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as M. Cousin also contends, then man and God become one ; and as God is unquestionably the measure contended for, man must also be it ; because it matters not which term you use, Man or God; since, if identical, what may be predicated of the one term may equally be predicated of the other. Therefore, in either alternative, this class of Transcendentalists assume that man is the measure of truth and goodness.
2. The second class, in which we are disposed to rank the author of the volume before us, do not, perhaps, differ very essentially from the first class, but they state their views somewhat differently. They hold that the ideas we have mentioned, and others of a like nature, if others there are, are intuitive, indeed, but are intuitions because they are inherent in the soul,are the soul itself, or its original garniture, endowment, or patrimony. They are the types of the world without us. Hence we cognize the world without us by reason of its correspondence to the type or idea within us. The idea or type of all cognoscibles is in us, and it is by virtue of this fact that we are intelligent and they intelligible. Knowledge is the perception of the correspondence between the inward idea and the external object. But these (material things],” says Mr. Parker,
are to us only a revelation of something kindred to qualities awakened in ourselves. ..... We see out of us only what we are internally prepared to see ; for seeing depends on the harmony between the object without and your own condition within." * Hence we know that this or that is true, beautiful, or good, only because it corresponds to the idea or type of the true, the beautiful, or the good in the soul itself. Hence, then, the standard, or criterion, or measure of truth and goodness is assumed to be in the soul. Nothing can be assumed to be naturally in the soul but the soul itself. “ By nature,” says Mr. Parker, "there is nothing in man but man himself.” Man and the soul are identical; at least, the term man covers all that can be covered by the term soul. Then man is the measure of truth and goodness. Therefore, this second class adopt the proposition in question.
3. The third class, at the head of which stand Ralph Waldo Emerson, A. Bronson Alcott, and several notable women, do the same.
These may be distinguished into two subordinate classes. They all agree that the soul knows, and can know, nothing exterior to itself ; but the first division of these
hold that it knows only by reason of the identity of subject and object, and therefore knows, and can know, only what it is. “What we are,” says Mr. Emerson, (Nature, p. 92,)“ that only can we see.” The soul knows not by seeing, apprehending, but by being; and knows all, because it is all. The second division — and these are the majority — hold that
the soul knows by containing, and that knowledge is the soul protending or projecting of itself. “Not in nature, but in man,
is all the beauty and worth he sees.”—Emerson, Essays, 1841, p. 120. Objects are cognoscibilia, because they are contained in the soul; and the soul knows all, because it contains all. The outward or sense world is phenomenal, unreal, a shadow without a substance, and we abuse ourselves when we regard it, and the term knowledge, when we call perception of it by that name. Knowledge is inscience, or science of what is within. The true sage never looks abroad, but closes the external apertures of the mind, shuts his eyes, stops his ears, holds his nose, opens the internal aperture through which he looks into the profound abyss of the soul itself. Look not, say they, upon this delusive, this vain show, which men call the world, but into the great soul, which conceals all things in itself, even the infinite and eternal God! “ I am God," said Mr. Alcott, one day to the writer of this, “I am God; I am greater than God. God is one of my ideas. I therefore contain God. Greater is the container than the contained. Therefore I am greater than God." With the members of this class, it is a mark of weakness, of littleness, of shallowness, to be intelligible. Light is an enemy. It defines objects too sharply, and presents them in disagreeable outlines. It permits nothing to loom up or spread out in dim and awful infinity, — allows the soul no scope to display its loftier powers and diviner instincts, to stand up and swell out in its sublime proportions into the infinite and eternal God !
These, evidently, in either division, hold that the soul is the measure of truth and goodness ; for it must needs be the measure of what it is, and of what it contains. If it be truth and goodness, or if it contain them, it must be their standard or measure. The soul and the man are the same, at least so far as concerns the present question, as we have just seen. Therefore, this third class, as well as the other two, adopts the proposition that man is the measure of truth and goodness.
That all the Transcendentalists, of whatever class, do
adopt this proposition is still farther evident from the rule of faith and practice which they all avow and contend for. This rule, it is notorious, is that of unrestricted private judgment. They reject the authority of the Church, the authority of the Bible, of the Apostles, of Jesus, — nay, all authority but that of the individual himself.
“ Jesus,” says Mr. Parker, " fell back on God, on absolute religion and morality, — the truth its own authority; his works his witness. The early Christians fell back on the authority of Jesus; their successors, on the authority of the Bible, - the work of the Apostles and Prophets; the next generation, on the Church, the work of the Apostles and Fathers. The world retreads this ground. Protestantism delivers us from the tyranny of the Church and carries us back to the Bible. Biblical criticism frees us from the thraldom of Scripture, and brings us to the authority of Jesus. Philosophical spiritualism liberates us from all personal and private authority, and restores us to God, the primeval fountain, whence the Church, the Scriptures, and Jesus drew all the water of life wherewith they filled their urns." — p. 483.
This is sufficiently explicit ; for the concluding remark, about restoring us to God, simply means restoring us to ourselves, to God as he is immanent in each individual soul, — as is evident from what Mr. Parker elsewhere says.
“ To obtain a knowledge of duty, man is not sent away outside of himself to ancient documents, for the only rule of faith and practice; the word is very nigh him, even in his heart; and by this word he is to try all documents whatever.” — p. 216. sus is not the author of Christianity, .... its sanction and authority. ..... We verify its eternal truth in our soul.”
The God to whom we are restored is, then, evidently, the God in the soul, and in each individual soul. If so, it is God in the soul, either naturally or supernaturally. Not supernaturally, because Transcendentalism denies the supernatural.
Then naturally. But then identical with the soul ; for, as we have found by Mr. Parker's own concession, p. 191, there can be by nature nothing in the soul but the soul itself.
Furthermore, the appeal is always made to the individual reason, conscience, and sentiment. In the individual is the authority before which all must bow, the tribunal before which all claimants must plead. The Transcendentalist summons all religions to his private bar, and assumes his right to judge them all. The Bible he holds to be the word of God so far as he judges it to be true, and not his word where he judges it to be
not true ; holding that he has the right to decide by his own reason, conscience, and sentiments, what is true and what not. In like manner he summons before him Jesus and the Apostles, makes them answer to him, and tells them when they speak wisely, truly, and when falsely and foolishly. Christianity itself is amenable to the same authority. “Christianity, then, is a form of religion. . . . . It is to be judged of as all other forms of religion, by reason and the religious sentiment.” — p. 240. But the fact is notorious, and there is no need of proofs. We all know that the Transcendentalist denies the authority of the Church, of the Written Word, of Jesus, of Prophets and Apostles, of all inspired messengers, and of the common assent or belief of mankind, claiming for each all that may be claimed for the whole. What Adam had, what Cæsar could, you have and may do.” If they speak respectfully of Jesus, it is as a model-man, because in their view he spoke out from his own mind, acknowledging no external authority, and in this set an example we all should follow. Their leading doctrine is, that each man may and should be a Christ, and speak from his own proper divinity.
But, if our Transcendentalists recognize the unrestricted right of private judgment in all cases whatever, they must, in order to have a basis for that right, assume that each man is the measure of truth and goodness. Every judgment involves three terms, - the matter judged, the judge, and the rule or measure by which the judge judges. Now, the rule or measure must be identical with the matter, with the judge, or distinct from both. The first is inadmissible ; for, though the matter must needs be the measure of itself, yet its measure is unascertainable, if measured only by itself. The third is denied by the denial of all authority out of the individual reason, conscience, and sentiment, to which the judge is bound to conform his judgments. Then, the second must be adopted, namely, that the individual is his own yardstick of truth and goodness, not only the judge, but the rule or measure of his judgment ; which is what the proposition in question asserts.
This will not be denied. The right of private judgment, as the Transcendentalists assert it, is the denial of all rules, measures, or standards, out of the individual reason, conscience, and sentiments, to which he is obliged to conform his judgments. Then either man judges without any rule, measure, or standard by which to judge, or he assumes himself as the standard. The first is absurd ; for a judgment which has no
VOL. II. NO. III.
rule, which is by no standard, is no judgment at all. Then the last must be assumed, or private judgment is impossible, and the right of private judgment utterly baseless. Rights are not ultimate. They must have some foundation, or they are not rights; and there is no foundation of the right of the individual to judge for himself, in all cases whatever, without regard to any external rule, but his right to judge by himself ; and there is no foundation of his right to judge by himself, but in the fact that he himself is the rule, standard, or measure of the matter to be judged. The assumption of the right of private judgment, in the sense explained, then, necessarily involves the assumption of the fact, that man is the measure of truth and goodness. But the Transcendentalists do assume the right, as is well known ; therefore they assume that man is the measure of truth and goodness. This, in fact, is expressly avowed. We quote a few sentences from a pamphlet written in defence of Mr. Parker, by one of his friends, and which has been published since we commenced writing this article. The author is giving, ex professo, the views of the sect, and on the very point before us.
“We believe," says the author of the pamphlet, “the truths that Jesus uttered in no degree because of the miracles he wrought; we believe them because our mind recognizes their intrinsic truth, . .... and this we hold to be good ground of faith for all men. .
God has given to all men the power to attain to a religious faith that needs no external evidence to support it. ... The deepest, truest religious faith is not capable of support from any outward evidence whatever. .... Men have recourse to outward evidence through the weakness of their faith. .... The most deeply religious minds never, in any stage of their progress, thing to do with such gross outward helps to their belief. To tell them to believe on the evidence of signs and wonders, to offer to prop up their faith by argument and logic, is to do violence to all their deepest and most sacred feelings. With hearts overflowing with love, and reverence, and gratitude to God, seeing him in all that is glorious and beautiful around them, feeling him within and about them everywhere, walking in his presence daily, as with a
Father and a Friend,' — what care such men for logic and cunning reasoning, - what care they for signs and wonders ? All around them is wonderful, for they see God in all. . . . . Tell them a deep religious truth, and they cannot but believe it, though all evidence were against it. For truth is native to their souls. God has made them of that nature that they cannot be deceived. Their minds are touchstones whereon to try all words and thoughts.' - Remarks on an Article from the Christian Examiner, entitled, “ Mr. Parker and his Views,” pp. 6, 7.