is the sum and inexhaustible source, as well as the unfathomable, of all freedom, no less than of all life.

But even irrespectively of this freedom of choice for actual life and its particular objects and motives--irrespectively, also, of the freedom which is conversant about external actions, and of the inward moving causes of the will which contain the first ground and hidden germ of the former, and of that state of uncertainty which follows therefrom, and which not unfrequently long vacillates between one side and another--there are, also, in pure thought, simply as such, a similar state of internal hesitation or doubt--_i.e._, of a thought hostilely attacking, undermining and destroying, denying, and annihilating even consciousness and cogitation itself. Left wholly to ourselves, when, closing our regards to the external world, and without any definite object, we calmly commit ourselves to the stream of purely internal thought, we soon become sensible of this fact. On the one hand, there crowd on the mind the impressions of the outward senses, and the manifold creations of the peculiar, never-resting faculty of cogitation, seeking to gain the mastery over and to carry it along with them. On the other side, the distinguishing and discerning reason comes in with its questions and doubts, and chemical analysis, to resolve every thing finally into naught, and to explain all the conceptions of the mind as groundless and unsubstantial, as so many pure illusions of the senses, conceits of caprice, prejudices of a limited understanding, and mere pictures or creations of fancy. Thus, then, the ever-swelling flood of thought in man’s inner being and cogitation is not any calmly-flowing stream, in which wave quietly follows and succeeds to wave, as through rich and fertile plains it pursues its course from some distant source to the wide and open sea. The fearful conflict of thought is rather some double current, where, amid the crags and rocks, the pent-in waters, confining one another, beat up into foaming breakers--or, still more dangerous, beneath their apparently calm and smooth surface, they form the tearing whirlpool with its bottomless abyss, which, at the least incautious approach, hurries, irresistibly, into its vortex the tossing little boat of man’s brief existence. For the most part it is only in natures originally, at least, highly endowed and noble, that doubt and this internal struggle of thought rise to the height of despair. These alone are finally driven, by the rejection of all belief in themselves, into utter ruin both of soul and spirit. The tendency, however, to a state of struggle and doubt is universal. It seems to be nothing less than a characteristic property of human nature, and to have its foundation in the dissension subsisting between reason and fancy, which has so firmly established itself in the mind of man. It may happen, no doubt, that in a mind whose opinions are settled both in theory and practice, no instability will be found to subsist in the plans which guide and regulate life, but that, on the contrary, they are, on the whole, followed out with fixed resolution and decided energy. And yet, even in such a case, particular doubts will occasionally arise affecting many matters (which, although subordinate to the fundamental laws of life, are, nevertheless, far from being unimportant), so as to force upon us the remark, or even to extort the confession that, in general, such a state of immovable determination does not belong to human nature, and that this internal conflict forms one element of that warfare of life to which man is called. The predisposition to this I have referred to the discord between reason and fancy, and, for brevity’s sake, I have employed, throughout, the latter designation for it. I must, however, avail myself of the present occasion to observe, that fancy is not limited merely to poetry and the fine arts, and their respective creations, but inasmuch as all productive thought belongs to the imagination in the same way that the negative does to the reason, it also co-operates more or less with science. It is, therefore, chiefly in this latter and larger sense that we here employ the term, since it is from the contradictions of the productive and negative thought that the struggle and state of doubt arise.

The first truth, then, that psychology arrives at, is the internal discord within our fourfold and divided consciousness. Having commenced with a slight characteristic sketch of this fact, I have attempted to give a further and deeper grounding, and to invest it with a higher and profounder significance. To this first perception we appended, as the second member in the series of our philosophical investigation, the idea of a triplicity of consciousness as restored to its perfect and living action. According to this view, the simple division of the mind is into spirit, soul, and sense. And this will, in all our subsequent Lectures, form the basis of our psychological reflections on the human mind. It will also serve as the transition from the ordinary state of the consciousness in discord with itself, and with its fourfold division, to the reunited triple consciousness. We shall make it the starting-point and first step in this philosophy, which, as it sets out from life, is also to lead to a higher life.

But now, even in the mind’s ordinary state there are many such beginnings of a higher order of things--many moments of a more concentrated energy, which bespeak a joint operation of the otherwise divided faculties and powers of soul and spirit, and have for their result a partial restoration, at least, of harmony to this otherwise dismembered whole. Among these I would mention, first of all, that inner fixity of character, where thought, will, and conduct are consistent throughout; secondly, a true artistic genius in the creations both of poetic and plastic fancy. Lastly, there is that ardent and disinterested love, with its magnanimous self-sacrifices, which, though it surpasses all the limits of reason, can not, nevertheless, be looked upon as a mere imagination or illusion of fancy, forming as it does a profound and natural energy of the human soul, and constituting in truth its true and proper essence. No doubt the external phenomenon and effect of this elevated principle of the soul is often tarnished and lessened by the dull admixture of earthly ardor, and the bewilderment of passion. A true and perfect manifestation of the feeling, consequently, is no less rare than the truly felicitous creations of real artistic genius. Still it is to it that we must look for the first principle of a higher living thought and the true science thereof. The truly loving soul needs only the excitement and guidance of a mind or spirit ripened and matured in divine experience. Accordingly, the consciousness thus restored to unity and completeness of perfection becomes actively operative in its triple energy. And in the same manner the spirit striving with most ardent aspiration after the divine, requires nothing but such an animating contact with the loving soul, in order to attain fully and effectually to its desired end.

In the series of combining elements or principles of union for the otherwise divided consciousness there is yet another phenomenon, both great and comprehensive in itself, and which also reveals itself as such in actual life and experience. And this phenomenon is furnished by language, with its wonderful variety and yet truly artistic uniformity. For it is the vital product of the whole inner man. All the faculties both of soul and spirit, however discordant generally, combine each, in their full share and measure, to perfect this their conjoint production. And yet, after all, many traces of inherent imperfection are visible therein. It is only in the highest creations of artistic genius, manifesting itself either in poetry or some other form of language, and then only in the brightest and happiest moments of inspiration, that we meet with the perfect harmony of a complete and united consciousness, in which all its faculties work together in combined and living action.

In language, all the four principal powers have a nearly equal part and share. The grammatical structure, the rules for the changes and declensions of words, and their syntax, are furnished by the reason. From the fancy, on the other hand, is derived whatever is figurative; and how very far does not this reach, extending as it does into the primary and natural signification of words, which often no longer exists, or at least is rarely traceable? Lastly, the clear and distinct arrangement of the parts, the nicely-finished and beautiful shape of the whole of any composition, whether poetical or rhetorical, civil or scientific, are the contributions of the understanding. And so, also, whatever is truly characteristic--whatever, in short, goes beyond the mere instinctive cry of animal nature, and the childlike, oft-times childish imitation of external sounds--in short, that deep and spiritual significance, that characteristic meaning which, in the original stem-syllable and radical words of some rich old language, invariably is regarded as a beauty, must be ascribed to the understanding, which so profoundly seizes and precisely designates whatever is peculiar, unless, perhaps, it is preferred to assign it to an immediate feeling, which wonderfully harmonizes with or responds to it. Moreover, the magic force of a commanding will, which carries all before it by its intrinsic energy, is at least noticeable in those few brilliant passages of highest inspiration or perfect poetic delineation, from whose clear and perspicuous language, the apparently ineffable, shining forth like an electric spark, kindles and influences every sensitive and kindred mind.

But before I go deeper into the question of the origin of language, and examine the correct idea of this all-embracing and wonderful faculty of speech, as man’s most remarkable and peculiar property, I would call your attention to the intimate connection subsisting between thought and speech, which is throughout reciprocal. For as speech must be regarded as a thinking, outwardly projected and manifested, so, too, thinking itself is but an inward speaking and a never-ending dialogue with one’s self.

Judging, from all appearances, the consciousness of animals, so far as we are justified in ascribing it to them, is perfectly simple, but sadly defective and limited. But even here, however, the several melodious courses of irrational and seemingly unconscious sounds appear like so many echoes of a better foretime--lost traces of ancient memory, and which, together with the moving and mournful cry of deep, painful longing, seem to make tolerably clear to us the notion of the creature waiting and groaning for its emancipation. Highly simple, too, but in quite a different respect, is the consciousness or thought of the free spirits in their pure activity, such as we may and ought to represent it to ourselves--like the ray of light which in its rapid descent penetrates all space. But marvelously intricate, on the other hand, and highly complicated, is the so manifoldly rich, and, at the same time, so versatile and changeable consciousness of man. Such, at least, is the impression which a serious and searching glance into the unfathomable depths of our inward man enforces upon us. And, indeed, just as in the triple operation of the consciousness, when restored to the full perfection of life, we may trace a certain faint signature of man’s pristine likeness to the Creator, so also a slight vestige of the same kind is, we might fancy, discoverable in its unfathomable depth, which, however, now reveals itself in quite a different form from its original nature, and appears to be converted into its opposite. How often does the thought that seeks to penetrate the mysteries of nature--the hidden thinker within man--believe that he has completely solved the riddle of existence, and is able to explain and rightly interpret the many-meaning but obscure words of the sphinx within us! And even then, when he most flatters himself with his own ingenuity, this miserable Œdipus of his own destiny is stricken with even more fatal and incurable blindness than the old Theban, and can not discern the abyss of error into which his whole life has been hurrying, and into which it is at last plunged headlong and precipitated. Ever laboring to seize the changing Proteus of its own self, our Ego may, perhaps, often arrive at a rare amazement at the enigma of existence, and also is even seized many a time with a light terror. Never, however, by itself, let it think and seek as it may, will it be able, without some other guide, to find the object of its longing, and, in its tragic blindness, to discover the clue of the labyrinthic mazes of its own thoughts, and at last to arrive at harmony with itself.

So profound, moreover, and lasting is this our intrinsic dualism and duplicity--(and I use the term here, not in its usual moral sense, but in a higher signification, which is purely psychological and metaphysical)--so deeply is this dualism rooted in our consciousness, that even when we are, or at least think ourselves alone, we still think as two, and are constrained, as it were, to recognize our inmost profoundest being as essentially dramatic. This colloquy with self, or generally, this internal dialogue, is so perfectly that natural form of human thinking, that even the saintly solitaries of bygone centuries, who, in the Egyptian deserts or the Alpine hermitages, devoted a half life to meditation on divine things and mysteries, were often not able otherwise to indicate the result of such meditations, to invest it in another dress, to bring it into any other form of exposition than that of a dialogue of the soul with God. And in all religions, what properly is true prayer but a kind of dialogue, a confidential opening of the heart to the universal Father, or a filial solicitation of His benevolence?

But to pass over at once to the directly opposite aspect of the matter: even in the classical works of cultivated antiquity, at a time when these depths of a loveful feeling were not yet so widely developed, nor so completely revealed and unveiled, we meet with this same phenomenon in another form, and one indeed of the highest intellectual clearness and brilliancy--in the graceful ornament, viz., of a truly exquisite diction. I am alluding to the characteristic distinction of the discourses and teaching of Socrates--that peculiar irony, such as it is found in the Platonic dialogues, and of which only a very slight trace is to be found in the works of some of the earliest poets. For what else is this scientific irony of the inquiring thought and of the highest cognition, than a consciousness which, while it clearly perceives the secret contradictions which beset the mind, even in its most earnest pursuit of the highest aim of life, has attained, nevertheless, to perfect harmony with itself.

I must not, however, omit to remind you that this term in modern phraseology has fallen very far below its primary meaning, and is often so taken as to designate nothing more than a mere playful mockery. In its original Socratic sense, however, such as it is found in the whole series of the thought and the internal structure of Plato’s dialogues, where it is developed to its fullest measure and proportion, irony signifies nothing else than this amazement of the thinking spirit at itself, which so often dissolves in a light, gentle laugh. And this light laugh again oftentimes beneath its cheerful surface conceals and involves a deeper and profounder sense, another and a higher significance, even the most exalted seriousness. In the thoroughly dramatic development and exposition of thought which we meet with in the works of Plato, the dialogical form is essentially predominant. Even if all the superscriptions of names and persons, all forms of address and reply, and, in short, the whole conversational garb, were taken away from it, and we were merely to follow the inner threads of the thought according to their connection and course, the whole would, nevertheless, remain a dialogue, where each answer calls forth a new question, and the eddying stream of speech and counter-speech, or, rather, of thought and counter-thought, moves livingly onward. And unquestionably this form of inner dialogue is, if not in every case equally applicable and absolutely necessary, still it is all but essential, and at least highly natural and very appropriate to every form of living thought and its vivid enunciation. And in this sense even the continuous unbroken speech of a single person may also assume the character of a dialogue. Yes, I must confess that as it is my first object to attain to the greatest possible perspicuity of a vivid development of ideas, I should then most confidently believe that I had gained my end, if the present Lectures should in any degree make the same impression on you as a dialogue would--if they should appear like a series of questions, to which some of you, if not throughout, yet here and there, should in your heart give a tacit answer and assent--or even (and in this case still more so, indeed) if, in the whole context of these Lectures, you should find and believe to discover for many questions which your own hearts, your own reflections and life itself suggested, if not a full, satisfactory answer, yet at least one directly meeting the difficulty, and full of suggestions for its solution.


True irony--for there also is a false one--is the irony of love. It arises out of the feeling of finiteness and one’s own limitation, and out of the apparent contradiction between this feeling and the idea of infinity which is involved in all true love. As in actual life and in the love which centers in an earthly object, a good-humored raillery, which amuses itself with some little defect of character, either apparent or real, is not inconsistent with sincerity--not, at least, when both parties have no doubt of each other’s affection, and its ardor admits of no increase--but, on the contrary, lends to it an agreeable charm, even so is this true of that other and highest love. Here, too, an apparent, or it may be an actual, but still only insignificant and trivial contradiction, can not destroy the idea on which such a love is based, but, on the contrary, serves rather to confirm and strengthen it. But only there where love has reached the highest purity--has become profoundly confirmed and perfect--does this appearance of contradiction, which is thrown out in an affectionate irony, fail to alloy or weaken all higher and better feeling. And what other foundation could a philosophy of life well have and recognize as legitimate than the idea of such a love? And this is even that supposition of life, viz., of the inner life, of which I formerly said that it is the only one which philosophy requires, and from which alone it must set out. Only it is requisite that this love should be personally experienced or inwardly felt, and the notion of it derived from immediate experience.

Directly opposed to those arbitrary systems which compose the reigning philosophy of the day, the philosophy of life is a science of internal spiritual experience, which, as it proceeds from, so it every where rests on facts; though indeed the facts on which it is grounded, and to which it has invariably to refer, are in many respects of a high and peculiar kind. On this account philosophy may even be called a science of divine experience. If man had never, and, in short, were incapable of having any experience of divine things, what could he know of the Deity with certainty? A knowledge devoid of experience would be but the arbitrary creation or illusion of his own mind--an inward fancy, or the mere reflex of his own reason--consequently an absolute nullity. And for such a knowledge the task would ever be difficult to get rid of a mere idealistic conception of the Divine Being, or at least to repel the doubt whether He be actually any thing more than what such a conception represents Him. And, in fact, in most treatises and elaborate developments of that system of thought which makes man’s self the exclusive principle and standard of truth, the manner of treating the divine nature is extremely superficial. Such purely formal and empty notions on this subject are advanced, that we are often justified in applying to these speculations on the highest topic of human language and thought, the remark that applies too often to lower scientific treatises: “Thus it is that men write who have no real knowledge of the matter.” “Here we at once see there is a total want of personal observation; the work is not based on any solid foundation of actual experience.”

Now the philosophy of life, in its highest range at least, is a divine science of experience. This experience, however, is throughout internal and spiritual. It is therefore easily conceivable that it can enter readily and easily into all other experimental sciences, and into those especially which more immediately relate to man, as, for instance, most of the branches of natural history, and still more into philology, with which at present we are most immediately concerned. And this it does, in order to borrow such illustrations and comparisons as may tend to elucidate or further to develop its own subject-matter, or else to furnish applications to individual cases in other departments of life. However, in thus proceeding, philosophy must take heed lest it overpass its own proper limits or forget its true end and aim. It must not go too deeply into particulars, or lose itself among the specialities of the other sciences. On the contrary, it ought carefully to confine itself to those points which more immediately concern man, and especially the inner man, and, adhering to the meaning and spirit of the whole, seek to elucidate and throw out this pre-eminently.

The question as to the origin of language, or, more correctly, the question how man attained to the capacity for this wonderful gift or faculty of speech, which forms so considerable and essential a part of his whole nature, if it is to be taken merely as a matter of historical research and philosophical learning, lies out of the circle which we have marked out to ourselves. A discussion exclusively confined to this special branch of philology has little in unison with speculations involving the inner experience of life and psychological observation. There are two opinions pretty generally diffused on this subject: the one maintaining that there is one primary and original language, from which, as a stem, all others have branched forth; and the other, that several were cotemporaneously formed. These opinions, as unfavorably affecting the right understanding of the essential connection between language or speech and thought, I would wish to keep out of view, and consequently I shall dismiss them with a few passing remarks.

The one is founded on an erroneous hypothesis, and is itself false. It is in open contradiction to facts, as we now know them with tolerable completeness. As for the other, even if it be not in itself truly and properly false, it is, nevertheless, based on a great misconception, or at least, as it is commonly propounded, involves one.

The former theory consists in this, that language generally, or, rather, several cotemporary languages, as fundamentally distinct from each other as the several races of men, who, as this view asserts, sprung up out of the earth, and its primeval slime, were formed spontaneously by a perfectly natural process. To the mere animal cries and various instinctive exclamations, either of joy and grief, of passion and want, were associated the deliberate imitation, together with a childlike mimicry of different sounds, similar to what we may even now observe in children, with whom such mimic intonations and mocking word-play is a common and favorite amusement. From such sensuous beginnings, it is pretended, a language might have grown up, gradually and slowly, indeed, to the height of rationality and grammatic form and order. That these two elements--the animal cries of nature and the mechanical imitation of sounds--have contributed to the development of language, is a position that needs not and can not be controverted. This element, however, is not found in all languages in equal measure. It is strongest in those languages which stand at the very lowest grade of development. Among others, again, which having attained very rapidly to maturity, and having at an early period branched off into several others, appear, in their most ancient state, highly intellectual and significant, it is scarcely traceable. But a fatal objection to the hypothesis as explaining the universal and complete principle of the phenomenon of language in all its ramifications, is the fact that the noblest and most cultivated languages are found, upon investigation into their earliest state, to possess, even at this date, the most artificial form, and to be manifoldly rich, and at the same time highly regular and simple. And this is pre-eminently the case with the Sanscrit or Indian, in comparison with the Greek, Latin, and other kindred languages of the West and North. In those, on the other hand, which appear to be at the very lowest grade of intellectual culture (and generally these stand quite isolated from all those in the midst of which they are found), we frequently observe, on a closer acquaintanceship, a very high and elaborate degree of art in their grammatical structure. This is especially the case with the Basque and the Lapponian, and many of the American languages. In the Chinese, this excessive and inappropriate expenditure of art has been directed to a very peculiar and complicated system of writing. There was no place for it in the language itself, which is extremely poor, being in its basis excessively, not to say childishly, simple, and quite ungrammatical. Its whole verbal treasury does not, it is said, contain more than three hundred and thirty words, which form the same number of single syllables. These, however, acquire a different signification by means of accents, of which there are no less than eighty thousand; and even though, as competent judges and the learned aver, not more than the fourth of this large number are really necessary and made use of in practice, still the liability to mistake must be very great, since the entire language is founded on this artificial system of writing, much more than on its living and spoken sounds. Hence, not unfrequently, when even learned Chinese talk together, they misunderstand each other. This, indeed, is occasionally the case in other countries also. But the difference is, that in the former the source of misconception lies in the language itself; and it is only by writing down their words, that the Chinese can be sure of intelligibly conveying their real meaning.

Modern and experienced philologists have, in consequence of these difficulties, given up that view of language which would derive it entirely from the imitation of animal cries. Plain facts, indeed, speak too decidedly against it. And, in truth, the chief point to be guarded against amid the great variety and the immeasurable richness of the phenomena of language in general, is the explaining them all by any single hypothesis, or the deriving them from one origin.

As to the other opinion respecting the origin of language: the view and assertion that God himself brought language to man, and taught it to him, can not properly excite any opposition, in so far as all that is good, and man’s best and original prerogatives, must in reason be derived from God as their first author. But when it is supposed that the language which on this hypothesis the first man spoke in Paradise, and which, as such, is the source of all other later and derivative languages, may still be found, and is to be recognized in any one now extant, as, _e.g._, the Hebrew--this assuredly is a great error. It involves a total misconception of the immense interval which separates us from the first origin of the world. Of the language which may have belonged to the first man, before he lost his original power, perfections, and dignity, we are not, with our present organs and senses, in a capacity to form an idea. Indeed, we are no more able to do this than to judge of the nature of the language employed by the eternal spirits for the immediate interchange of their thoughts, which on the wings of light fly instantaneously through the wide expanse of heaven, or of those words, ineffable by any created being, which are uttered by the Deity in His inmost being, where, to use the words of the Psalmist, “deep calleth unto deep,” and where the fullness of infinite love answers to Eternal Majesty.

But now, to descend from this unattainable height to our own level, and to consider the first man as he really was: then in the simple statement of the first authentic records of mankind, that God taught man language, there is nothing, if we adhere to its obvious meaning, which is in any way revolting to man’s natural feelings. For why should it make any such startling impression on us, if, as it ought, this whole matter be understood somewhat in the light of a mother teaching her child the first rudiments of language?

Still, together with this simple and childlike signification, it (like every other part of this divine book, thus written on the inside and the out) possesses also a far deeper meaning. That name by which each living creature is called by God, and designated from eternity, must embrace the sum of its inmost essence--the key of its existence--the reason and the explanation of its being. As, indeed, generally in the Holy Scriptures, so here, also, a high and holy import is combined with the notion of the name. Interpreted, then, by this profound sense and significance, this brief narrative, as I previously pointed out, conveys the idea that by this communication to man by God Himself, of the names of all living things, the former was set up as the lord and king of nature, and even as God’s vicegerent over the terrestrial creation. And indeed this was his original destination.

If, then, no existing speech or language can afford us an access to this veiled original, now become inaccessible to us, still the idea of one primary language, or, perhaps, of several such, is certainly any thing but devoid of an historical foundation. At least it is a very natural hypothesis, and founded in some degree on facts, which must not be forthwith rejected, but requires to be tested by further inquiry. It is, however, of no light importance to the maintenance of this hypothesis to form a right conception of the difference between derivatory and mixed languages, and, above all, to take a comprehensive survey of the whole of human language, in its nearly boundless wealth, so far as such a survey is serviceable to our present object of arriving at a true knowledge of man. And how can such a profitable application and applicability be well doubted? For the genealogical tree of human languages, in its manifold ramifications--the growth of language shooting forth from epoch to epoch, with all the vast riches of art, does but hold before us, as it were, a written monument and memorial of the thinking consciousness assuming, so to speak, a bodily shape, and visibly presenting itself before us, but still on a grand historical standard, and according to dimensions which reach over the whole habitable globe. That, _therefore_, the history of the thinking consciousness stands in most intimate connection, or at least in very close relation to the science of living thought, is surely a point which requires neither lengthened investigation nor an express demonstration.

In the attempt at this juxtaposition, I shall only project those points which either are of importance for the right understanding of the whole, or of interest in themselves. For this purpose I shall avail myself of nothing but the most certain and clearly demonstrated results of modern research into the nature and history of language. All that may appear in any way uncertain, or would lead us too far into the special branches of philology, will be left unnoticed.

A simile from physical science will perhaps lead us by the quickest and shortest road to the object we are in pursuit of. And, indeed, the geological branch of natural history may well be considered cognate to the inquiry before us. For what geology properly investigates is the antiquities of this terrestrial planet, and the primal condition of the mountain ranges, observing and seeking to read the long-hidden memorials that are daily brought to light of pristine convulsions, and to number the successive epochs of gradual change and decay. But it was not at once that geological science made any progress beyond the mere acquaintance with the surface of our globe. An insight into its primary internal constitution and subsequent process of formation was not gained until observation had enabled us accurately to distinguish between the two kinds of rocks--the alluvial and the secondary, with their fossiliferous strata of chalk and clay--and the primary, unstratified rocks of granitic and similar structure, and by patient and accurate observation of the superficial phenomena of the earth in different lands and climates to establish this classification as a general law. Now this geological distinction admits of application to language. Those composite languages which have been formed out of a mixture or aggregation of several, may be compared to the diluvial rocks which belong to the secondary formation. As the latter have arisen out of or have been formed by floods and inundations, so these mixed languages owe their origin to the great European migration of nations, or perhaps were formed by the East by similar Asiatic migrations, at a still older epoch, and in primeval times. Those languages, on the contrary, which, at least as compared with those which are manifestly mere derivatives from them, we may call primary. In this class we may mention the Roman among those of Europe, and the Sanscrit in those of Asia. These, then, stand on the same line and dignity with the so-called primary rocks. No doubt, even in these further investigation will discover many traces of a mixture, no less palpable indeed, but one, however, in which the constituents neither were originally so heterogeneous, nor since have continued so totally unchanged. For in the same manner, granitic rocks, and others of the primary order, are also found to be composite in their mineral constituents. These likewise point to a still earlier convulsion of nature, to which they owed their first production. Unquestionably, however, the primary mountains form the first line and earliest formation among the several epochs of revolution which the present earth has undergone. But it would be an error were we from this simple fact at once to draw any inference as to the interior of our globe; for this geological and mineralogical distinction of the two classes of rocks can not be proved to hold good beyond the mere surface and coat of the earth. To this alone is man’s observation and experience confined.

It is impossible to penetrate very far into the interior or the central mass of our planet, and investigate its internal constitution, and consequently this ring of rock can not be regarded in any other light than as analogical to the thin covering and epidermis of the organic living creature. And just so is it with the science of language. There are undoubtedly languages which, in a certain sense, we may term primary. Only in so doing, we must not think that in any one of them we have discovered and possess the long-hidden original of all existent languages. If, for instance, from this correct geological classification of rock, any bold speculator should go on to assert that the whole interior of the earth, or at least the center of it, is a mass of granitic or other primary rock, we feel at once that this would be a baseless hypothesis. And it would be as grave an error, in the domain of philology, were we to go on and draw a similar conclusion. The Sanscrit, for instance, holds unquestionably the foremost rank, as the oldest among those which belong to the same family, and, as compared with these, may undoubtedly, in a precise but limited sense, be regarded as a primary language; but it would be an idle assumption were we therefore to consider it in the same light that Hebrew was formerly, and to look upon it as the universal original, the first source and mother of all other languages on the surface of the earth.

But not even the historical prerogative of a high antiquity--no, nor even the merit of having preserved a primary form in greatest purity, however valuable a quality, is the sole standard of excellence in a language, nor that which alone determines its perfection. The English language affords a ready illustration of our remark. To it, beyond all others, the designation of being a mixed language applies; indeed it corresponds altogether to this character. It furnishes at the same time a striking proof of the height of excellence which even a mixed language is capable of attaining; meeting as it does, all the requisitions of a solemn and nervous poetry, the earnest appeals of eloquence, and the calm flow of descriptive prose. And yet, on analysis, it presents to the grammatical eye the somewhat heterogeneous compound of two wholly different elements, whose originally chaotic mixture has been reduced into a rare and happy proportion. For into its original High-Dutch, or Anglo-Saxon basis, many words have been introduced from the Latin or Norman-French, which among the living roots of the former appear so far aliens and foreigners, as, being little capable of grammatical declension or derivation, they do not, like the others, form so many fruitful verbal stems, from which new forms and compounds shoot forth. Of Asiatic languages the Persian is in this respect of a similar constitution to the English. Here also the essential foundation and living root of the whole is some peculiar and old national language, closely akin to the Sanscrit and Gothic-German; but its Arabian admixture is as great in degree as the Latin-French of the English, and indeed both were brought in by a similar political revolution. Still the Persian is generally, and with good cause, praised as a noble language, abounding in lively poetical ornament, and moreover, like the French in Europe is adopted throughout Asia as the general language, of business and conversation. Those derivatory languages also which stand next in order to the mixed, and in part also belong to them, and which have rather softened down than abolished the stricter grammatical forms, having rounded them off as it were for greater convenience of use, do not necessarily stand inferior to the mother-tongue in grace and vigor of composition. On the contrary, in respect of style, they are often vastly superior to them. Thus the Italian appears softer and more flexible for lyrical verse, and perhaps for every creation of the poetic fancy, sweeter and more graceful than its Roman mother-tongue. The French, too, at least as the language of society, moves with an unequalled freedom, while, for precision and distinctness of expression, its prose has attained to an unparalleled height of excellence. The Spanish also, besides being praised for the excellence of its prose, as admirably suited either for the dignity of serious narrative or the ingenious play of wit, is in poetry distinguished above most of its sister dialects by a wonderful richness and peculiar grace in the playful sallies of the fancy. And yet it is a derivative language, and compounded of the most heterogeneous elements. For not only it is highly probable that the Gothic-German admixture is even greater in this than in any other of the romance dialects which sprung up out of the Latin, but the Arabic also forms a very considerable element in it.

But it was not to descend into the grammatical specialities of philological erudition, or to heap up a mass of purely æsthetical remarks, that I have alluded to these pregnant instances. What I chiefly had in view was to remove, if possible, all erroneous notions from the conception of the primal language. It was, in short, my object to bring before your minds its origin and growth, according to that continuous process which may even still be seen going on in any spoken language. And although in our own neighborhood it is only in a few partial instances, and these far from definite, that we can trace this living process, still they are not on this account to be neglected, since they furnish much instruction, and are calculated to throw much light upon the whole matter.

Now, as regards the historical origin, not only of language in general, but also of its several extant dialects, and especially those which relatively to such as are derived and compounded out of them may pass as primary, there is one essential point toward a right understanding of the matter. We must not attempt to account for their origination and development merely by a mixture and derivation from many individual parts, but rather endeavor to set them before our minds as productions similar in nature to that of a poem or any other piece of art. For the latter are severally the result of a conception which, from the very first, was a whole--they never could have been produced by any successive agglomeration of atomistic parts. In this view of language we must, in thought, place ourselves at a very different epoch of mind from the present. Now we can not well hesitate to allow that, in the primal period of the human race, and of nations individually, the productive fancy would manifest itself in the creation of words with far more of inventive genius and fertility than would be likely to be displayed at a subsequent period of mental culture, when the analytical reason had, step by step, succeeded in gaining the preponderance.

Commonly, indeed, men speak strangely enough of the origin of languages. They talk of the matter somewhat in the same fashion as it would be to say of a picture, that it had its origin in ochre, lake, ceruse, asphalt, and such like coloring substances, together with the addition of oil, which holds here somewhat the same place that in language the reason does with its grammatical arrangement and logical combinations. Of these motley materials, it might be said, one little particle after another is laid on the canvas, till, gradually, long streaks appear, which again swell gradually into fuller and deeper outline, until, at last, a complete form and figure stands forth, to which, at last, there accrues an expressive physiognomy. And so, at last, the picture is finished. But in all this description it seems totally forgotten, that unless the ideal conception--the picture as a whole--had, from the very first, been present to the mind of the painter, it would never have attained to such a realization, thus growing up, step by step, under the hand of the artist. At least, without this it would not be a true artistic work of genius, since this is, in every instance, the result of some foregoing conception of a whole.

Not piecemeal, therefore, and fragmentarily, did language arise. It came forth, rather, at once, and in its totality, out of the full inner and living consciousness of man. We shall have no difficulty in thus considering it, if only we can succeed in ideally transplanting ourselves to that foretime when the thinking faculty was more creative, and when, in the designation and expression of its ideas, it moved more freely and with the elasticity of genius. But if speech answers to thought, and if language itself is but a true copy, a shifting diorama, as it were, of man’s inward self, then (to make use of that oldest record of the human race, which, as it is better and more natural than all others, so it also furnishes the best clew for unraveling the riddles of olden tradition), we might well ask whether the language of Cain, the accursed vagabond wandering over the face of the earth, could have been the same as that of the pious patriarchs and saints of the primeval world, some of whom, under other names, but in equal honor, are found mentioned in the traditions of the ancient Persians, and the sacred books of the Hindoos and other Asiatic nations? Or could it well have been the same with that of Noah, the second progenitor and the restorer of the human race, whom, likewise, the earliest traditionary records of every people recognize and mention. The family of the Cainites holds no inconsiderable place in the earliest history of civilization, and the first working of metals, and the invention of several useful arts, is expressly ascribed to them. But still their difference in language from the other families of the antediluvian world, and generally in their whole civil constitution, must have been very great and palpably noticeable. And this favors the hypothesis, which, in itself, is any thing but impossible, and deserves rather to be called highly probable, of several primary languages, or, at least, of different epochs in the primeval speech of the earliest foretime, which, moreover, serve to indicate so many natural sections in the progression which the mental development of the aboriginal family of man observed, and the shapes which its mode of thinking successively assumed.

Now, if I may venture to suggest the course in which some such progression may, in idea at least, be projected and traced in the entire system of the vast multitudes of languages which exist on the face of the earth, I would set out with the Sanscrit. For this is the best known and understood of the whole Hindoo family, among which it holds the foremost rank as the oldest and most complete. To the same class would belong first of all the old Persian, the Gothic-German, and the Scandinavian, all of which are most intimately related to the former; then the Greek, and the Latin with its many derivatives; and lastly, according to the opinion of competent judges, nearly the whole of the Slavonic dialects. All these languages, each in its measure, and in proportion to the cultivation it had enjoyed, are marked, especially in their earliest stages, by a very artificial structure and a beautiful grammatical arrangement, but pre-eminently by a highly noble poetic shape, combined with an equal degree of scientific precision. This, however, is but one family among many others which make up the whole system. The latter, however, stand at a far lower grade of development and perfection. Among those which, like the Tartaric-Chinese and the African, belong to the latter class, the highly remarkable dialects of America occupy an important and characteristic place. The traveler[64] best acquainted with the American races and dialects has described the former as singularly remarkable for the degradation to which their mental faculties have fallen below the original standard, while he speaks of the latter as resembling the relics of some great ruin or mighty devastation. On this expression of the famous traveler, which agrees so accurately with the idea I am here developing, and with the result of my own investigation into the course of the human mind since the old and primal times, I am disposed to lay very great stress. For with him it was the conviction impressed upon his mind by personal observation alone, unbiassed by any preconceived opinion or hypothesis favorable to my views. This character of deep degradation belongs, perhaps, to the better class of languages, since they present but little analogy to each other in their material elements, and admit scarcely of any classification. At least it forms a distinctive mark of them, and awakens a melancholy impression.

The Egyptian, which, since the partial deciphering of its hieroglyphics, is no longer totally inaccessible, belongs, I think, to this second class. In it, however, it holds a very important place, and is eminently distinguished. For its hieroglyphical mode of writing, by combining the alphabetical with the symbolical mode of indication, gave it, consequently, great liberty of choice among the different phonetic figures which might stand for the same alphabetic character, so that the phonetic word was, as it were, invested with a symbolical garb, and all alike assumed an hieroglyphical tone. Some of the Greeks regarded the hieroglyphical as the oldest of all human languages; and, indeed, that somber melancholy which seems to reign in all the monuments of ancient Egypt, might well be regarded as a silent witness to the great event of the ruin of a primeval world.

In order to complete our subject, the Hebrew still remains for a general notice in that brief review which alone our limits admit of. We must, however, give such a characteristic view of it as will enable us correctly to determine the place which it is to assume among the rest. Apparently, it stands isolated by itself, belonging altogether to neither of the two classes we have described. It seems to favor the conjecture, that a new and peculiar class is necessary to embrace all the phenomena in this first and oldest epoch of language. This, then, with the two already considered, will form three classes. In its radical words, the Hebrew exhibits only a slight relationship to the Indo-European family. This, however, on further examination, will probably be found to be still more considerable. For it is often impossible to recognize it at once beneath a totally different grammatical form and structure, and it is, moreover, withdrawn from immediate notice by the difference of its predominant mental tendency. We know, however, as an historical fact, that the Phœnician, which differed from the Hebrew only as one dialect from another, was not without some connection with the Greek, on which it exercised no inconsiderable influence. Now, with respect to the peculiar character of the Hebrew, every thing in it is directed to the attainment of the highest vividness and profound significance. This is even the case with its grammatical principle, which makes all its other terms, whether names of objects or qualities, subordinate to the verb. The triplicity, also, of the roots, which, with very few exceptions, consist of three letters--which again, for the most part, constitute as many syllables--was, assuredly, not without a significant design, and possessed, collaterally, a certain mystic allusion. In its profound significancy and compressed brevity--in its figurative boldness and prophetical inspiration, far more than in any chronological precedence of antiquity, consists the peculiar character and high prerogative of the Hebrew. On the other hand, it is somewhat inferior to many others, as, for example, the Greek, in poetical forms and shape, in richness and variety of development, and in precision of scientific diction. In its essential character, the Hebrew language is prophetical, like the people itself, even in the present evil days of their dispersion--the people in whom the living word of the twofold ancient prophecy, now that the Jews have handed it over to the Gentiles, has first attained its perfect accomplishment.

The whole system of the languages of man is but the external and visible copy and true mirror of his inmost consciousness. The different epochs of their ancient production are but so many terms in the progression observed by the human mind in its development. Consequently, language in general, as the clew of memory, and tradition, which binds together all nations in their chronological series and succession, is, as it were, the common memory and organ of recollection for the whole human race. It is only in this relation, which is certainly important, and also essential to the problem before us, that I have thought it allowable to enter upon this episode. Many of the particulars may perhaps have been unattractive enough. Still I trust that the general result, as throwing light upon the origin, or, rather, the historical rise and oldest development of language, has proved universally interesting, even though at most it has but suggested matter for future meditation.

This result may be expressed or briefly comprised in the following words: on our side of that obscure interval or great chasm which separates us from the hidden and inaccessible history of the first formation of language, the first grade in its growth is indicated by a deep state of decline and a melancholy sense of the fact. And yet even from this state a highly significant art is not altogether excluded, since we see it expressing itself in the beautiful symbols of the figurative language of Egypt. The second step in the further development of human speech is formed by the lofty flight which the poetic spirit took in the ancient languages, which greatly excel all others in beauty of form and perfection of structure, in richness of poetical ornament, and perspicuity of scientific precision. Some of the oldest fragments in those languages are also marked with a peculiarly beautiful tone of sarcerdotal solemnity, as is the case with many a relic from the earliest period of the Latin.

But the fuller and higher initiation in divine lore, and a bold, religious enthusiasm, form another and a peculiar grade in the historical development of language; and this was the third step that it took in this earliest and primeval time. And, as a proof that the characteristic just alluded to is not derived solely from the spirit and tone of the holy writings of the Hebrews, and that I have not, without further corroboration, transferred it at once to language in general, I will add one more remark, tending to show that in some degree it has its foundation in the very nature and grammatical structure of human speech itself. In the Arabic, which in many other respects is closely akin to the Hebrew, many of these characteristic properties may likewise be traced, even though the Arabians at a very early date, turning aside from the simple faith of the old patriarchs, gave themselves up to the superstitions of magic and astrology, and, since the times of Mohammed, have been animated with an inextinguishable and fanatical hatred of a profounder truth of godliness and the religion of love.

I called language in general--as being the store-house of tradition, where it lives on from nation to nation, and as being the clew of material and spiritual connection which joins century to century--the common memory of the human race. Now, it is this faculty of memory which I would here seek to give a more precise characteristic of. For the present seems its appropriate place in our series of psychological inquiries, according to the relative position which it holds in the general system of the mental faculties. Before entering upon this topic, however, the position that language must not be thought of as being in the first instance produced piecemeal by the concretion of several atomistic and unconnected parts, but as molded in one cast, and in its totality, similarly to a poetical or other creation of art, requires proof and corroboration. For this purpose, then, I would bring to your remembrance a fact or phenomenon which is closely connected with the investigation into the nature of memory, though it involves a marvelous leap of the memory, or at least of its usual method of operation: I am alluding to what, by an old phrase, is called the gift of languages--or that natural gift by which certain individuals seem enabled to enter all at once into the spirit and structure of foreign languages, and that not merely in the case of very simple ones, but even the highly-cultivated and artificial languages of modern Europe.

This phenomenon of the soul transporting itself, or, as it were, transported all at once into a language previously quite strange to it, so as to understand any spoken or written composition in it, is certainly not one of ordinary occurrence; and, in truth, whenever it manifests itself strongly and decidedly, it closely borders on the marvelous. Still it is a fact sufficiently well known, and neither unheard of nor rare. On the other hand, the higher and active case of the same phenomenon, which is marked, not merely by the understanding but also by the speaking of a language never before learned, and which was meant by the gift of tongues in the old sense, is certainly a really miraculous fact. But even this is acknowledged and believed, and there is no sufficient reason for calling in question the ancient witnesses to the fact, merely on account of the nature of it.

I called this fact a wonderful leap of the memory. For however subordinate this faculty may in other respects appear relatively to those which every where make prominent claim to the spontaneous burst of genius, still, even in the case of memory, its first spring and origin is often veiled and inexplicable, and it presents many points of view leading to profoundest questioning, and suggesting grave investigation.

In our psychological survey of the whole human mind, we set out with its four leading faculties, as arranged under the two contrarieties of understanding and will, of reason and fancy. Besides these four leading faculties, there are several, perhaps, just as many others, derived indeed from the former, but still not so much subordinate to them (for in another relation they appear equally important and not less essential than them) as rather co-ordinate with them and having a peculiar function assigned to them. Of these I have in my former Lectures analyzed and described the conscience as the moral instinct for right and wrong, when I named it the reason applied to the will, or, rather, as I preferred to consider it, as a peculiar and independent faculty, intermediate between reason and will, and being an immediate feeling and judgment as to what is good and evil in human desires and actions. Now, just as conscience is a mean between reason and will, so is memory intermediate between reason and understanding. With both of them it is closely connected. Memory, on the one hand, is the treasure-house of the understanding; indeed, it is the understanding hitherto acquired and worked out, now laid and stored up. On the other hand, as the clew and thread of recollection, memory furnishes that ground and principle of association in the consciousness, on which reason itself and its exercise is dependent. So entirely is this the case, that the partial or total loss of memory, from sickness or old age, though producing no derangement of the reason, is, nevertheless, followed by a partial decline and slowness of rational thought, which occasionally amounts to a general deadening and extinction of the rational faculty. The close connection between memory and understanding is especially visible in children, in whom the first faint opening of intellect is generally simultaneous with the first apperception of self and retention of external impressions or signs. The understanding is that thinking and cognition of individuals, which is even the act of intellection. Consequently, the individual mark and characteristic sign in the function of memory belongs to the understanding; but the combining link between these individual conceptions or signs--their permanent association--is the reason’s share in memory; for the latter is the knowing and consciousness which, in the coherent whole of associated and illative thought, is conversant about general notions.

And here arises a question similar to that which we started in our investigation of language. Must we assume, at the first awakening and hidden spring of memory, a divine impulse, so to speak, or a higher foundation for it from before the beginning of this terrestrial existence? Or, indeed, since on this subject many theories have been started of old, and are ever springing up, to retain a place among the world’s floating opinions, what are we to think of these views tested by that knowledge of our inmost consciousness which the observation of life furnishes? How far do our feelings and reflections justify or limit them? Among these opinions is the hypothesis revived by Leibnitz, of innate ideas, or, rather, according to the most recent exposition of it, of certain forms of thought essential to the reason, existing, antecedently to experience, in its fundamental scheme, and, as it were, engraven in it. Now all such opinions, whatever variations they may present, arise, without exception, from the Platonic notion of the _anamnesis_ possessed by the soul from a previous existence, and, moreover, they agree with the dogma of the metempsychosis, which, Indian in its origin, is, however, widely diffused among other nations also.

A real and actual pre-existence, however, of the human soul, as it does not admit of any historical proof, so is it not easily reconcilable with our own feelings, nor with our general sentiments on the relation we stand in to God, and the divine economy in the government of the world. And as for the ancient belief in the migration of souls, it can not, however remarkable for its wide diffusion, be regarded in any other light than an arbitrary creation of fancy and a kind of mythology of the soul. Moreover, with regard to the theory of essential forms of thought impressed on the reason antecedently to all experience and prior to the first awakening of consciousness, it is based on a view of the reason which would make it a universal receptacle of the thought, divided into greater and less chambers and compartments. It is thus made the residuum or dead precipitate of the natural functions of the living cogitation, and of the law of life which rules therein, which, thus arranged in rank and row, are placed before us, like the dried specimens of an herbarium, or like the butterflies pinned to the entomologist’s case, from each of which, however, amid the mechanical arrangement, the true, delicate, light-winged Psyche has long since flown away. And since in philosophy our first object must be to seize, if possible, the living thought in its very life, and to give to it also a living expression, or at least to paint it after the life, it is not easy to see to what end this so circumstantial procedure is to lead. The whole hypothesis, in short, seems useless and superfluous. As to the principle or hypothesis of innate ideas, which in truth requires to be kept perfectly distinct from the one previously considered, it is quite conceivable that it may be a right method for the artist, who is ever in pursuit of the ideal, and in some cases also for the thinker, to present to his mind the object of his conception, and which he is seeking ideally to manifest, such as with a similar end it would appear before and be contemplated by the divine mind. At any rate, such a mode of thought would greatly facilitate the execution of his ideal conception. But if what is meant by this theory is an antecedent intellectual intuition of the pure ideas in the divine mind, then we are brought again to the difficult and debatable hypothesis of an actual pre-existence. Moreover, when we go into details, and attempt to apply this theory to particular instances, we are at once involved in the greatest perplexity. For what, even in the department of art, are we to understand by the inborn idea of a noble, wide-spreading tree, of a beautiful flower, a grand and well-proportioned architectural edifice, or other monument? or a vigorous animal, or noble human form? and what meaning, in the domain of practical life, would it convey, to talk of the innate idea of a skillful general, or of a wise financier? We can not, indeed, imagine to what good end this hypothesis can serve or lead, and, consequently, as soon as it is taken for any thing more than a mere figure of thought, it involves us in new, if it does not entangle as again in the old, inextricable difficulties.

The question, however, admits of a more general sense. Without supposing that there is, inborn in the human soul, a whole system of notions and forms of thought--a whole world, in short, of all possible ideas--may there not have been imparted to it from above a higher gift, which, naturally, is only called into action simultaneously with the awakening of the rest of the human mind, or of the mind generally? If so, would it not appear to the soul in the form of a memory; and, in a certain sense, be really such, though, indeed, not so much a memory of the part as of eternity? This is a question which, advanced in this sense, can not, I think, be absolutely negatived; not that any essential necessity or actual ground exists for it; but that, carefully guarded by certain limitations, it is an hypothesis that may, without hesitation, be assumed or conceded. Can it, in truth, well be doubted that every spiritual being, created by infinite love, has had imparted to him a share in the source of eternal love, which is to remain his forever, or so long, at least, as the connection with the supreme source of his being is not violently broken and rent asunder? If, then, such a portion is to remain forever the property of every created spiritual being, it must assume a definite place in his consciousness, and, in the development of the latter, manifest itself in its due place. As regards, indeed, the human soul, this supposition can, with less justice, be denied, the more universally and pre-eminently the prerogative of a high degree of resemblance to the divine image is ascribed to it.

Now, this participation in God, as the primary source of eternal love, which abides forever in the human soul, and which becomes extinct in one extreme case alone--this divine endowment of the human consciousness from above--can only be thought of and described as the recollection of eternal love; and this, moreover, is the only innate idea in the human mind which it is possible or allowable to assume.

The thought of an original recollection in man--which, properly, is not of a mere foretime, but of eternity, but which, in all propriety, still admits of being termed a recollection--has brought us to the notion of time and eternity, and to the question of their reciprocal relation--of which the true and correct view is probably very different from that which commonly prevails. But this is a topic which, for its further and complete elucidation, demands a special investigation.


The idea of a pre-existence of the soul in an earlier and different state of being from the present, is a delusion and groundless hypothesis, arbitrarily tacked on to Plato’s doctrine of the anamnesis or of innate ideas. As such, it is calculated to involve us in innumerable difficulties. I have, however, endeavored to show that the doctrine itself is distinct, and can be kept separate, from this arbitrary admixture. Stripped of all extraneous additions, the essential parts of this Platonic doctrine of a higher memory have always possessed a powerful attraction for many deep thinkers and noble minds. From its first authors down to Leibnitz, it has made a deep and lasting impression, which has ever enabled it from time to time to recover its ascendency. In its purer sense and more simple and legitimate view, we may, I asserted, understand by it no completely lifeless and mechanical system of all the possible ideas which reason may evolve in the human mind, antecedently arranged and classified, but an idea of his divine origin innate or implanted in his mind, which can not be otherwise or more simply indicated than by the expression we have chosen to designate it--of a recollection of eternal love. But this recollection, I affirmed, is not so much the remembrance merely of some special past, which would again lead us to an actual pre-existence of the human soul, as a remembrance of eternity; and it is in this light that the whole idea must be regarded, if it is to be allowed any force. Now, this gives rise to and calls for a closer investigation into the mutual relation and whole conception of time and eternity.

This faculty of remembrance is of an entirely different kind from the ordinary exercise and function of memory. This state, this quality or power of the soul, or whatever else it may be called, might be appropriately termed a transcendental memory, if it were not out of season, or if any advantage would be gained by renewing the already half-forgotten and involved terminology of the philosophic schools of the last generation. Yet this would but be a change of name for the self-same idea and object, which at best could only serve to exhibit more distinctly and clearly, and from many points of view, whatever is peculiar in the nature of such an unusual idea, or its new and unusual sense, as well as the proper and difficult focus of inquiries and investigations of this nature. But the point upon which depends the decision of the whole matter, or, rather, from which alone its right explanation can and must proceed, is, as already stated, the mutual relation between time and eternity, and a just conception of both.

Usually, or at least oftentimes, eternity is explained and understood as being the entire cessation, the perfect nonexistence and unconditional negation of all time. But this would involve at the same time the negation of life and all living existence (+),[65] so that nothing would remain but an absolute negative, which is a void entity and perfect nullity.

In place of the endless contradictions to which all negation generally, and especially the absolute negation of time, can not but lead--in place of that to which the English poet’s phrase of “darkness visible” is applicable, I would offer a description of the idea of eternity, which may, perhaps, render it less incomprehensible. Eternity, as I should define it, is the all-embracing, completely complete time, which is infinite, not only “_a parte externâ_,” _i.e._, ever-passing, yet everlasting, without beginning and without end, but also infinite “_a parte internâ_;” so that in the endlessly living, thoroughly luminous present, and in the blissful consciousness thereof, the whole past, and also the whole future, are equally actual, equally clear, and equally present to us as the very present itself. For can we form any other conception of a state of bliss? Nay, is not this idea of the fullness of time entirely one and the same, and exactly coincident with that state which at least we are able to think of, and indeed can not well avoid thinking of? and is not this also the only form of existence applicable to the divine consciousness, on the assumption and belief not of any mere divine essence, but of an actual living and self-conscious Godhead? That, at least, the idea of time is not absolutely excluded from the life and essence or the operations of the living God of revelation, there exists in the latter abundant indication, testimony, and proof. Almost all the expressions there chosen for this matter allude to that full and divine time, in which yesterday and to-morrow are as to-day, and “a thousand years as one day,” and many others which convey the same idea, but in no ways apply to the false notion of eternity which makes it the absolute negation of all time. The very Hebrew name of God furnishes a confirmation of this assertion. And I may here indulge myself with producing it, since we shall be able to accomplish this object without entering into an analysis of the language itself, and its sense can be made perfectly clear according to the sense of our own language, without any circumlocution or periphrase.

In the sacred volume of the Old Testament, two names are used to designate the Supreme Being. The one is perfectly general, and signifies the idea of God or the Deity absolutely, being also applied to the gods of the heathen, and occasionally employed simply to signify angels and spirits. The other, however, is exclusively given to the true and living God of revelation. This word is derived from a Hebrew root, which signifies “to be,” or, rather, since we can hardly expect to find in these ancient languages, and in the primary significations of the radical words, the idea of a simple abstract existence, it means life, a positive living existence. In one place this name, which is made up of four letters, is explained and interpreted as signifying “I am that I am,” or, more accurately, “I am that I shall be.” Now, this is as much as to say, the true and living God of revelation, He who from the beginning has manifested forth His glory in creation, and who ever since is continually manifesting Himself, internally, at least, to the whole human race and to each individual, though, in truth, often unattended to and little regarded, and who will still more gloriously reveal Himself in the end of time, that is, of this earthly duration and period of change, or, as it is expressed in Sacred Writ, in the fullness of time, or when time itself shall be accomplished.

Now, here it is evident the idea of time is not absolutely excluded from a conception of the essence and operations of God. On the contrary, this description involves the idea of full and complete time, which lasts from eternity to eternity, and to the height of which, when the hour shall have come, that is to say, at the final consummation, this our earthly time, in whose fetters this our world of sense is now held, shall be raised and glorified.

The question, therefore, is properly to determine whether there exists such an absolute opposition between time and eternity that it is impossible for them to subsist in any mutual contact or relation, but the one necessarily leads to the negation of the other, or whether, at least, there is not some conceivable transition from the one to the other. Now, in the former view, since the absolute, universally, and most especially thinking as well as absolute willing, forms the destructive principle in life, there lies, perhaps, the first source, not only of false systems, but also of the metaphysical prejudices which man’s intellect nourishes, and especially of all the deeply-rooted, inborn, or hereditary errors of the reason. On the other hand, according to the theory on which our present speculations are based, both time and eternity are not incompatible with or in hostile and irreconcilable opposition to each other. Their ideas do not mutually destroy each other. Certain definite connecting-links and points of contact and transition exist between them. The contrariety is not an incomprehensibly absolute one of eternal negation, but rather a living one, similar to the distinction between life and death, or that between evil and good. So long as we believe in a great and irreconcilable contrariety between time and eternity, such as at the first delusive aspect they present themselves, we can not hope to extricate ourselves from the labyrinth in which external things and our own internal reflections involve the mind. This can only be effected by the idea of a twofold time, such as it is our purpose accurately to define and bring before you. And this notion of a twofold time arises from the difference between the one perfect and blissful time, which is naught else than the inner pulse of life in an overflowing eternity, without beginning and without end, and that other time which is prisoned and fettered in this lower world of sense, where the stern present alone is prominent, and lords it over all else with despotic sway--the past being lost in darkness and sunk in the night of death; while the future, now advancing, now receding, hovers like a shadow, in an obscure, glimmering, and deceptive twilight, until the now brilliant present passes away, and in its turn becomes as nothing, being buried in the darkness of death, which shrouds all past and former existence. And as there is a twofold time, so also may we, in relation to God and the world, distinguish a twofold eternity. Let us, for this purpose, contemplate the whole creation, including not only this visible world of sense, but also the invisible world of spirits, either in its original perfection, which it possessed when it issued unsullied from the hand of the Creator, or even in that state of perfection, which, glorified and perfected, and become imperishable, it is to enjoy when the course of earthly time shall have run out, and when there shall be no more death.

Now, relatively to either its original perfection or that to which it is finally to be restored, we can not better designate the universe than by terming it the created, while God is the uncreated eternity. The world, however, according to what we know of it from revelation, is not absolutely such. It is eternal only from one point of view, that, namely, which looks forward to its everlasting, continuous, and blessed duration, and not from that of its first origin. For the world (if it was, as we are taught, created out of nothing) had a beginning--a precise beginning--which took place in time. And this fact, again, suggests and confirms the remark how the idea of time, which is unquestionably involved in that of the beginning of the universe, is not absolutely excluded from the essence and operations of the Godhead, at least of the living and personal God of revelation. On this point, however, I would wish to say no more than this: here is the decisive point--two distinct, opposite, or diverging paths lie before us, and man must choose between them. The clear-seeing spirit, which, in its sentiments, thoughts, and views of life, would be in accordance with itself, and would act consistently to them, must in any case take one or the other. Either there is a living God, full of love, even such a one as love seeks and yearns after, to whom faith clings, and in whom all our hopes are centered (and such is the personal God of revelation), and on this hypothesis the world is not God, but is distinct from him, having had a beginning, and being created out of nothing; or there is only one supreme form of existence, and the world is eternal, and not distinct from God; there is absolutely but one, and this eternal one comprehends all, and is itself all in all; so that there is nowhere any real and essential distinction; and even that which is alleged to exist between evil and good is only a delusion of a narrow-minded system of ethics, or of conventional prejudices, that man allows to pass as such, and holds externally in honor, but which intrinsically, and as tested by the rigor of science, has no real and substantial import. Now, the necessity of this choice and determination presses urgently upon our own time, which stands midway between two worlds. Generally it is between these two paths alone that the decision is to be made, since all the doubts and opinions which branch off between them are nothing more than the still unsettled oscillations, assuming in appearance a fixed scientific shape, or a vague mixture of narrow and imperfect views, which are just as far from having taken any precise form or determination. But the choice between them must be perfectly free. No one’s conviction can be forced to adopt either one or the other. For that which is to constitute the inmost sentiment and thought of a man, or the first, last, and deepest foundation of all his sentiments, does not admit of being imposed upon him extrinsically as the condition of controversial defeat, without his own internal consent and agreement. It can not enforce his assent as easily as a mere process of calculation.

But now, if eternity is nothing else but time, vitally full, illimitably perfect, and blissfully complete, who, we may ask, first of all caused or produced this earthly, fettered, and fragmentary time, which seems but the great bond-chain of the whole world of sense--and what, then, is this time itself? I might answer this latter question by the words of the poet, that it “is out of joint.”[66] For although originally employed of a particular period of history, they admit, I think, of a more extensive and universal signification, and possess an entirely metaphysical application. And what, in short, is metaphysics, or what do we name metaphysical, but that which transcends our ordinary nature and the earthly and limited world of sense? And man can not abandon or get rid of all hopes, all prospects of eternity, in short, the thoughts which, partly, at least, outrun these narrow limits. For if so, he must at the same time be willing to cease to be a man, in the full, and true, and highest sense of the word. Consequently, as often as he adventures a bolder flight of thought and inquiry into that elevated region, then his words and phrases must also transcend the familiar sense and ordinary use of language.

I would not, however, be understood as asserting that the language of philosophy, in its descriptions of supersensuous things and ideas, should anxiously avoid all living expression and every thing lifelike (+). For, in strict rigor this is neither possible nor practicable, and in any case would lead to a mere abstract nothingness. On the contrary, the more vivid, the more striking, and apparently startling, the more boldly figurative and rare are the terms or forms of expression employed, the more pertinently and clearly do they often convey our meaning, and the more happily chosen and to the point do they appear.

In proof and confirmation of this assertion, I would appeal to the language of Holy Writ. Most, if not all its descriptions of matters belonging to the invisible world, and the supersensuous regions of thought, or metaphysical subjects, if we could still recall or still experience the first fresh impression, would at once be confessed to be the boldest that language has ever ventured upon. Long familiarity, however, has made them seem ordinary and tame. And it is necessary to contemplate them long and intensely, if we would revive their original fullness and peculiar significancy. In a very recent epoch of science, there prevailed a somewhat similar view of this subject. In Lessing especially it is traceable. For, as often as he entered this region of inquiry, he for the most part designedly employed a free and bold style of language, similar to that which occasionally I have attempted myself to adopt. Now, if it be allowable in this way to apply to time poetical phrases, similar to the one above quoted of “Time out of joint,” giving them at the same time a more universal and entirely metaphysical sense, I would, in the further consideration of the whole question as to time, advance the following remarks.

If eternity is essentially nothing else than the fullness of time, which consequently is in itself complete and blissful, then the time which is “out of joint,” the deranged and distracted time of sense, is naught but eternity fallen or brought into a state of disorder. Here, then, the further question presents itself, “Who can have plunged it into disorder, and perpetrated this jarring interference with the primeval harmony, disturbing the inner pulse of the world’s universal life, which was originally so sound?” According to one of these two views which I so lately spoke of as lying before men to choose between, all this is but a deception--a mere illusion, produced by the imperfection of our senses. Even pain and misfortune, equally with what is called evil, exist only for the poetical purpose of creating, by the skill and spirit with which they are treated, transient, overpowering impressions, which are ultimately to give place to more elevating emotions. But in the other view, which is here adopted as our fundamental conviction, the answer is easily found. Or, rather, it is one long since given, and generally known. Since all the elementary forces and original powers in creation can only be regarded as spiritual, therefore the power or might which threw both time and existence, universal life and the whole world, into disorder, could have been no other than the spirit of absolute negation which rose in revolt against the primary source both of itself and of all. The power and influence of this spirit of eternal contradiction and endless destruction, which in another place I designated the inventor of death, can not be rightly deemed either slight or insignificant, if he be with justice entitled “the Prince and Ruler of this world.” By this term we can not understand any so-called “spirit of the age.” Not, at least, in the ordinary sense of the term, in which it signifies the spirit which has originally arisen out of the age itself, and in its sphere brilliantly predominant, but which at the same time transcends in some way that sphere, either blending itself with some equally great, if not still more exalted, past, or with some new and future era. For with all its excellence of greatness, it is still perhaps partial and narrow in its views; and in any case, so soon as the particular age shall be over, it too will finally pass away and decline with it. It is, rather, the very spirit that originally introduced the whole of that disjointed time. It is, therefore, the author of this fallacious world of sense--the supreme ruler and universal king of all the several periods and eras which belong to it, and are so linked together, that as one succeeds and passes into the other, all of them in succession are finally absorbed in the general abyss of eternal nothingness. Consequently is it the supreme lord; all these so-called spirits of the times which are derived from the primary and supreme spirit of the age, being, so to speak, his absolute subjects and ministers. Now, the belief in such a spiritual power of evil, and even the idea of it, simply and nakedly as in other times it is presented to us, is almost wholly lost sight of in the present day. The expressions of a former faith for what it is now the fashion to call “the spirit of the age” have become antiquated, and make but little impression, being for the most part scarcely even regarded, or else ingeniously explained away, if not derided from the height of a superior enlightenment. Amid the killing monotony of a sleepy skepticism into which men’s views of the world and things had fallen, and as contrasted with a philosophy, neutral from its origin, and finally indifferent to every thing, the celebrated English author of _Cain_ makes a gratifying exception by his vigorous and vivid language, giving, at least honor where honor is due, and calling things by their right names. Accordingly, he paints to the life the king of the spirits of the everlasting abyss and the ruler of this world, in all his majesty of darkness, so that we often wonder whence he could have derived all the tints and touches of truth, and are almost tempted to ask whether this striking portrait, thus executed with a genius and fidelity surpassing all similar poetical delineations, does not owe much if not all its truth to a personal acquaintance.

But, however, this deadly spirit of absolute negation, though the name be now scarcely ever heard except in poetry, has not therefore lost, as yet, his dominion over this world of time and the science thereof. On the contrary, in the baseless and arbitrary systems which the philosophy of the day propounds, he is acknowledged more than ever, though it be with an unconscious reverence. As the idol of absolute rationalism, most highly is he lauded, not to say deified. It is, in fact, remarkable that, in many of the most extreme systems of absolute reason, the whole section of theology is exclusively confined to the negative view of the divine truth. Almost the whole of it, if only a few slight changes be made in the more important phrases, may far more consistently apply to the primal antagonist of eternal love and of revelation, than to that beneficent Being himself.

And even in those systems of rationalism which are less spiritually perverse and less extravagant, but still equally subversive of a right knowledge of the highest truths, the divine nature is frequently if not always confounded with that nothing out of which He has created the world. Or, perhaps, in some more tragic view of the universe, that rigid law of time which operates on the world of sense, and which gives it up as a prey to misery, is, at least poetically, deified as the blind fate of an iron necessity. Now, if eternity is in itself and originally nothing more than the living, full, and essential time, which is still invisible(+), and if our earthly shackled and fettered time of sense is but an eternity “out of joint,” or fallen a prey to disorder, it is easily conceivable that the two do not stand apart and have no mutual contact. On this hypothesis they may possess many a common point of transition from one sphere into the other. At least such a point of transition is in general experience afforded us by death, which is mostly looked upon and regarded in this light. Trivial as may sound the sentiment so commonly uttered of the dead, that they have changed time for eternity, still we can not well question the correctness of the notion on which the expression is founded. Now, these questions about time and eternity nearly concern, and in many ways interest, every thoughtful mind, not only by their connection with life and death, but generally with all existence and consciousness. I can not, therefore, approve of the wish to exclude them entirely from the philosophy of life, as lying beyond the ordinary range of the practical intellect, and, therefore, with all similar matters of unprofitable disputation, to be abandoned to the theologian and the student. On the contrary, I have felt it to be most agreeable to the position which I have taken up, and the view which it opens out, to hazard at least an experiment, and to try whether it be not possible to express these subjects, and to set them forth in language at once appropriate and generally intelligible.

Religious people often speak of death, sometimes generally as a “return,” at others with a further addition as “a return home.” Such modes of speaking, I admit, merely as such, and especially when they are uttered as so many empty phrases, unaccompanied with real feeling, and repeated without discrimination, in season and out of season, are not, perhaps, calculated to make a very deep impression. Still a very beautiful but grave meaning is, nevertheless, contained in them, and one which throws out very strongly the purely spiritual aspect of the matter. But here, then, a difficulty immediately presents itself. The question arises, how can we be said to go back or return to a place where, in fact, we never were before, or how can that be rightly called our home, which in our present life we first seek, and are to find and learn to consider as such. In short, the difficulty recurs in the same manner as the somewhat similar questions which are involved by Plato’s notion of an _anamnesis_, so long as it is conceived, not (as we would understand it) as a recollection of eternity, but quite literally as that of a former state of things. But if, agreeably to a vivid conception of time and eternity, a less absolute distinction prevails between these two ideas, and many points of contact and transition from one to the other may be found, of which death is one, all the difficulty is removed, and every thing in our view and hypothesis becomes easily intelligible and self-evident. It is, at least, one aspect of death, and a cheerful one too, which exhibits it as a transition from time into eternity, or out of a fettered and distracted time into that which is true, perfect, and blissful. In truth, however, much more is involved herein. For death, in general, is no simple event, but a very complicated phenomenon. No doubt that feature which stands out most fearfully in the whole event, throwing into the shade and obscuring its other higher and more spiritual elements, is the sufferings of disease, which are often so agonizing--the pang of dissolving and decaying organization in the last awful struggle of nature, as it tears itself so reluctantly from life. But even in the midst of all this, occasionally, at least, another and a better state intervenes. A cessation of all physical pain seems suddenly to occur, and to be followed by an almost joyous, or, at least, composed state, which may be often regarded as the harbinger of approaching dissolution. Medical experience, moreover, has recorded many special cases (the explanation of which, however, I leave to others) of idiotcy and madness, which had arisen either from sad defects and derangement of the thinking faculty, suddenly disappearing at the approach of death, and of the full, perfect consciousness returning with extraordinary clearness in the few brief moments which precede the instant of decease. There is yet another remarkable element or feeling in death; and it is one totally independent of the organic pain of dissolution in its various modifications, or the striking phenomena which may be observed in individual cases. I allude to the feeling which shrinks at the thought of the decisive transition and forcible passage into an entirely new sphere, which, however, must not be confounded with an unmanly fear of death. In many instances, too, it has no connection with any troubled thoughts or anxious cares for near and dear ones to be left behind, nor yet with any inward doubts of a restless and disturbed conscience. By no such feelings alone by themselves can it be interpreted or explained. All this is entirely distinct from that which I have at present in my mind, and which may very simply be termed a slight mental shrinking before a wholly unknown state of being, which is, at least, natural to all men, and affects every one, more or less, if the change comes upon them in the full possession of their faculties. But in those whose contemplations have long been directed to this closing event of life--in whom a profound and deep acquaintance with the thought of eternity, and the sublime enlightenment of a confiding faith, have taken the place of a dark uncertainty, and who also, between the last struggle of organic life and the final pang of dissolution, enjoy for a brief interval the last quickening breath of the departing energy of nature, there death is seen in its bright aspect. For such it unquestionably does possess. How often, on the very countenance of the departed, does a calm and beautiful death like this leave its touching trace behind! How often do we see with astonishment a sweet smile, like that of a sleeping child, lingering on the well-known face, but in whose very sweetness is mingled a slight though scarce perceptible trace of some faint recollection of previous suffering. He who has once seen some dear friend or acquaintance so die, or beheld the beloved countenance after such a death, will assuredly cherish forever the remembrance of this soothing expression. Nothing less than a blissful presentiment of eternity seems to have preceded or impressed itself on the dying features, breaking through the shackles of time before its full course was ended. And it is only in this light that I have mentioned it as being one of the points of contact or moments of transition which facts clearly establish between time and eternity, since this final crisis of our consciousness forms an important element for the psychological and perfect comprehension of the human intellect and its development.

But even during life itself there also occur many phenomena and occasions in which, for the brief continuance at least of such moments of intense existence, the limits of time seem to be broken through or removed. To this class belong those brief intervals of rapture which are enjoyed in the midst of deep and earnest devotion--or of proper ecstasy, which, so far as it is genuine and real, we can not but consider as an interval of eternity in the midst of time, or as a fleeting glance into the higher world of full and unchecked spiritual life. Even the inward worldless prayer, in so far as it is preceded by a real emotion of the heart, profoundly agitating its inmost feelings, is, as it were, a drop of eternity falling through time into the soul. Genuine ecstasy, in so far as it is real and actual, is often on its organic side accompanied by a beginning, which indeed is little more than the appearance, though a highly delusive feeling, of dying away, which precedes the higher gleam or echo from the world beyond the grave. Such phenomena, however, require attentive examination before we can draw from them any precise inference. The general idea of them may be distinctly traced in the human consciousness. The recognition of their existence is therefore essential to a full knowledge of the latter. It is, however, often very difficult to form a judgment of individual instances, which are often more or less doubtful. On this account it will be sufficient in this place if, without entering deeply into these necessary distinctions and manifold doubts to which all of such phenomena are liable, we simply notice the fact, as forming one of the most intimate points of association at which time and eternity come in contact and mutually intermingle.

Of such points several still remain to be noticed. One of the least astonishing, and one which in its operation on the soul is no less universal and beneficial than it is generally intelligible, is that which is found in true art and the higher kind of poetry. For here also, even beneath the earthly shell of sensuous phenomenon and the temporal incidents of figurative poetry, the eternal brightens over all. And it is on this mighty influence of the eternal, which gleams through its external investiture of ornament, that the exalted dignity and distinctive charm of true art and the higher branches of poetry depends. Even here, however, as elsewhere, a strict distinction must be made between the true gold and the worthless æsthetical tinsel and mere mannerism of fashion. For such a distinction is necessary in every case where the heavenly and eternal comes into close contact with the earthly and transitory.

That recollection of eternal love, which is implanted, communicated, or innate in the human mind, and which here swells out from its hidden depth (and this is the true original subject-matter of Plato’s notion of the _anamnesis_, which, as I have endeavored to show, thus cleared from all foreign admixture and corrupting additions, is quite unexceptionable), is not merely a principle of the higher life. Rather is it one of the great vital arteries of true poetry and art, of which, however, there are many others equally essential and no less rich and prolific. Such, for instance, is the longing after the infinite, whose hopes and aspirations are directed more to the future than is the case with that remembrance of eternal love, which, as such, clings more closely to the past, and is often also lost and absorbed in the historic perception of some actual past. On the other hand, the true inspiration, both in art and in life, is exclusively devoted to a something divine in the present, which may be either real or what is at least held to be such, being most intimately bound up with a feeling of such a divine presence, and with a belief therein. Thus, then, these three forms of the highest sentiment in man’s nature, as it yearns after the infinite or swells forth from the eternal source, and longs to receive the divine, are in their different tendencies tied again, not unnaturally, to the three times, or rather, the different categories of our earthly-divided time.

The recollection of eternal love, as far as regards its influence on art, is in truth nothing but a feeling or an inborn idea, if some will so call it. And yet its influence may be universal, and extend itself over the whole field of man’s consciousness. For all other sentiments of the inner man, all the thoughts, conceptions, and ideas of the thinker, and even all the images, shapes, and forms--in short, the whole ideal of the artist--are now forthwith imbued with this one fundamental feeling of eternal love, being, as it were, bathed in a sea or stream of higher life, spiritually refined, and exalted and transformed into a purer and higher degree of beauty and perfection. And thus it is that this ideal view of the world becomes at once conceivable and perfectly clear, to all at least who can enter into and sympathize with Platonic sentiments and ideas, and especially in its close relation to science and the plastic arts. And thus, understood in this correct sense, within its proper limits, and in that place of the human consciousness to which it really belongs, may well be admitted, and even extended to a wider application.

(+) In order, however, to be able to assign their fitting place in the whole consciousness to those other two exalted feelings which are implanted in man’s breast as so many suggesters of eternity, the longing, viz., after infinity, and a vitally energetic enthusiasm, it will be necessary still further to prosecute and complete our psychological review, so as to take in the whole range of faculties belonging to it, and to exhibit their mutual relations.

In my sketchy outline of man’s spiritual life and consciousness, I set out, you will remember, with the four elementary faculties, understanding and will, reason and fancy, as the four opposite and extreme poles of the inner world. As conscience and memory presented themselves to our consideration in the progress of our inquiries, they were characterized as mediate and collateral faculties of the reason, since the conscience stands midway between reason and will, and the memory between reason and understanding. In a similar way I would now attempt to explain man’s instincts, especially in that peculiar form in which they belong only to man, as distinct from the brutes, and subsequently become passions. Afterward I shall proceed to explain why, in those instances when they appear to be exaggerated into passions, they must, to preserve analogy with the view hitherto maintained, be held to be nothing else than movements of the will, or as a will which has yielded itself to the illimitable range of fancy, and thereby lost its inner equilibrium, and finally all liberty, or at least its actual exercise. This intermediate position of the instincts between will and fancy, and the fatal and pernicious influence which both these fundamental powers exert in that height of passionateness and sensuality which constitutes them faults of character, are also especially manifest in what are properly the natural instincts, as enjoyed by man in common with the brutes, and the evil of which arises always, or at least principally, from their excessive indulgence and undue excitement. It is often possible for this excess to reach such a height, and to become so deadly injurious, as to destroy the health, corrupt the whole soul, and to debase the mind to such a degree that it is felt to be almost injustice to compare such a human being, thus degraded by his own fault, with the nobler animals, whose simple instincts and their gratification alternate almost as regularly as day and night or the rising and setting of the stars in heaven. In such cases, however, we may easily discover what was the first cause of such aberrations.

In the better case, at least, the corruption, _i.e._, of what was previously a noble disposition, it is invariably, in the first instance, some false charm of fancy or imagination which has overmastered the mind with magical power, and subsequently carried it away captive to its will. In every case, however, it is some perverted apprehension, or illusory power of the infinite, which causes a man who has once fallen a prey to any strong passion to devote all his energies, thoughts, and feelings to the one object, or to surrender himself, heart and soul, to the despotic tyranny of some ruling habit or favorite pursuit. How else could there ever have been any talk of the delusions of fancy, which, however, exercise so wide and fatal an influence on human life, and generally in the world, unless a distorted fancy had lent a hand and co-operated therein? Even such emotions and impulses as fear and anger, which are not directed merely to the gratification of the wants of nature, but to self-preservation and defense, and which, consequently, belong equally to the brutes--these also admit of being carried, by unrestrained indulgence, to the height of passionateness. This is especially the case with anger. Wherever long indulgence has made it a ruling habit, and if, moreover, it is associated with envy, hatred, and revenge (which, indeed, are not properly natural instincts, and in this form can scarcely be ascribed to the brutes, but rather faults of character in a demoralized rational being), its outbreaks of passion are fearfully violent. Under their combined influence the wild outbreaks of man’s evil principle often run into fury and madness. But even in avarice itself, it is also some false and strangely-perverted charm of fancy, which in its highest degree approximates very closely to the nature of a fixed idea, that furnishes the first ground and deepest root of this unblessed passion for the earthly mammon. And here, again, in this insatiable love of riches, we meet with a false force of the infinite, and one which can never be satisfied.

A further ethical investigation into these erring instincts does not lie within my present limits. The context of our psychological inquiries only brought them before us for a limited consideration, with a view to determine the position they occupy in the whole consciousness. And here, as in my former instances of comparative psychology, I do not wish to cast my glance downward longer than is necessary, but rather, as quickly as possible, to raise it upward again. In the present case this can easily be done. For, for our present purpose, the simple remark will suffice, that the power of infinity in itself, and the pursuit of the infinite, is properly natural to man, and a part of his very essence. All that is wrong in it, and the source of all its aberrations, is simply and entirely boundless excess. Above all, we must blame that quality of absoluteness, which in every time and place exercises a fatal and destructive influence, both on thought and practice, or, perhaps, the fault may be laid to a false direction of this pursuit toward the sensible and material objects of this earthly and transitory existence, which, for the most part, are utterly unworthy of it. For man’s natural longing after the infinite, even as it still shows itself in his passions and failings, can not, wherever it is still genuine, be satisfied by any earthly object, or sensual gratification, or external possession.

When, however, this pursuit, keeping itself free from all delusions of sense, and from the fettering shackles of earthly passion, really directs its endeavors toward the infinite, and only to what is truly such, then can it never rest or be stationary. Ever advancing, step by step, it must always seek to rise higher and higher. And this pure feeling of endless longing forms, with the recollection of eternal love, the heavenward-bearing wings on which the soul raises itself upward to the divine. This, indeed, has been felt and perceived by Platonic thinkers in all ages. From the earlier centuries to the present many a deeply-significant sentence might easily be selected and quoted on the idea of this longing after the infinite. And this testimony is not confined merely to the comparatively modern philosophy of Europe and the West. The sacred writings, also, of the Hebrews contain a beautiful sentence on this head. Thus a certain prophet, as endowed with more than ordinary power, as chosen for a high and divine destination, or mission, is expressly called a man of longing [desires],[67] as by a title peculiarly suited to him, and most clearly indicating the natural preparation for all higher spiritual and divine avocations. And, in a sense borrowed from, if not exactly identical with, the above, a somewhat similar title has been given to the richest and profoundest of his works by a French philosopher of our own days, to whom, while I can not adopt unconditionally all his principles and sentiments, I must concede the highest praise for the zeal with which, in all his writings, he has maintained and promulgated a high and lofty tone, both in intellectual and divine things, and that, too, in the midst of revolutionary times, when the prevailing tone of thinking was decidedly material, and, indeed, had assumed a thoroughly demoralizing and atheistic tendency. At a former epoch, now more than twenty years ago, when I attempted, in French, to set forth to a friendly audience the principles of the Philosophy of Life, so far as I at that time comprehended it, I thought that it was indispensable to make this pure idea of an exalted longing the primary position from which the whole view of life must be developed. This, however, was too exclusive, and, for that reason, unsatisfactory. It is, therefore, my present wish to embrace all higher elements of conscience, however manifold they may be, and however different in kind they may appear, and, taking a comprehensive view of them, to unite them in a whole.

Even for poetry and art there is more than one such primary fountain or vital artery of higher sentiment. If, then, the recollection of eternal love must be recognized as one of these, who can well doubt that the pure longing after the infinite, which holds so deep and firm a root in man’s bosom, also forms another? In poetry, the former is distinctly traceable under the form of elegy--at least in the first simple poesy of fancy’s earliest and youthful days. It sounds forth here a mournful recollection of a faded world of gods and heroes--as the echoing plaint for the loss of man’s original, celestial state, and paradisaical innocence, or, lastly, in a still more general and higher sense, as the faint and dying notes of the happy infancy of the whole creation, ere yet the spiritual world had been divided by dissension, and before the first outbreak of evil, and the consequent misery of nature. Viewing it in this light, and designating poetry in general analogically to an expression which we before made use of, we may term poetry the mind’s transcendent recollection of the eternal. For the first and most ancient poetry, as the common memory of the human race--its higher organ of remembrance--passes on from century to century, and from nation to nation; and though ever dressing itself in the changing fashion of the day, yet, through all time, it refers us back to the primary and eternal.

Music, on the other hand, is eminently an art of longing. To this it owes all its ravishing enchantments--its magic and irresistible charms. In music, however, as in every other form of art, the higher and the earthly--the soul, as it were, and the body--the heavenly longing and the terrestrial are often blended together in the same note and tone, so as scarcely to be discriminated. It is this mingling of feelings and emotions--where from amid the half-unconscious earthly longing a higher and more heavenly aspiration gleams out, that in youth, when man’s sensibility is first developed and expanded, gives to newly-waking love its peculiar magic charm, the inner grace of the youthful soul contributing as much if not more than even the bloom of corporeal beauty. The question, indeed, whether in this youthful longing really a higher love of eternal duration, as an inner light, which is continually purifying and perfecting itself, be inclosed within the earthly veil--whether this first love of youth be even the true love, or whether all may have been nothing more than the transient and flickering flame of a delusion--this question can be alone determined from its results; in other words, by the life which proceeds and follows from it. It must be proved by the unwavering truth and fidelity--I might almost say, the inward truth of the heart and the outward character of the whole life; and, in short, of a higher love in its every species, whether human or divine.

Now this longing holds a most important place in man. Not only is it the crisis of transition from childish, shall we say consciousness or unconsciousness, into a more mature development--not only is it the threshold under which youthful expectation enters on a fuller and more perfect life; but also still surviving uninterruptedly to the end, it ever remains the first, strongest, and purest impulse of the inner man. The light of its never-dying flame, growing purer and stronger, lights him on his way to a higher and better existence. It seems, therefore, not out of place to add here the remark, how deeply hope, which is so closely associated with this longing aspiration, is interwoven into the very being of man, so as almost to form the characteristic peculiarity of his inner life and whole state.

The lost spirits, we are told, “believe and tremble.”[68] Love, too, is the essential property of God, and even his very essence, and in a certain sense, also, it is common to all beings created by eternal love. Even in the hidden veins of life, through all animated nature, beats this pulse of universal love. Hope, however, can not be ascribed to God, for in Him all is full and perfect. Nature can only sigh and bemoan itself; and even though it be not hopelessly wretched, yet, properly, it can not hope for aught, by its own power, at least. To man, above all other created beings, belongs the prerogative of hope. We might almost call him an immortal spirit, subjected to the condition of hope. And so, before the rest of creation, he is destined and chosen to be the evangelist of divine hope.

As the third of the inner life-springs of true art and higher poetry, I spoke of a true enthusiasm and inspired feeling of the divine. Now, among the various arts, I would especially appropriate this to the plastic art--in that widest and justest sense of the term, in which it comprises, also, the higher architecture. For, in enthusiasm and inspiration, the divinity with which it is imbued is not viewed and contemplated in the remote distance either of the past or the future. It is embraced at once as something actual and present. And this holds good both of the enthusiasm of art, and also of that which, in moral and political life, often creates for itself an epoch, shaping and bringing forth whatever is truly new and original. Now, the divine in beauty must be actually present to the mind, at least, of the artist. It must have stood vividly before his mental eye before it could have come forth in outward and visible form. Since universally the perfection of art depends on some antagonism and the artist’s triumph over it, it is self-evident that even here the most exalted enthusiasm must be associated with a thoughtful sagacity and persevering steadiness of execution, if any great and perfect work is to be produced. Moreover, it can scarcely be necessary to remind you that the arts, even though, perhaps, in each of them there is a predominance of some peculiar kind of higher feeling, or some spirit of higher life swells out in it, are not, therefore, rigidly limited on all sides and irrevocably confined within these narrow limits. On the contrary, one branch of art often passes over into the domain of another. And this interference is not always a misconception, owing chiefly to some confusion of essential matters, and, therefore, in the highest degree erroneous and prejudicial. Poetry, especially, often springs up indigenous in other domains of art, being the most universal of all. And if in poetry itself those ancient and primitive poems or epic songs of sublime recollections occupy the first place, who, therefore, would exclude from it the deep, inner, ardent longing--the oracular faculty of divination for exalted love and eternal hope, with all its music of the feelings, forming, as it does, the spiritual contents, the animating principle and distinctive essence of the lyrical art? Who, too, would dare to censure poetry, because, striving to give another and a newer expression to all that, in these divine remembrances and longing anticipations, constitutes its inmost soul, it attempts, by dramatic representation, to portray the essential features of its inmost being, with all the vivid reality and distinct completeness of the present? For does it not, in this respect, approximate, so far, at least, to the plastic arts, and begin to assume many points of affinity with them?

It is, however, necessary to guard here against a possible misunderstanding. Not without good cause, I believe, before all things is the rigid discrimination insisted on which must separate true poetry from a spurious semblance. Poetry which condescends to minister either to the passions or to fashion, or even to prose, or any mere prosaic ends, can not deserve the name. But it is another thing when the poet works his poetical view of things (and this is that which constitutes the poet, and not the mere outward form of poetry alone) into the prosaic reality of some present time, or some historical subject. So, too, is it when in some consistent and artistic imitation of life he takes for his theme the maze of human passions, by no means for the purpose of prolonging it, and still less of inflaming it, but rather because he clearly sees through its complications, to unfold and disentangle them. This we might call--employing a term belonging to the mathematical sciences, though in a different but still analogous sense--mixed or applied poetry; and to this class belong many of the highest productions of art in different ages and nations.

The different arts, or, rather, the different directions of one and the same art, in the several epochs and ages of the world, or among nations variously divided by language and manners, as well as by the style and character of their thought and intellect, may be considered as merely so many varying dialects of one and the same language, which have a common origin and are nearly related. For they possess a common meaning, which, interpreted by a profound and noble perception of art, will be found to pervade all centuries and all people, uniting and enchaining them all by this soul-binding tie of a loving and love-kindled fancy. These eternal and fundamental feelings of the human breast, the remembrance of eternity, an innate longing and high-soaring aspiration, stand in the most intimate connection with each other, even though we can not take a full survey of it, and often feel it profoundly rather than are able perfectly to explain it. They are like so many stem-words and radical syllables, and form together, as it were, one common language. And if, as I before remarked, we should in vain seek for that common and original language, from which all those now spoken on the face of the earth can be derived, both ethnographically and geologically, may we not still find in art a universal language intelligible to all men? Is not this language (as I may term it) thus enveloped in the garb of art, through which, however, a profound significance gleams brightly forth, an original language of a higher and intellectual order, and at the same time intimately akin with our own nature? Do not its echoes, however faint and broken, when reawakened by true art and sublime poetry, strike a chord of unison in every human breast?


The general notion of the inner life formed the point from which we started in this attempt to portray the whole spiritual man. I maintained, you will remember, that the philosophy of life proceeds on the simple assumption of this inner life. Now, in the preceding discourses it has been my endeavor to unfold this general idea into a more fully-developed and more definite conception of human consciousness, both in its several principles and total coherence. And this almost completes the first division of our whole sketch. For fully to complete a knowledge of ourselves, and of life in general, a few particulars only remain to be added, and a comprehensive review of the whole once more to be taken. And this, in the natural order of this simple development of thought, forms the next subject of our labors. By reason of the close vital connection which subsists between thought and speech, language served in the first instance for an external basis of comparison, which in the next place art enabled me to carry still farther, inasmuch as the latter may also be regarded as an inner language. For, however fragmentary and incomplete may be our collection of languages and the science thereof, notwithstanding all the enlargement it has received from modern observation and research, it is still possible, by a rigorous distinction of the derivatory and mixed offshoots from the more ancient and purer branches, to gain at least an insight into the history and progress of language, and thence to trace the probable course of its development, even while its origin, no less than the equally incomprehensible phenomenon of its first exercise, remains veiled in impenetrable obscurity. And when we called art a language, we did not mean this merely in the same sense that poetry has been styled--and indeed has even herself assumed the title of--a divine language, on account of the ornamental figures of its external form; neither was it because of the allegorical shapes and allusions, nor of the symbolical garb which plastic art so often puts on. The so transiently advanced metaphor was intended to convey the idea that art in general, not merely in its outward form, but in its inmost essence, and in all of its forms and species alike, is a language of nature of a higher and spiritual kind, or, if the term be preferred, an inward hieroglyphical writing and original speech of the soul, which is immediately intelligible to all susceptible natures, and to every one whose sensibilities a taste for any form of art has rendered open and accessible to its appeal. For the key to it lies not in any arbitrarily established principle, as is the case with that ingenious and beautiful, but still merely conventional invention of the East--the symbolical language of flowers, but in the feeling and the soul itself. For the eternal and fundamental feelings of the soul are awakened, or, rather, reawakened, in these inner-soul words of true art, which, in the same sense that we speak of the riddle of life or of the world, making its solution the object and aim of philosophy, we may likewise term a riddle of hope--of that hope, in truth, which is eternal and divine. But high art, like life and the world, remains a riddle, and must ever appear to us as such, simply because in reality, or at least for the greater part, it is only a few detached notes, without the full and coherent air, that it allows to reach us.

There is, then, an intrinsic connection between thought and speech, between language and consciousness. Moreover man, to judge of him by the collective sum of his characteristic and essential properties, is nothing else than the _created word_, the faint echo and very imperfect copy of the uncreated and eternal, and stands amid the rest of creation, midway between the world of nature and that of spirits. For these reasons, then, in the further exposition of his inner life I shall invariably make use of the idea of language, and even many of its characteristic properties or peculiarities, as the external basis of a comparison calculated to throw light upon much that in the inward thought of man it is otherwise difficult to express and to make clear by words. For, indeed, generally, living thought and the science thereof, can not well or easily be separated from the philosophy of language.

The general idea of the inner life was, I said, the basis of all the previous development of ideas, and this was the only hypothesis which a philosophy of life stands in need of, or can venture to assume. An objection may, it is true, be here started. In the various digressions into which, in the further development of this one fundamental thought, I have been led by my wish to expand it to a full and complete idea of the consciousness, it may be said that much besides has been supposed or taken for granted, if not expressly, yet tacitly; not indeed arbitrarily, but still as the result of a merely personal conviction, however positive and deliberate. To this objection, so naturally to be expected, I can only reply, that if occasionally I may not have expressed myself hypothetically enough, it was, nevertheless, my intention so to do. Consequently all hypothetical positions, with the exception of the fundamental one of the inner thought and life, hitherto assumed by me, are to be regarded here simply in such a light. They are advanced only for the nonce, and provisionally, until they can receive a further and completer analysis, without in anywise anticipating the proof, nor, by a hasty decision, assuming the truth, as if it were independent of argument.

Now, since doubt is a necessary and inevitable property and an essential principle of the whole man in his present state, we are brought by the regular course of our analysis to the problem which is furnished by the thought at issue with itself. To this subject, which now forces itself immediately on our attention, we must devote an entire section of our labors. The object of the first portion was to advance the simple and general thought of the inner life (as being in this simple generality too vague and undefined), or to raise it, step by step, to a full, complete, and comprehensive, but at the same time rightly divided conception of the human mind. In the same way, in the next division of my speculations, the essential subject and proper aim will be to carry that feeling, call it as we will, whether of pure love, or inner life, or higher truth, whose existence we have, we think, clearly established, through the crisis of doubt, to a determinate judgment of profound certainty and unwavering conviction, or at least to a rigorous distinction between that which is certain and that which must forever remain uncertain.

Now, to render in any degree complete that characteristic of the human mind which it has been our object or endeavor in the previous Lectures to sketch in detail, we were obliged to take in also those higher elements which by many are called in question, and by some positively denied to exist. And herein lay the natural ground and the occasion for our introducing the mention of them, at least as facts of consciousness generally acknowledged by the common-sense of mankind. Not that we thereby meant to exclude them from a profounder investigation, or to guard them against the intrusion of that doubt which knows no limits to its skepticism. We only reserved them to their appropriate place in the natural course of our development of living thought. Some there are, we know, who hold even a higher and genuine sense of art to be a mere fancy either of genius, devoted to and displaying its excellence therein, or of the mere _dilettanti_. Others again, and even celebrated writers, have explained conscience and its still, small voice, by the acquired or instilled prejudice of education, or as the delusive effect of custom. How far more numerous, then, must be the doubts which such a system of abnegation of all that is good and exalted would raise against the Platonic doctrine of a recollection of eternal love, or that idea which I have labored to establish, of a pure longing after infinity! If, again, many question the freedom of the will, they deny, in fact, the will itself; for a will that is not free ceases to be will. If, moreover, others refuse to recognize in all human thought, fictions, and inventions, any thing creatively new and peculiarly original, seeing therein nothing but repetition or fresh combinations of external impressions, consequently denying to the human mind all power of invention, then must fancy be denied to be one of the mind’s fundamental powers. For, in truth, in such a case, it is nothing more than memory, or, rather, it is memory fallen into delirium. Others, again, would refer even reason itself and the essential rational character of man simply to a more delicate sensuous organization than is possessed by the most highly-endowed among the brute creation. All such special and eccentric opinions form but so many subordinate chapters of our second part, which has for its theme reason and doubt, and the state of doubt, which are natural to man. To it, therefore, they must be reserved for investigation. We can not anticipate the period of their discussion in the present place, where our first object is, by a development of the simple thought and the general ideas of the inner life, to sketch a perfect outline of the human mind, which shall take in all its higher elements and capacities, as well as the earthly and inferior ingredients which are blended with them.

The thought or conception, as the general manifestation of the inner life, is in its nature and form indefinite, but still a cogitation, which even at this step is already referred to a particular object, and so in its contents limited thereto. An idea or notion, however, is a conception mathematically proportioned by number, measure, and weight; _i.e._, according to the number of its several constituents it is carefully divided, and its subordinate genera enumerated; measured according to its extent, and according to its internal value and comprehension, and also its relation to other kindred notions of a higher or lower order carefully weighed and pondered; in short, a conception complete and perfect in itself. Hitherto, therefore, it has been properly but a single notion that has engaged our attention, and formed the subject-matter of our whole speculation--the notion, viz., of the human consciousness. For it is not merely philosophy to link together in a never-ending chain its own self-derived and arbitrary ideas, by some specious rule of necessary connection. The duty of philosophy is rather originally to combine facts--and, in truth, all the given facts of a certain kind, and within a certain range, in one clear, intelligible, and perfectly vivid notion, and it has generally to do with very few ideas. Two or three ideas, in short, such as that of consciousness, of science, or of man himself, are quite sufficient for its purpose of solving, if not fully and completely, yet at least to the full extent of what is not merely possible and allowable, but also wholesome and profitable, the three riddles of life, of the universe, and of a divine hope, which lie before the whole human mind, and thereby to arrive at some abiding conviction with regard to them.

Now, in concluding our development of the human mind, and adding to it all that is still wanting to its completeness, I shall observe the same method of exposition as I have hitherto followed. Leaving for the nonce unmooted, the grave questions whether there be any such thing as truth--and, if so, whether man is capable of recognizing and attaining to it in any degree--and reserving them to their appropriate place where they will naturally arise, I shall adopt into the outline of the general notion of the consciousness all those facts of it which are acknowledged by the common-sense of mankind. I shall, as such, allow them all and no more than their due weight. Occasionally, however, when any such phenomenon appears somewhat questionable, I shall add a word or two of explanation, in order to guard against the possibility of misconception, or an overhasty inference, setting down the facts purely as such, and so far as they are already apprehended, for further investigation and inquiry.

The four opposite poles or extremes of man’s divided and discordant consciousness are, I said, its four fundamental faculties or powers, understanding and will, and reason and fancy. With regard to the two first, every one may, both from internal experience of his own self and from observation of his fellow-men, easily arrive at a conviction that they seldom work together in perfect harmony, and that the discord is often the most violent when either one or both of these two faculties possess more than ordinary strength. The marked opposition between reason and fancy reveals itself but too plainly, both in private and public life. The men of mere taste and imagination, artistic and poetical natures (to which category, in a somewhat loose sense, very many really belong, though the happy exceptions of true genius be indeed rare), on the one hand; and on the other, the men of practical reason--the utilitarians, who limit their views, more or less, to the public advantage to be derived from this quality of practical reason, and look with distrust to every higher flight of fancy or feeling, form two hostile classes of men, who with difficulty comprehend each other. At least they are seldom in a position to understand one another’s feelings, and rightly and fairly to appreciate them. Still more rare are the exceptions, where both these faculties and mental characters are found united in one and the same individual.

After these four fundamental faculties of the first order, come certain accessory functions of the second order, derived from or compounded of the former. Of these, conscience and memory, and after them the instincts and passions, have been described as movements of the will, passing over into the illimitable region of the fancy, and consequently holding an intermediate place between will and fancy. We have now to add a word or two concerning the external senses, and therewith to complete our sketch of the human consciousness in its present divided and distracted condition. But previously to entering upon this topic, I would, with reference to this last-mentioned characteristic of instinct, call your attention to a particular species of it, which is not unimportant, but rather belongs essentially to a complete picture of this part of the human consciousness. It will, moreover, furnish a new instance, to show how in nature herself there lies a cause, or at least a first occasion for many parallels of comparative psychology, similar to those which have already presented themselves. I am alluding to the artistic instincts displayed by some of the more sagacious animals, and especially some of the industrious members of the insect tribe. These present a remarkable affinity to human art, in which all, at least, is not the effect of teaching. In the lower but still beautiful degrees of artistic talent, there is much that seems instinctive in its operation, and, as it were, unconscious and innate. True and lofty genius of art can not be here included. It belongs, on the contrary, to a different sphere. For in it the unconscious creative faculty is not narrowly restricted to one rigid path or definite form, but has rather for its essential basis a productive power of imagination, of universal range and fullness, and which, as it were, travails in birth with the infinite.

Now this notion, thus borrowed from natural science, for the purposes of a comparative psychology, seems well applicable to that pure feeling of infinite longing which is the most exalted of all man’s aspirations. According to that idea of it which I have labored to establish, we can name this profound inward longing, which nothing earthly can ever satisfy, man’s instinct of eternity--an instinct which often long remains, and at the first always is perfectly unconscious of a higher vocation and divine destiny.

The external senses are in one respect the faithful organs and instruments of the understanding in the material world, with which it makes its experience or observations therein, and draws therefrom its experimental science. In another point of view, they may not improperly be termed an applied or practical fancy, which for a definite direction exercises itself on the individual phenomena of the material world, for the copying and reproduction of external impressions on the organs, as, _e.g._, of the visible form or reduced image in the eye, is in any case nothing but an inferior species or a collateral branch of the general faculty of productive imagination. But that new and spiritual sense of higher potency, which in the purely material can only develop itself as an exception, or may appear to be veiled therein--I mean the keen appreciation by the ear of musical tones, and the eye for picturesque beauty of form in the plastic art--can only be regarded as a lightning-spark of fancy passing along and operating through this external medium and conductor.

One remark seems of importance in connection with our whole subject; at any rate it will not be superfluous, as confirming our assertion that the threefold principle of human life in general is found repeated in its single members; and though on a smaller scale, is still manifested in the same relation. We observe, therefore, that whatever physiological, or, it may be, anatomical reasons physiologists may have for counting five senses--and they may be perfectly sufficient and adequate for the requisitions of physical science, still, psychologically, it is far more accurate and also simpler, in a philosophical sense, to limit their number to three. No doubt, in the sensation of taste, not only a mechanical contact occurs, but there is also a chemical decomposition of the tasted matter, by which the sensation of sweet or bitter is produced. So, too, in smell, although no visible evaporation takes place, still it is a fact that aëriform floating particles are thrown off from the sensible body, and actually taken in by the sentient. Still these are far from being adequate grounds for making of them two independent senses. Even in the inner organic perception of one’s bodily health and ease, and in the opposite case of pain, it is something more than the mere mechanical contact from without that is therein sensuously perceived. But are we disposed on this account to agree with those who propose to divide still further the single sense of material touch, and increase the number of the senses? We feel at once that this would be superfluous, since all these proposed divisions are, at least in a psychological point of view, to be regarded simply as modifications--as branches or lower species of one and the same sense. And by the same analogy, then, we may reckon all these material senses for one. Thus, then, we have in all but three senses, presenting in this smaller and meaner sphere an accurate correspondence to the triple man, and the three elements which make up his whole being--body, soul, and spirit.

Of the outer senses, the eye is incontestably the most spiritual. The ear, whereby we are sentient of sounds, words, and voices, and melody, and all music, corresponds to the soul; while the sense of material feeling, which is also destined to be the ministering organ and guardian of the health and welfare of the body, is corporeal, and corresponds to the principle of organic life. After the loss both of sight and hearing, the body may both be and long continue healthy and vigorous; whereas a defect in the sense of feeling, so soon, at least, as it became general and total, would be the commencement of death, or at least appear to be so, since diseases temporarily take this form. However, this third and corporeal sense of feeling is not always entirely external and grossly material. It may develop itself, at least by way of ex