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one point; what Theologians have called the in sacred, silent, anfathomable depths, if we * plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures.” This investigate its interior meanings; which mean. is the single wall, against which, through long ings, indeed, it may be, every new age will years, and with innumerable battering.rams and develop to itself in a new manner, and with catapnlts and pop-guns, he unweariedly batters. new degrees of light; for the whole truth may Concede him ihis, and his ram swings freely, to be called infinite, and to man's eye discernible and fro, through space; there is nothing further only in paris : but the question itself is nowise it can even aim at. That the Sacred Books the ultimate one in this matter. could be aught else than a Bank-of-Faith Bill, We understand ourselves to be risking no for such and such quantities of Enjoyment, new assertion, but simply reporting what is payable at sight in the other world, value re already the conviction of the greatest in our ceived; which bill becomes waste paper, the age, when we say,--that cheerfully recognising, stamp being questioned :—that the Christian gratefully appropriating whatever Voltaire has Religion could have any deeper foundation proved, or any other man has proved, or shall than Books, could possibly be written in the prove, the Christian Religion, once here, cannot purest nature of man, in mysterious, inefface. again pass away; that, in one or the other able characters, to which Books, and all Reve- form, it will endure through all time; that, as lations, and anthentic traditions, were but a in Scripture, so also in the heart of man, is subsidiary matter, were but as the light where-written, “the Gaies of Hell shall not prevail by that divine writing was to be read ;-nothing against it.” Were the memory of this Faith of this seems to have, even in the faintest never so obscured, as, indeed, in all times, the manner, occurred to him. Yet herein, as we coarse passions and perceptions of the world believe that the whole world has now begun do all but obliterate it in the hearts of most; to discover, lies the real essence of the ques- yet in every pure soul, in every Poet and Wise tion ; by the negative or affirmative decision Man, it finds a new Missionary, a new Martyr, of which the Christian Religion, any thing that till the great volume of Universal History is is worth calling by that name, must fall, or finally closed, and man's destinies are fulfilled endure for ever. We believe, also, that the in this earth. “It is a height to which the wiser minds of our age have already come to human species were fated and enabled to atagreement on this question; or rather never tain; and from which, having once attained were divided regarding it. Christianity, the it, they can never retrograde.” " Worship of Sorrow," has been recognised as These things, which it were far out of our divine, on far other grounds than “Essays on place to attempt adequately elucidating here, Miracles,” and by considerations infinitely must not be left out of sight, in appreciating deeper than would avail in any mere “trial by Voltaire's polemical worth. We find no trace jury.” He who argues against it or for it, in of these, or of any the like essential considerathis manner, may be regarded as mistaking its tions having been present with him, in examinnature: the Ithuriel, though to our eyes he ing the Christian Religion; nor indeed was it wears a body, and the fashion of armour, can- consistent with his general habits that they not be wounded with material steel. Our should be so. Totally destitute of religious fathers were wiser than we, when they said in Reverence, even of common practical seriousdeepest earnestness, what we often hear in ness; by nature or habit, undevout both in shallow mockery, that' Religion is “not of heart and head; not only without any Belief, Seose, but of Faith;” not of Understanding, in other than a material sense, but without the bot of Reason. He who finds himself without possibility of acquiring any, he can be no safe this latter, who by all his studying has failed or permanently useful guide in this investigato unfold it in himself, may have studied to tion. We may consider him as having opened great or to small purpose, we say not which; the way to future inquirers of a truer spirit; but of the Christian Religion, as of many other but for his own part, as having engaged in an things, he has and can have no knowledge. enterprise, the real nature of which was well
The Christian Doctrine we often hear nigh unknown to him; and engaged in it with likened to the Greek Philosophy, and found, the issue to be anticipated in such a case; on all hands, some measurable way superior producing chiefly confusion, dislocation, deto it: but this also seems a mistake. The struction, on all hands; so that the good he Christian Doctrine, that doctrine of Humility, achieved is still, in these times, found mixed in all senses, godlike, and the parent of all with an alarming proportion of evil, from godlike virtues, is not superior, or inferior, or which, indeed, men rationally doubt whether equal, to any doctrine of Socrates or Thales; much of it will in any time be separable. being of a totally different nature; differing We should err widely, too, if in estimate from these, as a perfect Ideal Poem does from ing what quantity, altogether overlooking what a Correct Computation in Arithmetic. He quality, of intellect Voltaire may have maniwho compares it with such standards may la- fested on this occasion, we took the result ment that, beyond the mere letter, the purport produced as any measure of the force applied. of this divine Humility has never been dis- His task was not one of Affirmation, but of closed to him; that the loftiest feeling hitherto Denial; not a task of erecting and rearing op, voochsafed to mankind is as yet hidden from which is slow and laborious; but of destroy. bis eyes.
ing and overturning, which in most cases is For the rest, the question how Christianity rapid and far easier. The force necessary for originated is doubtless a high question ; re- him was nowise a great and noble one; but a solvable epongh, if we view only its surface, small, in some respects a mean one, to be which was all that Voltaire saw of it; involvedl nimbly and seasonably put in use.
Ephesian Temple, which it had employed compared with which the often-commemorated many wise heads and strong arms, for a life- “ horrors of the French Revolution,” and all time, to build, could be un-built by one mad- Napoleon's wars, were but the gay jousting of man, in a single hour.
a tournament to the sack of stormed cities. Of such errors, deficiencies, and positive Our European community has escaped the like misdeeds, it appears to us, a just criticism dire consummation; and by causes, which, must accuse Voltaire: at the same time, we as may be hoped, will always secure it from can nowise join in the condemnatory clamour such. Nay, were there no other cause, it may which so many worthy persons, not without be asserted, that in a commonwealth where the best intentions, lo this day keep up against the Christian religion exists, where it once him. His whole character seems to be plain has existed, public and private Virtue, the enough, common enough, had not extraneous basis of all Strength, never can become ex influences so perverted our views regarding it: linct; but in every new age, and even from the por, morally speaking, is it a worse character, deepest decline, there is a chance, and in the but considerably a better one, than belongs to course of ages, a certainty of renovation. the mass of men. Voltaire's aims in opposing That the Christian Religion, or any Religion, the Christian Religion were unhappily of a continued to exist; that some martyr heroism mixed nature : yet, after all, very nearly such still lived in the heart of Europe to rise against aims as we have often seen directed against mailed Tyranny when it rode triumphantit, and often seen directed in its favour: a was indeed no merit in the age of Lonis XV, little love of finding Truth, with a great love but a happy accident which it could not altoof making Proselytes; which last is in itself gether get rid of. For that age too is to be a natural, universal feeling; and if honest, is, regarded as an experiment, on the great scale, even in the worst cases, a subject for pity, ra- to decide the question, not yet, it would apther than for hatred. As a light, careless, pear, settled 10 universal satisfaction: With courteous Man of the World, he offers no what degree of vigour a political system, hateful aspect; on the contrary, a kindly, gay, grounded on pure Self-interest, never so enrather amiable one : hundreds of men, with lightened, but without a God, or any recognihalf his worth of disposition, die daily, and tion of the godlike in man, can be expected to their little world laments them. It is time flourish; or whether, in such circumstances, that he too should be judged of by his intrin- a political system can be expected to flourish, sic, not by his accidental qualities; that jus or even to subsist at all ? It is contended by tice should be done to him also; for injustice many that our mere love of personal Pleasure, can profit no man and no cause.
or Happiness as it is called, acting on every In fact, Voltaire's chief merits belong to individual, with such clearness as he may Nature and himself; his chief faults are of easily have, will of itself lead him to respect his time and country. In that famous era of the rights of others, and wisely employ his the Pompadours and Encyclopédies, he forms the own: to fulfil, on a mere principle of ecomain figure; and was such, we have seen, nomy, all the duties of a good patriot; so thai, more by resembling the multitude, than by in what respects the State, or the merely sodiffering from them. It was a strange age cial existence of mankind, Belief, beyond the that of Louis XV.; in several points, a novel testimony of the senses, and Virtue, beyond one in the history of mankind. In regard to the very common Virtue of loving what is its luxury and depravity, to the high culture pleasani, and hating what is painful, are to be of all merely practical and material faculties, considered as supererogatory qualifications, and the entire torpor of all the purely contem- as ornamental, not essential. Many there are, plative and spiritual, this era considerably re- on the other hand, who pause over this docsembles that of the Roman Emperors. There, trine; cannot discover, in such a universe of too, was external splendour and internal conflicting atoms, any principle by which the squalour; the highest completeness in all sen- whole shall:cohere: for, if every man's selfsual arts, including among these not cookery ishness, infinitely expaņsive, is to be hemmed and its adjuncts alone, but even “effect-paint- in only by the infinitely-expansive selfishness ing" and "effect-writing;” only the art of of every other man, it seems as if we should virtuous living was a lost one. Instead of have a world of mutually-repulsive bodies Love for Poetry, there was “ Taste” for it; with no centripetal force to bind them togerefine nenit in manners, with utmost coarse ther; in which case, it is well known they ness in morals: in a word, the strange spec- would, by and by, diffuse themselves over tacle of a social system, embracing large, space, and constitute a remarkable Chaos, but cultivated portions of the human species, and no habitable Solar or Stellar System. founded only on Atheism. With the Romans, If the age of Louis XV. was not made an things weut what we should call their natural experimentum crucis in regard to this question, course: Liberty, public spirit, quietly declined one reason may be that such experiments are into a raput-nortium ; Self-love, Materialism, too expensive. Nature cannot afford, above Baseuess eren to the disbelief in all possibi- once or twice in the thousand years, to destroy lity of Virue, stalked more and more imperi- a whole world, for purposes of science; ously abroad; till the body-politic, long since but must content herself with destroying one deprived of its vital circulating fluids, had or two kingdoms. The age of Louis XV., so now become a putrid carcass, and fell in pieces far as it went, seems a highly illustrative er. l be the prey of ravenous wolves. Then periment. We are to remark, also, that its was share, under those Attilas and Alarics, a operation was clogged by a very considerable vorld's spectacle of destruction and despair, 1 disturbing force; by a large remnant, namely, of the old faith in Religion, in the invisible, a poor era; that any little morality it had was celestial nature of Virtue, which our French chiefly borrowed, and from those very ages Purifiers, by their utmost efforts of lavation, which it accounted so barbarous. For this had not been able to wash away. The men“ Honour," this “ Force of Public Opinion," is did their best, but no man can do more. Their not asserled, on any side, to have much renoworst enemy, we imagine, will not accuse valing, but only a sustaining or preventive them of any undue regard to things unseen power; it cannot create new Virtue, but at best and spiritual: far from practising this invisi. may preserve what is already there. Nay, of ble sort of Virtue, they cannot even believe the age of Louis XV., we may say that its very in its possibility. The high exploits and en- Power, its material strength, its knowledge, all durances of old ages were no longer virtues, that it had, was borrowed. It boasted itself to but “ passions;” these antique persons had a be an age of illumination; and truly illuminataste for being heroes, a certain fancy to die tion there was of its kind: only, except the for the truth: the more fools they! With our illuminated windows, almost nothing to be seen Pluilosophers, the only virtue of any civilization thereby. None of those great Doctrines or Inwas that they call “ Honour," the sanctioning stitutions that have “made man in all points deity of which is that wonderful “Force of a man;" none even of those Discoveries that Public Opinion.” Concerning which virtue have the most subjected external Nature to his of Honour, we must be permitted to say that purposes, were made in that age.
What she reveals herself too clearly, as the daughter Plough, or Printing-press, w Chivalry, or and heiress of our old acquaintance Vanity, Christianity; nay, what Steam-engine, or Quawho indeed has been known enough, ever kerism, or Trial by Jury, did these Encyclo since the foundation of the world, at least pedists invent for mankind? They invented since the date of that “ Lucifer, son of the simply nothing; not one of man's virtues, not Morning;” but known chiefly in her proper one of man's powers, is due to them; in all character of strolling actress, or cast-clothes these respects, the age of Louis XV. is among Abigail; and never till that new era had seen the most barren of recorded ages. Indeed, the her issue set up as Queen and all-sufficient whole trade of our Philosophes was directly the Dictatress of man's whole soul, prescribing opposite of invention : it was not to produce, with nicest precision what, in all practical that they stood there; but to criticise, to quarrel and all moral emergencies, he was to do and with, to rend in pieces, what had been already to forbear. Again, with regard to this same produced ;—a quite inferior trade : sometimes Force of Public Opinion, it is a force well a useful, but on the whole a mean trade; often known to all of us, respected, valued as of in- the fruit, and always the parent, of meanness, dispensable utility, but nowise recognised as in every mind that permanently follows it. a final or divine force. We might ask what Considering the then position of affairs, it is divine, what truly great thing had ever been not singular that the age of Louis XV. should effected by this force? Was it the Force of have been what it was: an age without noblePublic Upinion that drove Columbus to Ame- ness, without high virtues, or high manifestarica; John Kepler, not to fare sumptuously tions of talent; an age of shallow clearness, of among Rodolph's Astrologers and Fire-eaters, polish, self-conceit, skepticism, and all forms but to perish of want, discovering the true of Persiflage. As little does it seem surprising, System of the Stars! Still more ineffectual or peculiarly blamable, that Voltaire, the leaddo we find it as a basis of public or private ing man of that age, should have partaken Morals. Nay, taken by itself, it may be called largely of all its qualities. True, his giddy a baseless basis; for without some ulterior activity took serious effect, the light firebrands, sanction, common to all minds; without some which he so carelessly scattered abroad, kinbelief in the necessary, eternal, or which is dled fearful contlagrations: but in these there the same, in the supramundane, divine nature has been good as well as evil; nor is it just of Virtue, existing in each individual, what that, even for the latter, he, a limited mortal, could the moral judgment of a thousand or a should be charged with more than mortal's thousand thousand individuals avail us ? responsibility. After all, that parched, blighted Without some such celestial guidance, whence- period, and the period of earthquakes and soever derived, or howsoever named, it ap- tornadoes which followed it, have now wellpears to us the Force of Public Opinion would, nigh cleared away: they belong to the Past, by and by, become an extremely unprofitable and for us and those that come after us, are one. « Enlighten Self-interest !” cries the not without their benefits, and calm historical Philosophe ; “Do but sufficiently enlighten it! meaning. We ourselves have seen enlightened Self-in- “ The thinking heads of all nations,” says a terests, ere now; and truly, for most part, deep observer," had in secret come to majority; their light was only as that of a horn-lantern, and, in a mistaken feeling of their vocation, sufficient to guide the bearer himself out of rose the more fiercely against antiquated con. various puddles : but to us and the world of straint. The Man of Letters is, by instinct, comparatively small advantage. And figure the opposed to a Priesthood of old standing: the human species, like an endless host, seeking literary class and the clerical must wage a war its way onwards through undiscovered Time, of extermination, when they are divided; for in black darkness, save that each had his horn- both strive after one placé. Such division lantern, and the vanguard some few of glass! became more and more perceptible, the nearer
However, we will not dwell on controversial we approached the period of European man. niceties. What we had to remark was that hood, the epoch of triumphant Learning; and this era, called of Philosophy, was in itself but I Knowledge and Faith came into more decided contradiction. In the prevailing Faith, as was visited that land which was the most modernthought, lay the reason of the universal degra-ized, and had the longest lain in an asthenic dation ; and by a more and more searching state, from the want of freedom. • • . Knowledge men hoped to remove it. On all “At the present epoch, however, we stand hands, the Religious feeling suffered, under high enough to look back with a friendly smile manifold attacks against its actual manner of on those bygone days; and even in those existence, against the Forms in which hitherto marvellous follies to discern curious crystalit had imbodied itself. The result of that mo- lizations of historical matter. Thankfully will dern way of thought was named Philosophy; we stretch out our hands to those Men of and in this all was included that opposed itself Letters and Philosophes: for this delusion too to the ancient way of thought, especially, required to be exhausted; and the scientific therefore, all that opposed itself to Religion. side of things to have full value given it. More The original personal hatred against the beauteous and many-coloured stands Poesy, Catholic faith passed, by degrees, into hatred like a leafy India, when contrasted with the against the Bible; against the Christian Reli- cold, dead Spitzbergen of that closel-logic gion and at last against Religion altogether. That in the middle of the globe, an India, sc Nay, more, this hatred of Religion naturally warm and lordly, might exist, must also a cold extended itself over all objects of enthusiasm motionless sea, dead cliffs, mist instead of the in generas, proscribed Fancy and Feeling, starry sky, and a long night, make both Poles Morality and love of Art, the Future and the uninhabitable. The deep meaning of the laws Antique; placed man, with an effort, foremost of Mechanism lay heavy on those anchorites in the series of natural productions; and in the deserts of Understanding: the charm of changed the infinite, creative music of the the first glimpse into it overpowered them : the Universe into the monotonous clatter of a Old avenged itself on them; to the first feel. boundless Mill, which, turned by the stream ing of self-consciousness, they sacrificed, with of Chance, and swimming thereon, was a Mill wondrous devotedness, what was holiest and of itself, without Architect and Miller, properly, fairest in the world! and were the first that, a genuine perpetuum mobile, a real, self-grinding in practice, again recognised and preached Mill.
forth the sacredness of Nature, the infinitude “ One enthusiasm was generously lest to poor of Art, the independence of Knowledge, the mankind, and rendered indispensable as a worth of the Practical, and the all-presence of touchstone of the highest culture, for all job- the Spirit of History; and so doing, put an end bers in the same: Enthusiasm for this mag- to a Spectre-dynasty, mure poienu universal, nanimous Philosophy, and above all, for these and terrific than perhaps they themselves were its priests and mystagogues. France was so aware of."* happy as to be the birthplace and dwelling of How far our readers will accompany Novalis this new Faith, which had thus, from patches in such high-soaring speculation is not for us of pure knowledge, been pasted together. Low to say. Meanwhile, that the better part of as 'Poetry ranked in this new Church, there them have already, in their own dialect, united were some poets among them, who for effect's with him, and with us, in candid tolerance, in sake made use of the old ornaments and old clear acknowledgment, towards French Philights; but, in so doing, ran a risk of kindling losophy, towards this Voltaire and the spiritual the new world-system by ancient fire. More period which bears his name, we do not hesicunning brethren, however, were at hand to iate to believe. · Intolerance, animosity, can help; and always in season poured cold water forward no cause; and least of all beseems the on the warming audience. The members of cause of moral and religious truth. A wise this Church were restlessly employed in clear- man has well reminded us, that “in any con. ing Nature, the Earth, the Souls of men, the troversy, the instant we feel anger, we have Sciences, from all Poetry; obliterating every already ceased striving for Truth, and begun vestige of the Holy: disturbing, by sarcasms, striving for Ourselves.” Let no man doubt that the memory of all lofty occurrences, and lofty Voltaire and his disciples, like all men and men; disrobing the world of all its variegated all things that live and act in God's world, vesture.
Pity that Nature con- will one day be found to have “worked to tinued so wondrous and incomprehensible, so gether for good.” Nay that with all his evil, poetical and infinite, all efforts to modernize he has already accomplished good, must be her notwithstanding! However, if any, admitted in the soberest calculation. How where an old superstition, of a higher world much do we include in this one little word: and the like, came to light, instantly, on all He gave the death-stab to modern Superstition. hands, was a springing of rattles; that, if pos. That horrid incubus, which dwelt in darkness, sible, the dangerous spark might be extin- shunning the light, is passing away; with all gaished, by appliances of philosophy and wit: its racks, and poison-chalices, and foul sleepyet Tolerance was the watchword of the culti- ing-draughts, is passing away without return. vated ; and in France, above all, synonymous He who sees even a little way into the signs with Philosophy. Highly remarkable is this of the times, sees well that both the Smithfield history of modern Unbelief; the key to all the fires and the Edinburgh thumbscrews (for vast phenomena of recent times. Not till last these too must be held in remembrance) are ceptury, till the latter half of it, does the po- things which have long, very long, lain be velty begin ; and in a little while, it expands to hind us; divided from us by a wall of cene an immeasurable bulk and variety: a second turies, transparentindeed, but more impassable Reformation, a more comprehensive, and more specific, was unavoidable: and naturally it first
*Novalis Schriften, i., 8. 198.
than adamant. For, as we said, Superstition commiseration. If he seek Truth, is he not is in its death-lair; the last agonies may endure our brother, and to be pitied? If he do not for decades, or for centuries; but it carries the seek truth, is he pol still our brother, and iron in its heart, and will not vex the earth any be pitied still more? Old Ludovicus Vives
has a story of a clown that killed his ass be. That, with Superstition, Religion is also cause it had drunk up the moon, and he thought passing away, seems to us a still more un- the world could ill spare that luminary. So he grounded fear. Religion cannot pass away. killed his ass, ut lunam redderet. The clown The burning of a little straw may hide the was well-intentioned, but unwise. Let us not stars of the sky; but the stars are there, and imitate him ; let us not slay a faithful servant will re-appear. On the whole, we must repeat who has carried us far. He has not drunk the the often-repeated saying, that it is unworthy moon; but only the reflection of the moon, in, a religious man to view an irreligious one his own poor water-pail, where, too, it may be, either with alarm or aversion or with any other he was drinking with purposes the most harmfeeling than regret, and hope, and brotherly less.
(FORHIGN REVIEW, 1829.)
A NUMBER of years ago, Jean Paul's copy, we would contend that such soap-bubble guild of Novalis led him to infer that the German should not become the sole one in Literature; reading world was of a quick disposition; in- that being indisputably the strongest, it should asmuch as with regard to books that required content itself with this pre-eminence, and not more than one perusal, it declined perusing tyrannically annihilate its less prosperous them at all. Paul's Novalis, we suppose, was neighbours. For it should be recollected that of the first Edition, uncut, dusty, and lent him Literature positively has other aims than this from the Public Library with willingness, nay, of amusement from hour to hour; nay, perwith joy; but times, it would appear, must be haps, that this, glorious as it may be, is not considerably changed since then; indeed, were its highest or true aim. We do say, therefore, we to judge of German reading habits from that the Improvisator corporation should be these volumes of ours, we should draw quite kept within limits; and readers, at least a an opposite conclusion of Paul's; for they are certain small class of readers, should under. of the fourth Edition, perhaps therefore the stand that some few departments of human ten-thousandth copy, and that of a Book de inquiry have still their depths and difficulties; manding, whether deserving or not, to be that the abstruse is not precisely synonymous oftener read than almost any other it has ever with the absurd; nay, that light itself may be been our lot to examine.
darkness, in a certain state of the eyesight; Without at all entering into the merits of that, in short, cases may occur when a little Novalis, we may observe that we should reckon patience and some attempt at thought would' it a happy sign of Literature, were so solid a not be altogether superfluous in reading. Let fashion of study here and there established in the mob of gentlemen keep their own ground, all countries; for directly in the teeth of most and be happy and applauded there: if they " intellectual tea-circles,” it may be asserted overstep that ground, they indeed may flourish that no good Book, or good thing of any sort, the better for it, but the reader will suffer shows its best face at first; nay, that the com-damage. For in this way, a reader, accustomed monest quality in a true work of Art, if its ex- to see through every thing in one second of cellence have any depth and compass, is that time, comes to forget that his wisdom and at first sight it occasions a certain disappoint- critical penetration are finite and not infinite; ment; perhaps even, mingled with its undeni- and so commits more than one mistake in his able beauty, a certain feeling of aversion. Not conclusions. The Reviewer, too, who indeed as if we meant, by this remark, to cast a stone is only a preparatory reader, as it were, a sort at the old guild of literary Improvisators, or of sieve and drainer for the use of more luxuri. any of that diligent brotherhood whose trade it ous readers, soon follows his example: these is to blow soap-bubbles for their fellow-crea-iwo react still further on the mob of gentle tures; which bubbles, of course, if they are men; and so among them all, with this action not seen and admired this moment, will be and reaction, matters grow worse and worse. altogether lost to men's eyes the next. Con- It rather seems to us as if, in this respect sidering the use of these blowers, in civilized of faithfulness in reading, the Germans were communities, we rather wish them strong somewhat ahead of us English; at least we lungs, and all manner of prosperity: but simply have no such proof to show of it as that fourth
Edition of Novalis. Our Coleridge's Friench Noralis Echriften, Herausgegeben von Ludwig Tieck for example, and Biographia Li'eraria, are but und Friedrich Schlegel (Novalis' Writings. Edited by a slight business compared with these Schril. Ladwig Tieck and Friedrich Schlegel.) Fourth Edition. S vols. Berlin, 1826.
ten ; little more than the Alphabet, and that in