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prehend those beautiful words of St. Paul
(Romans xii. 5), " We being many, are one
body in Christ, and every one members one of
another." We resolve the incertitude and
caprices of individuals into a universality: we
seek the intelligence and harmonizing of per-
sons in the collective mass. Such is the ten-
dency of the present times, and whosoever
does not labor in accordance with it, neces-

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ought to be, the source of material life to the state in all its members: the intellectual anarchy to which we are a prey, has shown us that liberty of conscience does not suffice to render religion the source of moral life to the state in all its members. We have begun to suspect, not only that there is upon the earth something greater, more holy, more divine, than the individual,-collective Humanity, an existence always living, learning, advanc-sarily remains behind. ing toward God, of which we are but the in- Mr. Carlyle comprehends only the individstruments, but that it is alone from the ual; the true sense of the unity of the human summit of this collective idea, from the con- race escapes him. He sympathizes with all ception of the Universal Mind," of which," men, but it is with the life of each one, and not as Emerson says, "each individual man is with their collective life. He readily looks one more incarnation," that we can derive at every man as the representative, the inour function, the rule of our life, the ideal of carnation, in a manner, of an idea; he does our societies. We labor at this at the pres- not believe in a supreme idea," representent day. It signifies little that our first es-ed progressively by the development of mansays are strange aberrations: it signifies kind taken as a whole. He feels forcibly little, that falling upon their weak side, the (rather indeed by the instinct of his heart, doctrines of St. Simon, of Owen, of Fourier, which revolts at actual evil, than by a clear and others, who have arisen or shall arise, conception of that which constitutes life) the may be condemned to ridicule. That which want of a bond between the men who are is important is the idea common to all these around him; he does not feel sufficiently the doctrines, and the breath of which has ren- existence of the bond between the generadered them fruitful; it is the object which tions past, present, and future. The great they all instinctively propose, the starting- religious thought, the continued development point they take. Half a century ago, all the of Humanity by a collective labor, according boldest and most innovating theories sought to an educational plan assigned by Proviin the organization of societies guarantees for dence, fore-felt from age to age by a few rare free individual action; society was funda- intellects, and proclaimed in the last fifty mentally only the power of all directed to years by the greatest European thinkers, the support of the rights of each: at the pres- finds but a feeble echo, or rather no echo at ent day, the most timid reformers start with all, in his soul. Progressive from an impulse a social principle to define the part of the in- of feeling, he shrinks back from the idea as dividual, with the admission of a law, to soon as he sees it stated explicitly and sysseek what may be its best interpreter and its tematically; and such expressions as the best application. What, in the political progress of the species" and "perfectibility" world, are all these tendencies to centraliza- never drop from his pen unaccompanied by a tion, to universal suffrage, to the annihilation taint of irony, which we confess is to us inexof castes? Whence arise, in the religious plicable. He seems to regard the human world, all these discontents, all these rever- race rather as an aggregate of similar indisions toward the past, all these aspirations viduals, distinct powers in juxtaposition, than toward a future, confused, uncertain, but as an association of laborers, distributed in wide, tolerant, and reconciliatory of creeds at groups, and impelled on different paths topresent opposed? Why is history, which in ward one single object. Nation itself, counold times was satisfied with relating the deeds try, the second collective existence, less of princes or of ruling bodies of men, direct- vast, but still for many centuries not less saed at the present day so much to the masses, cred than humanity,-vanishes, or is modiand why does it feel the want of descending fied under his hand: it is no longer the sign from the summits of society to its base? of our portion of labor in the common work, And what means that word Progress, which, the workshop in which God has placed the understood in a thousand ways, is yet found instruments of labor to fulfil the mission most on every lip, and becomes more from day to within our reach; it is no longer the symbol day the watchword of all labors? We thirst of a thought, of a special vocation to be folfor unity we seek it in a new and larger ex-lowed, indicated by the tradition of the race, pression of the mutual responsibility of all by the affinity of tendencies, by the unity of men towards each other, the indissoluble language, by the character of localities; it is copartnery of all generations and all individu- something reduced, as much as possible, to als in the human race. We begin to com- the proportions of the individual. The na


tionality of Italy is the glory of having pro- | occasion to trace the history of this doctrine, duced Dante and Christopher Columbus; which, treated as it still is with neglect, the nationality of Germany that of having reckons nevertheless amongst its followers given birth to Luther, to Goethe, and to others. men who bore the names of Dante, of Bacon, The shadow thrown by these gigantic men and of Leibnitz. We can at present only appears to eclipse to his view every trace of mark the existence of the contrary doctrine the national thought of which these men were in the writings of Mr. Carlyle, and the conseonly the interpreters or prophets, and of the quences to which, in our opinion, it leads him. people, who alone are its depositary. All It is evident that, of the two criteria of cergeneralization is so repugnant to Mr. Car- tainty, individual conscience and universal lyle, that he strikes at the root of the error as tradition, between which mankind has hithhe deems it, by declaring that the history of the erto perpetually fluctuated, and the reconcileworld is fundamentally nothing more than the ment of which appears to us to constitute biography of great men (Lectures'). This is the only means we possess of recognizing to plead, distinctly enough, the falseness of the truth, Mr. Carlyle adopts one alone-the idea which rules the movement of the times.* first. He rejects, or at least wholly neglects, We protest, in the name of the democratic the other. From this point, in his view, all spirit of the age, against such ideas. Histo- follows in a natural connexion: individualiry is not the biography of great men: the ty being every thing, the doctrine of unconhistory of mankind is the history of the pro-sciousness follows. The voice of God is gressive religion of mankind, and of the heard in the intuition, in the instincts of the translation by symbols, or external actions, of that religion. The great men of the earth are but the marking-stones on the road of humanity; they are the priests of its religion. What priest is equal in the balance to the whole religion of which he is a minister? There is yet something greater, more divinely mysterious, than all the great men,-and this is the earth which bears them, the human race which includes them, the thought of God which stirs within them, and which the whole human race collectively can alone accomplish. Disown not, then, the common mother for the sake of certain of her children, however privileged they may be; for at the same time that you disown her, you will lose the intellect of these rare men whom you admire. Genius is like the flower, which draws one half of its life from the moisture that circulates in the earth, and inhales the other half from the atmosphere. The inspiration of genius belongs one half to heaven, the other to the crowds of common mortals from whose life it springs. No one is gifted with a right comprehension of it, without studying the medium in which it lives.

soul: to separate the individuality from every human external agency, and to offer it in native purity to the breath of inspiration from above, this is to prepare a temple to God; God and the individual man-Mr. Carlyle sees no other object in the world. But how can the individual alone approach God, unless by transport, by enthusiasm, by the unpremeditated upward flight of the spirit, unshackled by method or calculation? Hence arises all Mr. Carlyle's antipathy to the labors of philosophy; they must appear to him like the efforts of a Titan with the strength of a pigmy. Of what avail are the poor analytical and experimental faculties of the individ, ual intellect, in the solution of this immense and infinite problem? Hence, likewise, his bitter and often violent censure of all those who labor against the social state as it exists. Victory may indeed justify them, for victory is the intervention of God by his decree, from which there is no appeal; but where is the man who can pretend to fore-calculate, to determine this decree? What avails it to fill the echoes with complaint, like Philoctetes? What avails it to contend convulsively in a powerless struggle? What is, is. All our endeavors will not alter it before the time

We cannot, however, here attempt to establish any positive ideas respecting the vocation of our epoch, or the doctrine of the col-decreed; that time God alone determines. lective progress which appears to us to characterize it perhaps we may one day take an

This is the essence of Mr. Carlyle's ideas, as

they appear to us to be deducible from the body of his views and opinions and the general spirit which breathes in his works. Of course we meet here and there with passages in opposition to this spirit, and in accordance with that of the age. It is impossible for a writer of Mr. Carlyle's stamp to avoid this; but we do not think we can be accused, if our remarks are read with attention, of unfaithfulness in the material point.

What is to happen God will bring to pass,
very probably by wholly different means from
those which we, feeble and ephemeral crea-
Point out the evil,
tures, may imagine.
calmly, wisely; then resign yourself, trust,
and wait! There is a deep discouragement,
a very despair, at the bottom of all that bold
fervor of belief which characterizes many of
Mr. Carlyle's pages. To us he seems to
seek God rather as a refuge, than as the
source of right and of power; from his lips,

at times so daring, we seem to hear every | ject to be attained; it matters little that the instant the cry of the Breton mariner-" My result of our action be lost in a distance God, protect me! my bark is so small and which is beyond our calculation; we know the ocean so vast!"

that the powers of millions of men, our brethren, will succeed to the work after us, in the same track, we know that the object attained, be it when it may, will be the result of all our efforts combined.

Now all this is partly true, and nevertheless it is all partly false; true, inasmuch as it is the legitimate consequence from Mr. Carlyle's starting-point; false, in a higher and more comprehensive point of view. If we The object-an object to be pursued colderive all our ideas of human affairs and la- lectively, an ideal to be realized as far as posbors from the notion of the individual, and sible here below, by the association of all our see only in social life "the aggregate of all faculties and all our powers-" operatio huthe individual men's lives"-in history only manæ universitatis," as Dante says in a work "the essence of innumerable biographies "little known, or misunderstood, in which, -if we always place man, singly, isolated, in five centuries ago, he laid down many of the presence of the universe and of God, we shall principles upon which we are laboring at the have full reason to hold the language of Mr. present day-" ad quam ipsa universitas Carlyle. If all philosophy be in fact, like hominum in tantâ multitudine ordinatur, ad that of the ancient schools, merely a simple quam quidem operationem nec homo unus, physiological study of the individual,—an anal- nec domus una, nec vicinia, nec una civitas, ysis, more or less complete, of his faculties, nec regnum particulare, pertingere potest"* -of what use is it, but as a kind of intellect--this alone gives value and method to the ual gymnastics? If our powers be limited life and acts of the individual. Mr. Carlyle to such as each one of us may acquire by him- seems to us almost always to forget this. Beself, between those moments of our earthly ing thus without a sound criterion whereby to career which we call birth and death, they estimate individual acts, he is compelled to are indeed enough to attain the power of value them rather by the power which has guessing and of expressing a small fragment been expended upon them, by the energy and of the truth: let him who can realize it here. perseverance which they betray, than by the But if we place ourselves in the point of view nature of the object toward which they are of the collective existence, Mankind, and re- directed, and their relation to that object. gard social life as the continued development Hence arises that kind of indifference which of an idea by the life all its individuals,-if makes him, we will not say esteem, but love, we regard history as the relation of this de- equally men whose whole life has been spent velopment in time and space through the in pursuing contrary objects,-Johnson and works of individuals; if we believe in the co- Cromwell, for example. Hence proceeds partnery and mutual responsibility of genera- that spirit of fatalism (to call things by their tions, never losing sight of the fact that the right names) which remotely pervades his life of the individual is his development, in a work on the French Revolution; which medium fashioned by the labors of all the in- makes him sympathize so much with bold dividuals who have preceded him, and that deeds, admire ability, under whatever form the powers of the individual are his powers displayed, and so often hail, at the risk of begrafted upon those of all foregoing humanity, coming an advocate of despotism, might as -all our ideas will change. Philosophy will the token of right. He desires undoubtedly appear to us as the science of the law of life, the good every where and always; but he deas "the soul " (Mr. Carlyle himself once sires it, from whatever quarter it may come uses this expression in contradiction to the-from above or from below,-imposed by general spirit of his works), "of which reli- power, or proclaimed by the free and spontagion, worship, is the body;" and the complaint neous impulse of the multitude; and he forof the intellect, so often looked upon as idle, gets that the good is above all a moral quesfrom Byron down to George Sand, will be to tion; that there is no good apart from the us, what it is in truth, the registered, effica- consciousness of good that it exists only cious protest of the spirit, tormented by pre- where it is made, not obtained, by man he sentiments of the future, against a present forgets that we are not machines for produccorrupted and destroyed; and we shall feel tion, from which as much work as possible is that it is not only our right, but our duty, to to be extracted, but free agents, called to incarnate our thought in action. For it stand or fall by our works. His theory of matters little that our individual powers be unconsciousness, the germ of which appears in of the smallest amount in relation to the ob. the Life of Schiller,' and is clearly defin

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ed in his essay 'Characteristics,' although at | We know there are many men who pretend, first view it may indeed appear to acknow- without right and without reality, that they ledge human spontaneity, yet does emphati- already possess a complete knowledge of the cally involve its oblivion, and sacrifices, in its application, the social object to an individual point of view.

means. Is it this that he attacks? If so, let him attack the premature cry of triumph, the pride, not the plaint. This is but the sign of suffering, and a stimulus to research: it is doubly sacred.

Genius is not, generally speaking, unconscious of what it experiences or of what it is capable. It is not the suspended harp which Doubly sacred, we say,-and to murmur sounds (as the statue of Memnon in the desert at the plaint is both unjust and vain; vain, sounds in the sun) at the changing unfore--for whatever we may do, the words, "the seen breath of wind that sweeps across its strings: it is the conscious power of the soul of a man, rising from amidst his fellow-men, believing and calling himself a son of God, an apostle of eternal truth and beauty upon the earth, the privileged worshipper of an ideal as yet concealed from the majority: he is almost always sufficiently tormented by his contemporaries, to need a compensationthat of feeling his life in the generations to come. Cæsar, Christopher Columbus, were not unconscious: Dante, when, at the opening of the twenty-fifth chapter of the Paradiso,' he hurled at his enemies that sublime menace, which commentators without heart and without head have mistaken for a cry of supplication,-Kepler, when he wrote, "My book will await its reader: has not God waited six thousand years before he created a man to contemplate his works?"*-Shakspeare himself, when he wrote,

"And nothing stands

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whole creation groaneth," of the apostle whom we love to quote will be verified the most forcibly in the choicest intellects, whenever an entire order of things and ideas shall be exhausted; whenever, in Mr. Carlyle's phrase, there shall exist no longer any social faith:-unjust, for while on one side it attacks those who suffer the most, on the other it would suppress that which is the symptom of the evil, and prevent attention being awakened to it. Suffer in silence, do you say? no, cry aloud upon the housetops, sound the tocsin, raise the alarm at all risks, for it is not alone your house that is on fire, but that of your neighbor, that of every one. Silence is frequently a duty, when suffering is only personal; it is an error and a fault, when the suffering is that of millions. Can we possibly imagine that this complaining, this expression of unrest and discontent which at the present day bursts out on every side, is only the effect of the personal illusions of a few And yet, to times in hope, my verse shall stand" egoistical writers? Do we imagine that there -these men were not unconscious: but even can be any pleasure in parading one's own had they been so, even were genius always real sufferings before the public? It is more unconscious, the question lies not there. It pleasant to cause smiles than tears in those is not the consciousness of genius that is im- around us. But there are times in which every oracle utters words of ill omen; the heavens portant to a man, but of that which he proposes to do it is the consciousness of the are veiled, evil is every where; how should it object, and not that of the means, which we not be in the heart of those, whose life viassert to be indispensable, whenever man has brates most at the trembling of the universal any great thing to accomplish. This con- life? What! after proving the evil every insciousness pervaded all the great men who have stant in our pages, after showing society adembodied their thought,-the artists of the vancing through moral anarchy and devoid of middle ages themselves, who have transferred belief towards its dissolution, can we expect to stone the aspiration of their souls towards the features to remain calm? are we astonishheaven, and have bequeathed to us Christian ed if the voice trembles, if the soul shudders? cathedrals, without even graving their names Human thought is disquieted; it questions on a corner-stone. What then becomes of itself, listens to itself, studies itself: this is Be it so but the anathema hurled by Mr. Carlyle at phi- evidently not its normal state. losophy? What becomes of the sentence what is to be done? must we abolish thought, passed with so much bitterness against the-deny the intellect the right, the duty of restless complaints of contemporary writers? studying itself, when it is sick?. This is inWhat is philosophy but the science of ends? deed the result of the essay on 'CharacterisAnd is that which he calls the disease of the tics,' one of Mr. Carlyle's most remarkable times, at the bottom aught else than the con- works. The first part is truly admirable; the sciousness of a new object, not yet attained? evil is there perfectly charactered and the principal symptoms described; but the conclusion is most lame and impotent. It ends by suppressing (how, is not indicated) the dis

Harmonices Mundi: libri quinque. † Sonnets, 60. See also Sonnets 17, 18, 55, 63,

81, etc.

quietude, or what he terms the "self-sen- and when the human intelligence should be ripe tience," the "self-survey," the consciousness. Would it not be better to endeavor to suppress the malady which produces it? There is a brilliant passage at the end of this same essay, which serves us as a conclusive reply:

"Do we not already know that the name of the Infinite is GoOD. is GOD? Here on earth we are as soldiers, fighting in a foreign land, that under stand not the plan of the campaign, and have no need to understand it; seeing well what is at our hand to be done. Let us do it like soldiers, with submission, with courage, with a heroic joy. 'Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.' Behind us, behind each one of us. lie six thousand years of human effort, human conquest: before us is the boundless Time, with its as yet uncreated and unconquered continents and Eldorados, which we, even we, have to conquer, to create; and from the bosom of Eternity shine for us celestial guiding-stars."

We have selected this passage, because, approaching as it does near to the truth in the last lines, and contradicting them (in our opinion) in the first, it appears to us to include in essence all the certainties and uncertainties, the "everlasting Yea" and the "everlasting No" of Mr. Carlyle. GoD and DUTY-these are in fact the two sacred words which mankind has in all critical periods repeated, and which at the present day still contain the means of salvation. But we must know in what manner these words are understood.


for a higher initiation. When this period arrives, all isolated exortation to faith is useless. What is preached may be eminently sage and moral; it may have, here and there, the authority of an individual system of philosophy, but it will never compel belief. It may meet with a sterile theoretic approbation, but it will not command the practice, it will not dictate the action, it will not gain that mastery over the life of men which can make it fruitful in all its manifestations. If the contrary were true, there is no religion that could not make the universe exist for ever in harmony, by the morality which is either developed or involved in it. But there are times in which all efforts are paralyzed by apathy, except we change (by the development of new relations between men, or by calling into action an element hitherto suppressed) the starting-point of social energy, and give a strong shake to the intellect, which has fallen asleep from want of nourishment.

We all seek God; but we know that here below we cannot attain unto him, nor comprehend him, nor contemplate him; the absorption into God of the Brahminical religions, of Plato and of some modern ascetics, is an illusion that cannot be realized: we are too far off. Our aim is to approach God: this we can do by our works alone. To incarnate, as far as possible, his Word; to translate, to realize his Thought, is our charge here below. It is not by contemplating his We all seek God; but where, how, with works that we can fulfil our mission upon what aim? This is the question. Seek him, earth; it is by devoting ourselves to the evoMr. Carlyle will say, in the starry firmament, lution of his work, without interruption, on the wide ocean, in the calm and pure brow without end. The earth and man touch at of a heroic man; above all, in the words of all points on the infinite; this we know well, genius and at the bottom of your heart, freed but is it enough to know this? have we not from all egoistic passions. God is every to march onwards, to advance into this infiwhere learn to find him. You are surround-nite? But can the individual finite creature ed by his mira les; you swim in the Infinite of a day do this, if he relies only upon his the Infinite is also within you. BELIEVE,you will be better; you will be what man should be. True indeed,—but how create belief? This, again, is the question. In all periods of the history of mankind there have been inspired men who have appealed to every generous, great, divine emotion in the misanthropy. human heart, against material appetites and sufficiently with mankind, and startled at the selfish instincts. These men have been lis- disproportion between the object and the tened to; mankind has believed: it has, dur-means, they have ended by viewing every ing several centuries, done great and good things in the name of its creeds. Then it has stopped, and ceased to produce. Why so? Was the thing it had believed, false? No, it was incomplete: like all human things, it was In truth, human life regarded from a a fragment of absolute truth, combined with merely individual point of view is a melanmany truths relative to time and place, destin- choly thing. Glory, power, grandeur, all ed to disappear after having borne their fruit, | perish,-playthings of a day, broken at night.

own powers? It is precisely from having found themselves for an instant face to face with infinity, without calculating upon other faculties, upon other powers than their own, that some of the greatest intellects of the day have been led astray into skepticism or Not identifying themselves

where death and annihilation, and have no longer had courage for the conflict. The ideal has appeared to them like a tremendous irony.

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