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love, and obey it ? This question is pertinent; for Schiller himself admits that artists have heretofore erred, have taken a false beauty for the true, and that thus far art has rather tended to hasten the decline of virtue, than to arrest it. Do not tell us that what has been called art was false art, art that consulted only the external form, or merely sense and imagination, not the sublime beauty you propose ; for what we want is your protection against this very false art, and your guaranty of true art. It is not enough to say, that, if men forsake the worship of the lower beauty and apply themselves to the worship of the higher, they will avoid such and such evils, and practise such and such virtues ; for this is only saying, with our friend Parker, “ If you are good and do good, you will — be good and do good.” Where is your power to secure always the revelation of the true ideal, the representation of true beauty to the mind of your æsthetic cultivators of the race? If artists have erred, why may they not err again ? If æsthetic culture has, in different ages, tended to hasten the decline of virtue, why may it not again ? Have you infallible artists, an infallible academy of art, under an infallible president?
Schiller's doctrine, that the race are to be lifted out of their present condition, and placed on the level of their destiny, by æsthetic culture, is, after all, but a theory. It is a mere fact of the intellect, and therefore, according to his own principles, must be barren of practical results. Even admitting it, then, to be true, as a theory, what advance has he made? Where is the play-impulse to set it in motion, to sustain its practical operation, and to secure its realization in practical life for the advancement of the individual and society? Alas! it is a mere theory, and has no hands and cannot work, feet, and, like the constitutions of state turned out in such numbers in the French Revolution, can't go, can't be got a-going.
But the theory is not true, even as a theory. It proceeds on the assumption, that the end to be gained is the natural development and perfection of man, the realization, so to speak, of the potentialities of human nature. This is the common error of all modern systems. With them all, the end is the fulfilment of man's natural capacities ; and hence the method they all propose is the cultivation or complete education of all our natural powers and faculties, and the means, such as will effect this cultivation or education. The old French infidels sought these means in the abolition of the Church and religion,
and in the revolution and reorganization of the state after their own fanciful and absurd theories ; Schiller seeks them by an appeal to the play-impulse of human nature, — in art, or the representation of all that can affect human life under the winning and pleasing forms of beauty ; Fourier, and the Socialists generally, in so reorganizing society, considered as lying back of the state, as to give free play to all our primitive passions in their essential nature ; the New-England Abolitionists and Come-outers, in overthrowing the state and the Church, in breaking up all organizations, and abolishing all law, save the law each individual is unto himself; and various other classes of pretended reformers have each their own peculiar nostrums, or, as Carlyle calls them, “Morrison pills." But all, however they may differ as to the means, proceed on the assumption, that the end to be gained is the realization of the potentialities of man's nature, or the perfecting of man as a being of his kind.
Now, we must, in our reasonings on this subject, accept the Christian revelation, or reject it. If we reject it, we can affirm nothing of the destiny of man, one way or another, and can have no certain criterion by which to determine whether our systems are true or false, good or bad ; for we defy any man to conclude logically, from what he can ascertain by the study of man and nature alone, to even man's natural destiny. But if we accept the Christian revelation, we know that the development and fulfilment of the potentialities of man's nature are not his destiny, for he has no natural destiny. According to the Christian revelation, Almighty God never made man for a natural destiny, but for a supernatural destiny, - a destiny above nature, and, since the derangement of nature by sin, in many respects against nature ; and if man fails of attaining to this destiny, he fails entirely of attaining the end for which he was made, and for ever falls below what we may imagine would have been his natural destiny, in case he had been created for a natural destiny. It is essential, that, in all our schemes for human amelioration and growth, we keep this fact in mind, and never forget that we have no natural destiny.
This granted, — and it must be, if we follow Christianity, the only light to enlighten us concerning our final cause, — the method of attaining to the end for which we were made, and which we are always to propose as the end to be sought in all our efforts, is not, and cannot be, the harmonious development and fulfilment of our nature, is not natural culture, whether sensuous, intellectual, or æsthetic. The method, following the same light, is submission to the will of God, and the entire renunciation and crucifixion of nature. The means of attaining this submission, this renunciation, this crucifixion, are not the means of natural culture and training, but the grace of God, not attainable by natural culture, but ordinarily attainable only through the sacraments of God's Church, the visible channel of invisible grace, and by prayer, meditation, and mortification. According to our reformers, – no matter of what class, all depends on nature, and the study must be to provide, from the moment of conception, or at least from the birth, of the child, for the free and full development and play of nature; all must be arranged so as to repress nothing, but to bring out all in its natural purity, freedom, strength, and beauty. According to Christianity, from the same moment, from birth to the grave, the study is to repress nature, to restrain it, mortify it, and to bring the individual into complete and entire subjection to God. Christianity wages an unceasing war with nature. It educates, it cultivates ; but not to produce natural virtues and graces, but supernatural. It puts off the old man, which is of the earth, earthy, and puts on the new man, which is from heaven, heavenly, and forms Christ within, the hope of glory. The two systems are, then, right in opposition, the one to the other. Hence, Christianity has and can have no fellowship with these reformers; and this is seen, also, in the fact that they all make war on the Church of God, and none of them accept the Gospel, save as they explain away its sense, and reduce it to a system of mere naturalism.
Schiller proceeds on the assumption, not only that the end to be sought is the natural perfection of man, but that the means to be adopted are such as man himself can originate and put into practical operation. This is also the case with all modern reformers, whether religious, political, or social. But if the end is supernatural, as we have seen, the means must also be supernatural ; for there must be some proportion between the means and the end ; but between natural means and a supernatural end there is and can be no proportion. The true end, therefore, is never to be gained by natural means, by any set or series of causes man himself is naturally able to put in operation.
This is a conclusion we wish to press upon the serious consideration of our modern reformers. We do not suppose any man, at all imbued with Christian charity, can be satisfied with things as they are. The condition of our fellow-men, even so far as regards this world, is truly heart-rending. On every hand, are wrongs and outrages. The strong oppress the weak, the cunning circumvent the simple; the state becomes an organized machine for taxing the people, and for aiding the few to plunder the many; and the general tone of society, and of nearly all its vaunted institutions, is corrupt and corrupting. But what is the remedy? Whence the help ? There is no help from man, no remedy of human origin and application. All labor directed to discover and apply a human remedy is worse than lost. You may as well crack your brains and waste your substance in seeking to invent a perpetual motion. Who of you can list himself up by his own waistbands ? The thing is as impossible in morals as in mechanics.
But can we do nothing ? Must we sit still and bear the frightful misery of our lot, without making any effort to relieve it? We say not that. Man may work; but, if he is to work with success, he must work in God's way. When you wish to erect a mill, you study to erect it so that nature herself shall work for you, and drive your machinery. In morals you must follow the same method, only you are here to seek to avail yourself, not of nature, but of grace. You must work, but you must work to let God himself work in and for
He has provided for the redemption of man from all evils, and your business is to accept and conform to his provision ; and then it is no longer you that work, but he that worketh in you
and for you.
But your error is in this very fact, that you reject the means Almighty God, in bis infinite love and mercy, has provided, and seek to find out and apply some remedy of your own. Schiller feels the necessity of a force to unite and direct the intellect and sense, to harmonize man with himself and with nature, and direct all human forces, both individual and social, to the realization of our destiny. He seeks this force in the playimpulse, which is still a human force. This force is to be set in motion by beauty, the ideal, which is not man's creation, but something independent of man, and which his nature is fitted to perceive and love. But this force has always been an attribute of man, and this ideal beauty has always hovered over and before him ; and yet he has fallen into the deplorable condition from which these are assumed as sufficient to raise him! How with unvaried factors do you propose to obtain a varied product ? Evidently, you must vary one of your factors, introduce a new factor, or not change your product.
This ideal beauty you talk about, we have no faith in. But be it all you allege ; as ideal, it is unreal, and therefore inoperative; for only what is real can operate. It must be realized, then, before it can set the play-impulse in motion. But it cannot realize itself ; for it must be real before it can act. Then a power foreign to itself is needed to realize it. This power must be human or divine. If human, it will not answer your purpose ; for the human force which you must assume as the force to realize it is set in motion only by this very ideal beauty, which can produce no effect till realized. If, then, you assume man's power is adequate to its realization, you assume its realization as the condition of its realization ! Here is a circle out of which no human power can extricate you.
If you assume the power is divine, then it is God that realizes it, and his realization of it must necessarily be the organization or embodiment of it in an institution capable of acting on man, and directing all his activities to the proper end ; that is, in principle, the Church. You must, then, have a divinely constituted Church, as the condition of getting your ideal beauty into the condition in which it can set your play-impulse in motion, as we proved to you, in the Essay, No Church, no Reform, in our Review for April, 1844. But God has already founded the Church, and for the express purpose of man's redemption. Place yourself in that, and you have the power you need; for through that flows the stream of God's grace needed to drive your moral machinery.
But you reject the Church, and herein is your folly and your condemnation. Your folly ; for, if the Church be not a divinely founded institution for the redemption of man, you have no means of effecting that redemption, and therefore it is idle to attempt it. Your condemnation ; for the Church is such an institution, and you reject it, and seek to gain your end without and in opposition to it, — which is to seek to gain it without and in opposition to God himself. In the one case, your conduct is folly ; in the other, it is criminal, high-treason against God.
But no, you are liberals, you are for freedom, and you will not submit to the Church, because that would be to abjure yourselves and become voluntary slaves to absolute power. The Church claims to be supreme under God, because through his supernatural gifts she is infallible, we admit ; and you are required to submit to her as an infallible authority, which may on no account and in no respect be disobeyed. So far as this is