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robe or garment of spirit. It is only the tabernacle or house of spirit, only the subservient instrument or means by which spirit subsists and becomes conscious. Every thing in nature without any the most insignificant exception embodies an internal use or capacity of operation, which constitutes its peculiar spirit. Deprive it of this internal use or capacity not only actually or for a limited time, but potentially or for ever, and you deprive it of life. Exhaust the power of the horse to bear a burden and draw a load, of the cow to produce milk, of the sheep to produce wool, of the tree to produce fruit or seed, and you at the same time consign them all to death. For death, or the departure of the spirit from the body, means in every case the cessation of the subject's capacity of use. Thus nature in all its departments is merely the vehicle or minister of spirit. Its true sphere is that of entire subjection to spirit, and never since the world begun has an instance occurred of its failing to exhibit the most complete acquiescence in this subjection.
But if this spiritual force reside in Nature, what hinders any natural form being a true revelation or image of God? If for example the horse possess a spiritual substratum, why does not the horse image God? The reason is obvious. The spirit of the horse is not his own spirit. He is entirely unconscious of it. He performs incessant uses to man, but does not perform them of himself. His end is external to himself. The object of his actions does not fall within his own subjectivity. The spirit of universal nature is a spirit of subjection to some ex
It never manifests itself spontaneously, but always in obeisance to some outward constraint. Thus the horse does not spontaneously place himself in the harness. The cow does not come to your dairy, to make a spontaneous surrender of her milk. The sheep feels no spontaneous impulsion to deposite his fleece at your door. Nor does the tree inwardly shape itself in order to supply you with apples. In short there is no such thing as a spiritual horse--cow - sheep -or apple tree.
Sic vos non vobis nidificatis aves,
Sic vos non vobis fertis aratra boves. No, all these performances are for the benefit of man. The whole realm of nature is destitute of a spiritual consciousness, of such a consciousness as elevates any of its forms to the
dignity of a person. No animal is conscious of a selfhood distinct from its outward or natural limitations. No animal is capable of suicide, or the renunciation of its outer life, on the ground of its no longer fulfilling the aspiration of its inner life. Thus nature is destitute of any proper personality. The only personality it recognizes is man. To him all its uses tend.' Him all its powers obey. To his endowment and supremacy it willingly surrenders itself, and finds life in the surrender. Take away man accordingly, and nature remains a clod, utterly spiritless — impersonal — dead.
Thus nature does not image or reveal God. For God's activity is not imposed. It is spontaneous, or self-generated. It flows from Himself exclusively, and ignores all outward motive. Hence God's true creature or image is bound above all things to exhibit that power of self-derived or spontaneous action which constitutes our idea of the divine personality.
Accordingly it is man alone who fulfils this requisition. Man alone possesses personality, or the power of self-derived action. Personality, the quality of being a person, means simply the power of self-derived or super-natural action, the power of originating one's own action, or, what is the same thing, of acting according to one's own sovereign pleasure. It means a power of acting unlimited by any thing but the will of the subject. Thus, in ascribing personality to God, we do not mean to assert for him certain bodily limitations palpable to sense, which would be absurd; we mean merely to assert His self-sufficiency or infinitude - His power to act according to His own sovereign pleasure. We mean, in plain English, to assert that He is the exclusive source of His own actions. So also, in ascribing personality to man and denying it to the horse, we mean to assert that man possesses the power of supernatural or infinite action, the power of acting independently of all natural constraint, and according to his own individual or private attractions, while the horse has not this power. Man's action, when it is truly personal, has its source in himself, in his own private tastes or attractions, as contra distinguished on the one hand from his physical necessities, and on the other from his social obligations; therefore we affirm man's personality, or his absolute property in his actions. Nature's action has not its source in any interior self, but in some outward and constraining power ; therefore we deny nature any personality, any absolute property in its actions. When the fire burns my incautious finger, I do not blame the fire, and why? Because I feel that the fire acts in strict obedience to its nature, which is that of subjection to me, and that I alone have been in fault, therefore, for reversing this relation and foolishly subjecting myself to it.
But now, if personality imply the power of self-derived or spontaneous action, then it is manifest that this power supposes in the subject a composite self hood. It supposes its subject to possess an internal or spiritual self as the end or object of the action, and an external or natural self as its means or instrument. For clearly, when you attribute any action to me personally, or affirm my exclusive property to it, you do not mean to affirm that it was prompted by my nature, that nature which is common to me and all other men, but by my private taste or inclination. You hold that I have some internal end, some private object to gratify by it, and thereupon you declare the action mine. I repeat, then, that personality, or the power of self-derived action, supposes a dual or composite self hood in the subject, a self hood composed of two elements, one internal, spiritual, or private, the other external, natural, or public.
But this is not all. Personality, or the power of selfderived action, not only supposes this composite self hood in the subject, not only supposes him to possess an internal self and an external self, but it also supposes that these two shall be perfectly united in every action which is properly called his. For example, I perform a certain action which you pronounce mine on the ground of its having visibly proceeded from my hand. Now I say, this is not sufficient to prove the action absolutely mine. In order to prove it absolutely mine, you must not only show that it was done by my hand or my external self, but also that this external self did not at the time dominate or overrule my internal self. If the two elements of my personality were not perfectly united, perfectly concurrent, in the action; if the internal self were overruled by the external, or vice versa ; then the action is not truly mine, is not a legitimate progeny of my will and understanding, but a bastard or filius nullius, abhorred of God and man.
Let me precisely illustrate my meaning by a case in point. A certain man is murdered by me. You witness the deed and denounce me as a murderer. On my trial it is proved that the deceased stood in the way of a certain inheritance coming to me; that I had exhibited various marks of vexation at this circumstance, and had been heard to wish him out of the way, and even threaten to remove him myself. Your direct testimony, backed by such evidence as to my state of mind with regard to the deceased, leaves no doubt as to my actual guilt. I ain accordingly convicted and hanged. For all that the community wants to kuow is, which of its members actually committed the deed, that knowing this they may proceed to avenge it. The care of the state extends only to the ontward or public life of its members, not to their inner or private interests. In making inquisition into the murder, it has no desire to decide as to my interior or spiritual condition; this it leaves to God, who sees the heart. It only seeks to know the actual perpetrator, that it may not punish the innocent for the guilty. Thus, in pronouncing the murderous deed mine, it does not mean to say that it pertains to me spiritually, but only ontwardly or visibly; pertains to me, A. B., as outwardly distinguished from C. D., E. F., and the rest. To outward view, then, or in man's sight, the action is doubtless mine, and I submit my body to man's law. But now, admitting the deed to be thus far mine, admitting that I actually slew the man, and am therefore responsible to the extent of my natural life ; is this deed necessarily mine to inward view also, or in God's sight?
I unhestingly say, No, and for this reason, that my internal or spiritual self and my external or natural self did not really unite in it, but the former was overruled by the latter ? llow " overruled”? I will show you.
Suppose me very much to dislike living in Germany, or any other of the old European states. The language, the manners, and the customs of the country are all foreign to my habit, and I do not spontaneously make my abode in it. But I am poor, with
very few resources against natural want, and I hear of a fortune being left me in Germany, on condition of my going there to reside. I accordingly go. Now in this case my private or spiritual repugnance to this step was overruled by my natural necessities. If I had enjoyed an ample supply of these necessities, I should not have gone. My spiritual aversion to the step would not have allowed it. But I was absolutely destitute of provision for my natural wants, save at the expense of abject toil, which a man hates, and it was the outward or natural destitution, which constrained my spirit into obedience. Thus my spirit was overruled or dominated by my flesh, and the result consequently is that though to outward appearance or in man's sight I am in Germany, yet in reality or in God's sight I am still in America — that though my body is in Germany, my spirit is a thousand leagues away.
This example illustrates what I mean by "overruling” in the case of the murder. I say that the action in this case, though apparently mine or mine in man's sight, as having been performed by my hand, was yet not really or spiritually mine, was not mine in God's sight, because in doing it my spirit was overruled by my nature, and did not yield a spontaneous concurrence. I desired a certain inheritance capable of relieving me from pressing natural want. The longer I felt the want, the more urgent grew my desire for that which would relieve it, until at last it overcame my internal or spiritual repugnance to murder so far as to allow me to slay him who alone stood in the way of its gratification. I am not attempting to palliate the enormity of the act. It is perfectly detestable in itself, and will always be so. I merely deny that my spirit and my flesh were one in it, which unity is necessary in every act that is spiritually mine. I merely assert that my spirit was overruled by my flesh to do this evil thing. The flesh gathered potency from want, from actual destitution, overruled or constrained the spirit to its ends, and the action consequently, instead of being really or intentionally mine, is referrible exclusively to what the theologians call a depraved nature, meaning thereby a nature disunited or inharmonic with spirit. The universal heart of man ratifies this judgment, or acquits me spiritually of the deed, when it commends me to the mercy of God. You have forfeited man's mercy, say they ; betake yourself, therefore, to that of God, which is infinite, or open to all degrees of defilement.
No one dares forbid me, all red as I am with my brother's blood, from hoping in God. This is a fact full of meaning. The meaning of it is that we do not believe any man to be evil at bottom or in his inmost heart, but only from a lack of outward freedom. The meaning of it is that we consider none of our judgments final, since they extend only to appearances, but look to have them overruled and corrected by Him who sees the inmost heart, and judges therefore according to the reality. A divine instinct, in truth, in every soul of man, continually derides all our criminality as transient or unreal, so that no criminal ever shows himself so black as to make us feel that he is beyond God's power to bless. No man does evil save from the stress of nature or society, save from a false position with respect to his own body or to his fellow-man.