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Spiritual presence, apocalypse of every apocalypse, becomes our primal fact. It is the root of Protestantism, Pemotrary, Individualism. The sanctity of conscience is a rest of man upon undeniable Deity. There is no room for intervention of Peter or Paul.
The mind is immanence of Being, an original relation to all we have named reality and worshipped as divine. There are truths which we must reckon with Swedenborg among the Fundamentals of Humanity. To hold them is to be Man, — to be admitted to the hopeful council of our kind. Freedom is such a fundamental of the moral sense. From the thought of property in man we erect ourselves in God's name with indignant protestation, wiping it and its apologists together as dirt from our feet. By an equal necessity we count out from every discourse of reason those who find in them no organ of ultimate communication, who refer from common consciousness to saint and sage, as though God could be shut from presence and supremacy in thought. They are intellectual non-combatants who so refer. We take them at their own valuation; their certainty of uncertainty, their confession of remoteness from the centre wo accept; but we must turn from the very angels, if they bo not permitted for themselves to know. There is no outside to the universe except this cmbryotic condition, wherein a man may think that there is no result of thought.
I suppose no individual thinker will ever again have the importance which attaches to a few names in history. Nc man will found a religion with Mahomet, or overlie philosophers like Calvin, or shoulder out the poets like Shakspeare; still less will any man again be worshipped as a personal god. Let the newcomer be never so great, there is now a greatness in public thought to dwarf his proportions. He antedated all discoveries who first uttered the sacred name. That ray on darkness tells. Now we have nations of philosophers, thought flies like thistle-down, and the sublime
speculations of th» for°-woriiJ aro ersrflesongs and first spelhng-lessons to excite the guesses of every barefooted boy. In early ages men met face to face with Nature, and spent their strength directly in questioning her. Now the work of God is overlaid. Every blunder is a nick in our field, and at last the field is a stoneheap of blunders, and our giants have work enough to reach any ground in the unsophisticated facts of life. We set no limit to the revolutionary power of truth; in happy hour it may sweep away doctrine and usage, supplant systems by songs, and governments by Love. Yet the first men were able to cleave tbfe world to its centre, and predict the last results. We only enlarge their openings. Schools follow schools, Eclecticism - comes with its band into the field to gather every ear; but Plato stands smiling behind, and holds in his hands that simple divided line, the image of all we know.
Who can wonder at the authority of the ancients, unbowed by an antiquity behind? Freedom from authority gave their directness, their simplicity, their superiority to misgiving and second thought, their confident " Thus saith the Lord."
We boast our enlightenment, but now the best minds are in question whether we have not lost as much by the ancients as we have gained. Plainly, they have not yet done their own work, have not given us to ourselves and to God. They should have been less or greater; they did not quite liberate, but became oppressors of the mind. To this misfortune we begin to find a single exception. Jesus, with his primal doctrine of a divine humanity, will now at last avail to be understood, will deliver us from every teacher to a Father in the heavens, and put us in direct communication with Him through the moral sense. After so many blind centuries, his truth breaks out, draws us to him from the misunderstanding of his followers, and refers from himself to the sources of his incomparable life.
Two men of our time are the primitive Christians,—not known for such, because their springs open, with those of the Master, not in any character, but in the Cause. They share his reliance, and accept in simplicity those brotherly words in which he extends his privilege to every child: •
He will open to us Nature, for his habit i . the only natural. He has no anxiety for immediate results, is never guarded in expression, does never explain; he makes no record of thought, calls no scholar to be' scribe; he knows no labors, no studies; he walks on the hills, and frankly interprets the waving grain, the seed in the furrow, the lily, and the weed. Here is power which takes no thought for the morrow, an attitude which works endless revolutions without means or care or cost.
We must not dwell on this supreme example, lest we leave the hope of every reader far behind. Let us rather keep the level of common experience, and disclose the incursions of spirit which light a humble life. Love and Providence will appear in every breast; nothing more than Love and Providence appears to us above.
A supreme genius will fail, rather by under- than over-statement, to balance the popular exaggeration and repetition of fine phrases for which we have no corresponding fact. Why should any man be zealous or impatient? Why press a moral, dissecting it skeleton-like from throbbing textures of Freedom and Beauty? Why preach, threaten, and drive us with these bones, when a lover may draw us with kisses on living lips? Nature offers Duty as a manlier pleasure, leads the will so softly as to set us free in following, and her last thrill of delight a the steady heart-beat of heroism, facing danger with level eyes and fatal determination. Fear may arrest, but never restore. It is an arrest of fever by freezing, of disease by disease. Let it be understood, once for all, that this universe is moral, and say no more about that. Every man loves jroodness, and the saint never exhorts to this love, but reinforces by addrearing himself to it as matter of course. All power is a like repose on
VOL. XIII. 11
the basis of common desires and perceptions in the race. The didactic method is an insult alike to the pupil and the universe. Socrates is master and gentleman with his questions, suggestions, seeking in me and acting as midwife to my thought; but all ittuminati and professors, all who talk down or cut our meat into morsels, will quickly be counted aunties by the vigorous boys at school. Chairs and pulpits totter to-day with a scholastic dry rot, which is inability to recognize the equality of unsophisticated man to man. There will soon be no more chair or desk; the only eminence will be that of one who can stand with feet on the common level, and still utter over our heads a regenerating word. We shall learn to address oUrselves in an audience, to utter before millions, as if in joyful soliloquy, the sincerest, tenderest thought. Speak as if to angels, and you shall speak to angels; take unhesitating inmost counsel with mankind. The response to every pure desire is instant and wonderful. Thousands listen to-day for a word which waits in the air and has never been spoken, a word of courage to carry forward the purpose of their lives.
Thought points to unity, and the thinker is impatient of squinting and side-glances while all eyes should be turned together to the same. Thought is growing agreement, and that in which the race cannot meet me is some whim or notion, a personal crotchet, not a cosmic and eternal truth. Genius is freedom from all oddity, is Catholicity,—and departure from it so much departure in me from Nature and myself. We say a man is original, if he lives at first, and not at second hand,—if he requires a new tombstone, — if he takes law, not from the many or the few, but from the sky, — if he is no subordinate, but an authority, — if he does not borrow judgment, but is judgment. Such a man is singular in his attitude only because we have so fallen from purity. He, not the fashion, is •cojnme U faut. By every word and act he declares that as he is so all men mutt shortly be.
Plato and Swedenborg are trying to apeak the same word, but each can avail only to turn some syllable. They regret this partiality as a provincial burr, as greenness and narrowness. Genius sees the white light and regrets its own impurity, though that be piquancy to the multitude, and marketable as a splendid blue or gold. Manner, in thought, speech, behavior, is popularity and falsehood; is the limping of a king deformity, though it set the fashion of limping. The grandest thoughts are colorless as water; they savor not of Milton, Socrates, or Menu; seem not drawn from any private cistern, but rain-drops out of the pure sky. Whim and conceit are tare and tret. It matters little whether a man whine with Coleridge, or boast with Ben Jonson, or sneer with Byron, or grumble with Carlyle, if every thought is one-sided and warped. The oddity relieves our commonplace, and pricks the dull palate; but we soon tire of exaggeration, and detest the trick. It is egotism, self-sickness, jaundice, adulteration of the light. We name it the subjective habit, personality; while.the right illumination is a transparency, a putting-off of shoes, garments, body, and constitution, lest these should intercept or stain the ray. Genius is an eye single and serene. Good speech carries the sound of no man's, of no angel's voice. Good writing betrays no man's hand, but is as if traced by the finger of God.
Original will signify, therefore, not peculiar, but universal. The original is one who lives from the Maker, not from man. He has found and asserts himself as a piece of primal design: he is somewhat, and his life therefore significant. He first represents man in purity, man in God, and is a revelation. No matter what he repeats as approved, he will not be a repetition, but will give new value to each thing by his approval. The wisest man in separate propositions repeats only what has many times been spoken. In my reading of this past week I find anticipated every item of modern thought. * Hooker says of the Bible, —" By looking in it for that-which it is impossible that
any,book can have, we lose tho benefits which we might reap from its being the best of books." Milton says, —
"He who reads and to his reading brings not A spirit and judgment equal or superior, (And what he brings what needs he elsewhere seek?) Uncertain and unsettled still remains."
Coleridge gives perfect confidence to paradox as sure of solution above the terms of it; in his " Table-Talk " he antedates Carlyle's doctrine of dynamies, — puts Faith above belief, as in another region of the mind,—declares that the conceivable is not to be revered, and says, before Emerson, that existence is the Fall of Man. But the failure of Coleridge teaches that no single perceptions, however subtile or deep, will solve the broad problem of Nature. These separate thoughts the great hold in new emphasis and relation. Of such sparks they make a flame, of such timbers a house or ship. The parts may be old, the whole is not; and Goethe falls into a modest fallacy, when, in acknowledging his obligation to others, he disclaims originality for himself. All 'a new in his use of it: you may say he has taken nothing, for what was iron or silver where he found it is gold in his transmuting grasp.
When a man authentic speaks, our interest goes through every statement to himself. The root of that word is not in the market or the street, but in humanity, and through that in the deep. We study Goethe, not any opinion of Goethe: he represents for us in his measure the nature, need, and resource of the race, because what he publishes he knows, lives, and is. We open the mind largely to take the sense of such a gospel: it will not appear in details of perception. Plato and Goethe see the same sun, and seem to the vulgar to follow each other; they have more in common than any man can have in privacy; yet if you enter to the entire habit of each, you will justify the making of these two. They are like and unlike, as apples on one and another tree. The great in any time hold in common the growing truth of their time, and refer to it in intercourse as understood, an atmosphere which he must breathe who now lives aud thinks; yet no two will be identically related to the same. We are radiated as spokes from a centre; we enter to it and work for it from every side.
There is no danger of repetition, if the thought be deep. Superior insight will always sufficiently astonish, will always l« novel in its place. The more simple the method, the more wonderful every result. Men are shut, as if by a wall of adamant, from all that is yet beyond their sympathy. My neighbor is immersed in planting, building, and the new road. Beside him, companion only in air and sunshine, walks one who has no ocular adjustment for these atoms; his thought overleaps them in starting, and is wholly beyond. The end of vision for a practical eye is beginning of clairvoyance. To the road-maker, man is a maker of roads; he cracks his nuts and his jokes unconscious, while the ground opens and the world heaves with revolutions of thought. Afk him in vain what Webster means by "Concord, Lexington, and Bunker Hill"; what Channing sees in the Dignity of Man, or Edwards in the Sweetness of Divine Love; ask him in vain what is the "Fate" of Jischylus, the "Compensation"" of Emerson, Carlyle's " Conllux of Eternities," the "Conjunction" of Swedenborg, the "Newness " of Fox, the "Morning Red" of Bchmen, the "Renunciation" of Goethe, the "Comforter" of Jesus, the "Justification" of Paul.
For the dull, this mystery of existence is not even a mystery; they are shut below the firmament of wonder. When the vulgar come with their definite gain and good, their circle of im-' mediate ends, we feel the house con
tract, the sky descend, — we shrivel, our pores close, the skull hardens on the brain. The positive, who exactly knows, is a skeleton at the feast: that exactness is numbness, and chills every expansive guest . Dogma is a stoppage quite short of the nearest beginning; the liberal habit a beginning of all that has no end. Sense is a wall very near the eye, and when that is penetrated all lies open beyond; we see only paths, seas, and vistas. Wisdom explores and never concludes. The explanations of centuries are idle tales: my explanations are not so to be forestalled. We forget the shallow answers to shallow questions, when now we have deeper genuine questions to ask. The great are happy babes of Beauty and Good. Truth returns in a fresh suspicion, and all are welcome who wear on the brows that soft commingled light and shadow of an advancing, sweet, inexplicable Fate. Our hope is nq house, but a wing; no roof can be endured but the blue one. What method have we yet to serve the spontaneous or spiritual being? what culture, art, society, worship, in which his need and power are so much as recognized? There is indefinable certainty of Nature beyond Nature, man beyoud man. Genius opens all doors, the earth-doors, the sky-doors,—throws down the horizon and the heaven, to come into open air. All paths lead out to the sea, where a day's voyage may teach that the receding circle bounds our sight alone, and not the deep. We look out not on chaos and darkness, but on order too large for the brain, and light, for which as owls we have yet no capacious eye. We leave every perception neglected to wait on the future; but every future has its future devouring the past . What is left but bending of the knee and boundless confidence?
MY BROTHER AND I.
From the door where I stand I can see his fair land
Sloping up to a broad sunny height,
The buckwheat all blossoming white:
And shakes its glad locks in the light.
He dwells in the hall where the long shadows fall
On the checkered and cool esplanade;
By a gnarly old apple-tree's shade:
The banks where in childhood we played.
But now nevermore upon river or shore
He runs or he rows by my ride;
And ho, full of riches and pride,
For an old-fashioned brother to ride.
His wife, with her gold, gives him friends, I am told,
With whom she is rather too gay, —
For her gloves and her fan, night or day,
Such world-famous fellows as they!
Ah, brother of mine, while you sport, while you dine,
While you drink of your wine like a lord,
With such guests every day at your board!
As husbands like you can afford.
For still you must think, as you eat, as you -drink,
As you hunt with your dogs and your guns,
And you were once hunted by duns.
The cup of our love overruns.