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is resolved into It was and It shall be. Thus by our analysis do we retreat into the ideal. In the deepest reflection, all that we call external is only the material basis upon which our dreams are built; and the sleep that surrounds life swallows up life, all but a dim wreck of matter, floating this way and that, and forever evanishing from sight. Complete the analysis, and we lose even the shadow of the external Present, and only the Past and the Future are left us as our sure inheritance. This is the first initiation, the veiling of the eyes to the external. But, as epopte, by the synthesis of this Past and Future in a living nature, we obtain a higher, an ideal Present, comprehending within itself all that can be real for us within us or without. This is the second initiation, in which is unveiled to us the Present as a new birth from our own life.
Thus the great problem of Idealism is symbolically solved in the Eleusinia. For us there is nothing real except as we realize it. Let it be that myriads have walked upon the earth before us,- that each race and generation has wrought its change and left its monumental record upon pillar and pyramid and obelisk; set aside the ruin which Time has wrought both upon the change and the record, levelling the cities and temples of men, diminishing the shadows of the Pyramids, and rendering more shadowy the names and memories of heroes,- obliterating even its own ruin;-set aside this oblivion of Time, still there would be hieroglyphics, still to us all that comes from this abyss of Time behind us, or from the abyss of Space around us, must be but dim and evanescent imagery and empty reverberation of sound, except as, becoming a part of our own life, by a new birth, it receives shape and significance. Nothing can be unveiled to us till it is born of us. Thus the epoptæ are both creators and interpreters. Strength of knowledge and strength of purpose, lying at the foundation of our own nature, become also the measure of our interpretation of all Nature. Therefore in each suc
cessive cycle of human history, as we realize more completely the great Ideal, our appreciation of the Past increases, and our hope of the Future. The dif ference lies not in the data of history, but in what we make of the data.
We cannot see too clearly that the great problem of life, in Philosophy, Art, or Religion, is essentially the same from the beginning. Like Nature, indeed, it repeats itself under various external phases, in different ages and under different skies. History whispers from her antediluvian lips of a race of giants; so does the earth reveal mammoths and stupendous forests. But the wonder neither of Man nor of Nature was greater then than We say much, too, of Progress. But the progress does not consist in a change of the fundamental problem of the race; we have only learned to use our material so that we effect our changes more readily, and write our record with a finer touch and in clearer outline. The progress is in the facility and elaboration, and may be measured in Space and Time; but the Ideal is ever the same and immeasurable. Homer is hard to read; but when once you have read him you have read all poetry. Or suppose that Orpheus, instead of striving with his mythic brother Cheiron, were to engage in a musical contest with Mozart, and you, reader, were to adjudge the prize. Undoubtedly you would give the palm to Mozart. Not that Mozart is the better musician; the difficulty is all in your ear, my friend. If you could only hear the nice vibrations of the "golden shell," you might reverse your decision.
So in Religion; the central idea, if you can only discern it, is ever the same. She no longer, indeed, looks with the bewildered gaze of her childhood to the mountains and rivers, to the sun, moon, and stars, for aid. In the fulness of time the veil is rent in twain, and she looks beyond with a clearer eye to the surer signs that are visible of her unspeakable glory. But the longing of her heart is ever the
What remains to us of ancient systems
of faith is, for the most part, mere name and shadow. It is even more difficult for us to realize to ourselves a single ceremony of Grecian worship,- for instance, a dance in honor of Apollo,-in its subtile meaning, than it would be to appreciate the Prometheus" of Eschylus. This ignorance leads oftentimes to the most shocking profanation; and from mere lack of vision we ridicule much that should call forth our reverence.
Thus many Christian writers have sought to throw ridicule upon the Eleusinia. But we must remember, that, to Greece, throughout her whole history, they presented a well-defined system of faith, that, essentially, they even served the function of a church by their inherent idea of divine discipline and purification and the hope which they ever held out of future resurrection and glory. Why, then, you ask, if they were so pure and full of meaning, why was not such a man as Socrates one of the Initiated? The reason, reader, was simply this: What the Eleusinia furnished to Greece, that Socrates furnished to himself. That man who could stand stock-still a whole day, lost in silent contemplation, what was the need to him of the Eleusinian veil? The most self-sufficient man in all Greece, who could find the way directly to himself and to the mystery and responsibility of his own will without the medium of external rites, to whom there were the ever-present intimations of his strange Divinity, what need to him of the Eleusinian revealings or their sublime self-intuition (abropia)? He had his own separate tragedy also. And when with his last words he requested that a cock be sacrificed to Esculapius, that, reader, was to indicate that to him had come the eighth day of the drama, in which the Great Physician brings deliverance, and in the evening of which there should be the final unveiling of the eyes in the presence of the Great Hierophant !
Such were the Eleusinia of Greece. But what do they mean to us? We have already hinted at their connection with the Sphinx's riddle. It is through this
connection that they receive their most general significance; for this riddle is the riddle of the race, and the problem which it involves can be adequately realized only in the life of the race. To Greece, as peculiarly sensitive to all that is tragical, the Sphinx connected her questions most intimately with human sorrow, either in the individual or the household.
"Who is it," thus the riddle ran, "who is it that in the morning creeps upon allfours, touching the earth in complete dependence,—and at noon, grown into the fulness of beauty and strength, walks erect with his face toward heaven, — but at the going down of the sun, returns again to his original frailty and dependence?"
This, answered Edipus, is Man; and most fearfully did he realize it in his own life! In the mysteries of the Eleusinia there is the same prominence of human sorrow, only here the Sphinx propounds her riddle in its religious phase; and in the change from the myste to the epoptæ, in the revelation of the central self, was the great problem symbolically realized.
Greece had her reckoning; and to her eye the Sphinx long ago seemed to plunge herself headlong into precipitate destruction. But this strange lady is ever reappearing with her awful alternative : they who cannot solve her riddle must die. It is no trifling account, reader, which we have with this lady. For now her riddle has grown to fearful proportions, connecting itself with the rise and fall of empires, with the dim realm of superstition, with vast systems of philosophy and faith. always the same: been is that which shall be; and that which hath been is named already,— and it is known that it is Man."
And the answer is "That which hath
What is it that shall explain the difference between our map of the world and that of Sesostris or Anaximander? Geological deposits, the washing away of mountains, and the change of rivercourses are certainly but trifling in such an account. But an Argonautic expe
dition, a Trojan siege, a Jewish exodus, Nomadic invasions, and the names of Hanno, Cæsar, William the Conqueror, and Columbus, suggest an explanation. It is the flux of human life which must account for the flowing outline of the earth's geography. As with the terrestrial, so with the celestial. The heavens change by a subtiler movement than the precession of the equinoxes. În Job, “Behold the height of the stars, how high they are!" but to Homer they bathe in the Western seas; while to us, they are again removed to an incalculable distance, but at the same time so near, that, in our hopes, they are the many mansions of our Father's house, the stepping-stones to our everlasting rest.
But there is also another map, reader, more shadowy in its outline, of an invisible region, neither of the heavens nor of the earth,—but having vague relations to each, with a secret history of its own, of which now and then strange tales and traditions are softly whispered in our ear,— where each of us has been, though no two ever tell the same story of their wanderings. Strange to say, each one calls all other tales superstitions and old-wives' fables; but observe, he always trembles when he tells his own. But they are all true; there is not one old-wife's fable on the list. Necromancers have had private interviews with visitors who had no right to be seen this side the Styx. The Witch of Endor and the raising of Samuel were literal facts. Above all others, the Nemesis and Eumenides were facts not to be withstood, And, philosophize as we may, ghosts have been seen at dead of night, and not always under the conduct of Mercury; even the Salem witch
*This function of Mercury, as PsychoPompos, or conductor of departed souls to Hades, is often misunderstood. He was a Pompos not so much for the safety of the dead (though that was an important consideration) as for the peace of the living. The Greeks had an overwhelming fear of the dead, as is evident from the propitiatory rites to their shades; hence the necessity of putting them under strict charge, even against their will. (Horace, I. Ode xxiv. 15.) All Mercury's
craft was very far from being a humbug. They are all true,-the gibbering ghost, the riding hag, the enchantment of wizards, and all the miracles of magic, none of which we have ever seen with the eye, but all of which we believe at heart. But who is it that weirdly draws aside the dark curtain? Who is this mystic lady, ever weaving at her loom,-weaving long ago, and weaving yet,—singing with unutterable sadness, as she interweaves with her web all the sorrows and shadowy fears that ever were or that ever shall be? We know, indeed, that she weaves the web of Fate and the curtain of the Invisible; for we have seen her work. We know, too, that she alone can show the many-colored web or draw aside the dark curtain; for we have seen her revelations. But who is she?
Ay, reader, the Sphinx puts close questions now and then; but there is only one answer that can satisfy her or avert death.
This person, the only real mystery which can exist for you,- of all things the most familiar, and at the same time the most unfamiliar,-is yourself! You need not speak in whispers. It is true, this lady has a golden quiver as well as a golden distaff; but her arrows are all for those who cannot solve her riddle.
Protagoras, then, was right; and, looking back through these twenty-two centuries, we nod assent to his grand proposition: "Man is the measure of all things,
of the possible, how it is, of the impossible, how it is not " In the individual life are laid the foundations of the universe, and upon each individual artist depend the symmetry and meaning of the constructed whole. This Master-Artist it is who holds the keys of life and death; and whatsoever he shall bind or loose in his consciousness shall be bound or loosed throughout the universe. Apart from him, Nature is resolved into an intangible, shapeless vanity of silence and darkness, without a name, and, in fact,
qualifications point to this office, by which he defends the living against the invasions of the dead. Hence his craft and agility; for who so fleet and subtle as a ghost?
no Nature at all. To man, all Nature must be human in some soul. God himself is worshipped under a human phase; and it is here that Christianity, the flower of all Faith, furnishes the highest answer and realization of this world-riddle of the Sphinx,- here that it rests its eternal Truth, even as here it secures its unfailing appeal to the human heart!
The process by which any nature is realized is the process by which it is humanized. Thus are all things given to us for an inheritance. Let it be, that, apart from us, the universe sinks into insignificance and nothingness; to us it is a royal possession; and we are all kings, with a dominion as unlimited as our desire. Ubi Cæsar, ibi Roma! Rome is the world; and each man, if he will, is Cæsar.
If he will;-ay, there's the rub! In the strength of his will lie glory and absolute sway. But if he fail, then becomes evident the frailty of his tenure," he is a king of shreds and patches!"
Here is the crying treachery; and thus it happens that there are slaves and craven hearts. This is the profound pathos of history, (for the Sphinx has always more or less of sadness in her face,) which enters so inevitably into all human triumphs. The monuments of Egypt, the palaces and tombs of her kings,-revelations of the strength of will,- also by inevitable suggestions call to our remembrance successive generations of slaves and their endless toil. Morn after morn, at sunrise, for thousands of years, did Memnon breathe forth his music, that his name might be remembered upon the earth; but his music was the swell of a broken harp, and his name was whispered in mournful silence! Among the embalmed dead, in urn-burials, in the midst of catacombs, and among the graves upon our hillsides and in our valleys, there lurks the same sad mockery. Surely "purple Death and the strong Fates do conquer us!" Strangely, in vast solitudes, comes over us a sense of desola
tion, when even the faintest adumbrations of life seem lost in the inertia of mortality. In all pomp lurks the pomp of funeral; and we do now and then pay. homage to the grim skeleton king who sways this dusty earth,-yea, who sways our hearts of dust!
But it is only when we yield that we are conquered. "The dæmon shall not choose us, but we shall choose our domon. It is only when we lose hold of our royal inheritance that Time is seen with his scythe and the heritage becomes
This is the failure, the central loss, over which Achtheia mourns. Happy are the epopta who know this, who have looked the Sphinx in the face, and escaped death! They are the seers, they the heroes!
But "Conx Ompax!”
And now, like good Grecians, let us make the double libation to our lady,toward the East and toward the West. That is an important point, reader; for thus is recognized the intimate connection which our lady has with the movements of Nature, in which her life is mirrored,—especially with the rising, the ongoing, and the waning of the day; and you remember that this also was the relief of the Sphinx's riddle,— this same movement from the rising to the setting sun. But prominently, as in all worship, are our eyes turned toward the East,toward the resurrection. In the tomb of Memnon, at Thebes, are wrought two series of paintings; in the one, through successive stages, the sun is represented in his course from the East to the West, --and in the other is represented, through various stages, his return to the Orient. It was to this Orient that the old king looked, awaiting his regeneration.
Thus, reader, in all nations,- by no mere superstition, but by a glorious symbolism of Faith, - do the children of the earth lay them down in their last sleep with their faces to the East.
*Plato's Republic, at the close.
THE MINISTER'S WOOING.
MARY returned to the house with her basket of warm, fresh eggs, which she set down mournfully upon the table. In her heart there was one conscious want and yearning, and that was to go to the friends of him she had lost,-to go to his mother. The first impulse of bereavement is to stretch out the hands towards what was nearest and dearest to the departed.
Her dove came fluttering down out of the tree, and settled on her hand, and began asking in his dumb way to be noticed. Mary stroked his white feathers, and bent her head down over them till they were wet with tears. "Oh, birdie, you live, but he is gone!" she said. Then suddenly putting it gently from her, and going near and throwing her arms around her mother's neck,—“ Mother,” she said, "I want to go up to Cousin Ellen's.” (This was the familiar name by which she always called Mrs. Marvyn.) "Can't you go with me, mother?”
"My daughter, I have thought of it. I hurried about my baking this morning, and sent word to Mr. Jenkyns that he needn't come to see about the chimney, because I expected to go as soon as breakfast should be out of the way. So, hurry, now, boil some eggs, and get on the cold beef and potatoes; for I see Solomon and Amaziah coming in with the milk. They'll want their breakfast immediately."
The breakfast for the hired men was soon arranged on the table, and Mary sat down to preside while her mother was going on with her baking,- introducing various loaves of white and brown bread into the capacious oven by means of a long iron shovel, and discoursing at intervals with Solomon, with regard to the different farming op
erations which he had in hand for the day.
Solomon was a tall, large-boned man, brawny and angular; with a face tanned by the sun, and graven with those considerate lines which New England so early writes on the faces of her sons. He was reputed an oracle in matters of agriculture and cattle, and, like oracles generally, was prudently sparing of his responses. Amaziah was one of those uncouth over-grown boys of eighteen whose physical bulk appears to have so suddenly developed that the soul has more matter than she has learned to recognize, so that the hapless individual is always awkwardly conscious of too much limb; and in Amaziah's case, this consciousness grew particularly distressing when Mary was in the room. He liked to have her there, he said,-" but, somehow, she was so white and pretty, she made him feel sort o' awful-like."
Of course, as such poor mortals always do, he must, on this particular morning, blunder into precisely the wrong subject.
"S'pose you've heerd the news that Jeduthun Pettibone brought home in the Flying Seud,' 'bout the wreck o' the 'Monsoon'; it's an awful providence, that 'ar' is,-a'n't it? Why, Jeduthun says she jest crushed like an egg-shell"; -and with that Amaziah illustrated the fact by crushing an egg in his great brown hand.
Mary did not answer. She could not grow any paler than she was before; a dreadful curiosity came over her, but her lips could frame no question. Amaziah
"Ye see, the cap'en he got killed with a spar when the blow fust come on, and Jim Marvyn he commandeď; and Jeduthun says that he seemed to have the spirit of ten men in him; he worked