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old as noodles, and at the religion of the old as fitting enough for noodledom-a noodledom that is past. They affect to despise what many have counted wisdom, and in so doing regard themselves as giving sufficient evidence of their own deeper wisdom. We have met with certain of this progeny, of whom some fathers might be vain, but not, as we judge, the father of Sartor Resartus. Contempt is a costly tenant where the brain is empty. We scruple not to say that we regard the 'introspecting and evangelical' portion of our English society as consisting, with all its faults, of a brave and highsouled race, if compared with anything that Mr. Carlyle's school of philosophy has to place in comparison with them. We would readily travel far to witness the success of an attempt to raise humanity from a condition so low to a position so high, through any other means than those by which in this case it has been accomplished.
Nor is it enough that Mr. Carlyle should thus underrate the current beliefs of Christian men, and especially of living men, as compared with the men of past times. Inasmuch as the creeds of men are seen to affect their character, at the best, but imperfectly, the strange leap is made, that the supposed relation between what a man believes and what a man is, must be of little reality or value. Hence the hollowness and ineffectiveness attributed by our author to all the more received forms of religious doctrine and usage among us, are such as to leave nothing to constitute religion in any man, save his own self-derived conviction as to duty, and his own self-governed action in conformity with that conviction.
'The clearer my Inner Light may shine, through the less turbid media, the fewer Phantasms it may produce, the gladder surely shall I be and not the sorrier! Hast thou reflected, O serious reader, Advanced-Liberal or other, that the one end, essence, use of all religion past, present, and to come, was this only: To keep that same Moral Conscience or Inner Light of ours alive and shining; which certainly the Phantasms' and the 'turbid media' were not essential for! All religion does here is to remind us, better or worse, of what we already know, better or worse, of the quite infinite difference there is between a Good man and a Bad; to bid us love infinitely the one, abhor and avoid infinitely the other,—strive infinitely to be the one, and not to be the other. All religion issues in due Practical Hero-worship! He that has a soul unasphyxied will never want a religion; he that has a soul asphyxied, reduced to a succedaneum for salt, will never find any religion, though you rose from the dead to preach him one.
‘But indeed, when men and reformers ask for a religion, it is analogous to their asking, 'What would you have us to do?' and such like. They fancy that their religion too should be a kind of Morrison's pill, which they have only to swallow once, and all will be well. Resolutely once gulp down your religion, your Morrison's pill, you have it all plain sailing now; you can follow your affairs, your noaffairs, go along money-hunting, pleasure-hunting, dilettanteing, dangling, and miming and chattering like a Dead Sea ape: your Morrison will do your business for you. Men’s notions are very strange! Brother, I say there is not, was not, nor ever will be in the wide circle of Nature, any Pill or Religion of that character. Man cannot afford thee such; for the very gods it is impossible. I advise thee to renounce Morrison; once for all, quit hope of the Universal Pill. For body, for soul, for individual or society, there has not any such article been made. Non extat. In created nature it is not, was not, will not be. In the void imbroglios of Chaos only, and realms of Bedlam, does some shadow of it hover, to bewilder and bemock the poor inhabitants There.'
"The Maker's Laws, whether they are promulgated in Sinai Thunder, to the ear or imagination, or quite otherwise promulgated, are the Laws of God; transcendent, everlasting, imperatively demanding obedience from all men. This, without any thunder, or with never so much thunder, thou, if there be any soul left in thee, canst know of a truth. The Universe, I say, is made by Law; the great Soul of the World is just and not unjust. Look thou, if thou have eyes or soul left, into this great, shoreless Incomprehensible: in the heart of its tumultuous Appearances, Embroilments, and mad-Time Vortexes, is there not silent, eternal, an All-just, an All-beautiful, sole Reality and ultimate controlling Power of the Whole ? This is not a figure of speech; this is a fact. The fact of gravitation, known to all animals, is not surer than this inner Fact, which may be known to all men.'
Rituals, Liturgies, Credos, Sinai Thunder; I know, more or less, the history of these; the rise, progress, decline, and fall of these. Can thunder from all the thirty-two Azimuths, repeated daily for centuries of years, make God's laws more God-like to me? Brother, no. Perhaps I am grown to be a man now, and do not need the thunder and the terror any longer! Perhaps I am above being frightened; perhaps it is not fear, but Reverence alone that shall now lead me! Revelations, Inspirations? Yes: and thy own god-created Soul; dost thou not call that a 'revelation? Who made THEE? Where didst thou come from? The Voice of Eternity, if thou be not a blasphemer and poor asphyxied mute, speaks with that tongue of thine! Thou art the latest Birth of Nature; it is “the Inspiration of the Almighty' that giveth thee understanding! My brother, my brother.'-Past and Present, pp. 305–309.
The only conclusion fairly deducible from these passagesand the writings of Mr. Carlyle abound with such—seems to be, that the man who would realize his true destiny will do well to eschew everything recorded as distinctively Christian, in place of looking to that source for any special assistance. All that man needs to know concerning the nature and laws of the Infinite, every man who has a soul left in him may know from himself. External utterances can add nothing to his "inner light.' Rituals, liturgies, credos, Sinai thunders,'—these can add nothing to the revelation which every man has in what he himself is. By one 'grown to be a man,' such externalities can be of no value. Mr. Carlyle's belief, accordingly, never rises to the height of a mystical rationalism-it is a devout, we had almost said a methodistical sort of deism. The faith he so much extols is thus limited as to its object, and derives all its supposed worth from the moral courage and energy that may spring from it. We wish we could regard it as embracing any properly Christian element, but this, we presume, Mr. Carlyle himself does not expect from any man who has read with attention what he has written; and it is high time, we think, that all mystification on this material point should come to an end, and that the fact of the case should be stated in definite and honest speech.
JI. What we say of the doctrine of Mr. Carlyle concerning Faith, we say of his doctrine concerning the Veracities to be found in All Religions—it is a truth, a weighty truth, but a truth pushed so far as to become the parent of error, and to cease to be itself a pure truth. The Faith which kindles the fires of the auto-de-fé may be earnest; and the Philosophy which ends in atheism may not be wanting in catholicity. Earnestness and catholicity have their worth, but the value of these qualities depends very much on their relation to others, and on the limits to which they are restricted in consequence of such relations. It is with our faculties and our virtues, as it is with our households, they never do well under a régime of partialities and favouritisms.
We sympathize very largely, however, with Mr. Carlyle in his doctrine on this point. We go far with him in his kindly ingenuities as he labours to give a pleasant meaning to the wild mythology of our rude Northmen." True, the material is somewhat stubborn-hard to bend to his purpose—but he labours at it with a resoluteness worthy of some brave old sea-king. What, for example, could be less promising than the cosmogony of these our remote progenitors. The giant Ymer is slainslain at last. The gods consult, and having Ymer's substance, consisting of warm wind, frost, fire, and other strange things at their service, they resolve to make a world out of this dead great one. His blood becomes the sea, his flesh the land, his bones the rocks, his skull the immense concave above us, and his
brains the floating clouds! One Norse god is before us 'brewing ale,' that he may give fitting entertainment to another ; while another—Thor by name-goes a journey into a far country to bring home a pot for the occasion, and, after many adventures, places the elegant utensil on his head, helmet fashion, and travels back with it, the handles thereof descending like donkey's ears down to his heels! In stories like these Mr. Carlyle can see Untamed Thought, great, giantlike, enor
mous— to be tamed in due time into the compact greatness, not giantlike, but godlike, and stronger than gianthood, of “the Shakesperes and Goethes.' Taking the same friendly spirit of interpretation along with him everywhere, it of course follows that he finds 'good in everything. Under a thousand disguises, he can see religious thought and emotion struggling towards utterance--a philosophy of man, and a theology too, reaching towards their birth-time and object. The mythology of Greece is accounted prettier than this of the Norsemen-not more noble. All the strange faiths that have covered the earth are only the reflex pictures of man's need as a being who must in some way be religious. There is a broad substratum of truth in human nature, and this truth mingles itself more or less with everything human. On this ground our author can sometimes bestow his good word on Christianity, sometimes on our Christian sects, not excepting the fantastic exhibitions made upon occasions by the said sects in Exeter Hall. Men love not * darkness, they do love light. A deep feeling of the eternal
nature of Justice looks out among us everywhere-even through the dull eyes of Exeter Hall. An unspeakable religiousness struggles in the most helpless manner to speak itself in
Puseyisms and the like. Of our cant, all condemnable, how much 'is not condemnable without pity: we had almost said without respect! The inarticulate word and truth that is in England goes down yet to the foundations.'-Past and Present, p. 396.
Christian theologians have themselves to thank for much of the extravagance observable in this respect in Mr. Carlyle and in many beside. Too often, our divines have seemed to forget, that the Bible and nature are from the same source. Because humanity, as now conditioned, includes much that the Bible must condemn, not a few have been too ready to assume that it can include nothing the Bible may approve. Sufficient care has not been always taken to cede to the moral nature of man the portion of worth, which, according to the testimony of Revelation itself, is still reserved to it. Nor has a wise discrimination been always made between the true and false religions, disowning those elements only which have given to them their falseness. Judging from the manner in which some of our very orthodox preachers express themselves, we should suppose that they see no moral difference between the least depraved among the children of Adam and the most depraved-between Rush the murderer, and the most amiable of their own children, who does not happen to be a Christian. Of course the persons who, from negligent usage, or to give an imaginary cohesiveness to a theological system, indulge in expressions to this effect, do not really believe what they seem to teach. Their daily conversation and conduct in relation to the non-christian members of their families and connexions, furnish abundant proof to the contrary. But great mischief comes from the technical affectation of seeming to believe after this manner. Mr. Carlyle's doctrine is a revolt against this grave error. Some men will assert that there can be good of no kind in human nature apart from Christianity; and the natural reaction against this error is in the assertion that all the good really attainable by man may be attained without the least help from Christianity. The one party will see no good in human nature that has not come to it from the Gospel, and the other will see no good in the Gospel that has not come to it from human nature. The extremes of some of our theologians in this form run sadly counter to the general language of the Bible, and to the common sentiment of mankind, and give a perilous advantage to the philosophical assailant of Revelation. It is not always borne in mind by our religious teachers, that there is an ascertainable distinction between morality and piety; and that actions may be evangelically defective-defective as to their source and object--without ceasing to be moral. There is no surer mode of making Christianity repulsive, than to place it at issue with what is essential to our manhood and responsibility.
But, as we have said, an error does not cease to be such because you can trace it to its source. Some men have made idols of church-creeds. Seeing this, our philosopher says-Let us bave no more to do with churches or with creeds. Not that he really so means. His meaning rather is, that literary or philosophical churches should take the place of existing churches, and that the old creeds should give place to a creed much narrower, simpler, and more flexible, making small appeal to the logic of the age, more to its intuitions, its conscience, its emotions. Here it is :
'Nature's laws, I must repeat, are eternal : her small still voice, speaking from the inmost heart of us, shall not, under terrible penalties, be disregarded. No one man can depart from the truth without damage to himself ; no one million of men, no twenty-seven millions