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with philosophy, as though it were an religion as well as reason; since in no interest false and pernicious in its own other view can we conceive of the world nature. We might, with as much reason, as carrying in itself a divine sense and quarrel with the waters of the Susque- meaning, so as to be the mirror truly of an hannah, for making their way towards the idea in the mind of God. God is not the sea. The world must think; would not author of confusion, either in nature or hisbe true to itself, if it ceased to think ; and tory. He upholds and rules the world by it is not possible that it should be thus plan; and this plan takes hold of the end actively intelligent, without moving at the from the beginning, bearing all life steadsame time in the channel of some philo- ily forward as a process in its own service. sophical system, that may represent more | In this way, every sphere of our general or less clearly the unity of its general life. human existence comes to its proper evo
It will follow, moreover, from this view lution only in the form of history, and so of the necessary relation in which philoso- | we should expect to find it pre-eminently phy stands to the life of the world, that in the case of philosophy, representing, as it is not so entirely without rule and this does, the inmost consciousness of the method in its course, as is taken for race itself from age to age. The idea of granted by the wholesale objection we are an absolutely stationary philosophy, menow considering. If it form an original chanically at hand as something ripe and and essential part of man's constitution, it done, for the use of the world through all must have a history, comprehended in the time, is an absurd contradiction. How general flow of human history as a whole. could it then represent the world's life, in But history implies organic unity and pro its ever-flowing actual form ? Change and gress. It is just the opposite of chaos. / revolution here are not at once contradicSuch onward movement, exhibiting the tion and confusion. May they not be but present always as at once the birth of the the necessary action of history itself, as it past and the womb of the future, belongs forces its way onward continually from one to the very conception of humanity; as stage of thought and life to another ? For much so as it does also, that it should this process, it should be remembered, is exist by resolution into a vast system of not by uniform movement, in the same dinations, families and individuals. Distri- | rection and under the same character. It bution in time, and distribution in space, goes by stadia or eras; not unlike those are alike necessary, to represent the one great world-cycles which geologists undervast, magnificent fact, through which the take to describe in the primitive formation idea of man is made real. To be human, of the earth, only compressed into much then, is to be at the same time historical, I narrower dimensions. Each period has, of in the sense here explained. If we should course, its own history, including the rise say that the world is not bound together and decline again of its particular life, and by the force of a common life, at any given the breaking up of its whole constitution time, but is made up of nations and men finally, to make room for a new spiritual confusedly thrown into one mass in an out organization ; and all this must-necessarily ward and mechanical way; it would not be attended with some show of chaotic be a greater wrong to our nature than it is confusion, to the view, at least, of the sumade to suffer, when this life is not appre- perficial thinker; while it is still possible hended as a continuous process also, al- that the whole may be, notwithstanding, ways different and yet always the same, in obedience throughout to the same great extending perpetually from one generation law of development and progress. over to another. In fact, the two concep Such an onward movement is found to tions cannot be held asunder. There is characterize in fact the course of human no alternative here between cosmos and thought, as it may be traced from its chaos. To be organic at all, the world cradle in the ancient Oriental world, down must be historical; and its history must to the present time. Philosophy has its show itself especially in the progressive own history, capable of being studied and development of humanity, as a whole, to- understood, like the history of any other wards its appointed end. This we might sphere of human life. This may be so dark seem justified to assume, as a postulate of I still indeed as to leave room, at many points, for uncertainty, and controversy,and doubt. I lowing system. We have no right to declare All history is open more or less to the same the wisdom of Plato and Aristotle vain, difficulty; but still its general sense, and and just as little to deride the speculations the force at least of its great leading of the medieval schoolmen as learned nonepochs, are sufficiently clear. It is only sense, merely because their authority has the unphilosophical and uninquiring, who long since passed away. The Greek pronounce the record of the world's life in philosophy comprehended both truth and this form, a farrago of unmeaning, discon- power for the use of the world, in its own nected opinions and dreams. In propor- time. It entered largely into the growth tion as any man can be engaged to direct and education of the human spirit. And his own attention to the subject, in the in this way it still continues to live also, in way of earnest thought, he will feel the the organic progress of human thought. deep unreasonableness of this presumption. The acquisitions of the past in this form The history of mind he will see to be are not lost by the downfall of the systems something more than chaos, “without form in which they may have seemed originally and void.” Alas for us indeed, if that to inhere; they are simply translated into the were all the world here offered to our faith! constitution of other systems, and so carried Order in its outward material structure, forward in the vast intellectual process to only to make room for an interminable which these belong. In a deep sense we soul-chaos within !
may say of all history, that it is thus a perIt would go far at once to break the petual metem psychosis of the world's life, force of much of the prejudice that is en- by which it is always new and yet tertained against philosophy, if only this always the same. idea of a historical development in the We may easily see, now, how little room case of our world-life generally, as its | there is for the fashionably vulgar imaginecessary and proper form, were fairly nation, that philosophy has little or nothing familiar to our minds. We should then to do with the realities of actual life, understand that the very same life, in | There is indeed a latitude of meaning somepassing upwards through different stages, times allowed to the term, especially may be expected to show itself under dif | in England and our own country, by ferent phases or aspects, without yet fall- which it is supposed to be saved from this ing for this reason into any self-contra- reproach in part; though only in such a diction; and in this way we would be way as to fall more clearly under the rescued from the narrow bigotry of power of it beyond the bounds of such measuring all past ages by our own, while exception. In the sense to which we refer, at the same time we might be prepared to philosophy is taken to be a scientific inestimate intelligently the actual advanta- sight simply into the nature and force of ges of our position, in its advanced relation things empirically considered, as we find to the past. As the self-consciousness of ourselves surrounded by them in the actual the individual has different contents in world. In this way we may have a childhood and riper age, and must neces- | philosophy of mind, by a sort of spiritual sarily migrate through a succession of anatomical dissection, and then a philosoforms in order that it may become com- | phy of nature also as something altogether plete; so we say of philosophy, which different; and however it may be with the may be denominated the self-conscious- first, it can easily be shown that this last ness of the world as a whole, that it too is capable of being turned to many imporcan assert its proper reality only by living | tant practical uses. Witness only the itself, from age to age, upwards into new wonders that are now wrought by steam, and higher forms, till the process shall and the brilliant, though silent, action of become complete in the full completion of the electro-magnetic telegraph. Philoso: humanity itself-the glorious, all-harmoni-phy in such shape means something, and ous millennium of creation. It does not has a value that can be made tangible to follow, then, that a system of philosophy the world's common sense. It is the glory has been nugatory and null in its own of our own age, too, in particular, that it is time, because it has come to be exploded, made to carry its salutary power into every as we say, and superseded by some fol- | nook and corner of our common material existence. We have a philosophy of farm- | great Lowell establishments, for his own ing, a philosophy of manufactures, and a comfort; to seize the reins of nature in a philosophy of trade. We make our shoes merely outward way, and force her chariot and bake our bread pbilosophically. We wheels to move subservient to his simply talk, with equal ease, of the philosophy of physical accommodation. All this is right, the heavens and the philosophy of a plum indeed, in its place, and we mean not to pudding. We can go still farther, and undervalue or condemn the march of imadmit also the practical use of philosophy, provement in such outward form. Man as occupied with the laws of our own is appointed to be the tamer and subduer reason and will, in the same Baconian of nature, and it is reasonable and fit that style-provided always the process be not this should be brought to serve him, with pushed too far. The science of mind, as absolute and universal submission. It is handled by Locke, may help us possibly to the proper prerogative of Mind, its grand think correctly; while the science of ethics, moral vocation, we may say, in the world, as unfolded in the same way by Paley, thus to assert and proclaim its supremacy may serve to assist us occasionally in dis- over Matter; as it is the true glory of this tinguishing between right and wrong. last, again, to be ruled and filled by the But here the concession is required to stop. self-conscious presence of the first. But For philosophy, as the science of ideas, or this lordship, to be true and right, must as it is sometimes called, the science of the be moral as well as physical, inward no absolute, which is after all the only proper less than outward ; it must be the supresense of the term, our common system of macy of man over nature as man, and not thinking is apt to entertain no respect simply as the potent magician of science, at whatever, in the general view now noticed. whose bidding the spirits of the vasty deep It is regarded as unprofitable metaphysics, / stand ready, in shape of steam, tempest of some service possibly for dialectic and lightning, to execute his pleasure. practice in the schools, but of no con- | The only true mastery over the world at ceivable use besides in our ordinary mun- | last, is that by which man is brought at the dane experience. For does it not in fact same time to master himself, in the clear profess to go beyond the bounds of this apprehension and spontaneous election of experience; showing itself thus to be goodness and truth in their absolute form. transcendental, as we say, and more fit to This is something more than agricultural be referred to the visionary moon, than chemistry, or the rattling machinery of to this solid material earth we now inhabit ? cotton factories and rolling mills. It is by Is it not, by its own confession, the science the power of the spiritual at last, that the of ideas and not the science of facts ? It full sense of the world, whether as spirit is in reference to such philosophy especial- | or nature, is to be evolved, and the full ly, that the question has been triumphantly triumph of humanity, as sung in the eighth asked: What has it done to improve the psalm, carried out to its grand consumactual life of the world, from the days of mation. The chief end of man is, not to Plato down to the present hour ? Has know and rule the world simply as it it ever manufactured, not a steamboat, stands beyond his particular person, but not so much as a pin only, in the service to know and rule it in the form of reason of the world's comfort ? Has it descended and will, as the inmost constitution of his at all into contact with the real wants of | own life. As in the case of his person man ? Has it added one luxury to his separately considered, the skillful use of table, or coined a single dollar of new his bodily organs for mere bodily ends is wealth for his pocket ?
in itself no argument of either strength or The whole force of this plausible repre- | freedom, but can become of account only sentation, we say, is broken by the view as such active power may be itself comwe have now taken of the true nature of prehended in the higher activity of the philosophy, and its necessary relation to soul, moving always in obedience to its the onward historical explication of the own law; so here, also, it is nothing less great mystery of humanity. The “chief than the same moral self-consciousness end of man,' after all, in this world, is not and self-government, that can impart either to create railroads, and telegraphs, and | dignity or value to any dominion we may be brought to exercise over external na- | department of our life can be advanced ture, by virtue of our mere intelligence towards perfection, saye through the presunder any other form. But now this in- ence of the same force. And shall we say, ward supremacy of mind over matter, con- then, that philosophy, the science of the stituting thus the self-consciousness of Idea, whose very province it is to bring the the world itself through the medium of world to a consciousness of its own life in the human spirit, is something which lifts this form, is not practical ? Can we unus at once into the sphere of philosophy. derstand ourselves, or possess our own It is emphatically at last the power of the nature fully, in any respect, without its ideal as compared with the power of the aid ? No general activity, whether in the actual, the ascendency of the absolute, form of thought or will, can deserve to be (universal reason and universal will, over regarded as at all complete, that is not the force of all that is simply empirical controlled by the light of philosophy, if and particular.
not directly, at least in an indirect and cirPhilosophy, we say then, is supremely cuitous way. practical. It takes hold of life, not indeed! Such being the case, we may not admit, upon its immediate surface, but in the very of course, that philosophy is necessarily unfoundations of the great deep of which it friendly to religion. We have seen already, consists. Away with the heresy, dishon- that it has entered largely into the history orable to man and God alike, that this of Christianity from the beginning ; though world is ruled supremely by material efforts have been made from time to time, forces, or simply sensuous interests of any with more zeal than clear knowledge, to kind. In the face of Heaven, we proclaim sunder the church entirely from its conit false! Of all forms of power that enter nection. All such efforts have proved to into its constitution, there is none to com- be of no account thus far, and will conpare with that which belongs to mind, in tinue to be of no account always, just bethe form of the Idea. This is more than cause philosophy is a necessary condition tempest, lightning and steam ; more than of our general human life; and to renounce whirlwind, cataract and fire ; more than the one in this absolute way, were to rethe noise of many waters, or the tumult nounce the other also to the same extent. of the people surging and roaring with If Christianity be truly divine, and at the passion. Not by might, nor by power, same time truly human, it must so adjust but by my Spirit, saith the Lord, shall the itself to the actual constitution of man in great purposes of this world be ultimately its previous form, or rather so take this up carried. There is nothing under heaven into its own constitution in the way of naso omnipotent among men, as the presence tural consummation, that nothing belongof an Idea, in its true conception, repre- ing to it of right shall be destroyed, but senting, as it does always in fact, the in- | the whole on the contrary show itself, most and deepest consciousness of the under a higher form, more perfect than world itself. Amid all the thundering before. No wrong to the Gospel can well noise that marks the progress of history, be more egregious, than that by which its it is only here at last we communicate power is limited and restrained to a part with its soul, and are made to understand only of the general organism of the world's the true motive power which actuates its life; while other spheres, clearly included wheels. Men may talk as they please in this from the beginning, are violently about their mechanics, and politics, and thrust out from the range of its action, as tactics—the world is governed, when all is hopelessly profane, and incapable of sancdone, by the power of Ideas; and the tification. It is a libel on Christ, to say deepest thinkers, though far out of sight, that his religion has nothing to do with it may be in the solitude of the closet, are politics, or the fine arts, or the seiences, or still ever in the end, by divine right, the common social life. It must unite itself royal oligarchy, that preside over its with all these, inwardly and profoundly, affairs, and conduct them forward towards so as to transfigure them fully into its own their proper end. No great revolution image, before it shall have accomplished has ever yet occurred, that took not its its mission in the world. For how else birth first from the womb of an Idea. No should it deserve to be acknowledged the universal truth of man's life? And so it! This is not to make Christianity dependis something monstrous also in the same ent on philosophy in any way, for its existway, to affirm of Christianity, that it has ence. No process of thinking, on the part nothing to do with philosophy. Is igno- of men, could ever originate or discover rance then, after all, the mother of devo- religion in this form ; just as little as it tion; or must the inmost walks of con- might be supposed to originate or discover sciousness be barred against the approach the constitution of the natural earth and of religion, in order to preserve this sound heavens. Christ, and the new creation reand pure ? Christianity claims to be the vealed through him, are not a thought simproper rightful magistracy of man's entire ply, but a fact, such as philosophy has no nature, the power to which all belongs, power either to make or unmake. But and by which all requires to be occupied this is only to say, that philosophy has no and ruled. It must enter then into the power to make or unmake the world's life thinking of the world, as well as into its in any view. The province of philosophy willing and working; and it cannot actu- is not to create truth in any case, but only alize itself in full, except as it is brought to to make truth clear to itself in the reflected reign thus, with proper symmetrical de consciousness of its subject. It is truth velopment, throughout its whole life. itself in the form of self-knowledge; and
To say that Christianity should have no in this view, there is no reason surely why fellowship with philosophy, comes simply Christianity should treat it as false and to this in the end, that the contents of profane, but every reason on the contrary faith are not formed to become ever the that it should be made welcome to the contents of knowledge; that religion is ne Christian sphere, as its rightful sanctuary cessarily something blind in its own na- | and home. ture, incapable of being reflected in the But we are pointed to actual history in consciousness of its subject under an intelli- | proof of its pernicious power in the view gible form; that it is to be received and held, now noticed. It has been from the beginfrom first to last, in the way of mechanical | ning, we are told, the fruitful mother of outward tradition, on the ground, simply, heresies and corruptions in the church. of the foreign authority by which it comes And has it not ever shown a sort of native authenticated to our confidence and trust. affinity with atheism and infidelity ? Has But is not religion the inmost life of our it not, more or less, openly proclaimed ithuman being itself; and must not the pre-self the enemy of Christ, from the days of cept, Know thyself, extend to it always as Ammonius Saccas and Origen down to the the necessary issue, in which alone the days of Immanuel Kant, and from the epoch knowledge for which it calls can become of the Critical Philosophy onward again, complete ? Strange that any should hold with rapid development, to the culminait man's privilege and calling, by the inde | tion of this modern movement in the panfeasible right of his intelligence itself, to theism of Hegel ? penetrate the interior sense of the world! This only shows, we may reply, that around him in the way of knowledge, and philosophy is not of itself Christianity; and yet count it little better than profane for still further, that Christianity has not yet him to think of penetrating the interior fully mastered the inward life of the world. sense of his own nature, as unfolded to his But this is nothing more than we find consciousness in the Christian revelation. abundantly made evident to us, in the Is it not the prerogative of intellect, to be manifestation of the world's life also under self-intelligent? and is it possible then for other forms. Art, science, government, all Christianity to be the absolute truth of have exhibited, in the progress of Chrishumanity, the inmost substance of its very tian history thus far, a more or less unlife, without including in itself, at the same friendly relation to the Christian conscioustime, a capacity at least for being made ness, refusing to acknowledge and accept transparent to its own vision in this way ? | it as the only proper form of their own It lies in its very conception, that it should being. But what then? Shall we abjure form thus, when complete, the self-con- all art, science and politics, for this reason, sciousness of the world, in its deepest and as necessarily unholy and profane ? Or most comprehensive sense.
shall we say that their whole past history