« AnkstesnisTęsti »
the mind of the Creator becomes an outward reality for the creature. The expression, however, is an improper one, since the word illusion implies deceit, and such indeed is its general acceptation in the Hindoo writings. Here the same erroneous notion shows itself, which we saw in the ethical view of the Outward as Evil and Impurity. Both postulate that Matter is in itself a reality independent of Mind; that Nature is independent of God. For illusion is such only by contrast with Reality and real knowledge. If the illusiveness of the phenomenal world, therefore, be held to consist in its transcience, Reality must be a permanence of the phenomenal, as something separate from Spirit, from the Creator. In that case Creation would be the substitution of a shadowy and transient existence for a solid reality; and would thus be a deception ;- and Nature would be an eternal undivine existence, and being independent of the Creator) an eternal negation of God, or eternal Evil.
The main peculiarities of the Hindoo view, therefore, do not come from its Idealism, but from its Materialism. It is an essentially incomplete Idealism, because it does not dispose of Matter by reducing it to an idea, but only ignores it'; - hence a reaction, and a passage to its opposite, Materialism, was unavoidable. Nature not
being shown to be included in Spirit, but merely excluded by it, remained as its opposite, mere negation; and Spirit also was thus degraded into the mere opposite of Nature, - mere immateriality, or unembodied soul. Skepticism was the necessary result.
It would be interesting, did our limits allow, to show the development of this principle in the institutions and character of the Hindoos. It would also be of the highest interest to contrast with it (and thereby illustrate the same great truth,) its opposite, Materialism, and show how it in turn, by the same necessity of symmetry, passes into Idealism, and at last to the common meeting point of Skepticism ; - how from Locke to Berkeley and Hume there is a progress not at all accidental, but necessary, and involved in the very principles started with. ART. II. – Memoir of William Ellery Channing ; with
Extracts from his Correspondence and Manuscripts. In three volumes. Boston. 1848. 12mo. pp. 427, 459, 494.
It is now nearly six years since William Ellery Channing, ceasing to be mortal, passed on to his rest and his reward. We have waited impatiently for the publication of his memoirs, that we might “beg a hair of him for memory They are now before us — three well printed volumes, mainly filled up with his own writings, letters, extracts from journals, sermons, and various papers hitherto kept from the press. As a public speaker and popular writer he was well known before ; these volumes show us not merely the minister and the author, but the son, husband, father, and friend. If they reveal nothing new in his character, we have yet in them ample materials for ascertaining whence came his influence and his power. What estimate shall we make of the man, and what lesson draw from his life and works? These are matters worth considering, but, before answering the question, let us look a little at the opportunities afforded him by his profession.
The Church and State are two conspicuous and important forms of popular action. The State is an institution which represents man in his relations with man ; - the Church, man in his relations with man and God. These institutions, vary. ing in their modifications, have always been and must be, as they represent two modes of action that are constant in the Human Race, and come from the imperishable nature of man. In each of these modes of action, the People have their servants, — Politicians, the servants of the State, and Clergymen, the servants of the Church.
Now the clergyman may be a Priest, or a Minister - the choice depending on his character and ability. The same distinctions are noticeable in the servants of the State, where we have the Priest of Politics and the Minister of Politics. We will pass over the Priest.
The business of the minister is to become a spiritual guide to men, to instruct by his wisdom, elevate by his goodness, refine and strengthen by his piety, to inspire by his whole soul - to serve and to lead by going before them all his days with all his life, a pillar of cloud by day, of fire by night. The good shepherd giveth his life to his sheep as well as for them.
The minister aims to be, to do, and to suffer, in special for his own particular parish, but also and in general for mankind at large. He proposes for himself this end: the elevation of mankind, — their physical elevation to health, comfort, abundance, skill, and beauty; their intellectual elevation to thought, refinement, and wisdom; their moral and religious elevation to goodness and piety, till they all become sons of God also, and prophets. However, his direct and main business is to promote the Spiritual Growth of men, helping them to love one another, and to love God.
His means to this end are, in general, the common weapons of the church. To him the Sunday is a high day, for it is the great day of work, when he comes into close relations with men, to instruct the mind, to warn in the name of conscience, gently arousing the affections, kindling the religious emotions, and so continuing his Father's work; the Meeting-house, chapel, or church, is the great place for his work, and so, like the Sunday, it is holy to him ; — both invested with a certain sanctity, as to the pious farmer or smith, the Plough or the Hammer seems a sacred thing. The Bible, the service-books, the traditions he appeals to, the sacramental ordinances he uses, all are means but not ends, helps to whom they help, but nothing more, their sanctity derivative, not of them but of the use they serve. In our day, the Press offers him its aid, and stands ready to distribute his thought among the millions of mankind. By means of that he gradually gets beyond the bounds of his parish, rural or metropolitan, and, if God has so gifted him, has whole nations for his audience, and, long after his death, his word will circulate among the nations a word of power and blessedness.
The minister finds a certain respect paid to the clergyman. This is not a thing that is new, but old, hallowed, and slowly fading out of the consciousness of the nations. This traditional respect gives him a certain position and influence, and enables him at once to anticipate and claim a place which is granted to other classes of men only as the result of long life and faithful work. He finds a pulpit erected for him, an audience gathered, respectful and disposed to listen and gratefully to receive whatever good he has to offer. While the priest uses this position and traditional respect to elevate himself, to take his ease in his inn — to keep men still, the minister uses it to help men forward ; not to elevate himself, but them. The pulpit is his place to stand on and move the world. It is not to be denied that even now, in incredulous America, the calling of a clergyman gives a man a good opportunity for power, for a real, serious, and lasting influence, or it gives him the best chance for a sleep, silent and undisturbed, and deep and long.
Such are the general means of the minister towards his great end — means which belong to all clergymen, and vary in efficiency only with the number, the wealth, the talent, and social position of his audience. His particular and personal means are his talents, little or great ; his skill acquired by education and self-discipline ; his learning, the accumulated thought which has come of his diligence, as capital is accumulated by toil and thrift ; his eloquence — the power of speaking the right thing, at the right time, with the right words, in the right way; his goodness and his piety, — in a word, his whole character, intellectual, moral, and religious. These are the means which belong to the man, not the clergyman; means which vary not with the number, wealth, talent, and social position of his audience, but only with the powers of the man himself. His general means are what he has as servant of the church — his special, what he is as a man.
Say what men will, the pulpit is still a vantage ground, an eminence; often a bad eminence, it may be, still one of the places of public power. If a man would produce an immediate effect, and accomplish one particular work, let him storm awhile in Congress, if he will
. But if he aims to produce a long and lasting influence, to affect men deeply, and in
many ways promote the progress of mankind, he may ascend the pulpit, and thence pour forth his light and heat on youth and age, distil his early and his latter rain ; he is sure to waken the tender plants at last, and sure to strengthen the tallest and most strong. Yet for all that, say what we may of the power of that position, the Man is more than the pulpit, more than the church, - yes, more than all pulpits and all churches, and if he is right and they wrong, he sets them a-spinning around him as boys their tops. Yet 't is a great mistake to suppose it is the spoken word merely that does all; it is the mind, the heart, the soul, the character, that speaks the word. Words — they are the least of what a man says. The water in some wide brook is harmless enough, loitering along its way, nothing but water; the smallest of fishes find easy shallows for their sport; careless reptiles there leave their unattended young; children wade laughing along its course, and
sail their tiny ships. But raise that stream a hundred feetits tinkle becomes thunder, and its waters strike with force that nothing can resist. So the words of a man of no character, though comforting enough when they are echoed by passion, appetite, and old and evil habits of our own — erless against the might of passion, habit, appetite. What comes from nothing comes to nothing. I know IN WHOM I have believed, said the Apostle -- not merely WHAT.
It is the minister's business to teach men Truth and Religion, not directly all forms of truth — though to help so far as he may even in that — but especially Truth which relates to man's spiritual growth. To do this he must be before men, superior to them in the things he teaches : we set a grown woman to take care of children, a man to teach boys. There is no other way; in mathematics and in morals the leader must go before the men he leads. To teach Truth and Religion the minister must not only possess them, but must know the obstacles which oppose both in other minds must know the intellectual errors which conflict with Truth, the practical errors which contend with Religion, and so be able to meet and confront the falsehoods and the sins of his time. He must therefore be a Reformer, - there is no help for it. He may have a mystical turn, and reform only sentiments ; a philosophical turn, and reform ideas --- in politics, philosophy, theology; or a practical turn, and hew away only at actual concrete sins; but a Reformer must he be in one shape, or in all, otherwise he is no minister, serving, leading, inspiring, but only a priest ; a poor miserable priest, — not singing his own psalm out of his own throat, but grinding away at the barrel-organ of his sect - grating forth tunes which he did not make and cannot understand.
The minister is to labor for mankind, for the noblest end, in one of the highest modes of labor, and its fairest form. He does not ask to rule, but to serve; not praise, but perfection. He seeks power over men not for his sake, but theirs. He is to take the lead in all works of education, of moral and social reform. If need is, he must be willing to stand alone. The qualities which bind him to mankind for all eternity are qualities which may sever him from his class and his townsmen ; yes, from his own brothers, and that for his mortal life. The distinctions amongst men must be no distinctions to him. He must honor all men, become a brother to all — most brotherly to the neediest. He must see the man in the beggar, in the felon, in the outcast of society, and labor to separate that