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Revolution, which sought to realize an earthly paradise merely by modifying the external condition. He saw that these principles, if acted upon, left the intellectual and moral man uncultivated, and therefore could generate only a state of barbarism. He further saw, that a purely intellectual culture, confined to the inner life of the individual, would be insufficient, because it would lead to no practical result in the world of reality. If we confine ourselves to the outward, we lapse into barbarism ; if to the inward, we effect no progress in our condition, no practical amelioration of our race.
The two must be combined, and work together. But to this a third term is necessary. The problem is, find this third term by which the inner life and external condition may be united, and both peacefully and effectively carried forward.
This third term is the Ideal or Beauty ; not beauty as the mere object of sense and imagination, not merely intellectual beauty, — - but beauty, so to speak, as the ideal of all the faculties, responding to man's whole nature. This beauty is to be sought in every department of life, and the aim of all culture should be to reveal and realize it. Hence all culture is to be æsthetic, and through æsthetic culture, or the revelation and realization of the beautiful in every department of life, order will be brought out of confusion, the world will be saved, on the one hand, from lapsing into barbarism, and, on the other, from wasting itself in an intellectual culture which leads to po practical results, and the human race will be carried forward to the realization of its destiny. Such, in general terms, appears to us to be Schiller's solution of the problem.
In descending to particular doctrines, he must place virtue in inclination, in an affection of the passive nature, rather than in an affection of the active nature, and require truth and goodness to be presented always under the form of beauty, and because beauty wins love, enlists instead of repelling sense and imagination. He demands in all room for what he calls, after Kant, the play-impulse, which, if we understand it, is best expressed in our language by the word love. We are, then, to do our duty, not merely from the conviction that it is our duty, from the stern sense of its obligation, as Kant contended, but from inclination, from love of it. His theory, therefore, practically resolves itself into the Theory of Attraction, the basis of Fourierism.
The translator commends him for this, and thinks that Schiller, in diverging from the asceticism of Kant, has given a more Christian statement of duty ; but we question this. Duty cannot in this world be made play. In play, we act to please ourselves, because what we do is pleasure to ourselves ; in duty, we act to please God, because what we do is his will. This, instead of being a pleasure to ourselves, is often a crucifixion of ourselves; for sapientia carnis inimica est Deo ; legi enim Dei non subjecta : nec enim potest. Rom. viii. 7. Or, as says our blessed Saviour, “ If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up bis cross and follow me.”
Christianity is " not, as the translator says Schiller asserts, "the moral imperative (that is, obligation) transfigured by love,” unless we understand the love of the Lawgiver, which provides for the remission of the guilt of the transgressor through the merits of Jesus Christ, on condition of faith and repentance. This is a sufficient refutation of Schiller's doctrine, so far as it concerns morals.
There is in these times a great deal of nonsense babbled about love. The rage is to have all things “made easy." We have all sorts of learning, and even thinking, by means of newspapers and other contrivances, “made easy ; and we would fain have duty “made easy, and we therefore seek to
” transform it into love. But it is not love, in its ordinary sense, the Gospel demands, but charity. Love is a fact of the passive nature, charity of the voluntary nature ; love is a natural affection, charity a supernatural affection. Yet nearly the whole Protestant world, especially the more advanced portion of it, confound the one with the other, or, rather, raise love above charity. But the heart which God demands is the voluntary heart, over which we have control; and the love he requires is the love yielded by the will, not the love yielded by the passive or sensitive soul. Sensible, sentimental, or passional love is worth nothing, adds nothing to the merit of the act it accompanies, and takes nothing from the merit of the act it does not accompany. On this point our enlightened and liberal Protestant Christians have not a little to learn ; for, with all the marvellous progress they have made, they do not seem to have attained to any clear or definite conceptions of the nature of duty. Duty is what God commands, and is to be done solely because he commands it. It is not enough that we
. contrive, in some way, to get what God commands done ; we must do it solely and simply for the reason that he commands it. Its whole merit is in this alone. The intrinsic character of an action, aside from the motive of the actor, has nothing
to do with its merit; for its merit is solely in the fact that it is done as an act of allegiance to the sovereign. The act of the slightest intrinsic importance, in itself considered, is meritorious, when done simply as an act of allegiance. “Whosoever,” says our blessed Saviour, “ shall give to one of these little ones but a cup of cold water, amen, I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." On the other hand, the act, the most serviceable to the cause of our country or the Church, is without merit, may even be our condemnation, if done without reference to God, and merely to please ourselves.
It would do our Protestant friends, who are earnestly striving to discover some way by which duty may be “made easy," no harm to bear this in mind. They fancy, or seem to fancy, that nothing is or can be meritorious, unless it be done, not from charity, but from love, or accompanied, at least, by a sensible affection. They feel, for instance, no inclination to pray, find no love for prayer, no sensible delight in praying ; then they will not pray, must not pray, for their prayers would be mockery. Prayers which do not please themselves cannot please God! Do they pray to please themselves, or to please God? If to please God, what prayers can be more pleasing to him than those which are offered solely to please him, solely for the purpose of doing his will ? These same enlightened Christians, who charge Catholics with placing religion in mere forms and in sensible emotions, seem to place religion entirely in feeling, in sensible affection, and to suppose one repents only as moved to tears, and loves God only as he feels a sensible affection for him. But this sensible repentance and this sensible devotion are worth nothing, and are often hindrances rather than helps to true spiritual life. What our God demands is the homage of our higher nature, that we give him our reason and our will.
and our will. But this is rarely, if ever, done, without a struggle with the sensitive soul, nor often without the crucifixion of this very love for which these modern improvers on the Gospel of our Lord contend.
Schiller's theory makes all depend on culture ; but what provision does it make for obtaining, always, adequately qualified cultivators ? The good to be effected is to be effected by æsthetic culture, by art, that is, art understood in its sublimest sense. Be it so.
But art will require artists, and artistic culture artistic cultivators. Whence are these to be obtained, and what guaranty can you give us that they will always present the true ideal, and so train men that they will always perceive,
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 listed 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 barmonious development and fulfilment of our nature, is not natural culture, whether sensuous, intellectual, or æsthetic. The method, following the same