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has been false and without value, as not and earnestly laid to heart, is the only me. springing directly from Christ? And why dium by which the new creation in Christ then should we entertain any such judg- Jesus can come into triumphant contact ment in regard to philosophy, which at with the actual universal life of man, as it last is but the consciousness which enters stands, in the form either of art, or science, into all these, and makes them to be what or political organization. An unphilosophthey are in fact? It comes simply to this, ical Christianity may be sufficient to save when all is done, that philosophy is not of a multitude of individual souls for heaven, itself Christianity, and that it must neces- but it can never conquer the world. sarily fall into an infidel position, if it as- Admitting, too, that philosophy has its sume to be in its own separate nature suf- , dangers for Christianity as well as for life ficient for the ultimate purposes of man's generally, it must be kept in mind that the life, as comprehended in Christianity, and want of philosophy is always something in Christianity alone. But although philos- more full of peril still. Religion cannot be ophy bé not thus the actual power of the made so practical as to stand in no relation divine fact itself, it may be said to consti whatever to intelligence and thought. It tute, nevertheless, the interior fundamental | must ever rest in a theory of some kind, that form of the world's life, on which the pow. will be found to rule and condition its iner in question is required to make itself fluence upon the world. If this theory be felt-the posture of humanity at any give not philosophically sound, it will be philoen time, in its relation to the great regenera- sophically unsound and false; and as a tive process by which it is thus to be trans- medium of communication with the world's formed finally into the full image of God. | life, it will to the same extent be a barrier In this view, philosophy is a great fact too to the proper power of the Gospel, as ap
-nothing more nor less, indeed, than the pointed for its salvation. We have, indeed, self-consciousness always of the world it- a widely extended school, if we may so self, at such stage of its historical de- use the term, who affect to hold Christianvelopment as it may have reached at the ity (greatly differing at the same time, to time; and as such a fact, it must be re- be gure, about its true form) directly from spected by Christianity, in order that this Christ and the Bible, without the help of may at all take hold on the vast world- | any theory whatever, as the medium of its process to which it belongs, in a real way. apprehension. But it needs no very deep That is, Christianity, to conquer fully the philosophy certainly—though the case itworld's life, must become philosophical, self shows that it calls for some—to perby endeavoring continually to work itself ceive the utter vanity, nay, profound abinto the consciousness of the world as it surdity, of every such pretension. The stands, for the purpose of thus help- greatest slaves of theory, commonly, are ing it forward into a form that may be just those who profess to have none; only found fully commensurate at last with their theory includes in itself no life, but its own divine contents. The ultimate resolves itself at last into the power of problem, of course, is the full reconcilia- | blind, tyrannical, tradition. If we need to tion of the two powers here brought into be cautioned against philosophy, we need view, in such way that neither shall be still more perhaps at this time, at least here allowed to do violence to the other, but in America, to be cautioned against the tenboth come finally to harmonious union, as dency that seeks to bring all philosophy form and substance in the actualization of among us into discredit, and which would all that is comprehended in the idea of hu- exclude its authority, only the more effecmanity. But it lies in this conception it-tually to bind the yoke of its own ceremoself, that they should continually seek each nialism upon our necks. other in the resolution also of this prob- 1 However it may be with the rest of the lem, and be more or less interwoven world, it is clear indeed that what is wantthrough all the process by which it is to ed among ourselves, to bring our life genbe accomplished. Christianity must enter erally into right form, is not less philosothe mind of the world as it is, to secure phy than we have at present, but, if it any permanent power in its life. Philoso- were possible, a great deal more. There phy, it deserves to be well remembered | is a sad disproportion, in our general American life, between outward activity in the form of philosophy, and we shall and inward consciousness; which implies, then be prepared to fulfill indeed the high however, so far as it prevails, a want of destiny that seems to be assigned to us on full self-possession and self-control, in the the part of Heaven. Such a union of accase of our outward activity itself; a want tion and speculation, joined with the vast that is extensively felt already throughout resources of our outward life, and the the social system to which it belongs, and mighty scope thrown open to us by the that may be expected to work itself out | genius of our political institutions, might sooner or later, if not met with proper be expected to carry us, in due time, far seasonable remedy, into the most disas- beyond. all the world has yet been permittrous, if not absolutely fatal, practical re- ted to reach, in the way of moral progress, sults. We need earnest, profound THOUGHT, under any other form. May we not say, born and cradled in the inmost philoso- indeed, that this is the very problem of phical consciousness of the age, by which problems, which our new-born America to understand the problem we are called is called at this time to solve, for the unito solve as a nation, and so to turn our versal benefit of men in all time to come ? action to right account. Action, of course, At present, as already remarked, we are is all important for the proper use of life ; manifestly suffering through the want of it belongs to our nature, not simply to speculation, and not from its excess. Acmirror in itself the sense of the surround- tion is allowed too often to overwhelm or ing world, but to mould this also into its crowd out thought. There reigns among own image, and it is only under this us, indeed, a wide-spread prejudice against form, that it can ever possibly show itself philosophy, in its true and proper characcomplete. Philosophy without action, is ter, which makes it difficult to secure any always something helpless, and liable to earnest attention to its claims in any quardisease, as we see exemplified on a large ter. In the mean time, besides, to make scale in the history of speculation among the the case still worse, a false empirical modern Germans. But then, action with- scheme of thought, (since all action must out philosophy will be found just as little have some spiritual bottom on which to worthy to be t-usted also, in the end, for rest in this way,) claiming to be philosothe great purposes of human life. Nophy itself, though only its wretched cariimagination can well be more false, than cature, in fact, has come to underlie our to suppose that our American practical activity on all sides, and is now ready to talent is sufficient of itself to accomplish resist all deeper thinking, as an invasion all that is comprehended properly in our upon its own rights. The general characvocation as a people. Power, to be ter of this bastard philosophy is, that it efficient for moral ends, must be accom- affects to measure all things, both on earth panied with light. The force of mind, and in heaven, by the categories of the sundered from the inward illustration that common abstract understanding, as it should of right go with it always, is made stands related simply to the world of time to resemble, more or less, the force of and sense. These categories, however, mere nature, and becomes of the same being in themselves the forms or types order with the strength of the whirlwind only of things in this outward world, and or mountain torrent. It may carry all be- representing therefore the conditions merefore it for a time, but the action, at last, ly of existence in space and time-someis neither rational nor free. We need not thing relative always and finite by the only the energy of will, which now dis- very nature of the case-become necessatinguishes us above all the nations of the rily one-sided and false, the moment we earth, but the clear insight of speculative attempt to carry their authority beyond reason, also, to clothe our will with its full these limits, and to apply them to the right to be thus energetic and strong. truths of the pure reason. This has been Let our national spirit be brought to know triumphantly shown by Kant, in his imand possess itself fully in a free way, so mortal work on the subject; whose arguthat the action of the nation, in all the ment thus far, at least, can never be nullispheres of its life, may be filled and ruled fied by the skeptical use to which it was with the soul of a true self-consciousness, turned in his own hands, but only makes VOL. 1. NO. II. NEW SERIES.
it necessary to surmount this skepticism and in pretending to do so, only drags it, by pressing forward to still higher ground. in fact, downward into its own sphere, so It should be understood, and borne in that it is in the end truly neither one nor mind always, that the skepticism of Kant the other. It reasons from time to eteris not something from which we escape by nity with vast dexterity and ease ; estabfalling back simply on the sensuous phi- lishing, by strict Baconian comparison and losophy, once for all demolished by his | induction, the existence of God, the imgigantic criticism. As against this, his mortality of the soul, and the truth of argument and the bad use he makes of it, revelation ; but it is all in such a way as are alike legitimate and sound. With the turns eternity itself into time, and forces premises of Locke, it is not possible suc- the whole invisible world to become a cessfully to withstand the reasoning of mere abstraction from the world of sense. David Hume ; and the reasoning of David The empirical understanding affects to beHume, brought to understand itself, and come transcendent, (as Kant calls it,) and pushed out to its proper universal form, may please itself with the imagination of conducts us over with like necessity to the having actually grasped in this way the critical Idealism of Immanuel Kant. If | truth which lies beyond its own horizon ; our knowledge can have no other ground but it is the illusion of one who dreams on which to rest, than that which is offer-himself to be awake, and, behold, he is ed to us in the forms of the sensible world, asleep: the object grasped, when all is as apprehended through categories of done, belongs to the sphere of sense, and thought, simply answerable to their out- not to the sphere of spirit. This philosoward and finite nature, it ought to be clear, phy makes no room at all for ideas, in the surely, that it cannot reach, with any true proper sense of the term ; its ideas are all force, and as knowledge, to objects that lie intellectual abstractions merely, that as beyond this sphere. The system of Locke such carry in themselves no necessary or pretended to do so, indeed, building its universal force. How is it possible, that faith in the absolute and infinite upon de- such a system should have depth or ductions from the simply relative and strength; that it should penetrate the infinite. This pretension, false from the be- terior sense of life, in any quarter; or that ginning, Kant has fairly and forever over- it should communicate true spiritual earnturned, leaving the world, so far as that estness to the general character and conphilosophy could help it, without any sure duct of men, in any direction ? All the hold upon a single truth beyond the range higher interests of our nature must necesof its present experience. And yet it is sarily be made to suffer, wherever it just this false and helpless system of think- prevails. ing that still insists, too generally among The bad power of this system is widely ourselves, on its right to rule our whole exemplified among us, in our reigning inlife, and that is ready, alas ! on all sides, difference to philosophy itself, and our to stigmatize as transcendental nonsense, want of faith generally in the objects with if not something still worse, every attempt which it is of right concerned. Speculathat is made to go beyond itself in the ti in and action are very commonly regardway of earnest and profound speculation. ed as opposite spheres, only outwardly re
The whole tendency of this philosophy | lated to each other; in which view, the is towards materialism and infidelity; as first must ever be shorn of all earnest inwe may see abundantly exemplified by its dependent interest, on its own account. It past history in other parts of the world, is either held to be of no force for actual particularly in France. It may be asso- life at all the unprofitable metaphysical ciated, it is true, with an opposite system ; | pugilism, merely, of the schools, by which as commonly in this country, where it the world can never be made wiser or betclaims the spiritual and supernatural, in- ter-or else, to save it from such reproach, deed, as peculiarly its own province. But it is forced to quit the skies wholly, and so far as such connection goes, it is out- become the mere shadowy echo of expeward only and traditional, not inward and rience and “common sense," as it is called, real. The philosophy itself has no power in the service of directly material ends. It to reach the spiritual and supernatural, I is pursued accordingly either as a pastime only, or as a restricted trade. Few have of studies something which it is pleased to any faith in philosophy as the original and dignify with the title of philosophy, in the rightful mistress of life. Few have any shape particularly of metaphysics and firm, solid belief in the reality of ideas, as ethics, as a sort of crowning distinction in anything more than the generalizations of honor of the Senior year. But the crown, sense, or the wisely calculated results of alas ! is not what it ought to be, the key. common utilitarian experience. He is stone of the academic arch, that binds and counted too generally to be the best phi- supports the whole; it is at best an outlosopher, whose thinking is found to move side ornament simply, of most light and most fully in the orbit of the common un- airy structure, set loosely on its summit, derstanding, while it shows itself at the of which, in a short time, no trace whatsame time most skillful in discerning the ever is to be fonnd. We may safely say, relation between means and end, and is that the way in which philosophy is taught crowned at last with the largest percent- and studied in our colleges generally, is age, in the way of practical benefit and suited only to bring it into discredit. It profit. The bearing of all this on our na- stands in no organic connection with the tional life, is sufficiently plain in every di- course as a whole; it is handled in the rection. Our literature and science, our most mechanical and external way, as a economics and politics, nay, our very eth- | thing of simple memory and report ; and ics and divinity, are all made to suffer in to complete the misery, it is acknowledged the same way. They are not properly only in a form which subverts its whole scientific.
sense, by substituting for it a poor parody The defect is particularly obvious and that is wholly unworthy of its name. In worthy of notice, in our general system of its own nature the most earnest of intereducation. Whatever advantages this may ests, it is thus metamorphosed into the possess in other respects, it is character- | most frivolous and trivial. We need not ized almost universally by a sad want of wonder, that in such circumstances, it true philosophical spirit. The idea of a should appear shorn of all strength. We separate department or faculty of philoso- need not wonder, that the interest of libephy, as necessary to complete the concep-ral study generally, deprived in this way of tion of a university education, is almost its proper soul, should be made to suffer at gone from our minds. The prejudice of every point. An earnest philosophy is intradition is indeed too strong, to allow its dispensable to an earnest education, as total banishment from our colleges, in an through this again it is indispensable to all open and formal way. Every institution / real earnestness in life. J. W. N. feels itself bound to include in its course
POETRY, or rather the poetic, is a theme | hard, and full of rage, but poetry may which must be forever re-discussed and for the time change his nature: the wild. re-defined, since it is a matter upon which est savage has his chants and dances, and the uneducated and unreflecting must | though when they are translated to us ever refer to their own individual impres there is nothing poetic perceptible in them, sions. Like the divine institution of Chris- yet they shall, to him, be poetry. The tianity, it adapts itself to all hearts and Chinese have their poems, as well as we all capacities. There is none so stockish, ours; but, with the perverseness apper
taining to most traits of character in our | they almost universally consider very pecelestial antipodes, what they consider el- dantic and dry; and although they cannot egant poetic writing, we should class with but admit there are some humorous charthe maxims of poor Richard. “Keaou acters in Shakspeare, they would rather see Seen Sang,” says the Rev. Mr. Smith, a him on the stage than read him. As they late traveller, “seemed to revel in a para grow up into life, however, if they dise of self-complacency, as we sat to lis- continue (as, alas! but few of them do ten to his magniloquent intonations of the in our spreading country,) to love litclassics. The impassioned gesture and literary studies, they see more and more of erary enthusiasm of Keaou, would have the greatness of these wonderful men, and led us to believe that his mental enjoy- acquiesce more and more in the general ment was very great, and the ideas con- verdict of the world. Thus the process veyed by the composition very sublime. forever goes on, the pure art of poetry But, on translating the immortal fragment, standing before the race like a pillar of it was frequently found to consist of some fire, seen by all, but seen best by those such sentiment as these: "He who makes who are in the van, or now and then seen just agreements, can fulfill his promises ; best of all by the far-reaching eye of he who behaves with reverence and pro-genius. priety, puts shame and disgrace to a dis- There was one not many years ago that tance; he who loses not the friendship of saw it, as it would seem, in its very purity; those whom he ought to treat with kind- who had approached, with his self-conness and respect, may be a master.'” sciousness all awake, into its empyreal These are very sensible worldly maxims, circle, and could define its form and fix its but they are certainly not much more po- qualities and limits-COLERIDGE, the most etic to us than “Time is money,” “ An hon- | poetic of philosophers, and the most proest man's the noblest work of God," or found and candid of critics. His mind any of the points and antitheses which may seemed peculiarly formed to be at once occur in poetry, and belong to it, but can the exhibiter and expounder of the highest exist without it—the pure products of the forms of poetry; he could assume the raised intellect. So, if we are content to lyric frenzy, and could analyze it also ; he seek nearer than China for an illustration, not only wooed the pure muse successfully, we may discern that what is poetry to one but without losing his own heart; he is not so to another; for who has not united, in short, in one person, the rarest seen eyes suffused by the recitation of bal- qualities of artist and critic, actor and lads of the most silly character possible ? reflector, doer and observer. The definiPolitical elections often engender serious tion of poetry he has given in his Biopoems of this sort The Miller doctrine graphia Literaria, and especially in the was a myth that gave birth to hymns at volume containing the immortal criticism once lofty and laughable. The temple of of Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads, is one the Mormons, no doubt, echoed to the whose excellence appeals to a man's indisongs of bards.
vidual growth in the same manner with In the multitude of tastes between these that of all the great models of art, viz. : it extreme productions and those of Shak- / grows better by time, and is more underspeare and Milton, there can never be a stood the more it is studied. Few persons consensus omnium as to the true definition in active life have leisure to read Cole. of POETRY, any more than there can be ridge ; indeed, it is questionable whether among artists as to what are the requisites | his peculiar, minutely guarded, yet eloof HIGH ART. There is, however, a con- quent, philosophical style should be recomstant tendency towards such an unanimous mended to young persons engaged in acagreement, as generations rise up from tive literary or professional pursuits; he youth to age, through the experience of is a writer who were perhaps better left to passion and the growth of reason. It is those who cannot avoid him. Any such. very well settled that the names we have one who may have fancied that he fully just mentioned stand at the head of our comprehended the distinctions in the definipoetic literature. Some college students tion we are speaking of several years ago, prefer Byron-others Tennyson; Milton / will probably find on re-reading the pas