Puslapio vaizdai

Mr. Thoreau handles them as if he loved them, as old Izaak recommends us to do with a worm in impaling it. He is the very Asmodeus of their private life. He unroofs their dwel lings and makes us familiar with their loves and sorrows. He seems to suffer a sea-change, like the Scotch peasant who was carried down among the seals in the capacity of family physician. He balances himself with them under the domestic lily pad, takes a family bite with them, is made the confidant of their courtships, and is an honored guest at the weddingfeast. He has doubtless seen a pickerel crossed in love, a perch Othello, a bream the victim of an unappreciated idiosyncrasy, or a minnow with a mission. He goes far to convince us of what we have before suspected, that fishes are the highest of organizations. The natives of that more solid atmosphere, they are not subject to wind or rain, they have been guilty of no Promethean rape, they have bitten no apple. They build no fences, holding their watery inheritance undivided. Beyond all other living things they mind their own business. They have not degenerated to the necessity of reform, swallowing no social pills, but living quietly on each other in a true primitive community. They are vexed with no theories of the currency which go deeper than the Newfoundland Banks. Nimium fortunati! We wish Mr. Thoreau would undertake a report upon them as a private enterprise. It would be the most delightful book of natural history extant. Mr. Thoreau's volume is the more pleasant that with all its fresh smell of the woods, it is yet the work of a bookish man. We not only hear the laugh of the flicker, and the watchman's rattle of the red squirrel, but the voices of poets and philosophers, old and new. There is no more reason why an author should reflect trees and mountains than books, which, if they are in any sense real, are as good parts of nature as another kind of growth. We confess that there is a certain charm for us even about a fool who has read myriads of books. There is an undefinable atmosphere around him, as of distant lands around a great traveller, and of distant years around ver old men. But we think that Mr. Thoreau sometimes makes a bal use of his books. Better things can be got out of Herbert and Vaughan and Donne than the art of making bad verses. There is no harm in good writing, nor do wisdom and philos phy prefer crambo. Mr. Thoreau never learned bad thyming of the river and the sky. He is the more culpable as he has



shown that he can write poetry at once melodious and distinct, with rare delicacy of thought and feeling.

"My life is like a stroll upon the beach,

As near the ocean's edge as I can go,
My tardy steps its waves sometimes o'erreach,
Sometimes I stay to let them overflow.

"My sole employment 't is, and scrupulous care,
To place my gains beyond the reach of tides,
Each smoother pebble, and each shell more rare,
Which ocean kindly to my hand confides.

"I have but few companions on the shore,

They scorn the strand who sail upon the sea,
Yet oft I think the ocean they 've sailed o'er
Is deeper known upon the strand to me.

"The middle sea contains no crimson dulse,

Its deeper waves cast up no pearls to view,

Along the shore my hand is on its pulse,

And I converse with many a shipwrecked crew."

If Mr. Emerson choose to leave some hard nuts for posterity to crack, he can perhaps afford it as well as any. We counsel Mr. Thoreau, in his own words, to take his hat and come out of that. If he prefer to put peas in his shoes when he makes private poetical excursions, it is nobody's affair. But if the public are to go along with him, they will find some way to boil theirs.

We think that Mr. Thoreau, like most solitary men, exaggerates the importance of his own thoughts. The "I" occasionally stretches up tall as Pompey's pillar over a somewhat flat and sandy expanse. But this has its counterbalancing advantage, that it leads him to secure many a fancy and feeling which would flit by most men unnoticed. The little confidences of nature which pass his neighbours as the news slip through the grasp of birds perched upon the telegraphic wires, he received as they were personal messages from a mistress. Yet the book is not solely excellent as a Talbotype of natural scenery. It abounds in fine thoughts, and there is many a critical obiter dictum which is good law, as what he says of Raleigh's style.

"Sir Walter Raleigh might well be studied if only for the excellence of his style, for he is remarkable in the midst of so many masters. There is a natural emphasis in his style, like a man's tread, and a breathing space between the sentences, which the best of modern writing does not furnish. His chapters are like English parks, or say rather like a western forest, where the

larger growth keeps down the underwood, and one may ride on horseback through the openings."

Since we have found fault with some of what we may be allowed to call the worsification, we should say that the prose work is done conscientiously and neatly. The style is compact and the language has an antique purity like wine grown colorless with age. There are passages of a genial humor interspersed at fit intervals, and we close our article with one of them by way of grace. It is a sketch 'which would have. delighted Lamb.

"I can just remember an old brown-coated man who was the Walton of this stream, who had come over from Newcastle, England, with his son, the latter a stout and hearty man who had lifted an anchor in his day. A straight old man he was who took his way in silence through the meadows, having passed the period of communication with his fellows; his old experienced coat hanging long and straight and brown as the yellow pine bark, glittering with so much smothered sunlight, if you stood near enough, no work of art but naturalized at length. I often discovered him unexpectedly amid the pads and the gray willows when he moved, fishing in some old country method,- for youth and age then went a fishing together, full of incommunicable thoughts, perchance about his own Tyne and Northumberland. He was always to be seen in serene afternoons haunting the river, and almost rustling with the sedge; so many sunny hours in an old man's life, entrapping silly fish, almost grown to be the sun's familiar; what need had he of hat or raiment any, having served out his time, and seen through such thin disguises? I have seen how his coeval fates rewarded him with the yellow perch, and yet I thought his luck was not in proportion to his years; and I have seen when, with slow steps and weighed down with aged thoughts, he disappeared with his fish under his lowroofed house on the skirts of the village. I think nobody else saw him; nobody else remembers him now, for he soon after died, and migrated to new Tyne streams. His fishing was not a sport, nor solely a means of subsistence, but a sort of solemn sacrament and withdrawal from the world, just as the aged read their bibles."


THE Christian doctrine of the Lord, or Divine Man, rests upon this fundamental axiom, that God alone is being, or life in Himself. Man is not being, but only a subject of being, only a form or image of being. His being is not absolute, but phænomenal, as conditioned in space and time. But God's being is utterly unconditioned either in space or time. It is infinite, not as comprehending all space, but as utterly excluding the bare conception of space; and eternal, not as comprehending all time, but as utterly excluding the bare conception of time. He is not a subject of being, but being itself, and therefore the sole being.

Consistently with this fundamental axiom, we are bound to deny that the creature of God has any being or substance in himself. The substantial being or life of every creature is God, while the creature is but a form or image of God. The creature is not another being than God, nor yet is he an identical being with God; because the creature is not being at all, but only a shadow or reflection of being. You would not call the shadow of the tree on the ground another substance than the tree itself, nor yet the same substance, for the reason that the shadow is not any substance at all, but merely the image of a substance. So man, the shadow or image of God, is neither a different being from God, nor yet an identical being, because he is not any being whatever but only the reflection of being. Thus God's creature is without any being or substance in himself, his selfhood being nothing more than an image or reflection of the only and universal being, which is God. The internal of every man is God. The external, or that which defines the man, defines his self-consciousness, is only a shadow or reflection of this internal.

These things being granted, which they must be as it seems to the writer, unless one p efe s to deny the fact of creation, it follows from them that the universe of creation is a vast theatre of imagery or correspondence. If God be the sole and therefore universal being, his universal creature can be nothing more and nothing less than Ilis image or shadow. And if the creature be only the image or shadow of God, then creation itself is not the origination of any new being or substance on the part of God, but only the revelation or imaging

forth of a being which is eternal and unchangeable. Thus in the light of the principles here stated, the created universe resolves itself both in whole and in part into an imagery or correspondence of God, and the universal science consequently, or the science of sciences, becomes the science of correspond


If now all this be true, if it be true that creation can be nothing more and nothing less than the revealing or imaging forth of God, then some momentous results immediately ensue to our theology and philosophy. Primarily it results that the true creature of God is not finite, cannot be comprehended within the laws of space and time. For as the creature is only an image or reflection of God, and as God being eternal and infinite is utterly ignorant both of time and space, so His true creature cannot be finited by these conditions. Thus the life of nature, or that life which lies within the laws of space and time, does not image God. The only life which does image Him consequently is one that transcends these laws, being a spiritual life, and this life belongs exclusively to man.

But in order to justify this affirmation, it is necessary to state what we mean by spirit as distinguished from sensible nature. In speaking of the spirit of a thing in contradistinction to the sensible thing itself, nothing else is meant than its distinctive genius, or faculty of operation. For example, the horse is an outward form discernible by my senses from all other natural forms. But there is something more in the horse than meets my eye, namely, a certain faculty or capacity of use, which constitutes his distinctive spirit or genius, and is cognizable only by the eye of my understanding. Thus what is spiritual about the horse is what lies within his material form, and constitutes his power or faculty of use. This faculty is different in the horse from what it is in every other animal, the cow, the sheep, the ox, the lion, the elephant, etc. Take another example from the sphere. of the arts. My hat is an artificial form sensibly distinct from all other forms. But this outward or sensible form of the hat does not exist by itself. It embodies a certain use or function, namely the protection of my head, which use or function constitutes its spirit. In short the spirit of a thing is the end or use for which it exists. Thus you may take the whole range either of nature or the arts, and you will find everything existing for a certain use beyond itself, which use is the spiritual ground or justification of its existence. Nature is properly nothing more than the

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