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broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams.”— Nature, pp. 9 — 10, 11 — 13, 21 — 22.

Most writers are demonized or possessed by some one truth, or perhaps some one whim. Look where they will, they see nothing but that. Mr. Emerson holds himself erect, and no one thing engrosses his attention, no one idea; no one intellectual faculty domineers over the rest. Sensation does not dim reflection, nor does his thought lend its sickly hue to the things about him. Even Goethe, with all his boasted equilibrium, held his intellectual faculties less perfectly in hand than Emerson. He has no hobbies to ride; even his fondness for the ideal and the beautiful, does not hinder him from obstinately looking real and ugly things in the face. He carries the American idea of freedom into his most intimate personality, and keeps his individuality safe and sacred. He cautions young men against stooping their minds to other men.

He knows no master. Sometimes this is carried to an apparent excess, and he underrates the real value of literature, afraid lest the youth become a bookworm, and not a man thinking. But how well he says:

“Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views, which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books. Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the bookworm.

“ Books are the best of things, well used ; abused, among the worst. What is the right use? What is the one end, which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire. I had better never see a book, than to be warped by its attraction clean out of my own orbit, and made a satellite instead of a system. The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul. This every man is entitled to; this every man contains within him, although, in almost all men, obstructed, and as yet unborn. The soul active sees absolute truth; and utters truth, or creates. The book, the college, the school of art, the institution of any kind, stop with some past utterance of genius. This is good, say they,let us hold by this. They pin me down. They look backward and not forward. But genius looks forward : the eyes of man are set in his forehead, not in his hindhead: man hopes: genius creates. Whatever talents may be, if the man create not, the pure efflux of the Deity is not his; - cinders and smoke there may be, but not yet flame.

“The world of any moment is the merest appearance. Some great decorum, some fetish of a government, some ephemeral trade, or war, or man, is cried up by half mankind and cried down by the other half, as if all depended on this particular up or down. The odds are that the whole question is not worth the poorest thought which the scholar has lost in listening to the controversy. Let him not quit his belief that a popgun is a popgun, though the ancient and honorable of the earth affirm it to be the crack of doom. In silence, in steadiness, in severe abstraction, let him hold by himself; add observation to observation, patient of neglect, patient of reproach, and bide his own time,- happy enough, if he can satisfy himself alone, that this day he has seen something truly. Success treads on every right step. For the instinct is sure, that prompts him to tell his brother what he thinks. He then learns, that in going down into the secrets of his own mind, he has descended into the secrets of all minds. He learns that he who has mastered any law in his private thoughts, is master to that extent of all men whose language he speaks, and of all into whose language his own can be translated. The poet, in utter solitude remembering his spontaneous thoughts and recording them, is found to have recorded that, which men in crowded cities find true for them also.” – Nature and Addresses, pp. 85, 85 — 86, 98–99.

To us the effect of Emerson's writings is profoundly religious ; they stimulate to piety, the love of God, to goodness as the love of man. We know no living writer, in any language, who exercises so powerful a religious influence as he. Most young persons, not ecclesiastical, will confess this. We know he is often called hard names on pretence that he is not religious. We remember once being present at a meeting of gentlemen, scholarly men some of them, after the New England standard of scholarship, who spent the evening in debating “Whether Ralph Waldo Emerson was a Christian.” The opinion was quite generally entertained that he was not; for “ discipleship was necessary to Christianity.” “And the essence of Christian discipleship” was thought to consist in “ sitting at the feet of our blessed Lord (pronounced Laawd!) and calling him Master, which Emerson certainly does not do.” We value Christianity as much as most men, and the name Christian is to us very dear; but when we remembered the character, the general tone and conduct of the men who arrogate to themselves the name Christian, and seem to think they have a right to monopolize the Holy Spirit of Religion, and "shove away the worthy bidden guest, the whole thing reminded us of a funny story related by an old writer: “It was once proposed in the British House of Commons, that James Usher, afterward the celebrated Archbishop of Armagh, but then a young man, should be admitted to the assembly of the King's Divines.” The proposition, if we remember rightly, gave rise to some debate, upon which John Selden, a younger man than Usher, but highly distinguished and much respected, rose and said that it reminded him of a proposition which might be made, that Inigo Jones, the famous architect, should be admitted to the worshipful company of Mousetrap Makers !”

Mr. Emerson's writings are eminently religious; christian in the best sense of that word. This has often been denied for two reasons : because Mr. Emerson sets little value on the mythology of the Christian sects, no more perhaps than on the mythology of the Greeks and the Scandinavians, and also because his writings far transcend the mechanical morality and formal pietism, commonly recommended by gentlemen in pulpits. Highly religious, he is not at all ecclesiastical or bigoted. He has small reverence for forms and traditions; a manly life is the only form of religion which he recognizes, and hence we do not wonder at all that he also has been deemed an infidel. It would be very surprising if it were not so. Still it is not relig. ion that is most conspicuous in these volumes; that is not to be looked for except in the special religious literature, yet we must confess that any one of Emerson's works seems far more religious than what are commonly called “good books," including the class of sermons.

To show what is in Mr. Emerson's books and what is not, let us make a little more detailed examination thereof. He is not a logical writer, not systematic ; not what is commonly called philosophical ; didactic to a great degree, but never demonstrative. So we are not to look for a scientific plan, or for a system, of which the author is himself conscious. Still, in all sane men, there must be a system, though the man does not know it. There are two ways of reporting upon an author: one is to represent him by specimens, the other to describe him by analysis; one to show off a finger or foot of the Venus de Medici, the other to give the dimensions thereof. We will attempt both and will speak of Mr. Emerson's starting point, his terminus a quo ; then of his method of procedure, his via in quâ; then of the conclusion he arrives at, his terminus ad quem. În giving the dimensions of his statue, we shall exhibít also some of the parts described.

Most writers, knowingly or unconsciously, take as their point of departure some special and finite thing. This man starts from a tradition, the philosophical tradition of Aristotle, Plato, Leibnitz or Locke, this from the theological tradition of the Protestants or the Catholics and never will dare get out of sight of his authorities; he takes the bearing of every thing from his tradition. Such a man may sail the sea for ages, he arrives nowhere at the last. Our traditionist must not outgo his tradition; the Catholic must not get beyond his church, nor the Protestant outtravel his Bible. Others start from some fixed fact, a sacrament, a constitution, the public opinion, the public morality, or the popular religion. This they are to defend at all hazards ; of course they will retain all falsehood and injustice which favor this institution, and reject all justice and truth which oppose the same. Others pretend to start from God, but in reality do take their departure from a limited conception of God, from the Hebrew notion of Him, or the Catholic notion, from the Calvinistic or the Unitarian notion of God. By and by they are hindered and stopped in their progress. The philosophy of these three classes of men, is always vitiated by the prejudice they start with :


Mr. Emerson takes Man for his point of departure, he means to take the whole of man; man with his history, man with his nature, his sensational, intellectual, moral, affectional and religious instincts and faculties. With him man is the measure of all things, of ideas and of facts ; if they fit man they are accepted, if not, thrown aside. This appears in his first book and in his last:

“ The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by a revelation to us, and not the history of theirs ? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines today also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship." — Nature,

pp. 5 — 6.

Again he speaks in a higher mood of the same theme :

"That is always best which gives me to myself. The sublime is excited in me by the great stoical doctrine, Obey thyself. That which shows God in me, fortifies me. That which shows God out of me, makes me a wart and a wen, There is no longer a NO. X.



necessary reason for my being. Already the long shadows of untimely oblivion creep over me, and I shall decease forever.”

" Wherever a man comes, there comes revolution. The old is for slaves. When a man comes, all books are legible, all things transparent, all religions are forms. He is religious. Man is the wonder worker. He is seen amid miracles. All men bless and

He saith yea and nay, only. The stationariness of religion; the assumption that the age of inspiration is past, that the Bible is closed; the fear of degrading the character of Jesus by representing him as a man; indicate with sufficient clearness the falsehood of our theology. It is the office of a true teacher to show us that God is, not was; that he speaketh, not spake."

“Let me admonish you, first of all, to go alone; to refuse the good models, even those which are sacred in the imagination of men, and dare to love God without mediator or veil. Friends enough you shall find who will hold up to your emulation Wesleys and Oberlins, Saints and Prophets. Thank God for these good men, but say, 'I also am a man. Imitation cannot go above its model. The imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity. The inventor did it, because it was natural to him, and so in him it has a charm. In the imitator, something else is natural, and he bereaves himself of his own beauty, to come short of another man's.

Yourself a newborn bard of the Holy Ghost, cast behind you all conformity, and acquaint men at first hand with Deity. Look to it first and only, that fashion, custom, authority, pleasure, and money, are nothing to you, are not bandages over your eyes, that you cannot see, — but live the privilege of the immeasurable mind.”— Nature, Addresses, &-c., pp. 127 — 128, 139 — 140, 141.

“Let man then learn the revelation of all nature, and all thought to his heart: this, namely; that the Highest dwells with him ; that the sources of nature are in his own mind, if the sentiment of duty is there. But if he would know what the great God speaketh, he must go into his closet and shut the door,' as Jesus said. God will not make Himself manifest to cowards. He must greatly listen to himself, withdrawing himself from all the accents of other men's devotion. Their prayers even are hurtful to him, until he have made his own. The soul makes no appeal from itself. Our religion vulgarly stands on numbers of believers. Whenever the appeal is made, - no matter how indirectly, ,

- to numbers, proclamation is then and there made, that religion is not. He that finds God a sweet, enveloping thought to him, never counts his company.

When I sit in that presence, who shall dare to come in? When I rest in perfect humility, when I burn with pure love, — what can Calvin or Swedenborg say?"Essays, p. 243.

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